Tag Archives: Regency romance

Pre-Release Blog Tour Feature: Tempted by the Viscount by Sofie Darling

¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨ PRE-RELEASE¸.•*´¨❥¸.•*´¨

 

Sometimes once is all the heart needs to risk all and follow a mad passion wherever it may lead…

I am pleased to announce a cool book blog tour going on right now, presented by Sofie Darling, an author I met during my journey! Congratulations on your new historical romance release! :)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

Plus, here at the I Love Romance Blog, we love discovering new romance novels!

Let’s hear a little about this great book…

Nice!

This is the blurb for Tempted by the Viscount:

London, April 1825

Lord Jakob Radclyffe left his past behind in the Far East. Or so he thinks until a ruthless thief surfaces in London, threatening to ruin his daughter’s reputation. With the clock ticking, Jake needs the scandalous Lady Olivia Montfort’s connections in the art world to protect his daughter’s future.

Olivia, too, has a past she’d like to escape. By purchasing her very own Mayfair townhouse, she’ll be able to start a new life independent from all men. There’s one problem: she needs a powerful man’s name to do so. The Viscount St. Alban is the perfect name.

A bargain is struck.

What Olivia doesn’t anticipate is the temptation of the viscount. The undeniable spark of awareness that races between them undermines her vow to leave love behind. Soon, she has no choice but to rid her system of Jake by surrendering to her craving for a single scorching encounter.

But is once enough? Sometimes once only stokes the flame of desire higher and hotter. And sometimes once is all the heart needs to risk all and follow a mad passion wherever it may lead.

Sofie is giving us a peek at her Regency romance, Tempted by the Viscount, today.

Book Info:

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date:  June 27, 2018

Great cover!

His feet began a slow prowl forward, steadily erasing the distance between them, inch by deliberate inch.

She should feel panicked, or, at least, unsettled, by his purposeful approach. But those feelings refused to take hold. The anxiety and anticipation of seconds ago flared into a single overwhelming sensation:  desire, white hot, ravenous.

He drew within a foot of her and stopped. The only sound in the room the jagged in and out of her breath.

So this was what it was to be a wanton? Aching from the nearness of his withheld touch, excruciatingly delicious and exquisitely tortured all at once.

“Why are you here?” she muttered.

“How should I answer that question?” he returned, his voice a low, masculine register that quaked her to her core. His head lowered, lips hovering just above hers for one, two, three rapid heartbeats, his breath a whisper across her lips. “Like this?”

And another excerpt!

An image of tonight’s hostess came to mind. Of her surface . . . Her eyes fluttering shut, lashes dark against her pale skin, parted lips reaching up, up, up . . .

And her depths . . . The quality that made him want to forget his place, his purpose, himself, and dip his head and claim those lips until they were satisfied, sated. As if a mere kiss could accomplish satisfaction and satiety between them.

A soft swish of skirts whispered behind him, and a voice sounded in his ear. “Does it disappoint? Disappointment can leave one feeling decidedly unfulfilled.”

Jake looked right, and the room fell away. There she stood, throwing that word at him again. Disappointment. The idea that he’d disappointed her had gnawed at him since yesterday. And now she was throwing another word into the mix. Unfulfilled.

While he had no desire to leave this woman disappointed, he certainly didn’t want to leave her unfulfilled.

In fact, under a different set of circumstances for their acquaintance, he wouldn’t walk away from this woman until she was thoroughly . . . exhaustively . . . fulfilled, satisfied, sated . . .

Purchase Links:

Amazon Universal link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07CHP5ZSD

Wow! Love the tension here. ♥♥♥

 

Follow the blog tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, and check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

Rafflecopter:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a9717/

 

Thank you for telling us about your upcoming historical romance, Sofie! I know I can’t wait to read this wonderful novel! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pre-order a copy of this awesome book! Or add it to your Goodreads list!

 

Author Bio

Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.

 

Thank you for telling us about your awesome book tour! I know readers can’t wait to get ahold of this Regency romance!

Thanks again to Sofie and her blog tour sponsor!

We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!  ♥♥♥

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book Release, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

New Release Feature: A Vindicated Heart by author C.L. Bush

I am pleased to announce a great book release by C.L. Bush, an author I met during my journey! Her historical mystery romance, A Vindicated Heart, officially released today! Yay! That’s awesome, C.L. Bush! :) Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

C.L. is giving us a look at her new intriguing, mysterious Regency story, A Vindicated Heart, today.

A Vindicated Heart

Great cover!

This is the blurb for A Vindicated Heart, book six of the Fire in My Heart Series:

Rotting away in a jail cell is dangerous to a man’s health. So is being on trial for murder. Simon Tucker’s health is diminishing as it seems the world is colluding against him. The evidence is stacking up – not in his favor – and his future is looking bleaker and bleaker.

Lucy Livingston and her family are not standing idly by and letting the man she loves be convicted of a murder he didn’t commit.

But when sleuthing turns deadly and an old, unexpected foe turns up, Lucy is put into a situation that could change everything – and possibly cost her life in exchange.

And here is an excerpt to tease you with.

A day later, Laurie knew he couldn’t put off work any longer. The mining operation, now missing Simon and having been left in the hands of the foreman, was sadly lacking in attention. It had been a month since he had been out there and he had only kept up with the goings on via messages.

