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Archive for the ‘BOOK SPOTLIGHT’ Category

Victoria Vane is one of my favourite Historical Romance authors and I am delighted to feature her latest historical novella (the first in a series) on Rakes and Rascals.

Breton Wolfe

(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle Worlds novella)

Genre: Historical Romance (Viking – 907 AD)

Cover Blurb:

She vowed to defy him to her dying breath… but passion blurs the line between love and hate…

The bluest blood and the hardest heart… at least when it comes to marriage… The daughter of a duke and granddaughter of a king, Adele of Vannes was bartered at birth in a marriage treaty for the sole purpose of producing a royal heir. When her philandering husband is slain by Norse marauders, Adele’s only desire is to retire to the peace and solitude of a cloister—until coerced to wed a savage Norseman. Adele knows that her beloved Brittany needs a strong hand to survive, but how can she ever reconcile her bitterness and hatred with the desire she feels for her avowed enemy?

She’s the jewel he seeks for his Breton crown…A Barbarian bent on building a dynasty, Valdrik Vargr, ‘the Norse Wolf,’ is renowned for both his bravery in battle and shrewdness in statecraft. Setting his sights on claiming the kingdom of Brittany, he knows that siring sons from royal blood would solidify his hold, but the woman he would claim as his queen refuses to have him. Will he fuel her hatred by taking her to his bed, or will the man who strikes terror in the hearts of men be reduced to wooing his bride?

 

Purchase Link

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Hcyu5I

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EXCERPT

Adèle spent the night on her knees in prayer, gaze cast heavenward in supplication. She hadn’t dared to bow her head and shut her eyes for fear that sleep would overtake her. She couldn’t afford to be caught aware when the marauders came. And they would come. That was a certainty. Rudalt had never returned from his ‘Norse” hunt. None of them had returned. They were dead. She felt it down to her bones.

She’d dispatched riders to Cournailles but he was days away. He would never arrive in time. Her home would be burned to ashes before help ever came. Perhaps she could buy them off? Did she have enough silver and jewels to pay tribute? Or would the Norsemen simply extract their payment in woman’s flesh and men’s blood?

Her throat thickened at the sudden remembrance of her wedding night. She had borne Rudalt’s ravaging for years; surely she could survive it again. And survival was all she dared hope for. The Norse would come with their battle axes and siege machines. The Bretons might keep them at bay for a few hours or maybe a day, but penetration of their walls was inevitable. She had no true defenses outside of a few dozen archers. In his arrogance, Rudalt had taken the best warriors, leaving her defenseless.

From her bedchamber window, Adèle cast her gaze eastward where the sun was rising, painting the landscape of rolling hills in soft shades of pink and gold. She stared off into the distance, chewing her lip and willing her nerves to settle. Last night she’d worn holes in her slippers and bitten her fingernails to the quick. She now accepted that her fate was out of her hands. She had no choice but to entrust herself to the merciful will of God. If death awaited her, she prayed it would be swift.

Moving shadows appeared on the horizon. A moment later they took shape as a solid line of men. Hundreds of mounted men. But rather than shrinking in terror, a strange peace settled over her. She was the daughter of Judicael, a great warrior and Duke of Brittany. Her great-grandfather was Erispoe, the first proclaimed King of the Bretons. She would do as the father and grandfather had done before her—she would fight them to her dying breath.

 

Victoria Vane

Connect with Victoria:

Email: victoria.vane@hotmail.com

Website

Facebook

Twitter
 

 

 

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I’m spotlighting Marguerite Kaye’s new book today. I only recently discovered Marguerite’s books when I read NEVER FORGET ME but she is already on my must-read list. Isn’t that a beautiful cover?

Genre: Historical Romance (Early Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The secrets behind the wedding veil

For penniless widow Ainsley McBrayne, marriage is the only solution. She’s vulnerable yet fiercely independent, so shackling herself to another man seems horrifying! Until handsome stranger Innes Drummond tempts Ainsley to become his temporary wife.

Once married, Ainsley hardly recognizes the rugged Highlander Innes transforms into! He sets her long-dormant pulse racing, and she’s soon craving the enticing delights of their marriage bed. She has until Hogmanay to show Innes that their fake marriage could be for real…


Buy the Book

Mills&Boon  Harlequin  Amazon (UK)  Amazon (.com)  Barnes+Noble  Book Depository
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EXCERPT

Ainsley stared at him in astonishment. ‘Your father’s will sets up a trust that requires you to marry?’

‘No, it establishes a trust to control the family lands which will remain in effect until I marry,’ Innes replied.

‘Lands?’ She only just managed to prevent her jaw dropping. ‘As in – what, a country estate?’

‘A little more than that. I’m not sure what the total acreage is, but there are about twenty tenanted farms as well as the home farm and the castle.’

‘Good heavens, Mr Drummond – a castle! And about twenty farms. Is there a title too?’

He shook his head. ‘My father was known as the Laird of Strone Bridge, but it’s just a courtesy.’

Laird. The title conjured up a fierce Highland patriarch. Ainsley eyed the impeccably-dressed gentleman opposite her and discovered it was surprisingly easy to imagine him in a plaid, carrying a claymore. Though without the customary beard. She didn’t like beards. ‘And these lands, they are in Argyll, did you say?’

When he nodded Ainsley frowned in puzzlement. ‘Forgive me Mr Drummond, but did you not say you had spent most of your life in England? Surely as the heir to such a substantial property – I know nothing of such things, mind you – but I thought it would have been customary for you to have lived on the estate?’

His countenance hardened. ‘I was not the heir.’

‘Oh?’

She waited, unwilling to prompt him further, for he looked quite forbidding. Innes Drummond took a sip of whisky, grimaced and put the glass back down on the table. ‘Dutch courage,’ he said, with a shadow of her own words and her own grim little smile. ‘I had a brother. Malcolm. He was the heir. It is as you said, he lived on the estate. Lived and breathed it, more like for he loved the place. Strone Bridge was his world.’

He stared down at his glass, his mouth turned down in sorrow. ‘But it was not your world?’ Ainsley asked gently.

‘It was never meant for me. I was the second son. As far as my father was concerned, that meant second best, and while Malcolm was alive, next to useless, Mrs McBrayne.’

He stared down at his glass, such a bleak look on his face that she leaned over to press his hand. ‘My name is Ainsley.’

‘I don’t think I’ve heard that before.’

‘An old family name,’ she said.

He gave her a very fleeting smile as his fingers curled around hers. ‘Then you must call me Innes,’ he said. ‘Another old family name, though it is not usually that of the laird. One condition I have been spared. He did not specify that I change my name to Malcolm. Even he must have realised that would have been a step too far. Though then again, it may simply have been that he thought me as unworthy of the name as the lands.’

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ABOUT MARGUERITE

I was born and raised in Scotland, the eldest of a large family of siblings, which explains why I’m so bossy, and why my  books feature so many sisters.

I’ve been a voracious reader since a very early age, but despite winning a children’s national poetry competition aged nine, it didn’t occur to me that I could write for a living. For reasons I can’t explain now, I did think I’d make a good lawyer, and I clung doggedly to that belief right through university where, to everyone’s astonishment, not least mine, I graduated with a degree in Scots Law.

Several years into a rather boring mainstream career in business, I took up history with the Open University (which I loved) and wrote and submitted my first ever romance to Mills&Boon. Set in a garden centre, it had an orchid-growing heroine called Flora and an instantly-forgettable arrogant hero. It was declined very politely but firmly. I still have the letter, my very first rejection.

A  few years later, I plucked up the courage to abandon my career, do a bit of travelling and take up writing. I wrote all sorts – travel pieces, food pieces, short stories, a column in my local newspaper. Finally, after finishing one of my favourite Georgette Heyer’s for the umpteenth time I thought, why don’t I try writing what I love to read. So I wrote my first ever historical romance, I submitted it to Mills&Boon, and I got the call!!!

These days, I have moved back to my native Argyll, where I’ve now set a number of books. It’s a beautiful place but it rains a lot. When the going gets tough or I need to escape for a while, I go hill-walking or cycling. I love gardening, cooking, and I do a bit of knitting too.


