‘Every Scandalous Secret’ by Gayle Callen

ess gcSTORY: Who is the lady setting London astir?
All is about to be revealed…

Notorious rake Leo Wade is not one for house parties–he’d much rather pass the time in London’s gaming halls…and ladies’ boudoirs. But when his gambling instinct leads him to believe the enchanting and utterly impossible Miss Susanna Leland is the anonymous model of a shockingly immodest painting…he braves country tedium for a chance to prove the lady’s secret.

With one foot already firmly planted on the shelf, Susanna cares not a fig for propriety. But even she never imagined she’d become caught up in a ridiculous game of cat and mouse, and certainly not with the most wicked man of her acquaintance! Susanna has absolutely no intention of letting Leo confirm his suspicions, no matter how persuasive he can be.

Until sweet temptation becomes too much to bear, and they both learn that the price of trust may just be worth every scandalous secret.

REVIEW: ‘Every Scandalous Secret’  is book three of the Scandalous Lady trilogy, and my advice is to read the previous two, because both hero and heroine just might surprise you in regards to who you thought them to be.

Lord Leo Wade is a well known rake with two passions: women and gambling. Both have become boring of late, so what’s a rake to do, but get himself invited to a house party!

Lady Susanna Leland is a well known bluestocking with passions of her own, and her love of art is one of them. Lord and Lady Bramsfield’s house party gives both of them an opportunity to engage in some ‘wagering’ that will set in motion things neither is willing to admit, but both want.

Ms. Callen’s third installment of this series is as much entertaining as the previous two, and I enjoyed the ‘battle of wills’ these two displayed in full force. My only complaint would be that it was a tad slow paced, but with well developed characters such as these two, it didn’t bother me too much. Watching them fall in love was heartwarming and entertaining, and at times, just too funny.

‘Every Scandalous Secret’  is a story well told of opposites attracting, with dialogue that will leave you smiling, while the charming hero and one determined heroine are both trying to outwit and keep their secrets from each other.

Melanie for RRAH

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Two Dukes & a Scandal with …

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‘It Takes a Scandal’ by Caroline Linden

cl itasSometimes it takes a scandal . . .

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets-except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .

To reveal your heart’s desire

Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn’t-wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won’t give up the only girl he’s ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

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Teaser:

A recluse. Why? He might have fallen on hard times, but his house was gracious and beautiful, a handsome brick mansion. One could easily see it, for it sat on the ridge of the hill that rose beyond Hart House. And he was handsome enough—even without counting his reserve—that most girls would overlook a limp, if they noticed it at all. When he used the cane it was almost imperceptible. Even more, Abigail didn’t sense he wanted to be a recluse. He could have held back when she was chasing Milo and avoided her entirely; she hadn’t noticed him at all until he spoke to her. He hadn’t needed to walk her back to the house. He hadn’t needed to give her that long, appraising look at the end, as though he was drinking in every facet of her appearance …

Well. If balls were good for anything, they were good for gossip. Surely a man as mysterious as Sebastian Vane would have inspired some whispers. She pinned one last sprig of loose jasmine into her hair and went down the stairs, determined to find out.

‘How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days’

[An American Heiress in London] by Laura Lee Guhrke

llg htladitdThey had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

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EXCERPT:

Stuart took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his face, working to govern the violence inside himself. Rage would be of no help right now. He reached for his walking stick, took up his shoes, and returned to his own room. He dressed for dinner, and somehow, putting on a starched bib shirt, white waistcoat, black trousers, and black dinner jacket helped him tamp down the rage inside. As he tied his white silk tie into a proper bow, as he fastened shirt studs and cufflinks, as he tucked a white pocket square into place, he was able to set aside the part of his soul that was raging beast and regain the part that was civilized man. Then, and only then, he went in search of his wife. He found her by the Roman Garden, or as she called it, the Secret Garden. She was sitting on the bench where they’d sat the day before, but as she caught sight of him emerging from between the tall clumps of fennel and mullein, she jumped to her feet. “What do you want?”

He stopped, studying her across the courtyard, considering how to proceed without causing her more pain or making things worse. He’d come out here to comfort her, but looking at her now, he suspected she would welcome comfort about as much as she might welcome having a tooth drawn.

He took a deep breath. “It wasn’t just your heart he broke, was it?”

Her face twisted, and it was like a knife going into his chest. “He…” Stuart paused, working to force the words out. “He violated you.”

She made no sound, she shed no tears. She didn’t move or speak. She just looked at him, and no answer to his question was necessary. Her pain hung in the sultry summer air between them, and Stuart’s rage drove even deeper, spread even wider. From the beginning, he’d sensed her pain; he just hadn’t seen the true reason for it. Or maybe he just hadn’t wanted to see? This wasn’t a broken heart or a virgin’s fear; this wasn’t something simple. Still, he knew the truth now, and as horrific as it was, there was no going back, so what was he supposed to do with the knowledge? God, in a situation like this, what was any man supposed to do?

‘Redemption of the Duke’ by Gayle Callen

gc rotdA duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.

Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…

It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?

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EXCERPT: (From the opening of the book)

Adam Chamberlin sat alone in his London study, preoccupied once again by the astonishing realization that he was now the Duke of Rothford—he, the youngest of three sons, who’d been called a scoundrel and a rake and worse by his own brothers. For many years he’d taken great pleasure in living up to that. He and his younger sister were the offspring of his father’s second marriage to a much younger woman who’d brought little but beauty to the family, not property or connections. Adam’s brothers had never let him forget it, although always out of earshot of their father.

He’d deserved Society’s scorn once upon a time; he’d even reveled in it—anything to prove to his brothers that their threats and their condemnation didn’t matter to him.

Before joining the army, he’d never been responsible for anything or anyone. But the Eighth Dragoon Guards had shown him that a man could be judged on his honorable deeds, not his ancestors or his money. He’d been able to start over, to support himself instead of holding his breath waiting for his father to die and his brothers to make good on their threats of cutting him off.

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‘Redemption of The Duke’ by Gayle Callen

gc rotdSTORY: A duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.

Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…

It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?

REVIEW:  I’ve been a fan of this author for some time and I’m still trying to catch up with her backlist, while reading her front list, and I have to say, this book was exceptional. I honestly can’t find anything to critique!

This is the third book of the Brides of Redemption trilogy in which three friends and soldiers who are returning to England from India are in a need of redemption after an incident that all three were involved, and this time Adam Chamberlin, a third son whose faith was to become a Duke of Rothford, meets his destiny in a remarkable Faith Cooper.  

What I always look for when reading a story is my connection to the characters, that human element that authors bring to their characters, and Ms. Gayle Callen really brought it on in spades to this story and her characters.

This is a brilliant story of redemption, love and passion, with a perfect pace so that I can ‘feel’ the tension and conflict between Faith and Adam. And don’t start me on the ‘sensual’ part of this book, because I may not stop telling you how ‘hot’ it was!

If you haven’t read this author, my question to you is…What are you waiting for?! Check out my reviews of the previous two books in this series here and here

Just amazing story and I loved every bit of it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

‘Surrender to the Earl’ by Gayle Callen

gc stteSTORY: She wanted a favor, not a fiancé.

Audrey Blake’s impromptu plan-asking a visitor to help her take ownership of her rightful property-is unraveling in spectacular fashion. Robbed of her sight by a childhood fever, Audrey has been kept in virtual seclusion by her family. And now the enigmatic Robert Henslow, Earl of Knightsbridge, has complicated her scheme to gain independence, insisting they pretend to be engaged.

Duty brought Robert to Audrey’s doorstep. As for what makes him propose marriage…it might be guilt. Compassion. Or something far more urgent and unexpected. Their counterfeit union was supposed to be for Audrey’s benefit. Yet it’s Robert who yearns to prove to the intriguing Audrey how much they both have to gain by making it real-and convincing her to submit to the most blissful passion

REVIEW: This second book of the Brides of Redemption trilogy in which three friends and soldiers who are returning to England from India in a need of redemption after an incident that all three were involved, we watch Robert Henslow, Earl of Knightsbridge meet his true love.

I loved the first story, Return of the Viscount [my review is here] and I was really looking forward to this one.

You know how some books lean more to either heroes or heroines, meaning we have more of a character development of one and not enough of the other? Well in this one I was pleasantly surprised that both Audrey and Robert were equally represented by the author as she did an outstanding job in characterizing and fully developing both characters to such extent that I saw and felt them and their emotions very clearly.

It’s Robert’s turn to try and redeem himself to a widow of a man that he feels responsible for dying in that incident in India, two years ago. He is willing to do anything to help young widow of Martin Blake and upon meeting her and offering his help he’s shocked to learn of the way that Audrey’s family is treating her and her blindness.

Audrey Blake was badly used by her husband whose reason for attaching himself to a blind woman was getting his hands on her dowry so he can purchase his commission to go to India, which he did after their wedding night, leaving his bride with her family that despises her blindness and has Audrey as a virtual prisoner within the walls of their home. No wonder she sees Robert as her only means of escape!

However, our hero watches her closely and proposes they get to know each other a bit better before he agrees to her plan of helping her gain her independence by taking her to a property that she inherited.

Robert is pleasantly surprised to see that she’s more than capable of running a household, and upon realizing that the only reason her family is tolerating her is that ability of doing all that work for her father’s house, he decides to help her out. I thought the author did a magnificent job in setting the pace for these two to slowly become acquainted and watching them develop affection for each other was truly special and poignant.

I truly enjoyed the slow pace of this delightful tale, and am looking forward to the next book. Hope you give it a go.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy from the publisher