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I’m delighted to welcome Award Winning Author SANDRA OWENS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Carol, it is an honor to be here. I’ve followed Rakes and Rascals from the beginning, and have read many wonderful books simply because you recommended them.

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Sandra:
I was born in Lakeland, Florida, the oldest of five kids. We lived in Pensacola until I was in sixth grade, then we moved to Miami, where I attended high school. As the oldest, I had a lot more restrictions on me than my siblings did as they grew. I think we wore my parents out until it was easier for them to give in to the younger ones when they wanted to do something. I used to think that was so unfair. They in turn think it’s not fair that there are way more pictures of me in the family album than there are of them. Apparently our parents got tired of taking pictures, and with each kid there are fewer photos. We have no idea what the baby of the family looked like as a child. 🙂

Sandra Owens Interview - childhood photo
One of the numerous pictures of me

R&R:

How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Sandra:
I’m a very easy-going introvert. I can spend days by myself, and when I’m with a group of people I don’t know, I get very quiet. I think that’s one reason I love writing. I can lose myself in my stories and forget that there’s a real world outside my window. I rarely get angry, and if I do, it doesn’t last. Interestingly enough, I have very low blood pressure to the point that doctors have asked if I’ve ever felt faint. The answer is no, I haven’t, but I think that’s one reason I’m always so calm.

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Sandra:
Savoury for sure. I rarely eat cake, pie, cookies, ice cream, or candy. Those things just don’t appeal to me…well, except for dark chocolate, especially the kind with chilli pepper flakes in it. That’s my weakness. This is going to sound weird, but my favourite snack is a little bowl of diced celery and a slice of cheddar cheese.

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Sandra:
Aside from my Kindle full of books, I’d have to say a wooden horse that belonged to my mother, who we lost several years ago. It has no monetary value, but whenever I look at it, I think of her.

Sandra Owens Interview - Horse
My mother’s treasured wooden horse

 

R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Sandra:
Since I live in the mountains, which I love, I’d say a beach house on the Gulf Coast of Northwest Florida. That would be the best of both worlds. I love the beach and feel completely at peace when I’m there. I picked the Florida panhandle location because the beaches are so beautiful there – sugary white sand and emerald green water.

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Sandra:
Oh my. That happened recently when I was in New York City for the RWA National Conference. I was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist, and every year my Golden Heart® sisters and I get together for lunch when we’re at the conference. This year, we were at a restaurant that had tall windows and they were open. My intention was to go around the end of the table to get to my seat, but I somehow tripped and fell right out the window. Thankfully it was a ground floor restaurant. So there I go, tumbling out onto the sidewalk, landing on my bottom at the feet of two businessmen who probably thought I’d fallen right out of the sky. Instead of allowing them to gracefully help me to my feet, I was so mortified that I crab-crawled right back into the restaurant through the window.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only author out of 2,000 there that week who can boast of falling out of a restaurant window. Of course hours later I thought of the perfect thing to say to the men…”Do women always fall at your feet?”

~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today, Sandra, and sharing these interesting facts about yourself.

This was fun…well, except for talking about my most embarrassing moment. LOL!  Can’t believe you got me to do that! Thank you so much, Carol, for inviting me to Rakes and Rascals today.  I had a great time!

If you would like to find out more about Sandra and her books, here are the links:

Website

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

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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.

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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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Today sees the release of book 2 in Sandra Owens’s Contemporary K2 Team series. Sandra’s Historical Romance THE LETTER  SEE MY REVIEW HERE is one of my all-time favourites and I am looking forward to reading this contemporary series.

 

(K2 Team, #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cover Blurb:

Known to the K2 Special Services team as Romeo, ex-Navy SEAL Jake Buchanan may spend his downtime living up to his nickname, but there’s one woman who sets his heart racing like no one else can: Maria Kincaid. Unfortunately, his boss—her brother—has made it crystal clear that she’s off-limits. Jake doesn’t do commitment, while Maria is the type of woman who deserves a promise of forever. Yet Maria finds herself drawn to Jake, the man who stares at her with a desire she wishes he’d act on.

