‘Garden of Lies’ Amanda Quick

gol aqSTORY: The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end—and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes.

Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold eyes…

If this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer—and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well…

REVIEW: The Kern Secretarial Agency is run by the very efficient Ursula Kern.  Mrs. Kern hires only top-notch secretaries who work for her wealthy clients.  When her best secretary and good friend, Anne Clifton, is found dead, Ursula is convinced that she did not die by suicide as first thought, but that she was murdered.  Who would kill this lovely lady?

In order to keep her client happy, Ursula steps in to finish the job Anne was doing which is working for the well known Archaeologist and adventurer, Slater Roxton, cataloguing his artifacts.  As they spend time together, Ursula confides her suspicions to Slater about her friend’s death and he agrees to help her investigate.

But Ursula Kern is not who she appears to be and thus wears heavy black mourning, including a hat with a black veil.  Slater Roxton is from a very wealthy family and is known for having been marooned on Fever Island for a year.  He and several others had been searching for and found some lost caves with many rare artifacts.  An explosion of some kind occurred trapping Slater inside.  By the time he found his way out, the group had left the island thinking he had probably died.

As they investigate further, things become very dangerous and others end up murdered.  It appears that they have begun to uncover a very lucrative drug making business where some people will stop at nothing to own all of it.

This is a very intriguing story that I think readers will not want to put down.  The author has woven these characters perfectly to make a story that would be a fabulous movie.  I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b

‘A Bluestocking Christmas’ by Monica Burns

STORY: As a young man, Simon, Viscount Wycombe learned the painful truth that a tradesman’s daughter is suitable only for liaisons and nothing more. But Ivy Beecham is a far cry from his preconceived notions, and he’s determined to have her. But when she rejects him, it only increases his determination to seduce her into a world of sin and pleasure.

Ivy Beecham knows first-hand that handsome aristocrats like Simon can’t be trusted. But the intellectual scoundrel is hellbent on making her his mistress, using every means at his seductive disposal. When she refuses to give away her heart on Christmas Eve, a ghostly specter shows her in one night why her surrender can be the greatest gift of all.

REVIEW: ‘A Bluestocking Christmas’ by Monica Burns left me in a need of a cold shower! No joke!

I only read a handful of books from her but every one was so sensual that it left me in want of a fan. What I loved about this one was that she reinvented classic movies such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’ with this Victorian historical romance set in 1892 England.

Simon, Viscount Wycombe is a man who loves his family and aims to protect them, especially his young nephew. It appears that the young man has fallen for an older woman and Simon is determined to put this commoner in her place and make sure she never comes close to him again. What he doesn’t count on is his reaction to the woman.

Ivy Beecham is a spinster that has some issues with aristocracy and it took her a long time to train herself to hide her feelings. Coming face to face with Simon as he confronts her in regards to her relationship to his nephew opens her eyes and wounds long hidden to a past that was better left forgotten.

This is not a long story, although it wasn’t short either. I’d say it was just perfect for an evening at home with some Earl Gray…and some Victorian Christmas music in the background.

It was perfectly pitched; fast paced with a secret or two; filled to the brim with warmth and sensuality that will leave you in a want of a cold shower and in the end will make your eyes mist.

This is a must for this Christmas!