Highland Hellion (Highland Weddings, #3)

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Highland Hellion by Mary Wine

KATHERINE CAREW
Illegitimate daughter of an English earl… Abducted to Scotland at age 14… No family, no reputation… No rules

ROLFE MCTAVISH
Heir to an honorable Highland laird… Can’t believe how well tomboy Kate can fight… About to learn how much of a woman she really is

Scotland is seething with plots, the vengeful Gordons are spoiling for a fight, and the neighboring clans are at each other’s throats. All it takes is a passionate hellion with a penchant for reckless adventure to ignite the Highlands once more.

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The Blurb- (1)

~ARC from NetGalley. ~

This is the 3rd book of the series, From the previous book, Marcus was able to help Kat escape. From there, he permitted her to train as a man would. However, he was not prepared for the day that she become a woman.

This book tells us, Kat’s life after 6 years. What i love about this book is the way it was how they met and how they repeated saw each other. It was one capture to another. I felt as though her life was a constant battle on survival and there were times that I wanted to shout at her for the decisions that she made. But the way she was treated at the latter part of the book? That was something i really want to reach out and yank someone and throw them away. It was too cruel.

Rolfe? I love him. Most especially when he was so into Kat. There are times that I hated his decision, some of them were not well thought, However, I do admire him on the grounds that Kat is his price. Yes, he wants to bed her, but he did not let passion over take his duty as a man,. For Kat is a maiden. I think that was one of the best parts of the book.

I gave this 4 stars.

Duke with Benefits (Studies in Scandal #2)

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Duke with Benefits

by Manda Collins

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The Blurb-

Duke with Benefits_CoverLADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on . . . and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest . . . and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

Duke with Benefits is the second in Manda Collins’ Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England.

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The Blurb- (2)

“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now.

“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.”

“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?”

“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?”

His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House.

“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.”

What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived.

At the sound of the duke’s voice, Lord Forsyth turned with almost comical haste from the window and stared. For the barest flicker, he looked angry. Well, if he were upset at the knowledge that his daughter was not without friends, then he would simply have to swallow it. Because Maitland was damned if he’d leave her alone with the fellow.

“Duke,” Lord Forsyth said with a tilt of his head, “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I was a friend of your father’s, and had little notion I’d be meeting you here. He was a good man, your father.”

His father had been nothing of the sort, but Maitland was hardly going to discuss it with Forsyth.

“I am here visiting my sister, Lady Serena,” Maitland said coolly, letting the other man know in tone rather than words that he had not appreciated the older man’s speculative words about her earlier. “And of course my cousin, Kerr. He only recently married another of the heiresses here, and resides here with her.”

Forsyth’s eyes narrowed at the implication that Daphne was well protected should her father wish to cause trouble. At least that was the message Maitland was endeavoring to send. And by the looks of it, Forsyth read him loud and clear.

“Capital, capital,” the earl said with false cheer. “A merry party you must all make here. I had no idea you were in such fine company here, Daphne. No notion at all.”

“Because we have not spoken since I left,” Daphne said, looking from her father to Maitland then back again, as if wondering what went on between them. “And now, father, I really must ask you to leave. I have a great deal of work to do and . . .”

“Don’t be absurd, Daphne,” her father said with a shake of his head. “I only just arrived. And there is something very important I must speak to you about.” He turned to Maitland with a raised brow. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us, Duke. I’m afraid what I need to tell my daughter is private family business.”

Maitland was opening his mouth to tell the man he would leave Daphne alone with him when hell froze over, when Daphne did it for him.

“Maitland stays,” she said, reaching out to grasp him by the arm. It was as much of a cry for help as he’d ever thought he’d see from her. Wordlessly, he slipped her arm into his, as if they were about to promenade round the room. He covered her hand with his, keenly aware of the thread of tension in her.

Once more, the earl’s eyes narrowed, and he turned an assessing gaze on Maitland, perhaps realizing for the first time the threat coming at him from that direction.

His jaw clenched, Forsyth said grimly, “Very well. If you wish your friend to witness our dirty linen, so be it.” As if needing to be in motion in order to speak, the earl began to pace the area between the window and the fireplace. “You know, Daphne, you left me without any obvious means of recouping what I lost from years of paying that tutor of yours, old man Sommersby.”

“You agreed to pay him,” Daphne said tightly. “After I threatened to expose . . .”

Hastily, Forsyth continued, “And I am currently in need of funds. As such, I must insist you return to London with me for the time being and meet a particular gentleman who has expressed interest in marrying you. Though his birth is not as high as yours, he’s quite wealthy and will make you a good husband, I trust. He’s assured me he has no concern about your odd ways, if you’re as beautiful as your portrait.”

Before Maitland could burst out with the string of invectives the other man’s pronouncement inspired in him, Daphne said, “I cannot marry this person. I’ve never even met him. You promised me that I would not have to marry someone for money as long as I won enough at the tables. I did so. You promised me, father.”

“I never actually promised, Daphne.” Forsyth said with a shake of his head. “If you chose to interpret it as such, that is not my fault. Now, go pack your things.”

Daphne’s hand on Maitland’s arm gripped him tightly. And before he even knew what he was doing, he said, “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Forsyth. Daphne is staying here.”

“I don’t know who you think you are, Maitland,” said the earl through clenched teeth, “but I am her father, and I am well within my rights to take her back to London. Now, kindly take your hands off of her and let her go pack.”

“It might once have been your right, Forsyth,” Maitland said coldly, “but Lady Daphne is my betrothed now and as such, she will remain here. With me.”

 

~Copyright © 2017 by Manda Collins and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

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The Blurb- (1)

~ARC given by the publisher via NetGalley.~

~The greatest treasure that a person can posses is true love. The one that does not judge. A one of a kind love, that makes everything fine in spite of the past hurts. A love that would last a lifetime.~

The Second book of the series.

In book one, all of the four ladies were introduced. Along with the rest of the characters in the book. The thing is, from book one, the Duke of Maitland, Dalton have already set his sights on Lady Daphne Forsyth.

I must say, I really enjoyed how this book started and how it ended.

As a woman with an exceptional mathematical mind, Daphne always had a hard time coping with the people around her. She is unable to curb her thoughts so to speak. Hence, people tend to stay away from her due to her bluntness. Dalton on the other hand may not posses a great mind, but his social skills is really good.

I fell in love with the book because it showed how a woman with exceptional skills can feel the same as another can feel. The fear, the insecurities, and that intense feeling of love, that she had a hard time understanding. I really do not like the way people treats women during this time period. I must say though, Ms.Collins gave Ivy and Daphne a chance to be who they are with the man that they love.

Each book seemed to have pattern pf sorts. Ivy and Quill had to look for a killer, while Daphne is treasure hunting. Though honestly, the series is a form of extreme matchmaking. Yup. and that made the series interesting.

What would the next book like? Will there be another rainy encounter? I really like that. Who will be the next Scholar to fall in love?

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The Blurb- (3)

Amazon     B&N     BAM     iBooks      Indiebound     Kobo

  Powells

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The Blurb- (4)

manda-collins

Manda Collins is the author of several books, including Ready Set Rogue and The Lords of Anarchy series. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Manda’s Social Links:

Twitter: @MandaCollins
Facebook: @MandaCollinsAuthor
http://www.mandacollins.com/

Never Trust a Pirate (Playful Brides, #7)

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Never Trust a Pirate

by Valerie Bowman

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NTAP coverBook Blurb (via GoodReads):

The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust–and win her heart–as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

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The Review:

~ARC was given by the publisher via NetGalley.~

This is the 7th book of the series. Even though I was not able to read all of the previous books, it was really a delight to read the rest of them.

Since I was not able to read Captain Rafferty Cavendish, The Irresistible Rogue , I cannot really say how the two was brought up. But as the story progress, there were some parts that you can clearly see, how much Cade love his twin.

“Cade regretted that he couldn’t share his secrets with his brother, but it was best this way. To keep Rafe safe. The less he knew, the better. “

It was one of those reasons why a black sheep must return. Not because, for his own, but for the people he left behind.

I love how the two interacted with one another. From the light banner, to the throwing of arrogance.

“I don’t know many lady’s maids who are so—ahem— proficient with a knife. I clearly need to get out more.”
“How many lady’s maids do you know?”
“Enough?”

The lines, my gods, they were the kind that would keep you laughing at some point because if you can actually imagine how they looked liked when they said those lines.

The love story? It was a progressing thing. It was not as obvious as the other romances that I read, but it was enough for the readers to know how will the HEA will turn out.

I truly enjoy this book and I look forward to reading the rest of it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy Links:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-a-Million Indie Bound Powells

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Author Bio: 

Valerie Bowman

Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides series, starting with Secrets of a Wedding Night, Secrets of a Runaway Bride, and Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage.

Social Links:

Author Website Facebook: @ValerieBowmanAuthor

Twitter: @ValerieGBowman Pinterest GoodReads

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The Excerpt: 

CHAPTER ONE

London Harbor, July 1817

Only three steps. Only three steps separated him from the map. It was there, laying on the rickety wooden table in the captain’s stateroom aboard a ship aptly named Le Secret Francais. The only sound in the cramped space was his own breathing. Sweat beaded on his brow. He’d come this far. Braved the murky, cold water, swam out to the ship moored at the London docks. Climbed aboard silent as a wraith, dressed all in black. Wrung out his clothing to keep it from dripping so there wouldn’t be a trail. Managed to steal into the captain’s quarters as the man slept, and now, now only three steps remained between him and the priceless map.

One water droplet fell to the wooden plank floor like a hammer against steel. The sound of his breath echoed to a crescendo. The blood pounding in his head became a distracting whirring noise.

One step forward. The ball of his foot ground onto the plank. Stealth and silence. Always. The calling cards of the best thief in London.

The captain stirred slightly in his bunk and began to snore.

He froze. One leather-clad foot arrested on the wooden plank. A pistol rested on two nails directly above the captain’s bunk. If the man awoke, he might shoot first at any noise. The captain well knew the value of the treasure he carried.

He counted to ten. Once. Twice. He had long since mastered the art of keeping footing on a ship. He waited until his heartbeats became steady again before taking the next step. A slight creak in the wood floor. A hint of movement from the captain. Another endless wait. Impatience was a roiling knot inside his belly.

Out of the shadows now, he stood only one step away from the table bolted to the floor. The moon shone through the window above the captain’s bed, shedding light on the man’s balding head. The map lay spread out, anchored by pins in the four corners. He would have to remove those pins. Ripping the paper would be too noisy.

Another interminable wait as the captain turned away from him in his sleep. His snores subsided.

He glanced over at the bunk. The pistol shone in the moonlight. One hard swallow. He never carried a pistol. Too loud. Pistols brought the crew, the wharf police, and anyone else interested in such activity. The only weapon he carried was a knife, tucked in the back of his breeches. A weapon of stealth.

Another count to ten before taking the final step. There was no time for an in-depth study of the map now, but a quick glance revealed the destination. The island of St. Helena, off the western coast of Africa, circled in bold scrawl. The map of the route planned for Bonaparte’s next escape. That bastard in the bed had been planning it.

All ten fingers itched to snatch the paper and run, but he forced himself to take a deep, silent breath. Carefully, he dislodged the first pin at the top right corner. It popped out easily. The top of the map rolled toward the center, making a slight flapping sound. Breath held, he glanced toward the captain again. No movement.

He stuck the pin back into the table to keep it from rolling, then his hand darted to the next pin at the bottom right corner. It also popped out easily. He quickly stuck it back into the wood. With two sides free, he carefully rolled the map toward the center. Reaching up to the top, he grasped the third pin. No movement. It was lodged deeply into the wood. Must pull harder. With one black-gloved hand, he clasped the pin between a thumb and two fingers, pulling upward with as much strength as he dared. His own breath in his ear was the only sound … that and the water lapping at the sides of the ship.

The pin finally gave way. He pressed a hand to the top of the map, to keep the freed top left corner from curling and making a noise. His chest and torso flattened against the map and the table, he pressed the third pin back into the wood.

Click. An unmistakable sound. One he had heard too often before. Another hard swallow. Damn it. He’d been so preoccupied with keeping quiet, he hadn’t realized the captain’s snores had subsided.

Half-splayed across the table, he contemplated his options. The door was ten paces to the left, the open window five paces to the right. Would he fit through the window? It’d be a hell of a time to learn the answer was no.

“Step away from zee map, if you don’t want a bullet through your back.” The captain’s voice was harsh and angry.

He slowly rose from his position hunched over the map, arms braced upright at right angles near his head to show the captain he had no weapon. “Ye wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, now would ye, Cap’n?”

“I’d shoot a thief without thinking twice,” the captain replied with a sneer, nearly spitting the word thief.

He glanced down at the map. Studying it in case he was forced to leave without it. He had been in worse situations, more times than he could count. He considered the knife in the back of his breeches hidden beneath his shirt. It would be simple, easy and quick to snake it out and whip it into the bastard’s throat. But a voice in his head reminded him … justice must be served in proper course.

“Turn around,” the captain ordered. “Slowly.”

“Why?” he asked, trying to garner some precious time.

“Because I want to see zee face of zee man who would steal my secrets.”

He began his turn. Slowly. So slowly and so quietly that he could have sworn he heard a drop of sweat from his forehead hit the wooden plank of the floor. He finally stood facing the older man.

Êtes-vous le Renard Noir?” the captain asked.

Pourquoi veux tu savoir?”

Visible in the light of the moon, the captain narrowed his eyes. “Ah, perfect French? Why do I find zat difficult to believe from an obvious Englishman?”

“Obvious?”

“Who else would want zis map?”

His fingers ached to choke the bastard. He might not be able to kill him, but he could wound the scoundrel. Nothing wrong with a wound. He whipped his hand behind his back, grabbed the knife, and hurled it at the captain. It hit the arm that held the pistol. The captain howled. The pistol fired. Smoke filled the cabin with its acrid stench. He ripped the map and fourth pin from the table and ran to the door.

Steps sounded on the planks above the captain’s cabin. In the pitch black belowdecks, he forced himself to wait in the shadows under the stairs until the first group of rescuers filed down the steps into the captain’s cabin. He flattened the map’s scroll and folded it into a six-inch square.

“He’s escaped, you idiots! Find him before he jumps from the ship!” the captain yelled in French.

The group dutifully filed back up to spread across the decks. The captain came running out, clutching his injured arm, blood seeping between his fingers, crimson dripping down his nightshirt. He made his way up the stairs and ran off across the deck.

Springing from the shadows, he raced back into the empty cabin. He flew over to the window, said a brief prayer to fit through the tight space, hoisted up to the ledge, and pushed his upper body through. He ripped off his black tricorn, stuck the folded map to his head, and pulled down the hat as firmly as possible.

A rope swung outside the captain’s window two feet to the right. Thank God for small favors. He lunged at it and grabbed it. Noiselessly, he lowered himself down the rope, bracing both feet against the hull to rappel toward the water. Lowering quietly, he winked back at the figurehead of a saucy French woman carved beneath the captain’s cabin. As soon as he made it into the water, he let go of the rope and swam like a mackerel fleeing a shark toward the shore, careful to keep his head out of the foul-smelling drink. He counted on the black of night and the murky Thames to hide him from the searchers on the ship.

As he covered the distance between the French ship and the shore, he could hear the Frenchmen yelling and running about. He dared a glance back. Every lantern on the ship appeared to have been lit and the crew was scurrying about like a bevy of ants on an infiltrated hill.

He swam to the darkest spot on the far end of the docks, around the bend from sight of the French ship, and pulled himself ashore beneath a creaky dock using only his forearms. Exhausted, he rolled onto his back and lay breathing heavily in the pitch-black night. One hand went up to clap the top of his tricorn and a wide smile spread across his face.

He’d done it. He’d escaped from a French ship with the map detailing the planned route to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena. Of course he had. He was the Black Fox.

~Copyright © 2017 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted with the permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

 

The Lady and the Highlander (A Highland Fairy Tale #3)

The Lady and the Highlander
The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

~ARC was given by the publisher, via NetGalley.~

The 3rd boo of the “A Highland Fairytale” series. We had Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and now Snow White.

From the start of the book, it was quite intriguing. There were the elements of magic, and it sounded so mystical. I as read the book, I was like expecting some kind of Snow White type of story. However, I was surprise on the flow of the story.

It was good in a refreshing kind of way. Iain’s curse, was more likely a promise. And Laire? I like her. She is just like her father, fierce and loyal to her family. I wanted to hate Iain, but somehow, the way he tried his best to protect Laire shows what his true feeling.

I was truly amaze with Laire though. She may look like a fragile flower, but her skills with a knife is something that was mind blowing. I was actually laughing when Iain was caught.

The unexpected way this was written gave it a good story. The way the rest of characters were introduce was something else too.

Their love for one another was really good. He was afraid of what will happen to her, and he really did his best to protect her. However, as the daughter of the Fierce Laird MacLeod, she is more capable of withstanding any obstacles thrown in her way.

The ending? It was good. I love it.

I never liked reading fairy tales. For me it is a mite shallow and superficial. But the way Lecia Cornwall, re imagine them, with the Scottish touch, makes it interesting. The dept of the characters makes each story more believable than the ones we are used to.

I look forward to the next book!

View all my reviews

My One True Highlander (No Ordinary Hero, #2)

My One True Highlander
My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

~ARC from the publisher, via NetGalley~

This is one of those books that was funny and like a what the moment.

Okay not really, but the way Graeme and Marjorie met was anything but ordinary. So are the succeeding scenes after that. I still can’t help but laugh every time I remembered the series of kidnapping in this book. Granted, it was for a good cause, but man!

First off, I can really feel how much Marjorie wanted to belong to the society she was suddenly trust in. However, during the time period of this book, people do not just accept you because you suddenly become a Lady. It takes more than that. That is one of the reasons, I hate that period. People are quickly judge. As for Graeme? He has his reasons for not loving. And I must say, I cried. At a young age, he had to be the Laird and the guardian to all his sibling. I admire him for his actions.

But what I truly like about this book was the way Gabriel and Graeme converse to each other. Yup, truly enjoyed that part.

You do not need to do what society see fit just to find your place in the world. All you have to do is be you. Society does not defines you, its your action and how true you really are.

~That was my thought on Marjorie’s situation, in the end, she was able to be in the place where her heart righteously belong to.

Looking forward for the next book.

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Last Night with the Duke (The Rakes of St. James, #1)

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coverBook Blurb:

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?

~Blurb from GoodReads.

The Review:

~ ARC invitation was mailed from the publisher. The link of the copy was made available via NetGalley.~

This is the first book of the Rakes of St. James series. Once again, as a start, we are presented with the people involve in the coming books, and the reason why it is named like that.

I was actually surprise with Griffin’s personality. From the start to the end of the book, I did not know that he would hold on that long! And the way he made sure of his feeling for Esmeralda was really sweet. There were times that I would find some parts in his thoughts lacking. However, it did not alter the over all effect of the story. It did not have that effect when it comes to how the English society see things, but it did push thorough with the initial plot of the book.

I like the book, namely because the adult part of it was on the very latter part of the story. Most of the time, it would be interaction of the main characters and the sub characters. There are times that I find those boring, but not enough to warrant a lost of interest with the book itself.

However, I am looking forward in reading the next book. I would like to know what and who among the rest of the so-called Rakes would have a HEA.

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Below is an except from the book:

His praise pleased her. She smiled and remained quiet. “Most of our guests would end up being so flustered by seeing double that they wouldn’t try to get their name right. They would just say ‘my lady.’ ”

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t given that option.”

“After you’ve been around for a few more days, you’ll be able to tell them apart no matter how they are dressed.”

“It’s already getting easier.”

“Good. They may look exactly alike at times, but they have different natures. Vera’s nature is more forceful and cantankerous. Sara’s sweeter.” Esmeralda started to say she agreed completely, but then thought better of it, and simply replied, “But both are lovely.”

The duke faced her. “Did Miss Fortescue teach you how to be so diplomatic?”

“No,” she answered with a teasing smirk. “It’s my nature.”

His smile was natural as he said, “And a temperamental nature it is at times.”

She frowned. “I’ll ignore that comment.”

“But you know it’s true. I’m glad you suggested bringing the girls to the park and so is my aunt. And I see you brought Josephine and Napoleon along too.

“You don’t mind, do you? I supposed I should have cleared it with you first.”

“I don’t mind. I can see you aren’t neglecting Sara and Vera. They are enjoying the show too.”

“I think so. Vera showed Josephine how to play throw and fetch with a stick. Napoleon was already quite familiar with what to do, so his former owners must have taught him. And the twins were very accommodating to him on our walk over here. They didn’t get upset when Napoleon wanted to check out every doorway, hitching post, and tree along the way.”

He chuckled. “Living a protected life at Griffin for so many years, Sara and Vera have had few occasions to en- joy friendships or relatives their own age. It will be good for them to have you as their chaperone. Except for me, my aunt, and the servants, they’ve had only each other to get to know. It’s made them close, but it also, regrettably, causes a fierce competitiveness from time to time.”

Including the pianoforte and Lord Henry, Esmeralda wanted to say but decided that Griffin didn’t need to know about the earl’s son.

“I’m rather glad they have someone else in the house to interact with now other than each other.”

“And that will change after they meet young ladies at the various parties.”

“Which reminds me,” he added. “I looked into your suggestion of finding out which young ladies who were a part of the wager hadn’t married and also had brothers, uncles, or fathers.”

“Who did you come up with?” she asked anxiously. “Only two names.”

