‘The Seduction of Sarah Marks’ by Kathleen Bittner Roth

tsosm kbrSTORY: England, 1857

After a blow to her head, Sarah Marks awakens in a strange bed with a strange man and no memory of how she got there. Her handsome bedmate, Lord Eastleigh, tells her she’s suffering from amnesia, and the best course of action is to travel home with him until she recovers her memory.

Lord Eastleigh has his own reasons for helping Sarah and keeping her close. Reasons he cannot tell her. As they struggle to restore her memory, their undeniable, inadvisable attraction grows—until Sarah finally remembers the one thing that could keep them apart forever.

REVIEW: This story is Kathleen Bittner Roth’s debut and I loved it!

The book blurb gives you enough of the storyline, so I’m going to tell you what I liked about this story and why I think you’ll like it too.

First, let’s talk about our hero. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this man and the reason for it is because he is such a flawed and complex character that you have no choice but to care for him, even though at times you want to smack him. But most of the time, you just want to hug him!

As for our heroine, she is as flawed and possibly even more complex than our hero, and no mater her actions, I found myself willing her to persevere in her quest to find out who she is and where she belongs.

I also found the romance between these two perfectly paced and the chemistry electric, even when our main protagonists were at daggers drawn and at cross purposes.

As I finished reading this story, I wholeheartedly wished for all the secondary characters to find their happily ever after. They have truly enhanced this story, from Mum, Eastleigh’s eccentric grandmother who thinks she’s the Queen Mother, to Will, Eastleigh’s younger sister who dresses in men’s clothing and is overly protective of her brother. And don’t even start me on Sir Crocodile! You need to read the book to find about this man!

To close, this début is well written, well plotted with some curve balls that were not expected and plenty of twists that will keep you guessing and reading until wee hours of the morning.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Wicked My Love’ by Susanna Ives

wml siSTORY: A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius…

Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn’t get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he’s tried—and failed—to get the better of her.

Make a perfectly wicked combination…

When both Randall’s political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella’s help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that’s catching them completely off guard…

REVIEW: Isabella St Vincent and Viscount Randall have known and disliked one another since they were children. Their fathers formed a bank together many years ago which has been quite successful.  Isabella is a tall, intelligent, clumsy, no-nonsense, and unfashionable 29-year-old woman who wears glasses.  Randall is a handsome, happy-go-lucky guy always looking to carry on his tradition of teasing Isabella.  When their fathers passed away, the two of them inherited the bank.

Isabella figures she will never marry and is happy to be a member of the Mary Wollstonecraft’s Society Against the Injurious Treatment of Women Whose Rights Have Been Unjustly Usurped by the Tyrannical and Ignorant Regime of the Male Kind.

This only adds to Randall’s amusement and teasing of Isabella.

When Isabella and Randall discover that an employee of the bank may have purchased fraudulent stocks, they are afraid that it may mean certain ruin for the bank.  Thus, they take off on a venture to find this scoundrel and hopefully save the bank.

Their madcap adventures start out as rather humorous but quickly become somewhat overdone.  Yes, there are a lot of very funny parts, however for me, the excessive vulgar language seems totally out of place for the time period and tends to distract from the reader’s believability of the characters.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Soldier’s Dark Secret’ by Marguerite Kaye

tsds mkSTORY: The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington’s most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he’s hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within; Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves?

Except Celeste harbors secrets of her own, and questions that she needs Jack’s help to solve! With Celeste’s every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all?

REVIEW: England – August 1815

Jack Trestain is a highly decorated an admired code-breaker who has just returned from fighting against Napoleon.  He is living with his brother, Charlie, and family at their home, Trestain Manor.  Charlie has inherited the home and title from their father and he and his wife have been working hard to re-do the home and the grounds.  Jack is having a difficult time settling back home.  Nightmares of the things he has seen and experienced during the war fill his nights leaving him exhausted and with a constant feeling of guilt.

Celeste Marmion is an artist raised in France and has been commissioned by Charlie Trestain to paint the gardens of Trestain Manor before its planned transformation.  Celeste was sent to school at age 10 by her mother who was always indifferent to her.  Her mother’s essential desertion has always hurt and troubled Celeste and now she is on a mission to find out more about her.  She uses her talent of painting to make money to support herself.

As a guest at the manor, Celeste and Jack meet and are almost instantly attracted to one another.  They each recognize the other as someone who is suffering from bad experiences in their pasts which only draws them closer together.  When Celeste shares a letter with Jack she had received from her estranged mother, Jack quickly agrees to accompany her to France to work with the clues they have to solve the mystery of her mother’s past.

These characters are brilliantly written to reveal two wounded people looking to one another for solace. Celeste is hurting because she feels her mother never loved her and Jack feels a terrible guilt for people he may have harmed or was unable to help save during the war.

Once again, the author has created a novel that has obviously been researched in-depth to share with the reader not only a great story but the history of the war itself.  I know readers will enjoy Jack and Celeste’s story and finish the novel with a feeling of satisfaction having read a story that will long remain with them.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Fan2Author Interview with Vicky Dreiling!

What-a-Devilish-Duke-Desires-Release-Week-Blitz

What was your favorite book as a child?

Little House on the Prairie.

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

Yes. It’s Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale. The book is brilliant.

Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

Well, there were a lot of required books in my college English classes.  I never finished Don Quixote. Total misery. I faked it pretty well  :)

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

No.

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

There’s one I wish hadn’t been made into a film as they botched it. I loved A.S. Byatt’s Possession. It’s a fantastic book. The ending is surprisingly endearing.

Which book we might be surprised to learn that you loved?

Tracey Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. I loved her spare prose and the imagery.

If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it ffts lkbe?

Historical Romance.

What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

Laugh out Loud – Jill Shalvis’s It Had To Be You.  I haven’t read one that made me cry since – the ending of Flowers From The Storm.

During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

Are you kidding? Inside!  I live in Texas & the humidity will make every cell in your body limp.

Flannels or Silk?

Cotton Tinkerbell nightgown.

ihtby jsSports car or SUV?

I’d prefer a chauffeur  ;-)

Cats or Dogs?

Neither. I have allergies.

Champagne or Beer?

Champagne!

Movies or TV?

Both!

What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

I’m addicted to The Big Bang!

What a Devilish Duke Desires 

Dreiling_What a Devilish Duke Desires_MMWill A Few Flirtatious Steps

Harry Norcliffe never wanted to inherit his beloved uncle’s title. The rigidity of the ton, the incessant reminders from his marriage-minded mama that he must settle down with a highborn lady and produce an heir and a spare: it’s all such a dreadful bore. So when his mother asks him to take part in a dancing competition, he patently refuses. The last thing he needs is another chore . . . until a beautiful, brilliant, delightfully tempting maid makes him rethink his position.

Lead To A Scandalous Seduction?

Most women would be over the moon to be pursued by a wickedly handsome-not to mention wealthy-duke like Norcliffe. But Lucy will not be any man’s trophy. She could use a friend, though, and what begins innocently soon ignites into desire. As Lucy tries to resist Harry’s scorching kisses, he makes an utterly irresistible offer. Enter the dance contest with him, and win a prize that could change her life forever . . . if falling in love doesn’t change it first.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

EXCERPT:

He took off his coat and went to tend the fire. His wide shoulders needed no padding. When he rose and dusted his hands, she noted his superior height once again. In his waistcoat and shirtsleeves, she could discern the way his waist tapered.

He joined her on the sofa and laid his arm across the top of it. “Tired?” he asked.

“No.” She was too aware of him. In the shadowy room, she could not see his bright blue eyes, but the soft sound of his breathing mingled with hers. The tension between them crackled all around her. A long moment suspended. Her senses were heightened, and her breasts felt heavier for some odd reason. She discerned the scent of wintergreen soap and something else—something masculine and irresistible. Something unique to him.

He leaned closer, and she could feel the whisper of his breath on her lips. “From the first moment we met, I could not get you out of my head.”

His words made her feel giddy, but she held back, because she was still a little wary. “I am undoubtedly the first woman to threaten you with a knife.”

He grinned. “Indeed you are. Now that you are unarmed, perhaps we could be friends.”

“We will shake on it,” she said, offering her hand.

He took her hand and turned her wrist, palm up. He looked up at her beneath his dark lashes, and then he kissed the tender underside of her wrist. When he touched his tongue to the pulse point, her breath shuddered out of her. She thought she might melt from the heat in his seductive gaze.

“I’d better go,” he said. There was a knowing look in his eyes, as if he was aware of exactly how he’d affected her.

When she inhaled on a shaky breath, he helped her to rise. She walked with him to the door as if she were enveloped in a fog.

He halted and gazed into her eyes. Then he drew her in his arms and kissed her gently on the lips. His mouth moved over hers and his hand slipped down the curve of her spine. Heat and longing surged inside her. He wrapped his arms around her, and she could feel the hard, unyielding muscles of his arms, chest, and thighs as he pressed her against him.

“Forgive me in advance,” he said.

“For what?” she whispered.

He kissed her gently once more, and then he drew his tongue along the seam of her mouth. Her lips parted and then his tongue was in her mouth, tasting her while his hands slid down her spine and to her bottom. He pulled her flush against him, and she could feel his hard body. She was breathing faster and everything inside of her was on fire for him. God help her, she wanted his hands all over her.

He broke the kiss, and she was aware that his breathing had quickened as well.

When he released her, he said, “Good night, sweet Lucy.”

Her limbs trembled a little as he strode out into the night, leaving her to wonder if he knew it was her first kiss.

vicky-dreilingAUTHOR BIO: Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the United Kingdom allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places.

She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her Trouble. When she’s not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and, most of all, long lunches with friends. A native Texan, she holds degrees in English literature and marketing.

MEDIA LINKS: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘What a Devilish Duke Desires’ by Vicky Dreiling

Dreiling_What a Devilish Duke Desires_MM

STORY: Will A Few Flirtatious Steps

Harry Norcliffe never wanted to inherit his beloved uncle’s title. The rigidity of the ton, the incessant reminders from his marriage-minded mama that he must settle down with a highborn lady and produce an heir and a spare: it’s all such a dreadful bore. So when his mother asks him to take part in a dancing competition, he patently refuses. The last thing he needs is another chore . . . until a beautiful, brilliant, delightfully tempting maid makes him rethink his position.

Lead To A Scandalous Seduction?

Most women would be over the moon to be pursued by a wickedly handsome-not to mention wealthy-duke like Norcliffe. But Lucy will not be any man’s trophy. She could use a friend, though, and what begins innocently soon ignites into desire. As Lucy tries to resist Harry’s scorching kisses, he makes an utterly irresistible offer. Enter the dance contest with him, and win a prize that could change her life forever . . . if falling in love doesn’t change it first.

REVIEW: What a Devilish Duke Desires’ is Vicky Dreiling’s third story in her Sinful Scoundrels series and a really sweet romance. This was Harry’s story and if you’ve read the previous two books, you’ll remember Harry as a young man who Earl of Bellingham literally “fished” out from the Thames and befriended. The story is a stand alone, but if you do have a chance to read the other two, you’ll appreciate his back story that much more.

In this story we see Harry coping with his beloved uncle’s death and newly acquired title, as well as with society in general. He manages to navigate the latter but when it comes to dealing with his mother, he is having a hard time putting her off and letting her know in no uncertain terms that when it comes to his marital state, he is well capable of taking care of it all on his own.

Lucy, a commoner living with her grandmother in a part of London that isn’t all that safe, is a hard-working young woman who at the start of the story loses her full-time job as a seamstress and now has to relay on her part-time position of a dance instructor’s assistant. When the said instructor shows up drunk and is called out by the lady who hired him to teach her young girls dancing, our heroine is devastated because she is expecting to be dismissed as well. But the opposite happens, and now she is being helped by the grand lady in teaching not just her girls but other members of the ton as well.

I find stories about aristocracy mixing with commoners to be a hard sell, yet Ms. Dreiling is a master of her craft and I should have had more faith in her storytelling.

I loved these two so much. Both were so sweet and so innocent yet when push came to shove, both showed how strong they can be. It was so much fun watching these two come together!

For a story filled with fun dialogue and a unique plot, don’t look no further.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy’ by Julia Quinn

tsosrk jkSTORY: Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second—or third—look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.

Iris Smythe–Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

REVIEW: London, Spring 1825

Sir Richard Kenworthy has just found that he needs to find a wife as quickly as possible. So, when he attends the annual Smythe-Smith Musicale known for its miserable performers, he is hopeful to find a possible candidate.  The young ladies playing are all also looking for husbands.  During the – ahem – performance, he spots Miss Iris Smythe-Smith playing the cello.  While Iris isn’t a bad musician, her fellow performers are terrible which only increases her embarrassment at having to participate.  While watching her perform, Richard becomes quite taken with Iris and is determined to pursue her.

Shortly after their introduction and his calling upon her, he kisses her which compromises her and he immediately proposes and marries her.  Now, he has a wife. They then journey to his home, Maycliffe.  While she is truly an innocent miss, Iris is perplexed at why her husband will kiss her but does not visit her bedroom.  This continues for sometime even after they arrive and settle into their home.

When Iris meets Richard’s sisters, Fleur and Marie-Claire, the reason for a hasty marriage soon becomes apparent.  The truth and Iris’s handling of her proposed role puts a heavy burden on her shoulders.  Will she be able to cope with what is being asked of her?

I cannot go into more detail here without spoiling the story for others.  The plot is somewhat different from Ms. Quinn’s usual stories and our hero, Richard, is an real idiot.  However, there is the normal humor associated with Ms. Quinn’s novels that her readers always enjoy.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Bluestocking and the Rake’ by Norma Darcy

tbsatr ndSTORY: The Earl of Marcham has decided to put the excesses of his colorful youth firmly behind him so that he may find a wife and beget himself an heir. But a straitlaced spinster may stand in his way after she releases a morality pamphlet exposing some of his most private misdemeanors. Determined to have his revenge and teach her a much-needed lesson, the earl decides that his best course of action is to seduce her…

Miss Georgiana Blakelow has long given up the hope of marriage. Instead, she’s resigned to serving as governess to her siblings and saving the family estate from ruin. She might succeed, if only the wretch of an earl who won the estate at the gaming table would be reasonable.

As the sparks fly, and as Lord Marcham finds himself unexpectedly attracted to Miss Blakelow, she becomes even more determined to keep him at a safe distance. The closer he gets, the more likely he is to discover that his bluestocking isn’t all that she seems.

Revised edition: This edition of The Bluestocking and the Rake includes editorial revisions.

REVIEW: Longfield Park, Hertfordshire – September 1817

Robert Holkham, the fourth Earl of Marcham, age 36, enjoys his life just as it is.  He is an intelligent man with a vast interest in science.  However, his widowed mother is anxious to see him marry and provide an heir.  Resigned to his fate, he begins his search for a wife.
In the meantime, Robert learns that a Miss Blakelow has written a tell-all pamphlet revealing a secret duel he was involved in as a youth and he is furious.  Georgiana Blakelow decides to call upon Robert asking him to rethink a gambling debt that her brother and head of the family, owes him.  Apparently, her brother lost their family home, Thorncote, by gambling.  She has even make careful calculations about how she will pay him back over time.  When Robert learns that she is the same woman who wrote the pamphlet, he refuses.
Life is very hard for Georgiana.  Her mother remarried after her father died, and her mother also died when Georgiana was young leaving her to raise her younger stepbrothers and stepsisters.  This is her priority and she is happy to care for them, yet her future appears to be simply a spinster.  We learn from the beginning of the novel that Georgiana had an unfortunate incident some years ago that has left her withdrawn from society.  However, it is not until later in the novel that we learn what happened which explains all of the other twists to the plot.  So, do be patient.
This is an intricately woven novel with a mystery, romance and lots of humor.  I enjoyed reading and laughing at this book.  I’m thinking lots of others will love it too.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher