‘A Kiss At Christmastide’ by Christina McKnight

akic-cmckSTORY: Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone. But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter.

Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House.

When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do—demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning?

As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?

REVIEW: London – 1813

Lady Pippa Godfrey, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Midcrest, is waiting her turn to play the piano at a musicale recital. It is her first London season and she is very shy and nervous about her piano performance. Pippa is not enjoying herself at all and would be much happier at home reading. She wishes she could be as confident as her good friend, Lady Natalie, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sheridan. But when Natalie introduces Pippa before her performance, she makes a veiled and snide comment about Pippa spending many hours with their handsome musical instructor making it sound like they were having a tryst. Shocked and deeply hurt by Natalie’s comment, she bravely faces the crowd and performs. Now, she needs to find out why her so-called friend has turned on her.

Somerset, England – December 1813

Pippa is reading and listening to a cold storm rage outside her family’s country manor, Helton House, as she reads her favorite books about Christmas. It is quite late but she is still awake awaiting her parents’ arrival. They have been out of town for a couple of days. The rain has poured all day and she worries about the damage to homes in the village. Pippa loves the countryside, walking everywhere, and having a more relaxed daily schedule.

Natalie’s family home is next to Pippa’s and they have been friends for many years. She has just received an invitation to a betrothal party for Natalie. Knowing she should be happy for her, Pippa still holds a grudge toward Natalie for her mistreatment of her at the musicale.

A knock at the door turns out not to be her parents, but a man asking if his lord could be given shelter due to his carriage getting stuck in the mud. The man is Lucas Hatfield, the Earl of Maddox, and son of the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont. Pippa is taken aback at his request. Knowing the few servants in the house have long been abed, Pippa is afraid as she is alone. The Earl is gruff and angry at her hesitancy to allow him inside. However, she relents and rings for her butler who shows him to a room. It turns out that he is heading to the party for Natalie and is, in fact, her betrothed. Ah, but Lucas soon becomes very attracted to Pippa.

As the storm does not allow him to continue with his journey right away, they share time together preparing for Christmas. They quickly come to admire one another.

Will they be able to say goodbye and go their separate ways?

This is a good story and I enjoyed the characters. I think others will like the book as well.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Earl of Ice’ by Helen A. Grant

eoi-hagSTORY: Rollo Stannington, the Earl of Brockwood, is considered a wonderful catch by the mamas of the ton. He is young, handsome and extremely wealthy. What mother can resist having him as a son-in-law? If only their daughters didn’t pale and tremble in his presence and beat a hasty retreat as soon as they could! Rollo, nicknamed “The Earl of Ice” because of his frigid demeanor, welcomes this reaction. He has no intention of marrying. Ever.

Dianna Wells, a young debutante, is immune to Rollo’s coldness. Where other ladies stand tongue tied before him, she chats gaily and comfortably with him. She even enjoys dancing with him. No one knows that Rollo and Diana share a devastating secret. One that draws them together yet will ultimately test their growing attraction to each other…

REVIEW: The best thing about this romance is its hero and heroine. They were extremely well written and drawn. The plot was a bit predictable, but in no way did it make me enjoy the story less.

Rollo, the Earl of Brockwood has perfected the demeanor of a man so cold and unaffected by anything or anyone, that the society names him earl of ice. However, he is anything but cold, and our heroine knows exactly why he’s hiding behind that mask of indifference.

And then we have our heroine, Dianna. What a generous, sweet and charming young woman she is. She was one of those characters we all should aspire to be. Honorable and patient to a fault!

‘The Earl of Ice’ is a sweet romance with much to recommend itself. If you’re into romance with authentic regency flair with a slew of lighthearted moments and witty dialogue, this is it. I loved it.

Melanie for b2b

‘Tainted Bride’ by A.S. Fenichel

atb-asfSTORY: Only trust can save her….

Sailing to London, Sophia Braighton only hopes to escape certain ruin. But when she arrives, her Great Aunt Daphne has other plans for the American-born beauty. Determined to marry off her niece to a man of means, she propels Sophia into London society, not knowing that the young woman’s trust in men is shattered. In fact, Sophia never expects to ever feel anything for a man. Then again, she never expects to find herself in the company of the dashing earl of Marlton….

From the moment he sees Sophia, Daniel Fallon feels alive in a way he has not since his broken engagement. Though the vulnerable beauty shies from the passion burning bright between them, Daniel is determined to court her and make her his bride. And when he learns of the painful secret she harbors, he is equally determined to take revenge on the man responsible. But will the quest destroy him—and his future with his beloved?

REVIEW: Miss Sophia Braighton is sailing to London from Philadelphia to stay with her aunt and uncle. She is met by Lady Daphne Collington, her great-aunt, who informs her that her aunt and uncle are in the countryside and that she will be staying with her. The woman is a dowager countess and the widow of an earl.

Sophia is quite taken with the beauty of the size of Aunt Daphne’s London townhouse. It hadbeen gifted to her by her son, the Earl of Grafton.

The first morning, she learns from her aunt that a young lady, Elinor Burkestock, was mentioned in the gossip sheets as having been caught kissing a young gentleman and her reputation may be ruined. The young man she was with, Sir Michael Rollins, begged Elinor to wait for him as he had to leave town for a short while. Some people think he is just after her money. Hopefully, he will return soon and offer for her. Having been through her own experience like that, Sophia asks if she can meet the young woman and offer her support. Sophia had been found in a compromised position and the family decided that she needs to leave the country. In truth, she had been attacked and raped. Now, she has vowed to never marry. Elinor is happy that Sophia offers her friendship. Joined by another young lady, Dory Flammel, the three quickly bond.

Sophia soon exhibits her humor to people she meets and is quite good at mimicking people’s voices and accents. Thomas Wheel is a young man who is intrigued by her.

When introduced to Sophia, Daniel Fallon, the Earl of Marlton, is taken with her beauty and enjoys dancing and conversing with her. Daniel had been engaged to a young woman who proved to be of low morals. He soon broke off the engagement. There is a definite attraction between Daniel and Sophia, but he is frustrated by her vow to never marry because she considers herself soiled goods. Imagine her surprise when the man who raped her is present in London. Alistair Pundington sees her, sneers at her, and rips her dress, increasing her fear of the man.

As Daniel comes to know Sophia better, their attraction grows but Sophia refuses to marry him. Alistair puts out to people that Sophia is a whore to which Daniel threatens him and tells him to never speak of her again.

Will Sophia be able to relent and marry Daniel? Is there a way to get rid of the constant threat of Alistair?

This story has a good plot. My problem is that Sophia’s “woe is me” attitude became very grating as the story progressed.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel’ by Jennifer McQuiston

tpolas-jmcqSTORY: Every girl dreams of a hero . . .

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

REVIEW: 1858

Miss Mary Channing, age 26, has just received a letter from her twin sister, Eleanor, who is married to Lord Ashington. She wants Mary to stay with her in London for the last two months of her confinement. While Mary prefers to stay home with her books, she knows she must smile and join her sister.

London – 1858

Being a morning person, quite early the day after Mary arrives in London she steps outside the front door only to find a man peeing on the flowers in front of her sister’s home. He is drunk and has the audacity to invite Mary to touch him!

Geoffrey Westmore, known as West, and his friend, Charles Grant, are heading home after a night of drunkenness and whoring. These two best friends have been through school and fought together in the Crimea war.

West lives at Cardwell House just two doors down from Eleanor’s home. His father is Viscount Cardwell. The family hopes that he will one day settle down and start to take life and his responsibilities seriously. West had been on a path to be an architect before he and Grant, on a lark, decided to join the military. His family would like for him to return to his career, but evidently something happened in the Crimea that his affected him deeply.

When Mary is invited to attend a literary salon and meet well-known authors, her sister, Eleanor, insists that she go. She wants so much for Mary to meet someone and get married. As the salon is being held at the hospital to raise funds for it, the place is very crowded and Mary cannot find a seat. Therefore, she decides to head to the hospital’s library and investigate the books there. Who should follow her? None other than West who teases her. But when they both overhear an assassination plot, they are shocked.

West soon realizes that as he must try to solve the assassination plot, but he has Mary right in the middle of it. From the number of mystery novels she has read, she fancies herself a real sleuth. But when things take a more sinister turn directed at Mary, she truly becomes frightened.

Will West and Mary be able to solve this mystery? Will she ever be able to take him seriously considering all of the pranks he likes to play?

This is a great novel that adds some history from the time period. Don’t miss it. Readers are sure to love it.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘A Reluctant Betrothal’ by Amanda Weaver

arb-awSTORY: When Grace Godwyn is introduced to her soon-to-be fiancé’s closest friend, she can hardly keep from fainting. The man whose angry gaze confronts her is none other than the handsome stranger who came to her aid in a dark French alleyway. The stranger with whom she’d shared a moment of reckless passion. And now, with a single word, he could destroy her one chance for security.

Julian St. John, Lord Knighton, owes his friend too much to allow him to fall into the clutches of a craven fortune hunter. He knows all he needs to know of Grace Godwyn: that she’s the orphaned and penniless daughter of a disgraced viscount; that her lips taste incomparably sweet. There is no way he is going to allow this marriage to take place.

Yet the more time Julian and Grace are forced to spend in each other’s company, the more irresistible their desire grows—and the more devastating the potential consequences.

REVIEW: Menton, France – 1897

Grace Godwyn is currently a companion to Lady Bosworth. The Lady’s grandson, Frederick Musgrave, the third son of an Earl, has been visiting his grandmother for a week and is constantly flirting with Grace. As Grace is in need of marrying a man of wealth, she knows she should be open to his passes, but finds him repulsive.

Grace is the daughter of the late Viscount Hadden who gambled away his fortune after his wife died. Her friends, Genevieve, Victoria, and Amelia are all wealthy and Grace has been their guest at different times in her life.

This evening in Menton, Grace, Lady Bosworth, and her grandson are watching a street festival when Lady Bosworth sends Grace on a errand. She gets caught up in the festivities and meets a man whom she kisses freely knowing she will never see him again.

Julien St. John, the new Earl of Knighton, has been busy settling his father’s estate. He is in Menton watching the street festival when he sees a young woman being pursued by a man. He jumps in, rescues her, and kisses her. The young woman is Grace.

When Julien sees Grace at a musical evening, he is shocked to hear Frederick, whom he knew in school, speak crudely about Grace. Later, Frederick tries to get Grace to agree to be his mistress. She is furious and sets him straight.

Grace’s friend, Genevieve, Lady Grantham, with whom she has lived for some years learning to be a lady and preparing for her season, has insisted that Grace leave her companion position and come live with her. Hopefully, with the Lady’s help, a good husband can be found for Grace. With the help and generosity of her friends, Grace is launched with style into the season.

When Grace meets Rupert Humphrey, a man soon to inherit a fortune, she finds him to be nice but he is a man who loves living in the country while she prefers London. But the man is wealthy and she needs to marry a man like that. She soon meets Julien who is a friend of Rupert and Julien pegs her for a fortune hunter. When he confronts Grace with his accusation, she is furious. Lady Honor is a lovely young woman who is a friend of them all. It has always been assumed that she will marry Julien, but he only thinks of her as a friend. Honor has graciously agreed to help Rupert furnish and decorate his new home. This necessitates a lot of togetherness.

Will Julien and Grace ever get over his distaste for one another? Will Grace and Rupert find love and marry?

This is a great story with lots of twists. I’m thinking it will appeal to many readers.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Paula Quinn and ‘A Highlander’s Christmas Kiss’!

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BOOK BLURB: A Stranger’s Smile

Christmas may be coming to Linavar, but Temperance Menzie is far from joyful. Grief-stricken over the death of her father at the hands of the Black Riders, she almost didn’t see the wounded stranger in the woods. And now she’s determined to give this braw, brooding Highlander the help she couldn’t give her father. But there’s a secret lurking in the depths of his blue-gray eyes. And Temperance won’t rest until she uncovers it . . .

A Lover’s Kiss

A killer for hire. It’s the last thing Cailean Grant ever thought he’d become, but being part of the Black Riders was his only way to survive. Now, his guilt grows day by day, along with his desire for the beautiful, brave lass nursing him back to health. As Christmas, the season of miracles, draws near and the truth of his identity threatens to come out, Cailean must risk the only thing he has left to lose-his heart.

BUY LINKS: AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo / Goodreads

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

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EXCERPT:

She stopped walking and pulled on his hand to stop him as well. “Who am I to you?”

What? What had he said? He realized quickly enough, scowled, and then smiled, giving in to what his heart was telling him. “Ye are—” He paused, not truly sure what to say. He hadn’t wanted to care for her, but he did. He’d let her in, but how could he have denied her entrance? She’d been through much, thanks to him, and yet she still smiled, she still sang, she still had compassion to help him heal.

He began again, reaching for her. He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her plaid- encased body, shielding her from the wind. “Ye are my candle in the dark.” He stopped again to take her in. He smiled. “I’m better at puttin’ a quill to m’ words than I am at speakin’ them.”

Her wide, beautiful eyes glittered like the snow dusting the braes. He wanted to lose himself there in the expectant hope that lit her gaze.

“You’re doing just fine,” she assured him softly. “Continue, please.”

He shoved aside everything on his mind but her. What was left scared the hell out him. “I canna—”

She waited in silence while he fought his demon for her. Her hope began to fade to disappointment.

It made him smile to think her hope was to be with him and she was waiting to hear him tell her.

“I canna take my gaze from ye, lass. No matter what I’m doin’, m’ eyes find their way back to yer rich dark hair fallin’ over yer flawless jaw, the relaxed curl of your bottom lip that tempts my legs to bring me to wherever ye are. I lay awake at night imaginin’ yer soft inhalations of breath. They fill my heart with something other than mortar and fury. I want to bring ye to me but I’m unworthy of yer dreams. Still, I want to be in them, as ye are in mine.”

“You see?” she said breathlessly. “Just fine.” She closed her eyes and parted her lips when he dipped his head to hers.

He moved his mouth over hers, basking in the intimacy of kissing her, capturing her short, eager breaths. His senses came alive and he used each one of them to fill himself with her. She tasted like passion and innocence. When he slipped his tongue over hers, she opened her arms and coiled them around his neck, covering them both in his plaid. He listened to her heart beating like ancient drums. Or was it his own heart he was hearing? He withdrew a hairbreadth so he could look at her again. The sight of her dreamy-eyed and wanting more nearly drove him mad. He brushed his nose across her temple to her hair, drinking in the scent of her, like the familiar fragrance of peat and pine. “Ye’re bringin’ me back to life, lass.”

He kissed her again, barely holding back the passion raging inside him to be released.

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REVIEW: By now I know what Paula Quinn can do. She continues to impress with her storytelling and I’m always ready for her to take me into the Scotland of long ago and introduce me to these intriguing and voluptuous characters that are fully fleshed out and real.

This is the first book in Highland Heirs series which continues the MacGregor and Grant family tales. If you’ve never read any of those books, have no fear because this story can definitely be read as stand alone.

Cailean Grant is a complex and complicated man who tends to get himself in some dire situations, and that’s how he meets Temperance Menzie, a woman that is his destiny. Both characters were well developed and the plot was as complex as our hero and heroine!

It is the emotional journey that these two went through made my eyes mist and that doesn’t happen often to this reader.

If you’ve never read this author and you love to read romances with Scottish politics, men in kilts, and a romance that brings tears to your eyes, this one is a must.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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paula-quinnAbout Paula Quinn: New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Twitter

‘Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night’ by Kate Noble

mglfan-knSTORY: Next in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All Regency series from Emmy winner Kate Noble, author of The Game and the Governess and writer of the wildly popular web series, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries.

Cecilia Goodhue is a schoolteacher with a past, living with her sister and her husband in a tiny English village. Resigned to a quiet life, Cecilia is surprised when she finds out that her young cousin has run off with a man of no means.

Cecilia had once been a teenaged girl who also fell for a young man’s charms—only to be devastated by his betrayal. Determined to not let her cousin meet the same fate, she heads off to London to but is shocked when her investigation leads her right to the front door of the very man who broke her heart: Theo Hudson.

Together, they reluctantly embark on finding her cousin and returning her to her family. During their searching in London, it soon becomes clear that they both remember their short-lived romance differently and perhaps now, years later, they have a fresh chance at love.

REVIEW: Miss Cecelia Goodhue, age 26, lives in Helmsley, Lincolnshire and is the town’s school teacher. Classes have just let out for the spring planting season. Cecelia’s sister, Imogene, with whom she resides, informs her that their cousin, Eleanor, has run off with a man who is part of a military regiment passing through town. The man is to settle in London and wants Eleanor to join him. But no one knows where in London she has gone.

Imogene is married to Vicar Spelsky. Imogene reminds Cecelia of the time she ran off at age 16, and nearly ruined herself. Cecelia had fancied herself in love with Mr. Theodore Hudson, age 20, and had run off to Gretna Green with him. Her father caught her before they were married and claimed that the young man was only after her modest dowry. Hurt and humiliated at Theodore’s defection, she withdraws to live the life of a spinster.

Cecelia decides that she will be the one to go to London to search for Eleanor. Upon the advice of her friend, Mrs. Turner, it is decided that she will call upon Lord Edward Granville, the Earl of Ashby, for help. In addition, Cecelia will say that she is in London doing an errand for Mrs. Turner. But when other ladies chime in requesting that since she is off to London, could she run some errands for them, the list really grows.

Upon arrival at the home of Lord Ashby, she is shocked when Theodore Hudson opens the door. It appears that Theodore is a partner in a law firm representing the Earl and Theodore is waiting to see the Earl. Seeing Theodore again brings back memories of their time together some years ago. When Lord Ashby appears, he asks Theodore to take over looking for Cecelia’s cousin, Eleanor. Cecelia insists that she accompany Theodore in the search. In addition, Lord Ashby insists that Cecelia stay at his home with his wife and family. When Cecelia, using her womanly wiles, shows up Theodore during their search, Theodore sits up and truly takes notice of her.

It would appear that I have given away a lot of the plot, but it is just a teaser. The humor in this book is great and typical of Kate Noble. Readers will certainly have some good laughs.

I enjoyed the novel but found that some parts tended to drag. However, the story is good and enjoyable.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b