Tag: Anthology

Guest Review: Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent & May McGoldrick

Posted October 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent & May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Christmas in Kilts by Bronwen Evans, Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri Brisbin A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander visitor for the holidays who brings with him an offer and hope!

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans She's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick A chance encounter between a ship's captain and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A Highlander’s Hope by Terri Brisbin

Iain McKillop is a widower who, by my calculations, is in his mid-40’s.  He’s ready to marry again and his nephew thinks he can use him for some sort of clan alliance.  Iain knows that there’s really only one woman for him, and that’s Robena of the MacKendimen clan.

Robena is the village harlot.  While she doesn’t love what she does she has protection from people in the clan and they care about her.  The only person who ostracizes her is the Laird of the Clan – who’s not a nice man anyway.  Robena is excited when she hears that Iain is coming to visit for Christmas because she loves spending time with him.  He puts a genuine smile on her face and of course she loves that he pays for her exclusive services while he’s there.

Robena can tell right away that there’s something different with Iain but is shocked when he asks for her hand in marriage.  He wants a wife and a mother to his children.  She doesn’t think she’s good enough for him and besides, she can’t have children – how can she be the person that Iain needs in his life?

I have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of this story when it started but Iain and Robena soon won me over.  Iain was such a giving man and he truly loved Robena – despite her profession.  He dealt with her past men in his own way but certainly wasn’t willing for her to be with anyone else ever again.  It was a sweet story in the end and I liked how Brisbin worked out the details of their future life together.

 

A Highland Christmas Wager by Lecia Cornwall

Meggie MacLeod is traveling home with her grandmother.  She is excited to be going home for Christmas after being gone for three months taking care of her grandmother after she’d broken her leg.  Unfortunately the weather is against them and they can’t make their halfway point before the blizzard begins.  Their travelling group takes refuge at the closest keep and that happens to be the home of the man who’d taken Meggie’s virginity eight years earlier. She’s definitely not happy about being there.

Magnus McVane is the Laird that had seduced and left Meggie all those years ago.  She’d thought herself in love with him after only 3 days but after he finally had sex with her, he left to go get married.  She was devastated.  Magnus isn’t home alone, however.  He has his dead wife’s brother, Charlie McKay – yet another Laird – there with him.  Magnus is hoping to get Charlie to marry his sister, Catriona, who they all think is a shrew.  Also visiting is Laird Hugh MacAuley who is there under unknown circumstances.  When Magnus sees Meggie he’s positive he can seduce her again and then he could probably marry her as she’s an heiress.  Charlie’s got his eye on her as well though, and they end up making a wager, dragging Hugh into their game.  Whoever gets Meggie to willingly kiss them first – a long kiss, not just a peck – gets a few prized possessions from each man, but also the right to talk to her father about her hand in marriage.

Hugh is at the keep as he’s been instructed by the elders of his clan to ask for Catriona’s hand in marriage – something he really doesn’t want to do.  The elders don’t think the man has a brain and though he is laird he truly has no power.  When he sees Meggie he is attracted to her immediately and rethinks his possible proposal to Catriona.  He’s a shy man, however, and bumbles along with Meggie despite her attention to him.

This was a lovely, romantic story.  I loved Hugh and his quiet, calm personality.  He was a breath of fresh air compared to the obnoxious Magnus and the over-excitable Charlie.  Hugh and Meggie were perfect for each other and the ending of the story put a smile on my face.

 

A Scot for Christmas by Bronwen Evans

Dougray is thinking about getting married to beget an heir but he plans on a marriage of convenience so that he won’t get attached to a wife.  His first wife died and he doesn’t want to have to live through that once again. His plan is to marry a neighbor’s daughter, Fiona Mackenzie, so that he can help her father financially. He made a promise to his dying father that he would help the Mackenzie, but the man would not accept his funds – even as a loan.  Marrying Fiona is the only way he can get the funds to him.

Dougray and his cousin, Angus, are having a hunting party around Christmas time.  A party that includes his friends and their paramours, with a couple other women of questionable virtue coming along as well.  When Dougray’s best friend’s younger sister arrives he’s horrified and tries to get her to leave at once.  She refuses, of course, and instead asks him something.  She is in her late 20’s and has come to terms with her spinsterhood.  She asks Dougray to sleep with her.  She’s been in love with him for years and plans on having the memory of their lovemaking to last the rest of her life.  Dougray refuses at first but then finally agrees as he can’t resister her. He doesn’t realize until later that Emma is in love with him.  Despite his growing feelings for Emma he’s determined to marry Fiona Mackenzie. He refuses to have a wife he cares about.

This was a good story, not one of my least favorites.  I guess it was just too predictable in my opinion. I knew that Dougray would sleep with Emma, of course, and he would fall in love with her and live happily ever after.  It was written in an entertaining way, and I liked the characters, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of A Scot for Christmas.

 

Leftover Mistletoe by Lavinia Kent

Emma Spencer is having a bad day – really, a bad life.  Her dear father had passed on and her cousin had taken the Earl’s title.  Unfortunately her cousin wasn’t a kind man and she was being sent to Scotland to live with her uncle who she didn’t even know.  Emma had marriage prospects as she was quite pretty. She believes her cousin is sending her away so she won’t ever marry.  Her financial portion would then stay in his hands forever.

She was travelling when her maid disappeared with her bag.  Her trunks were coming later and with the maid gone she was left with the clothes on her back, her reticule, and very little money.  She buys passage on a coach and the only other passenger is a snoring man who takes up way too much room.  At one point during their travels they stop.  Emma doesn’t know why and soon all is quiet.  When the man finally wakes up and goes to investigate he finds that there’s no coachman and the team of horses have been driven off as well.  He’s familiar with the land so he takes Emma to a cabin where they try to brave the storm that has begun.

Emma finds out he’s James Barran and he’s on his way to Edinburgh so that he can stop his sister from marrying his best friend.  He loves his best friend, but doesn’t want his sister marrying him.  He’s bound and determined to stop the wedding but his friend Robbie kept throwing up roadblocks to stop him.  One being the fact that Robbie paid the coachman to take the horses and now he and Emma are stranded.  They head to the cabin and while they’re there their attraction to each other grows and they start to fall in love.

Kent always writes such charming romances.  This was no different.  Yes, the couple fell in love quickly but it fit with their lives and circumstances of their confinement.  I thought James and Emma were perfect for each other and complimented each other well.   The humor in the story is another thing I liked about this story.  The banter between Emma and James was engaging and I found myself smiling a lot while reading.

 

Sweet Home Highlands by May McGoldrick

Captain Gregory Pennington is on his way home to his family for Christmas but is tasked by his brother with escorting four adults and a child to a neighboring estate near his home.  He’s in a pub and is anxious to be on his way when a small child starts up a conversation. She’s a funny little imp and mature beyond her 5 or 6 years.  It turns out that this is the child that he is to escort along with her aunt, Freya, and couple of servants.  The fourth person was to be Freya’s almost-fiancé but he doesn’t ever show up.

Freya is a young woman who has raised her niece almost from birth.  She was only 17 when her sister died a week after giving birth and she loves little Ella like her own.  Ella’s father was killed in the war and his family never wanted anything to do with Ella until recently.  Now Ella’s grandmother is demanding their appearance at her home so that she can make sure that Ella is financially well taken care of.  She also intimated that Freya wasn’t a proper guardian because she wasn’t married.  Because of this Freya had an understanding with the cousin that would inherit Freya’s father’s title and lands when he eventually passed.  Freya wasn’t looking forward to the marriage but was resigned to her fate in order to keep Ella with her.

Gregory is smitten with Freya the minute he sees her.  The minutes they spend together on the journey just make him like her more and more.  Freya starts to fall for Gregory as well but she knows that she must marry her cousin in order to appease Ella’s grandmother.

As I read more of McGoldrick’s books the more I become a fan.  This story was simply romantic on all levels.  It was the kind of story that will make you sigh with wonder at how sweet it is – but not sugary at all.  Just downright a lovely story.  This is kind of a prequel to a new series that McGoldrick is putting out and I personally can’t wait for it to release.

Gregory and Freya were wonderful in the story and little Ella – that child with a personality beyond her years – was enchanting.  I liked everything about this story and highly recommend it.

 

In the end I thought this was a very good historical anthology.  A lovely compliment of authors that brought a little Christmas cheer and romance to my life.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Whiteout by Sarah Benson – part of the Snow anthology

Posted May 26, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Whiteout by Sarah Benson – part of the Snow anthologyReviewer: Tracy
Whiteout by Sarah Benson - part of the Snow anthology by Sarah Benson
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
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three-stars

SNOW is an anthology composed of sixteen novellas and novelettes featuring tales of forbidden love from some of your favorite Wattpad authors.

This is the review of just one of the stories...

Alicia wakes up in a deserted cabin, handcuffed to a bed.  She manages to get herself free and makes her way to a gas station. It turns out she’s been missing for 8 months.  She has no idea who she is or what’s happened in the last 8 months.  She’s introduced to her father who she has no recollection of and tries to start living some sort of life.  She has sessions with a doctor who tries to help her with recollection and they end up falling in love.  The truth finally comes out and it’s not what anyone expected.

This was a story of a girl who had been kidnapped.  The reason she was taken and kept was kind of weak in my opinion and when things were explained it left me with more questions than answers.  The romance in the story was also a bit on the anemic side as I never felt the love between Alicia and the doctor.  I was happy that Alicia started getting her life back in the end and came to terms with everything that had happened.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin Vayden

Posted May 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin VaydenReviewer: Tracy
Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet, Kristin Vayden
Published by Blue Tulip Publishing
Publication Date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Offsides by Elise Faber

Job title:
Executive Assistant for CEO of Prestige Media Group

Job description:
(1) Deal with a massive amount of emails.
(2) Schedule conference calls and meetings with top athletes and other hugely important people.
(3) Pick up dry cleaning and food, consult on tie selection, make dinner reservations, and book flights . . . basically act as a wife-on-steroids.
(4) THE IMPORTANT ONE: Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with Devon Scott—demanding boss, former NHL player, and all-around gorgeous specimen of the male persuasion.

Job performance:
Failing.
Absolutely failing at number four.

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Life couldn’t be better for Charlie Woodruff.

After a year of holding out, she’s finally landed the job she’s always wanted in the city of her dreams. An apartment she can afford and new friends at work make the transition easy.
When she meets a gorgeous stranger who makes her laugh and steals her breath, it seems like the icing on the cake...

Until Charlie discovers he’s a client.

Hutch Barlow — newly drafted wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders — looks like an avenging angel, hangs on her every word, and is completely off-limits. The trouble is he also refuses to take “no” for an answer.

And if she’s being honest, Charlie doesn’t want him to.

But seeing him means she could lose everything — including her heart.

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Everything about Ava screams off limits.
To want her is to invite disaster.
To pursue her is to risk my job.
To kiss her might cost me my best friend.
But all those risks seem small in light of the first problem.
She hates me.

To her I’m a sell out, choosing to advance my career rather than protect my biggest client.
Her brother.
And my best friend.
She hasn’t spoken to me in over a year, but that ends now.
Because I’m done with holding back.
To hell with the consequences.
Wish me luck . . .

Offsides by Elise Faber

Devon is a retired hockey player and now the CEO of Prestige Media Group.  Becca is his temporary assistant while his regular assistant is on maternity leave.  Devon is hot for Becca but knows that he shouldn’t get involved with an employee – even a temporary one.  Becca has got it bad for Devon but as much as she wants him her life is too crazy to get involved with him.  Her mother needs medical care and Becca works two jobs to try and pay the medical bills.  She’s also got an angry ex that is messing with her and is more than dangerous to both Becca and Devon.

This was a sweet boss/employee story.  Devon doesn’t hold out for very long before he’s giving in to his desire for Becca but I loved the sexual tension between the two of them.  I liked a lot about this story – the dialogue, the story, the passion between Devon and Becca – it was just a good read.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Charlie has finally started the job of her dreams.  She’s recently moved to San Francisco and is out running when she runs into a fellow runner.  They hit it off and she thinks that maybe this guy might be someone she can really like until she finds out his name, Hutch Barlow, and realizes who he is, new wide receiver for the Oakland Raider, and that he’s a client of her boss.  Prestige Media Group – her new employer – strictly forbids employees from dating clients.  Charlie tries to get Hutch to understand that she can’t see him but Hutch refuses to take no for an answer – showing up at her apartment with dinner and his irresistible charm. Charlie finds herself falling in love with Hutch but she knows that she can never be with him as she’s not willing to sacrifice the career she’s always wanted.

This was an adorable story.  I loved Hutch’s persistence with Charlie even knowing that she was off-limits to him.  He just liked her so much and was willing to give up a lot to be with her that it warmed my heart.  I think a lot of people would have thought he was ridiculous but I found it romantic and lovely.  Fournet has a way with words and she did a great job writing this story.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Markus and Bryce were college roommates and best friends.  Bryce got drafted into the NFL and Markus got hired by Prestige Media Group and becomes his agent.  Bryce has a twin, Ava, who Markus has been in love with for forever.  He wants nothing more than to make Ava happy but she hates him because she thought at one point in Bryce’s career that Markus was selling out and taking a risk with Bryce’s life.  Bryce has gotten a concussion but recovered and went back onto the field.  Ava believed that Bryce’s life was on the line if he got hit again but he was fine.  Five years later Ava still hates Markus – or at least acts like she does.  She can’t resist the man for long as she’s always had a thing for him. Markus should stay away from his best friend’s sister but he just can’t do it once she finally forgives him.

Unfortunately this was my least favorite of the three stories.  I didn’t feel the chemistry between Markus and Ava as I felt I should.  I also didn’t feel the whole forbidden love thing that the whole anthology was based on.  There were some decent parts of the story but overall I didn’t care for Off Limits.

Story rating: 3 out of 5

 

Overall book rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh

Posted August 23, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Wild Embrace by Nalini SinghReviewer: Tracy
Wild Embrace by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #15.5
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Tangle of Need
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: August 23rd 2016
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five-stars

The “alpha author of paranormal romance”* presents a stunningly sensual collection of four all-new Psy-Changeling novellas, in which taboos are broken, boundaries are crossed, and instincts prove irresistible...

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander...

Dorian
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play...

Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries...
*Booklist, starred review

Echo of Silence

Tazia works as an engineer on the deep sea station Alaris.  She left her family and refused an arranged marriage to seek her happiness.  Her happiness means nothing without the love and support of her family.  She has sent money to them and written to them but still she’s received no word from them.  She happily seeks out the mail whenever it is received until her commander, a Psy, tells her she should just stop waiting for something that never comes.  Tazia dislikes her commander, Stefan, for his coldness. When they are both on mandatory leave, however, he invites her to help with a search and rescue mission.  Tazia discovers that Stefan isn’t as cold as she believed, not by a long shot.

This story was so very sweet. I loved almost every part of it as it showed us the relationship building between Tazia and Stefan.  I loved how he showed his real self to her slowly and over the course of the time they were on leave.  He was a compassionate and caring man who wasn’t as deep into silence as everyone believed.  It was such a touching story in many ways and made me smile.

 

Dorian

Dorian was shorter than the other stories in the anthology but still packed a powerful punch.  I loved Dorian to death when he was first mentioned in the Psy-Changeling series and that hasn’t changed over time.  This story showed us how Dorian learned to adjust in his Changeling pack despite the fact that he couldn’t change into his animal.  It made him better at what he did and I loved seeing these slices of his life that we’d not been privy to before.

 

Partners in Persuasion

Felix is submissive wolf changeling in the SnowDancer pack.  He’s very attracted to Dezi, a cat changeling from DarkRiver but she’s a dominant which is something he can’t handle.  He’d been burned in the past by a dominant female wolf and he’s afraid he wouldn’t survive rejection again.  He agrees to be friends with her but finds he just wants more.

I loved reading Dezi and Felix’s story.  The dynamic between the dominant female and submissive male was intriguing and I loved reading about how the pair worked out their differences.  Felix was a strong male and I loved how Dezi understood that just because he was submissive didn’t make him weak.  The romance was sweet and I loved how both Dezi and Felix’s alphas supported the match.

