Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘Too Scot to Handle’

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GB’sTop Five Must See places in Scotland

  1. Neil Gow’s oak on the banks of the River Tay (because the walk to the oak is lovely)
  2. Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney
  3. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh
  4. The Culloden Memorial and museum
  5. The Robert Burns Museum in Alloway

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BOOK BLURB: A Man With Many Talents

As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he’s a titled gentleman, he’s still fighting-this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he’s happy to oblige.

Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Books-A-Million / Google Play / iBooks / IndieBound / Kobo

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EXCERPT:

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He’d taken care that this kiss be private, and thus unhurried.

Anwen liked the unhurried part exceedingly. Lord Colin held her not as if she were frail and fragile, but as if she were too precious to let go. His arms were secure about her, and he’d tucked in close enough that she could revel in his contours—broad chest, flat belly, and hard, hard thighs, such as an accomplished equestrian would have.

Soft lips, though. Gentle, entreating, teasing…

Anwen teased him back, getting a taste of peppermint for her boldness, and then a taste of him.

“Great day in the morning,” he whispered, right at her ear. “I won’t be able to sit my horse if you do that again with your tongue.”

She did it again, and again, until the kiss involved his leg insinuated among the folds and froths of her riding habit, her fingers toying with the hair at his nape, and her heart, beating faster than it had at the conclusion of their race.

“Ye must cease, wee Anwen,” Lord Colin said, resting his cheek against her temple. “We must cease, or I’ll have to cast myself into yonder water for the sake of my sanity.”

“I’m a good swimmer,” Anwen said. “I’d fish you out.” She contemplated dragging a sopping Lord Colin from the Serpentine, his clothes plastered to his body….

“Such a sigh,” he said, kissing her cheek. “If ye’d slap me, I’d take it as a mercy.”

“I’d rather kiss you again.” And again and again and again. Anwen’s enthusiasm for that undertaking roared through her like a wild fire, bringing light, heat, and energy to every corner of her being.

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“You are a bonfire in disguise,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair. “An ambush of a woman, and you have all of polite society thinking you’re the quiet one.” He peered down at her, his hair sticking up on one side. “Am I the only man who knows better, Anwen?”

She smoothed his hair down, delighting in its texture. Red hair had a mind of its own, and by the dawn’s light, his hair was very red.

“No, you are not the only one who knows better,” she said, which had him looking off across the water, his gaze determined.

“I’m no’ the dallyin’ kind,” he said, taking Anwen’s hand and kissing it. “I was a soldier, and I’m fond of the ladies, but this is… you mustn’t toy with me.”

Everlasting celestial trumpets. “You think I could toy with you?”

“When you smile like that, you could break hearts, Miss Anwen Windham. A man wouldn’t see it coming, but then you’d swan off in a cloud of grace and dignity, and too late, he’d realize what he’d missed. He wouldn’t want to admit how foolish he’d been, but in his heart, he’d know: I should ne’er have let her get away. I should have done anything to stay by her side.”

I am a bonfire in disguise. “You are not the only one who knows my secret. I know better now too, Colin.” She went up on her toes and kissed him. “It’s our secret.”

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Grace Burrowes CREDIT Wax Creative IncAUTHOR 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

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‘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.

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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 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

Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘Daniel’s True Desire’!

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The Joys of True Gentlemanliness… by Grace Burrowes

About twenty books ago, I lamented (whined) to one of my brothers that coming up with ways to challenge a romance hero into facing his worst fears and risking all to win the heroine’s heart was taxing my imagination. My brother, without a heartbeat’s pause said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.”

THAT was great advice. Make the hero choose between the woman who needs him, and the military unit depending on him. Make him choose between avenging injustices from his past, or respecting the wishes of the pacifist woman he loves. Make him decide whether to be publicly vindicated or privately forgiving… Delightful stuff, for an author!

And yet, to travel along these brilliant character arcs, our hero must have one characteristic: He must have a well-developed sense of honor. To me, that means this fellow must be honest and kind. He can be poor, grouchy, lacking in charm, without prospects, unlucky in love—Daniel Banks is nodding his head—but ideally, he will still be a true gentleman at heart.

The true gentleman, alas for him, can be tormented from page one by the author and by the story, but from the start, the true gentleman will play by the rules of decency.

Rules are tough. The true gentleman will never misrepresent himself, which means Daniel Banks must inform Lady Kirsten that a) he’s married, and b) he won’t disrespect his vows. Too bad for Daniel, this honesty only raises him in the lady’s esteem, when he’s trying to emphasize his unsuitability.

The true gentleman will lend a hand—or an ear—to those in need. When Daniel Banks realizes that Lady Kirsten has been overlooked by her entire family, and is as lonely as an earl’s daughter can be, the least he can do is listen when she explains the misery in her past. Again, his respect for, and understanding of her increases, but what else could a gentleman have done?

