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Posts Tagged ‘Renee Bernard’

I have been tagged to do the Disney Book Tag by the lovely Frankie of Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Blog

 

This was one Tag Game I was happy to do because it presented such an interesting challenge. So without further ado, here is my selection.


The Little Mermaid: a character who is out of their element, a fish out of water.


My choice is Mick Tremore from Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, a cocky Cornish ratcatcher who has to pass himself off as a gentleman.

 

Cinderella: a character who goes through a major transformation.

This has to be “Charming” Mickey O’Connor from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3), the ultimate bad boy who transforms into a swoon-worthy hero.

 

Snow White: a book with an eclectic cast of characters.


I’m selecting Renee Bernard’s Devil May Care which is full of unique and off-beat characters.

 

Sleeping Beauty: a book that put you to sleep


I can’t really recall any books that put me to sleep so I’m selecting Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4) which turned out to be a tremendous disappointment.

 

The Lion King: a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood.


Amy Masters from Catherine Anderson’s Comanche Heart (Comanche, #2) is my choice here. She suffered a terrible ordeal at the age of twelve, when captured by a band of Comancheros.

 

Beauty and the Beast: a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful.


This is not so much a book as a whole series. J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is now on its 13th book and that equates to an awful lot of pages!!

 

Aladdin: a character that gets their wish granted, for better or worse.


Sebastion St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3) is in need of a fortune and wishes for a miracle which comes in a unlikely form.

 

Mulan: a character who pretends to be something or someone they’re not.


In Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) barmaid Pauline Simms pretends to be a future duchess.

 

Toy Story: a book with characters you wish would come to life.

It has to be all the characters from Lisa Kleypas’s wonderful Wallflowers series.

 

Disney descendants: your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character.


No hesitation here, it has to be the deliciously wicked Viscount Ludovic DeVere from Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere series.

 

I am not tagging anyone but, if any of my fellow bloggers would like to take part in the Disney Book Tag, please feel free to do so.

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Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

What do you get when you have four despairing mamas with four unwed daughters? A very matchmaker Christmas, of course! This delightful holiday anthology features 4 novellas written by 4 authors, all revolving around the same fun plot involving a Regency holiday house party and hijinks aplenty!

Her Christmas Rogue by Christi Caldwell

Lady Winifred Grisham has been in love with her brother’s best friend Lord Trent Ballantine more years than she can remember. The only problem is, Trent is a notorious rogue who doesn’t dally with the respectable. Except, Winnie doesn’t want a dalliance–she wants his heart.

To Make a Perfect Scandal by Danelle Harmon

Tristan St. Aubyn, the Earl of Weybourne, is a driven man. Haunted by the bad decisions he made in his youth, his life is all about work … working to restore his fortunes, working to rebuild the herd of unique racehorses that were his late father’s legacy, working to forget just how lonely he really is. Lord Weybourne isn’t looking for a wife … but when a saucy young lady dressed as a lad finds her way into his stable and charms the most irascible colt in the barn, Tristan can’t help but be intrigued …

To Win a Quiet Heart by Renee Bernard

Suffering from crippling shyness, Nicodemus Chesterfield, the Earl of Athmore, would rather battle an army of demons than put one toe inside the treacherous social waters of a holiday house party. But sometimes, a man just has to face his fears—and when Jane Pemberly is the surprisingly beautiful and fantastically charming prize at the opposite end of the gauntlet—it seems there is nothing a man won’t do to sidestep scandals and win her love.

To Tempt a Saint by Valerie Bowman

What happens when a saint is tempted by a sinner? Prudence Carmichael is the epitome of well, prudence. But when a rumored pirate—with whom she just might have had a secret scandalous interlude years ago, that she’s been beating herself up about ever since—appears at Lady Weston’s Christmastide house party and charms the innocent young lady again, can Prudence resist her first and greatest temptation?

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Each story in this anthology may be written by a different author but I like how all the stories share a continuity in the setting and the way in which many of the characters appear in more than one story, but the same events are seen from a very different perspective.


REVIEW OF HER CHRISTMAS ROGUE BY CHRISTI CALDWELL

This charming story features one of my favourite tropes – the older brother’s friend/little sister pairing.

Trent is constantly fighting his desire for Winnie, not only because of his friendship with her brother, James, but he also believes that she deserves someone better than a roguish second son. But Winnie is no shrinking violet but a spirited young woman who knows just who she wants and is determined to make Trent admit his love – and desire – for her.

I enjoyed the scene in the billiard room where, in order to get him to herself, Winnie persuades Trent to give her billiard lessons. Who would have thought a billiard lesson could be so sensual!

Her squirming brought her shapely buttocks flush against the vee of his thighs and Trent gulped.

Poor Trent is sure that with all the wicked thoughts he is having, there is only one destination for him – hell!

I love how protective and caring Trent is towards his blind sister and, at that moment, Winnie sees him as both honourable, kind and worthy of love.

I love how he braves one very angry brother to declare his love for Winnie before everyone.

Ms Caldwell brings her own brand of warmth and charm to this story.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF A PERFECT SCANDAL BY DANELLE HARMON

This is a delightful story of a workaholic hero and a bold heroine who find they might share more than just a passion for horses.

I understood Tristan’s shame at having made such a terrible error of judgement and his desire to restore his father’s legacy. He hates Christmas because seeing the happiness of his sister’s family only underscores everything missing in his own life…someone to share his life with, someone who shared his passion for horses.

Lettie teeters between respectability and scandal. She is bold, confident and independent and it is these very qualities that draw Tristan to her as well as her passion for horses. They are obviously a perfect match but have hurdles to overcome in the form of Lettie’s interfering mother, her over-protective brother, Simon, and the imminent arrival of a certain Mr Homer Trout, her prospective husband if her mother has her way.

New-to-me author, Danelle Harmon charmed me with her engaging writing style and I was delighted to discover that I have more of her books on my Kindle.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

 

REVIEW OF TO WIN A QUIET HEART BY RENEE BERNARD

This story of a painfully shy hero and an accident prone, outspoken heroine has a slightly darker tone.

Although intelligent and well-read, Nick is virtually tongue-tied when it comes to social gatherings. Rarely venturing from his estate, he experiences the world through his beloved books, maps and the journals and sketches of explorers and adventurers. Ms Bernard captures so well Nick’s fears and anxieties when he is forced to confront a room of strangers.

Jane is pretty, confident and witty but her tendency to be accident prone has resulted in two disastrous seasons. It doesn’t help matters that she is intelligent and outspoken, qualities in a woman which are frowned on my Society.

When Nick meets Jane (under rather unusual circumstances), he immediately feels a kinship with her and is comfortable in her presence.

“Do you ever wish the floor would just open up and swallow you whole?” she whispered through the blades of her fingers.
“All the time,” he replied softly.
She spread her fingers slightly to peek at him miserably. “Really?”
He nodded.

Nick’s sister, Constance, is nothing more than vicious, bitter, manipulative bitch and I wanted to put my hands around her neck and squeeze. I love Nick for being willing to forfeit his happiness to save Jane’s reputation and protect her from his sister’s cruelty. Luckily, Jane is made of sterner stuff and I enjoyed seeing her foil Constance’s evil plans.

I love the letter that Nick writes to Jane…so romantic.

This is an emotional, poignant and heart-warming story from one of my favourite authors.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

 

REVIEW OF TO TEMPT A SAINT BY VALERIE BOWMAN

This is a spicy story of a hero who would tempt a saint and a saintly heroine who refuses to be tempted.

Prudence’s internal thoughts, when she literally stumbles across Christopher in the conservatory, and her tendency to counteract Christopher with appropriate Biblical verses are amusing.

Christopher is hampered by rumours that he is an infamous pirate but help in resolving this problem comes from a rather surprising source.

It was fun watching the to-and-fro between Prudence and Christopher. Prudence is determined to avoid Christopher and pursue Lord Beesley, who does not inspire her to sin at all. Christopher sees a woman trying to deny her passionate nature. He understands her as no one else does.

Prudence might want to seem like an angel but he’d seen her passionate side. She was trapped behind Bible verses and rules.

Luckily Prudence comes to her senses, after unburdening herself to a rather surprisingly sympathetic mother, and what follows is one of my favourites scenes in the anthology.

“You’ll want to keep your eyes open, milady,” William warned. “It’s easier if you see where you’re going.”
“That may be a matter of opinion, “ Pru informed him. “I’m not sure I want to witness my own demise”.

This is a charming and fun story from Valerie Bowman.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  WARM

 

MY VERDICT: Overall, an entertaining anthology and the perfect accompaniment to the festive season.

Read December 2015

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I have been waiting patiently for the 3rd book in Lauren Smith’s League of Rogues series so I jumped at the chance to review Cedric’s story. This book will be published on 19th January 2016.

Source: Complimentary copy received from the author in return for an honest review

(League of Rogues, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He doesn’t need his eyes to uncover her true beauty.

Cedric, Viscount Sheridan, is cursed. Once the ton’s golden boy, the loss of his sight has left him a reclusive shell of man. His days of womanizing, horse racing and pistol shooting lost forever.

Offered the chance to recapture a small part of his old life, he can’t refuse—even if it means accepting the shocking proposal of the infamous ice maiden, Anne Chessley.

Still reeling from her father’s death, Anne’s deepest wish is to avoid the hordes of fortune hunters who will soon be beating down her door. Proposing marriage to Cedric is an act of desperation, his unexpected acceptance a strange and wonderful dream.

His only stipulation: she must respond passionately and wantonly in his bed. Her agreement barely crosses her lips before he begins a sensual assault on the icy walls bitter secrets have built around her heart.

Yet even as they catch a glimpse of true happiness, betrayal is poised to sweep them away on opposing tides of danger.

Warning: Contains an outwardly aloof heroine with a secretly tender heart, a once-notorious rake who isn’t quite as rusty at seduction as he feared, and a band of rogues who join together to make sure happily-ever-afters do come true.

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This sounds such a delightful collection of stories that I couldn’t resist the review request. It includes stories by three of my favourite authors which was an extra incentive. This book will be published on 10th November 2015.

Source: Complimentary copy received from the authors in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

The tiny village of Hemshawe is the sort of place where nothing ever happens…until a handsome ex-soldier and his matchmaking sister let the imposing manor house at the edge of town. The friendly Londoners shake up the staid people of Hemshawe, and villagers see each other in a new and oh-so-appealing light.

Suddenly long-sparring enemies become lovers, a town festival heralds a new start for a fallen woman and a dandy, and a man who has given up on love gets a second chance with the woman he never forgot. And the matchmaker herself? She won’t rest until she finds her own happily-ever-after…

A Madness in Spring by Kate Noble

Adam Sturridge has made Belinda Leonard’s blood boil since childhood, and the feeling is mutual. But when a would-be matchmaker arrives in the village of Hemshawe, she’d determined to erase the thin line between love and hate. Now, Belinda and Adam are faced with falling for someone they’ve always considered an enemy — can they overcome old prejudices and discover how to rub each other the right way?

The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen

When viscount’s son and dandy Peregrine Lochley is temporarily exiled from London to the country for his misdeeds, the last thing he expects is to encounter an intriguing woman. But Caroline Martin has a secret to hide, and it just might be too scandalous for even this debauched rogue.

Those Autumn Nights by Theresa Romain 

Ten years ago, wealthy Eliza Greenleaf broke lowly soldier Bertram Gage’s heart—but the last decade brought changes in fortune to them both. Now that he’s made his mark on the world, a twist of fate brings the Greenleaf family under his power. Will this war-hardened officer triumph over his former lover…or will Bertie and Eliza give love a second chance?

The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly

Miss Georgie Gage, matchmaker extraordinaire, is resigned to life as a spinster—almost. When notoriously aloof bachelor Fergus Haddon arrives from Scotland to spend Christmas with the Gage family, Georgie thinks she’s finally found her own perfect match—if, that is, she can get the handsome Highlander to agree!

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I LOVE Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series and so I was delighted to receive an ARC of the latest book which will be published on November 24th.

Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review

(Maiden Lane, #9)

Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian)

Cover Blurb:

SHE’S TAKING CHARGE

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

BUT LOVE CONQUERS ALL

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

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I’m a huge fan of Victoria Vane’s Historical Romances and was delighted to receive a copy of her latest novella.

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle Worlds novella)

Genre: Historical Romance (Viking – 907 AD)

Cover Blurb:

She vowed to defy him to her dying breath… but passion blurs the line between love and hate…

The bluest blood and the hardest heart… at least when it comes to marriage… The daughter of a duke and granddaughter of a king, Adele of Vannes was bartered at birth in a marriage treaty for the sole purpose of producing a royal heir. When her philandering husband is slain by Norse marauders, Adele’s only desire is to retire to the peace and solitude of a cloister—until coerced to wed a savage Norseman. Adele knows that her beloved Brittany needs a strong hand to survive, but how can she ever reconcile her bitterness and hatred with the desire she feels for her avowed enemy?

She’s the jewel he seeks for his Breton crown…A Barbarian bent on building a dynasty, Valdrik Vargr, ‘the Norse Wolf,’ is renowned for both his bravery in battle and shrewdness in statecraft. Setting his sights on claiming the kingdom of Brittany, he knows that siring sons from royal blood would solidify his hold, but the woman he would claim as his queen refuses to have him. Will he fuel her hatred by taking her to his bed, or will the man who strikes terror in the hearts of men be reduced to wooing his bride?

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Anna Campbell is high on my list of all-time favourite authors and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of her Christmas novella.

Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

There’s a pirate in the manor house!

What is vicar’s daughter Bess Farrar to do when the dashing new earl, the man gossip paints as a ruthless pirate, kisses her the day they meet? Why, kiss him right back, of course! Now Lord Channing vows to claim the lovely firebrand, despite interfering villagers, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises mayhem – and a lifetime of breathtaking passion

Pursued by the pirate…

Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…

Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.

A Christmas marked by mayhem.

Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.

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Christina McKnight is a new author whose books I discovered this year.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(A De Wolfe Pack Kindle Worlds novella)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Aloria has experienced firsthand what balls, betrothals, and the ensuing betrayals can do to a woman. To heal her heart, Aloria’s aim is to simply survive her final grand ball before her twenty-fourth birthday, and hope that her parents finally come to terms with her spinsterhood and allow her to retire to the country in peace.

Unfortunately, Marcus Adair, the Duke of Wolfeton, has other plans for her future. In town to secure a bride, he has set his sights on Aloria, and no other woman will do. But after a chance meeting in a darkened hallway, Marcus realizes he not only needs Aloria in his life; he desires her above all others.

Can Lady Aloria forget her scandalous past to build a future with the Duke of Wolfeton?

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This is a series I have been following by British author, Jane Lark.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Marlowe Intrigues)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

How do you fight a calling that comes from your soul?

Lillian is in love with her charming protector. He brings her gifts and gives himself to her at night, but she knows nothing of his days; all she knows is that with Peter visiting her she is happier than she has ever been. The way he touches her and treats her is so different from other men.

Emily is excited, hopeful and expectant, waiting on the moment that everything seems to be leading towards. Lord Peter Brooke has courted her for a year; she is awaiting his proposal, certain it will come very soon, and everything he does indicates that it will.

Peter is torn; his soul is seeking one thing, but his mind wants another, and what about his heart? Where does his heart lie?

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I enjoy Shana Galen’s books and this one was free (for a limited period only).

Source: Free from Amazon Kindle

(Covent Garden Cubs, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

His heart may be the last thing she ever steals…

Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.

Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.

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I thought this anthology, including some of my favourite authors, would be a lovely addition to my Christmas reading.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

What do you get when you have four despairing mamas with four unwed daughters? A very matchmaker Christmas, of course! This delightful holiday anthology features 4 novellas written by 4 authors, all revolving around the same fun plot involving a Regency holiday house party and hijinks aplenty!

Her Christmas Rogue by Christi Caldwell

Lady Winifred Grisham has been in love with her brother’s best friend Lord Trent Ballantine more years than she can remember. The only problem is, Trent is a notorious rogue who doesn’t dally with the respectable. Except, Winnie doesn’t want a dalliance–she wants his heart.

To Make a Perfect Scandal by Danelle Harmon

Tristan St. Aubyn, the Earl of Weybourne, is a driven man. Haunted by the bad decisions he made in his youth, his life is all about work … working to restore his fortunes, working to rebuild the herd of unique racehorses that were his late father’s legacy, working to forget just how lonely he really is. Lord Weybourne isn’t looking for a wife … but when a saucy young lady dressed as a lad finds her way into his stable and charms the most irascible colt in the barn, Tristan can’t help but be intrigued …

To Win a Quiet Heart by Renee Bernard

Suffering from crippling shyness, Nicodemus Chesterfield, the Earl of Athmore, would rather battle an army of demons than put one toe inside the treacherous social waters of a holiday house party. But sometimes, a man just has to face his fears—and when Jane Pemberly is the surprisingly beautiful and fantastically charming prize at the opposite end of the gauntlet—it seems there is nothing a man won’t do to sidestep scandals and win her love.

To Tempt a Saint by Valerie Bowman

What happens when a saint is tempted by a sinner? Prudence Carmichael is the epitome of well, prudence. But when a rumored pirate—with whom she just might have had a secret scandalous interlude years ago, that she’s been beating herself up about ever since—appears at Lady Weston’s Christmastide house party and charms the innocent young lady again, can Prudence resist her first and greatest temptation?

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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(The Eternity Gambit, #2)

Genre: Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy with Paranormal Elements

Cover Blurb:

Working in the Temptations Department in H.E.LLc isn’t about stock tips and sugar plums. It’s more like hands-on demolition and no one can implode a wicked man’s life with sexier flair than demonic agent, Lillith Fields.

Except her newest target is providing way too many challenges and for a girl who’s used to toppling men with the slightest glance, Jackson Kent is not giving in—at least, not without a fight. He is a sports legend and a rising celebrity flagged by Upper Management for a lesson in humility or what Hades Enterprises likes to call a “take down”, but Lilly sees him as very delicious low-hanging fruit.

Jackson Kent never jumps without looking and instead of turning to putty in her hands, he is making a demon rethink her tactics. It’s Lilly who’s melting when Jackson turns sincere eyes her direction and no matter how hard she tries, the seduction isn’t going how she’d planned. It turns out that Jackson Kent might just be the very first Good Guy she’s ever met. It’s the Temptress who’s tempted to forfeit the game and bare all.

But how will a truly good guy feel when the woman of his dreams isn’t a good girl by anyone’s reckoning? It’s a tough call and for Lilly, it’s life and death. Love is a dangerous move for a demon and she could lose more than the game if Jackson sends her packing.

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LOVED IT!

I couldn’t wait to revisit the world of H.E. LLc. and DEVIL MAY CARE combines all the imaginative, fun-packed elements and quirky characters I loved so much in DEVIL TO PAY.

From the moment she gets stuck in the revolving doors, Lillith (Lilly) completely stole the show for me. A Temptress of the First Plane, confident in her demonic abilities, it was delightful to watch her plans to seduce Jackson fail at every turn. I loved her bewilderment when she finds herself succumbing to human frailties and emotions.

There he was. The man she was about to seduce and destroy with her delectable feminine powers and she had…. the hiccups?

No wonder Jackson puts Lilly in a tail spin. He is a genuinely caring and sincere but sexy with it. It did make me wonder why the Upper Management were so determined he should be “taken down”. I also love how he is willing to face the top brass at H.E. LLc to fight for the woman he loves.

He wasn’t thinking about his odds of survival. He wasn’t thinking at all.
He was going to save the woman he loved.

Although there is only one kiss (albeit a pretty hot one), the potent chemistry and brilliant dialogue between Lilly and Jackson create a deliciously sexy romance.

The secondary characters – Lilly’s boss, Asmodeus, the demonic Prince of Lust; crisp and business-like Laurel Marsh, Jackson’s coordinator; Malcolm, the acting Regent of Hell – all add to the fun. I loved Malcolm in Devil to Pay with his demonic humour and I do hope he gets his own book. One of my favourite quotes comes from him.

“Start a new office pool.”
Jessia brightened and pulled out her tablet to take notes. “On what subject?”
“On whether or not I end up doing the chicken dance with the mother of the groom, of course.”

How I imagine Jackson…

How I imagine Lilly…

My Verdict: If you are looking for an entertaining, romantic and fun read, then I can definitely recommend DEVIL MAY CARE.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE

Read May 2015

The Eternity Gambit series so far (click on the book cover for more details):

Devil to Pay (Eternity Gambit, #1) by Renee Bernard Devil May Care (The Eternity Gambit Book 2) by Renee Bernard

 

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(Jaded Gentlemen, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

After the darkness of a dungeon in India, artist Josiah Hastings dreamt of returning to a world lush with color—only to discover that years of imprisonment left his eyesight weak and failing. So when the fiery beauty of Miss Eleanor Beckett appears in his vision amidst the bleak grays of a London winter, he knows he’s found his muse and one last chance at a masterpiece.

Once a spoiled and exultant girl, Eleanor is struggling to survive in a city where men prey upon her. Saving her from assault and ruin, Josiah will pay her a fortune to sit for a painting. To restore her life, Eleanor must risk her reputation modeling for an artist without a chaperone—and try not to lose her heart to a man with dark secrets and unseen enemies…

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This is the fourth book in the Jaded Gentlemen series and, as always, Ms Bernard captivated me with her authentic story, intriguing characters, witty dialogue and sensual romance.

Josiah Hastings has one wish before his eyesight finally fails – to paint a masterpiece that will bring him immortality – but he has found “nothing to stir his soul” and give him the impetus to paint. He has become guarded and reclusive and his pride prevents him from admitting that his eyesight is failing even to his closest friends, the fellow Jaded. Only Dr. Rowan West manages to wheedle the truth out of him but, as a physician, he is sworn to secrecy. When Josiah rescues Miss Eleanor Beckett from being kidnapped and worse, he knows he has found his muse.

In a world of fog and fleeting shadows that haunted his vision, she was color. A living, breathing pillar of all his senses longed for – a muse of beauty that defied science and logic.

Orphaned and penniless, Eleanor Beckett is forced to take a job as a seamstress in Madame Claremont’s dress shop. She suffers the harsh conditions and long hours because the work is at least considered respectable for someone in her position. Respectability is the one thing she values above all else. However, events threaten that very respectability when she is rescued from a would-be kidnapping and assault by Josiah Hastings – a painter who offers her a huge amount of money if she will sit for a painting. It means a life she once knew…one of security and comfort…too tempting to refuse but Eleanor will have the last word.

“I’m not taking off my…” She swallowed hard, unsure of how a person delicately addressed the subject of nudity with such a man. “I won’t pose without…”
“I’ll not ask you to remove a thing against your will.” His brown eyes blazed hotter than the embers of a fire. “And if that is you last objection, I take it that your answer is…”
“Yes.”
God help me. Yes.

I felt that Ms Bernard’s portrayal of Josiah’s impending blindness was realistic. I could see the grey and black clouds that swirled across his vision and I could feel his anger and humiliation each time he stumbles or falls. He is a complex man, trying to come to terms with the reality of his situation but still clinging to the last vestiges of his pride.

“It’s pride. I’m too proud and it’s a sin, but I want to stand as an equal in the eyes of the Jaded for as long as I can. I don’t want pit. I just want to be myself and paint and enjoy what’s left to me. I walk about London each afternoon and I am my own man, Rowan.”

I love how the main focus of the book is on the developing relationship between Josiah and Eleanor. Watching the prim and proper Eleanor letting go of her inhibitions was delightful.

“I have but one question, Mr Hastings.”
He warily opened one eye. “And what is that?”
“As to etiquette – how soon can a person reasonably request you do that again?”
It was his turn to laugh before he kissed her, a gentle, reverent gesture that reignited and renewed the bonds between them. “Give me a few minutes to rest my eyes and I’ll see if I can’t demonstrate a satisfactory answer, Miss Beckett.”

I sometimes wanted to knock some sense into Josiah for keeping the truth about his blindness from Eleanor for so long because he doesn’t want to be a burden to her. This causes some misunderstandings between them but, of course, love will always find a way.

