Archive for May, 2015

(Maiden Lane, #8)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 18th Century)

Cover Blurb:


Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.


Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.


Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible


This is the 8th book in the Maiden Lane series but Ms Hoyt still continues to captivate me with her unforgettable characters, compelling plots and sensual romances.

This book has a very different feel to the others in the series and I think it is because it is very character-driven. There is mystery and suspense enough to keep the story moving but the main focus is definitely on Phoebe and James which I really enjoyed. Their romance is tender, sweet and passionate and just so beautifully written.

Phoebe makes such a wonderful heroine…pretty, vivacious, brave, funny and stubborn. She lights up the pages with her presence. I love her determination that her blindness should not prevent her from living life to the full even if it means taking risks. Although she loves her brother and knows that Maximus has always cared and protected her, she hates the constraints he puts on her life. I love the scene when she finally voices all her pent-up anger and frustration.

“I never even had a damned season. No new gowns, no new friends, no new beaux. You wouldn’t let me. You keep me hidden and swathed like an elderly aunt with dementia. It’s a wonder I haven’t gone insane in the last several years.” She laughed, wild and unseemly, bile pouring from her mouth. “I can’t breathe, do you understand me? You can’t do this to me anymore, Maximus, you simply can’t!”

For once, the mighty Duke of Wakefield is stuck dumb!

Initially, Phoebe sees James as nothing more than her irksome bodyguard – stern, correct and immovable – but she has never doubted his ability to keep her safe. So I enjoyed watching her come to appreciate James as an attractive man and a friend.

He’d been a friend. She’d never considered him a friend before… and if she had that wrong…
Perhaps that wasn’t the only thing she had wrong about her guard.

Ms Hoyt writes some sigh-worthy heroes and James is no exception. I love his determination to keep Phoebe safe whilst struggling to keep a rein on his feelings for her. He knows that she can never be his…

She was everything he was not: young, innocent, filled with the joy of life. She had the blue blood of centuries of aristocrats running in her veins.
He was a cynical, older ex-soldier and his blood ran common red.

So I enjoyed watching James’s resolve slowly crumble as they are forced to spend time alone together. I loved him for coming to understand Phoebe’s desire for freedom and realising that he wanted her to live even though she might stumble and fall.

Having a blind heroine gave me a very different reading experience. Phoebe relies on her other senses to navigate the world…touch, smell and taste… and I found myself using those same senses. I felt the sand slipping through my toes; I smelt the flowers in her special garden; I tasted the bitter ale she comes to like. One of my favourite scenes is where Phoebe applies perfume to James so that she will be able to find him in a room. Ms Hoyt succeeds in creating a very sensual scene through touch alone.

A third time she wet her fingers and this time when she touched him, she knew she’d found his throat, warm and living.
She stroked slowly down, her fingers trailing over his Adam’s apple.
It flexed as he swallowed. Lower, to the smooth skin at the base of his neck.
Her fingertips met his cravat, a maddening barrier, and she stroked along it, dipping her fingertip just a little beneath the cloth.

It is obvious that there was something in James’s past that caused him to leave Cornwall and the family he loved. He is forced to confront that past when he returns home, knowing that Phoebe will be safe there until the kidnappers are caught. I loved the scenes with his family, especially his niece, Agnes, and was happy that James is finally relieved of the burden he has been carrying all those years.

I thought the kidnapping plot was rather weak but I am even more intrigued by Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery. He is certainly scheming and manipulative with lots of secrets, I’m sure. Ms Hoyt has confirmed that he will be getting his own book and I can’t wait to  see how she redeems this bad-boy!

A new character, Eve Dunwoody, is introduced and there is quite a surprise revelation about her….definitely another one with dark secrets. Now I’m looking forward to the next book, SWEETEST SCOUNDREL which pairs Eve with the equally mysterious Asa Makepeace. From the excerpt at the end of DEAREST ROGUE, they look to be an explosive combination.

MY VERDICT: Another excellent addition to the superb Maiden Lane series. Highly recommended!



Read May 2015


The Maiden Lane series so far (click the book cover for more details):
Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6) by Elizabeth Hoyt Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8) by Elizabeth Hoyt


**I received a free copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. **


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I underestimated the power of love. The love of a mother for a child she did not give birth to. The love of a father for a son who was not his own. The love of brothers for one who did not carry their blood. The love of a sister for a brother who was not born into the family.

The love of a wife for a husband she chose. The love of a woman for a man who appreciated her strengths and her weaknesses. The love of Phee, the center of my most precious memories, the heart of my life. The true dragon who slayed my demons as I slayed hers.

(From the journal of Drake Darling)

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(Maiden Lane, #8)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 18th century)

Cover Blurb:


Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.


Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King’s dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she’s targeted by kidnappers.


Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they’re confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier’s hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.


I absolutely love this series!

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(Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

They are England’s most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways…

Born to the street but raised within the aristocracy, Drake Darling can’t escape his sordid beginnings. Not when Lady Ophelia Lyttleton snubs him at every turn, a constant reminder he’s not truly one of them. But after rescuing her from a mysterious drowning he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. With plans to bring her to heel, he insists she’s his housekeeper—never expecting to fall for the charming beauty.

While Ophelia might not recall her life before Drake, she has little doubt she belongs with him. The desire she feels for her dark, brooding employer can’t be denied, regardless of consequences. So when her memory returns, she is devastated by the depth of his betrayal. Now Drake must risk everything to prove she can trust this rogue with her heart once more.


I loved this book! Lorraine Heath is a consummate storyteller and weaves a captivating and deeply emotional love story laced with delightful touches of humour.

Drake owes a debt of gratitude to the Duke and Duchess of Greystone who took him in off the streets, gave him a home and raised him as if he were their own son. He has always tried to make them proud of him but he has never felt that he really belongs in their world. Raised on the streets and the son of a convicted murderer hanged for his crime, Drake is constantly haunted by his sordid past. He believes his father’s tainted blood runs through his veins…that one day he won’t be able to control his temper and he will strike out with his fists just as his father had.

But no matter how far I journeyed, I could not escape my sordid beginnings. I could not be anything other than what I was born to be.

This belief is only reinforced by the haughty, spoiled Lady Ophelia Lyttleton who never misses an opportunity to rebuff him and remind him publically of his common origins. So when he rescues her from drowning in the Thames and discovers that she has lost her memory, he sees it as the perfect opportunity to exact revenge for all her slights…let her have a taste of what’s it is like to be a servant. So he leads her to believe that she is his housekeeper, a ruse he only intends to continue until he can find out why she was in the Thames and why no-one is looking for her. As the time passes, Drake sees a very different woman emerging…a woman who is “far too layered, far too intriguing, far too distracting”. He is reluctant to let her go but afraid of what might happen should she regain her memory.

Ms Heath does a wonderful job of transforming the dislikeable Ophelia into “Phee” whom I adored. Stripped of her memories, she is no longer constrained by the rigid rules instilled into her by her father or haunted by her dark, shameful secrets. She is free to be the woman she truly wants to be. Just as Drake sees a lady he has never seen before, so I saw a young woman who is warm, kind and compassionate; who has no hesitation in confronting a brute of a man who is abusing his horse or taking in stray animals; who finds contentment in her work and happiness in her life.

Even if she had all her memories, she doubted she’d recall a moment when she’d been happier.

Phee is able to see Drake for the first time with unprejudiced eyes…

A remarkable man with so much good in him, good he failed to recognize.

…a man who makes her feel safe and cherished.

Ms Heath develops the romance between Drake and Phee so beautifully and I loved every tender, poignant, sensual, passionate, funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking moment of it. There is one particularly memorable scene involving a bath tub, a bar of soap and a dragon tattoo which I guarantee will make you hotter than the steaming water in that tub!!

The scene where the Duke of Greystone gives Drake the specially engraved watch is so moving and when Drake calls him “father”, the tears were streaming down my face.

There is a wonderful Epilogue and Drake’s entry in his journal just tugs at the heart strings.

How I imagine Drake –

How I Imagine Phee –

MY VERDICT: An enchanting love story with characters that will capture your heart. Highly recommended.



