Monthly Archives: December 2016

Royal Scandal

Royal Scandal by Marquita Valentine

29844516DescriptionFairy tales do come true—and so do tabloid scandals! Bestselling author Marquita Valentine kicks off a juicy contemporary romance series with a novel about a prince whose best-laid plans go deliciously awry when he marries the maid next door.
Forced to flee to the United States with his siblings after their parents’ assassination, Crown Prince Colin Sinclair takes it upon himself to become the caretaker of his family while hiding out near Charlotte, North Carolina. But after a decade in hiding, the secret’s out and Parliament demands that Colin wed a princess of their choosing. Unwilling to play their game, Colin decides to marry an American instead, and he has the perfect candidate in mind.

As a home-service professional, Della Hughes doesn’t believe in storybook endings. But when her best friend and secret crush reveals that he’s a flesh-and-blood prince, she doesn’t know what to think. Still, she’ll do anything for Colin, including becoming his wife—in name only, of course. But when their plans to stay purely platonic go by the wayside, their fake honeymoon turns all too real. After a week of white-hot nights, Della can no longer deny her feelings—not with a happily ever after so tantalizingly close.

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: 

This book was an interesting twist on princely romances. Colin and Della have known each other for years but his princely identity was hidden. Once it comes out, and the threat of an arranged marriage with it, he proposes to Della. While there were some awkward plot points, overall this was an enjoyable story. It was nice to see Colin and Della, who were fighting their attraction to each other for so long, finally give in. I’m definitely interested in the next book in the series!

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Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Seven Minutes in Heaven

Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James

 


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Description: 

All of Eugenia Snowe’s problems start when Edward Reeve, an arrogant bastard son of an earl, bursts into her registry office. He wants a governess and he wants her. She gives him the governess he demands, but she refuses to give herself.

No question that Eugenia enjoys crossing wits with the brilliant inventor, but she will never tarnish her reputation with an affaire, particularly with a man who doesn’t realize she’s a lady!

She holds her ground…until he kidnaps her.

Ward will stop at nothing to convince Eugenia that they’re meant to be together. He promises her heaven.

She gives him seven minutes.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: 

Eloisa James has done it again! Seven Minutes in Heaven was an amazing book! Having read her previous Desperate Duchess series, I loved seeing Eugenia and Ward grow up and fall in love. Ward has recently gained control of his two half-siblings and Eugenia runs the governess service that Ward uses. While some plot-points felt a little unbelievable, i.e. Eugenia’s presence at Ward’s house, the chemistry between the hero and heroine more than makes up for it! It was especially nice to see a widow who moves on from a loving relationship and decides to enter into an affair without being coerced by external forces. Overall, another trademark and successful Eloisa James story!

Received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

 

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Salvaged Cover Reveal

 

About SALVAGED

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

 

About Jay Crownover

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, Welcome to the Point, and Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters and make the reader feel something.

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The Scottish Duke

a new series about dashing, charismatic dukes—

and the women who tame them…

THE SCOTTISH DUKE
The Duke Trilogy #1
Karen Ranney
Releasing Nov 29th, 2016
Avon Books

 

New York Times bestselling
author Karen Ranney returns with the first novel in a new series about dashing,
charismatic dukes—and the women who tame them…
Though raised as a gentleman’s daughter, Lorna Gordon is obliged to take a position as an upstairs maid at Blackhall Castle when her father dies. Alex Russell, the Duke of Kinross, is the most tempting man she’s ever seen—and completely unattainable—until, at a fancy dress ball, Lorna disguises herself as Marie Antoinette and pursues an illicit tryst…with scandalous consequences. Months after his mysterious seductress disappears, Alex encounters her again. Far from the schemer the distrustful duke assumed her to be, Lorna is fiercely independent and resourceful. She’s the one woman capable of piercing his defenses. But when danger threatens Lorna, Alex must prove himself not just the lover of her fantasies, but the man who will fight to protect her.
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The last thing Alexander Russell, the 9th Duke of Kinross, wanted to do was mingle with his guests. He could put the time to better use. Nor did he have friends among the throng. Acquaintances, perhaps, but few could be called more than that, especially after this afternoon when he’d been subjected to a humiliating rout.

Nevertheless, Alex forced himself to enter the ballroom, pasting a smile on his face that hid his true feelings.

The ballroom had been polished like a seldom worn crown. The three rows of four brass and crystal chandeliers illuminated every inch of the massive room, reflecting light off the windows and making the floor shine.

The jewels in the crown were the women, most of whom had taken to the idea of a fancy dress ball with enthusiasm, choosing costumes ranging from stunning to amusing with a few ridiculous examples in between. A half dozen hapless husbands were dressed to compliment their wives’ choices, but most men were attired in black evening dress.

At least twenty-five of them had witnessed his drubbing this afternoon.

Tonight’s entertainment was the last time he’d have to stand here and smile fatuously. He couldn’t wait for them all to be driven back to the train station tomorrow morning, en route to their various homes. The Scottish Society for Scientific Achievement could go to hell and with it their annual medal.

Someone in this room was a traitor. Not to country, even though they might well stoop to that. Someone here, being feted and entertained, had betrayed him. That was the only reason Simons had won the damn medal. Alex’s research was nearly word for word with the other man’s. His subjects were more numerous, however, numbering in the thousands to Simons’ hundreds. Even Simons’ conclusions, enumerated on the last page of his paper, had sounded too close to his own words. But his findings had been submitted to the Society a good three months before Simon’s. Three months, yet Simons had been the one critically acclaimed.

Someone had leaked the results of his research. Either a member of the Society attending this ball, the last event of a torturous week of hosting at Blackhall Castle, or someone to whom he’d confided about his work.

“You must learn to trust people, Alex,” his mother had once said to him.

He couldn’t remember why she’d offered up the sentiment, but he could remember the occasion. They’d been standing in Blackhall’s chapel and watching as the bronze plaque had been affixed to his wife’s last resting place.

He could also recall his response. He’d turned to her and said, “Why?”

She hadn’t an answer, which was a pity. Perhaps her words could have softened his emotion. Ruth, the late Duchess of Kinross, hadn’t been faithful, a fact that had been tearfully admitted by her sister.

“You mustn’t hate her, Alex. Ruth always wanted admiration. When you were too busy to give it to her, she sought it elsewhere.”

His wife would have enjoyed this ball. She would have purchased something ruinously expensive to wear, and no doubt a little shocking. She would have flitted among the guests, charming everyone. He could almost see her golden hair bobbing as she turned to greet one person then another. The noise level was intense in the ballroom and his memory furnished her laughter. Those who’d never come to Blackhall would leave with praises for her on their lips.

            She made us feel so welcome.

            What a gracious person the duchess is.

            How beautiful she is and that gown!

Ruth had a bright and receptive approach to life. If it was interesting or exciting, Ruth wanted to experience it. Her blond beauty was only enhanced by her trilling laugh, a smile that she used to great advantage and a skilled, almost manipulative way, she had of making any man feel as if he were the most important person in a room.

Ruth collected people the way other women collected gloves. She had dozens of friends, each one of whom thought she was the most important person in Ruth’s life. They never figured out that Ruth didn’t care about them individually. She only wanted the adulation such friends brought to her. The more important, titled, or wealthy the better. He had come to believe it was the same reason she’d married him.

By the second month of his marriage he realized she didn’t give a flying farthing for him. He was just a mark on a mental scorecard, an item no more important than a scarf from her dresser or a gown from her armoire.

After her death he’d been approached by one poor sod who’d openly wept about her passing. He’d wanted to ask the man if he genuinely believed Ruth had loved him, then realized that the truth wouldn’t serve any purpose.

As far as he was concerned, Ruth wasn’t capable of loving anyone other than herself.

He had no doubt that, given the passage of years, she would have still charmed people. They would have said things like: she hasn’t changed, has she? She’s still one of the most beautiful women in Scotland, isn’t she?

Ruth would have gloried in their comments. She would have draped herself in diamonds whose sparkle matched that in her eyes. Did you hear that, Alex? They did enjoy themselves, didn’t they? We should entertain again soon, I think.

Even perched in the middle of the Highlands, Blackhall Castle had once been known for its hospitality, its entertainments, and its beauty.

The beauty had never faded even though it took a fortune to maintain. The entertainments were fewer lately; he hadn’t the inclination to invite hoards of people to his home. And the hospitality? At the moment, he wished them all to perdition, including the men from the Society in their evening attire, clustered in small groups around the ballroom.

Who would Ruth have dressed as tonight? He suspected she would prefer to come as herself, the Duchess of Kinross. Or perhaps she would have stolen her sister’s costume. Mary was Cleopatra, her long, white tunnel like dress adorned with an intricate gold necklace. His mother was Queen Elizabeth, if he didn’t miss his guess, complete with a bright curly red wig.

Why was Ruth at the forefront of his mind tonight? Because he felt betrayed again? Because this was the first ball they’d held since her death three years ago? Because he’d been made raw with this feeling that he’d been a fool?

The orchestra his mother had hired was excellent. They were playing a waltz and a great many people were dancing. He should be a good host and greet his guests, but he had neither the will nor the ability to mask his emotions that well. He was furious, the rage building with each moment he stood there.

He waited until a footman was near, then gave him an order in a low voice. In moments the young man returned with a tumbler filled with whiskey.

“Watch me,” he said. “When it’s empty, I want you to bring me another one.”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

He didn’t drink often, but tonight he was going to with the single minded pursuit of drunkenness. He could only remember two times he’d done something similar in recent memory: the day he’d learned his wife had been unfaithful and the day she’d died in childbirth, taking his heir with her. Or perhaps the child hadn’t been his after all, a question he’d never have answered.

Tonight seemed an excellent occasion as well. He was facing the destruction of a dream, one brought about by someone he’d trusted.

“You must learn to trust people, Alex.”

The echo of his mother’s voice intruded into his thoughts.

            Why seemed as good a word as any in response. Or perhaps a resounding no would suffice.



Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn’t that shy after all.
 

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.

 

 

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