Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘Too Scot to Handle’

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GB’sTop Five Must See places in Scotland

  1. Neil Gow’s oak on the banks of the River Tay (because the walk to the oak is lovely)
  2. Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney
  3. The Royal Mile in Edinburgh
  4. The Culloden Memorial and museum
  5. The Robert Burns Museum in Alloway

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BOOK BLURB: A Man With Many Talents

As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he’s a titled gentleman, he’s still fighting-this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he’s happy to oblige.

Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Books-A-Million / Google Play / iBooks / IndieBound / Kobo

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EXCERPT:

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He’d taken care that this kiss be private, and thus unhurried.

Anwen liked the unhurried part exceedingly. Lord Colin held her not as if she were frail and fragile, but as if she were too precious to let go. His arms were secure about her, and he’d tucked in close enough that she could revel in his contours—broad chest, flat belly, and hard, hard thighs, such as an accomplished equestrian would have.

Soft lips, though. Gentle, entreating, teasing…

Anwen teased him back, getting a taste of peppermint for her boldness, and then a taste of him.

“Great day in the morning,” he whispered, right at her ear. “I won’t be able to sit my horse if you do that again with your tongue.”

She did it again, and again, until the kiss involved his leg insinuated among the folds and froths of her riding habit, her fingers toying with the hair at his nape, and her heart, beating faster than it had at the conclusion of their race.

“Ye must cease, wee Anwen,” Lord Colin said, resting his cheek against her temple. “We must cease, or I’ll have to cast myself into yonder water for the sake of my sanity.”

“I’m a good swimmer,” Anwen said. “I’d fish you out.” She contemplated dragging a sopping Lord Colin from the Serpentine, his clothes plastered to his body….

“Such a sigh,” he said, kissing her cheek. “If ye’d slap me, I’d take it as a mercy.”

“I’d rather kiss you again.” And again and again and again. Anwen’s enthusiasm for that undertaking roared through her like a wild fire, bringing light, heat, and energy to every corner of her being.

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“You are a bonfire in disguise,” he said, smoothing a hand over her hair. “An ambush of a woman, and you have all of polite society thinking you’re the quiet one.” He peered down at her, his hair sticking up on one side. “Am I the only man who knows better, Anwen?”

She smoothed his hair down, delighting in its texture. Red hair had a mind of its own, and by the dawn’s light, his hair was very red.

“No, you are not the only one who knows better,” she said, which had him looking off across the water, his gaze determined.

“I’m no’ the dallyin’ kind,” he said, taking Anwen’s hand and kissing it. “I was a soldier, and I’m fond of the ladies, but this is… you mustn’t toy with me.”

Everlasting celestial trumpets. “You think I could toy with you?”

“When you smile like that, you could break hearts, Miss Anwen Windham. A man wouldn’t see it coming, but then you’d swan off in a cloud of grace and dignity, and too late, he’d realize what he’d missed. He wouldn’t want to admit how foolish he’d been, but in his heart, he’d know: I should ne’er have let her get away. I should have done anything to stay by her side.”

I am a bonfire in disguise. “You are not the only one who knows my secret. I know better now too, Colin.” She went up on her toes and kissed him. “It’s our secret.”

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Grace Burrowes CREDIT Wax Creative IncAUTHOR BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.

The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012.

Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews fromPublishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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‘Once Upon a Tartan’ by Grace Burrowes

ouat-gbSTORY: Honor or Happiness–He Can’t Have Both

Tiberius Flynn may be every inch an English lord, but smart, headstrong beauty Hester Daniels has no use for his high-handed ways–no matter how handsome, charming, or beguiling he is. They only see eye to eye in caring about the feisty little girl who is under their protection.

Tiberius’s haughty insistence that his wealthy estate in England is a better place for the child than her beloved, rundown Scotland home sparks Hester’s fierce protectiveness, and the battle lines are drawn…

REVIEW: Another awesome tale from one of my all time favorite authors. In my opinion, this author can’t do wrong. She writes stories that I am more than glad to read, over and over again.

‘Once Upon a Tartan’ is the second story in MacGregors series and I thoroughly enjoyed every character put forth, from Hester and Tiberius to Fee and our heroes horse,  Flying Rowan.

And then, there’s the setting of Scotland and another complex plot that will touch your heart. But as usual, it’s Ms. Burrowes unique prose that holds my attention from page one and straight to the end.

A list of known aphrodisiacs had circulated among Tye’s confreres at university, but lemon verbena had assuredly not been among the foods, fragrances, and substances named.

Nor had fresh air, or the scent of heather, or the sound of a burbling Scottish stream, or proximity to tartan wool, but something or someone had so unbalanced the relationship between Tye’s self-restraint and his base urges as to violate every tenet of common sense.

One did not accost decent young women, no matter how much in need of kissing they might seem.

One did not kiss young ladies who had given no overt indication they were receptive to such advances.

One did not allow oneself into compromising situations where any wandering neighbor might come upon one.

But one was also having great difficulty forgetting the kiss, and the compromising situation, and the decent young lady from whom the kiss had been stolen.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘The Trouble with Dukes’!

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burrowes_thetroublewithdukes_mmBOOK BLURB: They Call Him The Duke of Murder…

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

Listen to Chapter 1 of the audiobook!

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble / Google Play / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Siblings were God’s joke on a peace-loving man. Anderson had retreated behind his desk, as if a mere half ton of oak could protect a puny English solicitor from a pair of brawling MacHughs.

Clever solicitors might be, canny they were not.

“Then we simply tell no one about this title,” Hamish said. “We tend to Eddie and Ronnie’s dress shopping, and then we’re away home, nobody the wiser.”

Dress shopping, Edana had said, as if the only place in the world to procure fashionable clothing was London. She’d cried, she’d raged, she’d threatened to run off—until Colin had saddled her horse and stuffed the saddle bags with provisions.

Then she’d threatened to become an old maid, haunting her brothers’ households in turn, and Hamish, on pain of death from his younger brothers, had ordered the traveling coach into service.

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“Eddie hasn’t found a man yet, and neither has Ronnie,” Colin observed. “They’ve been here less than two weeks. We can’t go home.”

“You can’t,” Hamish countered. “I’m the duke. I must see to my properties. I’ll be halfway to Yorkshire by tomorrow. I doubt Eddie and Ronnie will content themselves with Englishmen, but they’re welcome to torment a few in my absence. A bored woman is a dangerous creature.”

“You’d leave tomorrow?” Colin slugged Hamish on the arm, hard. Anderson flinched, while Hamish picked up his walking stick and headed for the door.

“Your pugilism needs work, little brother. I’ve neglected your education.”

“You can’t leave me alone here with Eddie and Ronnie.” Colin had switched to the Gaelic, a fine language for keeping family business from nosy solicitors. “I’m only one man, and there’s two of them. They’ll be making ropes of the bedsheets, selling your good cigars to other young ladies again, and investigating the charms of the damned Englishmen mincing about in the park. Who knows what other titles their indiscriminate choice of husband might inflict on your grandchildren.”

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Hamish had not objected to the cigar selling scheme. He’d objected to his sisters stealing from him rather than sharing the proceeds with their own dear brother. He also objected to the notion of grandchildren when he’d yet to take a wife.

“I’ll blame you if we end up with English brothers-in-law, wee Colin.” Hamish smiled evilly, though he counted a particular few Englishmen among his friends.

A staring match ensued, with Colin trying to look fierce—he had the family red hair and blue eyes, after all—and mostly looking worried. Colin was soft-hearted where the ladies were concerned, and that fact was all that cheered Hamish on an otherwise daunting morning.

Hope rose, like the clarion call of the pipes through the smoke and noise the battlefield: While Eddie and Ronnie inspected the English peacocks strutting about Mayfair, Hamish might find a peahen willing to take advantage of Colin’s affectionate nature.

Given Colin’s lusty inclinations, the union would be productive inside a year, and the whole sorry business of a ducal succession would be taken care of.

Hamish’s fist connected with his brother’s shoulder, sending Colin staggering back a few steps, muttering in Gaelic about goats and testicles.

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“I’ll bide here in the muck pit of civilization,” Hamish said, in English, “until Eddie and Ronnie have their fripperies, but Anderson, I’m warning you. Nobody is to learn of this dukedom business. Not a soul, or I’ll know which English solicitor needs to make St. Peter’s acquaintance posthaste. Ye ken?”

Anderson nodded, his gaze fixed on Hamish’s right hand. “You will receive correspondence, sir.”

Hamish’s hand hurt and his head was starting to throb. “Try being honest, man. I was in the army. I know all about correspondence. By correspondence, you mean a bloody snowstorm of paper, official documents, and sealed instruments.”

Hamish knew about death too, and about sorrow. The part of him hoping to marry Colin off in the next month—and Eddie and Ronnie too—grappled with the vast sorrow of homesickness, and the unease of remaining for even another day among the scented dandies and false smiles of polite society.

“Very good, your grace. Of course you’re right. A snowstorm, some of which will be from the College of Arms, some from your peers, some of condolence, all of which my office would be happy—”

Hamish waved Anderson to silence, and as if Hamish were one of those Hindoo snake pipers, the solicitor’s gaze followed the motion of his hand.

“The official documents can’t be helped,” Hamish said, “but letters of condolence needn’t concern anybody. You’re not to say a word,” he reminded Anderson. “Not a peep, not a yes-your-grace, not a hint of an insinuation is to pass your lips.”

Anderson was still nodding vigorously when Hamish shoved Colin through the door.

Though, of course, the news was all over Town by morning.

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grace-burrowes-credit-wax-creative-incAUTHOR BIO: Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a bachelor of music in music history, (both from Pennsylvania State University); a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a juris doctor from the National Law Center at the George Washington University.

Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian, and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writers’ conferences. She also loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website or her social channels.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Goodreads /

‘A Gentleman Undone’ by Cecilia Grant

agu cgSTORY: Lydia Slaughter understands the games men play—both in and out of the bedroom. Not afraid to bend the rules to suit her needs, she fleeces Will Blackshear outright. The Waterloo hero had his own daring agenda for the gaming tables of London’s gentlemen’s clubs. But now he antes up for a wager of wits and desire with Lydia, the streetwise temptress who keeps him at arm’s length.

A kept woman in desperate straits, Lydia has a sharp mind and a head for numbers. She gambles on the sly, hoping to win enough to claim her independence. An alliance with Will at the tables may be a winning proposition for them both. But the arrangement involves dicey odds with rising stakes, sweetened with unspoken promise of fleshly delights. And any sleight of hand could find their hearts betting on something neither can afford to risk: love.

REVIEW: Cecilia Grant had me at A LADY AWAKENED, and in her second novel she continues to hold my interest with a story that is filled with too much reality, and some may find it hard to accept the romance within it. After all, the heroine was a prostitute turned courtesan, and while our hero knows he should keep away from such a woman, the circumstances are such that neither can avoid the other.

Will Blackshear, is THE beta hero of beta heroes! I adored this man! Here is a man that personifies the words ‘gentleman’ and ‘honor’, yet I sometimes thought even he didn’t think himself worthy of the description of those two words.

Cecilia Grant can write well, plot well, and infuse sensuality so well that she will have you sighing well after you’re done reading her stories.

Ms. Grant penned yet another character-driven, heartwarming and wrenching love story that is NOT to be missed this year!

Melanie for RRAH

‘A Lady Awakened’ by Cecilia Grant

ala cgSTORY: Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

REVIEW: The above blurb is adequate in summarizing the story, so I’ll not go into it further. What I would like to tell you is how much I liked this author’s prose, in spite of the plot that I found familiar of late. But above all, I appreciated the pace of the story.

The author took the characterization of both hero and heroine very seriously by making them both flawed; Regency era gave their situation, actions and feelings a believable touch of realty so they weren’t turned into clichés and caricatures of themselves. I liked both characters very much because of who they were, who they wanted to be, and who they became to each other. The reason behind it is, yet again, the pace of the story. It helped me to connect with Martha in my own time and on my terms. She was not an easy heroine to like at first, but the more Theo got to know her, the more I liked her.

To Theo, on the other hand, I warmed up right away. His ‘devil may care’ nature may have not impressed our heroine much, at first, but it appealed to me and made me like him. As the author took us in deeper, we appreciated him more, as the heroine did. It was truly fun watching these two totally opposites come to terms with each other and slowly realizing that LOVE chose them for each other.

This is not your typical cookie cutter romance, despite its trope.  By choosing this plot, the author took a gamble in giving us the slower pace and fully developing her players first, main and secondary, thus making them very real and the plot easy to accept. I’d say the gamble paid off, as I enjoyed this Regency tale very much, and I’m looking forward to Ms. Grant’s future tales. Welcome to my Keeper shelf, Ms. Grant!

Melanie for RRAH

‘Every Scandalous Secret’ by Gayle Callen

ess gcSTORY: Who is the lady setting London astir?
All is about to be revealed…

Notorious rake Leo Wade is not one for house parties–he’d much rather pass the time in London’s gaming halls…and ladies’ boudoirs. But when his gambling instinct leads him to believe the enchanting and utterly impossible Miss Susanna Leland is the anonymous model of a shockingly immodest painting…he braves country tedium for a chance to prove the lady’s secret.

With one foot already firmly planted on the shelf, Susanna cares not a fig for propriety. But even she never imagined she’d become caught up in a ridiculous game of cat and mouse, and certainly not with the most wicked man of her acquaintance! Susanna has absolutely no intention of letting Leo confirm his suspicions, no matter how persuasive he can be.

Until sweet temptation becomes too much to bear, and they both learn that the price of trust may just be worth every scandalous secret.

REVIEW: ‘Every Scandalous Secret’  is book three of the Scandalous Lady trilogy, and my advice is to read the previous two, because both hero and heroine just might surprise you in regards to who you thought them to be.

Lord Leo Wade is a well known rake with two passions: women and gambling. Both have become boring of late, so what’s a rake to do, but get himself invited to a house party!

Lady Susanna Leland is a well known bluestocking with passions of her own, and her love of art is one of them. Lord and Lady Bramsfield’s house party gives both of them an opportunity to engage in some ‘wagering’ that will set in motion things neither is willing to admit, but both want.

Ms. Callen’s third installment of this series is as much entertaining as the previous two, and I enjoyed the ‘battle of wills’ these two displayed in full force. My only complaint would be that it was a tad slow paced, but with well developed characters such as these two, it didn’t bother me too much. Watching them fall in love was heartwarming and entertaining, and at times, just too funny.

‘Every Scandalous Secret’  is a story well told of opposites attracting, with dialogue that will leave you smiling, while the charming hero and one determined heroine are both trying to outwit and keep their secrets from each other.

Melanie for RRAH

‘Brazen’ by Margo Maguire

B_MMSTORY: She will give him what he desires. But first, a small favor . . .

Lady Christina Fairhaven is devoted to her adoptive family—and most protective of her wayward brother.

So when battle-scarred and world-weary Captain Gavin Briggs arrives at her cottage bearing shocking news—that she is the granddaughter of an aged, bad-tempered duke— Christina is stunned . . . temporarily.

She will not meet the duke who abandoned her when she was a child; Gavin will not receive his significant—and much needed—reward. However, should the good Captain agree to help her locate and rescue her endangered sibling, then perhaps . . .

But with a fortune at stake, the road to London is paved with peril. Treachery awaits them . . . not to mention attraction, temptation, and a most unanticipated passion.

REVIEW: The hero of this story is Captain Gavin Briggs, and we met him in a previous book of Ms. Maguire’s, SEDUCING THE GOVERNESS. He is a battle-weary man and former military assassin, who now earns his money as an investigator, and his current job is to find a missing heiress and granddaughter of a Duke.

Lady Christina Fairhaven has always been aware that she was adopted, but that never stopped her from loving her adoptive family. Now that love is being put to the test by a blackmailer whose demands have become unbearable, so she decides to take matters into her own hands.

As Gavin brings Christina the news of her birth family, she is truly happy, but she knows that her adoptive brother needs her. She enlists Gavin to help her locate Lang, who everyone, but her, believes dead. Gavin, not having a choice in the matter as Christina will not agree to go with him until she locates Lang, gives in and agrees to help her.

It was interesting to watch a high society Lady fall for this hard-living Captain, especially because neither took their feelings seriously, at first. They both thought each other unsuitable for anything but an affair. However, as much as I loved the hero, try as I might, the heroine just left me cold. Only a handful of scenes have I thought her at least a bit warm (and most of those are the sensual ones).

In the end, BRAZEN was not a bad read. I enjoyed its pace and the hero, as well as the mystery, so I’ll recommend it, but will probably give it away.

Melanie for RRAH