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

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

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

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

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/

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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

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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

Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5817917.Sabrina_York

Check out my Pinterest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Sign up for Amazon alerts: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork

Sign up for alerts on new releases with other vendors: https://books2read.com/author/sabrina-york/subscribe/1/28367/

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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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

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

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

Highland Spy tour banner

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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Forever romance

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