‘The Heir of Brownlie Manor’ by Anita Stansfield

thobm-asSTORY: After a medical discharge from his duties in the Napoleonic War, Thomas Quincy Fitzbatten has returned home. Disoriented, burdened by guilt for his wealth, and disillusioned with life’s injustices, Thomas longs for a chance to make a difference in the world. But he keeps himself a mystery to those around him, and another motive for his charity gnaws at the back of his mind: to seek redemption from the traumatic demons of war.

Then everything changes at the arrival of Ruth Dawson, the niece of Thomas’s butler, a stunning woman with a secret of her own. Thomas graciously offers to assist Ruth in her predicament, but a surprise instinct prompts Thomas to handle the case a little more personally—through marriage. As their love blossoms, it appears that all will be well—until Thomas receives a mysterious letter from an old friend in trouble, compelling him to the rescue.

But what will Thomas do when nothing is as it seems? And why can’t Ruth shake the feeling that her destiny is intertwined with Thomas’s in a way they could never have imagined?

REVIEW: Hampshire, England – 1808

Thomas Quincy Fitzbatten has been raised at Brownlie Manor but has not seen it in three years. He has loved living there surrounded by loving parents and other members of the household. His homecoming from having served in the military was a surprise, but upon arrival, he finds that his parents are out of the country for a few weeks on vacation. However, he enjoys being home. The events of war have left their scars on him and he hopes to once again find peace and purpose in his life.

When the butler, Dawson, tells him he has a problem, Thomas is happy to help. Dawson’s niece has shown up pregnant and unwed. Ruth Dawson is 19 and needs a place to stay until the baby is born. Thomas volunteers to take Ruth into town to stay at an inn. Being able to help someone in need is what he, himself, needs and he happily gets to know Ruth. She does not want to give her baby away is is so thankful for Thomas’s help. Thomas is so taken with her and her plight that he decides to marry her.

They then head to a small cottage owned by his family and run by a couple who are good friends. The woman, Bertie is pregnant and when she gives birth, Ruth assists with the delivery. She is also quite helpful around the house and handles the cooking.

Ruth and Thoms grow closer but Ruth is worried that Thomas may not love the baby when it is born. As their marriage has been platonic so far, Ruth wonders if Thomas will truly want to be faithful to her.

Thomas’s parents arrive at the cottage and they immediately bond with Ruth. Soon after, they head back to Brownlie Manor. Everything is going well until someone tries to kill Thomas. Who would want to harm him and why?

This was an OK story but it tended to drag a bit. A lot of the dialogue was repetitive but the attempt on Thomas’s life kept the story going. I did like that it is a clean book and I’m sure many readers will enjoy it.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘A Rake Reformed’ by Shirley Marks

arr-smSTORY: Frederick Worth, the Earl of Brent, is out of luck. He’s gambled away a considerable fortune, and London’s creditors are in pursuit. Rather than return to Faraday Hall and risk his father’s displeasure, he flees to his property in the remote north. Only Penshaw Manor isn’t quite the safe, comfortable haven he expects.

Freddie is horrified to discover that not only is the property in an alarming state of disrepair but “the Earl of Brent” is loathed by tenants and neighbors alike. Forced to conceal his true identity, he finds himself enjoying this small circle of society, even as he falls for the lovely—if oftentimes infuriating—Miss Rosalind Harris.

Now he’s tempted to bid farewell to his rakish ways and become the true lord of Penshaw Manor. But first, Freddie must prove his worth to Miss Rosalind—and to himself—before anyone discovers who he really is.…

REVIEW: London – 1817

Frederick (Freddie) Worth, Earl of Brent, and his friend, Trevor Rutherford, the younger son of a Viscount, are hurriedly fleeing town in a phaeton that Freddie had won from Sir Nicholas Petersham. They are heading to Penshaw Manor in Cumberland which was given by his father to Freddie to manage. But he has totally ignored it. It appears that Freddie has gambled away nearly 20,000 pounds which is going to infuriate his father.

After traveling in the snow for over a week, their phaeton wrecks causing them to stop at a crumbling home which turns out to the Penshaw Manor. The place is being cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Morley. It is in deplorable condition, but Freddie does not admit that he is the absent owner.

Rosalind Harris lives with her parents and her younger sister, Clare. Their father obviously prefers Clare over Rosalind because Rosalind is his step-daughter. As Trevor was injured when their phaeton wrecked, the Harris’s welcome the men into their home as Trevor recuperates. There, Clare and Trevor are immediately attracted to one another.

When Freddie learns how badly his tenants are faring, he decides to keep his identity as the Earl of Brent secret. He is ashamed for ignoring the estate and wants to do all he can to make up for his mistakes.

As he helps Rosalind take food baskets to the hungry tenants, they find an attraction to each other. But she detests the Earl of Brent for allowing the tenants’ lives to become so bleak. How can he ever tell her who he really is?

This was an interesting book that kept my attention. The characters are well-written and I’m sure the book will appeal to readers.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘The Governess Was Wicked’ by Julia Kelly

tgww-jkSTORY: This delightfully charming and saucy Regency era romance, is first in the Governess series in which three best friends are employed as governesses for different families, and all find themselves wanting something they can’t have.

Elizabeth Porter is quite happy with her position as the governess for two sneaky-yet-sweet girls when she notices that they have a penchant for falling ill and needing the doctor.

As the visits from the dashing and handsome Doctor Edward Fellows become more frequent, Elizabeth quickly sees through the lovesick girls’ ruse. Yet even Elizabeth can’t help but notice Edward’s bewitching bedside manner even as she tries to convince herself that someone of her station would not make a suitable wife for a doctor. But one little kiss won’t hurt.

REVIEW: Elizabeth Porter, age 26, enjoys her position as governess to two girls, Cassandra and Juliana Norton. Having come to her position from an agency run by the Carrington sisters, Elizabeth knows that her life is destined to be spent caring for someone else’s children.

During her first season, Elizabeth’s father died suddenly leaving her with no parent as she had already lost her mother. When she then finds out that her father has gambled all of his money away, there is nothing she can do but find a job.

In the six months since Elizabeth started the position, she has found that these two young girls have a habit of “becoming ill” rather quickly and getting better quickly too. One night when Cassandra wakes Elizabeth to tell her Juliana is ill, it appears that this time she truly is. So, Dr Edward Fellows is summoned. When Dr. Fellows arrives, he is secretly happy to see Elizabeth again. To him she is beautiful and she feels the same way about him. Dr. Fellows is planning to sail to America soon and settle in New York. How Elizabeth envys him being able to see all of the wonderful things there. It turns out that Juliana had intentionally made herself ill and Elizabeth is concerned. She knows that the birth of a new baby and heir in the house has made the girls afraid that they will lose even more of the little attention they receive from their parents.

But there comes the night that Juliana is truly ill and it appears to be scarlet fever that both girls have contracted. Dr. Fellows is urgently summoned and Elizabeth takes over the care of the girls.

Will they survive the fever? Will there be a chance for Elizabeth and Edward to have a future together?

This is a very well-written novel and I really enjoyed it. The life of a governess is depicted in the novel and shows how lonely these women were.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

Spotlight on Elizabeth Michels and ‘The Rebel Heir’!

Virtual Tour Promo Image

Hi, everyone! Let’s play a game! Since deception is a key ingredient in THE REBEL HEIR, the second book in the Spare Heirs series, I thought it would be fun to play two truths and a lie.  Do you know how this game works?  Lady Evangeline Green is here to tell you three things about herself, but one of them is a lie. Can you guess which fact isn’t true about Evie?  Good Luck!

  1. Last year I slipped off into the night with my sister, Sue, and my two cousins, Isabelle and Victoria.  We climbed through a window into the neighbor’s home the night of their annual masquerade ball.  We were caught up in the moment.  The candlelight, the flowers, the champagne…

My sister met her husband that night when she broke his nose while dancing down a flight of stairs.  I twirled around the floor without considering the steps I took.  I laughed without thought of the sound it made.  Then I saw my mother across the room and I ran.  That is the only time in my life I can recall moving at an unladylike pace.  I escaped her wrath, but my sister didn’t.

  1. Last night I saw a man I knew across the ballroom.  It was only for a second, but I saw him.  I made my excuses and slipped out the door at once.  I needed to see him once more, even if I he was headed into the dark library away from the crowded ballroom.  I had no choice, really.  I’ve been searching for this man since he disappeared last season.  There was something, some undefinable something, between us a year ago.  I’d been certain of it.  The memory of our time together, and his lips on mine still haunts my dreams.