“But didn’t Sir Welby think there were more than two at White’s?”

He nodded. “He did but admitted he couldn’t be sure of anything other than the comments that perhaps the way to get back at me was through my sisters. If you listen carefully enough in a taproom, you can overhear a lot of conversations.”

“But you’re saying we have two young men to watch carefully, right?”

“Yes. For now, anyway. Sir Charles  Redding  and Mr. Albert Trent are the only gentlemen who have sisters who received a secret admirer letter but never married.”

Esmeralda repeated the names in her mind. They weren’t on any of Lady Evelyn’s lists. And they wouldn’t be. She wouldn’t consider either of them high enough in the heel to offer for the twins.

Why did Esmeralda keep forgetting all she’d been taught when she was living in her uncle’s home? She knew all about the snobbery of Polite Society. She just hadn’t been a part of it for a long time. And now she was on the other side of it.

“I will keep a steady eye on the two should they get near Lady Sara or Lady Vera even for a dance.”

The duke’s eyes swept up and down her face. Fluttering began in Esmeralda’s chest. It was madness that whenever he looked at her with that intimate intensity radiating from him, she wanted him to pull her into his strong arms, nestle her to him, and kiss her eager lips. She knew he was attracted to her. He had admitted that. But surely she was more aware of his every breath than he was of hers.

“Did you know that out in the sunlight your eyes lose all their brown coloring and are golden?”

With that question, Esmeralda felt the atmosphere change. The noise of the crowd faded away, the cool breeze stilled, and the sun heated her face. It was as if she and the duke were the only two people in the park.

“How could I possibly know that? I have never seen my eyes outside a house.”

“I thought perhaps someone might have told you -your parents, possibly a beau?”

“I’m sure you’ve had countless ladies tell you that your eyes are as blue as a summer sky.”

He ignored her comment and said, “You skillfully deflected my question, but I’m not going to let you get by with that.”

She evaded him again by saying, “Did you ask one? I thought you were making a statement.”

He gave her an amused smile. “It’s always a challenge with you, Esmeralda. I like that.”

She gasped. “You can’t call me by my given name.”

“I can and will when we are alone and no one around to hear but you. Now, here is a direct question for you, Esmeralda. Have you ever been kissed?”

Her immediate instinct should have been to shy away from such intimate conversation once more and insist he call her Miss Swift at all times. It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him she was outraged he’d ask her something so personal, but staring into his striking gaze as it brushed down her face to her mouth, she knew she didn’t want to resist him in that way or any way.

Maybe she wanted him to call her Esmeralda and to know that her lips had never been touched by another’s. Maybe she wanted him to know she’d welcome his kiss.

Still, her practical, survival nature came to her rescue and she resisted what her heart desired and said, “I’ve not had time nor opportunity for such things as hugs and kisses.”

“Twenty-five and never been kissed.” His voice was low, and soft. “I find that very intriguing.”

His hold over her intensified. There was something about his unobtrusive interest in her that stirred her womanly passions to an anticipation she couldn’t have known existed.

Her throat ached with an increasing need that was always denied -to feel his lips caress hers. Perhaps he found it intriguing she’d never been kissed, but she found it discouraging that she’d never had the opportunity to know what it felt like to be kissed. She wanted to know.

Putting all her sensible, inner declarations aside, and willing her voice not to quiver, she asked, “Are you offering to change that, Your Grace?”

Copyright © 2017 by Amelia Grey and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

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LAST NIGHT WITH THE DUKE

By Amelia Grey

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-10249-2

Price: $7.99

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Highland Vixen (Highland Weddings, #2)

Highland Vixen

 

 

 
Highland Vixen by Mary Wine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a while, a long while to write the review of this book. There were some parts that really shook me. And up to now, the story still have an effect on my emotional upheaval. The story line is really nice.

~ARC was given via NetGalley.~

This is the second book of the series, and this time it is the War Lord’s story. I actually like this. However, the number of events during the whole book was too much. It was a bit too overwhelming. They were insightful, but man, I wanted to kill some people in the book myself.

The events, the thoughts of the aristocrats were too much for me. Yes, I am used to it, but the depravity of the people in this book was too much. Especially, Brenda’s side of the story. That was too much, and i find myself crying on how she was treated. I wanted to gut those men. It was noble of her, but what of the price?

The ending was really good, I am looking forward to read the next book. I love Katherine, the way her thoughts were made is really good.

I rate this 4 stars, well, its Marcus.

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