‘The Beautiful Pretender’ by Melanie Dickerson

tbp mdSTORY: What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

REVIEW: Thornbeck Forest – 1363 – Roman Empire

Reinhart Stolten, Margrave of Thornbeck, is out riding on his vast property chasing away a pack of wolves in an effort to keep everyone in the area safe. Once a powerful knight, he is now reduced to using a cane to walk. When he returns to his castle, he finds he has received a missive from the King requesting that Reinhart get married and suggests the daughters of the Duke of Geithart and the Earl of Plimmwald as possible brides. It happens that the fathers of these men had fueded with the previous Margraves of Thornbeck and the King wants to unite these families and thus ensure peace. While Reinhart would rather ignore the request, his aide, Jorgen, encourages him to comply with the King’s wishes. So, Jorgen and his wife, Odette, begin planning the ball. It is decided that there will be a two-week party and ball at Thornbeck Castle. These two ladies and others will be invited so Reinhart can meet them and decide which one best suits him.

Avelina is a lady’s maid to Lady Dorothea, daughter of the Earl of Plimmwald. Dorothea is hoping that her father doesn’t find out about her trysts with his Knight, Sir Dietric, and now she is carrying his child. When her father orders her to go to the Margrave’s ball, she runs away with her Knight. Upon learning what she has done, her father decides to send Avelina to attend the party and pretend that she is Dorothea.

Upon arrival at the castle, Avelina feels out of place but is befriended by a lovely woman also attending the party and works hard to keep her true identity secret. It becomes more difficult for her when she realizes that Reinhart seems to be quite taken with her.

But mischief is afoot and someone is trying to get her out of the way. As there has been bad blood between the families before, it looks like more problems may be coming.

This was a good story that stayed well with the time period. I enjoyed it and I know other readers will as well.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘Knight of My Dreams’ by Lynsay Sands

komd lsSTORY: Lady Alice knows she is not the type to entice a man. She’s too voluptuous, too intelligent, too strong minded. Why, she even reads! But then Jonathan, Earl of Fairley, arrives at court. Tall, dark and handsome, the knight is any woman’s dream. And he has just been ordered by the king to find a bride … and Alice is to help him!

Jonathan has been evading his mother’s matchmaking schemes for years, so why does she insist that Lady Alice isn’t for him? Alice is only to aid in his search for a bride, yet Jonathan can’t help but be distracted by her glorious hair—the color of a sunset—and a figure that is like a lush berry about to burst to full ripeness … Has Jonathan fallen prey to love?

Originally appeared in the print anthology A Mother’s Way, under the title “Mother May I?”

REVIEW: As short stories go, this one was very well written and a lot of fun to read in one afternoon.

If you’re in a mood to spend a short time in Medieval Era than you should give this story a try. With unconventional heroine and an Alpha hero, the story moves fast and entertains on all levels and through the end.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Dark Knight’ by Elizabeth Elliott

Stdk eeTORY: Thief, assassin, and master of disguise, Dante Chiavari is the most feared mercenary of England’s King Edward. On one last assignment, Dante must play the part of a chivalrous knight to steal Avalene de Forshay from her family and thwart the ruthless Faulke Segrave, who would wed Avalene and use her to spark war between Wales and the crown. Upon seeing the beautiful and innocent young maiden, however, the mercenary suddenly finds himself at the mercy of his own intense desire.

When Avalene meets the handsome knight she knows only as Sir Percival, he sweeps her off her feet even as he spirits her away from Coleway Castle. Their escape is wrought with risks and perils, but Avalene will find that the greatest danger lies in losing her heart. And after the truth is revealed, Avalene fears that she may never again be able to trust the dark knight who has come to mean more to her than life itself.

REVIEW: I can’t believe I let this book languish on my Kindle’s TBR for couple of years now. I finally got around to reading it this month. It’s a fourth book in Montagues series, which I’ve never read, but it hadn’t bothered me at all. It can really be read all on its own.

This is my first time reading this author and let me tell you, she is G.O.O.D. Very good.  From prose to plot and on to pace, this book sucks you in and doesn’t let go even days after you’re done reading it.

What I loved above all else, were our hero and heroine. These characters were extremely complex, yet so likable. The slow burn of their attraction to each other just jumped off the pages.

