Take a Historical Quiz with Grace Burrowes, Katie MacAlister, and Shana Galen!

Quiz: Which Historical Romance Heroine Are You?
#1 What word best describes you?
a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy
#2 My favorite hobby is …
a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice
#3 What is the perfect late night snack?
a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred
#4 My ideal man must have …
a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains
#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?
a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol
If you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.
If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor by Grace Burrowes. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!
If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.


‘What a Lady Most Desires’ by Lecia Cornwall

lc walmdSTORY: True desire always finds a way…

On the night before the final battle against Napoleon, Lady Delphine St. James finds herself dancing with the one man she has always wanted, Major Lord Stephen Ives. He makes it clear he has no time for a lady he sees as flirtatious and silly, but as the call to arms sounds, she bids him farewell with a kiss that stirs them both. When he returns gravely injured, she is intent on caring for him, even if his surly behavior tests her patience.

After the battle, Stephen is not only wounded and blind, but falsely accused of cowardice and theft. The only light in his dark world is Delphine, the one woman he never imagined he could desire. But she deserves more than he can give her.

As their feelings deepen and hidden enemies conspire to force them to part forever, can their love survive the cruelest test of all?

REVIEW: Let me start off my review with HOLY-SHIT-LOOK-AT-THAT-COVER!

Jon Paul is one of the best illustrators out there and he ‘created’ this god of a hero for all of us to drool over!

I was looking forward to this story ever since I got to know the hero in ‘The Secret Life of Lady Julia’ and I hoped that his story would not have me conflicted as much as that one did, and I’m happy to say I loved it. BUT! Yeah, there’s a BUT here. I really think you should read ‘The Secret Life of Lady Julia’ [my review of it here] first because you will get to know Stephen so much better. I was glad to have read that story first. It really paid off as I followed his story in this book.

Lady Delphine St. James had liked Major Lord Stephen Ives for a very long time, but alas, the man wouldn’t give her a minute of his time because in his eyes she was a flighty child, reckless and a flirt. He only had eyes for one woman. Julia.

It all changes as he heads into battle and she recklessly gives him a kiss that neither can forget. Delphine was one of those characters that literally just keeps growing right in front of your eyes, and I loved her spunk to no end! Her strength actually radiated off the pages. What she chose to present to society was a total opposite of who she is and what she’s capable of.

I enjoyed the way the author had our hero come to terms with his infatuation with Julia, and how he learned to discern between the two emotions. He was always honorable and what he went through was heartbreaking to read, let alone live through.

If you like your romance to delve into deep emotional turmoil of the souls of your hero and heroine, you’ll love this story. If you love your romance to give you some fast pace adventure, you’ll love this story. If you like your romance to take you through history, you’ll love this story. For that matter, if you’re a lover of anything romance, you need to read this story!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Secret Life of Lady Julia’ by Lecia Cornwall

lc tsloljSTORY: Just a year or so ago, Julia was a lovely earl’s daughter, celebrating her betrothal to David, the Duke of Temberlay and set for a life of elegance and luxury.

But at her betrothal ball, she meets a stranger, a man who makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world—and when your fiancé thinks of you more as a little sister than a bride, that kind of attention can certainly turn a lady’s head.

Thomas Merritt is a thief with a secret past of his own. He attended Julia’s betrothal ball to steal her jewels, but ended up leaving with far more, utterly bewitched by the beautiful, innocent Lady Julia. After their one glorious evening together, Thomas leaves London, knowing he can never be part of her world again.

Julia’s steamy encounter with Thomas Merritt changes her life. Now, she’s no longer an earl’s daughter (disowned), or a duke’s bride-to-be (deceased). She’s an outcast and a mere paid companion to a lady who used to be her equal.

But things are looking up. She’s on her way to Vienna on a breathtaking adventure, and her employer’s handsome brother seems more than willing to overlook Julia’s scandalous past. Love is in the air, dear readers!

Julia and Thomas meet again in Vienna under most inconvenient circumstances during the great peace conference meant to determine the fate of Europe now that Napoleon has been defeated. All the crowned heads of Europe are in attendance, and at the lavish parties, salons, and grand balls, secrets lurk behind every fan, under honorable military tunics, and beyond every half-closed door, and Thomas is not the only thief in town. When Julia discovers a plot that could destroy her new life, Thomas Merritt is the only man who can save the day, and only she can save him from certain death.

And at yet another betrothal ball, they meet again…

REVIEW: Julia Leighton’s life had been mapped out for her, and she’s sleep-walking through it, that is until her betrothal ball. She just couldn’t let herself feel, just once, what that elusive thing of making love really means, so she does one thing for herself. She lets a stranger make love to her.

Thomas Merritt is a man on the outs with society in general, and his family in particular. He’s on his own and that means finding ways to support himself with any means close at hand to him, and that includes robbing the rich. Making love to a young and innocent Julia wasn’t on his agenda, yet he is very attracted to her and he just couldn’t deny them both this moment in time.

This is one of those stories that had me conflicted from the start.

I liked the heroine, especially her strength of character, in such a young lady, but the hero is who I had trouble with. As a matter a fact, he’s not present for the middle of the book, and we only have Julia’s POV throughout this part and as she’s struggling with dealing her new circumstance and a new man in her life that isn’t her fiancé or Thomas, the elusive hero, I found myself torn as much as she was, between a man that’s offering her security, which she desperately needs, and a man she feels love for, who is God knows where. It was hard to choose between these two men! One was obviously an honorable and stable man, while the other appeared to be a total opposite. And while all this is happening to her, she’s dragged into acting as a spy for her country while attending Congress of Vienna! That’s the part I liked a lot. Author did well immersing me into all the intrigues going on among the Europe’s elite society.

This romance has it all, a very strong heroine, and two men that want her equally for their own; political intrigue and historical event that was the talk of the century; steamy romance and secrets as well. Highly recommending it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ by Jane Lark

jl ctelSTORY: This novella tells the story of secondary characters from The Illicit Love of a Courtesan.

Rupert Stanforth, Earl of Morton, is exasperated by his sister’s choice of friend. Meredith Divine, clings, using Rowena’s plain appearance as a foil for her auburn curls and fuller figure. He would break the friendship, but the more he complains the more time the girls spend together. Ceasing his disagreement, he hopes the friendship will die, believing Meredith will take a wrong-step soon…

Meredith clings to her only friend, Lady Rowena Stanforth, despite the disgusted looks thrown by Rowena’s proud, judgemental brother. Lord Morton cannot abide Meredith because of her low standing but Meredith’s heart favours him… then in his single act of kindness, Meredith grasps an opportunity she cannot resist…

REVIEW: The blurb is sufficient in setting up the story, so I’m not going to go into it much.

The main hero of this story is Rupert, Earl of Morton and a cousin to Edward from the first book in the series, Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and one I recommend highly you read, even though it’s not really necessary for you to do so as this little gem stands on its own merit.

Rupert was a witness to Edward and Ellen’s affair and someone who doubted their love match, even after they married, but slowly he’s been coming around as he watches them display devotion to one another. He finally realizes that this sort of affection and love he dearly wishes upon his own sister Rowena, a young woman who he is responsible for and plans to arrange a suitable marriage for as the head of his family.

Rowena is someone who abides by the rules and etiquette, yet I did get the feeling of strength and some stubbornness in her. She did befriend our heroine, Meredith Divine, a beautiful young woman who comes from the ‘new money’ and a father that’s in trade, and that tells me that she’s not a snob.

I liked her story as well.

