‘A Kiss for Lady Mary’ by Ella Quinn

akflm eqSTORY: Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

REVIEW: Lucinda, Dowager Viscountess Featherton and her lifelong friend, Constance, Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater are two delightfully scheming grandmothers set on pairing their grandchildren up with one another.  Lucinda’s grandson, Christopher (Kit) is heir to Viscount Featherton and Constance’s granddaughter, Lady Mary Tolliver is a lovely young woman waiting to reach the age of 25 when she can receive her inheritance from her deceased parents.

Kit is an extremely well-mannered and handsome gentleman whom hostesses love to invite to soirees.  He has the capability of being introduced to shy young debutantes, ask them to dance and put them at ease thus giving them the confidence they need.  Kit has finally realized that all of his friends are getting married and starting families and he has decided to follow suit.  Having met the lovely Lady Mary in the past, he is hoping to seek her out as he would like to pursue her for his bride.

Lady Mary has not had an easy time waiting for her inheritance.  Her cousin Gawain Tolliver has done everything in his power to try and get the chance to compromise her so she will have to marry him and give him access to her inheritance.  He has made her life miserable as she is always having to hide out from him.  Her grandmother came up with the idea to secret her away to Rose Hill, property of Kit Featheron, where she could pose as Lady Mary Featherton.  She has been quite successful at this for some time now and with the help of her widowed aunt living with her, she has always made vast improvements to the home, grounds and the accounts as well.

Imagine Kit’s surprise when he goes looking for Mary and finds her posing as his wife.  How perfect this is because he truly does want to marry her.  But now, he must pay court to her properly and win her love.  A true gentleman to a fault, Mary is not convinced he really loves her because he has not kissed her.

Can they open up to one another and find true love?

This was a clever novel.  I admit having a hard time keeping up with all of the names of the characters and there were a lot of them!  However, the story is a bit different from many others which offers a refreshing change.

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Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Cover reveal for ‘Behind a Lady’s Smile’ by Jane Goodger!

Here is a cover for Jane Goodger’s newest book and first in her Lost Heiresses series. I hope you give this author a try. I just love her prose!

Ever since Jane was a young girl she adored everything Victorian, from houses to clothing to horse-drawn carriages. It was a pivotal time in history and one she loved to become immersed in. My Lords and Ladies Series is comprised of four loosely-tied books. You don’t have to read them in order, but if you do, you’ll recognize some old friends.

bals jgBOOK BLURB: It’s one thing for a girl to lose her way, quite another to lose her heart…
 
Genny Hayes could charm a bear away from a pot of honey. But raised in the forests of Yosemite, she’s met precious few men to practice her smiles upon. Until a marvelously handsome photographer appears in her little corner of the wilderness and she convinces him to take her clear across the country and over the seas to England, where she has a titled grandmother and grandfather waiting to claim her.

On their whirlwind journey, she’ll have the chance to bedazzle and befuddle store clerks and train robbers, society matrons and big city reporters, maids and madams, but the one man she most wants to beguile seems determined to play the gentlemen and leave her untouched. Until love steps in and knocks them both head over heels…

PRE-ORDER LINKS: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT:

His little shadow was back.

For two days, Mitch had noticed . . . someone. He wasn’t quite sure whether it was male or female, but that didn’t matter. Out here in the middle of nowhere, where a man could disappear and never be found, a man had to be careful. A man had to make certain his rifle was loaded, his canteen was filled, and he listened to his gut. And right about now, his gut was telling him whoever had been watching him for two days was up to no good.

“You wait here, Millie.” Mitch patted his mule and tied her to a scraggly white pine. If Millie really got in a mind to escape, the sapling wouldn’t do much to keep her in place, but he very much doubted Millie would get in the mind to do more than nibble on some grass.

Mitch was no stranger to the mountains of Yosemite.  He guessed he knew them better than most. He knew how to walk silently and he knew when to make a noise that might scare a grizzly away. That was one creature he wasn’t ashamed to admit he didn’t much care for. He’d seen the results of a bear attack and was quite certain he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of those razor-sharp claws. Other than grizzlies and men with guns, he wasn’t afraid of much else. A man who’d seen and done what he had learned not to be afraid.

Whoever was trailing him was high up, likely taking little peeks over the rocks that jutted out above him like crooked teeth. He climbed silently, his boots pressing into the thick cushion of pine needles, until he was pretty sure he was above his prey. He scanned the area, Winchester in hand, fully loaded and ready to fire. And then he saw a movement, a flash of hair.

“Well, damn,” he whispered, looking at the girl through his gun sight. At least he thought it must be a girl with that long, pale braid down her back. She was lying on her stomach, no doubt staring at Millie and wondering where the heck the man she’d been spying on had disappeared to. His eyes moved down, following the trail of her braid, until he reached the decidedly feminine curve of her backside. Definitely female.

jgAUTHOR BIO: I grew up in western Massachusetts and have lived most my adult life in New England. Thanks to my adventurous husband, I’ve also done brief stints in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Naples, Italy. Although I’ve written four contemporary romances under the name Jane Blackwood, my first love is historical romances set in Victorian times. I’ve written 13 of those with more on the way.
I have three kids, one in college, one a great drummer, and one an artist. I love the Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I work full time, have an editing business, and in my free time write like a fanatic.
Above the desk in my office is this sign: “And They All Lived Happily Ever After.” It may not be reality, but it’s real nice to think about…

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Cover reveal of ‘The Viscount Risks It All’ by Erin Knightley!

It’s time to reveal the gorgeous new cover of THE VISCOUNT RISKS IT ALL (Jan ’16)! This is the fourth book in the Prelude to a Kiss series which also features The Baron Next Door, The Earl I Adore, and The Duke Can Go To the Devil (July 7).

tvra ekBOOK BLURB: Gavin Stark, Viscount Derington, learned his lesson when his childhood love was swept off her feet by another man before Dering could declare himself. Ever since, he has lived a life of no regrets—reaching for what he wants while never again allowing himself to lose his heart. If the experience taught him anything, it was never to risk what he wasn’t willing to lose.

Lady Felicity Danby had everything she ever wanted in life until the moment her husband died, turning her world upside down. A year and a half later, she is finally ready to return to Bath to spend the summer visiting family. She finds comfort in her old childhood friend, but is taken off guard when passion begins to simmer between them. She’s already lost everything once—can she possibly risk her heart a second time?

PRE-ORDER LINKS: Amazon   |   B&N   |   BAM   |   iTunes   |   Book Depository

EXCERPT:

Prologue

There she was.

Standing by the alcove, alone and searching the crowd. The filmy white fabric of her gown looked cloudlike against the blue velvet drapes behind her. She was beautiful, but that wasn’t what made Gavin Stark, Viscount Derington’s stomach drop at the sight of her. No, it was the fact that it was her, Felicity, the girl he knew better than any person in the world. More to the point, it was what he had come to say to her.

He’d seen her skinned knees, heard her laugh so hard she’d actually snorted, and comforted her as her tears had soaked through his best shirt following her mother’s funeral. He’d seen her tired, angry, stubborn, and even frazzled, but she’d never been anything but beautiful to him. As far as she was concerned, they’d been the best of friends since they were children.

And as far as Dering was concerned, he’d been desperately in love with her since they were fifteen.

It had been five long years since he’d fallen for her, and yet, in all that time, he had never once been able to bring himself to say anything. How could he, when he knew that the moment he did, everything would change between them? No more easy, lighthearted afternoons beside the river. No more stolen conversations in the folly, or teasing debates about the merits of stowing away on a ship to the Caribbean when the first blanket of snow covered the Somerset landscape.

Dering—the nickname his friends had given him at school that Felicity refused to use—knew that the moment he declared himself, everything would be different. It was a prospect that had scared the hell out of him, but time was of the essence.

His stomach rolled with a wave of nerves at the thought. Biting hard on the inside of his cheek, he straightened his shoulders. It was now or never. Her coming out had been postponed first by her mother’s illness, then by her mother’s death, but in a few short months, she would be off to London to make her debut.
This, his break over Christmas between the Michaelmas and Lent terms, was the last time he would see her before she left.

