‘A Dangerous Passion’ by E. E. Burke

adp eebSTORY: Will love survive when passion and ambition collide?

Henry Stevens has sacrificed everything, including his honor, to build a railroad empire. At the worst possible time a rival shows up who could destroy him, unless he can devise a plan.

Life in a small village is too quiet, too ordinary for a free spirit like Lucy

Forbes. When her father lands a job out West, she packs her books and her dreams and eagerly sets off to pursue romantic adventures she’s only read about. The moment she sets foot in Kansas, she’s thrust into the gritty reality of an untamed frontier, and into the arms of an enemy.

Her would-be suitor, Henry,is as passionate as he is ambitious. But the secretive man her father has been sent to investigate has a ruthless reputation that makes him a dangerous adversary. Fearing for her future, Lucy resolves to unmask the arrogant railroad chief and expose a villain.

What she doesn’t expect to find is a hero.

REVIEW: I used to be a huge fan of western movies. I grew up on Spaghetti Westerns, called that because they were filmed in Italy with mostly Italian actors, and which jump started Clint Eastwood’s career. As far as western romance is concerned, I have a few go-to authors, such as Kaki Warner, Caroline Fyffe and E. E. Burke.

I have to tell you guys, ever since I binge watched ‘Hell on Wheels’, I have been intrigued by the railroad building business. The railroad building is a fascinating story to me. Those men and women, who were participating in building it, were strong and brave. Let me tell you, this was dog eat dog time and only strong would prevail.

And speaking of the strong, that’s exactly what the hero of this story is.

Henry Stevens is in charge of the Katy Railroad expansion out West and he has a lot of problems that he has to deal with and he really didn’t expect to deal with Major Robert Forbes and his daughter Lucy who have arrived from the East in a most inopportune moment possible. Major Forbes is the man with a mission to find out what’s going on with Katy Railroad, while his strong-willed and beautiful daughter is looking for adventure in the West.

‘A Dangerous Passion’ is a well told, well researched and fascinating read that will take you deep inside the world of railroad building culture. It will also make you laugh as the dialogue is nothing short of brilliant. If you’re like me and are missing your weekly dose of ‘Hell on Wheels’, grab this one and let it take you back to a time of danger, dusty wild west, and entertain you with this tender and passionate love story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author.

‘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

‘What a Woman Needs’ by Caroline Linden

wawn cl reSTORY: Charlotte Griffolino knows a rake when she sees one—and the man her niece longs to marry most definitely qualifies. Stuart Drake is handsome, charming—and penniless. That he is interested in more than Susan’s considerable inheritance is highly unlikely. That he will be immune to Charlotte’s allure is even more unlikely…

With a Viscount title in his future, Stuart expects it shouldn’t be difficult to marry an heiress. Still, once he meets Charlotte, how hard will it be to charm her? Quite, actually. Now Stuart has only one option: to take revenge on her through seduction. But learning what this woman needs might only leave him hungry for more…

BOOK BLURB [2005 EDITION]: How hard can it be to marry an heiress?wawn cl or

Not terribly, Stuart Drake thinks, if you’re good-looking, charming, and in line for a Viscount title, which, fortunately, he is. To end his penniless existence, he simply has to convince his intended bride’s shrewish, wizened old guardian that he isn’t a fortune hunter…which, unfortunately, he is in the extreme. Still, once he meets the old witch, how difficult could it prove to charm her?

Quite, actually. Escpecially when the lady in question is temptation made flesh—a gorgeous widow with a reputation for knowing a rake when she sees one, having bedded many herself. She’d rather die than let Stuart win. And with his plans thwarted, Stuart has only one option: to take revenge on his tormentor through seduction. But learning what this woman needs might only leave him hungry for more.

REVIEW: As you can see, this is a 2015 edition with a beautiful new cover.

Stuart Drake is a rake of sorts but has now been reined in by his father for being in one scandal too many.  His father has totally cut him off from his allowance and he is nearly penniless and even relying on his friends for a place to stay.  As he has no other choice, he needs to marry a wealthy heiress soon.

Miss Susan Tratter is a young girl who is a great bride prospect.  She is very pretty, has a generous dowry and is totally infatuated with him.  But there is a problem in the form of her chaperone/guardian/widowed/aunt Charlotte.  She is totally against Stuart courting Susan because she has had lots of experience with men like him.  At 30 years of age, she has lived many places in the world and has a “past” as well.

As Stuart presses his attentions upon Susan, the very beautiful Charlotte plots to best him at his own game by flirting with him to show that he truly is a fortune-hunter.  However, the “game” begins to heat up as their bantering leads to an attraction.

When Susan goes missing and Charlotte is found to have an intruder who has broken into her home looking through some items left to her by her late husband, Stuart and Charlotte band together to find out where Susan is and who is this thief and what is he looking for.

The characters and intertwining plots make for a very gripping story that will keep the reader up late not wanting to put the book down.  I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and hope others will read it too.  The backgrounds of Stuart and Charlotte are not to be missed.

This is a re-release of the novel originally published in 2005.  It’s really nice to see great books brought out again so new readers can enjoy a great story.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘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

‘At His Command: Historical Romance Version’ by Ruth Kaufman

ahc rkSTORY: Could she defy her king for love? England 1453: King Henry VI sends Sir Nicholas Gray to protect the recently widowed Lady Amice Winfield from undesirable suitors. Though Nicholas intrigues her, she yearns to run Castle Rising without a man’s control.
Nicholas has no interest in marriage, but can’t deny he’s attracted to Amice. He’s surprised to finally find in Castle Rising a place he feels at home.

A kiss sparks desire neither can ignore, yet serving opposing factions seeking to govern England threatens to pull them apart. At court, the king and queen reject Amice’s pleas and choose a new husband for her, a highly-ranked lord who’ll provide connections and coin for the king’s depleted coffers that Nicholas cannot.

How can she follow the king’s command when she’s a scribe for his rival? How can she marry another man when she’s falling in love with Nicholas?

ahc2 rkREVIEW: Medievals are not my usual fare, as you know. I’m more of a Regency/Victorian era chick. However, this book’s blurb intrigued almost as much as the fact that the author is offering her readers two versions of it, one with and the other without sexual content. I opted to read the one with ;)

I must admit that after I was done reading it, I wondered why I am not reading this particular genre more often. There’s something mystical in a good medieval romance. I credit the authors prose and wonderful descriptions of knights and court life, which have drawn me into another time and place. What an awesome way to learn History! One of the great things about this book was the way it showed the intrigue of the court of Henry VI.

Reading this book was like watching a movie. All the historical details enhanced the intriguing plot, while the relationship between our hero and heroine kept the story moving at a fast pace. While the story is very detailed, it never detracts from the storyline, but rather adds to it and makes it more real.

This is Ruth Kaufman’s debut novel and a wonderful start to a series. She gave us two complex and intriguing characters as well as an interesting and entertaining plot, and mixed with some historical figures of that era, this was a fascinating read.

And if a book lingers in my mind for more than two weeks, then I say the author has certainly deserved to be put on my keeper shelf.

Melanie for b2b

‘An Unsuitable Bride’ by Jane Feather

aub jfSTORY: The headstrong and beautiful Alexandra Douglas is summoned to London from the seminary for young ladies upon the death of her father, Sir Arthur Douglas. There, the family lawyer explains to her that she and her invalid sister, Sylvia, have been left penniless, disinherited, delegitimized. Her father had divorced her mother on the grounds of insanity, making the children of the marriage illegitimate, but still allowing him to remarry. On Sir Arthur’s death, his considerable wealth and estates passed to a distant relative, while his widowed second wife and stepson received handsome inheritances.

Alex is determined to get the inheritance that she and her sister are due.When she sees an advertisement for a librarian at her former family home, she applies in the guise of an impoverished middle-aged spinster with experience as a school librarian.But when The Honorable Peregrine Sullivan arrives for a weekend of hunting with Alex’s stepbrother and immediately notices that the librarian is not who she appears to be, she finds it impossible to keep her distance.

With her elaborate scheme unraveling and her future in jeopardy, Alex must rely on her wits—and her new love—to make sure justice is served.

REVIEW: Alexandra Douglas and her sister, Sylvia, who is an invalid have been left penniless after the death of their father. The home she has known and that should be rightly hers has been passed down to her greedy cousin. A very intelligent girl, Alexandra chooses to dress herself as an old lady and infiltrate her old home under the name of Alexandra Hathaway to work as a librarian cataloguing the very extensive family library.

In addition, she is advising her cousin (who does not recognize her) on how best to invest money in growing interests. Due to his ignorance of money, she is also skimming off profits for herself. Peregrine Sullivan visits the home and wonders who this frumpy, intelligent woman is. He decides to follow her when she makes a short visit to her sister.

When he discovers who she really is and the beautiful woman under the disguise, he works to win her heart. However, Alexandra is a stubborn and proud woman who would never agree to marry and be kept by a man who would also care for her sister. She has decided to continue her deception until she has made enough money to care for her sister’s life.

Will she continue to pull off this trick? Read this novel and you will find out what happens to her and if she and Peregrine are united in the end. There is a lot of nail biting but a good read!

Connie for b2b

‘Forbidden to Love the Duke’ by Jillian Hunter

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

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

REVIEW: England 1813

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

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

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

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

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

Connie for b2b