His Highland Heart (His Highland Heart #1) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Heart (His Highland Heart #1) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Heart

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 1,2017

Shipwrecked in enemy territory, Euan Brodie fears the rest of his crew are at the bottom of the Moray Firth. While he searches for his crew, the youngest barely fifteen years old, he must evade Clan Ross warriors. Yet when he sees a lass about to drown in the incoming tide, he risks capture to save her.

Along with two other Munro lasses, Muireall Munro was taken by Clan Ross raiders nearly a month ago. She’s yet to be claimed as a Ross bride. Still, after two failed escape attempts, her hope is waning of ever seeing her home and the younger brother she was raising. But the stranger who pulls her from the surf will change her life forever.

If Muireall reveals who she really is, the delicious man who just saved her life will want nothing further to do with her—yet she needs him if she is ever to escape her Ross captors. If Euan reveals who he really is to the woman he saved, he risks not only his life, but his clan. Left with no choice, can they save each other while they fall in love?

•••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: His Highland Heart is a romantic adventure novel by Willa Blair. This this book one of His Highland Heart Series. It’s a very interesting start to a strong new series.

This is a period type novel, set in the Scottish Highlands in 1410. Much of this novel involves the period customs of the day and clans.

Euan Brodie is fishing in a large sailboat, a birlinn size. A sudden storm flounders the ship and everyone aboard must jump into the sea and try to get away from the ship to keep from being dragged under. It’s winter and the water is cold. Euan manages to get the ship at least closer to the next shore but they are in dire peril.

We next meet Muireall Munro as she wakes in the Ross village. She and two of her friends are captives. They were captured near the village of their clan in Munro. They were told the raiding party killed all in the village and there would be no one to rescue them.
While being made to comb the beach for items from the ship wrecked in the fierce storm the night before, Muireall becomes trapped in a cove. The cove flood with the incoming tide and she fears death. Trying to get back to the far shore, she’s caught by waves and is being drawn into the water. She’s rescued by strong hands that she fears are her captors, but when she gets a look at her savior, his red hair sand green eyes are unknown to her.

Okay, that’s the setup. I don’t do spoilers in my reviews, but it’s an interesting beginning.

Author Willa Blair has written a lovely and adventurous tale of Highland love, danger, possible clan wars, and so much more. The characters are well developed and interesting. The scenes are set in the period and are well done. I loved the people, the hardships, the way they looked at their situations and the marvelous solutions to their issues the author provided. I found it well written, reasonably conflicted (given the age and way the girls were raised).

I’m looking forward to the next in this series. I do love a Highland romance and this is such an interesting time in history. I hope you give this story a try, it’s so well worth a read!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

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Highland Vixen (Highland Weddings #2) by Mary Wine-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Highland Vixen (Highland Weddings #2) by Mary Wine-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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HIGHLAND VIXEN
Highland Weddings #2
by Mary Wine
Release Date:February 7, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highland, romance

Highland Vixen

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Books-A-Million / Barnes & Noble / Chapters /Indiebound

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 7 , 2017

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage

Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He’s used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he’ll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant… Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.

It’s anyone’s guess who’ll win this battle of the heart..

••••••••••••

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Another fantastic Highland read by Mary Wine! LOVE LOVE LOVE! 🙂

Highland Vixen by Mary Wine is the second book in her “Highland Weddings” series and it sure lives up to its name. Vixen indeed! We met our leading characters in the previous book of this series called “Highland Spitfire” and while I suppose it is not necessary to read the first book you would miss out on so much back story, which in my opinion makes this book so good as the story continues on! Besides, there are returning characters in Highland Vixen, and I love reading how characters progress in a series after they get their HEA! 🙂

Marcus MacPherson is one studly, “don’t mess with me!”, fierce, scary , hot badass Highlander. He is the war chief of the MacPherson clan, second to his half brother (who happens to be the lead in the first book). He doesn’t mess around, and icky love stuff is the furthest from his mind .. despite the little vixen lass that resides as a “protected prisoner” of sorts in his castle.

Helen Grant is our vixen. She is fierce and bold, smart and very angry at her current living situation. While she has shared a steamy moment with Marcus, Marcus won’t claim her as his, but won’t allow another to step forward safely either. She is at her wits end and only wants to return to her home (which Marcus has threatened to burn if she leave MacPherson land).

Circumstance allows Helen to sneak away, but not without Marcus hot on her trail. When trouble comes about for Marcus, Helen agrees to marry Marcus, but NOT consummate the marriage so she can get an annulment once danger passes. Well Marcus is having none of that and despite the danger that comes knocking and threatens to take all he stands for, he has decided he is keeping Helen married to him at all costs! He is going to consummate this marriage one way or another and keep her forever.

YES, this is as steamy, perfectly angsty with a side of sass as it sounds! I love my Highland men all fierce and demanding, but deeply kind and protective, like Marcus … and my Highland woman full of attitude and courage, yet seriously lovely underneath like Helen. They are a perfect compliment to the other. Mary Wine really weaves some serious SOB villains as well! Ones that give you the creeps deep to your soul. You can almost smell their evil.

This is a perfect love story that carries an adventure that one would expect to find in a really fantastic Highlander story. If you love a good back and forth match between two well written characters then I highly recommend this book. The story line and side characters are a very decadent cherry on this perfect Highland sundae! LOL

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied by the publisher

 

excerpt

 

“I did nae have me hands on ye at all, lass,” he responded arrogantly. “And I owe me sire a wee bit of an apology for me thinking last evening because his advice is sound.”
She rolled over and over and right off the edge of the huge bed, but her knees were shaky, so she stumbled, grasping one of the posts that held the bed curtains. Marcus was watching her, his grin widening as he took in his effect on her. He was wearing nothing but his shirt, and his member was sticking out in the front of it.
He’d lulled her into a false sense of ease. She realized he was every bit as menacing as ever and had simply waited for his moment to pounce on her.
“Do nae look at me like that, Helen.” Marcus sat up on the side of the bed and watched her move away. “Ye told me yer maidenhead was the only thing ye have left that is yer own, so I pleasured ye without taking it. Is it so hard to think of me as a man who does nae want to act the brute to ye?” He patted the surface of the bed. “I want ye to choose me.”
Did she dare?
Dare was certainly the correct word. He was looking at her, every inch the hardened man she’d faced time and again, and yet there was much more to him now. He was attempting to push inside her, to that place where no one had ever been, to her deepest feelings. However, he was offering her a glimpse at his own in return.
Such a tangle of possibilities.
She looked at the pile of clothing that she’d left on the bench, caught between the need to maintain her pride and the desire to simply let it go in favor of… Well, she wasn’t sure what exactly she’d find in his bed. She ended up looking back toward him, seeking the answer in his eyes.
“Naught to say?” he asked. “There is a first.”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” she exclaimed with her hip roll half laced. “There was a time when I knew how to speak kindly. Why do ye needle me until I can nae hold me tongue?”
He flashed her an arrogant grin. “Because I like ye the way ye are, no’ disguising yer nature to appease everyone about ye. Do ye have any idea how long it has been since a lass was honest with me? Since one came to me seeking me, and no’ me position? Ye are not the only one who feels isolated. As War Chief, I must be hard on the young lads, lest they fail to build up enough strength to survive. Smiling at them would be a disservice.”
Sometime during the night, he’d taken the time to pleat his kilt on a table that ran along the side of the bedchamber. His wide belt was already under it. It took only a moment for him to lean back, grasp the sides of the belt, and pull it all around himself. Most men used the floor, but clearly Marcus wanted to be ready, should there be a need to dress in a hurry during the night.
“It fell to me to either take ye or know without a doubt that I’d be sending me own men up against yer brothers because they refused to admit the cattle were ours.” He was buckling a second belt in place to make sure his kilt was secure. “Ye think I enjoyed it?”
“Yes, ye did,” she answered him. “Somewhat, anyhow. Admit it. Yer nature is suited to yer position.”
He offered her a cocky grin. “If ye’ll match me by admitting ye did nae think to notice I do nae always care for what me duty demands of me. That’s the thing about duty. Ye do it because it needs doing and others depend on ye seeing things through.”
“Fairly spoken,” she said softly while pulling her skirts over her head. The waistband caught on her hip roll, and she began to lace the waistband closed. “Ye are no’ a brute.” His smile was widening with victory. “But swine fits well, for ye knew well ye were twisting words last evening to get me into yer bed.”
He chuckled and opened his arms wide. “Taming a vixen requires cunning.”
Helen felt her temper stir at the use of the word taming.


 

 

Guest Post=Black and Red

For me, research is a two part thing. First off is doing the ‘foot work’ so to speak. That’s the researching. You either know that Elizabeth the first was born in 1533 or you don’t. If you intend to set your story in that era, this is information you need to know. Her mother was beheaded and if you want to go deeper, you learn things such as she was given the mercy of a French swordsman for her execution because the ax was often clumsy. Deeper still and you discover that some of the dates she was accused of having adultery were during her lying in, so completely false as her ladies would have been with her.

That’s part one. The dates, the circumstances. I actually love this stuff because for me, after I absorb the dry facts, I start to think about things like…okay, if there was a young daughter attending court, and in service to queen Elizabeth, what would her duties have been? What exactly was a lady in waiting. I would then learn that Elizabeth had ladies of the Bed chamber, of the presence chamber, and one the list goes. The duchess of Norfolk slept on a trundle bed that came out from beneath Elizabeth’s because that’s how close together they lived.

I like to take it all in and craft a book set in the era. Yes, it’s a fantasy story but I want my characters to be people of the time.

A second part of this is something I have done my entire life and that is historical re-enactment. I make the clothing and wear it. I take sword class. Dances that would have been done in Elizabeth’s court? Yes, I know a few. It’s also the little things, like turning bread on a table and trying….grrr….to bake it in an oven that you have to heat up with coals and no yeast during Elizabeth’s era. You learn to hum a tune because there is no music or make sure you are by the fire at night when someone pulls out an instrument.

I love to find little ways to fold all these details into my stories while still letting my charaters fall in love. It’s a challenge and a fun one.

Cheers!
Mary Wine

About The Author Black and Red

Mary WineAcclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of Scottish Highland romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in Yorba Linda, California with her husband and two sons. Website | Goodreads | Facebook

 

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Mary’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of HIGHLAND VIXEN to ONE (1) lucky commenter  at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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9.. Giveaway runs from February 7-11, 2017

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Twisted Desire (Titan World Novella #2) by Sharon Kay-a review

Twisted Desire (Titan World  Novella #2) by Sharon Kay-a review

Twisted Desire

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 24, 2017

From New York Times bestselling author Cristin Harber and Award-winning author Sharon Kay comes an exciting collaboration…

Rhys MacLeod is a warrior first and a hacker second. Preserving the balance of power among supernatural beings is his prime directive, as well as keeping it far from human eyes. The discovery of a man killed by magical force on a Chicago street lands him on an op he didn’t expect. He’s good, but solving this crime requires a call to the best of the best.

Parker Black of Titan Group never met a network he couldn’t infiltrate. Along with Titan team member Locke Oliver and Megan, a scientist who witnessed the murder, they uncover a maze of encrypted files and unethical DNA manipulation.

Rhys is duty bound to keep all supernatural details hidden from his human friends, so identifying the killer becomes more complicated when clues indicate the perp isn’t human. And when the murderer shows up at their location, every second counts before its true nature is revealed.

••••••••••••••••

REVIEW:  Mystery, suspense, man candy, complete with some sizzling romance and you got yourself an awesome package of a novella to read. Of course as I always say, anything by Sharon Kay is always a pleasure to read. It was a pleasure to see Rhys, Enza and Jude from my favorite realm of Torth again yet it was fun to meet new characters as well. In this book we get introduced to the world of Titan where we get to meet brilliant hacker Parker and charming Locke.

When a murder takes place, it concerns Rhys to do damage control to ensure the secrecy of the realm of Torth. In order to do this damage control, Rhys calls on help from Parker and Locke. In the midst of solving this mystery of who committed the murder, shocking revelations are discovered and a romance blossoms between Locke and Megan, the scientist who also further assists them with solving the case.

As much as I enjoyed the novella, I did feel it was a tad short. I would have liked to see more of Locke and Megan’s romance as well as know what happened to the guilty party of the murder. Overall I appreciated how seamless Sharon Kay blended in the plots nicely, the solving of the murder, the romance going on between Locke and Megan as well as stolen cute moments of Rhys and Enza. It’s always a strength of Sharon Kay to blend in several different plots but not lose sight of the main story arc. A nice quick stop for mystery, suspense, romance and a little taste of paranormal.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Xtina

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Wild Poppy (Wildflower #4) by Vivian Winslow-Review

WILD POPPY (Wildflower #4) by Vivian Winslow-a review

Wild Poppy

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

The daughter of a renown media mogul, Poppy Koslowski has her life turned upside down overnight when her father is indicted for a massive fraud that leads to the loss of her family’s fortune. In the wake of the scandal, Poppy moves to Paris at the behest of her aunt, the Countess Domel, who, unbeknownst to Poppy, intends to find a wealthy husband for her niece in order to ensure her future. Poppy, however, has her own dreams of finishing school and realizing her goal of becoming an award-winning journalist. When she meets Henri Olin, the passionate and seductive illegitimate son of one of France’s most powerful politicians, his political and social ideology introduces Poppy to a world very different from her own. Yet, Poppy ultimately learns that everything comes at a price, even love. After suffering a devastating loss, Poppy finds herself alone and virtually penniless, and is forced to make her way back to America to piece together the remnants of her life in New York City. There, she rediscovers her passion once again, only to be confronted with yet another life choice, one that will forever shape her destiny.

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Be still my freaking aching heart VIVIAN WINSLOW! Give a reader a warning next time why don’t you hunny! I was a freaking mess of emotional goo by the end of this book and I have to say you delivered some serious “AHA” moments here. This out of all of the books I have reviewed for you is my absolute FAVE!

Wild Poppy by Vivian Winslow is a contemporary romance and the fourth book in her “Wildflowers” Series. I suppose you do not have to read the previous 3 to appreciate this book, but I will say that you will be missing out on a great experience if you do not. This book is about a character in previous books that is very influential and understanding why she is the way she is was the best part of this book for me. You can totally love the story for what it is, but you will enjoy it so much more understanding the history.

Poppy Koslowski is the daughter of a prominent couple, privileged and her direction is mapped out for her. When her father is arrested her mother and her are left with nothing and Poppy is sent away to Paris to stay with her aunt. She meets and falls in love with a man named Henri who shows her a life she never could have imagined possible. But not all is as it seems and before we know it she is desolate and alone again. Her next step in life takes her across the ocean where she is hoping to put the pieces back together and live her dream of becoming a journalist. She however is afforded an opportunity that can shape the rest of her life and she is left with a question of living for the now or for the future.

Ok so not quite the best synopsis of what this story is about, but I am not ruining any of the story for you an quite frankly I want to review something far different than mapping out how this story happened. I want to review what Vivian so wisely did here. Vivian laid out a “life lesson”, “heart vs security”, “what would you do” kind of story. So much has been thrown at Poppy in her young life. So much hurt and pain, cruel life lessons that one has to wonder how she picks herself up and carries on. How does one believe in dreams and love when one has been beaten down? This book really made me stop and think. Would I want a life of maybe’s and happiness, or of security and a colder existence? After what this strong woman went through I can only imagine how hard of a choice that is. I tell ya Vivian, I sure understand Poppy a whole heck of a lot more in the previous books now.

