New Release Review and Giveaway! REBEL IN A SMALL TOWN by Kristina Knight (Slippery Rock #2)

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Rebel in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #2)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

He’s not giving up his family without a fight

James Calhoun has never been able to resist Mara Tyler, or her knack for mischief. Her reputation as a reckless teenager drove Mara from their hometown. So Slippery Rock is the last place James ever expected to see her, and Mara’s timing couldn’t be worse. With the upcoming election for sheriff, she threatens the squeaky-clean image James needs to win. Because Mara has brought with her the result of their steamy affair: his two-year-old son, Zeke. After the initial shock, James is determined to have both his family and career. He just needs to convince Mara that her home is where it’s always been. With him.

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Review:

Mara and James’ story, the second in the Slippery Rockseries, is a sweet second chance/secret baby romance. I liked James a lot, which isn’t surprising since I liked him in the first book ( Famous in a Small Town ) too, as Collin’s best friend. Here we see him in more detail, learn of his less-than-pristine teenage past, and his secret relationship with the town rebel and Collin’s little sister Mara, who hasn’t been back in town for more than two years. Now he’s running for sheriff, a position formerly held by his father and grandfather, and struggling with wanting to win and wanting to create a life for himself with the town’s former rebel and their son.

Mara was likable too, though her insistence that she was exactly like their parents had been and that her being with James meant that he wouldn’t get the sheriff’s position got to be a bit much at times–it seemed like she should have gotten over it before she did. Still, she was a great mom, and it was nice to see her trying to fix the problems she’d created with her family by leaving so many years ago. Watching her begin to have faith in herself and in the life she could have with James and in Slippery Rock was heartening; their HEA, when it comes, is very sweet. Seeing the rest of their collection of friends once again makes me anxious to see what will be in store for future books in the series, especially Adam and Jenny, Levi, and the mysterious, absent Aiden.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other Books in the Series:

Famous in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #1)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
May 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

Lifestyles of the small-town famous

Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn’t humiliating enough, on her way into town she’s rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler.

His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn’t need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can’t be denied. And when disaster strikes, they’ll both be surprised by who’s still standing when the dust settles.

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And coming September 2017…Breakup in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #3)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
September 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

This isn’t the man she married… 

Jenny Buchanan never considered what “for better or for worse” meant when she married Adam Buchanan at nineteen. Six years and two little boys later, “for worse” arrives in the form of a tornado that ravages Slippery Rock and injures Adam. Now he’s a stranger to his family…and love won’t be enough to bring him back.

Only when Jenny asks him to move out does Adam become the husband she needs…but Adam isn’t the only one who’s changed. As their attraction sparks back to life, Jenny and Adam must learn what it is to grow up—and grow together—before this small-town breakup lasts forever.

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About the Author:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

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Other Harlequin Superromance Books by the Author:

Tour Giveaway

– 1 winner will receive a signed copy of Protecting the Quarterback and some fun swag
– US residents only
– Ends July 25th

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Tour Schedule:

July 15th: Launch
July 16th:
Sylv.net
Beck Valley Books
Becky on Books
July 17th:
Hearts & Scribbles
underneath the covers
Thoughts of a Blonde
July 18th:
Mythical Books
Deal Sharing Aunt
Christian Suspense Author Mary Alford
July 19th:
It’s All About the Romance
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
July 20th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Harlie’s Books
Always Reading
July 21st: Grand Finale

 

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New Release Review ! COMEBACK COWBOY by Sara Richardson (Rocky Mountain Riders #2)

Blurb: 
 
A WOMAN NEVER FORGETS HER FIRST COWBOY . . . 

As a single mother, Naomi Sullivan is used to doing things on her own. She’s finally saved enough from working at the Cortez Ranch to buy a lovely home for her and her little girl. Life is going as planned. But when her high school sweetheart comes riding back to town, this self-sufficient woman feels something she hasn’t felt in years: red-hot, unbridled need for the handsome cowboy who left her behind.

Lucas Cortez doesn’t plan on being in town long. Yet when he sees Naomi again-the gorgeous girl he never stopped loving-he’s tempted to hang up his hat and stay awhile. He’s already charmed his way into her daughter’s heart, but he’ll need more than sweet talk and roses to convince Naomi to give them a second chance-especially when she’s hiding a secret that could change their lives forever . . .

Comeback Cowboy is a sweet second chance romance story. I liked that the author didn’t always choose the obvious direction with things–we find out pretty quickly who’s the father of her ten-year-old daughter instead of dragging out the drama and suspense, for example, and even though it did sometimes look like one of the main characters was going to make a run for it in the other’s “best interest” they had adult conversations about what was going on instead and made decisions together. What a novel idea! 😉

Though some of the outcomes here almost seemed to come too easily, this is a sweet story with likable characters who really do deserve their HEA, even if the worst trials happened before the book even began…it’s not worth getting worked up about it; just go with the easy-reading flow and you’ll be glad you did.

