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

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

His Highland Heart

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 1,2017

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

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

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

•••••••••••••••••••

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Georgianna

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The Daredevil Snared/ Lord of the Privateers (The Adventurer’s Quartet 3 & 4) by Stephanie Laurens-reviews

THE DAREDEVIL SNARED / LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS ( The Adventurer’s Quartet #3 & #4) by Stephanie Laurens-reviews

The Adventurers Quarted 3 4

 

Lord of the PrivateersLORD OF THE PRIVATEERS
(The Adventurer’s Quartet #4
by Stephanie Laurens
Genre: adult, historical, romantic, adventure

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 27,2016

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Revel in the action, drama, intrigue and passion as the Frobishers— with help from Wolverstone, the Cynsters and many familiar others— steer the adventure to a glorious end.

Unstoppable determination

Widely known as the lord of the privateers, Royd Frobisher expects to execute the final stage of the rescue mission his brothers have begun. What he does not expect is to be pressured into taking Isobel Carmichael—his childhood sweetheart, former handfasted bride and current business partner—with him. A force of nature, Isobel has a mission of her own: to find and bring a young cousin safely home. And along the way, she hopes to rid herself of the dreams of a life with Royd that still haunt her.

Unfinished business

Neither expects the shock that awaits them as they set sail, much less the new horizons that open before them as they embark on a full-scale rescue-assault on the compound deep in the jungle. Yet despite the support of his brothers and their ladies, Royd and Isobel discover that freeing the captives is only half the battle. To identify and convict the conspirators behind the illicit enterprise—and save England from political disaster—they must return to the ballrooms of the haut ton and hunt the villains on their home ground.

Unforgettable love

But having found each other again, having glimpsed the heaven that could yet be theirs, how much are Royd and Isobel willing to risk in the name of duty?

••••••••••

REVIEW: LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS is the fourth and final installment in Stephanie Laurens’s THE ADVENTURER’S QUARTER historical, romantic adventure series focusing on the Frobisher brothers and their search for several missing women, children and military personnel in Freetown, South Africa. This is eldest brother Captain Royd Frobisher, and his childhood sweetheart Isobel Carmichael’s story line. LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS an be read as a stand alone although I recommend reading the series in order as each installment builds upon the events of the previous story lines, and the ongoing ARC throughout.

Told from several third person perspectives including Royd and Isobel, LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS is the culmination of four story lines that followed a trail of missing and kidnapped children, women and men in Freetown, South Africa, and the realization that some very powerful people with money and connections were backing the exhumation of illegal diamonds in the mines of South Africa. With their youngest brother enslaved in the mining camp Royd, Declan and Caleb Froubisher, along with their crews embark on a journey to free the prisoners and uncover the identity of those behind the mines. Enter Isobel Carmichael, Royd’s former sweetheart, who demands passage on the journey , in search of her cousin Miss Katherine Fortescue. What ensues is the rekindling relationship between Royd and Isobel; the detailed rescue mission to free the slaves; and a secret revealed that will change Royd’s relationship with the woman he has always loved.

LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS is a detailed and complex story line with a multi-layered premise with a large number of secondary and supporting characters that cross over between series and story lines. A mission to rescue loved ones finds Royd and Isobel rediscovering what once was, and what is meant to be. But freeing the captives is only part of their mission; returning home it was time to reveal the people involved. LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS is a grand finale that brings together family and friends in a multi-faceted conclusion where happily ever afters make way for future adventurers on the high seas.

Reviewed by Sandy

_________________

The Daredevil EnsnaredTHE DAREDEVIL SNARED
The Adventurers Quartet #3
by Stephanie Laurens
Genre: adult, historical, romantic, adventure

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: RELEASE DATE June 28, 2016

He has something to prove

Captain Caleb Frobisher, hedonistic youngest son of a seafaring dynasty, wants to be taken seriously. Seizing the next leg of the covert mission his brothers are pursuing, he acts decisively and effectively in securing the mission’s objectives. But responsibility has taken root, and he remains in the jungle to ensure the mission’s ultimate goal.

She will risk everything

Katherine Fortescue fled a life of poverty and came to Freetown as a governess, only to be kidnapped and forced to oversee the child workforce at a mine. Guarded by well-armed, well-trained mercenaries, the captives have lost all hope of escape. Then Katherine meets a handsome man—a captain—and he brings the sweet promise of rescue.

Together they will face the future

The sadistic mercenary who runs the mine has other plans, but Caleb’s true strength lies in extracting advantage from adversity, and through the clashes that follow, he becomes the leader he was always destined to be. The sort of man Katherine can trust—with her body, with her life. With her love.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: THE DAREDEVIL SNARED is the third installment in Stephanie Laurens’s Regency-era historical romantic adventure series THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET focusing on the Frobisher brothers and their search for several missing women, children and military personnel in Freetown, South Africa. This is youngest brother Captain Caleb Frobisher, and governess Katherine Fortescue’s story line. THE DAREDEVIL SNARED can be read as a stand alone although I recommend reading the series in order as each installment builds upon the events of the previous story lines, and the ongoing ARC throughout.

Told from several third person perspectives THE DAREDEVIL SNARED continues the search for a number of missing children, women and British military officers in Freetown, South Africa presumed to have been kidnapped by a band of European slavers. Captain Caleb Frobisher and his men including best friend Captain Phillip Lascelle have been commissioned by the British Crown for the third leg of the search and rescue to locate the ‘mining camp’ and report back their findings but an unexpected encounter finds the Captain exposing his men to the enemy they seek. Caleb and his crew are imprisoned and forced to work the mines along with the men and women they are seeking but not before our hero is able to send off his report to the people back home. What ensues is the building relationship between Caleb and Katherine Fortescue, and the struggle to slow down the mining operation before their would-be rescuers arrive.

THE DAREDEVIL SNARED is an infinitely detailed story line with a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including men, women and children, as well as the captors and the revelation of the people in charge. The slow building story line becomes lost in the numerous, small details about mining for diamonds and the dangerous working conditions of which the prisoners have been exposed. Although their captor is not one to be crossed he does allow the prisoners some freedom and personal expression.

Liked many middle books in trilogies THE DAREDEVIL SNARED loses itself in a lack of real story line and series build up ; too much repetition, detail and focus on the mining for diamonds; and the slow building romance is more of an afterthought due to their circumstances and the potential for rescue from abroad.

THE DAREDEVIL SNARED is a story of adventure, greed, struggle and love. The premise is somewhat tedious and I lost interest very early due to the lack of any true drama or conflict. Hopefully the final installment LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS featuring eldest brother Royd Frobisher brings some much needed action and intrigue.

Reviewed by Sandy

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Wicked in His Arms by Stacy Reid – a Review

Wicked in His Arms by Stacy Reid – a Review

 

Wicked in his ArmsAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, has learned it is best to exercise rigid control over his passions and emotions in all that he does. Uncaring that it makes him seem cool and aloof to most in the ton, he is content with his desire to only woo agreeable and demur females. Then unforeseen circumstances see him trapped in a closet at a house party with the last woman he would ever make his countess.

Lady Olivia Sherwood is everything he should not desire in a female—unconventional, too decisive, and utterly without decorum. But passion ignites between them and they are discovered. Honor demands they wed, and while Tobias finds himself unwillingly drawn to the bewitching beauty, he must do everything not to tempt the passion that burns in him for her, lest it leads to disastrous consequences.

 

Review: 

Wicked in His Arms by Stacy Reid is set in the Victorian era. I  had expected a tame read. This was anything but, Tobias Blake is convinced the only way to live is to be cold and controlled at all times, he won’t ever become like his father, (his father was handy with his fists, and often lashed out at Tobias’ mother and Tobias) he is happy with his mistress and ladies of the same mind.  When he does settle down, it won’t be to Olivia, she is opinionated, loud and emotional, and that just won’t do. But after being caught by surprise with the lady in question, Tobias is strangely drawn to her, and maybe a little passion is called for, and maybe he can lose control with his new wife. 

Olivia doesn’t want to be married off, as she is happy living a quiet life with her family. All she wants to do is earn a living by painting or becoming a ladies companion. After meeting Lord Blake, she is more determined to live a single and quiet life; he is cold, rude and very controlled. But after her beloved stepfather falls ill, the family decides its time for Olivia to be married off and look after her family. 

