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(Secret Brides, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

How to Stop a Wedding

Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill,has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…

How to Seduce a Widow

Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…
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SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, the first book in Valerie Bowman’s Secret Brides series, is a delightful tale of secrets, seduction and second chances, written with warmth, wit and style.

The things I love about this book:

Sexy, confident, strong, compassionate but stubborn hero ~

Society sees Devon as a gambler, a drinker and a rake. The reality is very different. Using his skill with numbers, Devon has accumulated a large fortune at the gaming tables and invested it wisely. Now he gambles in the squalor of the Rookery for one reason only…. to restore a family heirloom which was a symbol of his ancestry. Having once been deserted by the woman he loved in favour of an older, richer man, Devon now hides his true financial situation. The woman he marries must love him for himself and not his money. His love for his illegitimate son, Justin, and his rescue of an adorable puppy reveal a kinder and softer side to Devon. When Lily needs a knight in shining armour, he comes to her aid.

Resilient, protective, loyal and equally stubborn heroine ~

Left in financial straits after her father dies, Lily is determined to keep her “ragtag little household” together. Nothing is more important than her sister’s happiness and I can understand why Lily is overprotective. She wants Anne to have the freedom she didn’t enjoy whilst under the control of firstly her father and then her elderly husband. I can also understand her reluctance to trust Devon with her heart. To all appearances, he is a carbon copy of her father who drank and then gambled away everything. I love the fact that she is scared of spiders…something so many of us ladies share. It gives her a very human edge.

Delicious sexual tension and steamy passion ~

I enjoyed all the varied nuances of Devon and Lily’s romance.

The feelings of hurt and anger reflected in their barbed remarks to each other…

“I see in addition to your renowned gambling and rakishness, you’ve also turned to the bottle. Are you trying for all the seven sins?”
His voice was calm. “And I see in addition to your renowned flirtations and fickleness, your skills as a hostess leave much to be desired.”

The strong attraction that still simmers below the surface…

He was a drug. That’s what he was. Like opium. A maddening, unhealthy pleasure that left her senses reeling.

Blast it. He was already plagued with indecent thoughts. This entire seduction plot would be much easier if he weren’t driven half mad just looking at her.

The seduction …

She moaned when his warm lips finally touched hers. The contact was almost unbearable. It was the softest, smoothest, least aggressive kiss he’d ever given her. It demanded nothing from her and made her feel more than all the other kisses combined.

The lies…

“Damn it, Lily. Will you listen you me? I never intended to profit from it. You must belive me.”
She clenched her fists at her sides. “Believe you? A liar? A gambler? A man who prizes money above all else? What sort of fool do you take me for?.”

A lasting love

Tears flowed down Lily’s cheek. She smiled through them. “I love you, Devon. I always have.”

An engaging cast of secondary characters ~

I adore Lily’s loyal servants – Evans, the butler who had the habit of falling asleep at the most inopportune moments and Mary, the lady’s maid with an unfortunate memory problem. I love the way in which Lily’s sister, Anne matures during the course of the story:

Oh, Anne, when did you become so wise?”
Anne smiled a knowing smile. “When you weren’t looking, dear sister.”

I also enjoyed the interactions between Devon and his friend, Jordan Holloway, Earl of Ashbourne and Devon’s jealousy of Lily’s friend, Viscount Medford.

Overall, this was a charming fast-paced story filled with humour and passion and a very impressive debut novel from Ms Bowman. I will definitely be reading the other books I have in this series.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read March 2014

The Secret Brides series (click on cover for more details):

Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides, #1) A Secret Proposal (Secret Brides, #1.5) Secrets of a Runaway Bride (Secret Brides, #2) A Secret Affair (Secret Brides #2.5) Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage (Secret Brides, #3) It Happened Under The Mistletoe (Secret Brides, #3.5)

 

 

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(FBI/US Attorney, #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Cover Blurb:

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other’s arms…

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension

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Thank goodness for my TBR Pile Challenge. Otherwise, a gem of a book like SOMETHING ABOUT YOU might have remained forever unread!

All the things I loved about this book:

Hot, sexy, alpha hero

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If you like your heroes in the form of a tall, dark, handsome, tough, protective FBI Special Agent, who can kill a man with a paperclip, then Jack Pallas is definitely your man. Oh, and in addition to being prone to scowling, he also rides a silver and black motorcycle…’definitely a bad-boy bike.’

Gorgeous, sassy, likeable heroine…

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Cameron Lynde is everything I look for in a heroine…confident, intelligent and bold. This Assistant U.S. District Attorney is known to be fearless and tenacious in the courtroom. Oh, and she wears ‘killer’ high heels.

Super sizzling chemistry…

This pair are definitely HOT! There is so much sexual tension that you could cut it with a knife. I love the scene where Jack is taking Cameron home on his motorbike and she starts thinking sex…

As they drove, nice and slow along the side streets, Cameron tried to pull her mind out of the gutter. But then they stopped at an intersection and she noticed how Jack’s hands worked the handlebar/ clutch thingy as he revved the engine—almost like a caress— and she began imagining other things his hands could caress, strong hands that could lift her up, hold her down, flip her over, pin her against a wall . . .

I smiled when Jack is constantly being turned on by the sight of Cameron’s camisole strap:

He stole another look, for security purposes , and watched as the sweater once again slid away from her collarbone, inching down, taunting him, teasing him, dipping lower and lower , revealing creamy ivory skin and that delicate gray silk strap he could rip away with his teeth.

When they finally get between the sheets, the temperature soars to boiling!

An array of engaging secondary characters…

I like Jack’s partner, Wilkins and Cameron’s friend Amy but I absolutely adore Collin, Cameron’s gay best friend.

Sparkling, snappy dialogue…

I love Ms James’s dialogue whether it is the initial biting exchanges between Jack and Cameron:

“I want to talk to a lawyer,” Cameron said.
“You are a lawyer,” he said. “And you’re not considered a suspect, so you’re not entitled to one, anyway.”
“What am I considered, then?” “
A person of interest.”
This was bullshit. “Here’s the deal: I’m tired and not in the mood to play games. So if you don’t start telling me what’s going on, I’m walking,” Cameron said.
Jack eyed her yoga sweats and Michigan T-shirt, looking unconcerned with her threats. Thank God she wasn’t still hanging out in her underpants.
“You’re not going anywhere.” He pulled the chair out and gestured. “Take a seat.”
“Thanks, but no. I think I’ll just stick with the plan where I walk out.” Before he could call her bluff, Cameron grabbed her purse and headed for the door. The hell with her stuff, she’d get it later. “It was nice catching up with you, Agent Pallas. I’m glad to see those three years in Nebraska didn’t make you any less of an asshole.”

or the banter between Collin and Cameron:

“You’re losing clothing every time you see him. At this rate, you’ll be naked in front of him before you know it.” Then the strangest thing happened.
Cameron blushed.
“I’m perfectly capable of keeping my clothes on around him, thank you,” she said, her cheeks tinged rosy pink.
Collin was intrigued. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen Cameron blush because of a guy.
The plot thickened.

The action and suspense…

I think Ms James creates the perfect balance between the romance and the action/suspense. The identity of the killer is revealed early in the story but I enjoyed the ensuing game of cat and mouse as they try to put the pieces together and uncover the killer before he can get to Cameron.

The movie mentions…

I love this homage to one of my favourite movies, Casablanca

Of all the murder and she-had-no-friggin’-clue-what-else-but-something-that-apparently-involved-the-FBI crime scenes in all the hotels in all of Chicago , Jack Pallas had to walk into this one.

and the reference to the Walls of Jericho scene from It Happened One Night.

