Tag Archive | Historical Romance

Three Weeks with a Princess

Three Weeks with a Princess
The Improper Princesses #2
By: Vanessa Kelly
Releasing June 27, 2017
Zebra

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Blurb
In Vanessa Kelly s captivating series, three young women are descended from royalty in the most improper way. But that doesn’t stop them from pursuing lives rich in adventure. . .

Lia Kincaid, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York, comes from a long line of notorious women. Raised by her grandmother, formerly mistress to the late Marquess of Lendale, she has little hope of a respectable marriage. But the new Marquess, her childhood friend, Jack Easton, would make a very desirable protector . . . if he weren t too honorable to take her to bed.

It s bad enough being saddled with a title he never desired. Now Jack must resist the beautiful woman he desires far too much. Duty calls, and he is duty-bound to choose a wealthy bride. But then Lia makes another outrageous suggestion: asking Jack to devise some tests to find her the perfect paramour. Tests that involve flirting, kissing, and other pleasurable pursuits. Tests that, in a matter of weeks, could transform friendship into the ton s greatest scandal, igniting a passion even duty can t deny. . .

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.com/tours-master/three-weeks-princess-vanessa-kelly

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32560046-three-weeks-with-a-princess

Goodreads Series Linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/series/172996-the-improper-princesses
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Author Info
Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.

Vanessa’s previous series, The Renegade Royals, was a national bestseller. She is currently writing a spin-off series called The Improper Princesses. My Fair Princess, book 1, was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month. Vanessa also writes USA TodayBestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

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Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Website: http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanessakellyauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VanessaKellyAut

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2728107.Vanessa_Kelly

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Excerpt ~

They heard a quick footfall out in the hall. A moment later the door opened and Lia rushed in.

“Oh, confound it, Jack,” she said. “I had no idea you were here. I ran down from the big house as soon as Merton told me he’d seen you cutting through the gardens.” She rested a hand on his arm and stretched up on her toes to give him a soft kiss on the cheek. “It’s shocking that I wasn’t here to greet you. Please forgive me.”

Jack stared down at her, slightly disoriented, as if someone had given him a knock on the brainbox.

He hadn’t seen her since his uncle’s funeral, when grief and worry had left her pretty face pinched and wan. Enveloped in mourning clothes and heavy shawls to keep out the chill spring rains, Lia had seemed almost like a sad child, sorely in need of a mother’s love and comfort.

Today, though, there was nothing childlike about her, and she was more than merely pretty. His Lia was now full-grown and simply beautiful.

She gazed up at him with peacock-blue eyes alight with affection. Her skin glowed with the warmth of the summer sun and the flush of her exertions. Her enchanting face, with its tip-tilted nose and lush pink mouth, was framed by silky dark hair, some of it falling haphazardly from the simple knot on top of her head. As for her figure, her faded green riding habit with its trim bodice showcased a graceful body that held more than its share of pleasing curves.

When the hell had Lia developed breasts that he actually noticed?

His visits to Stonefell had been rare these last three years, given the fact that he’d spent much of that time on the Continent with the army. In the meantime, his little friend had matured into a woman, with results that were rather astonishing.

And alarming.

Her brow creased and her smile slid into one of perplexity. “Jack, you look as if you don’t know me,” she said with a self-conscious laugh. Then her smile snuffed out completely. “Oh, am I being too familiar?”

She took a quick step back and dipped into a curtsy. “Forgive me, my lord. I let my enthusiasm run away with me.”

Her anxious response jolted him back to himself. He pulled her into a bear hug, all too conscious of how delightful her soft breasts felt against his body.

“Goose, of course not,” he said, planting a brief kiss on the top of her head before letting go. “I was just a bit surprised to see you, that’s all. You’re looking very well, I must say.”

She wrinkled her nose. “That’s a complete plumper. I look a wreck, but I didn’t want to take the time to change and risk missing you.”

Rebecca ran a critical eye over her granddaughter. “You do look rather disheveled, my love. I wasn’t aware you were planning on shoeing the mare yourself, but the soot on the hem of your habit would suggest you were.”

Lia burst into laughter, and the light, clear sound of it loosened the tangled knot in Jack’s chest that had moved in some weeks ago. He’d forgotten how much he enjoyed her laughter.

“I know,” she said. “But poor Markwith is so busy these days. I thought I’d help him by taking Dorcas down to the blacksmith and saving him the trouble of the trip.”

Jack mentally grimaced. In the last year his head groom had been forced to let go two stableboys. That Lia was now acting as a stable hand had the knot in his chest twisting tight again.

“I’m sorry, Lia,” he said. “You shouldn’t have had to do that.”

“You know I don’t mind,” she said as she folded herself onto the footstool at her grandmother’s feet. Rebecca reached out to stroke Lia’s thick hair. They were so close. With the death of Jack’s uncle, the two women truly now had only each other.

And him.

“Next time you need something, just tell me,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”

Her eyebrows arched up. “I will when you’re in residence. But that’s not very often.”

Rebecca gave her an admonishing tap on the shoulder. “That’s no way to speak to his lordship, my love.”

Lia’s eyes rounded with mock horror. “Oh, I do hope I haven’t offended him.” She gave him a comical bow, her nose almost touching the floor. “Forgive my impertinence, Lord Lendale, I beg of you.”

He shook his head. “Brat.”

She grinned. “Sorry, but I can’t help teasing. It’s just so good to see you.” She glanced over her shoulder at Rebecca. “We missed him greatly, did we not, Granny?”

 

Tasty Q&A with Vanessa Kelly

If you could sit and write in a different country where would it be?

England, probably the Lake District or the Cotswolds. My fantasies generally do not involve sexy guys—they involvepeaceful little cottages on a hillside overlooking a beautiful lake. Oh, and tea, scones, and a nice glass of wine at the end of the day. LOL!

Co-writing: have you done it with another author, if not, would you?

I co-write with my husband as VK Sykes. We’ve written a number of books, including contemporary romances and romantic suspense. Hubby is also my critique partner for my historical romances. I enjoy the process and we work very well together—likely because we know each other’s weak spots and how to deal with them. It’s really fun to work creatively with him; plus, it keeps us busy so we don’t kill each other from boredom! I don’t know if I could actually co-write a book with another author, although I’ve worked on interconnected anthologies with other writers. I enjoyed that process, too.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is the second book in The Improper Princesses Series, which is a spin-off from my previous series, The Renegade Royals. That series featured the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes, who fought for their rightful places in the world—falling madly in love with some pretty swell gals along the way, of course. In this new series, the illegitimate daughters of royal dukes take their turn, surmounting all the obstacles that society put in their way in that time period, and winning the hearts of their own heroes. There’s love, laughter, adventure, and just a little bit of danger to spice things up!

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

Aside from the fact that it’s a spin-off, THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is based on the famous movie musical, Gigi. My heroine, Lia Kincaid, is the daughter and granddaughter of notorious courtesans and is expected to follow in their footsteps. There are a few problems with that plan, however—she has no desire to become a courtesan and she’s madly in love with her childhood friend, Jack Easton, Marquess of Lendale. But events conspire to push Lia in the direction she doesn’t want to go, and Jack is pretty much losing his mind trying to stop her. Jack, unfortunately, also has big problems, which include a mother who hates Lia’s guts and a debt-ridden estate all but falling down around his ears. Needless to say, Lia and Jack have more than a few obstacles to a happily ever after!

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I just read a great book called BITTER SPIRITS, a paranormal romance set in San Francisco during the Roaring Twenties. The hero is a bootlegger and the heroine is a spirit medium, and they meet under very unusual circumstances: the hero is under a curse. They have tremendous chemistry and I loved the atmospheric setting. I’m halfway through the second book in the series by Jenn Bennett, and I’m enjoying it, too. I’m kind of a sucker for unusual historical settings for romance, and this one really fit the bill.

What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?

The best part for me is writing The End. I relish having a finished book in my hands, and it’s still a thrill to know I created a new story with characters I’ve invariably come to love. The most challenging part is actually sitting down every day and getting words on the page. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not. There are days when I feel like being lazy or reading a book, but deadlines mean butt has to get into chair, regardless of inspiration striking or not.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

The theme I most frequently come back to, whether I realize it or not at the time, is family and finding home. It’s just the one that sticks with me. I do have a number of characters I’d like to return to at some point, mostly secondary characters from my Renegade Royals Series. There are a pair of children in my recently released short story, THREE RENEGADES AND A BABY, who I think are demanding their own story when they grow up. So, stay tuned for that!

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

 

My next book is called THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE, and it’ll be out in November. It’s Improper Princesses 3, and it moves the action to a remote castle in Scotland. My heroine finds herself trying to teach a very rambunctious family of Highlanders how to be proper gentlemen, a la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. This book segues into my next series, which will feature the Kendrick brothers—a wild group of Highland rogues! I’m really excited to be moving in that direction.

 

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Review ~
Three Weeks with a Princess (The Improper Princess #2) by Vanessa Kelly
• Home
This is the first book I’ve read by Vanessa Kelly, but it will not be my last her writing style is amazing! I look forward to adding more of her stories to my TBR list. Vanessa adds so much to her characters, she keeps you interested and then reels you in as soon a you start…. Which means you can’t put it down until you’ve finished it! The banter between Jack and Lia is fun, it’s like you’re right there with them in the same room watching as the scene unfolds in front of you. Jack and Lia have a lot to accomplish both as individuals and together, to find out what you’ll have to read Three Weeks with a Princess. You don’t be disappointed, especially if you enjoy reading historical romance. I do hope you have as much fun reading this as I did. I don’t want to give the story away, so here’s what I csn say…. Jack and Lia have a lot to accomplish as well as figuring out a way to make everything work out after Lord John passes away and Jack is left to try and figure out how to balance everything before it all slides so far out cannot be fixed. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours through NetGalley for an honest blog tour review.
Favorite Passage ~
• “I don’t have to wish on a star because my dreams have come true. You’re my dream,

 

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A Most Unlikely Duke

A Most Unlikely Duke
Diamonds In the Rough #1
By: Sophie Barnes
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books

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Blurb
He never thought he’d become a duke, or that the secrets of his past will cost him his greatest love…

Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortunes lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…

After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelope them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.com/tours-master/most-unlikely-duke-sophie-barnes

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32497572-a-most-unlikely-duke

Goodreads Series Linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/series/196898-diamonds-in-the-rough
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Most-Unlikely-Duke-Diamonds-Rough/dp/0062566784/ref=tmm_mmp_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
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Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-most-unlikely-duke

Author Info
Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

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Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Website: http://www.sophiebarnes.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sophie-Barnes/282362685115163

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarnesSophie

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5400052.Sophie_Barnes

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Excerpt ~

It was past eleven o’clock in the evening by the time

Raphe returned home, his knuckles tender and his body still sore from the fight. Glad to get out of the cold, he closed the door on the rain that now poured from a thunderous sky, shrugged out of his coat and hung it on a hook behind the door just as his sister Amelia entered from an adjoining room that served as a small parlor.

“Good evenin’.” She yawned, leaning against the door frame. Squinting through the darkness, Raphe echoed her salutation. “I thought ye would be asleep by now.”

Stepping past her, he entered their tiny kitchen and snatched up the tinder box.

“I was,” Amelia said, following him into the chilly room. A threadbare shawl was draped across her shoulders, and as she pulled it tighter with pale and trembling fingers, Raphe felt his heart lurch. This wasn’t right. His sister did not deserve to live like this. None of them did. Pushing aside such fruitless ponderings, he found a candle, struck a flint and held it to the wick until a flame began to bloom, driving the darkness toward the walls where it struggled against the light.

“If it makes any difference, Juliette’s safely tucked into bed.” Amelia said, referring to their younger sister, whose weaker disposition was a constant cause for unease. When Raphe lifted the lid of a nearby pot and peered inside, Amelia added, “I made soup for dinner.”

“Smells delicious,” he dutifully told her.

“We both know ‘ow untrue that is, bu’ I appreciate yer optimism.”

Meeting her gaze, Raphe made a deliberate effort to smile. “Per’aps I can manage some meat for us tomorrow.” It would certainly be a welcome change from the potatoes and turnips they’d been eating for what seemed like forever. Christ, he was so tired of having a sore belly all the time, and his sisters . . . they never complained, but he knew they needed better nourishment than what they were getting.

“That’d be nice,” Amelia said. Her tone, however, suggested that she doubted his ability to manage such a feat. Bothered by her lack of faith in him, he grabbed a chunk of bread and tore off a large piece. “A chicken ought to be possible. If we make it last a few days.”

Amelia simply nodded. Grabbing a cup, she filled it with water and placed it before him. “I miss the smell of a bustlin’ kitchen.”

The comment threw him for a second. “Wha’?”

“Meat roastin’ on the fire, bread bakin’ in the oven.” She shook her head wistfully. “It’s funny. I

can’t picture Mama, but I remember Cook—plump cheeks an’ a kind smile. I remember bein’ ‘appy in the kitchen back ‘ome.”

The sentimental thought made Raphe weary. He didn’t bother to point out that she’d only been seven when they’d lost their parents and there’d been nothing left for Raphe to do but turn his back on the house in which they’d spent the early years of their childhoods and walk away, taking his siblings with him. He’d been no more than eight years old and with a mighty burden weighing on his shoulders. “I know this isn’t the sor’ of life that any of us ever imagined.”

Feeling his temper begin to rise at the memory of what their parents had done to them all, he added, “Hopefully, in time, things’ll get better.”

“I’m sure ye’re right.” Could she possibly sound any more unconvinced?

He ate a spoonful of soup, the bland flavor just a touch better than plain hot water. Amelia took a step forward. “The reason I didn’t retire with Juliette earlier is ’cause of this letter.” She waved a piece of paper in his direction. “It arrived for ye today while ye were out.”

Frowning, Raphe stared at her. “Do ye know who sent it?” He couldn’t even recall the last time he’d received a letter. Nobody ever wrote to him or his sisters.

“The sender’s name’s smudged. So’s the address. It’s a miracle it arrived here at all.” Handing the letter to Raphe, she watched as he turned it over and studied the penmanship. Sure enough, the only legible part of the address, which even appeared to have been altered once or twice, was his name: Mister Raphael Matthews

 

Tasty Q&A with Sophie Barnes

What is their favorite place to visit?

Denmark. It’s where I’m from. My parents have a summerhouse by the beach in the southern part and a house near Copenhagen. I love it there plus I get to see the rest of my family.

What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?

My laptop, a notebook, my Jane Austen Map of London, various pens in different colors and a hot cup of coffee.

Do you have any post-publishing regrets?

Yes! In my first book, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, Tchaikovsky is mentioned as a current figure. I meant to change him to a different composer since he wasn’t even born at the time when the plot takes place, but I forgot. Really wish I’d seen that during edits. I haven’t used ‘fillers’ since.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a fresh spin on Pygmalion featuring a bare-knuckler boxer from the slums of St. Giles who suddenly becomes the Duke of Huntley. Navigating high society can be troublesome – especially with two younger sisters in tow – but thanks to his next door neighbor, the alluring Gabriella Radcliffe, he comes up to scratch while losing his heart in the process.

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I LOVED Julia Quinn’s The Girl With The Make-believe Husband. Right now I’m reading Sarah MacLean’s The Day Of The Duchess. Both authors are auto reads for me.

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

Definitely dialogue. When the characters are interesting and there’s a bit of tension, the dialogue pushes the story forward in a fun and interesting way. Describing what people are doing sometimes gets me while Love scenes are the hardest.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The sequel to A Most Unlikely Duke is called The Duke Of Her Desire. It releases December 27th and features Raphe’s sister, Amelia, as she struggles to renovate a house on the edge of St. Giles and turn it into a school. Contending with her brother’s friend, the Duke of Coventry who’s been charged with protecting her, leads to a lot of quarreling, tension and high passion.

 

Review ~
A  Most Unlikely Duke (Diamonds in the Rough #1) by Sophie Barnes
• Perception
This is my first story by Sophie, but I look forward to seeing what else she has out there. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this historical romance. With the Ton first impressions can be troublesome….. Will you been with society or go against it? That’s a pretty big decision to make for those times. This was a fun story to read, I smiled white a but throughout the complete book. I enjoyed the journey these characters had to travel to get to where they ended up. I am excited to see the continued story. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours through Edelweiss for an honest blog tour review.

Sweet Scandal

Sweet Scandal
Heart’s Temptation #4
By: Scarlett Scott
Released May 9, 2017
Self-Published

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Blurb
Not the average lady

Lady Helen Harrington is a spinster by choice. She hasn’t any desire to entangle herself in romantic nonsense. Instead, she prefers to spend her time championing the causes nearest to her heart through writing articles for the London Beacon. When a ruthless American tycoon suddenly buys the struggling paper with plans to turn it into a business journal, Lady Helen isn’t about to stand idly by or put down her pen. Even if the ruthless tycoon in question happens to be the most maddeningly handsome man she’s ever met in her life.

Not the average man

Levi Storm built his empire the hard way, spending years working his way out of the slums where he grew up. He won’t allow a spoiled aristocrat like Lady Helen to interfere with his plans to further his brand with the newspaper he’s just acquired. It doesn’t matter how lovely she is or how persuasive her arguments or how perfectly she fits in his arms.

One sweet scandal

When scandal looms and Helen discovers a shocking secret about Levi, she does what she must to protect herself. But Levi isn’t the sort of man who admits defeat, and he’s not ready to give up on the plucky Lady Helen, especially when he discovers that she has secrets of her own…

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.com/tours-master/sweet-scandal-scarlett-scott

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35027575-sweet-scandal

Goodreads Series Linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/series/114352-heart-s-temptation
Buy Links: AMAZON
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072HFLZ7X/

Author Info
Award-winning author Scarlett Scott writes contemporary and historical romance with heat, heart, and happily ever afters. Since publishing her first book in 2010, she has become a wife, mother to adorable identical twins and one TV-loving dog, and a killer karaoke singer. Well, maybe not the last part, but that’s what she’d like to think.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she’s not reading, writing, wrangling toddlers, or camping, you can catch up with her on her website. Hearing from readers never fails to make her day.

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Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Website: http://www.scarsco.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorScarlettScott

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scarscoromance

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4443176.Scarlett_Scott

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Excerpt ~

Everything sounded as if it were very far away, carried to her on a lush summer breeze. Maybe she should not have consumed quite so much champagne. She’d lost count of how many flutes she’d drained over the course of the ball. Good heavens, had it been more than five? A fresh wave of dizziness assailed her and she stumbled against his powerful, lean frame. He smelled divine, she thought fuzzily.

“Come,” he ordered, ushering her hastily away.

She collected her thoughts enough to protest. “Where are you taking me?”

He couldn’t simply escort her out of the ballroom and into a private room. Propriety certainly didn’t allow such a thing. She ought not to allow such a thing. Would not if it weren’t for the spinning of her head. As it stood, she was ineffectual as a fly at the moment.

“Hush.” He steered her around a tittering countess and a footman bearing a tray of champagne flutes.

“But—”

“My lady, hush.”

“Someone will see.”

“No one will notice. Everyone here is either far too inebriated or preoccupied.”

Casting a quick look about, he led her from the ballroom, down the hall, and into another chamber. As the door closed at their backs, stifling the cacophony of sound from the ballroom beyond, Helen realized they were in Jesse’s study. Alone. Still dizzied, she clutched Mr. Storm’s arm. “We are in our host’s private study. We cannot be here together.”

“Jesse won’t mind,” he assured her, guiding her to an overstuffed chair and easing her into it. He sank to his knees before her, his expression for once unguarded. “Are you unwell, my lady?”

He was concerned. A strange, new warmth stole over her. The world came back into crisp focus but her heart hammered furiously against her breast. She still felt off-kilter, almost as though she were out of her own skin, almost as if she were giddy.

Oh dear. He was before her like a knight of old, so striking and elegant, so unlike the arrogant stranger who had unceremoniously removed her from his offices the day they’d met. This Mr. Storm was different. Or maybe she was different. Or the night was different. Or she was hopelessly, thoroughly in her cups. She didn’t know which.

“I am fine,” she forced herself to say. “I daresay I sampled too much of the champagne this evening and that is all.”

“You don’t seem fine, my lady.” He frowned. His hands bracketed her skirts, near enough to her that he almost touched her, and the thought of those big hands of his on her made her quite weak. “Can I fetch you something? Some water, perhaps? Some ice?”

She licked lips that had suddenly gone dry. “There is nothing I need other than for you to return me to the ball. This is quite scandalous, sir. If someone should come upon us, it would cause us no end of trouble.”

“No one will come upon us. I’ve locked the door.”

His casual pronouncement did wicked things to her body that she was sure had everything to do with the blasted champagne. The door was locked. No one could disturb them or happen upon them. They were free to do what they chose.

Yes, she was in her cups alright, she had to be. There was no other reason for her to lean forward, set her palms upon Mr. Storm’s shoulders, and press her mouth to his. No other reason save for the fact that she had been thinking about him all day, about how he had touched and kissed her, how he had made her feel, how he had wanted her in his bed. She kissed him just for the feeling of his mouth upon hers once more, because she couldn’t help herself, because she couldn’t not.

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Review ~
Sweet Scandal (Heart’s Temptation Book 4) by Scarlett Scott
• Scandalous
What a scandalous story. It was fun to read. The banter between Lady Helen and Mr Storm was quite exciting, especially considering London at that time. Women surely didn’t act so…. But Scarlett made it flow seamlessly. This was the first of the Heart’s Temptation series that I’ve read, now I’m curious what the others are about. Although this is a series, this story also reads as a standalone novel as I read it. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours for an honest blog tour review. Due to sexual situations, this book is recommended for readers 17 and older!
Favorite Passage ~
• “There can be no flattery in truth,”

Scandal of the Season

Scandal of the Season
By: Liana LeFey
Releasing May 30, 2017
Entangled Select

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Blurb~
Five years ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become. But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will end in disgrace.

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.com/tours-master/scandal-season-liana-lefey

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31451226-scandal-of-the-season
Buy Links: AMAZON | B & N | GOOGLE | ITUNES | KOBO
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Scandal-Season-Liana-LeFey/dp/1633757021/
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Author Info
Liana LeFey delights in crafting incendiary tales that capture the heart and the imagination, taking the reader out of the now and into another world. Liana lives in Central Texas with her dashing husband/hero and their beautiful daughter. She’s also privileged to serve one spoiled rotten feline overlord. Liana has been devouring romances since she was fourteen and is now thrilled to be writing them for fellow enthusiasts.

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Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Website: http://lianalefey.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerliana?fref=ts

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GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6547003.Liana_LeFey
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Excerpt

“Eleanor, Charles has told me of your many rejected suitors. You have, to his utter bewilderment and despair, refused to consider any and every gentleman that has expressed interest in you, and I cannot help but feel that the fault is in some way at least partly mine. While it is true that I’d hoped to impart to you a sense of decorum, I never intended that you should withhold yourself so entirely as to become isolated.” In the silence that followed, Sorin braced himself.

But in spite of her reddening face, she spoke with chilling calm. “You confuse reserve with a lack of feeling. Reserve is the veil behind which we conceal those sentiments inappropriate to display, is that not what you said?”

“It was indeed,” he replied, now regretting the fact that he’d ever broached the subject.

“Then consider it fortunate that I maintained my reserve, because to have displayed my true feelings for those so-called suitors would have been insulting to their dignity and very likely ruinous for me.” Her eyes flashed, belying her cool tone. “I’ve given every gentleman before which Charles has paraded me an opportunity to prove himself worthy of my regard. It’s not my fault that all have failed to meet my standards. If I’ve been reserved, it is because I have yet to find a gentleman possessing the qualities necessary to engender my trust and affection.”

Prudence warred with curiosity—and promptly lost. “Might I inquire as to these…standards you’ve set forth? Because it seems to me you’ve set some lofty requirements, if indeed no less than four—six if you count the good reverend’s repeated attempts—proposals of marriage have been turned down due to lack of their fulfillment. Are you certain the fault lies with the gentlemen?”

In an instant, he knew he’d gone too far. Her eyes widened, and the flags in her cheeks brightened to a cherry red that spread to the tips of her ears.

“Perhaps I am too harsh a critic,” she said a bit unsteadily. “My only excuse is that my expectations have been set by the examples with which I was provided in my youth. My father, Charles, and…” A suspicious brightness rimmed her lower lashes for a bare instant before she averted her gaze.

Comprehension dawned. “If you mean to say that I am at fault for—”

“Who else was there?” she snapped, glaring at him through leaf-green eyes that glittered with unshed tears. “Had I been exposed to lesser men, I should perhaps be more willing to accept such a one. However, as I was not, I shall continue to hope for better. Had you been here to see what has presented itself thus far, I would like to think that you would agree with my decision.”

The words had been spoken softly, and yet they cut like the sharpest steel. He took a step toward her, intending only to offer comfort and reassurance, but she quickly edged away

Review ~
Scandal of the Season by Liana LeFey
• Propriety
I couldn’t help but smile throughout this story…. Chuckled quite a bit as well as cringe at more than a handful of situations. But throughout I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what happened next. What a great HEA historical romance set in London in the early 1800’s! I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours through NetGalley for an honest blog tour review.

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Girl with the Make Believe Husband

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband
Rokesbys #2
By: Julia Quinn
Releasing May 30, 2017
Avon

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While you were sleeping…

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He’s unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier’s life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie…

I told everyone I was your wife

When Edward comes to, he’s more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he’d always assumed he’d marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true…

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.com/tours-master/2017/3/8/girl-with-the-make-believe-husband-julia-quinn

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31931722-the-girl-with-the-make-believe-husband

Goodreads Series Link https://www.goodreads.com/series/165625-rokesbys
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Author Info
Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Avon Books, and one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

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Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Website: http://juliaquinn.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJuliaQuinn/

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Excerpt ~

Manhattan Island
July 1779

​His head hurt.
​Correction, his head really hurt.
​It was hard to tell, though, just what sort of pain it was. He might have been shot through the head with a musket ball. That seemed plausible, given his current location in New York (or was it Connecticut?) and his current occupation as a captain in His Majesty’s army.
​There was a war going on, in case one hadn’t noticed.
​But this particular pounding—the one that felt more like someone was bashing his skull with a cannon (not a cannonball, mind you, but an actual cannon) seemed to indicate that he had been attacked with a blunter instrument than a bullet.
​An anvil, perhaps. Dropped from a second-story window.
​But if one cared to look on the bright side, a pain such as this did seem to indicate that he wasn’t dead, which was also a plausible fate, given all the same facts that had led him to believe he might have been shot.
​That war he’d mentioned… people did die.
​With alarming regularity.
​So he wasn’t dead. That was good. But he also wasn’t sure where he was, precisely. The obvious next step would be to open his eyes, but his eyelids were translucent enough for him to realize that it was the middle of the day, and while he did like to look on the metaphorical bright side, he was fairly certain that the literal one would prove blinding.
​So he kept his eyes closed.
​But he listened.
​He wasn’t alone. He couldn’t make out any actual conversation, but a low buzz of words and activity filtered through the air. People were moving about, setting objects on tables, maybe pulling a chair across the floor.
​Someone was moaning in pain.
​Most of the voices were male, but there was at least one lady nearby. She was close enough that he could hear her breathing. She made little noises as she went about her business, which he soon realized included tucking blankets around him and touching his forehead with the back of her hand.
​He liked these little noises, the tiny little mmms and sighs she probably had no idea she was making. And she smelled nice, a bit like lemons, a bit like soap.
​And a bit like hard work.
​He knew that smell. He’d worn it himself, albeit usually only briefly until it turned into a full-fledged stink.
​On her, though, it was more than pleasant. Perhaps a little earthy. And he wondered who she was, to be tending to him so diligently.
​“How is he today?”
​Edward held himself still. This male voice was new, and he wasn’t sure he wanted anyone to know he was awake yet.
​Although he wasn’t sure why he felt this hesitancy.
​“The same,” came the woman’s reply.
​“I am concerned. If he doesn’t wake up soon…”
​“I know,” the woman said. There was a touch of irritation in her voice, which Edward found curious.
​“Have you been able to get him to take broth?”
​“Just a few spoonfuls. I was afraid he would choke if I attempted any more than that.”
​The man made a vague noise of approval. “Remind me how long he has been like this?”
​“A week, sir. Four days before I arrived, and three since.”
​A week. Edward thought about this. A week meant it must be… March? April?
​No, maybe it was only February. And this was probably New York, not Connecticut.
​But that still didn’t explain why his head hurt so bloody much. Clearly he’d been in some sort of an accident. Or had he been attacked?
​“There has been no change at all?” the man asked, even though the lady had just said as much.
​But she must have had far more patience than Edward, because she replied in a quiet, clear voice, “No, sir. None.”
​The man made a noise that wasn’t quite a grunt. Edward found it impossible to interpret.
​“Er…” The woman cleared her throat. “Have you any news of my brother?”
​Her brother? Who was her brother?
​“I am afraid not, Mrs. Rokesby.”
​Mrs. Rokesby?
​“It has been nearly two months,” she said quietly.
​Mrs. Rokesby? Edward really wanted them to get back to that point. There was only one Rokesby in North America as far as he knew, and that was him. So if she was Mrs. Rokesby…
​“I think,” the male voice said, “that your energies would be better spent tending to your husband.”
​Husband?
​“I assure you,” she said, and there was that touch of irritation again, “that I have been caring for him most faithfully.”
​Husband? They were calling him her husband? Was he married? He couldn’t be married. How could he be married and not remember it?
​Who was this woman?
​Edward’s heart began to pound. What the devil was happening to him?
​“Did he just make a noise?” the man asked.
​“I… I don’t think so.”
​She moved then, quickly. Hands touched him, his cheek, then his chest, and even through her obvious concern, there was something soothing in her motions, something undeniably right.
​“Edward?” she asked, taking his hand. She stroked it several times, her fingers brushing lightly over his skin. “Can you hear me?”
​He ought to respond. She was worried. What kind of gentleman did not act to relieve a lady’s distress?
​“I fear he may be lost to us,” the man said, with far less gentleness than Edward thought appropriate.
​“He still breathes,” the woman said in a steely voice.
​The man said nothing, but his expression must have been one of pity, because she said it again, more loudly this time.
​“He still breathes.”
​“Mrs. Rokesby…”
​Edward felt her hand tighten around his. Then she placed her other on top, her fingers resting lightly on his knuckles. It was the smallest sort of embrace, but Edward felt it down to his soul.
​“He still breathes, Colonel,” she said with quiet resolve. “And while he does, I will be here. I may not be able to help Thomas, but—”
​Thomas. Thomas Harcourt. That was the connection. This must be his sister. Cecilia. He knew her well.
​Or not. He’d never actually met the lady, he felt like he knew her. She wrote to her brother with a diligence that was unmatched in the regiment. Thomas received twice as much mail as Edward, and Edward had four siblings to Thomas’s one.
​Cecilia Harcourt. What on earth was she doing in North America? She was supposed to be in Derbyshire, in that little town Thomas had been so eager to leave. The one with the hot springs. Matlock. No, Matlock Bath.
​Edward had never been, but he thought it sounded charming. Not the way Thomas described it, of course; he liked the bustle of city life and couldn’t wait to take a commission and depart his village. But Cecilia was different. In her letters, the small Derbyshire town came alive, and Edward almost felt that he would recognize her neighbors if he ever went to visit.
​She was witty. Lord, she was witty. Thomas used to laugh so much at her missives that Edward finally made him read them out loud.
​Then one day, when Thomas was penning his response, Edward interrupted so many times that Thomas finally shoved out his chair and held forth his quill.
​“You write to her,” he’d said.
​So he did.
​Not on his own, of course. Edward could never have written to her directly. It would have been the worst sort of impropriety, and he would not have insulted her in such a manner. But he took to scribbling a few lines at the end of Thomas’s letters, and whenever she replied, she had a few lines for him.
​Thomas carried a miniature of her, and even though he said it was several years old, Edward had found himself staring at it, studying the small portrait of the young woman, wondering if her hair really was that remarkable golden color, or if she really did smile that way, lips closed and mysterious.
​Somehow he thought not. She did not strike him as a woman with secrets. Her smile would be sunny and free. Edward had even thought he’d like to meet her once this godforsaken war was over. He’d never said anything to Thomas, though.
​That would have been strange.
​Now Cecilia was here. In the colonies. Which made absolutely no sense, but then again, what did? Edward’s head was injured, and Thomas seemed to be missing, and…
​Edward thought hard.
​…and he seemed to have married Cecilia Harcourt.
​He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the green-eyed woman peering down at him.
​“Cecilia?”

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Review ~
Girl with the Make Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
• Letters
This was a good story that caught me from the beginning. I enjoyed reading about the journey, just glad I wasn’t the one that was on the boat back then! Anyway this love story will have you shedding a few tears but you’ll smile more. The unexpected banter between Cecilia and Edward was outstanding, a great beginning for a series. As this was my first Julia win story, I plan to see what else she has available.Due to sexual situations, this historical love story is recommended for readers 16 and older. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours through Edelweiss for an honest blog tour review.
Favorite Passage ~
• “Change what you can and accept what you can’t.”

Highland Faith

Highland Faith
Wild Thistle Trilogy #2
By: Madelyn Hill
Releasing May 17, 2017
Soul Mate Publishing

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Blurb

Huntress Lady Faith MacAlister seeks adventure. Her father’s dying pledge tethers her to Wild Thistle Keep, thwarting her desire to explore the world beyond the palisade. Solace is found while hunting and providing sustenance for her clan. When snatched from the safety of MacAlister lands by a rogue bent on securing a ransom, she finds the adventure of her life.

Disgraced Captain Graeme Ross travels the high seas in search of bounty to sell in order to secure family lands seized by the Crown. He longs to regain his honor in his father’s eyes and continually risks his life buying and selling goods. Lacking enough funds, Graeme and his crew follow Lady Faith MacAlister as she hunts. Out of need and desire, he kidnaps her. The lady captivates him for the moment he laid eyes upon her. Bold and spirited, she fights him. When he negotiates a ransom, deception tears the burgeoning romance apart.

Now, Faith and Graeme seek to settle those differences hindering their union, despite the stretch of sea and land—and angry Highlanders standing between them.

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.com/tours-master/highland-faith-madelyn-hill

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35128090-highland-faith

Goodreads Series Linkhttps://www.goodreads.com/series/192948-wild-thistle-trilogy

Buy Link:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072HZQ8BT
Author Info
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts to the universe and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, going to the movies, and of course reading!

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Author Links: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Website: http://www.madelynhill.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madelyn.hill.94

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AuthorMaddyHill

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2919194.Madelyn_Hill

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Excerpt~

’Twas her sister’s fault.

Hope had married Aidan MacKerry, leading the MacAlister Clan together, and now they were acting like lovesick cows. Aye, they’d recently had another bairn and ’twas why they were smiling like amadans. But Faith MacAlister had enough of the cooing and kissing.

She had to leave the Wild Thistle Keep or go mad.

Hunting was the only option.

The size of the MacAlister Clan dictated hunting trips each fortnight to keep the larder full. Faith grabbed her quiver and bow, left word with the guards at the palisade to inform the lairds Aidan and Hope her direction, and left to find sustenance and peace.

And now, three days later she continued stalking the elusive stag. She kenned her sister would be close to sending a group of men to look for her in a day or so. Luckily she’d managed an agreement with her sister whom was also her laird. An agreement between sisters proved hard to negotiate, but she’d won in the end. And she hunted without escort as long as she never left without telling the guards her direction.

A sun filled day, just cool enough not to need too much clothing that may hinder her movement, but warm enough she didn’t need to start a fire to warm herself. She stretched in the britches she’d stolen from one of the stable hands. Aye, she’d tried the tartan her sister Hope loved to wear, but found it too revealing as she moved and climbed to find her prey. And a gown, the devil take them, ’twould make it nigh impossible to hunt and secure meat for the clan.

She moved quietly through the woods. Each footfall, purposeful, silently brought her closer to her elusive prey.

Aye, there he stood. In the morning mist that hovered just above the low foliage, a proud, beautiful stag who’d avoided her arrow for too long. Huge, with several points on his rack and a cocksure stance stating, I’m king of the forest. She hated to take down the magnificent animal. But he’d provide for her clan and her duty dictated securing meat for those who depended on her.

She drew her bow, stretching the sinew, straining her arm muscles as she prepared to let the arrow fly. The feather fletching grazed her cheek as she held her breath waiting for the perfect moment to release. She’d traveled far for this chance, stalked her prey as her father had taught her so many years ago with her so wee she could barely hold a bow, much less draw and aim. And today, her size may well again thwart her hunting. ’Twould be problematic once the massive stag was felled. She’d have to dress him in the field and lug the meat back with her. No matter, she’d manage as always.

Two more steps forward. Stared down the length of the arrow past the head, ready to release.

“Well, well, well. What have we here?” a man said

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Review ~

Highland Faith (Wild Thistle Trilogy #2) by: Madelyn Hill

•Belong

With this being book 2 in the trilogy I didn’t feel as though lost by reading this one first, each of these stories although dealing with the 3 sisters is its own standalone story. However I am looking forward to reading the complete trilogy after Highland Honor is released fall 2017. This was my first Madelyn Hill story as well. I enjoyed reading Faith’s story. She enjoyed hunting and feeling like she’s contributing something to their clan… Until she’s kidnapped and held for ransom on a ship… She does NOT have sea legs, will she gain them and what of the captain who had captured more than just her? You’ll have to read Highland Faith to find out how it pans out. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC copy of this book via Tasty Book Tours for an honest blog tour review.

 

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HIGHLAND HOPE (Wild Thistle Trilogy Book 1) by Madelyn Hill

“Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword ghting and leading the men of her clan was second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan.

She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the lairdship Aidan MacKerry seeks ee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Hope, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must ght for his right to be laird and prove, despite their differences, he loves Hope.

The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love.

Available on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/muuvrxj

Lady Claire Is All That

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Lady Claire Is All That
Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #3
By: Maya Rodale
Releasing December 27, 2016
Avon
Blurb

Her Brains

Claire Cavendish is in search of a duke, but not for the usual reasons. The man she seeks is a mathematician; the man she unwittingly finds is Lord Fox: dynamic, athletic, and as bored by the equations Claire adores as she is by the social whirl upon which he thrives. As attractive as Fox is, he’s of no use to Claire . . . or is he?

Plus His Brawn

Fox’s male pride has been bruised ever since his fiancée jilted him. One way to recover: win a bet that he can transform Lady Claire, Society’s roughest diamond, into its most prized jewel. But Claire has other ideas—shockingly steamy ones. . .

Equals A Study In Seduction

By Claire’s calculations, Fox is the perfect man to satisfy her sensual curiosity. In Fox’s estimation, Claire is the perfect woman to prove his mastery of the ton. But the one thing neither of them counted on is love . . .

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29772436-lady-claire-is-all-that

Goodreads Series Link https://www.goodreads.com/series/153521-keeping-up-with-the-cavendishes
Buy Link
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0062386786/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lady-claire-is-all-that-maya-rodale/1123625196?ean=9780062386786
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maya_Rodale
_Lady_Claire_Is_All_That?id=c6fgCwAAQBAJ

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lady-claire-is-all-that/id1099960867?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/lady-claire-is-all-that

Author Info
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

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Author Links:

Website: http://www.mayarodale.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayarodalewriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayarodale

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/377744.Maya_Rodale

 

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Excerpt~

London, 1824

Lord and Lady Chesham’s ballroom

It was a truth universally acknowledged that Maximilian Frederick DeVere, Lord Fox, was God’s gift to the ladies of London. He was taller and brawnier than his peers and in possession of the sort of chiseled good looks—above and below the neck—that were more often found in works of classical art. By all accounts he was charming and universally liked by men and women alike, though for different reasons, of course. He won at two things, always: women and sport.

Fox strolled through the ballroom as if he owned the place. He nodded at friends and acquaintances—Carlyle, with whom he occasionally fenced, Fitzwalter, who he had soundly thrashed at boxing last week, and Willoughby, who was always game for a curricle race.

Fox flashed his famous grin as he heard the ladies’ usual comments when he strolled past.

“I think he just smiled at me.”

“I think I’m going to swoon.”

“God, Arabella Vaughn is one lucky woman.”

“Was,” someone corrected. “Didn’t you see the report in The London Weekly this morning?”

Fox’s grin faltered.

That was when Mr. Rupert Wright and Lord Mowbray found him. Their friendship stretched all the way back to their early days at Eton.

“We heard the news, Fox,” Rupert said grimly, clapping a hand on his shoulder.

“I daresay everyone has heard the news,” Fox replied dryly.

It didn’t escape his notice that the guests nearby had fallen silent. It was the first time he’d appeared in public since the news broke in the paper this morning, though Arabella had so kindly left him a note the day prior. Everyone was watching him to see how he would react, what he would say, if he would cry.

“Who would have thought we’d see this day?” Mowbray mused. “Miss Arabella Vaughn, darling of the haute ton, running off with an actor.”

“That alone would be scandalous,” Rupert said, adding, “Never mind that she has ditched Fox. Who is, apparently, considered a catch. What with his lofty title, wealth, and not hideous face.”

Fox’s Male Pride bristled. It’d been bristling and seething and enraged ever since the news broke that his beautiful, popular betrothed had left him to elope with some plebian actor.

Not just any actor, either, but Lucien Kemble. Yes, he was the current sensation among the haute ton, lighting up the stage each night in his role as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Covent Garden theater was sold out for the rest of the season. The gossip columns loved him, given his flair for dramatics both onstage and off—everything from tantrums to torrid love affairs to fits over his artistry. Women adored him; they may have sighed and swooned over Lucien Kemble as much as Fox.

To lose a woman to any other man was insupportable—and, until recently, not something that ever happened to him—but to lose her to someone who made his living prancing around onstage in tights? It was intolerable.

“Just who does she think she is?” Fox wondered aloud.

“She’s Arabella Vaughn. Beautiful. Popular. Enviable. Every young lady here aspires to be her. Every man here would like a shot with her,” Mowbray answered.

“She’s you, but in petticoats,” Rupert said, laughing.

It was true. He and Arabella were perfect together.

Like most men, he’d fallen for her at first sight after catching a glimpse of her across a crowded ballroom. She was beautiful in every possible way: a tall, lithe figure with full breasts; a mouth made for kissing and other things that gentlemen didn’t mention in polite company; blue eyes fringed in dark lashes; honey gold hair that fell in waves; a complexion that begged comparisons to cream and milk and moonlight.

Fox had taken one look at her and thought: mine.

They were a perfect match in beauty, wealth, social standing, all that. They both enjoyed taking the ton by storm. He remembered the pride he felt as they strolled through a ballroom arm in arm and the feeling of everyone’s eyes on them as they waltzed so elegantly.

They were great together.

They belonged together.

Fox also remembered the more private moments—so many stolen kisses, the intimacy of gently pushing aside a wayward strand of her golden hair, promises for their future as man and wife. They would have perfect children, and entertain the best of society, and generally live a life of wealth and pleasure and perfection, together.

Fox remembered his heart racing—nerves!—when he proposed because this beautiful girl he adored was going to be his.

And then she had eloped. With an actor.

It burned, that. Ever since he’d heard the news, Fox had stormed around in high dudgeon. He was not accustomed to losing.

“Take away her flattering gowns and face paint and she’s just like any other woman here,” Fox said, wanting it to be true so he wouldn’t feel the loss so keenly. “Look at her, for example.”

Rupert and Mowbray both glanced at the woman he pointed out—a short, frumpy young lady nervously sipping lemonade. She spilled some down the front of her bodice when she caught three men staring at her.

“If one were to offer her guidance on supportive undergarments and current fashions and get a maid to properly style her coiffure, why, she could be the reigning queen of the haute ton,” Fox pointed out.

Both men stared at him, slack jawed.

“You’ve never been known for being the sharpest tool in the shed, Fox, but now I think you’re really cracked,” Mowbray said. “You cannot just give a girl a new dress and make her popular.”

“Well, Mowbray, maybe you couldn’t. But I could.”

“Gentlemen . . .” Rupert cut in. “I don’t care for the direction of this conversation.”

“You honestly think you can do it,” Mowbray said, awed.

He turned to face Mowbray and drew himself up to his full height, something he did when he wanted to be imposing. His Male Pride had been wounded and his competitive spirit—always used to winning—was spoiling for an opportunity to triumph.

“I know I can,” Fox said with the confidence of a man who won pretty much everything he put his mind to—as long as it involved sport, or women. Arabella had been his first, his only, loss. A fluke, surely.

“Well, that calls for a wager,” Mowbray said.

The two gentlemen stood eye to eye, the tension thick. Rupert groaned.

“Name your terms,” Fox said.

“I pick the girl.”

“Fine.”

“This is a terrible idea,” Rupert said. He was probably right, but he was definitely ignored.

“Let me see . . . who shall I pick?” Mowbray made a dramatic show of looking around the ballroom at all the ladies nearby. There were at least a dozen of varying degrees of pretty and pretty hopeless.

Then Mowbray’s attentions fixed on one particular woman. Fox followed his gaze, and when he saw who his friend had in mind, his stomach dropped.

“No.”

“Yes,” Mowbray said, a cocky grin stretching across his features.

“Unfortunately dressed I can handle. Shy, stuttering English miss who at least knows the rules of society? Sure. But one of the Americans?”

Fox let the question hang there. The Cavendish family had A Reputation the minute the news broke that the new Duke of Durham was none other than a lowly horse trainer from the former colonies. He and his sisters were scandalous before they even set foot in London. Since their debut in society, they hadn’t exactly managed to win over the haute ton, either, to put it politely.

“Now, they’re not all bad,” Rupert said. “I quite like Lady Bridget . . .”

But Fox was still in shock and Mowbray was enjoying it too much to pay any mind to Rupert’s defense of the Americans.

“The bluestocking?”

That was the thing: Mowbray hadn’t picked just any American, but the one who already had a reputation for being insufferably intelligent, without style or charm to make herself more appealing to the gentlemen of the ton. She was known to bore a gentleman to tears by discussing not the weather, or hair ribbons, or gossip of mutual acquaintances, but math.

Lady Claire Cavendish seemed destined to be a hopeless spinster and social pariah.

Even the legendary Duchess of Durham, aunt to the new duke and his sisters, hadn’t yet been able to successfully launch them into society and she’d already had weeks to prepare them! It seemed insane that Fox should succeed where the duchess failed.

But Fox and his Male Pride had never, not once, backed away from a challenge, especially not when the stakes had never been higher. He knew two truths about himself: he won at women and he won at sport.

He was a winner.

And he was not in the mood for soul searching or crafting a new identity when the old one suited him quite well. Given this nonsense with Arabella, he had to redeem himself in the eyes of the ton, not to mention his own. It was an impossible task, but one that Fox would simply have to win.

“Her family is hosting a ball in a fortnight,” Mowbray said. “I expect you to be there—with Lady Claire on your arm as the most desirable and popular woman in London.”

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Q&A with MAYA RODALE

1~ What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

I love writing the funny, teasing, loving banter between the four siblings in my Keeping Up With The Cavendishes series. Writing some good flirtation between the hero and heroine is also a favorite of mine.

2~ How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing romance novels for about twelve years now (though I’ve been writing for longer than that). Then, and now, I write the book that I’m in the mood to read because I’m still a reader first!

3~ How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

All the novels in my Keeping Up With The Cavendishes series are inspired by my favorite romantic comedies. Lady Claire Is All That is based on the 90’s rom com She’s All That. Basically, I write stories that I want to read—funny, witty, happy ever afters—and I delight in seeing mash ups of modern times and pop culture with historical romance.

4~ What gave you the most trouble with this story?

The heroine of Lady Claire Is All That is a math genius and I am…not. At all. There isn’t much math in the novel (phew!) but what does appear is thanks to one of my dearest romance writing friends Caroline Linden, who happens to have a math degree from Harvard.

5~ A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

In Lady Claire Is All That sparks fly between a brainy heroine and the hot jock of the haute ton in this Regency remake of the rom com She’s All That!