A Perilous Passion by Elizabeth Keysian – a Review

A Perilous Passion by Elizabeth Keysian – a Review

 

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Description:
Miss Charlotte Allston is unwittingly ensnared in a sinister web of traitors and spies when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome stranger on the beach. Fiercely determined to redeem his honor after a humiliating military defeat, the Earl of Beckport is living incognito, hunting a band of smugglers at the center of a French plot to invade England.

The enigmatic Miss Allston instantly becomes a person of interest to the earl…and not just in the smuggling case. Passion flares swift and hot between the two. But when her attempts to help with his secret mission only endanger it, he must question where her loyalty truly lies.

Stunned by the sudden revelation that the woman he is falling for is the daughter of a notorious smuggler, Beckport feels duty-bound to report her. But then Charlotte is captured by the very traitor he’s after, forcing the earl to decide between redemption…and love.

 

Review:

A Perilous Passion by Elizabeth Keysian begins with Charlotte Allston walking along the shore one minute and being plucked from her feet in the next.  Seems a stranger who observed her on the beach thought she was in need of assistance, even though she was perfectly fine.  After they part ways, it doesn’t take Charlotte long to wonder just what the handsome stranger is up to.  The next day, she heads out to snoop around to see if she can find out just who he is, only to find herself swept up in another encounter with said stranger, whose name is Rafe “Seabourne”.  He insists on escorting Charlotte home, even though she tells him repeatedly it’s not necessary.

Once they arrive at her home, he introduces himself to Charlotte’s overbearing mother.  Her mother almost immediately knows Rafe’s true identity: Rafe Pomeroy, the Earl of Beckport.  He tries to deny it, but fails miserably.  Rafe finally comes clean about who he is, but insists they must keep his identity a secret.  What follows is a story of espionage and danger where Charlotte insists she help Rafe with his secret mission, which often lands them in trouble.

A Perilous Passion has a good plot.  Charlotte’s character was nicely written.  I liked her tenacity and her loyalty.  Rafe was nicely written as well, even though, I have to admit, the back story of why he was trying to redeem himself made me laugh a little.  However, I did feel that their chemistry was a little lacking and the story was a bit slow in places.  With that said, this was an enjoyable read.   Rafe’s sense of honor and Charlotte’s tenacity kept me turning the pages.  The humor was also a plus.  If you’re a fan of this genre, you’ll  enjoy the book as well.

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher

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Highland Redemption by Lori Ann Bailey – a Review

Highland Redemption by Lori Ann Bailey – a Review

 

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Description:
While spying for Clan Cameron, Brodie Cameron rescues a lass, only to realize it’s Skye—the woman who’d broken his heart. He needs to get her to her uncle as quickly as possible to keep her safe, but every minute he’s distracted from his mission brings the clans that much closer to war. And having beautiful Skye anywhere near him is dangerous, because the price on his head is higher than the one on hers.

Upon being rescued from kidnappers, Skye finds herself staring into the eyes of the man she once loved—Brodie Cameron. She’s grateful to be freed, but has no idea how she’ll resist the lad who has become a braw man. Especially because she’s promised to another, in a political marriage forged to strengthen the Royalist clans against the Covenanters who plot to turn Scotland upside down.

 

Review:

Highland Redemption begins with Brodie Cameron following a couple men suspected of going against the Royalists in a feared war among several Clans.  Things don’t go as planned when he sees the men kidnap a young woman, and he has to make a quick decision:  continue his mission or help the woman being kidnapped.  He decides on the latter, which leads to a big surprise for both of them.  Not only do they know each other, but they were once planning a future together.  Brodie takes it upon himself to deliver Skye back safely to her uncle, even though she is not sure she actually needs saving.

As the two of them head back to her familial home, they are met with several road blocks.  Someone wants Skye dead, but Brodie will move heaven and earth to see no harm come to her.  As neither of them trust in each other whole heartedly, one thing becomes more than clear….in order for them to reach safety, they are going to have to deal with their feelings for each other first.  When misunderstandings are cleared up and secrets are brought to light, it doesn’t take either of them long to realize that the feelings they once had for each other are still there.

Highland Redemption is a story full of intrigue, with a few twists and turns.  Skye is a feisty young woman who has faced a lot of loss in her short life.  Brodie, having lost Skye a few years earlier, immersed himself in his work as a spy.  Throughout the years they were separated, they tried to move one without each other, but it was all in vain.  Their interactions were touching, and at times, funny.  The one problem I did have is the plot.  Even though I understood the basics, I got a little lost with all of the Clans involved and had trouble following at times.  Overall, Highland Redemption was an enjoyable read.  The romance was sweet and tender, with the intrigue adding another level to the story.  This is the first novel I’ve read by Lori Ann Bailey, but hopefully not my last.  Well done, Lori Ann Bailey!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher

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Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command by Jennifer Hayward – Review & Giveaway

Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command by Jennifer Hayward – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Shy Chloe Russo is dreading her first Christmas running the family business. Working with Nico Di Fiore is the last straw! Once, Nico’s kisses promised Chloe every sensual delight, until he coldly rejected her. Now he’s her very commanding, very arrogant boss!

Control is paramount to Nico—after his father’s bankruptcy lost him everything, nothing will distract him from succeeding. He’s always kept a tight rein on his craving for Chloe, well aware she alone has the power to disarm him. But now, unable to deny their connection, Nico is determined to reclaim control and take Chloe as his own!

 

 

Review:

Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command begins with Chloe Russo being  summoned back to New York by her “boss”, Nico Di Fiore.  She knew the time had come to assume her duties at her family’s company, but that didn’t make it a task she looked forward to.  Her parents, who were killed in a terrible accident, had built the company from the ground up and it was time to take her rightful place in the company, after burying herself in her work in their Paris lab.  To say she was not looking forward to it is a huge understatement.  It still galled her that her father had named Nico to head the company instead of her Uncle Giorgio.  But what galled her even more was Nico’s rejection years earlier.

Nico thought that he had readied himself for Chloe’s return.  He was all about controlling everything and everyone in his world.  However, once he sees Chloe, he worries that said control will be even harder to control.

During a board meeting in which pitches are made for the Christmas season, Chloe unveils her ambitious plan to put her company, Evolution, back on top.  Even though Nico is not convinced that she can pull it off, he gives her the okay to test the waters with the unveiling of her new product.  Once he green lights the program, he makes it his mission to guide Chloe in order to help her come out of her shell and assume her place in the company. 

As Chloe gets her campaign off the ground, a PR nightmare ensues.  She and Nico have to work hard to handle everything thrown at them.  However, when secrets are revealed and feelings are hurt, Chloe is afraid of not only losing her campaign, but Nico as well.  Not that she ever thought he’d be hers to lose….. And, his actions are proving that thought true.

Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command is another wonderful  addition to Hayward’s long list of enjoyable stories.  The chemistry of the two main characters is amazing.  Chloe has always been a shy behind-the-scenes kind of girl.  I loved seeing her come out of her shell and facing all of her fears head on.  Nico, however, is the one who surprised me.  In one sense, he’s your typical alpha billionaire type, but it is his back story and his justification for the things that he’s done that will pull you in.  This one, more than any other written by Hayward, in my humble opinion, was more of an emotional read.  Christmas at the Tycoon’s Command will pull you in at the very beginning and keeps you turning the pages faster and faster.  It also does what, to me, signifies a great author:  leaves you wanting more.  I absolutely can’t wait for the next one.  Well done, Jennifer Hayward!  Very, very well done!!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy supplied for Review

 

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Make Me Want by Rebecca Brooks – a Review

Make Me Want by Rebecca Brooks – a Review

 

Make Me WantAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM

Description:
Abbi Haas likes them big, bad, and out of her bed the next morning. So when a smoking hot firefighter shuts down a possessive ex by pretending to be her boyfriend, she’s happy to play along—and stay for the no-strings-attached sex under the stars. But her knight with bulging biceps had better not think she’s some damsel in distress. She’ll handle her ex like she does everything: on her own.
 
Wildland firefighter Tyler McCall is supposed to be taking a break from danger. First step to having fun: pick up a sexy stranger by pretending he’s her man. Too bad his fake girlfriend is also his new coworker…and their little white lie has already spread. Tyler knows he should walk away before he gets burned. But he can’t stay out of trouble, and there’s no way he’s letting her go.