He leaned down and kissed Franny on the forehead as he breathed in her scent. It had changed with her pregnancy, becoming earthier. Smiling, he made his way downstairs for a quick breakfast.

Thompson met him at the breakfast room with the morning mail.

“Thank you, Thompson. I will be riding out today. Please inform Gerring to saddle Markum.”

“Right away, sir.”

Once the dour butler had exited the room Laurie took the time to go through his post. Issues with the land he was trying to buy that abutted the mining operation and his own property were not going well. The thousand acres would greatly increase the farming yield, but he wanted it more so because he felt there was more to mine on that acreage than what he had now.

Knowing it was something he would have to deal with soon, he put it at the back of his mind to ponder as he rode.

Markum was saddled and ready to go. At eighteen hands he was a huge animal; his black coat shining in the meager sunlight of the day, his muscles only hinting of his ability for speed and maneuvering. He was an amazing beast and Laurie thanked the stars for the day he had found him at market.

He mounted and made his way across the back lawn. Normally, he rode this way with Simon, but today he felt lonely. Opting not to take a groom, he knew it wouldn’t take long to get to the mines, and he longed for some peace and quiet to ponder all that was going on.

Ten minutes in, he came upon the meadow and allowed Markum his head. The river ran to his right with the waterwheel that ran the pump for the mines about a mile downstream. He would be there in a few minutes’ time, but he wanted Markum to get some of his restlessness out before they got to the mine. The feeling of the wind in his face and the animal moving beneath him was freeing.

He slowed him as he came within half a mile of the mill, not wanting to scare anyone by riding up like a bat out of hell. The feeling of peace buoyed him as he made the last bit at a walk on Markum.

That feeling of peace lasted only as long as it took for the arrow to fly by his face and lodge in the tree next to him.

Markum reared but Laurie, ever the trained horsemen, managed to keep his seat. He whipped around looking for the assailant and saw some fluttering of leaves over in the direction of the river.

Pressing himself low over his horse, Laurie galloped towards the spot he saw movement and broke through the bushes to find the river just twenty feet in front of him. Looking up and down the bank he saw no one.

“Damn.”

Making his way back through the brush and hurrying along to the safety of others, he saw footprints. The river had risen with the rains of a few days ago and when it had receded it had left the earth damp.

The clear imprint of footprints led directly into the river.

With nothing further to go on and his safety now a concern, Laurie kicked Markum into a canter and headed for the mine.

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01KW962QY

Ooh! What a fascinating mystery! And I love Regency novels. ♥♥♥ This looks like an interesting ride! 😉

Thank you for telling us about your book, C.L.! I know I can’t wait to read this historical mystery romance series! 🙂

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Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book on Amazon!

A Vindicated Heart

Author Bio

C.L. Bush

C. L. Bush started reading at a young age. Since then, she has voraciously read all she could get her hands on. With a degree in Business and another in Marketing, as well as being the mother of two boys and three grown stepdaughters and the wife of a soldier in the U.S. Army, her life is busy, but she has always kept her love of reading and writing. History is also a passion of hers and she regularly goes on trips with her family to experience it firsthand.

Embarking on a new historical mystery series, Fire In My Heart, she also has a successful coloring book series, I F*cking Love Coloring.

Check out all her books now and follow her here for emails about any new releases, discounts and giveaways coming up!

Author Links

Website/Blog:  http://www.clbush.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorclbush/

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/C.-L.-Bush/e/B017OA7HV8

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14648833.C_L_Bush

 

Thanks again, C.L.! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book Release, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Mystery, new release, Readers, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

a2z-badge_2016

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

scoring-heart-rating

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Weather the Storm by Jean Ferris

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Genre: YA Historical Romance

Blurb:

When Raider takes Rosie to England she finds no living kin-and long buried family secrets. When Raider offers to take Rosie to New Orleans, she sees no other option. But it is a journey that brings her closer than ever to the daring buccaneer who has captured her heart yet farther from the romantic dream that torments her. As the war rages at sea, Rosie once again watches Raider sail into battle, driven by the obsession that consumes him, and taking with him the love that has become the very soul of Rosie’s life.

Also in the trilogy:
Into the Wind
and
Song of the Sea

 

A few choice lines from the book:

“The most extraordinary thing has happened,” she blurted. “I’ve just discovered I might have been a countess.”

The expression on his face remained impassive. It didn’t surprise her that he didn’t believe her. She could hardly believe it herself.

“There was a letter from my mother in Aunt Polly’s Bible,” she went on, in spite of his face. “Maybe that’s why the Bible was locked up; to keep the letter safe. My mother was a countess before she married my father, a Portuguese countess. I know it sounds unbelievable, but I believe it. My locket has her family crest. They disowned her when she married my father and she lost her title, but if they hadn’t done that, I would’ve been a countess!”

Why was she bothering him with this? He clearly thought it was preposterous. She did herself. And it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference in what her life would be like now. But she’d had to tell someone, and who else was there? And once, he might have cared.

Finally he spoke, his face unchanged, but his voice hollow. “I thought it might be something like that.”

“You…what?” She felt almost as if he’d struck her. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t quite know how to…” He seemed unsure, almost embarrassed. He turned away from her and leaned his shoulder against a stable post, his hands in his pockets. The cloth of his jacket stretched across his wide shoulders. She stayed where she was because she was shaking too much to move.

“What are you talking about?” she asked again, somehow frightened.

“I have a jewel cask,” he said, not turning around. “I’ve had it for five years. My brother and I took it from a pirate ship that had taken it from a Portuguese barkentine on its way to Brazil. You may not be aware that the entire Portuguese court fled Portugal for Brazil, its colony in the New World, in November of 1807 when General Junot invaded. The capital of Portugal has been in Rio since January of 1808. When the nobility fled, they took everything with them: their books, jewels, archives, everything. Rich pickings for pirates, and many of the Portuguese ships were captured, looted and sunk. The cask I have once held a treasure in jewels of some highborn Portuguese family, all of whom are probably lying at the bottom of the sea now.”

“I don’t understand,” Rosie said when he was silent.

“I sold all the jewels long ago. They brought a great deal of money. A great deal. But I kept the cask. I’m not sure even why. I liked the look of it.” He paused again. When he spoke, his voice was so low she could hardly hear him. “It has a design on the lid. A silver hind with a golden apple around her neck.”

“A silver…? The same as on my locket?”

“Exactly the same. The same as in the story you told me when I was ill. Those jewels must have belonged to your mother’s family. You could have had a countess’s fortune if not her title.”

With the idea of a title not fully assimilated, the notion of a fortune seemed simply impossible. Rosie shook her head, as if to dislodge a swarm of gnats.

Finally Raider turned to face her. “I seem to have spent my life ruining yours. Even before I knew you.”

He looked so genuinely stricken her heart contracted. This lost fortune was too abstract for her to take seriously; in fact, it seemed to be causing him more pain than it did her. The notion that her mother had loved her enough to make the deathbed effort to speak to her across all these years meant far more to her than any kind of fortune.

She put her hand out to him. “It doesn’t matter. How could you know? And if you hadn’t told me, I’d never have known either. It will make no difference in what I do.”

“I should repay you. The jewels were yours.” He ignored her hand, which she withdrew into the folds of her skirt.

She was rather taken aback by such evidence of probity in his character, and at the same time, pleased. Perhaps the man she imagined to be hidden behind Raider’s alternately cool and hot facade actually existed.

“You can repay me by taking me to New Orleans,” she said, without knowing in advance that she was going to say it. “I’ve decided to accept your offer. Fowey isn’t a place where I could feel at home, if only because of the weather.” As she spoke, she recognized within herself the truth of what she said. And congratulated herself for finding the strength to say it, knowing what the price would be: more unrequited time with him, more anticipation of the painful farewell. “In New Orleans,” she went on, sound surer and more adult than she felt, “with its mix of people, I think I’m more likely to find a place for myself. That will be enough.”

“It’s not enough to satisfy me.” He stood looking at her through the gloom of the stable, his eyes catching what light there was. “My debt to you is greater than that.”

“Then I cancel your debt. You owe me nothing now other than passage away from here.” His insistence mystified her. Still, how unaccountable it was that he was the one to find her family jewels. It was as if their lives were fated to intersect, if only for an interval, if only glancingly.

“You can sell the land your aunt owned,” he said, as if he hadn’t heard her. “That will give you a stake. We should try to take care of that before we leave. That means this afternoon or tomorrow. If there’s anything from her trunk you want to take with you, you should arrange for that, too.” He had the inward look of someone preoccupied with plans. And what he was planning was her life. Again.

“Stop doing that,” she said, exasperated. “You keep taking over and making all the plans without ever asking me. This is my life, not yours.”

She was right. He couldn’t seem to stop trying to make them the same. “Do forgive me,” he said, willing mischief into his voice and his eyes, protecting his emotions once again by teasing. “Just what is it you think we should be doing in order to get on with this enterprise?”

“Well…of course I should see about selling that land. And there are a few things I’d like to have from the trunk. Oh, don’t look so pleased with yourself. I could have thought of those things without your help. You’re not going to be around forever to do my thinking for me, so you’d better let me have some practice.”

She was right; of course she was. “Very well,” he said.

My Score:

This book, along with the others in the series, has been on my shelf for a long time. I read it many years ago, probably when I was a teenager. I take it out now and then to remind myself of those rampant emotions in one’s youth, the heartaches and how simple, yet complicated, love could be somehow in the past. This series is the perfect example of how a good romance should be. It’s not without danger or conflict between the hero and heroine, though.

This series is also set in the Regency era, one of my favorite time periods. 😉

But seriously, this book is excellent. Rosie and Raider’s journey is one you’ll fall for over and over again. I’d recommend reading the series together to get the full effect!

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I’d give this one five hearts!

five hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Young Adult

A to Z Challenge: One Illicit Night by Sophia James

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating!❤

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

One Illicit Night by Sophia James

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Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

After one uncharacteristically wicked night, the once-reckless Eleanor Bracewell-Lowen now leads a safe and prudent life.

On his return to London’s high society, Lord Cristo Wellingham looks different from the man she knew so briefly in Paris, but he is still as magnetic….

In his cold amber eyes Eleanor detects something she has seen mirrored in her own—longing. His touch invites passion, but this is a man who could destroy her good name with just one glance….