God knew the moment the ton got ahold of her, his chances would be destroyed. She’d be a diamond of the first water, an Incomparable for certain.

What was the overly tall heir to an earldom when there were dozens of rakish noblemen to be had? He couldn’t take the chance. Further, he simply couldn’t wait anymore.

Five years was long enough.

That thought finally pulled him from his invisible moorings and propelled him forward in her direction. He used his height and breadth to his advantage, gently but firmly bullying his way through the crush. He knew every last one of them there—his father entertained constantly and had instilled the importance of socializing in all his sons—but at that moment, none of the other guests meant a damn to him. There was exactly one person he wanted to see, and she had just noticed him coming toward her.

Felicity’s lips spread into one of her adorable, over-wide grins that made her entire countenance come to life. “Gavin,” she exclaimed, wrapping her gloved hands around his and giving a tight squeeze. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you for ages.”

His mind instantly went blank as he leaned into her touch. Her fingers fit so well in his hands. Struggling to understand her meaning, he said, “Did I forget a meeting?”

Shaking her head, she pulled him the slightest bit closer so she could whisper by his ear. “No, but waiting for your return has been torture. Meet me in the library in five minutes?”

Dear God. In all of the scenarios he had dreamed up on how he could sweep her from her feet, he never imagined she might be the one to do the initiating. His Adam’s apple bobbed against his suddenly tight cravat as he swallowed and nodded. “I’ll see you then.”

Her smile was swift and glorious, making his heart hammer in his chest. “Excellent. I think I shall go nonchalantly take a turn about the room.” With a wink, she released his hands and slipped away, leaving him to stare after her and reflect that this may very well turn out to be the greatest day of his entire twenty years on this planet.

Sucking in a deep breath, he set off to find a footman, or more specifically, a glass of champagne. No, make that two glasses of champagne.  If his dream was about to come true, he damn well wanted to celebrate with the woman he loved.

Precisely three minutes later, he was pacing the marble tiles of his father’s prized library, his heart thundering with anticipation. In a few short minutes, Felicity would arrive. After all these years of wanting her so badly, but knowing he couldn’t say a word for fear of risking their friendship, it was impossible to believe that the waiting would be over. The not knowing would be over. The moment was finally here for him to show her the man he had become, declare himself, and allow the pieces to fall where they may.

Hopefully, right into his waiting arms.

The door squeaked open. He turned just as she slipped inside, her cheeks pink and her eyes fairly glowing. Drawing a steadying breath—which failed utterly to calm his nerves—he set the drinks down on the nearest table and held his hand out to her. “There you are.”

“Here I am,” she responded with a grin. She hurried to his side and slipped her hands right back into his. He wished that the soft fabric of her glove wasn’t there, so he could feel the heat of her skin against his, but that would come soon enough.

His mouth practically went dry at the thought.

“I’ve missed you,” he exclaimed, not willing to hide the truth even a moment longer. It had been almost four months since he had seen her—far too long.

“And I you. Desperately,” she added, tightening her grip on his hands.

Desperately. He nearly closed his eyes against the pleasure the word evoked. Could it possibly be that she felt the same way about him as he did about her? Desperate was exactly the word to describe the way he had felt these last few months, waiting to see her again. “Lissy,” he started to say, but his voice cracked on the second syllable. Embarrassed, he cleared his throat and tried again. “Lissy, so much has changed of late.”

She seemed to be humming with just as much energy as he was. She nodded, her pale locks swaying with the motion. “Yes, I know. Everything has changed. And there is no one with whom I can speak of it but you.”

Yes! He had been going mad, not being able to talk to anyone about his intentions. His school friends would have mocked him for actually wanting to marry, let alone for falling in love. His chest tightened as he reached into his pocket where he had stashed the betrothal ring he had commissioned. As heir to the earldom, there were literally dozens of jewels he could have chosen from, but he hadn’t wanted them. No old family heirlooms for his Felicity; he wanted her to have something created just for her. Opal, surrounded by a cluster of diamonds to represent the moon and stars that he knew she loved so much.

