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how-to-lose-a-duke-in-ten-days

(An American Heiress in London, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime.

They had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever, seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

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HOW TO LOSE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS is the second book in Laura Lee Guhrke’s American Heiress in London series but it can be read as a standalone.

Please don’t let the rather light-hearted title of this book deter you because this is a tender, poignant and romantic second chance story.

Going home to New York spells disaster for Edie because she will not only have to face the scandal she left behind but also the man responsible for her ruination. So, she approaches the impoverished Duke of Margrave and proposes a marriage of convenience with certain conditions; she will pay off all his ancestors’ debts, pay him a generous allowance, support his sponging relatives and look after his estates on condition that he goes back to Africa, the country he loves, and never returns.

“I don’t want a husband in any sense but the legal one.”

Following his father’s death, Stuart had returned from Africa to find huge debts awaiting him and the creditors knocking at his door. Although he is rather surprised by Edie’s strange bargain, he is desperate to return to Africa and so agrees. But the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. Five years later, after suffering a severe leg injury when a lioness mauls him, Stuart is forced to re-evaluate his life and decides it is time to return home and make his marriage a real one but he knows it won’t be easy.                                             

This was a new beginning, and a second chance. Not that the task ahead of him would be an easy one. He’d known then, and he knew now, that Edie had a wall around her it would not be easy to breach.

At first, Edie appears hard and inflexible towards Stuart.  With his return, she is afraid of losing the freedom and independence she has enjoyed over the past 5 years but her fears run far deeper. She has never told anyone, even her parents, about the traumatic event which left her emotionally scarred and with a deep-seated fear of intimacy.

She was like a wounded animal, he thought, looking at her. Fear and pain were in every line of her— in the taut stillness of her form and in her watchful, wary stare.

Stuart is such a wonderful hero. His injury causes him a great deal of pain but he never wallows in self-pity. He treats Edie with such patience and sensitivity and his slow but determined campaign to win her trust and her heart is just delicious. I love the scenes where Edie is massaging Stuart’s leg; they are sensual and positively sizzle with sexual tension.

Everywhere his body touched hers, he felt scorching hot. Slowly, as the seconds ticked by, she became aware of other things: the slow, deep labor of his breathing, the hard muscle of his calf beneath her fingertips, the scent of sandalwood— his soap, perhaps? Inexplicably, her body began to tingle.

Stuart is not above using additional weapons in his campaign, especially Joanna, Edie’s younger sister, who is determined to see these two reunited. It helps to have a spy in the camp!

Watching Edie gradually responding to Stuart’s gentle, considerate lovemaking and slowly emerging as a warm and passionate woman is so emotionally satisfying.

“I need you to be just the man you are, Stuart. I need to be reminded every day that I am a pretty, passionate woman, with golden freckles and lovely legs. I need you to touch me and caress me and make it like bliss. I need you to make love to me, and give me that sweet, sweet pleasure.”

MY VERDICT: A beautiful and deeply emotional second chance love story. Highly recommended.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Read September 2016

 

An American Heiress in London series (click on the book covers for more details):

When the Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress in London, #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London, #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke No Mistress Of Mine (An American Heiress in London, #4) by Laura Lee Guhrke

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(An American Heiress in London, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

What happens when a carefree, disreputable, stone-broke bachelor is forced to find a wife in a hurry? He hires a matchmaker, of course. What happens when the matchmaker doesn’t want to help him? Well, that’s when the fun begins…

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income—in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heart-breaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

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This is a beautifully crafted love story from the talented pen of Laura Lee Guhrke. I particularly like Ms Guhrke’s books because they are set either in the late Victorian or early Edwardian eras. I love the Regency period but sometimes it’s just refreshing to read a book set in an era of social and economic change.

The late Victoria era saw the erosion of the wealth of many of the great country estates. American heiresses, who were shunned by New York high society because their family’s wealth came from trade, were highly sought after by impoverished members of the British aristocracy. The heiresses provided the much needed cash to restore their crumbling estates in return for a title and social status, but not always happiness as Lady Belinda Featherstone, the heroine of this book, discovers. At seventeen, after a whirl courtship, she marries the dashing Earl of Featherstone, only to discover the man she had fallen madly in love with was nothing but a fortune hunter who had never loved her.

Only after the wedding had she learned of her new husband’s four mortgaged estates, two mistresses, and three hundred thousand pounds of debt.

During the five years since her husband’s premature death, she has carved out a successful place for herself in British society and gained a reputation for being the finest marriage broker in England. She is determined to ensure that no young lady will not make the same mistake that she did.

At the age of twenty one, Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge finally escaped the influence of his domineering, tyranical father by going to Paris. His reputation already in tatters, he spent his time living up that reputation by drinking, gambling and consorting with women of low moral character. Things change drastically when his father cuts off monies from his trust fund. He will restore them as soon as Nicholas marries someone whom his father approves off. Nicholas has no intention of succumbing to his father’s demands but needs to find a wealthy wife. His only option is to seek Lady Featherston’s help in finding a suitable wife.

“I shall make sure that any young lady you are considering knows just what sort of man you are, of your scandalous past, the dishonorable reasons for your courtship, the mercenary quality of your intentions, and just what a horrible husband you would make.

I could relate to Belinda’s initial feelings towards Nicholas and her refusal to help him. From her perspective, he is a carbon copy of her late husband…a rake and self-confessed fortune hunter who is bound to break the heart of any impressionable young wife, just as her heart had been broken. But I liked how, as she comes to know him better, she is willing to admit that her harsh judgement of Nicholas was wrong.

I loved how the romance developed… their initial witty, sarcastic banter, the simmering sexual tension, their undeniable passion for each other and the deliciously sensual love scenes.

One of the best scenes is where Belinda makes Nicholas realise that he has never truly broken free of his father’s control…he has never been master of his own life. It is a life-altering moment for Nicholas because he realises that to earn Belinda’s love, he must first earn her respect. It’s the impetus he needs to turn his life around.

And now, as he thought of being something more than a lily of the field, he felt hope stirring inside him, something he hadn’t had since he was a boy. He wanted to find a purpose for his life.

Nicholas’s father, the Duke of Lansdowne was truly odious and I loved the scene where Nicholas confronted him, only to discover that Belinda had already been there before him. I couldn’t agree more with Belinda when she says….

“What an odious man. I had no idea. Really, if he’d been my father, I think I’d have had to shoot him.”

The exchanges between Nicholas and his friend Denys were funny especially the scene in which Nicholas asks him for a loan.

I was really intrigued by the situation between the Duke and Duchess of Margrave whose marriage Belinda considers to be her “most colossal failure”. Luckily their story is next in the series.

My Verdict: Overall, a delightful start to a romantic, entertaining and witty new series.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2015

An American Heiress in London series (click on the book covers for more details):

When the Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress in London, #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London, #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke

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Source: Received from the publisher Momentum (Pan Macmillan) in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Paris, France 1815)

Cover Blurb:

Colonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.

After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon’s army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.

But fate has a different plan.

Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she’s moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.

Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah—and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah’s own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts—or will the cycle of history repeat again?

Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley’s Lord of Ice and Judith James’s Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

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Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

(Comrades in Arms, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A hero…a rebel…a desire worth fighting for!

When Major Finlay Urquhart was last on the battlefield, he shared a sizzling moment with daring Isabella Romero. Two years later, Finlay has one final duty to perform for his country—one that reunites him with this rebellious señorita!

Except Isabella has her own mission, which means that no matter how much she craves Finlay’s touch, she can never tell him the truth. But she’s underestimated Finlay’s determination to protect her, and soon she finds herself letting her guard down, one scorching kiss at a time!

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Source: Gift from the author

(Hell Yeah! #1)

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Western Romance

Cover Blurb:

An Erotic Romance

Aron McCoy has sworn off women – except for sex. When Libby Fontaine arrives at Aron’s Tebow Ranch, she is determined to cram a lifetime of living into a few short months. The doctor has told her that she can’t count on her remission from leukemia being a permanent one. Their attraction to one another is instantaneous and overwhelming. But when Aron finds out that Libby is innocent – he backs off. He has nothing to offer a girl who deserves white lace and promises. Then Aron catches Libby pleasuring herself in his stock tank and hears her cry out his name – and the heat is on.

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Source: Received from author in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Christian Fallon, the Duke of Aubrey, has never forgotten the woman he fell in love with six years earlier. Forced by his father to marry another, he endured a miserable marriage. Now a widower, he arrives in London with the intention of vanquishing his enemy, a man who is set on destroying Christian’s family. When he finds that his enemy is courting the woman Christian tried for years to forget, he conceives of a plan to take everything away from the man, including Katherine, the widowed Duchess of Westervly.

Katherine has intentionally caught the eye of the Viscount of DeWynter, a man she can barely tolerate, but her stepmother is missing, and clues lead to the viscount as having a hand in her disappearance. When Christian appears on the scene, she is torn between the two men; Christian, who has held her heart all these years, and DeWynter, whom she believes can lead her to her stepmother.

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Source: Free from Amazon Kindle

(Steam! Romance and Rails series)

Genre: Historical Western Romance (19th Century – 1870)

Cover Blurb:

The War Between the States ended five years ago, but she still pursues her enemy…

Rebel spy turned government rabble rouser Adella Willows receives her mission straight from a Washington senator—play havoc with the Katy Railroad and derail its bid to win the race. The senator craves wealth. Adella craves revenge against the man responsible for her brother’s death. But her plans crumble into chaos when she enters a battle of wits with the railroad’s foreman.

An ocean separates him from his failures in Ireland, but he’s still haunted by those who died…

Seasoned railroad foreman Cormac McGrady’s sole desire is keeping his workmen safe and employed, which means keeping the Katy ahead of its rivals. But the beautiful spy bedeviling his railroad needs protecting as well. Cormac must choose between winning the race and winning Adella’s heart, while Adella must choose whether she lives for revenge or dies for love.

This novella is part of the “Passion’s Prize” anthology and the “Steam! Romance and Rails” series.

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(An American Heiress in London, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

She’s an American heiress. He’s a devilish earl. When these two collide, the sparks ignite a shocking scandal in USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke’s unforgettable Victorian-era romance.

Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she’s determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she’s about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss.

Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet’s “intended”, and he’s determined she won’t fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her.

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A sheikh without a country. A woman without fear. A love hotter than the Sahara.

In his heart, Viscount Blakeney will always be Sheikh Altair Mazir, but a deathbed oath to his English grandfather forces him to divide his time between Britain and his beautiful Sahara. A victim of prejudice from both cultures, he has learned a bitter lesson. Trust no one.

Yet when he witnesses firsthand the British Museum’s rejection of Alexandra Talbot’s request for assistance in finding the lost city of Ramesses II, he finds himself not only compelled to help, but donning his desert robes to hide his identity.

Alexandra is all too familiar with men who equate her sex with a lack of intelligence. But the mysterious Altair isn’t like other men. He never questions her ability to find the lost city, only her resistance to the sinful pleasure of his touch.

Bound by a Pharaoh’s prophecy, desire flares between them under the desert stars. But murder and betrayal turn their quest into a deadly game, pushing their fragile trust to the breaking point. A trust that must be reforged if they are to survive.

This book has been previously published by Samhain Publishing.

Warning: Contains a half-blood prince of the desert whose tortured Bedouin heart beats beneath a proper English cravat. And an American archaeologist who’ll go a long way to fulfil her dreams.

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Reckless Rockfords, #1)

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Helen Rivenall is willing to do anything to escape the brutality of her uncle’s home. But a promise of honest employment is a ruse. Drugged and auctioned off in a notorious London brothel, she finds herself won by a man who wants nothing from her except her participation in a harmless charade. Left with no choice, she reluctantly agrees, but as their web of lies grows, so does temptation and the realization that pleasure and sin are often one and the same.

Sebastian Rockwood, Earl of Melton is haunted by a dark secret in his past. One that taught him control is a personal trait to be valued above all others. He also learned never to give his heart to anyone. The risk is too great. Yet where Helen is concerned, his prized control is slowly giving way to temptation, and all too quickly he discovers nothing can protect him from the ultimate obsession – love.

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Reckless Rockfords, #2)

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Behind the mask lies love-a dangerous and deadly emotion.
Constance Athelson, Viscountess Westbury has a gift she can’t reveal. She sees things others can’t, including the dead. The only thing she can’t see is into the heart of Lucien Blakemore, Earl of Lyndham. After one blissful night in his arms, she knows if she’s ever to win his heart, she must free him from his tortured past.

Lucien Blakemore met the Egyptian goddess Isis at a masked ball, but she vanished into the night before he could learn her real name. It’s just as well, since the Blakemore Curse makes love a dangerous and deadly emotion for him. But the erotic night he spent with his mysterious lover makes him want to throw caution aside-if only for one more night with his masked goddess.

Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex with a hero whose torment equals that of Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester.

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(An American Heiress in London, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

They had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

 

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