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Posts Tagged ‘Castles Ever After Series’

do-you-want-to-start-a-scandal

(Spindle Cove, #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1819)

Cover Blurb:

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.
•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I adore Tessa Dare’s books! They are always enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny!

I love the crossover of characters from the two series. The heroine, Charlotte, is the youngest of the Highwood sisters who feature in the Spindle Cove series and the hero, Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville, appears in the second book of the Castles Ever After series.

Clever, witty, vivacious, good-natured and forthright, Charlotte is like a breath of fresh air. Despite her mother’s ill-conceived attempts to “throw” her into the paths of eligible, titled gentleman (sometimes literally), Charlotte values her independence and has no immediate plans to marry, intending to travel with her friend before settling down. Even then, she will only marry for love.

Attending a house party being held by Sir Vernon and Lady Parkhurst, her best friend, Delia’s parents, she is aware that her mother has set her sights on Piers Brandon, Earl of Granville, as a prospective husband for her daughter. Desperate to warn him of her mother’s machinations and her own unsuitability as a prospective bride (the Prattler has dubbed her “The Desperate Debutante.”), she follows him into the library.

“Don’t be alarmed,” she said, closing the door behind her. “I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me.” His low, rich voice glided over her like fine-grain leather. “From  .  .  .  ?”
“Oh, all kinds of things. Inconvenience and mortification, chiefly. But broken bones aren’t outside the realm of possibility.”

What follows must rank as one of the most delightful and funny first meetings between a hero and heroine. Charlotte’s talk of May-December matches had me chuckling.

However, the best laid plans have a habit of going wrong and disaster strikes when they are discovered in what appears to be a compromising situation. Forced into an “understanding” with Piers, Charlotte is determined to discover the identity of the mystery couple they heard “tupping” from their hiding place in the library. That will release her from a marriage to someone who obviously doesn’t love her.

At first, Charlotte sees Piers as cold and restrained and talking to him “was rather like conversing with an ice sculpture” but his unexpected wicked charm, subtle humour and passionate kiss belie that icy exterior.  He believes there is too much darkness and deception in his past and, if Charlotte knew the truth, she wouldn’t want anything to do with him. He sees himself as ruthless, deceitful, cold-blooded and heartless. I love how Charlotte refuses to give up on him, sees someone worthy of her love, and slowly breaks down the walls around his heart.

I know what’s inside you, behind all those walls. I’ll keep chipping away until I get at it. Even if it takes years. Decades. I know you’ll be worth the effort.” She rested against his chest, burying her face into the crook of his neck. “I’m never giving up on you.”

I also enjoyed seeing Piers losing all his vaunted control around Charlotte.

Good God. What was happening to him? He was falling apart.

In addition to a romantic, tender, poignant and deliciously sexy love story, Ms Dare’s books always contain wonderful humour. There are two scenes that I thought were hilarious. The first is where Charlotte’s mother is trying to explain to her what to expect on her wedding night using edible aids! The other is the scene where Charlotte is in the perfume shop and here’s a snippet.

“I thought you might. All the young ladies do. It’s fresh and grassy, isn’t it? Lemon verbena and gardenia blossoms. But the secret is in the fixative. A touch of castoreum is what makes the summery scents take hold, rather than fade.”
“Castoreum. That’s not from whales, is it?”
“Not at all.” He chuckled. 
Charlotte laughed, too. “Oh, good. What a relief.”
“It’s from beavers.”

Colin, Minerva and Diana (Spindle Cove) make a welcome appearance as does Piers’ brother, Rafe (Castles Ever After).

The mystery surrounding the identity of the lovers in the library kept me guessing and I thought the revelation was a nice twist.

If you are lover of Epilogues, like me, Ms Dare doesn’t disappoint.

MY VERDICT: If you’re looking for a story that is romantic, sexy, funny and full of wonderful characters that steal your heart, then I can most definitely recommend this book.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Read October 2016

 

Spindle Cove series – for details of all the books click on the link below:

https://www.goodreads.com/series/58621-spindle-cove

Castles Ever After series – for details of all the books click on the link below:

https://www.goodreads.com/series/105851-castles-ever-after

 

 

 

 

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(Castles Ever After, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Once again, Tessa Dare enchanted me with a magical story, endearing, unforgettable characters, delightful humour and witty, sparkling dialogue.

Maddie is one of those quirky, unconventional heroines that Tessa Dare excels in writing (and only a Tessa Dare heroine could be studying the mating habits of a pair of lobsters called Rex and Fluffy!). As a young girl of sixteen, Maddie is painfully shy and a terrifying childhood experience has left her suffering from anxiety attacks when in the midst of crowds.

In any large gathering— be it a market, a theater, a ballroom— she had a tendency to freeze, almost literally. An arctic sense of terror took hold of her, and the crush of bodies rendered her solid and stupid as a block of ice.

With Maddie’s first season approaching and her stepmother pointedly suggesting that she might find herself a suitable gentleman to marry, Maddie panics and blurts that she has already met him. So starts “an outrageous falsehood that would, for better and worse, determine the rest of her life”. I loved the letters Maddie writes to her fictitious sweetheart because they not only act as a clever plot device but also provide an insight into Maddie’s character. They also contain some delightful humour as evidenced here.

Dear Captain Imaginary MacFigment,

O happy day! Ring the bells, sound the trumpets. Swab the floors with lemon oil. My father’s bride is vomiting profusely every morning, and most every afternoon, as well. The signs are plain. A noisy, smelly, writhing thing will push its way into the world in some six or seven months’ time.

After inheriting a castle in Scotland from her godfather and, with only her Aunt Thea as companion, Maddie is at last independent and able to pursue her budding career as a scientific illustrator. However, her world is about to be shattered when her killed-in-battle, fictitious captain turns up on her doorstep, very much alive.

Big, brawny, Logan stole my heart. I love how deeply he cares about his men and his determination to do anything within his power to help them rebuild their lives even if it means resorting to blackmail. His actions towards Maddie may not be honourable but his motives definitely are.

His gruff exterior hides a very lonely, disillusioned man and I like how Ms Dare gradually reveals his past; his abandonment as a child, the deprivations he suffered and the duplicity of the vicar who gave him a home. He grew up in a world devoid of love. His men are the only real family he has ever known and I could understand his belief that love is nothing but a lie people tell themselves.

The sweet, tender, poignant and deliciously sexy love story between Maddie and Logan is further enhanced by sparkling dialogue and hilariously funny scenes. One of my favourites scenes is where Maddie gets stuck in a bog.

“Relax,” he said. “The ones who do perish, they die of the exposure or thirst. Not because they’re sucked under.”
“So you’re saying . . .”
“You’ll be fine. We’ll build a little roof over your head and bring you bannocks twice a day. You can live here quite happily for years.”

Another of my favourites is when Logan is forced to read aloud the excruciatingly terrible poem he is supposed to have written to Maddie. It’s priceless.

It tugged at my heartstrings when Logan reveals just how much Maddie’s letters meant to him.

“It felt as if I’d tugged on a loose thread of God’s tartan, and a world away, someone tugged back”.

I love how Maggie gives Logan the love and family he has always secretly yearned for and Logan encourages Maddie to follow her dreams.

There is a wonderful cast of secondary characters including Logan’s men, each with their own distinct personalities, Maddie’s delightful Aunt Thea and, of course, not forgetting Rex and Fluffy.

I can’t end my review without mentioning the Epilogue… just lovely!

MY VERDICT: Tessa Dare continues to captivate me with her wonderful writing, heart-warming stories, endearing characters and sparkling humour.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2015


Castles Ever After series so far (click on the cover for more details)
:
Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1) by Tessa Dare Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After, #2) by Tessa Dare When a Scot Ties the Knot (Castles Ever After, #3) by Tessa Dare

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Tessa Dare is one of my favourite authors and I always have to read her books as soon as they are released.   Personally, I don’t think she can surpass her “Spindle Cove” series but this series comes a very close second.

(Castles Ever After, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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(Castles Ever After #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and . . . and . . . ?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?

● He starts with flowers. A wedding can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.

● He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.

● He doesn’t kiss her.

● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.

● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.

● And no matter what—he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I LOVE Tessa Dare’s books! They are romantic, sexy, funny and full of wonderful characters that always capture my heart. I was totally captivated by SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS from start to finish.

LORD RAFE BRANDON

Rafe Brandon was a black sheep. A hotheaded rebel. The Devil’s Own. He was known throughout England for being quick, crude, strong, dangerous.

I love that, beneath that tough exterior, Rafe hides a tender, vulnerable heart . As a boy, he longed to be the sort of son his father could love. He wanted to be studious and level-headed like his older brother, Piers. Someone his father could be proud of. But Rafe was big and rough and, by nature, impulsive and unruly, preferring outdoor pursuits to studying. Finally, things came to a head with his father and he was banished from the house. He is forced to make a life for himself and prizefighting gives him that chance and provides the discipline he has always lacked.

MISS CLIO WHITMORE

“I quietly declared my own independence. I am the sovereign nation of Clio now. And there will be no terms of surrender.”

I love this determination she has to grasp her independence and live her own life and inheriting Twill Castle means she doesn’t need the security of marriage anymore. She has learnt a lot about herself during the past eight years and knows her own capabilities. I love the idea of her opening a brewery and her wide spectrum of reading during the lonely eight years has provided her with the necessary knowledge. Unlike so many heroines, she is curvaceous and I hated her mother for so cruelly trying to mould Clio into something she isn’t.

Clio and Rafe had such wonderful chemistry and watching their romance unfold was an absolute delight. It was funny, poignant, romantic and sensual and here are just a few of my favourite moments.

“And for every crusading knight who won a tournament for his lady in this castle, I promise you— there were a hundred men who spent a solid decade scratching themselves and having pissing contests from the ramparts.”

“I’m a faithful, drooling little thing you want to keep alive, so Piers can come home and pat me on the head. Toss me a biscuit, perhaps.”

The image erupted in his mind’s eye, as unbidden as it vivid. Clio. Breathless. Naked. Under him. Stripped of all good manners and inhibitions. Begging him to learn her every secret shade of pink. Rafe blinked hard. Then he took that mental image and filed it away under pleasant sounding Impossibilities. Right between “flying carriage” and “beer fountain”.

They kissed and kissed, as the rain fell around them. It was so absurdly romantic, Clio thought her heart would burst.

We’re going to drape her in silks. Drown her in flowers and fancy cakes, until she’s giddy with bridal excitement.

In that moment, Clio looked inside her heart. It was the clearest glimpse she’d ever had. She saw the entirety of her future. Their future . The castle, the brewery . Children. Christmases and Easters and summer rain.

“Clio, you are . . .” Sensual, alluring, voluptuous. “Beautiful.”

As always, Ms Dare delighted me with a lively cast of secondary characters. There is “Sir Coxcomb and Lady Featherbrain” alias Daphne, Clio’s snobbish, overbearing sister and her husband, the preening, obnoxious prig, Sir Teddy Cambourne; smart, quirky Phoebe, Clio’s youngest sister, who sometimes says the most outrageous things; Bruno Aberforth Montague, Esquire alias Bruiser, Rafe’s trainer, who kept me thoroughly entertained with his capers; Piers, Rafe’s brother, who was certainly a surprise and definitely worthy of his own book. Last but not least, Ellingworth, the squattest,oldest, ugliest bulldog ever, who had me cheering when this happened…

“Oh.” She clapped a hand to her mouth. “Oh, dear.” Evidently she wasn’t the only one who’d mistaken Daphne for statuary.
Ellingworth was urinating on her foot.

Once again, Tessa Dare enchanted me with her beautiful writing, her heart-warming stories, her endearing characters and her brilliant humour.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read December 2014


Castles Ever After series so far (click on the cover for more details):

Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1) by Tessa Dare Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After, #2) by Tessa Dare

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