‘When You Wish Upon a Duke’ by Isabella Bradford

wywuad ibSTORY:Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.

But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoast. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime?

REVIEW: This is my first time reading this author and try as I might, I just couldn’t get into this story. I felt that the story was too rushed and moved too fast with hardly any buildup to the romance.

I also thought the humor in it a bit forced, therefore not too funny, and in the end I couldn’t make up my mind if this story was trying for a comedy or a tragedy.

I will give the second book a try, but if I don’t like that one, I’ll probably not read the third book.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘When the Duchess Said Yes’ by Isabella Bradford

wtdsy ibSTORY: Notorious for her free-spirited antics, Lady Elizabeth Wylder revels in attention—but not the sort that leaves her humiliated when her future husband, the Duke of Hawkesworth, fails to appear for their much-anticipated first introduction.

So when a chance encounter leads to a sizzling kiss with a dangerously handsome stranger, she nearly succumbs. The shock of finally meeting her betrothed only to come face to face with her rakish would-be seducer inspires fury—and fans the flames of a fire that both Lizzie and the Duke acknowledge is a most agreeable way to start a marriage. In her husband’s arms, Lizzie knows she has found love. But is the passion that accompanies endless nights of erotic discovery enough to persuade a duke whose scandalous lineage and lifestyle prevent him from giving his heart completely?

REVIEW: This is the second book in Isabelle Bradford’s Wylder Sisters series and I was torn about it. While I liked some aspects of the story, especially the trope of “childhood betrothal”, I had a very hard time connecting to the main characters. I found them both immature and childish, therefore I stopped caring for them half way through their story.

After I read the first book in this series, and not wholly happy with that story, I thought to give this author another try and again, while some parts were humorous, others were tedious.

That said, you may like it! This is one of those books that you either like or just don’t care for.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Victoria Vane Book Blitz Tour of ‘Breton Wolfe’!

BrentonBOOK BLURB: She swore to defy him to her dying breath… But passion blurs the line between love and hate…

The bluest blood and the hardest heart… at least when it comes to marriage… The daughter of a duke and granddaughter of a king, Adele of Vannes was bartered at birth in a marriage treaty for the sole purpose of producing a royal heir. When her philandering husband is slain by Norse marauders, she is coerced to wed again in order to protect her home and her people. Adele knows that her beloved Brittany needs a strong hand to survive, but how can she ever reconcile her bitterness and hatred with the desire she feels for her mortal enemy?

She’s the jewel he seeks for his Breton crown…A Barbarian bent on building a dynasty, Valdrik Vargr, ‘the Norse Wolf,’ is renowned for both his bravery in battle and shrewdness in statecraft. Setting his sights on claiming the kingdom of Brittany, he knows that siring sons from royal blood would solidify his hold, but the woman he would claim as his queen refuses to have him. Will he fuel her hatred by taking her to his bed, or will the man who strikes terror in the hearts of men be reduced to wooing his bride?

(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle worlds novella)

BUY LINK: Amazon

EXCERPT:

Adèle spent the night on her knees in prayer, gaze cast heavenward in supplication. She hadn’t dared to bow her head and shut her eyes for fear that sleep would overtake her. She couldn’t afford to be caught aware when the marauders came. And they would come. That was a certainty. Rudalt had never returned from his ‘Norse” hunt. None of them had returned. They were dead. She felt it down to her bones.

She’d dispatched riders to Cournailles but he was days away. He would never arrive in time. Her home would be burned to ashes before help ever came. Perhaps she could buy them off? Did she have enough silver and jewels to pay tribute? Or would the Norsemen simply extract their payment in woman’s flesh and men’s blood?

Her throat thickened at the sudden remembrance of her wedding night. She had borne Rudalt’s ravaging for years; surely she could survive it again. And survival was all she dared hope for. The Norse would come with their battle axes and siege machines. The Bretons might keep them at bay for a few hours or maybe a day, but penetration of their walls was inevitable. She had no true defenses outside of a few dozen archers. In his arrogance, Rudalt had taken the best warriors, leaving her defenseless.

From her bedchamber window, Adèle cast her gaze eastward where the sun was rising, painting the landscape of rolling hills in soft shades of pink and gold. She stared off into the distance, chewing her lip and willing her nerves to settle. Last night she’d worn holes in her slippers and bitten her fingernails to the quick. She now accepted that her fate was out of her hands. She had no choice but to entrust herself to the merciful will of God. If death awaited her, she prayed it would be swift.

Moving shadows appeared on the horizon. A moment later they took shape as a solid line of men. Hundreds of mounted men. But rather than shrinking in terror, a strange peace settled over her. She was the daughter of Judicael, a great warrior and Duke of Brittany. Her great-grandfather was Erispoe, the first proclaimed King of the Bretons.

She would do as the father and grandfather had done before her—she would fight them to her dying breath.

***

VV Bio postcardAUTHOR 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 Wendy LaCapra and ‘Duchess Decadence’!

Duchess Decadance Blog Tour Button

Five Q’s with: Wendy LaCapra

Thank you for having me, Melanie!

What was your favorite book as a child?

Heidi. My sister played the part of Clara in a church production of the play and after sitting in on the rehearsals, I read the book…again and again and again. Living in the mountains with goats was an appealing contrast to my flatter-than-flat South Jersey existence.

Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

I’ve read the second half of Rebecca Brandewyne’s Rose of Rapture a gazillion times. Also, Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm, Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. I recently listened to Lord of Scoundrels on Audible, too. Speaking of Audible, I think I’ve listened to Heyer’s abridged Venetia, oh about 10 times just this year (I listen as I exercise). But that has more than a little to do with Richard Armitage’s, a-hem, vocal presence.

Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’ve never read?

I do like reading classics. I return to Jane Austen every now and then, and of course, the Bronte sisters. On the dark side, I’ve read Dracula, Frankenstein, the Turn of the Screw & the Monk a few times. I have never read the Count of Monte Cristo…I should fix that!

Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

I just finished Tessa Dare’s When a Scot ties the Knot. Every time I read her books I am in awe of how skillfully she blends humor and romance and deeply-felt emotion.

What’s a movie adaptation of a book/series that you loved or that you wish it is made?

I’d love to see more historical romance made into film. Most period pieces are lovely, but slow. I think Mary Balogh’s books would work wonderfully on screen.

dd wlcBOOK BLURB: Thea Worthington, Duchess of Wynchester divides her time between social engagements and playing her luck against fickle fortune. Yet every gamble is only a bluff—a means to hide from the pain deep within her, and the loss of a babe she never held in her arms. Now Thea’s luck is about to run out. Her estranged husband has returned and seeks a reunion…

Plagued with guilt over what happened to his wife three years ago, the Duke of Wynchester has kept his distance. The duke is resolved to piece his family back together, especially now that he’s discovered his beloved brother—long thought dead—still lives. But Thea’s lovely, porcelain facade is on the verge of cracking…spurred on by the duke’s brother’s secretive, malevolent animosity.

With everything riding on her future, Thea plays a daring game of chance for love and her marriage…and this time, the dice are most certainly rigged.

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

EXCERPT:

Curious stares fixed on them, radiating malice as strong as the heat from the hundreds of candles burning in the sparkling chandeliers. They wanted her to fail. They wanted her to slink back into the darkness, so their perfect duke could be absorbed into their numbers once again. They wanted to titter behind raised fans at the failed attempt of the disgraced duchess to capture her duke’s regard.

She would silence them. She would deny them their sneering triumph. She would. If she was a duchess good enough for Wynchester, she was a duchess good enough for them.

“Shall we, Wynchester?” she spoke in her huskiest voice—not the wife he had known but the woman the years of independence had forged—Duchess Decadence.

Wynchester wanted her to be good, did he? She’d be more than good. She’d be remarkable—in the very best sense.

The music, made faint by the noise of silk against silk

and muffled whispers, began. They led the promenade, and she executed each step with grace. They did not speak. She danced, not as much with him as for him. Boldly, she seized every opportunity to meet his gaze.

Come out—she spoke to the wild within him—come out and let us tangle.

The next sequence required she turn, while he placed one of his hands on her waist, and joined the other in an arc above their heads.

She was tall. The duke taller—proudly she realized there wasn’t a woman in the room who would fit him with as much perfection. Together they made lovely form.

He placed his palm against her back. And as he drew her into a mock embrace at the next turn he inclined his head to whisper in her ear.

“What are you about?” His voice was low.

She glanced up beneath her lashes. “Must I have motive?”

His mouth bore a not-quite-smile, the shadow of dark amusement.

“If I follow,” he made a masculine pivot, “where will you lead?”

“It is you,” she curtseyed and looked into his eyes, “who guide this dance.”

He chuckled. “I think not.”

Thrill—torrid as melted wax—trickled down inside her chest.

######

Giveaway

1 Winner – Signed copies of Lady Vice, Lady Scandal & Duchess Decadence with swag (compact mirror, 2 oz. Lady Scandal Rose Bath Salts, and pens!) USA/CA shipping ONLY

7 Winners – Will win an eBook copy of ONE of the following books from the ladies from http://www.PastThrills.com:

  • The Accidental Duchess, by Madeline Hunter
  • Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, by Vanessa Kelly
  • Good Earl Gone Bad, by Manda Collins
  • The Dukes Daring Debutante, by Ann Lethbridge
  • The Love List, by Deb Marlowe
  • I Spy a Duke, by Erica Monroe
  • Reckless Wager + Bonus Novella Wanton Wager, by Christy Carlyle

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

wlcAUTHOR 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.

Awards: Lady Vice (also titled A Dangerous Desire) took first place in the 2013 Laurie and finaled in the 2013 Marlene and 2013 Royal Ascot. An earlier version took first place in the OK RWA Finally a Bride Contest and finaled in the Great Beginnings Contest.

Scandal in Spades finaled in RWA’s 2012 Golden Heart® & finaled in the 2012 Emily Contest.

Devil’s Heartache finaled in the Toronto Chapter’s 2010 Toronto Golden Opportunity Contest and took first place in the Northwest Houston Chapter’s 2010 Lone Star Writing Contest.

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

‘Duchess Decadence’ by Wendy LaCapra

dd wlcSTORY: Thea Worthington, Duchess of Wynchester divides her time between social engagements and playing her luck against fickle fortune. Yet every gamble is only a bluff—a means to hide from the pain deep within her, and the loss of a babe she never held in her arms. Now Thea’s luck is about to run out. Her estranged husband has returned and seeks a reunion…

Plagued with guilt over what happened to his wife three years ago, the Duke of Wynchester has kept his distance. The duke is resolved to piece his family back together, especially now that he’s discovered his beloved brother—long thought dead—still lives. But Thea’s lovely, porcelain facade is on the verge of cracking…spurred on by the duke’s brother’s secretive, malevolent animosity.

With everything riding on her future, Thea plays a daring game of chance for love and her marriage…and this time, the dice are most certainly rigged.

REVIEW: Ms. LaCapra’s continues her Furies series with this third and last instalment and let me just say this: I adored it!

She consistently manages to surprise and delight this reader.

I am now firmly in this author’s corner and anxiously await her next series.

Ever since her début ‘Lady Vice’, which was one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time, she has impressed me with her effortless prose and I’ll forever equate her books to late, great Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and her wonderful prose.

She’s done it again! I can’t tell you how much I love her prose. As she concludes her Furies series, I enjoyed, along with her wonderful prose, a heartbreaking, second chance in love story.

It was tender and sweet; fast paced and entertaining, and very poignant.

It was highly satisfying to finally get to know Thea and her Duke.

If you’re like me and second chance in love trope is what you love, than you can’t miss this tale. It will truly have you laugh and cry. I promise!

Here is a little teaser:

Gradually, as if pulled by the hopeful melody, darker refrain climbed into a higher octave still sad, but no longer mournful. As if he, too, were being pulled by a similar strain, he moved forward until he came to rest against the wall, Thea just beyond his reach. He cupped the back of his neck, closed his eyes, and pressed his cheek into his arm. The melody sunk back into darkness.

She played each note hard, clear, and full. Silently, he sank down onto his haunches and remained in this position until the music’s wistful yearning pushed him to his knees. He inched closer to her back, seeking solace in her nearness. When close enough to feel her heat, he paused and bowed his head. She must have sensed him; the music faded. His weight was on his knees, but his heart was in her hands and their future locked inside the sudden silence.

“Please,’ he whispered.

I rest my case.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘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) <<<<<<<<<<

HCN-seriesbanner-Text1200x4001-1200x400

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