Spotlight on Mia Marlowe and ‘Never Resist a Rake’!

9781492602712BOOK BLURB: Can he fool his new family?

John Fitzhugh Barrett, surprised to learn he is heir to a marquessate, is determined his new status won’t mean giving up his freedom. But as families from all over England descend upon Somerfield Park for the shooting season, their unmarried daughters are lining up to bag the newest trophy buck—him.

Or is he only fooling himself?

John’s instinct for self-preservation inspires him to divide his attentions between a scandalous young widow, and the safely ineligible Rebecca Kearsey, daughter of a destitute baron.

The charade gives John the illusion of controlling the game but when he loses his heart to the beautiful Rebecca, all bets are off.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / BAM / B&N / Chapters / Indiebound / Kobo

The road to love is never easy and often times it takes some well-placed advice from an older and wiser friend or relation to make Happily Ever After happen. For the denizens of Mia Marlowe’s Somerfield Park, the Dowager Marchioness of Somerset, Lady Phillipa, is the lady to call upon for any kind of advice. And so, to celebrate the June release of Never Resist a Rake, we are pleased to share a piece of advice from Lady Phillipa.

“When one is burdened by as many years as I am, people assume I must sigh and shake my head over the past when I was young and foolish. Balderdash! There’s no time like the present. Never say I’ve lived long enough to be done with foolish things.”

EXCERPT:

John Fitzhugh Barrett was not going to make a fool of Baron Kearsey’s daughter. No, sir. From all accounts, the new Lord Hartley had been running with a fast crowd and had no doubt kissed dozens of women.

Fancy women. Loose women. Women whose kisses would turn a man’s knees to water.

Rebecca would show him. A virtuous girl was just as good as a bad girl. Better. She’d kiss him all right. She’d kiss the man into next week.

She prided herself on reasoned thought and knew she was being illogical, but before she could untangle all the invalid syllogisms running through her head, she pressed her mouth against his with such force, their eye teeth knocked together. No matter. He wasn’t going to think her a missish little thing who kissed like an awkward first cousin. She was going to put some passion into it.

As much as she knew about passion, at any rate.

He covered her hands with his and she realized he was trying to encourage her to soften her grip on his ears. So she uncurled her fingers and slid her hands down to palm his cheeks.

He groaned into her mouth.

I’m getting good at this.

Then when he groaned again, she decided it was probably not a good thing. There was a definite edge of pain in the sound. Her fingertips were pressing too hard on the skin around his swollen eye.

Botheration! There were so many things to think about all at once. She eased up. Her lips softened and she slanted her mouth over his.

This time the groan was different—pleased and needy all at once. A little feral.

The thrill of danger danced on her spine. Imagining kissing a man was safe. Holy, almost. She could envision a perfectly acceptable setting for the kiss—a garden in full bloom, an elegant parlor after a well-spoken proposal, before an altar and a church full of witnesses. Heaven knew, she’d dreamed of a kiss often enough.

Kissing a man for real as he reclined in his bed was wicked beyond imagining.

Her imagined kisses were always chaste too. This one was decidedly not. Something inside her went all warm and liquid.

John cupped the back of her head with gentleness as he teased her lips to part by tracing the seam of them with the tip of his tongue. She gave up, and he invaded her. His breath swirled into her, filling her, drawing her back into him.

His tongue, oh Lud, his tongue…

Rebecca had never suspected a kiss could be so…so…involving. It wasn’t just their mouths meeting. Every fiber in her body strained toward him.

She had to stop right now or she’d never be able to. She pulled back and, to her surprise, he let her go. She almost expected him to drag her down onto the feather tick with him.

A wicked part of her was disappointed when he didn’t.

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

MIA MARLOWEAUTHOR BIO: Mia Marlowe is a rising star whose Touch of a Rogue was named one of Publishers Weekly‘s Top Ten Best Romances for Spring 2012. Mia learned about storytelling while singing professional opera.

She knows what it’s like to sing a high “C” in a corset, so she empathizes with the trials of her historical heroines. Mia resides in Boston, Massachusetts. For more on Mia, visit with her via her social media links.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads

Spotlight on Victoria Vane and ‘Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy’!