As a heroine, Meredith was a bit more complex. We first see her through Rupert’s and and then Rowena’s eyes. We, as Rupert, begin to question her motives of friendship to his sister. We are aware that she is hiding something and as the story unfolds, we see this young woman’s secret desires and dreams slowly begin to crumble and she is given only one chance to take her life into her own two hands and trust her feelings and jump at a chance at happiness.

The reason why I called this story a ‘little gem’ is because it really is. You have to give this author props for ‘cramming’ a lot of book into a handful of pages.

And if you don’t trust my opinion on it, here’s your chance to get it right now as it’s FREE on Amazon / Kobo / Google Play /


Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Lady Wild’ by Máire Claremont

lw mcSTORY: Victorian England is about to go wild…

Lady Ophelia longs to be independent, daring and bold, but her mother’s illness has stolen the last of her creative fire. Condemned to an isolated country cottage after the death of her idealistic father, she and her mother are forsaken by family and all of society. Disappointed by those she once trusted, Lady Ophelia lovingly nurses her dying mother knowing that her own dreams of being an artist will never be realized. That is until she meets a devilish aristocrat who reawakens her desire to be wild.

Viscount Stark has never known love. Reputed to be a rebel and a rake by all, at heart he is anything but. When he meets Lady Ophelia, he is struck by her haunting presence, dignity, and honor. Will he continue to play his wicked games and risk ruining the last of Lady Ophelia’s wounded heart? Or will he dare to be the gentleman he always wanted to be and unveil a love he never thought possible?


“You’re a perfect stranger,” she said.

“I came upon you for a reason, or are you one of those strange modern people who believe that all is at random?” He stroked back a lock of damp, fiery red hair clinging to her cheek. “That there is no order, and that the soul is a figment of our desperate pinings for meaning to our seemingly meaningless world?”

“You speak the words of a poet,” she whispered.

“And you shall have consumption if we don’t get you out of these soaked garments.” He set her down, making certain her feet had found purchase upon the soft earth before turning her and working at the lacings of her gown.

“What are you doing?” she gasped.

“Ensuring you don’t die of exposure.”

“By taking off my frock?”

“Yes, and giving you my coat.” His usually sure fingers stumbled over the lacings. How many women had he extricated from their far more elaborate clothes? More than he could ever recall. But this woman? Trepidation dumbed his movements. “Then I shall see you home. Is that acceptable?”

She hesitated then replied,“It seems logical.”

“I am nothing if not logical,” he teased.

“I somehow doubt that, sir.”

“My lord, actually,” he corrected.

“I beg your pardon?”

Slowly, carefully, painfully, he worked the laces of her bodice, not daring to allow his fingers to wander over her delicate back as he exposed her flesh. With each inch of damp undergarment he exposed, he found his brain flying off and something quite different taking over his actions. And it wasn’t exactly lust. Lust he knew quite well, and this burning was not just one of bodily desire, but the mystifying possibility that he had found a better reflection to his damaged soul. Could fate be at work here? The circumstances certainly were remarkable.

He leaned in, bending his head down to accommodate for the several inches of difference in their heights, and whispered, “My lord Viscount Stark, if you must know.”

She tensed but didn’t pull from his grasp. “How fortunate for you, my lord viscount.”

The fabric of her gown peeled away from her corset and chemise, which had become transparent. He ached to slip his fingers beneath the thin fabric and caress the delicate skin of her back, but he refrained. “Yes, it is. I promised whilst you were in the river to tell you who I am. No prince, alas.”

Her shoulders straightened, a strange prickliness giving her body starch. “Princes, I should think, are far and few between.”

“So are lords.”

“Lords seem to be everywhere,” she countered, a brittle note to her voice.

“You know many?”

“I know enough.”

“Enough to have clearly harbored an unfavorable disposition toward them?” he observed dryly.

“Please, just continue on with your task.” She shivered, and a delightful display of chilled skin mirrored what she might look like when overcome with desire. It was a damned appealing image.