Poppy is one of the best female characters I have read in a while. She is multi-layered and while naive (that comes with her age), she is developing into a very strong woman. I am really looking forward to the next book and I am really anxious to see what decisions are made next. Excellent story flow with some yummy scenes, and I love that we travelled the world a bit as well.

HAPPY READING!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

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Highland Spy (The Mercenary Maidens #1) by Madeline Martin-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

Highland Spy (The Mercenary Maidens #1) by Madeline Martin-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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HIGHLAND SPY
The Mercenary Maidens #1
by Madeline Martin
Genre: adult, historical, romance
Release Date:January 10, 2017

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Highland Spy

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

Ariana Fitzroy has lost her family and her fortune. The fight for survival leads her to the shadowed card games of court where she discovers she has quite a talent for slipping cards into her favor. While the winnings are enough to sustain her at present, they will not last forever…

Connor Grant, trainer of the fallen women from the English court and personal assassin to the king, is just as broken as the women he trains. After losing his own land and all his people in a brutal attack from a trusted friend, he has no choice but to rebuild any way he sees possible – even if it means going against everything he’s ever believed in.

After catching Ariana cheating at cards, Connor has a new trainee to instruct at one of the king’s many confiscated castles. In the dilapidated ruins, he discovers Ariana is more than she appears and falls in love with her incredibly tenacity and dedication – a love that is challenged by Connor’s chance at reclaiming the inheritance he once lost and has sought so desperately to regain.

This story is one of second chances, of realizing a strength where only hopelessness once resided – a story of rising above the bad hand one has been dealt into a life of accomplishment and love.

••••••••••

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

FANTASTIC HIGHLAND ACTION PACKED READ!

Ok! I got that out of my system! But seriously .. FANTASTIC! LOL

Highland Spy by Madeline Martin is the first book of her brand new “The Mercenary Maidens” series. A historical romance set in the early 1600’s at a time when King James ruled over both England and Scotland, this story follows a smexy highlander who is stuck between a rock and a hard place in life, and an English noblewoman who he saves in the most unconventional way.

Connor Grant is the Laird of the Grant tribe by law, but after a devastating past, he is now King James personal “task” man. His tasks general consist of blackmailing young woman to join his little spy group, assassinating anyone the king needs gone, and to be obedient in the midst of it all. King James has something over Connor .. his lands and people. With hesitation and a heavy heart, Connor goes about finding the right sort of ladies, ensures they are compromised, recruits them, trains them and sends them off on missions to seek information for the crown.

Ariana Fitzroy is down and out despite being a woman of nobility. She has lost her family and discovered she has no means to live. She decides while not moral and most certainly illegal, cheating at cards is the only way she can put food on the table. When she is discovered and compromised by Connor Grant he propositions her with a promised future. One she really has no choice but to take.

Connor and Ariana undergo many adventures together in this book, be it through spying and/or personal. They are drawn to each other. They also admire and respect the other which lays out the foundation to a friendship. But when attraction and desire stirs, friendship is the last thing on their minds .. even despite the swirling danger that surrounds them.

Madeline writes an action packed, wonderful layered story! We have flashbacks of Connors life and why he is in the position he is today! He really is a true hero and my heart ached for him many times during this story! Ariana though .. she blew me away. Sure she’s a spitfire and tough, but her soft feminine side left her vulnerable and believable. She is the true epitome of what I love in a historical romance female lead. She wasn’t a push over, but she also wasn’t annoying in a “I am woman hear me roar” way either.

The secondary cast of characters I find are just as important to mention here as well as they held a good chunk of my interest in this story. I can already predict enjoyment of their personal stories as well!

I highly recommend this read if you like your romance a little action packed. Never a dull moment that is for sure. I also have to applaud Madeline Martin for tying this love part of the story up with a simple card game. No one ever loses when poker is played that way! BAHAHAHA

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel T

About the author

Madeline MartinMadeline Martin is a USA Today Bestselling Author who lives in Jacksonville, FL with her two daughters and menagerie of pets. Her hobbies include rock climbing, running to Mud Runs, and just about anything exciting she can do without getting nauseated. She grew up in Europe and still enjoys traveling overseas whenever she can find the time to get away. Her favorite place to visit thus far: Scotland. She is the author of three Scottish Historical novels: Deception of a Highlander, Possession of a Highlander, and Enchantment of a Highlander. Visit her online at www.madelinemartin.com.

Giveaway

Madeline Martin’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of HIGHLAND SPY to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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9.. Giveaway runs from January 11-15, 2017

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Releasing the Demons / Black Bullet by L.D. Rose-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Releasing The Demons / Black Bullet by L. D. Rose-Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

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Black BulletBlack Bullet
The Order of the Senary #2
by L.D. Rose
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Genre: adult, paranormal, romance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 9, 2016

Fledgling vampire Jonathan Kerr has just met his match.

Not even his past life as a former Marine and FBI agent could prepare him for the battle against the monster inside him, struggling to take hold. After an old nemesis of the Senary surfaces in Brooklyn, unleashing chaos and terror in the battered borough, Jon sets out to take him down. Instead, he ends up with far more than he bargained for when he clashes with the beautiful half-vampire hybrid, Lawan Knight.

After escaping near death and suffering unspeakable horror at the hands of vampires, Lawan trusts no one, regardless of species. In between bouts of drunken stupor, her only goal is to exterminate all those who’ve wronged her, including every member of Jon’s vampire bloodline. But Jon’s soulful eyes and quick smile crawls under her skin, transforming her black and white world into a hazy shade of gray.

As the days rapidly grow darker, Jon and Lawan turn to one another, but their inner demons threaten to tear them apart. The only way either of them will survive is if they overcome their greatest fear–

••••••••••

REVIEW:

The second book to what’s turning out to be a really good series.

JJ was a marine, then FBI agent, now he’s a human turned vampire (against his will) and holds a lot of resentment still, but he puts his skills to good use.
He was saved by the Knights (his sister is marrying one) after saving one of the hybrids life.
(There aren’t many good vamps, and JJ finds it hard to come to terms with what he is)

Lawan is a knight, (the hybrids that all live in the same place, have the same father) a hybrid, but she works alone. Something really bad happened in the past, and it shaped her into the killing machine she is today.

Their first meeting is explosive, she literally kicks JJ’s butt, and after leaving him coughing up blood, their next meeting should be just as explosive.

One of the hybrids (Rome) explains that although females were once made into hybrids, they were quickly eradicated. But not all of them, how Lawna slipped through the net gets revealed in the book. But he knows Lawna, and she certainly knows Rome !

The story remains at a fast pace, and like the first book in the series, it’s a graphic but gripping read.
The characters slowly dance around their attraction for each other, JJ feels he doesn’t deserve anyone (who could love a vampire, right?) and Lawna can’t get close to anyone, and certainly not a leech. It would hurt too much to lose anyone else.

There is a sub-plot going on as well, and it’s interesting how the two move along together.

I’m totally hooked on this series, and can’t wait for more.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B.

_____________

Releasing the DemonsReleasing The Demons
The Order of the Senary Series #1
by L.D. Rose
Release Date: August 19, 2015
Genre: adult, paranormal, romance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / BAM /

Back cover ……

Blaze Knight has been through hell and back, but the nightmares aren’t over yet.

Five years after Blaze was maimed by Cyrus Chimola, a powerful vampire with a penchant for torture, he’s still trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. As a genetically engineered mercenary with the ability to bend fire to his will and to see in infrared, Blaze’s mission is to protect what’s left of humanity. When Chimola and his crew return to the Bronx gunning for Blaze’s blood, Blaze is forced to face the demons of his past. Hell-bent on revenge, he seeks the help of Valerie Medeiros, an NYPD detective who manages to steal his heart and save his life in more ways than one.

