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A beautiful and eligible member of the ton, Jane has more than a few secrets: she’s one of the Crown’s most elite agents. She may be deadly, but she doesn’t know a thing about fashion, flirtation, or love…until Dominic Griffyn shakes up her carefully stirred world and asks her to be his bride. He’s exactly the kind of man she’s not looking for. And he’s dangerous, because falling into his arms is so much more satisfying than saving England from her enemies.
He’s an improper gentleman who needs a wife…
Tall, dark, and tortured, Dominic Griffyn is haunted by demons from his past. When his stepfather insists that he marry, Dominic allows himself to hope that the beautiful but mysterious Miss Bonde might help him forget his troubles. As they grow closer, it’s clear that there’s more to Jane than danger. She might be just what his neglected heart needs.
Other books in the series:
Galen continues to impress me with this last and final installment to her Lord and Lady Spy series. Each of the previous books have been a delightful historical version of a famous Spy movie. This last one does a take on James Bond, except James is a Jane and she likes her ratafia shaken, not stirred.
Jane’s been an agent for the Crown for years, in fact she’s one of the best. What makes her even more fun is the fact that she can do things ordinary men can’t, and she doesn’t want a husband that could take her away from the life she leads. I loved Jane, she’s feisty, tough, and the exact opposite of a lot of Regency heroines. I also liked her smarts. Nothing gets past Jane, except maybe the desire to do all the things she vowed to never do… including give her heart to a man.
The hero, Dominic, is tall, dark, and a breath of fresh air. This is a tortured hero ladies, so if anyone enjoys them as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed. He’s rough, brash and not liable to leave well enough alone. He also likes to take advantage of women in stables. This character at first seemed contradictive and that would be my reason for the ‘four’ rating. I liked Dominic, but his conflicting actions at times confused me, rather than led me to believe he was caught in the saw of love or obsession at first sight.
Between the fight for their lives against the Crown’s foe and the battle of wits and emotions they pit against each other, Dominic and Jane’s courtship make for a delicious read. There’s no lack of action or tension as these two spare with their fists, legs, and mouths.
Also, I loved the secondary characters of a female Q, and a male Money Penny. Too much fun, and not enough time to enjoy them. I do hope readers and sales can convince the lovely Galen to give us one more novella featuring these two.
Overall, with the exception of some questionable character action choices, this read is a wonderful final wrap-up. I also got to see all the other characters from the previous books and enjoyed a final conflict with the villain. If you’ve invested in this series at all you can’t miss this last book.
Reviewed by Landra
Heat Level: Hot
A good reason to be bad…
Librarian Sophie Heyer has walked the straight and narrow her entire life to make up for her mother’s mistakes. But in tiny Jackson Hole, Wyoming, juicy gossip doesn’t just fade away. Falling hard for the sexiest biker who’s ever ridden into town would undo everything she’s worked for. And to add insult to injury, the alluring stranger is none other than Alex Bishop—the son of the man Sophie’s mother abandoned her family for. He may be temptation on wheels, but Sophie’s not looking for trouble!
Maybe Sophie’s buttoned-up facade fools some, but Alex knows a naughty smile when he sees one. Despite their parents’ checkered pasts, he’s willing to take some risks to find out the truth about the town librarian. He figures a little fling might be just the ticket to get his mind off his own family drama. But what he finds underneath Sophie’s prim demeanor might change his world in ways he never expected.
This book in a word: Naughty.
I love Dahl’s books because they typically make me laugh. There’s always something in each story to make me giggle. In this latest book instead of the giggles, I got the hot flashes. Everything about this book is steamy, sexy, and sinfully satisfying.
It’s contemporary romance for sure, but the hero is a shaved head, tattooed, biker with intelligence. That gets me all sorts of hot. Like any picture perfect guy, he’s got other issues, stemming from an emotional past and family life. Yet, there’s nothing predictable about Alex Bishop. Between all the steam scenes and tense moments there’s plenty of soul searching and lots of conflict.
The heroine, Sophie Heyer, is a vixen hiding in conservative dress. She’s got prim and proper nailed to a fine art, but deep down she needs a bad boy to give her the ride of the lifetime. Yet if you read the blurb, this bad boy she wants is tied into her families sordid past. The town scandal she can’t escape from. I like Sophie because she’s tough as nails, and still vulnerable. I think Dahl tackles the subject of vulnerability extremely well in this story, and demonstrates with ease a good talent for taking a much narrowed motivation and spinning it out of control.
If you’ve been following along with Dahl’s Jackson series then you’ll be happy to see plenty of familiar faces, and some faces you don’t recognize. I’m salivating at the next person on love’s chopping block. I know that it will be a story worth reading for sure.
Now for mechanics. Dahl’s dialogue is blunt, sharp, and to the point. Her characters act like adults who sometimes display a temper, but when the going gets tough they actually communicate. Settings, descriptions, and internal delves are spot on along with great pacing that makes this book easy to get involved in. Also, the ending, for me is a bit different than other contemporaries and I like it. Something outside the norm is nearly always a good thing.
So if you enjoy small town scandals, memorials interrupted with outbursts, crazy families, and bad boys who love consensual, insane couplings this read is for you. I wasn’t disappointed and found myself gobbling up this story page after page within hours.
Reviewed by Landra
Heat Level: Hot
Amber Jameson has always thought of her best friend Cade as an older brother. A really hot older brother. But growing up in foster care, she learned to rely only on herself. As much as she likes stealing glances at Cade’s chiseled jaw and painted-on jeans, she resents the way he swoops in like a superhero to fix things for her.
When former rodeo rival Jim Davis starts harassing Amber to sell her grandfather’s failing ranch, Cade swoops in once again. To send Jim on his way, Cade pretends to be Amber’s boyfriend, moving in to help fix the place up. With her grandfather behind the idea, Amber and Cade have to keep the charade going—whether she likes it or not.
But as their make-believe romance starts to heat up, maybe Cade and Amber will learn to admit that they both could use a little saving…
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Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.
Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them. Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he’s unwittingly drawn into a volatile family drama.
Aiden wants to help Cordelia get answers about her mother, but threats from her wealthy, high-powered family are quickly becoming dangerous. Sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but after multiple attempts are made on Cordelia’s life, Aiden realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.
* * * * *
Love is the Biggest Gamble of All . . .
Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn’t exactly have a life plan. She’s perfectly happy being everyone’s favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it’s time to reevaluate her priorities.
Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.
Yet what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker.
Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn’t take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he’s been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .
* * * * *
It’s supposed to be all hands on deck…not on each other!
To Claudia Davis, her Australian beach hotel is paradise. To her business partner, Luke Hargreaves, it’s a burden he’s desperate to shake off! Then a cyclone hits, and it’s down to them both to rebuild the resort. But keeping their minds on the job proves impossible with all those scorching-hot nights alone together….
Agreeing to a fling seems risk-free—Luke’s leaving for London soon, and surely their chemistry will have self-combusted by then? Except with time running out it’s just getting hotter…like a fireball burning out of control….
Those Summer Nights
In Crescent Cove find sun, sea and steamy nights….
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No More Mr. Nice Guy
Like a bad-choice-making boomerang, Mazy Gulliver has returned to her mom’s tiny house in Brandt Mountain. But this time, she’s got her teenage son, Tru, in tow and no intention of messing up ever again.Mazy’s so determined to rebuild her life she hardly minds beingthe new loan collector, or even working for Tad, her ex. She’s not here to make friends—or fall in love.
Sweet, dependable Eli Latham has loved Mazy since they got pretend married in second grade. But after being burned by Mazy for two decades, Eli’s got a new strategy. Mazy likes bad boys, so a bad boy is what he’ll be. How hard can it be to act like a jerk?
Not for the first time, men are making Mazy crazy, though she’s determined to do what’s right for her and Tru. But breaking old habits is hard, and if she really wants things to change she’ll have to face her biggest adversary: herself.
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With guest season about to start at the ranch, Krista Skye needs to track down a new head wrangler fast. Unfortunately, the best man for the job is the last person Krista wants to see—Wyatt Webb, the college sweetheart who left her behind. Wyatt has major reservations about working with Krista as well, but he has his own reasons for wanting to stay in town.
Although Krista and Wyatt are all business at first, sparks fly as they work side by side, preparing for an upcoming country fair. Even though rekindling their relationship brings up painful memories, they’re not the same people they used to be—and neither can deny that there’s still something special between them. They have one last opportunity to save a good thing before it’s too late, but one of them will have to find the courage to take a chance on love….
* * * * *
A mistake that’s meant to be
All John Beauchamp wants is a simple life. He’s happy running his Louisiana sugar cane plantation and doesn’t want more than that. Then Shelby Mackey breezes in, announcing that she’s pregnant. Their one crazy night of passion has changed everything.
Except Shelby insists John doesn’t have to be involved—she’ll raise the baby herself. But John can’t let her go that easily. Even without the baby, Shelby is a breath of fresh air. Her call-it-as-she-sees-it attitude intrigues and attracts him. So when Shelby agrees to stay temporarily, John’s determined to make that stay permanent—and as sweet as can be.
* * * * *
June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…
Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.
In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.
* * * * *
HE CAN’T GET HER OUT OF HIS HEAD
It’s lust at first sight when Brody Singer first lays eyes on Abby Dunn. The dark-haired beauty looks a lot like a woman he once knew, who died years ago. At first Brody fears his attraction is a holdover from that secret crush, but Abby’s definitely different. She’s a lot shyer, a lot sexier and, despite her attempts to dissuade his interest, absolutely mesmerizing.
SHE CAN’T GET HIM OUT OF HER BOOKS
Abby isn’t having it. She’s still trying to put her last disastrous relationship behind her and overcome the flaws her ex wouldn’t let her forget. But somehow Brody isn’t getting the hint. It doesn’t help that when writing her steamy novels, she keeps casting Brody as the hero.
Brody is more than happy to serve as her muse and eager to help make sure her “research” is authentic. But when their research turns into something real…will she choose her own happily ever after?
* * * * *
Nestled in the sunny fields of Tennessee lies the McDaniel family’s Second Chance Ranch Animal Rescue. Two new arrivals are on their way, but only one is the four-legged kind.
Staff Sergeant Mike Kowalski wants only one thing after he gets home from Iraq: to sleep in a king-sized bed with clean sheets. But first, he has to hand off his fallen commander’s dog, Trooper, to his family without handing off his heart to Sierra…
Sierra McDaniel needs a break. Her family life is crazy, and when she’s not mucking out kennels, she’s slogging through grad school. Sierra certainly doesn’t want another dog, especially one that reminds her of her father. And she definitely doesn’t want to see Mike with that charming smile of his…
But Trooper has a mission of his own. Before too long Mike is moving to the ranch to lend a hand—and hoping for his own second chance with Sierra.
* * * * *
Every instinct told Police Chief Clancy Flynn that his island’s claim to fame was nothing but a silly tourist attraction. But now and then, he couldn’t help but wonder if his lifetime of bad romances—starting with the pretty tourist who broke his fourteen-year-old heart—could be traced back to a childhood prank involving that very statue….
Then one day the pretty tourist comes barreling back into Bayberry—all grown-up and on the run with her niece. Though Evelyn McGuinness is wanted for kidnapping, she tries to persuade Clancy that there’s more to the story. Now the by-the-book police chief must make the toughest decision of his life: to take Evelyn into custody—or into his arms….
* * * * *
Buttoned-up financial consultant Grace Song lives life by her own strict rules. Spontaneity leads to chaos. Always play it safe. So when she shares a Manhattan cab with a handsome stranger and they accidentally swap cell phones, her first instinct is to track him down and put things right. Stay on track. Stick with the plan.
But when beyond-gorgeous Zack Camden answers the door draped only in a towel, Grace is suddenly inspired to ditch her rules for a day and a night. Indulging in one delicious encounter with a perfect stranger is just the break she needs. But one turns into two, then three mind-blowing nights—and soon Grace is in danger of breaking the biggest rule of them all—never fall in love
With ruthless determination, Alex Diaz has risen up from his deprived roots to become the head of a global media empire. But he has one last thing to achieve…avenge his friend by destroying the man responsible for her death, Jason Treffen. With stunning talk-show host Chelsea Maxwell about to interview Treffen live on TV, this is Alex’s chance.
He’ll use her show to exact a very public revenge—and seducing Chelsea, if needed, would certainly be no hardship. But he underestimates Chelsea and the attraction between them, and as their relationship deepens, Alex realizes that to annihilate Treffen could also shatter the life that Chelsea has built to protect herself….
Collect all three novels in the Fifth Avenue trilogy from Harlequin Presents:
I’ll admit before the 5th Ave. series I’d never heard of Kate Hewitt. I don’t read a ton of category romance, and the ones I do read belong to a select list of authors. That being said, Kate Hewitt will be joining this list.
Now, this book is probably one of the few that had very little to do with the main plot arc, until mid-way through the story. Of course the main plot arc, evil Jason Treffen, is the catalyst that encourages our hero and heroine to meet, but in no way does he engineer their coming together. No, Alex and Chelsea do all the heating up on their own.
This book is tension, sensual delight, and one-on-one conflict based on the past. Alex and Chelsea both wrestle with their demons and I once again loved how the author presented a heroine who’d suffered violence in her past and fought against it. Alex fights similar to demons to the previous heroes in this trilogy, but each of them have their own ways to resolve them. Our hero is definitely no exception.
I will say because the story focused so much on Alex and Chelsea, and their emerging relationship, I honestly wasn’t sure if the main plot arc would get resolved. Let me just say that the read is worth the wait and everything goes out with a big bang. There’s plenty of fireworks and a nice reunion with all three heroines and heroes from this series.
Bottom line all three authors: Yates, Crews, and Hewitt were very impressive and wrote a trio of books that highlight their unique writing style and seamlessly mesh together. It’s cohesive along the terms of pacing, focusing exclusively on the characters coming together and then adding in the main plot arc when needed.
The good news is that even if you haven’t read the other two books in the series you can pick this one and not be lost. Each book stands alone with ease and I would recommend this as a nice, angsty read for those who like their men hot and their women in need of rescuing.
Reviewed by Landra
Heat Level: Hot
Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.
Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.
Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…
I will always be a sucker for a Sherry Thomas historical. Hands down her prose and way with words exceeds my wildest fantasies and with those words she sweeps me away. This time I went on a journey not only to England, but to the wilds of China with its crowded, tradition-laden, class-oriented society.
Thomas gives us two historical experiences in this one book, coupled with martial arts, action, spies, tragedy and more. The hero and heroine are both lost souls, ever searching and seeking peace. At times the belief is that the peace can be found with each other, but in other instances it seems nearly impossible.
Before I get into the rest of my opinions about this book I want to mention that this story has a prequel available called, The Hidden Blade. In my opinion this book is best read with the prequel and not without. The prequel gives you so much more behind the characters and how they came to be who they are.
That being said our hero, Captain Leighton Atwood is a man of honor, dreams and secrets. His childhood wasn’t happy and surprisingly after everything he’s been through Leighton turned into a really good man. The problem is that in this story it’s hard to get a good read on his character and the heroine. The action, and the time jumps from the past to the present can be a bit confusing. But you come to find that both characters are pretty resilient in the face of life’s challenges. Neither Catherine nor Leighton believe in surrender, including to each other.
This book is definitely suspense riddled, with plenty of action scenes and great sensory depth. I got caught up once again in Thomas’ dialogue and descriptions. Conflict in this story reigns supreme and plenty of confessions have to take place for a reunion between our H/h at odds. The pacing is near spot on and there’s a good gallop toward the resolution without issue.
One of my favorite lines in this story comes when Leighton and Catherine are alone and still trying to figure out the other’s purpose:
Her gaze swept over him. “What exactly are you looking for?”
A place for me, but I do not see one here.
He brushed aside the answer that had arisen from nowhere. “I thought you had disavowed any further dealings with the Tang Dynasty jade tablets.”
Overall, I will always enjoyed reading Thomas’ books. As I mentioned before she always grabs me with her writing style, and I’m instantly transported elsewhere. I recommend this book for those who enjoy a little action and suspense with their Historical Romance.
Recommend for readers who enjoy Liz Caryle and Shana Galen.
Heat Level: Hot
Reviewed by Landra
Thanks so much to Beverley for helping me to spread the word about my huge pre-order giveaway!
In order to celebrate the upcoming release of THE SINNING HOUR, the first book in my Unmasked Victorian historical romance series, I’m giving away a Kindle Fire 7” Tablet with MarBlu Case, a $15 e-Gift Card, and an e-book of choice with a value of up to $7.99.
For more information and to enter this giveaway (ending soon at 12am on 8/21), please visit my website at http://www.eliserome.com.
ABOUT THE BOOK
She came from the alleyways, adorned by grime and soot…
Simon Astley has no reason to hire Miranda Post as his housemaid. She has no experience, no credible qualifications. She looks and smells better suited to the East End rookeries than to his West End town house. Worse yet, she reminds him of a soul-staining past he’d prefer to forget.
Unfortunately, she also becomes his fascination.
Physically scarred and lost to a life of poverty, Miranda has but one goal: survival. Although she distrusts her new employer’s generosity, she is determined to save herself, to save her father, and to crawl her way out of despair.
Each wants nothing more than to continue their roles of master and housemaid. But one night, in one sinful hour, when everything changes, a sensual battle begins between the corrupt and the innocent, and to win both Simon and Miranda must lay at stake something neither can afford to lose: their hearts.
Want to read an excerpt? To read the full first two chapters, visit: http://www.eliserome.com/the-sinning-hour/
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I’m also giving away two e-books here! For a chance to win an e-book of THE JADE TEMPTRESS by Jeannie Lin and THE PIRATE TAKES A BRIDE by Shana Galen, simply comment below (open internationally, winner chooses e-retailer dependent on availability to gift e-books).
Comment to enter to win! Please indicate which book you’d like to win.
In Manda Collins’s Why Lords Lose Their Hearts, Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormonde, keeps a dangerous secret—the truth of how her brutish husband died. But a mysterious avenger seems to know it, too, and when anonymous threats turn into public attacks, there’s only one friend she can turn to for help—her husband’s former secretary, Lord Archer Lisle. The man who witnessed her every heartache. The kind of man whose love she can only dream of …
WILL HIS LOVE SAVE HER?
The youngest of the Duke of Pemberton’s five sons, Lord Archer Lisle is used to waiting his turn. For years, he could only stand by, seething, as Perdita suffered at the hands of her husband, but now she’s under threat from another source—one who will stop at nothing to make her pay for the late duke’s death. But the good-natured Archer can be dangerous when crossed—and he’ll do anything to keep the woman he’s adored for so long safe in his arms…
* * * * *
London, 1817: Stuck in a Mayfair ballroom thanks to his lovestruck brother, highlander Arran MacLawry wants nothing but a bit of distraction from an arranged betrothal—and a clever auburn-haired lass in a vixen’s mask promises just that…until he discovers that she’s the granddaughter of the Campbell, chief of clan MacLawry’s longtime rival. Despite their families’ grudging truce, falling for fiery Mary Campbell is a notion too outlandish even for this Highlander…
THE THRILL OF THE FORBIDDEN
Raised on tales of savage MacLawrys, Mary is stunned to realize the impressively strapping man in the fox’s mask is one of them. Surely the enemy shouldn’t have such a broad chest, and such a seductive brogue? Not that her curiosity matters—any dalliance between them is strictly forbidden, and she’s promised to another. But with the crackling spark between them ready to ignite, love is worth every risk…in Rogue with a Brogue by Suzanne Enoch
**Print books. US residents only
Every month I pledged I would read one new-to-me author. I figured it would be cheapest if I pulled one from the many free ebooks out there.
This month I selected PICK ME by Kristine Mason. I loved the premise and thought it would be a super cute and romantic read. You may want to give it a try too.
To help save the TV reality show, Pick Me, from cancellation, Valentina Bonasera swaps her position as the show’s Production Assistant, to play the role of Bachelorette, only to discover Bachelor Number One, rancher and sports agent, Colt Walker, happens to be her one and only one-night-stand she’d snuck away from six months ago.
Colt had never forgotten the hot, sensual night he’d shared with Valentina, or how she’d left him without so much as a note or her contact information. He’d spent months searching for the woman who’d given him a night he couldn’t forget and thought he’d never see again. Now that she’s in Dallas, he’s determined to make her his…