Spotlight on Cara Elliott and ‘Passionately Yours’!

Passionately-Yours-Release-Week-Blitz

Today one of my favorite authors, Cara Elliott, is stopping by once more with her third book in her Hellions of High Street series, which is about three unconventional sisters that are poorer than a church mouse, but they all have one thing in common, their equally unconventional secret nom de plume identities.

Elliott_Scandalously Yours_MMElliott_Sinfully Yours_MMElliott_Passionately Yours_MM

I really enjoyed this series and highly recommend them all. This time around we wanted to know the author a bit better, so here are our questions for her. Hope you enjoy the short interview and try her new series.

You can only save 3 books out of a burning building. What are they?

The Complete Works of Jane Austen (okay, so I’m cheating a little) because the stories capture all our human foibles and strengths so well; Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters because it always makes me laugh; Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak because it always reminds me of how imagination is at the heart of every great book.

What’s the one movie that you can watch over and over again?

The Princess Bride. It has everything—adventure, humor, friendship, disappointment, hardship—all of which culminates in the wonderfully uplifting message that Love conquers all. Okay . . . so it’s a fairytale. But at heart don’t we all want to believe just a little that fairytales can come true?

What are 3 things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?

Chocolate. Chocolate. And chocolate!

What are 3 chores you hate with a passion?

Cleaning the bathtub, vacuuming, and washing floors—but I promise, my house is habitable! As any author knows, writing teaches you great discipline, so I am diligent about doing onerous tasks. 

Elliott_Passionately Yours_MMBOOK BLURB: Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only things they are encouraged to pursue are eligible bachelors. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

With her older sisters both happily married, Caro Sloane yearns for a romantic adventure of her own. Unfortunately the muddy, sulfur-scented waters of Bath seem the least likely setting for love or excitement. But the aspiring young poet soon finds inspiration when she runs into a familiar-and achingly handsome-Scottish laird.

Visiting Bath with his sickly sister, Alec McClellan is shocked to be reunited with Caro Sloane. He hasn’t been able to forget the English beauty since their brief but exhilarating first meeting. But Bath is not nearly as serene as it appears, and soon Alec must protect Caro from a danger that threatens to extinguish the sparks flying between them. Little does he know that a bit of danger is exactly what Caro is looking for . . .

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

MY REVIEW: here.

EXCERPT:

“One would almost think you were going out of your way to avoid speaking to me.”

“We’re speaking now,” he pointed out.

“I would call it verbal sparring.” Caro edged around impatiently, forcing him to look her in the face. “But now that I have you alone, I’d rather not keep trading thrusts and parries. I would rather discuss far more important matters—such as whether you have learned anything new about the attack on your sister?”

Pursing his lips, Alec shifted his stance just enough to allow him to return to his perusal of the lettering on the column. “Not really.”

“Ye gods.” She restrained the urge to take hold of his arm and give him a hard shake. “What sort of answer is that?”

“The only one I intend to give,” he replied calmly.

“Fine.” Caro watched the breeze ruffle his long hair, causing a tangle of red-gold strands to curl around his ear and dance down the freshly shaven line of his jaw. The faint scent of bay rum tickled at her nostrils.

“Fine,” she repeated, after forcing herself to exhale. “Then I’ll just have to do a little poking around on my own.”

That got his attention. He looked around abruptly, his gaze narrowing to a slitted stare. The movement was quick, but not quick enough to hide the sudden darkening of his eyes.

“That wouldn’t be wise,” he growled. “The only thing I will add for now is that you should stay well away from Edward Thayer.”

“Why?”

“Because…” He let out an exasperated grunt. “Must you always plague me with questions?”

“I wouldn’t have to if you would stop treating me like a feather-headed wigeon.”

Alec’s scowl became more pronounced.

“Haven’t I proved myself trustworthy and capable?”

A small muscle on his jaw twitched. “I am not at liberty to give you any more details right now. All I can say is that…” As he drew in a breath, he seemed to change his mind about what to say. “Thayer is a charming fellow. No doubt his smooth words are more to your liking.”

Deciding Alec deserved a bit of teasing, Caro pretended not to notice the roughness edging his voice. “Yes, he’s exceedingly charming.”

If his storm-blue stare squeezed any tighter, it would be sharper than a razor’s edge.

“And scrupulously polite,” she added.

Alec was becoming more flustered. Small sounds were beginning to rumble in his throat, like the growling of a bear. “I do not have Thayer’s gift of making myself agreeable. He has a honeyed tongue, which seems to appeal to all the ladies.”

“Honey is, after all, a great deal more palatable than vinegar,” Caro pointed out.

He now looked utterly nonplussed.

Caro let him stew for a moment longer before huffing an exasperated sigh. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, give me some credit for having a brain, Lord Strathcona! Of course I don’t find Thayer appealing. When honey drips that freely, it ought to catch naught but flies.”

The growls ceased.

Caro waited for him to speak.

Ever so slowly, Alec shifted his feet, stirring tiny puffs of pale dust beneath his boots.

The flicker of dark leather caused a momentary spasm of doubt as she recalled her chilling encounter in the churchyard.

Alec as evil? She couldn’t explain how, but she knew with a certainty that resonated right down to her very heartbeat that it couldn’t be true.

“Are you saying you would trust my word over his?”

“Yes, you big lummox! I don’t know why I should, but I prefer your snaps and growls.”

A dappling of sunlight seemed to catch on the curl of his lashes, gilding them to a gleaming gold.

“You are forthright, you are honorable in your own maddening way,” she went on. Oh, no man ought to have such beautiful eyes.

She found herself staring, and at that moment, all rational thought seemed to dance away in the breeze. His face was utterly intriguing—a mix of chiseled planes and well-defined features that hinted at hidden secrets.

“And… well, you are quite the most interesting man I have ever met.” Her legs suddenly seemed a little unsteady, so Caro reached out and caught hold of his lapels.

Looking up, she found his mouth was only inches from hers.

“Oh, bosh—I shall probably regret this…” Standing on tiptoes, Caro kissed him. Not a mere feathering of flesh against flesh, but a hard, hungry embrace that she let go on for far, far longer than any proper young lady should dare.

“There, I have no doubt shocked you.”

The tip of his tongue traced along the swell of his lower lip.

“I imagine you think me a wanton hellion, and I suppose I am. It must be my eccentric upbringing. I don’t care very much for rules.”

Caro knew she was babbling but she couldn’t seem to stop. “You may consign me to the Devil. But at least I shall dance a merry jig on my way to perdition.”

Was that finally a hint of smile?

She finally dared pause to take a breath. A long, shuddering breath. Now was the time to flee, before she made an even bigger fool of herself.

But Alec suddenly shifted again, blocking her way.

“I, too, shall probably regret this,” he said as he slowly circled his arms around her and pulled her close.

She opened her mouth. To protest?

Before she could make any sense of what she had set in motion, their lips met again, setting off a fierce jolt of fire.

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY <<<<<<<<<<

Cara Elliott

AUTHOR BIO: Cara Elliott started creating books at the age of five, or so her mother tells her. And Mom has the proof preserved in a family scrapbook—a neatly penciled story, the pages lavishly illustrated with full color crayon drawings of horses. Cara has since moved on from Westerns to writing about Regency England, a time and place that has captured her imagination ever since she opened the covers of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

A graduate of Yale University, Cara has garnered numerous accolades for her writing, including two Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Historical Mystery /Suspense and two RITAs nominations for Regency Romance. (She also writes a historical mystery series under the nom de plume Andrea Penrose.)

Cara loves to travel to interesting destinations around the world—however, her favorite spot is London, where the funky antique markets, used book stores and specialty museums offer a wealth of inspiration for her stories.

Cara also writes under the pen names Andrea Pickens (Traditional Regencies and swashbuckling Spy Regencies) and Andrea Penrose (A Regency-set mystery series)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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‘Garden of Lies’ Amanda Quick

gol aqSTORY: The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end—and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes.

Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold eyes…

If this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer—and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well…

REVIEW: The Kern Secretarial Agency is run by the very efficient Ursula Kern.  Mrs. Kern hires only top-notch secretaries who work for her wealthy clients.  When her best secretary and good friend, Anne Clifton, is found dead, Ursula is convinced that she did not die by suicide as first thought, but that she was murdered.  Who would kill this lovely lady?

In order to keep her client happy, Ursula steps in to finish the job Anne was doing which is working for the well known Archaeologist and adventurer, Slater Roxton, cataloguing his artifacts.  As they spend time together, Ursula confides her suspicions to Slater about her friend’s death and he agrees to help her investigate.

