Spotlight on Kelly Bowen and ‘Between the Devil and the Duke’!


BOOK BLURB: Their love was always in the cards.

He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he’s more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty—in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he’ll have to devise a proposition she can’t turn down.

Gossip said he was an assassin.

Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie’s club offered a surefire way to make quick money—until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible.

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


“I don’t suppose you’d be interested in a job?”

“A job?” Angelique was aware she was repeating him like a half-wit, but she couldn’t seem to wrap her head around the last minute of conversation.

“Yes.” Lavoie leaned forward slightly.

“Ladies don’t have jobs.” Angelique tried to put some conviction into that statement, knowing it was what she was supposed to say. Such knowledge had been drilled into her since she was old enough to walk. Ladies grew up and married well and became wives who lived out their lives in genteel comfort. They did not partake in industry. Or gambling.

At least they didn’t until they did not marry at all, much less well, and their parents died, their family fortune went missing, and their newly titled brother couldn’t stay sober long enough to look for it. Then ladies did what they had to do to hold their families together.

She glanced up at him, but her sharp reply, like everything else, had only seemed to amuse him.


“A strange thing to say for a lady who already treats my vingt-et-un table as her personal place of business.” Lavoie’s lip had curled, his scar making it look more like a smirk than a smile.

She looked away, despising the truth in his assessment. “I do no such thing. Ladies don’t have jobs,” she repeated, though it was a pitiable attempt at her defense.

“Ladies don’t have jobs that people know about,” he countered.

“What? What does that mean?” Angelique’s eyes snapped back to his.

Lavoie moved out from behind his desk and leaned back against the front of it. He crossed his booted feet casually, never taking his eyes off her. “It means, my lady, that once you stop pretending to be aghast, and you understand that I offer the potential to earn more money in a single night than you will earn in three at the card tables, you might wish to reconsider. I wish you to deal a high-stakes vingt-et-un table that can accommodate at least six players who will be playing against the house and not each other. Who will be playing against you.”

Angelique was at a loss for words.

“I don’t need to have your answer now,” he said, tipping his head. “You know where to find me. I will pay you for your time, of course, and you will also receive a percentage of whatever you—my club—wins. I promise that your identity will remain concealed. And unlike the men you have had to endure thus far at the tables, I promise that I won’t touch your breasts. And anyone else in my club who might attempt to do so in the future will answer to me.”

She felt her face heat all over again, even as another hail of unwanted thrills crackled through her like a summer storm.


“Tell me you’ll think about it,” Lavoie prompted.

“Very well.” The shock was wearing off, and Angelique was trying her best to collect her scattered thoughts. She’d be an idiot to deny him outright. She didn’t trust him entirely, but her current situation didn’t leave her many choices. And she couldn’t deny that his offer, like the man himself, was more than a little…intriguing. Exciting. Fascinating.

Lavoie pushed himself off the desk, coming to stand directly in front of her. His eyes skimmed over her hair, her mask, her gown, as if he was evaluating—admiring—what he saw. “With a mind such as yours, I think you would be brilliant,” he murmured. “I think that you and I would make splendid partners.”

REVIEW: This is the third book in this series and it is one of the best Kelly Bowen has written so far. I love the characters, the plot and the setting. There’s so much happening in this story, that I came to the end and thought, no way! How can it be over already?!

I believe that the adventure within made this story twice as exciting for me, bit it’s the characters of Lady Angelique Archer and Alexander Lavoie that drove this story to its zenith. Those two characters were complex and well matched to each other.

If you’re looking for a story that’s fast paced, with plenty of perils for our leads, and a bit of mystery, then this story will truly make you happy.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

kelly bowenAUTHR BIO: Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. 

But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads /

Spotlight on Mary Wine and ‘Highland Vixen’!




New Years Resolutions

I actually do this. Seriously. Years ago, I had these two young sons and like most moms out there, I was faced with the challenge of finding outlets for their energy. We ended up at a local Tae Kwon Do studio. Fast forward to now and I am still a student there myself. Master Kim has taught me some very important life lessons, one of which is that dreams don’t come true…Goals are achieved. So every year, I make out my list of goals and the steps I need to take to put myself on the path of success.

First up this year- Recovery. Mother Nature dealt me a low blow this last year that ended with surgery. I intend to return to martial arts training and sword training. I want to take tests in both sports. My strength really suffered during my recovery period, so I am working toward rebuilding it.

Second- Helping my younger son gain entrance to Paramedic School. Yes, it’s his education but the adult world is touch to take on. I am helping him navigate the mountain of paperwork he needs to shuffle.

Last- Leave the continent I live on and visit a different one.

So that’s my list. I hope everyone is out there….filling the new year with wonderful memories.


Mary Wine

highland-vixen-2BOOK BLURB: Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage.

In the throes of fierce clan wars, the Queen’s Regent tricks the children of two feuding lairds into a desperate choice: marry or die. The union—however reluctant—of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families.

Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage. But she is rocked by the intense passion she feels for Bhaic—who is likewise taken aback by the fierce jealousy he experiences when he sees Ailis speaking with other men. Is it possible for fierce enemies to become ardent lovers?

Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He’s used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he’ll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant… Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.

It’s anyone’s guess who’ll win this battle of the heart…

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Highland Weddings series

spitfire highland-vixen-2 hh-mv hf-mw



Have you made any resolutions of your own this year?

ONE print copy of Highland Vixen

*US residents only*


“I never wanted yer blood.”

He choked on a chuckle. “So hitting me with that pitcher was.…just a.…what, lass?”

The memory made her smile. “A reminder. Of manners. Ye were acting like a whoremaster, lining yer men up like that and setting them on me.”

“Ah.” He made a low sound in the back of his throat. “Maybe I deserved it at that.”

“Ye disagree with me.” She shrugged. “Men and women often do.”

He nodded, the motion sending a soft sensation through her belly. She looked away, feeling like something very private had just been exposed to him.

“Ye’ve been serving in the kitchens.”

It wasn’t really a question, but it did give her something to sink her attention into that didn’t allow her to feel uncertain. When it came to her circumstances at MacPherson Castle, she was very, very sure how she felt.

“Servants are paid.” Helen leaned back against the stone wall and felt its rough edges against her scalp. “I assure ye, I was not.”

His expression tightened, surprising her so that she returned her gaze to his.

“Ye should no’ have hid from me. I would have righted yer circumstances if I’d known ye were being treated unfairly.”

“I did nae hide.” She pushed at him. “Get up.”

Marcus didn’t move for a moment, giving her a steady look that dared her to force him. Helen felt her eyes narrow. “Well then, ye want to play the part of me devoted suitor, completely at me beck and call…”

He made a rather male sound before he was twisting and sat up next to her. Which gave her the chance to laugh at his expense. “Ye have more than yer share of pride, and that’s a fact.”

“As do ye, Helen.”

She shifted and stood, moving away from him. She’d only taken a quick glance at the blood staining her chemise. It would serve its purpose. That should have been what her thoughts settled on, but all she ended up doing was dwelling upon what he’d said and the way her sex felt so very sensitive. As though she was eager for him to touch her.

“I never saw ye in the hall. Little wonder ye did nae find the MacPhersons’ castle to be a fine place. Ye did nae gave it a chance. Me father makes sure there is fine music and good drink in the evenings. He is nae an overly stern laird. Ye should nae have stayed away, nursing yer pride.” His tone was kinder than she’d heard from him before. It declared a level of sincerity that sent a little twist of excitement through her.

Yet it also needled her pride.

“Nursing me pride?” She turned on him. “I was working because I was nae a MacPherson, so was nae due any free time to indulge in comforts. I toiled more hours than there was sunlight, and if I made the mistake of resting me head on the table and was discovered, I got a taste of the rod being laid across me back. The blasted thing leaves welts. Ye brought me there, it was no’ me place to go whining to ye.”

She’d seen his disapproval before. Been the recipient time and again, but now she witnessed it crossing his face on her behalf. It unsettled her, leaving little seeds of doubt about just how guilty he was.

“Duana is more of a bitch than I seem to have noticed.”

Helen scoffed at the Head of House’s name. “She is hardly alone. What did ye expect when ye dropped me off the back of yer horse and swore ye’d burn me father’s house to the ground if I strayed?”

“I certainly did nae thought she was working ye like a slave,” he answered. “Ye have never had any difficulty speaking yer mind to me, Helen. Admit ye were holding on to yer pride.”

His point was valid. He was the War Chief, his day full of pressing matters that affected many, and she was but one person.

“If I was, ye can nae fault me, seeing as it was the only thing I had left to call me own,” she shot back. “Ye stole me in me house shoes. It was a mighty cold winter, I can tell ye.”

And she didn’t like thinking about it. Helen pulled her knees up and leaned against the stone wall, closing her eyes in some vain hope that sleep might arrive and still her thoughts. Was she expecting him to have a personal interest in her? Yes. She had to admit it was so. Still, she couldn’t seem to reconcile herself to cooling her temper, in spite of knowing she was not making much sense.

Well, at least that brought her back to a place she knew very well. When it came to Marcus, she had more impulses than sense. Better to bite her lip and keep the shame of it to herself.


mary-wineAUTHOR BIO: Mary Wine has written over twenty novels that take her readers from the pages of history to the far reaches of space. Recent winner of a 2008 EPPIE Award for erotic western romance, her book LET ME LOVE YOU was quoted “Not to be missed…” by Lora Leigh, New York Times best-selling author.

When she’s not abusing a laptop, she spends time with her sewing machines…all of them! Making historical garments is her second passion. From corsets and knickers to court dresses of Elizabeth I, the most expensive clothes she owns are hundreds of years out of date. She’s also an active student of martial arts, having earned the rank of second degree black belt.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Blog / Facebook / Goodreads

‘Fatal’ by John Lescroart

f-jlSTORY: Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.

Not long after their affair, a masked man barges into the café Kate is sitting in with her best friend, firing an assault weapon indiscriminately into the crowd. This tragedy is the first in a series of horrifying events that will show Kate just how grave the consequences of one mistake can be.

REVIEW: Kate and Ron Jameson have a happy marriage, two children, and live in San Francisco. When their friends invite them to have dinner with them and another couple, new to them, something about the guy, Peter Ash, sparks a passion in Kate and she wants to have sex with him. Knowing this is a crazy idea, she can’t seem to stop before herself actually bringing it to fruition. After an afternoon in a hotel room and agreeing that this is a one time thing, Kate seems to be able to put it behind her, but Peter realizes that if this ever got out, his wife would ruin him.

Kate’s good friend, Beth Tully, is a single mom with one daughter. Kate and Beth have been best friends since college. Beth spent years as a patrol cop and is now an inspector and is quite good at her job.

Kate and Beth have met up at a popular public place for coffee where Kate is about to confide in her about her affair with Peter. Just then, terrorists strike the area killing and injuring many people. Both Kate and Beth are injured.

Months later after lots of healing, Beth is just back at her job just as Peter Ash is murdered. As Beth and her co-worker, Ike, investigate his murder, many things open up and it appears the killer might be among Kate’s friends and family.

This is my first book by John Lescroart and now I realize why my husband is such a fan of his. This mystery is well-written with characters that seem so real, it’s like talking about your next-door neighbor. The book kept my interest all the way through making me wonder who the murderer was. I liked this book very much. My only skepticism is the “terrorist” attack centered on a small place in San Francisco. Had there been other attacks elsewhere, it may have seemed more feasible. But, that did not stop me from giving this book 5 stars.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘A Drop of Ink’ by Megan Chance

adoi-mcSTORY: Penniless and disgraced, Adelaide Wentworth is feeling rather desperate. With nothing left to lose, she and her sister, Louisa, flee to Lake Geneva with Adelaide’s lover, the infamous poet Julian Estes. There, Louisa hopes to persuade Bayard Sonnier—celebrated writer and her former lover—to advance Julian’s career. He is their last hope for salvation.

At the Villa Diodati—the place that inspired the writing of Frankenstein sixty years earlier—Louisa plots to rekindle her affair with Bayard, while Adelaide hopes to restore her fading love for Julian by being the muse he needs.

But soon, secrets are revealed, passions ignited, and hidden talents discovered. Adelaide begins to imagine a different life. Confused, she turns to Giovanni Calina—Bayard’s assistant and a man with his own secrets and deep resentments—and the two form a dangerous alliance. No one leaves unscathed in this richly imagined, emotionally nuanced tale of passion, ambition, inspiration, and redemption.

REVIEW: I’ve never read this author before but I really got intrigued by the book blurb, so I thought to try it and was so glad I did.

This was not one of those cookie cutter romances that I love and am used to, yet it was a story that delivered on so many fronts. It was a story that went into deeper and more complex telling of so many of our human emotions, from love to madness and back to love again. I loved the imperfections of the characters and their humanity was on full display.

I hope you give Megan Chance  a chance, pun intended, and get this well written and complex story.

“A fatal muse. A man who’d betrayed his wife and child because he told himself he was building a more perfect world, a man who believed art should obey few limits, and that love should obey none.”

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Wicked in His Arms’ by Stacy Reid

wiha-srSTORY: Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, has learned it is best to exercise rigid control over his passions and emotions in all that he does. Uncaring that it makes him seem cool and aloof to most in the ton, he is content with his desire to only woo agreeable and demur females. Then unforeseen circumstances see him trapped in a closet at a house party with the last woman he would ever make his countess.

Lady Olivia Sherwood is everything he should not desire in a female—unconventional, too decisive, and utterly without decorum. But passion ignites between them and they are discovered. Honor demands they wed, and while Tobias finds himself unwillingly drawn to the bewitching beauty, he must do everything not to tempt the passion that burns in him for her, lest it leads to disastrous consequences.

REVIEW: Hertfordshire England – 1818 – Riverhill Manor

Viscount Bathhurst is ill and his stepdaughter, Lady Olivia (Livvie) Sherwood, is helping to care for him. She has loved him as a true father since her real father took his own life leaving her mother and two daughters alone and penniless. The Viscount has a son, William, from his first marriage, who will inherit everything except for a small cottage, and modest incomes se aside for his wife and two stepdaughters.

When he tells her that he has asked his cousin, the Countess of Blade, to sponsor her for a season, she is not pleased. Having received a bad reception 3 years ago at her first season in London due to her father’s past, she does not want to go through it again. Livvie is happy with her life just as it is. As an accomplished painter, she has been able to earn money by selling her paintings. She is confident that when her stepfather passes, she will be able to help support them through this pastime.

But her mother is also insistent that she find a husband. Yet when her stepbrother, William, tells her he is going to make her his mistress, she is shocked to the point she immediately agrees to go to the Countess of Blade for her assistance in finding a husband for her.

Grangeville Park, South Hampshire

Tobias Theodore Walcott, the Earl of Blade, is riding his horse very fast when he runs into another horse knocking its rider on the ground. The rider turns out to be Livvie. Furious at him for knocking her into the mud, he is intrigued by her anger as she scolds him. Of course, she knows that the Countess will be angry with her if she learns that Livvie was riding astride.

As they get to know one another, Tobias sees that Livvie is not a very ladylike person and tends to be a bit of a hoyden. She is also very outspoken and enjoys things like fencing and fishing.

Tobias is a very straight-laced man who is not easily moved by young women looking to wed him. But when he and Livvie are caught in a compromising situation, there is no other choice than that they wed. How can these two very different people expect to make their marriage last?

This is a good story about two very opinionated people. I found Livvie to be very likable but Tobias needed a swift kick in the butt. I’m sure that readers will enjoy their adventures.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Highlander’s Bride’ by Amanda Forester

thb-afSTORY: After years of fighting in France, Sir Gavin Patrick longs for his Scottish home and for an easier life off the battlefield. However, laden with a shipment of orphans, a massive treasure to transport, and Lady Marie Colette—a sharp-tongued French heiress—Gavin realizes that the real battle is only beginning. Colette expects a painless trip as Gavin transports her to her Highland fiancé, but their relationship takes an unexpected turn…

Forced to pose as a married couple in order to sneak out of France, Gavin and Colette fight against their developing, forbidden attraction…all the while yearning to fulfill their pent-up desire.

REVIEW: This is the first story in Highland Trouble series and I found it very easy to read. The characters were well written, plot a bit simplistic and romance sweet and tender.

But what this author does best is bring Highland history to life and that’s been the draw for me. She weaves historical facts and fiction seamlessly and forces the reader to live alongside the people of the world she creates.

If you’ve ever wondered about Hundred Years War, and the sides that fought it, you’ll learn about it in this story. You’ll also get to know our hero, who was one of those Alpha males that were true to their calling and his devotion to it was admirable. I thoroughly enjoyed his dilemma and was chuckling all through the story.

It took me a bit longer to warm up to the heroine, but as the story developed, so was her true nature and by the end of the story I liked her and whole heartedly approved of her character.

Whether you’re into men in kilts or not, I promise that you’ll love this story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Marriage Lie’ by Kimberly Belle

tml-kbSTORY: Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

REVIEW: Will and Iris Griffith have been married for seven years and are very much in love. They have bought their dream home in Atlanta and are finally trying for a baby. Will is a computer scientist and Iris is a school counselor for a swanky private school.

Will has just left for a business trip to Florida when Iris learns that a plane taking off from the Atlanta Airport has crashed. Irish quickly checks and finds with great relief that it is not the plane Will is on. That is until she learns that his name is on the passenger list of the plane that crashed and was heading to Seattle.

Grief overwhelms her as she tries to sort through not only the loss of her husband but why was he on a different plane than he said he was going to be. Iris’s family comes to try and comfort her and help figure out why Will lied to Iris.

As her family helps her dig into Will’s past, more questions arise. Who is Will and what really happened to him? Soon, they discover that they might be exposing a bigger mystery that can mean certain danger.

This is a very moving story that exhibits the depth of grief and how it affects people. In addition, the plot the author has put together is quite good. This book kept my attention from the first to last page and I highly recommend it.

Connie for b2b