Read May 2015

The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James (click on covers for more details):
When the Duke Was Wicked (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #1) by Lorraine Heath Once More, My Darling Rogue (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #2) by Lorraine Heath The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #3) by Lorraine Heath

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Marketplace

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Stuart Aysgarth, the new Viscount Mount Villiars, doesn’t know he’s playing with fire when he inadvertently runs afoul of Emma Hotchkiss. True, the exquisite Yorkshire lady is a mere sheep farmer, but she also guards a most colorful past that makes her only more appealing to the handsome, haunted lord. Emma has come to him seeking justice — and Stuart is determined that she will not leave until she has shared her secrets … and his bed. Her clever revenge scheme must fail in the face of his soft words and tender caress — and then he turns the tables on his bewitching adversary, seducing her into a daring deception of his own …

I recently read and loved Judith Ivory’s THE PROPOSITION (My Review) and a friend recommended that I should read this book which is even better.


Source: FREE from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The London rookeries are slums, rife with criminals, and shunned by the upper crust. But someone there intends to murder one of England’s greatest leaders, and Marcus Kane, Lord Chadwick, will follow every clue, even into the bowels of London’s underground. But he can’t find his way alone. A partner is required.

Fantine (Fanny) Delarive is perfect. She knows the slums better than any, has survived its labyrinth alone for years, and knows every criminal lurking in every dark corner. Then, the investigation detours the pair into the bright ballrooms of the ton. And Fantine fits in here, too. Which changes everything.

Lord Chadwick knows a woman of Fantine’s ilk is entirely unsuitable for him. But she’s infinitely more exciting than any well-born lady he’s ever met. Now much more than an acquaintance with the independent, self-reliant Fantine is required… and it must end with nothing less than marriage.


Source: Gifted to me by the author

(A Lady Forsaken, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A lady forgotten by all…

Ruby St. Augustin must find the truth of her past to determine what her future holds. She only has a short time in London to uncover the identity of her real father and the secrets behind her birth. If anyone learns of her mission, she will disgrace everyone she holds dear. What she doesn’t expect is to draw the attention of a man who doesn’t care about his reputation or her past.

A man mesmerized by one…

Harold Jakeston is a man without wealth or title. Resigned to a life he loathes, Harold has the chance at a few weeks of freedom before being trapped in a future he wants no part of. When he’s drawn into the mysterious quest of a woman from his past, he embraces the opportunity to forget the life that awaits him. What he never anticipated is falling in love with a woman who ignites his desire to create a new future for himself and for her.

A love neither can abandon…


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Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love 2

(Scandalous Seasons, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Miss Juliet Marshville is spitting mad. With one guardian missing, and the other singularly uninterested in her fate, she is at the mercy of her wastrel brother who loses her beloved childhood home to a man known as Sin. Determined to reclaim control of Rosecliff Cottage and her own fate, Juliet arranges a meeting with the notorious rogue and demands the return of her property.

Jonathan Tidemore, 5th Earl of Sinclair, known to the ton as Sin, is exceptionally lucky in life and at the gaming tables. He has just one problem. Well…four, really. His incorrigible sisters have driven off yet another governess. This time, however, his mother demands he find an appropriate replacement.

When Miss Juliet Marshville boldly demands the return of her precious cottage, he takes advantage of his sudden good fortune and puts an offer to her; turn his sisters into proper English ladies, and he’ll return Rosecliff Cottage to Juliet’s possession.

Jonathan comes to appreciate Juliet’s spirit, courage, and clever wit, and decides to claim the fiery beauty as his mistress. Juliet, however, will be mistress for no man. Nor could she ever love a man who callously stole her home in a game of cards. As Jonathan begins to see Juliet as more than a spirited beauty to warm his bed, he realizes she could be a lady he could love the rest of his life, if only he can convince the proud Juliet that he’s worthy of her hand and heart.


I am so glad I discovered Christi Caldwell last year and she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors with her charming, tender love stories. Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love is easily read as a standalone but I can definitely recommend the first three books in this series.

Despite his roguish reputation, it is obvious how much Jonathan loves his mother and four sisters regardless of the trials and tribulations they present. His mother bemoans the fact that he will not “do right by the Sinclair line and wed a proper English miss” but he has no intention of curtailing his life of pleasure by taking a wife. His three youngest sisters are “outrageously ill-behaved and highly improper” and their latest governess (the fifth) has resigned. His mother is at her wit’s end and gives Jonathan the task of finding a new governess.

