Author: Cathy Maxwell

Sunday Spotlight: The Duke I Marry by Cathy Maxwell

Posted December 2, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

The Duke I Marry is the third book in Cathy Maxwell’s Spinster Heiresses series and it promises to be another historical adventure into the romance pairing of Miss Willa Reverly and Matthew Addison, the new Duke of Camberly. We’re stoked to be sharing a super cute excerpt from the book today so check it out…

Sunday Spotlight: The Duke I Marry by Cathy MaxwellThe Duke That I Marry (Spinster Heiresses, #3) by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #3
Also in this series: If Ever I Should Love You, A Match Made in Bed (Spinster Heiresses #2)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as "the Spinster Heiresses"...

Is it wrong for a woman to want more?

Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be "sold" to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.

When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?

Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn't have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as "love." Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both.

Could it be that in running from danger they might be racing headlong into a truly unexpected fate: falling in love?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO

Excerpt

The time had come.

The moment everyone had gossiped about. Willa was going to let Camberly have her because he was her husband. Giving in to him was her duty. She wasn’t truly his duchess unless they did the deed.

She experienced a pang of regret that she’d overheard his words to his sister about not loving her. Willa was practical. In spite of the marriage vows, she wouldn’t even have thought of love if it hadn’t been for Kate’s words.

Now, it seemed all she could think about. Love. Having a husband who loved her. Just as Soren loved Cassandra, and Leonie’s husband, Rochdale, all but worshipped her.

And yet, everyone envied Willa. Matt was a prize. She had become a duchess. The point game had gone to her.

So why did she feel sad?

It might have to do with the kiss in the coach. Her first kiss. She hadn’t known what she was about, but he had apparently liked it because he hadn’t stopped touching her since she’d kissed him. For most of the afternoon, when she had been with him, his hand had been at her arm or her waist, guiding her and moving her along until he’d swept her up and carried her to his bed. Willa sat up on the mattress. His bedroom furnishings were dark brown against ivory walls. The bed itself had been made for a giant. It had a massive headboard that was almost black with age. The bedclothes were a dull gold. Someone, most likely Annie or Matt’s valet, had turned down the covers.

Rather bravely, she said, “What do you want me to do?”

He’d tossed his jacket onto a nearby chair and was tugging on the knot in his neck cloth when her question gave him pause. An uncertain look came into his eye, as if he, too, was feeling his way. And then he answered, “Let me take down your hair.”

The request was unexpected—and she couldn’t imagine anything she would more dearly love. The weight of it had added to her building anxieties. “Yes, please.”

He smiled and pulled his neck cloth free to join his jacket before offering his hand. “Well then, stand.” She thought he meant the floor until he helped her balance on the mattress. This way, she was taller than he was. He wasn’t so intimidating this way. Was that his intent?

He began removing the pearl­tipped pins.

She held out her hand to receive them just as she did with Annie. The familiar arrangement helped her relax. “There are plain pins in there as well.”

“I will find them.” His touch was gentle, his expression intent. He reminded her of a sculptor she’d once observed working on his art. The ten­ sion between Willa’s shoulders and neck began to unwind. “I’ve wanted to see your hair down since the moment we first met,” he said.

“I have too much of it.” He smiled. “We shall see.”

Her gaze took in the room. This was obviously his domain. Just as she noticed when she’d visited Mayfield several months ago, there were signs of neglect and wear. A huge wardrobe took up a good portion of one wall. There was a washstand, a desk, chairs—all the usual items in a bedroom, including a privacy screen in one corner.

However, Willa’s personal effects were here. She was surprised. She had assumed she would have her own room. In fact, beyond his shaving gear, there seemed to be nothing else of Matt’s in this room. What brushes and small boxes and bottles were on the washstand belonged to her.

He had collected all the pearl pins and was now searching for the plain ones.

“I was thinking this was your room,” she said, “but my things are here.”

“This is our room.”

She looked down at him. “We’ll share the same room?” She had never heard of such a thing. Her parents had separate suites of rooms.

“You are my wife, Willa. You sleep by my side.”

“Forever?”

“As long as our natural lives.” He pulled the last pin from her hair. It was as if that last pin held it all in place. Her hair tumbled down around her shoulders, flowing almost to her waist.

It was pure pleasure to have the weight of it off her neck. As she did every night when she took her hair down, she rotated her shoulders—and then stopped. Her breasts were at his eye level and they had his attention.

A warmth roiled deep in her lower belly and a curiosity in her mind.

His eyes had darkened with interest. He rested his hand on her waist. He raised his gaze to her. It was almost a sin for a man to have such dark lashes or such sparkling blue eyes.

“I want you, Willa. Do you understand exactly what that means?”

In this moment, it was as if they were the only two people in the world.

“I’m told to do what you tell me.” Her mother’s instruction didn’t seem daunting at all right now. “And I will, although I don’t know how good I will be at counting backward from a hundred.”

If she had popped him in the nose, he couldn’t appear more startled. “Count backward?”

Willa nodded, sinking down on the bed. She removed her kid slippers. It had bothered her to stand on the coverlet in them. “Mother suggested it. She said that way it will be all over before I know it.”

Matt burst out laughing. He sat on the bed beside her as if it was the most natural thing in the world. “Count backward?”

Willa wasn’t certain what was so funny. Should she not have told him? She nodded warily.

He caught her mood. “Please, I’m not laughing at you. I’m just . . .” He paused as if looking for a word and found it. “Charmed. I’m charmed to hear you say that. Your honesty, Willa, is a gift.” He leaned back, resting on one arm, and gently pulled her with him. “You were told to count to a hundred?”

“Backward,” Willa added. She caught her hair and pulled it over one shoulder so it wasn’t beneath her. His gaze met hers. He sobered. “My hope is that you are enjoying yourself so much, you can’t remember how to count.”

Her mother had not said anything about enjoyment. However, Cassandra had. “Is that why everyone claims you are a good lover?” An hour earlier she wouldn’t have dared to say such a thing. However, being with him—like this— seemed completely right. Why, they both were still dressed.

“Now the pressure is on,” he said in mock dismay followed by a self­deprecating smile. “That ‘lover’ gossip is stuff and nonsense. They prattle on like that because they have nothing else to talk about. The only opinion I am interested in is yours and, together, we’ll find what pleases us both.”

That was a very nice promise. Especially the word “together.”

He stroked her hair, watching it flow through his fingers. “So lovely,” he murmured before lifting his gaze to meet hers. “Willa, kiss me the way you did in the coach.”

How could she refuse such a simple request? Willa leaned toward him. Their lips met.

And she was kissing him.

Spinster Heiresses Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Cathy Maxwell

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the mystery of life and the secret to happiness.

She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.


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Guest Review: A Match Made in Bed by Cathy Maxwell

Posted April 20, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Match Made in Bed by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
A Match Made in Bed (Spinster Heiresses #2) by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #2
Also in this series: If Ever I Should Love You
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 17th 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .

Miss Cassandra Howell is too tall, too bookish, and too smart—but she does have money and a father who wants a grand title for her. Cassandra hasn’t felt a desire to marry until she meets the sinfully handsome Duke of Camberly, who captures her imagination . . . until Soren York, Earl of Dewsberry and her family’s sworn enemy, steps in the way.

The Holwells ruined Soren’s family, and he’s lived on the knife’s edge trying to resurrect their fortunes . . . until he considers marrying the Holwell Heiress. Not only would her dowry give him the funds he needs, he has secretly had an eye on the independent-minded bluestocking since they both first realized the differences between men and women.

She likes to read; he has no patience for books. She knows little of sex; he is a man of the world and willing to school her. Her family destroyed his; his offer of marriage may be her only salvation.

Now Cassandra and Soren must learn to love each other for who they are, not what they are—and the lessons are becoming an exercise in absolute pleasure.

Cassandra is a woman who will inherit a ton of money when she gets married.  Soren, the Earl of Dewsberry needs money so he thinks to marry her.  She doesn’t want to marry a fortune hunter, she wants to marry for love. On top of that, Soren and Cassandra’s families have been enemies for many years so there’s really no chance that her father will let her marry.

Though Cassandra says she doesn’t want to marry Soren she can’t help but be attracted to him.  Despite her thoughts on love she decides that maybe Soren is the man for her.  Unfortunately the life that the two plan together may be very different from the one they end up with.

This was a cute book.  It was a good story, but unfortunately I thought it lacked a certain spark between the H/h.  IDK, maybe it was because Cassandra nay-sayed Soren so often that I didn’t really see the connection between them when she finally capitulated.  Whatever it was it wasn’t good.  That’s not to say that I didn’t like the book.  It was a decent read and an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

This also gave us a view into the Duke of Camberly, who Cassandra had had her eye one.  It’s pretty obvious that her friend and the Duke will have their book next but frankly I really didn’t like the guy.  He was not the type of man I want as a hero in a romance novel so I’m not at all sure I’ll be reading the next book in the series.

Spinster Heiresses Series

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell

Posted December 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #1
Also in this series: A Match Made in Bed (Spinster Heiresses #2)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name. 

His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.  

However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .

Roman Gilchrist has inherited the title of the Earl of Rochdale.  Unfortunately with that title came the debts that his predecessors had racked up and he’s told that he needs to marry quickly in order to pay them off.  He’s told that there are three heiresses that are called the Spinster Heiresses and that marrying one of them will get him out of debt.  He is more than hesitant as his family has always married for love and he’s a romantic at heart.  He wants that love as well.

Roman is shocked and pleased when he hears that Leonie Charnock is one of the heiresses.  He thought himself in love with her at one time and lost his army commission because of her.  He thinks he has harsh feelings towards her but he may be confusing those with love.

Leonie plans to never marry but her father is insisting.  She tries to put him off as much as possible.  Her father and mother live separate lives so between them hating each other and an experience from her younger days she’s determined to stay single.  That is until Roman comes back into the picture.  She never thought to see him again but when she does, feelings that she thought long buried come to the surface. Her mother long ago offered her brandy to “take off the edge” of anything she was feeling.  Unfortunately Leonie never stopped taking the edge off and she now can’t live without the alcohol to get through the day.  Despite her determination to stay single she soon finds herself married but Roman isn’t thrilled with the woman she’s become.

This was an interesting second chance at love/reunion romance.  It wasn’t my favorite of Maxwell’s books but it was good.  I can’t say that I loved delving into the topic of alcoholism but it happens, so I applaud Maxwell’s decision to write about it.  Unfortunately it turned Roman into a bit of an ass.

The first part of the book was really good and I was highly enjoying it until Roman and Leonie got married.  That started a string of events where Roman was just a douche.  I wish I could say he dealt with things well but except for when they were having sex, his attitude annoyed the heck out of me.  I was happy to see him try to deal with Leonie’s alcoholism rather than cast her out, but the way he went about it just got my hackles up.

Leonie was a nice girl who’d had a shitty life.  She was dealing with it the best she could – unfortunately that included alcohol.  Despite her alcoholism she was a kind person and I didn’t feel she truly deserved the horrible things that Roman said to her.  I guess that was his version of tough love but I didn’t care to read about it in a romance novel.

Despite my issues with the second part of the book I did like it.  If you don’t mind delving into a book that might have you wishing you could throw the hero across the room then pick this one up. 🙂

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 27, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fairest of Them All by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Tracy
The Fairest of Them All by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Marrying the Duke #2

Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!

Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .

Charlene is an orphan who lives with her aunt Sarah.  Sarah is an actress and takes as many jobs as possible to make ends meet.  Charlene’s uncle (not related to Sarah) had been paying Charlene’s expenses until a few months prior and then all money just stopped coming.  One of Charlene’s good friends (her deceased mother’s godmother) taught her how to pick pockets and Charlene had been doing that and telling Sarah that the money had come from her uncle.  On one of the days she is out picking pockets she decides on a gentleman to rob but doesn’t plan on his friend chasing her when he sees she’s escaping.

Charlene gets away from her pursuer but not before they get a good look at each other.  Though Charlene is dressed as a boy the man, Jack Whitridge, sees that she is a woman and from that point on cannot get her out of his head.

Charlene, though penniless, has impeccable bloodlines and her aunt arranges for her to attend a ball where she can meet the Duke of Baynton who is looking for a wife.  She doesn’t believe anything will come of it but she attends anyway and the duke is completely taken with her.  Unfortunately, the ball is interrupted when the duke’s long lost brother, Jack, shows up.  Charlene manages to hide from him but soon he discovers that his twin is courting her.

Jack left England when he was press-ganged into service.  He managed to leave the ship eventually and landed in America where he has lived and worked since that time.  He’s now a lawyer and is back in England to try to talk to the powers-that-be to try to stop a war between England and America (which would eventually become the War of 1812) but no one wants to talk.  No one takes the American’s seriously and they even look at Jack as a bit of a turncoat as it seems he’s turning his back on England by defending America. Jack knows that he must do his best for his adopted country but his duties don’t stop him from confronting Charlene and then falling for her.  Despite how much he likes her, however, he can’t take her from his twin – or can he?

This was a sweet story that was a bit different.  At first I wasn’t sure who I wanted to win Charlene – Jack or his twin, Gavin the duke. I liked them both at first but Gavin proved to be a stick in the mud, which I didn’t really care fore.  Also, once he found out about Charlene and Jack he did some pretty rotten things to his twin and I really didn’t like that.

Charlene was a great heroine.  She was very responsible and though she went about finding fund for their household the wrong way I had to admire her for trying.  She really did want to make her family happy and if that meant marrying the duke then she would do it.  Unfortunately, she had had met Jack before the duke and had already started liking him and that put the big kibosh on any feelings she might have had for Gavin in the future.

I very much liked Jack’s character.  He was trying to do the right thing for his adopted country and though I could see how he was troubled by people thinking of him as a traitor I was happy that he stood his ground and continued on his original goal.  He was a good man and I liked that he stood up for what he believed in.

I have to say that I would have liked to have seen more of a romance between Charlene and Jack.  It seemed like there was infatuation and that it was starting to turn into more and then boom!  They were in love and nothing could tear them apart.  I was more than a bit surprised by the progression of the relationship as it just didn’t seem like the pair had spent enough time in each others company to feel the way they did.  IDK, maybe it’s just me, but I really needed more in the build-up between the two of them.

The story overall is romantic and a good read but was lacking a bit in that relationship build-up that I needed.  Even though Gavin was a bit of an ass in this story I’m curious to see what happens with this conservative fuddy-duddy when it’s time for his romance.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell

Posted May 12, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Married in Haste by Cathy MaxwellReviewer: Holly
Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Marriage #1

Publication Date: November 14th 2006
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A scandalous gamble . . .
With her exceptional beauty, heiress Tess Hamlin has been dubbed "the Incomparable" by the lords of the ton. Though she can have her pick of suitors, Tess has no desire to wed. She'd rather delight in the intoxicating effect she has on men when she enters a room. But when she makes a daring wager and must secure a marriage proposal in one evening, she plays a dangerous charade with the first man who's ever set her pulse racing.
Leads to the most unexpected passion . . .
As the new, impoverished Earl of Merton, Brenn Owen needs to find a wealthy wife—and fast. He can think of no better woman than Tess. She's stunning, intriguing— and rich! Utterly captivated by Tess, Brenn vows to have her. When news of Tess's wager breaks, her brother, who hopes to avoid the ensuing scandal, accepts Brenn's offer to marry his sister—much to Tess's dismay. Now will a marriage made in haste lead to disaster . . . or the most blissful desire?

Married in Haste is the first book in Cathy Maxwell‘s Marriage Series.

This book is the perfect example of how good writing and interesting characters can make up for plot devices that are generally avoided. It features one of my most hated plot devices: The Big Misunderstanding

I think that blurb sucks, so I’m writing my own.

Warning: Mild Plot Spoilers Below!!

Tess is the most sought after women of the ton. Even though she’s been out for several seasons, she’s beautiful, has a large fortune and for the most part, she’s been allowed to run wild. While at a ball, she makes a bet with the other diamond of the first water for the season to see who can be the first to receive a marriage proposal that evening.

Tess sets her sights on Brenn Owens, an Earl from Welsh who has just come to town, not realizing that he’s there in search of a bride…a wealthy one. And he’s set his sights on her, too. When the matchmaking mama’s at the ball catch wind of the bet (which also involved several other ladies of the ton), Tess’s older brother and guardian, says he’s had enough and agrees to a betrothal between Brenn and Tess, despite Tess’s refusal (she didn’t really want to marry him, she just wanted the proposal).

What Tess doesn’t know however, is…her fortune is gone. Her brother claims to have invested all of it in an Italian inventor and lost every last cent. All 50,000 pounds of it. Crushed and desperate to help her brother, Tess reluctantly agrees to the marriage. But her brother makes her promise that she won’t tell Brenn the truth about her fortune until they’re well settled together.

As they travel to Brenn’s estate, Tess falls in love with Brenn, but fears what will happen when he finds out about her fortune, never realizing that he’s only married her for his money. For Brenn’s part, he seems to be coming to care for Tess and doesn’t want to tell her what a state of disrepair his estate is in, so he decides it will be best if he let’s her see for herself.

And this, well this is where I started liking the book. Hard to believe since the BIG MISUNDERSTANDING plots generally drive me insane. Especially when the hero or heroine (or both) are keeping things from the other.

You know what saved this novel for me? Tess. Rather than running back to London with her maid, or falling into hysterics or even wallowing in self-pity, she decides to stick it out and do what she can to help Brenn and his village.

That very night – after she kicks Brenn out of the house – she comes up with a plan to raise the money they need. Then sets out to make nice with villagers and learn to care for herself. It was wonderful watching her find herself and seeing Brenn fall all over himself to please her as he watches her change.

Plus, she shut Brenn out of bed and didn’t let him back in, which was a refreshing change.

I really enjoyed Brenn, too. He was such a typical man, saying things without thinking of how they really sounded. It was really cute how he decided to buy Tess’ love back by sending her flowers, etc, though I love that Tess didn’t cave in. It was a treat when he realized what he’d done and that it needed to be fixed.

The only thing I truly hated about this book was Tess’ brother. Though we don’t see much of him in person, it finally becomes clear that he isn’t the person Tess thought he was. That was so frustrating to read about, because Tess so wanted to believe in him. My biggest regret in this novel is that he didn’t get his just deserts.

Otherwise, it was a great read. The beginning frustrated me, but I found myself sucked in despite my issues with the plot, and I’m very happy I stuck it out.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in eBook format.

The series is as follows:

Married In Haste
A Scandalous Marriage
The Marriage Contract

four-stars


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