‘What to Do with a Duke’ by Sally MacKenzie

wtdwad smkSTORY: Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosing—or fall unexpectedly, madly in love…

Miss Isabelle Catherine Hutting would rather be lounging in the library than circling the ballroom in search of a husband any day. So when Cat hears that the town’s infamous Spinster House is open for a new resident, she jumps at the chance to put all this marriage business behind her. But first she must make arrangements with her prospective landlord, Marcus, the Duke of Hart—the most handsome man she’s ever seen, and the only man who’s ever impressed her in the least…

With her wit, independent spirit, and not least of all her beauty, Marcus can’t help but be stirred by Cat. It’s terribly unfortunate he’s not looking to marry, given the centuries-old curse that left his family with the Spinster House to begin with. No duke shall live to see his heir’s birth. But is there a chance the curse could be broken—in true fairy-tale fashion—by an act of true love? The race to Happily Ever After is about to begin…

REVIEW: London 1817

Marcus, the Duke of Hart, a.k.a., the Heartless Duke has fought getting married for quite awhile now.  He knows that he must soon do so though to get an heir.  However, there is a curse that was put upon the family many years back by Isabelle Dorring that unless a man marries for love, he will die shortly after his heir is born.  This has been the case for many years.

Marcus owns a place called the Spinster House in Loves Bridge.  This home was first lived in by Isabella Dorring, the woman who placed a curse on his family.  The house is where a spinster can live rent-free for life for until she marries.  The latest resident has just married so Marcus must find a new resident.

Miss Isabelle Catherine Hutting, known as Cat to her family and friends has reached the age of 24.  She is the eldest daughter of a vicar and his wife who have an enormous number of children – ten to be exact.  Cat is adamant that she does not wish to ever get married.  Her dream has always been to live in the Spinster House in town and be free to write.

When Marcus arrives in Loves Bridge, he finds that there are three young women who all want to live in Spinster House.  Therefore, Marcus decides to have a drawing to decide which lady gets the house. Marcus and Cat become well acquainted as she tells him how much she wants to live in the house.  He is quite taken with the outspoken young woman and very surprised that such a pretty and intelligent woman does not wish to marry.

When Cat wins the drawing, she is thrilled and immediately begins to move into the house.

She discovers that the house is already occupied by a very independent cat who appears to be very intelligent.

Cat and Marcus are attracted to each other but Marcus is afraid to give into passion.  What if Cat got pregnant?  He would have to marry her and if the curse is right, then he knows his life would soon be over.

Sally MacKenzie has penned a clever and humorous novel once again about the Spinster House and the curse.  I enjoyed it very much.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Launch Day Blitz with Kelly Bowen!

You're-the-Earl-That-I-Want-Launch-Day-Blitz

TEASER:

Joss watched him, wanting to smooth the troubled lines from his forehead. “I once knew a boy who told me, when he was grown up, he would become a pirate king and sail his own ship to the four corners of the world in search of treasure,” she said quietly.

His mouth twisted but his eyes remained hard. “That boy grew up. And discovered that there were no such things as pirate kings, and no time to search for treasure.”

“Yet that boy now owns his own ships.”

“He does.”

“And what stops him from sailing them where he pleases? What stops him from doing and taking what he truly wants?”

His eyes caught hers and held them trapped within their brilliant blue heat. The remoteness was gone, replaced by a sudden predatory hunger that made Joss swallow convulsively. Her breath stuttered, anticipation and desire roaring to life and sending frissons of longing pulsing through her. The question she’d flung at Heath was swirling around in her brain now, demanding an honest answer from her own conscience.

What was stopping her from taking what she truly wanted? Because what she wanted was standing before her in perfectly tailored evening clothes, his hands clenched around a pile of newspapers, looking at her with such raw covetousness that it was making her nearly drunk with a reckless want.

“Perhaps one day I’ll take you there,” she said into the sudden silence.

Heath stilled. “To Bombay?”

“To start.” She’d meant it to sound like a jest, but it came out as an invitation. “I could take you a lot of places.” Holy hell, but what was she doing?