My writing view


Connect with Marguerite:

Website – http://www.margueritekaye.com.

Facebook –  http://www.facebook.com/margueritekayepage

Email – marguerite_kaye@hotmail.co.uk

Twitter – @margueritekaye

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/margueritekaye/

 

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I love Anna’s books and snapped up this novella  to add to my seasonal December reading.  Only 99cents/77p!

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

No good deed goes unpunished…

To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom—and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?

Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Is fate offering him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion that lasts a lifetime?

 

Buy Links:

Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk  Amazon.com.au

Amazon.ca  Smashwords

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EXCERPT


The Boar’s Head, Salisbury, Christmas 1823

   Philippa was his, however undeserving he was. Erskine had a piece of paper to prove it. And it was time he introduced her to some of the benefits of married life.
   He unlaced her fingers from her wineglass and placed it on the nightstand. She’d nearly emptied the glass, thank goodness. He leaned in and placed his lips softly on hers. She released a little huff of surprise, but didn’t draw away.
   Because her mother had told her to submit? Or because she wanted him to kiss her? He prayed it was the latter.
   Exquisitely aware of her innocence, he kissed her chastely, rediscovering the satiny texture of her lips and her tart, intriguing taste. To support his weight, he splayed his hands on the counterpane. With encouragement from the claret, she’d stopped acting as if he was about to devour her, but he knew he hadn’t banished her fears.
   After an interval both delightful and frustrating, she pressed forward with a breathy sigh. Reluctantly he withdrew. He lifted one hand to brush his thumb across her plump, glistening lips, pulling the lower one down to reveal a glimpse of straight white teeth. Her eyes were as dark as a starless night. He could dive into her gaze and never come up for air.
   Puzzlement creased her forehead. “You kissed me.”
   She didn’t sound entirely pleased. A tender smile curved his lips. “I promised I would, remember?”
   “After I married you.”
   He said what he must, although every word cut like a razor. “I’m prepared to wait.”
   The faint line remained between her dark brows. “You don’t have to.”
   He bit back a sigh and cupped her cheek. “We’re strangers, Philippa. I want you, but I’m not a barbarian. If you’re not ready, I can give you more time.”
   For a prickling interval, she studied his face in silence. He struggled to convey patience and understanding, although she must also see his barely contained hunger.
   He steeled himself to retreat to the room next door. Or perhaps she’d relent and let him sleep beside her. Holding her in his arms without possessing her would be torture, but still it seemed preferable to the lonely hell of a night without her.
   Reluctantly Erskine withdrew his hand and straightened. He told himself that this was for the best. No man of honor could expect his wife to welcome him tonight, whatever rights this morning’s ceremony had conferred.
   Which wasn’t much consolation when he faced a cold bed.
   “Sleep well, Philippa.”
   In the light of candles and fire, her eyes turned even darker. He shifted away slowly like a man going to his execution. He knew he did the right thing, but the knowledge offered no satisfaction.
   His wife remained very still, watching him, although her hands curled slowly into the sheets at her waist. He expected Philippa to look relieved or, best of all, grateful. He’d like her to be grateful. A grateful wife was likely to invite him to consummate their union sooner rather than later. Hopefully before he went completely mad wanting her.
   He’d risen to his feet before she spoke. “I trusted you yesterday.”
   Because of that, he’d lay down his life for her. “Yes, you did. Thank you.”
   Without lowering her gaze, she bit her lip. He wasn’t sure where she was going with this, but he’d much rather stay than leave, even if she only wanted to talk.
   “You’ve always been kind to me.”
   It was his turn to frown. “You make me sound like an aged uncle.”
   A rueful smile twisted her lips. “You’re nicer to me than Uncle Theodore ever was.”
   He didn’t smile back and his voice emerged with a bite that he regretted but couldn’t contain. “Philippa, let me be frank-I don’t feel remotely avuncular when I look at you.” He sucked in a breath and spoke the words likely to terrify her into running back to her unpleasant mother. “The first time I saw you hovering in the shadows like a little ghost, I wanted you. I wanted you when we were trapped in the dressing room. That’s why I kissed you. Every hour since then, I’ve wanted you more. Tonight I’m offering you a postponement, but I don’t… I can’t let you think that I’ll accept a chaste marriage.”
   He waited for an appalled reaction, but she didn’t flinch away. Neither, confound it, did she leap into his arms declaring overwhelming desire.
   “I…see,” she said slowly after a tense interval.
   He stepped closer to the bed, even if it was a step he’d need to retrace when he left her. “Have I shocked you?”
   “A little.” She paused. “You have a husband’s rights.”
   “I’m not a bully.”
   “No, you’re not.”
   He should go. This awkward conversation just extended the torture.
   Her eyes flickered away and her hands stopped twisting at the sheets. Instead, she began to pluck nervously at them. Not much of an improvement.
   Why the deuce was the chit nervous? Hadn’t he just given her a reprieve? Surely that saintly act alone must cancel out a few of his sins in the heavenly register.
   “It’s late,” he said regretfully, starting to feel like a fool standing in the middle of the room, gazing at Philippa like a dog slavering at a butcher shop window. He turned to leave.
   “Don’t go.”
   Erskine stopped, wondering if he’d heard her aright. Slowly he faced her. He couldn’t read her expression. “What did you say?”
   Her deep breath made her breasts swell voluptuously against her nightgown. He closed his eyes. God give him strength. She wasn’t doing this to get him excited. Although he was undoubtedly getting excited.
   She licked her lips. How he wished she wouldn’t.
   Philippa swallowed and spoke in a rusty whisper. “I said… don’t go.”
   He braced his shoulders and told himself he could be strong. They had years to get this right. A wedding night was just another date on the calendar. “You don’t want to sleep alone in a strange place? I can understand that.”
   Her eyes flashed with annoyance, surprising him. “No, I don’t want to sleep alone. But that’s not what I mean.”
   “What do you mean?”
   Her lips tightened with displeasure. “You’re the blasted rake. You work it out.”
   His heart kicking into an excited gallop, he stared at her without moving. It took him far too long to realize that while she looked uncertain, she also looked… interested.
   He could work with interested, by God.
   On an astonished laugh, he dived across the floor and onto the bed, dragging her into his arms. “Prepare to be ravished, lassie!”
   Before Philippa could reply or, heaven forfend, change her mind, he captured her lips with his in a kiss that wasn’t chaste at all.

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Meet ANNA CAMPBELL

ANNA CAMPBELL has written nine multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in sixteen languages. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times). Anna is currently engaged in writing the “Sons of Sin” series, which started in 2012 with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED and now continues with book 3, WHAT A DUKE DARES. Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time.

You can find Anna online at:

Website  Facebook Fan Page  Twitter: @AnnaCampbellOz  Goodreads

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I love Victoria Vane’s Historical Romances and I’m excited about reading her new Contemporary ‘Hot Cowboy Nights’ series.

Slow Hand

By Victoria Vane

Sourcebooks Casablanca

November 4, 2014

$7.99/£5.99

Summary:

In rural Montana…

Wade Knowlton is a hardworking lawyer who’s torn between his small-town Montana law practice and a struggling family ranch. He’s on the brink of exhaustion from trying to save everybody and everything, when gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office. She’s a damsel in distress and the breath of fresh air he needs.

Even the lawyers wear boots…

Nicole Powell is a sassy Southern girl who has officially sworn off cowboys after a spate of bad seeds—until her father’s death sends her to Montana and into the arms of a man who seems too good to be true. Her instincts tell her to high tail it out of Montana, but she can’t resist a cowboy with a slow hand…

Buy Links:

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

 

Excerpt:

He went to work on his shirt buttons. His collar was soon wide open revealing a generous show of muscular chest that make her hands itch to rip it off him. She diverted her gaze and curled her itchy hands by her sides.

“Have no fear, cowboy,” Nikki replied in a tone meant to disguise the warm flush that had come over her. “I corralled all my wild impulses long ago.”

“Did you, now?” He still stood in doorway, head cocked. “Somehow, I think you may have missed a few strays.”

“Maybe I need to make myself clearer. I have an aversion to cocky cowboys.”

Just keep telling yourself that, Nikki. Maybe if you repeat it often enough it’ll become true.

“Is that so?” His brows flew upward. “I can’t say I ever met a woman with an actual aversion to me.”

“Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing against you in particular, but to your type.”

“And what do you think you know about my type?”

“Since I don’t have a pole handy, enough to keep you at arms-length. Besides that, this whole line of conversation is entirely inappropriate in light of professional ethics, don’t you think? You are my attorney, after all.”

“Well, darlin’,” he scratched his unshaven jaw, “there’s a little hitch to that.”

“What do you mean? You said you’d help me.”

“And I will, but you can’t engage my professional services until I know who you are.”

“I’ve told you who I am!” she insisted.

“Sweetheart, I’m a lawyer, and according to the law, your claim don’t weigh without authentication.”

“Authentication?”

“Proof.”

“So what are you saying? That you don’t believe me?”

“I’m not saying that at all. Only that our professional relationship will commence once you get your I.D. In the interim,” His gaze slid over her in a way that threatened to melt her insides, “you’d best find yourself a nice, long, sturdy pole.”


About the Author:

Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Social Media:

Website | Facebook | @AuthorVictoriaV | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

BOOK TRAILER

 

Giveaway 1 – Two copies of Slow Hand (two winners, ends 11/7)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Giveaway 2 – Victoria Vane’s Cowboy Seduction Kit

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I’m spotlighting Georgie Lee’s new book, THE COURTESAN’S BOOK OF SECRETS which is released today.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian)

Cover Blurb

Uncovered: a list of noblemen’s names—each one guilty of treason

To save his family legacy, Rafe Densmore must seize a courtesan’s infamous register. No one can ever know how his father betrayed his country! One person stands in Rafe’s way—the beautiful Cornelia, Comtesse de Vane.

In the card rooms of Paris, Rafe and Cornelia made an unbeatable… intimate team. Until, convinced of Rafe’s desertion, desperate Cornelia married an elderly comte. Now, returning to London an impoverished widow, she’ll do anything to possess the register.

Even if that means becoming Rafe’s partner once again….

Buy Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

Barnes & Noble

Harlequin

KOBO

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EXCERPT

Rafe brought his lips next to her ear, aching to slide his teeth over the tender lobe. ‘He won’t pay you.’

She turned her head, her almond-shaped eyes hooded and seductive as she peered over one smooth shoulder at him. Her lips parted, moving in a tantalising rhythm to form each whispered word. ‘He’s already agreed to pay me.’

The shock struck Rafe like cold water.

‘You met with him?’ More than one head in the audience turned and looked in their direction. He dropped his voice. ‘When?’

‘This very morning.’ Her lips, so tempting before, now chafed with the way they curled up in a triumphant smile. ‘By the end of the week, I shall have a tidy sum in my possession.’

He took her arm, the warmth of her skin beneath his fingers rattling him before he regained his focus. ‘You shouldn’t have met with him alone. It’s dangerous.’

‘As you can see, I escaped the meeting unscathed.’ She whacked his knuckles with her fan. He pulled back his hand, more annoyed by her flippant attitude than his stinging knuckles. ‘If all goes well tonight, I shall continue to prosper.’

She nodded across the theatre.

He followed her gaze to Lord Edgemont. The square-jawed man sat in his box watching them, not bothering to conceal his interest. ‘No.It’s one thing to toy with your dolt of an Earl, but not Edgemont.’

‘You needn’t bother trying to protect me. My welfare is no longer your concern.’

‘You have the register. That makes you my concern.’ He leaned in close again, trying to ignore the way the heat of her skin heightened the notes of her verbena perfume. ‘I needn’t remind you what Edgemont is capable of.’

‘Which is exactly why he deserves to suffer,’ she hissed, her calm mask sliding. ‘I want to see him squirm.’

‘I agree, but when you threaten a man like him, you make him desperate. You can’t underestimate a desperate man.’

‘Like I underestimated you?’

Rafe jerked upright, surprised by the venom in her accusation. ‘What did I do in Paris to give you such a low opinion of me?’

