Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English (ARC)

Caroline Montague is young, wild and free. As an only child, her father has spoiled allowed her to do whatever she wished -- this includes: riding a warhorse, training with a knife and sword, excelling at archery, etc.

But the family coffers are empty and Caroline must do her duty to marry and restore her family's fortunes.

All the men vying for Caroline's hand bore her, all but one: Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook -- who once served under her father. A military man who is used to being obeyed without question.

The problem is, Caroline's a woman who is used to getting her way without question as well.

Can two willful characters find a way to live together without killing hating each other?

Caroline is a promising heroine. She had backbone and was not afraid to go after what she wanted. I love that she didn't hesitate to throw her knife at Anthony when he accosted her in her own room, without any introduction. And I love how she confronted a man who was assaulting one of their female tenants. Even when she was at the receiving end of the man's assault, she never backed down.

"You were almost killed."

"No. The intruder was almost killed. I had my knife at his throat. It was you who let him go."
- loc. 1654

I understand where Anthony's character and world view comes from: he's a military man and is used to being orders and commands. His one experience of caring for a female (his sister) had disastrous consequences and he is determined not to make the same mistakes again. But Anthony is so, so rigid! It was frustrating!

He uses the word "obey" and "tame" so many times when he refers to Caroline. From beginning to end, Anthony remains as he was, except he falls in love with his wife -- which came as a bit of a surprise because their relationship never goes beyond the marriage bed.

There is a point in the third part of the novel where Caroline says to her husband, "Round we go again, and we go nowhere, Anthony." - loc. 2334 and, as a reader, I felt the same way.

More than a halfway through the novel, instead of intimacy and partnership, Caroline and Anthony have instead learned how to "deal" with one another:

Since a journey to London was what she wanted above all things, she knew better than to ask for it. She would make Anthony believe such a trip to be his own idea, so he would not fight her every step of the way on the road to town.
- loc 1961

What I did like about this novel are the insights the author provides on court life, when Caroline is finally introduced to the Prince Regent, she is besieged by the sights and sounds of court.

The Carlton House set, the creme de la creme of the ton all stood with their heads together, murmuring poison into one another's ears...
- loc 2315

I also enjoyed the confrontation between Caroline and Anthony's mistress -- Angelique was Anthony's mistress for 10 years and he treated her poorly. When Angelique meets Caroline at court -- wow! The tension was amazing and I thought that was one of the author's best scenes.

At the heart of the many conflicts in this story is Anthony. He never told Caroline the reason why he ordered her to stay away from Victor Carlyle. He never told Caroline about Angelique and he never told Angelique about Caroline.

He knew that his actions had a potential to cause hurt to the people around him but he never paid any attention to any of it -- but allowed the whole thing to snowball.

... he wondered idly if he should tell her of his mistress.
- loc 2105

* * *

He knew he was adding grist to the rumor mill by slipping away with Angelique, but he had to deal with her now. He had let this loose strand of his past dangle too long already.
- loc 2268

To Anthony's credit, he does make amends in a spectacular (and very heartfelt) way -- so is this a case of "All's Well that Ends Well"? I guess so.

It's a solid historical romance debut for Christy English. How to Tame a Willful Wife gives a nod to the historical romance novels of the 80s and 90s with its very Alpha hero -- but it also provides a fresh and very 21st century spin by introducing us to a very Alpha heroine.

How to Tame a Willful Wife is the first book in the Shakespeare in Love series by Christy English and will be released this November 6 in paperback and e-book.

To find out more about Christy English and her books, visit her website.

Her Shakespeare in Love series has a Facebook page!

Disclosure: I received the ARC through Netgalley. (Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for accepting my request.)
Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath

Lord Tristan Easton is the second Lost Lord of Pembrook -- who ran away from home at fourteen to escape an uncle who was intent on murdering his three nephews.

Two years ago, his brother, Sebastion, reclaimed his title as Duke of Keswick and the Easton brothers returned to society -- but, after a decade of being away from it, they are all finding it difficult to fit in.

Tristan finds it easier to return to his sea captain persona, Crimson Jack and to his ship, Revenge. The sea has become Tristan's home and it is where he is most comfortable at.

Anne has mourned her fiance for two years but she knows it is time to move on -- but, before that, she wants to say goodbye. She hires Crimson Jack to take her to him in the Crimean Peninsula. At first, he refuses her but Tristan can't help but be intrigued by this brave, defiant woman -- and so he agrees to take her. For the price of one kiss.

Anne and Tristan have both lost something very important to them: Tristan lost his childhood and his rightful place in society and Anne has lost the love of her life.

He suspected he might be a very different man if he'd not been forced to leave his home, to leave Pembrook ... to leave England. He grew to manhood very quickly.
- p. 77

Where do they go from there? There's nothing to go back to except sad memories for our hero and heroine and so they move forward. Anne's getting ready to say goodbye to the last part of her past so that she can live towards a future that promises marriage, family and, maybe, even love.

The first part of this book is amazing -- despite his misgivings, Tristan agrees to bring Anne to her fiance. I love how Tristan tries to restrain himself. It is clear that there is an attraction between them that neither one can act on, so the sexual tension is palpable. Without the sex, Tristan and Anne were able to get to know one another and trade witticisms.

Heath holds us in suspense: When will Tristan collect his one kiss? -- When he finally does, it isn't a "wow" (sizzling hot) moment but an "awwww" (so sweet and tender) moment.

He leaned in.

She held her breath.

His gaze dropped to her lips.

They tingled.

He lifted his eyes to hers.

She waited, waited ...

He came nearer. Her eyes began closing --

"The moment is of my choosing, Princess. And this isn't it. Sleep well."
- p. 60

The second half of the book doesn't have the same discipline found in the first half. Anne and Tristan act on their passion (frequently) and so they really didn't spend a lot of time deepening their relationship -- I didn't find it to be as compelling and heart-wrenching as the earlier part.

Still, Heath shows her skill and experience by crafting a story that takes our hero and heroine on an emotional journey of finding their happily-ever-after ending. Overall, this was still a wonderful read.

Lord of Temptation is the second book in Lorraine Heath's The Lost Lords of Pembrook series. Lorraine Heath is releasing an e-novella this December, 2012 that is part of the series, Deck the Halls with Love.

To find out more about Lorraine Heath and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.
Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Tour Stop: The Angel's Assassin by Samantha Holt (Giveaway!)

Today, Love Saves the World welcomes Samantha Holt who is currently on a virtual book tour for her book, The Angel's Assassin.

Make sure to drop by Samantha's other stops. (For links, click here.)

A medieval story of love and betrayal.

As a rebellion sweeps England, Lady Annabel finds her home overrun by rebels. Much to her relief, a dark knight comes to her rescue, claiming to have been sent to protect her by her uncle.

