‘Captain Durant’s Countess’ by Maggie Robinson

cdc mrSTORY: Tucked amid the pages of The London List, a newspaper that touts the city’s scandals, is a vaguely-worded ad for an intriguing job—one that requires a most wickedly uncommon candidate…

Maris has always been grateful that her marriage to the aging Earl of Kelby saved her from spinsterhood. Though their union has been more peaceful than passionate, she and the earl have spent ten happy years together. But his health is quickly failing, and unless Maris produces an heir, Kelby’s conniving nephew will inherit his estate. And if the earl can’t get the job done himself, he’ll find another man who can…

Captain Reynold Durant is known for both his loyalty to the Crown and an infamous record of ribaldry. Yet despite a financial worry of his own, even he is reluctant to accept Kelby’s lascivious assignment—until he meets the beautiful, beguiling Maris. Incited by duty and desire, the captain may be just the man they are looking for. But while he skillfully takes Maris to the heights of ecstasy she has longed for, she teaches him something even more valuable and unexpected…

REVIEW: There’s only a handful of plots like this one in romance land and the reason behind it is because it’s not easy to pull it off without someone getting hurt, emotionally or physically.

That said, I found that this story handled the plot very well and I found that I liked this story because the author didn’t just settle on the sensuality part of this tale, but worked hard in establishing good, solid three dimensional characters to go with it.

Both main characters had strength and emotional depth to them that had me vested in their story.

If you’re looking for a story with a predictable plot but complex and endearing hero, this one will entertain you, no doubt.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Darcy Burke and ‘The Duke of Desire’!

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Burke, Darcy- The Duke of Desire 1400x2100BOOK BLURB: Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she’d once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him—alone by choice is better than alone by necessity.

With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.

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EXCERPT:

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Ivy hurried downstairs and made her way across the hall to the drawing room, which was the center room at the back of the house. The group had started to thin—either to take part in some activity or rest before dinner.

But because Ivy had the luck of the devil, she found Lady Dunn’s cane in a most inopportune place: the clutches of the Duke of Clare.

He stood near the chair Lady Dunn had vacated, her cane in his hand. His dark gaze swept toward Ivy. “It’s you.”

She resisted the urge to snatch the cane from his grasp and flee. “Yes.” She flicked a glance at his fingers. They were long and rather slender. Almost elegant. “I came for Lady Dunn’s cane.”

“You are her companion, then.” It wasn’t a question. He’d deduced the answer, and they both knew it. There was a cool confidence about him that was just shy of arrogance. His gaze raked over her, and she decided he wasn’t shy of anything.

“Yes. May I have it, please?” She held out her gloved hand.

“How about I offer it in trade for your name?”

She scowled at him. “How about you just give it to me and cease this preposterousness?” She kept her voice low, and the end of that word rushed from her mouth in an angry hiss.

He exhaled but didn’t look perturbed in the slightest. “I don’t know why you find my amiability preposterous.”

Because you’re a degenerate scoundrel. Instead of voicing what was in her mind, she forced a smile. “I am merely in a hurry. I am Miss Breckenridge. The cane, please?”

He set it in her hand but made sure to brush his fingertips along the edge of her palm.

Ivy closed her fist around the cane and yanked her hand back.

He arched a dark brow at her. “You’re a bit touchy, aren’t you?”

“And you’re more than a bit unseemly. Good afternoon.” She turned and marched from the drawing room, paying no attention to anyone who might’ve witnessed their conversation. She hadn’t noticed if anyone was close enough to hear them. No, she’d been too intent on him.

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REVIEW: This is the fourth book in The Untouchables series, and I believe the most fun out of the four, and the reason for it was the hero.Now, that said, I have to warn you that in reading this story, you need to suspend your imagination waaaaaay up high, and only then you’ll be able to enjoy it.

I truly liked both Ivy and West from the start, but by the end of the story as their characters grew and their stories came to light, I loved them and their happily after was worth the road they traveled together.

If you’re in a mood for an interesting, very sensual and intriguing story that will bring some smiles and chuckles to your face, I highly recommend you get it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

db3AUTHOR BIO: Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats.

