‘Lady Scandal’ by Wendy LaCapra

ls wlcSTORY: He had everything under control, until she proved him wrong…

London, 1784

Sophia Baneham has lived in the poison of her dead father’s shadow for longer than she cares to admit. Now she exists outside of polite society’s influence, holding gambling parties for London’s most dangerous men. When a man walks into one of her soirees, a compelling mix of charisma and icy control, he offers the lady of sin a wager she can’t refuse…

Lord Randolph is a spy in the service of His Majesty, but he’s given an oath to protect the daughter of his mentor. Even as his gamble of marriage starts to spiral out of control and his passions ignite, Randolph is determined that he’ll handle things his way…

But when danger closes in, Randolph won’t just have to protect Sophia from an intended killer. He’ll have to protect her from himself…

REVIEW: Ms. LaCapra’s debut ‘Lady Vice’ had surprised me because it never read as such. Reading it I was reminded of the great Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and her wonderful prose. This doesn’t happen often, so I was looking forward to her second book hoping to God it would live up to my expectations.

She not only delivered, but she managed to surprise me!

While the first story in the Furies series impressed with a wonderful prose and was equal parts sensually sweet, witty and entertaining, this one was faster paced and read more like an adventure, yet it never lost the sensuality or the prose which I was looking forward to.

The heroine of this tale is Sophia and she’s as much stubborn as she’s independent and strong. But it’s her beauty that has our hero ‘lust’ for her at first sight.

Lord Randolph is a spy and he’s got his hands full once he takes on Sophia. Both carry heavy burdens from their pasts and both have trust issues with each other and I loved watching them spar, chase and conquer their fears.

I highly recommend you read this action packed adventure filled with mystery and romance, but what I loved once more is the prose, so I leave you with some juicy teasers:

She fit between his shoulders like a small painting fit an overlarge frame, but victory did not always go to those with a physical advantage.

***

Why did his embrace have to feel warmer than the finest wool?

***

Her voice sang over his veins the way the wind sang against lines of a hoisted sail- the song sank all the way into his cock.

Need I say more?!

Oh, I’ll add this: even though this story can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading ‘Lady Vice’ first because a good chunk of Sophia and Lord Randolph’s story begins in it. Besides, ‘Lady Vice’ is an amazing story none of you should pass ;)

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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

‘Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy’ by Victoria Vane

9781492601180STORY: Take 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.

REVIEW: What do you get when you cross-pollinate a sweet cowboy with a stubborn environmentalist, you ask?!

A beehive of trouble I say!

I’m a huge VV fan and in reading most of her books, I’ve noticed a trend. It appears, to me at least, that I can easily fall in love with her heroes, but I always have to work my way in liking the heroines.

It’s not that they’re not written well. On the contrary, they’re written and fleshed out so well that to me they’re too real! And I think because they’re so real, at times I tend to judge them too harshly.

Reid was such a great character to get to know and that’s not just because he was one hunky dude. It’s because this macho Marine was such a sweetheart. I honestly felt very protective of him and that’s why I thought Haley may not be for him. Talk about total opposites!

Haley was one hard-headed chick that disliked Marines with a passion and I guess she had a good reason for it, but she also had nothing in common with Reid. For the most part of the book I just wanted to tell Reid, Dude, I have a daughter that’s perfect for you! Ditch this chick! She’ll never come around!

I doubt he’d listen to me though. Like all men, he’ll go for a challenge any old-time.

Victoria Vane sure put these two through some hoop jumping and when all was said and done, these two were better for it.

What I liked the best about this story was that it wasn’t rushed. We followed this couple for a few years and we get to know them as they get to know each other. The chemistry we feel almost immediately as they do, but there’s a lot of baggage both of them carry, so I appreciated the pace.

With an easy flow and great dialogue, this story was a pleasure to read.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Sally Orr and ‘When a Rake Falls’!

When-A-Rake-Falls-Blog-Tour

Please help me welcome an author that is quickly becoming my favorite. Her début book had me grinning and laughing from page one. If you’re like me and need from time to time to switch from heavy, heart wrenching tropes, to light-hearted, highly entertaining and fast paced romance, this is an author you should check out.