The gold was warm to the touch as his fingers grazed the delicate curve. “I—”

“No, please, I can’t wait another second.” She bit her lip, looking as though she would burst if she didn’t say whatever was within her. “Gavin, I’m in love!”

His ears roared with the surge of exhilaration that washed through him. They were the sweetest words he had ever heard. “Me too,” he rushed to say, relief and elation assailing him in equal parts. All this time, he had been so afraid she wouldn’t return his regard, and here they were, declaring their love for one another. It was like a dream, even better than he had imagined in his very best scenarios.

Her eyes went huge, rounding to the size of twin guineas even as she laughed with delight. “You are? With whom?”

Dering froze like a rabbit in a snare. With whom?  The words reverberated through his brain like a ricocheting bullet. If she didn’t think it was her, then that could only mean . . .

She was in love with someone else.

His fingertips went numb as he stared back at her, thunderstruck. “You first,” he said, only barely able to push the words past his lips.

She sighed gustily, her eyes briefly fluttering closed. “Oh Gavin, he’s wonderful. He’s kind and handsome and smart and I haven’t told a soul yet, but we’re getting married!”

The room dimmed from Dering’s vision, fading to gray as he focused on her beautiful, beloved lips and the unbelievable words they had just delivered. “Married?” he whispered.

She nodded, her light brown eyes glittering in the room’s dim candlelight. “He spoke to my father last night, and the announcement is to be made just as soon as the contracts are signed. I’m so happy, Gavin, I could burst.”

As she wrapped her arms around him in an impromptu hug, her scent enveloped him, that soft hint of gardenia that had taunted his dreams for years, and he breathed it in even as the shock numbed his thoughts.

She was getting married. She’d soon belong to another man, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. If she was being forced, that would be one thing, but she had uttered the one phrase that could keep him from declaring himself, consequences be damned.

She was in love. Felicity was in love, and it wasn’t with him.

He had missed his chance after all.

ek

erin knightleyAUTHOR BIO: Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science.  It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn’t any fun at all.  Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. An award winning and USA Today Bestselling author, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts.

Erin’s Favorite Things:

Baking—and eating the fruits of her labors (if only they were fruits!)

Water Sports of any kind, but wakesurfing in particular

Renovating, remodeling, and redecorating

Travel – and let’s not forget the joys of perfect packing!

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

‘The Groom Says Yes’ by Cathy Maxwell

tgsy cmSTORY: He had a noose around his neck and a price on his head…

Sabrina Davidson, dutiful daughter, avowed spinster, thought she’d secured a place for herself in Aberfeldy society—until her hard-earned acceptance of her fate is challenged by the arrival of Cormac Enright, Earl of Ballin, trained physician, soldier of fortune, and convicted felon.

A prim and proper miss was the last thing he needed…

Mac is determined to clear his name, but first he has to find the man whose testimony sentenced him to a hangman’s noose. Of course, Robert Davidson is missing and protecting Mac is Davidson’s daughter, the most entrancing, frustrating, beguiling, stubborn woman Mac has ever met.

And it doesn’t help that he has already tasted her kisses. Or that he has found in her a passion for life and adventure to rival his own.

Mac has turned Sabrina’s world inside out—but what will happen when he leaves?

Or will the Groom Say Yes?

REVIEW: Edinburgh – September 1817

Sabrina Davidson is 29-years-old and considered to be a spinster.  She spent many years of her youth caring for her mother who passed away two years ago of a wasting disease.  She loved her mother dearly and was happy to care for her.  Now, she helps to care for her father assisting him with secretarial duties.  When she finds that the widow Bossley, a woman of loose morals, is going to wed her father, she is incensed.  Her father had vowed to never marry again.  To cool her anger, Sabrina takes a walk in the forest and discovers a man in a crofter’s cottage burning up with fever.  Determined to help him, she secrets him into her house to care for him.