The true gentleman is kind. He does not ignore the suffering of others, even if that means, he’s left with a bigger helping of suffering on his own plate. When Lady Kirsten needs a champion to fight her battles with an overbearing brother, Daniel steps up, though it might cost him his position. Once again, Daniel’s decency only gets him in hotter water, because now Kirsten’s brother is also viewing the impecunious, reserved, sometimes grouchy, vicar with renewed respect.

 This business of being a true gentleman is darned hard, and darned heroic. What Daniel has to learn, though, is that true gentlemanliness begins at home. When he’s honest with himself, and shows himself the compassion we all deserve, all the inconvenient rules, tough choices, and honorable standards turn out to have been his second-best friends.

Lady Kirsten is, of course, his very best friend, being a true lady. But that’s another story…  

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TEASER:

A man of God was supposed to welcome hardships, and Daniel did, mostly because his store of silent, colorful language was becoming impressive.

He raised a gloved fist to knock on the door. “Halloo, the—!”

The door opened, Daniel’s sleeve was snatched into a tight grasp, and he was yanked into the warmth of the cottage so quickly he nearly bumped his head on the lintel.

“I said I’d be home by dark,” his captor muttered, “and full dark is yet another hour away. I was hoping this infernal snow would slow down.” The woman fell silent, for Daniel’s sleeve was in a young lady’s grip. “You’re not George.”

Alas for me. “The Reverend Daniel Banks, at your service, madam. I lost my way and need directions to Belle Maison, the Bellefonte estate. Apologies for intruding upon your afternoon.”

Though, might Daniel please intrude until at least his feet and ears thawed? Beelzebub was a substantial horse who grew a prodigious winter coat. He’d tolerate the elements well enough for a short time.

 

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DanielsTrueDesireBOOK BLURB: An honorable life
Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left-and even his churchman’s collar is beginning to feel like a noose. At the urging of family, Daniel attempts to start his life over as vicar in the sleepy Kentish town of Haddondale, family seat to the earls of Bellefonte.

Challenged by passion
Lady Kirsten Haddonfield has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. Then the handsome new village vicar, Reverend Daniel Banks, becomes a guest of the Haddonfield family while the vicarage is being renovated, and Kirsten finds herself rethinking her position. Lady Kirsten does not know that Daniel’s past is about to cast a shadow on love’s future.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks

REVIEW: Grace Burrowes continues her True Gentleman series with yet another story of love, faith and internal conflict.

I devour every book this author puts forth and as I immersed myself in Daniel’s story, I honestly couldn’t see the “forest” from the trees. The plot was complex and I just couldn’t see it ever resolving in our couple’s favor. Leave it to Madam Author to lead me by the nose to a very satisfactory conclusion and one that I never saw coming my way!

As much as I loved this couple, I found the story just a tad slower than usual, yet it still had a certain flare and many fun moments, especially those with the “scholars”!

For all of you that love complex plots and characters, with plenty of humor, some heartache and sweet and tender romance, you’ll have to read this story. However, to understand this story better, I suggest you read ‘David: Lord of Honor’ [Lonely Lords book 9] first for the simple reason of getting to meet Daniel Banks and his back story. I loved both stories very much and because I read David’s story, I understood Daniel’s story better because of the glimpses into his background and what drives him.

If you’re a fan of this author, you’ll have to read this one, but if you’ve never read Grace’s awesome stories, I’d not start with this one but with ‘The Heir’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Grace BurrowesAUTHOR 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

Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and The Duke and His Duchess / The Courtship!

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My parents recently celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary—you read that correctly, 7-0. I’m the sixth of their seven children, so I missed a lot of the opening rounds of the Burrowes family story. To make up for that great unfairness, I ask my parents and my older siblings to fill in blanks for me. What was it like for my mom, starting out with twin boys, when the nice obstetrician—who didn’t want to upset her—failed to inform her she was carrying twins?

Mom learned she was to embark on double motherhood in the delivery room, when the nurse said, “Keep pushing, Mrs. Burrowes. You’re still in labor.”

She kept pushing. My brother Dick is particularly grateful she did, too.

What was it like for my father, to be the sole support of nine people, various shirt-tail cousins, and extended family members, on just a professor’s salary?

We never did without the essentials. How did he DOOOOO that?

These stories are the stuff of family legends, and every family has them. When I’d written stories for all of the Windham siblings, I still had a sense that the family tale wasn’t complete. How did Maggie and Devlin join the family? How did Percival, occasionally more stubborn than insightful, have the great sense to marry Esther? Why has Esther remained his champion, conscience, and confidante despite all the trying moments?

To find those answers, I had to write two novellas. First, came “The Courtship”, wherein Their Graces fall madly in love, despite—what a surprise!—meddling parents. Second, came “The Duke and His Duchess”. We know Percy and Esther’s household was in some regards unconventional, but they chose love over appearances from the start of their relationship. I wanted to know how they got through the challenges created by Percy’s behavior prior to the marriage, and emerged a stronger couple and a happier family for their choices.

The Duke’s Courtship duology is the result of my curiosity about the ongoing magic of a loving family, and also a tribute to my parents, whose happily ever after continues, even as a I write this.

EXCERPT:

Miss Esther Himmelfarb has been dragooned into attending a house party to make up the numbers, and to keep an eye on a cousin with a penchant for gambling. Little does Esther know Lord Percival Windham will risk all to win her heart.

“Miss Himmelfarb, I believe?” Lord Percival winged an arm and smiled at Esther graciously. “Shall I have us introduced, or in the informality of the occasion, will you allow me to join you at supper?”

A more calculating man would have offered to escort her to whoever had the honor of dining with her, but then, Lord Percival likely did not have to be calculating.

“I will happily accept your escort to the buffet, my lord.” Esther laced her gloved hand around Lord Percival’s arm, only to encounter a small surprise.

Or not so small.

Gossip had not lied. The man was muscular in the extreme, and this close, he was also of sufficient height to uphold the fiction that he’d protect Esther from any brigands or wolves wandering about Lady Morrisette’s parlor.

“Does your family hail from Kent, Miss Himmelfarb? I know most of the local families and cannot recall Himmelfarbs among them.”

The question was perfectly pleasant, and so too was his lordship’s scent. Not the scent of exertion or the standard rose-scented rice powder—he wasn’t wearing a wig—but something elusive…

“You’re twitching your nose like a thoughtful bunny, Miss Himmelfarb. Are you in anticipation of something particularly succulent among the supper offerings?”

He smiled down at her as he spoke, and for moment, Esther could not fashion a reply. Of all the times for Charlotte Pankhurst to be right about a man’s blue, blue eyes…

“I’m trying to fathom the fragrance you’re wearing, my lord. It’s pleasant.”

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think from your expression that you do not approve of men wearing pleasant scents.” His tone, amused, teasing, suggested that sometimes, all he wore was a pleasant scent—and that just-for-you smile.

Lord Percival leaned nearer, as if sharing a confidence amid the noise and bustle of the first night of a lively, extended social gathering.

“Bay rum lacks imagination, don’t you think? I shall wear it when I’m a settled fellow with children in my nursery. There’s cedar in the scent I wear, reminds me of Canada. You’re partial to spicy scents yourself.”

He was inviting a reciprocal confidence from her with that observation. The notion of trading secrets with Percival Windham made something beneath Esther’s heart twang—disagreeably, of course.

“Lavender with a few other things.”

“My dear”—his lordship had straightened only a bit—“why is My Lady Hair Bows staring daggers in this direction?”

My lady…? Then… my dear?!

“I’m not sure what you mean, my lord.”

“You know exactly what I mean, Miss Himmelfarb.” Lord Percival picked up a plate, though they were still some distance from any sustenance. “Now the Needy girl is at her elbow, pouring brandy on the flames of gossip. You and I will be engaged by this time tomorrow, I don’t doubt.”

Did one correct a duke’s spare when he made light of marriage to a woman within staring distance of professional spinsterhood?

Yes, one did.

“Her name is Needham, my lord. And I should think an engagement unlikely when you have yet to ask for my hand and I have given no indication I would accept your suit.”

The light in his eyes changed, going from friendly—yes, that was the word—to something more intent.

“You are an impertinent woman. We shall get on famously, Miss Himmelfarb. I adore impertinent women.”

***

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

TheDukeHisDuchessTheCourtshipBOOK BLURB:

THE COURTSHIP

The first novella to be published by New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes features the foundation story for her bestselling Windham series. This is the tender story of love tested and won, and how Percy Windham, the dashing and brilliant man who was never supposed to become the Duke of Moreland, wooed Esther Himmelfarb, the amazing lady who became his beloved Duchess.

THE DUKE AND HIS DUCHESS

In this second prequel novella to the popular Windham series, Grace Burrowes continues the story of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland through the tumultuous and bittersweet first years of marriage and parenthood. Percival Windham is a second son and cavalry officer when he weds the beautiful Esther Himmelfarb. Percy and Esther must grow into the nobility they’ve been resisting and stand together, or face the threat of destroying their young family and the beautiful love that started out with such promise…

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Books A Million

REVIEW: I was one of those people who hadn’t jumped on the wagon of this new author that everyone was talking about. I resisted for almost a year to buy her début ‘The Heir’, but in the end I gave in. To this day I’m shaking my head when I think about it! I adored every word I read and from that point on, I was hooked on Grace Burrowes. I also wondered about the secondary/supportive character of the Duke of Morland, the man that started it all. Who is this man?! Why would his Duchess even consider, let alone agree to raise his bastard children?

I really wondered after a few books that followed in this series, if Madam Author would ever answer those burning questions for me.

I can’t tell you how happy I was when she released the two novellas that explained this to me.

The love story of Esther and Percival is truly one for the ages and I highly recommend it to all of my bookworms, especially to those that have never read this author. This is a great way for you to be introduced to this series and to a wonderful writing voice of an author that has become one of my all time favorites in a blink of an eye.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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.

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