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Posts Tagged ‘Virgin Heroine’

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

No man, gentleman or otherwise, has ever looked at Lady Edwina Bollash the way the brash, handsome man standing before her is doing now. Edwina has accepted the challenge to transform incorrigible Mick Tremore into a gentleman in just six weeks. And although the linguist is sure she can rise to the task, she isn’t at all certain she won’t swoon under his frankly sensuous gaze before her job is done.

Mick has lived outside of London society long enough to know that appearances can be deceiving. Edwina might look all buttoned up-the perfect English lady-but there is unleashed passion existing just below her placid facade (not to mention a great pair of legs!). And as she prepares him to take his place in society, Mick prepares Edwina to take her place in his heart…and in his bed.

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WOW!  WHAT A FABULOUS BOOK! IT IS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY TOP PICKS FOR THIS YEAR!

I was totally captivated by this book…by the fresh working of the “Pygmalion” story, the lyrical writing and sparkling dialogue, the unforgettable characters and the wonderful romantic chemistry. In fact, everything blended so perfectly.

MICK TREMORE

Mick is such a unique and wonderful hero…handsome, charming, honest, hard-working and so sexy in an earthy way.  He is a very caring person , sending most of his money back to Cornwall to support his ten younger siblings. That care extends to his dogs and ferrets as well and it was touching to see his genuine concern for his old and frail ferret, Freddie.

I couldn’t help but be swept away by his positive attitude and carefree enjoyment of life – “Miss Bollas, life be rich. Why don’t you bite yourself off a piece?”  

EDWINA BOLLASH

It was refreshing to have a heroine who doesn’t conform to the standard mold. Winnie is a 6ft tall, bespectacled, gawky, 29 year old spinster, who sees herself as unattractive and has no romantic expectations. She is strong and capable but with vulnerabilities that make her such a sympathetic character.

The daughter of the Marquess of Sissingley, she once lived a life of wealth and position until her father died and a distant cousin inherited the marquisate. Left to fend for herself, she makes ends meet by tutoring private students in elocution and deportment. Her father had been a linguistics scholar of some stature and she too had developed an interest in people’s speech.

THE ROMANCE

The romance between Mick and Winnie was funny, sweet, poignant and passionate and I loved sharing every moment. If I was asked to pick a favourite scene, it would have to be where Winnie suggests that Mick shaves off his mustache. The mustache isn’t going without something in return…after all it is an outward symbol of his “lionhearted virility“. For a man with a fetish for long, long legs, there is only one bargaining chip…

“Hop up here, loov. Let’s see what’s under those skirts.”

What follows is one of the best sexually charged scenes I have ever read. Brilliantly done.

I enjoyed seeing how each of them grows and changes in the course of the story, Winnie most of all. Mick opens up a world of fun and passion to her and nothing exemplified the changes in her more than the scene in the Bull and Tun tavern where she lets go of her all inhibitions.

How grand! Oh, how grand it was simply to do what she felt like doing! How grand to be alive tonight!

I loved how Mick adored Winnie and saw only beauty in her irregular features..who wouldn’t love a man like that!

Pretty faces are a guinea a dozen. So predictable. I’m tired of pretty faces already. Your face, though, I’d never tire of.”

Like other reviewers, I was disappointed by the rather conventional ending but it did not detract from the sheer pleasure of reading this story.

MY VERDICT: A MUST READ FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES HISTORICAL ROMANCE!


REVIEW RATING:  STELLAR 5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

Read April 2015

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(Scandalous Seasons, 1)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb

Hopeless romantic, Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh, is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. When Emmaline reads one too many reports of his scandalous liaisons in the gossip rags, she takes matters into her own hands.

War-torn veteran, Lord Drake devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.

The one woman Drake has spent the better part of his life avoiding is now the only woman he needs, but he is no longer a man worthy of his Emmaline. It is up to her to show him the healing power of love.

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FOREVER BETROTHED, NEVER THE BRIDE is the first book I have read by Christi Caldwell and I was totally captivated by this charming, romantic, funny and poignant story.

Drake resents the fact that his future had been mapped out for him since he was a young boy. Desperate to escape the exacting expectations imposed by his father, he enlists in the army only to find himself caught up in the horrors of the Napoleonic war…a war that he can never forget.