Cormac Enright has managed to escape prison just before he is due to be hanged for a crime he did not commit.  He is also a physician and the earl of Ballin.  As Sabrina cares for him, she realizes that she will probably never marry and does not want to have her place in her home usurped by the widow Bossley. When Sabrina kisses Cormac, the contact leads to sudden passion.

Why was Cormac falsely accused and who was the person that murdered the person he was to be hanged for?

This is when I found the book to be a bit convoluted.  It seemed well-written at first but in wrapping up the story, the facts came out quickly and were rather confusing.  However, I did enjoy the first two books of The Brides of Wishmore series.

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‘Murder at Beechwood’ by Alyssa Maxwell

mab amSTORY: For Newport, Rhode Island’s high society, the summer of 1896 brings lawn parties, sailboat races…and murder.

Having turned down the proposal of Derrick Andrews, Emma Cross has no imminent plans for matrimony—let alone motherhood. But when she discovers an infant left on her doorstep, she naturally takes the child into her care. Using her influence as a cousin to the Vanderbilts and a society page reporter for the Newport Observer, Emma launches a discreet search for the baby’s mother.

One of her first stops is a lawn party at Mrs. Caroline Astor’s Beechwood estate. But an idyllic summer’s day is soon clouded by tragedy. During a sailboat race, textile magnet Virgil Monroe falls overboard. There are prompt accusations of foul play—and even Derrick Andrews falls under suspicion. Deepening the intrigue, a telltale slip of lace may link the abandoned child to the drowned man. But as Emma navigates dark undercurrents of scandalous indiscretions and violent passions, she’ll need to watch her step to ensure that no one lowers the boom on her…

REVIEW: Newport, Rhode Island (Aquidneck Island) – June 1896

Emma Cross is a poor relation of the Vanderbilt family.  She lives in her small home, Gull Manor, with her Nanny who is now her housekeeper.  Her parents moved to Paris to pursue their artistic abilities. Emma works as a reporter for the Fancies and Fashions Page of the Newport Observer newspaper.  In this job, she is able to report on the social scene with the Vanderbilt and Astor families as they still invite her to attend. Emma is a very independent young woman with no plans for marriage or a family anytime soon.

When she awakes one morning, she hears a sound at her front door and finds a tiny baby boy on her doorstep.  Tucked into the baby’s blanket is a handkerchief with a distinctive patterned lace edging.  She and Nanny immediately take care of the baby as Emma begins to investigate where he came from.  She reports her find to her friend and admirer, Jesse Whyte, a detective for the Newport police.

At an afternoon party Emma attends at Mrs. Astor’s, a storm comes up just as two sailboats with guests of the party begin a race.  When a guest is lost overboard, Emma and the police wonder if it could be murder.

When Emma and her cousin are attacked while examining the damaged sailboat, she knows for sure that someone is trying to scare her off and the sailboat accident has to have been intentional.

This is the third book of the author’s Gilded Newport Mystery series.  I have read the other two books and enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed this one.  In addition to a good mystery, it’s fun to get a glimpse into the lives of the Vanderbilt and Astor families.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Outlander – #1.15, Let’s discuss!

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It’s the middle of the week and I’m still coming to terms with the content of this episode. Let me say this, no matter how familiar I was with the books or even the fact that I’ve re-listened to the chapters pertaining to this episode, I was still left sobbing and in shock.

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The title card, the music … everything from the get-go was pointing to the dark content that was inevitably coming.

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The hanging of the convicts was disturbing. The conversation between Taran and Jamie was part funny and part sad. They were having a discussion about what does a man do when hung, shit himself or spend his seed … I’ll let you figure out which one was Jamie’s stand on the subject.

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Jamie’s last ditch effort at not freedom but at least a death by a bullet rather than a noose was painful to watch. Black Jack’s last minute arrival to “save” Jamie from the noose only to have him tortured wasn’t what I expected, but I guess it worked for the show in a more dramatic way. Saved by the Devil.

For only a second I saw Jamie contemplate jumping off that platform. In the end I guess he figured he wasn’t going to let that Devil have his due with his soul. He’d rather commit his body to the torture.