Heath seemed to have stopped breathing, though he took a step closer, his scent enveloping her. Instantly her mouth went dry, and a steady throb built in her belly. She squirmed, but she was backed against the desk and had nowhere to go. Sanity was rapidly disintegrating around her, crumbling beneath an overwhelming ache to touch this man. To have him touch her.

“Of course I don’t have my own ships, so I’d have to hitch a ride on one of yours.” She barely recognized herself.

There were reasons why she shouldn’t do this, she knew. She just couldn’t think of one right now.

Heath’s expression shifted suddenly, as if something within him had given way. He took another half step closer, close enough that he was pressed against her skirts now, the hard steel of his legs nudging hers apart so that he dominated her space and trapped her against him. He dropped the newspaper carelessly and braced his hands on the edge of the desk on either side of her waist, bringing his lips a breath away from hers.

“Would you take me?” she whispered, and neither of them could pretend she was still talking about ships.

“Yes,” Heath rasped.

And then he kissed her.

###

ytetiw kbBOOK BLURB: The earl doth protest . . .

For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it’s always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.

. . . but the lady knows best

In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she’s always been able to count on. That doesn’t mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases—and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It’s put Heath in peril once, and Joss won’t let that happen again. She’ll do what she must to ensure the earl’s safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo

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Kelly bowenAUTHOR 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 LINKS: Website / Facebook / Twitter

‘To Desire a Highlander’ by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

tdah sewSTORY: An Unwilling Bride

Proud, passionate Lady Gillian MacGuire is known as the Spitfire of the Isles. She can take care of herself and hasn’t yet met a man who could impress her . . . especially not Donell MacDonnell, the odious older man she was promised to five years ago. She’s been dreading his return, but when her intended comes back to claim her, she’s stunned at how different he seems. The man she swore she would spurn forever now invades her thoughts, her dreams, and her heart.

An Unexpected Desire

When Roag agrees to assume the identity of the recently deceased MacDonnell chieftain, no one warns him that the man was betrothed. As a member of the King’s Fenris Guard, he is oath-bound to embark on whatever mission the crown gives him. Of course, he was expecting a battle—not a bride. Yet after sharing one kiss with Lady Gillian, the powerful Highlander becomes the one seduced and captivated. Now giving in to temptation could ruin them both.

REVIEW: Let me tell you, after I read the blurb, I honestly didn’t think this plot would work. I mean the hero is taking someone else’s identity! This can only go bad, right?! Wrong. I was so wrong. It all worked out unbelievably well, and I should have known better than to question Sue-Ellen’s power of plotting a tale that is passionate and fun.

As usual Sue-Ellen enchants her readers not just with a well told tale of love and woo, but what I find fascinating is that she never fails to paint me a picture of that long ago time in Scotland’s history by giving me a taste of the life her characters lived day in and day out.

With some intriguing and entertaining twists and turns, combined with plenty of humor, she weaves this beautiful love story to any romance lover’s satisfaction.

If you’re still in that dreaded #Droughtlander mode, you need to pick this one up!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘You’re the Earl that I Want’ by Kelly Bowen

ytetiw kbSTORY: The earl doth protest . . .

For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it’s always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.

. . . but the lady knows best

In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she’s always been able to count on. That doesn’t mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases—and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It’s put Heath in peril once, and Joss won’t let that happen again. She’ll do what she must to ensure the earl’s safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.

REVIEW: Kelly Bowen puts forth her 3rd tale in The Lords of Worth series, and it’s a wonderful mystery with a romance element.

Our hero Heath is someone that hails from a family of traders, and now that he’s an earl, it behooves him to get on with finding a proper wife and set up a nursery. To help him out with this monumental task, he engages his best friend and our heroine’s brother.

Our poor heroine Joss has been in love with our hero since in leading strings and she’s not so keen on the matrimonial institution. This young woman is a bluestocking and she’s proud of it!

As our hero Heath applies himself in finding a suitable match, he keeps running into

Joss and even though he finds her irritating, somehow both of them are realizing that there is an interesting and intriguing chemistry between them.