He would never escape the war. His mind would forever remain on the bloody fields of battle.

Sleepless nights, hellish nightmares and bouts of lost self-control convince him that he is a madman. To retain a hold on sanity, he buries himself in mindless pursuits… drink and women…his relationships devoid of any emotional connection. He has no intention of marrying…he has no intention of submitting any woman to his dark nightmares. Although betrothed to Emmaline for fifteen years, their contact has been limited and, since his return from the war, he has deliberately avoided her. So he knows very little about Emmaline until one memorable encounter leaves him eager to find out more about his intriguing betrothed.

Wallflowers were content to be dull creatures seated on the sidelines, escaping any notice. They were not clever young ladies with cheeky retorts.

A little over 5 feet tall and lacking the requisite curves, Emmaline is considered rather unremarkable by the ton. Everyone knows she is betrothed and, therefore, honour dictates that no other gentleman can court her. Relegated to being a virtual wallflower and food for the gossips, she has suffered the indignities with only her dear friend, Sophie for moral support. Although she longs for a marriage full of love and passion, her strong sense of loyalty to her father makes her determined to fulfil her obligation and marry Drake. Drastic situations require drastic measures.

“There will be no more opera singers, ballet dancers, young widows, none of it. His days of carefree debauchery are officially at an end. He just doesn’t know it yet, but he will, beginning tonight.”

Oh, Emmeline is such a delightful heroine…mischievous, courageous and funny. Oh yes, she also talks to plants and reads Gothic novels. When she decides to ‘stalk’ Drake, I thought it was hilarious. My favourite scene is when she suddenly appears unannounced in his opera box, proceeds to rebuke him for his behaviour and then makes a dramatic exit, leaving Drake furious.

Drake sputtered around another mouthful of red velvet curtains as Lady Emmaline made her dramatic exit from his opera box. Cursing under his breath, he violently slammed the drapes down, back into place.

I even felt a little sorry for Drake…poor man didn’t know what hit him!

Emmaline’s compassion for and empathy with the soldiers she visits in the London Hospital has earned her their respect, admiration and loyalty. It also helps her to understand Drake and see beyond the protective barrier Drake has erected around himself to the emotionally scarred man beneath. She is perfect for Drake with her warmth, compassion and insight, she makes him laugh and feel alive again.

I love tormented heroes because they always have a tougher time on their road to a happy ending but, it makes their journey more satisfying to me as a reader. Drake’s struggle to confront his wartime experiences and not run from them adds a serious note to the story and the scene where he visits the London Hospital and talks to fellow soldiers is both poignant and heart-warming.

A wave of relief filled him. There was solace in knowing he was not alone – that there were others who shared his struggle.

I love the analogy Emmeline’s brother, Sebastien draws between her old bonnet and Drake and it was a charming touch at the end when Sebastien says to a confused Drake…

“Tell Emmeline to throw out the bonnet I’d given he. Tell her I said her bonnet is just fine.”

Ms Caldwell has gathered an interesting cast of secondary characters, all begging for their own stories; Drake’s best friend, the straight-talking, witty Lord Sinclair (I loved their banter); Emmaline’s bubbly friend and confidante, Sophie Winters and Emmeline’s haughty, over-protective brother Sebastian, Duke of Mallen (he doesn’t stand a chance when Emmeline and their mother gang up against him). There is one more important character I must mention – a little, scruffy, black puppy called Sir Faithful.

Overall, this was an engaging story written with warmth, wit and style and I will definitely be reading the other books in the series.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read September 2014

Scandalous Seasons series (click on the covers for more details):

Forever Betrothed, Never The Bride (Scandalous Seasons, #1) by Christi Caldwell Never Courted, Suddenly Wed (Scandalous Seasons) by Christi Caldwell Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous (Scandalous Seasons Book 3) by Christi Caldwell Always a Rogue, Forever Her Love (Scandalous Seasons Book 4) by Christi Caldwell

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(The Rumor, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

He’s a fighter, not a lover.
But that’s about to change…

Lady Imogene Norwood lives a sheltered life of quiet respectability and routine…until she debuts at her first Season. There among London’s elite she meets the wild and broken Lord Atwood. And the very shy English rose suddenly realizes that a little chaos might just be what her heart desires.

Lord Nathaniel James Atwood doesn’t believe true love exists. Since scandal tore him away from his family at an early age, he has spent his life fighting for what he wants. That attitude has made him a rising star in bare-knuckle boxing, and now leads him back to London to reclaim the life that was stolen from him. But upon meeting the innocent Imogene, his beliefs are trounced…as guarding his heart against her proves to be the fight of his life.

Personal Note: This book can be read as a standalone but there are some scenes which are mirrored in Forever and a Day (book 1) and Forever a Lady (book 2) although seen from a different character’s point of view. These scenes might, therefore, seem confusing if you haven’t read the earlier books.

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An enthralling, gritty and emotionally charged story.

This is the last book in the addictive The Rumor series and we finally discover the truth of the mystery surrounding Lord Nathaniel Atwood’s kidnapping and what happened to him during all the years he was presumed dead.

Nathaniel’s experiences…being locked in a windowless cellar for five years, his father’s betrayal and abandonment of him and the years spent surviving the dangers of New York’s notorious Five Points…have left him with deep emotional scars and a scandalous secret he can never share. Caught between two worlds…’He was neither fop nor street boy‘…he has never felt that he truly belongs anywhere. He enjoys sex but love isn’t an emotion he has ever felt or wanted to. Boxing is the only thing in his life that makes sense…it is what kept him alive on the streets of Five Points. Beneath that tough exterior, Nathaniel’s heart is in the right place. Together with his friend, Matthew Milton, he created the Forty Thieves and is committed to protecting those vulnerable people living in the slums.

Imogene is an unusual heroine. The abuse she suffered at the hands of her governess when she was a child has left her with health problems…fainting spells and a stutter. She is tired of being defined by her illness and longs to be independent and, therefore, no longer a burden to her brother, Henry. Imogene knows the sacrifices Henry has made to ensure she gets the medical treatment she needs and she longs to see her brother happy.

Delilah Marvelle’s stories are always refreshingly different and her characters infinitely fascinating. The brawny, tough, bare-knuckle boxing Nathaniel seems an unlikely pairing for the sweet, innocent, fragile Imogene who is twenty years his junior, but Ms Marvelle makes their romance work so beautifully. Imogene reveals a maturity beyond her years when she shows Nathaniel the patience, understanding and respect that he has never known before. I love how protective Nathaniel is of Imogene and how he gives her a sense of worth and confidence in herself so she no longer has to rely on others. Nathaniel’s desire to be in control all the time extends to the bedroom and adds some spice to the love scenes. I enjoyed seeing him come to love and trust Imogene enough to relinquish that control.

The boxing scenes are so visually compelling and Ms Marvelle conveys the brutal reality of the fights so powerfully.

I guessed the reason for Nathaniel’s kidnapping before it was actually revealed but there is a very dramatic scene towards the end of the book which I certainly didn’t anticipate.

The Epilogue provided the perfect ending to the series.

How I Imagine Nathaniel…

How I Imagine Imogene…

Memorable Moments

Everything about him was so beautifully raw and real. She didn’t realize a man could make a woman’s toes curl in her own slippers.
It was divine. He was divine.

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Now take your fancy prick of a wig and get him before I put your liver into your hand and make you swallow it through your nostrils.”

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“You underestimate a woman’s worth and her ability to redefine a man. A woman can give you hope in a world that has none. She can fight for you when you have ceased fighting for yourself and everything you believe in.”

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“I’m trying to save your pretty ass from getting spanked.”
Her brow creased. “You shouldn’t use words like that. Or tea is out of the question.
” He rolled his eyes. “Unless tea involves you fully naked with your arms tied behind your back, I’m not interested.”
She gasped. “No waltz for you, either.”

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God, but she was stealing away pieces of his heart. A heart he didn’t know he had to give.

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I am sad to see the end of this series but I will be eagerly waiting to see what other reading pleasures Delilah Marvelle has in store for me.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2014

The Rumor series (click on the books for more details):

Important Note from Ms Marvelle’s Website:

Bonus Chapters from Forever Mine that were not included in this Prequel Novella are available for free download. These two bonus chapters are the untold story of what happened to Nathaniel from Augustine’s point of view. The publisher removed these two chapters from Forever Mine, despite my insisting upon their importance to the series and the novella. Which is why I am offering them for free. I feel this story and the entire series is incomplete without them, and in my opinion, are critical in understanding Nathaniel’s story whom the entire series is based on. I have provided the link to her website:
http://www.delilahmarvelle.com/#!forever_mine/c19oc

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(Sons of Sin, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A REPUTATION AT RISK

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

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THIS IS HISTORICAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST!

WHAT A DUKE DARES is the third book in the marvellous ‘Sons of Sin’ series and, once again, Anna Campbell delivers an emotive, romantic and passionate love story.

How I imagine Cam….

When Camden (Cam) Rothermere, heir to a dukedom, proposes to his childhood friend, Penelope Thorne, he can’t believe his ears when she turns him down. Even his declaration that he esteems and admires her and enjoys her company does nothing to persuade her to change her mind. She refuses to marry for anything but love. Cam has seen first-hand the devastating effect love had on his parents:

“As a result of love, my father descended into cruelty and obsession and my mother became a byword for promiscuity.”

and it has no place in his life now or ever.

How I imagine Pen

Penelope (Pen) Thorne has loved her childhood friend, Camden Rothermere for as long as she can remember and, when he proposes, it should be the happiest day of her life…a girlish fantasy come true. The reality is very different because she knows that Cam can never give her the one thing she desires…his heart. If he truly loved her, she’d even be willing to curb her impulsive and headstrong ways to become the wife he needs…someone dignified and above reproach…someone to help him restore respectability to the scandal-ridden Rothermere name.

So they go their separate ways.

In the intervening nine years, Cam is now the powerful Duke of Sedgemoor, renowned for his cold demeanour, self-assurance and his iron control, devoting his life to restoring the family’s good name. Pen had fled England to travel the continent with her eccentric aunt and Cam was well aware of all her amorous intrigues over the years.

When he receives an urgent summons from his friend, Pen’s brother, Peter, Cam travels to Calais to find his friend with very little time to live and fearful for his sister’s safety. Cam is honour bound to fulfil the dying Peter’s request that Cam find her and bring her home to England.

Ms Campbell took me on an enthralling and emotional roller-coaster of a journey before Cam and Pen finally attain their hard-earned Happy Ever After. I enjoyed every moment…the antagonism and the simmering sexual tension; the temptation and the heady passion; the stark danger and the anguish; the scandal and the poignant emotions, the betrayal and the heartbreak; the tenderness and the enduring love.

I enjoyed the secondary romance between Pen’s brother, Harry and Sophie, the sister of Cam’s enemy, James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath. Their sweet, tender romance forms a contrast to the hot, passionate one between Cam and Pen. It also precipitates events that cause Cam to finally admit his love for Pen.

The Marquess of Leath obviously loves his sister very much which was a point in his favour and, once he and Cam had settled their differences, I liked him even more. I look forward to reading his story in the next book in the series.

Jonas and Sidonie (Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed) and Richard and Genevieve (A Rake’s Midnight Kiss) all make an appearance and I love the banter between Cam, Richard and Jonas.

Call me a sentimental old fool but I love a good Epilogue and Ms Campbell made me go all misty-eyed when Cam gives Pen her special Christmas present.

Some Memorable Moments

“What in heaven’s name brought you to choose this hovel?”

One slender hand brushed her tumble of hair back from her face. To his dismay, he saw she was shaking.

“Try the weather.” Her tone was sharper than his sword. “I know you could barge through an avalanche without creasing your neckcloth, but we lesser mortals must seek shelter when snow blocks the roads.”

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For a second that extended into eternity, they regarded one another. He should leave. He had no right to absorb every glorious, forbidden detail and imprint it on his mind to remember forever.

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He’d burned to wrench his wife from her chair and muss her neat perfection. Then fling her across the polished table and do things likely to make the butler resign.

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“ Anyway, you know that even if you were off your head with opium or inclined to slobber into your dinner, chits would still line up for the duchess’s coronet.”

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THIS IS CLASSIC ANNA CAMPBELL – COMPELLING, EMOTIVE, ROMANTIC AND SENSUAL!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

 

My sincere thanks to Anna Campbell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book  in return for an honest review.

The Sons of Sin series so far (click the covers for more details):

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1) by Anna Campbell A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2) by Anna Campbell What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin, #3) by Anna Campbell

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(The Westruthers, # 2)

Genre:Historical Romance

Cover Blurb

Passion to last a lifetime…

The Sweetest Scandal

Beautiful, exuberant, and stubborn Georgiana Black has more spirit than sense—which she learns when an ultimatum to the Earl of Beckenham ends their engagement. Six years later, Georgie is less concerned with impending spinsterhood than with making sure her young sister doesn’t make the same mistakes she did. But soon Georgie stumbles into a scandalous encounter with none other than her former fiancé. Beckenham is still breathtakingly desirable.

The Truest Temptation

Beckenham’s brief engagement to Georgie taught him one thing: when it comes to a wife, he wants a woman who will do her duty and cause no trouble. When the fiery Georgie falls unexpectedly into his arms, Beckenham remembers just how lushly delectable she is. Suddenly, the idea of actually marrying Georgie is irresistible. In a battle of wills, can passion conquer pride?

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The Westruthers series is a spin off from Ms Brooke’s popular Ministry of Marriage series and features four cousins, Jonathon, Earl of Davenport, Marcus, Earl of Beckenham, Xavier, Marquis of Steyne and Andrew, Viscount Lydgate, all intent on avoiding the parson’s noose. Jonathon succumbed to cupid’s dart in London’s Last True Scoundrel and now it’s Marcus’s turn.

How I imagine Marcus

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“Beckenham’s a dark horse, mark my words. It’s the quiet ones you have to watch.”

How true these words spoken by Jonathon Westruther in London’s Last True Scoundrel turned out to be. Marcus, the eldest of the four cousins, has always been the level-headed, dependable one but, in the previous book, we get a hint of just how devastated he was when Georgie broke off their engagement. In his cousin Cecily’s words…

“…you must know he’s still eating his heart out for that dreadful creature.”

Marcus knows it’s his duty to marry and produce an heir but he wants a countess who will perform her duties without any fuss, leaving him in peace. Someone, totally unlike his former fiancée, the impetuous Georgiana Black.  He decides to seek Xavier’s advice on suitable candidates but arrives to discover one of his cousin’s notorious parties in progress. When Xavier tells him that an unknown woman has claimed his protection, he finds himself involved in a scandalous encounter with none other than his former fiancée.

How I imagine Georgie…
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Six years ago, Georgie’s beauty and vivacity drew men to her like bees to nectar and she enjoyed playing the femme fatale and relished the power it gave her. Only Marcus refused to play her little games and she lost the only man she ever wanted. Her parents were furious when they heard she had jilted Marcus and her father punished her by changing his will leaving all his un-entailed property in Gloucester to Georgie’s half-sister, Violet.

Georgie had refused all subsequent offers of marriage, subduing her impetuousness and devoting herself to seeing Violet settled and happy. Then she intended to set up her own household with the monies left in trust to her by her father. When she discovers that Violet is attending a masquerade party at the Marquis of Steyne’s house, she knows that her sister risks ruining her reputation. Whilst searching for Violet, she finds herself at the mercy of the notorious marquis and insists she is under the protection of the Earl of Beckenham. Locked in one of the empty bedrooms, she is desperately searching for a weapon to protect herself when the door opens…but it not the marquis standing there but her former fiance, Marcus Westruther, Earl of Beckenham.

I loved the romance between Marcus and Georgie…so full of heady sexual tension, passion, wit and charm. I’m sharing a few memorable moments.

In a London ballroom, she was as exotic as a bird of paradise among a gaggle of geese.

~~~~

Her mouth dried as he reached up a hand to loosen his cravat, flick it open, and pull the long strip of linen from around his throat. Then he walked over to the washstand, where a pitcher of water and a basin stood as if ready for guests.
“Take your clothes off,” he said to her over his shoulder. “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

~~~~

He couldn’t be in the same county as Georgiana Black and resist her siren’s lure.

~~~~

How could the strength and warmth of him feel so utterly perfect, when everything else was all wrong?

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His whole spirit lifted, soared high and bright. Filled with an extraordinary sense of rightness, even as the flame of his passion for her burned ever brighter.

~~~~

That kiss was incendiary, lascivious, thoroughly consuming, everything he’d dreamed.

~~~~

I enjoyed seeing the more playful and seductive Marcus emerge when he is with Georgie while she is now free to be true to her passionate, sensuous nature.  I liked that they were both willing to acknowledge the mistakes of their youth and I love Marcus for appreciating the real Georgie behind her beauty and cherishing her.

There are some lovely funny moments in this book like the amusing scene where Marcus and Georgie have to rescue his rather inebriated group of prospective brides from the grotto or Lydgate’s humorous comment when Marcus is going through the list of potential bride candidates.

Beckenham glanced up from the list. “Doesn’t madness run in the Maxwell family?”
Lydgate ran the feather of his quill between his fingers. “Eccentricity, yes. Madness, no. Never fear. Miss Jennifer Maxwell doesn’t seem to have a tendency to wear a flowerpot on her head instead of a hat or anything like that
.”

I do love the scenes between Marcus, Xavier and Andrew…the witty banter and the obvious familial affection. You know that they have each other’s backs covered

This was a delightful ‘second chance at love’ romance and there is an excerpt from The Wickedest Lord Alive which definitely makes me want to read Xavier’s story. Not long to wait because it is released on July 1st.

REVIEW RATING:  4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read June 2014


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

London's Last True Scoundrel (The Westruthers, #1) by Christina Brooke The Greatest Lover Ever (The Westruthers, #2) by Christina Brooke The Wickedest Lord Alive (The Westruthers, #3) by Christina Brooke– July 1st 2014

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I am spotlighting Frances Evesham’s debut novel AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN which is released today.


ABOUT THE BOOK


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Genre: Historical Mystery Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

With nothing left from her childhood except a tiny portrait of a beautiful woman, some skill with a needle, and the knowledge of a dreadful secret, Philomena escapes her tormentor, Joseph, and the dank fogs of Victorian London, only for a train crash to interrupt her quest for independence and freedom.

Trapped between the upstairs and downstairs occupants of a great country house, Philomena hears whispers of the mysteries and lies that lurk in empty corridors and behind closed doors. Her rescuer, the dangerous, enigmatic Hugh, Lord Thatcham, wrestles with his own demons and makes Philomena’s heart race, but she must fight her passion for she can never marry.

Haunted by her past, Philomena’s only hope of happiness is to confront the evil forces that threaten to destroy her.

Buy links:-

The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

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EXCERPT

A new light shone in the grey eyes as Lord Thatcham bent his head ever closer. She must move away. She begged her body to obey her. Instead, it leaned closer as though a magnet  pulled the two together. She could not resist.

“Philomena,” Lord Thatcham murmured. “Is that name real? Who are you? What brought you here to make me—” He stopped abruptly and straightened a little, searching Philomena’s face. He lingered on the black curls, the blue eyes, and then his gaze slid down to rest on her mouth. His lips parted. “You are very beautiful.”

Philomena could not speak. Her body, responding to the hitherto unknown power of male magnetism, yearned for the first touch. Lord Thatcham’s breath escaped in a rough gasp. He surrounded her, his arms gentle, and eased her body forward until Philomena felt his heartbeat in time with her own. Her eyes were half closed. His lips brushed gently, soft and warm, over her mouth. For an endless moment, she stayed quite still, beguiled by the spicy sharp taste of his lips. A charge electrified her body.

Then her head cleared. She gasped. Was she mad? This was Lord Thatcham, and she was nothing but a penniless waif in his power. He meant to have his way with her, just as Joseph had tried to do.

She tore herself away from the embrace. “How dare you.” Her voice shook with fury. “How dare you treat me so?”

Lord Thatcham’s arms fell away. Blood drained from his countenance, leaving the dark eyes aglow in a white face. He said not a word.


 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I write, collect grandsons and Victorian trivia. I love to smell rosemary and garlic as I cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other.

I’ve visited the Arctic Circle and seen the Northern Lights. One day I’ll get to see the penguins at the South Pole.

A speech therapist, a professional communication fiend and a road sweeper in the past, I also work in the criminal courts to uphold fair questioning of people with special needs. I believe it’s possible to speak all known languages using nothing but gestures, pictures and signs.

Writing psychological thrillers, historical romances and books on communication leaves enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns and wish I’d kept on with the piano lessons.

Social Media Links:

Website :http://francesevesham.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer

Twitter: @FrancesEvesham

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THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

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Frances is kindly giving away a digital copy of AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN for your Kindle (or other reader). Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle because Frances can provide a PDF copy instead. To be eligible for the Giveaway, just leave a comment and your email address.

 The Giveaway will run for one week from June 11-18.

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MY REVIEW

I was surprised how much I enjoyed Frances Evesham’s debut novel considering it is a clean romance and I’m sure you all know how I love plenty of heat in my romances. Perhaps I was just in the mood for this charming blend of mystery and romance.

How I imagine Philomena…
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Orphaned Philomena had been raised by her guardian and employer, the kindly Samuel Tailor but, when he dies, she finds herself the object of the unwanted attentions of his vile son, Joseph. Desperate to escape from London and Joseph’s clutches, she disguises herself as a boy and boards a train for Bristol, determined to gain her independence and fulfil her dream of having a business of her own. However, fate steps in when the train she is travelling on crashes and she is rescued by the stern but fascinating Hugh Dainty, Lord Thatcham.

How I imagine Hugh...
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Hugh is still living with the aftermath of his disastrous marriage to Beatrice and her death in a riding accident. He has sworn never to be fooled by a woman again. All his energy has been put into restoring the hall and his estates…a legacy to pass onto his son, John. When he rescues a young ‘boy’ from the wreckage of a nearby train crash, his life will change in ways he never anticipated.

I admire Hugh for his forward thinking. He understands that the world is changing and is keen to embrace new ideas and I could just picture him drawing his plans for new machinery. He also respects those who have worked hard and made something of themselves.

I enjoyed watching Philomena stand up to Hugh, something that he’s not used to. I also admired her for fulfilling her dream of setting up her own business and her resolve to stop running away and finally confront the demons of her past.

It was heart-warming to see how Philomema’s influence enables Hugh to build a warmer relationship with his son, John.

Love for his son welled up in Hugh’s heart. John beamed so proudly, his eyes so full of mischief: such a small, happy child. Raising the boy should be a pleasure. Why had Hugh never seen it like that before.

The romance between Philomena and Hugh is beset by various obstacles along the way…deceit, distrust, dark secrets and fiendish villains before true love finally conquers all. As previously mentioned, there are no explicit love scenes but Ms Evesham does create a lovely sense of intimacy, which fits perfectly with the mood of the story.

She was alone with this man. Lord Thatcham’s face, so close, made her pulses race. She had never known such desire. Her eyes travelled across every feature, as if she would learn it by heart. Strong, sharp planes angled below deep grey eyes. Lines ran from nose to mouth. Forbidding and frightening, Lord Thatcham fascinated her.

I took an instant dislike to Hugh’s snobbish, interfering mother, the Dowager Lady Thatcham and loved the scene where Hugh gives her an ultimatum.

You have overreached yourself for the last time. For the future, you will stay out of my affairs, or you will no longer be welcome at Thatcham Hall.” Hugh turned on his heel. The Dowager watched, speechless, as he left.

I soon warmed to Hugh’s high-spirited sister, Selena, because she becomes a true friend to Philomena. She cares nothing for rank unlike her mother. I adore Hugh’s son, John, and his mischievous antics raised quite a few chuckles…

“I should perhaps add, my lord, that Master John has broken three pudding basins and severely damaged a silver sugar bowl by swinging the sword in a dangerous manner.”

The mystery surrounding Philomena’s past adds another intriguing layer to the story and the villains are suitably venomous.

I appreciated the historical details that give the story an authentic Victorian feel and I was interested to read on Ms Evesham’s website that the train crash, which features in the book, is based on a real incident.

Overall, this is definitely a book which will appeal to those who enjoy a sweet, clean romance, likeable characters and a perplexing mystery to solve. 


REVIEW RATING:  4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  KISSES

Read June 2014

I would like to thank Frances Evesham for kindly providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

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(Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3)

Genre:  Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb

Only one woman can break through his heart of stone…

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…

Lord Rafe Easton may be of noble blood, but survival taught him to rely only on himself and to love no one. Yet when he sets his eyes on Miss Evelyn Chambers, and earl’s illegitimate daughter, he is determined to have her, if only as his mistress.

After her father’s death, Evelyn Chambers never imagined she would be sold to the highest bidder, yet circumstances give her little choice except to accept the lord’s indecent proposal. Rafe is wealthy, as well as ruthless. Yet his coldness belies deep passion and deeper secrets. If she must be his, Evelyn intends to lay bare everything the Lord of Pembrook is hiding. But dark discoveries threaten to destroy them both until unexpected love guides the last lost lord home.

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Lorraine Heath brings her Lost Lords of Pembrook series to a satisfying conclusion with this emotive, romantic and passionate story.

How I imagine Lord Rafe Easton….
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Nothing touched him, nothing bothered him. Nothing mattered.

I have been waiting for Rafe’s story and I knew it would be angsty. He was only ten years old, the youngest and most vulnerable of the three brothers who escaped that night and the one with the deepest emotional scars. His experiences have left him reclusive, cold and cynical; a man who cares for nothing or no one; a man with dark secrets he has never shared with anyone.

He’d been unable to stop thinking about her since he’d first seen her. She invaded his dreams, inhabited his thoughts, occupied his mind.

I loved watching Rafe trying so hard to deny his feelings for Eve when everything he does reveals just how much he really cares. He takes steps to return the sapphire necklace that her father bought her  nineteenth birthday to her and her father’s portrait for her. He always refuses to use his title but refers to himself as Lord Rafe Easton to get the respect Eve deserves from Madame Charmaine, the dressmaker. He never attends balls but is willing to take Eve to his brother’s ball simply because she wants to dance. Hardly the actions of a man who doesn’t care!

How I imagine Evelyn (Eve) Chambers…
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She possessed a determination, a strength of will that would have had her finding a way to avoid the rookeries.

Eve was so naïve and vulnerable at first having been protected from the harsher realities of life by her father. After her initial distress, I admired her for coming to terms with the reality of her situation and it was satisfying to watch her grow in strength, confidence and determination.

“Mistresses are supposed to take what they’re given and not question it.”
“Is that the law? Is there a law of mistresses somewhere, a book that solicitors study?”

I smiled everytime she stood up to Rafe and particularly when she flaunted his rules for being a mistress.

I loved her determination to make Geoffrey pay for what he did to her and I positively cheered when she confronted him with her head held high. Better still was the scene where she ploughed her fist into his face!

Ms Heath built the sexual tension so well. When Rafe agreed to allow Eve time to adjust to him, it created a delicious sense of anticipation, particularly as Rafe has difficulty keeping his hands off her. My favourite scene is where Rafe finally allows Eve to touch him. There is something so beautiful and sensual about it.

He held her, just held her, while she held him.
Marveled at the wonder of it. So much skin against skin. Silk to satin. Velvety warmth.

Couple kissing

Rafe has always struggled with feelings of anger and resentment towards his brothers for abandoning him. It was satisfying to finally see the seeds of reconciliation between Rafe, Sebastian and Tristan and, when Rafe is in danger, his brothers are prepared to do anything to find him. There is a lovely moment in the Epilogue when I knew that Rafe had finally come home.

Lord of Wicked Temptations delivered everything I look for in historical romance emotional, sensual and romantic; the perfect end to this wonderful series.  Highly recommended!


REVIEW RATING:   5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read May 2014

The Lost Lords of Pembrook series(click on the covers for more details):

She Tempts the Duke (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #1) by Lorraine Heath Lord of Temptation (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2) by Lorraine Heath Deck the Halls With Love (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #2.5) by Lorraine Heath Lord of Wicked Intentions (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3) by Lorraine Heath 

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