But Nicholas holds a secret about the job he was sent to do and it is a far cry from what Annabel believes it to be. As the attraction between them grows, Nicholas begins to question the dark life he has lived. But is it enough to change him and will Annabel ever trust again after learning the true nature of his sinful duty?

He had never given a woman a gift before and he had felt apprehensive when handing it to her, but her look of delight had brought a warmth into his heart that he had never experienced before. He had only intended to get her something simple and warm but the gown had reminded him of Annabel - gold and sparkling. It had cost him plenty of coin, mayhap more than it was really worth, but he knew if he had the chance he would happily spend his entire fortune on pretty gowns if it garnered the same reaction.

But it wouldn’t be up to him. Nicholas had to remind himself of that. He was to protect her, naught more.

“Nicholas?” Annabel’s voice beckoned to him, curling around his heart.

He took a deep breath, sucking in the cool, crisp air, hoping it would provide him with the necessary courage to face her. Each moment in her presence was making it harder and harder to fight the sweet temptation of her beguiling kisses. His strength to resist was steadily waning, but he knew he had to be strong. It was not intended for someone like him to receive the honour of her affections. They were undoubtedly misplaced and she would realise that if she understood his true nature. But he could not reveal it to her, for she would surely send him away and then how would he fulfil his duty to protect her?

Turning around, he dipped his head to enter through the small doorway of the hut. Though it was dark, Annabel seemed to shine through the gloom, all available light glinting off her flaxen hair and golden gown. As she heard his footfalls, she turned her head, looking at him over her shoulder.

“Will you help me with the laces?”

As if he could say nay. “Aye.”

Moving to her side, she lifted her arm as he twisted the laces up her side with trembling hands. Annabel watched him as he did so, her bright eyes never leaving his face.

“Stop.” she said softly.

He halted, his jaw ticking as he clenched it. Unable to meet her doe-eyed gaze, he stared at the ties in his hands. Annabel twisted around to face him and he let the laces fall from his grasp. Her hand reached up and grazed across his jaw, drawing his eyes to hers. The milky expanse of one shoulder was just visible and his gaze darted down, drawn to the enchanting sight of bare skin.

Nicholas’ hand shot out before he had even realised was he was doing and it hovered above her shoulder, itching to touch it. The heat of her skin seemed to penetrate the gap and his hand shook with restraint.

“Am I so repellent that you cannot even touch me?”

He looked at her in surprise and noticed a hint of vulnerability dancing in her expression. “God, nay,” he rasped.

His hand closed the gap in a sudden rush of movement, pulling a gasp from her while he groaned at the feel of soft flesh under his hand.

Available at:
Amazon (US) -
Amazon (UK) -

* * *

About Samantha Holt:

Samantha Holt resides in Warwickshire, England, with her twin girls, having followed her soldier husband around the UK for nearly 10 years. Growing up in Hampshire, she was inspired by the authors Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell, both of which lived and wrote only miles from her home town.

Samantha loves the romance genre and has been devouring romantic literature for as long as she can remember. History is another passion of hers and she loves to combine her love for history and romance into exciting and passionate tales.

Contact Samantha at:
Website -
Facebook -
Blog -

* * *


Samantha Holt is giving away 5 e-book copies of her book, The Angel's Assassin.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to drop by Samantha's other stops. (For links, click here.)
Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Tempting the Bride by Sherry Thomas

It always takes me a while to write down a Sherry Thomas review -- usually a week to ten days. Her books always leave me in a state of awe, mesmerized at how beautifully a love story can be told -- and how the same story can be told in a fresh, new, and beautiful way.

Throughout the series, David and Helena's relationship served as a foil against her siblings' relationships: Fitz and Millie & Venetia and Christian -- and, while her siblings were able to find their happily-ever-after endings, it didn't seem that David and Helena would ever see eye to eye on anything.

David has loved Helena long before he knew the language to express it, so he did what all fourteen-year-old boys did to gain attention -- he tormented her.

As they grew older, his love for her grew but her enmity for him grew even more. And then Helena falls in love with someone else -- and continued to love the man even after he got married to someone else.

David and Helena have such a deep history of hostility between them that I wondered how Sherry Thomas would pull off erasing all that anger to give David and Helena a chance. And "erase" is exactly what Thomas did -- after an accident, Helena wakes up with amnesia.

The new Helena likes David and, without her memories, David has a chance to do everything properly -- having nearly lost her in the accident, David is unapologetic about and unashamed to openly declare his love for Helena. What is wonderful about David is that he doesn't hold back anything -- he helps her to remember when she asks questions about people or places. And is very honest about it.

There is one heartbreaking moment, when Helena's lover, Andrew Martin, pays her a visit while she has amnesia -- and David, though afraid that seeing him might jar her memory, steps aside because he wants nothing more than to make his Helena whole and healthy again.

A footman entered. "Mr. Andrew Martin to see you, Lady Hastings. Are you at home to him?"

She looked at her husband, "The same Mr. A.G.F. Martin?"

He turned to the footman. "You may show Mr. Martin here in five minutes."

"Why make him wait that long?"

His answer was another kiss -- this time one that would have made for a proper first kiss. It felt like speaking, almost, to kiss this way, syllables turned into contact of lips. The movement of his lips and tongue said that he adored and cherished her, that he could kiss her like this forever and never stop.


"Whatever happens, remember that I love you. That I have always loved you."
- pp. 175-176

As Helena's memories slowly return to her, it is a bittersweet moment when she finally remembers David and he watches helplessly as Helena slowly puts back her wall of defense against him.

But the old Helena cannot deny the kindness and love that David has shown her while she was recovering. And she cannot deny the happiness she feels when she is around him.

This is a story about a second chance at love but is very different from all other stories about second chances -- in David and Helena, Sherry Thomas has, to date, created her most human characters: they hurt as much as they get hurt -- and they love as much as they hate. All those heartbreakingly difficult dimensions that makes people who they are.

Tempting the Bride is a fantastic love story -- one that leaves readers with a sense of hope and confidence in the amazing ability of love to conquer all -- that love can happen against all odds. (And that, yes, it can rain in the Sahara.)

This one is a keeper.
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Moonlight Masquerade Giveaway Hop (International)

This event is being hosted by My Secret Romance and Day Dreaming.

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers
*One entry per household, per IP address.
*This giveaway will run until November 1.
*Rafflecopter will select one (1) winner who can choose:
- a $9.99 gift certificate to Discover a New Love. (It's enough to purchase a membership that is good for 6 months = 1 free ebook a month!)


- a $9.99 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on to the other blogs! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell

To save her sister, Sidonie Forsythe takes her place and travels to Castle Craven to fulfill her sister's debt and spend one week with Jonas Merrick.

Jonas Merrick was declared a bastard by his cousin and lost his heritage. He's lived a secluded life, hiding his scarred face (and more scarred soul) from the world. He wants nothing more than to hammer the final nail in his cousin's financial and social ruin -- to complete his revenge on his cousin, Jonas Merrick preyed on his cousin's wife's weakness for cards and had planned to ruin her -- but, when he sees the woman who has come in Roberta's place, his plans for revenge are derailed -- but a new plan takes its place.

Sidonie's innocence proves irresistible to Jonas and so he sets out to seduce her -- and she sets out to resist him.

But seven nights proves to be too much for a virtuous woman like Sidonie and she succumbs -- the same seven nights also prove to be too much for a rogue like Jonas and he, too, succumbs.

With so much anger and enmity between Jonas and his cousin, Sidonie is caught in the crossfires -- and she must choose who to protect: her family or Jonas.

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed is the first book in Anna Campbell's new series about the Sons of Sin. We are introduced to three men of questionable birth and how they will overcome the "taint" they were born with.

The first of the three is Jonas Merrick, son of the late Viscount Hillbrook and his Spanish wife. The former Viscount's brother questioned the legitimacy of the marriage and, subsequently, the legitimacy of Jonas's birth and both were stripped away from Jonas when he was a young boy -- and his cousin, William inherited the title.

Then his dignity and pride were taken from him when a vicious attack at school leaves him with a scarred face.

But Jonas is not a man who will take things sitting down (and neither was his father) -- his father ensured that Jonas's future would be secure and bequeathed to him everything that was not entailed. All that was left of the viscountcy was a title and nothing more. And Jonas has managed to increase that legacy -- but he still wishes to avenge his parents and he has worked slowly towards that goal. Chipping away bit by bit at his cousin's already dwindling fortunes.

The coup de grace would have been the ruination/debauchery of Lady Roberta, his cousin's wife -- but he does not count on Roberta's sister, Sidonie to step in and take her place.

There's no place for Sidonie's purity in Castle Craven -- a dark and gothic place that reflects the darkness and bitterness of Jonas's soul. But a deal's a deal -- and so Sidonie agrees to spend the week with Jonas.

This is a Beauty and the Beast story -- Sidonie's personal sacrifice to save her sister resonates deeply with Jonas. He's never had someone to defend him or to care so deeply for him -- and Sidonie's presence in the castle brings light to his dark life.

Sidonie was initially terrified of Jonas, but she slowly realizes that Jonas is a man with a heart -- a heart that's been betrayed one too many times and so he protect it from the world.

Seven nights was all they had. The limited time adds urgency and poignancy to their affair -- every day that passes, they learn a bit more about each other but, every day that passes, is one day less that they have together.

I'm always on your side.

No one had ever spoken those words to Jonas. Gently she eld him to her breast on the tumbled bed. Her scent surrounded him, rich with the musk of satisfied woman. By God, he'd never have these sheets washed. He wanted Sidonie's fragrance surrounding him forever.

When Sidonie herself was gone.
- p. 259

There are warring forces that stand in the way of Sidonie and Jonas being together: Sidonie's loyalty to her sister prevents her from revealing a secret to Jonas -- a secret that would change the playing field between Jonas and his cousin.

This is a story that stirs one's emotions. Sidonie and Jonas are wonderfully passionate characters who are moving against the tides of society and their family to find their happy ending.

I've read and enjoyed all of Anna Campbell's books (from her debut, Claiming the Courtesan) and Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed shows how much she's grown as an author. The next book, A Rake's Midnight Kiss is scheduled for release November 2013. I'm looking forward to Richard's story and Camden's story. ^_^

To find out more about Anna Campbell and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.

Final note: My favorite lines: Their goodbye was spectacular. But it was still goodbye -p. 261
Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: A Lady Never Lies by Juliana Gray

Finn Burke is happiest working on his engines and cars. After reading an advertisement offering a house in Italy for lease, he jumps at the chance and leases it out for a year. For Finn, it is a chance to escape the distractions of London and to concentrate on that which he loves the most.

Alexandra, Lady Morley also needs to escape from London -- for a different reason: bad investments have left her with very little money and, rather than face the daily decline of her London life and household, she packs everything up and leases out a property in Italy for a year.

The last thing Finn and his companions, the Duke of Wallingford and Wallingford's younger brother, Ronald Penhallow, need is distraction -- and Lady Alexandra and her companions offer the worse sort of distraction.

When it is discovered that they have both unwittingly leased the same property, boundary lines and battle lines -- and a wager is made.

It's men versus women in Juliana Gray's debut novel, A Lady Never Lies -- and whoever loses must take out a full-page ad in the newspaper admitting the superiority of the opposite sex.

Love? Or Money? It's a timeless question that we tackle both in fiction and in our own lives. Alexandra's initial interest in Finn lies in the engine that he is working on. After Alexandra discovers that her investments in the Manchester Machine Works Company is in peril, she decides to "spy" on Finn, hoping to find a solution to her problem.

But the more she knows Finn, the less interested she becomes in her own problems and more interested in her relationship with him. He's unlike any man she's known -- he's attentive and caring -- and passionate and protective of the things (and persons) he cares about.

Finn finds it hard to believe that a social butterfly like Alexandra would be interested in a "geek" like him believing that the likes of her belong with men like his friend, the Duke of Wallingford.

This story reads like a movie -- complete with an Italian housekeeper (Signorina Morini) and an irate Giacomo both speaking in broken English. I'm usually very particular about this but Signorina Morini and Giacomo bickering over cheese and goats does add to the lightness of Gray's story.

"I see, I see." Morini cocked her head to one side, the thoughtful frown returning. "Is very strange. The master, he is very careful, very particular. Is very strange mistake." She straightened and clapped her hands. "But is good! Six English is very good! We have talk, laughter. The castle will be ... transform. Buon. I will find your rooms."
- pp. 49 - 50

I like that this story highlights the development of automobiles and that aspect adds a freshness to this romance novel (don't miss the reference to Daimler and the Mercedes!). The author also does a good job of introducing the central players in this trilogy -- although, it seems the men are better-developed than the women, each one with a distinct voice and personality.

Whereas the three ladies all seem to blend into one another -- add to that the almost madcap atmosphere in the castle with Morini and Giacomo -- it does take the reader a bit more concentration (at times) to figure out where the story is going (and to sort out all the voices).

I am hoping the author will remedy this in the next two books when the spotlight falls on Lilibet, Lady Somerton and Abigail.

A Lady Never Lies is Juliana Gray's debut novel and the first book in her Affairs by Moonlight trilogy. The second book, A Gentleman Never Tells will be released November 2012.

To find out more about Juliana Gray and her books, visit her website.

Final note: I loved this snippet:

Alexandra looked back and forth between him and the duke. How different they looked, the one so dark and cynical, the other so subtle and many colored.
- p. 21
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: For Desire Alone by Jess Michaels (ARC)

Soon after her protector's death, Mariah Desmond discovers that very meager arrangements had been made for her. With very little savings, she has no choice but to seek out another protector -- and she only has six months to do so before the lease on her house runs out.

Mariah still believes in love (and was in love with her previous one) and so she's refused Vivien's help to match her with a new protector, hoping that she could find someone on her own.

John Rycroft has desired Mariah since the first time he saw her -- but he could not betray his best friend, Owen (her protector) and so he's desired her from afar. He is surprised to see Mariah at Vivien's ball, so soon after Owen's death. One touch and his long-suppressed desires all come to the forefront -- and he has this one opportunity to act on it.

Jess Michaels offers a warning on the title page of the book: "Contains intensely sexy scenes of two people falling into bed (a lot) and in love." -p. 2

I think Michaels has done a good job of selecting appropriate titles for her stories: The first book, "An Introduction to Pleasure" introduced us to the world of Vivien Manning and her mistress friends. Lysandra and Andrew were tentative in their exploration of love and desire. In For Desire Alone, John and Mariah are making up for lost time -- they've felt desire for each other for a long time but hadn't had the opportunity to act on it until now.

They make no pretenses when they start their affair -- they are delving into the depths of their passion.

The interactions between the hero and heroine are very physical -- that's how they communicate to each other. And Michaels does a very good job of writing about their physical intimacy.

Overall, this was a very good follow-up to An Introduction to Pleasure. I am now more intrigued about Vivien Manning, who plays a bigger role in this story.

For Desire Alone is the second book in Jess Michael's The Mistress Matchmaker series. It will be released on November 6, 2012. (For an excerpt, click here.)

The third book, Her Perfect Match is scheduled for release in March 2013. For more information about Jess Michaels and her books, visit her website.

Disclosure: I requested this ARC from the author. Yes, this is an honest review.
Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sample Reading #16: The Birthday Scandal by Leigh Michaels

Sample Reading

This is a new feature on my blog called Sample Reading. This is where I will talk about book samples that I've gotten online. I'll read the sample and will answer the very important question:

Will I buy it?

The Blurb:
The wealthy Duke of Weybridge knows that everyone loves a good surprise…and a good scandal. He has bounteous amounts of both for the guests—particularly for his nieces and nephew, Emily, Isabel, and Lucien—at his extravagant seventieth birthday ball. They think his promise to improve their lives means a generous stipend. But he’s gotdifferent gifts in mind: finding them the perfect matches. His task won’t be easy, because the Arden siblings have given up on love.

Bachelor Lucien spends more time merrymaking than looking for a proper wife. His sister Emily, broken-hearted when her betrothal ended in disgrace, committed herself to an early spinsterhood. And Isabel’s marriage has been troubled from the moment it began—with a terrible betrayal on her wedding night.

Though witty and strong-willed, the siblings are no match for their uncle’s wily machinations. And as the celebration approaches, his romantic scheming ignites illicit liaisons and irresistible temptations, sparking enough rumors to keep the ton abuzz until his next birthday.
- from the Amazon product page

I got the sample from: Amazon, Kindle
# of Pages: Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2 of a 17-chapter book

My Impressions:
I've actually read all three of Leigh Michaels' historical romances (The Mistress House, Just One Season in London and The Wedding Affair).

Leigh Michaels was an interesting debut historical romance author because she had already written and published a number of contemporary romances before making the switch. I still feel her debut, The Mistress House is her best historical romance to date.

Michaels utilizes multiple perspectives and storylines in all her historical romance novels. The Birthday Scandal does so as well. The Ardens, Lucien, Emily and Isabel haven't been very lucky at love. Isabel is estranged from her husband. Emily has entered into "early spinsterhood" and Lucien isn't interested in forming any lasting connections.

Their uncle, the Duke of Weybridge wants to see his three favorite relations settled before he dies. So he concocts a bold scheme on his 70th birthday.

He's also invited his heir, a distant relation from America, Gavin Waring, the Marquess of Athstone.

The first chapter introduces us to the three siblings and the Marquess and their present circumstances. They are all getting ready to travel to Weybridge Castle to celebrate their uncle's birthday.

From the blurb, we know that the uncle has a plan to get his nephews and nieces settled happily and we get a sense of who will get match with whom.

The greatest danger of using multiple perspectives in telling a story (and I mentioned this in my review of her book, The Wedding Affair) is that character development is bound to suffer. And this worries me about this book because it is only 17-chapters long.

But Leigh Michaels has shown in her previous historical romances that she can effectively tell a good story and she does use the multiple POVS to show different aspects of the theme.

But my wish for Leigh Michaels remains the same, I would like to see her write a story focusing on just one hero and heroine. I'd love to see her develop the depth as well as the breadth of the story.

Price: $7.16 for print and $8.80 for Kindle (international)

Will I buy it?
Pass for now.
Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: The Way to a Duke's Heart by Caroline Linden

Of the three sons of the late Duke of Durham, Charlie has the most at stake. As heir, he risks losing everything that he has thought was his since birth. With his two brothers busy with their own lives, it is up to Charlie to piece together the puzzle clues they have discovered.

Their father's deathbed confession of a Fleet marriage, a first wife who could not be found, church records and blackmail letters have led Charlie to Bath and to a man named Hiram Scott.

And to a woman named Tessa Neville.

Tessa has managed her brother's estate and finances for some time now. She's in Bath to study a potential investment for her brother -- a canal. She's had the great misfortune of being overheard by Charlie who was staying in the same hotel as she. And a greater misfortune to have been overheard referring to this particular lord as "indolent" --

Having been betrayed in her youth, Tessa is suspicious of everyone -- and more suspicious when this very handsome, very important, very titled man pays attention to her and to her companion, Eugenie.

Tessa knows that Charlie's attentions are only temporary and she tries to guard her heart against him but, the more she gets to know Charlie the more she realizes that her feelings for him are anything but temporary.

This is the last book in Caroline Linden's The Truth About the Duke series and the story I have been waiting for her to tell.

Charlie has never been comfortable being called his given name, Charles. He's always felt it sounded pompous and arrogant. In a way, Charlie has refused his identity and his responsibility -- he's been estranged from his father for over eleven years and was content to have his younger brother Edward manage everything for him.

We see Charlie through Tessa's eyes -- he is indolent, carefree, etc -- and this is the opinion we have formed of him from the first two books. Where was he when the scandal of the Durham Dilemma broke in the newspapers? Where was he when his father lay dying and was waiting for him? But there is more to Charlie than meets the eye -- and, Linden's series title will actually divulge two truths about two dukes: the true story of Francis de Lacey, the late Duke of Durham and the story of Charles de Lacey, the current Duke of Durham.

And, as Tessa slowly changes her opinion of Charlie, so do we. We learn that Charlie just has a different way of doing things but he is just as decent and honorable as his two brothers.

And he is charming and dangerously lovable -- and Tessa is trying to avoid any sort of entanglements. But it is impossible not to fall in love with Charlie and his very simple, very Charlie-esque ways.

..."Was it really of no significance?" he said softly. "When I kissed you?"

She averted her face, so the bonnet brim hid it. "It meant nothing to me, and even less to you, I suspect."

He nodded. "You've got me all puzzled out, haven't you? Indolent, ignorant, arrogant, good-for-nothing scoundrel."

She slanted a challenging glance at him. "I never said that. Is that how most people see you?"

The question surprised him. "I suppose some do. Of course, most people see what they want to see. A title, a fortune, a handsome face ..." He shrugged. "It's enough to render any man a rogue in search of scandal."

"A handsome face," she repeated tartly. "I understand where the charge of arrogance originates."

He gave her a lazy smile. "It's not arrogance to speak the truth."
- pp. 195-196

What makes their relationship work is that they complement each other. Charlie knows his limitations as a person and he appreciates (and loves) Tessa for being able to speak her mind and make decisions easily. And Tessa is unlike any woman he has ever met.

Charlie was used to a variety of female expressions -- coyness, calculation, adoration, seduction -- but he'd never felt as though he was being assessed as he was now. Not for the value of his title or the size of his income, not for his physical appearance or even for his reputation among the ton, but for something more.
- p. 107

I think, for the first time in his life, he's allowed to be himself and it is a rare and refreshing for Charlie to be seen as he is.

Plus, they both love good coffee. ^_^

This is a wonderful end to The Truth About the Duke series -- I love how cleverly (and plausibly) Linden resolves the Durham Dilemma. She managed to sustain the mystery and the clues discovered from the previous two books all add up to a breathtaking ending.

To find out more about Caroline Linden and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.

... very interesting. Caroline Linden has already announced that she will publish a new book in August 2013, Love and Other Scandals. When I pre-orderd One Night in London, it originally came with the title Love and Other Scandals. Curious.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: What Happens at Christmas by Victoria Alexander (ARC)

Camille, Lady Lydingham has a plan, a brilliant one (in her opinion) which involves staging the perfect Christmas for a visiting prince and accepting his marriage proposal (she's very confident about this) on Christmas eve.

And she means "staging" literally.

Camille and her twin sister Beryl have an eccentric family who are, fortunately for Camille, away for the Christmas season. Camille's clever plan is to hire actors to play (the normal version of) her family and to create a Christmas scene reminiscent of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Nothing is going according to plan, and, to make matters worse, an unexpected guest arrives and knocks everything off kilter.

The last time Grayson Elliott spoke to Camille was to declare his love for her on the night before her wedding eleven years ago. Youthful pride and surprise over the stunning revelation led to his heart being broken (and hers as well). He left England soon after that and had planned never to come back ... until now.

Both of them believed that eleven years would be enough time to forget but, now, standing face to face, Grayson and Camille remember everything they thought they've forgotten. And both of them are determined not to make the same mistake again: Grayson wants Camille and now he has the means to win her heart. Camille doesn't want to have her heart broken again and is resolved not to trust Grayson with it ever.

Christmas is coming; a troupe of actors is running a household; a prince is pretending to be a count, and lots of surprise guests show up -- this might just be a Christmas no one will ever forget.

The story begins with Camille trying to justify her elaborate scheme to her twin sister, Beryl (and also to the readers). It's an over-the-top plan designed to get a visiting prince to come up to scratch and propose marriage to Camille. The sisters go back and forth, looking at all possible scenarios and, ultimately, Camille begs her sister to trust her.

I was skeptical going into the first chapter but I decided to trust Camille, suspend my disbelief and proceed with the story.

Christmas Romances have long been part of the historical romance tradition and there are rules/tropes that are unique to this sub-genre, foremost is the idea of a Christmas miracle -- that, despite the chaos that ensues before Christmas, everything, everything will be resolved on Christmas. This one follows that line of development -- add to that, Victoria Alexander has identified this from the start as a farce.

The humor is expected, as are all the "improbable situations" (see Farce in Wikipedia) that happen as the story progresses.

This is a fun story with a most unusual cast of supporting characters. I love Mr. Fortesque and his incredible passion for his craft:

"You may rest assured, Lady Lydingham, this shall be our greatest performance ever."

Camille cast him a grateful smile. "Thank you, Mr. Fortesque."

"It is I who should thank you." He hesitated. "I should confess that we are not, as yet, a very accomplished troupe. We have only recently formed, in fact, and, indeed, some of us are as yet lacking in ... extensive experience on stage. We are most grateful for the opportunity you have provided us to hone our skills, as well as spend Christmas in as magnificent a house as Millworth Manor."

Camille stared. "How recent?"

"Specifically?" Concern flashed across the actor's face.
- loc 421

The love story of Grayson and Camille is also very sweet -- though it isn't delved into (I wish the author tackled their backstory more), it's obvious that they were very good friends before their falling out. Even after an eleven year separation, the camaraderie (and chemistry) remains.

"What is going on here, Camille?"


His brow rose.
- loc 612

* * *

"All is fair in love and war, you know."

"And what is this?" His smile remained, but his tone was abruptly sober. "Love or war?"

"Both," she said without thinking; then she realized what she had said, turned and skated off. Whatever possessed her to say that? Perhaps it had been love once, but now ... now it was ... what?
- loc 2115

I admire Grayson's steadfastness -- and his willingness to help out a friend. He arrived in England fully expecting to put his past behind him but, upon seeing Camille again, he isn't afraid to admit that he still has feelings for her.

He and Camille were a play without a last act, and it was past time to see how it would end. The moment he saw her again, he knew the final curtain hadn't fallen, not for him.
- loc 737

As Christmas stories go, this one fulfills the necessary conditions. Fans of Victoria Alexander's wit and lighthearted stories will enjoy this.

I do have one question -- What happened in Brighton? It's mentioned several times in the story but never expounded on.

What Happens at Christmas will be released in Hardcover this October 16.

Disclosure: I received the ARC through Netgalley. (Thank you to Kensington Books for accepting my request.)
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sample Reading #15: How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back by Sophia Barnes

Sample Reading

This is a new feature on my blog called Sample Reading. This is where I will talk about book samples that I've gotten online. I'll read the sample and will answer the very important question:

Will I buy it?

I had actually planned on reading Sophie Barnes' debut novel when it was released in January and had pre-ordered it from Book Depository -- at the time of release, however, (I'm not really sure what happened) but Book Depository sent me an email informing me that my order had been cancelled because they were unable to "fulfill the order". (I still have the email dated March 9, 2012.)

I had forgotten to re-order the book and was only reminded that I had missed this debut when Reading Romances featured it in this week's book deals.

How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back is currently $0.99 on Amazon so I decided to download the sample to check it out.

The Blurb:
Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day. Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever, announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters and Adrian’s cousin, Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst, convince her a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton. Or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.
- from Sophie Barnes' website

I got the sample from: Amazon, Kindle
# of Pages: Prologue and Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2 of a 373-page book

My Impressions:
The opening and the situation the Rutherfords find themselves in reminds me too much of the Dashwoods' situation in Sense and Sensibility. The Rutherford girls have fallen on hard times after their parents' death and their only solution is to marry well.

This is easier said than done for the Rutherford girls have neither the connections nor the means to move about in society.

Fortunately, Emily has had a lifelong friendship and attachment to Adrian, the younger son of Viscount Carroway and she expects a proposal from him.

The sample ends before the ball begins but we are introduced to Francis, Adrian's cousin (someone the Rutherfords have known for a while but are not as fond of as they are of Adrian) and Kate, Emily's best friend -- and we are told by the town's gossip of Adrian's imminent proposal, leaving the Rutherford girls excited.

The sample has a very predictable trajectory (and it's already mentioned in the blurb) -- we know that Emily will be disappointed and surprised by Adrian's choice of wife. We know that Emily and her sisters will accept Francis' generous offer to bring them to London (to escape the awkward situation Emily now finds herself in: everyone knows about her and Adrian) -- and we know that Emily will eventually end up with Francis.

My question is, how? --

Price: $0.99 on Kindle (for a limited time, accurate as of time of posting), $7.99 for print

Will I buy it?
When a book references another story, comparisons are inevitable -- in this case, this story references two other stories: How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan and Elinor's circumstances in Sense and Sensibility.

My hope is that the author will offer her own fresh spin to these two stories -- and I'm curious how she will do so.

Also, there's Francis Riley, who's dark and brooding and I'm a sucker for the dark, brooding, serious ones.

So, yes, at $0.99, I'm willing to give this book a try.

Checklist: Historical Debuts of 2012

Heroes and Heartbreakers recently posted this great article written by Valerie Bowman:

Stuck in the Past: Great Historical Romance Debuts in 2012 and it's a great guide to debut novels published this year.

Here's the list:
1. Heiress without a Cause by Sara Ramsey <-- I have this but haven't read it yet
2. How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins
3. An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone <-- I have this but haven't read it yet
4. Firelight by Kristen Callihan
5. Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace
6. Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow
7. A Secret in Her Kiss by Anna Randol
8. The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle
9. A Lady's Revenge by Tracey Devlyn
10. Her Wicked Ways by Darcy Burke <-- I have this but haven't read it yet
11. More than a Stranger by Erin Knightley
12. Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valeria Bowman <-- pre-ordered, waiting for my copy

13. Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan <-- scheduled for release this December
14. When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton <-- scheduled for release in 2013
15. A Most Scandalous Proposal by Tracy Macnamara <-- scheduled for release in 2013
16. What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston <-- scheduled for release in 2013

The last four books, I have not yet pre-ordered since their release dates are a bit too far.

So I've read 7 out of the 12 books that have been released so far. I have a copy of 4 of the 5 books (I don't have Firelight) -- and I had planned to read these debuts this October.

Fellow romance readers, what do you think of debut novels? How many of these books have you read?
Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare

1) Read a book with two authors (not an anthology, more like a collaboration.)
2) Read a book where a character is a cop or a detective and/or a murder mystery is being solved.

3) Read a book categorize as romantic suspense (Romantic suspense involves an intrigue or mystery for the protagonists to solve).

4) Halloween: Read a book that you consider “scary” or “spooky” , or one that features a typical “Halloween” character (witch, vampire, ghost, etc), or Read a book with a character, or subject matter, that is also a typical, old-fashioned Halloween costume (witch, ghost, vamp, princess, fairy, cowboy, firefighter etc, etc…).
5) Teacher’s Day: Read a book set in a school, college or university, or a character is in the education field (teacher, professor, lecturer, etc). <-- Kate is a music teacher. ^_^
6) National Book Month Read a book set in the publishing business, or a book about writing, or one with a character that is a writer, publisher, editor, etc.
7) Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Read a book that is Chick-lit or Women’s Fiction, a book with a character dealing with cancer or a book with a strong female lead (“strong” can encompass physical, mental and/or emotional strength) *A virtual high-five for a book with a pink cover. * * *

Kate Taylor has helped the ladies of Spindle Cove to discover themselves and to develop their talents. But Kate Taylor has yet to discover her own true identity -- orphaned and raised at a home, she has vague recollections of her childhood: a song, a glimpse of blue and the words, "Be brave, my Katie."

Her dear friends, Violet, Minerva and Susanna have all settled into their married lives and Kate would love nothing more than to do the same. She wishes she had a family of her own -- a family who would accept her, birthmark and all.

Corporal Thorne has spent his lifetime running away from his childhood and his memories. Raised in a bawdy house by a verbally abusive mother, Thorne has always believed himself to be beneath everyone -- not as confident or as commanding as Bram, not as witty or as clever as Payne -- not as well-read and intelligent as Kate, etc.

He stands alone, separate from everyone else -- making sure that no one gets close enough to discover his secret shame.

What Thorne thinks of as self-preservation comes across as aversion to Kate. She knows she isn't beautiful -- and she knows the birthmark on her face doesn't help that out -- but why does Corporal Thorne go out of his way to avoid her?

Be Careful What You Wish For --
All her life Kate Taylor wished for a family and for love. Imagine her happiness when she finds both at almost the same time. But the best stories and best heroines never have it easy -- and Kate must choose between the two: her newfound family, the Gramercys or her newfound love with Thorne.

The Gramercys are Kate's dream family. They are fun-loving and open and accepting. And they value family above all -- so much so that they have undertaken the search for their missing cousin upon discovering that they had a missing cousin.

I fell in love with the family. Aunt Marmoset, Lark and Harry are strong characters -- one would think they would not stand out in a place filled with unusual females like Spindle Cove, but they have their own unique brand of lovable unusual-ness. (I hope Tessa Dare writes about them in her future books.) ^_^

Belonging to the Gramercys will elevate Kate's status, making her a lady but a lady cannot marry a simple soldier like Thorne.

"...but like all dreams, well, I'm afraid this can't last forever..."
- Walt Disney's Cinderella

As in the previous Spindle Cove stories, this one also has a ball -- and, like all Spindle Cove balls, Kate's ball promises to be as memorable and as disastrous --

Her life will change forever when, at midnight, her cousins will announce her true birthright. In the whole novel, the ball (and the title) illustrate the Cinderella reference best. But unlike Cinderella (who gains everything) when the magic ends, Kate will gain something and lose something in the process.

But, like all of the best heroines, Kate has a gift for thinking outside the box and it is her cleverness (with the help of everyone in Spindle Cove) that helps her gain her fairy tale ending.

This is another wonderful installment in Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series. This isn't as compact and concentrated as A Week to be Wicked (still my favorite book in the series) but this novel contributes wonderfully in further endearing us to Spindle Cove. A Lady by Midnight may be the story of Kate and Corporal Thorne but it also showcases, quite nicely, the whole town of Spindle Cove -- and the introduction of the Gramercys just adds more fun to this whole series.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Winner! Naughty or Nice Giveaway Hop

Many thanks to Nat of Reading Romances for hosting the Naughty or Nice Giveaway Hop!

Thanks also to everyone who joined my giveaway and congratulations to:

Lona S.!

She won the first three books in Beverley Kendall's The Elusive Lords series.

I've contacted and confirmed the winner. ^_^

* * *

A Chance to win more books!

I have 2 giveaways ongoing on my website. Join! ^_^

Win a copy of Love's Debt by Rachel Brimble.

Win a copy of A Breach of Promise by Victoria Vane.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: The Bride of Larkspear by Sherry Thomas (e-novella)

This is a multi-layered story that can be read on so many levels. (I consider this Sherry Thomas's Inception -- without the special effects.)

Layer 1: Lord and Lady Larkspear (The story as is)
The story begins on Lord and Lady Larkspear's wedding night and, from what is said, the lady is less than willing.

Lady Larkspear's reputation has been ruined by another man but it is Lord Larkspear who saves her with marriage. Our hero and heroine have known each other since childhood and have had an adversarial relationship. Lord Larkspear often teased and taunted his lady, so it is understood that Lady Larkspear is wary of him.

Now they are married and Lord Larkspear is painfully aware that he is not first (or second, or third) in his wife's affections. But the lord is determined to win his lady's heart and he launches a campaign both in and out of bed.

The story is told from Lord Larkspear's point of view. He has been in love with Lady Larkspear forever but has never shown her or told her.

The pain in my heart is an old one: the fear that my unrequited love will always remain unrequited. That whatever I do, I will not break through this wall of ice between us that I have helped build with my words and my actions all these years.
- p. 19

It is rare for romance readers to see the hero's point of view, especially one who suffers from unrequited love. In The Bride of Larkspear, we read the anguish and regret of Lord Larkspear for his past actions and we see his uncertainty as he deals with his new wife.

There is a power struggle in the story and, while it seems it is Lady Larkspear who is held captive and bound, it is really she who is in control of their relationship.

"...The law deems my body to belong to you, but my mind is my own, and I shall only think those thoughts that best please me."
- p. 23

This is a very intense emotional exploration of the extreme ends of the spectrum of human experience: love and hate, doubt and certainty, pain and pleasure --

Layer 2: David Hillsborough and Helena Fitzhugh (As story within a story)
Read as is, The Bride of Larkspear is a wonderful (and complete) story in itself and showcases Sherry Thomas's awesome talent. But, as mentioned in the preface of the novella, this is the erotic story that David Hillsborough has written for Helena Fitzhugh, which he is asking her to publish.

Read from that perspective, this is a privileged look into David's soul and the first-person POV makes this read almost like a diary. But it is not a diary of events that have happened but of events that David hopes to happen.

This is David's wish fulfillment and, in it, we see his terrible yearning for Helena. He is Lord Larkspear and he knows that this is his and Helena's inevitable future. In the previous two Fitzhugh books, we know that Helena is involved in an illicit love affair. It is known with whom -- but not the extent of the relationship. It seems that everyone is assuming the worst of it. (Including David.)

But will their future be like their present? Full of hostility and suspicion? Or will David and Helena be able to work it out and build something better for themselves?

There is a lot of regret in the story. A lot of David's regret. A lot of things that he should have told her a long time ago but never found the courage to do so.

Why, in the name of God, have I never before spoken to her like this, with simple human respect and interest? It is not arduous. It is not even difficult.
- p. 54

But there is also hope in the story. And there is one man's willingness to lay himself on the line, surrender his pride and bare his heart for the sake of love.

David and Helena's story is an important thread that runs through Beguiling the Beauty and Ravishing the Heiress. We have been teased about the nature of their relationship -- and teased further because of this e-novella.

I think David is set to become one of my all-time favorite heroes ever and I am very, very excited to read their story, Tempting the Bride.

Not a Layer: Sherry Thomas as not-Sherry Thomas
This is Sherry Thomas writing as Sherry Thomas has never done before. Readers should heed the subtitle: A Fitzhugh Trilogy Erotic Novella because, yes, this is an erotic novella. I found myself flipping back to the front cover to make sure that I was reading the correct book by Sherry Thomas!

But it is not Sherry Thomas who "wrote" this -- even the title cover says it was written by A Gentleman of Indiscretion. It is amazing how clearly Thomas channels David's voice and his ferocity in this story and shows how well she understands her character.

And, once again, Sherry Thomas leaves me breathless... and I will leave it at that. ^_^

Final note: Tucked nicely inside The Bride of Larkspear story is another story about the country of Pride and the prince of the realm. I thought my heart was going to burst as Lord Larkspear was about to tell the story.

Until now, I have been dropping hints of my sentiments for her. Fairly broad hints at times, but still, hints that can be plausibly denied. Once I tell this story, however, everything will be laid bare and there will be no going back.
- p. 75

Tempting the Bride is out today, October 2.

To find out more about Sherry Thomas and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.
Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Tour Stop: The Devil DeVere series by Victoria Vane (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Victoria Vane is currently on tour to promote her The Devil DeVere series and I asked her to do a guest post where she talks about Georgian England. (The Devil DeVere series is set in this period!)

Victoria will give one randomly chosen commenter a download of her first erotic historical romance A Breach of Promise.

Make sure to drop by her other stops! For links, click here.

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FACT OR FICTION by Victoria Vane

Although I was asked to write about five things not commonly known about Georgian England, I have decided to narrow it down to five obscure facts you probably didn't realize were true from THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES.

#1 The Otaheitian Feast of Venus
FACT: Charlotte Hayes was one of the leading brothel keepers of her day and her establishment at King's Place was one of the premier pleasure houses. In the twilight of her long career Mrs. Hayes did indeed sponsor such an event in which three and twenty guest comprising "the first of nobility in addition to some baronets and but five commoners."

The formal invitations read:
Mrs. Hayes presents her most respectful compliments to Lord —
and takes liberty to acquaint him that tomorrow evening precisely at seven, a dozen beautiful nymphs, unsullied and untainted, and who breath health and nature will perform he celebrated rites of Venus, as practiced at Otaheite, under the instruction and tuition of Queen Oberea in which character Mrs. Hayes will appear on this occasion.
In A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE, DeVere accepts this invitation thinking it the ideal opportunity to bring his grieving and celibate best friend Ned back to "the land of the living."

#2 The Prince of Wales' affair with actress Mary Robinson
FACT: 18-year-old Prince George (later Georve IV) truly did have an affair with actress Mary Robinson after seeing her perform as Perdita. According to Mary Robinson's memoirs:

Scanned image provided by author
The prince offered Mary a bond of 20,000 pounds (to be paid upon his majority) after which she became his mistress. The affair lasted for about a year but the bond was never paid. Abandoned by her lover with no provision and with her reputation in tatters, Mary threatened to publish his love letters. Wishing to avoid a scandal, the king himself offered her a quiet settlement to the tune of about 5,000 pounds. The deal was negotiated by her then lover, Charles James Fox. This bit of gossip is exchanged between Phoebe and Peg, the Covent Garden wardrobe mistress, in A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE.

#3 Prinny's (later George IV) habit of collecting locks of hair from all of his lovers.
FACT: Throughout his life, George IV had many mistresses, and is said to have cut a lock of hair from each one, placing it in an envelope with her name on it. Supporting the rumor, an astonishing 1000 such envelopes were discovered upon his death. In A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE, Phoebe holds the dubious distinction of having donated the first lock of hair.

#4 General John Burgoyne as a popular playwright
FACT: Although Burgoyne was a career soldier and politician, had he not played a prominent role in the American War of Independence, Burgoyne would most likely be remembered today as a leading Georgian dramatist.

Best known for his role in the American War of Independence in which he suffered defeat at Saratoga, he was never truly enamored of either politics or the military. Referred to by his contemporaries as "Gentleman Johnny," he was very much a man of fashion who enjoyed the theatre world. Upon his retirement he wrote a number of plays.The most notable were The Maid of the Oaks (1783) and The Heiress and may have co-authored The Camp with Richard Brinsley Sheridan, as well as writing the libretti for William Jackson's only successful opera, The Lord of the Manor. He also wrote a highly successful version of Richard Coeur de Lion for the Drury Lane Theatre. In THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS Lord DeVere offers Vesta and Diana his box at the Drury Lane for a performance of Burgoyne's Maid of The Oaks.

#5 The ignoble Baron Baltimore
FACT:  The story of Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron Baltimore as relayed by DeVere in THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, is largely factual. Baltimore was a profligate nobleman whose life was rife with scandal. He indeed travelled to the east and acquired a private harem. He was suspected of murdering his wife, although never formally accused, he was indeed tried for the abduction and rape of a young Quaker woman named Sarah Woodcock, who kept a milliner's shop at Tower Hill. Although acquitted, the scandal forced him to go abroad where he died in Italy at the age of 39.

* * *

Thank you, Victoria, for sharing these Georgian facts with us!  

I'm very happy to have you on my blog!

* * *

More About the Author

A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria combines these elements to craft romantic historical novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism. Ms. Vane also writes award nominated romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee (

Twitter: @authorvictoriav

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More About The Devil DeVere Series

Book 1
What happens when a struggling actress and a grieving widower come together in a night of unbridled debauchery orchestrated by a bored and machinating rake? With the devil in charge — there will surely be hell to pay!

DeVere, on the other hand, evinced no such qualms. He had already loosened his cravat and was stripping off his coat.

"As I said earlier, there is no need," Phoebe insisted. "A couple of buttons and a raised petticoat are all the business requires."

"How delightfully unromantic you are, my dear!" He chuckled. "But while most men would be charmed to comply with your simple wishes, I have quite another game in mind. One that most definitely requires you to disrobe."

"But what if I don't want to?"

"Oh but you will," he said with a smug smile.

She glared. "You are very sure of yourself!"

He studied his buffed fingernails. "I am sure of Ned. Thus, we must put on a convincing show."

Her brows came together in a deep scowl. "What do you mean? What has Ned to do with this?"

"Everything. And at any moment, I expect him to burst through that door like a raging bull."

Book 2
Desperate times call for devilish measures…Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants, but when the object of her passion has eyes for another, it’s time to take matters in hand!

"But it is so large and swollen, is it painful?

"No, just uncomfortable. Now, may we stop discussing my …" the appropriate word for feminine ears failed him.

"Phallus?" she offered. "That is what the grooms call it."

"Why are you eavesdropping on grooms?"

"I used to watch the stallions leaping the mares."

"You what!" Hew almost choked.

"Well, how else is a girl with no mother supposed to get any education? Although I doubt Mama would have told me very much. So there's really no reason to be timid, Hew. I already know all about the mating process. And to the best of my knowledge, the stallions never 'ignored it until it went away.' Please feel free to relieve yourself of it. I would even help you if you would like. I'm not the least afraid for I have seen much larger ones."

Book 3
When dealing with the devil it's easy to be burned…especially when passion ignites the flames...

Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Lady Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley has long resigned herself to her loveless marriage …until her husband's gambling pushes them to the brink of ruin. Viscount Ludovic, "The Devil DeVere", is a man accustomed to taking what he wants according to his whim until he encounters a woman who won't be had at any price. But will a single night of heavenly passion damn them both forever?

She wanted him too. He could see it in the rapid rise of her breasts. He could smell her budding arousal and would relish bringing her to full bloom. God, how he loved this dance! She had taken the first tentative steps, yet she still fought her desire, refused to give in to it, but he would lead her now. He was a master…and a ruthless bastard.

He moved behind her, his fingers riffled gently through her hair. He closed his eyes to inhale her faint rose scent mixed with womanly musk. He dipped his head, letting his breath tickle her ear. She shivered. He whispered low and sultry. "Do you wish me to name the ways I can please you? I am delighted to comply if that excites you...although it would please me far more to demonstrate."

Book 4

Once burned twice shy ... but when old flames come together…passion reignites ...

DeVere rose and came to her, perching himself on the arm of the settle. "My honorable and straitlaced brother could never satisfy a woman like you, Diana. He could never plumb the depths of your passion...unlock your secret desires."

His voice was low and seductive, and the flickering blue fire in his eyes heated her insides. Diana fiercely tamped down the smoldering sensation that threatened to reignite feelings she'd struggled to suppress. "And what would you know of my wants and desires after four years?"

"A great deal." He gave her a slow, confident smile. "Given that I was the one to unleash them."

Diana averted her face with a bitter laugh. "Thus you presume to have an exclusive claim to me?"

"Has any other exerted one?" he asked softly. He reached out a hand and traced a long, manicured finger along her jaw. "You are still unwed, Diana. Have you taken another lover in my absence?"

"It is none of your business whether I have or not, and you are grossly impertinent to ask."

He laughed long and low. "I think I have my answer."

She glared at him, and thus they remained, silently challenging one another for an interminable beat. Then suddenly his mouth was on hers, taking, possessing, as if it was indeed, his singular privilege.

Diana leaned into him, teasing his lower lip with her tongue and sucking it eagerly into her mouth before sinking her teeth into it. Hard. Savoring the coppery taste of his blood.

"What the hell!" DeVere jerked back with a cry. He touched his lip and examined the crimson stain on his fingertip, his expression a mix of outrage and bemusement.

"You took without invitation," Diana said. "It was a warning not to do so again."

* * *

Giveaway! --

Victoria will give one randomly chosen commenter a download of her first erotic historical romance A Breach of Promise.

Make sure to drop by her other stops! For links, click here.

A Personal Note: I've read and enjoyed three of the four books in the Devil DeVere series and I've also had the pleasure to read A Breach of Promise. (To read my reviews of Victoria Vane's books, click here.)


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