But last night… I discovered my memories of this charming man were entirely false.  He didn’t even remember my name.  Evangeline! Is that so terribly difficult? Apparently it is for him.  Then he attempted to steal a document from our host’s library.  Of course I took it away from him, but he caught up with me in no time.  That’s when he kissed me again.  And I let him, encouraged it even.  Heaven help me, it was everything I remembered from last season.  Then, just like last year, he was gone and I was left staring after him.

  1. I adore a rousing discussion of the weather.  Every morning I wake early so that I might practice my banter about rain and sun with my dear mother.  I cherish this time I spend daily, honing my conversational skills and improving myself with my mother’s guidance.  My favorite phrase is, “I do so enjoy the outdoors.  The trees provide nice shade in the park.” Isn’t it lovely?

Soon I will wear the right fashionable gown with the perfect jewelry and remark in the proper fashion about the cloudy weather in London to some high born gentleman.  And in that moment he will know my heart.  He’ll offer for me.  We will marry and discuss only the weather and my fine sense of fashion for the rest of our days. What more could I wish for than that?

trh emBOOK BLURB:The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ash Claughbane: The Imposter

Lady Evangeline Green is living a lie. To please her family, she masquerades as the perfect debutante…until she meets the wickedly charming Lord Crosby. With him, there are no rules. She’s finally free to do as she desires—but freedom comes with a price, and Lord Crosby is not what he seems…

Ash is not Lord Crosby. He’s a con artist, a noble Spare Heir living off his silver tongue. When the Greens ruined his family, he swore he’d make them pay, and he never doubted his devotion to revenge…until he met Evangeline. Now, caught in a web of lies, torn between duty and desire, what’s a con to do but deceive all of London and steal the one lady who dared match wits with the devil himself?

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Books-A-Million / B&Noble  / Chapters / iBooks / Indiebound / Kobo

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

EXCERPT:

His heart beat beneath Evangeline’s hand.

“Ash, this is dangerous— whatever is happening here…”

“I know.” He grinned the wicked grin of a swindler about to steal the prize. “Say that you enjoy it as much as I do, Evie. Admit that you like breaking your rules with me.”

“They aren’t my rules,” she said.

“Then why follow them?”

She swallowed and looked up at him. “I make poor decisions on my own.”

“I disagree,” he said, still holding her close. He toyed with the hair that fell over her shoulder.

“I haven’t thrown you from my bedchamber. I’m certain that’s a poor decision.”

“That’s a matter of opinion,” he said with a grin. “What’s your opinion? What do you want, Evie?”

You, her heart screamed, but her mouth refused to form the word. Her gaze dropped back from the depths of his eyes to his lips. He was so close, and yet he only touched her hair and held her hand to his chest. It would be so easy to rise to her toes and show him what she wanted. And yet it wasn’t easy at all.

 “You think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been staring at my mouth since I arrived?”

“I have not…” She began to disagree, but it would have been a lie and he knew it.

“Say that you want me to kiss you, Evie.”

“I would never…” she began, but fell silent.

“Tell me you want me. Say the words and I’ll kiss you.”

Evangeline’s lips parted, but she said nothing.

“Say, ‘I want your lips on mine, Ash.’ That’s all you have to do. I could show you so many things, Evie. Do you want me to? Say the words.”

Her breathing came out harsh as her heart pounded in her chest. How was he making her so unsettled simply with words?

“I could bring you so much pleasure, Evie. Do you want me to touch you? To truly touch you? If you asked me, I would fit your breasts into the palms of my hands just like this.” His hand hung in the air over her breast, close enough that she could feel the heat of his skin through her night rail. “Then I would lower my mouth to take your nipple between my teeth, tugging at your polished exterior until the real Evie pulled me closer. I would take your breast into my mouth and with my tongue…” He sighed, dropping his hand away from her. “But you have to tell me you want it.”

“Ash,” she whispered, already missing the heat of him close to her skin.

“There’s a world out there that you could experience. All you have to do is stop hiding and tell me what you want.”

It wasn’t that simple, was it? She opened her mouth, unsure how to speak of her own desires. She never talked that way, not like Ash was able to do. But the truth was, she did want him to kiss her. She wanted everything about this man. That was also the trouble. She couldn’t be trusted to speak— not just now. “I…”

He grinned and brushed a strand of hair from her face, placing a kiss on the top of her head as he did. “You’re almost there. Just a few more words. Perhaps you need more encouragement.”

