‘How the Duke Was Won’ by Lenora Bell

htdww lbSTORY: The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]

* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]

* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]

* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

REVIEW: If I had only one word to describe this story it would be “fun”. And that’s very good for a debut. I thought the above blurb was a perfect peek into the story. It’s what attracted me to this new author.

I usually gravitate towards brooding and dark heroes/heroines, so once in a while I’d look for a bit of lighthearted fun in my romance and this is just such a story.

This is a first book in a Disgraceful Dukes series and in it we meet James, Duke of Harland, who is in a dire need of a bride. But not just “any” bride. He has a list of her atributes, and there are four ladies that he’s about to meet and see which one fits his “bill”.

My heart went out to Charlene, our heroine. She is one of those strong and determined women that take on themselves too much. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place. In order to help her family, she accepts an offer to pass herself off as her half-sister Dorothea and trap a Duke in a marriage for that sibling. This wasn’t a light decision she made, and I sympathized with her inner battle as she realizes that the price she’s to pay for this just might be too high.

I also loved the secondary characters. They all were interesting, entertaining and pure fun. From James’s friends to the four women vying for Duke’s attention.

I highly recommend this debut and I’m looking forward to the next story If I Only Had a Duke in which the “real” Dorothea gets her happily ever after, and then there’s Blame It on the Duke!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Miss Frazer’s Adventure’ by Debbie Raleigh

mfa drSTORY: Miss Kate Frazer has spent most of her life trying to avoid the taint of her mother’s scandalous reputation. To please her father, she stifles her naturally high spirits to become a model of propriety. But when her efforts are rewarded with a suitor who cares only for her dowry – and leaves her waiting at the altar on her wedding day – Kate determines that from now on, she will live as she chooses.

Her first adventure will be a trip to London under an assumed name to enjoy the city’s every daring delight. And woe to anyone who stands in her way – particularly her fiance…Lucius Calfield wasn’t looking forward to wedlock with the tediously suitable Kate Frazer, yet he is nonetheless chagrined when a violent storm makes him late for the ceremony. But embarrassment turns to astonishment when he finds that his normally biddable fiancee isn’t waiting for him at the church.

In fact, she’s vanished entirely! Determined to solve the mystery of his missing bride, Lucius traces her to London, where he encounters a Kate who is unaccountably changed – and irresistibly enchanting. And although winning the heart of his erstwhile intended may prove a harder job than winning her hand, Lucius can’t imagine a sweeter victory…

REVIEW: Kent

Lucius (Luce) Jonathan Duval, Earl of Calfield, did not show up at the church to wed Miss Katherine (Kate) Frazer, daughter of Sir Archibald Frazer. In possession of a large dowry, Kate knows that her dowry is the only reason Luce has asked for her hand. A shy, plain looking young woman, Luce wasn’t truly intrigued by Kate. However, his father had left his estate and family in debt and Luce is being forced to marry a wealthy woman. He is not happy to have to enter into a forced marriage with a stranger of sorts. However, on their wedding day, Luce did not show up at the church and Kate was left jilted and humiliated. In truth, Luce was unable to be at the wedding because the ship, Windsong, on which he was sailing had met with some bad weather delaying his arrival at the wedding. Knowing that he has a duty to apologize to Kate so the wedding can take place, Luce sets out to woo her.

Kate’s mother had abandoned her and her father to live with her lover in Paris. Kate has always been a good, biddable daughter, but now she is ready to break free. Thus, she has decided to go to London and experience all that it has to offer. While there, she plans to call herself Mrs. Katherine Freemont, a widow.

In London, Kate meets a handsome and wealthy man, Lord Thorpe. He is every bit the gentleman and squires Kate around London.

But when Kate spots Luce in London, she is furious at him as he is irritated at having to find her. He thinks she should still be in Kent waiting for him to show up to wed her. When he realizes that the shy, rather dowdy woman has blossomed into a gorgeous woman wearing lovely gowns, he realizes that he has truly wrong about her. He finds that he is going to have to work very hard to try and win her back.

