Spotlight on Elizabeth Hoyt and ‘Sweetest Scoundrel’!


Hoyt_Sweetest Scoundrel_MMBOOK BLURB: She’s Taking Charge

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

He’s Running the Show

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

But Love Conquers All

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience-and her fiery clashes with Asa-Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them-and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all . . .

BUY LINKS: AmazonB&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

REVIEW: To start reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series in the middle of it is no fun, because everyone you meet you’ll find intriguing and keep looking up if their story had already been told or is it coming up. I did however figure out that out of the nine books in this series, I own the last five and that’s a good thing because I’m now working my way to all of them.

If all the stories in this series are as intriguing and this well written, I’m in for a lot of pleasurable hours of reading.

The hero and heroine in this story are two very strong and opinionated characters who start their relationship on a wrong foot, and following them was a lot of fun and not just because of their chemistry, but mostly because of the dialogue between the two.

I must say that even though I’m new to this series and am starting it from the ‘back’, I found it written well enough that it didn’t bother me at all that I haven’t read them in order. That said, if you haven’t read any in this series, please try to get them all and read them in order. I believe it would enhance your experience tenfold.

Now, off I go to start the series from book one!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

PS: here’s the link to the series.


“What do you see when you look at me?”

What did she see when she looked at him?

Eve inhaled, trying and failing to tear her gaze from his.

Mr. Harte sprawled across her dainty settee like a Viking marauder in a pillaged Christian church. His broad shoulders took up more than half the width, his arms lazily draped over the back. His scarlet coat was spread open, contrasting with the sedate gray-blue of the cushions almost shockingly. One long leg was thrust straight before him, the other cocked open and resting on a booted heel. The pose made the apex of his thighs very . . . obvious . . . and even as she kept her eyes locked on his she could feel heat rising in her cheeks.

What did she see?

She saw violence and anger, kept under a control that was tenuous at best. She saw power and a strength that could hurt her—kill her—if he so chose. She saw the innate brutality that was, in larger or smaller part, in all men.

She saw her most terrible fears.

But—and this was the truly unprecedented part—she saw more in him. She saw temptation—her temptation—alluring and frightening at the same time, his virility so strong it was nearly a visible miasma in the space between them.

She wanted him. Wanted that brash gaze, those long, muscled thighs, that mocking, insulting mouth, and the shoulders that went on forever, big and brawny and so very, very male.

This was madness—she knew that intellectually. She’d never wanted a man before—was in fact afraid of almost all men, let alone one so obviously, blatantly sexual.

She took a breath, hoping that he couldn’t read all this from her gaze—and knowing it was a lost cause already.

His heavy-lidded green eyes were far, far too perceptive.

“I see . . .” She paused to lick suddenly dry lips. “I see that your hairline is nearly a perfect arc across the expanse of your forehead. That your eyebrows tilt ever so slightly up at the ends and that the right has a scar through it. I see that when you are solemn, the outer edges of your lips reach just to the midpoint of your eyes, but when you smile, they go beyond the corners. I see that your chin and jaw are almost in classical proportion and that a small white scar forms a comma on your chin just to the right of center.” She finally glanced away from him, breathing heavily, certain that she’d not thrown him off the track with her artist’s eye’s impressions. She inhaled again and ended, “I see every line of your face, every line’s intersection and how they relate. That is what I see when I look at you.”

“And is that all you see? Lines?” His voice was deep and amused.

She chanced a peek.

He still watched her, his gaze utterly unperturbed by her observations about his countenance.

No, she’d not fooled him at all.

She licked her lips again, buying time. “I see,” she said carefully, cautiously, “a very self-possessed man.”

Self-possessed,” he drawled. “I’m not sure what that means, frankly. It sounds, just a bit, like a coward’s answer.”

Her gaze flew to his, outraged.

But before she could take him down a peg, he chuckled softly. “Tell me, Miss Dinwoody, would you like to know what I see when I look at you?”

She shouldn’t. She really, really shouldn’t.

“Yes,” she blurted, and then winced because she knew well enough what men thought when they looked at her: ordinary, if they were charitable. Plain if they were not.

She braced herself for mockery, but when she glanced again at him, his gaze was hot and hard. Certainly not gentle. Certainly not kind. But he wasn’t dismissing her, either.

He looked at her as if they were equals. As if he really saw her, a woman to his man.

“I see,” he said, his deep voice musing, “a woman afraid, but fighting her fears. A woman who carries herself like a queen. A woman who could rule us all, I suspect.”

She gazed at him, her breath caught in her throat, afraid to exhale and break the spell.

A corner of that wicked mouth tilted up. “And I see a woman who has a deep curiosity. Who wants to feel but is worried—of herself? Of others?” He shook his head. “I’m not sure.” He leaned forward slowly, destroying his pose, and she had to fight herself not to scoot her chair away from him. “But I think she has a fire banked within her. Maybe it’s only embers now, glowing in the dark, but if tinder were to be put to those embers . . .” He grinned slowly. Dangerously. “Oh, what a conflagration that would be.”

>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

HoytElizabethAUTHOR BIO: Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at:

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads


‘Gold!: The Story of the 1848 Gold Rush and How It Shaped a Nation’ by Fred Rosen

g tsot1848grahisan frSTORY: On January 24, 1848, as carpenter James Marshall worked on building a sawmill at John Sutter’s Fort, east of Sacramento, California, he accidentally discovered a pea-sized nugget of gold in a ditch.

Just like that, the scope of the American myth changed. From 1848 to 1850, 90,000 people trekked across the continent; by 1854, that figure had risen to 300,000. Representing every ethnic group, more than ten percent of the American population migrated to California’s gold fields in six years. Defying disease, crime, the depredations of nature, and each other, fortune hunters risked all for the slim chance of riches.

The Gold Rush marked the moment when people stopped believing that hard work leads to a good life, which then leads to a good afterlife. They started believing, instead, that anyone could strike it rich. Americans thus began their phantom pursuit of wealth, a pursuit that continues to this day.

REVIEW: When the California Gold Rush began in 1848, people from all over the world came to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to seek their fortune. Very few actually succeeded.

This book documents many historical facts. Some of which I will touch on here.

Colonel John Sutter built Sutter’s Fort which served as a piece of civilization in the middle of the Gold Rush wilderness area. An enthusiastic entrepreneur, Sutter offered stores, hotels, and places to eat for weary travelers. When gold was found by Sutter’s Mill, they tried to keep it secret but, of course, it leaked out.

James Marshall arrived at the fort possessing the rate talent of being a wheel right and worked with Sutter. Even though Marshall had discover gold in January 1848 in California, it had already been discovered in North Carolina and Georgia in the 1820’s and 1839, respectively.

The Donnor Party and its horrors were a group of people headed for the Gold Rush in their determined trek through hazardous snow.

The start of the Mormon Church began during this time period. They blazed the trail that the gold seekers would soon follow upon.

McNeil’s Travels was printed in 1849 and became one of the best accounts of what it took to join the Gold Rush and was available nationally and internationally. People in this group were known as the 49ers but, sadly, many succumbed to cholera.

Convicts from Australia and the penal colonies of Great Britain began arriving and crime became rampant. In response, a Vigilante Committee was formed and resolutions passed that those caught thieving would get a swift and fair trial. If found guilty, they would be hanged. That got their attention and soon crime began to abate.

The California Rangers were formed to provide some sort of law and order.

Placerville, the center of the Gold Rush became known as Hangtown. Slavery was not tolerated in the Gold Rush area. Most blacks were well liked and respected but the same was not true of the Chinese mostly because they were simply hard workers. The Mexicans were hated even more. Cholera was rampant in the mining camps due to a lack of any sewage system.

Of those people who left for the Gold Rush, one in four never made it back, thus making it a 25 percent mortality rate.

Those of you with an interest or fascination with the Gold Rush, I highly recommend this historical documentation. Originally published in 2006, this is a reprint.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Death Comes To Kurland Hall’ by Catherine Lloyd

dctkh clSTORY: As wedding bells chime in Kurland St. Mary, a motley group of visitors descends on the village—and with a murderer on the prowl, some of them may not be returning home…

Lucy Harrington has returned to Kurland St. Mary to help with her friend Sophia Giffin’s wedding. But her homecoming is made disagreeable by the presence of Major Robert Kurland, whose bungled proposal has ruffled Lucy’s composure, and a meddling widow who has designs on her father, the village rector.