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Claire on the other hand is doing her best to keep it together as she’s trying to find out first if he’s still alive. Sir Fletcher, the head of the prison, assures her that he had been granted a temporary reprieve, a day or two at the most. Next, she enquiries if she may be allowed to see him so she can see if he has any message of reconciliation with his family to pass on. Sir Fletcher can’t risk her life, so he declines. Not to be deterred she then asks if maybe Jamie could write a letter to his family. No can do, he says and then leaves to get something that might be conciliation to the convicts family. As he leaves, I am heartbroken as Claire is, and both of us are on the edge of our nerves … and the show just started!

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Sir Fletcher comes back with a wooden box filled with Jamie’s worldly goods and looking in, there’s his Clan badge but on top, Sawny pears and …here they come by the buckets!

I’m not sure how Claire even managed to walk out, but she did and promptly lost her breakfast by the gate, while Murtagh gently scooped her up and carried her off to the inn where they all are staying.

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In the meantime we see Jamie in a dungeon, chained to a wall and even given some provisions by BJR who has decided to come and visit his prey with a muscle man, Morley, in tow. And here comes another surprise!

The petition of complaint Claire signed is now made fun off by BJR and he burns it right in front of his victim. He also would like to offer his victim a “proper and dignified” death. The only thing Jamie has to do is surrender to him, that’s all!

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And yes, I did notice that he offered “Brutus” death to Jamie as an option and a shout out to all of us that know Tobias playing Brutus from Rome in which he was even better than he is here.

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Jamie sits on a cot and is basically biding time at this point. I don’t think for a minute that he would have taken this guy on this offer.

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Claire is at this time in the tavern with her cohorts all glum and pissed because Rupert and Angus are gambling and drinking, obviously not caring a whit about Jamie! Or do they?

They prove her wrong as they share with the rest of the gang that they just lost all their money to, not ONE but TWO, jailers and got some very useful information out of them. Claire has one last chance at finding Jamie because of the one-hour window of time in which Sir Fletcher will be absent from his office. That will be her chance to find the keys and a map to Jamie’s cell so that they can then come and save him later.

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Forgive me but I will digress here only for a bit [feel free to stare at one of my favorite Jamie pic’s above]. I’ve noticed the commentary all over the social media blaming Claire for not storming the castle or having a better plan or having any kind of weapons on her person. Excuse me?! What in hell are you all talking about?! This is not “Die Hard” or “MacGyver” for Pete’s sake. This is a historically accurate piece of drama! HELLO!!!!!

First, Claire is a very sensible person, although she’s not perfect, she has one goal in mind and she has to take one step at the time to formulate a plan. Where would be the sense in storming a prison without knowing if the man you are to rescue is still alive?  But now that you know he’s alive, where is he? This prison was huge and there were probably hundreds of soldiers in it. Claire’s main goal when meeting with Sir Fletcher was to learn this information and then organize the escape.

As to the weapons on her person. She had none because she would have never been allowed to step foot inside the prison if she did. To be found with it if anything ghoes wrong, would mean certain death, and she can’t help Jamie if she’s dead! Besides, that idiot dude Marley searched her for them, and if she had any at that time, dead she would be, no doubt about it.

Okay, on to the rest of the show …

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Claire and Murtagh are now back at Wentworth knowing full well that Sir Fletcher is having an hour-long lunch and meditation with his Bible, so they’re left to wait for him in his office and are using this chance to look for the keys and the map. They come up with the keys and without a map and an unconscious guard, Murtagh lets her go in search of Jamie.

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Meanwhile, back at the deep bowels of the prison, BJR is patiently waiting for Jamie to surrender to him. Jamie rises from the cot and takes a few steps, stops and says he won’t do it. Not to him, not to any man. BJR is actually happy about it! He knew it! Sadistic ass! He doesn’t just want to inflict pain on Jamie’s body, anyone can do that. No, BJR wants to dismantle a strong man and pull him apart, piece by piece, mentally and physically. And after all that, he wants to own your soul before he sands you to death. I don’t watch a lot of psychological drama, but what I did ever see on film or read in books, I have yet to see a villain that can even come close to BJR.

