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Posts Tagged ‘Valerie Bowman’

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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When I read this book was inspired by one of my all-time favourite movies, the 1940 romantic comedy “The Philadephia Story”, with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart, I knew I had to read it!

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

(Playful Brides, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Lady Daphne Swift comes from a family with two brothers who have proudly served the Crown. She may be a female, but she’s willing to do whatever it takes to prove that she’s as useful to the war effort as her brothers. She even went so far as to secretly marry a spy. The fact that she just happened to have been pining for Captain Rafe Cavendish for years didn’t hurt matters. But after their first mission, when she realized their marriage had been strictly business, Daphne immediately wanted an annulment. The fiery Daphne has always been a multi-tasker and now she’s hell bent on two things: finding the men who killed her brother and securing her engagement to another man to forget about Rafe forever.

As a spy for the War Office, Captain Rafferty Cavendish has been on dozens of missions. But one mission haunts him, the mission that resulted in the death of Daphne Swift’s eldest brother, Donald. Rafe agreed to work with Daphne once and put her life in danger. Now he must find the men who killed Donald, avenge the family, and convince Daphne to give him one more chance. But Daphne’s enlisted her other older brother, Julian, to help her get a quick and quiet annulment so that she can marry a fop who only wants her for her title and money. Can Rafe convince Daphne to give him one more chance, on the mission and with her heart?

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So many of my friends have recommended this book and I’ve finally succumbed to buying it.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


(The Merridew Sisters, #1))

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

She ran from a brute...

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

...into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry…

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I’m way behind reading this series but, as this one was free on Amazon, I downloaded it.

Source: Free from Amazon Kindle


(Lonely Lords, #9)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

David, Viscount Fairly, has imperiled his honor…

Letty Banks is a reluctant courtesan, keeping a terrible secret that brought her, a vicar’s daughter, to a life of vice. While becoming madam of Viscount Fairly’s high-class brothel is an absolute financial necessity, Letty refuses to become David’s mistress-though their attraction becomes harder to resist the more she learns about the man…

Perhaps a fallen woman can redeem it.

David is smitten not only with Letty’s beauty, but also with her calm, her kindness, her quiet. David is determined to put respectability back in her grasp, even if that means uncovering the secrets Letty works so hard to keep hidden-secrets that could take her away from him forever…

Award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’s extraordinary writing will immerse you in a Regency world unlike any you’ve experienced.

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I was lucky enough to meet up with Miranda Neville last week in London and I received a signed copy of this book complete with a personalised message.

Source: A gift from the author

(The Wild Quartet, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Late Georgian)

Cover Blurb:

The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love…

Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

This is the first of a four book series centered around a group of badly behaved late-Georgian art collectors

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I love Christi Caldwell’s books and, even though I’m way behind in reading her prolific output, I still feel compelled to download each new book. How could I not buy this book when it has the following Acknowledgement?

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


(The Heart of a Duke, #6)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

Ruthless, wicked, and dark, the Marquess of Rutland rouses terror in the breast of ladies and nobleman alike. All Edmund wants in life is power. After he was publically humiliated by his one love Lady Margaret, he vowed vengeance, using Margaret’s niece, as his pawn. Except, he’s thwarted by another, more enticing target–Miss Phoebe Barrett.

Miss Phoebe Barrett knows precisely the shame she’s been born to. Because her father is a shocking letch she’s learned to form her own opinions on a person’s worth. After a chance meeting with the Marquess of Rutland, she is captivated by the mysterious man. He, too, is a victim of society’s scorn, but the more encounters she has with Edmund, the more she knows there is powerful depth and emotion to the jaded marquess.

The lady wreaks havoc on Edmund’s plans for revenge and he finds he wants Phoebe, at all costs. As she’s drawn into the darkness of his world, she risks being destroyed by his ruthlessness. And Phoebe, who desires love at all costs, has to determine if she can ever truly trust the heart of a scoundrel.

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This book comes highly recommended by my friend and Guest Reviewer, Wendy Loveridge, and it’s also a period in British history that fascinated me when I was younger.

Source: Purchased from Amazon Kindle


Genre: Historical Romance (17th century – 1666)

Cover Blurb:

It is 1666 – the year when people who take prophecy seriously believe that the world is going to end.

For Chloe Herveaux – twenty years old, half-French and practical – marriage to wild, unpredictable Alex Deveril offers escape from a home she hates. For Alex, it is a refuge of a different kind. But while the marriage remains in name only and both, for reasons of their own, agree to seek an annulment, other forces are gathering.

England is once again at war with the Dutch and Prince Rupert, now commanding the Royal Navy, suspects that sabotage is at work within the fleet. Instructed to find the arch-traitor, Alex enters a dark labyrinth of intrigue – where no life is safe and nothing is what it seems.

Chloe, meanwhile, navigates the malice and scandal of Charles 11’s licentious Court and plots a course of her own aimed at financial independence. But as the surprising facets of Mr Deveril’s personality are gradually revealed to her, the long-awaited annulment becomes a double-edged sword.

Absorbed in his search for a traitor, Alex spares little thought for his bride – until a hot June night on the Falcon Stairs when he and Chloe stand united by tragedy.

As the flames of the Great Fire sweep over London, Alex and Chloe face their ultimate test. Their world is at risk … their choices may save it.

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Valerie Bowman author photo hi res

I’m delighted to welcome Award-winning author VALERIE BOWMAN to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much for inviting me, Carol. I’m thrilled to be here.

~~~~~

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

Valerie:
I grew up in a small town in the U.S. in east-central Illinois called Rantoul. My father was in the U.S. Air Force and there was an Air Force Base (Chanute) there then (though my father was out of the service by the time I was born). I can’t say I ever felt as if I truly belonged in the farmlands of Illinois. It’s a beautiful place but both of my parents were originally from the South (Oklahoma and Florida) and based on our family vacations, I always dreamed of moving to Florida. I went to college in Massachusetts but after that I moved to Florida the first chance I got. I’m happy to say I’m still here!

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

Valerie:
I like to refer to myself as a Type B+ personality. I’m not quite Type A because I love to take naps and relax but I’m about as organized, detail-oriented, and perfectionistic as a Type B can get, I think. So, I’d have to say I’m both temperamental (at times) and easy-going (at times). I don’t know. Somehow it works for me.

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

Valerie:
Both! I devour carbs. My favorite part of Thanksgiving here in the States is the dressing (aka stuffing) but cake is also one of my personal weaknesses. It’s not a great combination for someone trying to watch her weight. Sigh.

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Valerie:
What a terrific question! I’m really not very sentimental when it comes to items. But I’d have to say my most treasured possession is my collection of the books I’ve written. They sit in a special case in my front room. They amaze me every time I see them. I always think, “I can’t believe I wrote them!”

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

Valerie:
This one is easy! New England. I would love to live half of the year in Florida and the other half in Maine or somewhere remote and snowy with maybe a view of a lake and lots of trees. My father grew up in Florida but the Bowman family was originally from Maine. I think that mix is still in me.

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

Valerie:
Oh, I’ve had some doozies, believe me, like the time I wore two different shoes to work, but the most embarrassing in recent memory was at the Romance Writers of America national conference last year when I mistook Sara Jane Stone for Caroline Linden and gushed about what a big fan I was. Sara said, “Valerie, we’ve met.” And I said, “Oh, no, I think I’d remember it if we had.” I finally realized my mistake and spent the rest of the conference following Sara Jane around and apologizing for being such a doofus. She was lovely and forgiving, thank goodness. (NOTE: I did get to meet Caroline and gush too!)

~~~~~

Valerie, thank you so much for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself.

Thanks so much, Carol. It was great fun to answer the questions. It brought back some terrific memories.

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

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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(Playful Brides, #2)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

CAN A SCANDALOUS CHARADE

For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.

LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?

After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?

 

Buy Links:

PRINT
EBOOK
AUDIOBOOK

 

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(Secret Brides, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

How to Stop a Wedding

Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill,has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…

How to Seduce a Widow

Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…
♥♥♥♥♥♥

SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, the first book in Valerie Bowman’s Secret Brides series, is a delightful tale of secrets, seduction and second chances, written with warmth, wit and style.

The things I love about this book:

Sexy, confident, strong, compassionate but stubborn hero ~

Society sees Devon as a gambler, a drinker and a rake. The reality is very different. Using his skill with numbers, Devon has accumulated a large fortune at the gaming tables and invested it wisely. Now he gambles in the squalor of the Rookery for one reason only…. to restore a family heirloom which was a symbol of his ancestry. Having once been deserted by the woman he loved in favour of an older, richer man, Devon now hides his true financial situation. The woman he marries must love him for himself and not his money. His love for his illegitimate son, Justin, and his rescue of an adorable puppy reveal a kinder and softer side to Devon. When Lily needs a knight in shining armour, he comes to her aid.

Resilient, protective, loyal and equally stubborn heroine ~

Left in financial straits after her father dies, Lily is determined to keep her “ragtag little household” together. Nothing is more important than her sister’s happiness and I can understand why Lily is overprotective. She wants Anne to have the freedom she didn’t enjoy whilst under the control of firstly her father and then her elderly husband. I can also understand her reluctance to trust Devon with her heart. To all appearances, he is a carbon copy of her father who drank and then gambled away everything. I love the fact that she is scared of spiders…something so many of us ladies share. It gives her a very human edge.

Delicious sexual tension and steamy passion ~

I enjoyed all the varied nuances of Devon and Lily’s romance.

The feelings of hurt and anger reflected in their barbed remarks to each other…

“I see in addition to your renowned gambling and rakishness, you’ve also turned to the bottle. Are you trying for all the seven sins?”
His voice was calm. “And I see in addition to your renowned flirtations and fickleness, your skills as a hostess leave much to be desired.”

The strong attraction that still simmers below the surface…

He was a drug. That’s what he was. Like opium. A maddening, unhealthy pleasure that left her senses reeling.

Blast it. He was already plagued with indecent thoughts. This entire seduction plot would be much easier if he weren’t driven half mad just looking at her.

The seduction …

She moaned when his warm lips finally touched hers. The contact was almost unbearable. It was the softest, smoothest, least aggressive kiss he’d ever given her. It demanded nothing from her and made her feel more than all the other kisses combined.

The lies…

“Damn it, Lily. Will you listen you me? I never intended to profit from it. You must belive me.”
She clenched her fists at her sides. “Believe you? A liar? A gambler? A man who prizes money above all else? What sort of fool do you take me for?.”

A lasting love

Tears flowed down Lily’s cheek. She smiled through them. “I love you, Devon. I always have.”

An engaging cast of secondary characters ~

I adore Lily’s loyal servants – Evans, the butler who had the habit of falling asleep at the most inopportune moments and Mary, the lady’s maid with an unfortunate memory problem. I love the way in which Lily’s sister, Anne matures during the course of the story:

Oh, Anne, when did you become so wise?”
Anne smiled a knowing smile. “When you weren’t looking, dear sister.”

I also enjoyed the interactions between Devon and his friend, Jordan Holloway, Earl of Ashbourne and Devon’s jealousy of Lily’s friend, Viscount Medford.

Overall, this was a charming fast-paced story filled with humour and passion and a very impressive debut novel from Ms Bowman. I will definitely be reading the other books I have in this series.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read March 2014

The Secret Brides series (click on cover for more details):

Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides, #1) A Secret Proposal (Secret Brides, #1.5) Secrets of a Runaway Bride (Secret Brides, #2) A Secret Affair (Secret Brides #2.5) Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage (Secret Brides, #3) It Happened Under The Mistletoe (Secret Brides, #3.5)

 

 

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I have over 250 books on my TBR pile and I’m determined to make inroads into reducing that number by the end of the year. So I’m challenging myself to read each month…

~ A book that has been languishing at the bottom of my pile
~ A book by a new-to-me author
~ A book in a continuing series or a completely new series
~ A book by one of my favourite authors
~ A book selected completely at random

This is my list of books for March…


A book that has been languishing at the bottom of my pile:

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HE WOVE A SPELL AROUND HER HEART

Handsome and powerful, with enough Comanche blood coursing through his veins to make him a little bit dangerous, Chase Wolf was used to getting what he wanted. So when Chase saw Franny–a golden-haired angel with deep green eyes, delicate features, and the sweetest smile–he set out to make her his.

As tempted as Franny was, she had too many secrets to let someone enter her world–secrets that would send any reasonable man packing. But Chase was far from reasonable, and despite her desperate attempts to push him away, he would not let her past destroy their future. For his Comanche heart knew that no price was too great to pay for love, happiness, and most of all, magic.

A book by a new-to-me author:

Image

How to Stop a Wedding

Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill,has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…

How to Seduce a Widow

Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…

A book in a continuing series or a completely new series:

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Like all the Jaded Gentlemen, Dr. Rowan West may have his secrets, but he’s done his best to forgive the ghosts of his past and move on with his life. Until the beautiful Miss Gayle Renshaw appears on his doorstep, jeopardizing his medical practice, his reputation, and, worst of all, his heart.

In her desperation to become a doctor, Gayle uses what she knows of Rowan’s fiancée’s mysterious death to blackmail him into taking her on as an apprentice. With his back against the wall, Rowan agrees, but quickly discovers that Gayle isn’t as heartless as she seems. Captivated by his tenacious and brilliant new student, Rowan finds himself surrendering to temptation, just as the enemies of the Jaded start to encroach. Now, with both their lives threatened, Rowan may be forced to give up the woman he loves to save her life…

A book by one of my favourite authors:

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An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand…

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.
To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charasmatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

A book selected completely at random:

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Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other’s arms…

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

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