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Archive for February, 2016


(Spindle Cove, #4.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A snowstorm hath no fury like a spinster scorned!

Miss Elinora Browning grew up yearning for the handsome, intelligent lord-next-door…but he left England without a word of farewell. One night, inspired by a bit too much sherry, Nora poured out her heartbreak on paper. Lord Dashwood Missed Outwas a love letter to every young lady who’d been overlooked by gentlemen—and an instant bestseller. Now she’s on her way to speak in Spindle Cove when snowy weather delays her coach. She’s forced to wait out the storm with the worst possible companion: Lord Dashwood himself.

And he finally seems to have noticed her.

George Travers, Lord Dashwood, has traveled the globe as a cartographer. He returned to England with the goal of marrying and creating an heir–only to find his reputation shredded by an audacious, vexingly attractive bluestocking and her poison pen. Lord Dashwood Missed Out, his arse. Since Nora Browning seems to believe he overlooked the passion of a lifetime, Dash challenges her to prove it.

She has one night.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

After reading the darkly compelling The Highwayman, I was in the mood for something light-hearted and fun and what better than Tessa Dare’s latest novella in her brilliant Spindle Cove series.

“Second chance at love” is one of my favourite tropes and when the estranged couple are forced to take shelter from a snow storm in an isolated cabin…even better. I know there will be lively dialogue, some soul-searching, and delicious sexy moments, all leading to a Happy Ever After. Add a rescue mission undertaken by all those heroes from the previous Spindle Cove books and how could I not enjoy this novella?

I like Nora, because instead of bottling up her negative feelings after Dash left, she puts pen to paper and has the courage to publish her pamphlet and become a successful author.

She’d come away with friendships, respect, a career of sorts— as much as gentlewomen were permitted to have careers. Women from all over England and beyond wrote to her, expressing their gratitude.

She has become her own woman…intelligent, strong and confident.

I admit that I didn’t have a very good opinion of Dash at first. His initial remarks seem particularly cruel and hurtful but it soon becomes apparent that this may well be a front, because you see his genuine care and concern for Nora when their coach skids off the road.

His fingers brushed a lock of loosened hair from her brow, and an idiotic frisson of pleasure chased through her. He’d never touched her so tenderly. No man had.

I like how the close proximity forces them, as adults, to confront their pasts and their feelings for each other. Dash is right when he says they were both young and needed time to become “their best and bravest selves”. He was a callow, immature youth and Nora ‘s dreams of marriage, children and a life spent with Dash were just girlish fantasies. It’s clear that, without those years apart, Nora would never have become an author and Dash, a cartographer.

There is plenty of sexual tension and a delicious sense of anticipation. I love this exchange between them.

“I don’t care how many lovers you’ve taken, nor how experienced they were.” She held up her index finger. “I have more passion in one fingertip than they have in their whole bodies.”
   He propped an elbow on the table. A smile played at the corners of his lips. “Why, Elinora Jane Browning. What on earth have you been doing with that fingertip?”
   “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

An added bonus is we get to see Griff, Colin, Bram and Thorne, the heroes from the previous books. Only they could play cards for fossils. and there is fun and laughter as they set off to rescue the stranded Miss Browning. When they mistake a smugglers’ den for a wayside inn, only Colin could come up with such lines as…

Colin cleared his throat and addressed the men. “Say, is this not the Ceylonese Mission Society meeting? I’m afraid we’ve taken a wrong turn, brothers. So sorry to trouble you. We’ll just be on our w—”

Don’t you just adore Colin?

MY VERDICT: This novella is a charming addition to the Spindle Cove series and I’m already anticipating my next visit there for Charlotte Highwood’s story, DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL, to be published on 27th September.


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read February 2016

Spindle Cove series (click on cover for more details):

A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1) by Tessa Dare Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove, #1.5) by Tessa Dare A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2) by Tessa Dare A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3) by Tessa Dare Beauty and the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove, #3.5) by Tessa Dare Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) by Tessa Dare Lord Dashwood Missed Out (Spindle Cove, #4.5) by Tessa Dare Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5) by Tessa Dare – to be released on 27th September

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I’m delighted to welcome Award Winning author ANNE GRACIE to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thanks, Carol – I’m delighted to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Anne:
I was born in the summer holidays in Warrambool, a seaside town where my grandparents lived. Mum, Dad and the three older kids were camping in a tent. Mum left the tent to have me, so I was practically born in a tent, which is my excuse whenever I forget to shut a door! I never lived in that town, though and in fact we moved a lot for my dad’s job, including one year in Scotland when I was eight (Abernethy, in Perthshire.) We always lived in or on the edge of small country towns, which suited me perfectly, as I could roam endlessly with my dog. We moved to Melbourne, a large city when I was fifteen, and despite a few moves here and there (Malaysia, Greece) I’m still in Melbourne now. It’s a very liveable city.


Me and Santa


R&R:

How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Anne:
I’m pretty easy-going about most things, though I can also be stubborn about some things. And I brood. I don’t lose my temper easily, and can think of only a handful of occasions in my life when I have — but when I do, watch out.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Anne:
I like some sweet things, but generally I prefer savoury food. If it comes to a choice between a slice of pizza or a slice of cheesecake or pavlova, the pizza will always win. I do like chocolate, though. And ice-cream.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Anne:
I have a few things I treasure, not necessarily because of any monetary value. Because we moved so often when I was a child, a lot of my stuff was given away, and now I’m a bit of a hoarder. If my house caught fire, I’d probably grab my grandmother’s leather case with the family photos in it, but I’m writing this on my laptop, while I’m sitting on my bed, and there across the room is my beloved old teddy, looking at me with his one remaining eye. I’d have to take Teddy, too. And then there are the books that I was able to keep from my childhood, and my first edition Georgette Heyers. And boxes of letters from the days when we used to write letters —I was a prolific letter writer. And . . . Can you tell I have trouble deciding on “most treasured”?

 

R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Anne:
I’ve always had a yen to live and work in France — Paris, or maybe the coast of Brittany. Or Greece — I love Greece. Or the UK — so many places and friends there. Then again, I’d probably buy a beach house here in Australia and rent it out while I travel to various different countries. I’ve done a lot of traveling and I’d love to do more, without tying myself down to one place.

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Anne:
Not the most embarrassing, but one I’m willing to share is the time I volunteered to drive some friends into the city to watch a fabulous festival firework display. I’d only had the car a few months — it was my first car, a little second-hand red mini — and unbeknownst to me, the registration had expired. I was stopped in the middle of the city — at the central city square, in fact, and the policeman refused to let me drive the car another inch. It was blocking the traffic, so he called three more policemen over and they lifted my little car onto the city square out of the way of the traffic, and I had to wait for a tow truck. I thought it was pretty funny, actually, but two of my friends were appalled and not exactly amused. We missed the fireworks.

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Anne.

Thanks so much Carol. I’ve enjoyed my visit.

 


If you would like to find out more about Anne and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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(Victorian Rebel, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian – Scottish Highlands  1855, London 1872)

Cover Blurb:

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster…

STEALING BEAUTY
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception—and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…

COURTING DESIRE
But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret—one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I LOVED this dark, compelling debut novel from Kerrigan Byrne, and was completely swept away by the emotional impact of the powerful and beautiful love story.

I was drawn into the story from the moment I started reading Chapter 1. Watching the friendship, the inseparable bond and the innocent young love that developed between the young orphans, Dougan Mackenzie and Farah Leigh, his “Fairy”, was so touching. To protect Farah, Dougan is forced to kill a man which leads to their dramatic separation. This was so heart-breaking and I was compelled to read on, desperate to know what happened to them.

Moving forward 17 years, Farah has been living as Mrs Mackenzie, Dougan’s widow, for the past 10 years, following his death in Newgate prison. She has carved out a decent life for herself working as a clerk in Scotland Yard but is still haunted by memories of the boy she had loved all those years ago. Called upon to take notes for an interrogation being undertaken by her employer, Sir Carlton Morley, Farah comes face to face with the notorious criminal mastermind, Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More. Despite his reputation, she finds herself strangely affected by this cold, ruthless man but has no idea how closely her life will be entwined with his.

Dorian Blackwell and Dougan had forged a strong brother-like bond while in Newgate prison where they suffered terrible abuse at the hands of their brutal jailers. All the pent up anger and his promise to the dying Dougan to wreak revenge on those responsible are the things that drove him to build his feared criminal empire. Now rich, powerful and ruthless, he is merciless in exacting swift and deadly revenge against those responsible for the terrible things they suffered. Scarred both inside and out by years of horrific abuse, Dorian can no longer bear people touching him. When he meets Dougan’s “Fairy”, he must fulfil his promise to keep her safe and ensure she claims her rightful inheritance, even though it means kidnapping her and persuading her that marriage to him is her only option. Perhaps Farah is the one person to see beyond the coldness and ruthlessness and awaken the gentle, vulnerable heart beneath.

If you like your heroes scarred, dark, tormented and filled with self-loathing, then you will love Dorian. I like how he never makes any excuse for who he is and what he has done and learning of the type of abuse he suffered was heart-rending. It made his feelings of self-loathing understandable.