A few choice lines from the book:

Lady Eleanor Jane Bracewell-Lowen could not quite focus on the form of the man who carried her, could not through the dizzy grey fog of lethargy see the expressions on his face or hear the cadence of his words. With a growing dread she tried to shift her weight so that he might let her down, let her escape, but even that was impossible. Nothing on her body worked and the tight mesh of the heavy wig she wore brought a strange dislocation.

She was naked! She knew that, for she had felt his hands on the curve of her breasts and in the warmth beneath her legs. Rough. Lewd. She could not even turn away in protection. Nay, sheer apathy held her caught against breath that smelt of hard liquor and bad teeth.

‘You’re too beautiful for une pute. When you finish here we’ll treat you well below.’

Une pute? A whore? Two words that did make sense. Eleanor closed her eyes against the horror of truth, this small movement all she could muster as shock made the hairs on her arms stand out straight against the chill of the night.

‘I…am…not a… whore.’ The sounds came out as only nonsense, no meaning in them as she failed to form the letters on her lips, just gibberish, fear making her feel sick.

A door opened and warmth beckoned. Beyond the darkness in a circle of light, a solitary figure sat at his desk writing.

‘Monsieur Beraud sends you a gift, Comte de Caviglione.’

She stiffened. The man she had come to see! Perhaps he would help her. If only she could speak clearly.

Silence was the only response.

‘He said that she was new to the game.’

At this the man in the shadows stood. Tall and blond, the expression on his face matched exactly the wariness of his words. His eyes were the deepest of brown.

‘Did you search her for weapons?’

‘I did much more than that, oui.’

In one movement the blanket was gone and Eleanor was set down on to a bed.

‘Merde!’ The tall man’s curse was rough. ‘You stripped her?’

‘In readiness, you understand. It’s rumored to have been a while since you last had a woman and it’s my master’s view that the bile of celibacy can make any man cantankerous.’

Dark eyes wandered across her own and Eleanor failed to summon the energy to protest.

‘A whore who even now readies herself for your use, mon Comte, though if you do not want the gift, I could take her below.’

‘No, leave her.’ The blond man raised his hand, a flash of heavy gold rings caught in the light, the expression on his face guarded.

She tried to blink, tried to warn him, tried in the singular and only way that she could to alert him to the wrongness in all of this, but the second was gone as he looked away, his hair falling across his face as he turned.

Beautiful. At least he was that. Closing her eyes, she was lost into the ether of nothingness.

Cristo Wellingham waited until the minion of Beraud had gone before crossing the room to slide the heavy slats of oak into place.

He had never trusted locks, for a soul well versed in the art of picking them could take but a moment to force his way through any door. Neither did he trust the fact that Etienne Beraud had sent this whore to him as a gift. The man was a scoundrel and a cheat working for the French police in a way that was blatantly illicit and this ‘offering’ was undoubtedly another of his attempts to gain favour and benefit from the world surrounding the Chateau Giraudon.

Looking down at the girl, Cristo doubted that she was as inexperienced as Beraud claimed her to be, with her plumped-up lips and overdone face powders. She smelt of cheap drink and old perfume, the sort that was sold in the markets on a Monday where the Boulevard de Clichy crossed into the Place de Blanche.

Still to give Beraud some due, she was indeed striking, though he doubted the overlong blonde curls to be her own, wound as they were around her hips and catching the firelight in a way that seemed patently false.

Tweaking a single lock, he let it fall across her ample breasts with their pale pink nipples and a smattering of freckles.

Freckles. God. Swiping his hair, Cristo moved back, afraid suddenly of the immensity of desire that ran through him. Beraud had his reasons in trying to sweeten a deal between them, he supposed, for the wide and varied circle of acquaintances flowing through the chateau represented a great cross section of Paris society, making any gathering of information infinitely easier.

The girl moved, her hair falling from the line of her breast, and his body tightened unbidden. He loosened the folds of fabric around himself. Already the small whistles of slumber came from her breathing, the sleep he had seen in her blue eyes taken with all the speed of one who was not quite.cognisant.

Drugs? Or wine? With the telltale odour of alcohol on her breath he determined it to be the latter. Brandy, probably, and a dosage that was far too high for a woman so slight. If she died here.?

His fingers closed around one shapely calf and he shook her awake, pleased when her eyes opened again.

‘What’s your name?’ He didn’t particularly want to know it, but if he kept her talking she might give him some clue as to Beraud’s intentions, and with the way Fouche’s forays into politics were shaping up that could be more than useful.

The candlelight reflected in her pale eyes and she remained silent.

Sensual. Worldly. A voluptuous and erotic token from a man used to blackmailing and bribing his way into power. Why here and now? His mind ticked over the timing as he tried to determine what Beraud might gain tonight in his desire to have her in this room with him. The codes he had been working on were close to being finished. Had the French police some word of that? Even a glance from a practised eye might unearth secrets that would be better hidden and Cristo was well experienced in the fact that spies were most efficient when their form was unexpected.

The clock on the mantel chimed the hour of eleven and downstairs in the salons another bout of debauchery was in full flight. There were sounds of women laughing, a bottle being de-corked and the louder chants of men made loose with sex and spirits.

Once he would have been amongst them, taking his chances with courtesans who welcomed his attentions. But he hadn’t for an age now, the ease of orgasm no longer an opiate for what his life had become.

