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Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb

Could a rogue be her knight in shining armor?

Mary Cavendish’s corset is already too tight. All the lovely Christmas food is tempting her, and that’s bad news for her dream of attracting a “knight on a white charger” — not that volunteering at the parish hospital is how she expects to meet him. Enter a mysterious Christmas Eve patient, who is none other than the famous Shakespearean actor Sir Wesley Samuel Darcy. Mary finds him arrogant, too forward… and maddeningly handsome.

When Mary learns Sir Wesley has been invited to spend Christmas with her family at Rougemont, she vows to resist the charming London rogue. Wesley thinks finding the perfect present for Miss Cavendish will tempt her — she’s not as prim as she pretends to be. Mary turned down six proposals last Season, and she’s not about to give in to a rake. But if Mary can’t resist the sugarplums, how can she resist the dashing Sir Wesley?

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**4.5 Charming Stars**

 I’m always delighted when I discover a new author who captures my imagination with her wonderful writing, her originality and her vibrant characters and Moriah Densley did just that. I loved this engaging novella!

Mary is an unconventional heroine, volunteering as a nurse at the local parish hospital. It is plain to see that she genuinely cares about her patients showing them real kindness, compassion and respect and their love for her in return is obvious.. Her insecurities about her fuller figure are only too familiar and easy to sympathise with. After all, most of us have probably had concerns about our bodies sometime in our lives.

Despite his scandalous reputation and his initial boorish behaviour, I couldn’t help but like Wesley and his droll sense of humour. Of course, the molten-chocolate voice, the remarkable sea-god eyes and the block-shaped pectorals the size of lamb roasts had nothing to do with it. To be fair, he does have reason to be ill-tempered, what with being mobbed by admirers at the train station, waylaid by a stagecoach robber and then, to top it all, having his injury tended by the most argumentative of women. I love that he recognises Mary’s worth and is honest about hiss feelings for her and not willing to give up the chase.

Their romance was an enchanting blend of…

Sharp, witty banter:

She sighed. “Must we do this on the floor, or is there a chance of moving the procedure to the bed, like civilized people?”

He made a sound like humf. “There is seldom much civilized about it whether I do it on the floor or a bed. But I’ve never had any complaints.” His vainglorious smirk turned into a salacious leer, which she found unnecessary.

“My, my. I do believe I’ve just been scandalized by a bawdy joke.” This time she poked him in the ribs with the needle. “Oh, my poor maiden ears.”

Tender, romantic moments:

What if you’ve enchanted me? Stopped time so that two days feels longer. Long enough to recognize a sympathetic soul. Long enough to know I don’t want to leave you.”

Lush, sensual moments

Her skin shivered with a nervous energy the same time a warmth radiated from the inside out, growing hotter by the minute. The contradicting sensations seemed to pull time in both directions.

Sweet, gentle moments

She returned to find Rebecca Montegue laughing, in magical baby peals that probably summoned pixies and springtime. Granted, she didn’t know any better. Then Mary saw why: Sir Wesley puffed out his cheeks and crossed his eyes, then blew air in a rude noise Rebecca found hilarious.

My only criticism is that the novella ended on a cliff-hanger and it wasn’t until I read more about the Rougemont series at the end of the story that I discovered that Mary and Wesley’s story continues in MARRIED QUITE CONTRARY coming in February 2014. I would have appreciated some indication in the book blurb that this was a prequel which would be continued.

I was enchanted by this sweet, romantic story and will definitely be reading more of the Rougemont series.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read December 2013

Rougemont series (click on the book cover for more details):

Song For Sophia (Rougemont, #1) Mary's Christmas Knight The King Of Threadneedle Street (Rougemont, #2)

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(Highland Pleasures #5.5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Official Blurb 

A WOMAN OF BREEDING MEETS A MAN OF NO STANDING…

To redeem her family’s disgraced name, Lady Louisa Scranton has decided to acquire a proper husband. He needs to be a man of fortune and highly respectable in order to restore both her family’s lost wealth and reputation. She enters the Marriage Mart with all flags flying, determined to find the right bachelor.

But Louisa’s hopes are dashed when the Bishop of Hargate drops dead at her feet—and she is shockingly accused of murder! Soon, Louisa’s so-called friends begin shunning her, because the company of a suspected killer is never desirable in polite society.

The problem comes to the ears of Detective Inspector Lloyd Fellows, by-blow of the decadent Scottish Mackenzie family and an inspector for Scotland Yard. He has shared two passionate kisses with Lady Louisa–and vows to clear her name. For not only does he know she’s innocent, he recognizes he’s falling for the lovely lady.

Fellows is Louisa’s only hope of restoring her family’s honor—and it is he alone who intrigues Louisa in a way that may be even more scandalous than murder…

* Includes a preview of the upcoming novel, “THE WICKED DEEDS OF DANIEL MACKENZIE”

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

There are some series that are totally addictive and Jennifer Ashley’s HIGHLAND PLEASURES is one of them. The Mackenzies have completely woven their way into my heart and I am always eagerly waiting for the next book!

Ms Ashley certainly captured my interest with the intriguing developments between Inspector Lloyd Fellows (the Mackenzies’ illegitimate half-brother) and Lady Louisa Scranton (younger sister of Isabella, Mac Mackenzie’s wife) in the previous books. They had shared two passionate kisses and something definitely sparked between them. But it seemed that spark was never to be ignited.

After her father died, disgraced and penniless, Louisa is determined to find a suitable husband to help restore her family’s reputation. As much as Lloyd Fellows might stir her blood like no other man, his illegitimate birth and working-class background make him totally unsuitable. Lloyd Fellows’ dreams may be haunted by the beautiful Lady Louisa Scranton but he knows that a man of his humble background could never aspire to such a lady of breeding.

It takes a dramatic turn of events to finally bring these two together again, when Louisa becomes the main suspect in a murder case and Lloyd is called in to investigate.

Lloyd has always been the ruthlessly dedicated policeman…never a man to show his emotions. So I enjoyed seeing his obvious love and concern for his mother which reveals a much softer and caring side to him. His overwhelming need to protect Louisa is pretty awesome…even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own job.

It is easy to sympathise with Louisa’s feelings of bewilderment…her whole world has been turned upside down. She knows she’s innocent but even former friends are quick to shun her and believe the worst. But, she is braver than she thinks, particularly when it comes to trapping the real murderer.

The romance between them is tender, poignant and passionate. I was amused by the scene when Lloyd is initially questioning Louisa about the events surrounding the murder. On the surface, he is the cool, calm, professional policeman but, all the time, he is having difficulty keeping his hands off her! The sexual tension is heightened by a sense of the forbidden and, when they finally succumb to their feelings, look out for a pretty steamy scene in Lloyd’s office!

Of course, the whole Mackenzie clan makes an appearance and I just love seeing a further glimpse into their lives beyond their own books. When Mac says to Louisa –“Remember, Louisa, we are always here to catch you.” – it seems to embody everything I love about the Mackenzies…that unbreakable family bond. I have to admit that I just adore Daniel Mackenzie…funny, charming, smart, perceptive and not above trying his hand at a little matchmaking.

I enjoyed how the murder mystery unfolded and there were just enough red herrings to keep the plot moving, and the identity of the murderer quite a surprise.

Jennifer Ashley has yet to disappoint with this series and THE UNTAMED MACKENZIE is another worthy addition. Now I’m eager to read Daniel’s story and luckily there’s not long to wait until 1 October.

REVIEW RATING: 4/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read September

Highland Pleasures series to date (click on the covers for further details):

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #1) Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage (Highland Pleasures, #2) The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Highland Pleasures, #3) The Duke's Perfect Wife (Highland Pleasures, #4) A Mackenzie Family Christmas  The Perfect Gift (Highland Pleasures, #4.5) The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures, #5) The Untamed Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #5.5) The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #6)-1 October 2013

 

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Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (early 20th century)

Official Blurb 

The Desert Was Never Hotter…

Pride and passion vie for supremacy in this steamy re-telling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic.

A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground…A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…When pride and passion vie for supremacy, blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…

“There will be inquiries.” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay for what you have done.”

“Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French Government has no jurisdiction over me. There is no authority here above my own.”
My trepidation was growing by the minute. “Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?”

“Why?” He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. “Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”

** NOTE** Due to differing copyright laws, this book is currently only available in the US, Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

I absolutely love THE SHEIK RETOLD! Victoria Vane adds her magical touch to this re-telling of E. M. Hull’s THE SHEIK.

I love how Ms Vane has reworked those elements of THE SHEIK that I disliked, whilst staying true to the original concept.

Ahmed is still the powerful, fierce, despotic leader who demands total obedience from everyone but Ms Vane has tempered his character with moments of tenderness, gentleness and vulnerability… as in this scene when his iron self-control slips a tad…

“You wear no undergarments?” he asked in a husky voice.
”This gown permits none,” I replied flippantly.
I felt as much a heard his sharp intake of breath and the press of his burgeoning erection against my bottom. Fumbling slightly, he slipped a long jade necklace over my head and stepped back from me.

Ms Vane has kept Diane true to her character…strong …resilient…fearless. Although she knows she must submit to Ahmed, Diane is determined not to be submissive…she will meet him on an equal footing.


Yes, I decided. I would take him as my lover – for as long as it suited me to do so.

Gone is the often tedious pacing of the original story. The SHEIK RETOLD is fast-paced with the perfect mix of tight narrative and sharp dialogue. The chemistry between Ahmed and Diana is tangible…the sexual tension sizzling…the love scenes smoldering. My favourite involves a bearskin!

Ms Vane has always had the innate ability to draw me into her stories with writing that is evocative, emotive and sensual. Her vivid images create a real sense of mood and atmosphere.


Like a stalking tiger, his mesmerizing gaze lingered on me with a hunger his languid manner could not disguise.

Victoria Vane proves once again why she is among my top favourite authors with this compelling and action-packed tale of passion, desire and love. Definitely a keeper!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read August 2013

My sincere thanks to Victoria Vane for providing me with a copy of this book in return for a honest review.

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Genre: Contemporary

Official Blurb 

Brooding tycoon Rafe Benton sees beautiful Antonia Malleson as a pawn in his plans to avenge his family’s mistreatment by his brutish father. He decides to use his wealth and devastating sex appeal to get this delectable ice queen-and his father’s newest favorite-into his bed….

Now Rafe has Antonia right where he wants her, but her innocence changes everything. Suddenly he’s forced to question his own behavior and the depth of his feelings for Antonia. Could it be that this dark and dangerous man has finally found the woman to melt his frozen heart?

★✩★✩★✩★

This is the second book I have read by Annie West and, once again, she doesn’t disappoint. I loved this passionate, emotional and intense romance.

Rafe 

Rafe Benton is arrogant ,self-opinionated and domineering. He has no qualms about blackmailing Antonia Malleson into becoming his mistress for six months. She will be the perfect tool in his plan of revenge against the father who seduced, abandoned and ultimately destroyed Rafe’s mother. After all, Ms Malleson is nothing more than a cold-hearted, manipulative money-digger!

Antonia 

Antonia Malleson is in an untenable position. She desperately needs money to save her family name and her late father’s reputation. There is only one solution…however unpalatable…become Rafe Benton’s mistress for six months.

Oh boy, do the sparks fly between these two! The sexual tension positively sizzles, heightened by Rafe thinking he has the upper hand while Antonia is determined to show him that she still has a mind and a will of her own. I love the part where, unable to hide the fact that she is obviously Rafe’s mistress, Antonia decides to flaunt her status as a gesture of defiance. So when Rafe insists…

“I want you looking spectacular tonight. Don’t disappoint me.”

…he gets more than he bargained for!

I love how Ms West shows the subtle changes in their relationship as they gradually fall in love. Something as simple as a look or a kiss seems to speak a thousand words:

He took in her large eyes, her lush mouth, her classic beauty, and felt something tug deep inside him. A need to banish the shadows from her eyes.
Rafe put his finger under her chin, revelling in the soft texture of her flesh, and tilted her face up. He leaned forward and pressed a slow, tender kiss to her lips.

When Rafe kissed her like that, Antonia’s mind ceased to function. Instead she was simply aware. Of him, of the steady acceleration of her pulse as desire built, and of a warmth that was more of the spirit than the body.

Ms West certainly knows how to write hot, steamy, and emotional love scenes. Here are a few tantalizing tidbits!

Her slim fingers touched him and thought fled. He held his breath as tentatively, softly, her fingers fluttered over him. She fumbled with the condom, paused and tried again.

He lingered,stroked, his caresses languorous , then purposeful. And through it all his eyes held hers captive.

He lifted his hands to the back zip of her trousers and eased it down, enjoying the view of her naked cheeks. He’d been mistaken. She was wearing a tiny wisp of a thong. He hooked a finger underneath it and traced her bare flesh, enjoying the tremor she couldn’t hide.

I really wanted to slap Rafe when he misconstrues the situation between Antonia and his father. When Antonia discovers the full truth behind his proposition, I was so glad she gave it to him straight. It forced him to re-evaluate his life and prove himself worthy of her love.

If I have one little niggle, it is that the story ends rather too abruptly. Call me sentimental but I would have liked a charming Epilogue.

Overall, this passionate, emotional and sensual love story was a great read!

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars 

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT 

Read July 2013

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(Jaded Gentlemen #1)

Genre: Historical Erotic Romance

Official Blurb 

First in a sexy new series of erotic passion set in Victorian London

Vengeance doesn’t always turn out the way you planned.

Galen Hawke desires nothing but revenge against the woman who betrayed his dearly departed friend. Instead of mourning the loss of her fiancé, Miss Haley Moreland is merrily celebrating her upcoming nuptials to another man. Now, Galen has one mission: to seduce Miss Moreland and enslave her heart. And when she is completely his, he will destroy her.

With her family on the brink of financial ruin, Haley knows she should be grateful for her providential betrothal. But then she meets the dangerously handsome Galen, whose wicked touch makes her long to abandon all logic. If Galen’s promises are sincere, the match to a family of noble blood and strong financial accounts could be the remedy her family desperately needs. And if he isn’t sincere, one last chance to taste the passion he ignites before settling into a life of convention is equally alluring.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

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

REVENGE WEARS RUBIES is my first book by Renee Bernard and it certainly won’t be my last. Romantic, witty and lusciously sensual, it is definitely an engaging and entertaining read!

I’m always a bit wary of the revenge trope in romances. Often the reason for seeking the revenge is flawed and the hero acts like an all-round ass and ends up being a totally unsympathetic character. I think Ms Bernard hits just the right balance in this book. In flashbacks, she establishes the close bond existing between Galen and John Everly and I could accept why Galen would want to seek revenge on a woman who appears so cruel and heartless. Galen has been in a deep depression and plagued by nightmares since his return to England but his plan to seduce and ruin Haley gives him a renewed purpose in life.

Months of lethargy vanished, and Galen felt a new power and force of will take shape inside of him. All his instincts to be cautious vanished in the space of a single breath.

I enjoyed watching Galen’s vengeful plan start to unravel as he gradually develops genuine feelings for Haley. The seducer becomes the seduced.

Galen wrestled with an increasing attachment to her, a desire to keep her close and linger in her presence. The more he experienced her, the more beautiful and enticing she was growing, and the puzzle of it was as intoxicating as the woman.

Charming, charismatic and seductive, I couldn’t help but like Galen. His honesty and sincerity when Haley discovers the truth really touched me. He does not give up easily which is just as well under the circumstances. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoilers, other than his timing is spot on!

Wishing for the moon doesn’t bring it any closer, but God help me, why do I keep looking at it?

I like Haley very much. Her life has not been a bed of roses. The family estate is in financial difficulties and her father drinks excessively. She knows her marriage options are limited without a dowry and she’s prepared to marry the wealthy Mr Trumble to save herself and her father from penury. I admire how she economizes by making her own dresses and how ironic it is that ladies of the ton are eager to know who her dressmaker is!

I can understand her attraction to Galen. He’s everything Mr Trumble isn’t; handsome, flirtatious and exciting – the fulfilment of her dreams. She’s no shrinking violet and I like how she’s not afraid to explore her newfound sensuality.

If variety is the spice of life then Ms Bernard certainly spiced up my life with a variety of steamy love scenes filled with eroticism and sensuality.

…every inch of her passionate nature unfurled like a flower in the sun, and she surrendered to each impulse that brought her closer to the heat and fire she craved.

He wanted her in a thousand ways, and the erotic tangle of it unfolded in a sweet cascade of images that taunted him…

I really enjoyed Galen’s seduction with his provocative words and suggestive banter.

Galen lifted himself off the bed and burrowed under the light covers to position himself at her feet.
“G-Galen? What are you doing? “she asked warily.
“Conducting a survey of the landscape,” he answered, his voice muffled by the sheets.

The interesting cast of secondary characters includes Haley’s Aunt Alice (a favourite of mine with her ribald tales), Haley’s fiancé, Mr Trumble (I prefer to call him Mr Bumble) and Rand Bascombe (a nasty piece of work indeed).

We also meet the fellow members of ‘The Jaded’ all bound together by their experiences as captives in India with their own stories to tell.

There was just enough intrigue to capture my interest and no doubt all the questions I have regarding The Jaded…

– why was each of them taken captive?
– who now wants them dead?
– where is the stolen treasure?

will all be answered in the course of the series

Emotional and sinfully passionate with just the right amount of background intrigue, this is a great start to The Jaded series. 

VERDICT: COMPELLING. A GOOD PAGE TURNER

RATING: 4.5/5  Stars

SENSUALITY RATING:  SIZZLING

Read May 2013

The Jaded series to date (click on cover 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)

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