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Archive for July, 2013

(Dangerous Rogues #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

As a wealthy young widow, Lady Jessica Heyerwill must endure the closest of scrutiny—and most wicked of rumors—from society gossips. Their whispers would be utterly unbearable if it weren’t for her oldest friend, the Duke of Alsborough. Jess knows she can always count on Hayden. What she never could have expected, however, is that he is deeply, madly in love with her…

For years, Hayden has kept his longing for his beautiful friend Jess a secret. But now that she’s finally free to remarry, will she be willing to take their relationship to a more intimate level? He’ll get his answer soon—at a glittering masquerade, where identities are hidden, hearts are open, and true love is unmasked…in a single, shameless act of passion.

Expected publication date: 25 February 2014

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These two July auto-buy books have been added to my bookshelves



The following three books were all Kindle freebies from Amazon.

(MacGregor Trilogy #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

HIS FAMILY OR HIS HEART–ONE OF THEM WILL BE BETRAYED…

Ian MacGregor is wooing a woman who’s wrong for him in every way. As the new Earl of Balfour, though, he must marry an English heiress to repair the family fortunes.

But in his intended’s penniless chaperone, Augusta, Ian is finding everything he’s ever wanted in a wife.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Official Blurb 

Ellie Montgomery’s beloved hotel is going up for auction. She must cater to the highest bidder, or she’ll lose her family legacy, her dreams, and the only life she’s ever known.

Carter Stratton plans to be the highest bidder, payback for how the Montgomery family treated him and Ellie’s long-ago rejection. Bent on revenge, he’ll accept nothing less than her complete surrender, body and soul.

When his intent for revenge turns into seduction, Carter must decide whether he wants a chance to even the score, or a second chance with the woman he never stopped loving.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Claire Tremaine, the widowed Marchioness of Derebourne, wears leather breeches, trains horses and helps the damaged ones find their lost spirit.

Chastain Warren, the Earl of Kensington, Chase to his friends, isn’t pleased when he learns he’s inherited the title of Marquess of Derebourne. Having recently lost his beloved wife and unborn child, the last thing he wants is to be attracted to Derebourne’s widow, but he is. This woman who wears breeches isn’t anything like the ladies he’s waltzed with in the ballrooms of London.

It doesn’t take Claire long to realize she wants this man, and when he resists, she comes up with a plan she calls The Training of a Marquess and works her horse whispering magic on Chase.

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Firstly, a huge thank you to Carol for hosting the official launch of my new Scottish-set Regency historical, The Lady and the Laird , here on Rakes and Rascals. It’s such a pleasure to be here today!

Since this blog has the great title of Rakes and Rascals it seems appropriate to talk about heroes today and in particular Scottish heroes. Robert Methven, the hero of The Lady and the Laird isn’t a rake but he is most definitely a rascal. Robert is a self-made man who has made a fortune in Canada in the timber trade. He comes back to Scotland when he inherits his ancestral estates and is shocked and horrified at the neglect they have suffered. For Robert, restoring his lands and keeping his people safe is of prime importance. He needs a wife and an heir fast, and he is prepared to compromise Lady Lucy MacMorlan into marriage in order to thwart the designs of his enemy and to save his clan.

Of course, one could claim that this is dishonourable, the behaviour of a scoundrel, and Lucy wastes no time in pointing this out:

“Did you come to Durness specifically with the intention of compromising me?” Lucy demanded
He inclined his head. “I came to make you an offer of marriage.”
“Then why not do so in an honourable manner?” Lucy asked. She took a deep breath and tried to steady herself. It was not easy, not under that perceptive blue gaze that seemed to see right into her soul.
He did not hesitate. “You would have refused me,” he said.
He was right; she would have done. She could not in truth deny it.
When she did not immediately speak he spread his hands wide in a gesture of appeal. “Forgive me,” he said, “but I had no other option than to force your hand.”
“I do not forgive you.” Lucy’s voice cracked. She was shocked at the depth of her disappointment in him. “It’s blackmail. You are completely without honour.”
He corrected her, his jaw rigid. “My allegiance, my honour, is to my clan. That has to be my first loyalty.
There was a silence. He made no excuse, no further attempt to justify his actions.”

For me one of the most appealing qualities a hero possesses is his integrity. This may be buried deep, he may think he does not even possess any honour, but at the end of the day his moral code is strong.

Like all good Scottish heroes, Robert is a rugged individualist who has spent his life in wild territories forging his way with strength and determination. One of the reasons that I made Robert an adventurer and explorer is that by the Regency period the wars against the English and the Jacobite rebellions are long gone, but the rugged spirit of the Highlander remains. That isn’t to say that there was not the opportunity for a good old-fashioned swashbuckling sword fight in The Lady and the Laird. There certainly is.