Wary of the cloying Mrs. Chingsford from the start, Lucy has doubts about the busybody’s intentions with her father. But everyone else seems to think they make an ideal match—until the courtship is curtailed when Mrs. Chingsford is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. It’s clear that it wasn’t an accident, and in hopes of finding the culprit, Lucy and Robert call a truce and begin scrutinizing the wedding guests.

But the widow left behind plenty of enemies, and when one of them is the next to turn up dead, Lucy and Robert discover that the truth is far more scandalous than anyone could have imagined…

REVIEW: Kurland St. Mary, England – 1817

Sophia and Andrew Stanford are to marry soon so Lucy Harrington is nearby Kurland Hall for the wedding. Major Sir Robert Kurland, Baronet and Lucy are at odds with each other. He had asked Lucy to marry him but she refused him when she found that her uncle had pushed Major Kurland to propose to her.

Lucy lives with her father, a rector, and her twin brother and sister, Anna and Anthony. Major Kurland’s ex-fiancee, Miss Chingford, daughter of the snide Mrs. Chingford, are staying at Kurland Hall to attend the wedding. Mrs. Chingford is a mean woman who enjoys stirring up trouble and discord wherever she goes. Surprisingly, Lucy’s father announces his engagement to Mrs. Chingford. However, after the wedding of Sophie and Andrew, Lucy finds Mrs. Chingford dead from falling down the stairs. As Lucy and Major Kurland have worked together in the past to solve mysteries, they immediately join together once again to try and solve the mystery of the woman’s death. Soon after, Mrs. Fairfax, a recent widow is found dead from what appears to be an overdose of laudanum. While both Lucy and Major Kurland are working together to find out the truth behind these deaths, a Mr. Reading, fiancee of one of Mrs. Chingford’s daughters, makes threats to Lucy that she should back off from her investigations, things turn dangerous.

Will Lucy and the Major manage to solve the mystery while they continue to be at odds with one another?

I did not read the first two books of this series. Perhaps if I had, I would not have been so confused as I struggled through this story. Many times, I felt like I had walked into a movie in the middle of it and had no clue as to what was going on. However, if readers have read the first two novels and liked them, then I’m sure you will be pleased with this novel too.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Hargrove House’ by Allie Harrison

hh ahSTORY: As a child, Torrie Reynolds entered the haunted Hargrove House on a dare. Terrified by what she’d heard while inside Hargrove House, she avoided it since. Now fifteen years later, Torrie is an interior decorator.

When Will Dalton buys the infamous Hargrove House and offers Torrie the job of refurbishing it, she has no choice but to take the offer to keep her business afloat. As the house is restored and rooms come alive with character and color Torrie brings to them, her fear of the house fades.

Hargrove House begins to even feel like home to her. With each finished renovation project, it is harder for Torrie to leave. It is even harder for her to leave the comfort of Will Dalton’s arms. But she discovers there are things more terrifying than ghosts when she learns why Will is digging in the dark, frightening cellar.

REVIEW: When she was 11-years-old, Victoria (Torrie) Reynolds accepted a dare to enter the empty and supposedly haunted Hargrove House located in her hometown. Bravely, she went inside, picked up a crystal she saw lying on the floor and put it in her pocket. When she heard a voice say “Victoria,” she fled from the house and ran all the way home. Now, 15 years later, finds her as a struggling decorator in the same town. The new owner of Hargrove House approaches her and asks her to refurbish and decorate the house. The owner, Will, gives her the authority to decorate the house the way she would like to see it. While Torrie is surprised at this, she is also pleased and as she has such wonderful ideas for making the house perfect.

The story of the house is that the family that lived there many years ago vanished on the wife’s birthday and were never found. It is also rumored that someone the family knew killed them and buried them in the basement. No reason for that was ever found.

As Will wants the work on the house completed in time for him to host a holiday party in December, Torrie immediately starts ordering things and arranging for workers. She is amazed at how readily available workers and furnishings are so that things start coming together quickly.

