Duke of Desire (Maiden Lane #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

DUKE OF DESIRE (Maiden Lane #12) by Elizabeth Hoyt-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

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Maiden Lane #12
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

Duke of Desire

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 17, 2017


Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.


Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.


Much to Raphael’s irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he’s drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael’s past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael’s own demons?


REVIEW: DUKE OF DESIRE is the twelfth installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s adult MAIDEN LANE historical romance series. This is the Duke of Dyemore Raphael de Chartres, and Lady Iris Jordan’s story line. DUKE OF DESIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty . Any important information from previous installments is revealed where necessary. We were first introduced to our heroine in book eleven DUKE OF PLEASURE. Iris is Hugh Fitzroy’s sister.

NOTE: DUKE OF DESIRE contains references to pedophilia, rape, abuse and torture, and may not be suitable for all readers.

Told from several third person perspectives DUKE OF DESIRE is a story line that focuses on a dark secret within the notable society of Georgian England. Kidnapped just days after her brother’s marriage to Alf, Lady Iris Jordan comes face to face with the evil that permeates the rich and famous-the Lords of Chaos- a group of sick, twisted and perverted aristocratic men who use their power and position to kidnap and destroy the innocent and young. Enter Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, Iris’s savior, and the man with whom our heroine will fall in love. What ensues is the building romance between Iris and Raphael, and the potential fall-out as Raphael seeks revenge against the Lords of Chaos for destroying his life, and the lives of so many others.

DUKE OF DESIRE is a darker story line that follows the abduction and rescue of our story line heroine, and the subsequent search for the leader of the Lords of Chaos. Raphael is the reluctant Duke of Dyemore but with his father’s death, Raphael assumes more than his rightful place as Duke but that of his father’s membership and mantle within the group that destroyed Raphael’s life.

Iris never thought of herself as a potential target until the Lords of Chaos kidnapped our heroine in a plot against her newly betrothed brother. Her would-be rescuer is familiar; possibly evil but definitely the man with whom Iris would fall in love. Raphael wants nothing to do with consummating his marriage while our heroine struggles to seduce a man who isn’t willing to play along. The $ex scenes are intimate although Raphael battles too many demons, and memories from his past making for some heartbreaking moments between our newly married couple.

DUKE OF DESIRE is an emotional read about one man’s struggle to move on from the past. Raphael’s need for revenge is all consuming to the point of suicidal actions that could very well end his life, as well as the life of the woman with whom he is falling in love. The premise is sensitive, dramatic and tragic; the characters are broken, strong, passionate and intense; the romance suffers with one man’s inability to let go of the past.

My only concern is the cover image that does not match our hero’s horrific physical scars.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Duke of Desire Teaser


Desperately she flung herself at the opposite seat and tugged it up. Thrust her hand in.
A pistol.
She cocked it, desperately praying that it was loaded.
She turned and aimed it at the door to the carriage just as the door swung open.
The Wolf loomed in the doorway—still nude—a lantern in one hand. She saw the eyes behind the mask flick to the pistol she held between her bound hands. He turned his head and said something in an incomprehensible language to someone outside.
Iris felt her breath sawing in and out of her chest.
He climbed into the carriage and closed the door, completely ignoring her and the pistol pointed at him. The Wolf hung the lantern on a hook and sat on the seat across from her.
Finally he glanced at her. “Put that down.”
His voice was calm. Quiet.
With just a hint of menace.
She backed into the opposite corner, as far away from him as possible, holding the pistol up. Level with his chest. Her heart was pounding so hard it nearly deafened her. “No.”
The carriage jolted into motion, making her stumble before she caught herself.
“T-tell them to stop the carriage,” she said, stuttering with terror despite her resolve. “Let me go now.”
“So that they can rape you to death out there?” He tilted his head to indicate the Lords. “No.”
“At the next village, then.”
“I think not.”
He reached for her and she knew she had no choice.
She shot him.
The blast blew him into the seat and threw her hands up and back, the pistol narrowly missing her nose.
Iris scrambled to her feet. The bullet was gone, but she could still use the pistol as a bludgeon.
The Wolf was sprawled across the seat, blood streaming from a gaping hole in his right shoulder. His mask had been knocked askew on his face.
She reached forward and snatched it off.
And then gasped.
The face that was revealed had once been as beautiful as an angel’s but was now horribly mutilated. A livid red scar ran from just below his hairline on the right side of his face, bisecting the eyebrow, somehow missing the eye itself but gouging a furrow into the lean cheek and catching the edge of his upper lip, making it twist. The scar ended in a missing divot of flesh in the line of the man’s severe jaw. He had inky black hair and, though they were closed now, Iris knew he had emotionless crystal-gray eyes.
She knew because she recognized him.
He was Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, and when she’d danced with him—once—three months ago at a ball, she’d thought he’d looked like Hades.
God of the underworld.
God of the dead.
She had no reason to change her opinion now.
Then he gasped, those frozen crystal eyes opened, and he glared at her. “You idiot woman. I’m trying to save you.”

About The author

Follow: Twitter / Website/ Facebook / Bookbub / Amazon

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

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Twice as Wicked by Elizabeth Bright -a Review

Twice as Wicked by Elizabeth Bright -a Review


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Miss Alice Bursnell is determined to wreak revenge on Nathaniel Eastwood, Viscount Abingdon, for the seduction, ruin, and death of her beloved twin sister. But how to expose a seducer without falling prey herself? As she gets closer to Nathaniel, she finds she is in serious danger of following in her sister’s much-too-tempted footsteps. The man is nothing like the heartless rake she expected…and his kisses are truly divine. Could she be wrong about him? 

When a mysterious and gorgeous woman confronts Nathaniel at a fancy ball, he suspects she has murder on her mind—his own. But the more he tries to determine who the deceptively innocent beauty is—and what she’s up to—the deeper he falls under her alluring spell. Nathaniel fears he’s in imminent danger of losing his life…or worse, his heart.




Twice as Wicked by Elizabeth Bright is a steamy romance that is mixed in with some mystery.  

Alice needs someone to blame for the death of her sister, So Alice goes on a hunt for revenge and her search leads her to Nathaniel, as far as Alice can tell, it’s totally Nathaniel’s fault that her twin sister died.  So she decides to face him and make him pay for what he did. 

Nathaniel is not your typical hero or rogue turning over a new leaf, he is shy and awkward, not at all like Alice thinks he should be. He seems kind, shy and very self conscious, and does not always appear comfortable in his position as Viscount. 

Nathaniel has been finding himself in life threatening situations whenever Alice seems to always be around, causing him to grow suspicious of her. But he’s totally enamoured with the mystery lady. 

As the story develops, we see that things are not what they seem. As few twists and turns kept me turning the pages in an otherwise predictable story. Even when Alice learns the truth about Nathaniel’s twin brother. She still wants revenge. 

Nathaniel wants to stop her, which as you can imagine creates conflict between the two, and the added fact of their attraction and fondness for the other.  Confuses him no end. 

As Nathaniel falls in love with Alice, he is frustrated she cannot get past her revenge. And he still needs to resolve issues with his brother. 

Alice realizes she is falling in love with Nathaniel, but she needs to make a choice between avenging her sister or the man she loves.  Twice as Wicked was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to what’s next in this series.

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher



The Sorrow Stone by J.A. McLachlan- review

The Sorrow Stone by J.A. McLachlan-a review

The Sorrow Stone

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 3, 2017

During the middle ages, a peasant’s superstition held that a mother mourning the death of her child could “sell her sorrow” by selling a nail from her child’s coffin to a peddler.

Would you pay someone to bear your sorrow?

Lady Celeste is overwhelmed with grief when her infant son dies. Desperate to find relief, she begs a passing peddler to buy her sorrow. Jean, the cynical peddler she meets, is nobody’s fool; he does not believe in superstitions and insists Celeste include the valuable ruby ring on her finger along with the nail in return for his coin.

Jean and Celeste both find themselves changed by their transaction in ways neither of them anticipated. Jean finds that bearing another’s sorrow opens him to strange fits of compassion, a trait he can ill afford. Meanwhile Celeste learns that without her wedding ring her husband may set her aside, leaving her ruined. She determines to retrieve it before he finds out—without reclaiming her sorrow. But how will she find the peddler and convince him to give up the precious ruby ring?


REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Ok so you know when you read a book and after you are done you think “Where did that come from and my goodness that was strange and really really good!” NO? You will after reading this book. So out of the historical fiction “norm” that I am use to reading and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Sorrow Stone by J.A. McLachlan is a historical fiction novel with a side of superstition folklore, set in the medieval era (MY FAVE) in 12th century France. Plenty of authentic detail with regards to historical accuracy, I was very pleased that this author had done the research for what this time had to offer. I love my history and I admire an author who does their homework and weaves a fantastic story in a with true details/facts.

Lady Celeste is grieving the loss of her infant son. A superstition says that one can sell their sorrow by selling the nail of the coffin with it. Desperate for relief, she sets upon a peddler to buy it from her. Jean is said peddler, and he really doesn’t have much interest in Celeste until he sees the ruby ring on her finger. Before we know it, Celeste has sold her sorrow and her wedding ring. At first, Celeste is confused as to what had happened prior to meeting Jean, but she does recollect the importance of her ring. She must get her ring back or be cast off by her husband. Off she goes to find Jean and both have near misses and very strange journeys.

Ok so clearly I have oversimplified the story because let me tell you this is not a simple story. This is an author with excellent pacing and revealing tidbits as we progress with the characters. It is told in multi person, but the transition from one to another is done perfectly. I was never bored for one second reading this story and it felt a little like peeling an onion, so many layers and a few tears. I LOVED getting to know Celeste and Jean and as you know I love my romance .. I didn’t miss it! I loved how all things tied in and up … together.

I feel like I am not doing this book much justice here, so I will say two things to end this review. This book is INCREDIBLE and this book will keep you thinking long after you have finished it. If this is your cup of tea, then pick this book up and give it a shot.


Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

About The Author beige

Follow: Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

J. A. McLachlan is the author of a short story collection, CONNECTIONS (Pandora Press) and two College texts on Professional Ethics (Pearson-Prentice Hall). But science fiction is her first love, a genre she’s been reading all her life. Walls of Wind was her first published SF novel. She has two young adult science fiction novels, The Occasional Diamond Thief and The Salarian Desert Game (EDGE SF&F Publishing).


The Duke of Danger (The Untouchables #6) by Darcy Burke-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Duke of Danger (The Untouchables #6) by Darcy Burke-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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The Untouchables #6
by Darcy Burke
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, romance

The Duke of Danger

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 26, 2017

After killing his opponent in a duel, Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge, is known as the Duke of Danger. Tortured by guilt, he shields himself with a devil-may-care attitude. However, when he kills another man in another duel, he’s beyond redemption, even though it wasn’t his fault. He refuses to smear a dead man’s name, especially when he’s left behind a blameless widow who doesn’t deserve an even bigger scandal.

Widowed and destitute, Lady Emmaline Townsend must marry the man of her parents’ choosing or beg unsympathetic relatives for support. The only way out is to ask for help from the one man she’s sworn to hate, the man who owes her anything she asks, the man who killed her husband. They strike a devil’s bargain in which passion simmers just beneath the surface. But her dead husband’s transgressions come back to haunt them and threaten their chance at love.



5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

WOW! This is heavy read warning. An angst filled, good lord can anything else go wrong for these characters, dark, spine chilling, sob filled with some very amazing sexy time thrown in kind of heavy read. IT WAS INCREDIBLE and totally made this book.

The Duke of Danger (yup best title there) by Darcy Burke is the 6th novel in her “The Untouchables” series, a historical romance and I would recommend you read the previous books as this series is multi layered in characters and story and at this point there is just so much you would miss out on if you skipped the previous 5. It can be read alone I suppose, but seriously, don’t deprive yourself of the full series experience .. you won’t be disappointed!

Our leading guy is Lionel Maitland, Marquess of Axbridge. Lionel is a stand up guy and is pretty much quite amazing, but this thing called honour is the cause of a string of bad outcomes on his life and the duels he has participated in. He carries the weight of dark emotions due to his dueling and despite having believed they were just caused, the result doesn’t sit well. The latest duel ends in death (not Lionel’s and not with intent to kill), and this makes him feel he can no longer be happy and/or redeemed. He will take care of his opponents now widow and be the best stand up man he can be.

Lady Emmaline Townsend is the opponents widow. Geesh, if it wasn’t for bad luck, she’d have no luck. This poor woman has been through the ringer with endless life altering catastrophes after another. Horrible past, this latest stroke of bad luck hits her the hardest as her husbands death leaves much debt, shame and her having to return to her parents (shudders .. not good). She decides to take matters in her own hands and plays the widow guilt card and take Lionel’s offers of help.

These two set off on a journey of self discovery, healing in each others arms and faith that trust and love can exist. Passion, of my, Darcy Burke writes some serious amazing passion and these two lit up the pages. I have to admit, Emmaline was very hard to like and I almost knocked a star off as she was not my favourite, but, then I thought, if Darcy can write a character I kinda really don’t like and have me sympathize, empathize and maybe understand a little bit .. and to the point where I liked her by the end, well that right there is an applause to fantastic character development and writing.

Like I said above, a heavier historical romance read but I was engaged the entire time and found myself wanting to rush through the story to get to the hard reached HEA. We get there, it’s just quite the path taken! LOL


Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

The Duke of Danger teaser



“Good afternoon, Lady Townsend. May I offer my deepest condolences?”

She turned on the chair, barely curious as to who might be visiting and eager to send him on his way. But as soon as she pivoted, it was as if a dam inside her split in two and a cascade of emotion tumbled forth.

Bolting from the chair, she took two long steps toward him. “You.”

“Yes, me.” The Marquess of Axbridge didn’t flinch. Indeed, he stared into her, his blue eyes clear and piercing.

“You’ve a singular audacity to come here.”

The marquess bowed deeply. “I beg your pardon.” He looked at her once more. “And your forgiveness.”

Rage spiraled through her, and it was glorious to feel. “You’ll never have either.”

“That is completely understandable.” His tone was tight, measured. His cool reserve antagonized her.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m so glad I have your approval.”

“I wouldn’t ever ask for, nor expect that.”

“And yet you ask for my forgiveness. It hardly seems to matter—I’ll give you nothing save my undying hatred.”

“Which I deserve. Nevertheless, I would apologize for what happened.”

“Apologize? You didn’t step on my foot during a dance. Nor did you spill a glass of ratafia on my gown. You killed my husband.”

Now he flinched. His eye twitched, and his lips pressed together so hard, they turned white. And yet he was still incredibly handsome. That hardly seemed fair.

He took a step toward her. She didn’t retreat, but her body tensed. She clenched her hands into tight fists. Her spine was so straight and stiff that she could have flown a flag from her shoulder.

“I didn’t come to make excuses, but please know I had good reason to demand satisfaction. I’d hoped he would settle the matter before moving to weapons, but he refused.”

She gaped at him. “Are you somehow trying to blame my husband for your actions?”

His jaw tightened, and he blew out a breath. “No. I came to offer my condolences, beg your forgiveness, apologize, and offer any assistance you may need—ever.”

He wanted to help her? She stared at him, the anger inside her curdling. “I would never want anything from you, nor would I ask.”

“I certainly understand you not wanting anything from me; however, if a need should ever arise, I would very much like to help you.”

“I think you’ve done quite enough.” Fury churned through every part of her, and she wanted to lash out. Needed to. “Actually, I can think of one thing I would like from you.” She took a step toward him, her lip curling. “I should appreciate it if you would be miserable for the rest of your life. I would take great joy in knowing that you will wallow in guilt and anguish for all your days.” She glared at him, long and hard.

“I can do that,” he said softly, without a shred of irony. “You may be pleased to know that I am already well on my way. And I shan’t trouble you with my presence. I’m leaving England today.”


“My offer will always stand, whether you choose to take advantage of it or not. Should you require anything at all, please contact my man of affairs.” He held out a card.

She didn’t want to take anything from him. “Choke on it,” she spat.

He withdrew his hand to his side. “Again, my deepest apologies, Lady Townsend.” He turned and strode from the room, his broad shoulders straight, his gait sure.

Damn him.

Damn him.

About The Author

Darcy BurkeDarcy 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.



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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An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities #3) by KJ Charles-a review

AN UNSUITABLE HEIR (Sins of the Cities #3) by KJ Charles-a review

An Unsuitable Heir

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 3, 2017

A private detective finds passion, danger, and the love of a lifetime when he hunts down a lost earl in Victorian London.