‘I’m sure if you think very hard, you’ll discover the source of it. For the moment, I have no need of your assistance, so leave, or I’ll make such a fuss the whole theatre will rally to my defence.’ She shifted around to face the stage, raising her glasses to watch the performance.

Rafe moved to say something, but caught the glint of more than one lorgnette turning to study them from across the theatre, including Edgemont’s. Having no desire to set society’s tongue wagging with gossip, he rose and pulled aside the curtain, leaving the curtain rings to clank against the rail as he stormed into the hallway.

Impudent wench. He hurried along the upper level of the theatre and down the main staircase, banging the banister with his fist as he descended into the nearly deserted foyer. Whatever wrong she thought he’d committed in Paris, it’d taken a stubborn hold in her mind. For the life of him, he couldn’t say what he’d done except try to help her, and this was how she chose to repay him? Dismissing him like some servant and then blaming him for her actions in France.

He stepped outside, ignoring the hackneys waiting by the kerb and letting his anger carry him towards a less respectable part of London. Cornelia would be nowhere without him. He shuddered at the memory of her and Lord Waltenham in Lord Perry’s garden and what might have happened if he hadn’t followed them. After the old man insulted her, her father probably would have wagered her away again, or sold her to some moll for a few sovereigns. She certainly wouldn’t have become a Comtesse with a generous inheritance.

Rafe halted in the middle of the pavement, ignoring the inviting calls of a doxy lounging in a doorway across the street. Despite his former misgivings about her morals, it still seemed strange a rich widow would want to dabble in blackmail, not with all those diamonds dangling from her tender ears and caressing her pretty breasts. They’d twinkled with her current good fortune, or were they there to hide the lack of one?

No matter what Cornelia might have done to him in France, if the Comte’s riches were as rickety as his legs then it was a revenge not even Rafe could have designed.

He whirled around on one heel and headed back towards the theatre. If Cornelia wore her finest baubles to distract society from any scent of money problems, it might offer his last hope to reel her in and remove his father’s name from the register.

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ABOUT GEORGIE

A lifelong history buff, Georgie Lee hasn’t given up hope that she will one day inherit a title and a manor house. Until then, she fulfills her dreams of lords, ladies and a season in London through her stories. The Courtesan’s Book of Secrets is her third Harlequin Historical.

When not writing, she can be found reading non-fiction history or watching any movie with a costume and an accent.

Please visit http://www.georgie-lee.com to learn more about Georgie and her books.

Social Media Links:

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Georgie’s Blog

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Georgie is kindly giving away an eBook copy of RESCUED FROM RUIN and to be eligible simply leave a comment. The Giveaway will run for one week from 1st October to midnight (GMT) on 8th October. The winner will be announced on this blog on 10th October.

During the years since Randall Cheltenhsm, Marquess of Falconridge, last saw Cecilia Thompson, he has turned into a dissolute rake. Catching sight of her now, bittersweet memories threaten to shatter his carefully constructed façade.

Although in the eyes of the ton Cecilia is a wealthy widow, in reality she has barely a penny to her name. Randall seems to offer a safe haven, but how can she trust a man who has hurt her before and who seems to have only become darker with the passing of time?

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This is the third book in Maggie Andersen’s entertaining The Spies of Mayfair series.


ABOUT THE BOOK

(The Spies of Mayfair #3)

Genre :Historical Romance

Cover Blurb:

King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued.

After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy.

When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com
Amazon.au
Amazon.co.uk
Waterstones
Barnes&Noble

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EXCERPT

With a swish of her ice-blue net gown worn over white satin, Althea hurried away, leaving Mrs. Pinkerton peering after her through her lorgnette. It was an appalling lack of decorum, and Althea was sure her ears were burning. A moment later, she had forgotten the ladies entirely, for Montsimon, a determined expression in his grey eyes, made his way steadily through the guests in her direction. She could not talk to him now. Heart thudding, she searched around her for anyone free to engage in conversation, but those close by were so deep in discussion it would be rude to interrupt.

“Lady Brookwood.” Montsimon bowed before her.

There was nothing for it. “Lord Montsimon.” She curtsied. It was extraordinary. Simply because she’d considered a possible affair with him, it had become difficult to meet his eyes, made bluer tonight by the coat he wore.

“I didn’t expect to find you in London,” he said in his pleasant tenor voice. “I believe your intention was to remain in the country until spring.”

“That was my aim,” she said, “but important matters have brought me back to town.”

A waiter approached. Montsimon took two glasses of wine from his tray and offered her one. Althea accepted it with a nod of thanks. She sipped the cold fruity wine, glad to find it lubricated her tight throat.

“Dreadfully crowded,” Montsimon said, bending his head closer to hers.

“The Gossards’ affairs are always a great success. Does your dog wait for you at home tonight?”

“No, he’s guarding my carriage,” Montsimon said with a glint of humor.

“Is he a good guard dog?” Her gaze swept the room again, searching for Lord Churton without success.

“Spot is very thorough. Even my friends are barred from the vehicle.” Montsimon frowned. “But something disturbs you this evening, Lady Brookwood. May I help?”

“You must pardon me, my lord.” She took a step away. “There’s someone I must speak to, but I can’t seem to locate them in this crowd.”

He followed, bringing them close again. “Who might that be?”

“It’s Lord Churton. Have you seen him?”

The expression in Montsimon’s eyes sharpened. Without explanation, he removed her wine glass, which was still half-full from her nerveless fingers. Conscious of those around them, she murmured a surprised protest. He placed her glass with his on a console table against the wall.

“Shall we take a stroll on the terrace?” He slipped her arm through his.

“I beg your pardon?” Althea shook free, but he firmly tucked her gloved fingers back into the crook of his arm and moved forward, propelling her along, while apologizing right and left. One man had the effrontery to wink at him! She gasped. He was manhandling her right before the gaze of the ton.

“I must speak to you where I can make myself heard without getting a crick in my neck,” he said in a low voice.

Hardly a satisfactory explanation! Astonished, Althea huffed out a breath while helplessly caught up in the momentum caused by his long stride. “I must say I’m surprised, my lord,” she muttered, afraid of creating a scene. “You can’t just drag me off….” A footman opened the French doors, and Montsimon swept her through them.

At a click of the door behind them, silence fell. The brazier’s glow did nothing to warm the frigid air. The terrace was deserted, for no other guest braved the outdoors at night in winter. Not without many layers of warm clothing, which she lacked. Goose pimples sprung up along her arms, and she shivered violently. Montsimon drew her farther away into the shadows as the cold breeze slapped like a hand across her face and décolleté. She mourned the absence of her fur-lined cloak. Her teeth chattered. “This had better be important, my lord,” she stuttered through cold lips.

With a muffled curse, Montsimon shrugged out of his tight coat, not without difficulty she was pleased to see. He placed it around her shoulders and did up the buttons. She almost sighed, the heat of his body made it wonderfully warm. As his fingers swept outrageously across her bosom, Althea averted her gaze and ignored his proximity the best she could. She did not intend to ask him to remove it again. Needs must. Her instinct was to stalk indignantly inside again, but her curiosity was roused. And at least her trembling had eased.

“You have only a few minutes to explain before I—”

“What is your business with Lord Churton?” His voice sounded strangely steely, his normally mellow Irish accent gone.

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ABOUT MAGGI

Maggi Andersen fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer. Victoria Holt’s Gothic Victorian novels were also great favorites. She has raised three children and gained a BA and an MA in Creative Writing. After husband David retired from the law, they moved to the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.

Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, movies and the theatre. She keeps fit swimming and visiting the gym.

Maggi is a multi-published author, and writes mysteries and young adult novels as well as her Georgian, Regency and Victorian romances.

Connect with Maggi:

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Google Plus
 Goodreads

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Genre: Historical Romance (Viking – 9th Century)

Cover Blurb…

In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.

Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?

Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe – Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?

With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.

 

AN EXCERPT

“Gracious Bram has agreed to stay on with us for a fortnight. Then he will marry our Kaireen.”

The applause was deafening. She jumped off the bench, glaring at the Lochlann’s smiling face.

