Spotlight on Mia Marlowe and ‘The Curse of Lord Stanstead’!

tcols mmBOOK BLURB: London, 1819

When only seduction will do…

Wherever Cassandra Darkin goes, fire is sure to follow. It’s not until she’s swept into the arms of a handsome, infuriating stranger that she learnsshe’s responsible for the fires. As it turns out, Cassandra is a fire mage…and with her gift comes a blazing desire for sins of the flesh.

With his pretenatural ability to influence the thoughts of others, Garrett Sterling is sent to gather Cassandra for the Order of the M.U.SE. He’s entirely unprepared for his immediate attraction to the comely little firestarter. But it’s an attraction that he must quell, even as his body craves her touch and her fiery, sensual hunger.

For Garrett’s gift has a dark side…and the moment he begins to care too much for Cassandra, he knows he will doom her to an inescapable fate.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Chapter One

If once to Almack’s you belong,

Like monarchs you can do no wrong;

But banished thence on Wednesday night,

By Jove, you can do nothing right.

—Cornelius Luttrell, illegitimate son of an earl

who nevertheless possessed an Almack’s voucher

by virtue of his wit

“I am not responsible for that fire.” Cassandra Darkin was certain of it.

“Of course you’re not responsible, dearest.”

Cassandra startled guiltily when her older sister Daphne patted her forearm. She hadn’t meant to speak her fear aloud.

“What a silly notion,” Daphne continued. “You weren’t even particularly close when the candle flame leaped from the wall sconce to the ostrich plume on Lady Waldgren’s turban.”

“Make that the ridiculous ostrich plume on the odious Lady Waldgren’s turban,” Cassie amended. Her sister cast a warning glance, but didn’t disagree. No one who’d felt the sting of Lady Waldgren’s waspish tongue would argue the point.

However, they’d probably take care to express it less publicly.

Daphne was right about the rest, though. Cassandra hadn’t been near when the feather had burst into flames, but she had passed by the wretched gossip prior to the incident and had heard her name in whispered conversation. The hissed tone had been enough to tell Cassie that Lady Waldgren’s comments had not been meant kindly.

Still, no one wished to see the gossip’s head aflame.

Fortunately, Lord Waldgren’s quick action and obvious glee at being able to rip off his wife’s outlandish headgear and stomp it into oblivion had averted a tragedy. After that, the evening at Almack’s had progressed with hardly a hiccup.

If Lady Waldgren’s small conflagration had been the only one in recent memory, Cassandra wouldn’t have given the matter a second thought. But only that week, there had been three unexplained fires at the Darkin’s fashionably situated town house. One flame had ignited in the breakfast room when Cassandra’s father had announced he’d heard talk at Brooks that the son of Lord Bellefonte, their country neighbor, was courting the daughter of an earl.

The other fires had erupted in Cassandra’s bedchamber on two separate occasions after that—once when she was trying to decide which gown to wear to a soiree that Roderick Bellefonte was expected to attend, and then again when Cassandra had returned home that evening. An unexplained blaze had flared up when she’d told her abigail to burn the peach silk moiré because she’d never wear it again.

If Cassandra hadn’t been speaking of burning when the candle on her dressing table toppled over of its own accord, she might never have wondered if the frequent fires were somehow her fault. She’d been present each time, but that did not mean she was responsible.

Surely not.

REVIEW: I’m not a huge fan of the paranormal stories, but I am a historical romance fan, and since I am Mia Marlowe fan, I thought to give it a try, especially because this was a 230 page read, so not a novella but not 350 page full length book either.

This is a first story in a new series Order of the M.U.S.E. [Metaphysical Union of Sensory Extraordinaires] which is a group of people tasked to protecting a royal family by using their extraordinary paranormal skills.

In the opening story we meet Cassandra Darkin who just came into her full power as a fire mage. Not understanding much about it she is confronted by Gareth Sterling who’s been sent to bring her to the MUSE and help her deal with her newfound ability. Since Gareth’s ability is to influence the thoughts of others, he is hoping to use those in order to recruit her to the MUSE and add her to their numbers.

I liked the setting of this story and the pace as much as I liked the characters in it, from the main leads to their supporting cast.

I also think that for a short book, this packed a lot of intrigue, action and romance. For all of us X-Men fans it’s a must read and for a price of $1.99, this is a no brainer! You’ll have to get it because this is just a fun read through and through!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

MIA MARLOWEAUTHOR BIO: Mia Marlowe is a rising star whose Touch of a Rogue was named one of Publishers Weekly‘s Top Ten Best Romances for Spring 2012. Mia learned about storytelling while singing professional opera.

