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Posts Tagged ‘Novella’

Pursuing Lord Pascal

(Dashing Widows, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Golden Days… 

Famous for her agricultural innovations, Amy, Lady Mowbray has never had a romantical thought in her life. Well, apart from her short-lived crush on London’s handsomest man, Lord Pascal, when she was a brainless 14-year-old. She even chose her late husband because he owned the best herd of beef cattle in England!

But fate steps in and waltzes this practical widow out of her rustic retreat into the glamour of the London season. When Pascal pursues her, all her adolescent fantasies come true. And those fantasies turn disturbingly adult when grown-up desire enters the equation. Amy plunges headlong into a reckless affair that promises pleasure beyond her wildest dreams – until she discovers that this glittering world hides damaging secrets and painful revelations set to break a country girl’s tender heart.

All that glitters… 

Gervaise Dacre, Lord Pascal needs to marry money to rescue his estate, devastated after a violent storm. He’s never much liked his reputation as London’s handsomest man, but it certainly comes in handy when the time arrives to seek a rich bride. Unfortunately, the current crop of debutantes bores him silly, and he finds himself praying for a sensible woman with a generous dowry.

When he meets Dashing Widow Amy Mowbray, it seems all his prayers have been answered. But his mercenary quest becomes dangerously complicated when he finds himself in thrall to the lovely widow. Soon he’s much more interested in passion than in pounds, shillings and pence. What happens if Amy discovers the sordid truth behind his whirlwind courtship? And if she does, will she see beyond his original, selfish motives to the ardent love that lies unspoken in his sinful heart?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Anna Campbell continues her delightful Dashing Widows series with three more young, widowed friends – Amy, Lady Mowbray, Sally Cowan, Countess of Norwood and Morwenna Nash – who decide they need a little adventure in their lonely lives and this is Amy’s story.

Ever since she was a girl, Amy had been interested in the scientific farming, publishing her first article on animal husbandry when she was not much more than sixteen.  At the age of eighteen, her prime reason for choosing to marry her neighbour, Sir Wilfred Mowbray, forty years her senior, was the chance to be involved in his farming experiments. Although her husband’s infrequent attentions were not onerous, there was never any passion in her marriage and Amy thought of him as more of a friend and mentor than a husband. Since her husband’s death five years ago, Amy has been content to run the estate and continue writing her articles on new farming methods. She had never considered herself beautiful or been in love, but as a graceless fourteen-year-old, Amy had suffered an adolescent crush on Lord Pascal, considered the handsomest man in London.

When the story opens, Amy is in Leicestershire at the home of her brother, Silas and his wife, Caroline (The Seduction of Lord Stone), for the christening of their fourth child. It is there that a reluctant Amy, her sister-in-law, Morwenna, and Morwenna’s friend, Sally, decide to follow in the footsteps of the original Dashing Widows and head off to London.

“Then I hereby declare the return of the Dashing Widows. Watch out, London. We’re on our way.”

While attending a ball one evening, Amy finds herself face to face with none other than the man of her adolescent fantasies, Lord Pascal. When he shows a definite interest in her, Amy, aware of his reputation, is distrustful and wants to get to know him first before making any rash decisions and therefore insists that he courts her.

A storm has left Gervaise’s estate in ruins and he needs cash urgently for repairs. Hence, he is in London to find a wealthy wife. At a ball one evening, he despairs of ever finding an alternative to the pretty, empty headed heiresses he is forced to dance with; that is until he spots a certain lady across the ballroom.

How could he concentrate on half-baked girls when that luscious banquet of a woman wandered into sight?

He discovers the beguiling lady is widowed Lady Amy Mowbray who is not only wealthy but also intelligent and funny, attributes he finds very appealing. He is determined to pursue her but Amy isn’t about to fall at his feet and, for once in his life, Gervaise will have to work hard if he wants to win this lady’s heart.

Amy and Gervaise are such likeable characters and watching their romance unfold was delightful. I cheered Amy for not having her head turned by his handsome face and obvious charm, and wanting a proper courtship to get to know him better before risking her reputation. For a man who is used to having any woman he wants, this is a new and intriguing experience for Gervaise.

I like how the courtship not only heightens the sexual tension but also acts as a catalyst for a growing sense of trust and intimacy between them; enough to share things they have never shared with anyone else. Gervaise reveals the pain of his bleak and loveless childhood and Amy starts to see the real man beneath the handsome face. Amy reveals intimate details of her marriage and Gervaise realises that Amy has never known desire or passion in her marriage, something he is determined she will experience in his ams.

I love a story where the hero pursues a reluctant heroine, but there were times when I felt sorry for Gervaise. At the age of thirty, he has finally met a woman he really cares for who doesn’t seem to want him. But “faint heart never won fair lady” and he is willing to do anything to please Amy and I especially love the thoughtful but unusual gift he gives her.

Despite her apprehensions, Amy is not immune to Gervaise. She sees how caring and considerate he is and how cherished he makes her feel and I cheered her on when she decides that she wants a taste of the passion she has always been denied. Ms. Campbell always succeeds in writing love scenes that emotional, tender and sensual.

“I want to please you.”
“You do.” He ran his hand down her arm, delighting in her silky skin, and laced his fingers with hers. “You will.”
Her fingers twined around his with a swift trust that made his heart somersault. Pascal leaned in and placed his lips on hers, leashing his ravenous passion.
   She responded with the sweetness so essential to her nature. Under his gentle exploration, she sighed, and the tension gradually seeped from her body. Taking exquisite care, he began to touch her, finding the places that made her tremble.

However, some overheard gossip seems set to destroy their new-found happiness but Amy is mature enough to listen to what Gervaise has to say and consider everything she has learnt about him, before making a decision. Bravo to Ms. Campbell. How refreshing to find a heroine who doesn’t storm out as so many other heroines would have done.

I enjoyed the witty dialogue between Gervaise and Amy:

“I can’t think when you kiss me.”
  He liked the sound of that even better. He smiled smugly. “Then clearly kisses must be allowed.” She cast him a repressive glance.
“Clearly they mustn’t.” He closed his eyes and groaned.
“You’re going to kill me.”
“That would be a pity when you’re so spectacular to look at. Every lady in London will weep at your funeral.”

and the lovely touches of humour too:

 “Who knows?” Morwenna sent Amy a sly glance. “Perhaps you’ll find Lord Pascal more entertaining than a field full of fat Herefords.” 
“He’s definitely prettier than a Hereford,” Sally said.
“Sally, you have no idea how beautiful a fine cow can be,” Amy said with perfect sincerity.
Morwenna threw up her hands. “Amy, you’re utterly hopeless.”

We learn some interesting facts about the other Dashing Widows, Sally and Morwenna, which provide intriguing teasers for their own books. I am also curious to know what mischief Sally’s niece, Meg, is up to.

This novella can be read as a standalone but it would be a pity to miss the other novellas in this series.

MY VERDICT: Another charming novella to add to this delightfully entertaining series which I can definitely recommend.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Dashing Widows series (click on the book covers for more details):

The Seduction of Lord Stone (Dashing Widows, #1) by Anna Campbell Tempting Mr. Townsend (Dashing Widows, #2) by Anna Campbell Tempting Mr. Townsend (Dashing Widows, #2) by Anna Campbell Pursuing Lord Pascal (Dashing Widows, #4) by Anna Campbell Charming Sir Charles (Dashing Widows, #5) by Anna Campbell Catching Captain Nash (Dashing Widows, #6) by Anna Campbell

 

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

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(Dashing Widows, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1820)

Cover Blurb:

Beauty – and the Beast?

