‘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

‘Forbidden to Love the Duke’ by Jillian Hunter

ftlad jhSTORY: Lady Ivy Fenwick is desperate. Since her father’s fatal duel, she and her sisters have sold off every valuable possession to make ends meet. With the manor stripped bare, Ivy has one last resort: Apply as governess to the Duke of Ellsworth’s wards.

James should have known better than to hire the desirable lady who had fallen on hard times—and who tempts him at every turn. As her employer, he tries valiantly to remain noble and not let a kiss they shared as strangers years ago entice him. Yet the more he learns of Ivy’s secrets, the more he wants her. And when another suitor proves aggressive, James is confronted with a challenge: Surrender Ivy or fight for the woman he’s come to love against all odds, knowing that it takes a scoundrel to trump a scoundrel.

REVIEW: England 1813

Lady Ivy Fenwick and her three sisters, all named after flowers, live in their crumbling home, Fenwick Manor which has been around since the Tudor times.  Their mother passed away years ago and their father was killed in a duel after he had been caught cheating at cards.  The sisters have had to sell off many of the artifacts in the house to keep themselves going.  In addition, they have a private garden where they grow most of what they eat.  However, things are still quite dire which has inspired Ivy to look for a position as a governess.

James, the Duke of Ellsworth, lives nearby Fenwick Manor in his home, Ellsworth Park. Intrigued by Fenwick Manor, he is looking to perhaps purchase the property.  But when he approaches the property, he realizes that it houses four lovely women all ready to defend their home.

Soon after, James finds himself in charge of caring for two children so he immediately advertises for a governess just at the same time that Ivy advertises looking for a position.  Although there are many applicants for the job, James selects Ivy and is quite happy with his choice.

Thus begins an attraction between James and Ivy that cannot be denied.  At the same time, another man has heard that there might be treasure hidden in Fenwick Manor and does what he can to flatter the sisters to gain entry into their home and their lives.

The story has a good plot, however, the addition of the man inserting himself into Fenwick Manor could have been left out of the story.  For me, it was just too much and seemed to take away from the story of James and Ivy.  However, there are some humorous parts that will certainly make the reader smile.

Connie for b2b

‘Too Dangerous to Desire’ by Cara Elliott

tdtd ceSTORY: Can a Flame from the Past be Rekindled?

Long ago, Sophie Lawrance chose prudence over passion, rejecting a rebellious young rogue for the sake of her family-no matter the ache it left in her heart. But after a specter from her father’s past resurfaces, threatening to destroy all she holds dear, the desperate beauty knows there is only one man whose shadowy skills can save her.

Or Is It Too Dangerous to Play with Fire?

Cameron Daggett is a man of many secrets . . . and many sins. He’s never forgotten the pain of losing Sophie. But now, with a chance to win her back, Cameron sets aside his anger and agrees to help Sophie save her father’s honor. Together they embark on a perilous masquerade, leading them to a remote country estate near the sea. There, they must battle a cunning adversary-and their own burning desires. Will they be consumed by the flames? Or can they prove that true love conquers all?

REVIEW: This is the third book in Ms. Elliott’s Lords of Midnight Series and out of the three, my personal favorite.

If you love reading about bad boys, then you’ll love this one. Cameron is a thief that looks like a pirate (with an earring too). He is the last of the Hellhound that’s not taken the plunge or fallen into a parsons trap, but not for long.

Sophie is a vicar’s daughter by birth, and a devoted daughter and sister who would do anything to protect her family and avoid scandal. That’s why she braves the slums and enters the Wolf’s Lair to meet a man that’s endangering her family.

I always loved Cara Elliot’s prose, but once I read the intro into this story, I was hooked. Here is what Cam feels as he hears a familiar voice in the hallway of the hell …

“The voice stirred a myriad of memories… None of them good. Soft and sensuous as summer sunlight, it tickled around his head, a tantalizing whisper, wrapping his brain in a seductive swirl of honeyed heat and gold-kissed sweetness.

Another word floated through the half-open door and suddenly the sensations were like a serpent, trailing a sensuous slither over bare flesh, only to strike with diamond bright fangs.”

With a wonderful character development, fast pace and an intriguing mystery to be solved, this romance packs a well-rounded punch for all of my bookworms that love a second chances love story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher