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Posts Tagged ‘Scarred Hero’

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(Castles Ever After #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I didn’t think anything could possibly match Tessa Dare’s fabulous Spindle Cove series but her new series, Castles Ever After, promises to be just as wonderful. The first book, ROMANCING THE DUKE is enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny and I was totally captivated from the first page to the last!

I love Tessa Dare’s writing… so rich in warmth, emotion, and humour. She brings each scene to life with such vivid imagery. This is one of my favourite descriptions:

It started to rain. Fat, heavy drops of summer rain— the kind that always struck her as vaguely lewd and debauched. Little potbellied drunkards, those summer raindrops, chortling on their way to earth and crashing open with glee.Image

“I’m no one’s hero, Miss Goodnight. You’d do well to remember that.”

Ransom is certainly my hero but then I do have a soft spot for scarred, emotionally wounded heroes. I just knew that under that gruff exterior beats a vulnerable heart and it just needs the right woman to break down his defences. Izzy is just perfect for him with her warmth, passion and gentle heart.

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I adore Izzy. Tired of being treated like the wide-eyed girl of her father’s stories, she longs to be seen as a grown woman with her own dreams and desires. It is Ransom who is able to see the real Izzy – ‘a beautiful temptress of a woman, with interesting ideas and sensual wit.

I enjoyed the initial sparks and tension between Izzy and Ransome. They were such a delightful couple and watching their romance unfold was a joy. I loved sharing their…

Charmingly wicked banter:

He leaned one shoulder against the archway. “Aren’t we going to continue?”
“Continue what?”
“This game.” His voice was so low it seemed to crawl to her over the flagstones, then shiver up through the soles of her feet. “Am I a Russian prince? No. Is my favorite color yellow? No. Would I object if you were to come inside and remove every stitch of your damp clothing?” His voice did the impossible. It sank lower. “No.”

Tender moments:

Izzy didn’t know if these gentle sweeps of her fingertips could erase his pain— but they were dismantling the safeguards around her heart.
She soothed her touch over his brow and scalp, making shushing noises and whispering what she hoped were comforting words.

Sigh-worthy moments:

It was oneness, and it was glorious, and it was perfect, and it was her. All her.
God, he loved her.

Poignant moments:

…since she was there . .  . he couldn’t deny that a scarred, neglected part of him craved that softness.
 Hell, he ached for it, straight to his bones.

Hot sexy moments:

“Oh, I mean to do this everywhere. I plan to have you in every room of this castle. And why stop there? On the ramparts, beneath the stars. In the park, on a blanket spread amid waving grasses.” He pushed her skirts to her waist. “But we start right here, right now. I’ve been dreaming of taking you on this table for weeks.”

There are some rather delightful but unusual secondary characters…

The Knights and ladies of Moranglia who offer their loyal support when it is most needed (all will become clear when you read the book).

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Snowdrop, Izzy’s pet ermine, who seems to have got to grips with a certain duke!
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I loved Ransom’s devoted valet, Duncan, especially in the scene where he douses Ransom with freezing cold water!

Tessa Dare continues to wow me with her beautiful writing, heart-warming stories and loveable characters and  ROMANCING THE DUKE will definitely be one of my favourite books of 2014.  Now I just have to wait for book 2, SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS!

REVIEW  RATING: 5/5  STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read January 2014

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

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(Lost Lords of Pembrook #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Official Blurb 

Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped–to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle–awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Sebastian Easton always vowed he would avenge his stolen youth and title. Now back in London, the rightful Duke of Keswick–returning from battle a wounded, hardened, changed man–cannot forget the brave girl who once rescued him and his brothers from certain death.

Lady Mary Wynne-Jones paid dearly for helping the imprisoned young Lords of Pembrook, and she remembers well the promise she made to Sebastian all those years ago: to meet him once more in the abbey ruins where they shared a bold, forbidden kiss. While Mary is now betrothed to another, a friendship forged with dark secrets cannot be ignored. Unexpected passion soon burns dangerously between them, tempting Sebastian to abandon his quest for retribution and fight for a love that could once again set him free.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

She Tempts the Duke is the first book in Lorraine Heath’s new Lost Lords of Pembrook series. An intriguing storyline, a scarred, tormented hero and a spirited heroine – this book had all the elements for being another winner from one of my favourite authors but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

“Comparisons are odious” I know, but I couldn’t help comparing Sebastian with Houston, the hero from another of Ms Heath’s books, Texas Destiny . Both are scarred from their wartime experiences and share feelings of guilt, although for very different reasons, but I never felt drawn to Sebastian with the same emotional intensity as I did to Houston. Perhaps it was the way Sebastian’s character developed. I just wanted to shake him until his teeth rattled for his obsession with Pembrook and his desire for revenge which totally blinds him to everything else including Mary. It takes a somewhat predictable life-threatening situation to finally bring him to his senses and make him realise what is truly important to him.

I like Mary. She is loyal, brave, kind and determined; everything a true heroine should be. She never pities Sebastian and, whilst he tries to hide his scars away in the shadows, Mary is never repulsed by them and sees them as a mark of his courage. I love the way she looks beyond his outward appearance to see the man he can be. She does have one TSTL moment towards the end of the book but I was willing to forgive that because of how fearlessly she helped the brothers escape and her continued championship of them throughout the story.

I like the interesting relationship between the three brothers who all carry their own scars both visible and invisible. Sebastian is tormented by terrible feelings of guilt for having abandoned Tristan and Rafe. When they all meet again, it’s very much as strangers; strangers who have suffered greatly but refuse to confide in each other. I look forward to seeing how their relationship evolves during the course of next two books and I admit to being really intrigued by the enigmatic Rafe.

The villainous Uncle David seems rather a shadowy background figure who doesn’t feature prominently until the dramatic climax. For me he lacked any real substance and I never felt that a very clear picture of him emerged.

Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy this book but just not as much as some of her earlier ones. Overall, it is a good, solid 4 star read.

VERDICT: A VERY GOOD READ

RATING: 4/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read May 2013

The Lost Lords of Pembroke Series (Click on the cover for details):

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

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