‘The Earl’s Mistress’ by Liz Carlyle

tem lkSTORY: Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning.

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty—but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood’s words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . . her body.

But when fate sends Isabella back into Hepplewood’s arms, the earl must make an impossible choice—draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.

REVIEW: To say that I am a fan of this author would be an understatement. I believe I have every book she’s written and some are print, some on my Kindle and some, as is this one, on both Kindle, copy and audio. Yeah, I am that kind of a bookworm.

I’ve read all the others in this series, so naturally I had to read this one too. Let me say at the outset that I loved the Victorian setting as much as I loved the characters. As a matter a fact, I had to wrestle between liking and loving this story because of one thing that I’m not a huge fan of: BDSM.

Now, before you start on me, let me explain why I had a bit of a problem with it. At first I thought “here we go again with ‘Fifty Shades of Gray'”, but as I thought more on it, I realized that for some reason the narrative worked within this story and by the end of the book, I accepted it and thought it was handled with thoughtfulness and care to the characters and who they were.

Both hero and heroine were very complex individuals and both had shades of grey and weren’t just “good” or “bad”. They had flaws and a lot of baggage that needed to be worked through and I had a lot of fun watching them do just that.

In the end, I loved the story and highly recommended it you read.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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‘A Bride by Moonlight’ by Liz Carlyle

lc abbmSTORY: Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . .

On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard’s most relentless police commissioner. He’s vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?

REVIEW: It looks like I reviewed book five of this series [Fraternitas Aureae Crucis series] ‘In Love With a Wicked Man’ before I did book four, which is this one. Don’t ask me how that happened!

In regards to the reading of this series, it really helps to read this whole series in its order, which you can get here.

The series is worth the read as a whole because all the characters and plots are really well-developed and the pace in each is fast, so you’re never bored.

Another reason to read them all is the huge cast of characters, supporting and recurring, such as our hero, Napier Royden. He was in these books from the get go, so if you don’t read book one, you’ll miss his characterization, and let me tell you, he is one great character.

You also would be better off to have read ‘The Bride Wore Pearls’ because of the thread of this story, which picks up at the end of that book. Get the picture now?

Right off the bat I was taken with this story and its hero. He is very likable. It took just a wee bit longer for me to like Lisette, but I did. She went through a lot in her young life, but she was stronger for it. Both hide some serious secrets, but once aired out, there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for one another.

In truth, everything in this story just clicks. I enjoyed the romance of it as much as I did the mystery. Its trope, “fake engagement”, has been done before, but Ms. Carlyle is undoubting and puts her own spin on it, while giving us a mystery, mayhem and murder. I didn’t see that curve ball coming!

I highly recommend it to everyone that loves ‘who-done-it’ with really sweet and sensual romance. If you like stories of unconditional love and forgiveness, this one’s for you. It was a win-win for me because this is one of my ‘Keeper Shelf’ authors.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher