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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel L. Demeter’

I’m a sucker for a Beauty and the Beast story and having read and enjoyed Rachel L. Demeter’s dark and intensely emotional FINDING GABRIEL back in 2015, I was delighted when she offered me a review copy of her new book which is released today.

Beauty of the Beast

(Fairy Tale Retellings, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the OperaBeauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18

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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 WingFinding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

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I admire authors who push the boundaries of the established norms of historical romance and Rachel L. Demeter does just that in this dark and intensely emotional story. I found myself totally immersed in the compelling world she created and her fascinating, flawed characters.

…the only journey worth traveling starts from within.

Gabriel is full of despair and all-consuming guilt following the horrific deaths of his wife and child for which he feels responsible. When he finds no solace in drink, he joins Napoleon’s army, not for honour or glory, but as an act of self-punishment, believing he will surely die on the battlefield. Instead of death, he becomes one of Napoleon’s esteemed regiment commanders, highly decorated and applauded for his bravery. On his return to Paris, however, he cannot escape the past or the cold numbness he feels inside.  So, standing by the dark waters of the Seine, he resolves to take his own life –

Now there would be no more pain. No more nightmares. No more agony.

 – only to have fate send an ‘angel’ in the form of Ariah Larochelle.

Ariah may look petite and fragile but she has spirit and determination. Despite being orphaned at the age of 15 and betrayed by the very person she came to love and trust, she is a survivor. However, the past has left its mark.

Perhaps there was a darkness behind her pure façade that equaled his own. Only her scars were internal rather than flesh wounds.

She’s raising her 5 year old daughter, Emmeline, and has also provided a home for her half-sister, Miriam. The scenes between these three are charmingly portrayed.  I love how Ariah’s compassion overrules her fear of taking in a stranger when she finds the badly injured Gabriel.

Ms Demeter doesn’t shy away from scenes that are often harrowing and brutal but I was riveted to the pages. Whether it’s descriptions of Gabriel’s horrific injuries, the brutality of battle or the sweeping landscape of Paris, everything is brought vividly to life. My only criticism is that sometimes I felt that her descriptive prose was a little too verbose.

The speed with which Gabriel recovers from his facial injuries does seem unrealistic but it didn’t detract from the overall impact of the story.

The romance between Gabriel and Ariah was emotional, heart-rending, poignant, dramatic and passionate and I’m sharing a few of my favourite moments which also showcase Ms Demeter’s beautiful poetic prose.

Ariah lifted a hand to his looming face and gently grazed a fingertip over the marred flesh. It was rigid and coarse, twisted and corrupt. And yet it concealed a delicate soul that was in jeopardy of fading away forever.

~~~

“Yes. I see much pain and darkness. But more than that, I see an internal war: strength and vulnerability … love and hatred … tender memories mixed with sadness. And beneath those conflicting emotions I see something much greater: hope.”

~~~

But Ariah’s true beauty lay within; it was her fierce spirit, determination, and kind heart that he’d fallen deeply, irrevocably in love with.

~~~

Somewhere along this strange journey, hope had emerged from the depths of despair.

~~~

Both have to face their pasts in different ways and this leads to a series of dramatic events which threaten their fledging love. There is a harrowing climax but I think it was the only way the story could be resolved to bring about Gabriel and Ariah’s happy ending.

The scenes between Emmeline and Gabriel are delightful and reveal his gentleness and sensitivity. I love the kindly Doctor Mongeau and the scene where Ariah realises that he is saying a final goodbye is so poignant. The scene where Oliver, Ariah’s old dog, pees up nasty neighbour, Madam Dupont’s front door provides a welcome touch of humour.

The historical setting, Paris during the period following the defeat of Napoleon, definitely bought an interesting perspective to the story, especially with a cameo appearance by Napoleon himself.

I picked this final quote because I think it so beautifully sums up the essence of the story.

Here they stood, two shattered souls made complete through each other.

MY VERDICT: If you enjoy a dark, intense romance with an original plot and unforgettable characters, then you will definitely want to read FINDING GABRIEL. I will certainly be looking to read more by this author.

REVIEW RATING:   4/5 STARS

 SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

Read October 2015

 

**I received a complimentary copy from the author 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!

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Source: Gift from the author

(Hell Yeah! #1)

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Western Romance

Cover Blurb:

An Erotic Romance

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

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Source: Received from author in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

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

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

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Source: Free from Amazon Kindle

(Steam! Romance and Rails series)

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

Cover Blurb:

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(An American Heiress in London, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

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

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

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

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

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

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

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

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

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

This book has been previously published by Samhain Publishing.

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

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Reckless Rockfords, #1)

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

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

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

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(The Reckless Rockfords, #2)

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

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

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

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

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