(C) 2009) JEFF BANKE)

SHARP SHOOTIN’ COWBOY is not a typical romance. Reid Everett and Haley Cooper are two very different personalities. They are like opposite poles of a magnet and just as powerfully attracted to one another even though they are constantly at odds. This was a risky book for me because I knew many readers would tend to side with one character over the other based on who is more closely aligned with the reader’s own socio-political views, but I had to write it anyway.

To quote my hero Reid Everett, “Being on different sides doesn’t necessarily make us enemies. Good people are allowed to disagree. Some of the best solutions to the hardest problems result from differing minds coming together, meeting in the middle.”

That’s what SHARP SHOOTIN’ COWBOY is really all about- meeting half way and finding compromise, even when the odds are against it. I hope readers will enjoy getting to know and like both Reid and Haley.   

Warmest regards,

Victoria Vane

What was your favorite story as a child?

Haley – “Call of the Wild by Jack London.”

Reid – “The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.”

What activity makes you lose track of time?

Haley – “Watching the sunset over the beach.”

Reid – “Watching the sunrise over the mountains.”

What makes you smile?

Haley – “Lots of things. Happy things. Funny things… and Reid.”

Reid. “Her smile.”

Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy

By Victoria Vane

Hot Cowboy Nights, Book 3

9781492601180Take Your Best Shot, Cowboy…

Weary warrior… After eight years as a Marine sniper, war-scarred Reid Everett is back in his native Wyoming. He knows and loves this rugged land, so working for wildlife services to reduce the booming wolf population suits him to a T.

Caring crusader… Wildlife biologist Haley Cooper is desperate to make a difference. Leaving the world of academia behind, she accepts a position as a wolf advocate to protect the animals she loves.

Raw attraction… Their jobs set them on a collision course, but chemistry sparks like wildfire between Reid and Haley. They’ll have to brave some rough territory if they hope to reconcile their polarizing views with a passion that won’t be denied.

BUY LINKS: Amazon | B&N | BAM | iBooks | !ndigo | IndieBound

EXCERPT:

He could see her getting more worked up by the minute, and damned if he wasn’t also—just not in the same way. She’d been baiting him from the start, spewing arguments that usually just pissed him off, but in this case, it was turning him on.

His gaze locked on her mouth. Her tongue darted out as if she read his thoughts. She drew a breath as if to formulate another rebuttal, but he’d had enough. Before her lips could spout off anymore of the Pacifist Tree Hugger’s Manifesto, he pulled her into his arms and silenced her with his.

***

The kiss came without warning, and Haley was too stunned at first to react. He began gently enough, his lips sliding over hers, hands cupping her face, thumbs stroking her jaw, and then he grew more insistent, his tongue probing the seal of her lips. His callused hands were simultaneously firm and gentle, and his lips paradoxically soft and commanding.

Mere seconds had her head spinning and stomach fluttering. She was slipping fast and not about to let him pull her in any deeper. Part of her wanted to give into it, to see where it might lead, but the other half resented his audacity. Her pride won out. She resisted the urge to soften, to open to him, then stiffened, pressing her hands against his chest.

He released her instantly.

She stepped back, knees weak and pulse racing. “I didn’t come here looking to hook up.”

“Neither did I. But sometimes unexpected things happen.” His gaze locked with hers, a look of speculation gleaming in his eyes. “When they do, it’s best to just go with your gut instinct.”

“That so? Well all my instincts scream ‘no marines,’ so don’t let it happen again.”

Suddenly remembering the cue in her hand, Haley turned back to the table. It took all of her will to focus back on the game. She could hardly believe how he’d nearly unraveled her with a single kiss. Then again, no one had ever kissed her like that. She made her break, pocketing the one, and then moved methodically around the table, calling each shot as she sank every solid. Only the eight ball remained, but it was trapped behind two stripes.

Reid’s lips curved with smug certainty. “Looks like I’ll get my turn after all.”

“Don’t count your chickens, cowboy.” She laid down her cue and searched the wall behind her for a shorter one. “Jump cue,” she answered his silent question.

“You’re kidding right?”

“Nope.” Approaching the table, she angled for her shot. She could almost feel his eyes on her ass. She glanced over her shoulder. Sure enough. He was leaning against the wall with both arms crossed over his broad chest, his gaze zeroed in on her behind.

“Enjoying the view?”

“Sure am,” he confessed, unabashed.

He was sadly mistaken if he thought he’d unnerve her. Keeping him in her peripheral vision, she widened her stance and stretched out over the table. All sign of smugness evaporated from his face. He tugged on his jeans.

Haley grinned, reveling in her small victory, and then prepared for a bigger one. “Eight ball, side pocket,” she declared with confidence. On a three count she took the shot, jumping the stripes to pocket the eight. “Yeah baby!” She threw down the cue and fisted the air, gloating in her triumph.

Reid gaped at the table. “I’ll be goddamned. How did you learn to do that?”

“My grandpa was a regional pool champion.”

“That bit of information was mighty sneaky to withhold.”

She shrugged. “You didn’t ask. Loser buys. I’ll take a mojito.”

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY (open 4/22 – 7/1) <<<<<<<<<<

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VV Head shot7AUTHOR BIO: Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance.

Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website | Facebook | @AuthorVictoriaV | Pinterest | Goodreads

Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘Thomas’!

t gbSTORY: Thomas Jennings arrives to his newly acquired estate to find that his steward has fled under a cloud of scandal, and the property has been held together by Miss Loris Tanner, the steward’s daughter. Thomas knows what it’s like to not fit in, and he’s pragmatic enough to respect results, so he gives Loris a chance to maintain her position in a profession uniformly undertaken by men.

Thomas learns about the complexities of estate management from his unlikely tutor, despite somebody’s attempts to drive him off his own land. Mishaps turn into near tragedies, while between Thomas and Loris, respect and liking grow into attraction. Who is sabotaging Thomas’s estate, and what choices will Loris face when the malefactor has been revealed?

BUY LINKS: Amazon Kindle / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Grace’s Own eBook Store

TEASER:  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first impressions these two have of each other, and hope you will too. Here are just some glimpses of what’s in their heads … Thomas first …

She stood at the front of the group, slightly above average height, a neat dark braid hanging down a ramrod-straight back. Her dress was muddy about the hem and so far from fashionable Thomas could not have accurately named the color.

***

This woman would not take kindly to being called missy. A blind man could have discerned that from the command in her tone.

Thomas was far from blind.

The lady stood in profile to him, her nose a trifle bold, her mouth wide and full. Not precisely a pretty woman, though her looks were memorable.

Miss Tanner was a conundrum, part lady, part employee, part something else Thomas couldn’t easily label. He was helpless to resist conundrums, because a man who’d made his fortune in commerce craved sense and order in all things.

***

Loris Tanner had a kind of beauty women seldom valued and men never overlooked: earthy, dark, curvaceous, and strong.

And here are our Loris’s thoughts …

Baron Sutcliffe, was entirely too big to stalk about a busy stable as quietly as a hungry tom cat. He spoke softly too, in the cultured tones of a gentleman, but Chesterton had paled at the sight of his new employer—and put away his whip.

For that alone, the baron had Loris’s loyalty.

She’d been so focused on her horse she’d not noticed the addition to the crowd until Sutcliffe had strolled through the grooms like Moses parting a Red Sea of malevolence and mischief. The baron had been a human storm front rolling toward her, heedless of anything in his path.

No, not heedless—indifferent. Sutcliffe had known Chesterton and his lackeys were milling about, and he’d seen Chesterton fondling that infernal whip.

Sutcliffe simply hadn’t cared.

***

The baron’s exquisitely tailored riding attire and public school diction sat in contrast to Loris’s conviction that his lordship would have relished a display of violence. One man against a half dozen and he’d been amused by the odds.

READ FIRST 3 CHAPTER’s: here.

REVIEW: Now that all the Lonely Lords have been taken off the marriage mart, I’m more than ready for the Jaded Gentlemen series! Bring them on Madam Author!

Our first jaded gentleman is Thomas and he is such a good, honest and decent man. What I loved about him was his decisiveness. He knew what he wanted and had no problem expressing it or going after it.

As for the heroine, I loved that she was smart and capable of doing anything that came her way. Oh, and I loved the outward fearlessness she displayed.

As usual, Grace Burrowes takes her time in unfolding her tale to me and that’s what keeps me coming back to every story she writes. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate an author that takes her time in developing not just her characters, but their romance as well.

If you’ve never read this author, and you appreciate a story with solid plot and realistic characters, you have to try her books, and since this is the first in this series, you may as well pick this one up. I promise you that you’ll love it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

graceburrowesAUTHOR BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.

The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012.

Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews fromPublishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Spotlight on Rosanne Bittner and ‘Outlaw Hearts’!

This June Rosanne Bittner’s beloved title, Outlaw Hearts, will be back in print for the first time in over twenty years! To celebrate, we’re pleased to welcome the hero and heroine of the book Jake Harkner and Miranda Hayes, who will be sitting down with us today for a quick Q&A. 

What would your spouse say was the last thing you argued about?

Jake: My cussing

Miranda: How to discipline a child.  He refuses even a light spanking because he grew up an abused boy.  He loves to spoil children.

9781492612810BOOK BLURB: United by chance, bound by fate, consumed by passion.

Miranda Hayes has lost everything—her family, her husband, her home. Orphaned and then widowed, desperate to find a safe haven, she sets out to cross a savage land alone…until chance brings her face-to-face with notorious gunslinger Jake Harkner.

Hunted by the law and haunted by a brutal past, Jake has spent a lifetime fighting for everything he has. He’s never known a moment’s kindness…until fate brings him to the one woman willing to reach past his harsh exterior to the man inside. He would die for her. He would kill for her. He will do whatever it takes to keep her his.

Spanning the dazzling West with its blazing deserts and booming gold towns, Jake and Miranda must struggle to endure every hardship that threatens to tear them apart. But the love of an outlaw comes with a price…and even their passion may not burn bright enough to conquer the coming darkness.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Apple / BAM / B&N / Chapters / Indiebound / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Miranda watched Jake saddle up while she held the two gunnysacks full of supplies she had prepared for him. He gave Outlaw’s stomach a light punch. “Suck it in, boy,” he barked. “You don’t fool me, filling yourself up with air like that.” The horse’s belly contracted, and Jake tightened the cinch. “All I need is to be on a hard ride to get away from some marshal only to have my saddle slip on me.”

Miranda saw him wince, knew he was still in pain. “Jake, can’t you wait one more day?”

Jake kept his eyes on the cinch, thinking about the restless night he had had, lying awake and wondering what Mrs. Miranda Hayes would have done if he had gone out to her cot and planted his mouth on her sweet lips. “No, ma’am. Too dangerous for you having me here, what with that sheriff sweet on you and all. Hard telling when he might show up again.” He let down a stirrup and turned to meet her eyes. Was that a trace of tears he saw there? No. He would not believe that. “If you had any common sense at all, you would stay here and marry the sheriff and let him take care of you.”

Miranda stiffened with indignation, glad he had said something that made her momentarily forget about wanting to cry. “Why do all men think a woman needs ‘taking care of’? I’ll be just fine on my own. And if I did have common sense, you would be sitting in prison or hanging from a tree by now, and I would be five thousand dollars richer.”

Jake grinned. “You’ve got me there.”

Miranda thought how he looked even more handsome now in the morning light. It was the best he had looked since the first day she saw him in the supply store, bearded and mean-looking, then so sick after that. He had a fine, square jaw and dark, wide-set eyes that were perfectly outlined with dark eyelashes. Even his nose seemed perfectly matched to the rest of his face, and when he smiled, his teeth were straight and clean. She surmised that in spite of his cruelty, Jake’s father must have been as handsome as his mother was beautiful, for they had produced a son that was the best of both. How sad that they had never given that son a decent home.

A faint scar on Jake’s left jaw and another tiny one on his upper lip only seemed to make him even more handsome, lending a ruggedness to his looks that was accented by his tall frame and broad shoulders. She found herself wondering how his full, firm lips would feel on her mouth, how a man like Jake Harkner kissed a woman…”

 

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

rosanne bittnerAUTHOR BIO: USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is known as the “Queen of Western Historical Romance” for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity.

Her epic romances span the West—and are often based on Rosanne’s personal visits to each setting. She lives in Coloma, Michigan, with her husband and two sons.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Blog

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

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.

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Spotlight on Jade Lee and ’50 Ways to Ruin a Rake’!

50wtrar jlBOOK BLURB: Mellie has a plan

Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. She’s looking for any excuse to go to London to meet more eligible men.

