Monday, November 30, 2015

Interview with Cathy Maxwell & #Giveaway

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Today we are interviewing the wonderful Cathy Maxwell! Please welcome her to the Nightstand! [br]

Cathy, can you tell us a bit about THE MATCH OF THE CENTURY?

Do you ever wonder about the one that got away? You know, that first love? And what if that person returned to your life just as you are ready to marry someone else, someone who is also special?[br]
That is the choice heiress Elin Morris must make. She’s been betrothed to the Gavin Whitridge, the Duke of Baynton almost since birth. He is everything a woman could want in a husband . . . and yet she can’t forget his brother Ben.[br]
Ben thought he’d put Elin from is mind. He’d believed leaving was the best thing he could do for her. And yet, now that he has returned, the attraction is stronger than ever.[br]
Fate has plans for Elin. She is to be a duchess. However, a murderous plot and the reappearance of her first true love is making her question everything she had thought she’d wanted. And does she have the courage to make the right decision?[br]

Dang! In love with one brother and betrothed to the other! That's got to be hard!

Twitter style(140 characters or less): [br] 
a. What do you like about him best?[br]

A man with a wicked sense of humor and an independent spirit is a gift from the gods.[br] 

b. What is her best trait?[br]

A brave woman chooses her own path.[br]
BTW, I’m more of a FaceBook person.[br] 

LOL sorry! I'll keep that in mind!

What was your favorite quote or scene in the book? Did something make you laugh or smirk?[br] 
“You are too small to do any true damage to me. The next time you decide to slap me, may I suggest you use a book. A good heavy one.” [br] “Let me go to the library then,” she answered and started for the house.

[br]
Ha! Yup! That works for me![br] 
What's next in the series?[br] 

Look for FAIREST OF THEM ALL. And finally, A DATE AT THE ALTAR will be out the end of the year. I’ve been a busy writer!

What has been your favorite book you've read so far this year and why? Any upcoming novels you're eagerly anticipating? [br] 

Favorite book of the year was a novella—HIS WAY HOME by Anna Richland. It featured an Asian-American heroine and Hispanic-American hero. I loved the setup. Read the first five pages and you won’t stop. 

Second, I enjoyed the multi-cultural aspect.

And finally, Richland is a clear, direct writer who captures emotion without sentimentality.

Sounds intriguing!

I also devoured the first book of her “Immortal Vikings” series FIRST TO BURN. I’m not a paranormal reader, but this one grabbed me.
Upcoming novels? My writer buddy Elizabeth Boyle tells me that Maya Rodale’s LADY’S BRIDGET’S DIARY (Feb ’16) is wickedly funny. I’m also looking forward to the release of newcomer Rachel Miles’s second book CHASING THE HEIRESS (Jun ’16). I had an advanced reading copy and—whoa—what a read! The hero and heroine are wonderful. However, the villain has captured my imagination. An intriguing character. I can’t wait to learn his story.

Oh, I just love a redeemed villain! They make the best heroes!!


Synopsis


MATCH_CoverIn New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s glittering new series, wedding bells are ringing… until the return of a rake throws a bride’s plans— and heart—into a tailspin. [br] 
Every debutante aspires to snag a duke. Elin Morris just happens to have had one reserved since birth. But postponements of her marriage to London’s most powerful peer give Elin time to wonder how she will marry Gavin Baynton when she cannot forget his brother, Benedict. [br]
Already exasperated at being yanked from the military to meet “family obligations,” now Ben must suffer watching his arrogant sibling squire the only woman he has ever loved. Joining the army saved Ben from sinking into bitterness, but seeing Elin again takes him back to the day they surrendered to their intoxicating desire. [br]
As the wedding draws near, Elin tries to push Ben far from her thoughts. When danger brings them together, there is no denying their feelings. But can Elin choose love over duty…?

 

 

Buy the Book!


Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo


[about-author name="Cathy Maxwell"] [br]

[bctt tweet="Interview w/Cathy Maxwell & win a complete Print Set of The Brides of Wishmore Series! #Giveaway"]

Rafflecopter Giveaway


Win a complete Print Set of The Brides of Wishmore Series!


(THE BRIDE SAYS NO, THE BRIDE SAYS MAYBE and THE GROOM SAYS YES) [br]
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday Book Bonanza Giveaway Hop!

Black Friday Book Bonanza

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Welcome to the 5th Annual Black Friday Book Bonanza! This is my first time to be a part of it! Isn't this a great idea!

This Black Friday I'm stayin' in and entering all these wonderful giveaways! I hope you do too!

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My Book Bonanza Prize:



1 box of mystery books (hardcover, ARCs, paperbacks) from my shelf (US-only)


All you have to do to enter, is tell me your craziest Black Friday story! If you don't have one, tell me what you ate yesterday! What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?  Check back here Monday morning to find out who won!


 

 

Be sure to check out all these wonderful blogs for even more giveaways!


[inlinkz_linkup id=572052]

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from Nelle!

Wishing all of my readers a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


I'll be watching the parade and eating ham sandwiches with my two favorite people in the world! (I'll be having turkey but they prefer ham!) I hope you are doing the same or similar with yours!

We had an early special Thanksgiving dinner while we were visiting my parents during the move. It was so much fun to see everyone and this time I cooked it all!!! LOL  We had two big hams though instead of Turkey since it was so sudden!

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If you've got time head over to my FB page today! I'm having a THANK YOU giveaway that ends Sunday night at 12:00 p.m.  LOTS of books will be given away!

Come back tomorrow for a special Black FRIDAY Bonanza for another chance to win books!

 

happy.thanksgiving.05

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Reluctant Duchess by Sharon Cullen

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Lady Sara Emerson turns to Gabriel Ferguson, the Duke of Rossmoyne, her cousin Merediths' former fiancee. The shy wallflower is receiving threatening notes from someone who knows too much about Merediths' brutal death two years ago. Ross has recently returned to England from his retreat to India to mourn. He is surprised to find Lady Sara insisting on seeing him.

Ross is a changed man. Before Meredith's death he was popular in the ton, now it seems he has grown to see the ton for what it is and feels it's frivolous. He never looked at Lady Sara while courting Meredith. She likes to blend in and stick to the shadows, the complete opposite of the vivacious Meredith. In Lady Sara, he finds an attraction that he doesn't understand and is highly intrigued by her.

Lady Sara has massive social anxiety. She doesn't like the ton and all the hoopla it entails. She finds crowds, overwhelming. She is passionately attracted to this new Ross. As she enlists him to help her find the murder and the writer of the letters, they grow closer and closer together. He wants her as his Duchess, but she only feels that she can give him an affair.

I couldn't resist picking up the novel. Murder mysteries in a historical setting are favorites of mine. A shy girl coming out of her shell to oppose and attract a big brawny Duke?! Superb! This is my first Sharon Cullen work and it definitely won't be my last! The dialogue was witty and delicious! As to who the murderer was... I certainly didn't guess it until the end! I couldn't get enough! I put this one down with a happy sigh and a smile on my face!

 

Synopsis


Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin’s murder. Now that the killer seems to be targeting her, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin’s fiancé, Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne. With his towering frame and fiery personality, Ross cuts an intimidating figure. Living under his protection, however, has its own hazards—like the sudden urge Sara feels to take their relationship in new, exquisitely inappropriate directions.

Dazzled by the social graces of his betrothed, Ross never noticed her shy, blushing cousin. Looking at Sara now, though, he’s drawn to her lovely eyes and calm disposition. Funny how a year away from the hustle and bustle of the ton changes a man. But Ross has no intention of allowing a woman to interfere with his plan to return overseas. He will simply capture the murderer and set sail once again. The problem is, with her beguiling lips and heavenly touch, Sara makes him never want to leave home—or his bed—again.

[about-author]

[bctt tweet="This is my first Sharon Cullen work and it definitely won't be my last! The dialogue was witty and delicious! As to who the murderer was... I certainly didn't guess it until the end! I couldn't get enough! "]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Interview w/Susanne Lord ~ A chance to win, In Search of Scandal!

In-Search-Of-Scandal---Release-Graphic

Today,  I am featuring a new historical romance author, Susanne Lord. Her debut novel, In Search of Scandal, will release on December 1. It is the first in her London Explorer series.

Welcome to Nelle's Nightstand, Susan, can you tell us a bit about In Search of Scandal?

IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL is the love story of Will Repton, a wounded, traumatized explorer, and Charlotte Baker, a popular, London society miss.  Will has just returned from Tibet after surviving a grisly massacre.  Injured and with nightmares still plaguing his sleep, Will calls upon Charlotte’s brother-in-law to solicit funds for a return to Asia.  When Will is mistakenly led to a parlor of Charlotte’s suitors, Charlotte falls hard for the handsome explorer, imagining him the man of her dreams.  The only problem is, love is the last thing on Will’s mind.

Let's dish a little about Will and Charlotte, what are they like and why are they meant for each other?

Will is a planner.  His experiences traveling have taught him to prepare for any contingency.  Unfortunately, Charlotte is a force of nature he hasn’t encountered before.  Charlotte, on the other hand, is an idealist.  She genuinely likes people and believes everyone has something of value to contribute to the world.  In Will, she believes he has more gifts to offer than most, and his experiences obligate him to share that knowledge with the world.

The two of them are really perfect together in that they are strong in the places the other is weak.  Will tends to feel only pain and unworthiness when he examines his life—but Charlotte sees all the good and valuable within him.  And as Charlotte is brimming with optimism and loyalty to family, she needs Will to focus all that emotion and energy in order to feel fulfilled.

Do you have a favorite quote from the book? If so what was it?
A patter of footsteps slapped on the tiles behind him and Will spun round, his muscles seizing in readiness. A boy—three or four or six, he could never discern the age of children—dashed past the stairs and vanished behind a door.

The sight came and went so swiftly, he clenched his eyes and grappled with the reality of the vision.

A disturbance of the air…a faint chortle from the room… The boy was real.

(I really like this moment at the start of IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL.  My heart always cracks a little for Will.  He is so haunted and traumatized from his experience in Tibet, that even the sound of a child’s footsteps triggers a hyper-vigilant reaction.)

Oh, poor Will! PTSD can happen with anyone, sounds a bit like that!

This series is labeled London's Explorers. Can you tell us a bit about it?

In December 1849, a crew of voyaging botanists en route to Bhutan through the hostile Tibetan plains is detained at a remote Catholic mission. On an uneasy Christmas Eve, their worst nightmares are realized when a band of marauders descends on the mission with murderous intent. In the massacre’s aftermath, only three survive; Will Repton of London, Owen Cressman of Nottingham, and the week-old infant of the French missionaries.

Will believes the attack the result of native aggression, Owen suspects a betrayal from within, and the quest for the orphaned child draws explorer, Seth Mayhew, to exotic India. But before the truth can be discovered, each man must undergo an adventure through their own uncharted hearts.

(That’s the blurb, but more candidly, I’m so excited about each of my heroes’ love stories.  I adore my heroes Will, Seth and Colin, and their heroines, Charlotte, Mina and Emma, and can’t wait to share them with readers.)

Ok, time to check what you've been reading or meaning to read, what's on your "nightstand"?

I have five books checked out from the Chicago Public Library that I will eventually finish.  I’m a notoriously slow finisher of books when I’m on deadline unless it’s a historical romance, which I will finish in less than five hours, and usually on the day I pick it up.

  1. William Dalrymple’s RETURN OF THE KING: THE BATTLE FOR AFGHANISTAN and…

  2. William Dalrymple’s NINE LIVES: IN SEARCH OF THE SACRED IN MODERN INDIA

  3. Ruth Goodman’s HOW TO BE A VICTORIAN

  4. Lawrence Stone’s ROAD TO DIVORCE

  5. Chloe Schama’s WILD ROMANCE: A VICTORIAN STORY OF A MARRIAGE, A TRIAL, AND A SELF-MADE WOMAN


What book/books are you eagerly anticipating in the next few months?

I can not wait for Courtney Milan’s ONCE UPON A MARQUESS, Elizabeth Hoyt’s SWEETEST SCOUNDREL, Sarah Maclean’s THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN, Tessa Dare’s next Spindle Cove novella, and Loretta Chase’s DUKE’S PREFER BLONDES.

I have all of these on my TBR! In fact, I'm reading Sweetest Scoundrel now! [space size=15]

In Search of Scandal [br] 
9781492623502


A DARING EXPLORER

All of London is abuzz with the tale of Will Repton. The lone survivor of a massacre in Tibet has returned to England a hero, but the traumatized explorer has no time for glory. Another dangerous expedition awaits. Nothing will deter him from his quest, and no one will unearth his secret—until Will meets Charlotte Baker

IS NO MATCH FOR AN ADVENTUROUS HEART

Vivacious Charlotte Baker also has a mission—to find a man whose bold spirit matches her own. When she meets Will Repton, she immediately recognizes him as her soul mate, and she’s naively willing to turn her back on the rules of propriety to ensnare him. Will is torn between his fascination with Charlotte and his vow to finish his quest. He knows what it is to risk life and limb—but what if his most perilous adventure doesn’t lie across an ocean, but within his own lost heart?

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Preorder now!


Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PMWbbJ


Apple: http://apple.co/1LkuiBr


BAM: http://bit.ly/1j6rkdk


B&N: http://bit.ly/1S2tjvd


Chapters: http://bit.ly/1ltwNwn


Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1HWOskN


 

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[about-author]


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I have one copy to give to my readers!  Comment below for a chance to win!


(winner will be picked by random.org Nov. 25th @ 9:00 P.M)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Spotlight Post: Alissa Johnson Has A Talent For Trickery

 

Hello Readers!

I’m delighted to introduce A Talent for Trickery, the first book in my new Victorian-set “Thief-takers” series. Our hero, Private Investigator Owen Renderwell, is on the hunt for a thief and murderer. And he knows just how to catch his man. All he needs is a little help from our heroine, Miss Charlotte Walker-Bales. The daughter of an infamous confidence man, Lottie is in a unique position to offer insight into the mind and motives of a hardened criminal. There’s just one flaw in Owen’s otherwise excellent plan. Lottie hasn’t spoken to him in eight years. She has no interest in working alongside a man of the law, and certainly not the one who betrayed her trust, endangered her family, and broke her heart.

Lottie did agree, however, to deliver a brief message to those readers who claim no affiliation with The Thief-takers, Scotland Yard, or any other investigative or law enforcement agency.
To whomever it may be of interest,

I have received of late a fair number of requests for advice on how best to lie, cheat, steal, and swindle one’s way to fame and fortune.

Obviously, I have never personally engaged in such reprehensible behavior.

I will admit, however, to being the eldest daughter of the late Mr. William Walker, who was alleged (but never officially proven) to have been a successful thief and trickster. You will find below a page taken from one of his journals.*

William Walker’s Guide to Trickery and Deceit.

Lessons for my darling [name redacted]

1. Pick your mark carefully. Don’t toy with a tiger when a kitten will do.

2. Know your mark well. Learn his fears, his desires, his strengths and weaknesses. One cannot manipulate a man without first having a firm grasp of him.

3. Never take from a mark more than he can afford to lose. Steal a hundred pounds from a prince, and it’s unlikely he’ll report the crime. He would prefer to quietly suffer the inconvenience than admit to the shame of having been duped. Steal a shilling from a pauper, and he’ll hunt you down like a dog. Which is why you must always…

4. Use an alias, change it often, and never stay in one place for too long. Don’t make it easy for your enemies to find you.

5. Be careful of the lies you tell. But more importantly…

6. Be careful with the truth. Nothing will land a body in hot water quite so quick as too much honesty.

7. There is no honor amongst thieves. If you must work with accomplices, then make certain that, no matter how many parties are involved, you are the least trustworthy of the lot. In this way, you will always know from which direction betrayal is most likely to arise.

8. Disregard 7 if your accomplice is also your father.

9. Carry upon your person a set of lock picks at all times. One never knows when one might need entrance through a barred door, or exit from set of manacles.

10. Know when to give up on a scheme. No plan is fool-proof. You cannot possibly account for every conceivable obstacle and danger. When the odds of failure outpace the chances of success, walk away. No amount of coin is worth your freedom, or your life.

*This material is offered only as an example of my father’s creative musings on a theoretical life of crime. It is not an admittance of actual criminal activity undertaken by any member of my family.

However, were I the sort of woman inclined to take such instructions to heart, I believe I would pay particular attention to lesson number 6.

With Kindest Regards,

Miss Charlotte Walker-Bales

[book-info]

[br]

Synopsis



The Lady is a Thief

Years ago, Owen Renderwell earned acclaim-and a title-for the dashing rescue of a kidnapped duchess. But only a select few knew that Scotland Yard's most famous detective was working alongside London's most infamous thief...and his criminally brilliant daughter, Charlotte Walker.

Lottie was like no other woman in Victorian England. She challenged him. She dazzled him. She questioned everything he believed and everything he was, and he has never wanted anyone more. And then he lost her.

Now a private detective on the trail of a murderer, Owen has stormed back into Lottie's life. She knows that no matter what they may pretend, he will always be a man of the law and she a criminal. Yet whenever he's near, Owen has a way of making things complicated...and long for a future that can never be theirs.

[br]

[about-author]

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 13, 2015

My To-Be Read List ~ And the Winner is….

TBR List
Last week I picked these three books and had you all vote to see which one I will read and review this month.


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And the winner is...


 

The Arrangement

 

Looks like I'll be reading about the Viscount Darleigh and Miss Sophia Fry.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Guest Post with Sabrina Darby & Assassins

Please welcome Sabrina Darby to the Nightstand! She's here today to discuss Bad Boys and assassins! *Shiver*


 

From Grosse Point Blank to The Sopranos, there is a certain fascination for the morally ambiguous man who works in the shadows. His skills are usually analogous to that of someone working in covert operations or even a navy SEAL, but his motivations are dubious and unlikely to be honorable.

 

If you’re going to be a romance book hitman, you probably also need a secret desire to be one of the good guys, and therefore be prepped for redemption by love with the right partner. The romance book hitman/bad boy has a moral code; it’s simply his own moral code. And above all, he wants to protect his love interest, even if it is with his life.

 

On that note, meet Gerard Badeau—mercenary, courier, assassin and spy—trained for his profession from a young age. He had a tutor who taught him, along with the classical education expected of an early 19th century gentleman, fencing, boxing, dancing, how to use artifice to disguise ones appearance, to blend into any environment. Taught him chess and how to adapt that strategy to a world far more complex than a two-dimensional board.

 

He’s no longer satisfied with his cold life of shifting identities with the wind and when he meets Lady Jane Langley, he finds the woman who sees through his ambiguous morality to the possibility of an honorable man within. The only problem is she is the witness to his latest crime and letting her live means endangering his own life.

 

I loved writing this book, even though it was one of the most difficult to shape just the way I wanted. Redeeming a bad boy is no light undertaking! What about all of you? Do you have any rules for turning a fictional bad boy good? Or rather, just good enough to make him Happily Ever After material?

 

[book-info] [br]

Excerpt


“When I leave—”

“Jane, you know I cannot let you.”

“You say you love me. Then let me go and trust that I will not reveal you.”

He leaned over her, cradling her head, brought her mouth to his. The rough fabric of his shirt rubbed against her; she parted her legs to cradle him between them, against her, knew that she was tempting her own control, her own ability to make either of them stop.

Lady Jane Langley. She said her name in her head, repeated it again till the words began to hold some modicum of meaning. Langley. Jane. But his mouth was everything, a world of swirling colors and rich warmth, where she would never be cold, never be hurt, always be in the cradle of his hands.

She broke away, burying her face against his neck. “If you really love me, then would you not want my love in return?” She lifted her head again, challenged him to meet her gaze. “As your prisoner, any love I professed would be... false.”

Distorted.

She admired him and desired him.

“I cannot let go of you.” But this time he was not referring to her ability to identify him. She looked away from the tortured need of his gaze and stared at the now dark pile of ash. She understood that agony and confusion. Her world had upended and apparently his had as well. And though she had said she could not give him her love, her heart ached. Somehow, as different as they were, they had found something akin in each other, experienced some sort of communion of the souls. It was very like love. Perhaps it even was the seeds of such an emotion, but it didn’t matter. She pushed herself from him, reached down, buried her hand in soot. With her other hand, she pulled at his shirt, not caring when she heard the tear of fabric.

“Gentle, love.” His hand stilled hers but she slid her fingers around, took his wrist between her fingers, and brought it to her mouth. Lips pressed to that thin, sensitive skin where she could feel the pulse of his blood, she lifted her other hand.

“Here,” she whispered, palm flat against his chest. Then she lowered his hand from her mouth to her own breast, above where her heart beat. She met his eyes, still blinking away the wetness from her own. “In some way, you are right. I am yours. My heart, that ephemeral space the poets call a soul. Everything. But still, I will leave you.”

 [br] [br] [br] a Rafflecopter giveaway


[about-author]

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Christmas Book Bingo Challenge

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon

Welcome to the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon Christmas Book Bingo Challenge! If you’re not already signed up for the read-a-thon, check out full details at the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon Rules page. Hosted by Kimberly @Caffeinated Book Reviewer  and Jennifer @Bookshelfery

 

My Read-A-Thon Goals


 

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Possible books, as I think I got in over my head when I'll be driving for much of it and these are all ebooks except for Heartsong Cottage and it's a paperback! ;)

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Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon 2015 Rules


[br]


  • Link-up and post a goal post on or before November 12th

  • Participate in at least one challenge to be eligible for grand prize

  • Tweet your progress using #HoHoHoRAT

  • Twitter Party! Tuesday November 17, 2015 at 7 pm (EST)  Come chat about the books you have read. There will be prizes.

  • Read-a-thon starts on November 12th 12:o1 am (your time zone) and ends on November 17 at 11:59 pm(your time zone)

  • Challenges will be open from 8 am (EST) on the 12th and remain open until Nov 17th at 11:59 pm (EST)

  • Grand Prize Raffle will be open until November 18th at 11:59 pm (EST) to allow you to submit entries.

  • All winners of challenges and grand prize will be notified by November 20th.



 

Mini-Challenges


Other challenges you can participate in:

 

Christmas Book Bingo Challenge


[br]

I love the idea of book bingo! Hope you enjoy the challenge! So what I want is for you to find the items on the bingo card below, either on the cover or in the title of a novel. Please try to keep it within the romance genre. Once a book is used it cannot be used by another person. So, in order to be entered to win your choice of book from Amazon (up to $10), you'll need to put your selections in the comments with either a link to the cover or the cover itself. You can put your name in for the prize once you've achieved BINGO! You'll also get an extra entry if you tell me how you follow me!

Rules:



  1. Find 5 book covers with the items on the cover or the title. (No Repeats)

  2. Once you achieve BINGO, put your name in the Rafflecopter!

  3. Tell me how you follow Nelle's Nightstand. (Extra Entry)

  4. Reminder you must be a participant in the Read-a-thon to win!


Happy Hunting!!!


Christmas-Bingo-Cards Final

 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Excerpt/Review & Giveaway ~ Pirate Princess by Catherine Banks

[br] With the name, Pirate Princess, I was expecting pirates and princesses. I wasn't expecting arch mages, giant crab and octopus, mermaids, and oh so many other things. This was a lovely adventure and I can't wait to read more about Tilia, the Pirate Princess, Finn, Queen Esmerelda, King Jared, The Pirate King and the awesome Faxon.

This story appealed to my love of fantasy and magic. My favorite character was Faxon, that man is a scrumptious version of Merlin! The banter between the Queen and King of Crilan, Tilia's aunt and uncle, was delightful. The romance between Tilia and Finn was sweet and adventurous. My only complaint was that it was so long!!! I felt that it could be shortened, especially in a few places where Tilia tells her past several times. Readers already know it, so it quite a few pages could have been cut with a paragraph or two. Oops, sorry, there was a couple of scenes that kind of reminded me of Twilight but maybe only because I'm a huge Twilight fan.

I can't wait to find out what adventures await for these characters. The romantic in me hopes Faxon can find a woman good enough for him. This was my first Catherine Banks novel, but I am sure to read more! [br]  [br]

Excerpt


“Ready?” Jared asked me with a wide smile.

“Ready for what?” I asked.

Esmeralda and Jared clucked their tongues and their horses shot off ahead, racing together. “Cheaters!” I yelled, clucking to Duke and squeezing my legs to urge him forward. He reluctantly took off at a canter and then lengthened his stride into a gallop. We caught up and then pulled ahead of them both by a neck.

“Your horse’s size is not fair,” Esmeralda called.

“Your small horse should be faster than this lazy giant,” I called back.

We continued galloping for a little ways farther and then slowed the horses to a walk. I pet his neck and praised him. “What a good boy,” I crooned, “I’ll make sure you get spoiled in Markleville.”

“That horse can really move when he needs to,” Jared said.

“He’s a perfect horse,” I said with a genuine smile and heartfelt appreciation.

“I’m surprised you can even mount him,” Esmeralda teased.

“You should have seen her trying to climb up him the first day I gave him to her,” Jared said with a laugh.

“Well you wouldn’t pick me up and put me on him,” I complained.

“It was worth it to watch you scramble up his front leg and almost pull out the poor guy’s mane to get onto his back.”

“I apologized and gave him three apples that night,” I said as I pet his neck again. “He forgave me.”

“Most men forgive you if you give them something to eat,” Esmeralda teased.

“Don’t put ridiculous thoughts like that into her head,” Jared reprimanded her.

“It’s going to be interesting to see who you end up with,” Faxon said with a smirk at me.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked defensively.

“You are equal parts your uncle and aunt,” he said, “I always knew they were meant to be together because of how they interacted, but seeing you as both parts makes me wonder who could possibly counteract your attitude and personality.”

“Are you trying to imply that by being a little bit of both of us that she is unlovable?” Esmeralda asked with venom in her voice.

“Not unlovable, just…difficult,” he said with a wide smile.

“I’ll show you difficult,” she said, her hands moved and then a fire started on the top of Faxon’s saddle pad. His horse bolted ahead of us, bucking as he tried to dislodge the fire and Faxon.

Faxon somehow held his seat and used his magic to put the fire out. “See what I mean?” Faxon called back to us, “Difficult.”

“I’m not difficult,” I said.

Jared reached over and pet my hand. “You’re right; you’re only difficult eighty percent of the time.”

I let my mouth drop open and then glared at him. “You’re the most stubborn man in the Realm of Olanze and you’re telling me that I am difficult?”

“She has a point,” Esmeralda said.

“Don’t you team up with her against me. I’m your husband,” he growled.

“I’m only speaking the truth,” she said.

“You are rather difficult sometimes,” Griffin agreed with Esmeralda.

“Not you too!” Jared groaned. I stifled my laugh, but he saw me covering my mouth and glared at me.

 

 

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[about-author]

Getting Lucky by Stacy Finz

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  Lucky



  • Quintessential clueless male

  • Steps up with gusto

  • Puts Katie first *Swoon* (even when still being a quintessential clueless male)

  • A prize winning bullrider (the glutes on that man!)

  • Reluctantly attracted to Tawny... at first


Tawny



  • One tough, independent chick

  • A loving and protective mother

  • Awkward, shy and plain as a child, gorgeous as a woman.

  • Really awesoe custom leather bootmaker

  • In love with Lucky since childhood, but resistant to let him know. [br]


My Thoughts


When Lucky got his head out of his ass and finally clued in that Raylene was a Bitch, he let his attraction to Tawny take over. It took a long while to get to that point, though. I think the buildup was just what was needed for this dramatic story. Then the romance really kicked off and it was fun and sweet to watch.

There was a bit of secondary romance happening and that was enjoyable to behold. I enjoyed seeing all the old characters from previous novels and learning what they were up to. Looking forward to he next one. The ending gives a hint as to what's next for the town of Nugget. Looks like a little danger is coming to town.

There is a serious illness in this novel and it affected me greatly. Their daughter Katie has AML, Acute myeloid leukemia. It's a rare form of childhood cancer. I personally know an eight-year-old little girl, Lillian, who is fighting her second round of AML.

Synopsis


From his humble beginnings in Nugget, Lucky Rodriguez has become a champion on the rodeo circuit, truly living up to his name in every regard. But when he returns home, he gets something success can't buy: a daughter he never knew he had. And the girl's mother, an old friend he has hasn't thought about since, now touches his heart like no buckle bunny ever could.

Tawny Wade hasn't always had luck on her side. She fell for a boy she couldn't have, lost her parents too young, and now her daughter needs a transplant she can't provide. But if Lucky is a stem cell match, all that could change. The trouble is, Lucky's got a past in Nugget that makes him off-limits as anything more than a donor for her daughter. And yet, Tawny's never stopped loving the man who now holds her family's fate in his cowboy-callused hands...

[br] [br] [about-author]

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman

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Lady Daphne Swift and Captain Rafe Cavendish are married! We found this out at the end of ...., her brother, Julians story. It seems they married to perform a mission, a mission that went south with Rafe and her other brother Donald, captured and tortured. Rafe blames himself for Donalds death and vows to avenge him. Only he needs Daphne's help again to accomplish it.