Still haunted by her horrific childhood, Maria goes searching for the father she’s never met—and stumbles into a nightmarish experience. With her life in grave danger, she reaches out to Jake, her brother’s second-in-command. Jake figures he can help Maria without giving in to temptation. But some things are easier said than done.

 

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ABOUT CRAZY FOR HER

(K2 Team, #1)

Cover Blurb:

When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca

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EXCERPT

Logan turned and stared at the house he had bought two years ago. He’d long dreamed of having a beautiful home on the gulf, one where he could walk out his back door and feel the sand warm on his bare feet or stand under the night moon and feel the breeze on his face.

Except for necessities, he had saved every penny of his navy pay. When he left the military after twelve years, he’d had enough for the down payment. The first thing he did was to start looking for a house.

The minute he walked in the door, he knew this was the one. As different from his past life as possible. Looking up, he admired the tall windows reaching from the ground floor to the second. In daylight, the views from inside were spectacular, and sometimes he stood in a room overlooking the ocean and pinched himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.

What had Dani thought of it? Maybe his ego needed to show her what he’d made of himself, because he had wanted to be the one to take her on a tour, wanted to watch her face, to hear her comments.

Did she like it enough to consider living here? She was a writer and could live anywhere, whereas his company was here, and as much as he loved the mountains, he didn’t think he could bear giving up his ocean.

Getting ahead of yourself, here, Kincaid. Shes given no indication she wants your ring on her finger. He finished the last of his beer, warm now, and went inside. Tomorrow, he would take her on a tour of K2.

Unable to sleep, Logan got out his copy of The Countess Takes a Lover and turned to the page he’d marked. A few chapters later, he stopped reading and stared out the French doors, for once not noticing the view. In the book, the heroine, Elena, wanted to be courted.

Did Dani? Was that a clue to winning her heart? Didn’t a writer, especially one who wrote romance, put their own desires into their stories, consciously or even unconsciously? Wouldn’t her hero act in a way Dani would want a man to?

Believing he had stumbled on a way to learn her fantasies, he went back to reading, mentally noting all the things Jonathan did to make Elena fall in love with him. He stayed up half the night reading, and when he finished the book, he fell asleep to ideas forming in his mind.

The next morning, he made a quick trip to the grocery store and then settled down at his desk, a cup of coffee in hand. At his best when he had a well-thought-out plan, Logan outlined a schedule for the time they were in Pensacola, along with notes on how to act and the things he needed to do. One thing that had caught his attention in Dani’s book was how much Elena loved Jonathan’s scent. Logan gave that a lot of thought.

For years, because of what he did, he had strived to have no scent at all. No one on his team was allowed to smoke, as the smell or the glow of a cigarette could result in being dead. They had also never used cologne, aftershave, or scented deodorant. But Elena loved Jonathan’s scent, so Logan made a list of some things to buy.

When he finished, Logan read over his notes and grunted his satisfaction. If his team knew he was planning a courtship with the precision and detail of a SEAL mission, he would be the butt of their jokes for years to come. He didn’t give a damn. Already he was having the time of his life and couldn’t wait to start.

He smiled and shoved his courtship plan into a desk drawer. “Let the games begin.”

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ABOUT SANDRA

A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

Connect with Sandra Owens:

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Sandra is giving away a signed copy of CRAZY FOR HER to three winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This is first book in Sandra Owen’s exciting new contemporary K2 Team series.

(K2 Team, #1)

Genre: Contemporay Romance

Cover Blurb:

When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.


BUY LINKS:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca

 

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Image

What do you think? Isn’t this a gorgeous cover?

Crazy for Her is the first book in Sandra Owen’s new K2 Team contemporary series and here’s the cover blurb:

When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

Expected date of release: 1st September 2014

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bookworm2bookworm features The Letter and The Training of the Marquess by the wonderful Sandra Owens.  

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If you haven’t already read THE LETTER, then you are missing one of the best Historical Romances of the year!

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Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

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

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

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

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and, at times, heart-warming:

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

but so rewarding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* I must not forget one other important character…


Peggy , the three legged cat

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

REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5/5 stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2013

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