Spotlight on Cara Elliott and ‘Scandalously Yours’!

Scandalously-Yours-Release-Week-Blitz

My ‘Scandalously Yours’ heroine’s Top 5 Favorite Historical Movie Heroes would be:

[If Olivia had Netflix, that is!]

1. Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride

2. Matthew Macfadyen in Pride & Prejudice

3. Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock

4. Ioan Gruffuld as Horatio in the Hornblower series

5. Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

What are yours?

Elliott_Scandalously Yours_MMBOOK BLURB: The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London’s leading newspaper. But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor’s edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble . . .

However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia’s secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl’s young son, they must make some dangerous decisions . . . and trust that love will conquer all.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / BAM / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“How dare you spy on me, sir!” demanded Olivia, once she had mastered her emotions enough to speak.
He fixed her with a commanding stare, the one that had set many a seasoned soldiers to quaking in their boots. “I would not have had to resort to such tactics if you had shown me the courtesy of answering my letters.”
Olivia refused to be intimidated. Lifting her chin, she scowled back at him. “I did answer them.”
“With a single word—no.”
“And what,” she asked with excruciating politeness, “did you not understand about such a simple syllable?”
John couldn’t help but admire her grit. It took courage and resourcefulness to play in a man’s world. And she played well, he conceded.
Expelling a harried sigh, he felt his anger dissipate just as quickly as it had come. She had no choice but to guard her secret very carefully. “Look, at least hear me out, Miss Sloane. Tracking down The Beacon has led me on a merry dance throughout Town.”
Olivia paled at the mention of the nom de plume. Turning abruptly, she plunged off the path and darted around a tangle of holly.
“Wait!” John ducked under the prickly branches, losing his hat in the process.
“Go away!” Her voice was muffled by the overhanging leaves.
“Not until we talk!”
“I’ve nothing to say to you.”
The Devil take it. All but a last little flutter of her skirts disappeared behind a shaggy yew hedge. Swearing under his breath, John cut through a patch of lavender. He hadn’t come this far to be rebuffed. She would damn well listen. Or else…
Several long strides brought him within arm’s reach of her. “Confound it, Miss Sloane, stop and listen,” he called, lunging for her sleeve.
As his fingers seized the fabric, his boot snagged on a twist of morning glory. Pitched off-balance, he stumbled and fell, taking her with him. Tangled together, they hit the ground hard, their momentum rolling them into a patch of pachysandra.
“Ooof!” Olivia’s flailing kick caught him square in the shin.
Flat on his back, John got a momentary glimpse of Olivia’s irrepressible curls dancing in the breeze before another half turn landed him on his stomach. Burning with embarrassment, he tried to right himself, only to find that she was sprawled across his…posterior.
Bloody hell, he had never felt like a bigger arse in all his life.
They both started wriggling at the same time. He managed to twist face-up just as she slipped on the glossy leaves and fell back down atop him.
“Miss Sloane,” he gasped.
“Lord Wrexham,” wheezed Olivia, an odd little burr roughening her already throaty voice.
For an instant, he feared she was going to burst into tears.
Instead, she began to laugh.
And laugh.
Scottie was right. It was a delightful sound, its top notes shaded with a rich, sensual echo that seemed to stroke over his skin like a moon-dappled midnight breeze.
A twitch tugged at his lips. His dignity—as well as his coat—was in tatters, his pride was bruised, and though he should not find it at all funny, John felt a rumble vibrate deep in his throat.
Olivia tried to get up again, but her limbs were too weak with mirth. “Good Lord, what a ridiculous picture we must make!” she wheezed in between burbles of laughter.
“Here, let me help you.” Levering to his feet, John lifted her up and as she seemed a bit shaky, he kept his hands on her waist.
“Well, it’s not every day I take a tumble in the hay with an earl,” she quipped.
“Please don’t think that I make a habit of ruining a young lady’s reputation,” he answered.
Her cheeks, already pink from the breeze, turned a lusher shade of red as she looked up and wet her lips.
John felt his body clench. His legendary sang froid began to bubble…His steely self-control went up in smoke…
Olivia flinched as his mouth possessed hers. She was like summer rain against his tongue. So soft, so sweet.
Her hands came up around his neck.
Hell, it would serve him right if she throttled him on the spot.
But then, all of a sudden, she was kissing him back.
In a daze, John twisted around and braced her back against the ivy-covered wall, the glossy leaves crackling under the crush of silk. He was dimly aware of a roaring like cannonfire in his ears, and as his hands slid down to cup her breasts he realized it was the pounding of his own heart.
Knocking all reason to flinders.
A gust of air ruffled his hair, stirring wild, wicked thoughts of her waltzing naked through the trees. In response, his own privy parts began dancing to their own drummer. Thump. Thump. Thump. His pulse was pounding a military tattoo, commanding all soldiers to stand erect.
And Dear God, his Major Organ was responding with unabashed enthusiasm.
Olivia didn’t seem disgusted by his display of primitive lust. With a tiny moan, she tightened her hold and hitched her hips into him.
Lud, it felt good. No, better than good.
Exquisite.