The girl before him moved suddenly, her scent potent, and his fingers dropped away. She was young to be so very badly used and Beraud’s taste in the intimate arts had never been simple. Two marks on her left thigh caught his attention, the burn of raised blisters sitting strangely against alabaster skin. When he leant forwards to touch the wounds she did not flinch, but watched him under languidly hooded lids.

“Combien as tu bu, mon amour?”

‘How much did you drink, my love?’

A murmur he could not fathom was her only answer as she turned to him, a come-hither look in the way her limbs fell loose accompanied by the heavy smell of her perfume. The powder she wore smeared beige across the white of his clean linen sheets. He hated the way his hand would not obey his mind and pull away, the heat of her quiet seduction a narcotic without rival, the contrived ‘little girl’ look a decided bonus in her line of work.

Lord. If he could have imagined a woman to ignite his fancy she would indeed have been the one lying naked and available on the bed before him.

He should leave her, should walk away and order her removed, but he found that he could not. It was the feel of her skin that pulled him closer and the shape of her hips tapering down to long and damned fine legs.

Tight bound in a growing need, one finger nudged all that was hidden and he smiled as her head arched back against the pillow. A courtesan of some skill, he determined, as her muscles coiled, tighter than a whore should ever be and her breath no longer steady. With a care that surprised him he began to stroke, wanting her pleasure to match his and their coupling to resemble something far from the quick and lurid encounter that Beraud probably had in mind. As he closed his eyes against the cosmetic accoutrements of her trade and the falseness of the wig, it was easy to imagine other things—things that were true and right and good, the world that had been his once, before his sins had changed it.

My Score:

I love Regency novels, and this one does not disappoint! Take a lady certainly out of her element and thrust her into some terrible circumstances with a mysterious gentleman…add some espionage, the pressures of society, a passion that can’t be denied…and you have the recipe for not only disaster, but a compelling literary ride.

Eleanor finds herself in Paris, attempting to deliver a letter to a Count, as her grandfather’s final wish. But the place is shady and she’s unfortunately mistaken for a prostitute. She is delivered drunk and naked to the gentleman, who despite his best intentions, helplessly sees her only as she seems. By the time it’s too late to have prevented the deed, she is out of his life, leaving only more questions behind. Years pass and Eleanor has since moved on from that shameful yet passionate moment of her life. But then, he enters society, and they are both forced to look at their shared past and the future in new ways.

Is their connection enough to risk everything Eleanor has now? You’ll have to read it to find out the rest, but I guarantee you won’t regret it. I give this one four hearts.

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

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Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

In this lush and seductive novel, exciting new author Tessa Dare takes desire to brazen heights.

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother’s best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion–one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

A few choice lines from the book:

His heart thudded wildly in his chest. He paused, clutching the door handle, cursing his body for recalling so quickly what he’d worked long years to forget.

Logic caught up to his racing pulse, reining it in. The dim glow of banked coals cast ominous shadows, but Jeremy forced the room into focus. This was not that night. He was in his usual bedchamber at Waltham Manor, not wandering Corbinsdale Woods. More than twenty years had passed, and he was no longer a boy. Whatever surprise awaited him on the other side of the door, he was fully equipped to face it.

When he slid back the rusted bolt and wrenched open the door, Jeremy was prepared for the worst.

“Hold still,” came the whispered command.

He had an instant to register a feminine silhouette, a tangle of dark curls, and two hands grasping his shoulders. Then Lucy Waltham, the younger sister of his oldest friend, popped up on her toes and pressed her lips to his with such force, he stumbled against the doorjamb.

Good Lord. The girl was kissing him.

Well, he thought ironically, he’d been prepared for the worst. And of the many kisses Jeremy Trescott had experienced in his nine-and-twenty years, this was, undoubtedly, the worst.

Lucy kissed with her lips perfectly puckered and her eyes open wide. And if she lacked in finesse, she compensated with bold enthusiasm. Her hands were everywhere at once—tangling in his hair, skimming his shoulders, exploring the broad expanse of his chest.

This wasn’t a kiss. It was a siege.

Furthermore, it was incomprehensible, wholly illogical, and a dozen different shades of wrong.

Somehow Jeremy’s hands found their way to her elbows, and he wrested himself from her eager embrace. “Lucy! What the devil do you think you’re doing?”

“Shhhh.” Her eyes darted to either side, scanning the darkened corridor. Then her gaze tilted back up to his, narrowing with a disturbing intensity, and Jeremy fancied briefly—absurdly—that someone had painted a target on his face.

“I’m practicing,” she whispered, her fingers tightening over his arms. “Let me try one more time.”

She swooped up for another kiss, and he instinctively ducked, pulling her into the room and shutting the door behind them. In a more rational moment, it might have occurred to him that the impropriety of kissing his host’s sister in the corridor would only be compounded by yanking her into his bedchamber. But Jeremy’s faculties of reason had temporarily vacated Waltham Manor.

Lucy had, quite literally, kissed him witless.

“Did it work, then?”

He stared at her, mute with confusion. Did what work? At the moment, it seemed that nothing worked, least of all his brain. Shock had frozen his limbs. He certainly couldn’t force an answer from his lips.

Stepping back, she crossed her arms over her crimson velvet dressing gown and surveyed his form boldly. As her gaze traveled downward, Jeremy grew uncomfortably aware of his own dishabille, from nightshirt to worn breeches to bare feet.

A satisfied smile spread across her face. “It must have worked. You did pull me into your bedchamber.” She reached for the door handle. “Very well, Jemmy. I suppose that’s enough practice. I’ll see you at breakfast.”

She cracked open the door. Jeremy put out a hand and slammed it shut.

Shooting him a glare, she grasped the handle with both hands and tugged. “I beg your pardon. I’ll be on my way, then.”

“No, you won’t.” He leaned his weight on the door, effectively bolting it closed. Lucy might be used to flouting her brother’s half-hearted attempts at guardianship, but Jeremy had four inches and two stone on Henry Waltham, not to mention an iron will. Lucy did not walk all over him.

He mustered his most autocratic, Earl-of-Kendall tone. “You are not going anywhere. You’re going to sit down and explain yourself.” She opened her mouth to object. He grabbed her by the elbow and steered her toward the chair. “But first,” he said, “I am going to have a drink.”

She stopped struggling under his grip and dropped gracelessly into the chair. “A drink,” she repeated. “Why didn’t I think of that? A drink would be just the thing, thank you.”

Shaking his head, Jeremy strode to the bar and poured a single glass of whiskey. He downed half the liquor in one greedy swallow, closing his eyes to savor the burn spreading down his throat. When he opened them again, he looked around to assure himself this was, indeed, the same Waltham Manor he’d been visiting each autumn since Cambridge. Roughhewn beams scored the sloping ceiling. Muted tapestries covered the walls, and an unfussy, timeworn carpet obliged his bare feet. The room had not altered in the past eight years, anymore than it likely had in the past one hundred.

In décor, in landscape, in the quartet of old friends enjoying their annual sporting holiday—Waltham Manor had remained a welcome constant in Jeremy’s life. Until this year, when everything had changed.

“Why couldn’t everything just go on as it was?” Lucy stirred the fire with a poker, sending swirls of agitated sparks into the air. “Why did Felix have to go and get married? He’s ruined everything.”

Jeremy drowned his reply with a sip of his drink. He would not have admitted it, but he rather agreed.

“It was all right when Henry got married,” she continued. “Marianne’s so busy with the children, at least she stays out of the way. But that shrew Felix married is going to expect to be entertained. And to make it all worse, she’s brought along her sister, that Sophia.”

Mrs. Crowley-Cumberbatch and Miss Hathaway are, by all accounts, charming young ladies. One would think you’d be glad of their company.”

She threw him an incredulous look.

“Or not.” Truth be told, Jeremy wasn’t glad of their presence, either. There was nothing precisely offensive about Felix’s wife, Kitty, or her sister, Sophia. To the contrary, Sophia Hathaway was the epitome of an inoffensive, well-bred society beauty. A bit of meringue—insubstantial, but pleasing enough, if one’s tastes ran to sweet. As Toby’s apparently did.

Jeremy tossed back another swallow of whiskey and tasted the irony. Henry and Felix married, Toby on the verge … their bachelor’s retreat had become a family house party. Well, if all his friends were determined to shackle themselves in marriage, at least he would be in no imminent danger of joining them. All three ladies at Waltham Manor were safely accounted for.

The sound of fingers drumming wood interrupted his thoughts. “Do you intend to drink the whole bottle yourself?”

Unless, of course, one counted Lucy.

And he did not count Lucy. She was neither eligible, nor a lady. She was Henry’s much younger sister and ward, and she was Jeremy’s personal version of a biblical plague. She’d spent years devising ways to get under his skin. Now she was charging into his bedchamber and … and practicing.

Much as he wished to erase that kiss from his memory, he couldn’t ignore it. Neither could he ignore the obvious implications of that word, “practicing.”

He could, however, ignore her request for a drink. Jeremy refilled his own glass and carried it toward the hearth, dropping into the chair opposite hers. Raking a hand through his hair, he exhaled slowly. “I don’t like to ask this. I dread your response. But for what, exactly, are you practicing?”

“Not ‘what,’” she answered. “Who.”

Oh, it only got worse. “For whom are you practicing, then? Some local youth? The vicar’s boy?”

“For Toby, of course.”

He gave a wry laugh. “For Toby? Why would you be kissing Toby? He’s all but engaged to Miss Hathaway.”

She hugged her knees to her chest, curling into a ball of red velvet and chestnut curls. The chair’s masculine proportions dwarfed her, and her green eyes brimmed with raw, undisguised hurt. “Then it’s true.”

Bloody hell. Suddenly this bizarre nighttime visit made sense. Jeremy punched the arm of his chair. Of all the irretrievably stupid things to say.

“My maid said she heard it from Toby’s valet. I didn’t want to believe her. I couldn’t believe her. But it’s true.”

Jeremy had to look away. It was a matter of self-preservation. Lucy’s countenance was a collection of pixie features set within a heart-shaped face—a face designed to display, unfiltered, every emotion of the heart within. One couldn’t look at her without knowing exactly how she was feeling—and Jeremy didn’t wish to know how Lucy was feeling. He preferred to keep a respectful distance from even his own emotions.

“How could he?” she squeaked.