This is a clever, clean, fun romance novel. I enjoyed reading how Kate and Luce finally become friends and then who knows if that will lead to a more permanent relationship.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Megan Frampton and ‘Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?’

Megan Frampton blog tour banner

wddfil mfBOOK BLURB: In Megan Frampton’s captivating new Dukes Behaving Badly novel, we learn the answer to the question:

Why do dukes fall in love?

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, has the liberty of enjoying an indiscretion . . . or several. But when it comes time for him to take a proper bride, he ultimately realizes he wants only one woman: Edwina Cheltam. He’d hired her as his secretary, only to quickly discover she was sensuous and intelligent.

They embark on a passionate affair, and when she breaks it off, he accepts her decision as the logical one . . . but only at first. Then he decides to pursue her.

Michael is brilliant, single-minded, and utterly indifferent to being the talk of the ton. It’s even said his only true friend is his dog. Edwina had begged him to marry someone appropriate–—someone aristocratic . . . someone high-born . . . someone else. But the only thing more persuasive than a duke intent on seduction is one who has fallen irrevocably in love.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Kindle / B&N / iTunes / Google /

 

EXCERPT:

“You do know I run an employment agency.” Carolyn gestured to the room they sat in. “Since you have used my services.”

“Yes, back when I could afford them,” Edwina replied in a tone that was both wry and pained.

She took a deep breath, and looked around her. It was undeniably pleasant, if modest. The cozy, comfortable room of the Quality Employment Agency, filled with books, papers, mismatched chairs, and an enormous battered desk, where Carolyn normally sat, welcomed her, made her feel safe in a way her new lodgings did not.

“Yes, but—” and then Edwina felt both foolish and snobby, since the answer was obvious, and yet had not occurred to her because of who she was. Who she had been.

“But what?” Carolyn picked up the teacups, wincing as she felt the heat from the offending handle. She brought them over to where Edwina was seated, placing them on the desk and sitting back down in her usual spot. “You need a job, Edwina. No matter who you are. Even ladies—especially ladies, judging from my experience—need to have enough money to eat and to live. Even if their husbands were so disappointing as to leave them bereft of anything but their good name.”

“And even that was sullied, thanks to George’s entrusting of the accounts to his brother as soon as it seemed the businesses were getting profitable, and worthy of notice,” Edwina remarked in a bitter tone. She kept her tone low, so her daughter couldn’t hear. “I told him I could handle them, that I had gotten them to the state they were in, not to mention I told him how untrustworthy his brother was—and yet he said he’d never ‘let a female deal with important things,’ ” she said in an imitation of her late husband.

“More fool he,” Carolyn remarked. “If he had allowed you to continue to oversee the finances you wouldn’t be in this situation now, would you?”

It was a well-worn discussion, but one that still made Edwina angry. George had been so blind to her attributes he hadn’t seen she was skilled at maths, far better than anyone in his own family, especially his debt-beleaguered younger brother. He had been fine when she oversaw the accounts when they weren’t important—but ironically, as soon as her skill had yielded results, he took them away from her and handed them to a man. Simply because he was a man, and his brother, and not a woman, and his wife.

And now she and little Gertrude were being made to suffer for it. George’s brother hadn’t done more than shrug when Edwina had told him how George had left her. He already had a wife, he said, and he couldn’t afford to take her in, although he had offered a place to his niece.

But Edwina couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from her daughter; she was the only thing keeping Edwina from stepping in front of an oxcart one day. That she and Gertrude might starve to death was not something she wanted to contemplate—what reasonable person would?—even though she had to.

Which brought her back to why she was currently sitting with her closest friend in said closest friend’s employment agency, realizing that perhaps she had to consider employment herself.

“What can I do?” she said at last, hating how pathetic and needy she sounded. Better pathetic and needy than dead, a voice said inside her head.