Trevor has a problem
Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until such time as he gets engaged. Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor Mr. Smithson but actually to duck his creditors—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but the lady has ideas of her own, and Trevor’s going to have to measure up…

BUY LINKS: Kindle | iTunes | Kobo | Amazon | BN |Books-A-Million | IndieBound

MY REVIEW here.

TEASER:

“Hit him!” screamed the crowd. “Show ‘im what for!”

The sentiment was echoed all around until Mellie actively hated them all. Not just the crowd, but the two combatants. Trevor and Ronnie, fighting like boys in the school yard. Bloody and violent, to be sure, especially since they were grown men. But no one was likely to die. Which is when Trevor stepped in a hole.

He cried out in surprise and pain. Thank God he was wearing boots, otherwise his leg might have snapped in two. As it was, he tumbled down into the mud and Ronnie clearly meant to finish the fight. But he hadn’t reckoned on Melinda. She’d been an unwilling participant in this whole disgusting display. Well, if her cousin wanted a Cheltenham tragedy, she would bloody well give him one.

She surged forward. “Stop it! Ronnie, stop it now!” And when he didn’t hear her, she said the words she’d never thought she’d utter in her entire life. “My love!”

That got his attention. “Mellie!”

She flung herself forward, sliding in the mud to stop right beside Trevor’s head. Ronnie reached for her, but she pushed him away as she wrapped herself around the fallen lord. “My love, are you alive? Oh God, someone fetch a doctor!”

Trevor’s face was a battered mess, but not so unrecognizable that she didn’t see the gleam of appreciation in his eyes or the mischievous smile that pulled at his swollen lip.

“Are you an angel?” he asked. “Have I died?”

The man was lying in the mud, his ankle nearly snapped in half. His face oozed from a myriad of cuts, and yet he still had the wherewithall to give the crowd a good show. It was enough to make her contemplate dropping him in the mud.

Meanwhile, Ronnie just stood there poised, his fist still raised as he gaped. “I won. This was an affaire d’honor.”

“Congratulations,” she mocked. “You beat a man half your weight.”

“I’m not that small,” muttered Trevor.

“Shut up. I’m making a point.” Then she turned her attention to her cousin. “You were right, Ronnie. You have made everything clear. I could never love a brute like you. I love Trevor.”

“Since when?”

Since never. She had a thorough disgust of them both. Especially as Trevor began to speak in a quavering voice.

“Oh, to finally hear those words, now in the moments before I expire. Kiss me, my love. Mayhap your love will keep me tethered to this mortal coil.”

“I will not,” she said between clenched teeth.

He pitched his voice to a plaintive wail. “Then I shall die for sure!”

Damnation on all bloody, arrogant, ridiculous men! One glance about her showed that the crowd was hanging on his every word. She didn’t really care until she looked at Ronnie’s face. He wasn’t stupid. He could see that Trevor wasn’t really hurt. It wouldn’t take him long to remember that she’d never spoken of Trevor with anything but disdain. And from there it was a small step to realizing that this entire display was a sham. So she had to do something quickly. Something that he’d never forget, even if he did suspect the lie.

She kissed Trevor.

She more than kissed him. She lifted him in her arms and gave him the kind of scorching kiss that every woman dreamed she’d receive from the grandson of a duke. And he-horrible roué that he was-wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her right back.

And he kept kissing her, with tongue and teeth and a growl of hunger so wonderful that she hated him even more. Even as she lost all thought to propriety in this very public place.

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

Jade-LeeAUTHOR BIO: A USA Today Bestseller, JADE LEE has been scripting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ball gowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. And as a Taurus, she lives to pit a headstrong woman against a tortured hero just to watch them butt heads on the way to true love. Flesh wounds are rare, but the healing and laughter are real.

Now an author of more than 30 romance novels, she finally gets to set these couples in the best girl-heaven of all: a Bridal Salon! This way she gets to live out all her wedding fantasies, one by one. (Let’s be honest, what girl has only one idea for her dream wedding?) For more on the Bridal Favors series, visit Jade’s social media links. And don’t forget Jade’s other name, KATHY LYONS. That’s Jade’s lighter, contemporary side. She writes for Harlequin Blaze merging hawt sex and funny relationships into really great reads.

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