‘Maid for Romance’ by Ruth J. Hartman

mfr rhSTORY: Leah Hunter must choose between two men. Valet Daniel Barlow makes her laugh, fills her heart with delight, and answers her body’s desire for love. But Felton Kensington would give her a better life. Security. Prestige. And choosing him would take away the one thing that plagues her mind with worry and confusion.

Felton Kensington scoffs at the valet’s attempt to steal away Leah. With what Felton has to offer, he’s quite confident Leah will be his. In every way.

Daniel Barlow knows what he wants. And that’s Leah Hunter. He’s trying everything in his power to win her over. But competition from Felton Kensington is stiff. How can a valet compete with a wealthy gentleman?

REVIEW: Leah Hunter used to be a maid but has recently become the companion to Cecelia Radcliff.  She loves her job and is truly a good friend to Cecelia.

Daniel Barlow is the valet to Mr. Radcliff.  He is a handsome and friendly man who likes to flirt with Leah. Leah tries to deter him from doing so as she does not want anyone to think she is not doing her job.

Leah is a total cat lover so one day when she spots a cat outside that seems to be ill, she hails the passing Daniel to help her.  He wraps the cat in a blanket and take it upstairs to a safe place in the barn.  Shortly, the “illness” of the cat is discovered as she begins to give birth to kittens.  Leah is so impressed with how Daniel knew what was happening and how to help the cat.

Soon, Leah and Daniel are told they will be accompanying Mr. and Mrs. Radcliff to a house party for a few days where they will continue with their duties.  Leah has been given some nicer dresses by Cecelia and is told she may participate with the other guests.

Mr. Felton Kensington was a classmate at Eton with Mr. Radcliff and is part of the party.  When he sees Leah, he is quite taken with her and with the approval of the Radcliffs begins to court her.  Daniel becomes jealous and is afraid that Felton is just looking for sport from her.

Leah is pleased with the attention from Felton but is torn.  Even though he is a wealthy man and can offer her a comfortable life, she feels her heart belongs to Daniel.  Their times together have always been happy ones.

What will she do?  Can she be happy marrying a valet?  Oh, but let’s not forget dear Uncle Percy whom we met in another Ruth Hartman novel.  How does he come into play here?

Ms. Hartman has written yet another delightful love story that is sweet, fun and clean.  I hope others will discovers her novels and enjoy these terrific stories.  Please check out my review of “His Lady Peregrine” where we first met Uncle Percy.

Connie for b2b

‘Daisy’s Dilemma’ by Anne Stenhouse

dd asSTORY: Lady Daisy should be ecstatic when her brother, the earl, allows Mr. John Brent to propose. She’s been plotting their marriage for two years. However, she is surprised to find herself underwhelmed and blames their distant cousin, Reuben, for unsettling her.

Reuben Longreach wonders whether the earl understands the first thing about Daisy’s nature and her need for a life with more drama than the Season allows. It’s abundantly clear to him that Daisy and John are not suited, but the minx accepts his proposal nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Daisy hatches a plan to attach Reuben to her beautiful, beleaguered Scots cousin, Elspeth. Little does she know that Elspeth is the focus of a more sinister plot that threatens Daisy too.

Will Reuben be able to thwart the forces surrounding Daisy before she is irretrievably tied to John? Will Daisy find the maturity to recognise her dilemma may be of her own making before it’s too late?

REVIEW: London 1822

Miss Daisy Longreach has just accepted Mr. John Brent’s request for her hand in marriage.  She and her widowed mother are living with her brother, Tobias, who is soon to be married himself.  John Brent does not have a fortune but feels he can care for and support Daisy and his three sisters as well.  Having just been in a fight where another man was killed he is recovering from his injuries.  It appears that this man had planned to abduct Daisy to steal and sell the family tiara.

Daisy’s cousin, Reuben, is a wealthy young man who has grown up with Daisy and knows her quite well. He is convinced that John Brent is not the man for her.  Daisy feels as though she has made the right decision, however, she enjoys being with Reuben.  Both of them are just realizing that they have an attraction to each other.

Daisy’s aunt, Beatrice, has come to visit with her daughter, Elspeth.  Beatrice is an opinionated woman who irritates everyone.  She is always eavesdropping on conversations and being just a royal pain.  She treats poor Elspeth very badly by putting her down and not allowing her to dress nicely.  Daisy decides to take matters in her own hands and convinces her brother, Tobias, to supply the funds to get some new dresses for Elspeth.

But behind the scenes, danger lurks and it seems that Aunt Beatrice is right in the middle of it.  What could be going on, who could be hurt and why?

I admit that this was a very difficult book for me to read.  I felt as though I had walked into the middle of a movie and even reread most of the book to try and piece all the characters together.  I have enjoyed this author in the past but, I just cannot say that I enjoyed this novel.

Connie for b2b

‘His Lady Peregrine’ by Ruth J. Hartman

hlp rjkSTORY: Percy Radcliff has gone mad. At least that’s what his family thinks. Simply because he adores birds to distraction. If only there were someone with whom he could share his great love. Perhaps he’s found her in the woman he happened upon at the Bird Sanctuary?

Widow Georgiana Ollerton has finally met her match. In love and in admiration for everything avian. Percy, though odd, has a sensual quality Georgiana can’t quite explain but definitely wants to explore further.

The problem is Percy has once again gotten himself into a pickle. How is he to romance his lovely Georgiana when another woman believes him to be her long-lost husband? Will Percy be able to disentangle himself from the other woman before he loses Georgiana for good?

REVIEW: Mr. Percy Radcliff, age 51, has always loved birds and has even thought he might like to be a bird, which has made his family question his sanity.
Lady Georgiana Ollerton, age 42, is the widow of Albert, the Earl of Graverly. Unfortunately, their union produced no children, and Albert experienced some financial difficulties before he passed away. Thus, Georgiana has had to trim the staff and lives as simply as possible. Oh, but she loves to indulge her passion for birds. Her favorite place to visit is a local bird sanctuary where she collects the feathers of different birds.

One day, both Percy and Georgiana are both at the bird sanctuary and Percy is quite taken with Georgiana’s looks comparing her to a peregrine falcon. When she suffers a minor fall, Percy is there to help her up. (It so happens that Georgiana is a bit of a klutz.) As they chat, Percy finds himself quite smitten with her and asks to see her.

While at a get together with some of Percy’s relatives, evil begins to form in the heart of one of the attendees. It appears that Miriam Crome, Dowager of the Lofton estate, has discovered that Percy has awakened some long-forgotten feelings in her heart and body and she is determined to get him away from Georgiana and have him all to herself.

Will the Dowager be able to destroy this budding relationship between Percy and Georgiana? Just what does she have up her sleeve?

I loved this book. It was so cleverly written and humorous that I found myself laughing out loud. It’s not a long book and can be read in an evening. I hope readers will grab a copy and sit down for a fun time.

Connie for b2b

‘Love’s Fortune’ by Laura Frantz

lf lfSTORY: Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas’s vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world–filled with family members she’s never met, dances she’s never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes’ shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.

REVIEW: Cane Run, Kentucky – 1850

Rowena (Wren) Ballentyne has spent her life in Kentucky with her father, Ansel.  Her mother passed away leaving both bereft.  Ansel is a master at making musical instruments and Rowena is following in his footsteps.  Her talent at playing the fiddle by ear is unsurpassed.  When Ansel tells Wren that they will be journeying to his father grand home in Pennsylvania, Wren is torn about leaving her home but is interested in meeting more of her father’s family.

The trip is made via a steamship owned by the Ballentyne shipping line and piloted by James Sackett who has been with the Ballentyne family for many years.  James is a handsome man but is involved with the underground world of helping slaves flee to a free area.  For this, he is a marked man by some of the slave owners.

During the trip, Wren and James get to know one another and James feels sorry for Wren knowing that with her naïvety, she may have a hard time adjusting to the different society she will be entering.  This is exactly what happens.  While the homes of the large Ballentyne family are large and most everyone is kind and welcoming, there are one or two intent on making life difficult for Wren.  She is measured for new dresses and taught manners and how to dance as she prepares to be introduced to society.

Wren makes friends and loves her family members.  But when her aunt tries to pair her up with an arrogant man, she is upset because she knows her heart truly belongs to another.

Welcome to a time period of large families, beautiful homes, and money.  I enjoyed this novel but wish I had read the first two books in this series before this one.  However, the novel is so good that it can stand alone.

Connie for b2b

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

‘Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy’ by Victoria Vane

9781492601180STORY: Take Your Best Shot, Cowboy…

Weary warrior… After eight years as a Marine sniper, war-scarred Reid Everett is back in his native Wyoming. He knows and loves this rugged land, so working for wildlife services to reduce the booming wolf population suits him to a T.

Caring crusader… Wildlife biologist Haley Cooper is desperate to make a difference. Leaving the world of academia behind, she accepts a position as a wolf advocate to protect the animals she loves.

Raw attraction… Their jobs set them on a collision course, but chemistry sparks like wildfire between Reid and Haley. They’ll have to brave some rough territory if they hope to reconcile their polarizing views with a passion that won’t be denied.

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

A beehive of trouble I say!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Garden of Lies’ Amanda Quick

gol aqSTORY: The Kern Secretarial Agency provides reliable professional services to its wealthy clientele, and Anne Clifton was one of the finest women in Ursula Kern’s employ. But Miss Clifton has met an untimely end—and Ursula is convinced it was not due to natural causes.

Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton thinks Mrs. Kern is off her head to meddle in such dangerous business. Nevertheless, he seems sensible enough to Ursula, though she does find herself unnerved by his self-possession and unreadable green-gold eyes…

If this mysterious widowed beauty insists on stirring the pot, Slater intends to remain close by as they venture into the dark side of polite society. Together they must reveal the identity of a killer—and to achieve their goal they may need to reveal their deepest secrets to each other as well…

REVIEW: The Kern Secretarial Agency is run by the very efficient Ursula Kern.  Mrs. Kern hires only top-notch secretaries who work for her wealthy clients.  When her best secretary and good friend, Anne Clifton, is found dead, Ursula is convinced that she did not die by suicide as first thought, but that she was murdered.  Who would kill this lovely lady?

In order to keep her client happy, Ursula steps in to finish the job Anne was doing which is working for the well known Archaeologist and adventurer, Slater Roxton, cataloguing his artifacts.  As they spend time together, Ursula confides her suspicions to Slater about her friend’s death and he agrees to help her investigate.

But Ursula Kern is not who she appears to be and thus wears heavy black mourning, including a hat with a black veil.  Slater Roxton is from a very wealthy family and is known for having been marooned on Fever Island for a year.  He and several others had been searching for and found some lost caves with many rare artifacts.  An explosion of some kind occurred trapping Slater inside.  By the time he found his way out, the group had left the island thinking he had probably died.

As they investigate further, things become very dangerous and others end up murdered.  It appears that they have begun to uncover a very lucrative drug making business where some people will stop at nothing to own all of it.

This is a very intriguing story that I think readers will not want to put down.  The author has woven these characters perfectly to make a story that would be a fabulous movie.  I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b