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Posts Tagged ‘Marguerite Kaye’

the-harlot-and-the-sheikh

(Hot Arabian Nights, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A defiant woman in a desert king’s world!

After inheriting a broken kingdom, Prince Rafiq made a vow to restore its pride by winning a prestigious horse race. To ensure success, he hires an English expert. But even notoriously controlled Rafiq is shocked when his new employee is introduced as Miss Stephanie Darvill!

Stephanie is determined to leave her shameful past and broken dreams behind she will prove to Rafiq she deserves his trust! But this hard-hearted desert sheikh calls to Stephanie in the most primal of ways Dare she give in to her wildest desires?

(Released on January 17th 2017 in the USA)

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Once again, Ms. Kaye transported me to the exotic setting of Arabia for this third book in her Hot Arabian Nights series.

Rafiq al-Antarah, Prince of Bharym
blog-post-rafiq-al-antarah-prince-of-bharym

The sixteen-year-old Rafiq watched his father make a reckless wager on the prestigious Sabr endurance horse race, losing not only his legendary Arabian thoroughbreds, but also the honour of the family name and the national pride of his people. The next six years saw his father’s gradual terminal decline mirrored by a decline in the kingdom’s fortunes and, on inheriting the throne, Rafiq vowed to restore the family name and Bharym’s pride and honour. However, despite all the changes, improvements and renovations he introduced…

Nothing mattered save the restoration of the Sabr, the tangible symbol of Bharym’s pride and honour.

Determined to make good on his vow, Rafiq entered a bargain which was to have a tragic consequence, one which ultimately strengthened his resolve to win the Sabr race. However, when he starts losing his precious Arabian racehorses to a mysterious illness, Rafiq is desperate to find a cure and sends for Robert Darvill, renowned veterinary surgeon attached to the Seventh Hussars. What Rafiq is not expecting is a ‘petite female glowering up at him, her big brown eyes defiantly challenging’ who says she is Robert Darvill’s daughter, Stephanie.


Stephanie Darvill
blog-post-stephanie-darvill

Stephanie worked with her father from an early age, learning all about horses, their ailments and treatments. For the past year, she has been working at one of England’s largest stud farms near Newmarket racecourse, but a disastrous affair with an army officer causes a scandal destroying her reputation. With the army expected to go into battle against Napoleon, her father cannot leave his regiment and suggests that Stephanie go to Arabia in his place. Knowing how much pain she has caused her parents, Stephanie sees it as an opportunity of putting the past behind her and taking charge of her own life and a sceptical Prince Rafiq is not going to deter her.

“I am not my father, but I am here with his blessing, I am an excellent veterinarian, and I promise you I will do my utmost to help you. So why don’t you forget that I’m a woman and permit me to attend to your sick horses?”

I enjoyed the steady development of the romance. There is a definite spark of attraction and, as they talk and work together, their relationship soon develops into a physical one and I like that Stephanie is willing to explore the passion between them despite her previous unsatisfactory experience. I find Ms. Kaye’s love scenes are so well-written – full of emotion, tenderness and passion.

His mouth slanted over hers, shaping hers, and he kissed her again. She had never been kissed in this way, with such gentleness generating such blazing heat inside her, with tongue and lips, lips and tongue, so she could not tell what was one kiss and what was another.

I like Stephanie’s boldness and it this very quality that first impresses Rafiq. Women usually fawn over him and he is not used to being questioned and challenged as Stephanie does. Surrounded by people who only tell him what he wants to hear rather than the truth, he also finds Stephanie’s honesty refreshing.

‘Every day you surprise me.’ ‘By being insubordinate and disrespectful and…’ ‘With your refreshing honesty. And your novel slant on the world. 

Rafiq is a man of integrity and I love how he respects Stephanie and values her abilities and is not judgemental when she tells him about her past and, in fact, he does not blame her at all; his anger is reserved for the man who seduced her.

“The man lied and cheated to steal your innocence. He deserves to be whipped. There can be no excuses for what he did, Stephanie. You are not at fault.”

I like how Stephanie forces Rafiq to confront his past and realise he was not wholly responsible for what happened. It allows him to put the past to rest and realise that he has emerged a stronger, better man – honourable and caring. Similarly, because of the scandal, Stephanie gained the freedom to travel to Bharym and prove to herself that her father’s faith in her was not misplaced.

I love Ms Kaye’s evocative writing which appeals to all the senses and brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of the exotic Arabian setting. Reading the Historical Note at the end of the book made me appreciate the depth of Ms. Kaye’s research.

Although this is part of a series, the books are only vaguely connected and can easily be read as standalones.

MY VERDICT:  An emotive, romantic and sensual love story with the appeal of an exotic setting. Highly recommended.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Hot Arabian Nights series to date (click on the book covers for details)

The Widow and the Sheikh (Hot Arabian Nights #1) by Marguerite Kaye Sheikh's Mail-Order Bride (Hot Arabian Nights #2) by Marguerite Kaye The Harlot and the Sheikh (Hot Arabian Nights #3) by Marguerite Kaye Claiming His Desert Princess (Hot Arabian Nights #4) by Marguerite Kaye


**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review**

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Two forbidden relationships…one house party to remember!

THE OFFICER’S TEMPTATION by Marguerite Kaye

Colonel Fergus Kennedy must make a suitable match at the Midsummer Ball. But when this officer encounters sultry acrobat Katerina Vengarov, he finds himself torn between duty…and heart-stopping, irresistible passion!

THE DEBUTANTE’S AWAKENING by Bronwyn Scott

Kael Gage is the last person at the Midsummer Ball Miss Zara Titus should speak to—and anything more is definitely off-limits! But the notorious rake seems determined to awaken this innocent debutante’s every desire…

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Marguerite Kaye is one of my favourite authors whose books never disappoint while Bronwyn Scott is a new-to-me author, but I enjoyed her engaging writing style and definitely intend reading more of her books.

Both stories are set against the backdrop of the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore’s Midsummer Party. It is well known that this is a matchmaking event where the hosts orchestrate the most illustrious marriages. Guests attending understand the rules and are expected to marry according to the duke’s dictates. The marriages come with powerful sweeteners…

The Duke could make a man’s career. He could establish a woman in a life of wealth and comfort, position her to become one of London’s leading hostesses.

However, two guests are about to flout the rules.

 

REVIEW OF THE OFFICER’S TEMPTATION BY MARGUERITE KAYE

After recovering from an injury sustained at the Battle of Waterloo, Colonel Fergus Kennedy is anxious to resume active service. Instead, he finds himself stuck behind a desk at the War Office engaged in boring and tedious administrative duties, with all his requests for a transfer to active service turned down. Wellington’s vague promises that as soon as the right appointment came along it would be Fergus’s have come to nothing. So he is overjoyed when Wellington offers him a prime diplomatic position in Egypt but it comes with a condition. Fergus must be married and Wellington has the perfect bride in mind…the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore’s niece, Lady Verity Fairholme. Although Fergus hates being so manipulated, he hates the boredom of his current job even more. However, discouraged by Lady Verity’s icy demeanour, he finds himself drawn to the fascinating acrobat, Katerina Vengarov, and is less and less inclined to bend to Wellington’s will.

The Duke of Brockmore has hired famous Russian brother and sister acrobatic act, The Flying Vengarovs, to entertain his guests. Katerina and her brother, Alexandr, are proud of their heritage and are considered the aristocrats of the acrobatic world, but to polite society they are regarded as little more than gypsies. They lead a lonely, itinerant life and, while her brother is happy to find comfort in the arms of different women along the way, Katerina longs for something more meaningful and lasting. She has avoided men for the past two years after being badly hurt and humiliated by a man she believed loved her. However, when she meets Fergus Kennedy, he seems different to all the other men she has met.

Even within the limitations of a novella, I feel that Ms Kaye develops a believable romance between Fergus and Katerina. From the moment they first meet (quite an unusual meeting and I could certainly understand why Fergus was intrigued by her), the way they talk and share confidences seems so natural and I could feel a real affinity between them.

There are some lovely moments which create a real sense of intimacy. My favourite is the scene where Fergus discovers Katerina asleep in the centre of the maze which leads to their first kiss.

Both have a taste for danger, Fergus as a fighting soldier and Katerina as an acrobat, and I like how Ms Kaye draws a comparison that in each of their worlds…

…every decision mattered, that every move could mean the difference between life and death. The difference between balancing on the rope and falling.

Katerina comes to trust Fergus enough to tell him about her past affaire and I love how he thinks no less of her for what happened. He sees her as a survivor and a brave woman. In turn, Katerina opens Fergus’s eyes to the fact that Wellington needs him more than he needs Wellington, encouraging Fergus to “fly free” and take control of his own destiny. I love how Fergus refuses to back down in his confrontation with Wellington.

Getting to his feet, Wellington shook his hand reluctantly. ‘This is madness, Kennedy. What the devil are you going to do without my patronage?’
‘Stand on my own two feet,’ Fergus said. ‘You never know, I might even learn to fly.’

There are a few moments when a Happy Ending seems in the balance but love will always find a way and I thought the story had a delightful ending.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF THE DEBUTANTE’S AWAKENING BY BRONWYN SCOTT

After Viscount Haymore breaks off their long-standing betrothal, Zara Titus finds that her ideas of who she is and what she wants from life change. She has survived all the speculation and relishes her new found freedom. Now she is determined to take control of her future and experience some of life’s pleasures. Her mother, Vicountess Aberforth, sees attending the Duke and Duchesse’s Midsummer Ball as essential to prove to society that her daughter was not jilted; that in fact it had been a mutual decision. Perhaps the perfect opportunity to find another husband too, but Zara has very different ideas. So when she notices a man boldly watching her from across the room and the Duke of Brockmore informs her that he is someone no lady should associate with, her interest is immediately piqued.

Kael Gage is the impoverished grandson of an earl with no prospects and only his good looks and a small horse breeding farm in Sussex to commend him. Since the age of eighteen, he’s learnt that the fine debutantes of the ton might flirt with a man like him, but they’d never marry him. Living on the fringes of society, he has a reputation for fraternising with, seducing and bedding opera singers, actresses and ladies of the demi-monde. An indiscretion with the wrong lady has forced him to flee London to escape her angry brother, and he has gratefully accepted a friend’s invitation to be his guest at the Midsummer Ball. The ball suddenly becomes more interesting than he anticipated when a striking lady, he has been eyeing across the room, initiates a subtle flirtation with a flick of her fan.Kael is drawn to Zara’s beauty and spirit and can’t resist the lure of awakening her sexually while Zara finds Kael outrageous and exciting but is still held back by the dictates of convention.

His touch roused her, the audacity of his words excited her, and yet she could not simply embrace that excitement with abandon. There would be consequences. Was she ready for them?

However, she finds it hard to resist Kael’s seductive ways…

‘I think such plain speaking excites you. I think I excite you.’ His eyes lingered on the mouth he’d traced, his words a whispered murmured before his mouth covered hers. ‘And you, Zara, excite me.’

At first, it a purely physical relationship with some steamy interludes as Kael introduces Zara to the pleasures of the flesh, but gradually it becomes more. I enjoyed watching the relationship grow and change. I love the scene where they go skinny dipping and have a mudslinging match because I feel it is the point at which there are subtle changes in their relationship. They open up to each other and discover that they have much in common. Both have suffered the pain of rejection and both hide their vulnerability behind a façade of confidence.

The course of true love never runs smoothly and Kael and Zara have to face various obstacles before they finally find true happiness. I love how Kael is willing risk baring his soul to convince Zara that he loves her and wants to marry her.

You make me want to be different, not just a man who loves and leaves, but a man who can invest in a relationship in all ways.’ He hadn’t been that man for a long time, if ever. ‘When I’m with you, I feel like I’m worth something. I want to feel that always, so I’m asking you to marry me, Zara Titus. To be my lady for ever, publicly, not just in the night.’

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I enjoyed how the two stories are cleverly intertwined with the same characters appearing in both and the same events being seen from different perspectives. Some of the secondary characters are intriguing enough to deserve their own stories; the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore, obviously still very much in love after so many years despite the heart-break of being childless (I love their Epilogue); the mysterious and flamboyant Sir Timothy Farthingale and Lady Verity Fairholme who hides a kind heart beneath her icy exterior.

 

MY VERDICT: Two well-written, entertaining and romantic stories which are perfect reading for a summer’s evening.

 

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review.**

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(Hot Arabian Nights, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency – Arabia, 1815)

Cover Blurb:

Rescued by the sheikh!

Abandoned in the desert, Julia Trevelyan finds herself at the mercy of Azhar, an imposing yet impossibly handsome Arabian merchant. Determined not to be intimidated by her rescuer—or their sizzling attraction! —she asks for his help…

But Prince Azhar is in fact the rightful heir to the Qaryma throne, returned from exile to take back his inheritance! He knows a dalliance with the enticing English adventuress is out of the question, yet he can’t deny the temptation to claim both his throne…and Julia!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

In this, her first book of her new Hot Arabian Nights series, Marguerite Kaye combines an emotive, romantic and passionate love story with the appeal of an exotic setting.

 

Sheikh al-Farid, Crown Prince Azhar of Qaryma

The last ten years had changed him for ever, shaped him into the man he was now, living the life he wanted to live.

Azhar has always accepted his position as heir to the Kingdom of Qaryma but, before having to eventually take on that role, he wants a taste of freedom…to live his own life for a while. This brought him into direct conflict with his father who wanted to control every aspect of Azhar’s life. At the age of twenty-one, realising that his father will never change his mind, he leaves Qaryma for good. In the intervening 10 years of exile, Azhar has built a successful business empire as an international trader, a job he really loves. However, he is compelled to return to Qaryma when his father dies, declaring Azhar to be his heir. He only intends to stay for a month before abdicating in favour of his brother, Kamal, and returning to running his business. A month should allow him time to ascertain the current state of the kingdom and ensure that Kamal will be a capable ruler. However, Azhar finds he must make some soul-searching decisions.

Azhar is everything a hero should be… honourable with a strong sense of duty. It is these very qualities that cause him such a dilemma when he makes some disturbing discoveries and must choose between freedom or duty. Despite his desire never to return to Qaryma, it is easy to see that he cares deeply for the kingdom and its people and wants them to have:

…only the king they deserved, a king who wanted to reign, and who was fit to reign.


Julia Trevelyan


Papa and Daniel both assumed my time theirs, their wishes mine. It never occurred to either of them that I might have wishes of my own.

Julia’s life has always been controlled either by her father or her late husband, Daniel. She describes her father as a “benevolent autocrat”, a man who was kind and caring but totally selfish. Her husband, an ambitious scientist, believed himself superior to her in every way and never valued her opinions. Even on his deathbed, he made her promise to finish his book, a comprehensive guide to rare and exotic species, and have it published and even persuade the president of the Horticultural Society of London to grant Daniel membership. Once she has fulfilled this promise, she intends to enjoy her new found freedom.

Julia is an intelligent woman, a botanist and an artist, whose abilities were never acknowledged by her father or her husband. I don’t blame her wanting to grab her freedom with both hands and live the life she wants. I also admire her courage (venturing into the desert might seem improbable but, in a recent interview, Ms Kaye made mention of four such pioneering women) and the fortitude she shows after discovering she has been drugged and robbed.

‘No point in imagining the worst,’ she told herself firmly. ‘Time to take stock, not give way to a fit of the vapours.’

The spark of attraction between Azhar and Julia is there from the beginning but I like how their relationship is able to develop before anything physical happens. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. Azhar is able to discuss issues with Julia because he finds her judgement sound and she is honest with him regardless of the consequences. The fact that Azhar finds Julia attractive gives her a confidence she has never had before and a desire to explore her own sexuality, something denied to her by her husband.

In the hot desert nights Azhar and Julia are bound to succumb to their feelings and Ms Kaye writes  vivid, sensual and passionate love scenes but also full of tenderness too.

