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Archive for December, 2017

I’d like to wish everyone…

Merry-Christmas-And-Happy-New-Year-2018

I will be spending time with my family over the holiday period and won’t be around  until 2nd January 2018, when the blog will be up and running again. I’d like to thank all my readers for their continued support of Rakes and Rascals.  

 

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His Mistletoe Wager

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

“Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.” 

Notorious rake Henry Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet—until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed!

Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret—her son! Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust—with her heart and her son…

Mistletoe 2

What a delightful, romantic and heart-warming Christmas story!

Henry (Hal) Stuart, only son and heir to the Earl of Redbridge, hated everything his mean, dictatorial father stood for and adopting a rakish lifestyle was his way of annoying his father. After inheriting the earldom, Hal finds that his old life has lost its appeal and he is more interested in running the estate, reading the financial news and listening to debates in the Lords. He isn’t looking forward to the approaching Christmas season because it means he will be obligated to continue the family tradition of attending every festive event for a month culminating in a ball hosted by himself on Twelfth Night. Since rejecting his old lifestyle, Hal feels that something is missing in his life and when his brother-in-law and best friend, Aaron Wincanton, Viscount Ardleigh, suggests a wager – steal 5 kisses, one for each berry on the sprig of mistletoe Hal is holding, in five different locations before Twelfth Night, with the usual stake of the loser mucking out the other’s stables single-handed – it’s a wager that Hal has every confidence in winning…

“I can assure you. I am the single most eligible man at this ball. I am phenomenally wealthy, devilishly handsome, totally charming and, as you have quite rightly pointed out, I’m an earl. There isn’t a young lady in that ballroom who would not welcome my advances.”

Maybe his confidence might be a little premature when Aaron names the lady he has chosen for the wager…the frosty, unapproachable Lady Elizabeth Wilding.

Lady Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wilding’s world was shattered when her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, leaving her not only broken-hearted but pregnant as well. Her father used his political connections and respected position in society to protect his daughter’s reputation and Lizzie has emerged a stronger and harder woman. Her father refuses to give up hope that she might find a suitable husband but nothing will tempt her to ever marry again.

She was no longer a dreamer but a realist whose eyes had been opened to the harsh realities of life.

Lizzie has been able to keep her son George’s (Georgie) existence a secret, but he has led an isolated existence well away from the eyes of the ton. Now he is older, Lizzie wants Georgie to have a normal childhood; to go school, make friends and grow up free from the stigma of his illegitimacy. She has purchased a cottage in Yorkshire with an inheritance from her grandmother and, once the Christmas festivities are over, she intends to start a new life there as Mrs Smith, a young war widow. The only thing Lizzie dreads is telling her father who has always stood by her and adores his grandson.

It is wonderful to see how much Lizzie loves her son Charlie and the sacrifices she is willing to make to protect him. She is also selfless in her love for and loyalty to her father and her determination that her foolish indiscretion will not bring scandal to the family. I admire Lizzie’s father who clearly loves his daughter very much and gives her his unconditional support when so many girls in her situation would have been shunned by their family and forced to give up their baby.

I love how the relationship between Hal and Lizzie develops slowly. I anticipated that their initial meeting at the ball would be full of witty banter and I wasn’t disappointed. When Hal’s tactics fail, and Lizzie gives him short shrift, he is not one to admit defeat where a wager is concerned, even if it means confronting the Wilding’s large, imposing butler, Stevens, who looks more like a prize fighter than a butler. Their various exchanges are pure delight.

Hal edged into the room as her bodyguard glared at him murderously. ‘I will be just outside the door. Just outside the door.’
‘Message received and understood, Stevens. Whilst you are out there, I don’t suppose you could rustle up some tea?’ Hal grinned cheekily, and she quite admired his bravado. ‘Only it’s dashed cold outside and I could do with something to warm me up.’

I ADORE Hal and totally fell in love with him. Beneath all that flippant, roguish charm is an honourable, intelligent and kind man. He sees beyond Lizzie’s ironclad façade to the beautiful, intelligent, loyal and witty woman beneath, whose company he enjoys and is determined to discover the secret he knows she is hiding, even if it involves risking life and limb scaling an ancient wisteria bush! When he finds out about Georgie, initially he has mixed emotions, but ultimately he realises that…

Lizzie was his friend. 
She was in trouble.
An innocent little boy was in trouble, too.

I enjoyed seeing Lizzie gradually softening towards Hal and recognising that he is more than just a charming rake lacking in substance and purpose; he is a strong, honourable and loyal man, willing to defend her against the evil machinations of the odious Lord Ockenden and his associate, Lizzie’s former fiancé, the dissolute Marquess of Rainham

Her knight in shining armour smiled, although there was ice in his eyes and a hardness about his jaw she had never seen before. Physically he appeared to have grown. Devoid of his veneer of charm, he was huge. Menacing. Ready to charge into battle like one of the lead soldiers he had picked out for her little boy.

Hal has such a natural way with children which is evident in the way he strikes up an immediate rapport with Georgie and their scenes together are charming. I also love how he insists on teaching his nieces to be hellions much to the chagrin of his sister, Connie.

I feel that Ms. Heath handles the solution to the potential scandal surrounding Georgie in a clever and believable way and paves the way for a well-deserved Happy Ever After for Hal and Lizzie.

MY VERDICT: If you are looking for a delightful, witty, romantic and passionate romance to read over the festive period, then I can most definitely recommend His Mistletoe Wager.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

 

**I received a complimentary copy from the author for the purposes of an honest review**

 

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Alexandra Hawkins Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome USA TODAY Bestselling Author ALEXANDRA HAWKINS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for inviting me!

~~~~~~~

 

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

Alexandra:
I was born at a hospital in Joliet, Illinois.  However, I spent the first four years of my life on a farm in Grandridge, Illinois.  The two-story white farm house belonged to my great-grandparents and I have fond memories of the place.  The farm had plenty of land for me to explore, there were feral cats in the barn, and sheep in the pasture.

My parents eventually divorced so my brother and I were raised by my mother in the rural outskirts of Ottawa, Illinois. To give you an idea how rural—there were sixteen students in my eighth-grade graduation class.  About a year later, we moved into town.  I had what most people would view as a typical small-town childhood.
Alexandra Hawkins Interview - me at 3
Me at the age of three

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - pic of me at 17, wearing my dance squad unifor
Me at 17, wearing my dance squad uniform.

 

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

Alexandra:
I have my moods but most days I’d describe myself as easy-going.


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

Alexandra:
I favour both, though I’ll admit that I have a sweet tooth.


R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Alexandra:
After my grandmother died, my mother gave me an old woollen throw that belonged to my great-great grandmother.  It’s over a hundred years old and shows a little wear since it’s kept several generations warm.  My grandmother used to store it in a cedar-lined linen cupboard.  The throw still smells faintly of cedar and reminds me of her.

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - Great-Great Grandmother's throw
My great-great grandmother’s throw

 

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

Alexandra:
I guess it doesn’t come as any surprise to those who know me that I’d choose England.  My grandmother used to tell me family stories when I was a child, so I had developed a very romantic view of the British Isles long before I wrote my first novel.


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

Alexandra:
I mulled this question over for days.  Honestly, I can’t think of one defining incident.  Although, I confess, I have experienced numerous minor ones.  I suppose the worst of the lot occurred when I was in high school.  For a scene in a play, I thought I’d be daring and I walked out on to the stage wearing only a black full slip.  It sounds awful tame by today’s standards, but I was young.  I was quite proud of myself until my mother revealed that our pastor had watched my performance.  The news sort of sucked all the fun out of my brazenness.

~~~~~~~

 

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

I’ve had a wonderful time, Carol.  Thank you!

 

 

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

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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