When rough diamond Anthony Townsend, who also happens to be one of the richest men in England, bursts into Lady Fenella’s house and demands she hand over his runaway nephew, this dashing widow embarks on a breathtaking adventure that might just end in exciting new love.

Beauty…

Fenella, Lady Deerham, has rejoined society after five years of mourning her beloved husband’s death at Waterloo. Now she’s fêted as a diamond of the first water and London’s perfect lady. But beneath her exquisite exterior, this delicate blond beauty conceals depths of courage and passion nobody has ever suspected. When her son and his school friend go missing, she vows to find them whatever it takes. Including setting off alone in the middle of the night with high-handed bear of a man, Anthony Townsend. Will this tumultuous journey end in more tragedy? Or will the impetuous quest astonish this dashing widow with a breathtaking new love, and life with the last man she ever imagined?

And the Beast?

When Anthony Townsend bursts into Lady Deerham’s fashionable Mayfair mansion demanding the return of his orphaned nephew, the lovely widow’s beauty and spirit turn his world upside down. But surely such a refined and aristocratic creature will scorn a rough, self-made man’s courtship, even if that man is now one of the richest magnates in England. Especially after he’s made such a woeful first impression by barging into her house and accusing her of conniving with the runaways. But when Fenella insists on sharing the desperate search for the boys, fate offers Anthony a chance to play the hero and change her mind about him. Will reluctant proximity convince Fenella that perhaps Mr. Townsend isn’t so beastly after all? Or now that their charges are safe, will Anthony and Fenella remain forever opposites fighting their attraction?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

“…why don’t we all leave our old, sad days behind? Why don’t we all become dashing widows?”

Anna Campbell’s charming Dashing Widows series features three, young, widowed friends – Caroline, Lady Beaumont, Fenella, Lady Deerham and Helena, Countess of Crewe – who decide they need a little adventure in their lives and this second novella is Fenella’s story.

She’d loved once. She never wanted to love again.

Fenella lost her husband, Henry, when he was killed at the battle of Waterloo. She loved him deeply and cannot contemplate ever falling in love again. For the past five years she has led a quiet, safe life, devoting herself to her son Brandon. Now her friends, Caroline and Helena, have decided that it is time for her to move on and enjoy herself. Anthony’s dramatic entry into her life awakens long dormant emotions that she never wanted to feel again.

Anthony comes from a respectable family and is well-educated, although still a little rough around the edges. He is proud of his origins and has worked his way up to be owner of Townsend and Co, a worldwide trading company. He has travelled all over the world accumulating a vast fortune that arouses envy even in aristocratic circles. When his brother and sister-in-law are tragically killed in a yachting accident, he assumes the guardianship of his nephew, Carey. Anthony has never had much time for the ladies, especially aristocratic ones, whom he generally regards with disdain. However, Fenella has him rethinking his opinions …

Either he needed to revisit his opinion of upper-class women as basically useless. Or Fenella Deerham was a glorious exception to the rule.

I like how, during the journey in pursuit of the runaway boys and the stay at Beeches, Fenella comes to appreciate qualities in Anthony that she admires…his intelligence, strength and self-assurance. She sees how much he loves his nephew and the kindness he shows towards his old nurse and recognises him as a man of principles.

Time spent with Fenella only reinforces Anthony’s opinions of her…beautiful, warm, unselfish and not afraid to stand up to him. I love how honest he is about his feelings for her but never pushes Fenella beyond what she is comfortable with.

I felt that Fenella’s emotional turmoil is realistically portrayed. She feels guilty about her growing feelings for Anthony because they seem like a betrayal of her late husband and I once worked with a widow who had similar guilt feelings.  I did sometimes feel frustrated by the way Fenella keeps poor Anthony dangling –

“I feel like a prince in a fairytale, set a series of impossible challenges to win the princess.

– but he does, of course, win his princess and I enjoyed the love scene in the stables…a combination of urgent need, passion and tenderness.

I think these words from Fenella capture the essence of the story perfectly.

“Of course I love you. It took me completely by surprise because it’s not at all like what I felt for Henry. Our love was like a beautiful clear lake, unruffled and calm. When I’m with you, I feel like I’m aboard a great ship on a storm-tossed ocean. It’s exciting and daring and reassuring, all at the same time. And I feel like I’m heading for somewhere wonderful and exotic.”


MY VERDICT: A delightful and enjoyable addition to this entertaining series. Now I’m keen to see how Helena, Countess of Crewe, goes about WINNING LORD WEST.

 

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read March 2016

 

The Dashing Widows series (click on book covers for more details):

The Seduction of Lord Stone (Dashing Widows, #1) by Anna Campbell Tempting Mr. Townsend (Dashing Widows, #2) by Anna Campbell Winning Lord West coming in early 2016.

 

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

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(Blackshear Family, #0.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

It should have been simple…

With one more errand to go—the purchase of a hunting falcon—Andrew Blackshear has Christmas completely under control. As his sister’s impending marriage signals the inevitable drifting-apart of the Blackshear family, it’s his last chance to give his siblings the sort of memorable, well-planned holiday their parents could never seem to provide.

He has no time to dawdle, no time for nonsense, and certainly no time to drive the falconer’s vexing, impulsive, lush-lipped, midnight-haired daughter to a house party before heading home. So why the devil did he agree to do just that?

It couldn’t be more deliciously mixed-up…

Lucy Sharp has been waiting all her too-quiet life for an adventure, and she means to make the most of this one. She’s going to enjoy the house party as no one has ever enjoyed a house party before, and in the meanwhile she’s going to enjoy every minute in the company of amusingly stern, formidably proper, outrageously handsome Mr. Blackshear. Let him disapprove of her all he likes—it’s not as though they’ll see each other again after today.

…or will they? When a carriage mishap and a snowstorm strand the pair miles short of their destination, threatening them with scandal and jeopardizing all their Christmas plans, they’ll have to work together to save the holiday from disaster. And along the way they just might learn that the best adventures are the ones you never would have thought to plan.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is such a delightful story and a wonderful introduction to Cecilia Grant’s books. Not since reading my first Courtney Milan book have I been so excited about a new-to-me author. Even within the constraints of this novella, Ms Grant brings her characters to life and creates a story full of originality and charm.

Following his parents’ death, Andrew Blackshear has shouldered responsibility for the upbringing of his younger siblings. He has always endeavoured to set a good example by being the epitome of a gentleman… propriety and decorum are the principles he lives by. It is on a trip to the wilds of Norfolk to collect a Christmas gift for his sister that he finds himself stranded with a lady who tests his principles to breaking point.

An only child, Lucy Sharp has led a secluded life with her rather unconventional father. She loves him dearly but wants to do the things that all other young ladies do. So when she is invited to her aunt’s Christmas house party, she relishes the opportunity to enjoy herself. Never does she imagine that she will find herself stranded with the most pompous and judgemental gentleman it has been her misfortune to meet.

Despite being a stuffed-shirt, there is something endearing about Andrew. Perhaps it’s the way he clearly loves his siblings and does everything in his power to to give them the happiest Christmas he can, or seeing him thrown off-balance whenever he is around Lucy. His internal thoughts are so funny…

She ought to be told, with utmost obliqueness and discretion, of course, that such a gaze produced inconvenient stirrings in a gentleman, and could leave lingering impressions that might burgeon, in his private hours, to un-virtuous effect.

not forgetting the embarrassing sex dream!

Lucy’s warmth, kindness and common sense provide the perfect foil to Andrew’s decorum and she is clever enough to run circles around him.

I’m sorry, Miss Sharp.” He met her gaze unblinking. “I’m afraid I am unable to render you that service.”
   “Why?” She tilted her head, as blunt and guileless as a five-year-old who’d been denied a sweetmeat, and every bit as untroubled by manners.

Her kindness is shown in her understanding of the Porters’ true situation and her determination not to embarrass them and how she ensures that her maid, Perkins, can see her family for Christmas.

Often novellas don’t provide sufficient page time to develop a believable relationship between the hero and heroine but Ms Grant succeeds brilliantly. All the obstacles that are thrown in their path force Andrew and Lucy to work together to find solutions, allowing them to get to know and understand each other. It feels as if they have known each far longer than a just a few days and I readily accepted their falling in love.

I fell in love with Ms Grant’s witty and elegant writing style…

Somewhere in the last minute his heart seemed to have lurched off its moorings like a hot-air balloon and now it drifted unsteadily about the cavity of his chest.

His fingers had wandered to his own particularly naked region and taken up a light, un-purposeful sort of stroking. Even this much was a sin, to be sure, and a failure of his self-command.

She slipped her thumbs into his jacket where it opened to make way for his cravat, thumbnails dragging against the linen of his shirt and tickling his chest in gloriously impertinent fashion.

MY VERDICT: I have no hesitation in recommending this enchanting novella and I know the rest of the series will be high on my reading list.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS


SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read February 2016

 

Blackshear Family series (click on the book covers for more details):

A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (Blackshear Family, #0.5) by Cecilia Grant A Lady Awakened (Blackshear Family, #1) by Cecilia Grant A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2) by Cecilia Grant A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3) by Cecilia Grant

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(The Dashing Widows, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

For this reckless widow, love is the most dangerous game of all.

Caroline, Lady Beaumont, arrives in London seeking excitement after ten dreary years of marriage and an even drearier year of mourning. That means conquering society, dancing like there’s no tomorrow, and taking a lover to provide passion without promises. Promises, in this dashing widow’s dictionary, equal prison. So what is an adventurous lady to do when she loses her heart to a notorious rake who, for the first time in his life, wants forever?

Devilish Silas Nash, Viscount Stone is in love at last—with a beautiful, headstrong widow bent on playing the field. Worse, she’s enlisted his help to set her up with his disreputable best friend. No red-blooded man takes such a challenge lying down, and Silas schemes to seduce his darling into his arms, warm, willing and besotted. But will his passionate plots come undone against a woman determined to act the mistress, but never the wife?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

“…why don’t we all leave our old, sad days behind? Why don’t we all become dashing widows?”

Anna Campbell’s charming, new The Dashing Widows series features three, young, widowed friends – Caroline, Lady Beaumont, Fenella, Lady Deerham and Helena, Countess of Crewe – who decide they need a little adventure in their lives and this is Caroline’s story.

“I feel like I’ve been locked away in the dark all my life. I’ve spent twenty-eight years waiting. I’ve never had a chance to laugh and dance and carry on romantic intrigues.”

Caroline’s life has always been controlled, first by her bully of a father and then by her dull-as-dishwater husband. I could understand her determination to enjoy life to the full and never surrender her independence again but I did find her single-minded stubbornness a little annoying at times.

Silas won me over from the start with his intelligence and charm, not to mention his sexiness! I like the fact that he fell in love with Caroline the first moment he saw her and totally relinquished his rakish ways. I do so love a hero who doggedly pursues the woman he loves even if, at times, the cause seems hopeless.

Silas needs every ounce of cunning and ingenuity to win Caroline and I love the lengths he goes to thwart her efforts to select a lover, particularly the scene where he uses a bit of creativity to disparage each of her choices of lover.

“What about Harry Hall?” She pointed to the slender man talking to Pascal.
“Doesn’t wash.”
She turned to frown at Silas in puzzlement. 
“I’ve danced with him. He smelled perfectly fine.”
“Well, when I say he doesn’t wash, he does have a scrub-down once a month. You must have timed your dance just right.”

Look out for the HOT love scene in Silas’s greenhouse when long suppressed passions bubble over and things get smashed!

I enjoyed watching Caroline coming to terms with her true feelings for Silas and I thought the ending fitted perfectly, with the promise of a Happy Ever After.

MY VERDICT: THE SEDUCTION OF LORD STONE is romantic, emotional, sexy and funny. In fact, everything I have come to expect from Anna Campbell. I’m looking forward to reading the other Dashing Widows’ stories.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read September 2015

The Dashing Widows series so far (click on book covers for more details):

The Seduction of Lord Stone (Dashing Widows, #1) by Anna Campbell        Tempting Mr. Townsend and Winning Lord West coming in early 2016.

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

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(Scandalous Seasons, #5 )

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Patrina Tidemore gave up on the ridiculous notion of true love after having her heart shattered and her trust destroyed by a black-hearted cad. Used as a pawn in a game of revenge against her brother, Patrina returns to London from a failed elopement with a tattered reputation and little hope for a respectable match. The only peace she finds is in her solitude on the cold winter days at Hyde Park. And even that is yanked from her by two little hellions who just happen to have a devastatingly handsome, but coldly aloof father, the Marquess of Beaufort. Something about the lord stirs the dreams she’d once carried for an honorable gentleman’s love.

Weston Aldridge, the 4th Marquess of Beaufort was deceived and betrayed by his late wife. In her faithlessness, he’s come to view women as self-serving, indulgent creatures. Except, after a series of chance encounters with Patrina, he comes to appreciate how uniquely different she is than all women he’s ever known.

At the Christmastide season, a time of hope and new beginnings, Patrina and Weston, unexpectedly learn true love in one another. However, as Patrina’s scandalous past threatens their future and the happiness of his children, they are both left to determine if love is enough.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is a charming romance by an author who has become a firm favourite of mine. Christi Caldwell always writes stories that are full of emotion and heart with characters that tug at your heartstrings.

Patrina and Weston share a common bond – both gave their love to undeserving people and both are suffering the consequences.

I felt so much sympathy for Patrina. She eloped with a man she thought loved her, only to discover that she had been duped by a heartless schemer hellbent on revenge against her brother, Jonathan. The consequences perfectly highlight the double standards of the ton – the scheming Marshville comes out of it unscathed while poor Patrina becomes a social outcast resigned to spinsterhood. She is full of regret for her foolish action because she realises that she has jeopardised her sisters’ future marital prospects. She had changed from a smiling, carefree woman into a guarded, fractious one.

Living with a wife who had betrayed him in numerous affairs during their 10 years of marriage has left Weston a bitter, angry and heartless man; one with a “steely guard around his heart”. His love for his children, Daniel and Charlotte is never in doubt but, in his desire to protect them from any further hurt, he let them run wild and they had become “reprehensible misbehavers”. The children’s unruly behaviour leads to a rather unconventional and amusing initial meeting with Patrina!

First appearances can often be deceptive. On first meeting Weston, Patrina sees him as insufferable, overbearing and aloof but gradually her opinions start to change – “The somber gentleman she’d come to expect had a lighthearted glint in his eyes”. Weston has vowed to never trust another woman but Patrina with her warmth, courage and kindness to his children threatens to slip past his defenses.

The love that grows between them is sweet and heart-warming. It was lovely to see how Patrina makes Weston happy for the first time in years and restores his jest for life while Weston and the children teach Patrina how to smile again.

Knowing that her scandalous reputation can only hurt them, I admire Patrina’s willingness to put Weston and his children’s happiness before her own. Thank goodness Weston is a hero who is not willing to give up on the woman he loves and his proposal scene is emotional, amusing and romantic.

I came to adore Weston’s children for championing of Patrina and their delightful habit of hiding behind the drapes to eavesdrop.

The curtains rustled yet again, and Amanda angled her head. “What was that?”
Weston schooled his features. “What was what?” After all, if his sister discovered Charlotte and Daniel’s tendency to eavesdrop, he’d not be spared her scathing diatribe on all the ways in which he was failing as a father.

Although Weston’s sister obviously loves her brother and the children, her attitude rankled with me. She so perfectly reflects the high-handedness of Society in her prejudice towards Patrina.

The unwavering love and loyalty of Patrina’s sisters, Penelope, Prudence and Poppy is very touching. I’m rather fond of Poppy, the youngest who seems to have a wise head on such young shoulders. I also like her directness…there’s no beating around the bush with Poppy!

The delightful Epilogue just rounds off everything in a most satisfying way.

My Verdict: Full of warmth, emotion, sadness, laughter and romance, this enchanting novella can be read any time of the year.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

Read July 2015

Scandalous Seasons series (click on the covers for more details):

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons, #2) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons, #3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons, #4) by Christi Caldwell A Marquess for Christmas (Scandalous Seasons Book 5) by Christi Caldwell Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love (Scandalous Seasons, # 6) by Christi Caldwell

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(Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5)

Genre:  Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

A Lost Lords of Pembrook Novella

Christmas is a time for miracles … and second chances at love.

In her dazzling first Season, Lady Meredith Hargreaves gave her heart to Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, only to have it shattered when he proposed to another. And now that he’s free to pursue her? It matters little, because she’s on her way to the altar, heartbreak be damned.

Chetwyn once set aside his dreams in favor of duty and honor. But as Christmas approaches, he is determined to put his own desires first and lure Lady Meredith back into his arms, where she’s always belonged.

First he steals a dance; then he steals a kiss. But when they find themselves alone in an abandoned castle during a snowstorm, reignited passion consumes them both. And Chetwyn will have one last chance to steal back Meredith’s heart, once and for all.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This novella is the third book in Lorraine Heath’s excellent Lost Lords of Pembrook series. Whether it is a full length novel or a novella, Ms Heath never fails to captivate me with her stories.

Alistair was a secondary character in Lord of Temptation and I really liked him and hoped he would have his own HEA. He had such a strong sense of honour and duty. He blamed himself for his brother, Walter’s death in the Crimea and felt a deep obligation to fulfil Walter’s last request, to ensure the happiness of his fiancée, Lady Anne Hayworth. Alistair believed that marrying Anne was the best way of ensuring her happiness even though it meant giving up the woman he truly loved, Lady Meredith Hargreaves. Then, when he realised that Anne truly loved Tristan, he was willing to set her free and bear all the humiliation of being jilted. Now he is determined to do everything in his power to win Meredith back.
Hers were the only eyes into which he longed to gaze, hers the only fragrance he yearned to inhale, hers the only voice he wanted whispering near his ear as passion smoldered.

It is not going to be easy persuading the lady of his sincerity and there is one major impediment…she is betrothed to another man.

Meredith (Merry) had almost made the mistake of losing her heart to Alistair until his attentions moved onto someone else. She was deeply hurt but now she has moved on with her life and is engaged to Lord Litton who is without a doubt the man for her. She is determined never to fall under Alistair’s spell again.

…she refused to succumb to his charms once again. She could be distant, pretend indifference, give the impression that he had never been more than a dance partner.

Alistair is resolute in his pursuit of Merry and I love the ruse he uses so that he can dance with her. Merry’s defences begin to crumble when things get rather heated in the billiard room. Who would have thought that Alistair could be so sexy!

It is not until a snow storm forces them to spend the night in the ruined Pembrook castle that they are finally able to admit their true feelings. This leads to a sweet and tender love scene. Once again, Alistair’s actions show what a perfect hero he is. It would be easy for him to be found with Merry, forcing her to marry him, but instead he protects her reputation, giving her the freedom to choose her own course.

To have her, he would have to ruin her, and he loved her far too much for that.

I thought Ms Heath disposed of Litton, the only obstacle remaining to their happiness, in a rather clever and believable way, leaving Merry to follow her heart. As always, Ms Heath left me with a sigh and a happy smile on my face.