Although it’s the second in the series, this book worked just fine as a standalone. The hero and heroine from book one appear quite a bit–Lance is Lucas’s brother, and Jessa is Naomi’s good friend–so I’ve already added book one (Hometown Cowboy ) to my TBR. It looks like the youngest brother, Levi, will have the next book ( Renegade Cowboy ) so I might as well add that one too, while I’m at it 🙂

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

AUTHOR INFORMATION: 

Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000-foot peak at midnight, swam through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually, Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After five years in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now, she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Still indulging her adventurous spirit, Sara lives and plays in Colorado with her saint of a husband and two young sons. Her first contemporary romance, No Better Man, was released by Grand Central forever 2015.

 

AUTHOR LINKS: 
Website: www.sararichardson.com

New Release Review and Giveaway! A MOST UNLIKELY DUKE by Sophie Barnes (Diamonds in the Rough #1)

He never thought he’d become a duke,  or that the secrets of his past will cost him his greatest love…
 
A MOST UNLIKELY DUKE
Diamonds in the Rough #1
Sophie Barnes
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortunes lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelope them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
 

It was past eleven o’clock in the evening by the time Raphe returned home, his knuckles tender and his body still sore from the fight. Glad to get out of the cold, he closed the door on the rain that now poured from a thunderous sky, shrugged out of his coat and hung it on a hook behind the door just as his sister Amelia entered from an adjoining room that served as a small parlor.

“Good evenin’.” She yawned, leaning against the door frame. Squinting through the darkness, Raphe echoed her salutation. “I thought ye would be asleep by now.”

Stepping past her, he entered their tiny kitchen and snatched up the tinder box.

“I was,” Amelia said, following him into the chilly room. A threadbare shawl was draped across her shoulders, and as she pulled it tighter with pale and trembling fingers, Raphe felt his heart lurch. This wasn’t right. His sister did not deserve to live like this. None of them did. Pushing aside such fruitless ponderings, he found a candle, struck a flint and held it to the wick until a flame began to bloom, driving the darkness toward the walls where it struggled against the light.

“If it makes any difference, Juliette’s safely tucked into bed.” Amelia said, referring to their younger sister, whose weaker disposition was a constant cause for unease. When Raphe lifted the lid of a nearby pot and peered inside, Amelia added, “I made soup for dinner.”

“Smells delicious,” he dutifully told her.

“We both know ‘ow untrue that is, bu’ I appreciate yer optimism.”

Meeting her gaze, Raphe made a deliberate effort to smile. “Per’aps I can manage some meat for us tomorrow.” It would certainly be a welcome change from the potatoes and turnips they’d been eating for what seemed like forever. Christ, he was so tired of having a sore belly all the time, and his sisters . . . they never complained, but he knew they needed better nourishment than what they were getting.

“That’d be nice,” Amelia said. Her tone, however, suggested that she doubted his ability to manage such a feat. Bothered by her lack of faith in him, he grabbed a chunk of bread and tore off a large piece. “A chicken ought to be possible. If we make it last a few days.”

Amelia simply nodded. Grabbing a cup, she filled it with water and placed it before him. “I miss the smell of a bustlin’ kitchen.”

The comment threw him for a second. “Wha’?”

“Meat roastin’ on the fire, bread bakin’ in the oven.” She shook her head wistfully. “It’s funny. I

can’t picture Mama, but I remember Cook—plump cheeks an’ a kind smile. I remember bein’ ‘appy in the kitchen back ‘ome.”

The sentimental thought made Raphe weary. He didn’t bother to point out that she’d only been seven when they’d lost their parents and there’d been nothing left for Raphe to do but turn his back on the house in which they’d spent the early years of their childhoods and walk away, taking his siblings with him. He’d been no more than eight years old and with a mighty burden weighing on his shoulders. “I know this isn’t the sor’ of life that any of us ever imagined.”

Feeling his temper begin to rise at the memory of what their parents had done to them all, he added, “Hopefully, in time, things’ll get better.”

“I’m sure ye’re right.” Could she possibly sound any more unconvinced?

He ate a spoonful of soup, the bland flavor just a touch better than plain hot water. Amelia took a step forward. “The reason I didn’t retire with Juliette earlier is ’cause of this letter.” She waved a piece of paper in his direction. “It arrived for ye today while ye were out.”

Frowning, Raphe stared at her. “Do ye know who sent it?” He couldn’t even recall the last time he’d received a letter. Nobody ever wrote to him or his sisters.

“The sender’s name’s smudged. So’s the address. It’s a miracle it arrived here at all.” Handing the letter to Raphe, she watched as he turned it over and studied the penmanship. Sure enough, the only legible part of the address, which even appeared to have been altered once or twice, was his name: Mister Raphael Matthews.

I really liked this story!

Though parts of it didn’t feel totally accurate–smaller details, mostly; overall it was fairly plausible historical fiction–the story was entertaining and the characters extremely likable. And though I shuddered slightly when Gabriella was hanging out with spiders and beetles (spiders! and beetles!) it was really easy to adore her character anyway. And Raphe…ah, Raphe. You’ve got to love a guy who’s been taking care of his younger sisters since the age of eight and somehow managed to educate all three of them himself. (One of the aforementioned details–where on earth would they get books as penniless, parentless kids living in St. Giles? But still, it’s hard not to love characters who get excited by libraries and bookstores, so I’ll go with it :))

Also very interesting to note that though there’s chemistry galore here and all kinds of lusting after each other, actual sexytimes are sparse. I actually didn’t miss it–it was nice to focus on the relationship for a change…plus, chemistry and lust and hot and heavy dreams filled in the gap nicely 😉

Raphe’s younger sister Amelia is clearly being set up as the heroine of the next book, and I am so there, people! Can’t wait!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses. 

When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

Release Day Review! WHERE I BELONG by M. O’Keefe (The Debt #2)


Where I Belong

by Molly O’Keefe

 

THE GIRL I LOVED IS THE WOMAN I CAN’T HAVE

It was simple: Pay the debt and I stay out of jail. Pay the debt and I stay alive.

But I sacrificed it all for Beth.

I didn’t pay what I owed. I’m sure punishment is coming, but I can take it – as long as Beth is safe. Away from her mother and everyone else who would hurt her.

I gave it all up for two days with her. And it was worth it.

She always was.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP ARE WHAT TEARS US APART

We’re supposed to be done. Over. Tommy goes his way, I go mine. Cue the heartbreaking music.

I’m supposed to forget him, but I don’t think I can. And when the danger closes in on Tommy, we’re on the run again. From Bates. From my mother. From our past. And there are no safe places to hide.

Except one. And it’s the place that will hurt Tommy the most.

But maybe it’s time for me to face my past. My demons.

Maybe it’s time for me to save Tommy for once.

 

Review:

The intense emotion and drama continue…

Where I Belong picks up just moments before Lost Without You ended, in a moment of intense drama (yes, you really need to have read book one first–sorry!) and Ms. O’Keefe continues to keep the level up throughout. Lies old and new, a hero and heroine in hiding and attracting national attention, the suspense of wondering what will happen since “the debt” has been defaulted…this one is definitely not a light beach read!

(Warning: have a cold drink and a fan handy, because there’s some pretty steamy scenes ahead…)

For all of the tension and drama, though, Tommy and Beth’s triumph over their difficulties comes rather abruptly. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy with the ending, but their victory manages to seem almost anticlimactic in the ease in which it comes about. Still, an HEA is an HEA, and we get a satisfactory on here–plus, we’re left in great suspense at the end about the next person on Bate’s debt list. Next up: Simon’s book! Can’t wait 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! FALLING FOR THE FAKE FIANCE by Jennifer Blackwood (Snowpocalypse #2)

Falling for the Fake Fiance
by Jennifer Blackwood
Publication Date: June 12, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Scorched, Erotic, Contemporary, Romance

SYNOPSIS:

Jill Michaels prides herself on one thing: being independent. That is until her daughter gets into an elite school, and she needs money more than ever. It seems her fairy godmother—aka her deceased Grammy—has granted that wish in the form of one-fourth of her estate. The only catch? She must be married by her thirtieth birthday. In two months.

Aaron Collins is fresh out of the army and back in town to help his father’s failing business. When he runs into Jill at a hotel where she’s attending a single’s mixer, he makes sure she doesn’t make it past his room and into another guy’s arms. When he hears about her predicament, he has a plan: they’ll get married and keep it a secret. And maybe have a little sexy fun until he leave towns for his new job.

But letting go of the woman of his dreams may be harder than Aaron could have ever imagined.

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Excerpt:

What a weird feeling—she sat across from someone she’d seen every day in high school, and yet the man in front of her was a complete stranger. One with blue eyes so dark they looked like whorls of ink. Ones that were subtly undressing her, if she was reading the situation right. She took another sip from her glass. Was it getting hot in here? Because, man, was she thirsty. Better to focus on things she could control. Like the tasty wine. Yes, this wine was fantastic. Maybe if she focused enough on her drink, her body would stop tingling from the heated glances Aaron kept throwing her way.

With shaky hands, she placed the glass back on the table. It’d been a while since she’d been in the company of any guy she was actually interested in, but she forced down the nerves. “What do you have lined up now that you’re out of the military?”

“I’ve been rooming with a buddy up in D.C. He did me a solid and found me a job at a private security firm he works for. I’ll start it as soon as I’m finished helping my dad. What have you been up to?”

Oh, you know, getting wild and crazy with Netflix binges of Paw Patrol and worrying that she’d get some type of lung disease due to accidentally inhaling too much mac and cheese dust. Her life was glamorous. It might have qualified as pathetic that she enjoyed dentist appointments and even routine check-ups just for the sole fact she could get a minute to herself. Her AARP card was due in the mail any time now. “Same old, same old. Nothing really changes in our town.”

“Besides the fact that you’re now attending singles mixers. When did that start?” He took a long sip of his beer, watching her with an intensity that made her skin tingle.

“Tonight. It was silly, really.” The last thing Jill wanted was for Aaron to know that she’d gone out in search of a husband, because how desperate did that sound? One bad haircut stood between her and Brittany Spears circa 2007.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be in town, but I’d be more than happy to take you out.”

His forearms flexed as he gripped the pint glass, and she mentally shook her fist at the fact the sleeves of his flannel weren’t pushed farther up his arm. Maybe Kate was onto something. Broad shoulders, dark eyes, lips that she should have noticed were kissable years ago, because whoa.

The next time she glanced down at her cell, they’d been talking for hours, catching up on everything from crazy stories from his time in the military to her latest run-in with a very involved dance mom. For real, those ladies were scary.

She peered around the room and realized that they were the only occupied table, besides a few stragglers at the bar. “I should be getting back to my room. It’s getting late.” This was the best dinner she’d had in months. No, years. When was the last time she’d actually enjoyed the company of a man, one whose deep voice was a warm caress down her spine? By her calculation and the fact she could call herself a born-again virgin thanks to the lack of action…it had been a freaking long time. Maybe it was the wine. Or maybe it was the muscly, drool-worthy man in front of her, but dammit, she wanted one night of fun. Screw the whole search for a temporary husband—it wasn’t going to happen. But she could be happy for a few hours in other ways.

 

Review:

A fun fake engagement story!

Jill and Aaron were friends and neighbors for years while growing up, a fact that helps this fairly short, very steamy fake-to-real romance work. Ms. Blackwood’s writing gave this story the perfect blend of humor and romance–I laughed out loud nearly as much as I swooned while reading. Her characters feel real, and are likable despite their flaws (like geez, how can it take them almost a week to realize that they can’t live without each other? Wink, wink…)

I’ve had this author on my TBR radar for quite some time now, and will definitely be using my experience with this story as an excuse to go back and check out her backlist (especially book one in this series, Snowpocalypse. Because snowpocalypse…someone might as well be benefiting from an excess of snow…)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

ABOUT JENNIFER BLACKWOOD:

Jennifer Blackwood is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Oregon with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS by Vanessa Kelly (Improper Princesses #2)

The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty,  each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS
Improper Princesses #2
Vanessa Kelly
Releasing June 27, 2017
Zebra
 
In Vanessa Kelly’s captivating series, three young women are descended from royalty in the most improper way. But that doesn’t stop them from pursuing lives rich in adventure. . .

Lia Kincaid, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York, comes from a long line of notorious women. Raised by her grandmother, formerly mistress to the late Marquess of Lendale, she has little hope of a respectable marriage. But the new Marquess, her childhood friend, Jack Easton, would make a very desirable protector . . . if he weren’t too honorable to take her to bed.It s bad enough being saddled with a title he never desired. Now Jack must resist the beautiful woman he desires far too much. Duty calls, and he is duty-bound to choose a wealthy bride. But then Lia makes another outrageous suggestion: asking Jack to devise some tests to find her the perfect paramour. Tests that involve flirting, kissing, and other pleasurable pursuits. Tests that, in a matter of weeks, could transform friendship into the ton s greatest scandal, igniting a passion even duty can t deny. . . 

 

“Trying to set me up as a courtesan is rather drastic,” Lia said. “I’m not you or Mama. I’m not a patch on either of you.”

“Nonsense. You’ve grown into a stunning young woman. With a little help from me and some financial support, you could very well take London by storm.”

There were so many things wrong with that plan that Lia didn’t know where to start. “I have another idea, Gran, and I’m convinced it’s the best one we could possibly come up with.”

Her grandmother had been reaching to replenish her teacup, but her hand halted in midair. “I’m listening.”

“I’ll join Mama’s acting troupe. They’re looking for new company members now that they’re in London. Mama said so in her last letter. And I’m sure I could live with Mama and Mr. Lester in their town house in Kensington.”

Her grandmother regarded her with a dubious air. “Unfortunately, there are a number of critical drawbacks to that plan.”

“Such as?”

“You can’t sing, dance, or act.”

That was rather a low blow. “I’m not much of a singer, I grant you. But I’m sure I can learn to dance, and you know very well I can act.”

Lia had been playacting for as long as she could remember and had often dreamed girlish dreams of following in her mother’s famous footsteps. She’d put on any number of recitations for her grandmother and his lordship over the years and had staged skits and little dramas for the servants, often with help from the kitchen maids and footmen. Granny and Lord Lendale had often told her that she was as fine an actress as Mrs. Siddons.

“My darling, the truth is you’re a dreadful actress,” her grandmother said in a patient tone.

“But you and his lordship were always so enthusiastic about my performances,” she protested.

“Because we didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

“But what about the amateur theatricals I put on up at the house? The servants all seemed to think I was splendid.”

Her grandmother rolled her eyes.

She couldn’t help feeling daunted, but she had no intention of conceding—especially if the alternative was to become the next Notorious Kincaid. Lia was convinced she’d make an utter fool of herself as a courtesan, especially because her heart wouldn’t be in it.

“I don’t care what you say,” she said. “I’m writing to Mama tonight and telling her I’m coming to London. I can at least try out the notion on her and Mr. Lester and see what they say.”

Her grandmother seemed to waver for a moment, but then she grimaced. “I feel certain your mother will not be amenable to you taking up the theatrical life.”

“But she will be amenable to me becoming someone’s mistress?” Lia asked with disbelief.

Granny starched up. “It was good enough for me, was it not?”

“Look how well that’s turned out.”

“I’m sure under certain conditions your mother will agree to this plan,” Granny said, clearly determined to ignore Lia’s objections.

“And what are those conditions?”

“That won’t become entirely clear until I’ve had a chance to speak with Jack.”

Lia’s mind blanked for a few moments. “What in heaven’s name does Jack have to do with me becoming a courtesan?”

Granny’s eyebrows lifted with delicate incredulity. “Because you’re feeling a little squeamish about this plan, I think he should be your first.”

Lia got a very bad feeling—which was something, considering how alarming the entire discussion had been thus far. “First what?” she asked, praying she had misunderstood.

“Your first lover, of course. But only if I can persuade him to agree to our terms.”

Such a sweet story!

After reading My Fair Princess , I was anxious to find out Charles’s BFF Jack’s story–and I’m happy to say, seeing him as the star of his own story made me love him even more. (Though OMG, could he wait any longer to tell Lia those three magic words? Men! Fortunately he knows how to bring an excellent ending, which makes up for much.)

I enjoyed Lia too, though her idea of becoming a courtesan/seeking a protector–which on a certain level seems to make a teensy bit of sense, but would have made her absolutely miserable which everyone who knows her realizes (except her mother and grandmother, argh) goes on for waaaaaaaaaay to long, which was frustrating. Ms. Kelly gave her a powerful experience to show her the error of her thinking, though, and, like Jack, she helps to bring together the awesome ending when it counts.

Once again the secondary characters are a lot of fun, both those who have had their own books already and those who will hopefully have them in the future. In all, I can’t wait to see where this series goes next!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Vanessa 
Kelly is USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. 
Vanessa’s previous series, The Renegade Royals, was a national bestseller. She is currently writing a spin-off series called The Improper PrincessesMy Fair Princess, book 1, was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month. Vanessa also writes USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes. 
 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! DATING THE WRONG MR. RIGHT by Amanda Ashby (The Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm #3)


Dating the Wrong Mr. Right
by Amanda Ashby
Publication Date: June 19, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Bliss, Contemporary, Romance

SYNOPSIS:
Pepper Watson has lost everything–her job, her fiancé, and the future she’d so carefully planned. Now she’s back at Wishing Bridge trying to figure out her next step. Her new plan does not include the ever-so-sexy Ben Cooper. Nope. She’s getting her life back on track, and getting out of this little town as fast as possible.

Ben Cooper is doing his best to build his business and help his parents. The last thing he needs is the distraction that is Pepper Watson. She might be prickly every time he’s in her presence, but he sees another side of her. The side that has set aside her dreams to help her sisters. And then there’s the fact that kissing her is pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

He’s putting down roots. She’s running away. It’s going to take more than a wish for these two to find their happily ever after.

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BUY:

Excerpt:

Next to her Coop shifted and lifted a finger up to her cheek. His touch was like a heat-ray and it wasn’t until he dropped his finger and mouthed the word ‘dust’ she remembered the candelabra.

She clamped down on her tongue to steady the uttering sensation in her stomach as she turned her attention back to the real problem. Paul.

Her ex-fiancé might be stubborn and controlling to a fault, but he never liked to contradict himself.

All I have to do is piss him off and he’ll walk away.

Exhilaration at finally getting her life back pumped through her veins and before she could stop herself, she did the one thing she swore she’d never allow herself to do.

She stood on her toes and searched for Coop’s mouth, her cheek still burning from his touch. The plan was to give him a small peck on the lips. Just enough to prove to Paul just how serious she was.

The reality was the moment her mouth brushed his, her stomach swirled and her entire body tingled. Big mistake.

She tried to pull away but forgot Coop’s arm was still around her shoulder and, as his lips formed a smile, he used his other arm to drag her closer, trapping her against his chest.

Somewhere in the distance Paul’s footsteps echoed against the wooden porch. But, it wasn’t until the sound of his engine roared into life she stepped away. Coop was grinning, as if kissing her was the biggest joke in the world.

“Well,” he said in a husky voice as he leaned against the staircase. “That was interesting. And now how about telling me what the hell’s going on?”

Which part? Where I finally got Paul to take me seriously, or that you kiss better than any man has a right to?

Either way, as far as Pepper could tell, she’d solved one problem by creating another one and now she was in trouble. Big, big trouble.

Review:
At long last–Pepper’s story 🙂

If you’ve read the other series books, you knew that Pepper was keeping secrets, and we’ve been almost as anxious as her sisters to figure out what they were. (If you haven’t read the others yet, no worries–this one should work fine as a standalone too…though her sisters play a pretty big part and you’ll probably end up wanting to know their stories as well. Just sayin’) Add in the fact that Pepper’s story is an enemies-to-lovers one, and boy, was I anxious to get to this book.

In many ways, it did not disappoint. We find out Pepper’s secrets–they are pretty heavy ones, and you absolutely want to see her back on her feet. There’s lots of cute moments between Pepper and her two sisters, and we get to see some major life moments for all the residents of Wishing Bridge Farm throughout the course of the book. There are more than a few funny, quirky moments with the townspeople throughout to keep the mood light–from what pie will be chosen for whom and why in the diner to who is going to ask Pepper for legal advice next and what their just left of left field question will be. Pepper and Coop have a history, which always has a lot to add to a story.

There were things, though, that frustrated me here. I love enemies-to-lovers stories, but Pepper’s animosity toward Coop felt like way too much. For all of her stomach swirling desire for him, she kept up the mean prickliness far too long–I’m not sure what kept him going in that direction, honestly. And I’m still scratching my head over their relationship black moment, because I felt even more blindsided by it than the characters did. Then they suffered–though we don’t really see much of it, because it’s off the pages–until they suddenly weren’t anymore. The resolution was cute, but awfully quick, and left me feeling not quite satisfied with how it came about.

