Spotlight on Anna Bennett and ‘My Brown-Eyed Earl’!



William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, is at the end of his noble rope. Not only has he broken ties with his longtime mistress, his mother has publicly announced her wish for him to marry a suitable young lady―if only to help him raise the twins left in his care. Hiring a governess should solve some of Will’s problems…but when he meets the candidate in question, he finds himself in an entirely new predicament.


Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy, beautiful, and, once upon a time, Will’s betrothed. But she bowed out of the engagement―and, since then, has never been the same. A tragic accident robbed her of everything, and now, at age twenty-three, her marital prospects are slim to none. Penniless but not without pride, Meg convinces the vexingly handsome Will to hire her for the job. What neither of them could have expected from this arrangement, however, is an attraction that burns stronger than ever. Are these two lost souls finally ready to be schooled in the art of love?

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Will leaned forward on his elbows and pinched the bridge of his nose. Somehow, in the space of a week, his highly ordered, luxurious life had fallen apart.

First, Marina, the beautiful widow he’d been seeing, hinted that she wanted more than the mutually pleasurable arrangement they’d agreed to, forcing Will to break things off with her.

Next, his recently deceased cousin’s mistress showed up on Will’s doorstep with the twin girls, threatening to leave them at an orphanage unless he took them in.

And then last night, he attended a dinner party in honor of his mother’s birthday. In front of a dozen guests, she announced her sole wish: that her son marry before she turned fifty—in exactly one year. After choking on his wine, Will promised to give the matter some thought.

Then he had gone directly to his club and drunk himself into oblivion.

Jesus. He stood, ran his hands through his hair, and checked his reflection in a mirror between a pair of book- cases. Gibson was right—he looked like hell.

Bad enough to scare off a potential governess.

He swiped the cravat off his chair, slung it around his neck, hastily tied it in some semblance of a knot, and but- toned his jacket. There was nothing to be done about the stubble on his chin or the faint imprint the desk blotter had left on his cheek, so he threw back the rest of his coffee and congratulated himself. Within the hour he’d have a governess to manage the twins, and at least one aspect of his life would be set to rights.

Gibson was already shuffling down the corridor. “My lord,” he intoned from the doorway, “may I present Miss Lacey.”

Will blinked. Lacey . . . it was a common name. Surely the potential governess couldn’t be—

She glided into the study and cast a wary look his way.

“Good afternoon, Lord Castleton. It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

Dear God. It was her. The vicar’s daughter who thought she was too damned good for him. Standing in his study, cloaked in a drab dress that might have been lilac once but now more closely resembled gray. No ribbons adorned her brown hair. No ringlets framed her face. In fact, the only decoration she wore was the light smattering of freckles across her nose.

REVIEW: London – 1817

Miss Margaret (Meg) Lacey, age 23, is hoping to find a position as a companion, but her friend is insisting she apply for a governess position to twin 6-year-old girls, Diana and Valerie. Meg and her two younger sisters have been cared for by their Uncle Alistair after the deaths of their parents 8 years ago. However, she realizes that her uncle’s finances are in bad shape and she needs to find a way to earn money.

The man Meg is applying to for the position is none other than William Ryder, the Earl of Castleton. Lord Castleton is the man her parents had wanted her to marry. At the time, she was only 15 and was not interested in marriage at all and ended up insulting him.

Fighting a hangover, William is ready to interview the prospective governess. Why is he hungover? His mother has just requested that he marry within a year.

William offers Meg the position with good pay. Although she doesn’t really feel qualified to teach the girls, she work hard to make sure she is doing a good job.

The girls’ mother was the mistress to his recently deceased friend. She dumped them on William because she does not want to keep them. If he didn’t take them, she would have put them in an orphanage.

Meg enjoys working with the girls even though they can be rather trying at times. The girls develop a fondness for her too.

As Meg and William spend more time together, a spark ignites that turns into heated desire.

This is a good book with a great plot and I enjoyed it immensely. There is a bit of suspense added to the story that will keep the reader guessing and drawing them deeper into the story. Do grab a copy of the book. I think you will truly enjoy it.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

annabennett_authorphoto_color-300x400AUTHOR BIO: Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

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‘Veiled In Blue’ by Lynne Connolly

vib-lcSTORY: It is up to the Emperors of London to protect the throne—without risking their hearts…

Governess Eve Merton would have fallen into serious trouble on her walk home if a handsome stranger had not stopped to help her. But when Mr. Vernon gives her a lift on his horse, he makes no secret of his attraction. As a well brought-up young lady, Eve does her best not to notice, but when he sets about courting her, she knows she’s in trouble. For she has a secret: she is the daughter of a deposed king, which means not only is she without a dowry, but also that her life is in danger…

Little does Eve know that Mr. Vernon has secrets of his own. In truth, his name is Julius, Lord Winterton, and he’s well aware that Eve is the offspring of the Old Pretender. In order to save his sister, he must convince Eve to wed—though he wants nothing to do with love. But as the two grow closer and an attempt is made on Eve’s life, Julius may realize that fighting his heart’s true desire is a battle most pleasurably surrendered…

REVIEW: Julius, Lord Winterton, a.k.a Mr. Julius Vernon, is a widower with a six-year-old daughter named Caroline and a sister named Helena. The girls are currently staying with his mother. She has been imploring him to get a companion for Helena and keeps reminding him that he also needs to get remarried to one of the women that she has chosen for him. His mother is also threatening to use Helena as an unpaid companion. It angers Julius for his mother to try and manipulate him.

Currently, he is on a secret mission to find the legitimate children of the Old Pretender and provide them safety. One of the people he seeks is Miss Eve Merton, who is has been raised as the daughter of the late Reverend and Mrs. Merton of Appleton. He decides to visit his brother, Alex, for a few days and search for Eve at the same time. Riding his horse on his journey, he happens upon a young lady who has twisted her ankle while walking along the road he is traveling. He assures her that is a trustworthy man, so she agrees to ride on his horse with him to her destination. He is delighted to find that she is the Eve Merton whom he seeks. Upon arrival in town, Julius ensures that Eve is safe in her home. He then decides to stay at an inn in town under the name of Mr. Vernon.

When he meets with his brother, he shares his mission with him. He also shares that he thinks there is a spy in town and they have to flush him out.

As Julius is quite taken with the lovely Eve, he calls upon her and her mother. He enjoys walking and talking with her. Eve feels that at the age of 27, and a woman with no dowry, her prospects for marriage are behind her and she prepares herself to be a spinster. Even though Mrs. Merton has told her the truth about her background, Eve doesn’t believe it.

Julius calls upon Eve but finds he has competition in that other men are interested in her. Realizing she will have to marry someone, she thinks she should accept an offer from Sir Henry although she doesn’t care for him. When Eve and Julius are discovered kissing, Julius immediately announces that they are betrothed. Yet things are not rosy for them as they both face enemies that need to be identified and conquered.

The story was OK for me but it tended to drag in parts.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Governess Was Wanton’ by Julia Kelly

tgww-jkSTORY: Follow three best friends who navigate love and independence as governesses in Regency England in this delightfully charming installment in the Governesses series.

Mary Woodward, a young veteran governess, has one job: guiding a young debutante through her first season in high society. And up until now, keeping her focus and avoiding temptation has been easy.

But never before has the father of her young charge been as devilishly handsome as the single, wealthy Earl of Asten…. Convinced to risk it all, Mary let’s herself enjoy one night of magic at a masked ball in Asten’s arms, but will they both regret everything when the Earl learns her true identity?

REVIEW: London – 1857

Mary Woodward, age 32, is an experienced governess whose new position tasks her to guide a young debutante through her first season. Mary has such a good reputation that she is often referred to as the Fairy Godmother of Belgravia. Her new position is as governess to Lady Eleanora.

Lady Eleanora, age 17, is the daughter of the wealthy, widowed Earl of Aston. The Earl is concerned about his daughter because she seems to be quite unhappy and lacks the enthusiasm needed to take her through the season and to find a husband. The Earl is a powerful political figure in the House of Lords. He is constantly being visited by Lady Laughlin, a widowed and old friend of his late wife. She has two daughters of her own entering their seasons as well. The woman is constantly dropping in unexpectedly, giving orders to the Earl’s staff, and making snide remarks to Eleanora to make her own daughters look good.

When Mary suggests to the Earl that perhaps Eleanora thinks that he is going to marry Lady Laughlin, he is shocked declaring that marriage is not what he wants.

The Earl is very impressed with Mary’s credentials and how she and Eleanora get along well as Mary is slowly able to interest the girl into attending soirees. Eleanora has been very well-educated. Some of her instruction has been via her father.

Mary finds the Earl to be a very handsome man, but knows to keep his distance. Ironically, he feels the same way.

One night, Eleanora convinces Mary to attend a masked ball where she is not known to anyone. When she waltzes with the Earl and they step outside for some fresh air, magic happens.

Is there a chance for them or is Mary destined to always be a governess?

I really loved this book. The characters of Mary, Eleanora and the Earl really grab the reader making you like them. I hope others will read this book. It is one that you do not want to miss.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘All About Seduction’ by Katy Madison

aas-kmSTORY: She had never known passion like this…

Caroline Broadhurst is about to take a lover—at her husband’s command. For fifteen years, Caroline has done everything her much older husband has desired—except provide an heir. Now he has given her an ultimatum: seduce a suitable gentleman and bear a son. Caroline would never think of bowing to such a shameful order, but then she meets Jack Applegate.

Jack has longed for the beautiful, untouchable Caroline for years, but the chasm between them was too wide to ever dream of crossing. Now, fate and passion have thrown them together, but the potential scandal threatens to smother their love. And when a violent secret comes to light, only a terrible sacrifice will prevent the flame of their affection from being snuffed out forever.

REVIEW: I’m afraid to even start telling you about ALL ABOUT SEDUCTION. You might find me tripping all over myself while gushing and praising this author that, low and behold, I NEVER read before!

What an oversight on my part!

The blurb adequately describes the story, and while this plot has been done before and as recently as Loraine Heath’s WAKING UP WITH THE DUKE, Ms. Madison’s take on the plot is still unique and surprising. I found the story well written, characters three-dimensional, as well as the time and the situation our hero and heroine find themselves in, very realistically portrayed. Their feelings for each other, their treatment of one another, was very touching and full of raw emotion.

Caroline’s loyalty to her husband, even after he demands she take a lover to get pregnant with an heir, is commendable; but her strength is shaken while torn between that loyalty, desire for the one man she could never have, and her overwhelming desire for a child. The humiliation she endures at some of the ‘aristocratic gentlemen’ of her husband’s choosing is painful, and it almost breaks her resolve while making the reader fume.

To say that Jack Applegate is your typical hero is an understatement. The handsome, young man we meet comes from a huge family, is poor, hardworking, and thoroughly down on his luck. Yet he’s got dreams and a plan to better himself, to basically pull himself out of this Godforsaken place and make his fortune in manufacturing. Then the unthinkable happens, and our hero is faced with life-changing decisions that will make or break his future.

Jack and Caroline embark on a journey of discovery that is not to be missed. While Caroline finally connects to her passionate nature, Jack learns that determination and perseverance are his strengths, and no matter what or who stands in his way, he will prevail.

If you’ve never read this author, please seek her work out. I highly recommend this emotional story of unique and tender love that impressed me to a point that I was sure to track down the author’s previous book, TAINTED BY TEMPTATION, and add it to my TBR shelf.

Melanie for RRAH

‘A Place for Miss Snow’ by Jennifer Moore

apfms-jmSTORY: Miss Diana Snow is everything a British chaperone should be—she finds satisfaction in order and depends wholly upon the rules of decorum as she negotiates the isle of Greece with her young charge. But Miss Snow’s prim and proper exterior masks a disquieting past: orphaned and alone in the world, she has only her stiff upper lip to rely on. When a brief encounter with a handsome stranger challenges her rules of propriety, Diana is unwittingly drawn into an adventure that will turn her ordered world upside down.

Alexandros Metaxas is a Greek spy working to recruit individuals to the cause of revolution. His mission seems to be going perfectly until he encounters Diana Snow, a captivating—if slightly cold—beauty. When their paths cross again, the ill-fated reunion threatens all Alex has been fighting for. But more importantly, it places Diana’s life in jeopardy. There is only one way to save her: they must put themselves at the mercy of the most powerful pirate family in the Mediterranean. Soon, Diana is plunged into a fantastic world of gypsy curses, blood feuds, and unexpected romance. But when a bitter vendetta places her in mortal danger, will she have the courage to fight for life and love?

REVIEW: Alexandros (Alex) Metaxas is in Corfu City hoping to elude some British officers. Carrying a heavy parcel, he is sure the officers think he is Turkish and he does not want them to open the parcel. Alex slips into a cafe where he sits at a table with two young ladies. Shocked at his ill behavior for doing so, he learns one lady is Molly Campbell, whose father is Sir James Campbell, inspector-general of Zakinthos and she has recently arrived to stay with him. The other lady is Miss Diana Snow, her chaperone. Alex is quite taken with Diana. When he leaves the cafe, he forgets his gloves and Diana takes them with her thinking she may see him again so she can return them.