 

Review:

Make Me Want begins with Tyler McCall showing up in Gold Mountain with one objective:  work with the Forestry Service on a fire break, finish the job and head out.  Before he heads to the house he’s rented, he stops in a local bar to have a drink, trying to stay one step ahead of what he’s running from.  It doesn’t take long for him to notice a guy in the bar giving one of the local girls a hard time, and being who he is, he intervenes on her behalf.  Abbi is more than grateful when he shows up, and if she were being honest, more than happy to go along with his ruse. 

It takes just a few minutes for Tyler and Abbi to head out and for thing to heat up between the two of them.  However, once Abbi learns of the reason for Tyler being in town, she can’t believe her luck….or lack thereof.  Abbi is a naturalist, and the one leading the charge to stop said fire break.  What are the chances?  Like moths drawn to a flame, they both find it hard to stay away from each other.  One thing they both know, if you get too close to the fire, someone is bound to get burned.

Make Me Want is a nicely written story, and can easily be read as a standalone.  Tyler is your typical hero:  hot with a healthy dose of savior complex.  His back story more than explains his savior complex, and will endear him to the reader.  Abbi surprised me a little.  Her back story is one that will leave your jaw hanging.  I think this may be the first romance that I’ve personally read that went there, and I still don’t know how I feel about it.  It does explain why she is a “need no one” type, but dang………  Anyway, I liked the two of them together and I loved the townsfolk and the secondary characters.  If you’re looking for a quick read with sizzling scenes and relatable characters, you won’t go wrong with this one.  Make Me Want is ultimately a story of forgiveness, redemption and love.  I liked it well enough that I’d like to go back and read the first two installments of this series.  Well done, Rebecca Brooks!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher

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A Penny for Her Heart by Alretha Thomas – a Review

A Penny for Her Heart by Alretha Thomas – a Review

 

A Penny for her HeartAmazon

Description:
Vanessa Johnson Rossi’s dream is to work in the White House. Not as the leader of the free world, but as chief of staff, overseeing the executive office of the president. As an assistant working at Buderwood Hills City Hall, she finds herself getting closer to realizing her dream when a plum position becomes available that would put her a step closer working directly for the mayor who has personal connections to the White House. But Vanessa’s hopes are dashed when her best friend, Penelope Newhouse, lands the coveted job. However, when Vanessa discovers Penelope murdered less than a hundred feet from the office she dreamed of occupying, her disappointment turns into devastation. Detective Rachel Storme and her team are put on the case and she soon finds herself delving into the underbelly of politics in search of the killer. The clues point to a litany of suspects, including the mayor. As usual, Detective Storme is determined to solve this case—a case so chock-full of dark and sinister twists and turns, it has her questioning her own competence.

 

Review:

A Penny for Her Heart begins with Vanessa heading into work at the mayor’s office on what should have been her day off, but duty calls.  She arrives and heads to her best friend’s office.  She and Penelope (Penny) met in college and have been best friends ever since.  Once Vanessa enters Penny’s office, she notices almost immediately that things seem a bit off.  Penny is nowhere around, which leads Vanessa to check the bathroom.  Little did she know that once she set foot in that bathroom, her world would be changed forever.  She sees blood everywhere and someone in a stall, but is so distraught all she can do is run out screaming for the security guard on duty to summon the police. 

Rachel Storme is attending a cookout at Herb’s, who also happens to be her long-time partner at the police department.  When Herb gets the call that there’s been a murder at the mayor’s office, he and Rachel, along with co-workers Vincent and Carlos, who were also attending the get together, head out to the scene of the murder.  It doesn’t take Rachel long for that methodical mind of hers to start processing the scene and the people there.  She interviews Vanessa, who is understandably upset and ready to just go home.  Once finished, Vanessa heads out with the promise to call Rachel if anything of use comes to mind. 

As the investigation progresses, Vanessa soon realizes that Penny had a whole other side that she never knew about.  Lies are uncovered, hearts are broken and Vanessa finds herself questioning everything she thought she ever knew about her friendship with Penny.  While Rachel and her team dig up clues and try to tie together a motive, she knows that the longer it takes them, the chances of finding the killer get smaller.  Add to that the family issues Rachel has with her scattered and irresponsible aunt, along with her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease……….some days she just can’t catch a break.  The one thing that she excels doing?  Pulling together the pieces of evidence and listening to her gut.

A Penny for Her Heart is another wonderfully written book by Alretha Thomas.  As I’ve said before, all of the characters in Mrs. Thomas’s books are relatable, as well as believable.  While reading this particular one, more than any of the others, I found myself wrong so many times when I thought I’d figured out who the killer was.  The twists and turns kept me turning the pages, but Rachel Storme keeps me coming back to this series.  Her determination and drive, along with a big ol’ heart, is very endearing.  I’m starting to feel repetitive in my reviews of this series, but Rachel is truly one of the most believable and realistic characters I’ve read in a long time.  Anyone would feel lucky to have such a person in their lives.  If you’re a mystery fan, this one will not disappoint.  And, as always, I look forward to the next installment.  Well done, Alretha Thomas!  Very, very well done!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy supplied for review

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The Duke Meets His Match by Tina Gabrielle – a Review

The Duke Meets His Match by Tina Gabrielle – a Review

 

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Description:
The daughter of an infamous art forger, Chloe Somerton grew up poor. Desperate to aid her sisters, she’d picked a pocket…or two. Now circumstances have changed, and Chloe has a chance to marry a young, wealthy lord. Only his mentor—a dark, dangerous duke—stands in her way. The duke knows about her past, and she’ll do anything to keep him from telling.

The moment Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, sees Chloe Somerton, he recognizes her as a fraud. The stunning beauty with sapphire eyes and golden hair now appears to be a proper lady, but he knows better. What begins as a battle of wills soon escalates into a fierce attraction. In Chloe, Michael finds peace from the memories of war, but he refuses to marry…and she won’t settle for anything less.

 

Review:

The Duke Meets His Match begins with Chloe attending a party with her sister, who is bound and determined to play matchmaker for Chloe.  Of course, Chloe had rather make her own match, but appreciates her sister’s interest….most of the time.  As Chloe sets her eyes on a handsome young Earl named Henry, she can’t help but notice Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, who just happens to be Henry’s guardian.  Michael and Henry’s father were in the war together, and only Michael made it home.  Henry’s father took a bullet meant for Michael, which has caused Michael a great deal of guilt.  Once home, he has made it his mission to teach the young Henry about managing his estate and his affairs. 

Once Michael sees Chloe, he immediately recognizes her and knows that there is a shady past that Henry knows nothing about.  He attempts to warn Chloe away from Henry, and call her bluff (if you will).  What he does not expect is Chloe’s reaction.  As their mutual attraction grows, the Duke knows that he has indeed, met his match….

The Duke Meets His Match is a wonderfully written story that has relatable characters.  I love the Somertons, and Chloe is by far my favorite.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the other two books and their heroines, but I LOVED Chloe.  Determined to distance herself from her torturous past, she stands up for herself in a way that will endear herself to everyone who reads her story.  Michael was a bit of a surprise for me.  Yes, he started out as an antagonist whom I couldn’t see myself liking (at all!), only to turn out to be a multi-layered character that I fell in love with.  His reasons for saying he would never marry are actually valid ones, but Chloe being Chloe, makes him see reason.  She also makes him see that asking for help does not make you weak.  The Duke Meets His Match is ultimately a story about pushing past preconceived notions to truly see a person for whom they really are.  If you’re a fan of this genre, you will never go wrong with any of the Somertons’ stories, but this one will make you a true fan of the author.  Well done, Tina Gabrielle!  Very, very well done!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy provided by Publisher

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Salazar’s One-Night Heir by Jennifer Hayward – Review & Giveaway

Salazar’s One-Night Heir  by Jennifer Hayward – Review & Giveaway

 

Salazar's One Night Heir

 

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Description:
The challenge: take revenge for a decades-old injustice…

Tycoon Alejandro Salazar will take any opportunity to expose the Hargrove family’s crime against his–including accept the challenge to pose as their stable groom! His goal in sight, Alejandro cannot allow himself to be distracted by the gorgeous Hargrove heiress…

Her family must pay, yet Alejandro can’t resist innocent Cecily’s fiery passion. And when their one night of bliss results in an unexpected pregnancy, Alejandro will legitimize his heir and restore his family’s honor…by binding Cecily to him with a diamond ring!

 

Review:

Salazar’s One-Night Heir begins with Alejandro accepting a challenge from a friend:  survive two weeks without your money and your affluence.  Alejandro accepts the challenge and finds himself at the Hargrove family ranch as “Colt Banyon”, a lowly stable groom.  There is a history between the two families, one that left Alejandro’s beloved grandmother seeking revenge, and also puts Alejandro in the position to discover the truth and finally get justice.  The last thing he needs is to be intrigued by Cecily Hargrove’s presence. 

As Cecily tries to get herself, and her horse, back into top competing form, things aren’t going well.  To top it off, a new groom, Colt, is telling her she’s going about things all the wrong way.  She storms off, not believing the audacity that someone, especially a new groom, would ever challenge her.  What she can’t understand is why she can’t get that confrontation out of her mind…. She can’t afford any distractions, but as time passes, it becomes more than obvious that the attraction goes both ways.  They resist, but ultimately give into the passion firing between them.  After all, what can one night hurt……………..

Salazar’s One-Night Heir is another nicely written story by Jennifer Hayward.  Cecily is a character who is independent, and at the same time, needful.  Once you learn more about her mother and her past, your heart will ache for her.  Alejandro is, in a word, delicious.  His love and devotion to his grandmother will endear him to everyone.  However, it is his fierce protectiveness that develops for Cecily that will pull you in.  If you’re looking for a quick and fun read with well developed characters and a hot romance, you’ll not go wrong with this latest installment from Jennifer Hayward.  Well done, Jennifer Hayward!  Very well done!

Reviewed by Vickie

Copy supplied for review

 

 

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How to Ruin your Reputation in Ten Days by Harmony Williams – a Review

How to Ruin your Reputation in Ten Days by Harmony Williams – a Review

 

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Description:
In 1814 London, England, a lady is defined as a demure, delicate flower. Miss Francine Annesley is not that lady. If men were like plants, she would have a garden of admirers to choose from instead of the thorn in her side since childhood, Julian Beckwith. But she would make an even worse nun than she does a lady, which will be her fate if she can’t dig up a husband before the Season ends. However, Julian is not an option.

With only ten short days left in the Season, Francine doesn’t have time to waste on petty squabbles or knee-weakening kisses, even if Julian’s offer to fulfill her every wish rouses her curiosity. It seems men are more complicated than plants. Too bad love bloomed at the most inconvenient of times…

 

Review:

How to Ruin Your Reputation in Ten Days begins with only ten days left in the Season.  Francine is attending a party at which her parents are hoping that she finds an appropriate suitor.  After five Seasons without an offer, their hopes of her picking someone are faltering.  Francine is determined not to enter into a loveless relationship with someone who is more interested in her dowry than they are in her.  As Francine skirts the people and their boring conversations at the party trying to get away from unwanted suitors, she makes her way outside and into the garden.  She soon finds herself in an awkward position and snags her dress on a thorny bush and eventually gets herself freed, only to come face to face with none other than her childhood friend, Julian Beckwith.  The two of them had been exchanging letters for the last few years, but he suddenly stopped replying, which hurt her more than she wanted to let on.

As things progress, there is no denying the pull between them, but when Francine discovers the reason he stopped replying to her letters, she is shattered.  To make matters even worse, her father has had it with her not choosing a suitor and issues an ultimatum:  pick a suitable suitor by the end of the Season or you’re going to the convent!  (Harsh much?!?!)  Seems he’s had it with her independent ways and the fact the she always seems to get caught in the most awkward and inappropriate situations.  Unfortunately, said situations have made her the gossip of the ton, and her father is DONE.

How to Ruin Your Reputation in Ten Days is a nicely written tale with two great characters.  I loved Francine.  I loved her independent streak that warred with her wanting to please her parents, who in my opinion, were sorely lacking in the parenting department.  I also loved her devotion to her friends and to Julian.  She also made me laugh.  Julian was great as well.  Once we find out the back story as to why he’d stopped responding to her letters, your heart broke a little.  You also wanted to box his ears a little!  The two of them together will melt your heart.  With all of that said, I have to admit that the story I’m most anxious for is her friend, Mary’s.  That one has great potential and I can’t imagine how she’ll be tamed, seeing as she is one of the most inappropriate (for the time) and independent characters I’ve read in years.  I have my fingers crossed that her story will not disappoint.  If you’re a fan of historicals, this series is a nice read.   Well done, Harmony Williams!

Reviewed by Vickie

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