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All polite like and with renewed hope in his heart (and loins!) BJR asks if he could touch Jamie’s back. Jamie is now calculating the distance of Marley, BJR and himself … will he be able to do something, anything? As BJR is slowly reaching for his back to lift his shirt, Jamie turns abruptly and starts choking BJR, while Marley figures out that he should do something about this. In the end, all is for naught as he’s subdued by Marley. This little attempt costs Jamie dearly because BJR is now pissed to no end while blaming his victim for such shabby treatment. WHAAAAAT????

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He takes the mallet from the floor and crushes Jamie’s hand and while Jamie is insensate, he decides to revive him and grope himself with Jamie’s good hand. SERIOUSLY?! That was gross and totally unnecessary. YES! We get it. The man is a sadist. Whatever. That scene made me just mad. On the other hand, it showed me Jamie’s anguish and that made me cry.

Of course, BJR is all like, let me contain my course passions, I’d rather have you tortured in a fashionable order! Piece o’shit! Then he leaves and that’s when Claire finds him, all sprawled on the floor, half-unconscious. I have to mention that before she finally finds him, she has a sense to find and unlock some door that is potentially an escape route.

What follows is just harrowing, heartbreaking and just painful to watch.

She is heartsick at how he looks, and she knows now that she has to free him and try to escape with him, even though in between his coming in and out of consciousness he’s telling her to leave that BJR is coming back. She isn’t listening, and Randall returns with his buddy in tow.

She is caught; she struggles and she loses. In the aftermath Marley is killed by almost insensate Jamie, but as Randall is choking Claire, Jamie capitulates and strikes a deal: You can have me. Let her go unharmed. You can see this SOB’s happiness at that, but he will need a proof of his sincerity … so he asks Jamie to lay his hand on the table, picks up the piece of wood with a nail sticking out …. Oh, yes. Now we see it coming! He is ready to nail Jamie’s hand to the table. Claire is screaming bloody murder, and is told that if Jamie doesn’t shut her up, BJR would. Jamie says, please …so she shuts up. As BJR is about to run that nail through his hand, Jamie and Claire are holding on to each other for dear life. Jamie is trying to comfort her, as well as himself, but it is painful and he gives in to pain, screaming and almost passing out again. BJR grabs his head and says, “Now, kiss me!” and proceeds to shove his lips onto Jamie’s, giving him a deep lovers kiss. Claire is devastated for Jamie. Before she’s escorted out of the prison cell, she manages to say her last goodbye to her husband and hear him say that he loves her.

As she’s escorted by BJR through the narrow corridor, he asks her about the witch trial, and that’s when she turns and tells him that she is one and she curses him with the knowledge of his time of death. Not a second later she is thrown down a chute in the floor, landing on a heap of dead bodies. She manages to crawl up and run for the forest.

This one tear just did me in. #Emmy4SamHeughan

As Jamie is being unshackled by BJR, he is assured by him that Claire is safe and then he rips Jamie’s shirt, running not just his hand but his tongue over the scars he inflicted. Shell we begin? He says and we see Jamie shed tears, knowing this is it. Jamie is now resigned to this, and I think he figures it’s only his body this man wants, so he knows pain is coming. However, I don’t think he’s aware that BJR wants his soul as well.

Claire is visibly shaken, but in no way is she giving up hope. She now knows that he’s alive and she knows where he is, and she has means of entering the place by the door that she unlocked. The problem is that she needs more able-bodied men and this MacRonnach dude isn’t willing to risk his family for even Ellen’s son (don’t ask!).

In the midst of negotiating with the man to give them some men, some dude shows up with some cows, and our Murtagh is smiling… He now has a plan to rescue Jamie!

And that’s it for this episode! This episode in my humble opinion was well written, excellently acted on the part of all involved, but Sam and Cait shined in it and were unstoppable. Their interpretation of their characters and what they were going through was nuanced and palpable. It left me numb for hours after I saw their performance.