Motivated by her sister’s gruesome death, Valerie has made it her life’s goal to bury every vampire in the ground where they belong. When she brings in Blaze Knight for suspected murder, she discovers he’s not only innocent, he isn’t a man at all–he’s a half-vampire hybrid working with a band of brothers for the U.S. military. Valerie has a hard time trusting anything with fangs, yet she quickly falls headlong into Blaze’s life, a life full of darkness and horror she can’t even begin to fathom. The bodies are stacking up, but Valerie can’t seem to let go of this hybrid, a beautiful monster filled with pain, rage, and passion unlike anything she’s ever known.

In a world where the line between good and evil is blurred, Blaze and Valerie will find danger at every turn, risking everything they’ve come to know and love, including one another.

••••••••••••

REVIEW:

G-Fusion project ……

Human embryos were fertilised with vampire DNA, then placed back in human women to gestate.

The experiments were deemed wrong, and the hybrids were eradicated. (Or so humanity thought) Blaze and his group of “brothers” (different mothers, same father) protect their world, the only only way they know how …..

The hybrids all have hidden talents, fire makers, healers, ice makers and telepathy, to name a few of their talents.

Blaze can generate his own heat internally and from his hands he can produce flames. A film of opal colours covers his eyes and he can only see in infrared, which is great for tracking the vampires, but otherwise useless in everyday life, so he has to wear sunglasses all the time. Tortured until he wished for death, he was rescued by one of his brothers. And now he seeks revenge on the master vampire who captured and tortured him.

Valerie is a cop with a grudge, after losing her little sister to vampires, she’s made it her duty to protect the people of her town against these things, but it’s a battle they aren’t winning.

The vampire came out to the world (years ago) and now they rule the night, the humans live in fear, populations of cities were wiped out, and vampires claimed the cities as their own. Even daylight isn’t safe, as they can use minions to do their bidding during the day.

Blaze and Valerie meet up after she arrests him for the murder of a girl he was sleeping with. But after meeting him, she knows he didn’t do it, but there is something about him that isn’t right. He smokes (but no visible lighter) and he won’t take off his sunglasses, and all those tats, it means he’s either a gang member or something else. And Valerie wants to find out more……

At first she is very wary and doesn’t trust Blaze, and once she meets his brothers, her fears aren’t laid to rest.

Blaze is intrigued with the female detective, and after he is released, he realises she maybe able to help him find his lovers killer, but he already has an idea who it might be.

And as the story goes along, we have a sub-plot (don’t want to give too much away) but it’s one of the reasons Blaze is targeted by his old adversary, and I have a feeling it could be in a few other stories that come along.

The story doesn’t stop, lots of action, and very well written, it flows smoothly from one scene to another.

Blaze is a hybrid trying to redeem his past, and Valerie wants justice. Will she run when she truly knows what a monster he is ? Or will she through him and see the hybrid that hides behind the scars and sunglasses ?

Hoping all the hybrids get a book and can’t wait to dive into the next one …..

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B

excerpt

 

Jon only had time to take a single breath before a dark boot materialized in front of his face, the heel aiming straight for his throat. He snatched it before it made contact and twisted hard, thrusting it away from him. The limb yielded beneath his grip as his attacker collapsed beside him, metal clattering nearby. He levered to his feet, pulling a KA-BAR from his boot as pain lit up his nerves, setting his teeth on edge. His attacker was already standing, the blade of a gorgeous double-edged Kris sword pointed at his throat.
Holy shit.His opponent was female, wearing a slim-fitting black battle uniform and carrying enough artillery to outfit a small army. Her jet-black hair was tied in a long braid and a black mask covered the lower half of her face. Her dark, almond-shaped eyes revealed her Asian heritage, her skin the color of caramel. A scabbard stretched across her back, strapped to her chest, along with the M16 she’d used to tear up the warehouse.

Jon took a step back, but she didn’t hesitate, launching at him with the blade. Metal clashed and sparks flew as he parried the long sword’s quicksilver arcs with his dagger. Although she limped from her injured leg, her strikes were hard, fast, and precise, each blow intended to kill. He nearly tripped over the pirate’s body as she backed him against the wall of the refinery, and he ducked as the blade screeched along the brick.

Before Jon straightened, he jabbed the butt of his KA-BAR into her knee and she yelped, stumbling backward. He slashed at her and caught nothing but air as she lurched away from him. She swung the Kris at his head and he raised the KA-BAR to engage and bind the sword. Both of their weapons trembled as their eyes locked on one another across the tangle of deadly metal.

And as her smoldering gaze drilled into him, he smelled it.

Dama de Noche.

The Lady of the Night, a nocturnal blooming flower he’d first smelled years ago in Nepal, when he was a human soldier. The scent was unmistakable, underlying the incense of vampire. The stench of leech didn’t belong to her, but the floral aroma was all her own.

She’s not a vampire.

Stunned by the revelation, Jon wavered, and she quickly took advantage of him. She sidestepped and lunged at him, sinking the blade in his shoulder. He shouted, dropping his KA-BAR as pain erupted from his dominant limb. Moving lightning fast, she yanked the blade out and sliced an arc across his chest. Luckily, she only scored his Kevlar, and as the sword swooped around again, Jon caught it with his gloved hands, silver biting into leather.

“You’re a hybrid,” he ground out. “I’m on your side!”

She pushed hard against him, drawing blood. “Bullshit.” Her voice was a rich contralto, edged with a growl. “You reek of Temhota.”

The Dama drew back and chopped at his belly, but Jon blocked her with his forearms, metal jarring against his bones. Finally, he managed to kick the blade out of her grip and it spun away, clattering to the ground. She somersaulted backward to retrieve it, but Jon caught hold of her braid in mid-air and wrenched on it. She cried out and landed face-first on the pavement, her breath audibly whooshing from her throat.

Jon wound her braid around his hand like a rope and straddled her, pinning her down. He tore the M16 off and tossed it as she writhed beneath him, fighting hard. Yanking her head up, he leaned close to her ear. “I’m not your enemy,” he hissed.

Her already shallow breath quickened and her struggles intensified, her sweet scent pumping from her pores in cloying waves. Panic. Fear. Restraining her like this completely terrified her.

Jon let up, knowing it was a mistake, but the shred of humanity still left in him couldn’t resist. The Dama slammed the crown of her head into his face and his retinas exploded in a staggering palette of reds, whites, and grays. His nose caved in, but not so far as to bury the bony shards into his brain. Blood poured out of him like a leaky faucet as he fell back, propping himself up on the wall of the refinery.

She was on him in an instant, chopping the edge of a flat hand into his trachea before smashing a fist in his ear. She wobbled to her feet as he struggled desperately to breathe—remember Jon, you don’t have to—and she gave him a vicious kick to his solar plexus, doubling him over. The pain was terrific, a cacophony of agony echoing from every corner of his body.

Jesus Christ, she was beating the shit out of him.

The Dama stood there, shaking, the fabric of her fallen mask fluttering to the ground. Jon blinked, trying to clear his blurred vision as she picked up her sword. He stole a glimpse of her face as she flung the mask up with the blade and caught it. A tattoo marked her cheek, the black symbol unmistakable but jagged, as if she’d thrashed during the process.

The same mark he’d painted on his chest lay branded on her face—the emblem of the Temhota.

Jon yanked down the neckline of his shirt, much like he had with the pirate, but this time he wiped at the mark, smearing it. The Dama paused in front of him, eyes narrowed, a gash marring her forehead. Even with the mark of his enemy on her face, she was breathtaking, and he didn’t have much breath left to spare.

“Not real,” he said past swollen lips, lifting trembling fingers stained with both paint and blood. “No mark.”

“But you are a leech.” She pointed the serpentine blade at the hollow of his throat.

He nodded, swallowing iron. “I work with the Senary. I used to . . . I used to be human. I’m not what you think I am.”

“You stink of them.” Her lip curled in a snarl.

He nodded again, every muscle in his body screaming. “Because I’m one of them. Yet I’m not.”

Brilliant. Maybe a few of those bony shards made their way into his brain after all.

She flipped the sword deftly and held it in a two-handed grip, the sin qua non of impending decapitation. Her dark eyes didn’t have the cat-like gleam signature to vampires, but hate and anger bled through them anyway.

“Makes no difference to me.”


 

 

Guest Post black and purple

A Gritty Gotham by L.D. Rose

First, I’d like to say thank you for featuring me on your blog!

My name is Linda (writing as L.D. Rose) and I’m a doctor by day and author of dark PNR/UF by night. Today I’ll be talking about the world I created in The Order of The Senary series and my inspiration for the setting in the current books, RELEASING THE DEMONS and BLACK BULLET.

Although both novels are dark paranormal romances, they’re very heavy on urban fantasy, likely influenced for my love of all things gritty and metropolitan. This series takes place in the alternate present, in a dystopian New York City. I adore NYC and lived just north of the Big Apple during my medical school training. The sights and sounds of 469 square miles of concrete populated by 8.5 million people inspired me in so many ways, from the gothic architecture to the people watching to the visions of “what if?” What if vampires finally rose out of the darkness and attacked all of the major cities in the world? Where would humans run, hide, and would they fight back? How would they handle this evolutionary shift in power?

And hence, the premise for these crazy stories bloomed.

The Order of The Senary is one of a few groups of hybrid mercenaries genetically engineered by the U.S. government to exterminate vampires. Being half vampire themselves, they all undergo a constant battle between the monster and human inside them. Although they were socialized with humans as children, they grew up on military bases, trained to hone their powers (or the “side effects” of their hybridization, like pyrokinesis, telekinesis, and shapeshifting to name a few) and to become lethal killers. The psychological and physical trauma they endure is intense, but it’s all for the “greater good” of the human race. Taught to despise all things fanged (besides their own brothers), their love for their fellow man knows no bounds, but they’re banned from developing intimate relationships with others.

Until they each meet their own illicit partner, whether human, vampire, or something else entirely. 😉

Want to learn more? Check out the first novel, RELEASING THE DEMONS, available at all Amazon stores in both print and eBook. The second novel, BLACK BULLET, just released last month and I’m thrilled to share this vision of a dark world where love, brotherhood, and loyalty is the best means of survival.

Hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for stopping by!

Black Bullet teaser

About The Author

L.D. RoseL.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she’s been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a PAN member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.

Sign up for her newsletter for the latest on the Senary, sneak peeks, giveaways, and other fun stuff: http://eepurl.com/bKvuXD. You’ll receive a free horror short story with sign-up!

You can also join her street team on FB for more shenanigans. 😉 DEVOUR THE NIGHT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/15447…

Where else to find her:

Website: www.writerldrose.com
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/ldrose
Facebook: www.facebook.com/writerldrose
Author page: www.facebook.com/ldroseauthorpage
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ld_rose
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/ldrose
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/writerldrose
Tumblr: www.writerdoc.tumblr.com
Book Bub: www.bookbub.com/authors/l-d-rose

giveaway

L.D. Rose is offering an ecopy of book one RELEASING THE DEMONS in The Order of the Senary Series to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

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3. LIKE L.D. Rose on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

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8. Giveaway open Internationally

9.. Giveaway runs from December 27-31, 2016

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The Trouble with Dukes (Windham Brides #1) by Grace Burrowes-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

The Trouble With Dukes (Windham Brides #1) by Grace Burrowes-Review,Book Tour & Giveaway

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The Trouble with Dukes

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes & Noble/Books-A-Million / Google Play / iBooks / Indiebound / Kobo

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 20, 2016

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2hsagl0

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.

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

You know when you have been away from something you love for a while, and then you come back and get all warm and happy and satisfied and want to to bask in the afterglow of this??? YAH THAT! LOL

Oh Grace Burrowes! You reminded me once again why you are one of my absolute fave historical romance authors. You never disappoint me .. NEVER! 🙂

The Trouble With Dukes by Grace Burrowes, is the first book in her “Windham Brides” series. This series is a spin off of her historical romance series “Windham” and a small disclaimer here, I have not read the Windham series yet. I know, I know, so many books so little time! LOL The point is, I read this book pretty much as a stand alone and while I did feel like I was missing something, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story or understanding who was who. I will however be bumping that series up on my TBR list!

Hamish MacHugh is known as “The Duke of Murder”. He’s a war vet, socially awkward, could give two you know what’s about polite society, and is a man who most certainly loves his family. In order to give his sisters a chance to participate in the upcoming London season and find good matches, Hamish is willing to face all he hates. Little does he know that a match will indeed be happening .. “The Duke of Murder” is about to meet his own match.

Megan Windham is in trouble. She is being blackmailed by a real douchebag who she believed to have once been in love with. While Mr Douchebag was away at the war, Megan wrote some pretty smutty letters to him to keep his spirits up. Now Mr Douchebag is in dire need of money, and Megan comes with a pretty plump dowry, never mind that she wants nothing to do with him. When Megan meets Hamish however, a light just may appear at the end of the tunnel. Hamish over looks and admires quirky Megan with the thick spectacles. He also feel protective of her and before we know it, much more blooms.

Hamish .. oh sweet Hamish. Grace writes some pretty awesome leading males and this awesome man has moved into my “one of her best” list. He is truely a really wonderful man. He loves deeply and when he decides Megan is for him, nothing will stand in his way .. especially Mr Douchebag. Megan surprised me too. I thought she would of been a little more meek, but I should of known Grace doesn’t do meek … LOL Megan bloomed into a fierce woman, who was proactive in her own salvation as opposed to sitting there fainting in the parlor room. Together, OH MY, these two lit things up. So passionate and full of love, I cannot gush enough!

Another thing I love about Grace Burrowes and her books and I say this every time I write a review on her work, she has a style all of her own. A maturity unlike many other authors, flows through her storyline and characters. There is true friendship formed, which to me make a love story. So much respect and honour weaved into scandal and passion .. impressive in this genre in my opinion.

If you are looking for a great historical romance for the holidays, I cannot recommend this book more! Don’t stop there though, pick up any of her books and I promise you will not be disappointed .. now I am off the start the Windham series myself! 😉

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Copy supplied by the Netgalley

Guest post-White and Red

Grace Burrowes Top 5-favorite classic movies

The Adventures of Robinhood—The 1938 version with Errol Flynn and Oliva de Haviland. Little known fact: That handsome palomino Maid Marian is trotting around on? That’s Roy Roger’s Trigger.

Holiday Inn—Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Cannot beat the classic musicals.

Forty-Second Street. Just typing the title gets the ear worms activated.

It’s a Wonderful Life. No explanation needed!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964 animated television version). This is the longest running television special, and the Island of Misfit Toys makes me cry every year.