“No.” She took two steps backward until her heels bumped the wall. “I- I’m quite…”

“Evie, has anyone ever spoken to you this way?” He took slow steps to close the gap between them.

“No,” she breathed.

“Do you like it when I do?” He grinned down at her as if he could hear all the thoughts she was too afraid to voice aloud. “I think you do. Do you want me to continue?”

“Do I have to say that as well?” she asked.

“No. I’ve learned in my line of work that it’s sometimes necessary to give someone a taste of what they want before they’ll pay the price.”

“Is that what you’re doing to me? Is this a taste of what’s to come?” Heaven help her, she hoped it was.

“Only if you want it. That’s my price.” He shifted her hair from her shoulder as he spoke, letting it fall down her back.

“That seems…” Whispers of his touch brushed down the side of her neck as he moved her hair. She worked not to lean into his palm and feel the full force of his hand on her skin. “…reasonable.”

“I thought so as well.” He shifted even closer to her, leaning his arm on the wall above her head and surrounding her without the benefit of his embrace to steady her. “If you tell me you want me to kiss you, I’ll kiss you here.” He spoke the words against the sensitive skin beneath her ear before moving down her neck, not touching her, but close enough that she could feel the warmth of his lips.

She splayed her hands on the wall behind her to keep from tipping sideways. He wasn’t even touching her, and still she struggled to breathe.

“I would kiss my way down your neck to just here where I can see your pulse beating rather fast. Is it beating fast because you want me to kiss you, Evie?” he asked against her skin. “You know my terms. Say the words. This is only the beginning…”

REVIEW: Berkshire, England – 1817

Ashley (Ash) Claughbane, is the 4th son in a newly titled family. He and his valet, Stapleton, are on the run. Ash has spent the last 7 years honing his skills as a huckster, While Stapleton would like to settle in some place like Hampshire for awhile and rest, Ash knows that’s impossible considering all of the people on their trail. But, they agree to head to London.

Lady Evangeline (Evie) Green, daughter of Lord and Lady Rightworth, has prepared to perfection for the upcoming Season. Her mother has groomed, lectured, and literally starved her so she will be able to catch a titled man. She enjoys the company of her cousins, Victoria and Isabelle. Her sister, Sue, was recently wed to Lord Steelings and is on her wedding trip.

At a ball, Evie sees Lord Basnish whom she saw a year ago. But now he calls himself Lord Crosby. Incensed that he does not remember her from the year before, she grabs a paper that his is about to steal from their host’s library. Ash wants the paper back so he kisses her soundly and escapes with the paper. Oh, how she enjoyed his kiss. Even though he calls upon her, she realizes that he is not the man she should marry but she cannot stop thinking about him.

Ian Culpepper, Lord Braxton, is off to catch the man who swindled his grandmother. Yet another person on Ash’s trail.

Ash is after Evie’s father, Lord Rightworth, who took all of Ash’s family money to pay his father’s debt and Ash wants it back. To accomplish this, he is trying to get Rightworth and others to invest in a company he calls Crosby Steam Works.

As Evie and Ash become better acquainted, their attraction grows. How can he let himself fall for the daughter of his enemy?

Come follow the adventures of Evie and Ash and you will be vastly entertained.

This is another book in The Spare Heirs Society series. I did enjoy the novel but I did find it a bit frustrating that unless the reader knows characters from earlier books in the series, it can be quite confusing.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

emAUTHORS BIO: Elizabeth Michels is the award-winning author of the Tricks of the Ton series.  This romance author lives in a lake-side town in North Carolina with her husband and son.

She’s a fan of shoes, coffee, mimosas, laughter, hugs, things that are sparkly, and tater tots. Oh, and she likes her readers a lot too. Dive into her latest series about the members of a secret club in London, The Spare Heirs Society, today! Connect with Elizabeth on her website: http://www.elizabethmichels.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website /  Facebook / Twitter /

Spotlight on Jane Ashford and ‘What the Duke Doesn’t Know’!

jaBOOK BLURB: A proper English wife, or the freedom of the sea? Lord James Gresham is the fifth son of the Duke of Langford, a captain in the Royal Navy, and at a loss for what to do next. He’s made his fortune; perhaps now he should find a proper wife and set up his nursery. But the sea calls to him, while his search for a wife leaves him uninspired. And then, a dark beauty with a heart for revenge is swept into his life.

 He can’t have both, but he won’t give up either

Half-English, half-Polynesian Kawena Benson is out to avenge her father and reclaim a cache of stolen jewels. There’s nothing for James to do but protest his innocence and help Kawena search for the jewels, even though it turns his world upside down.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Books-A-Million / Barnes & Noble / Chapters / iBooks / Indiebound

PSSST! Wanna know a secret?!

With five adventure seeking sons, there’s a lot that the Duke of Langford doesn’t know. Luckily for us, Jane Ashford has agreed to pull back the curtain and reveal one of the Langford family’s secrets – just remember, don’t tell the Duke!

One thing the Duke doesn’t know: That his son James is about to ask his advice on how to offer for a lady, since he has botched his initial proposal rather badly.

 

 

EXCERPT:

James had just started his letter to Nathaniel when there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” he called without looking up.

He heard the door open, and a lilting voice say, “Hello.”

James turned in his chair. Kawena stepped through his bedchamber door, shut it, walked over, and sat down in the armchair by the empty fireplace. “I wanted to thank you,” she began.

“You can’t sit here,” James said.

She looked down at the comfortable chair, back up at him. “Why not?”

“This is my bedroom.” The moment he said it, he became acutely conscious of the bed just a few feet away.

“I know. I came up to thank—”

“It isn’t proper,” he blurted out.

“But you are taking some trouble to help me. When you don’t really wish to. I can see that, you know. It is only right that I thank—”

“Not that. You shouldn’t be in a man’s bedchamber. Alone. With him. Me.” He heard himself stammering like a callow youth, and was revolted. She was just so very beautiful. Utterly alluring, really. The effect seemed multiplied here in his private quarters. And she appeared so at ease—as if they knew each other far better than they actually did. James could almost imagine her coming over to him, offering a hand to pull him to his feet, and closer… No, this line of thought was unacceptable. He stood and moved toward the door instead. “It isn’t done,” he added. “Young ladies do not visit gentlemen in their bedchambers.” Well, some did, if what he’d heard about country house parties was true, but that was…irrelevant to this discussion.

“We must speak only downstairs?” wondered Kawena. “Is that an English rule?”

Her honest bewilderment was rather charming. “If a man and a woman are alone in a bedchamber, people assume they’re…up to something improper,” James explained.

“Getting into bed together, you mean?” Kawena replied without a trace of embarrassment. She gazed at the wide four-poster as if it was on exhibit.

James felt his cheeks redden. Years at sea might have left him unused to polite female company, but even his brother, Robert, the town beau, would have been confounded by this quite unusual young woman. “Er, yes.”

“But we are not.”

“No… Not in this case. However—”

“And no people know that I’m here,” she pointed out. “I told no one I was coming up.”

“You can never tell when there’s a servant about,” James replied. The staff at Langford always seemed well aware of everyone’s movements.

“Do they hide and watch?” said Kawena, looking surprised.

James choked back a laugh, and then wondered if maybe they did. How else would that housemaid have seen Sebastian with the frogs…? But that was beside the point. He needed to remove a lovely young woman from his bedchamber—didn’t he? Yes, yes. And wasn’t that a problem he’d never imagined having? When had it become his job to preach the proprieties? He felt like a fool even trying. But if she didn’t go soon, he might not be able to resist… James decided to shift the onus off onto someone else. “This is my brother’s house. I wouldn’t wish to upset him, or his wife.”

Kawena cocked her head. “Your brother and Ariel would not approve of my being here?”

James assumed so. No, of course they wouldn’t. And that was beside the point. He nodded.

To his relief, Kawena rose at once. “I would not wish to offend them. They have been very kind to me.” She shrugged as she moved toward the door. “My father always says…” She paused, swallowed. “Said that it is rude to disregard others’ customs when it does you no harm to observe them.”

“Pr…precisely.” She passed quite close to him on her way out. Her long fall of black hair swayed seductively with each step. Was he really throwing her out of his room? Her initial words came floating back. She’d come up to thank him. Perhaps with something warmer than words? Some marvelous island custom? No. She hadn’t meant that. Clearly, obviously. No sign whatsoever of any such thing, despite her unembarrassed mention of bedding. Besides, it would be an awkward complication, as they were living together in his brother’s house. Not together. As fellow guests. Strangers, in fact.

“Good night,” said Kawena.

“Good night,” James replied, shutting the door firmly behind her.

He leaned against it, listening to her soft footsteps retreat along the corridor. Perhaps helping her wasn’t quite such a burden. It would give him a chance to become better acquainted with one of the loveliest, and most unusual, girls he’d ever encountered. Her courage and fire drew him—now that she’d stopped calling him names. How many women, how many people, would have done as she had, sailing halfway around the world to find justice? Very few, hardly any, really, he thought. She’d looked positively intrepid, stepping out of the shrubbery with her gun. And under his hands, on the turf, she’d felt… James fell into a pleasant reverie. It was some time before he returned to his letter.

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

REVIEW: Lord James Gresham was made captain of the navy ship, The Charis, and two years ago the ship became no longer usable. Now, he is waiting and hoping for a new posting.

James’s father is the Duke of Longford and James is one of six brothers. James’s younger brother, Alan, and Alan’s wife Ariel, are at a garden party when an intruder runs in and James is able to stop the intruder from shooting him. Dressed as a man, the intruder turns out to be a female. Her name is Kawena, age 20, from the Polynisian island of Valuta. The young woman believes that when James’s ship stopped at her island, James killed her father. But when she meets and talks to James, she realizes that he is not lying and he did not harm her father. Her father was English and married to a Polynesian woman. Kawena claims that when James’s ship stopped at her island, someone from his ship stole her father’s cache of gemstones. Since the ship is now disabled, an Admiral must be located to help find the men who had been on James’s ship and try to discover who might be the thief.

As they work together, they are attracted to one another. However, Kawena realizes that since she is not a proper English woman, she would not make him a good bride.

This was a different type of plot and Kawena is a stubborn young miss. However, the story did not appeal to me for I found it difficult to believe that a family would simply accept this young lady’s story and invite her into their home and lives. However, I’m sure others will enjoy the story.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Connie for b2b

jashAUTHOR BIO: Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England.That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S.

Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

If you would like to contact Jane, you can send a message to: readers@janeashford.com

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website

‘The Earl’s Unforgettable Flame’ by Charlotte Stone

euf csSTORY: Benjamin Frederickson, the future Earl of Wembley, can’t forget that night… The night that changed him…
More importantly, he can’t forget that brave little girl who was scarred from the horrible fire.

Catherine Watson.

The night young Benjamin Frederickson met the victim of a house fire, he has remembered it all of his life… Her spirit has lingered in his memory for years.
Even through his days of rebelling against his father, The Earl of Wembley, as he drinks, gambles, and womanizes.

But when he meets the beautiful Catherine Watson again, still scarred from that fire so many years later, he is enchanted.
But can a woman so remarkable remember a boy she met briefly years ago?

Catherine, however, is less than impressed!
Considering herself disfigured and resigned to the idea that she will never marry, she sees his advances as a cruel a joke at her expense.

Will Catherine let the past dictate her future?
Will Benjamin give up and let her go?

REVIEW: Pritchford, Yorkshire

Catherine Watson, age 8, has awakened to find her home on fire and her little sister, Jane, crying in the nursery. Even though flames are all around her, Catherine tries to get to her sister only to pass out. She she awakes later, she is in terrible pain from some terrible burns she has suffered. No one knows how she managed to get out of the house on her own. Her sister and the rest of the family is safe.

Benjamin Frederickson is the son of the Earl of Wembley. He and his father arrive at the scene and Benjamin is amazed at the bravery of young Catherine and how she managed to escape the fire that totally destroyed her home. He has always been encouraged by this father to be a man who cares about the land and the people.

Ten Years Later

Benjamin is now home from Oxford and remembers his father lecturing him on his responsibilities to the estate. He and his twin sister, Julia, are so different in that he is very sensitive and she is more matter-of-fact.

When Benjamin sees Catherine again, he notices her scars but remembers her incredible bravery on the night she was injured. When he questions her as to why she does not wish to have a Season in London, she is incensed at his insensitivity. Catherine is very self-conscious about her scars and does not wish to be where people can see her and stare. But Benjamin sees only the lovely young woman she has turned out to be.

As they see one another more, Benjamin asks for her hand only to be turned down. She feels that with her scarred body she would not be a good Countess for him.

Is there a way that Benjamin can convince Catherine that her life matters and he wants to share his life with her?

This was a sweet, clean romance that proves that people should be accepted for who they are inside.

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Connie for b2b

‘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