Jeremy winced. Lucy sniffed loudly, and he took another slow sip of whiskey. She could not cry, he wanted to remind her. That was the rule—Henry’s single exercise in authority. He’d allowed the chit to run roughshod over them every autumn, tagging along on their hunting and fishing excursions, parroting their curses, even taking nips off their flasks—under one condition. Lucy was not to cry. In eight years, Jeremy had never seen her shed a single tear. He prayed she wasn’t about to start now. If there was one thing he couldn’t abide, it was a crying woman.

He stole a glance at her. Damn it, her chin was quivering. “You’re not going to start weeping, are you?”

“No.” Her voice quivered, too.

Jeremy busied himself adding wood to the fire, stalling for time.

Curse Toby. This was all his fault. He’d always made such a pet of the girl. Every autumn, Lucy clung to Toby like a tick on a hound. He baited her hooks and taught her bawdy Latin conjugations. He brought her flowers and wove her crowns of ivy that went straight to her head. His Diana, Toby called her. Goddess of the hunt.

Goddess he may have dubbed her, but the worship was all on Lucy’s side. A young girl’s harmless infatuation—that was all it had seemed. Obviously, to Lucy it had seemed much more. And now the task of disabusing her of all those romantic notions had somehow fallen to Jeremy. Just his luck. But also fitting, he supposed. If he’d ever harbored a romantic notion, which was doubtful, he’d been disabused of it long ago.

He clapped the dust from his hands and reclined in his chair. In his most magnanimous tone, he began, “Now, Lucy, you must understand…”

She shot him a murderous glare. At least it wasn’t that mournful expression she’d worn just moments ago. “Don’t, Jemmy. Don’t you dare speak to me as if I were a child. I ought to have come out two seasons ago. If only Marianne weren’t perpetually confined. Perhaps I am not a genteel lady like Sophia Hathaway. But I’m not a girl any longer, either.”

She stretched a bare foot toward the fire and absently flexed her ankle. The sinuous grace of the motion caught Jeremy’s gaze. Caught it, and trapped it. He couldn’t look away. She circled her foot idly, her skin glowing golden in the firelight. His eyes swept upwards, tracing the sweet curve of her calf to where it disappeared under her dressing gown.

Then Lucy shifted, crossing her legs. Red velvet fell like a theater curtain, abruptly ending the show. A swift blow of disappointment caught Jeremy in the chest. The sensation drifted downwards, mellowing to the familiar ache of thwarted desire. God, this night was simply rife with surprises.

“I suppose you’re not,” he muttered, tearing his gaze away and giving himself a mental shake.

My Score:

I love a good Regency novel, and with this one I have to recommend reading the whole series because it’s so damn good. But, as this is the first book, it’s an excellent start. I have a few other Tessa Dare books as well, and she never disappoints.

In Goddess of the Hunt, this unlikely pair, Jeremy and Lucy, are thrown together through unusual circumstances. But you can’t deny the tension or the heat between them. Jeremy goes to some underhanded lengths to keep her from making a foolish mistake, and ends up succumbing to the girl’s charms. There is a constant push-pull between this couple, which makes you wonder if they’ll ever figure it out. It’s passionate and emotionally compelling.

I recommend the sequels as well, because once you have a taste of the first book you’ll be dying to read the next.

 

Tessa Dare series

I give this one four hearts.

four hearts

 

 

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A to Z Challenge: Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

As aforementioned in my last A to Z post, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.

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For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give  a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

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Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

A scoundrel whose fame as an artist, libertine, and notorious seducer of beautiful women is ongoing fodder for the ton, Mallory Claeg has a secret obsession-Brook Meylan, Lady A’Court, a beautiful widow who abandoned London two years earlier, deliberately severing all ties to her past. Under the pretense of his interest in the primitive landscape of the Cornish coast, Mallory watches her, fascinated and utterly mesmerized by her beauty…

Brook tried to escape the gilded cage of the ton’s merciless gossip, the memory of a cruel husband, and the pity of well meaning friends. But meddling relatives and unwanted suitors shatter her peace. At first, Mallory Claeg was another intrusion. Yet his sinfully handsome face and irresistible charm bring both temptation and torment. Now Brook must choose between opening her heart-or sealing it off forever…

A few choice lines from the book:

Mallory had been drawn to the intriguing vision of the lone woman in black challenging the sea he had glimpsed while searching for a location to sit and sketch. He had been too far away to hear her words, but her gestures were violent and poignant. He would have left her undisturbed if the silly creature had not been determined to kill herself. As he dropped his sketching book and small box of supplies, his quick stride erupted into a full run when he realized she was fighting the wind for her balance.

He caught her arm and spun her toward the safety of firmer land. The momentum sent both of them falling. It was too late to be noble. The woman landed on her back with him on top of her. He grunted, taking the brunt of the fall on his forearms. Gazing down at her ashen face, he adjusted his initial impression that she was an older woman. The lady underneath him was quite lovely and familiar. He blamed the unflattering black she was bundled in for his error. She was short in stature. Grief had whittled her slender frame, enhancing her fragility. Even tragedy could not steal her beauty.

She pushed him away and he willingly rolled off her. “Are you mad, sir, or simply drunk?” she demanded in a trembling voice. Still shaken by the encounter, she remained seated on the ground.

“Neither. I was sparing your family the grief of searching for your broken body this afternoon amidst the rocks below,” he said, irritated that his heroism was perceived as lunacy.

Her anger changed to stunned outrage. “I was not—I could not.” She gazed weakly at the edge before struggling to her feet.

Mallory measured the doubt he noticed in her eyes in silence. He only allowed her a moment to deduce her legs were still too wobbly for the grace he had always attributed to her. “Here. Take my hand, my lady.”

He pulled her roughly onto her feet. To make certain she was paying attention, he tightened his grip on her arm until she winced. “No trouble is worth casting yourself into the sea.” He released her and put a respectable distance between them.

“I was not throwing myself off the cliff. The notion sounds painful, not to mention messy. I will have you know that I walk here daily and am quite familiar with the dangers—” She broke off, realizing she was explaining herself to someone she considered an underling. She shivered as the wind buffeted them. The spring air had put a healthy bloom on her cheeks. “Besides, what would you know about me or my troubles?”

He gave her a slow, roguish grin. “Well, Countess, the answer to that particular question might take some time. Why don’t you let me escort you home and I will make my confession over a pot of tea?”

Mallory was quite used to women who acquiesced to his dictates without question. It was a rather novel experience to observe that his limitless charm had altered her expression from mistrust to blatant hostility.

“Who are you, sir?”

He mockingly patted the imaginary wound over his heart. “Why, Lady A’Court, your forgetfulness smites a lethal clout on my self-love. During your absence from London, have you forgotten your old friends?”

She glanced away at the mention of London. “I have few friends in town these days, sir, and you are not one of them.”

“Perhaps not,” he acquiesced. “We, however, are connected by friendship. A lady in your position should be basking in the affection of her companions.” He let his gaze roam the bleak landscape. “Not praying for an early death in the remoteness of Cornwall.”

“Who sent you?” she demanded with unexpected bluntness.

Surprised by her intensity and the impact of her blue gaze focused on him, Mallory shifted his stance and concealed his visceral reaction to her proximity with a grin. “Such ferocity! Dear madam, you make me want to confess everything, but alas, only my selfish pleasures have brought me to you.”

She blinked at the double entendre, uncertain if it was deliberate. “You claim you know me.”

“Indeed. I believe you once honored me with a dance at your come-out ball. There were so many admirers that evening, I could hardly fault you for not recalling.” He offered his arm, wanting to get her away from the cliff and out of the cold before her teeth began to chatter. “You mentioned tea.”

You mentioned tea,” she countered. “As well as plunging from cliffs, forgotten acquaintances, selfish pleasures, and a ball I barely remember. I warrant you have spoken more words than I have in the past week. Do you ever hush?”

Mallory sat down on a nearby flat stone and laughed, enjoying the way her brow wrinkled in exasperation. Whatever her intentions before he had gained her attention, he was satisfied that the dark moment has passed. “Occasionally, my lady. I treasure the awakening colors of dawn, the sound of the wind rattling the windows, spring and the new life it yields. When I awaken each morning, I lie abed listening to the soft breathing of my lover and savor the warmth of our embrace. I expect I appreciate my moments of silence like any other man.”

She made a choking sound that she quickly muffled with her gloved hand. It was terribly mischievous to speak so boldly, yet the widow sparked something in him. Her reactions were too charming to resist.

Clearing her throat, she said, “My mother always said that rudeness begets rudeness, and she is correct. Regardless of your playful objections, you are a stranger to me, sir, and my speech was most forward. Please accept my apologies.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “No, I do not believe I will.” He crossed his arms, awaiting her response.

“Y-You must!” she stuttered, flustered by his refusal. She started pacing in her agitation. “No gentleman ever leaves a lady obligated.”

Briefly an image of Carissa flickered in his mind. “I have never been one for polite rules, Countess.”

Noticing his enjoyment, she stopped and sighed. “You are teasing me.”

“Beautiful ladies are always so much fun to tease.” He stood and clasped her elbows lightly when her expression blanked. “You are supposed to smile when a gentleman gives you a compliment.”

“I have tarried too long. My family is expecting me,” she said in a breathy rush, finally noticing their close proximity.

“And what of your expectations?”

“I have none. Good day, sir.” She stepped out of his embrace and turned to leave.

“My name!” he shouted to her departing figure.

She hesitated at his words.

“Claeg. Mr. Mallory Claeg. I believe you claim my younger sister, Amara, as one of the few friends you have left in London.”

He had truly managed to shake her with his announcement. Something akin to shame moistened her gaze. “You do your sister no favor by connecting our names. In remembrance of old friendships, I beg of you to forget that we ever met.”

Watching her hasty retreat, Mallory crouched down to retrieve his abandoned sketching book and supplies he had dropped earlier. Well, well, who would believe he and the pretty widow would be sharing secrets? Forget? He rose, brushing off some grit that clung to his left knee. “Not bloody likely!”

My Score:

This book is also on my shelf. I love Regency novels and Courting the Countess did not disappoint. It’s the perfect tale of a scoundrel  with a dark past meets a lady who has been away from society for awhile. With passion, endless complications and emotional roller coasters, this novel will keep you guessing until the end. Are these two ever going to figure things out, or will pride and misplaced beliefs keep them apart?

You’ll have to read it yourself to find out, but I do recommend it. I give this novel four hearts for an entertaining read!

four hearts

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