The instant dislike between the main characters was fun to read. Olivia tried very hard to be a lady, but it wasn’t her fault that Tobias always caught her at her worse moments. 

You could understand why Tobias didn’t want to marry, and certainly didn’t want to give into passion, as he didn’t want to turn into a possessive and violent husband. 

It’s fun to watch the lord fall for his wife, and it’s fun to watch Olivia come into her own. The other characters in the book were a likeable bunch, and you wanted to read more about them all. 

It was a fun read 😃

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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

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

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

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Highland Spy

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

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

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

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

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

••••••••••

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

FANTASTIC HIGHLAND ACTION PACKED READ!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel T

About the author

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

Giveaway

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

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. LIKE Madeline Martin on Facebook

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway open to USA and Canada only

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

Diversion Books

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

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

The Trouble with Dukes Banner
The Trouble with Dukes

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 20, 2016

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

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…

The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge—even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Copy supplied by the Netgalley

Guest post-White and Red

Grace Burrowes Top 5-favorite classic movies

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

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

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

It’s a Wonderful Life. No explanation needed!

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

The Trouble with Dukes Teaser

excerpt

 

“I don’t want any damned dukedom, Mr. Anderson,” Hamish MacHugh said softly.
Colin MacHugh took to studying the door to Neville Anderson’s office, for when Hamish spoke that quietly, his siblings knew to locate the exits.
The solicitor’s establishment boasted deep Turkey carpets, oak furniture, and red velvet curtains. The standish and ink bottles on Anderson’s desk were silver, the blotter a thick morocco leather. Portraits of well-fed, well-powdered Englishmen adorned the walls.
Hamish felt as if he’d walked into an ambush, as if these old lords and knights were smirking down at the fool who’d blundered into their midst. Beyond the office walls, harnesses jingled to the tune of London happily about its business, while Hamish’s heart beat with a silent tattoo of dread.
“I am at your grace’s service,” Anderson murmured, from his side of the massive desk, “and eager to hear any explanations your grace cares to bestow.”
The solicitor, who’d been retained by Hamish’s late grandfather decades before Hamish’s birth, was like a midge. Swat at Anderson, curse him, wave him off, threaten flame and riot, and he still hovered nearby, relentlessly annoying.
The French infantry had had the same qualities.
“I am not a bloody your grace,” Hamish said. Thanks be to the clemency of the Almighty.
“I do beg your grace’s—your pardon,” Anderson replied, soft white hands folded on his blotter. “Your great-great aunt Minerva married the third son of the fifth Duke of Murdoch and Tingley, and while the English dukedom must, regrettably fall prey to escheat, the Scottish portion of the title, due to the more, er, liberal patents common to Scottish nobility, devolves to yourself.”
Devolving was one of those English undertakings that prettied up a load of shite.
Hamish rose, and for reasons known only to the English, Anderson popped to his feet as well.
“Devolve the peregrinating title to some other poor sod,” Hamish said.
Colin’s staring match with the lintel of Anderson’s door had acquired the quality of man trying to hold in a fart—or laughter.
“I am sorry, your—sir,” Anderson said, looking about as sorry as Hamish’s sisters on the way to the milliner’s, “but titles land where they please, and there they stay. The only way out from under a title is death, and then your brother here would become duke in your place.”
Colin’s smirk winked out like a candle in a gale. “What if I die?”
“I believe there are several younger siblings,” Anderson said, “should death befall you both.”
“But this title is Hamish’s as long as he’s alive, right?” Colin was not quite as large as Hamish. What little Colin lacked in height, he made up for in brawn and speed.
“That is correct,” Anderson said, beaming like headmaster when a dull scholar had finally grasped his first Latin conjugation. “In the normal course, a celebratory tot would be in order, gentlemen. The title does bring responsibilities, but your great-great aunt and her late daughter were excellent businesswomen. I’m delighted to tell you that the Murdoch holdings prosper.”
Worse and worse. The gleeful wiggle of Anderson’s eyebrows meant prosper translated into “made a stinking lot of money, much of which would find its way into a solicitor’s greedy English paws.”
“If my damned lands prosper, my bachelorhood is doomed,” Hamish muttered. Directly behind Anderson’s desk hung a picture of some duke, and the old fellow’s sour expression spoke eloquently to the disposition a title bestowed on its victim. “I’d sooner face old Boney’s guns again than be landed, titled, wealthy, and unwed at the beginning of London season. Colin, we’re for home by week’s end.”
“Fine notion,” Colin said. “Except Edana will kill you and Rhona will bury what’s left of you. Then the title will hang about my neck, and I’ll have to dig you up and kill you all over again.”
Siblings were God’s joke on a peace-loving man. Anderson had retreated behind his desk, as if a mere half ton of oak could protect a puny English solicitor from a pair of brawling MacHughs.
Clever solicitors might be, canny they were not.
“Then we simply tell no one about this title,” Hamish said. “We tend to Eddie and Ronnie’s dress shopping, and then we’re away home, nobody the wiser.”
Dress shopping, Edana had said, as if the only place in the world to procure fashionable clothing was London. She’d cried, she’d raged, she’d threatened to run off—until Colin had saddled her horse and stuffed the saddle bags with provisions.
Then she’d threatened to become an old maid, haunting her brothers’ households in turn, and Hamish, on pain of death from his younger brothers, had ordered the traveling coach into service.
“Eddie hasn’t found a man yet, and neither has Ronnie,” Colin observed. “They’ve been here less than two weeks. We can’t go home.”
“You can’t,” Hamish countered. “I’m the duke. I must see to my properties. I’ll be halfway to Yorkshire by tomorrow. I doubt Eddie and Ronnie will content themselves with Englishmen, but they’re welcome to torment a few in my absence. A bored woman is a dangerous creature.”
“You’d leave tomorrow?” Colin slugged Hamish on the arm, hard. Anderson flinched, while Hamish picked up his walking stick and headed for the door.
“Your pugilism needs work, little brother. I’ve neglected your education.”
“You can’t leave me alone here with Eddie and Ronnie.” Colin had switched to the Gaelic, a fine language for keeping family business from nosy solicitors. “I’m only one man, and there’s two of them. They’ll be making ropes of the bedsheets, selling your good cigars to other young ladies again, and investigating the charms of the damned Englishmen mincing about in the park. Who knows what other titles their indiscriminate choice of husband might inflict on your grandchildren.”
Hamish had not objected to the cigar selling scheme. He’d objected to his sisters stealing from him rather than sharing the proceeds with their own dear brother. He also objected to the notion of grandchildren when he’d yet to take a wife.
“I’ll blame you if we end up with English brothers-in-law, wee Colin.” Hamish smiled evilly, though he counted a particular few Englishmen among his friends.
A staring match ensued, with Colin trying to look fierce—he had the family red hair and blue eyes, after all—and mostly looking worried. Colin was soft-hearted where the ladies were concerned, and that fact was all that cheered Hamish on an otherwise daunting morning.
Hope rose, like the clarion call of the pipes through the smoke and noise the battlefield: While Eddie and Ronnie inspected the English peacocks strutting about Mayfair, Hamish might find a peahen willing to take advantage of Colin’s affectionate nature.
Given Colin’s lusty inclinations, the union would be productive inside a year, and the whole sorry business of a ducal succession would be taken care of.
Hamish’s fist connected with his brother’s shoulder, sending Colin staggering back a few steps, muttering in Gaelic about goats and testicles.
“I’ll bide here in the muck pit of civilization,” Hamish said, in English, “until Eddie and Ronnie have their fripperies, but Anderson, I’m warning you. Nobody is to learn of this dukedom business. Not a soul, or I’ll know which English solicitor needs to make St. Peter’s acquaintance posthaste. Ye ken?”
Anderson nodded, his gaze fixed on Hamish’s right hand. “You will receive correspondence, sir.”
Hamish’s hand hurt and his head was starting to throb. “Try being honest, man. I was in the army. I know all about correspondence. By correspondence, you mean a bloody snowstorm of paper, official documents, and sealed instruments.”
Hamish knew about death too, and about sorrow. The part of him hoping to marry Colin off in the next month—and Eddie and Ronnie too—grappled with the vast sorrow of homesickness, and the unease of remaining for even another day among the scented dandies and false smiles of polite society.
“Very good, your grace. Of course you’re right. A snowstorm, some of which will be from the College of Arms, some from your peers, some of condolence, all of which my office would be happy—”
Hamish waved Anderson to silence, and as if Hamish were one of those Hindoo snake pipers, the solicitor’s gaze followed the motion of his hand.
“The official documents can’t be helped,” Hamish said, “but letters of condolence needn’t concern anybody. You’re not to say a word,” he reminded Anderson. “Not a peep, not a yes-your-grace, not a hint of an insinuation is to pass your lips.”
Anderson was still nodding vigorously when Hamish shoved Colin through the door.
Though, of course, the news was all over Town by morning.


 

About The Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

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Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Interview & Book Tour

DUKE OF PLEASURE (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Interview & Book Tour

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DUKE OF PLEASURE
Maiden Lane #11
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Genre: historical, romance

Duke of Pleasure

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 29, 2016

N THE ARMS OF DANGER

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king’s secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE

Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.

ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER

When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

••••••••••••

REVIEW: DUKE OF PLEASURE is the eleventh full length installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is the Duke of Kyle, Hugh Fitzroy, and street urchin/Ghost of St. Giles Alf’s story line. DUKE OF PLEASURE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty although Alf’s story has been building for several installments.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Alf and Hugh) DUKE OF PLEASURE focuses on the hunt for the notorious and secretive Lords of Chaos-a well to do group of politically appointment men whose crimes are evil and notorious. After a late night attack by a group of thugs, the Duke of Kyle-Hugh Fitzroy- hires a young street urchin whose ability to ferret out information is well known in and around the streets of London and St. Giles. Enter Alf-a young woman who by day disguises herself as a young boy but by night is the infamous masked vigilante the Ghost of St. Giles. What ensues is the building relationship between Alf and Hugh, and the search for the people who have marked Hugh Fitzroy for death.

The relationship between Hugh and Alf is slow to develop as our heroine has presented herself as a young boy for most of her life. It is only with the accidental discovery of Alf’s true self does the Duke of Kyle begin to look at Alf in a different light.
Alf is a loner; a young woman whose independence was forged at an early age but a woman whose desire for love and a family finds our heroine on the outside looking in. Hugh Fitzroy is a widower with two young boys who struggles to raise his family without the benefit of wife and mother. His attraction to Alf is visceral as the young woman calls to his lonely heart.

DUKE OF PLEASURE is a story about family and survival. The premise is a mix of mystery and intrigue; the characters are charismatic and entertaining; the romance is seductive and tangible. As a single father Hugh Fitzroy battles the demons from his past including the death of his wife, and the years he was absent from the young boy’s lives. We are introduced to Hugh’s late wife’s best friend Lady Jordan aka Iris whose story will be told next in DUKE OF DESIRE. Hoyt’s DUKE OF PLEASURE is an enchanting and spirited tale of opposites attract and second chances at love.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Duke of Pleasure Teaser

 

Interview

TRC:  Hi Elizabeth and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of DUKE OF PLEASURE.

Elizabeth HoytElizabeth: Thank you and thank you for inviting me back!

TRC: For anyone who does not know you, would you please tell us something about yourself?

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Elizabeth: I live in Minneapolis, have plowed my front yard under for a flower garden, drink too much coffee, and have three dogs. I think that tells most people about all they need to know about me. But in case that isn’t enough: I also write historical romance whilst two of the dogs sleep on my lap. I’ve been published ten years this fall (woo!) and, on the whole, it seems like a pretty good gig.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Elizabeth: When I first started out what I was reading: the romance writers of the late 1990’s/early 2000’s: Christina Dodd, Stephanie Laurens, Amanda Quick, Lisa Kleypas. Now I’m influenced more by pop culture I think. TV shows and things I hear and see on the internet. Stuff that other people are excited about. I like to take apart what makes them excited, what draws them in, and see if I can translate that to the written form.

Duke of PleasureTRC: Would you please tell us something about the DUKE OF PLEASURE?

Elizabeth: Why yes! Duke of Pleasure features reader favorite Alf, who if you’ve been following my Maiden Lane series you’ll remember as a tough boy who lives in the slums of St. Giles and makes his living by selling information. Except Alf is really a woman in disguise. And in Duke of Pleasure we find out that not only is Alf a woman, but at night she’s taken on the mantle of the Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante helping the poor and downtrodden. She fights with two swords and is totally badass.

Assassins are pursuing the hero, Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, when the Ghost saves him. Hugh is tasked with taking down a shadowy aristocratic society and hires Alf to help him. Except Alf is attacked and wounded and then she stays at Hugh’s townhouse to recover and it starts getting hard to maintain her disguise…

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

Elizabeth: In writing them, I think just the everyday stuff of getting up and getting the job done. Writing is a very solitary profession. It’s all self-motivated and it’s all self-generated. Sometimes you have to have nerves of steel.

With the publishing side I’ve been pretty lucky—I really haven’t run into any real difficulties. I mean, people keep saying that the historical is tanking…but then they’ve been saying that since before I was published and here I am, so.

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

Elizabeth: Ooo! Good question! I get bored easily, which is probably why no two of my books are alike. So from my end, I’m not worrying about trying to write an unpredictable plot. I just want to have an interesting character who is in a situation that challenges me as a writer. If that produces what you describe above, well, great!

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?

Elizabeth: Yes. It’s the first thing the reader sees, especially in a physical bookstore or big box store. Obviously if the artwork can catch the reader’s eye that’s a plus. And once the reader has opened the book, than I’m confident that my writing can do the rest. 😉

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Elizabeth: I hope readers enjoy Duke of Pleasure!

TRC: Thank you Elizabeth for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release.

Elizabeth: Thank you!

Wicked Intentions price drop

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WICKED INTENTIONS is now FREE for a limited time!

The ebook edition of WICKED INTENTIONS, the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s bestselling Maiden Lane series will be FREE from November 28 through December 12! This is a great opportunity to introduce friends to the series! On December 13 the price returns to $5.99.

 

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The Saint: World of De Wolfe Pack by Cathy MacRae-a review

THE SAINT: World of the De Wolfe Pack by Cathy MacRae-a review

The Saint

Amazon.com 

Entire collection of 9 novellas WORLD OF DE WOLFE PACK only 99¢: Amazon.com

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date: September 4, 2016

Following in the footsteps of his uncle, the famous Lord William de Wolfe, Geoffrey de Wylde is counted among the greatest knights England had ever known. Revered for his justness and strict adherence to the chivalric code, he was known as The Saint.

Fleeing the unwanted attentions of her late husband’s brother, Marsaili de Ville runs headlong into the path of The Saint. She wants nothing more than to reach the safety of her family’s home in Scotland before Edmund de Ville’s henchmen capture her, but Geoffrey de Wylde insists on becoming her protector, slowing her flight and putting her unknowingly at risk.

As her past catches up with her, Marsaili will find more than a safe haven in The Saint’s arms. And Geoffrey de Wylde will discover his code does not tell him what to do with a woman who has been accused of murder, yet has captured his heart.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE SAINT by Cathy MacRae is part of the multi-authored World of  De Wolfe Pack series set in Kindle Worlds. This is Lord Geoffrey De Wylde, and Marsaili de Ville’s story line. Each installment is stand alone.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Geoffrey and Marsaili) THE SAINT is an historical romance that follows Marsaili de Ville, widowed wife of Andrew de Ville- a woman on the run from her former brother in law who wants his brother’s widow for himself. Enter Lord Geoffrey de Wylde aka The Saint, who takes a reluctant Marasili under his protection as they continue their journey towards his new home. What ensues is a cross country trek through snowbound England while trying to stay one step ahead of Edmund de Ville.

The relationship between Geoffrey and Marsaili is slow to develop. Geoffrey struggles with the on-going pain and damage from an injury sustained in battle; and Marsaili is a woman whose need to return to Scotland outweighs any thoughts of starting a new relationship. The sexual intimacy is limited.

THE SAINT is a quick read: a novella length historical romance focusing on two people whose lives will collide on a stormy, winter’s night. The premise is entertaining; the characters are engaging; the romance is light and tender. Cathy MacRae writes a sweet and graceful story line that will capture your attention.