Sally Orr is here today with a special excerpt for us. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

EXCERPT:

Traits of a gentleman: Intelligence

The traits of a true gentleman include: courage, intelligence, sportsmanship, service to the king or service to a lady. Some even believe the traits of a gentleman also include wit and compassion for the young, elderly, and animals.

My name is Lord Boyce Parker, and I was present when the Earl of Stainthorpe challenged London’s finest bachelors to a race to Paris.

On a beautiful morning, the earl addressed the crowd of eligible gentlemen.

“The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then.”

Spurred on by the opportunity to prove myself one of England’s greatest gentlemen, I plan to hire a balloon to journey to Paris. But not any old balloon flying about only for ascensions. No, I hired a spot as a guest on a balloon already planned for flight. The balloon is piloted by the famous man of science, Mr. Thomas Mountfloy. This aeronaut has assured me that I will be able to assist him with his scientific investigations during our flight. I’m sure that as we fly to Paris, we will discover some great new scientific fact. So it’s obvious that I am the favorite to win two of the earl’s challenges, both the courage and intelligence challenges. If you’re a betting type, place your bets on me.

*** *** ***

London, 1825

Lord Boyce Parker felt a sudden urge to sing. The brisk morning air, the glorious sunshine, and the presence of a hundred or so excited gentlemen milling around him could only mean a remarkable day ahead. Boyce knew he’d be mocked if he broke out in song, but sometimes happiness just bubbled up from somewhere down in your toes and overwhelmed a fellow. “My candle burns bright—-”

“Goes without saying you learned to sing by reading a book,” said George Drexel, one of Boyce’s oldest friends. “Right now I could be in bed with the lovely Widow Donhurst. Instead, I’m standing here amongst the rabble of London, far too early for any sane man, following another one of your bacon–brained schemes.”

Boyce ignored him and kept his gaze fixed on the balcony of Stainthorpe House. Yesterday, the Earl of Stainthorpe had placed an advertisement in all of the newspapers inviting London’s finest bachelors to gather in Royston Square. Although the details in the advertisement were few, it hinted fame and five thousand pounds might be gained by winning one of several “challenges.” As the son of a wealthy marquess, Boyce had no need for the money, but he longed for a chance to impress his father. “It’s not my bacon–brained scheme; it’s the earl’s. Cheer up. You will be the friend of the victorious Lord Boyce Parker.”

Drexel turned to glare at the pressing horde of eager young gentlemen behind them. “You don’t even know what the old man’s challenges are. They could all be a hum, like a scavenger hunt to find his great–uncle’s tricorne hat or his aunt’s lost poodle.” Drexel dressed in somber colors without fancy cravats or fobs, so his words had the gravity of a humorless man no one would willfully cross. This morning, his rumpled clothes, dark whiskers, and obvious lack of sleep—-no doubt due to a long night of amorous adventure—-made him appear grumpier than normal. “I hardly think the earl’s tomfool challenges will make you famous.”

“You don’t sound cheerful.” Boyce grinned at his old school friend. “I’m confident the earl’s challenges will be significant and my assured victory will pave the way to restoring my father’s esteem.”

Drexel spat on the ground. “Chasing your brother’s fame? Richard is a glorious war hero. I’m sure winning some silly challenge won’t compete with his elevated consequence.”

“You’re wrong. When my name is printed in the newspapers, my father will have to speak of me with the same admiration he gives Richard.”

“I don’t think winning a challenge will change the marquess’s opinion of you—-”

“Look.” Boyce pointed upward.

The Earl of Stainthorpe stepped to the edge of his balcony overlooking Royston Square. “My friends, I understand there are no great men left in England.” Silver wisps of hair escaped the earl’s old–fashioned queue and blew over his forehead, but he ignored them as he squarely confronted the men below.

The audience surged forward and yelled retorts to the earl’s audacious remark.