REVIEW: Here comes another great story from Megan Frampton. As the ones before it, I liked the main characters and I had so much fun following their journey to their happily ever after.

Edwina is capable, strong and fun heroine that’s in dire straits after her husband dies. She needs a job in order to support herself and her child. Her hero is a handsome, lonesome and equally smart Duke who hires her as his secretary.

Their personalities are what makes this story fun and entertaining. I highly recommend it!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

  
  
mfAUTHOR BIO: Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter /

‘A Bride Unveiled’ by Jillian Hunter

abu jhSTORY: Violet Knowlton is betrothed to the sensible, if tedious, Sir Godfrey Maitland. When Godfrey escorts her to a fencing demonstration, she looks forward to the adventurous diversion, but everything changes when she realizes the swordsman displaying his skill-and dashing good looks- is none other than her childhood friend Kit.

Soon the flames of their forbidden past ignite into a passion neither can refuse. Although Violet has been promised to another, Kit remains her first and only love. He vows he will possess her, no matter what stands in his way…

REVIEW: While this novel seemed to start off a little slowly, I finally caught onto the the plot and enjoyed it. There is a lot of sword fighting in the novel which may or may not be of interest to people.

This is a sweet story of two lonely people drawn to one another as children. They lose contact for 10 years yet come together again. The heroine is engaged at that time but they both soon realize they have always loved one another and are able to find that elusive happiness.

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Kasey Michaels and The Little Season!

An Improper Arrangement (The Little Season #1)

aia km1BOOK BLURB: Gabriel Sinclair has returned from battle as reluctant heir to a dukedom. As if his new responsibilities weren’t enough, Gabriel’s aunt enlists him to sponsor a young heiress through London’s Little Season. Yet Miss Thea Neville is hardly the tedious obligation he expected. She’s exotic and enchanting—and utterly unaware of the secret poised to destroy her family’s reputation.

After ten years in America, Thea is ready to do her duty and marry well. Deportment lessons, modistes, balls—the ton is a minefield she could scarcely navigate without Gabriel’s help. By rights, she should accept the first bachelor who offers for her. Instead, she’s succumbing to a dangerous attraction to her wickedly handsome chaperone—one that could unhinge her plans in the most delicious way.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON / B&N iBOOKS / HARLEQUIN / KOBO / GOOGLE PLAY

REVIEW: here

A Scandalous Proposal (The Little Season #2)

asp kmBOOK BLURB: Who would have thought a man could tire of being fawned over and flirted with? Ever since Cooper Townsend returned from France as a hero with a new title, he has been relentlessly pursued by every marriageable miss in London. Perhaps that’s why the unconventional Miss Daniella Foster is so appealing. She doesn’t simper or flatter. She only wants him to help unmask her sister’s blackmailer, and Coop has never been so intrigued…

Let every other woman in London fight over His Lordship’s romantic attentions. Marriage is the last thing on Dany’s mind…at least until she samples his illicit kisses. Now, as a mutual enemy races to ruin Coop’s reputation and Dany’s family name, an engagement of convenience will spark an unlikely passion that might save them both.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON / B&N / APPLE / KOBO / HARLEQUIN / GOOGLE PLAY

REVIEW: A lot to like in this second book of The Little Season series, but hero Cooper and heroine Dany are at the top of my list.

Both were well rounded characters with complex backstories that moved this story forward. The constant threat posed to both gave this story urgency and fast pace as well as some laughs.

If you like your romance with plenty of humor and passion, with a bit of a mystery, than this is perfect for you.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

A Reckless Promise (The Little Season #3)

arp kmBOOK BLURB: London’s Little Season has never been so scandalous 

It’s the kind of vow often made on the battlefield. Darby Travers, Viscount Nailbourne, never imagines he’ll have to honor it. Yet here she is on his doorstep—his late comrade’s young daughter, and Darby’s new ward. Worse, she comes with the most overprotective, mistrustful, bothersome chaperone—the child’s aunt, Sadie Grace Boxer. Darby is quite sure that behind her lovely facade, the woman is guarding a secret.

Sadie Grace faced many trials working in her brother’s surgery, but none prepared her for the world she’s thrust into with his passing. Navigating the ton, with its endless ball gowns and parade of parties, is difficult enough, but hiding the truth about her niece while the sophisticated viscount watches her every move proves nearly impossible—particularly when his searing gaze tempts her to bare all. But when her family’s past catches up with her, she’ll have to trust in Darby…no matter the cost to her heart.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON / B&N / APPLE / KOBO / HARLEQUIN / GOOGLE PLAY

REVIEW: France – 1814

Surgeon John Hamilton has been treating Darby Travers, Viscount Nailbourne, who has received a severe injury to his eye. Darby and John are being held in a prisoner of war camp where people are dying due to a lack of food, clean water, and medicine. Darby is planning to escape from the camp and wants John to go too. However, he refuses because he knows he cannot leave his patients. Darby is grateful to John for his excellent medical treatment. John tells him that he hopes to return home, but if he does not make it, Darby promises to be guardian to his daughter should John not survive.

London – 1815 – The Little Season

Darcy is preparing for the evening’s entertainment making sure his eye patch covers his scars. When he found that John Hamilton passed away, he has agreed to take John’s daughter, Marley, as his ward. Knowing nothing about her, he doesn’t know what to expect. Upon her arrival, Darby is surprised to find an outspoken young woman accompanying Marley. She introduces herself as Mrs. Sadie Boxer and says she is John’s sister. A little girl, Marley kicks Darcy telling him that he is mean and she hopes he dies. This is part of her acting out at the loss of her father. Sadie reminds her that they are lucky that Darby has taken them in because they are without funds to live on their own.

To placate the rules of propriety, Sadie agrees to be called Marley’s companion. As they are lacking in proper clothing, Darcy decides to take Sadie and Marley to stay in London with his Aunt Vivien Sinclair, the Duchess of Cranbrook. She can see that they are outfitted properly and introduced to society.

As they learn more about one another, Sadie tells Darcy that she is a widow, when indeed, she was never married. Therefore, he suggests a marriage of convenience for them which will keep Marley with both of them.

Sadie soon responds with pleasure to Darby’s overtures and things are looking good for them. While life seems to become more secure for Sadie, she is still hiding something that scares her.

This started out as an interesting book, but became confusing with the introduction of more characters with little background on them. As I had read the author’s novel, “An Improper Arrangement,” I was somewhat familiar with a couple of the characters but I honestly feel that unless one has read all of the books in the series, and recently, they too may be confused.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

kmAUTHOR BIO: Kasey Michaels is the NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 110 books (she doesn’t count them). Kasey has received four coveted starred reviews from Publishers Weekly along with many awards for her outstanding work, including a RITA award.

Kasey has written Regency romances, Regency historicals, category books including novellas and continuities and a few series “launch” books, and single title contemporaries. She has coped with time travel, ghosts, trilogies, the dark side, the very light side, and just about everything in between. And, says Kasey, she’s just getting started!

Please visit Kasey at her web site (www.kaseymichaels.com) and connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorKaseyMichaels).

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook

‘The Fairest of Them All’ by Cathy Maxwell

tfota cmSTORY: The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs.

All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

REVIEW: London – 1813

Lady Charlene (Char) Blanchard, age 19, is dressed as a lad waiting to pick pockets. Char lives with her Aunt Sarah Pettijohn, and her friend, Lady Baldwin. Lady Baldwin had once been an actress like Sarah. Lady Baldwin had also committed some small crimes in the past and had taught Char how to pick pockets. Char’s parents passed away leaving Char penniless due to her father’s gambling.