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to read this enchanting rekindled love story. Like me read it any time of the year as part of this wonderful series.

REVIEW RATING:  4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read May 2014

 

The Lost Lords of Pembrook series (click on the covers for more details):

She Tempts the Duke (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #1) by Lorraine Heath Lord of Temptation (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2) by Lorraine Heath Deck the Halls With Love (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5) by Lorraine Heath Lord of Wicked Intentions (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3) by Lorraine Heath 

 

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(Mad Passion, #2.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

In this all-new novella from the award-winning author of Lady in Red and The Dark Lady, comes a story of fatal plots, seductive spies, and irresistible passions…

Duchess Clare Ederly is lucky to be alive. Having outlived her violent, abusive husband, she decides to put her significant inheritance to good use helping other battered women by opening a refuge for those seeking to escape. But not everyone is pleased with her work. Someone wants to see her sanctuary torn down—at any cost. Her only hope of protecting her home and tenants is a former spy, whose skill at tracking deadly men is matched only by his dangerous charm…

The Earl of Wyndham has done his part for Queen and country; he has had his fill of plotting and politics and simply wants to retire to the pleasant life of his club. But Duchess Clare’s razor-sharp wit and fierce determination awaken new purpose and admiration in him. To protect her, he will once again delve into the treacherous world of espionage. To win her love, he will do almost anything…

♥♥♥♥♥♥

**4.5 Absolutely Delightful Stars**

I LOVED this novella! It is a captivating and heart-warming story and made a lovely interlude between the darkness and intensity of the other books in this series. It brings together two secondary characters from the previous books –  Lord Byron Cartwright, the Earl of Wyndham (friend to Lord Ian Blake, the hero of the first book, The Dark Lady) and Clare, Duchess of Duncliffe (stepmother to Mary, the heroine of the second book, Lady in Red).

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Byron is a wonderful hero. There is something so adorable about him, with his easy charm and his propensity for quoting Shakespeare. He has experienced the horrors of war but hasn’t let it taint his view of life. His optimism is contagious.

“I am saying that there are things more wondrous in this world, more full of magic than we could ever imagine. And I, for one, despite the terrible things I have seen or perhaps because of them, choose to believe in them.”

He is an uncomplicated person and his dreams are simple…a quiet life, a wife who loves him and children.

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As a young woman of only seventeen, Clare married the Duke of Duncliffe with expectations of happiness, only to discover that her husband was cruel and abusive.

…her gaze bore that haunted mark of one who had seen hell and lived to tell the tale.

Now twenty-five and a widow, she devotes her time to helping other abused women. Her life is her work and she has long since given up any hope of love. Understandably, she is wary of men.

Ms Claremont’s writing perfectly conveys the mood of this enchanting romance. Here are a few of my favourite moments.

How could he do that? With two words? How could he somehow wrap her up in the safety of his voice and presence?

♥♥♥

Right now, she was in hiding, for goodness ’ sake. And the man leading her to God knew where kept spouting Shakespeare and making inappropriate remarks.

♥♥♥

The soft brush of Lord Wyndham’s lips sent Clare reeling. In all her life, she’d never been kissed. Not like this. Not this kind of kiss that every girl imagined and cherished in her heart.

♥♥♥

This was the stuff of knights and their ladies, of Abelard and Eloise, of Darcy and Elizabeth, of Jane and Rochester, of every romance she’d ever read. How she’d longed for it.

The mystery element never overshadows the romance and, although you don’t have to be a great detective to guess the identity of the person threatening Clare, I was so captivated by the characters that it didn’t really matter.

This novella may be short in terms of page count but Ms Claremont’s delightful and heart-warming tale captured my heart.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2014

 

The Mad Passions series (click on the book cover for further details):

The Dark Lady (Mad Passions, #1) Lady in Red (Mad Passions, #2) A Lady Undone (Mad Passions, #2.5) The Dark Affair (Mad Passions, #3)

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