There was one thing that could have made this book even better than it was, and that’s the dialogue in the Medieval Renaissance speak. It would have had me sigh even more than I already had been! I do understand the reason behind not using it. It would probably drive some readers bonkers, and I probably would have had a hard time understanding some of the dialogue. But oh it would have sounded so very good.

If you’re like me and feel the need to step into Medieval time romance, please don’t hesitate to pick this one up. It will surprise and delight you. I promise.

And now I’m off to track the other three books in this series, The Warlord, Betrothed and Scoundrel:)

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘His Seduction’ by Diana Cosby

hs dcSTORY: An Impulsive Act…

Lady Rois Drummond is fiercely devoted to her widowed father, the respected Scottish Earl of Brom. So when she believes he is about to be exposed as a traitor to England, she must think quickly. Desperate, Rois makes a shocking claim against the suspected accuser, Sir Griffin Westcott. But her impetuous lie leaves her in an outrageous circumstance: hastily married to the enemy! Yet Griffin is far from the man Rois thinks he is—and much closer to the man of her dreams…

An Irresistible Outcome…

Griffin may be an Englishman, but in truth he leads a clandestine life as a spy for Scotland. Refusing to endanger any woman, he has endured the loneliness of his mission. But Rois’s absurd charge has suddenly changed all that. Now, with his cover in jeopardy, Griffin must find a way to keep his secret while keeping his distance from his spirited and tempting new wife—a task that proves more difficult than he ever imagined…

REVIEW: I liked the setting, Scotland in the thirteen century in the reign of King Edward Longshanks. Despite the story starting off a bit predictable and farfetched, I liked the pace of it and the main characters. They were quick witted, strong and very entertaining as the tension just grew between them throughout the story.

This was a great read and even though I’ve never read the previous four books in this series, I had no trouble following the story.

If you’ve seen ‘Braveheart’ and liked it, you’ll love this story. Ms. Cosby did a great job blending a bit of magic and just enough of history to lure me into this story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Temptation in a Kilt’ by Victoria Roberts

tiak vrSTORY: She’s On Her Way to Safety

It’s a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong’s desperation that she’s seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn’t care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control…

He Redefines Dangerous…

Ciaran MacGregor knows it’s perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he’s stuck with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he’ll be ready to show her how he really is…on and off the battlefield.

REVIEW: As debut novels go, this Victoria Roberts debut and first in Bad Boys of the Highlands series, is well written and fast paced, but it’s the main characters that drive this story.

I love my heroes to be honorable, yet entertaining and not boring, and that’s exactly who I got in Laird Ciaran MacGregor.

He’s had enough of the Royal Court and is ready to return to his home in Scotland and that’s where the story takes off, as he stumbles onto Rosalia who is on the run.

The heroine is someone very likable and sweet, yet headstrong and determined. I loved it that she was described as someone I could relate to, svelte and not slim.

Together they make a couple you’ll have no choice but to root for as they fall madly in love with each other.

If you like your highland novels to have a heavy use of a brogue, then you’ll enjoy this story very much.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

 

‘To Desire a Highlander’ by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

tdah sewSTORY: An Unwilling Bride

Proud, passionate Lady Gillian MacGuire is known as the Spitfire of the Isles. She can take care of herself and hasn’t yet met a man who could impress her . . . especially not Donell MacDonnell, the odious older man she was promised to five years ago. She’s been dreading his return, but when her intended comes back to claim her, she’s stunned at how different he seems. The man she swore she would spurn forever now invades her thoughts, her dreams, and her heart.

An Unexpected Desire

When Roag agrees to assume the identity of the recently deceased MacDonnell chieftain, no one warns him that the man was betrothed. As a member of the King’s Fenris Guard, he is oath-bound to embark on whatever mission the crown gives him. Of course, he was expecting a battle—not a bride. Yet after sharing one kiss with Lady Gillian, the powerful Highlander becomes the one seduced and captivated. Now giving in to temptation could ruin them both.

REVIEW: Let me tell you, after I read the blurb, I honestly didn’t think this plot would work. I mean the hero is taking someone else’s identity! This can only go bad, right?! Wrong. I was so wrong. It all worked out unbelievably well, and I should have known better than to question Sue-Ellen’s power of plotting a tale that is passionate and fun.

As usual Sue-Ellen enchants her readers not just with a well told tale of love and woo, but what I find fascinating is that she never fails to paint me a picture of that long ago time in Scotland’s history by giving me a taste of the life her characters lived day in and day out.

With some intriguing and entertaining twists and turns, combined with plenty of humor, she weaves this beautiful love story to any romance lover’s satisfaction.

If you’re still in that dreaded #Droughtlander mode, you need to pick this one up!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Amanda Scott and ‘Devil’s Moon’!

dw

Today we are spotlighting one of my favorite authors and asking her to tell us her Top 5 book to film/series adaptations.

I’m not a movie fan, so this one is hard, but I’m assuming that you’re asking what favorite books I have that have been made into great movies. I’ll give it a shot. 

1. Actually, the first movie that comes to mind is Into the Woods because I was utterly fascinated by the way all my favorite fairy tales were woven into the story.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird. I knew when the first scene of the movie opened which house belonged to Atticus Finch, and I thought the movie brought that so-excellent book alive.

3. American Sniper

4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

5. And I loved all the Sean Connery James Bond movies

dm asSTORY: A Warrior’s Promise

The last place Sir David “Devil” Ormiston expected his moonlight chase of a horse thief to end was in a lady’s bedchamber. He is shocked to find that the raider he has pursued is no man, but a defiant beauty in disguise-and the woman he’s vowed to protect at all costs. Face to face with a girl Dev thought he knew, the ever confident, marriage-resistant knight may learn that he is defenseless against the desirable woman she has become.

A Lady’s Secret

Lady Robina Gledstanes will do anything to keep her family’s land out of the hands of her greedy kinsmen-except willingly submit to the handsome, cocksure Devil Ormiston. Dev’s help may be just as dangerous as the threats lurking outside her castle. But when enemies scheme to steal the castle’s treasure, Robina must risk losing something even more precious-her heart.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / BAM / B&N / IndieBound / GooglePlay / iTunes / Kobo

TEASER:

Prologue

Coklaw Castle, the Scottish Borders, July 1403

The night was black. Not a star shone, and the damp, clinging mist was as cold as mid-November. The castle’s tall, square keep rose above its outer wall, although the two appeared as one solid density against the night sky.

Armed with a shovel and dirk, the thickset man known as Shetland Jamie felt his way to the crest of a low rise thirty yards southeast of the wall. He thanked God for the darkness and blessed the mist that hid him. He heard no sound from the wall walk above.

The siege laid by Henry Percy, the powerful English Earl of Northumberland, had been in effect for fifteen days, but his men had not attacked for a sennight, so the Scots inside the castle no longer feared an assault. Doubtless, the earl meant to starve them out.

Jamie had worried about his shovel making noise, but yesterday’s misery-making rain had softened the ground, so the rain had been good for something beyond easing the siege army’s stink. Moreover, the heavy mist had muffled the night bird’s call he’d heard a short while ago, so it would doubtless muffle any sounds he made.

Jamie had studied the rise from the day he’d first recognized the stunning opportunity that had presented itself to him. Now, following an image in his head of what he had seen earlier, he soon found the pile of rocks he’d left to mark his spot.

Cautiously resting his shovel on a shrub, he gently set down the crockery jar that held the most precious part of his burden, out of the way but where he could find it again.

Dawn remained distant, and the English tents and siege fires lay to the south, beyond the crest of a nearby hill. Northumberland’s tent was the finest, of course. The Percys were wealthier than God, and Shetland Jamie’s family was poorer than dust.

But God knew all and willed all, did He not?

Jamie believed that God had provided this chance and had willed the idea into his head. A wise man recognized opportunity when it came his way, and he knew that he’d have had to be blind not to see this one. The others had left him alone, guarding that fine tent for just a few minutes, but that had been enough.

It would mean hanging if they caught him, but if they didn’t, he’d be far better off than he was now. God had paved the way for him tonight, too, with the darkness and mist.

As he pictured numerous possibilities that the future might hold for him, he quietly shifted the pile of rocks out of his way. He would bury his treasure for the nonce and take good care that no one suspected what he’d done.

To continue reading more of Prologue & the entire Chapter 1, go here.

Amanda ScottAUTHOR BIO: Amanda Scott is the author of over 62 romance novels and the recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award.  She lives in Folsom, California, outside of Sacramento.

Amanda is a fourth-generation Californian, who was born and raised in Salinas and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in history from Mills College in Oakland. She did graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in British History, before obtaining her Master’s in History from California State University at San Jose. She now lives with her husband and son in northern California.

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