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Sandy

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The Danger of Desire (Sinful Suitors #3) by Sabrina Jeffries-a review

THE DANGER OF DESIRE ( Sinful Suitors #3) by Sabrina Jeffries-a review

The Danger of Desire

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About the book: Release Date November 22, 2016

The third book in the sexy Sinful Suitors Regency romance series, this heart-pounding story shows why New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries is one of the most beloved historical romance writers today.

To root out the card cheat responsible for her brother’s death, Miss Delia Trevor spends her evenings dancing her way through high society balls, and her late nights disguised as a young man gambling her way through London’s gaming hells. Then one night, handsome Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, a notorious member of St. George’s Club, recognizes her. When he threatens to reveal her secret, she’s determined to keep him from ruining her plans, even if it means playing a cat-and-mouse game with the enigmatic rakehell.

Warren knows the danger of her game, and he refuses to watch her lose everything while gaining justice for her late brother. But when she starts to delve beneath his carefully crafted façade, can he keep her at arm’s length while still protecting her? Or will their hot desires explode into a love that transcends the secrets of their pasts?

•••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: THE DANGER OF DESIRE is the third installment in Sabrina Jeffries’ SINFUL SUITORS historical romance series -a spin off from Jeffries’ ‘The Duke’s Men’ series. This is Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, and Delia Trevor’s story line. THE DANGER OF DESIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Warren and Delia) THE DANGER OF DESIRE focuses on the hunt for the man Delia Trevor believes swindled her brother of his money, and his life. Months earlier, Delia received a cryptic message from her brother about losing it all and being cheated by a man with a tattoo, and in the months since his death Delia has made it her mission to ferret out the man responsible for destroying her brother, and her sister in law’s lives. Enter Warren Corry, the man who would help Delia in her search for the truth, and the man with whom Delia would fall in love.

Delia is a strong, independent woman for the time. She is unable to rest knowing her brother’s killer is on the loose, and constantly places herself in danger to hunt for the man she believes is responsible. Warren is rakehell and a rogue but in today’s terms would be a ‘manwhore’ whose reputation precedes his introduction to our story line heroine. Warren’s earlier years were fraught with betrayal and mistrust, and in this our hero struggles with issues of his own. The relationship between our couple is one of immediate interest if not attraction. There is a definite palpable energy building between Delia and Warren, one that does not go unnoticed by those around- their back and forth banter is entertaining and fraught with flirty fun. The intimacy is limited but seductive.

THE DANGER OF DESIRE is an engaging and spirited story line with plenty of non-stop action and a building mystery as Warren and Delia search for the man with a tattoo of the sun. The premise is entertaining; the characters are colorful and passionate; the romance is a slow build to happily ever after.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
The Art of Sinning
The Heiress and the Hothead
The Study of Seduction
The Reading Cafe
The Danger of Desire

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

______________

The Heiress and the HotheadTHE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD
Sinful Suitors 1.5
by Sabrina Jeffries
Genre: historical, romance

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

Re-release date: November 28, 2016

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead.

REVIEW:

Originally released in the October 2015 multi-authored anthology-What Happens Under the Mistletoe- THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD is a novella from Sabrina Jeffries SINFUL SUITORS historical romance series ( a spin off from the Duke’s Men series). This is journalist/writer Lord Stephen Corry, and American heiress/mill owner Amanda Keane’s storyline. Amanda is the sister of artist Jeremy Keane (The Art of Sinning #1). THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

The storyline focuses on the unsafe working conditions in the cotton mills of England, and Stephen’s attempts to bring the atrocities to the public’s attention by reporting and investigating the people and workers. Enter Amanda Keane, an American mill owner who views Stephen’s work as attacks against all mill owners including herself. But a mill fire finds our couple trapped following the rescue of a young boy, and a profession of love and a possible future are made in the heat of the moment.

THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD is a quick read with a little bit of romance, conflict and a happily ever after. The premise is interesting with a holiday theme; the characters are familiar, colorful and entertaining; the romance is quick to develop- the lone $ex scene is mostly implied with no graphic imagery or text

Reviewed by Sandy

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