 

Flirtation of Fate

Kenji broke Garnet’s heart seven years ago.  They were great friends and Garnet thought that they were becoming more than that when Kenji broke her heart.  They’ve stayed friends over the years, flirting with each other, but they both want more – they’re just too afraid to go for it.  When Kenji is in Garnet’s sector to discuss security protocols he tries everything he can think of to keep his mind off of how much he loves her but it proves difficult.  The pair end up investigating a murder and while doing so find out that they can’t live without each other any longer.

I loved this murder mystery/romance story.  The investigation itself was interesting and I loved watching Garnet and Kenji work through their differences and what brought on the distance between them in the first place.  Though I figured out who the murderer was pretty quickly I loved reading about each step taken as the pair investigated.  Kenji and Garnet were perfect for each other and I adored them together.  I was quite happy when they worked it all out and got their HEA.

Overall a fantastic anthology that I highly recommend.  (Although I love this series and think everyone should read it from book one, you don’t have to have read any of the books in order to read this one as the stories stand alone.)

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Guest Review: Once Upon a True Love’s Kiss by Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, Victoria Vane

Posted January 11, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Once Upon a True Love’s Kiss by Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, Victoria VaneReviewer: Tracy
Once Upon a True Love's Kiss by Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, Victoria Vane
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: January 4th 2016
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four-stars

USA Today Best-selling author, Julie Johnstone, joins best-selling, award-winning authors, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, and Victoria Vane in this delightful limited edition, containing eight tantalizing kiss-and-tell stories. Meet dashing, wildly charming rogues, spies, pirates, rakes and their extraordinary, intrepid heroines as they whisk you along on sweet to sizzling romantic romps in these wickedly entertaining historical romances.

AFTER FOREVER by JULIE JOHNSTONE
Widowed Lady Julianna Barrows never wants to fall in love again. But when the notorious former boxer Nash Overton hires her to transform him into a gentleman, Julianna quickly becomes the student, learning more about passion than she’s ever known, and more importantly, learning how to love again.

Julianna loved her husband and then he died.  She can’t see herself ever falling in love again because she just doesn’t want to be hurt that way again.  She meets Nash and his daughter and despite all of her good intentions she finds herself falling for both of them.

The story was cute if a bit fast-paced in the romance department.  It was all very sweet however and I liked that it was.  Nash and Julianna were perfect for each other and I liked that their kids became fast friends as well.

THE PIRATE’S DUCHESS by KATHERINE BONE –
Duty forces him to take on the pirate code, but honor brings him back.

Prudence, Duchess of Blackmoor, has one desire—to be happy again. After struggling to overcome the horrifying death of her husband, she accepts an earl’s offer of marriage, confident she’s taking a step in the right direction. But demons, refuse to die, and Prudence finds herself caught in an intricate web of deceit that threatens the very foundations of all she holds dear.

Tobias, the Duke of Blackmoor, crosses the line when an assassination attempt on him fails. To restore the reputations of friends under attack by the same villain, and ensure his wife’s safety, he stages his own death, becoming The Black Regent, a notorious pirate bent on brandishing justice, never thinking he’d survive. But to his amazement, he has, and now the darkest-kept secrets are not worth losing the duchess his wife has become.

Prudence was missing her husband terribly but once he showed back up because he had faked his own death she was pissed.  Now I could understand why he did it as the story moved along but she just kept up the anger. Once she let it all go and they could be back together as a couple it was better.  It was a story of revenge and making wrongs right again but I would have preferred it to be more about the romance.   I was confused as well because he just showed up and he was the duke.  What happened to his heir?  The heir isn’t mentioned at all but yet there had to be one, yet?  It’s been TWO years since the Prudence’s husband disappeared yet he comes back and he’s still the duke?  I have NO idea.

There was also this supposed unspoken conversation that went on between Tobias, the duke, and his friend who Prudence was about to marry when Tobias showed up again.  Yes, there are little things that friends know about each other but this was supposedly a whole scheme worked up with only eye contact.  IDK I just didn’t feel it was realistic in any way.  Unfortunately, this made this my least favorite in the book.

HER SCANDALOUS WISH by COLLETTE CAMERON
A marriage offer obligated by duty . . . an acceptance compelled by desperation.

Philomena Pomfrett is resigned to spinsterhood, but to ease her dying brother’s fretting, she reluctantly agrees to attend a London Season with one purpose—to acquire a husband. Stumbling upon her hiding in a secluded garden arbor during a ball, Bradford, Viscount Kingsley doesn’t recognize his first love, yet something about the mysterious woman enthralls him, and he steals a passionate, moonlit kiss.

Caught in the act by Philomena’s brother, Bradford is issued an ultimatum—a duel or marry Philomena. He offers marriage, but even impoverished and with no other decent prospects, she rejects his half-hearted proposal until her brother collapses. Now, Philomena’s faced with marrying a man who deserted her once already.

When Philomena Pomfrett was younger she was in love with Bradford.  At that time her house caught on fire, her parents perished and Phil was scarred across her chest and arms.  While she was recuperating she heard nothing from her love and that silenced continued for years.  Now her brother is dying and he wants her to get married so that her future will be secured.

At a ball near the end of the season Phil sees Bradford, the new Viscount Kingsley, walk in.  She’s angry so takes off into the garden for some time alone.  Bradford heads there too and starts to talk to Phil, not realizing who she is.  He ends up kissing her and they’re caught by Phil’s brother who insists on dueling or marrying. But things are not always that simple.

The premise of the brother dying was a bit different.  It added an extra bit of urgency to the whole deal.  Bradford’s explanation for never contacting Phil after the fire was enlightening and I couldn’t hold anything against him. The reunion between Phil and Bradford, unfortunately, was pretty much done off page and I found that a bit frustrating.  Overall it ended up to be sweet and I like it.

MILADY AND HER SPY by JILLIAN CHANTEL
A lady, a spy, a traitor… a battle of wills.

Raised in the country after her mother’s death with only the company of three unruly brothers, Lady Augusta Covington is more proficient at fencing, riding and playing cards than being prim and proper. Myles Cuthbert, a spy in His Majesty’s service on a mission to find and expose a traitor, crosses paths with Lady Augusta when she rides to the aid of her brother, believing him to be injured. With the assignment at risk, Cuthbert agrees to accept the assistance of the troublesome lady eager for intrigue. As they move forward, his sense of obligation to her and the danger involved stir his soul.

Lady Augusta, Gus, overhears that her brother – who just got out of the army – is injured and waiting at a local inn.  Her two other brothers are having a house party and they decide that they can leave their brother at the inn until the next day.  Gus doesn’t feel the same and rides hell for leather to the inn.  She finds her brother is absolutely fine and finds out he’s a spy.  He’s accompanied by Miles Cuthbert, a fellow spy and they end up telling Gus about their mission, which includes a possible traitor who is attending the house party.  Gus gets involved but it may be too dangerous in the end for an inexperienced civilian spy.

The story offered a bit of intrigue and a shy, burgeoning romance.  I thought Gus was in over her head with the amateur spying but she was pretty fearless and ended up doing a great job.  The relationship between Miles and Gus was fast but I liked it all in the end.

KISSED BY A SCOTTISH ROGUE by SAMANTHA GRACE
His Mother Insists He Needs a Wife.

Fergus McTaggart, Aldmist Fell’s land steward, has no time for wife hunting. Any day his employer’s sisters will be arriving at the Scottish castle for a long overdue reunion. Fergus is determined to make their stay memorable, but all anyone is likely to recall are the loud rows between him and his employer’s cheeky paid companion.

She Insists He Needs a Good Knock to the Head.
Edith Gallagher has been charged with watching over her employer’s youngest sister while the family winters in Scotland, but the stubborn land steward interferes at every turn. Eventually, she and the Scot call a truce for the sisters’ sakes only to discover their passionate battles are masking hidden desires.

This was a very sweet story about a woman who has no confidence in herself and a man who believes her to be utterly beautiful.  He’s a land steward and she’s her friend’s sisters companion who used to work in a brothel as a maid.  They were at odds at first but soon started to become friends and then so much more.  This, I think, was my favorite of the book.  Yes, there was some aspects of the story that had to do with secondary characters that I felt like I should have read previous books to know about, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the primary romance.

STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT by ALANNA LUCAS
Desperate times call for drastic measures as Miss Aveline Redgrave enters her third season. Fearful of fortune hunters, she attempts to stay clear of Lord Leybourne, a rogue who is not to be trusted. But his seductive smile and enticing kisses awaken a passion that threatens her common sense. No stranger to scandal, Leybourne is determined to save his family from ruin whatever the cost, even marrying an heiress he doesn’t love. But an unexpected desire and need to protect threatens his plans. Will past heartaches and a devastating wager destroy their future or will true love’s kiss triumph?

Aveline isn’t anxious to get married but if she doesn’t her uncle will find a match for her. She’s not thrilled with that decision but refuses to let him choose for her.  She meets Leybourne and starts to like him but soon finds out that he may be one of the fortune hunters she was trying to avoid.

This was a cute story but pretty predictable in the end.  I liked Leybourne despite the fact that he had originally pursued Aveline for her money.  His family was desperate and he would do anything for them.  I like that about him and it redeemed his fortune hunter status in my head.

TEMPTED BY A ROGUE by LAUREN SMITH
Gemma never planned on falling in love with her childhood sweetheart’s best friend, Jasper, when he returns home, but she can’t resist the naval officer’s brooding charm.

Gemma plans to marry James, her childhood sweetheart. With every letter written between them while he’s been off at sea, their love has grown. Now they will be reunited with his return to England. But the man whose words she’d fallen in love with isn’t James…

Jasper, a gentleman rogue of the first order, is trapped. Talked into a scheme by his friend, he pretended to be James for eleven years while writing to Gemma. He’s promised James he’d break it off. But when he returns home, his secret will come out – and he’ll lose the one woman he can’t live without.

When Gemma was just 15 her love, James, went to sea with his friend Jasper.  After a bit James decided the life of a rogue and lady’s man was the life for him.  He was a complete douche and actually asked Jasper to write a letter to Gemma to break things off.  Jerk.  Jasper, who had always had feelings for Gemma decides to continue write her and then ends up writing her for the next ten years. Of course he only signed his letters as J. so Gemma believed the letters to be from James.  When the two men finally come home she expects James to meet her in the garden but it’s actually Jasper.  Gemma has to work out her feelings once she finds out about the deception and decide whether she’s really in love with Jasper or James.

Let’s start with James.  What an ass. I was so happy he decided to dump Gemma because he was obviously a complete douche and didn’t deserve a woman as nice as Gemma.  I was happy she finally saw him for who he was.

Jasper was completely enthralled with Gemma before he and James left to set sea but he never even gave her a clue about his feelings – they were quite young.  Once he started writing her his feelings grew and the last thing he wanted to do was break her heart once they got home 10 years later and let her know that it wasn’t James writing her all that time.  Gemma was a smart girl and figured it out pretty quickly.  Jasper did deceive her during a garden scene at the beginning of the story that I wasn’t thrilled about but after reading the story I understood why he felt he had to do it.

The story was a good one and I ended up liking Jasper and Gemma together a lot.
THE REDEMPTION OF JULIAN PRICE by VICTORIA VANE
She gave him a chance to bury his past… but the price would be his heart…

Burdened by the past…Orphaned at a young age and left to run wild, at eighteen Julian Price joins the fight against Napoleon in the hope of attaining honor. Devastated when his best friend, Thomas, is killed in battle, Julian returns home burdened with guilt, only to find his wastrel uncle has squandered his inheritance.

Desperate to live her own life… Facing a future of drudgery caring for her aging mother and raising her brother’s children, Henrietta Houghton believes her chance at a real life died with Thomas, the only man who ever wanted her. But Henrietta is still full of dreams. When her wealthy aunt, offers her a gift of ten thousand pounds, Henrietta finally has the chance to choose her own destiny.

Everything has a price…With a fortune at her command, Henrietta offers Julian a marriage of convenience, unaware that she really offers Julian a means of salvation—not just his fortune, but his very soul.

This was a cute friends to lovers story. I liked both Julian and Henrietta and thought they were a good match.  I did feel that things fell into Henrietta’s lap hella easy and that wasn’t really realistic but it was a cute story none-the-less.

Rating 4 out of 5

four-stars


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