Robert is a protector, the man on whom what is left of his clan depends, a man who will defend his people to the death. His devotion to the woman he loves is equally as strong. For me that sense of honour and kinship, that rugged power and loyalty, is at the heart of the appeal of a Scottish-set romance.

What do you like best about Scottish-set romance and a Scottish hero? 

To celebrate the official launch of the book I am giving away a copy of The Lady and the Laird and also a gorgeous Scottie Dog Brooch from acclaimed Scottish jeweller Heathergems! (International)

**THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED HERE ON RAKES AND RASCALS ON THURSDAY 1 AUGUST.**

An Indecent Proposal!

Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn’t mean she won’t agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother’s friends – letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she deliberately ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird, Robert, Marquis of Methven.

Past centuries of bloodshed have left the Methven and MacMorlan families bitter enemies and Robert is furious that Lady Lucy’s letters have cost him the bride he needs so urgently to save his ancestral clan lands. Now he makes Lucy a shocking proposal; in return for his silence she must become his wife and provide him with the heir he needs. It is an inconvenient marriage of convenience but can the rugged laird and the bluestocking beauty fight against the power of love?

Scottish Brides – Where Regency elegance meets Highland passion!

★✩★✩★✩★✩★


Places featured in the Scottish Brides series, a map designed by Andrew Cornick


Fair Isle, my inspiration for Golden Isle, the remote island at the centre of the dispute over Robert Methven’s inheritance in The Lady and the Laird. Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the UK. It lies halfway between the Shetland and Orkney Islands off the North Coast of Scotland. It’s wild and windswept, rugged and unconquered, just like the heroes of the Scottish Brides series

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick writes witty and passionate Regency historicals for HQN Books and MIRA. She studied History at London and Oxford and was awarded a distinction for her dissertation on historical heroes. It was a tough study but someone had to do it. Nicola has a “double life” as a writer and guide at the stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown House.

Romantic Times has described her writing as emotional and sexually charged and Publishers Weekly have called her a rising star. She is a double nominee for both the RWA RITA Award and the RNA Love Story of the Year.

Nicola lives near Oxford and loves reading, writing, history, music, wildlife, travel and walking her dog. She also loves hearing from her readers and chatting to them on her blog at www.nicolacornick.co.uk She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter @NicolaCornick

Nicola, thank you so much for being here today on Rakes and Rascals for the launch of The Lady and the Laird and I know you’ll enjoy this small token of my appreciation.

 

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Check out the new books added to my bookshelves during the month

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New review of London’s Last True Scoundrel (Ministry of Marriage #4) by Christina Brooke

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New review of The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister #0.5) by Courtney Milan

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More of my favourite quotes

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More interesting facts about Wales

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Great English Country Houses – Sandringham House

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Plus lots of extras besides!

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(School of Gallantry #3)

Genre:Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Educating one’s self in the art of love takes time…

Lady Caroline Arabella Starling has been in love with her older brother’s best friend, Caldwell, since she was thirteen. Unfortunately, too many things keep getting in the way of proving her love. Her four younger sisters, her mother, her brother, all of society and the man she loves himself. But where there is a will, there is a way, and Caroline is about to redefine not only respectability but true love.

Ronan Henry Dearborn, the fourth Marquess of Caldwell, lives to see himself through Caroline’s eyes but knows he is leading a life unworthy of her or her dreams. He will do anything to keep her from learning the truth about himself and his past, including keeping her at a distance. But when he and Caroline get tangled in a situation neither of them can get out of, the only way to create a happily-ever-after between them is to take up the advice of a French courtesan who re-educates them both in the art of love.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

LADY OF PLEASURE is very different in tone to the previous two books in the series, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE AND LORD OF PLEASURE. Whilst these two were uproariously funny, this book is much darker…a compelling and intensely emotional story of friendship, heartache, love, understanding, forgiveness and redemption. It’s a story that really drew me in and elicited so many emotions as I was reading it. Ms Marvelle is an author who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of historical romance. I admire her for tackling not only the subject of male sexual abuse but also touching on racial prejudice.

How I Imagine Ronan…

“I have always known there was something special between us. From the very beginning. From the moment I met you. You changed my way of thinking in a way I never expected and made me want to be perfect. Even though I wasn’t. Even though I knew I could never be.”

Ronan was such a tortured hero. I wanted to comfort the lonely fourteen-year-old Ronan who was so betrayed by someone he trusted. He lost his pride, his innocence and his soul. His sense of shame and self-loathing is so great that he has never been able to talk about what happened to anyone, even to his best friend Hawksford. He keeps all his feelings locked up inside. I understand why his friendship with Caroline is so important to him. She is the only unsullied thing in his life and he clings to their friendship like a drowning man. When he finds that his feelings for Caroline are more than just friendship, he is determined to distance himself from her rather than see her tainted in any way.

How I Imagine Caroline…

Love was not meant to be shared with the world. It was a secret romantic language between two willing hearts and two willing souls that only needed each other to survive. And, one day, she would know of such love with Caldwell. One day.

Caroline is everything I would expect of a member of the unconventional Hawksford family; uninhibited, independent, proud, outspoken and passionate. The anger, hurt and humiliation she feels when it seems that Ronan has betrayed all they shared and the devastation she feels on learning the true nature of her parents’ marriage reveal just how vulnerable she really is beneath that confident exterior.

Ronan and Caroline’s journey is such an emotional roller-coaster. Ms Marvelle captures all the charming, heartrending, poignant and passionate moments so beautifully:

The special friendship… 

She nestled her cheek against his embroidered waistcoat and achingly wished he could love her in the way she loved him. “Know that I will always love you. No matter how much or how little you have. No matter how hard you fall. I will be here for you. Always.”

The undeniable attraction… 

The warmth of his breath fanned her throat in uneven takes. Still buried in the curve of her neck, his full lips slowly, slowly dragged leaving a moist trail that cooled against the fire of her skin. The tip of his hot tongue suddenly slid across her skin just above her necklace, causing her to sway.

The Broken Heart… 

She had already turned toward him, tears still streaming down her face. And as those grief stricken blue-green eyes met his, he knew everything he had hoped to keep sacred between them was sacred no more.

The Desperate Plea… 

“A sixteen-year-old girl once told me she would embrace me no matter how hard I had fallen. I need that girl right now. I need her back in my life. I need her to believe in me in the way she used to. The question is, can she? Will she?”

The Heartrending Truth… 

For the first time since knowing Ronan, she felt as if she were touching more than his hand. She felt as if she were touching his soul.

The Kiss 

His lips parted hers slowly as if unsure as to what he should do. Her tongue met his gently and together, they became one. Her fingers and her toes tingled and went numb. She was Anne Elliot. At long last, she was Anne Elliot.
It was everything she could have ever dreamed of… and more.

♥♥♥

It was… delicious. Caroline’s lips were like all those strawberries he had dipped in cream. Her lips were moist and soft, yet firm. And her tongue was gentle, but playful, making him feel welcome and warm, yet in control. It was beautiful.
She was beautiful.

I love all the secondary characters, particularly the quirky Hawksford sisters who provide some lighter moments among the intensity of the romance. Here are two of my favourites.

“Aside from the braids, how do I look?”
Anne squinted up at her, crinkling her freckled nose. “Do you want our honest opinion? Because all those pimples make it very difficult to see your face.”

Anne sat up and glared at Mary. “How about I buy you a casket so you can sleep in it every night?”
Mary paused. “How much do you think one would cost? If I did want one for my room? Are they expensive? Do you know?”
Caroline groaned. “For heaven’s sake, Anne, don’t give her ideas.”

I like Ronan’s uncle who, despite their occasional spats, obviously loves his nephew as a son. I was conflicted about Lady Danbury whose meddling caused so much heartache, but I don’t see her as malicious, simply misguided. Lord Banfield, Lord Brayton and the Earl of Hawksford, the other ‘students’ at the School of Gallantry all make an appearance. The plots for this book and Lord of Pleasure (Hawksford’s story) run concurrently and it’s interesting to see the same events from a different perspective.

Delilah Marvelle proves once again why she is one of my top favourite authors with this moving love story. Definitely a keeper!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read July 2013

The School of Gallantry Series so far (click on the cover for more details)

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4)

My sincere thanks to Delilah Marvelle for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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MY FAVOURITE QUOTES

He kissed her, and it was like sunshine, bringing heat and light and radiant glow, lighting her up from the inside, sending heat to her fingertips, to her toes, to the ends of her hair and the tip of her nose. And it was like rain, drenching a parched soul, and like food for a starving body.

– from Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke

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Did you know?

Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was born in Tremadog, Caernarfonshire, Wales on 16 August 1888.

Hollywood film actor, Glenn Ford, was half Welsh. His mother was from Pontypridd in South Wales.

Every September thousands of Elvis tribute acts and hundreds of costumed fans descend on the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl, South Wales for the annual Elvis Festival which is the largest of its kind in the world.

 
Doctor Who is produced at the BBC Roath Lock studios in the Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay. The series is mainly filmed on location in and around Cardiff including Penarth, where I live.

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