‘Once Upon a Tartan’ by Grace Burrowes

ouat-gbSTORY: Honor or Happiness–He Can’t Have Both

Tiberius Flynn may be every inch an English lord, but smart, headstrong beauty Hester Daniels has no use for his high-handed ways–no matter how handsome, charming, or beguiling he is. They only see eye to eye in caring about the feisty little girl who is under their protection.

Tiberius’s haughty insistence that his wealthy estate in England is a better place for the child than her beloved, rundown Scotland home sparks Hester’s fierce protectiveness, and the battle lines are drawn…

REVIEW: Another awesome tale from one of my all time favorite authors. In my opinion, this author can’t do wrong. She writes stories that I am more than glad to read, over and over again.

‘Once Upon a Tartan’ is the second story in MacGregors series and I thoroughly enjoyed every character put forth, from Hester and Tiberius to Fee and our heroes horse,  Flying Rowan.

And then, there’s the setting of Scotland and another complex plot that will touch your heart. But as usual, it’s Ms. Burrowes unique prose that holds my attention from page one and straight to the end.

A list of known aphrodisiacs had circulated among Tye’s confreres at university, but lemon verbena had assuredly not been among the foods, fragrances, and substances named.

Nor had fresh air, or the scent of heather, or the sound of a burbling Scottish stream, or proximity to tartan wool, but something or someone had so unbalanced the relationship between Tye’s self-restraint and his base urges as to violate every tenet of common sense.

One did not accost decent young women, no matter how much in need of kissing they might seem.

One did not kiss young ladies who had given no overt indication they were receptive to such advances.

One did not allow oneself into compromising situations where any wandering neighbor might come upon one.

But one was also having great difficulty forgetting the kiss, and the compromising situation, and the decent young lady from whom the kiss had been stolen.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘The Trouble with Dukes’!

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burrowes_thetroublewithdukes_mmBOOK BLURB: They Call Him The Duke of Murder…

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

Listen to Chapter 1 of the audiobook!

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Siblings were God’s joke on a peace-loving man. Anderson had retreated behind his desk, as if a mere half ton of oak could protect a puny English solicitor from a pair of brawling MacHughs.

Clever solicitors might be, canny they were not.

“Then we simply tell no one about this title,” Hamish said. “We tend to Eddie and Ronnie’s dress shopping, and then we’re away home, nobody the wiser.”

Dress shopping, Edana had said, as if the only place in the world to procure fashionable clothing was London. She’d cried, she’d raged, she’d threatened to run off—until Colin had saddled her horse and stuffed the saddle bags with provisions.

Then she’d threatened to become an old maid, haunting her brothers’ households in turn, and Hamish, on pain of death from his younger brothers, had ordered the traveling coach into service.

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“Eddie hasn’t found a man yet, and neither has Ronnie,” Colin observed. “They’ve been here less than two weeks. We can’t go home.”

“You can’t,” Hamish countered. “I’m the duke. I must see to my properties. I’ll be halfway to Yorkshire by tomorrow. I doubt Eddie and Ronnie will content themselves with Englishmen, but they’re welcome to torment a few in my absence. A bored woman is a dangerous creature.”

“You’d leave tomorrow?” Colin slugged Hamish on the arm, hard. Anderson flinched, while Hamish picked up his walking stick and headed for the door.

“Your pugilism needs work, little brother. I’ve neglected your education.”

“You can’t leave me alone here with Eddie and Ronnie.” Colin had switched to the Gaelic, a fine language for keeping family business from nosy solicitors. “I’m only one man, and there’s two of them. They’ll be making ropes of the bedsheets, selling your good cigars to other young ladies again, and investigating the charms of the damned Englishmen mincing about in the park. Who knows what other titles their indiscriminate choice of husband might inflict on your grandchildren.”

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Hamish had not objected to the cigar selling scheme. He’d objected to his sisters stealing from him rather than sharing the proceeds with their own dear brother. He also objected to the notion of grandchildren when he’d yet to take a wife.

“I’ll blame you if we end up with English brothers-in-law, wee Colin.” Hamish smiled evilly, though he counted a particular few Englishmen among his friends.

A staring match ensued, with Colin trying to look fierce—he had the family red hair and blue eyes, after all—and mostly looking worried. Colin was soft-hearted where the ladies were concerned, and that fact was all that cheered Hamish on an otherwise daunting morning.

Hope rose, like the clarion call of the pipes through the smoke and noise the battlefield: While Eddie and Ronnie inspected the English peacocks strutting about Mayfair, Hamish might find a peahen willing to take advantage of Colin’s affectionate nature.

Given Colin’s lusty inclinations, the union would be productive inside a year, and the whole sorry business of a ducal succession would be taken care of.

Hamish’s fist connected with his brother’s shoulder, sending Colin staggering back a few steps, muttering in Gaelic about goats and testicles.

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“I’ll bide here in the muck pit of civilization,” Hamish said, in English, “until Eddie and Ronnie have their fripperies, but Anderson, I’m warning you. Nobody is to learn of this dukedom business. Not a soul, or I’ll know which English solicitor needs to make St. Peter’s acquaintance posthaste. Ye ken?”

Anderson nodded, his gaze fixed on Hamish’s right hand. “You will receive correspondence, sir.”

Hamish’s hand hurt and his head was starting to throb. “Try being honest, man. I was in the army. I know all about correspondence. By correspondence, you mean a bloody snowstorm of paper, official documents, and sealed instruments.”

Hamish knew about death too, and about sorrow. The part of him hoping to marry Colin off in the next month—and Eddie and Ronnie too—grappled with the vast sorrow of homesickness, and the unease of remaining for even another day among the scented dandies and false smiles of polite society.

“Very good, your grace. Of course you’re right. A snowstorm, some of which will be from the College of Arms, some from your peers, some of condolence, all of which my office would be happy—”

Hamish waved Anderson to silence, and as if Hamish were one of those Hindoo snake pipers, the solicitor’s gaze followed the motion of his hand.

“The official documents can’t be helped,” Hamish said, “but letters of condolence needn’t concern anybody. You’re not to say a word,” he reminded Anderson. “Not a peep, not a yes-your-grace, not a hint of an insinuation is to pass your lips.”

Anderson was still nodding vigorously when Hamish shoved Colin through the door.

Though, of course, the news was all over Town by morning.

windham-brides

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

grace-burrowes-credit-wax-creative-incAUTHOR BIO: Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a bachelor of music in music history, (both from Pennsylvania State University); a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a juris doctor from the National Law Center at the George Washington University.

Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian, and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writers’ conferences. She also loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website or her social channels.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads /

‘The Trouble with Dukes’ by Grace Burrowes

burrowes_thetroublewithdukes_mmBOOK BLURB: They Call Him The Duke of Murder…

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

REVIEW: Reading one of Grace Burrowes books is like diving into a clear brook with your eyes wide open and gathering stones from the bottom of it, so that you can sort them out once you come up for air. The pleasure you get from both of those activities is priceless and you never want to let go of the experience.

This book starts a brand new series and what an awesome start it was. The characters were so real and personable, especially Hamish and Megan. Giving both of them real flaws made them complex and come to life. It was an utter pleasure watching them fall in love.

And if you are a fan of this author as much as I am, you will be thrilled to catch up with all the Windhams, especially the men of that family. They are vastly entertaining and will make you laugh out loud.

But just in case you’ve never heard of this author, have no fear. This story can be read as a stand alone, and is a perfect story to acquaint you with the writing voice of this amazing author.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spring Brake Sale!

This spring break, fill up your e-reader with these $0.99 deals! Relax and enjoy a nice beach read (whether or not you can make it to a beach!). With everything from paranormal to historical to romantic suspense, we have a little something for everyone.

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$0.99 Now Until April 6

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THE SOLDIER by GRACE BURROWES Get it at Amazon, Nook, Apple

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Spotlight on ‘Dukes in Disguise’ Anthology!

did gb si egDukes in Disguise are here! Susanna Ives, Emily Greenwood and Grace Burrowes teamed up to bring us three dukes in disguise.

These three Regency novellas, each featuring a young, wealthy duke who must spend two weeks masquerading as a commoner in the bucolic backwater of Lesser Puddlebury. Disaster will rain down if their graces’ titled status become public knowledge. Fortunately for our heroes, true love is no respecter of rank.

STORY: His Grace of Lesser Puddlebury by Grace Burrowes
Connor, Duke of Mowne, has been injured in a most delicate location, and needs a place to heal far from the eyes of Polite Society. When he takes refuge with the independent and impecunious Julianna St. Bellan, he suspects his wound was in truth caused by Cupid’s arrow!

BUY LINKS: Amazon Kindle / B&N  / iBooks / Kobo / Amazon Print

REVIEW: I am one of those Grace Burrowes fans that if she wrote on a paper bag, I’d gobble it up. As for the other two authors, I’ve read some of their book and liked them. I’m not sure who came up with this anthology premise, but whoever did, it was a good one.

Grace Burrowes sets the anthology up with three friends and all of them dukes, in dire need of disguise as one of them needs to convalesce. All three decide to travel to different locations and to stay incognito. What can go wrong while they ‘lay low’? Well, a lot can and it does.

I loved this first story and as usual, Grace Burrowes delivers on all fronts. This novella might as well been the full length book. It read as such. The characters were fully developed and for the chemistry between the two leads, I must credit the wonderful dialogue, making those two jump off the pages. The plot was entertaining and the pace was just right.

The second book was by Ms. Ives and it was my least favorite. I can’t quiet put my finger on it, but the story, despite being written well, just didn’t touch me as much as the first novella. I believe this one just demanded too much of my suspension of belief and had me questioning the behavior of the heroine on too many occasions.

Third story was also well written and characterized but I thought its complexity had me enjoying it less.

In the end, I do recommend it because all three stories were fast paced and each was fun in its own way.

Melanie for b2b

TEASER:

Over the clip-clop of the coach horses’ hooves and the incessant throbbing of his arse, Coinneach Callum Amadour Ives St. Bellan, ninth Duke of Mowne, endured that form of affection which—among grown men at least—traveled under the sobriquet of teasing.

More honest company would call it making sport of a fellow in a misguided attempt to cheer him up.

“Mowed down, they’ll say, like so much wheat,” Starlingham quipped. “One stray bullet and the great duke is hors de combat.”

Lucere was not to be outdone. “The moon sets, as it were.”

They went off into whoops, endlessly entertained, as always, by a play on the title Mowne, which was an old Scottish term for the lunar satellite… and thus a cognate for a reference to the human fundament.

“If the Sun and Stars had not tarried with a pair of tavern maids, we would have reached the dueling ground sooner,” Con groused. “This whole imbroglio is your fault, you two.”

There was simply no getting comfortable in a coach after being shot in the arse. No getting comfortable anywhere.

graceburrowesAUTHOR BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.

The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012.

Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews fromPublishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

STORY: Duchess of Light by Susanna Ives
In a tangle of lies and disguises, a brokenhearted duke and a desperate miss find truth in love.

TEASER:

The old duke released his last breath in the early morning. The new duke had walked to the empty nursery at the top of the house where Catherine, his favorite childhood nurse, and he had shared so many hours. He had squatted onto the cold, bare floor planks and imagined she was with him, embracing him and whispering that all would be well when he knew it wouldn’t be.

Even as a grown man, Lucere desperately missed her abundant smiles and the way she embraced him without reserve—so different from his cold parents, or the grasping courtesans who would later decorate his adult nights. How readily Catherine praised his childish drawings and songs he made up—all created to worship her. No night of wild passion had ever surpassed the gentle, warm feeling of when she had tucked him into bed, singing a lovely song meant to lull him to sleep. He had heard enough false I love you’s dripping from ambitious women’s lips. But Catherine had truly meant it when she’d said, “I love my sweet, sweet boy.”

Catherine was the only person who had ever truly cared for him.

And he had killed her.

isinmarshAUTHOR BIO: I am a mother to fabulous, brilliant, gorgeous children. When I am not writing, I am a part-time web developer. I listen to Brazilian Jazz, Wynton Marsalis, Astrud Gilberto, Bruce Hornsby, Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Willie Nelson and Ella Fitzgerald.

I can cook some mean Southern butter beans. I love my children, that guy I married, running, my smart phone, the sound of rain, and poems by Billy Collins. In fact, I love poetry in general, but don’t write a word of it. I’ve followed my crazy Viking husband through Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, England, and Scotland.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

STORY: Kiss Me, Your Grace by Emily Greenwood
Rowan, Duke of Starlingham, thinks love is for fools, though when he arrives at his hunting box to find an alluring but puzzlingly uncooperative woman pretending to be his cousin, he realizes he may be a victim of the most absurd malady of all: love at first sight.

TEASER:

The knocking, which had paused briefly, started again as they reached the door, heavy and bold, like a highwayman shouting his demands at terrified travelers. Clearly, Clare read too many gothic novels, nonetheless steadying her grip on the poker.

Louisa opened the door. The light from the candelabrum illuminated only an expanse of dark coat until Louisa raised the candles much higher to reveal a man’s face.

Claire’s first impression was of a square jaw, then of a mouth set in a firm line. Her gaze crept upward, taking in features made with bold strokes. In the shadowy light, his eyes were black, but she had a feeling they’d look that way in the daytime, too. His hair was dark and longish, its spiky waves brushing the collar of his dark coat and slashing across his forehead.

He was moderately tall and rather hulking. His shoulders were unfashionably brawny, and his expensive-looking tailcoat must have needed an entire bolt of fabric. And what kind of gentleman had arm muscles that showed under his coat? This man might be a gentleman—and there was little doubt of that from the cut of his clothes—but the bold jut of his chin and the leashed strength of his body spoke not of drawing rooms and dance floors but sweat and force.

He would not have looked out of place swinging a hammer in a blacksmith’s forge, and Claire imagined fire reflected in those intense black orbs while sweat trickled down the rough angles of his cheeks…the Roman god Vulcan at his work.

She needed to stop reading those mythology books as well.

“Good evening,” the man said in deep, cultured tones. “I am Mr. Fitzwilliam, cousin to his grace, the Duke of Starlingham.”

Claire and Louisa gasped at the same time.

To order your copy of this Regency novella anthology, you can go here.

emily-greenwood-AUTHOR BIO: Emily Greenwood has a degree in French and worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures. But she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance is the chocolate of literature.

A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

‘The Soldier’ by Grace Burrowes

ts gbSTORY: This Regency era battle of wits, wills, and the sexes features a wily duke determined to see the succession of his line secured. The duke can’t force his sons to marry, but he can make their lives miserable until they do. Resisting his pressure, each gentleman holds out for true love.

The second book in the series features Devlin St. Just, the duke’s oldest, but illegitimate, son. He arrives at his new estate weary in body and spirit only to find the previous owner’s bastard daughter and her beautiful cousin are his responsibility and making his life almost unbearably complicated.

REVIEW: The Duke’s Obsession trilogy continues with the oldest of brothers, Devlin St. Just, who’s a half-brother to Val and Westhaven, and a bastard son of the wily, old Duke of Moreland.

In THE SOLDIER, we reacquaint ourselves with the man whom the Duchess took in at the age of five to be raised along her own brood.  He’s a long-time soldier, a kind and devoted brother. He’s a man whose body had suffered no mortal wounds, yet his soul has been scarred so deeply, that he can’t find peace, even in his sleep. His passion is horses, and Emmie is the first woman in two years to stir his other passions, the ones that he thought never to feel again.

As THE SOLDIER opens, he arrives at Rosecroft, an estate he was ‘gifted’ by the King, and is confronted with a lot of challenges; the biggest one of all is Helmsley’s six-year-old bastard daughter Winnie and her cousin Emmie, who he feels are now his responsibility.

Emmaline Farnum is the town’s most incomparable baker. She’s been taking care of herself since the age of eighteen, as well as trying to keep an eye on her little cousin Winnie, who’s been living at Rosecroft with her degenerate father from the age of six months.
I understood this woman from the moment she barged in on Dev and Winnie. She is someone that all women should relate to. She is strong, has been supporting herself for years, yet weak in her emotions towards all that she regards dear to her.

She strives to be better, to always do her best, be that baking or taking care of an orphan. When she confronts a man who was unlike any she’s ever met—honorable, kind and devoted, yet broken from the inside—her feelings toward him confound and confuse her. She can’t help but offer him the only thing she has: herself.

If I loved THE HEIR, I adore THE SOLDIER. Grace Burrowes has gone and done it again. This story is about pure, unadulterated love. Love of a man for a woman; love of a man for his brother; love of a man for his friend, and love of a child for something to call her own.

One of the most heartwarming scenes in this book is the one right after Dev remembers his birth mother, Kathleen, taking him to the mews, letting him pet the horses. That memory brings both men to tears, and they take themselves outside for an impromptu picnic to enjoy a beautiful day, relaxing with wine and finally reading Kathleen’s letters to the Duchess of Moreland. This scene will forever be etched in my memory. I have never read anything like it in a romance novel. It didn’t undermine his sexuality or his masculinity. If anything, it made him more human, more real.

All the main characters have their own cross to bear, yet all are willing to help and support one another in their moments of crises. And that is the heart of this story. It shows us the quality of being human. The raw emotions that I felt while reading this story, left me crying in the wee hours of the morning. This is a romance to be cherished, and reread over and over again.

I was so happy to catch up with Douglas, and I am counting the days to his story, which will be a prequel to THE HEIR. As for Valentine, I’m enchanted beyond belief! For that matter, all of the Morlands, even the crusty and wily Duke have impressed me with their loyalty and love of each other. This is one family where men are not afraid to show their love toward one another. I can’t wait to meet the sisters!

Oh, and let’s not forget the Vicar, Hadrien Bothwell. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again…I think one of those sisters needs a man like him.

THE SOLDIER is character-driven and heartwarming, with dialogue full of wit and charm. This is not your usual ‘damsel in distress’ or a ‘reformed rake’ story. This is a romance that is bursting at the seams with emotion and humanity, pulling at all your heartstrings, and I highly recommend it.

Melanie for RRAH

‘Virtuoso’ by Grace Burrowes

v gbSTORY: A genius with a terrible loss…

Gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland, has little interest in his father’s obsession to see his sons married, and instead pours passion into his music. But when Val loses his music, he flees to the country, alone and tormented by what has been robbed from him.

A widow with a heartbreaking secret…

Grieving Ellen Markham has hidden herself away, looking for safety in solitude. Her curious new neighbor offers a kindred lonely soul whose desperation is matched only by his desire, but Ellen’s devastating secret could be the one thing that destroys them both.

Together they’ll find there’s no rescue from the past, but sometimes losing everything can help you find what you need most.

REVIEW: Valentine Windham, ‘Val’ to his friends and family, is a man that eats, breathes, and dreams his music. For a doctor to tell him that if he does not rest and try to heal his left hand, which has been swollen and paining him ever since his elder brother’s death, is like condemning him to a lifelong purgatory. Shortly after, Val’s luck in cards gains him an estate that is a need of repair. He welcomes the distraction and heads out, accompanied with his best friend, to decide if he’ll keep the property.

Ellen FitzEngle has lived in a tiny cottage adjacent to the Markham Estate for a few years now, ever since she was a widow. Her life is peaceful, and her days are filled with tending her herb and flower gardens, which are her livelihood. Occasionally, a memory of a young Gentleman kissing her passionately the year before will sneak into her lonely days, and she’ll daydream about what if’s and maybe’s of one day…

As Ms. Burrowes brings these two souls together, we are treated to a love story that is so fragile and tender, it will have you aching for them. What I most admire about this author is the time and care she takes in developing her characters and their feelings for each other. She never rushes that aspect of the story and equally takes the time in presenting her plots in such a way that you can’t help but turn the pages devouring the story!

Ever since I read her first novel THE HEIR, I have been amazed by her prose. She never fails to astound me by giving her characters real life crises; real life emotions; real life passions; and with that, bring them so vividly to life!

This family has now become my family, and I will forever love them all; and if the old Duke wasn’t so much smitten with his Duchess, I would have given her a run for her money!

I look forward to their adventures and will never be bored with them. Their love of one another has touched my heart, and it will touch yours. The romance, passion, and sensuality that Ms. Burrowes so eloquently conveys to us through her characters, is something that has a life of its own. Highly recommended, and VIRTUOSO is a keeper.

Melanie for RRAH