The Trouble with Dukes Teaser

excerpt

 

“I don’t want any damned dukedom, Mr. Anderson,” Hamish MacHugh said softly.
Colin MacHugh took to studying the door to Neville Anderson’s office, for when Hamish spoke that quietly, his siblings knew to locate the exits.
The solicitor’s establishment boasted deep Turkey carpets, oak furniture, and red velvet curtains. The standish and ink bottles on Anderson’s desk were silver, the blotter a thick morocco leather. Portraits of well-fed, well-powdered Englishmen adorned the walls.
Hamish felt as if he’d walked into an ambush, as if these old lords and knights were smirking down at the fool who’d blundered into their midst. Beyond the office walls, harnesses jingled to the tune of London happily about its business, while Hamish’s heart beat with a silent tattoo of dread.
“I am at your grace’s service,” Anderson murmured, from his side of the massive desk, “and eager to hear any explanations your grace cares to bestow.”
The solicitor, who’d been retained by Hamish’s late grandfather decades before Hamish’s birth, was like a midge. Swat at Anderson, curse him, wave him off, threaten flame and riot, and he still hovered nearby, relentlessly annoying.
The French infantry had had the same qualities.
“I am not a bloody your grace,” Hamish said. Thanks be to the clemency of the Almighty.
“I do beg your grace’s—your pardon,” Anderson replied, soft white hands folded on his blotter. “Your great-great aunt Minerva married the third son of the fifth Duke of Murdoch and Tingley, and while the English dukedom must, regrettably fall prey to escheat, the Scottish portion of the title, due to the more, er, liberal patents common to Scottish nobility, devolves to yourself.”
Devolving was one of those English undertakings that prettied up a load of shite.
Hamish rose, and for reasons known only to the English, Anderson popped to his feet as well.
“Devolve the peregrinating title to some other poor sod,” Hamish said.
Colin’s staring match with the lintel of Anderson’s door had acquired the quality of man trying to hold in a fart—or laughter.
“I am sorry, your—sir,” Anderson said, looking about as sorry as Hamish’s sisters on the way to the milliner’s, “but titles land where they please, and there they stay. The only way out from under a title is death, and then your brother here would become duke in your place.”
Colin’s smirk winked out like a candle in a gale. “What if I die?”
“I believe there are several younger siblings,” Anderson said, “should death befall you both.”
“But this title is Hamish’s as long as he’s alive, right?” Colin was not quite as large as Hamish. What little Colin lacked in height, he made up for in brawn and speed.
“That is correct,” Anderson said, beaming like headmaster when a dull scholar had finally grasped his first Latin conjugation. “In the normal course, a celebratory tot would be in order, gentlemen. The title does bring responsibilities, but your great-great aunt and her late daughter were excellent businesswomen. I’m delighted to tell you that the Murdoch holdings prosper.”
Worse and worse. The gleeful wiggle of Anderson’s eyebrows meant prosper translated into “made a stinking lot of money, much of which would find its way into a solicitor’s greedy English paws.”
“If my damned lands prosper, my bachelorhood is doomed,” Hamish muttered. Directly behind Anderson’s desk hung a picture of some duke, and the old fellow’s sour expression spoke eloquently to the disposition a title bestowed on its victim. “I’d sooner face old Boney’s guns again than be landed, titled, wealthy, and unwed at the beginning of London season. Colin, we’re for home by week’s end.”
“Fine notion,” Colin said. “Except Edana will kill you and Rhona will bury what’s left of you. Then the title will hang about my neck, and I’ll have to dig you up and kill you all over again.”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.


 

About The Author

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. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers 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.

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Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson – Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Lessons in Letting Go
Study Abroad #3
by Jessica Peterson
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Genre: new adult, contemporary, romance

Lessons in Letting Go

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 12, 2016

“Ten minutes ago, I was just an American student studying abroad in Spain. But now? Now I’m a professional soccer player’s muse. His good luck charm…”

Soccer star Rhys Maddox’s recovery from an injury isn’t going well—until one night with a beautiful American and a few terrible pick-up lines changes everything. With Laura at his side, he plays smarter, runs faster, and fights harder than he ever has on the pitch. She’s just the good luck charm he needs to turn his flailing career around.

Laura Bennet begins her semester in Madrid with plans to ditch bad habits and worse boyfriends. But when she unexpectedly gets caught up in Rhys’s A-list life, her plans are put on hold. Who wouldn’t skip class to fly on a private jet with a studly Welsh footballer? It’s a no brainer, or so she thinks. Turns out Rhys’s glamorous lifestyle hides an obsession with appearances—an obsession that makes her totally miserable. Determined to take back her happiness, Laura decides to dump Rhys and tackle a “Spain Bucket List” on her own.

But Rhys isn’t letting his good luck charm go without a fight. He’s spent his entire life trying to earn his way into the big leagues, and he’ll do anything to win—even risk his carefully crafted image to help Laura with her bucket list. Will he be able to let go of his ego? Or will he and Laura ultimately let go of each other?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Let’s all be honest, we all have inner demons and hang ups in our lives. Whether we let those inner demons and hang ups control our lives is up to us. Whether it’s a past we are trying to leave behind or a fear that constrains way of living, we all have our inner demons and hang ups. In this story we have the beautiful yet bright student Laura who wants to shed her people pleasing skin to be more emotionally free to have more fun and to stop caring about her weight so much to enjoy real food. And then we have rising soccer star Rhys who came from a very poor family in Wales who puts so much unnecessary pressure on himself to provide for his family. He is always constantly fighting his inner demons that he doesn’t want to repeat his father’s mistakes. Will Rhys and Laura let go of their demons and hang ups to really live their lives and find love in each other’s arms?

I really enjoyed how likeable Laura was but what I really appreciated was how relatable her issues were. Being a people pleaser and being overly concern about weight are very relatable issues many women have. I also enjoyed reading about Rhys letting go of his inner demons as well, that just because he deviates from his rigid schedule and routine doesn’t mean that he’s going to end up a washed up failure at soccer like his dad. The character growth and development were elements of the book I really enjoyed. Laura was able to enjoy real food and not get upset over the slight weight gain. She was able to do things for her and not for others, she was even able to assert herself to do the things she wanted. Rhys was able to free himself of letting his father’s mistake rule his every action. I truly enjoy reading Laura and Rhys’s journey to emotional freedom.

I really liked this book. The book was tastefully sexy but had literary substance to it. You would think all the hangs ups and inner demons concept would bring down the mood of the book but doesn’t. The book has an uplifting and encouraging tone to it that is refreshing. I enjoyed this book so much that I went ahead to purchase the rest of the series. Another plus, the book can read alone with no issues of missing parts of the previous books. I highly recommend this read I really do.

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Xtina

excerpt

 