REVIEW: here.

Cara ElliottAUTHOR BIO: Cara Elliott started creating books at the age of five, or so her mother tells her. And Mom has the proof preserved in a family scrapbook—a neatly penciled story, the pages lavishly illustrated with full color crayon drawings of horses. Cara has since moved on from Westerns to writing about Regency England, a time and place that has captured her imagination ever since she opened the covers of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

A graduate of Yale University, Cara has garnered numerous accolades for her writing, including two Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Historical Mystery /Suspense and two RITAs nominations for Regency Romance. (She also writes a historical mystery series under the nom de plume Andrea Penrose.)

Cara loves to travel to interesting destinations around the world—however, her favorite spot is London, where the funky antique markets, used book stores and specialty museums offer a wealth of inspiration for her stories.

Cara also writes under the pen names Andrea Pickens (Traditional Regencies and swashbuckling Spy Regencies) and Andrea Penrose (A Regency-set mystery series)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

‘My Seductive Innocent’ by Julie Johnstone

msi jjSTORY: Miss Sophia Vane, a hoyden of the first order, makes an unlikely match when she weds Nathaniel Ellison, the rich and wary Duke of Scarsdale. What starts with an unexpected friendship soon blooms into a fiery passion.

But a betrayal plunges Sophia into the thorny world of London Society and entangles her in a labyrinth of manipulation and jealousy that will test the strength of her marriage. Behind her husband’s sudden icy facade, Sophia believes dwells the caring, passionate man she loves. To break through the barriers and reclaim their happiness, they must do more than simply cast away their pride. They must fight for their very lives.

REVIEW: London 1820

Nathaniel (Nathan) Ellison, Marquess of Deering and fifth Duke of Scarsdale, is a very wealthy and handsome man.  He became Duke when his parents died in a carriage crash 12 years ago.  His widowed aunt, Harriet, and his cousin, Hughbert Ellison, live with him.  Hughbert (simply known as Ellison) walks with a limp from a carriage accident some years ago where Nathan was driving.  Nathan has always felt guilty and Ellison feeds on his guilt.
Sophia Vane, age 19, is a young woman who works for her father, Frank, a drunk and a gambler, at the Breeding Tavern.  Her mother died when she was young.  In addition, she has a younger brother, Harry, age 8, who was born as the result of a liaison between Frank a barmaid who left Harry on his doorstep right after he was born.  Sophia has always cared for and protected Harry from Frank’s rages and viciousness.  Many are the times that Frank has beaten her.  Sophia has been saving up so she and Harry can run away.  Frank has said he is going to sell Harry to be a chimney sweep which terrifies Sophia.
When Nathan stops by the tavern one day looking for a man in the area who sells horses, he sees Sophia being mauled by a man and he rescues her by beating up the man.  As Sophia shows him where the man lives, they are accosted by robbers and Nathan is shot.  Back at the Tavern, Sophia takes care of him and his wounds.  She is puzzled at his refusal to take laudanum for his pain.  (There is a reason which readers will learn about.)  When Frank steps in unjustly accusing Nathan of seducing his daughter, Nathan proposes to her to save her and Harry.  Thus begins their life together.
How will Sophia, a tavern wench, fit into Nathan’s life and become a Duchess?  Will she be accepted by his family and the ton?  Sophia is a very strong young woman and the story of watching her learn to become a Duchess is great fun.
Without giving out any more spoilers, I think readers will truly enjoy Julie Johnstone’s latest novel.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Season for Temptation’ by Theresa Romain

sft trSTORY: Two Sisters. . .