Daphne is seeking to annul her marriage to Rafe and become engaged to a nobleman. Rafe agrees to accept the annulment if Daphne spends a week with him, helping him capture Donalds' killers. Daphne agrees as she wants vengeance as well.

Rafe Cavendish could have turned into a very dark individual in his circumstances, but he's a very charismatic and witty guy by nature and that comes through. He let himself be blackmailed into marrying Daphne, "for the mission", initially but he can't seem to let her go, although he knows he isn't near good enough for her.

Daphe Swift had a huge infatuation with Rafe for years, she saw an opportunity to marry him and took it greedily. When she finds him in a compromising position at the end of the mission, she realizes he never felt anything for her but the mission. She runs back to her family and immediately puts herself back on the marriage mart in order to forget him, conveniently forgetting she's still married to the rogue! She is a very loving and nurturing woman at heart and it certainly is shown.

Overall this was an enjoyable adventure, filled with spies, secret marriages, false cabin boys, kidnappings and who knows what else?! Valerie Bowman doesn't disappoint with this one! Just look at that gorgeous cover!! The secondary characters are fully fleshed and I just loved Deliliah and her penchant for spouting French!

Synopsis


Lady Daphne Swift comes from a family with two brothers who have proudly served the Crown. She may be a female, but she's willing to do whatever it takes to prove that she's as useful to the war effort as her brothers. She even went so far as to secretly marry a spy. The fact that she just happened to have been pining for Captain Rafe Cavendish for years didn't hurt matters. But after their first mission, when she realized their marriage had been strictly business, Daphne immediately wanted an annulment. The fiery Daphne has always been a multi-tasker and now she's hell-bent on two things: finding the men who killed her brother and securing her engagement to another man to forget about Rafe forever.
As a spy for the War Office, Captain Rafferty Cavendish has been on dozens of missions. But one mission haunts him, the mission that resulted in the death of Daphne Swift's eldest brother, Donald. Rafe agreed to work with Daphne once and put her life in danger. Now he must find the men who killed Donald, avenge the family, and convince Daphne to give him one more chance. But Daphne's enlisted her other older brother, Julian, to help her get a quick and quiet annulment so that she can marry a fop who only wants her for her title and money. Can Rafe convince Daphne to give him one more chance, on the mission and with her heart?

[about-author]

Friday, November 6, 2015

My To-Be Read List ~ Let's Vote ~ November

TBR List

My TBR List is a meme hosted by Michelle at Because Reading.  It’s a fun way to make yourself read a book each month off of your TBR pile. The first Saturday we vote on a book out of three listed, the second Saturday we reveal the winner and on the Last Saturday of the month we post our review.

This will be my first time with this meme. I have so many on my TBR so.. Let's Vote

 

My Three Picks


 

You Really Got MeYou Really Got Me (Rock Star Romance #1) by Erika Kelly
Published January 6th, 2015 by Berkley

Emmie Valencia has what it takes to be the music industry’s hottest band manager. She just needs to prove it. Determined to discover a killer new band, Emmie is ready to make her move. First stop: Austin, Texas.


As a sizzling-hot lead singer, Slater Vaughn has no trouble raising heart rates—but his band’s been flat-lining for years. When Emmie, his bandmate’s sister, crashes with them in exchange for some free management, her industry know-how lands them a spot in the biggest music festival in Texas. But it isn’t just her business acumen that catches Slater’s attention. Emmie is sexy and warm, and—for the first time in his life—he wants more.

But as irresistible as Slater is, Emmie is done with musicians. In her experience, a man can’t be a rock star and someone to trust with your heart—but Slater is determined to show her he’s both.

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The Arrangement

The Arrangement (The Survivors' Club #2) by Mary Balogh
Published August 27th, 2013 by Dell


Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.


At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?
[hr]

Because of You


Because of You (Coming Home #1) by Jessica Scott
Published November 14th, 2011 by Loveswept


Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there’s more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he’ll never see again—until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.


Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there’s a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels—for the first time in a long time—like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty—it’s a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected—her deepest desire.

 

 

[hr]

Please Vote!


 

Ho-Ho-Ho athon Goal Post

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UPDATE 1


Finished Heartsong Cottage!

Update 2


Finished Evergreen Springs!

Update 3


Finished Home for Christmas

I've read my top 3!! Now on to A Kindled Winter!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Holiday Review: What Happens Under the Mistletoe?

The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries

This is Jeremy, from The Art of Sinning sister's book. Amanda is in England to retrieve her brother and look at England's textile mills. Lord Stephan Corry is very passionate about the mills and writes scathing news articles about how England mills have horrible conditions, to include child labor. He's looking to interview Amanda for his story but in an unexpected turn of events, mistakenly kisses her under the mistletoe. [br]
These two are perfect for each other, although it takes them a bit to realize that. They were both seeing each other through preconceived ideas of one another. There is always more to a person than meets the eye and Sabrina is the master at showing us those qualities in her characters.[br]
Twelve Kisses To Midnight by Karen Hawkins  
Another wonderful story with the antics of the Duchess Natasha Nikolaevna, grandmother to the Oxenburg princes. Marcus Sutherland, the Duke of Rothesay is the crown prince's best friend. While at a ball he kisses what he assumes is his mistress, when in reality it's his former fiancée Lady Kenna Montrose. They fought bitterly before the marriage and Marcus left England, she eventually married someone else. Their love for each other never faded. The kiss creates some scandal though and Kenna runs to her very strict father for help. Marcus follows and then they get snowbound. [br] I love second chance stories and you just know that they were meant for each other and that petty arguments that should have been easily solved kept them apart for years. [br]
By Any Other Name by Candace Camp [br]
In a desperate attempt to find her missing brother before Christmas, Rylla Campbell disguises herself as young man and heads to London's hells to find him. Gregory Rose, recognizes that she's female and is intrigued by her. She misleads him to thinking she's someone else and he seeks her out to woo her. There is a bit of a double romance and this one as well. [br]

Candace is a new author for me. This one I didn't enjoy as much as the others. The good stuff was there but I wasn't too invested in Gregory's character and Rylla just lied too much for me. [br]
Sweetest Regret by Meredith Duran [br]

Georgie Trent is a diplomat's daughter. She fell in love years ago with her father's protégé, Lucas Godwin.
There is some disagreement as to what actually happened to cause the rift between them, but it has to be put aside to find the secret letter someone has stolen from her father. [br]

This was another wonderful second chance story that made me sad, angry and happy all in one little short story!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Interview with Addie Jo Ryleigh & The Duke's Temptation + #Giveaway

Welcome Addie Jo Ryleigh to the blog, everyone! [br]
First tell us a bit about The Dukes Temptation? [br]
In The Duke’s Temptation, Gabriel St. James, Duke of Wesbrook, is presented with the one thing that proves he is as unscrupulous as his father, his illegitimate daughter. As much as he wishes it otherwise, he can’t find it in himself to turn her away. In a bind to find proper care for her, Gabe is forced to accept Lady Elizabeth Blakely’s offer of assistance. Which would be perfectly reasonable if he wasn’t harboring a secret desire to have Elizabeth in his bed, and the pesky detail that she is his best friend’s sister. Gabe’s trouble to resist Elizabeth is only heighted by the fact that Elizabeth has been in love with Gabe since she was a child. [br] 
2. Twitter style(140 characters or less):
a. What do you like about Gabe best? [br]
That no matter how corrupt Gabe thinks he is because of his tainted Wesbrook blood, he can't lock Elizabeth or his daughter out of his heart. [br] 
b. What is Elizabeth's best trait? [br]
Elizabeth is devoted. Even though it may be unwise, she loves Gabe through his difficulties and comes to care for his daughter as her own. [br] 
3. Your favorite quote or scene in the book? Did something make you laugh or smirk? [br]
As much as I love the battle of wills between Gabe and Elizabeth, Aunt Mille often stole the show for me. The following is just one of my favorites. [br] 
“Of course,” Millie answered in mid-wave to Lady Martin and Lady Callow as they stared and whispered intently under their parasols. “Once the next Lord So-And-So is caught with his breeches around his ankles while his wife is otherwise occupied with the head groom.”

4. What's next in the series? [br]
Book two, The Runner’s Enticement, is Nate’s story. In The Duke’s Temptation, Nate, Gabe’s bastard brother, is key in discovering crucial details about Gabe’s past that finally allows Gabe to start thinking he might be capable of loving Elizabeth after all. In The Runner’s Enticement, we learn exactly how Nate has such a skill and his own struggle to shed his bastard status and find his place in society and the world in general. It might just take a well-born bluestocking to do just that, even though her status is the very thing keeping them apart. [br] 
5. What has been your favorite book you've read so far this year and why? Any upcoming novels you're eagerly anticipating? [br]
Ahhh, a tough question. I have a bad habit of all, or at least most, books I just finish reading becoming my new favorite. I also discovered some great contemporaries over the last year. Listing my top 100 would be much easier than singling out one. But if forced to pick, it would be Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid by Suzanne Enoch. A lot of why I enjoyed this book is because I was dying to read Rowena and Lachlan’s story after getting a peek of it in the first two books of the series. And who wouldn’t swoon for Lachlan, especially in a kilt.
I’m impatiently awaiting the release of The Rouge Not Taken by Sarah MacLean because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book of hers I didn’t love. [br] 
[book-info] [br]

[about-author]

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Rotten boys & True Gentlemen ~ Daniel's True Desire by Grace Burrowes

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I went into the story with a few misgivings at the start. So much so that I ... skipped to the end. I know right?! Bad girl!! But I had to, I simply had to! My anticipation was that great! It did not stop me from reading the book in its entirety, though! I'm so glad I did!

Daniel Banks is the most compassionate, caring, honest man you'll never meet! I adored him from the start. He was dealt a bad hand and oh, how I loved seeing him fall for the often grouchy, outspoken, kind hearted Lady Kirsten.  He was the perfect vicar, always thinking of others and a great teacher of frog hunting.

Kirsten Haddonfield has had her share of troubles. Ditched by two fiance's, she's determined to be the best auntie to her nieces and nephews. She's often thought to be a termagant and very outspoken. Inside, though, she's just broken hearted and in despair of ever finding someone to love.

Daniel and Kirsten's path to love is a troubled one. One that is surprisingly different and well done. I had a few misgivings in the beginning when certain things were left unsaid, as Lady Kirsten began to fall for him. If you've read the previous novels you'll know what that certain thing would be, but if you haven't it, it's explained well enough that you won't miss it. I could just feel the tension as trouble loomed.

In this one, Daniel has six mischievous little boys come to live with him in the Haddonfield Dower house. His "little scholars" warmed my heart. I loved Kirsten's interactions with her "rotten boys". They each had their own personality and it was a delight to see Danny and Digby interact with them and each other. Matthias' troubles were worrisome to me and I rooted for him to succeed.  I envision a future series called "Rotten boys" ;) (Please, MS. Burrows!!) We got to see the viewpoint of Danny and Digby as well as a few other secondary characters.

I was expecting a more dramatic ending, but I felt that it was finished in the correct manner. Daniel kept my respect and proved that he was a very good man. Daniel was a True Gentleman.If you hadn't noticed by now, I fell a little bit in love with Daniel. Sigh, he is oh, so loveable.  If you like men who have a heart of gold, no deceitful bone in his body, and one who loves children, you'll love this one! It was refreshing to read about an honest gentleman.

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Rating


[rating stars="four-stars"]


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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Guest Post by Grace Burrowes -- The Joys of True Gentlemanliness

DanielsTrueDesireGraphic

Please welcome Grace Burrowes! She's here to talk about the Joys of True Gentlemanliness today. Let's see what she says is the measure of a true gentleman.


About twenty books ago, I lamented (whined) to one of my brothers that coming up with ways to challenge a romance hero into facing his worst fears and risking all to win the heroine’s heart was taxing my imagination. My brother, without a heartbeat’s pause said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.” [br]
THAT was great advice. Make the hero choose between the woman who needs him, and the military unit depending on him. Make him choose between avenging injustices from his past, or respecting the wishes of the pacifist woman he loves. Make him decide whether to be publicly vindicated or privately forgiving… Delightful stuff, for an author! [br]
And yet, to travel along these brilliant character arcs, our hero must have one characteristic: He must have a well-developed sense of honor. To me, that means this fellow must be honest and kind. He can be poor, grouchy, lacking in charm, without prospects, unlucky in love—Daniel Banks is nodding his head—but ideally, he will still be a true gentleman at heart. [br]
The true gentleman, alas for him, can be tormented from page one by the author and by the story, but from the start, the true gentleman will play by the rules of decency. [br]
Rules are tough. The true gentleman will never misrepresent himself, which means Daniel Banks must inform Lady Kirsten that a) he’s married, and b) he won’t disrespect his vows. Too bad for Daniel, this honesty only raises him in the lady’s esteem, when he’s trying to emphasize his unsuitability.
The true gentleman will lend a hand—or an ear—to those in need. When Daniel Banks realizes that Lady Kirsten has been overlooked by her entire family, and is as lonely as an earl’s daughter can be, the least he can do is listen when she explains the misery in her past. Again, his respect for, and understanding of her increases, but what else could a gentleman have done? [br]
The true gentleman is kind. He does not ignore the suffering of others, even if that means, he’s left with a bigger helping of suffering on his own plate. When Lady Kirsten needs a champion to fight her battles with an overbearing brother, Daniel steps up, though it might cost him his position. Once again, Daniel’s decency only gets him in hotter water, because now Kirsten’s brother is also viewing the impecunious, reserved, sometimes grouchy, vicar with renewed respect. [br]
This business of being a true gentleman is darned hard, and darned heroic. What Daniel has to learn, though, is that true gentlemanliness begins at home. When he’s honest with himself, and shows himself the compassion we all deserve, all the inconvenient rules, tough choices, and honorable standards turn out to have been his second-best friends. [br]
Lady Kirsten is, of course, his very best friend, being a true lady. But that’s another story… [br]

 

 

Excerpt from Daniel’s True Desire [br] 


Daniel Banks is the new vicar in Haddondale, temporarily a guest of Lady Kirsten’s family. They’ve dragooned him into tutoring some of the local boys, and Kirsten is managing the staff who’ll turn the dower house into a place of learning. What Daniel doesn’t know is how a married man, even one estranged from his unworthy spouse, can resist the allure of friendship with Lady Kirsten…

“I dread crossing the garden,” Lady Kirsten said. “Susannah has taken up reading old issues of La Belle Assembleé, Della is memorizing DeBrett’s, and the countess talks only of fashion. Nobody does anything.” [br]
“Most would envy them their idleness,” Daniel said, though he did not. The earl gave a good account of himself, tending to significant acreage and mercantile interests, but the women were bored. [br]
One of the women was mortally bored, though never boring. [br]
“I want to take the vicarage in hand,” Lady Kirsten said, marching from the pantry. “I doubt I’ll have time before we leave for Town the week after next. Lemon and beeswax won’t cure rising damp any way.” [br]
Nothing cured rising damp save for replacing every scrap of affected wood. “You’re leaving soon, then?” [br]
The prospect of distance from Lady Kirsten should have been a relief. She was unconventional, discontent, and unpredictable. Worse yet, she was patient with small boys, had a strong streak of domestic competence, and could not dissemble even to appease appearances. [br]
Most troublesome of all, Daniel liked her. A lot. [br]
“I smell fresh bread.” Lady Kirsten’s pace increased, then she halted to twist a sachet from behind a curtain. “Nicholas told George that in addition to Digby and the Blumenthal brats, you’re to take on both of Squire Webber’s sons. He aspires to send them to public school, but they lack a foundation.” [br]
And years of dedicated tutors had been unable to remedy that lack? “I think you had better join me for lunch,” Daniel said resuming their progress toward a hot meal.[br]
“I believe I shall. I adore a hearty beef stew with bread and butter on a cold, rainy day. Cook uses Mama’s recipe, and I’m partial to it.”
Peasant fare, for an earl’s daughter. Daniel liked her entirely too well.[br]
A scullery maid set places for them at a wooden table heavy enough to double as a threshing floor, while Lady Kirsten served up bowls of steaming stew and Daniel sliced the bread. Daniel held the lady’s chair, and then, without even a nod in the direction of further small talk, took shameless advantage of his companion.[br]
“I want to know every detail you can share about my scholars, Lady Kirsten. They’re shaping up to be a pack of ne’er-do-wells, scamps and scapegraces. One wonders if the parish isn’t attempting to run me off rather than welcome me.”[br]
She snapped her serviette across her lap. “They’re out and out rotters, every one save for Digby, but George says he’s showing dubious potential. Don’t steal all the butter.”[br]
Daniel passed her ladyship the plate of butter, small golden molds in the shape of roses.[br]
“Your butter, and Lord-we-thank-Thee-for-this-food, amen. Now tell me about these scoundrels.”[br]
Lady Kirsten sat back, her smile indulgent. “I’ve known them since they were babies, Mr. Banks. They’re full of energy and mischief, and there’s not a Latin scholar among them. They are truly, truly awful.”[br]
She loved these rotten boys, and—greatest possible inconvenience—Daniel regarded this her most attractive quality of all.[br]

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What are your criteria to be a gentleman? Be sure to check out my review of Daniel's True Love, it will be up tomorrow.


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[about-author]