At the end of it I was shaken and stirred. Shaken because this was an hour of utter devastation for one of my favorite book and TV show characters, Jamie and Claire. I was stirred for another reason all together after I listened to RDM’s podcast and checked out the social media in the aftermath of the series.

For some reason everyone was buzzing about how Tobias Menzies had done such an amazing job and pulled off playing the creepiest of character ever [which in my opinion he did, no doubt], however, not much was said about Sam Heughan’s performance of a victim. I honestly couldn’t figure that one out. Bit by bit Sam’s fans caught on this trend and started commenting here and there and the conversation is happening out there about why is this.

I debated if I should comment or not. This is a touchy subject and we all see things from our POV, meaning that there will be 1000’s of different views, and that is just fine. That said, I’m solely going on the facts available to me, which are the podcasts. And guess what? The fact is that Mr. Moore has yet to give even a little praise to his leading actor. I’m not making this up for the sake of “drama” or siding to one side over the other. This is a fact. You all can listen for yourselves. Now, that doesn’t mean that Mr. Moore is “jealous”, or “biased” or any such nonsense. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. He’s too professional for “games”. However, I do think that he’s taking his star for granted, and not even consciously. I honestly believe that he’s not even aware that he’s doing it. Personally, his podcasts are a wealth of information as much as boring at times because he tends to rant on and on about other non Outlander related things. I don’t care as long as I get a glimpse of my show bts.

I saw the episode many times now and once with my DH who is not a book reader but he’s a fan of the show. Even he noticed that BJR’s storyline has been given more air time than necessary. Again, I’m not sure that Ron and co. are doing this on purpose. These people are professionals. However, they are artists and they “see” this show in a way that you and I probably don’t.

I look at the show separately from the book, as a compliment to them and nothing else. The show will never replace the books. Nothing can.

This next episode will be torture to watch, pun not intended, and I hope to God that the scenes of Jamie’s degradation are kept to absolute minimum. The scenes with Claire redeeming his soul should be what that episode is about. It points to reason that it will have to be Jamie’s POV because it will be told in flashbacks BY Jamie. This will be then ALL about Sam’s portrayal of pain and degradation and humiliation. Most of the scenes should be concentrated on him, right? Let’s see what happens.

My last point is this. Let’s be humble and respectful of one another’s opinions. It’s our love of the books and the show that’s bringing us together from all walks of life and the world. How humbling and awesome is that?!

Have I forgotten to say anything? You got something for me? Please chime in. All opinions are welcome and respected.

‘Picture Perfect Love’ by Melissa McClone

ppl mmccSTORY: Meet the people who make it all happen – the planners, the photographers, the musicians who have helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples as they find their own happy endings in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

When image becomes everything, it’s up to love to refocus the heart.

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren’t always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God’s plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture of put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton’s heart still hasn’t recovered.

It was me. His younger sister’s three words turn Ashton’s world upside down. He must ask Jenna’s forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

REVIEW: Jenna Harrison is a photographer and the owner of Picture Perfect Photography of Sweetwater, Washington.  As it’s June, Jenna is very busy with taking wedding and engagement photos.  When Jenna was jilted at the altar by Ashton Vance, her faith lagged until she found renewed happiness at the Sweetwater Community Church. While she happier now, she is not ready to date and is simply content to just carry on with her photography business.

Ashton Vance is a successful attorney whose father is a judge.  Ashton broke off with Jenna after accusing her of something she did not do.  Her hurt and anger is deep after suffering the financial consequences of their cancelled wedding not to mention the humiliation she suffered after his accusation in front of her friends, church, and customers.  But with the help of her pastor, she has been able to take on other jobs to pay off the wedding debts.

As it turns out, Ashton’s sister, Amber, was the guilty one by telling her brother and father a lie about Jenna.  To top it off, the spoiled girl now wants Jenna to photograph her upcoming wedding!  Ashton is now kicking himself for believing his sister and turning his back on Jenna.  Is there some way he can entice Jenna to photograph Amber’s wedding and forgive him too?  Can Jenna learn to trust him again?

This is a wholesome and sweet story about love and forgiveness and I enjoyed it very much.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author