‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ by Jane Lark

jl tsloadSTORY: Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach. The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.

She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him. A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

REVIEW: I love it when authors feature children from previous stories as grown up heroes or heroines, and in this novel we meet up with John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke who was but a child in books one and two of The Marlow Intrigues series, but now he’s all grown up and we see him as a complex, moody and very private man.

John’s childhood wasn’t easy as he was brought up by his very strict grandfather and times when he should have spent with his mother and stepfather, as well as his many siblings from his mother’s second marriage, [Ellen and Edward from ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’] were mostly taken by his friends from the surrounding area and school chums.

For the first ten years of John’s life, his parents were absent and he really never knew nor pursued the reasons behind it. All he knew was that his mother finally came to get him to live with her and her new husband who John came to love and call ‘Papa’.

 “Am I to call you Papa now?” John asked, gripping Edward’s other hand, as they turned to leave the church by the small exit from the vestry.

“You may call me what you wish, John. If you like it can be, Papa, or if not then it shall be, Edward.”

The boy smiled up at him. “I would like to have a Papa, I cannot remember mine.” Ellen’s teeth caught her lower lip.

“Then you have a Papa now, John.” Edward’s hand slipped from John’s and instead rested on John’s shoulder and pulled John to his side. They were a family in every appearance, Ellen thought, as they followed the path from the church back to the house, the servants behind them.

John’s relationship with his mother and stepfather started off great, but the influence the old Duke had on a boy, even though he spent less time with him, was great. As he grew into the title, he became more and more distanced from every member of his family, and his friends. He became suspicious of them and questioned their motives for their friendship. He became arrogant, calculated and callous.

Katherine’s life wasn’t easy and we slowly become aware of the reasons behind it. While she accepts her faith, and the circumstances of her birth, we can’t help but compare her to Cinderella. She is kind, loving and forgiving. She has known and loved John since she was a child, knowing that nothing could ever come of it. He was a close friend of her brothers and even though she grew up among the children in his household, she was way beneath his station and not just because her father was a mere squire.

This was one of those stories that will suck you in and keep you under until the end. At first, I honestly couldn’t see these two people making a go of it. There was so much baggage they both carried that I thought it would take a bulldozer to clear it all out.

I should have known better than to doubt Ms. Lark’s ability to find one of those and plow through all the mess these two lived through.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, highly emotional, sensual and complex romantic story, ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’ is the one not to be missed.

I loved this book!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Máire Claremont’s Five Fun Facts behind …

‘The Dark Affair’

mc tda

Chris HemsworthFact 1: The very sexy Viscount Powers is real to me. Shhhhh. Don’t tell Mr. Claremont. Helk ffts snarks and raises a disdainful brow in our conversations to hide his pain. He can’t fool me! I see that that gorgeous man needs an awesome HEA.

Fact 2: My very favorite heroes are wounded with exceptionally dry senses of humor, In fact, James Mallory from Johanna Lindsay’s Gentle Rogue and  the Duke of Jerveaux from Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm are my favorite heroes after Viscount Powers, of course!

Romola GaraiFact 3: Even though I am Irish, I was nervous having an Irish heroine! I wanted to get her “right”.  She’s a handful and she insisted she was a match for James. Luckily,jl gr I listened. No one else could have survived that man let alone fallen in love with him. She needs his passion like he needs her good sense.

Fact 4: Anorexia  was prevalent in the Victorian period but not for the reason one might think. A woman who had a “healthy” appetite was a woman who likely had sexual passion and to Victorian prudish upper middle class and proper high society this was a very bad thing. Women would starve themselves to ensure those around them thought they were pure.

Fact 5: I listened to Go Ask Alice soo many times whilst writing the Mad Passions books its a miracle I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole or start talking to door knobs!

 

 

mc tda

BOOK BLURB: Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

EXCERPT: here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N

 GIVEAWAY: 1 e or print copy/1 Winner

Maire ClaremontAUTHOR BIO: 2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic.

Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

 

 

‘The Dark Affair’ by Máire Claremont

mc tdaSTORY: Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

REVIEW: In this third novel of Ms. Claremont’s Mad Passions series we reconnect with James Stanhope, Viscount Powers who came to aid of Lady Mary in ‘Lady in Red’. Have no fear, you don’t have to read that story in order to follow this one, although come to think of it, maybe you should. Lady Mary has a significant part to play in James’s story as much as he did in hers. The relationship they built is very strong and the scenes between James and Mary are heartbreakingly tender because of their intimate knowledge of what the other is going through.

If you’re a fan of ‘tortured hero’ trope, please don’t pass this one up. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. Everything about this hero touched my heart. I was pulling for him from the first page and the satisfaction I got as I watched his courage emerge out of despair, was elating.

Maggie was the only woman for James. Without her tenaciousness, her determination and strong spirit, this man would still be lost. She may have appeared to be cold, calculating and without warm emotions, but once you start to know her, to see behind all this front veneer, you start to understand this amazing woman.

This is without a doubt a character driven, fast-paced and emotionally draining story that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.

I can’t praise it enough! If you haven’t read this series yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful prose, solid plots and a pace that will give you an adrenaline rush you won’t soon forget.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy from the publisher.

 

‘Just You’ by Jane Lark Cover Reveal!

Just You

STORY: The morning after the New Year’s Eve before…

Waking up to a new year with a killer hangover and hazy memories of a seriously hot hook-up the night before leaves Portia in an awkward situation… Did I, or didn’t I? The only way she’s going to find out is by standing up to the guy in question.

With no regrets, Justin is willing to play the gentleman and save Portia her embarrassment. Only then he gets a text saying, come over… and he’s not gonna lie – this is friends with a lot of benefits!

But no matter how good the sex is, there’s one thing Justin’s not down with: being this shallow rich girl’s dirty little secret…

‘Just You’ by Jane Lark (Starting Out #2) Goodreads

Published by: Harper Impulse
Publication date: May 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Pre-order HERE

jl ify‘I Found You’ (Starting Out #1)

STORY: Tomorrow is for regrets. Tonight is for being together.

On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason’s lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She’s running from life, he’s running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her.

His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There’s his fiancée back home in Oregon and a family who just don’t trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

But when the connection between them is so electric, so right… everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there’s nothing but the possibility of what could be – of this, right here, right now. Them.

$1.99 SPECIAL PRICE only ’till 3/31!

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N

JaneAUTHOR BIO: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,’The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, as well as a Kindle overall Top 25, bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.

‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Social Media: Website /  Facebook  /  Tweeter

‘No Ordinary Mistress’ by Robyn DeHart

rdh  nomSTORY: London, 1814

Remington Hawthorne, Earl of Latham, has spent his life protecting the Crown. When he’s assigned to play the part of lover to Emma Masterson, one of the few female spies in England and the one woman he can’t forget, he’ll have to risk his heart as well as his life.

It isn’t easy being an independent woman, much less a spy. Perpetually tasked with proving she is as valuable as any man in her profession, the last thing Emma needs is to be reunited with the one man who makes her want to forget her duties and get lost in passion.

Pretending to be his mistress isn’t difficult—remembering that it is all a charade is a challenge. With every glance, every touch, every kiss, she is drawn deeper under his spell and pulled further from her goals. She refused him once, but it will take every ounce of strength to not give in to the passion that still burns strong…

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | 

REVIEW: Trained at the esteemed yet secret Seven academy for spies, Emma Masterson is a very smart, courageous, headstrong and beautiful young woman.  Choosing to take an assignment alone is unusual for a woman, however, Emma is determined to do so.  She is sent to seduce Lord Comfry to learn what she can about him being suspected of selling secrets to the French.

Remington (Remy) Hawthorne, an Earl, is also a member of the Seven and has worked with Emma in the past.  At that time, they found they were attracted to one another, but when Remy tries to protect Emma, she becomes angry and they part for a time.  Thrown back together again to solve this crime, their attraction is renewed.

This is a novella that is very well-written and holds the reader’s interest.  The love story between Emma and Remy is very romantic and the story of the spy mystery is quite intriguing.  I’m sure that readers will want to grab a copy of this right away.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

‘Fool Me Twice’ by Meredith Duran

md fmtSTORY: Sensible and lonely, Olivia Mather survives by her wits—and her strict policy of avoiding trouble. But when she realizes that the Duke of Marwick might hold the secrets of her family’s past, she does the unthinkable, infiltrating his household as a maid. She’ll clean his study and rifle through his papers looking for information.

Alastair de Grey has a single reason to live: vengeance. More beautiful than Lucifer, twice as feared, and thrice as cunning, he’ll use any weapon to punish those who fooled and betrayed him—even an impertinent maid who doesn’t know her place. But the more fascinated he becomes with the uppity redhead, the more dangerous his carefully designed plot becomes. For the one contingency he forgot to plan for was falling in love…and he cannot survive being fooled again.

REVIEW: Olivia is a young woman on a mission to find a job inside the home of the Alistair, the Duke of Marwick. Answering an ad for the position of a maid, she is delighted to find herself hired as the housekeeper. Alistair has become a virtual hermit since the death of his wife from a drug overdose. He has also discovered that government secrets he had been charged with keeping were passed on by her to others. Thus, he has been dismissed from his government position and ostracized by his friends. In addition, he has not left his bedroom for a long time. He has turned into an angry, unkempt and downright mean man.

When Olivia meets him, she is appalled at his appearance and uses every bit of her strong ways to get him to allow her to help him clean up his physical looks, his correspondence and get his home back in order. His servants have not kept the house clean and Olivia is faced with a job to get things clean and running smoothly. The relationship between Alistair and Olivia is tenuous at best but they slowly get to know one another better.

I think that since Alistair had been betrayed by his wife, he has a hard time allowing himself to respect women in general. But Olivia is a strong and stubborn woman so they are equally matched. For me, trying to figure out the reason Olivia chose to go to work there in the first place was confusing. However, there is a mystery of sorts which does not reveal itself until later in the novel. I feel that the lack of more explanation about this is the reason I gave the book a lesser grade. The growing attraction and mutual respect between them does make for a sweet and memorable love story.

*Connie for b2b.

*ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

‘This House is Haunted’ by John Boyne

jb thihSTORY: 1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wro

REVIEW: Eliza Caine lives frugally in London with her father and teaches in an all girls school. Her mother had passed away some years earlier.  A huge fan of Charles Dickens, her father insists on braving the cold and rain to attend a reading by this renowned author only to quickly be stricken by a cold that soon claimed his life.

When she finds that she must leave the home she has known, Eliza decides to answer an ad for a position of a governess at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk.  When she arrives, she is perplexed to find only the children to greet her.  They are 12-year-old Isabella and her brother, Eustace, a few years younger.  They are well-groomed and polite yet they tell her she is to be the adult of the home and is also to prepare their meals.  The person who oversees the finances for the home is a solicitor, Mr. Raisin, who lives in the town.  While trying to understand all of this, she explores the house and decides to visit Mr. Raisin the next day and find out what is really going on.  

That’s when the nightmares begin.  She feels someone’s hands on her feet dragging her from the bed.  When she awakens from her dream, no one is there.  Many strange and frightening incidents occur that show there is an evil presence in the house, yet as Eliza is a sensible young woman, she is determined to find out what is happening at the home.  When she learns that she is the sixth governess in a year and all but she and another one are dead, her fear grows.  

I can’t give away anymore of this plot but suffice to say that it was written very well and just scary enough.  I think it would make a good movie.  Stick with it until the end because that’s when you will probably, as I did, say, “Uh-Oh!”

*Connie for b2b.

*Book provided by my local library.

Closing out 2013 with …

My 2013 Debut Authors are:

As the year ends I look back at the books I’ve read, some new ‘to me’  and some début authors I’ve enjoyed and today I’m giving you heads up on these because I think they’re the ones to watch out for in the years to come.

Please note that they come in no particular order. All are equally good and worthy of my esteem.

TP KWKate Worth and ‘The Promise’

BOOK BLURB: When pastry chef Jane Gray tries to sell her daughter’s locket, she becomes the unlikely subject of a massive police hunt and fodder for London’s tabloid press. Secrets unravel, lies are exposed, and the Duke of Rutledge demands custody of his niece.

Charming and handsome, the duke’s brother Finn spends his leisure time between the sheets of London’s most beautiful, wanton women. The seasoned rake is perplexed by his attraction to demure, virtuous Jane… definitely not his usual type. It soon becomes evident there is more to Jane than meets the eye and Finn longs to possess the passionate woman hidden beneath her modest facade.

When the publicity draws the attention of a madman from Jane’s past and Finn is forced to enter London’s dangerous underworld in a heart-stopping race to save her.

REVIEW: here.

AMAR EPEvelyn Pryce and ‘A Man Above Reproach’

BOOK BLURB: In 1830s London, scandalized whispers surround the pub known as The Sleeping Dove. A hidden bordello, the rumors say, catering to straying nobles eager to shed the trappings of their stations.

Josephine Grant knows the rumors are true–she plays piano at the Dove, known only as “The Bawdy Bluestocking” to the pub’s faithful. Tales swirl as to her real origin: some patrons claim that she was an orphan prodigy, others go so far as to name her concubine to the King.

The society ladies call the reluctant Duke of Lennox “The Uncatchable,” not that he cares for them or their nicknames. Elias Addison’s estate was thrust upon him when his father died and it has been little else but a burden. He spends his days mired in responsibilities and his nights pursued at endless balls by fortune-hunting debutantes. He is morose, serious, and tense.

When a friend brings him to the Sleeping Dove in an attempt to lighten his mood, the consequences of those good intentions are far greater. When the Duke of Lennox finds himself at the Bawdy Bluestocking’s piano, they begin to play a dangerous melody. Though Elias cannot resist courting Josie, she has a past to protect, a shaky future, and no time for frivolous nobility with soft hands. When the Duke uncovers the truth, will he wish he had never begun the tune?

REVIEW: here.

U ACAnna Cowen and ‘Untamed’

BOOK BLURB: Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister’s marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine’s interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke’s games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

REVIEW: here.

perf5.000x8.000.inddSandra Owens and ‘The Letter’

BOOK BLURB: THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

REVIEW: here.

TSOLP EQElla Quinn and ‘The Seduction of Lady Phoebe’

BOOK BLURB: Polite society has its rules for marriage. But for Ella Quinn’s eligible bachelors, their brides will show them that rules are for the weak of heart…

Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially when she is driving her dashing phaeton with its perfectly matched horses. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within his blue-eyed gaze…

For Lord Marcus, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…

REVIEW: here.

TDL MCMáire Claremont and ‘The Dark Lady’

BOOK BLURB: Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

REVIEW: here.

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJane Lark and ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’

BOOK BLURB: Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress.  The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

REVIEW: here.

ADI EMErica Monroe  and ‘A Dangerous Invitation’

BOOK BLURB: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

REVIEW: here.

Those are some of the authors that have debuted this year, but I’ve discovered this year ‘new to me’ authors that have been around and they are: Victoria Vane; Sherry Thomas; Julianne Lee, Tracy Grant, Susan King, Elizabeth Chadwick…

There are so many more on my Kindle and still on my TBR so I need to get to them all…eventually.

How was your reading year and have you any recommendations for me?

Melanie

‘His by Christmas’ by Kaitlin O’Riley

HBC KOSTORY: She’s all he wants this holiday season…

Yvette Hamilton knows just what she wants for Christmas—a dazzling marriage. And if marrying the ton‘s catch at the height of the Yuletide season is how she can prove herself, she’ll be the most respectable of the many ladies competing for his hand. But one accomplished rake has other, much more tempting ideas…

The illegitimate son of a duke, Lord Jeffrey Eddington knows society will never truly respect him. He thought he’d found acceptance as a friend of the Hamiltons, but Yvette’s seeming snobbery makes him wager to win her hand no matter what it takes. Too late, he finds her frivolity conceals an intelligent, appealing woman. Now they face a hard choice between the holiday dreams they think they want most…and the very real love they can’t resist.

REVIEW: Yvette Hamilton, the youngest of five daughters is ready for her turn to find a husband and hopes to do so by Christmas.  She is currently living with her sister and brother-in-law in London.  However, they must leave London for some weeks and want to be sure that Yvette is looked after properly.  Although she has servants to care for her, her brother-in-law calls upon his good family friend, Lord Jeffrey Eddington to make sure she is watched after properly in their absence.  Jeffrey is the illegitimate son of a duke but has been “recognized” by his father.  His father’s wife has died but his real parents are still living.

Yvette is vying against the equally lovely, but snide, Miss Fairmont to receive a proposal from William Weatherly, Marquis of Shelley, Earl of Cheshire, and the future Duke of Lansdowne to become the next Duchess of Lansdowne.

As Yvette and Jeffrey see more and more of one another, he realizes that she is a truly intelligent and funny lady and not the frivolous girl he originally thought her to be.  Realizing he is falling in love with her, his work is cut out for him as he strives to prove that he is the man she wants instead of the Duke.

This novel is the last of the series about the Hamilton sisters and while I have not read the others, I was still able to keep up with the sisters mentioned in the book and got an understanding of their stories.

The twists and turns and clever humor knitted into this novel by the author kept my attention and many events added to my amusement as well.  I look forward to reading more novels by Kaitlin O’Riley.

*Conie for b2b.

*Book provided by my local library.

My Historical Christmas recommends [part 1]

ACW JG‘A Christmas Waltz’ by Jane Goodger

BOOK BLURB: To Lady Amelia Wellesley, it seems utterly romantic to surprise her dashing fiancé at his home in Texas so the two can marry by Christmas. But Amelia’s surprise goes awry when Carson Kitteridge calls off their wedding as soon as she arrives, leaving Amelia in disgrace. . .

With nowhere to turn, Amelia finds an unlikely savior in Carson’s brother, Dr. Boone Kitteridge. Boone offers to marry Amelia, sparing her the shame of returning to England unwed. But Boone isn’t just protecting Amelia’s honor; secretly, he finds her irresistible, and the thought of indulging his desire for her is too tempting to ignore. As Boone and Amelia forge a fragile bond, something goes terribly wrong–and it will take nothing less than a Christmas miracle for Amelia to discover who she is destined to love. . .

REVIEW: There are three books in this Christmas trilogy and last year I recommended ‘A Christmas Scandal’ which is book two, and today I’m recommending book three [tomorrow I’ll do book one, ‘Marry Christmas’].

For someone that’s always reading any series in order, I’ve no idea why I read this trilogy out-of-order. It really isn’t necessary for them to be read in order… however, maybe I should have. Because they would have flowed better time wise.

In any case, I’m here to let you know that this is a well written, plotted and executed sweet, sensual and very charming tale.

What I liked best about it is the dialogue and the fast pace of the story as well as strong characterization of hero and the heroine.

I adored Lady Amelia Wellesley who might seem flighty and naïve, but this woman was one strong female. For her to leave her native England and pursue the love of her life [an American Cowboy who proposed to her only because he wanted to bed her] all on her own takes guts.

Boone Kittredge is this small town’s doctor and her fiancé’s brother.  He’s also a total opposite of Carson, and Amelia is having a hard time coming to terms with the man she remembers from England, with the man that he is now, here in America.

Boone is a Beta hero all the way, and I just loved him to pieces. Once we get to know his background, we love him even more. This man has survived much abuse from his father, and it was something that made him into a somber and strong person. As well as someone who has always been there to pick up the pieces of his older brother leaves behind.

I also loved the secondary characters in this tale and was heartbroken at the life and hardships they lived through.

This is a story for every age and any time, not just Christmas.

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CR LBIW SK MJP PR‘Christmas Roses: Love Blooms in Winter’ by Mary Jo Putney,  Patricia RiceSusan King

BOOK BLURB: Love blooms in Winter…

Three rare, historical romance novellas by acclaimed writers Patricia Rice, Mary Jo Putney, and Susan King are collected together here for the first time in this exclusive eBook, Christmas Roses.

“The Snow Rose”, “The Black Beast of Belleterre”, and “The Kissing Bough” weave tales of the joy of unexpected Love, at a special time of year, Christmas – as only these talented writers can.

Discovery in the midst of a clash of clans, hidden desires from an unexpected suitor, and a love once lost and found combine for a truly romantic journey through history.

This tantalizing collection of historical romances also includes all-new introductions and recipes to add to the delight of the season.

REVIEW: This book was going to be a win-win for me because I’m new to only one of the authors in this anthology, Susan King and MJP and PR are my all time favorite authors and I’m in process of hunting down their back list for my Keeper shelf.

Plus, you can’t beat the free recipes that all of them are offering at the end of their stories: Oatmeal Brose, Potato Kale Soup, and Lamb’s Wool Punch may not grace my table this Christmas, but they sure were fun to read.

Here are my thoughts on their stories:

‘The Snow Rose’ by Susan King
Catriona MacDonald is determent to gain the rights from her uncle to her family’s estate and the only man that can help her is a Laird of an enemy clan, the Frasers.

The Laird isn’t much inclined to engage a MacDonald into a fight over a woman’s fancy, so he declines to aid her, but a warrior in his Hall feels that he might offer at least some help to a woman who’s left to fetch for herself in the middle of a winter storm.

My fellow reviewer Leah’s been the catalyst for me to start reading more Medieval romances, and this one’s very fast pacing and so heartwarming that will melt your heart, especially when you find out why Catriona chooses to live alone.

Kenneth was an Alpha male all the way, but still managed to be caring and smart; strong and loyal.

I’ve never been to Scotland but Ms. King did such a great job in describing the world of 16th Century in which Catriona lived in that I may as well have been there with her.

‘The Snow Rose’ will melt your heart!

‘The Black Beast of Belleterre’ by Mary Jo Putney
MJP does a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ so well in this short tale that you won’t even notice it’s a short story.

Lord Falconer is blessed with wealth and vast holdings, but not with good looks.

As a child he suffered an accident which left him disfigured, so he’s been hiding behind a hood. He long ago accepted his fate, and knew that he’d never feel the love of a woman or his child’s small hands around his neck.

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TCICAE EL‘The Cheer in Charming an Earl’ by Emma Locke

BOOK BLURB: For Love…

The second of five impoverished sisters, Miss Elinor Conley knows her dream of becoming a lady is farfetched. When an unmarried gentleman happens by her brother’s smithy, it is up to her to act quickly–and rashly–to secure his interest.

But Grantham Wendell, Earl Chelford, isn’t in the market for anything more than a new horseshoe. What’s a bachelor to do when an innocent miss turns up at his Christmas Eve bacchanalia? He ought to make her leave, but his Twelfth Night party just became more entertaining…

This is story 3.5 in The Naughty Girls Series. To start at the beginning, please see the full-length romance THE TROUBLE WITH BEING WICKED.

PLEASE NOTE! This short novella was first published in the romantic holiday anthology TIS THE SEASON.

REVIEW: I can’t believe that I have every book this author wrote, but never read any of them!

This is a short and quick read with an entertaining cast of characters, like our heroine, Miss Elinor Conley.

Our little miss is in a tizzy as she believes herself doomed to spinsterhood because her little village lacks the suitors, so she decides to convince Grantham, Earl Chelford, whom she just met at her brother’s smithy that they would suit. What could go wrong, right?

Both of these characters were very likable and extremely entertaining.

If you like your novellas with lots of humor, plenty of romance and witty dialogue, Ms. Locke is an author to deliver on all counts.

Now I really have to get to the other books as soon as possible.

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TID CM‘The Inconvenient Duchess’ by Christine Merrill

BOOK BLURB: “Dear Cici and Father,”

“I have come to Devon and married a duke. And I’m more tired and hungry than I have ever been in my life. Please let me come home.”

Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled–and determined–to make their marriage real

REVIEW: I got this book for two reasons, one it was and still is FREE! And the second reason is it has my December theme of Christmas.

Everything in this story worked and meshed well, from our heroine Miranda, who was very ordinary and relatable character, to our hero Marcus who’s an honorable man with a gruff exterior.

Miranda and Marcus felt very real, and their love story and the plot were well-developed. I also liked the dialogue which was entertaining and helped move the story at a nice and steady pace.

Secondary character of St. John, the hero’s brother almost stole the story, that’s how well-developed he was.

I highly recommend it if you like a traditional Regency. The story is highly entertaining, intriguing and its complex characters.

This is a new author to me this year, and I’m sure to read her again. Please feel FREE to download it today!

CLICK ON THE COVER for a FREE DOWNLOAD!!

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THATT RW‘The Holly and the Thistle’ by Regan Walker

BOOK BLURB: A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift she’s ever had: a marriage not of convenience, but one of love.

This follows to some extent the first in the Agents of the Crown trilogy, Racing With The Wind, but can be read alone.

REVIEW: Here’s another author that just keeps slipping by me. I have a couple of her books on my Kindle, and I really have to find the time to read her, especially after I read this novella.

From what I could glimpse from this short story, I can tell you that this author does know her craft well and her characters are well drawn, three-dimensional; her plots well-developed and pace fast-moving.

If you like a romance that starts with a mistaken identity, this one is it. The scene in which our hero meets the heroine is priceless, and very well written.

William’s pursuit of Emily is so much more than just entertaining. It’s downright awesome! It really is a must read.

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MAM KR‘Mistletoe and Magic’ by Katie Rose

BOOK BLURB: In Katie Rose’s delightful eBook original novella set in Victorian New York City, a remarkable woman with the gift of second sight must learn to trust her visions while following her heart.
 
Blond, angelic Penelope Appleton possesses breathtaking looks—and a troublesome secret. She and her two charming—and newly married—sisters have inspired quite a following posing as spiritualists. However, unlike her clever sisters, Penelope actually does glimpse the future. On the eve of her coming out at a Christmas ball, Penelope sees a vision of a rakishly handsome dark-haired man who she knows is her destiny. But her premonition comes with a terrible price: She also foretells his death.

Jared Marton takes one look at Penelope and his fate is sealed. He must possess her, heart and soul, even if his efforts to get close to this ethereal beauty are thwarted by her determination to deny the magic between them . . . until a perfect kiss dissolves all barriers to sweet surrender. But when Jared discovers the burden she carries, a perfect love is challenged by the cold winds of fate.

REVIEW: Well finally I leave Regency England and head to Victorian New York!

When I read this short novella, I wasn’t aware that it was a third book in the Appleton Sister’s series, but fear not, this  story is written to stand on its own.

Our heroine Penelope is the youngest of the Appleton sisters and she has a ‘second sight’ which allows her to see the future, even her own.

And here is where this story gets intriguing. In order to stop a tragedy that she foresaw, she’s determined to stay away from the man she loves because she believes that she saw him die

I liked the characters and the suspenseful plot of this little gem and hope you give it a go.

*Melanie for b2b

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