Her eyes fixed on his, she lifted the tunic over her head and dropped it to the floor. Her arms fluttered up to cover her breasts, but she stilled them, standing proudly naked under his gaze. ‘Julia,’ was all he could manage. His whole body ached with desire. He could not resist touching her. Taking her long braid of hair in his hands, he undid the ribbon and began to untangle it, running his fingers through the fiery river of red, letting it ripple out over her shoulders, down her back, over the creamy mounds of her breasts.

Oh and I will certainly never look at ice cubes in the same way again!!

Julia knows that whatever choice Azhar makes, she can never be part of his life and their parting is inevitable. The scenes where I was privy to their thoughts were so emotional that I felt my heart would break for them even though I knew that somehow they would be together. The ending is romantic but I like that Azhar is realistic enough to admit that it won’t be easy for them.

Ms Kaye’s vivid imagery creates a real sense of mood and atmosphere. I could see the changing colours of the desert sky:

Julia watched, fascinated, as the vivid orange and gold-streaked sky gave way to a pale, soft night-blue, as if the sun, on its rapid descent to the horizon, dragged a stage backdrop behind it. The sparse puffy clouds segued from dark grey to pewter then white as the sky darkened to indigo and the stars made their appearance, a blanket of silvery jewels hung so low in the sky that she felt she could almost touch them.

…taste the dark, bittersweet coffee; smell the heady scents of the desert; feel the sway of the camel.

Whether it is her reference to the Horticultural Society of London, the flora of Arabia or the dress, customs and politics, Ms Kaye’s meticulous historical research is evident throughout the story.

MY VERDICT: If you enjoy a well-written, passionate love story, compelling characters, wonderful imagery and fascinating history, then I can definitely recommend this book.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read March 2016

 

Hot Arabian Nights series to date (click on the book covers for details)
The Widow and the Sheikh (Hot Arabian Nights #1) by Marguerite Kaye

2. The Sheik’s Mail Order Bride – August 2016
3. and 4. Titles and dates to be announced

 

**My sincere thanks to Marguerite Kaye for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review**

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(Comrades in Arms, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The truth behind the hero.

Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington’s most valued code-breakers but since Waterloo, he’s hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within…perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves.
Except Celeste harbours secrets of her own and questions that she needs Jack’s help to solve! With Celeste’s every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

The Soldier’s Dark Secret (Comrade in Arms #1) is an inspirational read from the talented pen of one of my favourite authors. Marguerite Kaye never disappoints and I am constantly amazed by her creative, captivating and original story lines. We could never accuse her of being boring, as no two books are the same and each one is better than the last.

Jack Trestain is an ex intelligence officer, one of Wellington’s most valued code breakers, a brave one too, mentioned in dispatches and a truly honourable man with a conscience. He has a secret – a dark, dangerous secret, one that conjures up terrifying, tortuous nightmares, night after night, leaving him sleep deprived. Jack is a desperate to find peace but unable to, believing himself unworthy of love or forgiveness.

His salvation arrives in the form of an enchanting and beautiful French woman. Celeste Marmion has been commissioned by Jack’s elder brother Charlie to paint some landscapes of their ancestral grounds and gardens. She has used this opportunity to travel to England in search of some answers to a devastating secret of her own. Their first meeting is unorthodox to say the least. Unable to sleep, Jack is in the habit of swimming in the lake in the early morning – without clothing. Celeste, on an early morning reconnaissance of the grounds, spots the intriguing Jack, and to begin with simply enjoys, with an artist’s eye, the beauty of the man. Soon, however, she is aware that what she is doing could be interpreted as spying; indeed, she is also aware that she is actually enjoying the spectacle, that is until Jack turns an anguished face to the sky and Celeste sees the torment and suffering written on his face and makes an attempt to escape this deeply private moment…and fails.

The two get off to a bad start, but it doesn’t take long before they become reluctant friends, with a burning attraction developing between them. Celeste is unafraid of Jack’s black moods and, unlike his family, she stands her ground, challenging him and beginning to pick away at his defences. He is rattled by her ability to get beneath his skin, afraid to let her see his suffering, but still physically and mentally attracted to this beguiling young woman. Eventually Celeste confides, at least part of her story to Jack and it is with relief he is able to turn his mind to what he does best, unravelling secrets and breaking codes. Helping Celeste to search for the answers she has travelled to England for is something his analytical, if troubled mind, CAN do. He has a purpose again, not only will he be able to help Celeste – and he desperately wants to – but he can also discourage her from delving into his own deeply disturbing thoughts.