Farah is the light to Dorian’s darkness. She is not only beautiful but also gentle and kind-hearted , and this is clearly seen in her genuine efforts to help her prostitute friend Gemma escape her abusive pimp. I loved that she never deserted Dougan when he was in prison, bringing him food every day and how his stories about her brought comfort to the other prisoners. She maybe gentle but can be tough when the need arises.

Their romance is earthy and passionate with lots of sizzling sexual tension and dark, edgy love scenes which may not be to everyone’s taste. I thought they fitted perfectly with Dorian’s aversion to touch and his deeply conflicting feelings of raw lust and reverence for the sweet, innocent Farah.

It isn’t hard to figure out the big secret Dorien has been hiding because the clues are clearly signposted. I did enjoy the fact that the reader was privy to something the heroine was not.

I loved the ex-prisoners who Dorien has given jobs to; Murdoch, “with his sad eyes and misunderstood heart”; Frank, “who was lost anywhere but the kitchens”, and poor Tallow, “who trembled more than he talked”. They were all so well-drawn. There is also the elusive and mysterious Christopher Argent, a silent and lethal killer, whose story is told in the next book, THE HUNTER.

The book isn’t perfect and does have its flaws.  I thought that Dorian overcame his aversion to touch far too quickly, and I felt that the storyline involving the threat to Farah’s safety should have been explored in more depth before the final climax, which seemed to come completely out the blue. Despite these criticisms, the book still deserves 5 Stars for the heart-stopping romance alone and, of course, I do love a heart-warming Epilogue.

I have to mention Ms Byrne’s wonderful writing…so emotive and evocative. As my words alone can’t do it justice, I hope these few quotes will.

If only he hadn’t so many wounds. Some that no stitch could reach deep enough to repair and so they remained open and bleeding, festering until they poisoned the body with their putrid filth.

~~~

In this quiet, unfettered moment, she knew him, truly saw him for what he was.. Abused, wounded boy. An empty heart full of promise, and a soul of shadows in need of sunlight.

~~~

His skin burned and his heart ached. He wanted. He needed. He craved.

~~~

All she knew was that she came alive beneath Dorian Blackwell’s inscrutable gaze. He watched her with an intensity she’d never before seen, and she wanted to fill his insatiable mind with images he’d not likely forget.

~~~

Farah counted the admittedly obscene amount of desserts. Perhaps they should have left out the cocoa sponge cake, or the little cream-and-fruit-stuffed cornucopias with chocolate sauce. She absolutely couldn’t have chosen between the almond cakes with the sherry reduction or the coriander Shrewsbury puffs or … the treacle and vanilla crème brûlée. Oh, dear, perhaps she and Walters had gotten a little carried away this afternoon.


MY VERDICT: A MUST READ!

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2016


Victorian Rebel series (click on the book covers for more details):

The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels #1) by Kerrigan Byrne The Hunter (Victorian Rebels, #2) by Kerrigan Byrne The Highlander (Victorian Rebels, #3) by Kerrigan Byrne

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“I-I’m not making advances,” she told him as she flattened herself against his chest. “You’re just an available s-source of heat.”

“So you say,” St. Vincent replied lazily, tucking the quilt more tightly around them both.

“However, during the past quarter hour you’ve been fondling parts of my anatomy that no one’s ever dared to touch before.”

“I v-very much doubt that.” She burrowed even further into the depths of his coat, and added in a muffled voice, “You’ve probably been h-handled more than a hamper at Fortnum and Mason.”

(Evie and Sebastian)

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I’m delighted to welcome CHRISTY CARLYLE, author of sensual Victorian historical romance, to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thanks so much for inviting me, Carol! I’m honored to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Christy:
I was born and raised in a smallish college town in Indiana, in the midwestern U.S. It was a great place to grow up. I enjoyed experiencing all four seasons, especially the autumn colors and the first snow of winter. My neighbourhood was a safe place, and my maternal grandparents lived a short drive away in Michigan. My grandma taught me how to read and my grandpa taught me to love books. The irony is that I spent most of my teenage years dreaming about leaving my small town behind. I dreamed of living on the east or west coast, or moving abroad. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, but I’m grateful for my Midwest roots.

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Christy:
I like to think I’m easy-going most of the time, but I’m a Scorpio, so there’s a lot of emotion bubbling under the surface. When I feel something, I rarely feel it mildly. Writing has always served as an outlet for emotions, whether journals and poetry when I was a kid, or the stories I write now.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Christy:
I would have to say I’m partial to savoury food. I could be more easily tempted with a quiche than a cake any day. Then again, I do have a weakness for chocolate.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Christy:
I’d have to say my cats, though I don’t think of them as possessions. My husband and I have no children, so they’re probably more akin to my kids. I went to a local shelter years ago to adopt a black cat because I read about the difficulty of finding homes for them. The kitten I fell in love with, Lucy, had a brother, Finn, and I couldn’t bear to separate them.


Lucy


Finn

 

R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Christy:
England! Definitely England. I lived for a brief time in Surrey, and I miss southern England with a deep, abiding ache. My great grandfather was from Cornwall, and my grandma often received letters from “our family in England” when I was a kid. England seemed like a place I needed to go, and I dreamed of it throughout childhood and my teenage years. My first visit in 1994 sealed the deal for me. My Scottish husband and I always talk of “when we move back to Britain,” as if it’s a future certainty.

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Christy:
One that comes to mind is from my wedding day. My husband is from Scotland and we spent a year going through the fiancé visa and immigration process. After waiting so long, we decided to move quickly and get married at the local courthouse. We arranged for witnesses, gathered all the relevant paperwork, and waited nervously for the judge to enter the chamber and conduct the ceremony. When it came time to present our marriage license, I couldn’t find it. Everyone was watching me and looking miserable, and the judge actually suggested we reschedule for another day. Then, after a super tense ten minutes that seemed like an hour, I finally found it! Thank goodness.

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Christy.

Thank you, Carol! I truly appreciate the invitation. Always wishing you the best.

 

If you would like to find out more about Christy and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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(Darkest London, #1)

Genre: Historical Paranormal/Fantasy Romance (Victorian, 1881)

Cover Blurb:

Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family’s fortune decimated and forced her to wed London’s most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it’s selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can’t help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn’t felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

The audio version of FIRELIGHT (Darkest London, #1) is the first Kristen Callihan novel I have encountered and I was completely enthralled from beginning to end. What a fabulous story, the like of which I have never before experienced; this genre being well outside my comfort zone of Historical Fiction or Historical Romance. I couldn’t begin to categorise FIRELIGHT – paranormal, fantasy, myth? And all combined with a deliciously sensuous romance. Had I not heeded the recommendation of a well-respected reviewer, I would have missed out on this very unusual story – it just goes to show that we should experiment or miss out on some excellent writing.

One darkly dangerous night in the depths of Victorian London, Lord Benjamin Archer saves Miranda Ellis from a pair of thugs. He little realises that the tantalising flame haired beauty is more than capable of taking care of herself. Miranda hides a strange and powerful gift and one which she needs must keep a tight rein on, but which can be called on if the need arises. The meeting leaves Archer shaken and besotted with the 19-year-old daughter of a man he despises. Indeed, Archer had been on his way to end the life of the disreputable and corrupt Hector Ellis for an unforgivable act perpetrated on himself which ended in the violent death of a loyal and true friend.

Lord Archer is an infamous and sinister recluse feared by Victorian London society. Cloaked in shadows and wearing a mask to hide his features, only adds fuel to the rumours which surround him. The reasons for the mask are unknown to all but a few of his oldest and closest friends, and said mask only adds to his sinister facade. Archer knows he should not pursue Miranda but he is unable to stop himself, wanting what he knows he cannot really have. He strikes up a bargain with Miranda’s unscrupulous father and after three years returns to claim his bride.

Although at first Miranda resists the marriage, she is eventually coerced into it by her father and finds Archer much less menacing in the flesh; a reluctant liking, respect and tentative love begins to grow. She soon comes to understand that her husband has deep and dark secrets, leaving him vulnerable and lonely despite his outwardly fearsome guise. Archer adores Miranda and soon realises that his beautiful wife is fearlessly determined and becoming fiercely protective of himself.

For the main part of the story their marriage is chaste, both afraid for reasons of their own, to consummate it. This doesn’t detract from the longing, wanting and sheer sensual sexuality which emanates from the pair when they are together. Ms. Callihan, with consummate skill, pulls the reader into their ever tightening need and it is always a case of when rather than if it will happen, and when it does…. It explodes right off the page! For my part, the fact that Miranda loves and desires a man whose face she hasn’t seen is compelling – a real and raw, unselfish love.

The background plot is set against the seedy backstreets of Victorian London, its sights and smells expertly and knowledgeably described by Kristen Callihan, and masterfully penned to reveal undreamt of evil. Men are horrifically murdered and mutilated, and the fear and horror ratchets up by degrees as the extent of Archer’s involvement is revealed to Miranda. His honourable and selfless determination to protect her and annihilate the force responsible takes centre stage, with the terrifying, apparently inevitable outcome – the destruction of himself, proving that there is no greater love. The perpetrator of the crimes I guessed – mainly through a series of elimination, but in no way did I expect the outcome or the way the final scenes would play out – utterly riveting, compulsive and imaginatively achieved.