He loved her. She loved him. Where was the problem? The path looked crystal clear.

The love scenes are highly sensual but written with tenderness and humour as well. My only criticisms are that the occasional purple prose creeps in and one of the scenes came as a total surprise and seemed very out of character.

Ms Bernard gathers together some memorable secondary characters.

~~ despicable Madame Claremont who is well and truly humiliated by Josiah.
~~ Mrs Clay, the owner of The Grove guest house where Eleanor rooms, who is like “ a large, benevolent fairy godmother”.
~~ deaf, mute Tally, Mrs Clay’s “adopted son” who is a real sweetheart.
~~ Josiah’s loyal, elderly servants, the creaky-boned Mr Escher and his gruff wife who, according to Josiah, is “…as sweet as a kitten when you get to know her.”

The other Jaded Gentlemen make an appearance as they complete plans to flush out their enemy, the Jackal, but the mystery very much takes a back seat to the romance in this book. There are some dramatic events towards the end of the book and the Jaded discover that the Jackal may not be their only enemy.

My verdict: Captivating, romantic, witty and lusciously sensual!

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2015

The Jaded Gentlemen series (click on the book covers for more details):

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

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Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle

(Eternity Gambit, #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy with Paranormal Elements

Cover Blurb:

Working in the Temptations Department in H.E.LLc isn’t about stock tips and sugar plums. It’s more like hands-on demolition and no one can implode a wicked man’s life with sexier flair than demonic agent, Lillith Fields. Except her newest target is providing way too many challenges and for a girl who’s used to toppling men with the slightest glance, Jackson Kent is not giving in—at least, not without a fight. He is a sports legend and a rising celebrity flagged by Upper Management for a lesson in humility or what Hades Enterprises likes to call a “take down”, but Lilly sees him as very delicious low-hanging fruit.

Jackson Kent never jumps without looking and instead of turning to putty in her hands, he is making a demon rethink her tactics. It’s Lilly who’s melting when Jackson turns sincere eyes her direction and no matter how hard she tries, the seduction isn’t going how she’d planned. It turns out that Jackson Kent might just be the very first Good Guy she’s ever met.

It’s the Temptress who’s tempted to forfeit the game and bare all.
But how will a truly good guy feel when the woman of his dreams isn’t a good girl by anyone’s reckoning? It’s a tough call and for Lilly, it’s life and death. Love is a dangerous move for a demon and she could lose more than the game if Jackson sends her packing.

DEVIL MAY CARE is the second book in The Eternity Gambit Series by USA Today Bestselling author, Renee Bernard. In this comic twist on paranormal romance, Heaven, Inc. and Hades Enterprises, LLc are nothing you’d expect them to be. “Office Space” meets “Supernatural” and the result is pure fun!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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(Black Rose Trilogy, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

LADY TRIUMPHS is the third book and grand finale in the unforgettable Black Rose Trilogy and does not disappoint for chills and thrills as Lady Serena Wellcott (formerly known as Raven Wells) at last turns her attention to settling an old score with the Earl of Trent, Geoffrey Parke.

With Phillip Warrick at her back and the lovers reconciled, it will still take every resource and wicked skill she has acquired to destroy the man who was once her trusted guardian. Lord Trent is no ordinary foe but Lady Wellcott has never shied away from a challenge and what’s a bit of revenge between old friends?

From the glittering ballrooms of London to the shadowed servants’ passages of the ton’s grand homes, the Black Rose will weave a seductive spell until no one is safe. Phillip’s loyalty is tested to its limits as he is forced to stand aside and watch the woman he loves assume her role and identity as a Villainess with no equal. Their shared hatred of Trent is eclipsed by Phillip’s need to protect her even if the greatest danger comes from Raven herself. Their passion for each other has only grown and each sensual encounter cements the bonds that tether her dark soul to his—even when rivals appear and their world starts to unravel.

The stakes are impossibly high but Serena is a fearless gambler. Every element of her upbringing and every tragic misstep come into play. Raised for vengeance, she will return to the earl as his creation and serve him a slice of his own poisonous fruit with a smile on her beautiful lips. The Lady has planned the perfect murder. The only problem is, it will likely be her own.

 

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