Julia Herington is overjoyed when her stepsister, Louisa, becomes engaged–to a viscount, no less. Louisa’s only hesitation is living a life under the ton’s critical gaze. But with his wry wit and unconventional ideas, Julia feels James is perfect for Louisa. She can only hope to find a man like him for herself. Exactly like him, in fact. . .

One Choice. . .

As the new Viscount Matheson, James wished to marry quickly and secure his title. Kind, intelligent Louisa seemed a suitable bride. . .until he met her stepsister. Julia is impetuous–and irresistible. Pledged to one sister, yet captivated by another, what is he to do? As Christmas and the whirl of the London season approach, James may be caught in a most scandalous conundrum, one that only true love, a bit of spiritous punch–and a twist of fate–will solve. . .

REVIEW: Julia Herington is a charming young woman preparing to go to London for the season. Her sister, Louisa, has become engaged to James, the new Viscount Matheson. While Louisa is obviously not in love with James, Julia is totally enamored by him.

Louisa is a quiet, reserved woman more interested in cataloguing a library than anything. Julia, however, is impish, outgoing, funny and loves to eat. As the attraction between Julia and James begins to grow, James feels guilty about his attraction to Julia and works very hard at trying to improve on his nearly nonexistent relationship with Louisa. James’s mother is totally against his marriage to Louisa and does not hesitate to show her disapproval of her and Julia.

What a delightful novel this is. The way the author has sprinkled humor throughout the book, will keep you laughing all the way to the end.

Connie for b2b

‘Married to a Perfect Stranger’ by Jane Ashford

mtaps jaSTORY: Mary Fleming and John Bexley are the “white sheep’ of their large families, written off as hapless, boring—and thus suitable for each other. But they’re no sooner married than John is sent off on a two-year diplomatic mission.

Upon his return, John and Mary find that everything they thought they knew about each other is wrong. They’ve changed radically during the long separation. They have to start all over. It’s surprising, irritating—and somehow very exciting…

REVIEW: John and Mary Bexler were only married for a month before he was sent off for two years with a diplomatic group to China.  Not having much time to really get to know one another, John’s return has really put a strain on their relationship.

Mary spent the time that John was gone as a companion to her Aunt Lavinia trying to help her but sadly watching as she slowly descended into dementia.  During this time, Mary has grown by learning to run her aunt’s home and become a mature and somewhat independent woman.  She has also had time to indulge her passion for drawing.  She has a special talent for being able to look at a person and see deep into them and then transform their “real” face to paper. Mary’s ability to draw faces becomes both a good and bad thing in the story.  To give out more information would be a spoiler.

John has matured as well and has worked hard to establish himself in the diplomatic scene.  He chose this route in life after being constantly put down by his two older brothers as they thought he needed to just work for them.  Because of this, he still does not have a lot of self-confidence.  He is also afraid that Mary may not fit into his diplomatic circles and is now questioning his marriage.  He sees how she has matured and has developed a take-charge way about her from her responsibilities caring for her aunt. John sees this as somewhat threatening to him.

John begins making nightly forays into seedy areas of London trying to search for information.  (This actual reasoning isn’t made very clear in the story.)  When Mary discovers this, she is upset and worried and John retaliated by arguing with her.

Mary is a strong character, but John comes across as a man who is still smarting from his brothers’ treatment of him and has yet to form a backbone and self-confidence.

The story is one that I’m sure many couples today face after a long absence from one another, i.e., after military deployments.  It surely must take a while for each other to settle back into their relationship.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘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