I love the way Ms. Kaye slowly builds the attraction between her characters – sensuously, sizzling and oh so sexy! Nothing too physical happens until well into Jack and Celeste’s story but the air is electric and when it does happen it jumps off the page.

The sheer amount of historical research that has gone into this novel is breath-taking; a fascinating but never boring history lesson (which I love) wrapped up in a beautifully sensitive love story. I have no doubt that the facts about Waterloo and the enigmatic, if egotistical Wellington, are as accurate as Marguerite Kaye’s thorough research can make them. Jack is obviously suffering from PTSD. Again I can only guess at the amount of reading Ms. Kaye did in order to make his condition as authentic as possible, without being able to tell us what it is he is suffering from, a condition undiagnosed at that time in history. The plot is intricate, clever, and interesting; the soldier really DOES have a dark secret and Celeste’s tale is fascinating and the unravelling of it all intelligently and ingeniously achieved.

Altogether we have accurate history, scintillating romance and mystery and the artwork on the cover is perfect; a dark, brooding soldier in a red military uniform, I’m not sure if the jacket is absolutely correct but quite honestly I don’t care, he looks the part and he looks like Jack.

MY VERDICT: A perfectly wonderful novel and I loved it…5 stars and highly recommended.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read January 2015


Comrades in Arms series (click on the book cover for further details):

The Soldier's Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye The Soldier's Rebel Lover (Comrades in Arms, #2) by Marguerite Kaye

 

I received a complimentary copy of  the book from the author in return for an honest review.

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(Comrades in Arms, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

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 senorita! 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!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the final book in Marguerite Kaye’s Comrades in Arms mini-series and, whilst I enjoyed it, I didn’t find it as compelling or emotionally charged as THE SOLDIER’S DARK SECRET

The son of a Scottish farmer, Finlay has succeeded in rising to the rank of major against all the odds, resulting in Wellington dubbing him “The Jock Upstart”. The army has been the only life he has ever known and, after the war ends, although he loves his family, he knows he could never settle for a life that is safe and predictable. He is a man of action who needs a sense of purpose in his life and he finds that purpose in rescuing and protecting Isabella, the brave partisan he met two years earlier.

Isabella fought bravely for her country but, following the French defeat, she is once again constrained by the rigid rules of society; never allowed to voice her own opinions and forced to hide her true nature beneath a demure façade. But she conceals a secret which is threatened by the reappearance of the brawny Scotsman, she met two years ago.

Finlay is everything a hero should be – intelligent, brave, protective and honourable, but I love that he still maintains a rebellious streak by wearing his kilt. He is a loyal soldier but one with a conscience which sometimes leads him to disobey orders.

My thoughts about Isabella are somewhat conflicted. On the one hand, I admire the feisty, brave partisan who fought to free her country from the French and understand her desire to fight against the return to the old feudal system in Spain and the injustice she sees around her. On the other hand, I found it difficult to accept her failure to see that her reckless actions endanger the lives of her brother and his family. Even when Finlay voices his concerns, she still refuses to accept the truth. It takes a tragic event to make her realise how misguided she has been.

I like how the relationship between Finlay and Isabella evolves as they journey across Spain and each of them grows and changes in different ways. Isabella comes to accept the reality of her situation and understand the consequences of her actions while Finlay has to confront some difficult choices.

The romance is tender, poignant and passionate and when they finally make love it feels right. It’s the only chance to show their love for each other before they are parted forever and the scene is a perfect blend of the sensual and the emotional. Although I knew there would be a happy ending for Finlay and Isabella, Ms Kaye kept me on tenterhooks at the very end until Finlay finally decides to follow his heart.

I was disappointed in the Epilogue because I wanted to spend more time with Finlay and Isabella and share some moments of their Happy Ever After.

Once again, Ms Kaye’s historical research is meticulous and I like how she weaves interesting political and social commentary into the fabric of the story.

MY VERDICT: This may not be my favourite book but Marguerite Kaye still writes a story that is well worth reading.

 

REVIEW RATING: 4 /5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read September 2015

Comrades in Arms mini-Series (Click on the book covers for more information):

The Soldier's Dark Secret (Comrades in Arms, #1) by Marguerite Kaye The Soldier's Rebel Lover (Comrades in Arms, #2) by Marguerite Kaye

Also Seduced by a Soldier (a free on-line read available Here)

 

**My sincere thanks to Marquerite Kaye for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.**

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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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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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(Comrades in Arms, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The truth behind the hero.

Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington’s most valued code-breakers but since Waterloo, he’s hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within…perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves.

Except Celeste harbours secrets of her own and questions that she needs Jack’s help to solve! With Celeste’s every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all?

♥♥♥♥♥

This is the first book in Marguerite Kaye’s new Comrades in Arms mini-series and, from the first page, I was totally immersed in the emotionally charged story and her fascinating, flawed characters.

My Thoughts –

Jack Trestain was one of Wellington’s best code-breakers, lauded in the duke’s dispatches as a hero, but Jack knows that…

Heroes didn’t have stains on their soul.

Ms Kaye imbues her characters with such depth that I experienced everything Jack did…the horror of those recurring nightmares, his overwhelming sense of guilt, his grief, despair and fears.

There were times when he felt as if he were being literally torn in two. Times when he raged at the injustice of what was happening to him, times when he was overwhelmed with guilt. There was no right and wrong anymore, which had been one of clear-cut lines for so long, was now so blurred that he was careering around like a compass struggling to find true north.

At times, Ms Kaye really tugs at the heartstrings, particularly in the deeply emotional scene where Jack finally breaks down and reveals his long-hidden secret to Celeste. I couldn’t help but be moved by the raw, unguarded emotions.

The guilt is slowly eating away at him and he refuses to talk to anyone about it, bottling it up inside. He seems unaware of the effect his erratic temper is having on his brother, sister-in-law and particularly his young nephew.

It isn’t hard to sympathise with Celeste, estranged for so many years from a mother who treated her with heartless indifference, packing her off to boarding school at the age of ten She has grown into an independent, confident and intelligent woman who has carved a life out for herself as a landscape artist. Then to have the letter arrive, casting doubt on everything she believes to be true about her mother, throwing her “perfectly calm and perfectly orderly” life into turmoil She had taught herself over the years not to care but it resurrects all the hurt and anger she’s suppressed. She needs closure.

Maman’s life was an unfinished book. Celeste had to discover the ending, and then she could close the cover for ever.

I like how she refuses to be cowed by Jack’s erratic behaviour and is determined to help him.

Jack and Celeste’s journey is full of emotional, poignant, moving, dramatic and passionate moments and seeing them finally come to terms with their pasts and open their hearts to love was so rewarding. I’m sharing some of those moments.

This was the kind of kiss that would never end. Lips and tongues in a slow dance. Hands smoothing, stroking. Skin clinging, damp, heating.

~~~~
Celeste grabbed his arm. “You see, you are running away from the truth. Why won’t you talk about it?”

“Take your hands off me. Now.”

She had gone too far. She knew it would be insane to push him further, but she knew with certainty that was exactly what she was going to do. Celeste tilted her head and met his stormy eyes. “No.”

~~~~

But the pain, the tearing blackness, the white heat of his uncontrollable fury, the terror that made him run from himself, the sweats and the shakes, and the dull ache in his head, they were all too real.

~~~~

She kissed him to stop the words babbling out. She was in love. “Jack,” she said, because it was all she could trust herself to say. “Jack.” She loved him. She kissed his eyelids. She loved him.

~~~~

I love Ms Kaye’s attention to detail and her skillful weaving of fact with fiction. Her meticulous historical research is evident throughout the story.

VERDICT: Another beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying love story from Marguerite Kaye.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read February 2015

 

Comrades in Arms –

Seduced by the Soldier
(free on-line read available Here)

The Soldier’s Dark Secret

The Soldier’s Rebel Lover (Autumn 2015)

My sincere thanks to Marguerite Kaye who provided me with a complimentary copy of her book in return for an honest review.

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