Tag: Laura Lee Guhrke

Review: No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted August 29, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Rowena
No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: An American Heiress in London #4
Published by Avon
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke is back with the latest in her dazzling An American Heiress in London series, in which a reformed rogue finds all his honorable resolutions tested by the only woman who ever broke his heart...

After spending his youth as one of the wildest rakes in the ton, Lord Denys Somerton has devoted the past six years to putting his past behind him. He is determined to fulfill his duties, find a suitable wife, and start a family, but that plan changes when Lola Valentine—the red-haired temptress from his past—returns to London, sparking the same irresistible desires that almost ruined his life once before.

Lola is a woman with no romantic illusions. She knew love would never be enough for a British lord and an American girl from the wrong side of the tracks. For Denys’s sake, she walked away from him and the glittering life he offered. But when an unexpected inheritance brings her back to London, Lola discovers the passion between them is as hot as ever. Can they vanquish it, or will it burn out of control again and destroy them both?

No Mistress of Mine is the fourth installment in the American Heiress in London Series by Laura Lee Guhrke and IMO, it’s another fabulous addition to this series.

Lola is back in London on a mission. When she inherits half of a theater that is half owned by her ex-lovers family, she knows that it’s going to be tough going trying to get Denys to let her in on the business side of things since the previous owner didn’t really take a vested interest in the business. She’s determined not to be that kind of owner because she has goals and dreams that being part owner of a theater can make easier and she’s determined to make a go of it.

Denys cannot believe that Lola is back in London. He hasn’t seen her since she dumped him over for Henry, his business partner who had a better offer than he did. He offered her marriage. To take care of her but she didn’t want him. Instead, she chose to become Henry’s mistress over his wife. It’s been years and while Denys thought he was over being pissed off about it, turns out, he was wrong. He’s still thoroughly pissed off at Lola for her betrayal and abandonment. So when she shows up in London again after Henry’s death and he finds out that she’s taken over Henry’s half of the theater, he’s livid. He didn’t ask for this. He doesn’t want this. He wants to be the responsible gentleman that he’s become in the years since Lola left him and with every minute that he spends in her company, old feelings resurface and so do old secrets.

But like I always say (as does Selena Gomez)…

I will admit that in the beginning, I spent a little bit frustrated with how mad Denys was and how unreasonable he was being where Lola was concerned. I guess it’s been a while since the last book where all the drama went down (I forgot about all of that) and eventually, Denys comes around. I was glad that he didn’t take his sweet ol’ time getting to that place where he could be reasonable and see things from Lola’s side. I loved seeing the two of them try to find their new normal and I came to admire the hell out of Lola.

Lola was strong and she was everything that I want in a strong heroine. She’s smart and she’s strong but she’s not a bitch or to stupid to live. She had all of the right characteristics to make you empathize with her and love her.

Denys really came full circle for me because while he frustrated me in the beginning, I loved the hell out of him in the end. He made me swoon into a puddle of love for him when he stood up for Lola and when he just loved her. I’m grinning like a schoolgirl remembering him and his love for Lola. He couldn’t help himself.

Overall, this was a wonderfully written historical romance that had me wrapped up in feels. I enjoyed it quite a bit so I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted August 28, 2016 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I’m really enjoying this series and I was very much looking forward to digging into this book. I’ve already inhaled this book and I’m happy to say that this book is good. Really good.

No Mistress of Mine

No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
An American Heiress in London #4
Releases on August 30, 2016 by Avon

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke is back with the latest in her dazzling An American Heiress in London series, in which a reformed rogue finds all his honorable resolutions tested by the only woman who ever broke his heart…

After spending his youth as one of the wildest rakes in the ton, Lord Denys Somerton has devoted the past six years to putting his past behind him. He is determined to fulfill his duties, find a suitable wife, and start a family, but that plan changes when Lola Valentine—the red-haired temptress from his past—returns to London, sparking the same irresistible desires that almost ruined his life once before.

Lola is a woman with no romantic illusions. She knew love would never be enough for a British lord and an American girl from the wrong side of the tracks. For Denys’s sake, she walked away from him and the glittering life he offered. But when an unexpected inheritance brings her back to London, Lola discovers the passion between them is as hot as ever. Can they vanquish it, or will it burn out of control again and destroy them both?

I love how Lola comes waltzing back into Denys’ life like:

You know there was going to be all kinds of drama and I loved how Guhrke handled that whole thing. Check out this excerpt and see Lola worm her way back into London like a boss.

Excerpt

April, 1892

“Good God!”

This emphatic oath on the part of Earl Conyers was startling enough to catch the attention of all the mem- bers of his family. The earl, as they well knew, was not a man given to profanities, particularly this early in the day.

All of them paused, knives and forks poised, but their attention seemed to go unnoticed. Conyers continued to stare at the letter in his hand and did not explain what news within its pages had caused this sudden inclination to swear at breakfast.

His son, Denys, was the first to break the silence. “Father, what is it? What’s happened?”

Conyers looked up, and his expression told Denys the news was every bit as shocking as his outburst had implied.

He waited, but when his father folded up the letter, tucked it back into its envelope, and placed it in the pocket of his jacket with a glance toward the ladies, Denys concluded there was a need for discretion and returned his attention to his breakfast.

“Do you have plans for luncheon?” his mother asked, and when he looked up, he found her watching him with a look he knew quite well. “I’m meeting Georgiana and her mother, so we can discuss the flower show. We’ll be dining at Rules, which is close to your offices. Would you care to join us?”

His lips curved in a wry smile. “You’re matchmaking, Mama.”

“Well, I am your mother.” Lady Conyers gave a sniff. “Mothers are allowed to do that.”

“Where is that rule written? I should like to look it up.”

“Don’t be impudent, Denys. And if I were matchmaking, it’s not as if I’ve no cause. I saw you dance with Georgiana at the Montcrieffe ball. Two waltzes,” she added with obvious relish.

“True.” He gave a heavy sigh of mock suffering. “Given that, I suppose I’ve no right to complain.”

“If you don’t want to go, Denys . . .” Her voice trailed off as she looked at him in hopeful inquiry.

He thought of Georgiana, and an agreeable fondness settled over him. “On the contrary,” he said. “I should be delighted.”

“Oh, I’m so glad!” The moment those words were out of her mouth, she bit her lip and looked away, as if fearing her effusiveness was a step too far. “Georgiana is a dear child.”

From her place beside their mother Denys’s sister, Susan, gave an exasperated sigh. “Really, Mother! Georgiana Prescott is hardly a child. She’s twenty- eight, the same age I am. Though I daresay she seems older.”

“She’s more mature, at any rate,” Denys put in, giving his irrepressible sister a meaningful glance.

“Either way, she’s a dear child to me.” Lady Conyers leaned closer to her daughter. “And so are you, pet.”

The earl interrupted Susan’s groan of reply by set- ting down his knife and fork. “Forgive me, ladies,” he said, rising to his feet, “but I fear I must be off. Denys, might you join me in my study for a spot of business before I go?”

“Of course.” He rose, but Susan’s voice interrupted before the two men could depart.

“Was the letter very bad news, Papa?”

“No.” The reply was terse, and the earl must have sensed it, for his expression softened as he looked at his daughter.

“It’s nothing to trouble you with,” he said, but even before Susan spoke again, Denys could have told his father that sort of pacification never worked with his sister.

“Don’t you want to pat me on the head before you go?” she called after him, as he started for the door.

“He likes patting you on the head,” Denys told her as he circled to her side of the table. “So let him.”

“But it’s silly,” she grumbled, tilting her head so he could kiss her cheek. “Why do men always feel impelled to shield women from the slightest hint of reality?”

“Because we love you, that’s why.” Denys turned to give his mother’s cheek a kiss as well. “It’s our duty to protect you.”

“Rot,” Susan pronounced, as he straightened and started for the door. “The truth is, you men like keeping all the important information to yourselves because it makes you feel superior.”

He didn’t reply, but Susan was not deterred. “We shall ferret out this secret,” she called after him. “We always do.”

Both men ignored that rather aggravating fact of life and crossed the corridor to the earl’s study without a word. Once inside, the door safely closed behind them, Denys was able to reopen the topic. “Now, tell me what’s happened.”

Lord Conyers moved to sit behind his desk and pulled the envelope from his jacket pocket. He started to hand it across the desk, but then, for no discernible reason, he drew back.

“Father, what the devil is it?” Denys asked. “I’m beginning to find your reticence alarming.”

“It’s about Henry Latham.”

At once, unbidden and unwelcome images of Lola Valentine came into his mind — Lola on stage, in her dressing room, in his bed. Lola in a sheer white peignoir with Henry by her side. He took a breath and forced himself to speak. “What about him?”

“He’s dead.”

The announcement struck Denys with the impact of a rock thrown at a mirror, and the images of Lola shattered into glittering shards of anger, slicing open a wound he thought had healed long ago. Six years since she’d left him, but suddenly, he felt as raw as if it had all happened yesterday.

“Shocking news, what?”

The matter-of-fact voice of his father brought Denys back to the present, and when he noticed the earl’s concerned gaze on him, he tamped down anger and pain. “Very shocking,” he agreed. “When did this happen?”

“A month ago.”

“A month? Why weren’t we informed at once?”

The earl shrugged. “The letter is dated three weeks ago. It was delayed in the post, I imagine.”

“May I?” He held out his hand, and after a moment of further hesitation, his father leaned across the desk to place the letter in his outstretched palm.

“Does it say how he died?” Denys asked, slipping the missive out of its envelope.

“Heart attack, so Forbes says. Henry had a dicky heart, apparently.”

“Heart?” Denys paused in the act of unfolding the letter, taken aback. Henry had always been such a vital, dynamic personality. The idea of his having a weak heart seemed incongruous somehow.

He looked down at the letter, but he stared at the typewritten lines without reading them. Had she stayed with him all this time? he wondered. All the way to the end?

The wound opened a little more, and Denys reminded himself that Henry and Lola were part of his past, a distasteful business long ago over and done. He refolded the letter, unread, put it back in its envelope, and set it on the desk.

“The question is,” he said as he leaned back in his chair, glad to note his voice was quite natural, “what happens now?”

“To the Imperial, you mean?” Looking relieved, his father at once adopted a brisk, practical demeanor that mirrored his own. “What do you think should happen to it?”

Denys paused to consider for a moment before he spoke, just to be sure his opinion was a thoroughly objective one. “We should offer to buy Henry’s share,” he said at last.

“I agree. But would she accept such an offer?” Denys shrugged, unable to see any reason why Henry’s widow wouldn’t jump at it if the offer was fair. “Her life is in New York. She wouldn’t want to assist with managing it, surely.”

“Perhaps not, but thanks to you, the Imperial has become profitable. She might want to keep her half as an investment.”

Denys doubted that Gladys Latham would have any more enthusiasm for Henry’s theatrical ventures now than she’d had when he was alive. “Or she might jump at the chance to get rid of it.”

“True. But if she’s not amenable to selling her share, we might consider allowing her to purchase ours.”
Denys stared at his father, appalled by the very idea. “Sell our half of the Imperial? Why on earth should we do so?”

Conyers stirred in his chair. “Might be for the best.” “I don’t agree.”

Conyers gave him a searching glance. “It’s a difficult situation. For her. For you. For everyone.”

Denys stiffened, knowing his father’s true concerns had nothing to do with Gladys Latham. “Henry’s death changes nothing, as far as I can see. My unfortunate entanglement with Lola Valentine is long over, Father, and has no bearing on this. I daresay everyone involved will be sensible. The Imperial is one of our most lucrative investments. It makes much more sense to keep it, don’t you think?”

“No, I don’t. If we can’t buy her out, I’ll sell her our share. Let her have the whole bloody thing.”

His father’s terse, peremptory words surprised him. Since handing over the control of their family holdings to him three years ago, Conyers had never overridden him on any decision.

“You seem . . . quite vehement about this, Father.” “Should I not be?”

“Not for any reason I can discern. I thought you trusted me. Have I given you cause to withdraw that trust?”

The earl’s shoulders slumped a bit. “No, of course not,” he said, and leaned back in his chair with a sigh. “I spoke in haste. However you decide to handle the situation, it is your decision. I . . .” He paused and took a breath. “I trust you.”

Denys was relieved and heartened by those words. “You didn’t always.”

“No, but in my defense, there was a time when you made my trust a difficult thing to give. You were quite wild in your youth, you know.”

The reminder pained him, for he was well aware he’d been a rebellious adolescent and a rakish, irresponsible young man. Those less appealing traits of his character had come into full flower on a trip to Paris the summer he was twenty-four.

His only intent had been to visit friends and have a bit of fun. He hadn’t intended to go mad.

Nicholas, the Marquess of Trubridge, and Jack, the Earl of Featherstone, had been sharing a town house in Paris and vying for the attentions of Montmartre’s most famous cabaret dancer. Fascinated by her, they’d dragged Denys off on his first night in town to see her show at the Théâtre Latin, and the moment he’d first set eyes on Lola Valentine, Denys’s heart had been lost and his life plunged into chaos.

Lola, in Paris, kicking off men’s hats with her toe and winking at him as she passed his table and absconded with his drink. Lola, at the house he’d leased for her in London, standing at the top of the stairs and giving him the radiant smile for which she was famous. Lola, moving beneath him in bed, her dark red hair spread across the pillow and her long, shapely legs wrapped around him.

It had taken a lot of time and effort to straighten out his life after she’d forsaken him for Henry Latham and a career in New York, but he’d managed it, and the careless, stupid mistakes of his youth were well behind him now. With that reminder, Denys brought his attention back to what his father was saying.

“. . . sowing your wild oats, with no mind to settle down and be responsible. I had truly come to despair of you. But you’ve changed, Denys. You’ve paid off your debts, taken on the duties of your position, and done everything I’ve asked of you in exemplary fashion. I’m proud of you, my son.”

With those words, any vestiges of Lola’s memory vanished, and tightness squeezed his chest as he stared back at his father. He was unable to say how much those words meant to him, but thankfully, he didn’t have to say anything. His father looked away first, gave a cough, and spoke again.

“Whatever you decide, it will be your decision. You’re in charge now. I am merely a gentleman of leisure.”

“And you love it,” Denys said, smiling.

“I do. I am quite content to leave the tedious business of keeping our fortunes intact to you.”

“Speaking of which . . .” Denys glanced at the clock on the wall and stood up, bringing his father to his feet as well. “I’d best be on my way. I have a meeting with Calvin and Bosch at half past nine to sign some con- tracts, but I have to call at our offices first. All the con- tract documents should have arrived from our solicitors late yesterday afternoon—”

“Didn’t I just tell you these matters are your concern now, not mine?” the earl interrupted, holding up his hands to stop his son’s flow of words. “All I intend to do today is go to my club and perhaps a race meeting or two.”

The two men departed the study and went their separate ways, but an hour later, as Denys’s carriage took him around Trafalgar toward his offices in the Strand, he recalled his father’s final words of their conversation, and he couldn’t help smiling a little. The earl was bored stiff by matters of business, but Denys thrived on them.

Not that he’d always felt that way. A few years ago, he’d been the sort of fellow who’d spent his quarterly allowance without a thought of where the money came from. The sort who’d found the allure of a beautiful cabaret dancer irresistible.

But his days of being a stage-door johnny were over. Pulled by Nick into a brewery investment three years ago, he’d begun to understand the satisfaction that could come from being a man of business, and the earl, pleased by his son’s newfound sense of responsibility, had handed over management of all the family’s investments to him.

His carriage turned onto Bedford Street and came to a halt in front of his offices. His driver opened the door for him, but after exiting the vehicle, Denys paused on the sidewalk to study the building across the street, and he felt a fierce wave of pride at the sight of the Impe- rial’s gray granite facing and marble columns.

The Imperial had been a seedy music hall fifteen years ago, when the earl and Henry Latham had first formed a partnership to acquire the place. Henry, al- ready a successful impresario in New York, had been seeking ways to break into dramatic theater in London, and with the earl as a partner, he had succeeded in obtaining the required licenses, finding backers, and garnering a bit of success. But London theater was an exasperating, difficult, competitive business, and the American had eventually grown tired of the project and returned to the States, taking Lola with him and leaving management of the Imperial in his partner’s hands.

The earl had happily put his son in charge of the place, along with all the other Conyers holdings, and Denys was proud of the fact that there was nothing seedy about the Imperial nowadays. Today, it was widely acknowledged as London’s finest producer of Shakespearean theater, achieving a level of critical acclaim Henry could only have dreamed of.

Thoughts of Henry inevitably brought thoughts of Lola, and an image of her came to Denys before he could stop it—an image of auburn hair, teal blue eyes, and a body made for sin.

More memories came back to him, memories of how it had all gone wrong. The play he’d financed for her closing in disaster. The house in St. John’s Wood standing empty but for the gifts he’d given her and a note that she’d returned to Paris. His refusal to accept her departure, his journey to the cabaret where she was working, his discovery of Henry with her in her dressing room. And her words, the most shattering part of it all.

Henry has made me a better offer.

Denys shook his head, baffled that he could ever have been such a fool. But then, he appreciated with a grimace, he’d been a fool about so many things back in his salad days. Thank God he was not only an older man now but also a wiser one. Beautiful, ambitious chorus girls no longer held any charms for him.

He turned away from the Imperial to study the building across from it. Five floors high, with whitewashed brick, marble pediments, and arched windows of plate glass, the offices of Conyers Investment Group gleamed with prosperity.

The message conveyed by the interior was equally clear. Anyone would know at once that this was a sound and prosperous firm. Its electric lift, telephones, and typewriting machines alluded to modern ideas and the future, but the wide central staircase, the ever- so-slightly-worn carpets, and the comfortable leather furnishings conveyed reliability and longevity, two qualities so necessary to an investment firm.

Denys started up the staircase, nodding to the clerk seated at the desk on the spacious landing as he passed. When he reached the mezzanine, he circled the lobby and ascended another set of stairs, but he’d barely entered his office suite on the top floor before he came to a surprised halt.

His secretary was not at his desk. “Dawson?” he called to the open doorway of his own office beyond, but his sandy-haired young secretary did not reply and did not appear.

With a puzzled frown, Denys pulled out his pocket watch. “Ten past nine,” he murmured, closed the watch, and slipped it back into his waistcoat pocket. Dawson was fanatically punctual, always arriving in the office ahead of his employer, a fact that made his absence from his post quite unusual.

Not that it mattered. If Dawson had been called away from his desk, he would no doubt have set out the con- tracts before departing. Denys glanced over the secretary’s desk, but the documents were nowhere to be seen.

He gave an exasperated sigh. “Where is the fellow?” “If you’re looking for your secretary,” a feminine, distinctly American voice drawled in answer to his muttered question, “he’s making me a cup of tea.” Denys froze in disbelief, for that voice was low, earthy, dipping on the vowels, and somehow able to lend an erotic note to what would otherwise be the rather flat accent of America’s Middle West. It could only belong to one woman.

He took a breath, telling himself he had to be mistaken, but when he turned, the tall, voluptuous redhead standing in the doorway of his office proved he’d made no mistake.

Her hair was the same deep, flaming color he remembered, a shade of red most women could only gain from henna dye. Atop those vibrant curls, an enormous concoction of pink feathers, crimson ribbons, and cream- colored straw was perched at an angle that defied all laws of gravity, and below it was the stunning face he’d hoped never to see again. Her eyes were the same vivid teal blue he remembered, her full lips the same deep pink. In the staid, ascetic atmosphere of his offices, she bloomed with vibrant life, like an exotic cactus flower blooming amid the sand and scrub of the desert.

He took a step closer, scanning her face, but the powder she wore prevented him from seeing the freckles that dusted her nose and cheeks. It didn’t matter, though, for he knew they were there. He ought to. He’d kissed every one of them.

How many times, he wondered, had he lain in her bed at the little house in St. John’s Wood, his body sated, his mind drowsy, watching her apply powder to her face, trying to conceal the freckles she despised? How many times had he watched her draw gossamer stockings up her shapely legs and dab jasmine scent to the backs of her knees? Dozens, he guessed. Perhaps hundreds. He’d thought those halcyon days would never end, but they had ended, and with bone-shattering shock.

Looking at her, he thought of the last time he’d seen her, in her Paris dressing room. Everything came back to him as if it had all happened yesterday—the filmy white peignoir she’d been wearing, the opened champagne on the table, her face pale as milk at the sight of him. And Henry on the settee, smiling and triumphant. The anger he’d felt earlier began to burn inside him, as if he’d just downed a glass of cheap whisky. Al- though that wasn’t really an apt analogy, for Lola had never been cheap. On the contrary, she’d been the most expensive mistake he’d ever made. And the most intoxicating.

His gaze lowered before he could stop it. She still had the same generous curves he remembered, curves shaped by years of dance, curves that he suspected still owed little to corsets and nothing at all to bust improvers, pads, or bustles.

She was wearing a frock of pale pink silk, and he couldn’t help noticing how the color of the dress blended seamlessly into the skin of her throat and jaw. Any other woman, he thought in chagrin, would look maidenly, even innocent, in such a color, but not Lola. Pale pink silk only made Lola look . . . naked.

Denys wasn’t usually one to curse, but in some situations, an oath was the only response a sane man could offer.

“Hell,” he muttered, but the word seemed wholly inadequate as a vent to his feelings. “Damn,” he added, and was still not satisfied. “Damn, and blast, and holy hell!”

She smiled a little. “It’s good to see you, too, Denys.” The sound of his name on her lips was like paraffin on hot coals, and all his suppressed anger blazed up, threatening to burn out of control. He pressed a fist to his mouth, working to contain it.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” she asked after a few moments. “Beyond a few choice curses, that is?” He lowered his hand and took a deep breath. “It’s odd,” he murmured, injecting a level of cool detachment into his voice that he didn’t feel in the least, “but I cannot think of anything more I might wish to say to you.”

“ ‘Hello’ might be a good start,” she suggested. “Or you could ask how I’ve been.”

He set his jaw, hardening his anger into resolve. “That question would imply a degree of curiosity I do not possess.”

Any trace of a smile vanished from her face with that cold reply. He was being churlish, he knew, a demeanor not at all in keeping with his position or his upbringing, but what had she expected? A warm welcome? Fond recollections of the old days?

She cleared her throat, breaking the silence that had fallen between them. “Denys, I’m sure my call today has caught you by surprise, but—”

“On the contrary. The day you stop being unpredictable is when I shall be caught by surprise. Capricious- ness, after all, is part of a mistress’s stock-in-trade, isn’t it?”

That shot hit the mark, he could tell. A flash of answering anger showed in those extraordinary eyes, re- minding him that Lola was not only a redhead, she also possessed the passionate temperament often associated with hair of that shade. “I wouldn’t know,” she countered with asperity, “since I was never your mistress. I was your lover.”

He shrugged, in no frame of mind to debate the rather blurred distinctions of their past relationship. “And which were you with Henry? His lover, or his mistress? Or were the two of you just good friends?”

She flinched, but if he thought such caustic questions would send her scurrying off, he was mistaken. Instead, she lifted her chin and stood her ground.

“Is there any point in rehashing the past?” she asked. “It’s really the future we need to talk about, isn’t it?”

“The future?” he echoed, baffled. “What do you mean?”

That question seemed to take her back though he didn’t know why it should. “But surely you knew—” She broke off, catching her full lower lip between her teeth, staring at him for a moment before she spoke again. “You haven’t heard.”

He frowned, feeling suddenly uneasy. “I heard Henry is dead if that’s what you mean.”

“It isn’t . . . quite.”

“Is that why you’re here? Now that Henry’s gone, you want to take up where we left off?” He knew it was absurd even as he said it, and yet he could not imagine any other reason for her presence or her words about the future. “You want me to take care of you?”

“No man takes care of me,” she countered with asperity, reminding him of the scrappy, saucy girl he’d met so long ago, a girl who’d kept him at arm’s length for over a year and driven him nearly mad before at last becoming his. “I take care of myself. I thought I made that clear six years ago.”

“So you did, and yet, Henry seems to have taken care of you nicely. From what I hear, the show he backed for you is quite the thing in New York. Becoming his mistress paid off handsomely for you.”

She opened her mouth to reply, then bit her lip. “Please don’t pick a fight with me, Denys. I didn’t come all this way for a quarrel nor to see if we could take up where we left off.”

Her words brought no relief, for if she wasn’t here to reconcile, that meant something else was in the wind. “And yet, you talk of us having a future. What could ever lead you to believe we have one?”

She sighed. “Henry’s will.”