She knows what it’s like to sing a high “C” in a corset, so she empathizes with the trials of her historical heroines. Mia resides in Boston, Massachusetts. For more on Mia, visit with her via her social media links.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads

Spotlight on Mia Marlowe and ‘Never Resist a Rake’!

9781492602712BOOK BLURB: Can he fool his new family?

John Fitzhugh Barrett, surprised to learn he is heir to a marquessate, is determined his new status won’t mean giving up his freedom. But as families from all over England descend upon Somerfield Park for the shooting season, their unmarried daughters are lining up to bag the newest trophy buck—him.

Or is he only fooling himself?

John’s instinct for self-preservation inspires him to divide his attentions between a scandalous young widow, and the safely ineligible Rebecca Kearsey, daughter of a destitute baron.

The charade gives John the illusion of controlling the game but when he loses his heart to the beautiful Rebecca, all bets are off.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / BAM / B&N / Chapters / Indiebound / Kobo

The road to love is never easy and often times it takes some well-placed advice from an older and wiser friend or relation to make Happily Ever After happen. For the denizens of Mia Marlowe’s Somerfield Park, the Dowager Marchioness of Somerset, Lady Phillipa, is the lady to call upon for any kind of advice. And so, to celebrate the June release of Never Resist a Rake, we are pleased to share a piece of advice from Lady Phillipa.

“When one is burdened by as many years as I am, people assume I must sigh and shake my head over the past when I was young and foolish. Balderdash! There’s no time like the present. Never say I’ve lived long enough to be done with foolish things.”

EXCERPT:

John Fitzhugh Barrett was not going to make a fool of Baron Kearsey’s daughter. No, sir. From all accounts, the new Lord Hartley had been running with a fast crowd and had no doubt kissed dozens of women.

Fancy women. Loose women. Women whose kisses would turn a man’s knees to water.

Rebecca would show him. A virtuous girl was just as good as a bad girl. Better. She’d kiss him all right. She’d kiss the man into next week.

She prided herself on reasoned thought and knew she was being illogical, but before she could untangle all the invalid syllogisms running through her head, she pressed her mouth against his with such force, their eye teeth knocked together. No matter. He wasn’t going to think her a missish little thing who kissed like an awkward first cousin. She was going to put some passion into it.

As much as she knew about passion, at any rate.

He covered her hands with his and she realized he was trying to encourage her to soften her grip on his ears. So she uncurled her fingers and slid her hands down to palm his cheeks.

He groaned into her mouth.

I’m getting good at this.

Then when he groaned again, she decided it was probably not a good thing. There was a definite edge of pain in the sound. Her fingertips were pressing too hard on the skin around his swollen eye.

Botheration! There were so many things to think about all at once. She eased up. Her lips softened and she slanted her mouth over his.

This time the groan was different—pleased and needy all at once. A little feral.

The thrill of danger danced on her spine. Imagining kissing a man was safe. Holy, almost. She could envision a perfectly acceptable setting for the kiss—a garden in full bloom, an elegant parlor after a well-spoken proposal, before an altar and a church full of witnesses. Heaven knew, she’d dreamed of a kiss often enough.

Kissing a man for real as he reclined in his bed was wicked beyond imagining.

Her imagined kisses were always chaste too. This one was decidedly not. Something inside her went all warm and liquid.

John cupped the back of her head with gentleness as he teased her lips to part by tracing the seam of them with the tip of his tongue. She gave up, and he invaded her. His breath swirled into her, filling her, drawing her back into him.

His tongue, oh Lud, his tongue…

Rebecca had never suspected a kiss could be so…so…involving. It wasn’t just their mouths meeting. Every fiber in her body strained toward him.

She had to stop right now or she’d never be able to. She pulled back and, to her surprise, he let her go. She almost expected him to drag her down onto the feather tick with him.

A wicked part of her was disappointed when he didn’t.

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

MIA MARLOWEAUTHOR BIO: Mia Marlowe is a rising star whose Touch of a Rogue was named one of Publishers Weekly‘s Top Ten Best Romances for Spring 2012. Mia learned about storytelling while singing professional opera.

She knows what it’s like to sing a high “C” in a corset, so she empathizes with the trials of her historical heroines. Mia resides in Boston, Massachusetts. For more on Mia, visit with her via her social media links.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads

‘Never Resist a Rake’ by Mia Marlowe

9781492602712STORY: John Fitzhugh Barrett is surprised to discover that instead of being a bastard, he’s the legitimate heir to the Somerset marquessate. Once word gets out that he must continue the Somerset line, eligible bachelorettes from across the country descend upon Somerfield Park, hoping to snatch John up before it’s too late. But John has no interest in a woman who’s only after his title.

Rebecca Kearsey, the daughter of a threadbare viscount, is the only one who understands. However, as her desire for John begins to build, she becomes painfully aware that she isn’t considered grand enough by Polite Society to be a future marchioness. Intrigued by the idea of challenging society’s rigid values, John’s interest in Rebecca grows. But can she show him that love is more than just childish rebellion?

REVIEW: This is book two in the Somerfield Park series and as usual, it very well may be read as a stand alone, but because there’s an important part to our hero’s past rooted in the first book, I highly recommend you read the other first. And besides, both books are wonderful plot wise and as romances.

In this one, our hero is someone I liked a lot. I liked the complexity of his character. He’s not your regular off the mill dandy, nor is he a rake of the first order. I loved that his character was shaped by so many things that happened to him in the past and by the things that are happening to him as he’s trying to get a grip on his current circumstances.

It took me a bit longer to warm up to the heroine Rebecca, but eventually I did because I finally understood where she was coming from and why she acts the way she does.

This wasn’t one of those romances that is perfectly neat and I loved that about their love story.

I’d be remiss in not mentioning a slew of secondary characters who made this story complete and much more satisfying, such as those from the previous book and the downstairs staff of Somerfield Park.

This story, as well as the first book, both have a deliberate feel of Downton Abbey and as a fan of that TV show, I reveled in the extended story of the help.

I highly recommend it you pick it up this summer.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Rake by Any Other Name’ by Mia Marlowe

arbaon mmSTORY: When his father, Lord Somerset, tumbles off the roof, Richard Barrett, Lord Hartley, is called home from his Grand Tour to take the reins of the estate while the marquess recuperates. Somerset is in serious financial difficulty, which can only be remedied by marriage to an heiress, Miss Sophie Goodnight, lately arrived from India with her nabob father.

Unfortunately, Richard believes he has already lost his heart to Lady Antonia Pruett. And Miss Goodnight isn’t too keen on becoming Somerset’s purse with feet, so she foils their families’ attempts to throw her and Richard together at every turn. To make matters worse, the reason Lord Somerset fell off the roof in the first place is a secret that threatens to upend all their lives.

REVIEW: Mia Marlowe begins her new series, Somerfield Park, with a family that is as colorful and entertaining as the one now on PBS, residing at Downton Abbey. And since the author is having this tale told by many points of view, not just our hero and heroine, this made the story hugely entertaining for me.

From the moment our hero meets the heroine of this tale, I knew this would be a sweet romance and I was right. The chemistry between these two was obvious to all, even to them, and once we were introduced to their characters, I loved every minute those two were in each other’s spaces.

But what I loved the best about this story is the way the author seamlessly weaved the stories of both, the upstairs aristocracy and the downstairs help. It made this tale move at a fast pace and I was invested in both worlds.

Another thing I loved about it was the way the plot was developing and for the life of me, I hadn’t seen the end coming. It was brilliant!

I highly recommend it to all you fans of Regency and to all of you that love Downton Abbey. Reading about all the secrets the help had, was too much fun.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Plaid Tidings’ by Mia Marlowe

PT MMSTORY: Christmas in the Highlands. . . Not any dashing English lord’s idea of a good time. But now that Lord Alexander Mallory has won a Scottish estate in a hand of cards, he is the unlikely laird of the wild, snowy Bonniebroch. Worse yet, the ancient pile of stones comes with a betrothal. To a fiery red-headed virgin. And a curse. Alex will have his hands full honoring the first, seducing the second and breaking the third . . . all by Twelfth Night.

REVIEW: First, before you read this story, please get the novella which precedes it [‘Plaid to the Bone’ which I’m reviewing right after this one] and the reason behind it is the main plot of the curse that was cast in the novella and is affecting our hero and his heroine.

I’m a huge Mia Marlowe fan, and ‘Plaid Tidings’ proves once more that her writing is filled with wonderful prose, but what draws me more than even that is her characters. They are so well-rounded and well liked, even the secondary ones, like our heroines constant companion, who is a GHOST!

This is also a sweet, sensual and very entertaining romance.   I have no doubt that you’ll love the hero, Lord Alexander Mallory who wins a Scottish estate in a game of cards and unbeknownst to him, a betrothal with it!

Meeting Lucinda MacOwen was a hoot! I adored her courage, her astuteness and wit. It was such a pleasure watching these two do the ‘dance’ and just the anticipation and sexual tension that grew between them alone is worth the read.   ‘Plaid Tidings’ is one of many novels that I’ve read so far from Ms. Marlowe and as usual, she never fails to deliver. I highly recommend it, especially at this time of year. It has a wonderful Yuletide feel that you’ll love. I promise!

*ARC provided by the author

PTTB MM‘Plaid to the Bone’ 

BONUS STORY: A bride comes to Bonniebroch. . . But Cait Grant is hardly dreaming of wedded bliss. For political reasons, she must marry Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch. And then, as a duty to her clan, she must murder him. . .

If only her new husband weren’t so devilishly handsome. If only she didn’t have to play the loving wife for one long, languorous month. If only she didn’t surrender to his softly sensual touch, she would be able to fulfill her duty. If only she didn’t fall in love. . .

BONUS REVIEW: This novella is a must read before you go to ‘Plaid Tidings’ (Spirit of the Highlands). I am so glad I read it in order because it explains a lot about the curse that is put on the people of Bonniebroch.

I love anything with a setting in Scotland, so this was just a perfect story to take me there.

Ms. Marlowe sure did a great job of painting the picture of the sixteenth century Scotland with all its political turmoil of young King James V.

I fell in love with Adam Cameron, laird of Bonniebroch, and his intended, Cait Grant, and went through her personal agony right along with her as she makes her choices. I also fell in love with a secondary character of Farquhar, and I must say Ms. Marlowe threw me a curve ball with that character.

This novella has a little bit of everything in it. A bit of magic, romance, good guys, bad guys and a most awesome hero you’ll find in the sixteenth century. Great read and very entertaining.

Melanie for b2b

*Book bought from Amazon.

SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe

From the first paragraph you’re sucked in as the authors are letting us into Rob’s dream and it is a dream that Rob keeps having frequently of loving his dead wife. These dreams are the only thing that keeps this man who everyone calls ‘Mad Rob’ somewhat ‘sane’. Without having Fiona’s ‘visits’ in his dreams he would be lost and the pain would truly drive him insane.

They were married on Christmas day and twelve days later, by Epiphany, she was abducted by Lachlan Drummond, repeatedly raped by him, and one day she jumped out the tower window to her death.
Rob has lived with this knowledge and hate towards Lachlan for two years, and finally he is ready to spring revenge on the man who hurt his Fiona. He aims to have an ‘eye for an eye’ and is planning to crash Lachlan’s wedding and take his bride, Elspeth Stewart.

Elspeth Stewart is a dutiful daughter and in order to please her father she is willing to wed a man of his choosing, Laird Lachlan Drummond. Accepting this marriage, doesn’t make her happy as much as it makes her apprehensive. Right before she is to say her vows Mad Rob enters the Kirk on his black stallion and dumps her across his lap, telling Lachlan that if he wants his bride in one piece, he is to come to Caistal Dubh in one month’s time so they could finally have it out. Coming any sooner, let alone follow him, would certainly bring on her death!

What follows is a story of Rob and his men, with Elspeth in tow, making their way to his castle, while Lachlan and her father are following a trail that clever Elspeth leaves for them. However, once Elspeth learns the truth behind Rob’s thirst for revenge against Lachlan, she slowly realizes that Rob saved her from the same faith.

This story is brimming with action; the plot is full of twists and turns and the characters of Elspeth and Rob had me sigh and cry while I followed their road to happily ever after. To listen to Rob finally tell Elspeth about his love for his wife was heartbreaking not only for Elspeth but for the reader too.

To have these two authors take a fairly unoriginal trope of ‘bride abduction’ and turn it into a unique and heartwarming tale is awe inspiring.

I loved taking this danger filled journey with our hero and heroine. To watch them fight off an attack by a pack of howling wolves exhilarating and fun. Along the way they’ll come across many secondary characters that will aid them and we’ll come to care for them as well.

I was riveted by both Elspeth and Rob and their strong feelings for each. Both had a hard time accepting and admitting it to themselves let alone to each other. As someone who has The Sight, Elspeth was hoping it would help her ‘see’ what might come next, but alas every time a vision appears it seems to be just a bit too late.

Rob has regrets and the quilt he feels in not being able to protect his Fiona, is something that he has a very hard time coming to terms with. Oh, and wait until you meet the villain and Elspeth’s attended, Lachlan. What a piece of work this dude turned out to be. It has been awhile since I’ve encountered such a thoroughly despicable human being. This man had not only raped and tortured Fiona, but he felt not a bit of remorse and planned to do the same to Elspeth. She was only means to an end for him, and worth only the dowry she brings. Besides lying to her parents, which was the least of his numerous sins, he at one point accuses her of witchcraft and plans to see her burned. As far as villains go, this guy is second to none!

But our hero is ever ready to come to Elspeth’s rescue and to read the last chapters of this book was one pure pleasure! I’ve literally paced the floor with my Kindle, rooting for Rob to end that bastard’s days once and for all.

Can you tell I liked this book? I hope that you can because I certainly gave enough clues! This is one fast paced journey that I was made to feel a part of, and for that I must thank the authors who are masters of their craft. I have no doubt that this book will be one of the best reads of 2012. I will not be surprised if it is nominated and awarded a prize. Everything in it is prize worthy.

I have to admit that I am stunned at Connie Mason’s and Mia Marlowe’s writing. SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER does not read as a co-written story. I am not sure who wrote which part, or how does that work anyways? Everything flowed seamlessly and I couldn’t tell that it was written by two people.

This is one story that all Highlander fans will love, but especially Connie Mason’s fans that have been waiting for this story for some time now. I also think that Mia Marlowe’s old and new fans will love this collaborative work and ask for more! As for myself, I have added two new authors to my wish list, my to be read pile and an auto buy list. Need I tell you this is a five quill read or will you deduce this from my review? I wish you a happy reading!

*This review posted on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine*

“A Duke for All Seasons” by Mia Marlowe

STORY: Sebastian Blake, His Grace the Duke of  Winterhaven, has an inviolate rule when it comes to mistresses. He never keeps one longer than a turn of the season. But then he’s never met a woman as tempting as Arabella St. George…

A fiery operatic diva, Arabella is blackmailed into helping the French. When she gives the envelope intended for a French assassin to the Duke of Winterhaven by mistake, she’ll do anything to retrieve it. Even if she has to seduce it away from him…

REVIEW: Since I am always on the lookout for new authors (to me at least) and interesting and entertaining stories, I stumbled on a website of an author by the name of Emily Bryan and she offered free chapters of her novella A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS which was very intriguing, very sophisticated and had an element of surprise that I just loved.

Alas, I never read anything after Chapter 8 and I was left to wonder what happened to the Duke and his Opera mistress and how it all ended.

Fast forward to this year, and I’m surfing the net and I see the title of this book and next to it the name that’s not familiar to me of Mia Marlowe. By reading synopses of the story, I can see that it’s my Duke and his Mistress, but the name was confusing me and a little research was a relief to find out that Mia and Emily are one and the same.

Sebastian, Duke of Winterhaven, is a man who has to have order in his life, even in regards to his mistress’s. In order not to get too attached to them, or rather for them not to get too attached to him, he maintains a ‘schedule’ of them. Every Season he engages a new one. It all works out for the best, for all parties concerned.

Arabella St. George is an Opera performer with a passion for two things, her art and her daughter, who she’s given to her sister to raise as her own. The reason behind it is a man who will stop at nothing to hurt her or her daughter.

After setting his eyes on her and watching her perform, Sebastian is considering her for his next mistress. He is all set to hand her his proposition one evening and surprises her backstage. She on the other hand doesn’t seem to be surprised by his visit mistaking him for a contact she expected to hand over a letter.

A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS is a novella that will grab you from the start and its fast pace will keep you anticipating the next curve. Its romance with a dollop of sensuality will keep you wishing for a fan, and the dialogue will have you chuckle, while the suspense will keep you turning pages and guessing.

Please don’t let the word ‘short’ put you off. For me, no matter the length of the story, as long as I can get all the elements of a good read, such as decent pace, interesting plot and emotional connection to the characters, I am a happy camper.

This novella fills that bill to a perfection. It has romance and passion; adventure and danger; a strong and courage’s heroine paired with an equally strong and sexy hero. For a sweet romance that’s sprinkled with intrigue and sensuality that now I have come to associate with Ms. Marlowe (Emily Bryan) I highly recommend it. 

Before I read this novella, I had a privilege to read SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER, which is a book collaboration of Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe and it floored me at how seamlessly they merged their prose in this story of revenge and passion. Mark your Calendar! This is one book you do NOT want to miss!