Vampires and Shifters and Incubi, oh MY!
Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance
By Jennifer Ashley, Alyssa Day, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Erin Quinn, Bonnie Vanak and Caris Roane
Eight hot paranormal romances by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Alpha-male bad boys will fulfill your darkest, most deadliest desires in these stories about shifters, werewolves, vampires, magic, special powers and other realms. But only if you dare…
Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance Boxed Set is now available worldwide for a special introductory price of only $0.99! (Yes, you read that right. $0.99!) This ebook boxed set of eight hot paranormal romances features powerful alpha male heroes who will satisfy your darkest, most deadliest desires and includes the following stories:
BODYGUARD by Jennifer Ashley
Elizabeth Chapman is saved from an armed attacker by a Kodiak bear who shifts into a tight-bodied, naked human male. Ronan takes Elizabeth to Shiftertown, becoming her 24/7 bodyguard. The mateless Ronan has adopted a houseful of orphaned Shifters–having grown up in foster care, Elizabeth is touched by his protectiveness. Ronan only wants to keep Elizabeth safe, but the sassy woman is triggering his long-buried need to mate.
ALEJANDRO’S SORCERESS by Alyssa Day
He’s a warrior, hardened by years of protecting his town from vampire attack. She’s a garden witch who sees the world in shades of sunshine and delight. Opposites don’t only attract, they go supernova in this sizzling tale of magic and mayhem.
BEWITCH by Felicity Heaton
A vampire with a bloodstained past and a soul tainted with darkness, Payne is perfect in his self-control, never surrendering to his darkest desires. Now a beautiful witch in the shadowy fae underworld reawakens long denied hungers and tempts him with pleasure. When one incredible night of fulfilling their fantasies leads to more than just keeping a promise and saving a friend, will they be able to overcome the barriers that stand between them and forever?
DARKNESS FALLS by Erin Kellison
Agent Malcolm Rook is hunting for people with the rarest of talents—the ability to master dreams. He finds the undeniably gifted Jordan Lane, but she’s wary of mysterious Rook and resists his pursuit as long as she can. Yet the dreamwaters they enter are too exhilarating to resist, and attraction soon ignites electric passions. Delving too deep stirs a nightmare, one they must defeat, or be forever lost to darkness.
ROGUE’S PASSION by Laurie London
Blaming himself for the death of a friend, Iron Guild warrior Asher Kane vows to bring those responsible to justice. After he’s hurt on a mission and nursed back to health by a beautiful yet mysterious woman, this dangerously sexy bad-boy finds himself falling for Olivia…even as he struggles to stay away. But stalking them on the streets of New Seattle is a cruel and vengeful evil—one that threatens to destroy them both…
THE FORBIDDEN LIFE OF ALEX MOORE by Erin Quinn
Alex’s mission: Kill the hellhounds that have invaded earth and return to his home in the Beyond. But from the start, things go horribly wrong. The hounds are cunning and a human female witnesses their attack—she intervenes and saves Alex’s life. Now he must keep the alluring Lilly alive while fighting his desire for her. When passion flares, Alex risks all to protect her and defend the forbidden life he craves.
THE MATING HEAT by Bonnie Vanak
Werewolf Kara Mitchell fled with her brother Aiden to Montana after their alpha father punished her for kissing sexy omega werewolf Ryder Carrington. Left scarred by her father’s cruelty, Kara believes no one can love her. After killing his alpha to save the pack, Ryder now rules, but needs a mate. His blood runs hot for Kara. Ryder will do anything to claim her, even risk an all-out pack war that could cost them everything…
TRAPPED by Caris Roane
Mastyr Vampire Zephyr, a one-man fighting force, struggles to save the life of a woman who despises his warrior ways. She’s been a thorn in his side, but he has one goal: to keep her safe. For Alesia, however, she just wishes he’d leave her alone since she can never approve of his profession. She broke up with him months ago and wants to start a new life. The trouble is, he’s still the one man who can curl her toes.
WHERE TO BUY:
Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romanceis available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/dark-and-deadly/
EXCERPT FROM ALEJANDRO’S SORCERESS BY ALYSSA DAY:
Alejandro had only taken a single step toward the front door of the small house when a woman who looked like sunshine walked out, and his entire world shifted on its axis.
She was stunning, but he’d seen beautiful women before. This one—she was somehow different. Her hair was a lush fall of gorgeous golden blond, but her athletic figure was neither model-thin nor lusciously curved. Her face was captivating, though—something about the combination of her individual features packed a punch right to his gut. Maybe her lips, or her elegant bone structure. Maybe her eyes.
They were so blue that he almost couldn’t believe they were real, and they were snapping with fire, impatience, or annoyance. He couldn’t decipher her emotion from her eyes alone, but something about her made him want to spend hours trying.
It took him another beat to realize that her lips were pressed together in a firm line. When she put her hands on her hips—gently rounded hips that clearly had been made for a man to hold–even he, blinded by the most immediate case of raging lust he’d ever felt, could see that she was angry about something.
He tried to focus on the job. He told himself that she’d probably have a terrible personality. He reminded himself that she was a witch, and then it hit him. She projected a sense of power—a feeling of barely leashed magic—that somehow transformed her into the most fascinating woman he’d ever seen. Maybe it was some kind of spell? She was a witch, after all, and he had never reacted like this before.
His libido didn’t care about the why. It just wanted to get her naked, which was damn stupid under the circumstances and therefore made him suspicious.
“So. You must be the P-Ops guys. Let me guess; you’re from the government and you’re here to help?” Sarcasm and something else, maybe annoyance, coated her words, but her voice was musical and so sexy that he wanted to hear her talk all night long.
Well. Maybe not all night.
She was breathing hard, and Alejandro tried not to notice the way her breasts pressed against her shirt. He was a professional agent, damn it, not a horny kid. He fumbled for his badge, but Mac beat him to it.
Mac moved around the car, holding out his hand. “Mac Henson and Alejandro Vasquez, ma’am. You have a basilisk problem?”
Right. The basilisk. Alejandro snapped into action and opened the trunk of the car. He pulled out a shotgun, extra ammo, and a helmet with a darkened visor to protect himself from the basilisk’s deadly gaze.
“Where is it? Is anybody harmed?” he asked, heading back toward the house.
The woman’s mouth twitched, and he could have sworn he saw a smile curve her lips, but it was gone so fast that maybe he’d imagined it. “I’m Rose Cardinal. Are you sure you’re ready for this? That might not be enough protection.”
Alejandro’s gaze snapped to Mac, who strode back to the trunk to suit up.
“We’re ready, ma’am,” Alejandro said, his confidence in his skills and training overriding his tongue-tied fumbling. She must have put a spell on him. He’d never reacted to a woman at first glance like this before. Not even to Maria.
“Are you presently casting any spells?” he asked bluntly. Surely that kind of beauty had to be helped along by magical glamour.
She laughed out loud this time. “No, officer, I’m not bewitching you in any way. Don’t you have some kind of magic meter?”
He did, in fact, have a dial on his agency-issued watch that reacted with different colored lights in the presence of magic. He’d forgotten about it, like an idiot. He glanced down at it and saw that the dials remained dark. No magic detected whatsoever.
“It’s agent, not officer,” he said. “But you can call me Alejandro.”
“Call me Rose,” she responded, and an intriguing hint of pink appeared on her cheeks.
Grab the boxed set for just $0.99 to read this story and seven others…
I’m still working on my review of these eight interesting tales. I’ll sum up my initial reaction as:
with a wee bit of:
REMEMBER: Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/dark-and-deadly/
AND NOW IT’S:
Click on Giveaway Kitty for your chance to enter GIVEAWAY on RAFFLECOPTER
- 1 winner will receive a a digital copy (ePub or MOBI only, PDF is not available) of Dark and Dangerous: Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances Boxed set. **Please note that this is NOT the boxed set that’s being featured by this post, but an earlier release**
- This giveaway is international!
- Earn 3 entries for leaving a comment to this blog post telling me your favorite species of paranormal alpha hero (i.e. vampire, shapeshifter, human, etc.) Me? I like a nice alpha werewolf – especially if he’s Scottish.
- See terms and conditions of giveaway for details
Kick up your heels and celebrate the arrival of two new historical romances by Paula Quinn and Sue-Ellen Welfonder. Leave the ballrooms of London behind and head up to wilds of Scotland to enjoy adventurous tales of great Scot heroes and the feisty lasses who love them. Details on a chance win a $25 American Express gift card –or a copy of each of these books– located at the bottom of this post. Don’t miss out!
THE SEDUCTION OF MISS AMELIA BELL by Paula Quinn
(March 25, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)
Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.
Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?
Book 1 in the new series HIGHLAND HEIRS introduces readers to the descendants of the Highland warriors first introduced in Quinn’s MACGREGOR series (and their progeny in the CHILDREN OF THE MIST series). This new series easily stands alone but I, for one, enjoyed not only the familiar history but watching the struggles of Scotland itself unfold. There’s a great MacGregor family tree on Paula’s website for reference, along with some very detailed bonus features.
One thing I really appreciate about Paula Quinn’s novels is the rich historical details she layers into them. I came to the historical romance sub genre by way of a fascination with historical fiction so I get an extra thrill reading about real historical events and characters. This book involves the Treaty of Union (1707) between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (creating the Kingdom of Great Britain) – and the role of the Duke of Queensberry in its negotiation and ratification. Our heroine, the fictional Miss Amelia Bell, is the niece of Queensberry and a pawn in his political machinations.
The last book I read by Paula Quinn was Conquered by a Highlander, the story of Edmond (Dearly) MacGregor’s parents. That book featured an adorable young Edmund (age 3-4, I think) who had a very rough start in life. I loved seeing the man he’d grown to be in The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell. Adorable Edmund is now a fierce warrior bravely fighting for what he believes in right for his adopted homeland of Scotland and the clan who gave him love and acceptance. The reasons behind Edmund’s loyalty and passion for Scotland and the MacGregor’s give his character an added complexity I appreciated and made his conflict over his feelings for Amelia more believable.
At first I worried that Amelia would be a bit too ‘adorkable’ for me to tolerate – the beautiful ingenue who has ‘misadventures’. I’m glad I gave her a chance. She had a lot more strength than I initially realized (a bit more than I think even she realized). The only bright spots in Amelia’s life (before Edmund) were her father and her best friend Sarah, a servant. She was a pawn in her uncle and mother’s plotting which led to her betrothal to an ambitious man she did not love. Amelia proved willing to make sacrifices for those she loved (even if I didn’t agree with her choices ;) )
The instant connection between Edmund and Amelia was hampered by his kidnapping her in an attempt to thwart her uncle and betrothed’s plans to ratify the treaty uniting England and Scotland. Their budding relationship and attempts to reconcile what they both wanted with what they thought right was heartwarming. Edmund and Amelia are supported by a cast of fully realized secondary characters – love the banter between the MacGregor cousins. There’s more than one love story at play here (including a poignant case of puppy love) and these secondary romances only serve to enhance the main story rather than detract from it.
If you ‘re looking for a book that will make you laugh, cry, experience history and love, you can’t go wrong with The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell.
My Rating: 4.5/5 bottles of polish for tender love story layered with rich historical detail.
Where you can find The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell:
About author Paula Quinn:
New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.
Ways to Connect with Paula:
TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
(April 29, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)
As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It’s a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can’t resist taking her up on her offer .
Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call “Hawk?” As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.
Book 1 in the medieval SCANDALOUS SCOTS series. A prequel novella, Once Upon a Highland Christmas was published in December 2013 (Forever E-Book; $.99).
Despite being one of four bastards of the same age being raised at Stirling Castle in Scotland, Sorley is a loner who is not quick to engage in friendship or camaraderie. His detached personae hides a vulnerability and longing to find his place in the world. I was touched by his bravado as a boy of fourteen and his quest for purpose only increased as he got older. I could certainly understand Mirabelle’s fascination with him. It was lovely to see him opening himself up to her and revealing his tender side.
I appreciated Mirabelle’s willingness to fight for her right to decide her own future in a time when women had no real power to do so. Her acceptance of Sorley and the circumstances of his birth is an example of her strength of character. Despite her father’s distracted nature, he seemed a caring father so one has to wonder how much of an effort she made to dissuade him from allowing her unacceptable (and vile) suitor. Still, her plan to ‘ruin’ herself was based on more than just using Sorley for stud service, she had a genuine attraction and connection to him as a person.
Ms. Welfonder does a really nice job of setting the scene of medieval Scotland, including the sight and sounds of everyday life at court. I thought the battle scenes were exceptionally well done. I’m looking forward to reading about more of Welfonder’s Scandalous Scots.
4.0/5.0 bottles of polish for a tale of a introverted warrior finding love and acceptance (and a kitten).
Author Sue-Ellen Welfonder will be donating a portion of this book’s royalties to her favorite cat rescue organization, Alley Cat Allies. As if you needed another reason to go out and buy this book!
Where you can find To Love a Highlander:
About author Sue-Ellen Welfonder:
Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines.
Now a full-time writer, she’s quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.
Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.
Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.
Ways to Connect with Sue-Ellen:
Forever Romance (Grand Central Publishing) is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the release of THE SEDUCTION OF MISS AMELIA BELL and TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER on Rafflecopter
Click on Giveaway Kitty for your chance to enter!
- 1 winner will receive a $25 American Express Gift Card
- 10 winners will get copies of THE SEDUCTION OF MISS AMELIA BELL and TO LOVE A HIGHLANDER
- Earn 1 entry for leaving a comment to this blog post
- See terms and conditions of giveaway for details
**I received an advanced copy of this book from the published in exchange for my honest opinion.**
I’d like to introduce you to my new book boyfriend, Aiden Downey. Wait, what? He’s taken?
Damn, all the good ones are. Do you think Sadie would share? No? Can’t blame her, I wouldn’t either. At least I can console myself with the new print edition of Hard to Handle (March 25, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $6.00). Check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post for a chance to win your own copy (plus more goodies)!
Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love . . .
TWICE AS TEMPTING
Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?
Hard to Handle is the second complete book in the Love in the Balance series by Jessica Lemmon. Aiden and Sadie are introduced in the first book Tempting the Billionaire (Forever, Mass Market and E-Book), about Aiden’s cousin Shane and Sadie’s best friend Crickett. The story of Aiden and Sadie’s intense – and ill-fated – first love affair is told in the novella Can’t Let Go (Forever E-Book; $.99). Hard to Handle is the story about their second chance. Ms. Lemmon does an excellent job of filling in the blanks and providing relevant backstory so this book does well as a stand alone. But reading the others does mean more Aiden & Sadie (with a sexy side of Shane & Crickett).
To be honest, second chance love stories aren’t always my thing. In order for there to be second chance, there had to be heartache the first go round and that can skew my reaction to the characters’ relationship. Guess I just prefer a clean slate. Yet in this instance, I was thrilled to read about Aiden and Sadie’s second chance at love since they were given such a bum deal the first time. Aiden and Sadie’s separation wasn’t due to a misunderstanding or argument or betrayal. Aiden’s family needed him and, even though he felt an immediate and real connection with Sadie, he felt he needed to leave her behind as he traveled out of state to support his mother during her battle with cancer. There was no bad guy in their break up (as much as Sadie may have felt wronged); Aiden was in a difficult position and his decision was understandable, although regrettable.
Aiden and Sadie were a perfect match for me. Both had suffered heartache and loss, including betrayal at the hands of people they loved, yet each reacted differently. After sacrificing so much of himself for the benefit of others, Aiden is ready to take what he wants from life, finding what makes him happy and going for it – whether it be a future as owner of a chain of motorcycle shops or the woman of his dreams. Sadie takes that heartache and internalizes it; she closes herself off behind a tough-girl exterior and focuses on her career – as a sales rep for a motorcycle parts manufacturer. See? Perfect match.
Poor Sadie has had a difficult time with men in her life. She lost her father in a fatal motorcycle crash when she was young and she lost her fiancé to her own sister (a fact her family prefer she ignore). Aiden instantly crashes through the walls that Sadie has erected around her heart and that’s what made losing him the first time so devastating. By the time he returns, her emotional barriers are even stronger and her guardedness is the source of the conflict between her and Aiden.
The character of Aiden Downey was the star of this book for me. He’s a perfect balance of sensitive, heart-on-his-sleeve guy who is as sexy and ‘alpha’ as they come. Aiden is the kind of man who would do anything for his family – and has. Now he’s decided it’s his time to reach for what he wants. His optimism and honesty are refreshing – they’re also a little too much for Sadie to handle. His acceptance of Sadie’s total personality, her ambition and hidden vulnerability go a long way toward convincing Sadie to give them a second chance. The fact that he looks like Charlie Hunnam doesn’t hurt either ;-)
I’ll wait here while you take a moment to drool…
**I found both of these pictures on author Jessica Lemmon’s Pinterest page. You’re welcome.**
Excerpt: (teensy bit NSFW)
“Sadie!” He caught her easily, snagging her elbow and pulling her into the one of the open, unoccupied rooms along the hallway. The room was dark, the only light came from the hall and sliced across the floor at an arc. Aiden steered her behind the open door, out of sight from any passersby.
He released her arm. She wouldn’t look at him. “Sadie.”
It took every drop of her dwindling courage, but she finally lifted her eyes to his.
“That’s it?” he asked, his mouth a grim line.
She blinked at him, feeling a flash of fear and regret that soon morphed into anger. “You asked, I said no,” she said, her voice shaking.
“Actually, you said you were sorry.”
She sighed. “I am.” Because she couldn’t marry Aiden. She couldn’t marry anyone. She was a hopeless wreck where men were concerned and—
“So my only options are to take you to bed or lose you forever?”
She blinked at him. “Are you quoting?”
“Maybe.” The corner of her lip tipped into a cautious smile. “Are those my only options?” he asked, his voice quiet.
“I can’t marry you, Aiden,” she whispered, closing her eyes so she wouldn’t have to look at the disappointment swimming in his.
She felt his hand caress her shoulder and a moment later was enveloped in heat as he stepped into her comfort zone. Only, when Aiden was in it, she felt more comfortable, not less.
“Okay,” he said, stroking her face.
She opened her eyes.
His eyes held no clue as to what he meant by that. “What?”
“Did you mean it when you asked me to take you to bed tonight?”
Her heart slammed into third gear. He wasn’t serious…was he? She made the mistake of challenging how serious he was moments ago. She’d been dead wrong. Now he was suggesting…oh. Wow. But that was before…before he’d proposed to her. Before he’d forced her into a tight, dark corner where she couldn’t breathe. “Aiden—”
“I want you to ask me again.” He walked her one step backward. Then two. She allowed him to advance until her butt bumped against the wall.
She shook her head, but there was no conviction in it.
“Ask me again,” he repeated, looking scarily serious. His hands were heating her hips through the material of her dress. He kept his stormy eyes on hers, refusing to allow her to escape. “But only if you still want me.”
Her breaths came in short pants. “I do.”
When he was this close, she couldn’t fight. But maybe…maybe she didn’t want to fight. Not about this. She wanted him; she hadn’t lied about that. And he’d be worth it, she knew. Being with Aiden here, or anywhere, would be better than going home alone and reliving the pain of turning him down. But Aiden wasn’t arguing about his proposal. Which made this decision that much easier.
Sadie licked her lips, took a breath, and asked the damn question. “Will you…take me to bed?”
His hold tightened on her hips. “Yes” came his gravelly response. “To bed.” He kissed her lips. “To your car.” He kissed her neck. “Up against this wall.” He leaned into her body, his erection pressing firmly against her belly.
My Rating: 4.5/5 bottles of polish for a real romance that’s not about dominance but equality and mutual need – while not sacrificing hotness factor. A rare treat.
About Author Jessica Lemmon:
Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)
Where you can buy HARD TO HANDLE:
Forever Romance (Grand Central Publishing) is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the print release of Hard to Handle on Rafflecopter
Click on Giveaway Kitty for your chance to enter!
- 5 winners will win the first two books in the Love in the Balance series, TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE and HARD TO HANDLE, and an advanced copy of the last book, THE MILLIONAIRE AFFAIR
- 5 winners will win the first two books in the Love in the Balance series, TEMPTING THE BILLIONAIRE and HARD TO HANDLE
- Earn 1 entry for leaving a comment to this blog post
- See terms and conditions of giveaway for details
PASSIONATELY YOURS by Cara Elliott
This third entry in The Hellions of High Street eBook series is positively delightful. Following on the heels of Scandalously Yours and Sinfully Yours comes the story of the youngest Sloane sister, Caro. Passionately Yours can be read as a stand alone, however Caro first meets the prickly (yet unarguably delicious) Scot, Alec McClellan, in Sinfully Yours and the sparks instantly fly. I think that background enhanced my appreciation for their relationship. Not to mention, both Scandalously Yours and Sinfully Yours are highly enjoyable reads.
I throughly enjoyed the balance to two main characters brought to one another. Alec appreciated the poetess Caro for what she perceived as her flaws (i.e. her passionate nature) and she in turn helped him open his heart (and mind) to love and other emotions he thought long dead. As you can tell from the excerpt below, Caro and Alex have have one of those wonderfully contentious relationships that’s crackling with sexual tension. A minor flaw for me was the constant reminder of Caro’s unusual childhood education at the hands of her scholar father but it wasn’t enough to detract from the over all quality of the story. Ms. Elliott has crafted a witty and engaging tale that’s fast-paced and intelligent. The escapades of this exuberant heroine and her brooding hero are sure to leave you smiling.
Rating: 4.5/5 bottles of polish for a fun, passionate tale (.5 bonus for brooding Scotsman with soul of a poet).
“One would almost think you were going out of your way to avoid speaking to me.”
“We’re speaking now,” he pointed out.
“I would call it verbal sparring.” Caro edged around impatiently, forcing him to look her in the face. “But now that I have you alone, I’d rather not keep trading thrusts and parries. I would rather discuss far more important matters—such as whether you have learned anything new about the attack on your sister?”
Pursing his lips, Alec shifted his stance just enough to allow him to return to his perusal of the lettering on the column. “Not really.”
“Ye gods.” She restrained the urge to take hold of his arm and give him a hard shake. “What sort of answer is that?”
“The only one I intend to give,” he replied calmly.
“Fine.” Caro watched the breeze ruffle his long hair, causing a tangle of red-gold strands to curl around his ear and dance down the freshly shaven line of his jaw. The faint scent of bay rum tickled at her nostrils.
“Fine,” she repeated, after forcing herself to exhale. “Then I’ll just have to do a little poking around on my own.”
That got his attention. He looked around abruptly, his gaze narrowing to a slitted stare. The movement was quick, but not quick enough to hide the sudden darkening of his eyes.
“That wouldn’t be wise,” he growled. “The only thing I will add for now is that you should stay well away from Edward Thayer.”
“Because…” He let out an exasperated grunt. “Must you always plague me with questions?”
“I wouldn’t have to if you would stop treating me like a feather-headed wigeon.”
Alec’s scowl became more pronounced.
“Haven’t I proved myself trustworthy and capable?”
A small muscle on his jaw twitched. “I am not at liberty to give you any more details right now. All I can say is that…” As he drew in a breath, he seemed to change his mind about what to say. “Thayer is a charming fellow. No doubt his smooth words are more to your liking.”
Deciding Alec deserved a bit of teasing, Caro pretended not to notice the roughness edging his voice. “Yes, he’s exceedingly charming.”
If his storm-blue stare squeezed any tighter, it would be sharper than a razor’s edge.
“And scrupulously polite,” she added.
Alec was becoming more flustered. Small sounds were beginning to rumble in his throat, like the growling of a bear. “I do not have Thayer’s gift of making myself agreeable. He has a honeyed tongue, which seems to appeal to all the ladies.”
“Honey is, after all, a great deal more palatable than vinegar,” Caro pointed out.
He now looked utterly nonplussed.
Caro let him stew for a moment longer before huffing an exasperated sigh. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, give me some credit for having a brain, Lord Strathcona! Of course I don’t find Thayer appealing. When honey drips that freely, it ought to catch naught but flies.”
The growls ceased.
Caro waited for him to speak.
Ever so slowly, Alec shifted his feet, stirring tiny puffs of pale dust beneath his boots.
The flicker of dark leather caused a momentary spasm of doubt as she recalled her chilling encounter in the churchyard.
Alec as evil? She couldn’t explain how, but she knew with a certainty that resonated right down to her very heartbeat that it couldn’t be true.
“Are you saying you would trust my word over his?”
“Yes, you big lummox! I don’t know why I should, but I prefer your snaps and growls.”
A dappling of sunlight seemed to catch on the curl of his lashes, gilding them to a gleaming gold.
“You are forthright, you are honorable in your own maddening way,” she went on. Oh, no man ought to have such beautiful eyes.
She found herself staring, and at that moment, all rational thought seemed to dance away in the breeze. His face was utterly intriguing—a mix of chiseled planes and well-defined features that hinted at hidden secrets.
“And… well, you are quite the most interesting man I have ever met.” Her legs suddenly seemed a little unsteady, so Caro reached out and caught hold of his lapels.
Looking up, she found his mouth was only inches from hers.
“Oh, bosh—I shall probably regret this…” Standing on tiptoes, Caro kissed him. Not a mere feathering of flesh against flesh, but a hard, hungry embrace that she let go on for far, far longer than any proper young lady should dare.
“There, I have no doubt shocked you.”
The tip of his tongue traced along the swell of his lower lip.
“I imagine you think me a wanton hellion, and I suppose I am. It must be my eccentric upbringing. I don’t care very much for rules.”
Caro knew she was babbling but she couldn’t seem to stop. “You may consign me to the Devil. But at least I shall dance a merry jig on my way to perdition.”
Was that finally a hint of smile?
She finally dared pause to take a breath. A long, shuddering breath. Now was the time to flee, before she made an even bigger fool of herself.
But Alec suddenly shifted again, blocking her way.
“I, too, shall probably regret this,” he said as he slowly circled his arms around her and pulled her close.
She opened her mouth. To protest?
Before she could make any sense of what she had set in motion, their lips met again, setting off a fierce jolt of fire.
NEVER ENTICE AN EARL by Lily Dalton
Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as “Kate” is the Season’s most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton‘s ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love?
Never Entice an Earl is the second book in the One Scandalous Season series, following Ms. Dalton’s Regency debut Never Desire a Duke (eBook currently on sale for $.99! iTunes, Amazon, B&N). As much as I enjoyed the previous book, I liked Never Entice an Earl even more. The plotting was evenly paced and managed to throw in some twists and surprises I didn’t see coming.
Despite some initial confusion regarding each other’s identities, Daphne and Cormack were open and honest regarding their feelings and mutual attraction. They each had their own reasons for denying what lay between them and Ms. Dalton does an excellent job building the tension until it reaches its inevitable conclusion. Cormack and Daphne have wonderful chemistry, their connection is instant and exciting from the moment they meet. At times I grew a little annoyed by Daphne and Cormack putting up obstacles to their own happiness, but I’ll take that as a sign of the author’s ability to make me invested in the characters and their relationship. There are some intriguing secondary characters whom I hope to read more about. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment, Never Surrender to a Scoundrel – the teaser chapter at the end of Never Entice an Earl caught my attention for sure!
Rating: 4/5 bottles of polish for an compelling second installment in an enjoyable series.
The heat in his gaze intensified. He leaned toward her, his handsome face commanding her full attention. “So tell me, Kate, in addition to being a dancer to pay off this debt, and not a very talented one at that, did you also entertain patrons?”
“Entertain?” She blinked, flustered by his proximity, and his overwhelming maleness. Had he truly said she was not a good dancer? And wait… he had said patrons. She frowned. “I beg your pardon?”
Certainly he did not believe…well, she supposed he might, given the sordid circumstances in which he’d found her.
One dark eyebrow lifted. “The Blue Swan is a brothel.”
“Never,” she blurted, heat rising to scald her cheeks. “This was my first night ever to go to that place, and it was not at all what I’d expected.” She spoke the truth now. Not all her words were lies. “All I had was the address on a scrap of paper, and instructions that I would be a model in the tableaux.”
A sudden fear came over her, a dreadful worry that in her naivety she’d misjudged the stranger beside, that he wasn’t a gentleman, but instead just like the others who had crowded against the stage, mindless with lust. He could easily overpower her, and satisfy whatever male urges he wished.
But he did not. He instead eased back into the seat until shadows obscured his countenance, all but his sensual lips, which pursed and frowned. She sighed with relief
“Good.” He nodded. Below his breath, he muttered, “Yes, good…I suppose.”
He conveyed a mixed message, one of approval but also disappointment. What if she’d answered yes? Would he have sought to make use of her services? All the wicked things Sophia had described came to her in a vivid rush. Her mind entertained a fleeting fantasy, one of tangled sheets, muscled limbs and bare skin.
The very idea of being intimate with a stranger, with this stranger—
She exhaled, bemused.
–was not as appalling as it ought to be.
Perhaps it was the graveness in his eyes, above lips that she suspected always carried some semblance of a smile that made her heart contract and her blood run hot.
He really was nonpareil. No man in her social circle compared, but that was because he obviously wasn’t a nobleman. No nobleman would travel about London in a shabby, half-destroyed carriage nor converse on such familiar terms with their driver.
“Who are you, Cormack?” she asked.
“Are you a newspaperman? A store owner, or a sea captain? Please tell me, I want to know.”
“I…er, a merchant actually. Saltpeter.”
That answered her question. After tonight, she most certainly would never see him again. A merchant would never be allowed into the ballrooms of the haute ton. Even if he was deliriously rich, which he obviously wasn’t, given the condition of his equipage, the upper echelon of the beau monde, to which she had been born, simply did not intermingle with men of trade.
Her adventurous nature awakened. No, she didn’t intend to ever marry, but…what would be wrong with kissing a handsome, intriguing stranger she’d never see again?
Everything inside her soared and spiraled and exploded into sparkly stars at wondering. Again, her gaze settled on his mouth, which slowly, as if it read her mind, turned up at the corners, making her catch her breath.
At that moment, the carriage made a sudden turn and tilted steeply. Daphne toppled, the whole of her weight crushing into Cormack. His arms came round her, seizing her in place against his chest. The carriage bounced down again, and continued on, to the sound of Jackson cursing at another driver, but Cormack didn’t release her. How she wished she wasn’t wearing the coat, which smelled of damp wool. He, on the other hand, smelled delicious, like rainwater and soap.
“How unexpected,” he murmured, his mouth so close his breath feathered across her lips. “But not unwelcome.”
“No,” she whispered. “Not…unwelcome.”
Just then the carriage jerked to a stop and a hard rap sounded against the roof.
A low, bruxy growl emitted from Cormack’s throat. “What a pity.”
WHAT A RECKLESS ROGUE NEEDS by Vicky Dreiling
Colin Brockhurst, Earl of Ravenshire, has no desire to wed, this season or any other. So when his father demands he give up his wild ways and take a wife, Colin refuses. But his father raises the stakes and threatens to sell the ancestral home if Colin doesn’t comply. Now Colin has no choice but to find a wife. Unfortunately, the only woman he wants is the one whose heart he broke years ago.
Regardless of the ton‘s whispers, Lady Angeline Brenham won’t settle for anything less than true love. After rejecting more than her share of suitable suitors, spinsterhood looms before her-until the devilishly handsome Colin reappears in her life with a proposition. Angeline vows to keep her feet on the ground and her heart in check. That is, until one searing kiss melts her resolve and reignites a burning desire for more . . .
With every new book I fall in little bit more in love with Vicky Dreiling’s writing. With What a Reckless Rogue Needs, my status as a Vicky Dreiling fangirl is firmly cemented. This book is a beautiful, character driven emotional journey about two people stumbling toward their happy-ever-after.
I adore Colin. I adore Angeline. I like them separately; I love them together. Whether as adversaries, friends or lovers, the connection between the two is palpable and electric, jumping right off the page. I confess I’m a sucker for the kind of Hepburn & Tracy dynamic at play here (and in Passionately Yours, see above). The relationships with their respective family members added depth to the story and helped shape Colin and Angeline into fully realized characters. Ms. Dreiling strikes a balance between light hearted and deeper emotions that makes What a Reckless Rogue Needs much more than your average read.
Rating: 5/5 bottles of polish for an intelligent, witty and believable romance!
“Come with me,” she said, opening the door to the bedchamber that she assumed had belonged to his father years ago.
“Angeline, what are you about?”
“There is no need to worry. I’ve no intention of seducing you.”
He sighed theatrically. “What a pity.”
“You will have to look elsewhere for sympathy.” She took him over to the shaving stand. “Have a look in the glass.”
“My hair is even more of a disheveled, curly mess than usual.” He met her gaze in the mirror. “When I was a lad, I used to spit in my hands and try to wet down the curls.”
She laughed. “Eww.”
“I’m tempted now.”
“For whose benefit? I do not care if your hair is standing on end.” Liar.
He turned and clutched his hands to his heart. “Woe is me.”
She would never tell him that his unruly curls only added to his masculine appeal.
A slow smile tugged at his mouth. It was a kneeweakening, toe-curling rake’s smile meant to disarm a lady. She was, of course, impervious to him. Well, maybe not completely.
“You’re a bit disheveled, too,” he said.
“What?” She walked over to the shaving mirror.
“Got you,” he said, laughing.
She spun around. “You’re as horrid as a little boy.”
“I may be horrid, but I’m no boy.”
“You’re in luck. I find you mildly tolerable today.”
“Lucky me,” he said, beginning to close the distance between them.
She tried to ignore the husky note in his voice, but the deep sound hummed inside her. Tension hung in the air, and unbidden, she recalled the way his muscles had strained while he’d wielded that ax. She dared not let him know how he’d affected her.
“I have a confession to make,” he said.
Now she couldn’t breathe, because he was too close and the scent of him swirled all around her.
“I find you charming today.”
She took a step back and lifted her chin. “It will wear off quickly.”
He took another step. There was a languorous expression in his eyes. She might have noticed the amber hues in them, but only because she was perceptive by nature. Drat it all. Why couldn’t he have a long nose, pointed chin, and no muscles at all? And why after all these years did she find him irresistible?
He advanced again. Now his boots were inches away from the toes of her slippers.
She took two more steps back and bumped against the mattress.
He closed his big hand around the bedpost and his gaze flickered briefly to her décolletage. Her breasts felt heavier, and her nipples tightened. The sound of his breath was faster and a little rough. She was drawn to his full lower lip. Something inside of her gave way to desire. She wanted to be closer to him.
As if he could read her thoughts, he closed the scant distance between them. He angled his head and looked into her eyes. “Is this surrender?”
The sensual haze cleared, and she glared at him. Outrageous man. How dare he look at her bosom? Angeline straightened her spine. “Do you think I am intimidated by you?”
“Not at all.” He wagged his brows. “Those two steps back were merely dance steps. Am I correct?”
She closed the distance between them in an effort to assert herself, but she realized the disadvantage immediately. While she was tall for a lady, he was easily half a head taller and much too close. He filled her senses and belatedly she realized she’d invited a rake into a bedchamber. Had she lost her wits?
“You are a shameless libertine.”
His chest shook with laughter. “Not entirely shameless. I’ve had one or two guilt-ridden moments, but fortunately they dissipated quickly.” His gaze slid over her body. “I suspect you’ve been told many times how very beautiful you are.”
She knew it was a rake’s trick to murmur sweet words and tempt a lady to loosen her morals, but he looked at her with intent. Without thinking, she wet her lips, and that drew his attention. She’d inadvertently signaled she wanted a kiss, but of course she would rather kiss a snake.
Tension vibrated between them. Now was the moment to step away, but she stood rooted to the spot as if her feet were mired in a bog.
He reached for her nape, just as the knocker downstairs rapped repeatedly.
She gasped, and they sprang apart.
Rake that he was, he winked and said, “Saved by the knocker.”
- One winner will receive (1) digital copy of Passionately Yours, (1) print copy of Never Entice an Earl and (1) print copy of What a Reckless Rogue Needs.
- Giveaway is open to residents of US/Canada ONLY.
- Leave a comment to this post for an entry: I love bantering nemesis turned lover tales. What’s your favorite couple’s dynamic? AND
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(You can also click on the bouncing kitty!)
Thanks to Forever Romance for sponsoring this giveaway!
This post was inspired by the novel The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. Young lawyer Sophie unwillingly takes her first divorce case with an entertaining and volatile client in this novel told mostly through letters and legal missives. Join From Left to Write on March 18 we discuss The Divorce Papers. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
As I read through this clever and original book, I felt like I was reading one of my old case files, complete with court pleadings, internal memorandum, case law and obnoxious letters from odious opposing counsel.
I never set out to be a “divorce lawyer.” Most of my cases (back in the dark ages when I was an active practicing attorney) involved representing federal government employees in employment discrimination actions. However, every now and then, I would take the occasional “domestic relations” case (i.e. divorce, separation, child custody, child support, etc.). And guess what? I hated them. Every. Single. Case. I didn’t like the pettiness, the ugliness. Even when things went well, I didn’t like the underlying sadness of it all.
At one point in The Divorce Papers, Sophie, the reluctant divorce lawyer (I could totally relate), advises her happily-married friend:
Never get divorced. The things you fight about are so demeaning. Everything comes down to money. I keep thinking of Oscar Wilde’s definition of a cynic as someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. He was talking about a divorce lawyer.
I laughed out loud at this as it reminded me of a conversation I had with my husband as I was preparing discovery requests in my first divorce case. [As a point of clarification, each side in a civil action is entitled to obtain information from the opposing side before trial in an attempt to allow the parties to "discover" all the relevant facts and avoid being blindsided at trial.] I called my husband and informed him point blank we’d never be getting a divorce. As relieved as he was by my revelation, he couldn’t help but wonder what caused my epiphany. It was simple, notwithstanding my undying love and devotion to him and our family, I could never answer the damn Interrogatory questions!
As a lawyer it can be easy to get caught up in the gamesmanship and strategy of a case. There can be a certain thrill in finding the perfect case to support your position or stringing together an argument that torpedoes your opposition. The important thing to remember in handling a “domestic relations” proceeding is that there are families at stake, not just matters of gross income and property distribution. Even if there were no children from a marriage, it’s still just sad. Marriages start with love and hope and usually end with neither. People get ugly and mean – lawyers and clients both – losing sight of the emotional price that’s paid.