If you’re like me and like your romance to be entertaining as well as romantic, you’ll love this wonderful story, especially because within the plot resides a great mystery.

This was a fast and fun read and I highly recommend it to you.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Not Always a Saint’ by Mary Jo Putney

naas mjpSTORY: After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind, he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.

Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling. Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…

Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

REVIEW: Jessie Kelham is a lovely woman and a recent widow with a young daughter named Beth.  Her husband was much older than she was but he was kind and they have a good, although short, marriage.  Lord Kelham’s will stated that Beth would be named Baroness Kelham allowing that as a female she could inherit the title.  This infuriated Frederick, Lord Kelman’s greedy nephew and he vowed to get it changed.  Knowing this, Jessie needs to remarry as soon as possible so that Frederick cannot claim Beth as his ward and, thus, have access to her money.

Jessie had been raised by a very hateful father who was a cleric.  She had been told that her mother had passed away when she was very little.  She finally ran away to escape her father’s abuse and married another man who led to disaster.  That is when she met Lord Kelham who was very kind to her.

When out in society and dressed in mourning, Jessie meets Daniel Herbert, the newly named Lord Romayne.  While surprised at his title and inheritance, Daniel is at heart a physician and also a cleric. Healing people is his true calling.  Daniel is immediately drawn to Jessie and her beauty.  When he discovers that she is in need of a husband, they agree to marry.  They are attracted to one another and while this is a quick wedding, they are soon falling in love.

Daniel hopes to use some of his money to help found Cottage hospitals in areas where poor people can receive medical care.  Jessie agrees with him.  They then head to his major home, Castle Romayne for their honeymoon.  While there, Jessie’s past is about to catch up with her.

This story weaves us through Jessie’s life and Daniel’s as well.  There is a lot of heartache and pain but the joy that Daniel and Jessie find together, is beautiful.

I enjoyed this story and know that other readers will as well.

Connie for b2b

REVIEW: I’ll never be bored with this author or this series! This is the 7th book in her Lost Lords series and I loved it. Ms. Putney has created not just complex characters, but a wonderful plot. What I loved most about it, is the Beta hero who was such a good, decent and very capable man. And even though Dr. Daniel was a kind and caring man, he was never boring or dull. His life was orderly until he unexpectedly comes into a titled inheritance, and now he must do his duty and provide an heir.

Jessie Kelham is a heroine to be reckoned with. This woman has been through so much in her young life, but she never gave up on herself or her life. Even now, as a young mother and a widow, she is ready to fight anyone that means to harm her or her child and knowing that her options are very much limited when it comes to women’s rights, she is set on thwarting her enemy by contracting a marriage of convenience.

These two shared a common goal, both needed to marry, and both had accepted that the spouses they were willing to settle on would be someone that is reasonably mature and love wasn’t required. Well, destiny had something just a bit more in mind.

Everything in this tale worked for me, from a solid pace to the wonderful dialogue. I enjoyed the progression of their relationship the most, though.

The story stands on its own even though it’s the 7th in the series, so if you have a chance to grab it, I highly recommend you do. It’s not only Jon Paul Ferrara’s cover that is beautiful. The story is as well.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Malice at the Palace’ by Rhys Bowen

matp rbSTORY: Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing.

While my beau Darcy is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the Queen—especially one that includes lodging. The King’s youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace.

My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London and, above all, dispel any rumors about George’s libertine history. Perhaps that last bit isn’t so simple.

George is known for his many affairs with women as well as men—including the great songwriter Noel Coward. But things truly get complicated when I search the Palace for a supposed ghost only to encounter an actual dead person: a society beauty said to have been one of Prince George’s mistresses.

Nothing spoils a royal wedding more than murder, and the Queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds—and Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places—the investigation brings us precariously close to the prince himself.

REVIEW: London – 1934

Lady Georgiana (Georgie) Rannoch is the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a cousin to His Majesty, the current King.  Her life sounds quite glamorous, but actually not so much.  Too often, she finds herself without funds and reduced to existing on eating beans on toast.  Ah, but things are looking up for her when she is summoned by Queen Mary to come for tea.  There, she was asked to move into Kensington Palace for a time to be a friend to Princess Marina who is to be arriving in London soon to prepare for her wedding to Prince George.  Georgie happily agrees and knows she will enjoy showing her around London.

As it turns out, the area of the Palace where she will stay is a bit small and somewhat shabby.

She has also brought her maid, Queenie, with her.  Poor Queenie tries but she is much too lazy and sassy.  However, Georgie would feel bad if she fired her.  In addition, she gets away with paying her the minimum which is all she can afford.  The Palace is known for its ghosts which don’t frighten Georgie but terrifies Queenie.

Georgie quickly settles in and is delighted with the sweet and lovely Princess Marina and together they enjoy shopping, lunches at nice places and soirees with famous people such as Noel Coward.  But when Georgie finds a woman’s body just outside the Palace doors, she gets involved with the police in trying to find the killer.  Georgie has a lot of experience with this because as it happens, this is not the first time she has encountered murder.

Life gets quite busy for her trying to hide the incident from upsetting the Princess and other royals while trying to solve the mystery herself.  She wishes that her boyfriend, the Honorable Darcy O’Mara, the son of Lord Kilhenny, was here.  A handsome man, they have been in a relationship for sometime now and Darcy keeps saying that soon they will be able to get married.  But his covert background is so hush-hush that finding time to even be together for a short time is difficult.  But Georgie remains patient.

As time for the wedding nears, things get a bit tense when it seems that Prince George himself could be a suspect!

I absolutely love the author’s Royal Spyness Mystery Series.  This is the eighth book in the series.  The name dropping and humor always leave me snorting in laughter!  I hope others will discover these books and enjoy them as well.

Connie for b2b

‘Hannah and the Highlander’ by Sabrina York

hath sySTORY: Highlanders are her weakness.

Hannah Dounreay has no time for suitors who only seem interested in her family’s land, which she manages as well as any man. If she marries, she wants to be loved for the educated, independent woman she is. But when a strong, silent–and spectacularly handsome–Highlander saves her from a violent attack, her heart is stirred. Who is this man? And if he asks for Hannah’s hand, will she be able to resist him?

Love is the most powerful weapon of all.

Alexander Lochlannach, Laird of Dunnet, has no time to lose. The Highlands are in an uproar as clans battle for land–without mercy–and Alexander can’t afford to fall for the wildly attractive, strong-willed Hannah. What’s more, he has a desperate secret, one that could destroy them both. But as their attraction turns into an all-consuming passion, Alexander has no choice but to prove to Hannah that he’s the only man for her–body and soul…

REVIEW: As I enter the third month of #Droughtlander (state of being as I await the second season of #Outlander TV series, which is on hiatus until Spring 2016) I’m realizing that my Kindle is getting filled with all these Highlander stories, and this one just happens to be right on top.

I’ve never read Sabrina York before, and this was such a great book that I’ll be happy to check her backlist and see if I can find a few more stories by her.

It appears that this is the first book in her brand new series Untamed Highlanders and this story is of an interesting romance between Hannah and Alexander.

Hannah is a very strong character and I liked the fact that she was a capable woman who did her best to take care of the household and her family. She doesn’t see herself as beautiful as her sisters are, but she longs to be loved for herself and not her dowry. Enter Alexander Lochlannach, Laird of Dunnet , a friend to her father and a very complex man who’s carrying a whole lot of baggage from his childhood.

The chemistry that the author creates between these two is palpable from their first encounter and you just can’t help but root for these two as you’re following their story.

You’ll also be introduced to many secondary characters and they’ll be as complex and entertaining as our leads. You’ll meet Fergus, Fiona, Susana, Lachlan, and last but certainly not least, Dermid.

Seriously, if you’re looking for some Highland love to fill your days between now and spring 2016 when #Outlander returns, you may as well pick this one up. It’s sweet, heart wrenchingly emotional and well written. You can’t go wrong with a man in a kilt!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher