Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane 12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review & Giveaway Tour

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE (Maiden Lane 12.6) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review & Giveaway Tour

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ONCE UPON A Christmas Eve
Maiden Lane 12.6
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

Once Upon A Christmas Eve

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ABOUT THE BOOK : Release Date December 5, 2017

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met.

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she’ll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it’s the one gift this mismatched pair can’t wait to unwrap.

••••••••••

REVIEW: ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE by Elizabeth Hoyt follows Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Argue, and renowned rogue as he embarks on a seduction of Sarah St. John during the Christmas holidays. ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Adam and Sarah) ONCE UPON A CHIRSTMAS EVE finds Adam Rutledge and his grandmother accepting the hospitality of Godric St. John following the break down of their carriage as they embarked towards a Christmas celebration with family, out of town. Enter Sarah St. John, Godric’s half-sister and the woman with whom Adam will fall in love. What ensues are Adam’s attempts to prove to Sarah that his prior reputation as a rake is now in the past, and all of his attentions are sighted upon our story line heroine.

ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE is a quick read; a novella length historical romance set in the days prior to the Christmas celebrations as one woman struggles with her attraction to a man whose reputation repulses but attracts the curiosity. The premise is impassioned, light-hearted and spirited; the characters are colorful and engaging; the romance is a case of insta-lust/love between two people confident in themselves yet looking for something more.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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About the Author

Follow: Twitter / Website/ Facebook / Bookbub / Amazon

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt

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Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review & Guest Post

Days of Desire (Pirate’s Prize #2) by Tina Donahue-Review and Guest Post

Days of Desire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 4, 2017

In a pirate’s lair, nothing is as it seems . . .

Shipwrecked! When Royce Hastings is found washed up on the shore of a verdant tropical island, he tells the natives he is a merchant headed for Mozambique. The truth, however, is far more mercenary. Noble by birth, the once favored Royce has lost his fortune and family; now he is a hired henchman on the trail of an elusive pirate. His “shipwreck” was a fake. He’ll stop at nothing to infiltrate the island and capture his prey. His mother and sisters’ lives depend on it.

The last thing Royce expects is to be captured himself. But the lovely young woman who tends to his wounds in the tropics quickly takes hold of his heart. Simone is the island’s healer, and her skilled ministrations not only awaken his soul but disturb his conscience. His path has been predetermined; his identity must remain concealed at all costs. Yet the passion he feels in Simone’s sultry, loving arms cannot be denied. With his loyalties torn, Royce must make an agonizing, unthinkable choice.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: 4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Days of Desire by Tina Donahue is a loving, action packed, with a little suspense kind of historical romance which takes you out of proper dukes and ladies and gives you good ole fashion pirates. Love me some pirates! LOL The second book of her “Pirates Prize” series, it takes place on a stunning tropical island where you will meet some absolutely incredible islanders with our main characters. I didn’t read the first book so I cannot comment on whether this could be a stand alone, but I will be picking it up in the near future.

Royce Hastings is our lead guy, and he is some stuck between a rock and a hard place. He is a noble by birth, but daddy dearest has lost the family fortune and Royce is paying the price. His mother and sister are being held hostage by a real SOB and Royce is being tasked via blackmail to capture a notorious pirate living on an island with his wife. If he cannot deliver, he can kiss his own family goodbye. Royce then arranges his own “shipwreck” on this island so he can infiltrate, assume a different identity and get the job done. Except .. nothing is ever as easy as all that!

Simone is the island’s healer and the woman who helps bring Royce back to health. Simone is kind hearted and she really appeals to Royce. Before he knows it, Royce is head over heels in love and now standing at a crossroads. Not only has he fallen in love with Simone, but he has befriended Tristan (AKA notorious pirate) and Diane (his wife) and finds a comfortable place amongst the islanders. How could he possibly betray these people and deliver the worst kind of ugly to them. But he has to, his family will be much worse off is he doesn’t.

This book is a quick read, but full of story. There was a good flow to it, the characters well developed in the short amount of pages offered. I would of loved to be stranded on this island that Tina writes so lovingly about. She really made it endearing. My only complaint would be the length. I WANTED MORE! LOL I am all about the slow burning build and that is near impossible when a story is on the shorter side .. but again, there is much awesome on the pages that were written!

Definitely a summer beach read. If you are looking for a quick historical romance fix then you will find it here!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Guest Post beige

It’s All In the Details…

Romance is about challenges: those faced by the heroine and hero in their bumpy journey through lust to friendship and finally love; creating likeable characters, along with daunting yet realistic villains; choosing a setting and time period that will appeal to most readers; and in the case of historical romance, making certain that details from way-back-when aren’t only accurate but interesting.

As an avid reader of historical romance, I know what I don’t like and that’s a history lesson. Pages and pages of details that bring the plot and love story to a screeching halt. I can only speak for myself, but I skim those parts until I get back to the meat of the story. And that presents another challenge – exactly how much detail should an author provide?

I’ve found that making the setting and time period an integral part of the story, another character, if you will, allows those long-ago times to come alive.

For instance, in Days of Desire, book two in my Pirate’s Prize series, the action takes place on a secluded island in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. After researching the area, I knew such a lovely and wild place would be ideal for my romance. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a brave, hot hero beneath a velvety black sky studded with stars and a tropical breeze ruffling his shoulder-length hair? With that settled, I had to determine how folks lived in such a primitive setting during the early seventeen hundreds and how they kept healthy.

To ensure the medicinal part was interesting, I made my heroine Simone a healer. She’s an island woman skilled with plants, potions, and poultices. One of the interesting things I learned is that periwinkle stops bleeding. When Royce, my hero, washes up on shore, shipwrecked and injured, Simone tends to his injuries. While weaving in historical detail about healing, I created a bond between Simone and Royce…the beginning of their romance.

Since Royce is on the island for less-than-honorable purposes, that created conflict for him in terms of whether he should desire Simone. More importantly, whether he can go through with betraying her and the others on the isle. To up the ante, I gave him little choice. However, at that point, I had to have him remain in contact with the merchant who sent him on this mission. As Mozambique (where the merchant resides) and the island are separated by the Mozambique Channel and several hundred miles, I faced a dilemma. In a contemporary romance, I’d simply have Royce use his smartphone. Obviously, that wouldn’t work here, but carrier pigeons would.

While researching them, I discovered that carrier pigeons were used in Baghdad as early as 1150 and that they can fly between 600 to 700 miles per day and journeys of 1000 miles are routine. Wow. That worked perfectly for my plot. I also learned that carrier pigeons can do round-trip flights, which dovetailed with what I had in mind.

As I wrote Days of Desire, I appreciated the hardships people faced in 1717 and how they overcame obstacles with intelligence and sheer will. Life wasn’t easy then, but it wasn’t as primitive as I had believed. Research taught me that Islamic medicine was well-advanced long before modern times and that pigeons can be as effective for communicating as sending a text (albeit slower).

Penning a romance is never easy. Historical details make it more challenging, but well worth it in the end.

~~~Tina~~~

About The Author beige

Tina DonahueFollow: Goodreads / Blog / Twitter / The Reading Cafe /

I’m an award-winning, Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work. Three of my erotic romances (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) are Readers’ Choice Award winners. Three more (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were finalists in the EPIC competition. Readers’ Choice Award (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover). The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of my titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). I’m featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before writing full-time, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.

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Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley – Review & Giveaway

Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
As England mourns the death of Princess Charlotte, Lady Ariana Boxstall has another succession in mind. Her brother, Norris, is a strapping young man, but he s also happily unmarried and childless. Norris agrees to take a wife on one condition: that Ariana take a husband first. Although she realizes she risks a lifetime in a loveless marriage, for the sake of her family, Ariana accepts his challenge.
When the Earl of Kynaston met Ariana eight years ago, he broke her heart. Since then, his own heart has been broken, and he s sworn off love…until he sees Ariana all grown-up and his resolve is threatened.
Could Ariana s bargain with Norris actually lead her to happiness? With real love on the line, she must win over the one man who refuses to be had.”

 

 

Review:

Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley is a Regency/Historical novel.   At the start, we meet Lady Ariana Boxstall , who is concerned about the future of her family, especially after the childbirth death of Princess Charlotte.  Ariana fears that she would lose her beloved Boxstall residence to her drunken uncle, if her brother dies.  She then sets a plan in motion for her brother Norris to marry, but the one condition is she must marry first.

Ariana and her mother travel to London to stay at the home of a family friend, and look for the perfect husband for her.  The Earl of Kynaston, is also staying at the house of his aunt, and Ariana remembers him from 8 years before at her coming out ball, where he embarrassed her.  Needless to say, of all the eligible men, Kynaston is now crossed off the list.  We get to spend time with Ariana, as she attends various balls/events to meet the eligible bachelors, but she also must spend time with Kynaston, since he also attends.  At first, they both are sarcastic to each other,  and keep their distance when possible; but it seems they keep getting pushed together, since a lady is never supposed to be without an escort. Ariana also does not like that Kynaston drinks too much, and looks very unhappy, which she will later learn why. 

What follows is a slow build romance, with Ariana in the forefront for most of the story.  She is determined to find someone to marry, to force her brother to then get married.  Things change slightly when Norris meets Kynaston’s young sister, and surprisingly falls in love.  At the same time, Ariana fights off her growing attraction to Kynaston.  As we got closer to the last 1/3 of the book, the romance between Ariana & Kynaston began to heat up, which also improved the story line a lot.  During this time, we got to learn all about Kynaston’s tragic past which still haunted him, and Ariana’s help to open his heart again.

I liked the characters in this story, for the most they were interesting and fun.  However, I did think much of the early part of the book was a bit slow reading, which does improve later on.  If you enjoy historical romances, Merely a Marriage is a nice read by Jo Beverly.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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Scandal of the Season by Liana LeFey – a Review

Scandal of the Season by Liana LeFey – a Review

 

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Description:
Five years ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become. But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will end in disgrace.

 

Review:

Do as I say, not as I do? No, not quite that…I expected you to listen, but not to change? An impossible request to be sure. Somewhere between both expressions hovers the end result of Sorin’s hopes for up and coming Eleanor. Could her London debut have provoked Sorin’s feelings…and prompted his hasty retreat? It may have been wiser to allow the young cousin (and ward of his dear friend), to explore the grandeur of the peerage, since five years later, and both still unwed. Has fate stepped out of the shadows to illuminate a path to HEA? Liana LeFey shares such a story in Scandal of the Season.

But Sorin stumbles…

“She grew up with me lecturing her on comportment, correcting her every lapse, always urging her to better herself. She once told me I was worse than any governess. I’m not exactly a romantic figure in her mind.”

And stumbles some more. They’re more like indelicate comments that come across as chastising/heavy-handed to Eleanor, but bless his heart. Sorin realizes that this relationship might earn disapproval — he’s been the dutiful proxy alongside Eleanor’s upbringing. It won’t be an easy task for outsiders to overlook, her guardian cousin and Sorin’s best friend to condone, but of most importance: Eleanor’s heart to win.

Sorin’s angst is palpable, but Eleanor took contemplative to a new level while coming around to the idea of Sorin as a love interest. This introspection allows for thorough examination and consideration of feelings, but it felt practically interminable before the relationship took on an intimate angle.

“The sensation spread, until her whole body felt alive and awake as never before. How peculiar? Was this heightened self-awareness due to the fact that she now regarded him as the potential companion of her life? Had she considered another, would it have been the same?”

A friends-to-lovers story stymied by rumors and complicated relationship labels. I enjoyed the storytelling; there were even zealous saboteurs looking to discredit the fair Eleanor (who serendipitously riled up Sorin’s patience and courage), but I wished for a quicker pace. 74% into the book and I was begging for any sort of scandal to ensue! Heartfelt, swoon-worthy soliloquies (on both ends) needed to be revealed sooner than later, lest the other relinquish pursuit.

Liana LeFey wrote with a mastery of the language and culture of the Regency era. I was enchanted by the developing romance and enjoyed the influence and support of the background characters. While Scandal of the Season did not steam up my Kindle, it proudly boasts that “The truest love begins in friendship.”

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher

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Unmasking the Earl (Wayward in Wessex #2) by Elizabeth Keysian-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

UNMASKING THE EARL (Wayward in Wessex #2) by Elizabeth Keysian-Review, Book tour & Giveaway

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UNMASKING THE EARL
Wayward in Wessex #2
by Elizabeth Keysian
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

Unmasking the Earl

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 15, 2017

Devastated by the disappearance of his sister, the Earl of Stranraer has gone to extraordinary lengths to find the notorious rake responsible, and enters his household incognito to wreak his vengeance. But his enemy has an unexpected protector—the innocent but headstrong Miss Cassandra Blythe.

Cassie is determined to learn the art of seduction. But she is blindsided by her body’s thrilling response to the wrong man—a mysterious servant who shows up at the most inauspicious moments to spoil her lessons in love with warnings of her imminent ruin. When she learns the handsome servant’s identity and the reason for his deception, she resolves to help Stranraer, but only if he abandons his vow to destroy his enemy.

The earl is sorely tempted to give the meddlesome beauty a lesson in seduction she’ll never forget. But she turns the tables, and he gets his own lesson in forgiveness…and love.

REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

YAY! New historical romance author to fall in love with! Unmasking the Earl by Elizabeth Keysian is the second book in her “Wayward in Wessex” series and a small disclaimer here, I did not read the first book and didn’t feel like I was missing out for it either. Absolutely can be read as a stand alone. That being said, I will absolutely read the first because this book impressed me that much! 🙂 Set in early 1800’s England we are in the regency era.

Our hero is the Earl of Stranraer, Lord Edmund Talbot “Ned” (serious mouthful there huh? LOL). Ned is set on finding answers with regards to the vanishing of his sister and decides to go undercover as a servant at the house he believe he will find the answer at. In the midst of this special mission he comes across a lady, not making a such a lady request to a notorious rake and the man who may have the answers Ned is looking for, Captain Francis Wycherley.

Our heroine is Miss Cassandra Blythe “Cassie”. Cassie has been “in love” with her childhood friend Julien forever and has decided she is going to do something about it. She is caught by Ned asking Captain Francis to help teach her how to properly seduce Julian. Afraid that Cassie will get mixed up in the likes of Captain Francis, he intervenes and decides to become Cassie’s teacher.

Off we go on a story full of mystery, humour, secrets, angst and sexy love. Ned sure does teach Cassie the art of seduction but in turn Cassie teached Ned the art of love. I have to say Ned kinda drove me nuts at times and if I had the ability to jump thru my tablet I would of smacked the back of his head a few times. He is redeemable thank goodness, and Elizabeth did a fantastic job in ensuring I fell in love with him too. The humour in this book was spot on and I found myself laughing out loud a few times. Great flow to the storyline and so many characters that I can kinda see where the next book may be heading.

Overall a solid novel that I highly recommend to my fellow historical romance lovers. I wish Ned’s jerkface, angry man ways were a little toned down but honestly that’s pretty much my only complaint. Too much good that outshines that small annoyance. Grab a cup of preference and curl up this summer, you won’t regret it! 🙂

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

Unmasking the Earl Teaser

About The Author

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Elizabeth Keysian is an English archaeologist, teacher and museum curator. She first started writing “long stories” when her headmaster father needed something to keep her quiet during school summer holidays. In her teenage years she produced angst-ridden poetry, slightly disturbing sketches for an amateur dramatics group and even her own magazine, to the mixed delight and consternation of her friends.

After completing her History degree, Elizabeth joined an English Civil War re-enactment group, messed about with the Middle Ages and finally settled to an enjoyable reconstruction of Tudor Daily Life at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk.

Her imagination was further inspired by living for seven years on a Knights Templar estate, with a garage full of skeletons, a resident ghost and a moat teeming with newts. She now lives near Bath with her partner and cats.

Elizabeth likes to keep her historical novels atmospheric and authentic, with both tears and laughter along the way. She loves to hear from readers.

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The Duke of Desire (The Untouchables #4) by Darcy Burke-Review,Book Tour & Giveaway

The Duke of Desire (The Untouchables #4) by Darcy Burke-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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THE DUKE OF DESIRE
The Untouchables #4
by Darcy Burke
Release Date: March 28,2017
Genre: historical, romance

The Duke of Desire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date: March 28 2017

Ten years ago Ivy Breckenridge’s life was ruined. She had to reinvent herself, and now, after painstakingly making her own way in the world, she’s nearly forgotten the dreams of home and family she’d once nurtured. Until one man peers into her soul and awakens every one of her hidden desires. But no matter how good he makes her feel, she can’t trust him—alone by choice is better than alone by necessity.

With a notorious reputation for training married women in the art of passion, Sebastian Westgate, Duke of Clare, is reviled by some and celebrated by others. He doesn’t allow anyone close enough to see past his charming exterior. When Ivy uncovers the man beneath, the seducer is suddenly the seduced. Enraptured by her mind and spirit, he wants more but revealing his darkest secrets is a price he won’t pay.

••••••••••••

REVIEW:  4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OK small disclaimer before I start in on the review. I have NOT read the first three books in this series. This is the reason I knocked off .5 and to be honest it’s not really fair to the author, but I feel like I was missing something by not knowing the back story of some of these characters. Thank goodness there is some “retelling of storyline”, BUT I hate that feeling of not knowing the little ins and out that I know would of made this book a solid 5. SO .. please go back and read the first three books before starting with this one, I know I will be for sure.

OK .. on with the review ….

The Duke of Desire by Darcy Burke is the fourth book of her “Untouchable” Series. A historical romance, it was a fantastic read, and a series I am eager to really dive into.

Sebastien Westgate is the Duke of Clare, but he is known as The Duke of Desire by a group of friends. Sebastien has a rather odd job, especially for a man from the 1800’s. He like to bed married woman with their husbands consent in order to teach her how to find pleasure and to enjoy the marriage bed. Yup you read that right! LOL Sebastien is quite handsome, a little aloof is the sense that he only let’s people get so close, and while I admit I was a little put off by his choice of occupation, he really is endearing and quite interesting to read about.

Ivy Breckenridge is our heroine and truth be told she kinda stole this book for me. I loved her. She is smart, beautiful in her own way, and so broken from a tragic past she has pretty much sworn off the possibility of a marriage. She is a companion and likes things proper. It’s her defence mechanism, and a crutch. Something about her however, screamed for me to understand her.

Crazy arse sparks/heat, chemistry and tension .. OH MY … are happening between these two and while it takes them a while to get their lives and hearts aligned together, at the same time, it is one wild ride while they try. Lots of smexy scenes in this book that kept the smut lover in me very satisfied and a perfect amount of romance/angst to keep the romantic in me happy. These two have personal obstacles to get over before either can even entertain a love match. Their stories are sad, and when the HEA comes it’s rewarding.

I LOVE Darcy Burke’s writing style. I am really looking forward to diving into the previous books and maybe check out her other books. If you are looking for a truely endearing story about two people who take the path least travelled to find the other, with a side of “YAH THAT’S HOT!” then this book is absolutely for you!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review by Netgalley

Reviewed by Rachel T

The Duke of Desire Teaser

Excerpt

 

Ivy hurried downstairs and made her way across the hall to the drawing room, which was the center room at the back of the house. The group had started to thin—either to take part in some activity or rest before dinner.But because Ivy had the luck of the devil, she found Lady Dunn’s cane in a most inopportune place: the clutches of the Duke of Clare.

He stood near the chair Lady Dunn had vacated, her cane in his hand. His dark gaze swept toward Ivy. “It’s you.”

She resisted the urge to snatch the cane from his grasp and flee. “Yes.” She flicked a glance at his fingers. They were long and rather slender. Almost elegant. “I came for Lady Dunn’s cane.”

“You are her companion, then.” It wasn’t a question. He’d deduced the answer, and they both knew it. There was a cool confidence about him that was just shy of arrogance. His gaze raked over her, and she decided he wasn’t shy of anything.

“Yes. May I have it, please?” She held out her gloved hand.

“How about I offer it in trade for your name?”

She scowled at him. “How about you just give it to me and cease this preposterousness?” She kept her voice low, and the end of that word rushed from her mouth in an angry hiss.

He exhaled but didn’t look perturbed in the slightest. “I don’t know why you find my amiability preposterous.”

Because you’re a degenerate scoundrel. Instead of voicing what was in her mind, she forced a smile. “I am merely in a hurry. I am Miss Breckenridge. The cane, please?”

He set it in her hand but made sure to brush his fingertips along the edge of her palm.

Ivy closed her fist around the cane and yanked her hand back.

He arched a dark brow at her. “You’re a bit touchy, aren’t you?”

“And you’re more than a bit unseemly. Good afternoon.” She turned and marched from the drawing room, paying no attention to anyone who might’ve witnessed their conversation. She hadn’t noticed if anyone was close enough to hear them. No, she’d been too intent on him.


 

About The author

Darcy Burke

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

 

 

Connect:
Site: www.darcyburke.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans
Twitter: twitter.com/darcyburke
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5823441.Darcy_Burke

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Code of Honor (Knights of Honor #3) by Alexa Aston-Review & Guest Post

Code of Honor (Knights of Honor #3) by Alexa Aston-Review & Guest Post

Code of Honor

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 27,2 017

365 A.D. – After the Earl of Sandbourne banishes his supposedly unfaithful wife to a convent, his young son Michael swears never to set foot on the family’s estate until after his father’s death. Michael will then claim his title as the new earl and restore his beloved mother to a place of honor.

Fifteen years pass, and the now-knighted Sir Michael Devereux serves Lord Geoffrey de Montfort at Kinwick Castle. He accompanies the nobleman and his family to a wedding, where Michael unknowingly falls in love with the bride before he even knows her identity.

Lady Elysande Le Cler is angry that her usually indulgent father went against her wishes and betrothed her to a stranger prior to his death. Now as her wedding day approaches, dread fills her—until she meets a dashing stranger who helps her deliver a foal. Elysande loses her heart to this knight, frustrated that they can never be together.

Join Michael and Elysande as they find fate has other plans in store for them.

••••••••••

REVIEW: Code of Honor is book three in the fabulous Knights of Honor series. This romantic highland story is the tale of Michael Devereux and Lady Elysande. There are appearances of familiar characters of the de Montforts (Geoffrey and Merryn) from previous books.

This is a very well written story about highland knights and the time period is 1365 A.D. Many issues are brought to the surface that women had at that time (being property with no rights…). Marriage was mostly arranged and not a matter of love or choice for the female and sometimes not for the male either.

This wonderfully romantic story is, however, a tale of true love winning over all odds. Sir Michael meets and falls in love with Elysande (name unknown to him at the time) as he helps her birth a foal in the stable at his liege lord’s sister’s estate. Complications arise when he finds she’s the bride-to-be that they’ve come to see married. And there the story begins and takes off with many twists and turns. Just when you think love wins…it turns again. I spent several hair pulling moments thinking…”what now!”

Alexa Aston is the pen name of one of my favorite authors, whose stories are well and truly woven with adventure, history and romance. She has never written one that has disappointed me and this story is no exception to that. If you have followed this marvelous series, you’ll enjoy this romantic adventure as it winds its way into your imagination and heart.
Grab a copy and sit back for a wonderful time!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

guest post

I wake up some days and have to think who I am. Most people don’t have that problem. They are who they are.

But I’m three people . . .

This all began when I started my writing journey. I sold Music For My Soul, a medieval romance, to Soul Mate Publishing October 2012. Immediately, my publisher told me I needed to create an author website, Facebook page, and begin tweeting. My last name is difficult to pronounce. I already had a FB page–and didn’t want to confuse my family and friends. So I decided I would go with a pen name. I could keep the Real Me and the Writer Me somewhat separated. Different emails would keep the personal and business sides organized. I was ready to select a new name!

I chose Lauren Linwood. I liked how it looked on the page. I love alliteration. And when I Googled the name, the only thing coming up was Linwood, NJ. This was opposed to the first name I came up with—already a NY jazz singer—and the second name I tried out—a porn star! After several attempts at selecting a pen name, I because Lauren—Identity #1.

Fast forward a few years. I recently signed on with Dragonblade Publishing, founded by the Queen of Medieval Romance, Kathryn Le Veque. Kathryn loved my writing but said I was all over the map, having writing four western historicals, three medieval romances, and two romantic suspense novels as Lauren. Kathryn emphasized branding and sticking with a single sub-genre of romance for at least ten novels in order to gain a reader base before I branched out. She also felt since Lauren had written in three different types of romance that I needed a new pen name for my Dragonblade books and a fresh start.

Thus, I became Alexa Aston—who will stick with writing historicals—while Lauren will keep with contemporary romance. I began again, creating for Alexa her own author website, personal and business FB pages, and opened a new Twitter account and email address. As Alexa, I’m the author of the Knights of Honor series. The series will run ten books long, but each one can be read as a standalone.

I’m ecstatic to be with a quality press such as Dragonblade Publishing, and I am having the time of my life writing my first romance series. I hope you will give the Knights of Honor a whirl. You can start Book 1, Word of Honor, for only 99 cents. It’s an Amazon exclusive, so if you’re in KU, you can begin reading the series for free! Word of Honor introduces Geoffrey and Merryn de Montfort, my anchor couple. They will appear in the remaining nine books, sometimes in a small role and at other times a larger one.

In the meantime, read Georgie’s review of Code of Honor—Book 3. Michael Devereux and Elysande Le Cler meet under unusual circumstances. Happy reading!

 

About the Author Black and Orange

Alexa Aston’s is the author of The Knights of Honor, a medieval romance series that takes place in 14th century England and centers on the de Montfort family. Each romance focuses on the code of chivalry that bound knights of this era.

A native Texan, Alexa lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and can’t get enough of Fixer Upper or Game of Thrones. Alexa also writes romantic suspense novels as Lauren Linwood.

Contact Info:

Website: https://alexaaston.wordpress.com/

Newsletter Sign-Up: http://madmimi.com/signups/422152/join

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralexaaston/

http://madmimi.com/signups/421128/join

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexaAston

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Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Bedding the Highlander by Sabrina York (presented by James Patterson)-Review, Interview, and Giveaway

Bedding the Highlander Banner

BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER
by Sabrina York
BookShots Flames presented by James Patterson
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

Bedding the Highlander

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date March 7, 2017

Only a Scot can steal her heart.
There’s nothing ladylike about Katherine Killin. She’s a spitfire who cannot be tamed. To rid himself of her, and to honor a truce set by the Duke of Glencoe, her father agrees to wed her to his clan’s mortal enemy, Ben Rannoch. But when Katherine meets the enticingly masculine Kirk Rannoch, brother of her betrothed, she suddenly craves domination.
BookShots Flames

Original romances presented by JAMES PATTERSON
Novels you can devour in a few hours
Impossible to stop reading

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Bedding the Highlander is a Book Shots Flames brand. This is a selection of stories that are well written with a sizzling romantic theme to their genre; today’s review is BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER by Sabrina York, presented by James Patterson. The books are priced at under $5.00 US and have approximately only 150 pages. Designed to be read in an evening or at work on lunch hours, etc. Interesting idea, but I, personally, love a good long well written story. But then, I’m retired and have lots of time to read.

Now to this captivating story.

The story is about rival clans in Glencoe, Scotland in 1603. The Duke of Glencoe, in order to try to make an alliance for peace, has ordered the marriage of Katherine Killin to the rival clan laird Ben Rannoch.

Kirk Rannoch, brother of Ben, and his friend Brodie have been assigned to bring Katherine from the Killin stronghold to the Rannoch keep to be wed to Ben. They are, understandably, reluctant to enter the Killin keep, as many don’t return. Unfortunately, when they do, they find the wrong Catherine…no misspelling, it seems many of the Killian Laird’s daughters, mostly illegitimate, are named a form of Catherine. However, they notice the one presented does not have the signature red hair of the real Katherine Killin. They are told the real Katherine has run off rather than be wed to their enemy and they don’t know where she is. Reluctantly, they leave.
During the trip back, while camping at night, two thieves try to take the men’s horses. They capture them only to find that they are females and both have a form of red hair. A romance between “Ann” (aka Katherine) and Kirk is immediate and sizzling.

Okay, that’s the set up and the rest must be read to be enjoyed. It’s only 150 pages and doesn’t take long. I found it to be incredibly entertaining and very well written. I loved her solution for not having to marry the laird…possibly brave, possibly foolish but very interesting! Sabrina York is a fine author and writes a very inventive period novel.

Give it a shot!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

Interview

TRC: Hi Sabrina. Welcome to The Reading Cafe.

Sabrina YorkSabrina: Thank you so much for having me! I am excited to be here!

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

Sabrina: Absolutely! My name is Sabrina York and I LOVE writing steamy, snarky romances…but I have ADD and enjoy writing in all sub genres (historical, contemporary, SEALs, Dukes, Highlanders and so on!).

Though I am predominantly published in romance, I also love writing in other genres like women’s fiction, fantasy, sci fi and more.

I think trying new things is important for working the writing muscles and keeps my writing fresh and fun.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sabrina: My greatest influence was my mother, who refused to let me use my dyslexia as an excuse for not being an overachiever. She convinced me at an early age that this difficulty was actually a gift, because it allowed me to see things in ways other people might miss.

Indeed, it has been a gift, and so was having a mother so determined to help me succeed.

Although, I must say, I am also thankful for spellcheck and editors!

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

Sabrina: Dyslexia aside, I worked for years writing and polishing my work. I submitted to hundreds of editors and agents and received an encyclopedia full of rejections. Though my work won many awards, I just couldn’t seem to sell.

And then, just when I was about to give up (for a career of sitting on the sofa, eating bon bons and watching Toddlers in Tiaras) I miraculously sold my first book.

My advice to writers who are struggling is: Don’t give up. Keep trying.

Now that I am published (in traditional and indie worlds) my challenges are balancing projects with the business side of things. There are so many things I have to do that I never imagined.

It would be wonderful if being an author meant sitting back and writing books, but there is so much more to it, including accounting (ick), marketing, social media, events, conferences and more (especially for Indie writers!)

Bedding the HighlanderTRC: Would you please tell us something about BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER?

Sabrina: I am so excited about this story! It has been a glorious experience working with James Patterson, Laura Fazio and the team at Hachette!

The core story is that with the death of the queen and the ascension of James VI—and the union of the crowns between Scotland and England—the world has turned on its ear. The new king is determined to make the transition a peaceful one. He is adamant that Scotland not be seen as a land of savages, but loyal, peaceful subjects of the crown. He has commanded his dukes to maintain peace and squash unrest at all costs.

In light of the rising turmoil and increased hostilities amongst his highland clans, Nicholas Lennox, the Duke of Glencoe—acting on explicit orders from the newly ascended King James VI—has issued an ultimatum to his unmarried lairds, demanding they unite with their rival clans…through marriage.

As logical as this plan is, nothing seems to go right.

His first declaration is that Ben Rannoch, Laird of Rannoch should marry Katherine Killin, daughter of Cuithbeart Killin (The Rannoch’s mortal enemy).

In Bedding the Highlander, Kirk Rannoch is sent to collect his brother’s intended. He has no idea that Katherine is far from a biddable wench. The plucky redhead has decided to seduce Kirk in hopes of scuttling a wedding to his brother, the Beast of Rannoch.

Imagine Kirk’s chagrin when he realizes the woman he had bedded is not the maid he thought her to be, but his brother’s bride!

I came up with this idea when my husband and I were visiting Scotland last September. I’d never been there before and it was a wonderful time. One of the villages we visited was Kinloch Rannoch, the town my mother’s people came from. I decided that my next Highland romp had to take place there!

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

Sabrina: I live by a maxim that an author can do whatever she wants, as long as she does it well. So no matter the twists and turns I fold into the plot, they have to be masterfully executed.

You get a feeling in your gut, a little niggle, when things aren’t right. I’ve learned you cannot ignore that, no matter how much work it is to rewrite. I’ve also learned I am always so much happier when I get it right!

One of my favorite things to do is lead the reader down the garden path, make her expect that something typical will happen, and then flip the script! The secret here is having fully-formed characters who behave in genuine and authentic ways. Needless to say, I lean toward strong, determined and sometimes stubborn heroines.

TRC: Have you ever had the opportunity to visit the Highlands of Scotland, and if so, how much of an influence or impact did the visit have on your stories?

Sabrina: I most certainly did, but sadly, only one time. I would love to go back.

Laird of her HeartIt was fascinating visiting historical sites like Urquhart Castle (which featured in my Highland Time Travel, Laird of her Heart) and the battlefield at Culloden, thinking of all the lives that had been lived and lost in these places. We took a tour of the north coast where my Untamed Highlander Series took place.

Standing on the cliffs at Duncansby Head Lighthouse and staring out over the cold grey waters of the North Sea gave me a new appreciation for the strength and stamina of the Scottish people.

I took hundreds of pictures so I would remember the feelings, the sights and the faces. Some things change with the times, but others don’t. I often felt I had stepped back in time.

Mostly, I was suffused with this amazing feeling of coming home, which makes sense, because my mother’s people are Stewarts.

TRC: You write several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find the most difficult?

Sabrina: I love writing them all, because when I switch, it’s almost like taking a break. It makes work feel less like work. J

The genre I find most difficult is the one I am working on at any given time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But it ain’t easy!

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?

Sabrina: I believe the cover is the most important element these days because a good 90% of readers are buying books online. The cover is the first thing they notice, there in a sea of covers.

It has to be stellar, and it has to reflect the story accurately.

In polls I’ve done with my lovely street team, the cover is always the top ranking decision factor, with “An Author I Know and Love” as number two. That’s why it is also critical to write consistently excellent books and give the reader what they want.

From a personal perspective, I also believe that relationships are super important in this business, whether it is with publishers, other authors, industry professionals and, of course, readers. I offer lots of ways to connect with my readers from my VIP Facebook room, to my Street Team and a newsletter that offers exclusive contests and content.

Yes, it takes time away from writing to foster and maintain these relationships, but it think it is important to know for whom I am writing. Plus, they are damn wonderful people!

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

Sabrina: I have a trick. I start out with a fairly well developed outline, but then, when I get going, yes, the characters start talking to me. I have to listen. It is their story after all!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline 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?

Sabrina: Absolutely. My job is to let the reader FEEL the story. To evoke and exploit emotion. My tactic is to write in what is called deep POV (Point of View). I only write one character per scene and everything from the language to the tone to the simmering emotions MUST be genuine and true to that character.

Another trick I learned is to keep the story moving. Focusing on the action and evolution of the story, I fold tidbits of information into dialog, reactions and internalizations rather than providing it in huge choking chunks. This is essential to KEEP THE READER IN THE STORY. I do not want you to put the book down! Long dull chunks of exposition are the perfect excuse to close the book and go have a root canal or something.

No! This cannot be allowed!!!!

As for writers who fail in invoking emotion, I’d like to say (and to be honest) we all have failed at one point or another. If we are lucky and/or smart, we have learned from it.

In my opinion, this failure (for wont of a better word) occurs when writers try to rush through scenes and assume the words they are putting on paper are having the effect they desire. I call this lazy writing and I am an expert at it. But the trick is in the editing. It is in the second, third or fourth pass when we flesh out the scene, maximize opportunities to stir emotions and cut out anything that gums up the works.

This last bit is where many writers struggle, because they are not inclined to murder their darlings. You know, that perfectly wicked turn of phrase, or the description of the train station we are in love with but goes on waaaaay too long for the reader to tolerate… That stuff needs to go, but writers in love with their own words don’t want to cut it.

Ask yourself is the story truly better or worse with this and then become a slasher.

In my humble opinion, writers only truly fail when they let their ego get in the way.

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

Sabrina: I love listening to music, but words distract me (muddles up the flow in my head) so the only music I listen to is classical. Fortunately, I love classical. It is supremely evocative.

Beethoven is a personal favorite (Appassionata and other such concertos), as well as Mozart and anything with the cello and oboe.

When I am in the “flow” the music does indeed influence me.

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

Sabrina: Believe it or not, no one in my family reads. Most of my friends are authors, but when we chat it is usually about other things (because we are all involved in our local chapter and conference). So no one, I suppose! Though I do occasionally talk to my agent about story ideas she would like to see.

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

Sabrina: I think they believe we live glamorous lives, which makes me giggle because I work from home, rarely leave the house and might have a conversation with one person other than my husband (or the dog). On a good day, I might actually get out of my PJs!

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Sabrina: I’m an Army Brat, so I grew up traveling the world (though I don’t travel much anymore unless it is for work because I am so busy). Because we lived overseas when I was in college, I took a course in Ancient Egyptian History…in Egypt. I’ve actually been inside the Great Pyramid. Which was awesome…until I remembered I’m claustrophobic.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sabrina: I am thrilled that St. Martin’s asked me to continue my Untamed Highlander Series. I am now plotting out Hamish’s story!

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Sabrina: I love to connect with readers. Here are my links! I also have a tiara fetish, so be sure to enter my giveaways!

Giveaways: http://sabrinayork.com/current-giveaways/

Get two free books when you sign up for my Newsletter: http://sabrinayork.com/gift/

Join my Street Team: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/12s46UGgNUze1c3o3L8jIlXiLuhR5cFZjR83SCMElfw8/viewform?c=0&w=1&usp=mail_form_link

Facebook VIP chat room: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SabrinaYorkChatAndContests/

CONNECT

Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Friend my Facebook Profile Page https://www.facebook.com/sabrina.york.14

Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks

Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york

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LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Bacon

Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake

Favorite TV Show: Below Deck

Last Movie You Saw: Shawshank Redemption

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush: George Clooney (and it’s not so secret)

Last Vacation Destination: Los Angeles

Do you have any pets? A rottie mix named Lola

Last book you read: Tina Fey’s Bossypants

TRC: Thank you Sabrina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Bedding the Highlander

Sabrina: Thanks for letting me play!

 

Giveaway

Sabrina’s publisher is graciously offering an ebook copy of
BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER 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).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please like and follow Sabrina York’s Author Page on Facebook.

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

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8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from March 17-21, 2017

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