When Will insists that Torrie set up her office in one of the rooms in the house rather than run back and forth to her office, that makes sense and works for her. However, this constant togetherness sparks an attraction between them.

When Will’s children start to show up in the house, Torrie is surprised that he never mentioned them before. They are sweet children and soon themselves to Torrie. There are times that certain things in the house don’t make sense but Will always seems to have an explanation for them. But one thing that never gets explained is that strange swishing sound coming from the dark basement that sounds like someone digging.

Come read this really good spooky story. I’m betting you won’t want to put it down until you solve the mystery.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Clandestine Betrothal’ by Alice Chetwynd Ley

tcb aclSTORY: Love in Name Only

When Susan announced to her aunt that she was engaged to Beau Eversley, the most sought-after bachelor in London, she should have been the happiest girl in England. The trouble was the Beau knew nothing of the betrothal. Susan had made up the whole affair. And to make matters worse, she would soon be found out.

There was nothing to do but confess her outrageous falsehood to the handsome Beau. But once she did, he agreed to play along with the charade. It seemed the perfect solution, until Susan suddenly found herself trapped in a lie, and engaged in name only to the man she truly loved.

REVIEW: The Honorable Hugh Eversley, age 27, is also known as Beau. A handsome, wealthy, and very fashionable man, he has a younger sister, Georgiana, Georgy, who has just left her young ladies’ Seminary. Georgy’s school friend, Susan Fyfield, has always enjoyed hearing stories from Georgy about Beau Eversley. After leaving school, Susan returns to live with her aunt and older cousin, Cynthia. As her aunt is a widow, money is somewhat scarce so Susan finds herself living on the edge of the nicer world where Georgy lives. Cynthia has just become betrothed. Susan is told that she is an heiress but knows nothing more about it. She never knew her parents and was brought to her aunt’s as a young child. She is convinced that she was born a bastard which makes her feel ashamed.

Susan is to attend Georgy’s coming out ball and is eager to see Beau again. As Susan is a shy person and has not had invitations to dance, Beau gallantly steps in and asks her to dance. In addition, he escorts her in for supper. Never having had anything alcoholic to drink, Susan becomes tipsy after quaffing a glass of champagne and Beau discreetly gets her aunt who takes her home. But Susan tells her aunt that she is engaged to Beau! The next morning, Susan searches out Beau and confesses her error. He agrees to go along with her but the story now continues to grow and makes for a lot of problems which also makes for a lot of fun.

Follow Susan and Beau as they search for the mystery of Susan’s past. The characters are perfectly woven into the story making for a terrific Regency romance novel which was first written in the 1960s.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Have you been Naughty or Nice?


Dear bookworms,

Happy Holidays from St. Martin’s Press! We are joining them in inviting you to join their Naughty or Nice campaign to help promote reading romance this holiday season. Have you been naughty or nice this year? They have put together a sexy collection of naughty and nice books for you to choose from.

There is a little something for everyone here, and we would love for you to consider any or all of these this season! St. Martin’s Press has an even number of books on each list…  but that doesn’t mean you can’t be more naughty than nice (wink)!

Mix and match, pick and choose books from other publishers—but we think everyone should have a Naughty and Nice book list this year!

Be sure to share your list with us @SMPRomance on Twitter, and feel free to include any St. Martin’s Press books below along with our “Naughty or Nice” banner.


Description: the Naughty List by Lori Foster, Carly Phillips, Beth Ciotta, and Sugar Jamison

Four hot holiday stories, now in one great package, featuring two New York Times bestselling authors!
Lori Foster has two co-workers plan a Christmas party and discover a love worth celebrating in Christmas Bonus.
Carly Phillips explores a “mistletoe moment” when a lawyer intent on seducing her boss kisses his twin instead, in Naughty Under the Mistletoe.

In Sugar Jamison‘s Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas, wild child Dina Gregory returns home to find her young son’s father. Instead, she finds his stuffy brother, Ben. Ben admires her tenacity and bold beauty. Could it be that Dina has reignited his Christmas spirit?
Beth Ciotta brings two friends together at home for the holidays. They don’t have much in common anymore, but when they get stranded together during a blizzard, they might realize that true love was there all along, in Some Kind of Wonderful.