Rhys That Night

“Zat, it was fucking awesome, mate!” Olivier says, pounding me on the back. “Where did it come from? For so many months, you play like a terrible child. But today? Today you play like a champion.”
“Thanks, dickhead,” I say, laughing as I tug on my trousers. The familiar scents of the locker room—sweat, soap, antiseptic—surround me. For the first time in forever, they fill me with hope. Happiness. I’m actually glad to be here. “Nice goal, by the way.”
“Not as nice as ze assist.”
“That’s it, Cabbage!” William Wallace—I don’t think anyone knows his real name anymore—appears at my elbow, clapping loudly. “Whatever girl you and your dobber mates were chattin’ about at training, I want you to see more of her! I haven’t seen ye play like this since before ye balls dropped.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“I mean it,” he says, looking me in the eye. “Ye’re comin’ back, lad. Keep it up, yeah?”
I fight back a smile. The relief that floods me—the disbelief that my luck might actually be turning—is overwhelming. I finally played like the legend I hope to be. In this sport, legends get paid very, very well. And heaven knows I could do a lot of things for a lot of people with that money.
My sponsors lit up my mobile tonight. I even got a new one—a giant diamond company—that promised to pay me twenty thousand euros if I showed up at their event tomorrow night.
Needless to say, I cleared my schedule and accepted the invitation. Relationships with sponsors are fragile, so I always make an effort to put my best foot forward and attend every event they invite me to.
I shake hands, slap backs, smile as the squad compliments me on the pass. But all the while I’m thinking of only one thing.
One girl.
I admit I’m superstitious—what athlete isn’t?—but even I’m not daft enough to think my legendary performance today has anything to do with Laura, or the ridiculously intense orgasms we had together. Orgasms are magical, sure, but they don’t have magical powers.
Do they?
Because that feeling I got when I gunned down the pitch, the way my instincts took over, and guided me—it came from the same deeply buried place inside me that came alive when I fucked Laura, her eyes wet and lucid, her hair wild, her silky skin flushed.
Maybe coach is right. Maybe Laura did make me play any better today. It makes sense—sort of. Nothing else about my life has changed in the past week. I ate the same food, trained the same way, slept my customary nine hours a night.
Hanging out with Laura was the only deviation from my carefully scripted schedule. It was the only time I had fun, cut loose. I spend so much time doing the things I should or need to do; I rarely do what I want. I wanted to get naked with Laura, so I did. There was something so…liberating about it.
Sure, I’ve thought about Laura this week. I haven’t called her, though, because that’s my rule. But I have to admit that even my training sessions were better—every single one of them.
I suppose playing so well in the match today just confirms that there’s something at work here.
That I finally played really, really well for the first time since blowing out my knee after I slept with Laura could be purely coincidental. It could be a not-so-funny joke, engineered by the big guy in the sky. The connection between my performance and Laura could mean nothing.
Then again, it could mean everything. It could mean the difference between being demoted from first team, and making all my dreams come true. If I keep playing like I did tonight, there’s a seriously exciting future ahead of me. A future where I can do right by my family, and prove to the world I’m not going to wash up like my deadbeat dad. A future with the biggest sponsors and the biggest paychecks and the best bet to live the life I’ve always wanted for myself, and for mum, and for Maggie.
The kind of life dad promised us, but never delivered on.
I’m certainly not alone in my superstitions. Alexandr swore it was wearing the bright yellow boots his wife “blessed” with a kiss every morning that made his performance in last year’s Euro Cup so astounding. Fred’s got his ice cream. Sergio bangs on the brick wall outside the locker room exactly six times before every match. If he doesn’t, his play will be rotten (so he says). As athletes, so much of our professional lives—our successes, our failures—depends on chance. To touch the divine, and play like the gods we want to be, the timing’s got to be just right; the stars have to align; that ever-elusive shadow called luck must be on our side.
No one knows what it is, exactly, that keeps that shadow in our corner, or lures it away. I’d sell my soul to know the nebulous math that solves the equation in my favor. But as much as I believe in the power chance, I also believe in my own power—my own agency. I can’t control luck, but I can run after it as hard and as fast as I can.
Tonight, I ran pretty damn fast.
Shrugging into my suit jacket, I know what I have to do. I have too much at risk to underestimate this Laura thing. Maybe it’s real, maybe it’s not, but I will do anything—bloody anything—to keep my stars aligned.
Lucky for me, that “anything” is a gorgeous girl with an even more gorgeous body. Just thinking about that body, the way her pussy clenched around me again and again, has me adjusting the crotch of my trousers.
I’ve got to run like hell after Laura, and convince her, somehow, to let me see her again. Tomorrow, perhaps. I’ll apologize for not calling sooner, tell her I’ve been busy with training. The diamond guys want me to bring a date to the event, and Laura would look really hot in heels and a tight little dress.
With the most important season of my career on the line, I have to see her. Perhaps make her laugh with more awful pick-up lines, or give her another orgasm, or five. God, the look in her eyes when I slammed inside her…
I swallow, hard.
It’s not serious. It can’t be. But I’ve got to see her.
I think I just stumbled upon the good luck charm I’ve been looking for.
***
Laura

Monday

Today is my first day at the Santa Caterina After School Program (bucket list item #6: Community service—tutor kids, literacy work). Considering I’ve spent the past hour in a classroom with twenty-three five and six year olds I’ve only just met, it’s going pretty well. Only one little boy peed his pants, and the kids seem to be enjoying my terrible Spanish renditions of some of my favorite picture books (The Giving Tree gets me every.damn.time., even in a different language).
I’ve always been a big reader—I began sneaking romance novels from my mom’s bookshelf when I was eleven, and now my massive collection of pink- and purple-spined paperbacks is the thing I treasure most in this world—so I knew when I got to college I wanted to do some kind of literacy work. My dirty book habit aside, I hoped to work with underprivileged kids. I remember what a proud, magical moment it was when I learned to read, and I wanted to relive that feeling with the children I volunteered with.
The kids and I are seated in a circle on the floor. They’re a little fidgety—being asked to sit quietly after a full day of school is not easy when you’re six—but they return my smile when I close The Giving Tree and settle it in my lap.
So, I ask in embarrassingly stilted Spanish, the giving tree was very kind and generous with the little boy. Is there anyone in your life who is kind and generous with you? Someone who gave you something special?
A few small hands shoot up. I point to a little girl who is missing her front teeth.
My dad says Rhys Maddox is going to give us a title this year, but only if he doesn’t play like garbage.
I blink. Seriously? I can’t get away from this guy. Less than twenty-four hours ago, I swore to dedicate myself to my bucket list. And yet here Rhys is, invading my carefully guarded personal space once again. Damn him and his ridiculous, delicious, rock-hard body. Oh, that body…
Yeah, another girl in pigtails says. My dad says Rhys Maddox can be the best player in the world if he just gets his head out of his ass.
“Whoa!” I say, before remembering to use Spanish. Celeste, excuse me, but you cannot use that word here.
Rhys Maddox would be kind and generous if he played as well as he did last night so we could win the war against Barcelona, a little boy named Miguel says.
Well, it’s not a real war, I say. The rivalry between the football clubs in Madrid and Barcelona is intense. Some Spaniards—older generations, mostly—see that rivalry as a continuation of the Spanish Civil War, or at least a reenactment of it.
My grandpa says it is, he replies. We’ve been fighting it for a thousand years, and only Rhys Maddox can win it with a league title.
I bite back a grin. I can’t resist. Do you think Rhys Maddox is kind, like the giving tree?
Maybe, a little boy says when I call on him. My mom says he is very handsome. It makes her happy when he takes his shirt off. So maybe that means he is kind?
Hmmm, I say. My belly aches from trying not to laugh. I’m not so sure about that one.
When we finish up reading hour, I take the kids outside to play on the playground. I jump when my phone, tucked into the back pocket of my jeans, begins to ring.
Are you all right, Miss Bennet? Miguel looks up at me, holding a hand to his forehead against the fading sun.
I grin at him and nod, even though my heart weirdly begins to pound as I dig my phone out of my pocket. The girls I went to the soccer game with usually text me; so do my friends back home. The only people who actually call me are Em and my parents. And considering both—well, all three of those people know I’m working right now, they wouldn’t be calling me unless it was an emergency.
I glance at the screen. It’s a number I don’t recognize—a European number. My heart pounds faster. For one stupid, heady heartbeat, I think it might be Rhys, finally making good on his promise to call.
I look around, quickly. I’m not supposed to use my phone while I’m with the kids, but this could be an emergency. Ducking into the shade of a nearby bench, I slide my thumb across the bottom of the screen.
“Hello?”
“Laura?”
My stomach plummets at the familiar rumble of the voice that greets me.
Holy shit. It can’t be. No way. No freaking way. I bite the inside of my lip, just to make sure I’m awake and alive and that this is really happening.
“Uh. Yes?”
“It’s Rhys. Rhys Maddox.”
I take a deep breath, let it out. “Oh, hey, uh, Rhys. What’s, um. What’s up?”
Barf. Why do I have to be so awkward?
“I want to see you,” he says.
“See me?”
“Yeah. Where are you?”
“Where am I? Like, physically?”
“Yes.” He laughs. “Where on the Earth are you located?”
“Right now?”
“Yes. Where are you right now?” There’s a loud noise in the background, like he’s vacuuming or something. Only Rhys wouldn’t vacuum because he’s, well, Rhys Maddox.
What the hell?
“Um.” I glance at the playground. “I’m volunteering at Santa Caterina. It’s this after school program in—God, I actually forget what the neighborhood is called. It’s not in the best area in the city…”
“You’re at Santa Caterina?”
My stomach drops again. “Do you know it?”
“No. But I’ve got Google maps. I’ll be there in twenty.”
Now I really feel like I’m going to barf. “Wait, Rhys—no. No, don’t…please, you don’t have to—”
He already hung up.
I drop my phone on the bench, my hands shaking as I smooth my hair back from my face. I feel like I just got electrocuted. Be cool, I tell myself. Stay calm.
But how in the world am I supposed to stay calm when Rhys Maddox is on his way here? After calling me? And inexplicably telling me he wants to see me?
I don’t get why he’s in such a rush. Did he just find out he has a horrible, non-curable STD he passed on to me? Is he just in a good mood after his win last night? Does he want to get naked again?
I mean, what the frick is going on?
I stand up and survey my outfit. Of course Rhys would pick the day I’m dressed like a sweaty hippie hobo to drop into my life. I was more than a little hung over this morning after yesterday’s shenanigans at the football stadium, so I only had time for cruddy jeans and a little mascara before I had to leave for class. And after hanging outside in this heat, I probably smell just lovely.
I run my hands through my hair, giving my tired waves a bit of a boost. I adjust my shirt and discreetly check for any signs of BO. The situation isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, either.
I take another deep breath. Be cool. Be calm.
And then I laugh at the absurdity of trying to be either of those things when the hottest, sexiest human on the planet just called to say he wants to see me this very minute. I am so out of my depth here. And I can’t tell if that excites or terrifies me.
***
When the throaty rumble of an exotic sports car fills the playground, I feel like I’m going to faint. On cue, the kids drop whatever they were doing and hurry toward the fence. They let out little gasps of surprise as a black convertible Lamborghini pulls up to the curb.
I bared myself to Rhys in every sense of the word last week. I felt relatively brave then. But now? Not so much. I feel embarrassed. Some small, mean part of me thinks he came here just to make fun of me for my hairy vagina or awful, pretend o-face.
I remind myself I have nothing to lose, that I’m focusing on me, myself, and my bucket list this semester, but that doesn’t do much to slow my racing pulse.
I look down at a tug on my hand. It’s the little girl with the missing front teeth.
It’s all right, Miss Bennet, she says. That’s Batman. He is kind and generous, just like the giving tree. Although sometimes he kills people, too.
Rhys revs the engine one last time—boys and their toys, so ridiculous—before he turns off the car and climbs out, tucking his sunglasses into the front pocket of his tuxedo jacket.
That’s right. As if this whole scenario wasn’t ridiculous enough, Rhys is wearing a goddamn tuxedo. I feel like I’m in a commercial, one of those ads that’s trying to sell probiotic yogurt to middle-aged women. Rhys is one tall class of yogurt—water—whatever—in his dapper duds. I didn’t know feeling weak in the knees was actually a thing until this very moment. I grab onto the fence to steady myself.