Juliet Marshville has been lame since she was thirteen when her leg was shattered in a fall. It was then that she discovered just how much her brother, Albert, hated her. He is a selfish wastrel who has denied Juliet a Season with the cruellest of words.

“It would be an utter waste of funds to launch a faulty ship like you off into a sea made of diamonds of the first water.”

Juliet is furious when she discovers that Albert has gambled away her beloved Rosecliff Cottage to the Earl of Sinclair. Not only that but he is pushing her to marry the loathsome Lord Williams…only he has something far less respectable in mind. She approaches the Earl of Sinclair determined to demand her cottage back. The earl agrees on condition she take up the position of governess to his sisters and shape them into “models of proper, English gentility.” As the cottage represents freedom from both her brother and the unwelcome advances of Lord Williams and a place to call her own, she accepts.

Despite everything that life has thrown at her, I loved Juliet’s indomitable spirit and loathed her cruel, heartless brother with a vengeance. It’s a shock to discover the true level of his hatred for his sister.

I enjoyed the battle of wills between Juliet and Jonathan’s sisters, Poppy, Penelope and Prudence. The three hoydens think to terrorize Juliet in the same way they did the other governesses, only to find she is made of sterner stuff.

Fortunately, she’d learned how to handle her wicked brother and his childish outbursts through the years. In fact, she’d wager her three charges combined could not even come close to Albert’s nastiness.

I enjoyed watching Juliet win over Poppy and Penelope with her kindness and patience.

From the moment they meet, I could feel the strong attraction between Jonathan and Juliet and, whenever they are together, sexual tension simmers just beneath the surface.

He lowered his brow to hers, his sapphire blue stare pierced her with its intensity. “Jonathan,” he demanded with all the authority of one accustomed to having his every desire met. “Say my name.”
“Jonathan,” she whispered, loving the feel of his name upon her lips, so utterly masculine and yet all the same, smooth as warmed chocolate.
He cupped her cheek. “Now tell me you still do not desire my kiss, Juliet?”

Jonathan’s admiration for Juliet’s courage in the face of adversity humbles him in a way that makes him take a good look at his own life. He sees a “smug, self-serving bastard” who could never be worthy of a woman of honour and integrity like Juliet. He doesn’t see his own worth as Juliet does; a loyal and loving brother, a dedicated son, a fair employer and a man who made her feel protected and cherished.

Of course the path of true love never runs smoothly and they have to overcome some stumbling blocks to attain their HEA, not least Jonathan’s misplaced honour. It takes some sage words from his little sister, Poppy, to make him see sense.

Poppy sighed and flung herself into a nearby leather-winged back chair. “I don’t like Jonathan. I preferred Sin. Why, Sin who would simply go and take back his Miss Marshville because he loved her and couldn’t live without her and didn’t care…”

Everyone who reads my reviews knows how much I love Epilogues and Ms Caldwell’s Epilogue is the delicious topping on an already scrumptious cake. I leave you with one final quote and its significance will become clear when you read the book.

“Under the stars, she whispered.”

MY VERDICT: Another captivating addition to this delightful series. Definitely recommended.



Read May 2015

Scandalous Seasons series (click on the covers for more details):

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons, #2) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons, #3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons, #4) by Christi Caldwell A Marquess for Christmas (Scandalous Seasons Book 5) by Christi Caldwell Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love (Scandalous Seasons, # 6) by Christi Caldwell

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She wanted to pick him up and dunk him, headfirst, in English upper-class manners and vocabulary and sounds. While he sat there, his mind heavily entrenched in his own ways; rough, uncouth, unmovable.

Oh, he liked her like this: waltzing in the byways of one of life’s finer moments, in one of its little contentments.


…hell, if a man’s hot thoughts and stares counted for anything, her skirts should’ve bloody well been on fire by now.


She could send other little boats out upon the sea of English high society. She could teach them to sail, to skim along the water with style and grace. While her own sails only luffed in the wind.


“And perhaps I might mention”—he mocked himself—“it ain’t a widge, loov. Not now.” When she knit her brow, he explained, “It’s a widge when it’s quiet. Or when it’s nosing around just a bit. At some point, though, Win, it becomes a cock: mine especially.”



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