He teased his fingers along the base of the wool bodice, inching it away from her white corset and chemise, sliding it down her arms. “You can continue to call me sir or mister, if it gives you more pleasure.”

She tossed her head at that, her hair, the color of the setting sun, flying over his hands. “What I call you does not change who you are.”

The feel of her slightly wet, silken locks stole his breath. The waist-length strands spilled over his fingers. He longed to wind them with his palm, grip her nape and take her sweetness in a wicked kiss. “I suppose not. What shall I call you?”

“Ophelia, of course.”

He frowned. There was more to her name. He felt certain of it. “Yes, but—”

“Plain Ophelia will do.”

“You could hardly ever be called plain.”

She snorted.

She was so unlike the other women of his acquaintance, fanciful and strange. He couldn’t help himself. He liked her. Andrew gazed down at her through heavy-lidded eyes, the air about them growing tangible with his growing desire for her.

“Come now,”he said. “Has no one ever told you of your beauty?”

She flushed, heady at his nearness. Whether she realized it or not, she tilted her head back slightly, her lips parting, baring the slightest hint of pink tongue. “You are so. . .”

“Handsome?” he teased.


Andrew drew her to him and lowered his mouth to hers. Unthinking, he took her lips, kissing with a softness he had not felt in a decade. It made no sense, the desire to meld her body to his own.

The taste of her was sweet, mint leaves and unsurety, as she gasped against his assault. Her hands gripped his arms, hard at first, but then she yielded, her body pliant.

A pleasure so great he could scarce countenance it overwhelmed him. She was the answer to his unknowing pleas that he find solace in this broken world.

And how could he ever let that go?

REVIEW: Let me start this review by addressing the cover. I’m not a fan of this cover but I am a HUGE fan of this author. I’ve read, or more like gobbled up, everything she’s written so far and I’m sure I always will.

Even though she’s an ‘up and coming’ romance author, she is someone to watch out for. Her writing style is unique as much as her characters are; her stories are well written, researched and plotted while she still manages to populate them with characters that are strong, appealing and intriguing.

This is a short novella that does an excellent job in introducing us to the new Wicked Games series, and I could go on in praising Ms. Claremont’s skills in telling a compelling, touching and heart wrenching story of two people who are thirsting, craving affection and love, which they finally satisfy with each other, but I’ll leave that for the other reviewers.

What I want to do here is use this opportunity and tell you why this novella was written and try to compel you to buy it.

You see, this author wrote it to raise $10,000 for donation to Hospice. Many of you may not know, but her mother and father died losing their battle with cancer, both spending some months on Hospice. She says “It’s such an incredible organization and I don’t know how my mom or dad and I would have made it without the support of the staff. It’s wonderful that so many people raise money for cancer prevention! But I also think it’s important to help those who’ve sadly reached a point in which terminal illness is the reality. Death is expensive and painful. Thankfully Hospice helps with nursing, counselors, medication, and sometimes even bills. They provide relief for the caretaker. I can’t tell you how huge that is. I’m sure many of you already know. So, together, let’s help make the crossing over of a terminally ill person a little more peaceful, a little more loving, a little more free of fear.”

Now, how can we not help after such a heartwarming plea? I for one am honored to do so, especially after having a personal knowledge of what Hospice is all about. I had my mother, mother-in-law and my aunt benefit from the loving care of wonderful people from Hospice. While I hope to God you never have to go through what our families did, I also pray that if you do, you may be assured that Hospice is an organization that will always be there for you, as it was for us.

This novella is ONLY 0.99 cents. I can honestly say I’ve managed to spend [read waste] many times that amount on so many crap purchases it would make your head spin if I tried to name it here! Hell, dollar store is my vice [don’t judge!], however this time my ‘dollar’ purchase will be going toward a worthy cause and that makes me feel warm all over! So, get on that Amazon and go for that feeling yourself, and while you’re at it, why not gift it to someone who never read Máire Claremont’s work before? That’s another warm feeling we Bookworms have, hooking our friends on authors we love! And I love this one!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

mcAUTHOR BIO: here.