Overall, I loved the sizzling, sexy romance, the razor-sharp humour and the exciting suspense elements and I will definitely be reading more books in this series.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read March 2014

 

The FBI/US Attorney series (click on the covers for more details):

Something About You (FBI / US Attorney, #1) A Lot like Love (FBI / US Attorney, #2) About That Night (FBI / US Attorney, #3) Love Irresistibly (FBI / US Attorney, #4) It Happened One Wedding (FBI / US Attorney, #5)

 

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Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

It’s Not Easy Being Good…

Vivacious Vivienne Taylor has finally won her family’s approval by getting engaged to the wealthy and upright John Vandergrift. But when threatened by a vicious blackmail scheme, it is to her childhood friend that Vivienne turns; the deliciously wicked Viscount Dashiell.

When Being Wicked is so Much More Exciting…

Lord Dashiell promised himself long ago that his friendship with Vivienne would be the one relationship with a woman that he wouldn’t ruin. He agrees to help her just to keep the little hothead safe, but soon finds that Vivienne has grown up to be very, very dangerous to all of Dash’s best intentions.

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What a delectable treat this book was…just perfect for brightening up a dull, rainy day! It was hilariously funny and deliciously sexy with a wonderful cast of outrageously quirky characters.

Always the bane of her family, the vivacious Vivienne Taylor has finally won their approval and saved them from financial ruin by becoming engaged to the wealthy and upright John Vandergrift. She is determined to be the perfect wife even though it means supressing her true nature. This might prove more difficult than she expects when her childhood friend and neighbour, Lord Dashiell, returns from his travels. With such a wicked reputation, she should stay well away from him, but Dashiell is the only one she can turn to for help, when she fears her aunt is being blackmailed.  If only he didn’t stir her heart and senses!

Adventurer and seasoned rake, Lord Dashiell has a reputation of steering well clear of any emotional involvements. So when his friend, Vivienne asks for his help, he reluctantly agrees because he feels an obligation to keep her safe. The problem is that the lonely, little girl he befriended has grown into a ravishing, spirited lady who threatens his much vaunted emotional detachment. If only she didn’t stir dangerous emotions best kept dormant!

The chemistry between Vivienne and Dashiell is absolutely delicious as they try not to act on their growing attraction for each other but inevitably they succumb…

The warm softness of his lips sent a hot, heady wave through her that silenced her thoughts. Everything was him. The hard contours of his chest and the tingle of her nipples as they rubbed against him, the taste of his tongue as it caressed the tip of hers, while his thigh pushed between her limbs, invading her, seeking that place inside her that throbbed, deep and wet.

Their attempts to thwart the blackmail scheme, and solve the mystery surrounding some missing, risqué art lead to a series of mad-cap escapades. There are some hilarious scenes and my favourite has to be when Dashiell dons a disguise to help Vivienne escape the clutches of a scheming brothel madam. I won’t spoil it for you, but look out for the halo and pair of angel wings!

There are moments of wickedly funny dialogue as well, like this gem from Vivienne’s Aunt Gertrude…

“Promise me, dear Vivvie, that you’ll be a virtuous lady,” her aunt insisted. ‘This is the most important thing in all the world.” Her eyes narrowed. “No matter how the devil may tempt you… with… with ripe luscious apples and golden calves and silken chemises.”

“Wait, silk chemises aren’t in the Bible. Biblical women wore-”

“But they are in the black soul of the devil, I tell you! Chemises, lacy drawers, and stockings are all in there. He waits for a lady to slip, he whispers to her, enticing her, tingling her…tingling her nether regions.”

Ms Ives has assembled a lively cast of secondary characters; Dashiell’s ribald grandfather and “the boys”; the lady members of the Wesley Congregational; the pompous, conceited John Vandergrift; Teakesbury, the questionable solicitor; the occupants of the seedy brothel and the man-hating cockatoo.

This was such a delightful romp, full of laugh-out-loud moments, vivid characters, spicy dialogue and, of course, romance.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2014


My sincere thanks to Susanna Ives for kindly providing me with a copy of this delightful book in return for an honest review.

 

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(Castles Ever After #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I didn’t think anything could possibly match Tessa Dare’s fabulous Spindle Cove series but her new series, Castles Ever After, promises to be just as wonderful. The first book, ROMANCING THE DUKE is enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny and I was totally captivated from the first page to the last!

I love Tessa Dare’s writing… so rich in warmth, emotion, and humour. She brings each scene to life with such vivid imagery. This is one of my favourite descriptions:

It started to rain. Fat, heavy drops of summer rain— the kind that always struck her as vaguely lewd and debauched. Little potbellied drunkards, those summer raindrops, chortling on their way to earth and crashing open with glee.Image

“I’m no one’s hero, Miss Goodnight. You’d do well to remember that.”

Ransom is certainly my hero but then I do have a soft spot for scarred, emotionally wounded heroes. I just knew that under that gruff exterior beats a vulnerable heart and it just needs the right woman to break down his defences. Izzy is just perfect for him with her warmth, passion and gentle heart.

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I adore Izzy. Tired of being treated like the wide-eyed girl of her father’s stories, she longs to be seen as a grown woman with her own dreams and desires. It is Ransom who is able to see the real Izzy – ‘a beautiful temptress of a woman, with interesting ideas and sensual wit.

I enjoyed the initial sparks and tension between Izzy and Ransome. They were such a delightful couple and watching their romance unfold was a joy. I loved sharing their…

Charmingly wicked banter:

He leaned one shoulder against the archway. “Aren’t we going to continue?”
“Continue what?”
“This game.” His voice was so low it seemed to crawl to her over the flagstones, then shiver up through the soles of her feet. “Am I a Russian prince? No. Is my favorite color yellow? No. Would I object if you were to come inside and remove every stitch of your damp clothing?” His voice did the impossible. It sank lower. “No.”

Tender moments:

Izzy didn’t know if these gentle sweeps of her fingertips could erase his pain— but they were dismantling the safeguards around her heart.
She soothed her touch over his brow and scalp, making shushing noises and whispering what she hoped were comforting words.

Sigh-worthy moments:

It was oneness, and it was glorious, and it was perfect, and it was her. All her.
God, he loved her.

Poignant moments:

…since she was there . .  . he couldn’t deny that a scarred, neglected part of him craved that softness.
 Hell, he ached for it, straight to his bones.

Hot sexy moments:

“Oh, I mean to do this everywhere. I plan to have you in every room of this castle. And why stop there? On the ramparts, beneath the stars. In the park, on a blanket spread amid waving grasses.” He pushed her skirts to her waist. “But we start right here, right now. I’ve been dreaming of taking you on this table for weeks.”

There are some rather delightful but unusual secondary characters…

The Knights and ladies of Moranglia who offer their loyal support when it is most needed (all will become clear when you read the book).

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Snowdrop, Izzy’s pet ermine, who seems to have got to grips with a certain duke!
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I loved Ransom’s devoted valet, Duncan, especially in the scene where he douses Ransom with freezing cold water!

Tessa Dare continues to wow me with her beautiful writing, heart-warming stories and loveable characters and  ROMANCING THE DUKE will definitely be one of my favourite books of 2014.  Now I just have to wait for book 2, SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS!

REVIEW  RATING: 5/5  STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read January 2014

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

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(Jaded Gentlemen #2)

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Ashe Blackwell has enjoyed the life of an unrepentant rakehell ever since his return from India. But when his beloved grandfather challenges him to reform for a single social Season in London–or forfeit his inheritance–Ashe agrees to the wager

Fearless when it comes to a dare, Ashe fails to anticipate the ace up his grandfather’s sleeve. He will be assigned an unconventional chaperone–Miss Caroline Townsend, a young independent, well-educated American woman with beautiful eyes and no patience for rogues.

The sparks fly from their first meeting as the pair squares off in a duel of wills. When passion and desire are added to the mix, they both battle to keep control as a dangerous seduction begins to unravel their lives and threaten their futures…

★✩★✩★✩★

Entertaining, romantic, sexy and funny!

I just loved this second book in the Jaded Gentlemen series. Ms Bernard delights with a winning combination of unforgettable characters, lively plot, sparkling dialogue and some sizzling hot love scenes.

I love Ashe… such a complex, appealing, sexy rogue. His time in India left him a changed man… not only haunted by his experiences as a prisoner but also by memories of a love affair that ended tragically. Drowning in a hedonistic lifestyle seems the perfect way of forgetting the pain of a broken heart. But despite appearances, his sense of family loyalty and duty is still strong and when his grandfather summons him, he does not hesitate. He finds himself with no choice but to accept his grandfather’s wager. The possibility of his odious second cousin, Winston Yardley getting his hands on the family fortunes, land and holdings is too abhorrent to contemplate. Anyway, how difficult can it be to maintain a few weeks of impeccable behaviour? But his wily grandfather has an ace up his sleeve…a chaperone. Not just any chaperone but a plain little terrier of a woman with mesmerizing eyes.

I love Caroline. She is the perfect heroine for Ashe. No pasty-faced debutante but an independent, outspoken, tenacious and stubborn American. I admire not only her resolve to make something of her life other than being a charitable case for her relatives but also her spirit and courage in travelling alone to England. She’s needs the monies offered by Ashe’s grandfather but not for any avaricious reason. She valued her own education and wants to build a university so that other women can also obtain the same education. So how difficult can it be to chaperone Mr Blackwell’s grandson for a few weeks? Maybe more difficult than she thinks when her charge is a rude, smug, boorish, ruggedly handsome, imposing rogue.

Their initial hostile clashes are so entertaining and I love how Caroline refuses to be intimidated by Ashe’s acerbic remarks and gives as good as she gets.

…I don’t need you to keep me from disgrace. Rogue or no. I’m capable of holding my own without some drab tight-lipped American nipping at my heels. Frankly, I would rather haul a tiger around on a bridle than cart you through a Season.”
Hands fisted at her hips, she faced him squarely. “I’m glad we have an understanding then, Mr. Blackwell. Especially since I am the one with the unhappy task of holding your bridle, which from here makes you look less like a tiger and more and more like an ass!”

Ashe expects Caroline to fall flat on her face when she first goes into society but she charms the formidable Lady Fitzgerald and has the old misogynist Colonel Stevenson positively eating out of her hand. I love how Ashe has a fit of the sulks!

The tension between these two is simply delicious! I absolutely love the highly charged scenes where the sleepwalking Caroline wanders into Ashe’s bedroom and he definitely sees his prim and proper chaperone in a whole new light! His struggles to keep from ravishing Caroline, who is blissfully unaware of the situation, are so funny. Another favourite is where Ashe arrives at the modiste as Caroline is being fitted for a new wardrobe. I just love his suggestive comments about the riding habit! Oh and when these two finally get together, expect some love scenes that really sizzle! I love how Ashe shows he has changed by deeds rather than words and proves himself worthy of Caroline’s love.

I really like Ashe’s grandfather. He is a wily old curmudgeon who is not above using a little deception to get what he wants. But his heart is in the right place and he genuinely loves Ashe.

The conniving Winston Yardley is a suitably menacing villain. It was great to see all his scheming thwarted by Caroline’s quick thinking.

SEDUCTION WEARS SAPPHIRES is an immensely entertaining romance and now I’m looking forward to reading ECSTASY WEARS EMERALDS, the next book in the series.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

Read August 2013

The JADED GENTLEMEN series (click the cover for more details):

Revenge Wears Rubies (Jaded Gentleman, #1) Seduction Wears Sapphires (Jaded Gentleman, #2) Ecstasy Wears Emeralds (Jaded Gentleman, #3) Passion Wears Pearls (Jaded Gentleman, #4) Obsession Wears Opals (Jaded Gentleman, #5) Desire Wears Diamonds (Jaded Gentleman, #6)

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Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.

When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

**In the interests of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the author with no strings attached. It is my personal choice to write this review and these are my honest thoughts about the book.** 

THIS BOOK WAS JUST AMAZING… SO HEARTBREAKING YET SO UPLIFTING!

I found myself totally engrossed in the story and just could not  put it down. It was so compelling and so rewarding. I found myself experiencing so many emotions…revulsion, hatred, sorrow, hope, laughter and joy. This story touched me deeply on so many levels.

From the very first page when Michael reads his cousin’s letter, I hated Leo Standish. To put it bluntly he was an evil, manipulative, sadistic bastard! Even from the grave his malignant presence is all pervasive. Kudos to Ms Owens for creating one of the most repugnant villains ever. It made me all the more determined to read on and see his evil presence ultimately banished forever by the power of love!

To read about what Diana suffered at Leo’s hands was so heartrending but, despite everything, she still retained a core of inner strength. She was stronger than she thought…she survived. Not only did she survive but she also raised her son Jamie to be a fine boy. But she bears the scars of Leo’s horrific abuse, both physically and emotionally. She is a shadow of the beautiful, spirited, laughing girl she used to be. She no longer trusts any man and cannot bear to be touched by one. I understand the anger she feels towards Michael and her resistance in accepting his offer of help. She feels his betrayal deeply and fears the cold, powerful, determined man she sees now may be just like Leo. But she realises that Michael is nothing like Leo and, although it is a slow process, she comes to trust him and see the man she fell in love with all those years ago.

Michael is racked with guilt because he feels responsible for what happened to Diana. He had promised to protect and cherish her but he had simply walked away leaving her to Leo’s tender mercies. At first, he simply wants to help her…provide adequate food and somewhere to live… but soon it becomes more than that. He wants to see that spark she once had…he wants to see her smile again. When he is with Diana and Jamie he feels a sense of contentment, a feeling he does not want to examine too closely.

Following Diana’s journey to “finding her wings” again is, at times. heart-breaking:

Resentment and hurt, feelings she had long thought dealt with, hit her with the force of a fierce storm whose screaming winds toppled hundred-year-old trees. She hugged her knees, pressed her face against them and helplessly sobbed for the first time in years. And as she wept, she let the pain of Michael’s betrayal and Leo’s brutalities consume her. She cried until she had no tears left and when she was done, the heaviness in her heart eased a bit.

and, at times, heart-warming:

Michael picked up another slice and handed it to her. She stared at the bread in her hand, her heart beating furiously in her chest.
“Go on,” Michael said.
“Do it, Mama,” Jamie urged.
She looked at Michael once more to make sure she didn’t see any trickery in his eyes and then threw her bread. A tiny burst of laughter escaped and she slapped her hand over her mouth. Jamie giggled and Michael gave her a smile of approval. A sliver of the fear that had held her captive for eleven long years fell away. 

but so rewarding.

I totally fell in love with Michael. I love all the things he does to make Diana happy…the way he teases her and makes her laugh. Most of all I love the crazy letters he sends her about the imaginary cats after she runs away.

The scene, where she finally shows Michael the scars she has kept hidden from him, is so moving and so incredibly beautiful.

“This is what I see when I look at you.”
He held the up the rose. “Perfection, Diana. I see perfection.”

There is a fascinating assortment of secondary characters who add richness to the story :

* Michael’s French born, meddling mother, Lady Suzanne Daventry who insists on regaling her son with details of the “fun” she had with his father, something Michael definitely does not want to hear about!

* Michael’s valet Hansen who is always being threatened with dismissal. The repartee between these two is just so funny. Here is one of my favourite exchanges…

So it is my fault I am bleeding like a butchered pig?” Michael grabbed the mirror and glared into it, but couldn’t see anything past Hansen’s hand and the cloth. “Move your paw, man, and let me see.”
“Dogs and cats have paws, your lordship. I am human, thus I have a hand.”
“You are being impertinent. I have half a mind to dismiss you with no reference. What have you to say to that?”
“If your temper doesn’t improve soon, my lord, I have half a mind to quit, no reference necessary”.

* Jamie is such an adorable child and the scenes between Michael and him are poignant, charming and funny

* I must not forget one other important character…


Peggy , the three legged cat

I could wax lyrical about this book for hours but I simply want to say thank you to Sandra Owens for giving me the privilege of reading this fabulous book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5 stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2013

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(Sons of Sin #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

PUBLICATION DATE: 27th AUGUST 2013

Official Blurb 

It Takes A Lady

Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception—until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…

To Catch A Thief

Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish façade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…

★✩★✩★✩★

WOW! I LOVED THIS BOOK!

Anna Campbell is known for her intense, emotional, passionate stories but A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS is much lighter in tone. It reminded me of Loretta Chase’s books …romantic, sexy and funny…a winning combination. This book was pure joy to read from the first page to the last!

Oh, how I loved Richard and Genevieve! They were just the perfect match for each other and are definitely joining my list of all-time favourite Romancelandia couples. 

Richard is such a wonderful romantic hero. He’s handsome, tender, kind, clever and brave. His devastating charm and sense of humour just add to his appeal. Richard may appear strong and sure of himself on the outside, but inside he is still vulnerable to the pain and humiliation of being a bastard.

I adore the prim, unworldly, intellectual Genevieve who dreams, not of a husband, but of the freedom to pursue her scholarly ambitions. I admire her devotion to her father although he is unworthy of it.

It was an unadulterated pleasure to share their eventful journey to a Happy Ever After. Experiencing…

Richard’s determined pursuit and Genevieve’s retreat; their growing attraction; the sensuous pool scene; ‘The Kiss’; the villain showing his true colours; the picnic where the appetite is for more than just food!!; the foiled kidnapping; the hero to the rescue; the invitation no hero could refuse; the confession and the quarrel; the dire situation with benefits; the friendly helping hand; two people head over heels in love; All’s Well That Ends Well!

Along the way I enjoyed…

Some delightful banter

(Richard is posing as Christopher Evans)

Mr. Evans, you are presumptuous”
His lips twitched. “Miss Barrett, you are correct.”
“Pray be presumptuous at a greater distance.”
His laugh was low and attractive. “How can I argue when you’re armed?”
She realized that she brandished the needle like a miniature sword. Despite her annoyance, the scene’s absurdity struck her and she choked back a laugh.

Some tender romantic moments

Then she felt the glance of Christopher’s little finger against hers. A brush, almost accidental. He touched her again. Such insignificant contact. Yet she felt it. In a strange way, as strongly as she’d felt those brazen caresses on the river.

Some hot sexy moments

Tonight, praise the Lord, her legs swiftly fell open. She was wet, gloriously, lusciously, sumptuously wet.
He pressed his forehead into her satiny shoulder and tested her with one finger, then two. Yes

Some funny moments

By Jove, he was in a bad way. The stickler who had scorned a hundred diamonds of the first water was head over heels with a woman who looked like she’d wrestled a mule through a landslide. 

There is a rich array of secondary characters; Dr Barrett, Genevieve’s weak, selfish father, the villainous Lord Neville and the powerful , enigmatic Camden Rothermere, Duke of Sedgemoor (the hero of the next book). I also enjoyed seeing Jonas and Sidonie (Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed) and their daughter. I must mention Richard’s dog, Sirius, who plays an important part in this story and not forgetting the “pregnant elephant”!

The Epilogue is both heartfelt and touching and had me reaching for the tissues.

Enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny! This is definitely a keeper!

How I imagine Richard… 

How I imagine Genevieve … 

REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT 

The Sons of Sin series to date (please click on the cover for more details):

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1)Days of Rakes and Roses (Sons of Sin, #1.5)A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2)

My sincere thanks to Anna Campbell for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Read July 2013

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