Still, the story had an overall feel-good vibe, and I loved seeing Pepper finally open up to her sisters and watch them all progress through their HEAs. The ending really was pretty adorable, and the story even brought us a surprise wedding just to keep things interesting. A nice finish to a sweet series!

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


ABOUT AMANDA ASHBY:

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Library?s Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

She also runs writing workshops and loves to speak to people about Buffy (er, she means writing). See her Website for more information.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! HER SURPRISE ENGAGEMENT by Ashlee Mallory (A Sorenson Family novel)

About the Book:

Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.

Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.

But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jack finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.

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Excerpt:

Now it was her turn to do what she’d spent the better part of the last twenty minutes convincing her daughter to do. This whole trip was about experiencing new things, right?

So why wouldn’t her legs take the step forward they needed to?

She didn’t know how but she was suddenly aware of Jack’s presence next to her. He must have climbed the ladder, but it hadn’t been long enough for him to get here…or had it?

“You don’t have to do this if you’re that scared.”

“Of course I do,” she snapped. “I just told my daughter how she shouldn’t let her fears control her life.”

He grinned. “I know. Now prove it to them and yourself that you’re not going to let your fears get the better of you. Take that step.”

He placed his hand on her shoulder, something that shouldn’t have felt as good as it did. Especially not right now when she was a million feet up in the air possibly about to step to her death.

“How do I know the system is equipped to hold my weight and size?”

He smiled at her indulgently. “Because I just did this same line not fifteen minute ago and I easily outweigh you by two.”

That earned her own smile. “How much do you weigh?”

“One eighty-two.”

Cute the way he thought she weighed only ninety pounds.

“Now,” he continued, “if it can hold me, it can hold you. I promise.”

She nodded, somehow finding the courage to take the tiniest step forward so her toes were past the ledge. Then stepped right back.

“Hey. Look at me,” he said. She glanced over her shoulder, meeting his steely blue gaze. “If it’s one thing I know about you, Daisy Sorensen, you will take that step one way or another. You’re not going to let your kids see you give up. Whether it’s now or in twenty minutes or in one hour. Because you don’t walk away from a challenge. You’re a fighter and no matter what obstacles have been put in your way, you’ve pushed past them to be the amazing mom and woman you are. This”—he nodded toward the empty air—“this is nothing compared to the last two years of hell your ex put you through. What your life put you through. Here’s a chance to embrace the unknown. You can—and will—do this.”

Something in his tone told her he meant every word he’d said. And despite her fear, she found his belief in her…empowering.

She looked down at her kids waving. Up ahead she could hear Jenna and Lily calling for her to go.

The only one stopping her right now was her.

Everyone else knew she could do this.

Taking a deep breath, she took that step and lifted her other leg, and felt her body falling forward.

Review:

A sweet fake-to-not romance story!

Though Daisy and Jack’s “relationship” started out a bit heavy on the side of insta-lust, once the two of them really started to get to know each other? the whole story became pretty magic. Each of them brought out the best in each other, and together with their kids/dog also managed to make their incomplete families whole again. Such a fun, satisfying read, and a great ending to the Sorenson family series 🙂

Her Surprise Engagement could work as a standalone, if needed; if you’ve read the other books, though, you’ll love the glimpses you get here into the HEAs of Daisy’s two brothers and sister. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out to see what Ms. Mallory is going to bring us next 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Check out the other books in the Sorensen Family series:

 

Meet the Author:

Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.

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Giveaway:

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New Release Review! TOO CLOSE TO CALL by Tessa Bailey (A Romancing the Clarksons / 1001 Dark Nights novella)

From New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey comes TOO CLOSE TO CALL, a novella in her Romancing the Clarksons Series published by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy today!

About TOO CLOSE TO CALL:

All-American wide receiver Kyler Tate’s life is about to change. A fairytale college career skyrocketed him to the NFL draft. Adoration and opportunity are thrown in his direction wherever he goes, thanks to being chosen in the first round by the Los Angeles Rage.
None of the accolades mean anything, though, without his high school sweetheart, Bree Justice, by his side. Four years ago, she walked away from Kyler, choosing a quiet life over the flash and notoriety his career would someday bring.

Now he’s back in their Indiana hometown, refusing to leave for Los Angeles without her. Demanding she give their life together a shot. Her heart never stopped bleeding for the love of her life, but Bree’s decision was final. Too bad their wild attraction has only been amplified by their separation, and Kyler won’t quit until Bree is wearing his ring.

 

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Excerpt:

“Bree.” Her blood snapped with electricity at the sound of her name, said in that low drawl. Kyler stepped to the forefront of the crowd. The green eyes that still graced her dreams zeroed in, raking over her like they couldn’t help it.

Heaven above, four years looked incredible on him. Extra inches had been added everywhere. His height. The athletic breadth of his shoulders. The corded biceps that tested the stitching of his T-shirt sleeves. Even his thighs, which were wrapped up in faded denim, were exploding with muscle; thighs she’d spent a good portion of her youth perched on since Kyler never allowed her to sit anywhere but his lap, no matter where they were or whether it was appropriate. “Hello.”

“Hello,” she whispered. “You’re in town.”

His slow nod was so familiar a ripple moved through her. “Here for the week. Can I get you that coffee?”

“No.” She flushed over her own abruptness. “I meant to say, I can’t stay. I’m going to be late for an appointment.”

“Fine. I’ll walk you out.”

His expression dared her to say no. Challenged her. And for the first time since Kyler left, sexual awareness danced in her middle, sending a swift tremble down the length of her legs. Because her body hadn’t forgotten what often lay on the other side of those challenges. “Fine,” she breathed. “Suit yourself.”

For all his sexual energy, Kyler was a gentleman, straight down to the soles of his feet. So Bree wasn’t one bit surprised when his long gait ate up the distance between them. He reached over her head to push open the glass door, sending his scent crashing into her senses, the combination so familiar, Bree’s nipples tightened until she winced. Grassy fields and Nautica Blue aftershave.

Their gazes clashed, but Bree couldn’t decide if he’d worn the scent on purpose. His steady eyes gave nothing away. Before hers could betray her curiosity, Bree turned and passed through the door Kyler held open. And hell if it wasn’t the longest walk in history, his presence behind her looming larger than a mountain. Every eyeball in the diner was sure to be on them and the attention made Bree twitchy, her fingers yanking on the strings of her hoodie.

She needed to get this reunion over with as soon as possible. Being around Kyler would only make her wonder what might have been. That kind of thinking was pointless. Destructive.

Back in high school, the writing had been on the wall when it came to Kyler. Everyone knew he’d been destined for greatness. That he would shake off Bloomfield and put his name in the history books. She’d been selfish to stay with him for so long, absorbing his love and attention, all the while knowing she’d wave good-bye to him someday. The decision was a painful one, but it had been made and now she would stick to it.

Review:

Too Close to Call is a sweet second chance romance. It’s #3.5 in the Romancing the Clarksons series, but since there isn’t a single Clarkson to be seen here (unless I missed them? I was really trying to keep an eye out, though…) I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it absolutely works as a standalone.

Too Close has a very short time frame–making it perfect for a novella–which gives Kyler’s “I’m here to talk her into marrying me before I have to leave again” agenda special urgency.

Which makes his hesitancy to talk to her about a relationship that goes beyond friendship? Kind of confusing.

Still, this book has plenty of hot, steamy moments and Kyler and Bree clearly have an abundance of chemistry, which makes this a quick, fun summer read. Their lack of communication gets frustrating at times (Just talk to her, already! was a common refrain for both this reader and Kyler’s mom…) but seriously, everything is made better by an absolutely adorkable epilogue, which made every aggravating moment before that fade to black.

Belmont’s. Book. Is. Next. Woot!

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

 

About Tessa Bailey:

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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Tessa Bailey’s TOO CLOSE TO CALL – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

June 14th

All Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Booked All Night – Review & Excerpt

For the Love of Bookends – Review

Gi’s Spot Reviews – Review & Excerpt

My Book Filled Life – Review & Excerpt

Naughty Girls and Their Books – Review & Excerpt

That’s What I’m Talking About – Review & Excerpt

Whatever You Can Still Betray – Excerpt

June 15th

Booknerd1107 – Review & Excerpt

Happily Ever After Book Reviews – Review

I Love Romance – Review & Excerpt

JordansBookReviews – Excerpt

Literary Misfit – Excerpt

Mama Likes to Read Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

The Readdicts – Review & Excerpt

June 16th

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review

Lightning City Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Review & Excerpt

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

TBQ’s Book Palace – Review

Wickedcoolflight – Review & Excerpt

June 17th

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

Booklovers For Life – Review & Excerpt

Caroline Jane Reads – Excerpt

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review

Mary @ USA Today’s Happy Ever After – Review

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

June 18th

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Bridget’s Book Bungalow – Review

Drunk On a Book – Review & Excerpt

Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Readers Retreats – Excerpt

June19th

A Taste of Sin – Excerpt

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Bookishly Yours – Review

Coffee Books Life – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Book Shark – Excerpt

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Review & Excerpt

Novel Addiction – Review

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt

June 20th

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt

Dirty Girl Romance – Review

Nice Ladies, Naughty Books – Review

Pardon My Blurb – Review & Excerpt

Total Book Geek – Review & Excerpt

Vi3tbabe – Review & Excerpt

June 21st

Alpha Book Club – Review

Bookaliciousbabes blog – Review & Excerpt

Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions – Excerpt

Feel the Book – Review & Excerpt

Jax’s Book Magic – Excerpt

Kimmy Loves to Read – Review & Excerpt

Literary Gossip – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt

The Romance Reviews – Review

June 22nd

A small girl, her man and her books – Review & Excerpt

kimberlyfaye reads – Review

Lover of Big Books Cannot Lie – Review & Excerpt

Nightbird Novels – Review

OMGReads – Review & Excerpt

Pretty Sassy Cool – Review & Excerpt

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

The BookWhisperer – Review

June 23rd

ageordielass honest blog on reviews – Review

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Kris & Vik Book Therapy Cafe – Review & Excerpt

Pink Lace & Silver Buckles Book Blog – Review

Those Crazy Book Chicks – Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

New Release Review and Giveaway! HOW TO BEWILDER A LORD by Ally Broadfield (How to series #3)

Some secrets aren’t meant to be kept…

HOW TO BEWILDER A LORD
How To #3
Ally Broadfield
Releasing June 5th, 2017
Entangled Scandalous
Gavin Corey, the Earl of Thornbrook, has shed his rakish ways in the hope of winning Lady Louisa’s heart, but neither she nor her parents consider him a suitable match. He convinces her to join forces with him to locate a missing family treasure by proposing a wager: if he finds the jewels, Lady Louisa must allow him to court her, but if she prevails, he must reveal the secret he’s keeping from her.
Lady Louisa Adair might be the most sought after lady on the marriage mart, but she values her independence above all else and has no interest in giving up her inheritance to marry. As she spends more time with the charming earl, however, she comes to wonder if he’s worth risking her inheritance and her family’s disapproval… until she’s confronted with the scandal from his past.
 

She paused and flipped back a few pages. “So it looks like she stopped journaling when she began her…ahem…relationship with Bukov.”

“Of course she did. She had a vastly superior form of entertainment to indulge in.”

“For heaven’s sake, do be quiet.” Her eyes flashed back and forth across the page.

“For the sake of my sanity, could you please read aloud.”

Without looking up, she waved a hand at him. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find something interesting.

“Of course. I’ll just sit here and twiddle my thumbs until you deem it appropriate to include me.”

“There it is!”

He leaned closer, but her arm blocked his view of the page in question.

“‘Begin where warmth abounds. Very close, yet worlds away, it is no place for the meek.’”

“Right. That was the clue that we all assumed pointed to the portrait over the fireplace. Is there any reason to think otherwise?”

Louisa shook her head. “Not that I can think of.”

Gavin tossed the words around in his head. “I’ve never understood what she meant by ‘…it is no place for the meek.’”

“I agree, but I don’t think it matters. This was the clue that led to the painting that had the grille hidden beneath the backing.”

Something was tickling his memory, but he couldn’t figure it out. “Is there a pen and paper somewhere? I’d like to write down the clues so we have them all in one place.”

She pointed to the other side of the room. “Check the drawers in the desk over there.”

He found what he needed and pulled off his gloves before carefully writing the entire clue. In the meantime, Louisa had continued reading without him. Oddly enough, her face was flushed a deep red. “Have you discovered another clue?”

“Not exactly.” She sucked in a deep breath. “A few days later, she wrote, ‘What new surprises will my lover have for me tonight?’” She flipped the page. “‘I long for the sweet torture of his touch, for the pleasure he brings me.’”

It suddenly seemed very warm in the room.

Louisa swallowed audibly. “There’s more.”

Lord help him.

“‘My pulse races as I remember the warm touch of his hands. I throb with unmet desire, craving his practiced attention.’”

“Um, perhaps we should stop here for the night.”

Preferably before he spontaneously combusted.

Her eyes wide like a frightened animal, she nodded her agreement and put the journal back on the shelf, then came toward him and stopped a few feet away.

Without thinking, he lifted his hand and cupped her cheek. For a moment, she leaned toward him, and he leaned a bit nearer to her. They were so close he could feel her warm breath against his neck. Just when he decided it would be a good time to kiss her, she took a step back.

He reached for her hand, but she backed away from him. “Louisa,” he said ever so softly, reaching for her again.

She shook her head, then turned and ran from the room, her dog trailing behind her.

His throat tightened. That had not gone well. Certainly not the way things had progressed in a thousand or so of his dreams that had featured her. He wanted to chase her down the corridor, but that would probably scare her away forever. Though he was certain she was as innocent as the day she was born, he might still have a chance with her if she desired him even a fraction of the amount he did her.

A sweet romance!

Though How to Bewilder a Lord can stand on its own as a combination romance/light historical mystery, it definitely continues some threads that were started in the first two series books. I have a feeling that having seen Gavin and Louisa in book two ( How to Bewitch an Earl ) would endear the reader even more to them here (though to be honest, they’re pretty darn endearing all on their own!)–but don’t let the fact that you haven’t read the others yet stop you from reading this one 🙂 Gavin and Louisa have their own delightful romance, and their own mystery to solve. Plus, I have a feeling knowing their story will make going back and reading the first two an even more enjoyable experience (plus, I feel like knowing how much trouble Louisa’s father gives Gavin here will have me giving him some definite side-eye when I get to his book ( How to Beguile a Duke ) because somehow I doubt he’s half as virtuous as he’s expecting the younger generation to be 😉

The ending is a bit rushed, but as I was anxious to get Gavin and Louisa to their much-deserved HEA, it’s hard to complain much. In the end, How to Bewilder a Lord is an entertaining, quick read just perfect for a summer afternoon or two.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Don’t miss any of the HOW TO romances!

 


Ally 
Broadfield has worked as a horse trainer, director of marketing and development, freelance proofreader, and a children’s librarian, among other things. None of them were as awesome as writing romance novels (though the librarian gig came closest). She lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, four dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and assorted reptiles. Oh, and her husband. 
 
Ally likes to curse in Russian because very few people know what she’s saying, and spends most of what would be her spare time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She has many stories in her head looking for an opportunity to escape onto paper. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia.
Stay up to date by visiting her WebsiteFacebook, and Twitter, though she makes no claims of using any of them properly.