On the trail of an aristocrat’s secret son, enquiry agent Mark Braglewicz finds his quarry in a music hall, performing as a trapeze artist with his twin sister. Graceful, beautiful, elusive, and strong, Pen Starling is like nobody Mark’s ever met—and everything he’s ever wanted. But the long-haired acrobat has an earldom and a fortune to claim.

Pen doesn’t want to live as any sort of man, least of all a nobleman. The thought of being wealthy, titled, and always in the public eye is horrifying. He likes his life now—his days on the trapeze, his nights with Mark. And he won’t be pushed into taking a title that would destroy his soul.

But there’s a killer stalking London’s foggy streets, and more lives than just Pen’s are at risk. Mark decides he must force the reluctant heir from music hall to manor house, to save Pen’s neck. Betrayed by the one man he thought he could trust, Pen never wants to see his lover again. But when the killer comes after him, Pen must find a way to forgive—or he might not live long enough for Mark to make amends


REVIEW: AN UNSUITABLE HEIR is the third and final installment in KJ Charles’ Victorian England, adult SIN OF THE CITIES M/M romance, mystery trilogy. This is private investigator Mark Braglewicz, and trapeze artist and reluctant earl Repentance ‘Pen’ Starling’s story line. AN UNSUITABLE HEIR can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and backstory I recommend reading the series in order as there is an ongoing premise and plot throughout the series focusing on the search for the heir to the Earl of Moreton’s estate.

NOTE: AN UNSUITABLE HEIR and the SINS OF THE CITIES series contain scenes of M/M sexual situations and may not be suitable for all readers.

SOME BACKGROUND: Twenty three years earlier, sixteen year old and pregnant Emmeline Godfrey Taillefer’s life fell apart when the man that she married walked away without a backwards glance. Fast forward and the son to whom she gave birth is said to be the legitimate heir to the Earl of Moreton-a position coveted by more than one surviving relation.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Pen and Mark) AN UNSUITABLE HEIR focuses on the search for the truth as a group of friends endeavors to find the missing heir to the Taillefer fortune and title holder to the Earl of Moreton. Mark Braglewicz has been commissioned to locate a young man known a Pen Starling-one half of the Flying Starling trapeze artists, and the man who is quite possibly the missing heir to the Moreton estates. Enter Repentance Taillefer aka Pen Starling, a man whose lifestyle will never be conducive as the Earl of Moreton, and the man with whom Mark Braglewicz will fall in love. With a killer on the loose, searching for the missing Taillefer twins, Mark struggles to convince Pen and his sister Greta (Regret) that Pen’s life hangs in the balance as a killer sets his sights on the Moreton heir.

Pen Starling is an anomaly – a bi-gendered man living in Victoria England; a flamboyant trapeze artist whose ‘professional persona’ crosses over into his daily life including an attraction to men that must be hidden in light of the times. Pen’s ‘gender fluidity’ is expressed by the way he presents himself as a girl or a boy (woman or man) depending upon his current state of mind or emotions. Mark Braglewicz, a private investigator is a bisexual man (with a missing left arm) whose captivation with Pen is palpable and intense.

The relationship between Pen and Mark is one of mutual fascination; a forbidden romance between two men who must remain closeted at a time when homosexuality is criminal and a sin. Mark’s ongoing need to convince Pen to acknowledge his rightful title builds a wall between our leading couple, a wall that will harden the heart of Pen Starling as betrayal and lies force Pen to face the truth about the man with whom he is falling in love. Pen is a reluctant heir knowing his personal lifestyle will become fodder for the people in charge-his fears are legitimate and painful. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

The world building continues to focus on the hunt for a killer; the search for the missing Moreton heirs; and the developing friendships and relationships between a group of gay men in Victorian England. All of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles. Once again, the tone of the story is not conducive to the era or the time-I was expecting a tighter interpretation of the language e.g. euphemisms, slang, sentence structure, and because of this, the story line reads more modern than historic (see my review of books one and two). The premise is entertaining and enlightening; the characters are colorful but flawed; the romance is seductive and intense.

I would like to add that political correctness did not exist in Victorian England, and to apply modern standards to an historical romance novel would alter the perceptive believability of the era. Some readers may take offense to the ‘presentation’ of Pen’s sexuality or Mark’s physical disability but for readers to apply contemporary criteria, standards, measurements or guidelines to this series and story line would be a grievous error that should be avoided.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
An Unseen Attraction
An Unnatural Vice
The Unsuitable Heir

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


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

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

Highland Flame

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 5, 2017


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

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

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


REVIEW:5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T



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


Guest Post=Black and Red

Historical facts you should know

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

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

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

About The Author Black and Red

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

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A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway


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A Gentleman Never SurrendersAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM

Love is worth a little scandal.

Owen Hadley needs a wife. Preferably a wealthy one. Alas, there aren’t a great number of heiresses willing to marry a rogue of no particular fortune—luckily, if there is ever a gentleman capable of melting a lady’s chilly heart, it’s Owen. 

Milly has had enough of the marriage mart. If matrimony means giving up her freedom for a foppish husband, then society can take their idea of marital bliss and toss it. But when the ton’s most notorious rogue mistakenly makes his way into her bedchambers, Milly finds herself unexpectedly and unwillingly at the altar . . . 

Yet the more time she spends with her new husband, the more Milly starts to wonder if the marriage she never wanted may be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Now it’s up to Owen to convince Milly that what started as a mistake is anything but—and that every night with him will be more wonderfully scandalous than the last.




5 out of 5 for this reader folks!


I love it when two characters who were never suppose to be, never wanted to be, become absolutely should be, and currently ARE!  Sometimes the things you least expect to be the best thing for you become just that!  The BEST thing for you! 

A Gentleman Never Surrender is the second book in Lauren Smith‘s historical romance “Sins and Scandals” series.  I did review the first book of this series at The Reading Cafe and while you don’t NEED to read the first one, these are not long reads so do yourself a favour and pick it up so this story can have more of an impact on you.

Our leading guy is Owen Hadley.  He’s a rogue, known for being a rogue, not the kind of man that any respectable woman wishes to be partnered with.  He is also in dire need of a wife and one with a fortune would be preferable.  He is smart, witty, charming but not in the “ew, get away from me” manner.  He owns his mistakes and does all he can to correct them.

Milly!  Oh our leading lady Milly!  She makes me happy, and is one of my fave characters that Lauren has ever created (I am a huge fan of hers and have read most if not all of her books so far).  Milly is largely misunderstood, but it’s because she wants to be.  She is not interested in marriage market approach to her future, she wants to fall in love and have a true committed relationship.  She comes across cold, uninterested, somewhat of a stick in the mud BUT she is none of these.  She is actually a sweet sweet lady with a very large beautiful heart.  She is the kind of person (and I guess I love her so much because I can relate) who loves big and hurts big.  No half way with her!

Owen accidentally compromises Milly.  He is set out to compromise someone (bad Owen .. I get why you did it, but bad Owen ..lol) and although Milly was not his intended lady, she ends up being the lady who now has to marry a man she doesn’t love.  She is not happy!  Owen does all he can to be a good husband to Milly knowing it’s his fault she is in this situation.  Before we know it, these two form a friendship and find themselves completely falling in love.  This is a story of two wrongs making a right!

Of course the way Lauren writes this story is more compelling and teasing than the quick overview I have given it.  I loved that this story was more focused on the actual relationship rather than external side stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed this couple, and found their moments together sweet, sassy and seducing.  They both ended up with what they wanted, they just had to take the long road to get there!

Fantastic story again Lauren Smith, keep them coming!


Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied for review



About the Author


Born and raised in Tulsa, I spent the first twenty-two years of my life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school I attended Oklahoma State University where I earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, I satisfied my fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands.

Over the years, my studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, I have discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever I go. After completing college, I moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.  Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, I returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.

Since third grade when my English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, I have been hooked on writing. My first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to me that writing was my true passion.

Learn more about Lauren at the following links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads



Lauren is graciously offering a $25.00 Gift Card (Amazon or B&N) and a signed paper copy of a book of your choice from Lauren’s backlist (Sins and Scandal not included)  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.

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

3. Please LIKE and Follow Lauren Smith 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. Giveaway open Internationally

8. Giveaway runs from September 12 to 16, 2017




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

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

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


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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date August 29, 2017


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


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

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



4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T

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About The Author

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

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

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

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