But Ursula Kern is not who she appears to be and thus wears heavy black mourning, including a hat with a black veil.  Slater Roxton is from a very wealthy family and is known for having been marooned on Fever Island for a year.  He and several others had been searching for and found some lost caves with many rare artifacts.  An explosion of some kind occurred trapping Slater inside.  By the time he found his way out, the group had left the island thinking he had probably died.

As they investigate further, things become very dangerous and others end up murdered.  It appears that they have begun to uncover a very lucrative drug making business where some people will stop at nothing to own all of it.

This is a very intriguing story that I think readers will not want to put down.  The author has woven these characters perfectly to make a story that would be a fabulous movie.  I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b

‘Once More, My Darling Rogue’ by Lorraine Heath

ommdr lhSTORY: They are England’s most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways…

Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can’t escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he’s not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she’s his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can’t be denied, regardless of consequences. So when her memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.

REVIEW: London 1874

Drake Darling works as the manager of Dodger’s Drawing Room, a gentleman’s club. An infrequent soiree attendee, he always makes women young and old nearly swoon.  His charm and handsome appearance is like a magnet to women.  Although his blood is not blue, he was taken in as a very young child and raised by the Duke and Duchess of Greystone as one of their own.  However, he actually prefers to stay out of the limelight.

Lady Ophelia Lyttleton is a beautiful young woman whose deceased father had taught her that she must marry very well and uphold her own lineage.  Drake has always been attracted to Lady Ophelia but keeps his distance because she treats him as one who is below her socially thus making her appear as a cold snob.

One night while taking a late walk along the water, Drake finds a woman who had floated up onto the shore.  Finding her still alive, he covers her with his coat and takes her to his home to warm her.  When he gets the muck washed off her, he finds she is none other than Lady Ophelia.  She has no memory of who she is and what has happened to her.  As a way of getting back at her treatment of him, he tells her she is his housekeeper and instructs her as to her duties.  Of course, being a fine lady, she knows nothing about cleaning and cooking and is at a loss.

Little by little, they get to know one another more and Drake finds that Ophelia (he calls her Phee) is rather a nice person after all and eager to learn how to care for his home.  Their togetherness and chats naturally end up in a sincere attraction between them.

But why was she in the water?  Why isn’t her brother looking for her?

There is a terrific story behind all of this which soon comes to light.  This story reveals a young woman who is kind, intelligent, and loving – quite different from the snob that Drake had come to know.  But she is harboring a very dark secret that is at the bottom of the shield she had built around herself.

The book started off a bit slowly for me but as I got into the story, I truly enjoyed it.

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Caroline Linden and ‘Love in the Time of Scandal’!

Have you ever read Caroline Linden stories? If you have, than you know how much fun and romantic they are, not to mention sensual!

This is a third book in her Scandals series in which 50 Ways to Sin pamphlet gives more than one lady a mind for scandal [you can find my review of the first one here and the second one here] and while I found the first to be lighthearted and fun, and the second one a bit subdued and emotional, this third one was intense and heartbreaking, yet just as romantic as the first two.

<Love and Other Scandals><It Takes a Scandal><Love in the Time of Scandal><All's Fair in Love and Scandal>

If you’ve never read any of her books, then I have only one question for you: What are you waiting for?!! Get to it 😉

We’re lucky to have Caroline stop by and do a mini interview with us, so sit back and enjoy it. Don’t forget to read the excerpt too 😉

Caroline, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career so far?

It’s been a lot of fun! I started writing about 13 years ago, when my children were really small. To be honest, I never thought of myself as a writer, and my first trial book was really just fooling around (and it showed—I never finished that first effort, with good reason). I was astonished when it turned out to be fun. I sold my first book in 2004, and today my 16th book comes out.

Who inspired this story’s hero and heroine?

There isn’t one, or even two, sources. Bits of them came from all over. Penelope is the youngest daughter of a very wealthy, though not noble, family. She’s clever, funny, and fiercely loyal, but she sometimes doesn’t know when to quit. Penelope’s quite confident that her view is the right one, and it takes her a while to realize her error there. Benedict is the son and heir of an earl. He’s handsome, decent, protective of his mother and sisters, and absolutely desperate to marry a rich woman. His father is abusive and controlling, and the only way out Benedict sees is to make himself financially independent. Penelope would be perfect…except that she hates him. And drives him crazy. And he can’t stop thinking about her. And then they’re caught together in a scandalous moment, and Fate takes over.

What was your favorite book as a child?

There were too many to remember! But one I remember very fondly, and read multiple times, was CALICO CAPTIVE by Elizabeth George Speare. It’s about a family on the New Hampshire frontier in the 1750s or so, taken captive by an Abenaki raiding party. The main character is 16 year old Miriam, whose budding romance with a local young man is interrupted by the capture…but not ended. It’s based on a true story and I was mesmerized by it.

Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

No, not really. I have a collection of go-to favorites, but not just one. The most recent book I re-read from that collection was BRIDGET JONES. I still love the laugh-out-loud writing.

If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh man! Only one?! I think it’s best to switch around between genres. I love my romances, but also mysteries, and thrillers, and seriously good non-fiction like the books David McCullough writes—I’m really looking forward to reading his new one about the Wright brothers, because as a child I wanted to be a pilot.

What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

Hmm. One that made me laugh was Laura Drewry’s PRIMA DONNA. The heroine is so tough and funny, even in trying and heartbreaking moments, and the hero is just adorable: a doctor who lets his most seriously ill patients cut his hair! The fact that the heroine is a hair stylist, and is personally offended by his terrible hair until she learns the truth, just makes it funnier. The one that made me cry, for both happy and sad reasons, is Maya Rodale’s WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS. The heroine has been sexually assaulted, and it’s heartbreaking at times—but then it becomes poignantly joyful as she learns to take back herself and her own body.

litos clBOOK BLURB: Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can’t forget how he abandoned a friend in need—nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He’s the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn’t feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel…

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. Though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father’s control, spirited Penelope just doesn’t suit his plans for a model marriage—until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope’s. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful . . . beguiling . . . and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

BUY LINKS: iBooks / Kindle / Google Play / Kobo / nook

EXCERPT:

Prologue

1805

Stratford Court, Richmond

Perseus lay in pieces on the floor. His arm, divorced from his body, held out the severed head of Medusa as if to ward his attacker off, and indeed, Benedict Lennox thought it might well have turned him to stone.

Before he fell, Perseus had held the head aloft, poised in mid-stride. The Gorgon’s face was twisted with rage and her eyes seemed to follow a person. It was hideous, even frightening, but Benedict’s father said it was a masterpiece, and Father knew art. As such it was displayed in a prominent position on the landing of the main staircase of Stratford Court, with a large mirror behind it to display the rear. Benedict always tried not to look right at it when he passed, but there was no avoiding it now. The base rested against the remains of the mirror, while Perseus and his trophy were scattered in pieces across the landing, amid the glittering shards of broken glass.

“Do you know anything about this?” The Earl of Stratford’s voice was idle, almost disinterested.

His son swallowed hard. “No, sir.”

“No?” The earl rocked back on his heels. “Nothing at all? Do you not even recognize it?”

Oh no. That had been the wrong answer. He searched frantically for the right one. “No, sir. I didn’t mean that. It’s a statue of Perseus.”

Lord Stratford made a soft, disappointed noise. “Not merely a statue of Perseus. This is one of the finest works of art by a great sculptor. See how exquisitely he renders the god’s form, how he encapsulates the evil of the Gorgon!” He paused. “But you don’t care about that, do you?”

Benedict said nothing. He knew there was no correct answer to that question.

Stratford sighed. “Such a pity. I had hoped my only son would pay more attention to his classical studies, but alas. Perhaps I should be grateful you recognized it at all. Our entire conversation would be for naught otherwise.”

Benedict Lennox gripped his hands together until his knuckles hurt. He stood rigidly at attention, mesmerized by the shattered glass and stone before him.

His father clasped his hands behind him, rather like Benedict’s tutor did when explaining a difficult point of mathematics. “Now, what else can you tell me about this statue?”

“Something terrible happened to it, sir.”

“Was it struck by lightning, do you think?” asked the earl in exaggerated concern.

The sky outside the mullioned windows was crystal clear, as blue as a robin’s egg. “Unlikely, sir.”