My dearest readers!

While I had the misfortune to lose both of my parents to cancer, I did have the fortune to have assistance from Hospice. WithoutHospice, I don’t know how I or my parents would have coped. So often we focus on recovery, working on projects to raise money for cures which is wonderful, but some people will never be able to recover and Hospice provides them and their families with an invaluable service. Hospice’s support of family, the ill person, and their knowledge of death and dying is so necessary in our society. Right now, they need donations desperately as many of the non-profit hospices are facing cuts. Lady Wild was written largely while my mother was dying and it became incredibly important to me to honor her and the organization which made her death a peaceful experience. I would be so grateful for any help in spreading the word about Lady Wild.

My goal is to raise $10,000 in profits for Hospice and their mission to provide comfort and compassion to those facing advanced illnesses.


GIVEAWAY for readers that have NEVER read this author!

b2b is giving away THREE eBooks/3 Winners!

Robyn DeHart stops by b2b …

rdh ttoajEveryone loves the hero. It’s why most of us pick up the book, something in the hook, a rogue FBI agent or a dashing, but deadly duke and we’re entranced waiting to see how the heroine is going to civilize that bad boy and bring him to his knees. I know for myself when I think of many of my favorite books, those that are on my keeper shelf, it’s because I loved the hero. We read romance for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is to fall in love again. We love that rush of emotion that we got when we met and fell in love with our husbands. Reading about wonderful heroes reminds us of those reasons and we get to feel all gooey again.

But what about the heroine? It’s a question I ponder a lot primarily because in this hero-driven genre, I happen to be a heroine-driven writer. That doesn’t mean I don’t do a ton of work creating my heroes, I do but even in writing a hero focused series like the Legend Hunters, the core of the story is found in the heart of the heroine and her emotional journey. It’s just part of the way I approach writing, just the way I’m made as a writer, I suppose. Even if the idea I get is hero-focused, the book doesn’t come into view, doesn’t come together for me until I know who his lady love is and what makes her tick. The way I look at it, no matter how amazing he is, if she’s not worthy of his time, then he looks a bit of his attractiveness.

Consider the movie Kate and Leopold, it was charming and cute, but the prime reason I don’t own thismovies-kate-and-leopard[1] movie and that I don’t stop my channel surfing when I run across it is because of Kate. Now I love Meg Ryan, so that’s not the problem. No, the problem is in her character, she’s not likeable, there’s nothing I see in her that makes me care about her so it’s unbelievable to me that the Hugh Jackman character would actually fall in love with her. I think this is the same reason I’m not a huge fan of the Twilight series, as yummy as the guys are in those books, I just don’t find Bella compelling enough to buy having those hot guys so totally devoted to her.

In The Temptations of Anna Jacobs we have Drew Foster, the brother of the Duke of Carrington from The Secrets of Mia Danvers. Now for those of you who’ve read that first book in the series may be asking yourself how in the world is Drew going to become a hero. He’s pretty nasty in book one. He’s a drunkard, he’s crude, he’s inappropriate to the heroine, Mia, and he’s ultimately arrested for the Jack the Ripper crimes. I never really set out to write one of those heroes that you have to redeem. Those kinds of heroes are awesome to read about, but that’s not really something I’d be drawn too as a writer. Perhaps the notion of redemption is too intimidating.

But there I was stuck with Drew, the alcoholic and murder suspect. How do you fix that? Well, my answer came in the form of Anna Jacobs, a kind-hearted girl bucking the system (or society’s expectations) by going to medical school. She brings the light back into Drew’s world and he falls hard and when he does it’s a pure and strong love that you have no doubt will last forever.

So how about you, as a reader do you pay much attention to the heroines or are you just in it for the hot hero? Name a villain redeemed that you accepted as a hero.