Later after dinner, Molly is told by some guests that a Lieutenant Ashworth may propose marriage to her. The women attending the dinner seem to be pushing Molly into accepting him but she agrees with Diana that she needs to get to know him first. Angered at Diana for disagreeing with them, they point out that Diana had been an orphan educated at the Elliott School via a Christian charity. However, Diana’s education is an excellent one and she is also an expert in etiquette. While Molly is angry at the women for being so rude to Diana, she just fluffs it off. While some people may look down on her, Diana is very grateful to Lady Stanhope for offering her a position at the finishing school where she had worked.

When Diana steps outside for some air, she is kidnapped and taken aboard a ship to an island. Alex is also onboard. At the island, she learns that she will join a family where she will teach a young girl, Elena, to read and, in turn, will be taught Greek.

As she spends the days helping the family, she and Elena become good friends as they work to learn the other’s language. At the same time, Diana learns how the people live, their customs, what they grow, and what they eat.

Diana sees Alex now and then but is not sure what he is doing there. It turns out he is trying to get help from the local warriors to help him fight his enemies. As Diana gets caught up in all of this, it tests her courage to help others.

Although she was always sure she would find a British ship to take her home one day, she gets to the point she is not sure she is ready to return.

This was an interesting book in that I learned a lot about the people and their customs, however, the plot peppered with the Greek made it a bit confusing at times.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Wedding Chase’ by Rebecca Kelley

twc rkSTORY: What happens when a bride ends up with the wrong groom? In Rebecca Kelley’s witty, passionate tale of romance, sparks fly between an eligible lady who doesn’t trust her desires and the roguish suitor determined to prove her wrong.

Wolfgang Hardwicke, the Earl of Northcliffe, is up to no good, as usual. He doesn’t know why he comes to the aid of a drunken gambler. He certainly isn’t expecting to be rewarded with a glimpse of the gambler’s exquisite sister—and yet one glimpse is not enough. So Wolfgang is absolutely thrilled to see her again, lighting up a dull party as she plays piano. But to win this glorious musician’s hand, the notorious rake will have to change her tune—fast.

Miss Grizelda Fleetwood has no interest in romance—she’s only marrying to save her family from financial ruin. That is, if she can find a suitable match before the unprincipled and relentless Earl of Northcliffe ruins her reputation. Unlike her not-so-secret admirer, Zel is an unabashed do-gooder with a soft spot for those in need. But if Zel is too generous with Wolfgang, she might find herself walking down the aisle with the one man she never expected—a husband she loves with all her heart.

REVIEW: This story was predictable, yet I liked it. For that I give credit to the wonderful characterization of the two leads. Both were too good to be true and I still loved them. Their romance was fun and funny!

Seriously, if you love your romance to have a bit of drama, comedy and move at a fast pace, I recommend this one.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Close Encounters of the Furred Kind’ by Tom Cox

ceotfk-tcSTORY: Have you ever moved house, over a distance of 350 miles, with four cats? If you haven’t, and are thinking about it, I’ll give you some advice: don’t.

If you really must move, try to get the cats to arrange their own transport. Focus on yourself instead. You’ll have plenty to think about as it is, and the cats will only get in the way with their sarcasm and hairballs. I moved from Norfolk to Devon with four cats and it felt like such an impossible ordeal, part of me believes that I actually died somewhere along the way and am now living in some kind of afterlife: very much like real life, but a little slower moving, and with slightly clearer air. “That’s just the West Country,” I’ve been told, but I can’t be 100% certain.

REVIEW: Tom Cox and his girlfriend, Gemma, live in the UK in a fair-sized home. After having lived there for a number of year, they are ready for a move to another area. Tom takes the reader through the miseries of packing up and throwing out things in preparation for the move. Along the way, he introduces the reader to his four cats. He tells us little stories of each cat’s personality and how they all fit into the family and the neighborhood.

When it’s finally moving day, we share his agony of moving the household and the four cats. What a trial that is!

I enjoyed this book and the funny stories about each of the cats and Tom’s parents. His Dad is a total hoot so don’t miss reading about him.

As a Crazy Cat Mom to three kitties myself, this book really hit home as I found myself nodding my head when Tom shared tidbits about each cat’s behavior and quirks.

You don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy this book. Cats are funny little creatures that creep up and steal your heart. Enjoy!

Connie for b2b