Boyce had arrived an hour early so he would be close enough to hear his lordship’s every word. But if this hubbub continued, he might not catch what the earl had to say. He turned to the man yelling behind him. “I’ll give you a pound, my good fellow, if you can shout louder.”

The man smiled and shouted.

“Definitely not louder, unfortunate loss indeed,” Boyce said. “Now I suggest you hush and let his lordship speak.”

Standing two steps behind his master, the earl’s butler vigorously rang a handbell to gain the attention of the boisterous crowd.

“The earldom of Stainthorpe owns numerous and diverse holdings,” the earl bellowed. “Therefore, upon my death, my daughter will be the richest woman in England.”

The crowd cheered.

The earl waited for them to settle down. “What I’m trying to say is, Lady Sarah Stainthorpe needs a husband. But so far, none of the Eligibles paraded before her will do. She refuses to marry and claims all the gentlemen in London are rogues, dandies, or worse. The point is, she’s a bluestocking and might fall in love with some bloody…a poet. I tell you, my friends, that Byron fellow has a lot to answer for.”

As the youngest son of a marquess, Boyce was considered an Eligible. Only, Lady Sarah had rejected him, and all the other Eligibles, seconds after they had presented themselves at Royston House—-an unfortunate circumstance, since he believed Lady Sarah would make an excellent wife and a very pretty one too. After a moment of reflection, he realized every lady of his acquaintance would make a pretty wife. One or two may have a feature some might call “unfortunate.” Nevertheless, he always found something pretty in every female countenance.

“Are all the gentlemen I see before me rogues or dandies?” the earl shouted. “Of course not. One or two maybe, and several of you are shockingly loose in the haft.” His lordship pointed to a young man wearing a violet greatcoat, hanging by one arm on a streetlight. “Especially you, sir.”

With his free hand, the man doffed his top hat.

“Yes, I mean you,” the earl said. “My condolences to your poor father.”

All of the Parker men possessed a fine figure, so he knew even a poorly tailored coat hung well upon his shoulders. The many compliments he received had gained him a reputation as an expert in masculine fashion. Therefore, Boyce felt his lordship should show more sympathy to a man wearing a lamentable violet greatcoat, since the earl wore an old square coat and baggy breeches.

“Where was I?” The earl paused to scan the crowd. “Besides an obvious bone–breaker or two, you gentlemen are the embodiment of the character traits that make Englishmen the greatest people on earth. So I am challenging you—-the finest Englishmen alive—-to a race. A race to Paris!”

The crowd cheered.

“This is not a race where the winner arrives first,” the earl said. “No, it is a test to discover the gentlemen who possess England’s greatest traits.”

“Gin drinking, gov?” someone shouted.

The crowd laughed and called out a few additional “traits.”

The earl ignored their comments. “And I mean English character traits—-not British. That country was some tomfoolery created by meddlesome politicians. This is a race for Englishmen only. Now, my race will have five challenges and five winners. Each winner will win a prize of a gold cup and five thousand pounds.”

The mob erupted in huzzahs; top hats flew into the air.

Under his sky–blue waistcoat, Boyce’s heartbeat escalated. This race presented him with his best opportunity to distinguish himself. He would win at least two of the earl’s challenges and earn a reputation as a prime example of English manhood. “Huzzah!” He too threw his beaver hat in the air.

The butler rang the handbell for a full minute before the crowd settled down.

The earl held up his hands. “Here are the details of the five—-count them—-five challenges. You have one month to reach Stainthorpe House in Paris. Each gentleman will write about his journey and provide the name of a witness. The man whose travels provide the best example of an English trait wins a challenge. Once the winners promise to spend the remainder of the summer in our company, they will be rewarded with a gold cup and five thousand pounds. With such excellent examples of true English manhood escorting Lady Sarah around Paris, she must certainly fall in love with one of you unlicked cubs.”

The assembled men danced in circles. Each one of them was probably dreaming about how he would spend his winnings.

Eager to hear the details, Boyce frowned at the clamorous riffraff behind him. The earl was right; they all appeared to be a lot of rag–mannered coves, so he gained complete confidence that he could best any of their English traits—-whatever those traits may be. Once he reached Paris, Lady Sarah would discover he was the finest of fellows and they would fall in love. Women seemed naturally to favor him over other gentlemen—-wonderful creatures, women.

The earl’s voice boomed across the square. “What are the character traits that make Englishmen so great, you ask?”

The young men below the balcony tendered several improper suggestions.

“No.” The earl waved his hand. “Not physical features. Traits like courage and intelligence. So the challenges are thus: The first gold cup will be given to the gentleman who represents English courage. We are the country of Nelson, so bravery and courage course through every one of our veins.”

Someone shouted the nature of what was coursing through his veins.

The earl continued without hesitation. “The second gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey represents classic English sportsmanship. Any Englishman alive can out hunt, out fish, and out ride all other races of men. So to win the second cup, some outstanding feat of sportsmanship will rule the day. Extra consideration will be given to the best example of a journey completed under difficult circumstances.”

Boyce huffed. “Well, his lordship is wrong. The true nature of English sportsmanship is not victory over adversity, but our support for the dark horse and sense of fair play. We are, by nature, a generous people.”

Drexel slapped him on the back. “For once I agree with you. But considering your history in the field, I suggest you don’t try for the sportsmanship cup.”

“Sportsmanship can be demonstrated by means other than fishing or shooting every magnificent creature—-for example, by boxing or gaming. I practice my pugilistic skills at Jackson’s twice a week now. You cannot tell me his place is not full of sportsmen. Or how about when a fellow loses a fortune gaming at White’s and faces his loss with the grace and good humor of a gentleman? That’s sportsmanship under pressure, if you ask me.”

“Yes, but the earl believes boxing is for professionals and only women play cards.”

Boyce widened his eyes. “In my opinion, his lordship’s definition of sportsmanship is rather limited.”

The handbell sounded again before the earl continued his speech. “The third gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey best exhibits loyalty to the king or service to a lady.”

One man yelled, “I’d be delighted to service all the ladies on my way to Paris.”

Others in the crowd shouted similar generous offers.

“If you do so, sir,” the earl replied, “you will be shown the door. Loyalty means old–fashioned manners, being polite, and keeping your distance from your betters. Of all the challenges, I believe service to the Crown is the greatest honor any man could desire. And considering the manners I’ve witnessed here today, I’d say the challenge of this cup will remain unmet.”

Jeers filled the air.

Boyce wondered how a fellow could show loyalty to the king in a race. He supposed a gentleman might salute the king’s profile on a sovereign with every step of his journey, but dismissed it as an absurd notion. No, he’d be better off trying to provide a service to some lady.

His lordship nodded, and the handbell rang again. “Now quiet down. The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then.”

Boyce elbowed his friend. “Yes, yes, that’s the cup for me. Bet I’ll win too. What do you say, fifty?”

“Agreed,” Drexel said. “I will also wager by the end of this whole flummery, Lady Sarah will reject all the winners out of spite. I would, if I were her.”

Boyce refused to believe Lady Sarah would object to any of the winners, once she knew them well. The lady wanted to be married, didn’t she? “No, no, young women are full of tender affection. I have never met one who did not want to fall in love and make her family happy.”

Drexel rolled his eyes. “I suspect that is because there are so many unmarried ladies dangling after you, you cannot imagine one refusing. And from the stories I heard yesterday, I’ll wager that if I throw a pebble into the crowd at the next assembly, it will hit a widow who has, or wants to be, in your bed. And believe me, those ladies are not expecting marriage.”

“You’re being vulgar in public,” Boyce said. “All of the widows I have ever…met were delightful. Deep in their hearts, they want to be married again, I’m sure.”

“So why haven’t you married one of these delightful ladies?”

“Never understood how fellows choose one to fall in love with.”

“If I know the marquess, the best way to impress him is to give him grandchildren. My father becomes unhinged with even the thought of grandchildren.”

“Grandchildren? Grandchildren are far in the future. A great public achievement is my best and only chance to regain my father’s respect. You’ll see. When I am crowned the victor of more than one challenge, my achievements will be the toast of London. Then all of England will think of me differently. I will no longer be just one of the seven anonymous brothers of the war hero Richard. Worse yet, if people do recognize me, they remember I’m the Parker son who published a scandalous book and then received the cut direct from his father—-his own father. After my victory in the challenges, everyone will have to refer to me as the intelligent, courageous Lord Boyce. Don’t you understand?”

Drexel winked at his friend. “Tell me, which of the great English traits do you represent best? Sounds like only Service to a Lady, and believe me, your service is the wrong type as far as the earl is concerned.”

“Ah, that’s my secret. But you will be a witness to my victory, won’t you?”

After pulling off his hat, Drexel took a full minute to smooth the beaver nap on the brim. “I’ll consider it.” A wide smirk broke across his dark, handsome face. “You’ve persuaded me to join the race too.”

“No!”

The handbell clanged, and everyone faced the balcony again. “Gentlemen, there is one last challenge, the fifth cup. Since this was my daughter’s idea, perhaps in jest, you never know with females, let us call it the Lady’s Favorite.”

Shouts and laughter rose from the rabble.

The earl leaned forward over the mob. “Perhaps there are no gentlemen in England, and my daughter is right?” His lordship waited until the crowd quieted. “Lady Sarah has a funny notion that the greatest achievements of the English race are their sense of humor, wit, and eccentricities. I mean, now really, she is fond of Sheridan’s plays.” The earl held up his right hand to quiet the laughing crowd. “For this cup, Lady Sarah will be the final judge.”

The mob tendered several humorous jests of questionable wit.

The earl coughed several times but remained unmoving. “So there you have it. The five greatest English traits are courage, sportsmanship, intelligence, wit, and service to a lady. Now to business. I expect all who plan to take up the challenges to gather in our vestibule below. There, we will compile a list of the participants. You do not have to choose which cup you aspire to, and you may switch to another challenge at the end of your journey. Finally, you may win more than one challenge. Oh, and you must provide an acceptable witness. Anyone who observes your achievement and can testify on your behalf may be an official witness. The only exclusions are people who cannot be trusted, like paid companions or dear old mums.”

Several groans were heard, and one person clapped.

The earl nodded in the direction of the man who clapped. “Good man. The race will officially start after I stop speaking and will end a month from now on the second of July. On that day, you will present your written story describing your journey to Stainthorpe House at Rue de la Chaussée-d’Antin. There, I will choose the five best stories for each challenge, and those finalists will be asked to recite their adventures aloud. Indeed, everyone here today will be invited to attend this party and hear my pick of the winners. Lastly, the five thousand pounds and gold cups will be presented at the end of the evening. It goes without saying that the victors will be appropriately recognized in all of the newspapers.”

Boyce elbowed Drexel. “Yes, yes, my father reads every paper.”

The crowd’s cheers erupted again after the mention of the winnings.

The earl held his arms out. “I tell you, my friends, I’m excited about this race. To help defray the cost of your journey, any man who takes up our challenges will receive a hundred pounds after reaching Paris.”

Shouts and applause echoed around the square.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, Lady Sarah and I look forward to hearing the adventures of England’s finest men. I am positive that once my daughter is acquainted with you fine fellows, she will fall in love. With such excellent examples of the greatness inherent in the English, how could she not? We also anticipate the pleasure of your company during our summer in Paris. The only other thing I can say is…” The earl lifted his quizzing glass to his eye and scanned the crowd. “Ready, steady, go!”

warf soBOOK BLURB: He’s racing to win back his reputation

Having hired a balloon to get him to Paris in a daring race, Lord Boyce Parker is simultaneously exhilarated and unnerved by the wonders and dangers of flight, and most of all by the beautiful, stubborn, intelligent lady operating the balloon.

She’s curious about the science of love

Eve Mountfloy is in the process of conducting weather experiments when she finds herself spirited away to France by a notorious rake. She’s only slightly dismayed—the rake seems to respect her work—but she is frequently distracted by his windblown physical magnificence and buoyant spirits.

What happens when they descend from the clouds?

As risky as aeronautics may be, once their feet touch the ground, Eve and Boyce learn the real danger of a very different type of falling…

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

AUTHOR BIO: Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery.

As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘When a Rake Falls’ by Sally Orr

warf soSTORY: To win a race to Paris, dashing Lord Boyce Parker hires a balloon. He expects to be crowned the victor and become famous for his courage and intelligence. Only then can he regain his father’s respect from the scandal of publishing the naughty book The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide.

Bluestocking Miss Eve Mountfloy makes a bargain with the handsome Pink of the Ton. She’ll fly the balloon during the dangerous crossing to France, if he lets her finish her scientific experiments to predict violent storms and thereby save lives.

Eve proceeds with her studies, but the results are not what she expected. Chafing to keep warm creates unusual sensations everywhere. Then when Lord Parker asks if she is curious about the heat generated by a kiss, well, she is curious. It seems Lord Parker is performing experiments of his own that will forever change Eve’s perception of the word “results.”

REVIEW: This is the second book in the Rake’s Handbook series and I have to say that it leaves me conflicted. I’m not really sure why that is. The story was great and it was fast-moving. The only thing that had me a bit on the sidelines were the main characters.

Lord Boyce Parker’s motives and reasons behind his quest to be famous by proving himself intelligent and courageous, therefore earning the respect of his father, was a noble thing to do, yet I wondered if there might have been other ways he could have accomplished this and not by entering this contest.

As for our heroine, Miss Eve Mountfloy, was exactly what I imagined a bluestocking would be. She is clever, stubborn and obsessed with her experiments.

Together they made for a cute couple, but I just never felt they were passionate either for each other or for their goals, and maybe that’s why I only liked this story.
Bottom line, the plot is well written so it made for an entertaining and lighthearted story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Top 5 with Wendy LaCapra!

Lady Vice Blog Tour Banner

Hello Melanie, Connie, Leah and Bookworm2Bookworm readers! Thank you for inviting me to share my top 5 books to movie/series.

I had to think hard about my answers. I did not want to list a book-to-movie combination where I didn’t enjoy both. And somehow, for most of the recent books-to-movies, I’ve been acquainted with the story on one end and not the other. 50 Shades? Read the book, didn’t see the movie. Hunger Games? Saw the movies, didn’t read the books. Here’s the list I came up with:

jane-eyre-2011-movie-review-kiss

Jane Eyre, 2011
The cinematography was fantastic and the romance breathtaking. Truly, the movie did one of my favorite novels justice. And ooh, Michael Fassbender.

Pride and Prejudice, 1995

I dearly hope small-screen mini-series count, because this one brought Jane Austen to life like no other version. And then there is, of course, the invention of Colin Firth’s The Look.

moll fMoll Flanders, 1996
I probably never would have read Defoe’s classic Moll Flanders, but a professor assigned it as part of a class and it ended up becoming a favorite. Alex Kingston does a fantastic job of bringing the flawed and wonderful Moll to life. And Daniel Craig looks quite dashing in 18th century garb.

Practical Magic, 1998
The movie may be a bubble gum version of pmthe Alice Hoffman book, but I love the portrayal of sister-love between Sally & Gillian Owens. And Aidan Quinn? Le grand sigh. (I am sensing a pattern here…)

The Joy Luck Club, 1993
I’ve read Amy Tan’s book about 5 times and own the movie. I love this story linking mothers to daughters and beautifully rendering the threads that jlccontinue make patterns from one lifetime into the next. And, to continue my alternate theme, Andrew McCarthy cuts a fine figure in his small part.

Looking over my 5, I see another pattern—stories that have strong female friendships/ and or sisters. Even lonely Jane had Diana and Mary Rivers (who help her recover and turn out to be her cousins). Three strong, female friends form the basis of The Furies trilogy, and so I’m not surprised I’m drawn to strong friendships in movies and fiction.

I’d love to hear some book-to-movie favorites from bookworm2bookworm readers!

lv wlcBOOK BLURB: Not every lady plays by the rules.

Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man-one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society’s strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It’s only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger…

A former judge in India’s high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society―along with his ambitions―in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable…and trust in both Maximilian and love.

EXCERPT:

Max sounded urgent. He crouched and reached out. His touch was gentle and his hands were warm. Skin against skin. He must have removed his gloves. His palm’s heat warmed her chilled cheek.

He was real. This warm, vital man caressing her face was the reason she had survived the dark days of her marriage. Whenever the night had seemed frightening or endlessly lonely, she had lulled herself to sleep by silently repeating his name. She’d used him like a blanket, curling his image close and tucking herself into remnants of remembered love.

The memory caused another searing pain, and she pulled her legs into her chest.

“Hush, love, hush,” he whispered.

His breath tickled her face, contrasting the cool breeze blowing across the water.

Strange. Breathing was so much easier with him close. But everything was wrong. She was angry at him. Why?

Because he left me to find his fortune. Because he left me alone and vulnerable to men like Vaile. She waited for her anger to pulse to life. Instead her heart said, he is here now.

She made no move to push him back and may have even leaned toward him.

His lips touched—softly—against her forehead. He spoke, but she could not understand his words. He was saying something about protection and safety…

Yes, safety.

What an inviting thought.

How long had it been since love surrounded her? Since she had been warmed by place and family and home? After she had left Vaile, every letter she’d sent home had been returned to her as if home had never existed, as if she had never existed. But she’d been loved once, hadn’t she? Max was living proof.

She raised her eyes to his. Past and present, fantasy and reality, they all swirled together.

“Oh, Vinia.”

She parted her lips as he spoke the affectionate name she had not heard for an eternity. He brushed his mouth against hers. His kiss’s warmth was soothing and tender.

Yes, tenderness.

Need uncoiled in her belly, and her knotted shoulders miraculously loosened. She floated—soft and sentient.

Yes. Please. More.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Kobo / All Romance

Wendy LaCapraAUTHOR BIO: Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge.

From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.

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

‘Lady Vice’ by Wendy LaCapra

lv wlcSTORY: Not every lady plays by the rules…

Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man—one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society’s strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It’s only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger…

A former judge in India’s high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society―along with his ambitions―in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable…and trust in both Maximilian and love.

REVIEW: I must say that this book does not read like a début, yet never the less, it is. I mean, prose alone puts this author right there with Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, I kid you not!

This is the first story out of the three in the Furies series and it’s one of the best second chance romance story’s I’ve read. It was equal parts sweet and sensual, witty and entertaining.

Our first heroine is Lavinia or Lady Vaile, but she’s known to the ton as Lady Vice as are her friends, Lady Sophia as Lady Scandal and Her Grace Duchess of Wynchester, Thea Marie is better known as Duchess Decadence. All three have done something that has them on the outskirts of society now and all three are earning their own living by forgoing balls for private salons. And while the debutantes are attending Almack’s, rakes are clamoring for the invitations to the private salons with the Furies.

You know how you read a book and if you love it, it could be because of the plot, great dialogue, touching romance and so on. This book hit all of those for me, but I honestly swooned at the prose. It was so well done that it had me warm all over.

“Haloed in the pale pink glow of early dawn, she appeared almost as innocent as the girl he had courted all those years ago. She still commanded the colors of autumn. Her skin glowed like ripened wheat, and her smoky lashes rimmed eyes as brown as spiced ale. A man could become forever mired in those depths, enraptured and entombed.”

“Whenever the night had seemed frightening or endlessly lonely, she had lulled herself to sleep by silently repeating his name. She’d used him like a blanket, curling his image close and tucking herself into remnants of remembered love.”

“She stilled and grew quiet, though her chest rose and fell as if she were pursued by the Reaper with scythe drawn and sharpened.”

“The Maximilian of her memory ceased to exist next to the real man. The former was a simple penny-lute tune. In the flesh, Max was the King’s Theater orchestra playing Haydn.”

Need I say more?!

Loved it! Must read and keeper shelf worthy!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author