Highland Flame (Highland Weddings #4) by Mary Wine-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Highland Flame (Highland Weddings #4) by Mary Wine-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Highland Flame

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 5, 2017

NEWLY MINTED LAIRD SEEKS WIFE, PREFERABLY RICH

Laird Diocail Gordon has just inherited his uncle’s run down castle and rag-tag clan. He knows the sorry sight of the castle would send any woman running, but is determined to find a wife to help return his home to its former glory.

Widowed lady Jane Stanley is determined to return to England, even if she has to tromp through the Scottish Highlands on foot to get there. Her travels lead her straight into the midst of a troop of dangerous Highland warriors. The mysterious, brawny laird forbids his men to harm her, and the spark between them is immediate. The only way Diocail can keep her safe is to take her home with him, but will the miserable state of his clan douse her newly ignited Highland flame?

Acclaimed 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.

•••••••••

REVIEW:5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Every time I pick up a Mary Wine novel I am swept off my feet and wanting more. This book was no exception!

Highland Flame by Mary Wine is the fourth book in her “Highland Wedding” series. A highlander historical romance with some English thrown in, a bit of history and appreciation for hottie in a kilt can all be found here.

Diocail Gordon, (love this name and have never heard it used before) just became laird to the Gordon clan. A clan that is in complete disarray with a run down castle and a whole lot of baggage. Accepting that he must fulfill his duty to his clan, Diocail sets out to fix all the broken pieces and make it new again. He is strong, very sexy, prideful (not annoy at all), is fair, kind and stern when need be. He is pretty much the best book boyfriend a reader can have! LOL

Jane Stafford is a widow and after discovering her husband’s deep debts, she opts to head back to her family home in England and treks it by foot. Jane is likeable, strong, stubborn, a little temperamental and one tough cookie! She is discovered while on her journey home trespassing on the Clan Gordon’s land . She is met with trouble and before she knows it, she is being swept away by the laird.

There is some serious hot chemistry between Diocail and Jane and I mean hot chemistry. WOOT, these two can tear it up likes it’s nobody’s business. There is a constant sexual tension every time they see each other and before we know it Diocail is trying to marry her and Jane is trying to deny her heart. They do get there however and the journey is remarkable.

Mary Wine writes the hottest highlander romances. I had a hard time putting this book down as it flowed so easily from page to page that before I knew it I was finished. So many endearing moments between this couple that you find yourself rooting big time for them. So much more but I am going to leave it at that, and you can enjoy every shocking, and loving moment this book has to offer. Like I said, if you love the highland historical romances then you will love this one as well!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Highland Spitfire
Highland Vixen
Highland Hellion
Highland Flame

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

excerpt

 

They both fell silent again as they consumed more of the food and faced a topic neither of them had any experience with. Not many a man did. It was why men wed, and women too, because together a man and woman might combine their knowledge to make a successful home. He’d been taught the logistics of defense and negotiation needed to foster relationships with other lairds.
But how much fare to put on the tables?
He had no idea or even how to go about making sure there were ample hands to prepare the food. Diocail felt his brain throbbing as he contemplated all the things needed to run a kitchen, and those were only what he knew about. What truly nauseated him was that he knew damned well how lacking his knowledge was. He knew how many men to ride out with, how many horses, and his education continued on to include how many blacksmiths it took to make sure those horses were shoed, how many stable lads it took to make certain those animals were fit to ride, how much feed and what sort was needed to maintain a horse’s strength.
A hundred details, and a kitchen was no different. No wise man made the mistake of thinking it an easy thing to keep running smoothly. Their current circumstances were proof of that surely enough.
“Ye need a wife, one raised with the education to see this place set right. No’ that any decent girl would have this house as it is,” Muir added. “Try to contract one, and she’ll run home to her father the moment she sees the condition this castle is in. But ye need one. A wife, that is.”
“I hoped to have a bit of time before getting down to that part of being laird,” Diocail groused.
“Best set yer secretary to sorting through the offers in Colum’s study.” Muir didn’t offer him any respite.
“Do nae hold out any hope,” Diocail replied. “There is a decade of letters sitting there. Any offers are long past their time of opportunity.”
His new lairdship was proving to be far more challenging than he’d ever thought it might be. Somehow, in all the times his mother had spoken to him of the day he’d take over the Gordon clan as laird, she had never mentioned just how complicated the duty was. There was building to consider, horses, men, training—and the list went on. All things he’d been taught as a man.
Now there was the kitchen, and God only knew what else went along with running one
smoothly.
Well, not God.
He let out a grunt. Here was something he knew less about than the Lord above.
Women.
And, more precisely, a lady and the duties she would have been trained to do.
There were reasons a laird wed a woman from a highborn family, and one was that she would come with an education as diverse as any given to a laird’s son. Running a kitchen was more than turning bread; it was knowing how much bread to set out to rise in the morning so that the supper table was full and how much grain was needed to make it through the winter and how many hands were needed to produce it all. His head began to ache. He didn’t know what went into bread, much less how much was needed to see an entire castle through a day, but as laird, his duty was to make certain the tables were laid with fare.
Nor did he know anything at all about helping a lady settle into the place he hoped she’d make into a home.
Muir was correct; she would run back to her father before sunup.
Diocail took another swig of the whisky, wishing it would dull his senses.
But all it did was warm him enough to make him conscious of the draft coming through the holes in the roof. He tipped his head back and discovered stars peeking at him where tiles were missing, likely from the winter storms. Colum was a bastard for leaving his people to such circumstances.
Laird of the Gordons. Diocail’s mother’s dream.
And his nightmare, it would seem.

 

Guest Post=Black and Red

Historical facts you should know

1. A reverence was the proper greeting for this era, sometimes called courtesy. You stepped back with one foot, bent at the knee, keeping your back straight and ‘lowered’. If you were the higher ranking person, you would do the same and it was called ‘offering courtesy’, meaning it was a polite way of greeting one another. Even Queen Elizabeth Tudor lowered herself before the archbishop of Canterbury.

2. Every house had a buttery….it was where the butts of ale were stored.

3. A butler was the man who kept the keys to the buttery. In this period, he was huge and someone who could defend those keys with his brawn because ale was essential to survival in winter

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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The Billionaires: The Bosses by Calista Fox-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Billionaires: The Bosses by Calista Fox-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE BILLIONAIRES: THE BOSSES
Lover’s Triangle #2
by Calista Fox
Release Date: September 5 , 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

The Billionaires The Bosses

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 5, 2017

What do you do when you have not just one hot boss, but two? And they both want you?

What will it take to make her theirs?

Bayli Styles leaves California wine country behind for the bright lights of New York City, in search of fame and fortune. However, fame and fortune are a little further out of reach than she had hoped, so to supplement her meager modeling income, she seeks a hostess position at Manhattan’s hottest new venue, owned by billionaires Rory St. James and Christian Davila. Bayli gets much more than she bargained for when both devastatingly handsome and magnetic men make her blood sizzle…and offer her the guiltiest of all pleasures–themselves.

Bayli is the perfect solution to the two problems currently plaguing entrepreneurs Rory and Christian, professionally and sexually. She’d make the ultimate -face- for their current joint venture, but both men are thinking beyond business and waste no time seducing Bayli into their brand of double pleasure. In the end, the threesome will put it all on the line–their bodies, their hearts, their souls–either destined for failure, or for the redefinition of true love.

This is a standalone menage romance with an HEA.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: The Bosses begins with Bayli going in for a job interview at NYC’s hottest new restaurant, only to run into (literally!) a little trouble with one of the co-owners, Rory St. James, who just happens to be a world famous chef known for being difficult and demanding in his kitchens. Knowing right off the bat that she’s not going to get the job she applied for, she sets her sights on co-owner #2. Bayli is bound and determined to make him notice her, which only takes about a nanosecond when she enters the party he’s attending. Having accomplished what she set out to do, she heads out at the end of the party and finds herself stranded miles from the city. Luckily for her, co-owner #2, Christian Davila, has stayed late at the party and offers her a ride into the city. She accepts his offer, not knowing that that decision would affect the rest of her life in ways that she hadn’t ever imagined………..

The Bosses is the first I’ve read by Calista Fox. I enjoyed all three main characters. Bayli was fun with her take on things and her boldness. I also liked the way Rory and Christian were written: one being fiery and demanding, while the other was more methodical and thoughtful. I enjoyed the storyline, even though it was pretty predictable. There’s a lot of sizzle in this book, which leaves the whole plot feeling a little forced to me. However, my overall feeling about the book is a good one. If you’re a fan of ménage stories, and maybe even if you’re not, I think you’ll enjoy the book. It’s entertaining and a pretty quick read, with some funny moments as well. I would definitely entertain reading another Calista Fox book.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Vickie M.

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Click HERE to read CHAPTER ONE of THE BILLIONAIRES: THE BOSSES by Calista Fox

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Follow: Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Calista FoxCalista is a former PR professional, now writing fast-paced, steamy books to set your pulse racing! Her publishing houses include St. Martin’s Press, Grand Central Publishing and Harlequin. She is an Amazon bestseller and has won many Reviewer’s and Reader’s Choice Awards, as well as Best Book Awards.

Calista is a college graduate and teaches online writing classes. She is also a Past President/Advisor of the Phoenix chapter of the Romance Writers of America national organization.

 

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Calista Fox’s publisher (St. Martin’s) is graciously offering a paper copy of of THE BILLIONAIRES: The Bosses to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Going Dark (The Lost Platoon #1) by Monica McCarty-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

GOING DARK (The Lost Platoon #1) by Monica McCarty-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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GOING DARK
The Lost Platoon #1
by Monica McCarty
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic, military suspense

Going Dark

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 5, 2017

Like Rome’s Lost Legion, a SEAL platoon goes on a mission and vanishes without a trace.

After walking into a trap on a covert op in Russia, the men from top secret SEAL Team Nine are presumed dead. Not knowing whom they can trust, and with war hanging in the balance, the survivors must go dark and scatter around the globe.

Marine ecologist Annie Henderson joins her new boyfriend on a trip to the Western Isles of Scotland to protest a hazardous offshore drilling venture. When she realizes that she may be swept up in something far more dangerous than she’d intended, there is only one man she can turn to. . . .

She and the mysterious but sexy dive boat captain haven’t exactly gotten off to the best start, but something about his quiet confidence makes her think that he’s the kind of man she can depend on. Because he’s gruff and guarded, she can tell Dan Warren has secrets. But she could never imagine how high the stakes are for him to keep his cover, even as he risks everything to protect her.

••••••••••

REVIEW: 4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Going Dark by Monica McCarty is a contemporary romance with a serious dose of action and suspense. If you like your story line having a bit of everything then this is certainly a good book to pick up. I will say, those that have knowledge of military and political jargon/acronyms just may enjoy this a tad more. There is much for a person with limited knowledge to take in and I can understand that it may be a little confusing. I happen to be someone who has served and knows much about military language and op procedures, so this wasn’t hard for me to follow.

The book starts off with a bang. SEAL Team Nine is sent on a Black Ops mission and it happens to go terribly wrong. Assumed dead, they are soon conveniently “forgotten” despite the fact that there are survivors. These survivors (which I expect will be the main characters in the books of the series), decide to stay undercover only revealing the truth to a few people, and swear to get answers for their failed mission and lost team mates.

Our leading male is Dean. Dean was the chief of SEAL Team Nine and if currently laying low in Scotland. He is a no nonsense kind of guy who leads by example, is tough as nails, conservative and set in his way of thinking. Very aware of what could happen and be lost, Dean will do just about anything to find the answers he is desperate for.

Annie is our leading lady. Annie is an ecologist, activist, and totally liberal in her thinking. She has set off to Scotland with her boyfriend to protest some off shore drilling. There she meets Dan (who is actually Dean undercover), who accompanies her on an expedition to the drilling grounds. There is an instant attraction and despite having a boyfriend (if that is what we call him .. I would like to call him dip**** ..lol) she feels very drawn in a way she isn’t with her current guy. But no time to act on attraction just yet .. little does she know her expedition to do good will turn into a fight for her life and for Deans.

I really loved the action and adventure in this book. I have a thing for opposites attract so I was pleased with the constant lusty bickering Annie and Dean do. I did however roll my eyes a couple of times when the predictable argument of liberal vs conservative popped up. I don’t mind the opposite views, it was just that it came across a little “naggy” at times. I did find though, that Annie and Dean really tried to get thru all the turmoil together, and let love just happen even when it shouldn’t.

Monica also has another side romance story going between other characters as well, so you do in fact get more bang for your buck where couples are concerned. A good flow to the story line, I never found myself bored or wanting to skip read. I love that both our leads are equally passionate when it come to their personal beliefs, experiences, morals and affection for the other.

Fantastic read for those that like the adventure, military and love. I will eagerly await the next novel!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T

Going Dark teaser

Excerpt

Dean was about to turn up his street when a woman darted past him. She was so preoccupied with whatever was bothering her that she didn’t notice him.
But he noticed her. The sexy brunette had been the focus of too many of his sex-starved thoughts for him not to have recognized that shadowed figure right away.
His thoughts immediately turned to anger. What the hell was she doing out here alone at this time of night?
Granted Stornoway wasn’t exactly the mean streets of name-your-favorite American inner city, but it had its share of illegal activity—especially along the waterfront—and it wasn’t a place where a young woman should be walking alone in the middle of the night.
He went after her without thinking. Proving his point, she took way too long to realize he was behind her.
He could tell by the way she jumped when she turned around that he’d startled her.
But it didn’t last. As soon as she recognized him, her eyes narrowed angrily. “Why are you following me? You scared me!”
“Good. You shouldn’t be out here alone—” He stopped suddenly, seeing her expression. She looked about ready to burst into tears. “What’s wrong?”
Unconsciously he’d reached for her arm. Why the hell he’d done that he had no clue. He didn’t go around touching women without an invitation.
He released her before she could protest. But if she’d noticed the too-personal gesture, she didn’t let on.
“Nothing,” she replied, her expression too blank.
He held her gaze long enough for her to see that he knew she was lying. It must not be something she did often, because a guilty blush rose to her cheeks.
She was so damned cute. He wanted to . . .
Fuck.
He took a step back.
Go dark. Don’t do anything to risk your cover.
He heard the warnings loud and clear. But he couldn’t very well let her walk around alone. What if something happened?
“Where’s your boyfriend?”
The tightening around her mouth before she responded gave a big hint of what might be bothering her. Trouble in paradise? Now, that was a cryin’ shame.
“He’s still at camp. He’s hanging around for the music. Julien plays guitar.”
Dean didn’t care if he was Jimmy Hendrix returning from the dead for one last show. “And he let you walk back alone?”
She immediately stiffened, giving him a scathing look. “He didn’t let me do anything. I make my own decisions.”
From the way she said it, it was clear she thought he was some kind of medieval misogynistic pig.
One of those, was she? He should have guessed. That kind of oversensitive feminist crap drove him crazy—not everything was a “microagression.” Being a strong woman didn’t mean you could be stupid about personal safety. And all he’d meant was that douche bag should have cared enough about her safety enough to insist on accompanying her.
Although admittedly Julien probably wasn’t much of a defense.
“Then your decision was a shitty one.”
She looked stunned. “You just say whatever you think, don’t you? I wasn’t asking for your opinion.”
“Well, you got it.” He gave her a long look, taking in the Tulane sweatshirt, tight jeans that left no room to hide anything, and flip-flops. “And unless you are a black belt jujitsu specialist or trained in self-defense and carrying some kind of weapon, I’m walking you to the guest house.”
She looked up at him half outraged and half bemused, as if she couldn’t quite believe someone like him actually existed. It was a look he’d been on the receiving end of more than once.
Eventually her mouth twisted with a smile. “How do you know I’m not?”
“Because if you had any secret ninja skills, from the way you were looking at me a few minutes ago, I’d be on my ass right now.”

About the author

Click HERE to learn about Monica McCarty

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Adeline (Lady Archer’s Creed #3) by Christina McKnight-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

ADELINE (Lady Archer’s Creed #3) by Christina McKnight-Review, Book Tour and Giveaway

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ADELINE
Lady Archer’s Creed #3
by Christina McKnight
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

Adeline

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 29, 2017

WHEN THE BEAST WITH A HEART OF GOLD

Everything changed for Jasper Benedict, the Earl of Ailesbury, the night his family died in a tragic fire—the same fire that left him disfigured. Now, his scars have given him the name the Beast of Faversham. But when he stumbles upon a damaged carriage during a tempest, the beautiful woman inside reminds him of the man he wishes he could be: free of his past, and able to love.

TAMES A BEAUTY WITH A WICKED PAST

When her carriage breaks down outside Faversham Abbey, this is just the most recent in a long series of misadventures for Miss Adeline Price. Her beauty hides a fatal flaw: she’s quick to judge, and rarely looks beneath the surface. But the longer she’s around Jasper, the more she begins to want to be better—someone deserving of him.

But when it comes time to reunite Adeline with her family in London, will Jasper believe that she sees not his scars, but the good, honorable man he is?

••••••••••

REVIEW:

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Before I get into the review of this story, I just want to start it by saying that this is the first time I have really disliked a main character and then had my mind changed due to fantastic writing. Now I can honestly say I love this main character and really fell in love with the author for having such an impact on my change of mind. This really took me by surprise.

Adeline by Christina McKnight is the third book in her “Lady Archers’ Creed” series and a small disclaimer here, I did not read the first two books in this series yet, but you can bet I sure will be. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything with regards to this book, but I always like knowing the back stories that have happened, so I can imagine the experience of this read would of been that much more enjoyable. Again, I didn’t feel like I needed it! This series is a historical drama, set in London, so be prepared for the typical rights and wrongs of society and behaviour, true to it’s time.

Our main man is Jasper Benedict, Earl of Ailesbury. Jasper is called “The Beast of Faversham” by “polite” (ya right!) society due to being badly scarred and disfigured by a fire that killed his family when he was a child. Jasper carries a heavy heart and guilt ridden soul as he blames himself for their deaths, and let me tell you society certainly does not ever let him forget and/or heal from this tragic event. Jasper is understandably cynical, has a hard time trusting, and bitter/sad. That being said, he is deep down an exceptional man with a very lovely heart.

Adeline Price is our leading lady and yes, she is the character I really didn’t like all that much. I can’t call her snotty or bitchy, but something just didn’t sit right with me where she is concerned. She is considered quite beautiful, but I believed her to be a little superficial (maybe this is why I didn’t care for her). She is returning home after a time away when her carriage breaks down and is assisted by Jasper.

So this book is somewhat of a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. However, I found that it was Adeline who did more changing than Jasper did as the beast. Jasper takes her home after rescuing her, and before we know it, Adeline is introduced to a rather intriguing and enticing side to Jasper that she just very well may fall in love with. Jasper however has a hard time believing that any woman could see beyond his scars.

Adeline did a complete change in this story. She seriously bloomed into a compassionate and understanding woman very capable of healing a man who really deserves to be healed. Maybe she had it in her all the time, but as the pages flipped she became more likable, and then I honestly, by the end, believed she is the perfect woman for Jasper.

This is a quick read and absolutely excellent. My only complaint would be the timing. I found love happened a little too fast which took away a little from the believeability. That being said, it hardly made a difference as the characters and story really drew me in.

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

Adeline Teaser

About The Author

Christina McKnightChristina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks-Review and Excerpt Tour

So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks-Review and Excerpt Tour

So I Married a Sorcerer

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About the book: Release Date August 29, 2017

Growing up on the Isle of Moon, Brigitta knows nothing of her past, except that she is Embraced: born with powers that forced her into hiding. Everything changes when she learns she’s a princess, hidden away from her villainous half-brother who now rules the kingdom. But he knows about Brigitta, and he’ll do anything to get her back. Unless a certain roguish pirate has anything to say about it…

Rupert is both an infamous pirate and a sorcerer with the power to harness the wind. He’s been waiting nineteen years for revenge—and he needs Brigitta to get it. What begins as a kidnapping of the fiery beauty turns into a fierce attraction. But can he win the captive princess’s heart?

Review:

So I Married a Sorcerer begins with Brigitta and her “sisters” traveling from the convent they’ve called home all of their lives to attend the wedding of their beloved sister, Luciana. As they near their destination, they encounter two groups of ships who have one thing in mind: kidnap Brigitta. More than shocked that anyone would want her, Brigitta is finally told that she is a princess. A princess that her treacherous half-brother needs in order to solidify his rein and a princess that the pirate, Rupert, needs to set his plan for revenge into motion. When Rupert takes control of the situation, and Brigitta, it doesn’t take him long to question everything he thinks he’s wanted all these years. It takes Brigitta even less time to question not only her attraction to him, but also the visions that plague her every time he touches her. She knows that logically she should fear him. He did kidnap her after all. However, it doesn’t take her long to figure out that he would never really hurt her and he is a better man than even he knows.

So I Married a Sorcerer is a wonderful addition to The Embraced Series. Kerrelyn Sparks has built another world that pulls you in right from the beginning. Brigitta is an endearing character who is naïve in the ways of the world, but wise beyond her years in her steadfast loyalty to those she loves. Rupert has been driven for years in his need for revenge, but rethinks everything once he gets to know Brigitta. Their back story surprised me a little bit and I loved how it played out. The supporting characters, as always in anything written by Sparks, always leave you wanting more. These books are romance stories, but they are written almost sweetly, with a little slow burn, a little humor and a whole lot of creativity. If you’re looking for a quick read that will leave your heart smiling, you will never go wrong with anything written by Sparks. I look forward to the next installment. Well done, Kerrelyn Sparks! Very well done!

Click HERE for Vickie’s review of book 1-HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS

Copy supplied for review by the publisher

Reviewed by Vickie M

Excerpt

 

“I cannot play,” Brigitta told her sisters as she cast a wary look at the linen bag filled with Telling Stones. Quickly she shifted on the window seat to gaze at the Great West- ern Ocean. The rolling waves went on for as far as she could see, but her mind was elsewhere. Calm yerself. The prediction will ne’er happen.
At dawn they had boarded this ship, accompanied by Mother Ginessa and Sister Fallyn, who were now resting in the cabin next door. This was the smallest vessel in the Eberoni Royal Navy, the captain had explained, sturdy enough to cross the ocean, but small enough to travel up the Ebe River to the palace at Ebton. There, they would see their oldest sister, who was now the queen of Eberon.
According to the captain, Queen Luciana had intended to send more than one ship to safeguard their journey, but at the last minute the other naval ships had been diverted south to fight the Tourinian pirates who were raiding vil- lages along the Eberoni shore. But not to worry, the cap- tain had assured Brigitta and her companions. Since the royal navy was keeping the pirates occupied to the south, their crossing would be perfectly safe.
Indeed, after a few hours, it seemed perfectly boring. “If we don’t play, how will we pass the time?” Gwen- nore asked from her seat at the round table. “ ’Twill be
close to sunset afore we reach Ebton.”
“I wish we could wander about on deck,” Maeve grumbled from her chair next to Gwennore. “ ’Tis a lovely spring day, and we’re stuck down here.”
Sorcha huffed in annoyance as she paced about the cabin. “Mother Ginessa insisted we remain here. I swear she acts as if she’s afraid to let anyone see us.”
“Perhaps she fears for our safety because we are Em- braced,” Gwennore said.
Sorcha shook her head. “We’re safe now in Eberon.”
But only in Eberon, Brigitta thought as she studied the deep-blue waves. Being Embraced was a death sentence anywhere else on the mainland. The other kings abhorred the fact that each of the Embraced possessed some sort of magical power that the kings, themselves, could never have.
When Brigitta and her adopted sisters were born, the only safe haven had been the Isle of Moon. They’d grown up there in the Convent of the Two Moons, believing they were orphans. But almost a year ago, they’d discovered a shocking truth. Luciana had never been an orphan.
Since then, Brigitta had wondered if she had family somewhere, too. Had they hidden her away or, worse, abandoned her? She feared it was the latter. For in all her nineteen years of life, no one from the mainland had ever bothered to contact her.
You are loved, she reminded herself. She’d grown up in a loving home at the convent. Her sisters loved her, and she loved them. That was enough.
It had to be enough. Didn’t it?
Sorcha lowered her voice. “I still believe Mother Ginessa knows things about us that she won’t tell.”
Brigitta silently agreed. She knew from her special gift that almost everyone was hiding something.
“Let’s play the game and let the stones tell us,” Maeve said. “I need to do something. This cabin is feeling smaller by the minute.”
Brigitta sighed. Sadly enough, this was the largest cabin on board. Captain Shaw had lent them his quarters, which had a large window overlooking the back of the vessel.
The ship creaked as it rolled to the side, and Sorcha grabbed the sideboard to steady herself.
“Have a seat afore ye fall,” Gwennore warned her. “Fine.” Sorcha emptied the oranges from a brass bowl
on the sideboard, then plunked the bowl onto the table as she took a seat. “Let’s play.”
Brigitta’s sisters gave her a questioning look, but she shook her head and turned to gaze out the window once again. It had been twelve years ago, when she was seven, that Luciana had invented the game where they could each pretend to be the Seer from the Isle of Mist. They’d gathered up forty pebbles from the nearby beach, then painted them with colors and numbers. After the stones were deposited in a bowl and covered with a cloth, each sister would grab a small handful of pebbles and what- ever colors or numbers she’d chosen would indicate her future.
“We’ll just have to play without her,” Sorcha grum- bled. A clattering noise filled the cabin as the bag of Telling Stones was emptied into the brass bowl, a noise not quite loud enough to cover Sorcha’s hushed voice. “Ye know why she won’t play. She’s spooked.”
Brigitta winced. That was too close to the truth.
She could no longer see the Isle of Moon on the hori- zon. As the island had faded from sight, a wave of appre- hension had washed over her, slowly growing until it had
sucked her down into an undertow of fear and dread. For deep in her heart, she believed that leaving the safety of the convent would trigger the set of events that Luciana had predicted.
But how could she have refused this voyage? Luciana would be giving birth soon, and she wanted her sisters with her. She also needed Mother Ginessa, who was an excellent midwife.
“I’m going first,” Sorcha declared, and the stones rat- tled about the bowl as she mixed them up.
“O Great Seer,” Maeve said, repeating the line they spoke before each prediction. “Reveal to us the secrets of the Telling Stones.”
“What the hell?” Sorcha muttered, and Maeve gasped. “Ye mustn’t let Mother Ginessa hear ye curse like
that,” Gwennore warned her.
“These stones are ridiculous!” Sorcha slammed them on the table, and out of curiosity Brigitta turned to see what her sister had selected.
Nine, pink, and lavender.
Gwennore tilted her head as she studied the stones. “In nine years ye will meet a tall and handsome—”
“Nine years?” Sorcha grimaced. “I would be so old!” “Twenty-seven.” Gwennore’s mouth twitched. “Practi-
cally ancient.”
“Exactly!” Sorcha huffed. “I’ll wait nine months for my tall and handsome stranger, and not a minute more.” She glared at the colored stones. “I hate pink. It looks ter- rible with my freckles and red hair.”
Maeve’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “Who said ye would be wearing it? I think yer true love will look very pretty in pink.”
“He’s not wearing pink,” Sorcha growled.
“Aye, a lovely pink gown with a lavender sash,” Gwen- nore added with a grin.
“Nay, Gwennie.” Maeve shook her head. “The lavender means he’ll have lavender-blue eyes like you.”
“Ah.” Gwennore tucked a tendril of her white-blond hair behind a pointed ear. “Could be.”
“Are ye kidding me?” Sorcha gave them an incredu- lous look. “How on Aerthlan would I ever meet an elf?” “Ye met me,” Gwennore said. “And apparently, in nine months, ye’ll meet a tall and handsome elf in a pink gown.” She and Maeve laughed, and Sorcha reluctantly
grinned.
Brigitta turned to peer out the window once again. Over the years, the Telling Stones had proven to be an entertaining game. But then, a year ago, something strange had happened. Luciana’s prediction for her own future had actually come to pass. She’d met and fallen in love with the tall and handsome stranger she’d foretold in specific detail, using the Telling Stones. And if that hadn’t been amazing enough, she’d become the queen of Eberon.
Eager to experience something equally romantic, Bri- gitta had begged her oldest sister to predict a similar future for her.
A mistake. Brigitta frowned at the churning ocean. Blue, gold, seven, and eight. Those had been the stones
Luciana had selected. Blue and gold, she’d explained, sig- nified the royal colors of the kingdom of Tourin. Seven meant there would be seven suitors to compete for her hand. And eight . . . in eight months, Brigitta would meet a tall and handsome stranger.
The eight months had now passed.
She pressed a hand against her roiling stomach. When they’d boarded this morning, she’d quickly as-
sessed the captain and his crew. None of them had struck her as particularly tall or handsome. Captain Shaw was portly, bald, and old enough to be her father.
As for the seven suitors vying for her hand, she had initially been thrilled, considering the idea wildly exciting. But when her sisters had likened it to her being a prize in a tourney, she’d had second thoughts.
Why would seven men compete for her? She had noth- ing special to offer. Even the gift she possessed for being Embraced was hardly special. And did this contest mean she would have no choice but to marry whichever man won her? The more she’d thought about this competition, the more it had made her cringe.
So, five months ago, she’d played the game again, hop- ing to achieve different results. But to her shock, there had been four stones in her hand.
Blue, gold, seven, and five.
Had some sort of mysterious countdown gone into ef- fect? Reluctant to believe that, she’d attempted the game again a month later. Blue, gold, seven, and four. Alarmed, she’d sworn never to play again.
But one month ago, Sorcha had dared her to play, taunt- ing her for being overly dramatic. Those words never failed to irk Brigitta, so she’d accepted the dare. With a silent prayer to the moon goddesses, she’d reached into the bowl, swished the pebbles around, and grabbed a hand- ful. And there, in her palm, four stones had stared up at her.
Blue, gold, seven, and one. A fate was shoving itself down her throat whether she liked it or not.
And she did not.
Brigitta had been raised on the Isle of Moon, where women were free to determine their own futures and everyone worshipped the moon goddesses, Luna and Lessa.
It was different on the mainland. Men were in charge there, and everyone worshipped a male god, the Light.
Luciana had been fortunate to find a good man who respected her independent nature. As king and queen, they had declared it safe to worship the moon goddesses in Eberon.
But it was not that way elsewhere. In the other main- land kingdoms, Brigitta would be executed for making the sign of the moons as she prayed. Executed for being Embraced. So why did she keep picking the blue and gold colors of Tourin?
And why would seven suitors compete for her? She glanced at her sisters. Sorcha had always seemed the stron- gest, with a fiery temperament that matched her fiery red hair. Gwennore had always been the smartest. Maeve, the youngest, had always been the sweetest. And Luciana— now married—had been their brave leader. Brigitta had never been quite sure where she fit in.
Gwennore, with her superior intellect, had always been the best at translating books into different languages. Maeve had excelled in penmanship, and Sorcha in artwork. Luciana had been good at everything.
But Brigitta . . . the nuns had despaired with her. When transcribing a book, she could never stay true to the text. A little embellishment here, a tweak there, and eventu- ally she would take a story so off course, it was no longer recognizable. This, of course, upset the nuns, for their male customers on the mainland were paying for an ex- act copy of an old tale, not the romantic fantasies of an overly dramatic young woman.
Whenever the nuns had fussed at her, her sisters had come to her defense, insisting that her story was much better than the original. And each time the nuns tried to use Brigitta’s overly dramatic mistakes for kindling, her sisters always managed to rescue the pages and give them to her. They’d even begged her to finish her stories
about dashing young heroes, so that they could read them.
Brigitta adored them for that. She’d do anything for her sisters, including this voyage to Eberon that she was so afraid would activate the events she’d been dread- ing.
She shifted her gaze back to the rolling motion of the ocean, and her stomach churned. Did a person’s destiny have to be set in stone, in this case the Telling Stones? This was her story, so why couldn’t it be one of her mak- ing? Surely she didn’t have to stick to a text that had already been written without her consent. Couldn’t she be the author of her own destiny?
“Ye should watch the horizon, not the waves,” Maeve said as she sat next to Brigitta on the window seat. “ ’Tis a sure way to make yerself ill.”
“Oh.” Brigitta turned to her youngest sister. “I didn’t realize . . .” Her stomach twisted with a sharp pain, and she winced.
Gwennore gave her a worried look. “Ye look pale. Would ye like some bread or wine?” She motioned toward the sideboard and the food that had been left for them.
Brigitta shook her head. Perhaps if she sat perfectly still for a few moments, the nausea would pass. “Did ye finish playing the Game of Stones?”
“Aye,” Maeve answered. “Didn’t ye hear us giggling?” Brigitta groaned inwardly, not wanting to admit she’d been too engrossed in her own worries to pay her sisters
any mind.
“My prediction was the best,” Maeve continued. “In four years, I’ll meet a tall and handsome stranger with green teeth, purple hair, and three feet.”
Brigitta wrinkled her nose. “Ye call that handsome? How can he have three feet? Does he have a third leg?”
Maeve waved a dismissive hand. “We didn’t bother to figure that part out. But he is taller than most.”
“Aye.” Sorcha snorted. “By a foot.”
Maeve grinned. “As ye can see, the game is nonsense. Besides, I have no desire to meet any man, no matter how tall or handsome. I plan to live the rest of my life with all of you at the convent.”
“Aye,” Sorcha agreed. “I’m not leaving my sisters for an elf in a pink gown. ’Tis naught but a silly game.”
“Exactly.” Gwennore gave Brigitta a pointed look. “So ye shouldn’t believe anything the stones say.”
They were doing their best to relieve her fear, Brigitta realized, and as her heart warmed, the ache in her stomach eased. “Thank you. What would I do without ye all?”
The ship lurched suddenly to the right, causing Bri- gitta and Maeve to fall against the padded wall of the window seat. The oranges rolled off the sideboard and plummeted to the wooden floor. Empty goblets fell onto the floor with a series of loud clunks.
Sorcha grabbed on to the table. “What was that?”
Loud shouts and the pounding of feet sounded on the deck overhead.
“Something is amiss,” Gwennore said as she gazed up at the ceiling. “They’re running about.”
Maeve peered out the window. “I believe we made a sudden turn to the south.”
“That would put us off course,” Gwennore murmured.
The door slammed open, and they jumped in their seats.
Mother Ginessa gave them a stern look, while behind her Sister Fallyn pressed the tips of her fingers against her thumbs, forming two small circles to represent the twin moons.

 

 

About The author

Kerrelyn SparksApparently, she has issues with reality. After writing 16 books about vampires and shifters, Kerrelyn has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet.

Although Kerrelyn is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters.

Kerrelyn lives with her family in the Greater Houston area of Texas. You can visit with her on Goodreads or her Facebook page, where she does a monthly contest. On Twitter, she posts as @KerrelynSparks.

SMP St. Martins

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Record of Wrongs (Redemption County #1) by Sharon Kay-Review & Giveaway

Record of Wrongs (Redemption County #1) by Sharon Kay-Review and Giveaway

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RECORD OF WRONGS
Redemption County #1
by Sharon Kay
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Record of Wrongs

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 1, 2017

Do your past mistakes define you forever?

Cruz Zaffino leaves prison after a serving a decade for a crime he didn’t commit. With his life all over the internet, there’s nowhere he can go to avoid his illicit past. Involved with one of Chicago’s toughest gangs, he made enemies bent on ruining everything he has. Nowhere is beyond their reach.

Every day, Rosie Marlow lives with the scars from the worst mistake of her life. It’s the one secret she has in her tiny, gossip-fueled town. When Cruz walks into her bar, covered in tattoos and dangerous attitude, she’s captivated. His rough sexuality makes her melt, and his harsh experience calls to her own broken soul. But her story is private and buried so deep, she’s never had the strength to share it.

She’s the unexpected light to his darkness, yet he knows she’s hiding something. Sultry summer nights in each other’s arms weaken her resistance and taunt her with the idea of forever. But as his adversaries draw close, can she love him enough to let him go?

•••••••••

REVIEW: Mistakes…we all make them, it’s the beauty of what makes us human. We are not made to be perfect and never make mistakes. Mistakes help us grow, give us lessons and yes wizen us up. Enjoyable book this was complete with a good lesson to think about.

The main couple has their skeletons in the closet, at least Rosie’s is in the closet when Cruz’s is out in the open, all over the internet to be exact. Growing up and living in a small town where everyone knows each other’s business, Rosie guards this secret like King Midas’s gold. The thing is I firmly believe a mistake is a learning lesson; it does not define you nor should it be a jail sentence. Cruz at times let his juvenile past define him that there was no good left in him while Rosie suffered in silence with guilt like a jail sentence. They both in the beginning acted like they were very undeserving of happiness. I admit the parts where they acted undeserving of each other and happiness was a tad sad to read. Despite that their chemistry together was off the charts hot. Their outdoor scene against Cruz’s truck and skinny dipping in the water…*fans herself*. For a dude who lost 10 years of his life in jail, he sure knows what he’s doing in the bedroom with Rosie. There are also very cute and endearing scenes between the couple like when they went to the fair together or at a birthday party.

I really enjoyed their individual characters too. Rosie had a very sunny upbeat attitude that was very contagious, you couldn’t help but smile when you read about her. Her selfless attitude that she thinks of others before herself only makes you like her more. Cruz was very honest, honorable and full of integrity. He may think there is no redeeming him because of his past but starting over in Sundown, cleaning up and settling down looks like a step in the right direction to me.

Reading about them helping each other through their past mistakes was deep stuff and you can just feel the relationship hit a turning point that things are getting serious between them. Rosie was compassionate and non-judgmental of Cruz’s past and Cruz was patient and very understanding when Rosie finally let her walls down and let Cruz in on her big secret.

Sharon Kay does gnarly awesome paranormal romances but her contemporary romance is a great surprise. Awesome characters and character development, deep and swoon worthy love scenes, great lesson to think about and the best and cutest happily ever after.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Xtina

About the Author

Sharon KayFollow : Facebook/ Website/ Twitter/ Goodreads

Sharon Kay writes award-winning fiction and can never get enough reading time. She loves winter and black coffee, and is endlessly inspired to write kick-ass heroines and the men strong enough to capture their hearts. Sharon lives in the Chicago area with her husband and son, and one weekend the idea for her Lash Watchers and tough leading ladies formed in her head, refusing to stay quiet until she put pen to paper. Her characters tend to keep her up at night, as they banter, fall in love, and slay endless varieties of power-hungry demons.

Sign up for Sharon’s newsletter to keep up with her demons, see early cover reveals and be entered in periodic giveaways HERE

Giveaway

Sharon Kay is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of RECORD OF WRONGS 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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8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from August 19-23, 2017

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Dating the Billionaire by Poppy Dunne-a review

Dating the Billionaire by Poppy Dunne-a review

Dating the Bilionarie

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk /

About the book: Release Date July 12, 2017

I’m Dahlia Rossi, dating coach extraordinaire. I know how to land you the man of your dreams. Follow my rules, you’ll meet the love of your life and have a gorgeous destination wedding in French Polynesia. Okay, that last one happened just the one time. But my rules work every time. I guarantee it.

1. The man makes the first move. Seems unfair? Life’s unfair.
2. Never have sex on the first date. No, not even oral. And hands above the table, please.
3. Play hard to get, but don’t make it too hard.

Solid rules, right? I thought they were. But then I met Jack Carraway, an impossibly sexy, frustratingly unpredictable billionaire, and broke them all. Everywhere. In an elevator. On a balcony. Beneath a gazebo, of all places.

Whether I like it or not (spoiler alert: I like it!), Jack is taking me on wild adventure and we’re writing a whole new set of rules. Like, always reserve your matching Harry Potter costumes a week in advance; wrestling swans is not as easy as it looks; and sometimes, the man of your dreams pops up in the most unlikely of places and has a really big…boat.

After years of watching couples find love, it may be my turn. But is this spontaneous playboy the real thing, or just a fun detour around my predictable life? All this time I’ve been following my own rules and going to sleep alone, with nothing but my second slice of princess cake to keep me company.

But the more time I spend with Jack, the more I learn that rules…they’re meant to be broken.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: Dating the Billionaire begins with Dahlia Rossi helping a new client, as well as an already established one. While attending a party with the latter, as “support”, she encounters none other than Jack Carraway: self-made billionaire, tech geek and, according to the tabloids, playboy extraordinaire. Is she intrigued? You betcha. Is she going to fall for his sweet and sexy words? Nope. At least, that’s what she thought.

Jack Carraway is a self-made man who finds it more than troubling that he can’t get his one night with Dahlia Rossi out of his mind. He’s always been a “love ‘em and leave ‘em happy” kind of guy. He is not interested in anything long-term. Or, that’s what he thought. However, there is no denying the chemistry the two of them share. As all of Dahlia’s rules fly out the window, she finds herself wondering……would it be so bad dating the billionaire?

Dating the Billionaire is the first I’ve read by Poppy Dunne. It’s written by alternating first person POVs, which I’m not a huge fan of. After the first few chapters, I contemplated putting it down, but then a funny thing happened. I fell in love with this story! To say it’s quirky would be a bit of an understatement, but I found it very endearing. The two main characters were okay individually, but they made me laugh out loud when they bantered back and forth about the weirdest things. I loved the secondary characters, one of which is Dahlia’s best friend, puts the IR in quirky. I, for one, hope she gets her own book. Some of them left me scratching my head, but in a good way. LOL! Anyway, if you’re looking for a romance that’s a fast read, as well as funny, a little strange and sexy as hell, you won’t go wrong with this one. Well done, Poppy Dunne!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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His Highland Love (His Highland Heart #2 ) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Love (His Highland Heart #2) by Willa Blair-a review

His Highland Love

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 11, 2017

A Love Denied
Kenneth Brodie offered for young Mary Catherine Rose but her father declined, then a year later accepted an offer from another clan. Furious at hearing Cat would be married soon to someone else, Kenneth fled to France and drowned his disappointment in wine, women and war.

A Love Lost
Two years after her father demanded they wait until Cat was older, she doesn’t understand why Kenneth hasn’t returned for her. Broken-hearted, Cat spurns yet another betrothal her father arranges and runs away to her cousin in St. Andrews, vowing never to marry.

A Love Worth Fighting For
By the time Kenneth returns home, trouble is brewing in Scotland. Sent to St. Andrews as hostage for his clan to the Regent, Kenneth resents being exiled—until he encounters his lost love, Cat Rose. When war breaks out, they must escape. And even though he betrayed her with more than one mademoiselle, he’s the only man Cat trusts to get her home to the Highlands. Can she forgive his past and renew the love they once shared?

••••••••••

REVIEW: His Highland Love is a historical romance, and is book two in her His Highland Heart Series The opening scene is in St. Andrews and the year is 1411.

Kenneth Brodie is our male lead. He had run away to France some years ago, heartbroken by the refusal of James Rose to let him marry his youngest daughter. The two were in love and he had offered for her hand in marriage, only to be told she was too young to marry. However, her father soon betrothed her to another clan leader. This news caused Kenneth to snap and thinking his love was married to another, he ran to France to fight in wars. He learned much and became a fierce warrior as well as wiser about life.

When Kenneth returned to Scotland, his friend and Laird Iain Brodie was angry he’d run away and punished him by sending him as the clan’s token hostage as demanded by the Duke of Albany. He was sent to Stirling, but later was moved to St. Andrews and his clan did not know where he was or when he’d be returned.

The lead female in this book is Cat or Catherine Rose, daughter of James Rose their clan laird. Her mother passed away while she was a child and she was raised by her father and her sisters. After her heart was broken by his refusal of her love for Kenneth, she was betrothed to three others…each failing for one reason or another. She always thought Kenneth would find a way to take her from here, but found he’d left for France. She’d had enough of this and still dreaming of Kenneth, she ran away. Her sisters helped her get safely away, keeping her from an unwanted marriage. She ran to St. Andrews to some family friends and left her father a note telling him why she left, but not where she was going.

That’s the basic gist of the beginning. Author Willa Blair is an award winning author and does a really good telling of the stories. Readers are also granted a small look at Highland confrontations and wars, the politics that was rampant in those times. Many Lairds married their daughters and even sons off for alliances, some worked…some did not.

If you love romantic highland stories of warriors and danger, love and honor, you’ll find this story intriguing as well as enjoyable. The characters and their motives are complicated with obligations warring with emotions. We’re treated to some secondary characters that are equally interesting and will be featured in future novels. I thought it was an interesting look at how daughters were beginning to find a way around the arranged marriage thing and beginning to follow their hearts. The sisters trying to help each other by manipulating their stubborn father was also interesting. Not that the practice of arranging marriages would end anytime soon.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews

His Highland Heart
His Highland Love

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna S

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