“A fortnight?” she screeched. “Not enough time for me to… he is a foreigner and a Lochlann at that.” Why did they believe it was suitable for her to marry this Viking? She had to have time to figure out how to get rid of him.

 “How much time do you need?” her mother asked in a warning tone.

 “Never would be too soon,” Kaireen shot back.

 “Enough.” Her father slammed his fist on the table.

Before the ale spilled, her mother snatched her goblet. Their argument brought whispers through the tables.

 Her father waved his drink and the ale sloshed on the linen tablecloth. “A fortnight was his idea. I wanted you wed tonight.” Kaireen opened her mouth to protest, but his glare caused her to clamp it shut. “Further, you will wed Bram son of Ragnar and be happy about it. Or I will have you whipped until your ungrateful hide is stripped from you.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Andrea has always enjoyed creating characters and stories. But it wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Once she heard about a writer who never let her characters deviate from the script. If they did, she just killed them. How sad, she thought. For her one of the best parts of being a writer is letting the characters have a mind of their own and seeing where the story takes them.

She loves this quote from Robert Frost, which sums up her opinion on allowing the characters their freedom: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost

Andrea writes fantasy, paranormal, and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

Currently, she has two novels published with Crimson Romance. The Garnett Dagger – a fantasy/paranormal romance and Viking Fire – a historical romance with a touch of magic. She hopes you will enjoy her stories.

Visit her website to find out more about Andrea and her books:

http://www.andrearcooper.com/

Join Andrea on…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AndreaRCooper

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea.cooper.92798?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndreaRCooper

 

INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

Andrea will be giving away an ebook copy of VIKING FIRE to one lucky commentator.

 

MY REVIEW

Set against a backdrop of early 9th century Ireland, Andrea R Cooper infuses her debut Historical novel, VIKING FIRE, with liberal amounts of adventure, romance and intrigue.

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Ireland…land of myth, magic and blood

Ms Cooper brought the medieval era to life for me with the rich detail that is interwoven throughout the novel. I could picture Kaireen climbing into the giant kettle to scour the encrusted blackened stew. I could smell the sour milk, rotten swine slop, and urine in the dyeing room. I could hear the monastery bells and the clang of swords and shields.

I love a hero with a sense of humour and a heroine who can take care of herself and I got both in this book.

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Bram, son of Ragnar

Bram is the typical Viking warrior…tough but honourable, brave but compassionate.  More than once he risked his own life to save others. What made him different was his cheeky sense of humour which he frequently displayed in his ‘wooing’ of the reluctant Kaireen.

“I thought the air would clear your head.” He cocked his eyebrow, examining her.

“My head is fine, thank you.” “Aye, and the rest of you is fine to look at too.”

His thick dialect chased shivers through her. Her hands smoothed her gown. She caught herself and stopped. At seeing his grin, her frown deepened.

“I believe it’s improper for you to stare at a lady so.”

“Would you rather I stare at you on our wedding night?” She opened her mouth to speak, but he continued. “Whilst you are without clothes?”

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Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon

Kaireen is strong-willed, a trait that often found her at odds with her father, especially when he informs her that she must marry the Viking Bram, someone she regards as a foreigner and an enemy. She stubbornly refuses to marry him, despite the fact that she finds herself unwillingly attracted to Bram.

Thoughts were lost in his embrace. It was as though she had drunk too much wine and could think of nothing but him.

She’s a bit of a warrior as well…proficient with both sword and longbow and willing to wade into battle to save the man she loves.

The romance was fun to watch and I enjoyed the lively exchanges and sexual tension between Kaireen and Bram . A Happy Ever After is always more satisfying if it is hard won and they certainly have plenty of obstacles to overcome…betrayal, vengeance and treachery.

The interesting cast of secondary characters includes Elva, Kaireen’s handmaid, who is far more than she seems and the villainous Feoras O’Neill, who would have been well and truly at home in an Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller.

This book has a great climax with the traitor revealed and a fierce and bloody battle.

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Men blurred in blood and sword.


Overall, this was a very impressive debut novel with just the right mix of romance, action and intrigue.


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2014

I would like to thank Andrea R. Cooper for kindly providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

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