Duke and Miss Christmas by Amelia Grey

A delightfully charming, wickedly sexy Regency-set Christmas romance novella from New York Times bestselling author, Amelia Grey!
Crispin, the Duke of Hurst, has never met a woman he couldn’t handle–until he’s hit over the head with a basketful of mistletoe by a young lady who mistakes his intentions. When he gets into a tussle with her–and she can hold her own–Crispin knows he has finally met his match. Miss Gwen Prim is mortified that she attacked a duke, but even more concerning is the way her resolve melts when she’s near him. She’s never felt this way about a London gentleman in her life. And with the magic of Christmas in the air, she may end up with a proposal she didn’t expect.

Description: with the Billionaire Rancher by Mandy Baxter

A fabulously intense contemporary series, featuring sexy heroes and the sassy women they love in the Lone Star State.
There’s nothing Nate Christensen hates more than a golddigger. Nate wants to stay away from all the women who want his money. That is, until he meets the sexy, beautiful Chloe Benson, who lights a fire in his blood that only the most wildly passionate nights can ease…The only problem is, she needs Nate’s money. True, it’s for a very worthy charity, but is their passion enough to still Nate’s fears that she’s only wants him for the size of his bank account?


Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

A fan favorite holiday novella, now available as a standalone e-book!
Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game and in the arms of a sexy secret agent…



Home for Christmas by Lily Everett
A heartwarming holiday romance about a wounded warrior who finds healing and love during Christmas on Sanctuary Island.
Magazine columnist Libby Leeds has made a name for herself sharing heartwarming stories from her perfect life on Sanctuary Island. There’s just one minor detail she’s left out: she hasn’t set foot on the island since her childhood. Now wounded war hero/single-father Owen Shepard is returning to Sanctuary Island, and Libby’s editor insists she cover the story. But the sweet, reclusive writer is more intriguing, and more tempting, than Owen could have imagined. Decorating trees, and warming up by the fire it’s the closest Libby has come to love and family since she was a child. Will the Christmas spirit enable them admit what they feel for one another?


Christmas at Evergreen Inn by Donna Alward
Sparks fly in this fun, festive holiday novella when a small town cop gets snowed in with the proprietor of the local inn.
When a December Nor’easter roars up the eastern seaboard, Jewell Cove cop Todd Ricker spends his day off being a Good Samaritan to stranded holiday travelers. But when the roads close and Todd can’t make his way home, he discovers that the Evergreen Inn is full up. That is, until another Lainey Price opens her doors and offers him a place to stay in her tiny cottage. While the two are stormed in for a wintry evening by the fire can Todd convince Lainey to open her heart to Christmas?


A magical and enchanting holiday romance from USA Today bestselling author Maggie McGinnis.
Noah Drake was that guy–the one always on the lookout for his next adrenaline high, so it was no surprise when he took off across the world, seeking adventure as a travel writer. But one thing he could never escape was Piper Bellini, the girl who got away–the girl he let get away, a fact he’s never let himself forget. When he returns to Echo Lake to see if there’s any chance the flame between them can be rekindled, he never expects to spend the night holed up with Piper in a roadside diner while a blizzard rages outside. Noah may have been handed a Christmas miracle, and he intends to make all Piper’s wishes come true…

Description: Cottage by Emily March

Fall in love with this heartwarming new romance in the New York Times bestselling Eternity Springs series.
Haunted by the loss of his wife and son, Daniel Garrett left the police force to devote his life to finding missing children. But he still hasn’t found a way to mend the wounds of his past-until he attends a wedding in the small mountain town of Eternity Springs…and meets a beautiful, intriguing woman who offers a glimpse of something Daniel thought he’d never have again. She restores Victorian cottages for a living, but will the life she restores in Daniel’s heart be enough when danger comes knocking at her door?

“Emily March’s stories are heart wrenching and soul-satisfying. For a wonderful read, don’t miss a visit to Eternity Springs.”
Lisa Kleypas, New York Times bestselling author