Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cover Reveal: My Lady, My Spy by Sheridan Jeane (Giveaway)

Sheridan Jeane reveals the cover of her latest book, My Lady, My Spy, the fourth book in her Secrets and Seduction series. It will be released on June 21, 2016.

He’s a spy -- Certain truths aren’t his to share ...

London, 1854 ~ Frederick Woolsy is Queen Victoria’s finest spy. His mission at the Russian Embassy’s annual ball is one of the most critical ones of his life, but his careful plans end in disaster. The book he was assigned to secure has been stolen and now England and Russia are on the brink of war. Even worse, the love of his life has caught him in another lie (he’s a spy, certain lies are expected). However, in this case, it might mean he’ll lose her forever.

She’s a lady who demands honesty -- above all else

The nights Lady Josephine Harrington spent with Frederick in her bed were glorious ... enough to tempt her to consider abandoning her independence as a wealthy widow to spend her life with him. Tonight, he canceled their plans to attend the Russian Embassy’s ball, saying he would be otherwise engaged. Now he’s shown up at the event with his brother. She’s not sure what he’s up to, but she’s going to find out ... if she doesn’t eviscerate him first.

Secrets and lies ...

He lives in a world of shadows. She values truth and integrity. If they want to find a future together, something has to change. Fast.

Josephine finally escaped the crowded ballroom and entered the foyer. She looked around, but found no sign of Frederick or his brother. They’d both disappeared.

Movement above her on the balcony caught her attention. Was that Frederick? When he spotted her, he ducked out of sight, but she’d seen him. Of that she was certain.

Why had he gone up there? Was he merely curious about the building’s renovations? She dismissed the idea. There was more than mere curiosity driving his actions.

She moved toward the staircase, intending to follow him, but a large footman stepped in front of her, blocking the way.

“Upstairs area is restricted,” the man said in a thick Russian accent. “No guests allowed.”

Josephine glanced at the balcony again, but couldn’t spot Frederick. She knew better than to mention his flouting of the rules to the footman. Frederick must have evaded him by taking an alternate route upstairs.

She acquiesced and stepped away, glancing around the grand foyer. She spotted a door on the far side of the room leading toward the embassy offices. It wasn’t guarded. Perhaps she’d find another staircase back there.

A children’s choir began singing. The other guests around her moved. As a group passed between her and the man guarding the staircase, Josephine slipped through a side door and found herself in a corridor lined with embassy offices. There should be another, less opulent staircase nearby.

The office doors were all closed, but about halfway down the hallway she noticed one standing slightly ajar. She hurried closer to open it and when she discovered a servants’ staircase, she grinned. Frederick must have taken this route.

Josephine lifted the hem of her skirt and crept up the stairs. Her night around would end in disaster if she ran into one of the embassy’s servants. Those Russian footmen looked intimidating.

She paused when she reached the landing. The door leading to the corridor was closed, but she heard someone just outside. She paused as she tried to identify the odd shuffling sound that seemed to be moving away from her.

Cautiously, she edged open the door and peeked into the hallway. A man was sliding a cloth along the floor with his shoe, wiping up what appeared to be water.
Not just any man. Frederick.

She pushed open the door and stepped through.

At the sound, he spun to face her. His jaw dropped as his piercing blue eyes widened in surprise.“Josephine? What in blazes are you doing up here?”

“You canceled our plans for tonight. Imagine my surprise when you strolled through the ballroom.” She gave him a cold smile. “I thought I’d give you an opportunity to explain yourself before I set the dogs on you, so to speak.”


Also in the Secrets and Seduction series:

It Takes a Spy
by Sheridan Jeane
Secrets and Seduction, #1
Publication Date: November 1, 2014
Genres: Historical, Romance

Synopsis: In 1851, Cecilia Paring has serious reservations about marrying her fiancé, Devin Montlake. Gone is the boy who could capture her heart with a word or a glance and in his place is a man who has made it clear that to be a proper barrister's wife, the exciting and impulsive Cecilia must change as well.

Although Devin Montlake loves his orderly life as a barrister, he's determined to follow his roadmap to achieve his goal of becoming a judge. His biggest obstacle seems to be convincing his headstrong fiancée to fulfill her social obligations with a modicum of propriety. But when the jewelry collection belonging to Cecilia's family is stolen the night before it is to be auctioned off and Devin is framed for the crime, he discovers that following his much-loved rules won't solve this particular problem. He'll need the inventiveness of his irrepressible fiancée to catch the thief.


Lady Catherine's Secret
by Sheridan Jeane
Secrets and Seduction #2
Publication Date: December 1, 2014
Genres: Historical, Romance

Synopsis: London, 1853

Despite Lady Catherine's love of fencing, she needs to stop pretending to be a boy and fraternizing with men ... but not until after the fencing tournament! Her mother plans to marry her off by the end of the season, so this will be her last chance to enjoy her freedom. When she impulsively puts her reputation at risk to save the life of a dashing competitor, all seems lost when he sees through her disguise, but he vows never to reveal her secret. Thank goodness for gentlemanly honor!

Daniel, Marquess of Huntley, wants to overcome the rumors of his father's madness so that he can be embraced by London society. His plan is to marry the most proper woman who will have him, and then raise stable, respectable children. He certainly isn't interested in some hoyden with a penchant for masquerading as a boy and flaunting society's rules. In fact, he'd prefer to keep his distance.

When an obsessed suitor discovers Catherine's secret and threatens blackmail, the only path out of social ruin is marriage. But what kind of protection does matrimony provide when a vengeful suitor is plotting the ultimate revenge?


Once Upon a Spy
by Sheridan Jeane
Secrets and Seduction #3
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance, Suspense

Synopsis: London, 1854 ~ Robert, Earl of Wentworth, isn’t a spy, and he never wants to be one, but when his brother is injured and needs his help stealing an important book from the Russian embassy, he can’t refuse.

Antonia has lost everything. If she wants her life back, she needs that book. The problem is, Lord Wentworth just stole it from the Russian Ambassador.

The reluctant spy and the daring thief find themselves at cross-purposes. Who will win in this dangerous game of nations -- especially when their hearts are at stake as well?

Note: Although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone novel. For those who have read the first two books, you'll rediscover characters from both of them.


About the author:

Sheridan Jeane writes exciting and emotion-packed historical romances set in the Victorian Era that confront issues of trust and conformity.

With the advent of the industrial age, life was changing. Many people tried to hold on to the old ways of life while others embraced the new opportunities open to them.

Join Sheridan as she explores the clash between the old and the new.

Sheridan has always loved books, history, and stories about amazing people who blaze new trails.

Despite naming their daughter Sheridan because they thought it might someday look great on the cover of a book, Sheridan's parents urged her in a more practical direction for college. Sheridan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in English.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review: The Improper Bride by Lily Maxton

Click here to buy the book on Amazon

After reading about the Marquess of Riverton in the previous book, I thought it would be difficult for Henry Eldridge to make a convincing transformation from a reviled antagonist, to a hero worthy of a happily-ever-after. It takes a fire, and terrible injury in order to shake the Marquess down from his lofty perch. During his recuperation, his housekeeper, Cassandra Davis is tasked to keep him occupied.

The author doesn't really elaborate on her characters' personalities -- and much of what we know of Cassandra and Henry come from our encounters with them in the previous books: Henry Eldridge is cold and arrogant. He had a mistress, but no other anecdotes of failed relationships -- so everything that we know of him is based on his dealing with Julia Forsythe. Cassandra is the same: she's a widow. She is very practical, caring, but not overly so -- she keeps herself at a distance -- as seen in her conversations with Julia and her arrangement with Adam. We get a sense that her husband's death really affected her, and that's why she keeps her feeling to herself.

Cassandra doesn't know whether she should be excited or be afraid of having to keep Riverton company -- by reputation, he isn't the friendliest or most approachable of employers, and she has had very limited contact with him, because he spent most of his time in London. There was also the unpleasant confrontation between Riverton and Julia Forsythe, his ex-mistress. But, on the other hand, Cassandra isn't immune to his appeal.

I am thinking about how the arrangement came to be: Cassandra makes an impulsive decision to ask the Marquess to teach her German, and, after the initial refusal and succeeding outburst, Riverton agrees. Perhaps if the author had taken the time to delve a little bit into Cassandra's backstory, it would be easier to understand why a housekeeper wanted to learn German. Yes, the author hints that Cassandra wasn't born into service, but had chosen to become a housekeeper after her husband died. Henry is intrigued by his housekeeper's boldness, and, maybe it was boredom or something else, but proceeds to teach her German, a most unromantic language -- but, through their daily encounters, esteem and affection and romance slowly blossom. (I also have to give the author props for making Goethe sound very sensual.)

How? Maybe it's the proximity? Maybe it's familiarity? Cassandra is the first female that Henry has had a real conversation with in a very long time. Cassandra is also the first person to see Henry as Henry, and not as a Marquess and future Duke. There is respect for the person, and not adulation for the title. They struggle to keep the relationship platonic -- they need to keep their relationship platonic, for the sake of the household, but the sexual tension is powerful and undeniable as well.

There are obstacles in Henry and Cassandra's path to happiness: he's a marquess, she's his housekeeper. Cassandra is supposed to be the voice of prudence and an example of modesty for all the other servants, and it would ruin her reputation and respectability if she was caught dallying with the master of the house. Henry is supposed to be focusing his energies finding a wife, and securing the succession.

I am on the fence about Henry's sister's participation in the "courtship" -- on one hand, she provided an insight into Henry's upbringing (and supplied a much-needed backstory for why Henry behaves the way he does). I like that she was very progressive about her ideas, and how she really valued Henry's happiness above all. On the other hand, I think she smoothed the road a bit too easily for Henry and Cassandra -- and I would have liked to see our hero and heroine struggle and find a way by themselves --

I have to say, I enjoyed this story more than I did the previous book -- Lily Maxton was able to expand on the tension between master and servant and contrast it with the relationship between man and woman. I also enjoyed the emotional aspect of this novel more.

The Improper Bride is Book 5 in Lily Maxton's Sisters of Scandal series. To find out more about Lily Maxton and her books, click below:

99-cent Historical Romances

Hi, all!

For a limited time, Sourcebooks Casablanca has an amazing offer these 5 historical romance novels by some of my favorite authors:

Heir to the Duke by Jane Ashford
I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen
How to Wed a Warrior by Christy English
The Infamous Heir by Elizabeth Michels
A Gentleman's Game by Theresa Romain

And here are more 99-cent historical romances found on Amazon:

The Wicked Wager by Anya Wylde (A Regency Murder Mystery and Romance)
$0.99 on Amazon
About the book:

244 pages, 211 reviews (Average customer rating: 3.8 stars)

The infamous rake, Lord Richard Hamilton, has finally chosen his bride -- the very appropriate Miss Emma Grey.

The ton approves, Lord Grey is pleased, Lady Grey delighted, and Emma is over the moon, but her uncle, (the blasted) Duke of Arden opposes the match, and Emma is ordered to move to the duke’s estate to think things over.

Richard Hamilton refuses to take things lying down and concocts a plan. A plan that should have brought the lovers together and had them married within a month. It was a simple matter of masquerading as the duke’s gardener, compromising the lady, and then having the duke rush them off to Gretna Green.

Alas, he underestimates the duke’s intelligence and the tangled situation on the estate -- never had he imagined that compromising a lady could be so difficult.

His endeavours lead to a comedy of errors, charades, and knotty love affairs. Yet he forges ahead in spite of pesky house guests, a flea bitten mattress, his lovesick best friend, and a blackmailer.

Just when things seem to be going well, someone is murdered (very inconvenient), and he happens to be one of the suspects (extremely inconvenient).

His simple plan for winning the wager suddenly becomes ... a tad complicated.

One Eyed Dukes are Wild by Megan Frampton (Dukes Behaving Badly Book 3)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

389 pages, 44 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.2 stars)

When does proper behavior deserve a deliciously improper reward?

The scandalously unmarried Lady Margaret Sawford is looking for adventure -- and is always up for a challenge. Her curiosity is aroused by a dangerous-looking stranger with an eye patch, an ideal companion for the life she longs for, no matter what Society might say. So when the piratical gentleman turns out to be a duke -- and just as boringly proper as any other nobleman -- she can't help but incite him to walk on the wild side.

Well-heeled, well-mannered, and well beyond any interest in society's expectations, the Duke of Lasham is tired of being perfect. Margaret's lush beauty and gently laughing eyes are an irresistible temptation to embrace the imperfect -- and her. But if a little misbehavior is appealing, unleashing his wild side is completely seductive -- as long as the lovely Margaret is the object of his passion ...

The Improper Bride by Lily Maxton (Sisters of Scandal Book 5)
$0.99 on Amazon

About the book:

292 pages, 42 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.4 stars)

Cold, arrogant, and demanding Henry Eldridge, Marquess of Riverton, would never dally with a mere servant. But when Henry is injured in a horrible fire, his pretty housekeeper Cassandra nurses him back to health, throwing them together day and night. As he slowly heals from his burns, their friendship blossoms, and the class walls between them start to crumble. Cassandra is surprised by glimpses of a kind and thoughtful man beneath her employer’s hard façade -- and even more surprised when she develops tender feelings for him. But anything between lord and servant is impossible ... and besides, as a widow, she knows love only leads to heartbreak.

Henry is changing, as well. His close brush with death has opened his eyes to his self-imposed emotional isolation ... and has urgently reminded him of his duty to marry a well-bred lady and produce an heir. Determined to do right by his family name, he immediately begins searching for a suitable bride. But Cassandra is the only woman who is never far from his mind or his heart. Contrary to everything he’s been taught to believe, he realizes his lovely housekeeper might just be his perfect match. Now, if only he could convince everyone else of that. Especially Cassandra ...

Bayou Bride by Bobbi Smith
$0.99 on Amazon
About the book:

454 pages, 30 reviews (Average customer rating: 4.3 stars)

To keep the Louisiana plantation he loved, Dominic Kane had six months to honor his father's will and marry. When he saw the beautiful bondservant fresh from the high seas, his decision was made. He offered to temporarily make her his wife in name only. But after impulsively kissing her lush lips, a raw passion surfaced, and Nick realized his roguish life had not been complete before the entrance of this green-eyed enchantress.

Jordan St. James was desperate to escape London and the evil investor who expected her to repay her family's debt with her body. She set off on a journey to work as an indentured servant in the New World, and upon seeing the wealthy planter who'd purchased her papers, Jordan's heart beat faster. The intensity of his eyes burned into her soul, and his seemingly innocent touch left her shivering with desire. She vowed to do whatever it took to become, in every way, his ... BAYOU BRIDE.

Only a Duke or Laird Will Do (Scintillating Tales of Noble Passion) by Allie MacKay, Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Brenda Jernigan
$0.99 on Amazon

About the collection:

In this exciting collection of romances featuring noblemen and their ladies, USA Today Bestselling and Award Winning authors Allie Mackay and Brenda Jernigan have again come together to bring you four full-length romance novels that will whisk you into a world of chivalry and honor, burning desires and forbidden passion. You'll escape to castles and country manor homes, but also rugged hills, windswept moors, and even vast, icy seas.Whether in a medieval great hall, a Regency ballroom, or the danger-fraught wilds of the New World, the heroes and heroines you'll meet in these pages will bring to life all the romance and adventure of times long past.

The four books in this collection are among the authors' personal favorites. And they are delighted to escort readers who yearn for a true romantic escape into the passionate stories they'll find in the pages of Only a Duke or Laird Will Do.

The Duke's Lady

If you yearn for classic romance with noblemen, ladies, and intrigue, complete with a magnificent Cornish setting, this is your tale ...

An American spy with a British birth, Adam Trent, The Duke of St. Ives, is consumed with gathering information to use against England's navy. Despite the intrigues of war, the mystery of the lovely young woman washed ashore near his Cornwall estate is one he cannot resist. With the ragged remains of a treasure map concealed in her chemise and no memory of who she is and how she got there, the dark beauty is a puzzle.

Some Like It Kilted

If you love Scotland and big, brawny men in kilts, this one's for you ...

Mindy Menlove is tasked with a returning a medieval castle stone by stone to Scotland where she's confronted by the stronghold's original builder, Bran of Barra. As a legendary Highland chieftain, he's maddeningly irresistible and seven hundred years young. They aren't prepared for the passion that flares between them, or the ancient secrets and threats that would tear them apart. But hard-won love is often the most powerful.

Western Seduction

The Cowboy and the Scot offer readers a spellbinding tale of surprises, hope,and the romantic adventure of a lifetime ...

Luke Griffin wanted old and ugly ... he got anything but. When a feisty Scot steps out of the stage in Cottonwood, Texas, Luke can do nothing but stare. Shannon McKinley is not what he advertised for. But for now, he will take her to the ranch and ignore the heat that runs through his veins every time she is near him. In this wild and rugged land, will Shannon's dark secret endanger the family she has come to love?

Highlander in Her Bed

If you enjoy tales filled with Highland magic and the beauty of Scotland, this one's for you ...

Mara McDougall can hardly believe her luck when she unexpectedly inherits a Scottish castle -- but her good fortune turns questionable when she discovers that her windfall is inextricably tied to Sir Alexander Douglas, a medieval knight forever damned by an ancient curse. When desire consumes them, they risk everything to prove that time, and even death, can't stand against the power of true love.
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition (Featuring: The Notorious Lady Anne by Sharon Cullen)

Thank you to Shabby Blogs ( for the free frame!

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone!

What is Throwback Thursday?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.

Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere -- and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.

Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.

To find out more about Sharon Cullen and her books, click below:
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: The Mistake by Lily Maxton

Click here to buy the book on Amazon

With all three Middleton sisters getting their happily ever afters, I wondered who Lily Maxton would feature as the next "sister of scandal" and I was really looking excited to see that Julia Forsythe was the heroine of the fourth story. Julia Forsythe is a courtesan, and the author of the very scandalous book, Confessions of a Courtesan. When I read the blurb, I was intrigued: Julia is pregnant with the Marquess of Riverton's child. Their relationship has turned sour, but she is still under contract with the Marquess. She has asked for some time (and distance) and traveled to the Marquess's estate, Blakewood Hall, in order to think about her current predicament. It turns out, her childhood friend, Adam Radcliff works at the same estate, and the two seem to have unfinished business.

I loved the tension between Julia and Adam. Adam is clearly still in love with Julia, despite knowing about her profession. He is very determined, and sincere in his care for his friend. The most emotional moments of the story are when they reminisce about their childhood. You could see Julia's longing for a simpler life, but it is also to her credit that she doesn't regret her decision of becoming a courtesan. In that, Julia is a fighter and a survivor.

At this point in her life, however, I think Julia doesn't know what she wants: she seemed to really want to walk away from being a courtesan, and focus on being a good mother to her unborn child -- and Adam is there, offering her the chance -- but, she doesn't take it. She doesn't tell him about the baby, and she doesn't tell him about the conditions of her contract with the Marquess of Riverton.

I didn't like how Julia treated Adam. I felt very bad for him -- he really believed he knew all he needed to know about Julia, but, really, he didn't. In a really sad sense, Julia was leading him on. Julia believes she was doing what was best for her child -- seeking the protection and patronage of his titled father, but the arrangement isn't very detailed and hinges on the Marquess's pleasure or displesure. I wonder if Julia could have demanded more, or sought a contract that protected her and her child better, because her current arrangement with Riverton has soooo many strings attached. The Marquess of Riverton doesn't really figure into the main story, but he is, definitely, ever-present in Julia's mind, and steers her decisions and actions. When Riverton finally makes an appearance, it's hard to believe that Julia stayed with him for that long -- Riverton is arrogant, and cruel -- and a bit one-dimensional. I guess the author is trying to set the stage for the final book, and making Riverton's transformation (from heartless and uncaring to hero-material) dramatic.

Maxton develops a relationship between Julia and Cassandra, the housekeeper at Blakewood Hall. (Cassandra is the heroine of the last book in this series.) They seem to be the same age, but their positions in life are different: Cassandra has been a widow for many years, and Julia is facing the impending challenges of single motherhood. It's interesting to study these two women: both of them are dependent on the Marquess for their livelihood, but in different capacities: one respectable, the other, not. It's also interesting that both Julia and Cassandra share a history with Adam -- but, Cassandra and Adam's relationship had been resolved months before Julia arrived at the estate. Cassandra serves as confidant, and trusted advisor -- but, above all, I like that Cassandra spoke frankly to Julia -- and called Julia out for being too wishy-washy.
Julia closed her eyes briefly, the ache in her throat spreading to the rest of her body. "You know Adam," she said bluntly.

"It would be unusual for the housekeeper not to know the head gardener," Cassandra replied.

"That's not what I meant," Julia answered with steely resolve. She would face the truth, even if it was something she didn't want to hear.

"I know him," Cassandra replied after a second's pause.

They both recognized they were using the word in the biblical sense. "How long?"


The housekeeper only leveled those cool blue eyes at her. "This is rather hypocritical of you."

"Hypocritical?" she said, unconvincingly, her voice too high. "I'm simply curious."

"You can't stand the thought of him with another woman. It's written all over your face. Is he supposed to remain celibate while you take lover after lover, and they're all printed about in the broadsheets?"
- p. 133 - 134

While this is the first (and only) full-length novel in the series, and I was really expecting a LOT from this story. I had thought the author would have a greater opportunity to expand on the story, the conflict and the characterizations, but, sadly, I felt that there wasn't much development: it seemed to just revolve around Julia's dilemma over the Marquess and Adam. I may be taking the series premise a bit too literally, but, while Julia has a scandalous reputation, she really doesn't do anything scandalous in her own story, and nothing scandalous happens to her.

The Mistake is the fourth instalment in Lily Maxton's Sisters of Scandal series. To find out more about Lily Maxton and her books, click below:


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