 BUY The Temptations of Anna Jacobs here:

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | 


Robyn DeHartAUTHOR BIO: A life-long love of stories and adventure, it was either become a stuntwoman for the movies or live out those adventures from the safety of her PJ’s and computer. Award-winning author, Robyn DeHart chose the latter and couldn’t be happier for doing so.

Known for her unique plotlines and authentic characters, Robyn is a favorite among readers and reviewers. Publishers’ Weekly claims her writing to be “comical and sexy” while the Chicago Tribune dubs her “wonderfully entertaining.”

Robyn is an award-winning author as well as being a four-time RT Bookclub Reviewers’ Choice award nominee, and a three-time RomCon Reader’s Crown nominee. Robyn lives in Texas with her brainy husband, two precocious little girls and two spoiled cats. You can find Robyn on-line at her website or at one of her group blogs, the Jaunty Quills or Peanut Butter on the Keyboard.

‘Temptations of Anna Jacobs’ by Robyn DeHart

rdh ttoajSTORY: Love and justice…

When Drew Foster is released from prison, he doesn’t much care about salvaging his soiled reputation. Though he’s working undercover, everyone in Victorian London believes him guilty of the Jack the Ripper murders and that his brother paid for his “innocence.”

Despite her genteel upbringing, Anna Jacobs is intent on finishing medical school and becoming a physician. Society’s ridicule has never bothered her, but when her brother, the Yard’s best detective, is scorned for letting Drew go, she confronts the one man who can set the record straight at a ball. She certainly doesn’t count on the rogue being dashing and handsome, nor on him stealing a passionate kiss.

Anna’s brazen contempt for his dangerous reputation captivates Drew, but he is harboring secrets that make him unfit to court any proper woman. As he finds himself an outsider among his colleagues at Scotland Yard, the feisty beauty offers up her medical knowledge to assist him on the case. But when the real killer returns to London to continue his reign of terror, can Anna find safety in Drew’s arms?

REVIEW: The hunt for Jack the Ripper continues in this second book of Robyn DeHart’s Dangerous Liaisons series.

Because of the important and significant part of the background of our hero and the villain, I would recommend you read the first book of this series ‘The Secrets of Mia Danvers’ before you go on to this story. I loved the way the author set up the mystery of the villain, as well as Drew’s past as a wastrel and an alcoholic which are both important to this story.

Ms. DeHart knows her stuff and continues to dangle me on a string as I follow Anna and Drew while they follow the clues to this monster of a villain.

There are so many things I loved about this book, but none so much as I loved the character of a smart, tenacious and enchanting Annabelle Jacobs. I loved the way she stood for herself and for what she believed and for a female in Victorian England to attend medical school and not look for a husband, is rare indeed.

I also liked the way the author characterized our hero, Drew. Here was a man who was forced to deal with a lot of baggage; to look at himself with brutal honesty; accepting who he is and asking for forgiveness and help, again for Victorian England, was rare indeed and it took a lot of courage.

As for the horrific nature of the crimes committed by Jack the Ripper and the fact that Anna was a student of medicine, the author did an amazing job in giving us a realistic look at the police evidence yet still wasn’t gruesome or distasteful to read about.

As the mystery unfolded and we got another glimpse into this monsters mind, we still haven’t figured out who he is, yet we do have at least a good clue, so I’m really anxious to read the last book in this trilogy.

I highly recommend this story for its romance, mystery and characterization of our hero and heroine. I don’t know why, but their romance reminded me of that scene in ‘Pretty Woman’ where Julia Roberts meets Richard Gear half way up the sliding ladder, and says “…she rescues him right back.”

This is what I took from the romance of Drew and Anna. With her open nature and patience, she knew and accepted this man for who he was; a man with a problem who did his best to atone for his past mistakes and a man who would accept her as she is, intelligent and way too talkative.

Loved it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy from the publisher

‘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’

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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!



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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.

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‘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.