 

Interview

TRC:  Hi Jessica, and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow: Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Jessica PetersonJessica:  Hi there! First, thank you very much for having me; I’m so excited to be here! So I’m a thirty-something writer living in North Carolina with my husband, Ben, and our smelly Goldendoodle, Martha Bean. My STUDY ABROAD series is based on my own experience studying in Madrid, Spain, more than ten (!) years ago.

TRC:  Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Jessica:  Great question. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it took me a while to finally sit down and write a book. I started out writing historicals, but after I read the likes of Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan, I knew I had to write some smexy contemporary romance. It’s been a lot of fun!

TRC:  What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Jessica:  Oh, wow, lots. I started out writing historicals for a traditional publisher, but they did not renew my contract for a second series. I was totally crushed and didn’t know where to go next with my writing. I wasn’t so sure about the indie thing, but once I started, I found I was a much happier writer–a much BETTER writer–and that I enjoyed the process so much more. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s a struggle sometimes not to get discouraged when everyone around you seems to be selling millions of books and you’re not, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I still get goosebumps every morning when I sit at my computer and read what I wrote the day before. It’s a dream come true for sure!

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about the premise of LESSONS IN LETTING GO?

Lessons in Letting GoJessica:  Sure! This is my first sports romance I’ve ever written, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the sports angle…maybe because I enjoyed googling shirtless footballers WAY too much. I pitch it as a hot, tortured Welsh footballer + ambitious American student + orgasm-heavy bucket list. Totally delicious!

TRC:  How many books do you have planned for the series? Can each book be read as a stand alone without any difficulty?

Jessica:  While LESSONS IN LETTING GO is the third book in the series, it can absolutely be read as a standalone–so can the previous two books in the series, SPANISH LESSONS and LESSONS IN GRAVITY.

TRC:  How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Jessica:  So plotting is definitely not my strong suit, and I look to my editor for a lot of guidance there. I’m a “pantser”, meaning I don’t outline before I write (I just get bored). My method is labor intensive–edits can be a total beast–but I’d like to think it works!

TRC:  Are any of the characters or scenarios based in reality or from people you know or met?

Jessica:  None of the characters are, but this book is basically the fantasy I had when I studied abroad that I’d meet a cute footballer and he’d fall in love with me (ha!). That never happened in real life, so of course I had to write a book about it.

TRC:  Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Jessica:  Not necessarily. It certainly doesn’t for me. I read a lot of romance blogs and am active on Twitter and Facebook; if people are raving about a book, I’ll usually buy it and check it out, regardless of what the cover looks like.

TRC:  When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Jessica:  The characters definitely direct the writing. It’s all about internal and external conflict–those drive the characters, which drives the plot.

TRC:  Many writers bounce ideas with friends or other authors. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Jessica:  My editor is AMAZING and we work really well together when it comes to plotting. When I’m stuck, or I’m brainstorming, I’ll usually give her a call and we’ll talk for, like, four hours about how to make the book work. I usually have the characters, and she has the plot ideas.

TRC:  The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Jessica:  I think it all comes back to the characters. You have to understand in them–you have to believe them and what they’re after. I think it’s especially to get the hero right in romance. I took Elizabeth Hoyt’s workshop on the hero a couple years ago at RWA, and her message–that if you get your hero right, you’re in a good place–has stuck with me.

TRC:  Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Jessica:  I usually can’t listen to music when I’m writing, EXCEPT when I write a kissing or sex scene. Then music is essential. By the time I finish a book, I usually have a playlist of songs I’ve played hundreds of times. It captures the tone/mood of the story for me.

TRC:  What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Jessica:  That writing is easy or enjoyable! Sure, I’m chasing down my dream job, but that doesn’t mean that I sit down at my computer with a smile and happily type away until the book is done. Most days are boring, lonely, and HARD. But then you get that one day where the plot comes together or you write a scene that gives you chills and you’re so happy you want to cry. THAT is what keeps me coming back, page after page.

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

Jessica:  I’m currently working on what was supposed to be a novella (STUDY ABROAD #3.5), but apparently I’m incapable of writing anything shorter than 60,000 words. So this next book will probably turn into a full-length novel. I’m kicking around the idea of using it to create a spin-off footballer series. We’ll see!

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Jessica:  Thanks again for having me–this was so fun!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite TV show: right now, THE CROWN on Netflix. Love anything to do with royalty!

Last movie you saw: DR. STRANGE. God I love Benedict.

Favorite Food: Right now? A great cup of coffee first thing.

Favorite Dessert: Definitely cake. Preferably from a box, with icing from a can. YUM.

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate all the way! Reese’s are my favorite.

Favorite Celebrity Crush: Right now I’m digging Sergio Ramos, a super hot Spanish soccer player. Google him. You won’t be sorry.

Last Vacation Destination: Colorado for some skiing.

Last book you read: EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by Molly O’Keefe. So.damn.good.

Do you have any pets: Yes! Last year we got a Goldendoodle puppy named Martha Bean. Now I’m that crazy dog lady who treats her dog like a human. She’s the best writing companion ever!

Thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of LESSONS IN LETTING GO

 

Giveaway Black and Lime

Jessica Peterson is graciously offering an ecopy of LESSON IN LETTING GO-book 3 in her Study Abroad series to three (3) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

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8. Giveaway open Internationally

9.. Giveaway runs from December 12-16, 2016

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