“His will?” Denys stared at her, and suddenly, it felt as if the earth were opening beneath his feet, as if he were being pulled down into some dark abyss.

“Yes.” She opened her handbag of crimson silk and pulled a folded sheet of paper from its interior. She held it up between white-gloved fingers. “He made me your new partner.”

An American Heiress in London Series

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About the Author

Laura Lee Guhrke

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

From the publication of her very first historical romance, Laura Lee Guhrke has received numerous honors and critical acclaim for her novels and her writing style. She has been honored with the most prestigious award of romance fiction, the Romance Writers of America Rita Award, and she has received additional awards from Romantic Times and All About Romance. Romantic Times has proclaimed her, “One of the most natural voices in historical romance to be found today”. Her books routinely hit the USA Today Bestseller List, and Guilty Pleasures has been honored with the Romantic Times Award for Best European Historical Romance of 2004. Among her publishing credits are twelve historical romances, including her latest, And Then He Kissed Her, now available from Avon Books.

Laura is currently hard at work on her thirteenth historical romance for Avon Books. She has also written articles for various publications, including the Romance Writers Report, The British Weekly , and the Irish-American Press.


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Review: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted May 27, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

Rowena’s review of How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London #2) by Laura Lee Guhrke.

They had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

This book sounded like something I’d enjoy so I jumped on the chance to read it for the blog.  Boy am I glad that I did because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It came with it’s frustrations (how long it took for Edie to come around with Stuart) but it was really hard to stay frustrated with Edie, considering why she acted the way that she did.

I thought Laura Lee Guhrke did a great job of telling this story.  Edie is an American heiress that was ruined back home in the states and needs to get married.  She doesn’t want just any husband though, it’s got to be someone who will accept her marriage terms and when she meets the Duke of Margrave, Edie feels like she’s hit gold.

It’s been five years since she married the Duke of Margrave and Edie couldn’t be happier with her choice. Stuart has been in Africa for the last five years, leaving Edie to look after his estates and Edie has done a great job with it all.  But after he almost dies at the hands of a lioness, Stuart goes home.

To his life.  And most importantly, to his wife.

Things really take off when he returns home to find that his wife is not at all happy about his return but Stuart is not about to let that get in the way of him staying right where he belongs.  Trying to get Edie to come around is going to be hard work but he hadn’t realized, how much work until the work is already under way.

I really liked getting to know both Edie and Stuart.  Their relationship is complicated and Stuart was a complete flirt that I absolutely loved.  I really liked the support he got from everyone at home, including Edie’s little sister.  And when he finally finds out why Edie is the way that he is, oh man did I come to love him even more.  I also came to understand and admire the hell out of Edie.

This was a wonderfully romantic story about two characters drawn to each other, and who desparately need each other as well.  The cast of characters all made this story really pop and this book left me wanting more from this series.  I’m definitely in for more goodness from this series.  I definitely recommend this book to lovers of historical romances and of Laura Lee Gurhke’s work.  You won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted January 4, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 7 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins
What happens when a woman is determined to marry the wrong man? When she just won’t listen to reason and rushes forward with wedding plans? When she just doesn’t care that she’s marrying a fortune hunting scoundrel who doesn’t love her? What’s her exasperated family supposed to do about it? Hire a different scoundrel to talk her out of it, of course.
American heiress Annabel Wheaton knows what she wants and love isn’t it. Born in a Mississippi backwater, with a twang as wide as the Delta, she wants respect to go with the millions her daddy found in a Klondike gold mine. But respect isn’t easy to come by in the closed Knickerbocker society of New York, and when the fortune-hunting Earl of Rumsford shows up, it seems like he’s just the ticket to make all Annabel’s dreams come true. When he proposes marriage, she happily agrees. That’s when the trouble starts.
Christian Du Quesne has always been trouble—a rake, a gambler, and when he was younger, a fortune hunter. He married once for the sake of the decaying family coffers, but he won’t do it again. When his older brother, the Duke of Scarborough, dies without issue, Christian become the duke and inherits a whole new pile of family debt with no way to pay it. When Annabel’s family hires him to show Annabel just what she’d be getting by marrying into Britain’s aristocratic class, he knows he’s the perfect person to talk her out of matrimony. Problem is, he only has four days to do it. Can he cause enough trouble in those four days to get her to call off the wedding?
Annabel Wheaton grew up in a tin roofed shack in Mississippi with no clue that she would eventually be richer than Midas one day. Now that she’s 25 she knows that money isn’t going to buy her happiness – or does she? She’s been shunned and ignored by the wealthy society of New York so she believes that marrying into the British Aristocracy is the answer. She plans on marrying the Earl of Rumsford but her uncle Arthur is extremely against the match. Knowing the Duke of Scarborough, Christian DuQuesne (Du-cane) is in need of money Arthur offers him half a million dollars if Christian can put an end to the wedding – even if it means just postponing it for a few months.
Christian takes the job and on a ship bound for England from New York (which is where the wedding will take place) he goes about trying to convince Annabel that not only is Rumsford bad for her but that she will hate everything about England and how it will change her. This does bring doubts to her mind – and when Christian kisses her it brings even more. But Annabel is nothing but stubborn and tries to go ahead with the wedding anyway, despite her ever chilling feet. Notice I said “tries”. Yep, the wedding is stopped in an oh, so dramatic way that I just loved.
So the wedding is stopped but what about Annabel’s reputation? Being the clever girl that she is she quickly devises a plan that will save her reputation and make Christian pay, just a little for his part in the debacle that was her first wedding attempt. But Annabel feels more than anger at Christian. She feels lust and a whole lot more and soon finds herself falling in love with him. But he has sworn that he would never marry again since his first marriage was such a disaster. When things between Annabel and Christian heat up to the point where they find themselves having to marry a ton of different feelings come out in both of them but not all of them are good. How will they make it work?
This is the third book in the Abandoned at the Altar series and it was a good one. I really liked so very much about the book. Annabel is at the top of this list. While my heart ached for all that she had been through I love her strength. She had gone through some utter crap and though she wanted to be accepted she really did it for her sister. She never wanted her sister or her children when they came along to ever have to go through what she did. While I thought some of her decisions weren’t always the best I really thought that she was the strongest character in the book.
Christian was second on my list. I didn’t think that we got too deeply into Christian’s brain but we saw enough of his personality and his past to make a fair judgment of his character. He’s thought a rakehell but since it was before he came the Duke we never got to witness any of that – and it was ok. I thought it was enough to be told of his past mistakes to see them for the (eventual) learning experiences that they turned out to be.
The story and romance itself was both fun and heartbreaking with times of humor and severity. I thought that Ms. Guhrke did a great job of showing us the lighter side of each character as well as the serious parts of their lives that weren’t to be taken lightly. It was very well done. Overall it was a really good book that I very much enjoyed reading.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5


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What I Read Last Week

Posted January 3, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 6 Comments

Happy New Year! I know I’ve said that before I just needed to say it again! lol
To say that I’m behind this week is a bit of an understatement. I was almost completely incommunicado yesterday as I promised my girls that I would try and not be on my phone or my laptop all day and just spend the day watching movies and playing games with them. I got a bit done before they woke up yesterday and sent a few emails from my phone while in hiding 🙂 but for the most part it was a day with the girls and it was a good day.
I had a lot of time off last week and read a whole heck of a lot – I’m not kidding. lol A lot of them were shorts and novellas but ones I’ve been wanting to read.

First up was Handyman by Claire Thompson. Now this one I started…I think near when it came out and could not get into it. It has languished in the pile for quite a while and I finally decided to give it another go. The story is about Will who is a stock broker who took a leave of absence after his boss died right in front of him of a heart attack. He’s purchased a house on the outskirts of the city and is refurbishing it. He hires Jack who is a widower with two grown sons and according to him – very straight. Except…there was the one experience in high school with his best friend Luke. This is a great story about Will coming to terms with a slower lifestyle as well as Jack taking a hard look at who he is and what he wants when it comes to his sexuality. 3.75 out of 5

Next was How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long. Book 6 in the Pennyroyal Green series and it was wonderful. I really loved so very many things about this story of a school teacher and the man they term “Lord Ice”. You can read my review of the book here. 5 out of 5

Next up was Bachelor Number Four by Megan Hart. This was the story of Arden who is a widow and is finally ready to head out on to the dating scene once again. She tries a couple of blind dates that are pretty amusing because the guys are just such losers! What she wants – well yes and no – is to meet up with an old flame who she had feelings for before she got married. She contacts him on a social networking site and they even have cybersex but she’s not sure she wants to take it any further. I liked the book – it was a cute HFN story with the possibility of it turning into a HEA but the heroine, Arden, drove me a bit nuts when it came to her contact with Shane. She ran really hot and cold and I think, hurt his feelings a bit. I realize that she was scared a bit of what could be but the way she handled it wasn’t great. 3 out of 5

My next read was The Bracelet by Mary Jane Clark. This is a short story and it looks like a prequel to the Piper Donovan mystery series. The story is about Piper who is home helping her mother in her bakery. Piper helps by taking some goodies upstairs to a little old man, a friend of her mom’s. When she gets there she finds him unconscious with the very valuable bracelet missing that he had just been showing Piper, her mother and her sister-in-law. Piper finds clues that leads her to believe that her sister-in-law had a hand in the missing bracelet but she doesn’t want to think badly of her – even though she doesn’t like her very much. The story was ok but it was mostly internal struggle and thoughts of Piper’s as she tried to figure out what to do about the missing bracelet. 2.5 out of 5

The Jock and the Wallflower by Lisa Marie Davis was the story of a wallflower, Decker, who is talked into going to a frat party with his best friend. He is almost on his way out when the man he is half in love with helps him out when a beer is spilled on him. The man is Avery and his is a jock and Decker’s thrilled beyond belief that Avery is even talking to him. He’s even more surprised when Avery makes his move. It was a very cute erotic m/m. 3 out of 5

The Santa Problem by Tam Ames was next. Gavin is in a bind. He needs someone to play Santa to his elf for his company on Christmas Eve and he wants his boyfriend Lane to play the part. Lane is NOT thrilled at all to say the least and frankly the gig doesn’t go all that well to say the least. But Lane and Gavin make a turn in their relationship during it all and it makes it all worth it. A very cute story. I just love Tam’s humor…well, all the time and I love that it translates to her books so well. The characters are very real and I love that. 3.5 out of 5

Hot Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice was next on the list. This was another short story that was kind of an “incident in the life of” her characters from her book Dangerous Lover. Jack, an ex-army ranger, is very protective of his wife and he trains her for any eventuality. She goes along with Jack but really her heart isn’t in it. Little does she know that she’ll need that training when her book store is taken over by a drunken madman. She puts into effect her training and her calm demeanor and silently thanks Jack. The story was pretty short but very good. There were a couple of things that were brought up but not mentioned again – I assume we’ll hear more in a future book? IDK. 4 out of 5

A Chip in His Shoulder by LA Witt is a fantasy about a world where technology is king (so much more than what we live in now) and vampire Liam has a ton of them. He is an assassin and is hired to kill his old lover – and he has no problem with that. Except when he gets to the location he finds himself trapped with Daniel and it gives them time to talk about what went wrong in their relationship while they try to find a way out of their highly volatile situation. I really liked the world in this story and hope there will be more set in this interesting world in the future. 3.5 out of 5

Next up was Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke. This story is book 3 in the Abandoned at the Altar series and it was a good one. We had a duke sworn not to marry again trying to earn some cash by talking an American heiress out of marrying someone her family hates. The Duke, Christian, goes to pretty great extremes to get the job done but it ends up smacking him back in the face. It was a good book and my review will post tomorrow. 4.25 out of 5

All’s Fair by Suzie Quint is a short story in between books 1 & 2 of her McKnight series. This had Sol taking his daughter Eden to the Carnival knowing full well that his ex-wife, and the woman he’s still in love with, there while on a date. Sol ends up discouraging the date from seeing Georgia again by telling him some fantastical lies. Georgia is pissed and goes seeking retribution from Sol and but after Sol gets injured in a bull ride they end up in bed together. This is a very short story and really has no conclusion but it worked for me. I think it was a nice prequel to their eventual HEA…at least I hope they’ll get their HEA. 3 out of 5

Forever and a Day by Delilah Marvelle is the story of a woman who boards a British aristo in her very lowly tenement after he is hit on the street and suffers amnesia. The pair fall in love but how can a Viscount and a laundress ever be together? You can read my full review here at The Book Binge. 4 out of 5

The Viking’s Sacrifice by Julia Knight was a wonderful surprise. The story is about Viking raids, family betrayal, love and lots of danger. I really liked it and will post my review on Thursday. 4.25 out of 5

I’m a lucky, lucky girl and won a copy of Dating the Delaney’s by Anne Brooke over at Brief Encounters when they ran their Boxing Day Extravaganza. I got it and then gobbled it up as I love Liam and the Delaney’s. If you haven’t read this story about a man who works in a gallery and his twin crime boss lovers I suggest you do. They’re all short stories but all worth reading. This was book 4 and the trio has decided that they’re going to date for 6 weeks. On their first date in the movie theatre they can’t keep their hands off each other – just like when they’re on a picnic together. The dynamic is a bit odd with Liam being so submissive and the two brothers being so opposite from each other but I think it’s just great. 4 out of 5

Next was Slow Ride by Erin McCarthy – book 5 in the Fast Track series. This book was about a retired race car driver and a racing journalist and blogger that is grieving the death of her father. They kind of hook up at the wedding reception of Kendall and Evan (of The Chase #3) and start seeing each other. Parts of this book I really liked but others not so much. Tuesday had a stress and drinking problem, along with the fact that she hadn’t properly grieved for her father when she started dating Diesel. Then there’s Diesel who in no way had emotionally dealt with the racing accident that put him into forced retirement. I loved Diesel and Tuesday together when there were no issues but they each needed to handle their own lives before they could handle a relationship. It was good but not great for me. 3 out of 5 Read for The Book Binge

Next up was True Colors by Thea Harrison and is a novella in the Elder Races series. This is the story of Alice Clark who finds her best friend murdered in her apartment and hides when she sees the huge man come in. She runs from him not knowing if he’s the killer but it turns out he’s an investigator and a part of the Wyr division of the police. Gideon is immediately drawn to Alice who is also a wyr and finds he needs to be with her almost as much as he needs info from her to try to catch the killer of her friend. It was a good story about destined mates meeting and had a decent suspense element involved. 3 out of 5

Last on the list…yes there actually was a LAST…was Striker by KyAnn Waters. This is about two men, one a well known professional soccer player and a sportswriter who moves in next door. I’ll be reviewing it this week so keep your eye out. 4 out of 5

OK – so it may look like I read a lot but really, of the 16 listed 6 of them were shorts, 4 novella’s and one a short novel and those take no time at all, right? lol

My Book Binge reviews that posted this week:


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