I admit there were times when reading The Divorce Papers that my lawyerly juices started flowing and I felt twinges of missing the challenges of practicing law. Even so, I wouldn’t trade my best day as a lawyer for my worst day home with my kids. My assistant used to tease me that I should bill myself as “the lawyer you want to hug” (oddly my clients always hugged me, guess it was my maternal nature? Or maybe I’m just huggable? ;)). Nice as it was to have my clients like me, I prefer the hugs of my four sons and the loving arms of my husband of 20+ years.
THE DIVORCE PAPERS comes out on March 18. You can pick up a copy at your favorite book retailer, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s available in both print and e-book formats. Don’t forget to join the discussion at From Left to Write and follow author Susan Reiger on twitter!
Smack my ass and call me Beatriz, Tiffany Reisz has done it again (really, I’m not kidding – I want to be Bea). Ms. Reisz, author of the erotic Original Sinners series has penned the flawless novella MISBEHAVING for February’s COSMO RED-HOT READS from HARLEQUIN.
**I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.**
Wanted: Adventurous, open-minded man willing to try…anything…
As a popular sex blogger, Beatriz gets paid to have orgasms. So being on deadline the week of her sister’s wedding isn’t as rough as it sounds. There’s just one hitch: Bea’s assignment is to write a review of a sex position manual, but she doesn’t have a plus-one to play with.
The good news: Ben, the one who got away back in college, is also attending stag—and he’s as temptingly gorgeous as ever.
The bad news: Ben turned down Bea’s offer of graduation-night sex five years ago.
The best news: He’s not planning on making the same mistake twice….
My Rating: 5/5 Bottles of Polish
If this book were a polish I’d be wearing it all the time!
Erotica without character or plot is just plain boring. Fortunately, Tiffany Reisz’s work never falls prey to those traps found in lesser works. Her writing is guaranteed to make you feel and make you think – you believe in her characters and the relationships she crafts have substance. In her new novella MISBEHAVING, Tiffany Reisz provides readers with a fun and intelligent adventure (emphasis on fun).
In lesser hands than Ms. Reisz, the story of a grab-the-world-by-the-balls heroine like Beatriz in search of a partner to help her perform the acts in THE MANUAL (The Joy of Sex for Generation Y!) could have turned into an almost rote recitation of sexual encounters (the couple did X, the couple did Y, etc.). Yet, Ms Reisz has such a flair for dialogue and character building that the sex scenes (which are plentiful and HAWT) are an extension of the relationship between Bea and Ben rather than the sole focus of the entire story. The secondary characters of Bea’s sister Claudia and her fiancé Henry add potential foils to the budding Beatriz/Ben romance and aid in rounding out the tale.
I LOVE Bea’s positive attitude about her body and sex – she owns her sensuality. It takes a special man to be the equal of such a strong woman and not be intimidated by her. Ben is more than up to the task; he’s just as open and willing to try anything (unlike his poor, terrified vanilla buddy Henry).
This self-described “modern erotic retelling” of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing is a can’t-miss erotic read with witty banter and naughty bits worthy of the Bard’s regard.
GIVEAWAY: In honor of the release of MISBEHAVING, The Novel Tease is sponsoring a GIVEAWAY on Rafflecopter! Just click on the blog tour button below in order to enter for a chance to win one of great prizes available (including $25 Amazon or B&N gift card, ebook copy of MISBEHAVING or THE MISTRESS FILES)!
Where to Buy:
If she couldn’t write, she would die.
You can connect with Tiffany all over the interwebz. I personally adore her Twitter feed:
Tiffany’s Website (some great Original Sinners extras and free stories!)
Author Sylvia Day has finally released a longer excerpt from the much anticipated fourth book in her Crossfire Series, Captivated by You. We can only hope this means Ms. Day and her publisher (Penguin Random House) are getting closer to announcing the release date! Fans are getting frustrated (at least I know I am!).
To tide us over, Ms. Day has posted a couple of visuals with quotes on her website, she’s calling them ‘treats’:
These are great fun – but no substitute for the book (and/or possible TV series!).
Aaaaannnnnddddd here’s what you’ve been waiting for…
Disclaimer: May be edited or deleted prior to publication. The following belongs to Sylvia Day (as much as I want Gideon for myself).
If you haven’t read Entwined with You, the below excerpt contains spoilers! Read at your own risk…
The inspiration behind Ji Baek and Rescue Beauty Lounge’s gorgeous new Winter 2014 nail polish collection:
Words are a magical and ancient medium. Great writers use words to depict the cinematic or to hint at nuances of imagination. Would I? Can I humbly dare to translate that into colors? – Ji Baek
Words and colors both evoke emotion and Ji Baek uses the timeless words of Robert Frost to spark her creative new polish collection. Literature and Lacquer – my favorite combination!
Swatches of “A Poem Collection” are available on a variety of beauty blogs (see Rescue Beauty’s Facebook for more links). A personal favorite nail polish blog – with GORGEOUS swatch photos – is Polish Police . Pre-order for the collection begins February 7, sign up at RescueBeauty.com to receive the pre-order email and link.
This past weekend my eldest son appeared as “Charlie Brown” in his high school production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”. To show my support I decided to paint my nails to resemble the familiar yellow and black zig-zag of one of the Peanuts most famous characters.
I used three coats of ‘Daisy’ by Julep with a simple black line drawn with a Sally Hansen nail art pen. It’s amazing how such a simple thing brought so many compliments and smiles. Even my son thought it was pretty cool.
Sally Hansen nail art pens are available at most drug or beauty stores. They are great fun, easy to use and come in a variety of colors. Julep polishes are available at Sephora and online at Julep.com. They offer a great range of colors and have a distinct long thin square bottle (making it easy to store a large collection). ;-)