Happy Book Birthday – Tara Kingston & Tamara Gill!

May 22 release day blast banner

Another week, another batch of excellent releases! I’m so excited to share these two amazing Entangled Publishing Select Historical books. Happy release day to Tamara Gill & Only a Viscount Will Do and to Tara Kingston & When a Lady Dares!

OnlyAViscountWillDo_500ABOUT ONLY A VISCOUNT WILL DO

Lady Alice Worthingham never conforms to Society’s norms. Ever. She loves adventure, new experiences, and approaches life with a sassy attitude Society can take or leave. But even for her, robbery by a highwayman is a bit much.

Lord Arndel, Lady Alice’s neighbor, is playing a dangerous game—acting the proper viscount by day and the Surrey Bandit by night. And to brazenly steal from the woman who’s captured his attention is no mean feat, or the wisest of moves.

When Lady Alice learns the truth, the viscount finds that when a well-bred woman seeks revenge, she’ll make a gentleman thief pay for his crimes with everything…including his heart.

Each book in the To Marry a Rogue series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.

Series Order:

Book #1 Only an Earl Will Do
Book #2 Only a Duke Will Do
Book #3 Only a Viscount Will Do

GET ONLY A VISCOUNT WILL DO: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Entangled

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ABOUT TAMARA GILL

Tamara is an Australian author who grew up in an old mining town in country South Australia, where her love of history was founded. So much so, she made her darling husband travel to the UK for their honeymoon, where she dragged him from one historical monument and castle to another. A mother of three, her two little gentleman’s in the making, a future Lady (she hopes) and a part-time job keep her busy in the real world, but whenever she gets a moment’s peace she loves to write romance novels in an array of genres, including regency, medieval and paranormal. Tamara loves hearing from readers and writers alike. You can contact her through her website, and sign up to follow her blog or newsletter.

CONNECT WITH TAMARA: Website | Facebook | Twitter  | Newsletter | Goodreads

ABOUT WHEN A LADY DARES by Tara Kingston

WhenALadyDares-500Sophie Atherton knows a liar when she sees one. Perhaps because she’s so skilled at deception herself. Searching for clues to a string of mysterious deaths, the secret operative for the Crown has connived her way into a phony medium’s confidence. When a dashing archaeologist seeks out the charlatan’s services, Sophie suspects he’s after more than a long-lost heirloom. Their electric attraction storms her defenses, but loving the rakish scholar would threaten her investigation and the life she’s crafted.

Gavin Stanwyck is a man on a mission. Masquerading as a treasure hunter to trap the spiritualist, he’s drawn to the medium’s enigmatic assistant. As treacherous forces close in, passion awakens his hardened heart—he’ll protect Sophie at all costs, but he cannot give her his love. Uniting to survive a sinister plot, they must tear down their defenses and learn to trust their hearts.

Get WHEN A LADY DARES: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Entangled

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ABOUT TARA KINGSTON

Award-winning and Amazon.com bestselling author Tara Kingston writes romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern Navy brat transplanted to a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives her own love story with her real-life hero in a cozy Victorian. The mother of two sons, Tara’s a former librarian whose love of books is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases and collection of unusual bookmarks. It goes without saying that Tara’s husband is thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another bookcase. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys cycling, hiking, and cheering on her favorite football team. Learn more about Tara at http://www.tarakingston.com.

Connect with Tara: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Goodreads

A very scandalous release day!

May 15 Release Blast

I am thrilled to celebrate the release of three amazing Entangled Publishing Scandalous releases this week! Happy release day to How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLean, The Rogue of Islay Isle by Heather McCollum, and Unmasking the Earl by Elizabeth Keysian! These are swoon, sexy escapes into the past that you don’t want to miss!

ABOUT HOW TO LOSE A HIGHLANDER

HowToLoseAHighlander-500Forced into marriage by their king in order to stop years of inter-clan feuding, Sorcha Campbell and Malcolm MacGregor are each determined to drive the other away. Malcolm knows he can never trust his new shrewish wife, despite the fact that everything he observes seems to prove that she’s not only trustworthy, but utterly perfect for him. Sorcha knows she can never let her guard down around the man she believes betrayed her father, yet the longer she’s with him, the more she discovers he is nothing like she was led to believe. They’ll have to fight their way through past prejudices and their own determination to destroy their union in order to gain their perfect HEA in this Taming of the Shrew meets How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days tale.

Find it online:  Amazon  | B&N | iTunes |  Kobo  | Entangled | Goodreads

ABOUT MICHELLE MCLEAN

Michelle McLean is a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who is addicted to chocolate and goldfish crackers and spent most of her formative years with her nose in a book. She has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and loves her romance with a touch of suspenseful mystery. She resides in PA with her husband and two amazing children.

Find Michelle online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads

ABOUT THE ROGUE OF ISLAY ISLE

Cullen Duffie, a Highland warrior and charming rogue, is the new chief of Clan
MacDonald. Determined to prTheRogueofIslayIsle500ove he’s not his father, Cullen works to secure his clan against the English. When a woman washes onto Islay’s shores, Cullen protects her from his uncles’ schemes.

Waking up not knowing who she is or where she comes from, Madeleine is at the mercy of the man who found her. Unable to speak from the swelling around her throat from a rope tether, she learns as much as she can about the new world around her and the powerful, sword-wielding Highlander who has sworn to protect her.

Through dreams and flashes of her past, Madeleine begins to rebuild her memories. But the more she recalls about the horror she escaped, the more she realizes the jeopardy she is bringing to Islay, Clan MacDonald and the Highlander who has captured her heart.

Find it online: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | EntangledGoodreads

ABOUT HEATHER MCCOLLUM

Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal and YA romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart finalists. The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entrances Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination every time she visits. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since her first journey across the pond. When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero, rescued golden retriever & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

Find Heather online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads

ABOUT UNMASKING THE EARL

UnmaskingtheEarl-500Devastated by the disappearance of his sister, the Earl of Stranraer has gone to extraordinary lengths to find the notorious rake responsible, and enters his household incognito to wreak his vengeance. But his enemy has an unexpected protector—the innocent but headstrong Miss Cassandra Blythe.
Cassie is determined to learn the art of seduction. But she is blindsided by her body’s thrilling response to the wrong man—a mysterious servant who shows up at the most inauspicious moments to spoil her lessons in love with warnings of her imminent ruin. When she learns the handsome servant’s identity and the reason for his deception, she resolves to help Stranraer, but only if he abandons his vow to destroy his enemy.

The earl is sorely tempted give the meddlesome beauty a lesson in seduction she’ll never forget. But she turns the tables, and he gets his own lesson in forgiveness…and love.

Find it online: AmazonB&N | iTunes | Kobo | Entangled | Goodreads

ABOUT ELIZABETH KEYSIAN 

Elizabeth Keysian felt destined to write historical romance due to her Cornish descent, and an ancestral connection to the Norse god Odin. Being an only child gave her plenty of time to read, create imaginary worlds, produce her own comics, and write sketches and a deplorably bad musical for an amateur dramatics group.

Three decades spent working in museums and archaeology fired Elizabeth’s urge to write, as did living on a Knights Templar estate, with a garage full of skeletons, a resident ghost and a moat teeming with newts.

Elizabeth lives near Bath in England with her partner and cats. Subscribe to her author newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/cxe369

Find Elizabeth online: Website | Twitter| Facebook | Wattpad| Newsletter | Goodreads |

COVER REVEAL: When a Lady Dares by Tara Kingston

When a Lady Dares

Her Majesty’s Most Secret Service #2

Entangled Publishing, Select Historical

May 22, 2017

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About When a Lady Dares

Sophie Atherton knows a liar when she sees one. Perhaps because she’s so skilled at deception herself. Searching for clues to a string of mysterious deaths, the secret operative for the Crown has connived her way into a phony medium’s confidence. When a dashing archaeologist seeks out the charlatan’s services, Sophie suspects he’s after more than a long-lost heirloom. Their electric attraction storms her defenses, but loving the rakish scholar would threaten her investigation and the life she’s crafted.

Gavin Stanwyck is a man on a mission. Masquerading as a treasure hunter to trap the spiritualist, he’s drawn to the medium’s enigmatic assistant. As treacherous forces close in, passion awakens his hardened heart—he’ll protect Sophie at all costs, but he cannot give her his love. Uniting to survive a sinister plot, they must tear down their defenses and learn to trust their hearts.

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Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

About Tara Kingston

Tara KingstonAward-winning and Amazon.com best-selling author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern belle-out-of-water in a quaint Pennsylvania town, she lives with her real-life hero and a pair of deceptively innocent-looking cats in a cozy Victorian. A former librarian whose love of reading is evident in her popping-at-the-seams bookcases, she’s thankful for the invention of digital books, thereby eliminating the need for yet another set of shelves. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys movie nights, cycling, hiking, DIY projects, and cheering on her favorite football team.

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Excerpt: The Captain’s Rebel by C.B. Halverson

The Captain’s Rebel

by C.B. Halverson
Publication Date: April 3, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Scorched, Erotic, Historical Romance

EXCERPT:

“What are you doing aboard my ship?”

I swallowed hard, my lip trembling as I fumbled for the words. I didn’t even know where to start, and my face burned as I tried to gather my thoughts. No matter how I told the story, it all seemed so ridiculous.

“Tell me!” he commanded.

“I’m searching for my fiancé.”

He took a step forward, his boots thudding hard on the floor. “Your fiancé.” He took another step, and I flinched. The ship rolled and tumbled beneath my feet, and I grasped onto the panels, my fingers digging into the polished oak planks.

“Are you mad?” His fists clenched at his sides, powerful and trembling.

“It would look that way, sir.” My eyes drilled into a tiny knot on the floor, willing myself to shrink in size so I could dive into it and scurry away like a little mouse. But his boots thundered forward, the small buckles making a sound like clinking chains.

“Are you in some sort of trouble? Is that it? Are you with child?” His voice softened, and I looked up, startled at the sudden change in his tone.

“No, sir.”

“Well, then?” he boomed.

I jumped, folding myself deeper into the corner of the room. What could I have possibly said to him in that moment? Telling Captain Grant that Johnny’s father had accused me of stealing, so I had to run away to consummate our marriage in order to clear my name and win back my homeland was perhaps not the best way to endear myself to him.

“There’s been…” I swallowed the lump in my throat. “There’s been trouble at home.”

Grant let out an exasperated sound, shaking his head and turning away with a curse. “You do understand you are aboard a ship with over seven hundred male sailors, correct? A woman has no place on a ship of the line bound for battle. I cannot guarantee your safety.”

“I know that, sir.”

“And due to the nature of our mission, I am in no position to turn us around.”

“Yes, sir.”

He shook his head, pacing the room. “You have endangered yourself and my men with your presence. I know officers who would hang you for treason against England for what you have done.”

“I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not English, then.” The words popped out before I could stop them, my latent nationalism waving a pitiful green flag in the dim light of the Captain’s chambers.

A muscle flickered in his jaw, and when he turned to me again, I nearly gasped at the rage in his bright eyes. All the blood drained from my face, and I bit my lip, willing my saucy tongue to hold still.

“You think this is some sort of game?” His eyes narrowed, and he pressed closer to me.

My courage fired back, and I straightened, raising my shoulders in a challenge.

His eyes flitted over me from head to toe, and he made a low sound in the back of his throat. “I should throw you overboard and let the fish eat at your rebel heart.”

“Better to die a rebel than live as a slave.”

BUY:

SYNOPSIS: 

Land. Power. Influence. Mary O’Malley knows these are the only things that matter in her war-torn country. Determined to win back her ancestral home, she must embark on a journey across the Atlantic disguised as a cabin boy. But her ruse brings her under the control of a dangerous sea captain who demands from her the one thing she will never give—complete and total submission.

Captain Richard Grant runs a tight ship, and he didn’t claw his way up through the ranks of the Royal Navy to be undone by a headstrong Irish girl hell-bent on jeopardizing his mission and his crew. If she insists on dressing like a man, then she can take his punishments. He demands obedience, but his insatiable need for her leads to a complex game of sex, desire, and dominance not even he can control.

Awakened by the passion Grant stirs in her, Mary finds herself falling for the stern captain. But when her false identity leads to rumors of her spying for the French, she must choose between her love for Ireland and the man who commands her body—and her heart.

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ABOUT C.B. HALVERSON

As a child, Colleen Halverson used to play in the woods imagining worlds and telling stories to herself. Growing up on military bases, she found solace in her local library and later decided to make a living sharing the wonders of literature to poor, unsuspecting college freshmen. After backpacking through Ireland and singing in a traditional Irish music band, she earned a PhD in English with a specialization in Irish literature. When she’s not making up stories or teaching, she can be found hiking the rolling hills of the Driftless area of Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She also writes as C.B. Halverson.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

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Cover Reveal: Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

Today I am revealing the cover of CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY by Cindi Madsen!

ConfessionsofaFormerPuckBunny-500

ABOUT CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY
Taking Shots #4Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.

CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY RELEASES MAY 8, 2017! 

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Preorder: http://amzn.to/2nepQ2U 

ABOUT CINDI MADSEN Cindi MadsenCindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

You can visit Cindi at: http://www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books.

Follow her on Twitter @cindimadsen.

Connect with Cindi MadsenWebsite | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodreadsRafflecopter Giveaway:Win ebook copies of Getting Lucky Number Seven & Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen! 

Spotlight: Changing the Earl’s Mind by Kristen McLean

Today I’m helping to celebrate the release of Changing the Earl’s Mind by Kristen McLean!
Changing the Earl's Mind Cover.jpg

A man who knows everything…

For nearly a decade, Drake Ramsey, the disciplined and logical Earl of Saint Brides, has been the driving force behind the Home Office; meeting with foreign leaders to negotiate treaties, spurring a lethargic Parliament into action, and directing a secret army of spies. The last thing he wants to find while taking a well-deserved vacation is a dangerous fugitive. Nevertheless, when he catches a beautiful murderess hiding in his hunting cabin, he has little choice but to bring her to justice, landing himself in a battle for control he could never hope to win.

…meets a woman determined to prove him wrong.

Marrying a stranger simply to gain access to her dowry and travel the world, admittedly, was the biggest mistake of Sarah Tindall’s life. In fact, she would readily admit to making several big mistakes. Killing her husband, however, is not one of them. When a starchy lord takes it upon himself to bring her to a London prison, she is determined to escape him and prove her innocence, yet every attempt ends with her back in her handsome captor’s arms. Even if her innocence is proven, his forbidden and passionate kisses leave her uncertain if escape was ever an option.

Changing the Earl’s Mind (#3) – NEW RELEASE!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nzEJRi
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2n393jf
B&N: http://bit.ly/2ohDrr2
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2n3eZIX
iTunes: http://apple.co/2nQYULb
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2lp7y1n
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And, the first book in the series – Behind the Marquess’s Mask – is on sale for 99¢ right now!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2lLyzwN
About the Author
 
Kristen McLean Author PhotoKristen McLean is a regency-era romance novelist with a flair for humor and suspense. She has always had a love of novels, with a special place in her heart for historical romance. Now she has the pleasure of writing at home, tucked away in a forest with her husband, two children and their cat. Her husband is loving and impressively patient, their two beautiful children strive to embarrass and exhaust her, and the cat hates everyone, but tolerates—well, she tolerates whoever will feed her.
Connect with Kristen:

To celebrate the release of Changing the Earl’s Mind, Kristen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter here.

Review: Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake

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All my favourite books have heroines I love at least as much as the heroes. I loooooove Lady Calpurnia Hartwell.

Callie’s been told her whole life if she follows the rules, life will turn out just right.

Turns out:

At 28, Callie is on the shelf. She’s resigned herself to be a spinster. And if she’s not trying to catch a husband, why follow the rules?

Callie tears up her list of rules and makes a new list – A list of what she wants to do: Kiss someone — passionately. Ride Astride. Smoke Cheroot. Drink Scotch. Gamble at a Gentleman’s Club.

In Ralston, Callie finds a complex man – arrogant and quick to anger, yet gentle and seductive – who has a few secrets of his own. Breaking the rules together brings them together in a sexy, sweet, hilarious story. LOVED.

I listened to this in audio and the narrator, Carolyn Morris, did a wonderful job!

Perfect start to this series! Can’t wait for the next ones!

VIRTUAL TOUR: Rules for a Rogue by Christy Carlyle Excerpt + Review

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Buy Links:     Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo 

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Rules for a Rogue
Romancing the Rules #1
Author: Christy Carlyle
Format: eARC
Goodreads

About the book:

Kit Ruthven’s Rules (for Rogues)
#1 Love freely but guard your heart, no matter how tempting the invader.
#2 Embrace temptation, indulge your sensual impulses, and never apologize.
#3 Scorn rules and do as you please. You are a rogue, after all.

Following the rules never brought anything but misery for Christopher “Kit” Ruthven. After rebelling against his controlling father and leaving the family’s Ruthven Rules etiquette book empire behind, Kit has been breaking every one imaginable for the past six years. He’s enjoyed London’s sensual pleasures and secured his reputation as a Rogue, but he’s failed to achieve success. When he inherits his father’s publishing business, Kit is forced back into the life he never wanted. Worse, he must face Ophelia Marsden, the woman he jilted but never forgot.

After losing her father and refusing a loveless marriage proposal, Ophelia has learned to rely on herself. To maintain the family home and support her younger brother, she tutors young girls in deportment and decorum. But her pupils would be scandalized if they knew their imminently proper teacher was also the author of a guidebook encouraging ladies to embrace their independence and overthrow outdated notions of etiquette like the Ruthven Rules.

As Kit rediscovers the life, and the woman, he left behind, Ophelia must choose between the practicalities she never truly believed in, or the love she’s never been able to extinguish.

MY REVIEW: 

Kit and Phee grew up together and nearly became lovers before Kit chose to follow his dream of becoming a playwright. Kit left the country, and Phee, to chase his dream in London. Phee was heartbroken and Kit spent every day of the next four years hoping to see her again, but unwilling to return to the country and the obligations his father saw for him there. After his father’s death, though, he returns home and finds the spark still there.

I really enjoyed Rules for a Rogue. Kit, Phee & the rest of the cast of characters were fully developed people and I found nearly all of them quite relatable. The characters could have fallen into stereotypes, but Ms. Carlyle was able to turn them into multi-faceted people. Milly, for example, was, on the surface, the token spinster friend. Beneath the surface, though, she was much more than that – a brilliant confidant and co-conspirator, capable of love and heartbreak, strength and sensitivity.

It suffers slightly from the same fate of all second-chance-romances – the audience doesn’t get to watch them fall for each other initially. Ms. Carlyle got around this a bit by still including their meet-cute and allowing them to get to know each other all over again without ignoring their past. I found myself rooting for Phee & Kit all the way through. The romance is definitely not lacking.

Rules for a Rogue will keep you sighing, cheering, and swooning all the way to the end. 4.5 stars.

EXCERPT:

Before Ophelia could gather her sister and head back to the kitchen, a knock sounded at the front door. Juliet clutched her notebook to her chest and bolted back into the library.

Slipping Guidelines behind her back with one hand, Ophelia grasped the doorknob with the other. She schooled her features into a pleasant expression in case it was Mrs. Raybourn or, heaven forbid, Mr. Raybourn, in need of more reassurance their girls weren’t on the high road to ruin because of the book no one knew she’d written.

When she pulled the door open, all the breath whooshed from her body.

Their visitor wasn’t any member of the Raybourn family.

“Kit Ruthven.”

“You remember me, then?” He grinned as he loomed on the threshold, his shoulders nearly as wide as the frame. Eyes bright and intense, he took her in from head to toe, and then let his gaze settle on her mouth. When he finally looked into her eyes, the cocksure tilt of his grin had softened. She read a wariness in his gaze that matched her own.

She’d spent years trying to forget those dark, deep-set eyes.

“I remember you.” Her book slipped, skidding across her backside and clattering to the floor as her throat tightened on sentiments she’d been waiting years to express. None of them would come. Not a single word. Instead, in outright rebellion, her whole body did its best to melt into a boneless puddle. Gritting her teeth, Phee fought the urge to swoon or, worse, rush into his long, muscled arms.

“I’m relieved to hear it.” He had the audacity to kick his grin into a smile, a rakish slash that cut deep divots into his clean-shaven cheeks. Then he took a step through her door. “I worried that—”

“No.” She lifted a hand to stop him. Looking at the man was difficult enough. Hearing his voice—deeper now but achingly familiar—was too much. If he came closer, she might give in to some rogue impulse. And that wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all.

Ophelia swallowed hard. She needed a moment to gather her wits. To rebuild her walls.

“You dropped something.” He moved toward her, so close his sleeve brushed hers.

She lowered her hand to avoid touching him and jerked back when he bent to retrieve her book, watching as he turned the volume to read its title.

Miss Gilroy’s Guidelines for Young Ladies. How intriguing. Looks as though Ruthven Publishing has some competition.”

Seeing him again was worse than she’d imagined. And she had imagined this moment aplenty. Far too many times. Not just on her infrequent jaunts to London but most days since they’d parted. The man had lingered in her thoughts, despite every effort to expel him.

Taking a shaky breath, she braced herself and faced him.

He’d always been tall. When they were children, she’d looked up to him. Literally. But he’d never used his size to bully others. More often he’d born teasing about his physique. Ungainly, his father had called him, and Kit repeated the word when referring to himself.

Now he offered no apologetic hunch in his stance. He didn’t cross his arms to narrow his body. More than embracing his size, he wielded his generous dimensions with a virile grace that made Phee’s mouth water. He stood with his long legs planted wide, shoulders thrown back. His chest was so broad that she itched to touch it.

Stop being a ninny, she chided herself. The most essential observation was that he did not look like a man who’d pined for her. Not a hint of guilt shadowed his gaze.

He thrust his hands behind his back, and the buttons above his waistcoat strained against the fabric on either side, as if the muscles beneath were too sizable to contain. Phee’s gaze riveted to the spot, waiting to see which would win—the pearly buttons or the dove gray fabric. When sense finally wound its way into her boggled mind, she glanced up into gilded brown eyes. He was the winner, judging by the satisfied smirk cresting his mouth.

Kit stood too near, close enough for her to smell his scent. A familiar green, like fresh-cut grass, but mingled now with an aromatic spice. Each breath held his spice scent heightened by the warmth of his body. The heat of him radiated against her chest.

His eyes were too intense, too hungry. He perused her brazenly, studying the hem of her outdated gown before his gaze roved up her legs, paused at her waist, lingered on her bosom, and caught for a moment on her lips. Finally, he met her eyes, and his mouth flicked up in a shameless grin.

She looked anywhere but at his eyes. On his neck, she noted the scar from a childhood adventure in the blackberry briar. Then she got stuck admiring his hair. Apparently his scandalous London lifestyle—if the rumors she’d heard were true—called for allowing his jet black hair to grow long and ripple in careless waves. Strands licked at his neck, curled up near his shoulders.

Time had been truly unfair. The years hadn’t weathered Kit at all. If anything, his features were sharper and more appealing. His Roman nose contrasted with the sensual fullness of his lips and those high Ruthven cheekbones. And his eyes. Gold and amber and chocolate hues chased each other around a pinwheel, all shadowed by enviably thick ebony lashes. One theater reviewer had written of the “power of his penetrating gaze.”

Ophelia only knew he’d once been able to see straight to her heart.

Retreating from his magnetic pull, she dipped her head and stared at his polished black boots, the neatly tailored cuffs of his trousers. Black as pitch, his clothing reminded her why he was here. He’d come to the village to bury his father. He was no doubt as eager to return to London as she was to close her eyes and make the too tempting sight of him disappear. But why had he come to her home?

“My condolences to you and your sisters,” she offered, and almost added Mr. Ruthven. That’s what everyone in the village would call him now, and they would expect him to live up to the name. Just as his father had.

“You didn’t attend the funeral.”

“Would your father have wished me to?” They both knew Kit’s father had never welcomed her presence in his life. She didn’t bother mentioning that Ruthven’s rule book explicitly instructed ladies to avoid funerals.

He shrugged. “I only know what I wished.”

There it was. The heart of all that had passed between them spelled out in six words. Kit had never doubted what he wanted—freedom, fame as a playwright, financial success on his own terms. Unfortunately, she’d never made it high enough on his list.

“Forgive me for missing your father’s funeral. I promise to call on your sisters soon.” Ophelia slid the door toward him, forcing him to retreat as she eased it closed. “Thank you for your visit.”

Pushing his sizable booted foot forward, he wedged it between the door and its frame. “I don’t think we can count this as a visit until you invite me in.”

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About the Author:

christyFueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

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AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

51vmq9hk1xl-_sl300_Title: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Kate Reading

Blurb:

They call him many names, but angelic isn’t one of them.

Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the “Bane and Blight of the Ballisters”, and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He’s determined to continue doing what he does best – sin and sin again – and all’s going swimmingly…until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.

She’s too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world.

Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she’s going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him – and with him her family and future – means taking on the devil himself, she won’t back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible that the person who needs saving most is Jessica herself.

MY THOUGHTS

I absolutely understand why this book lands at the top of so many historical romance best of lists, it really is a wonderful example of the genre.

The Marquess of Dain truly is a scoundrel, in every sense, and Jessica Trent is sassy, smart, determined, strong, and bold. She didn’t put up with Dain’s crap for a second. Their love story was believable and sexy. I loved their banter and inner thoughts were so witty and humorous, I found myself occasionally laughing out loud.

The cast of characters surrounding them were interesting and fun – especially Jessica’s grandmother.

The story has a Beauty & the Beast vibe that I am definitely feeling.

I’m going with 4 stars instead of 5 for the underlying “not like other women” theme that ran through the whole thing. I know this is a common theme in all romance, especially historical romance in which our heroines are usually well-bred virgins. It was, however, a bit too much in Lord of Scoundrels. I can accept a misogynist hero, changed by love, but I don’t like a heroine who joins in referring to every other woman as a tart, trollop, whore, etc – especially in this case. Jessica was extremely close to her sexually liberated grandmother and they both seemed to relish in shocking her brother with their openness about lust and sexuality, so it was pretty disappointing that once Jessica was married, we couldn’t go a chapter without her calling another woman a tart.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Kate Reading, who performed the story wonderfully.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

61rvm6tns3l-_sl300_Title: Say Yes to the Marquess
Series: Castles Ever After
Author: Tessa Dare
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Carmen Rose

Blurb:

Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and… and…?

After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother – even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?

  • He starts with flowers. Ladies can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
  • He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride – and tries not to picture her as his.
  • He doesn’t kiss her.
  • If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.
  • When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown and vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
  • And no matter what, he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.

MY THOUGHTS

A wonderful romance, a cast of (mostly) lovable characters – including a seemingly immortal bulldog, an interesting and sensical plot, plenty of laughs, plenty of steam. I would recommend this whole series, even to those who don’t typically enjoy historical romance.

Many historical romance authors try to create Strong Female Leads, but fall short of independence, settling for headstrong. Tessa Dare, though, crafts heroines who are truly independent, demonstrating that “independent” doesn’t mean “alone”. While the third book in this series, When a Scot Ties the Knot, is my favourite story, Cleo and Rafe are my favourite couple. The way Cleo values and believes in herself, despite her family telling her she’s not good enough and her betrothed never making good on his promises, was moving. Rafe, on the other hand, holds himself in rather low-esteem. It’s lovely to have a couple save each other and life one another up the way Cleo and Rafe do.

I listened to this audiobook and Carmen Rose has a lovely voice. Her characterizations are fun to listen to and don’t go over the top. She is clearly a skilled voice actor and I look forward to listening to her more. However, she speaks reeeeeaaaaallly slowly, so I listen to her at 1.6x speed.