Narrator Moira Quirk has perfectly captured the many characters introduced (which at one point I did have trouble keeping up with, although this sorted itself out as time passed) – Miranda, confident, authoritative but very feminine and Archer, with just the right amount of huskiness introduced into his voice to make him sound mysterious – the man behind the mask – but still oh-so-sexy. Ms. Quirk totally captures the scene in which Archer is unmasked to Miranda, the sensuality, sexuality and vulnerability – so moving which, in the hands of a less talented narrator, could have been ruined. Even the London street boy, cocky Jack-the-lad, appears initially threatening then later carefully protective – again the subtle nuances in Moira Quirk’s performance totally capture this.

MY VERDICT: I loved my first foray into the paranormal (if that’s what it is), listening deep into the night as I NEEDED to know the ending.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

 

Listened to March 2015

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(Blackshear Family, #0.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

It should have been simple…

With one more errand to go—the purchase of a hunting falcon—Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister’s impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it’s his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer’s vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?

It couldn’t be more deliciously mixed-up…

Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She’s going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she’s going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes—it’s not as though they’ll see each other again after today.

…or will they? When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they’ll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is such a delightful story and a wonderful introduction to Cecilia Grant’s books. Not since reading my first Courtney Milan book have I been so excited about a new-to-me author. Even within the constraints of this novella, Ms Grant brings her characters to life and creates a story full of originality and charm.

Following his parents’ death, Andrew Blackshear has shouldered responsibility for the upbringing of his younger siblings. He has always endeavoured to set a good example by being the epitome of a gentleman… propriety and decorum are the principles he lives by. It is on a trip to the wilds of Norfolk to collect a Christmas gift for his sister that he finds himself stranded with a lady who tests his principles to breaking point.

An only child, Lucy Sharp has led a secluded life with her rather unconventional father. She loves him dearly but wants to do the things that all other young ladies do. So when she is invited to her aunt’s Christmas house party, she relishes the opportunity to enjoy herself. Never does she imagine that she will find herself stranded with the most pompous and judgemental gentleman it has been her misfortune to meet.

Despite being a stuffed-shirt, there is something endearing about Andrew. Perhaps it’s the way he clearly loves his siblings and does everything in his power to to give them the happiest Christmas he can, or seeing him thrown off-balance whenever he is around Lucy. His internal thoughts are so funny…

She ought to be told, with utmost obliqueness and discretion, of course, that such a gaze produced inconvenient stirrings in a gentleman, and could leave lingering impressions that might burgeon, in his private hours, to un-virtuous effect.

not forgetting the embarrassing sex dream!

Lucy’s warmth, kindness and common sense provide the perfect foil to Andrew’s decorum and she is clever enough to run circles around him.

I’m sorry, Miss Sharp.” He met her gaze unblinking. “I’m afraid I am unable to render you that service.”
   “Why?” She tilted her head, as blunt and guileless as a five-year-old who’d been denied a sweetmeat, and every bit as untroubled by manners.

Her kindness is shown in her understanding of the Porters’ true situation and her determination not to embarrass them and how she ensures that her maid, Perkins, can see her family for Christmas.

Often novellas don’t provide sufficient page time to develop a believable relationship between the hero and heroine but Ms Grant succeeds brilliantly. All the obstacles that are thrown in their path force Andrew and Lucy to work together to find solutions, allowing them to get to know and understand each other. It feels as if they have known each far longer than a just a few days and I readily accepted their falling in love.

I fell in love with Ms Grant’s witty and elegant writing style…

Somewhere in the last minute his heart seemed to have lurched off its moorings like a hot-air balloon and now it drifted unsteadily about the cavity of his chest.

His fingers had wandered to his own particularly naked region and taken up a light, un-purposeful sort of stroking. Even this much was a sin, to be sure, and a failure of his self-command.

She slipped her thumbs into his jacket where it opened to make way for his cravat, thumbnails dragging against the linen of his shirt and tickling his chest in gloriously impertinent fashion.

MY VERDICT: I have no hesitation in recommending this enchanting novella and I know the rest of the series will be high on my reading list.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS


SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read February 2016

 

Blackshear Family series (click on the book covers for more details):

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (Blackshear Family, #0.5) by Cecilia Grant A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family, #1) by Cecilia Grant A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2) by Cecilia Grant A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3) by Cecilia Grant

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Mother. Blogger. Southern Belle. Makeup geek. Avid reader. Books are my addiction. Highlanders are my passion.

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