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Cover reveal for ‘The Duke of Defiance’ by Darcy Burke

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The Duke of Defiance CoverBOOK BLURB: Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.

Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.

Vintage cup of coffee, mobile phone and flowers on a wooden table.

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dbAUTHOR BIO: Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Site / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads /

Spotlight on Anna Bennett and ‘I Dared the Duke’!

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IdtdabBOOK BLURB: Dare to Fall in Love

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

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TEASER:

London, July 1818

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, was known throughout the ton for three things: the horrific burn scars on his neck, his distinctly ornery disposition, and his undisputed skill at…that is, his innate ability to…er, a certain knack for pleasing—

Blast it all, the duke was good in bed.

None of which was any concern of Elizabeth Lacey’s.

In fact, just two months ago, Beth would have bet her best bonnet that she’d go to her grave without ever setting foot inside the duke’s town house.

And now she lived there.

REVIEW: This is the second story in the Wayward Wallflowers series and I liked it a lot. This story was as much fun as it was steamy. I adored the duke and liked the companion as their fun banter made me smile and chuckle through out.

As the story moved at a fast pace, I found all the characters interesting and entertaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed the slow burn of the attraction between these two. I also thought that the secondary mystery plot was well written and executed because I just couldn’t guess the outcome.

This was a lighthearted romance with a hero with a darker side to him and a heroine who is most happy when she’s taking care of people in need.

What I appreciated a lot from the author is the way she handled the sensuality between the leads. The love scenes were there to help me understand the characters and not just to fill the pages. They were emotionally charged and their realism brought the characters to life.

If you’re a fan of Vicky Dreiling, Eileen Dreyer or Julia Quinn, then you’ll find this story and its  romance sweet and sensual and a must read.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

annabennett_authorphoto_color-300x400AUTHOR BIO: Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

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‘Where Hearts Meet’ by Maureen Driscoll

whm mdSTORY: Arabella Warren has been trying to find employment as a governess for several months. But after having to leave numerous households for unsavory reasons, she has found it next to impossible to attain a position in a decent home. Then she sees an advertisement in the newspaper for a widower seeking a wife to help care for his two children. She sets out to convince the man that he needs a governess, not a wife, and that she would be the perfect lady for the job.

Jonathan Graves still grieves the loss of his wife, even as he tries to create a happy home for his five-year-old twins. Knowing he will never love again, he believes the best solution is to enter into a marriage of convenience. His children will have a stepmother and he can go on loving the woman who passed away. But he is not prepared to meet the lady who will change all their lives forever.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

REVIEW: It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of this author and her writing voice. In every story she’s written so far, she has managed to make me laugh and cry and in this one she’s accomplished both.

Jonathan and Arabella were both strong characters. Jonathan at first fought and didn’t know what to do with his feelings for Arabella, because his feelings for his dead wife were still strong,  but little by little, he started to make a place in his life and his heart for this wonderful woman that brought smiles to his children. And soon enough, he and his children just couldn’t see themselves living without her.

I liked the way the author handled this romance by showing us the slow and steady growing of affection, that then blossomed into love between the two. Jonathan’s love for his deceased wife was very touching that it brought tears to my eyes.

There are so many things I liked in this story, but what I loved a lot were the children and their antics, and I found the antagonist to our heroine to be so mean and I couldn’t wait to see how she’d be put in her place.

If you’re in a mood for a sweet and sensual love story with some humor in it, I hope you give this story a try.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Royally Ever After’ by Loretta Chase

rea-lcSTORY: In Lord Lovedon’s Duel, Chloe Sharp is prepared to protect her family’s name, even to the death. When she hears the handsome Earl of Lovedon say her sister’s royal marriage is a match made in money, she challenges him to a duel—for love and honor.

When the Marquess of Rothwick learns his fiancée, Barbara Findley, has broken off their engagement in The Jilting of Lord Rothwick, he rides out of London immediately to seek her out… and to win her back.

*Now published together for the first time: Loretta Chase’s beloved novellas Lord Lovedon’s Duel from the Royal Bridesmaids anthology and The Jilting of Lord Rothwick from the Royal Weddings anthology…

REVIEW: In this book we have two novella’s previously published in two different anthologies and if you’ve never read Loretta Chase (OMG! Where have you been for the last two decades?! LOL! Just teasing!), I think you should definitely go for this book.

Both stories are well written and although predictable at times, I found them entertaining.

In Lord Lovedon’s Duel I loved the characters and their witty repartee. In The Jilting of Lord Rothwick I wasn’t so fond of the hero, but in the end I did find the romance cute and sweet.

I’m not sure what your take on anthologies is, but I like them. If they’re well put together they can be good and they are an awesome tool to introduce one to an author you’ve never read. There are times that no matter the great writing, if the plot is not feasible or the characters are weak, you’ll find yourself abandoning the read. In this case, I enjoyed these two short stories and hope you will to.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Scoundrel’s Honor’ by Christi Caldwell

tsh-ccSTORY: London, 1822.

Thanks to her older siblings, Lady Penelope Tidemore is no stranger to scandal. In order for her to make a good match, her secret longings for intrigue and romance must be quelled. Yet it is through terrible mischance that Penelope is caught in a compromising position—however innocent—with the darkly enigmatic viscount Ryker Black.

Mr. Black is no gentleman. Raised from the streets and proprietor of the most notorious gaming hell in London, Black lives in a world filled with debauchery and danger. Taking a Society wife from the very ton he despises is not part of his plan, even if the innocent Penelope turns his blood hot with desire.

But Penelope isn’t afraid of Mr. Black, and she soon discovers that his reputation as a scoundrel may be designed to hide a surprising vulnerability. As this unlikely husband and wife grow closer, they learn that what started as chance could end up sealing their fates.

REVIEW: London – 1823

Lady Penelope Tidemore, age 18, is making her Come Out. With her are her widowed mother, the Dowager Countess of Sinclair, and her brother, Jonathan, the Earl of Sinclair. They keep reminding Penelope that she may encounter resistance from some people due to the scandals from the family’s past and they are worried that she may cause yet another scandal. The Dowager and the Earl have been reluctant to let her attend many functions, especially a ball.

When they decide to attend a ball hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Somerset, Penelope is ecstatic. One of the attendees is Ryker Black, Viscount Chatham, brother to the Duchess of Somerset, and the bastard son of a Duke. Ryker and his bastard brothers grew up on the streets of London doing whatever it took to care for themselves. Ryker was awarded his title from the King for having saved the life of the Duke of Somerset. Ryker’s sister, Helena, used to be the bookkeeper of his gambling hell before she married the Duke. Evidently, it is reputed that there is bad blood between Ryker and the Duke of Somerset. So, Helena has come to ask Ryker to attend the ball she is throwing to prove to the ton that there is no bad blood between the two men.

At the ball, Penelope is not enjoying herself. People are obviously gossiping about her, she has torn her hem, and the only men asking her to dance are relatives. She heads for the balcony for some fresh air where she ends up tearing her dress even more. On top of that, someone comes into the dark garden forcing her to hide. It’s Ryker. He realizes that someone else is in the garden and thinking it could be one of his enemies, he grabs Penelope and throws her to the ground. That’s when they are discovered. Uh-oh! Another Tidemore sister has caused a scandal and is ruined. Earl Sinclair tells Ryker he must marry Penelope. Reluctantly, Ryker and Penelope marry.

Penelope moves into Ryker’s rooms at the gambling hell which is not appealing to her. She wants a home but Ryker wants to be close to his business. There is always trouble brewing and he needs to be nearby to take care of it.

The story follows the two of them as they try to adjust to marriage and the fact that they are two very different personalities.

I simply did not like Ryker. He comes across as an angry bully. Penelope tries to placate him but it’s an uphill battle.

I have enjoyed this author’s books in the past, but I found this story to be too rough and violent and not at all what I would expect from her. However, I’m sure that others will find it very good.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for bb