Tag Archives: society

The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society: a guest post by Inkitt

The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society

 

Romance has always been a universal theme of literary relevance. While some people today are of the belief that Romanticism has seen its day, many more would argue that it is still alive and well. In fact, one could even present the case that – given its constant presence in the media and news today – Romanticism is and likely always will be interwoven into the very fiber of modern society.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

Since the time of forlorn lovers Romeo and Juliet, literature has had a hand in shaping the societal norms and expectations of present-day romance. Often the types of romantic relationships imagined have been limited to a particular perspective, more Gone with the Wind than Twilight, though recent years have seen a shift toward the latter. This can be accredited to the current generation’s fascination with the supernatural. One needs to only peruse the latest list of best sellers to see a theme that almost exclusively involves vampires, witches and werewolves. Yet the foundation of these can almost always be traced back to some aspect of traditional Romanticism.

Of course, with the advent of internet publishing, other alternative modes of romance are now becoming more readily accessible to a much broader audience. The mainstream acceptance of 50 Shades of Grey, for example, only became a reality after it reached a critical mass of readership amongst the romantic fan fiction community. Erotica literature, which was once thought of as taboo, is now seen today as a popular literary genre.

The democratization of access provided by the internet is also having a profound effect on the way the publishing industry is interacting with its readers. Where once literary gatekeepers dictated societal conventions of romance or any other genre, today we are seeing more agency on readers to choose what and how to read. This therefore enables them to determine the type of books they want to see published, and even in what format. This has resulted in a fundamental shift in the way writers, publishers, agencies and their audiences engage and interact.

Another area where Romance and Romantic literature have influenced modern society is in film – and in many cases, in a quite unassuming and/or unexpected way. For instance, blockbuster movies like E.T. and Jaws exhibit the aspect of Romanticism that involves fascination with the unknown, while The Ten Commandments leverages the feature of heroism. Meanwhile, Avatar plays on the appeal of mystery and escapism. Then, of course, there are the more obvious romantic films, like The Sound of Music and Snow White, which contain many of the classic elements of centuries-old Romanticism.

In fact, it would seem to be more challenging to find examples of popular novels, movies, plays, songs or even video games that don’t display certain key elements of the Romantic literature of the past. The fact that many of these fictional works have stood the test of time indicate that Romanticism isn’t merely a genre that peaked in the 1800s, but rather a concept that continues to influence the way we live, interact with one another and are entertained today.

From a literary standpoint, while the storylines and characters may have changed and newer, more daring genres have become an accepted part of society, the inspiration of Romanticism and its many concepts is as prevalent now as ever before.

 

***Patricia Doma, Head of Communications at Inkitt

 

True! I don’t believe romance will be going out of style anytime soon… 😉

Thank you, Inkitt, for this take on the evolution of romantic literature, and how it affects us today.

Guest Blogger Bio

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.

 

Links

Website:  https://www.inkitt.com/

Blog:  https://www.inkitt.com/blog

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Inkitt

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+InkittPublishing

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/inkittbooks/

 

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

As always, happy reading, everyone!  😉

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Contemporary, Guest Writer, Historical, Literature, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance

5 Star Review for UYR!

Thanks, R.R., for taking the time to read book one of the Heiresses in Love Series! I am honored by your kind words! 🙂

upon-your-return-new

fivestars

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Upon Your Return (Heiresses In Love Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Marie Lavender’s Upon Your Return is a beautifully written love story set in the 1800’s. The relationship and trials between Fara Bellamont and Captain Grant Hill are carefully worded to capture hearts and minds.
Upon Your Return portrays the social and political struggles in France within the 1860’s. Particularly, the challenges Fara faces as a woman. The author touches upon the stirrings of feminism, classism, giving the read reality and life behind the romance.
Fara and Grant are strong, brave characters, both who defy the conventions of the time. Overcome obstacles for their love. Both characters are written with such care the reader keeps turning pages just to find out what will happen next.I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys romance stories and appreciates good writing. It is one of those books you won’t want to put down and in the end the characters will stay with you, much like, Catherine and Heathcliff. Enjoy.

scroll

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8

myBook.to/UYR

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/upon-your-return-marie-lavender/1115291084

Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Upon-Your-Return/Marie-Lavender/9781484978092

CreateSpace link:  https://www.createspace.com/4284739

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/upon-your-return/

Yowza! Thank you so much! ♥♥♥

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Marie Lavender, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

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?

To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl

51jRl9OpRlL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

Genre: Historical Romance

Blurb:

She Has Nothing Left To Lose–

After finding herself at the center of a very public scandal that left one man dead and another on the run, Lady Alexandra Huntington has exiled herself to her brother’s estate and is content to manage his affairs. But the arrival of darkly handsome Collin Blackburn awakens her curiosity and her desire–and the advantage of being a fallen woman is that she can be ruined only once. . .

Except Her Heart. . .

After a promise sworn to his father, Collin Blackburn is compelled to seek the aid of the woman who brought about his brother’s death in a senseless duel. Yet Lady Alexandra is not the shameless femme fatale he expected. In fact, Collin suspects she is guilty of nothing more than a hunger to experience passion, and the brawny Scot is certainly equipped to oblige. But the quick-witted, keenly sensual Alexandra has a few lessons of her own to impart–on life, love, and the delicious joys of succumbing to temptation. . .

A few choice lines from the book:

Yorkshire, June 1844

. . . The man stood only a few feet inside the door, tall and dark and glowering at Prescott. That alone was interesting. No one glowered at her brother’s butler. Prescott controlled access to a young and powerful duke.

Alexandra felt her prickling interest grow stronger. She edged a little farther into the room.

“If you’d care to leave a card, sir–”

“I do not have a card.” The man’s eyes flicked toward her, pinned her for a bare moment. He could not suspect who she was in her current attire, with her black hair pulled into a tight knot and the jacket hiding her curves. Still, Alexandra straightened at the brush of that silver gaze, even as it moved back to Prescott. The butler stood silent, not the least affected by the man’s coolness. Ten seconds passed. Then twenty.

With a stiff shrug, the stranger finally gave in to the impossibility of intimidating Prescott. “Please tell her I need to speak with her. I’m at the Red Rose.”

She watched as he turned, felt the soft tug of her impetuous nature. Who in the world was he? He should have been cowed by the butler’s utter indifference, but he looked self-assured to the very fiber of his being even as he was turned away.

His brown hair needed trimming and he appeared to have forgotten his cravat as well as his calling card, but the perfect cut of his brown coat spoke of wealth. And a Scot’s burr softened his deep voice—and sped her pulse.

Surely her brother would never speak of her to someone he didn’t trust. “Prescott.”

Ever unflappable, Prescott simply stepped aside. “My lady. A Mr. Collin Blackburn to see you.”

“Thank you, Prescott.”

Collin Blackburn froze at the sound of her voice. She watched him turn and step back inside, watched his eyes slide past her to search the corners of the huge entry for a more likely figure, but when he realized who she was, only the barest lift of russet brows betrayed his shock. “Lady Alexandra.”

She let him stare a moment, let him take in the oddness of her attire. No gentleman had ever seen her in riding breeches before, none other than her brother. She was dressed inappropriately, indecently even, but it mattered not in the least. She was a fallen woman. She’d earned the freedom to do as she pleased, so she let him look his fill and took the chance to study him as well.

He stood as tall as her brother but wider. Wide shoulders, broad chest. Definitely no padding in that coat. His body wasn’t bulky though. He was, in a word, solid.

His face looked purely masculine. Not handsome exactly, but stark and compelling. The slightly crooked nose spoke of an old fight, but his high cheekbones and wide mouth turned the mind to more pleasurable pursuits. She glanced back to the clear gray eyes that studied her so intently and saw his pupils tighten when he met her gaze.

“Thank you for seeing me.”

“Prescott, would you have tea brought to the office, please? Mr. Blackburn?” Gesturing back toward the hall, she spun on her heel to lead the way. Her long red coat opened as she turned, and she felt the hem brush against the buff riding breeches that hugged the curve of her thigh and hip. There was no mistaking the widening of his eyes, even at the corner of her vision. He’d had quite the view.

Gritting her teeth against the thrill that chased through her, Alexandra buttoned the coat and hurried toward the door of her cramped office. The morning room would be more appropriate, she supposed, but not dressed like this. Her men’s clothes would be a startling sight against a backdrop of flowered upholstery.

Alexandra stepped into the office and waved Blackburn toward a pair of chairs by the window. He waited until she took the chair opposite his, then sat and crossed a booted ankle over his knee.

“What did you wish to discuss with me, Mr. Blackburn?”

He let a heartbeat pass, then another. He watched her and frowned. A lock of hair fell over his brow when he finally inclined his head. “I’m here to ask a few questions.”

“Questions?”

“About Damien St. Claire.”

The name tightened the muscles of her jaw in a painful bunch. Blood rushed to her ears, roared like crashing waves. She couldn’t move for a long moment, couldn’t make her throat work. A deep breath forced it open. “I think that you should leave,” she said very carefully, very evenly.

Blackburn shook his head, began to protest, but she stood and stabbed a finger at the door. “No. It’s obvious my brother did not send you here. Leave. You can find your way out.” She pushed past him to the desk and dropped into the seat behind it, hands frantically shuffling papers. A rush of hurt surged in her chest. Why would she think he’d be different than any other man?

Standing with slow purpose, he stepped toward her and leaned to rest his fists on the desktop. His jaw looked as hard as hers felt. “Lady Alexandra, I need to know what happened between you and St. Claire–and John Tibbenham.”

“Truly? How does it involve you?” Making an obvious show of widening her eyes, she looked up at him with mock dismay. “Oh, I’m sorry. You must have been one of my lovers. I find it so hard to recall them all.”

His eyes narrowed as if her words had been a slap, then a sneer twisted his mouth as he leaned close. “Believe me, my lady. If I’d been one of your lovers, you’d remember it.”

“Really?” Alexandra let her gaze drift down to rest on the front of his trousers.

His fists tightened to rock on her desk. “Dinna think–” he began, but she cut him off again.

“You are not the first man to come here on the scent of easy prey. A ruined woman who just happens to be an heiress? Is that what you were thinking? Not very original, Mr. Blackburn. Please get out of my home.”

“John Tibbenham was my brother.”

Alexandra stared at him for a moment, rage trapped like ice in her chest, cracking against her ribs. When his words sunk past the roar of blood in her ears, she flinched and looked down, back to her rumpled papers, away from the hate in his eyes. The heat that had rushed to her cheeks drained away.

My Score:

The 1800s is one of my favorite time periods; I don’t care if it’s early, mid or late. I just love all of it. And who can resist a steamy Victorian tale with a handsome Scottish hero? Not me! 😉

When Collin Blackburn approaches Lady Alexandra to exact revenge for her part in his brother’s death, he is shocked to learn the truth, that the lady isn’t who he thought she was. She’s innocent, a pawn in an evil man’s game.

But, Alexandra is the Errant Heiress, the center of such scandal, and she knows it’s not smart to want Collin. Still, when do we ever listen to reason? Especially with a fine gentleman kissing her senseless. When he puts her in her place and respectfully declines the offer of her body, Alexandra realizes she’s never wanted a man as much as she does with Collin. What does a girl do when she can’t have what she wants? She gets creative!

In her attempt to catch herself a Scotsman, all kinds of trouble ensues. I think you’ll enjoy the ride just as much as I did. I give this one four hearts! 😀

four hearts

4 Comments

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

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

51mYyEYicaL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_

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

3 Comments

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

51IeCqrHbqL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_

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

 

 

4 Comments

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

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.

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?

Courting the Countess by Barbara Pierce

51uGM8Bof-L._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_

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

5 Comments

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