“No, perhaps not,” his father murmured, watching him with a piercing stare. Benedict longed to look away from that stare but knew it would be a mistake. “Perhaps it was a stray shot from a poacher?”

Stratford Court was set in a manicured park, surrounded only by gardens, graveled paths, and open rolling lawns. The woods where any poachers might roam were across the river. Benedict wished those woods were much closer. He wished he were exploring them right this moment. “Possible, but also unlikely, sir.”

“Not a poacher,” said Stratford thoughtfully. “I confess, I’ve quite run out of ideas! How on earth could a statue of inestimable value break without any outside influence? Not only that, but the mirror as well. It’s bad luck to break a mirror.”

He stayed silent. He didn’t know, either, though he suspected he was about to be punished for it. Bad luck, indeed.

“What do you say, Benedict? What is the logical conclusion?”

His tongue felt wooden. “It must have been someone inside the house, sir.”

“Surely not! Who would do such a thing?”

A flicker of movement caught his eye before he could think of an answer. He tried to check the impulse, but his father noticed his involuntary start and turned to follow his gaze. Two little girls peeped around the newel post at the bottom of the stairs. “Come here, my lovely daughters, come here,” said the earl.

Benedict’s heart sank into his shoes. Suddenly he guessed what had happened to the mirror. Samantha, who was only four, looked a little uncertain; but Elizabeth, who was seven, was pale-faced with fear. Slowly the sisters came up the stairs, bobbing careful curtsies when they reached the landing.

“Here are my pretty little ones.” The earl surveyed them critically. “Lady Elizabeth, your sash is dropping. And Lady Samantha, you’ve got dirt on your dress.”

“I’m sorry, Father.” Elizabeth tugged at her sash, setting it further askew. Samantha just put her hands behind her back and looked at the floor. She’d only recently been allowed out of the nursery and barely knew the earl.

“Your brother and I are attempting to solve a mystery.” The earl waved one hand at the wreckage. “Do you know what happened to this statue?”

Elizabeth went white as she stared at the Gorgon’s head. “It broke, Father,” piped up Samantha.

“Very good,” the earl told her. “Do you know how?”

Elizabeth’s terrified gaze veered to him. Benedict managed to give her an infinitesimal shake of his head before their father turned on him. “Benedict says he does not know,” Stratford said sharply. “Do not look at him for answers, Elizabeth.”

In the moment the earl’s back was turned to them, Elizabeth nudged her sister and touched one finger to her lips. Samantha’s brown eyes grew round and she moved closer to Elizabeth, reaching for her hand.

Stratford turned back to his daughters. “Do either of you know?” Elizabeth blinked several times, but she shook her head. “Samantha?” prodded their father. “It would be a sin not to answer me.”

Samantha’s expression grew worried. Benedict’s throat clogged and his eyes stung. He took a breath to calm his roiling nerves and spoke before his sister could. “It was my fault, Father.”

“Your fault?” Fury flashed in the earl’s face though his voice remained coldly calm. “How so, Benedict?”

What should he say? If the earl didn’t believe his story, he’d be whipped for lying, and then his sister would be punished for the actual crime, the nursemaid would be sacked for not keeping better watch over her charges, and his mother would be excoriated for hiring the nursemaid at all. And all over an ugly statue that everyone tried to avoid seeing.

A fine sweat broke out on his brow. Boys at school told of lying to deny their misdeeds, but how did one lie to claim a crime? He would have to ask, next term. Not that it would help him now.

To finish the excerpt and for the first chapter, go here.

Caroline LindenAUTHOR BIO: This is Caroline Linden’s short version of her biography: Caroline Linden earned a math degree from Harvard University before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, nine books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut. Or a fashion designer. Possibly both; pink spacesuits would look so much better than white ones. But it turned out those were difficult careers to combine, and eventually the fashion designing fell by the wayside.

To continue reading this longer and very interesting version of Caroline Linden’s biography, please visit her website here.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:  Website / Facebook / Tweeter

‘Love in the Time of Scandal’ by Caroline Linden

littos clSTORY: Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can’t forget how he abandoned a friend in need—nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He’s the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn’t feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel…

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. Though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father’s control, spirited Penelope just doesn’t suit his plans for a model marriage—until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope’s. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful . . . beguiling . . . and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

REVIEW: I was so happy to find out that ‘Love in the Time of Scandal’ featured Abigail’s sister and Sebastian’s best friend from ‘It Takes a Scandal’. If you’ve not read that one, please get it. Your reading experience of this tale will be doubled. I promise!

You see, when we met Benedict Lennox, the hero of this tale in the story of his best friend, he was courting that friend’s girl, and he lost her. And in this tale, he’s now courting another young lady, but Abigail’s sister, Penelope is once more meddling in his love life.

I have to say that I adored both characters only because they were flawed. Neither was perfect and both were so very human.

Benedict, on the surface, has everything. His good looks and charm are obvious, and a future hair of an Earldom is a plus, yet this man has had a very tough upbringing. His childhood is just heartbreaking to read about. It has been a ‘mill stone’ around his neck for a long time and the only way to get rid of that would be for him to wed an heiress, preferably a biddable one.

Penelope Weston is young, bold and outspoken and she’s close to being labeled a spinster very soon. She’s feeling a bit lonely this season as her best friend and her sister have just gotten hitched, so now she’s wilting away in ballrooms, hoping she might meet someone special too.

Never in a million years would these two wish to become each other’s significant other, yet they’re both drawn by circumstances into each other’s orbit once more.
And while to some Penelope may have come off as shrewish and too outspoken and judgmental, I gave her a benefit of the doubt her character deserved.  Trust me, if you stick with her, she’ll surprise you and you’ll love her in the end.

As for our hero, Benedict, I can say the same. He was stubborn and austere at times, yet once you get inside of his head, you’ll know why he’s like that and you’ll start to like him and in the end you’ll love him as much as his Penelope does.

I just adored this story! Everything within it is perfect. It made me cry, laugh and sigh. Pace, plot, dialogue and most of all romance mixed with such sensuality that you may fog your reading glasses. It’s not only that this book is a must read, it’s this whole series that you must buy!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘All’s Fair In Love and Scandal’ by Caroline Linden

afilas clSTORY: Nothing wagered…

Douglas Bennet can’t resist a good wager, especially not one that involves a beautiful woman. When a friend proposes an audacious plan to expose the most notorious woman in England, Douglas agrees at once. After all, it would be quite a coup to discover the true identity of Lady Constance, author of the infamous erotic serial scandalizing the ton, 50 Ways to Sin.

Nothing won…

Madeline Wilde is used to being pursued. For years she’s cultivated a reputation for being unattainable and mysterious, and for good reason: her livelihood depends on discretion. When Douglas turns his legendary charm on her, she dismisses him as just another rake. But he surprises her—instead of merely trying to seduce her, he becomes her friend…her confidant…and her lover. But can it really lead to happily-ever-after…or are they about to become the biggest scandal London has ever seen?

REVIEW: This is a short novella that I read after ‘It Takes a Scandal’ and before ‘Love in the Time of Scandal’.  This little gem continues and enhances the Scandals series.

The novella continues the theme of the 50 Ways to Sin pamphlet which is written by “Lady Constance” and is a very salacious piece that’s entertaining men and women alike.  The thing is, no one knows who the author is, but a lot of the male readers seem to recognize themselves as the protagonists of her tales.

Hero of this story is Douglas Bennet, whose sister Joan Bennet found her happily ever after in ‘Love and Other Scandals’ the first book in this series.

It doesn’t take much of persuasion to challenge Douglas Bennet to expose the identity of “Lady Constance”. He loves taking chances and this bet, at least to him, looks like a win-win, especially because it involves a beautiful widow, Madeline Wilde.

The heroine, Madeline, is a very proper widow. She’s a bit aloof and quiet, always present at the ballrooms, yet lurking in the background and never, ever dancing. It’s the challenge of luring her into dancing with him that brings both together. When she rebuffs him, he gets even more intrigued and suspicious of her identity as a pamphlet writer.

For me, the sign of a good author is writing a novella that has fleshed out characters, an intriguing plot and a sensual romance, all within only one hundred pages. This is why I called it a gem. Despite it being so short, you’ll be surprised at how well written it is.

The characters are fully developed and funny, while the story is fast paced and intriguing.

Douglas and Madeline’s romance was scorching hot, romantic and funny.

I think it stands on its own and you don’t have to necessarily have read the other two books preceding it. However, once you read this novella, you’ll be running to download the rest. I promise 😉

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘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.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher