Spotlight on Connie Brockway and ‘Highlander Undone’!

hu cbBOOK BLURB: While recovering at his uncle’s estate from wounds sustained in the Sudan, Jack Cameron—a loyal Scottish captain in the British army—is haunted by the words of a dying officer: one of Her Majesty’s Black Dragoons is aiding the slavers they were sent to suppress. But how will he find the traitor without sending the culprit to ground? He finds a way while listening to the voices beneath his open window—particularly those of Addie Hoodless, a beautiful widow, and her brother, Ted, a famed artist commissioned to paint portraits of the Black Dragoons’ senior officers.

Posing as an artist, Jack decides to infiltrate the close circle of friends at Ted’s studio to listen in on the unguarded conversations of the officers. But first, he must win Addie’s trust despite the emotional wounds of her past. Will Jack dupe the only woman he has ever loved or stand down from hunting the traitor? If his real identity is exposed, Addie’s life will be in terrible danger.

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TEASER: Addie sank back on her heels. Her paint-stained smock pooled around her as she eyed the wall panel before her. With a sound of satisfaction, she once more rose to her knees and dipped an ostrich fern into a tray filled with gilt paint, then pressed it onto the aubergine silk panel.

Slowly, she peeled the long frond back. A perfect impression of the leaf interlocked with the golden silhouette of a fern above it, trailing a graceful latticework from ground to ceiling. There! She’d transformed the second-story boudoir into her own private withdrawing room.

It had been a long time since anything had been well and truly hers. She would never have guessed that this house could ever feel welcoming. And yet, it did. For the first time since her marriage, she was able to please herself.

The thought gave rise to an impulse, one she would have never heeded a year ago. But she could be impulsive now. She could afford to be.

With a feeling of delicious abandonment, she slid her shoes off and peeled back her stockings from her calves, hiking her skirts so that her bare legs and feet lay exposed in the bright square of warm sunlight on the floor. Closing her eyes, she lay on her back, wiggling her toes.

She was rather surprised she was still capable of impetuousness. Indeed, she’d viewed the slow reawakening of her boldness with no little mistrust. After all, had she not been impetuous, she might have heeded the Hoodlesses’ loving warnings and never eloped with Charles.

It is Jack Cameron’s fault, she decided, but could not find a frown for that conclusion.

Each day spent with the handsome, nonsensical, yet oddly vulnerable Scotsman had fanned to life a tiny ember of self-confidence. It was not altogether comfortable. Like finding out that a favorite gown you’d thought lost years before had merely been put in mothballs. You long to try it on, and yet you are afraid if you do it will look ridiculous. Or worse, it will no longer fit.

Oddly enough, Jack’s very vulnerability encouraged her own self-assurance. The manner in which he masked his self-doubt with such a provocative and blatant caricature stirred an inclination to nonconformity in her.

She suspected that she alone refused to accept Jack as the effete, overcontrived fribble he presented to the world. His conversation certainly never hinted at any weaknesses—oh, dear Lord, no! The thought made Addie smile. Jack was all arrogant disdain and witty repartee. Mr. Wilde himself would be hard-pressed to keep up with Jack’s drawled bon mots!

But then, just as she was upbraiding herself for romanticizing him, she would see it: a keen, thoughtful intelligence, a perceptive remark that belied his pose of absolute self-involvement, an unexpected gentleness in dealing with another’s frailties.

And then, too, even more rarely, but just as undeniably, she would surprise on his fallen-angel’s face a fleeting, hunted expression: a mixture of dismay, uncertainty, and awful longing.

She did not understand what authored that haunted look, but more and more often lately, she found herself wondering how she would feel if she was able to be the object of it.

REVIEW: This is one of those romances that will set your heart racing because the author took the time to show us who the hero and heroine are and what they’re all about.

As a matter a fact, that’s why I love reading romance. I’m in seventh-heaven when I meet not just a handsome hero or a beautiful heroine, but it’s what’s in their hearts that matters to me more than their appearance.

Jack and Addie were all that I expected and wanted them to be and their story will touch your heart because it’s a story of heartbreak, passion and hope. I honestly couldn’t put it down and dreaded the end because I just didn’t want to leave these two, that’s how much I loved them.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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Connie BrockwayAUTHOR BIO: Connie Brockway is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty historical and contemporary romance novels. An eight-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, Brockway has twice been its recipient, for My Dearest Enemy and The Bridal Season.

She is the author of My Seduction, named one of Library Journal’s top romance novels of 2004. Her most recent novel is No Place for a Dame and her most recent collaborative novel is The Lady Most Willing, co-written with Julia Quinn and Eloisa James. She is a Minnesota native, and currently lives there with her husband and two spoiled mutts.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘The Songbird’s Seduction’ by Connie Brockway

cb tssSTORY: Effervescent bon vivant Lucy Eastlake is a young operetta singer whose star is on the rise in Edwardian London. Though struggling to maintain her beloved great-aunts’ household, she holds fast to the belief that “things will work out.” Now, with the fiftieth anniversary of a siege her great-aunt Lavinia lived through approaching, it looks like Lucy is right, because a fortune is due to be divided among the survivors. All Lucy and her great-aunts have to do is travel to a small Pyrenees town to claim Lavinia’s share of a fabulous treasure in rubies. What could be more simple?

Professor Ptolemy Archibald Grant is the brilliant, straitlaced grandson of a British lord who also withstood the siege. When his grandfather asks him as a matter of honor to escort his old love on the journey, the about-to-be married professor agrees, not expecting Lucy to be part of the bargain. Losing the great-aunts en route, the handsome, buttoned-down professor finds himself caught up in Lucy’s quirky, bewildering, and probably illegal efforts to reunite with them, as he is drawn further and further into an inexplicable infatuation with the free-spirited singer. What could be more complicated?

But when unwilling attraction gives way to sizzling passion, both will be forced to confront the ages-old question of whether love trumps honor…or the other way around.

REVIEW: It’s 1908 and Lucille (Lucy) Eastlake is living with her two spinster great-aunts at their family home, Robin’s Hall, outside London.  Sisters Lavinia and Bernice Litton have never married and have always lived at Robin’s Hall which is in need of work both on the home and gardens.  However, the sisters do not have the money to undertake these expenses.  Lucy was orphaned at the age of 7 and after being shuffled from one distant family member to another, she finally found a loving home with her great-aunts.  Lucy is a happy, easy-going young woman with a lovely voice.  As such, she has found employment as a singer in the theater.
Many years ago, Lavinia Litton went on a tour to India where she met and fell in love with Lord John Barton.  Their group had been besieged while they were staying at a military hill station.  For months they remained there waiting for rescue.  One of the people being held decided to run for it but decided to leave behind a bag of rubies worth a fortune.  The group agreed to keep them for him.  However, he never returned and the number of people with claim to the rubies being held by a solicitor had dwindled to only a few.  Now, each of them must travel to a designated place by a certain date to claim their share of the rubies. Since Lavinia is one of the claimants, she and Bernice prepare to go with Lucy to accompany them.
Just before departing, Lucy met Ptolemy Grant, stuffy, but gorgeously handsome Professor of Archeology.  In addition, he just happens to be the grandson of Lord Barton who is one of the people with a claim for the rubies.  As it happens, Ptolemy, whom Lucy nicknames Archie, has been asked by his grandfather to travel in his place to make the claim.
As the great-aunts have decided to make a little vacation out of the trip, they plan to make stops in certain places along the way.  This is where the story begins to remind me of the zaniness of the 1965 movie, “The Great Escape.”  There is never a dull moment.
The reader will meet with a lot of laughs along the way and a lot of adventure.  Don’t miss out.  I’m thinking readers will truly enjoy this book.
I’ve attempted to set the stage for the book without giving out any spoilers as this book is not due for publication until September 16, 2014.
Connie for b2b
Complementary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Lady Most Willing: A Novel in Three Parts’ by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James & Connie Brockway

TLMW JQ EJ CBSTORY: At the behest of three of the most talented historical romance authors writing today, you are cordially invited to a ball. No, a party. No . . . a kidnapping.

Taran Ferguson, laird of his clan, is determined that his ancient (if not so honorable) birthright be secured before he dies. When both his nephews refuse to wed, the old reprobate takes matters into his own hands: he raids a ball and makes off with four likely brides . . .

Miss Marilla Chisholm—the bonniest lass in Scotland, and an heiress to boot.

Miss Fiona Chisholm—her older sister, another fine choice (but for that tiny stain on her reputation).

Lady Cecily Tarleton—true, she’s an English beauty, but very, very rich.

Miss Catriona Burns—without name or fortune, clearly someone made a mistake.

Oh, yes. And one very irate duke.

Because somewhere there must be one lady most willing to love a Scottish lord.

REVIEW: This collaborative story is the second one for these three bestselling authors and as of now it’s been for 2 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

If you’ve not read the previous collaborative work from these women, then you might not realize that this is one continuing story through the book, woven by all three authors. This kind of collaboration doesn’t happen often because all three stories must align seamlessly in order for the book, as a whole, to be fully enjoyed.

I am sorry to say that I found that in this case they didn’t. If I can tell which parts were written by Julia and Eloisa, being more familiar with their work, then the collaboration wasn’t a full success, in my opinion. The story in itself, as predictable as I found it, wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as I expected, especially coming from the authors I have such great respect and love for.

All three stories left me in want of something more, something a bit deeper, a bit meaningful and less predictable. The writing was good, plot so-so and pace varied from author to author, which in the end wasn’t a bad thing. Maybe that’s why in the end of it, I was left conflicted about which parts I liked and which left me cold.

My conclusion was, despite good and familiar writing of the two authors I greatly admire, I enjoyed it less  because all three stories felt rushed thus the book felt incomplete even though everyone reached their happy ending. Don’t misunderstand me. I liked it, I just didn’t love it.

Book provided by Avon through Edelweiss.