Today, Char’s prey is a man who has come out of a bank with a fat purse of money. He’s walking with a couple of friends heading for some good times. When Char grabs the purse of money out of the man’s pocket, one of his friends see her and chases her. When he catches up with her, he is surprised to find that instead of a lad, this is a beautiful young lady. She still manages to elude him and gets home with the money.

Upon arrival at home, Lady Baldwin tells Char that Gavin Whitridge, the 5th Duke of Baynton, is looking for a wife. To that end, he has sent out invitations to young ladies to attend a ball that he is hosting and Char has received one of those invitations. Immediately, Sarah and Lady Baldwin begin plotting to get the Duke to marry Char. He is said to be age 32, handsome, and has a twin brother, named Jack, who disappeared back when he was attending school at Eton.

The man who chased Char is none other than Jack Whitridge, who has returned to London. He has been in America all of this time and is fully entrenched in the American way of life. He has returned to Britain as he is now head of the American delegation wishing to meet with the British as he sees war in their future and hopes to deter it.

At the ball, Char is introduced to the Duke who is immediately smitten with her beauty and wants only her. At the same time, Char meets the Duke’s brother and they recognize one another for he was the man who chased her when she stole the money purse. Oh no! What a mess.

The story continues to show us the background of the Duke and his brother, as well as Char’s past. Can all of these people find a way to deal with their hurts, anger, and disappointment?

I liked the general plot of this story, but felt like it just plodded along at times as if to fill pages. I rarely see this, but was quite surprised to find a fairly poor job had been done in editing the book. Too many errors simply slipped past the editors.

Connie for b2b

‘A Most Inconvenient Wish’ by Eileen Richards

amiw erSTORY: Sophia Townsend has watched both of her sisters find love and settle into idyllic married lives. But raised to believe that her greatest purpose is to advance the family’s fortunes, Sophia has grander ambitions when it comes to choosing a husband. She’s never lacked for suitors, but now she finds herself running out of time. Her last and best hope is Lord Bateman—and she has only a few days to secure his proposal.

Ian McDonald has long been a friend of the Townsend family and has watched Sophia with amusement over the years. A Scot and sheep farmer, Ian has done well for himself, but holds little social standing. Yet just as he’s realized his love for Sophia, she has set her sights on another man. Nevertheless, Ian is determined to win her. He has a bold plan in mind, but when he and Sophia encounter one another at the legendary Fairy Steps, a most inconvenient wish is accidently made—and neither could possibly guess the happy outcome…

REVIEW: Sophia Townsend, age 26, is climbing the Fairy Steps to make a wish in hopes of finding a husband. It is said that if a young, unmarried lady is able to climb the stairs to the top, the fairies will grant them a wish. After 4 seasons in London where she was quite popular, she still has had no proposals. In addition, society has labeled her cold and aloof.

Ian McDonald appears on the scene to assist Sophia on the rickety stairs of the Fairy Steps, chastising her for being so foolish to climb them. But a sudden storm chases them into a shed for cover. This dark shed brings out a sense of panic in Sophie which is a fear left over from a bad experience in her past.

Sophia is attracted to Ian but her logic tells her that he is just a steward, although very wealthy, and she wants the advantages of society by being married to a man with a title.

Sophia lives with her sister and brother-in-law in the country. She is planning a summer party and has invited Lord Geoffrey Bateman, the Earl Bateman and his sister, Catherine. Ian McDonald is invited as well as he has long been a friend of the Townsend family. When the Earl and Catherine arrive, they bring two more people with them.

Geoffrey had been attentive to Sophia in London, but never proposed. His lack of doing so left her ridiculed. Now, she is hoping for a proposal from him.

As the party begins, we find the Bateman family showing their true colors. Both Geoffrey and Catherine will stop at nothing to get what they want. It also appears that Ian is interested in Sophia and Geoffrey is not. Oh, what a mess. Where will it all end up?

This is a good story and one where I wanted to shake more than one character! When a story brings out real emotions in a reader, then I think the author has done a good job.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b