DEAD DUKES TELL NO TALES by Catherine Stein – Featured New Release

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DEAD DUKES TELL NO TALES

Sass and Steam #3

by

Catherine Stein

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Airship pirates, mysterious inventions, and a treasure beyond compare? All in a duke’s work.

Chicago scrap metal mogul Clifford Kinsley has never encountered an obstacle he couldn’t dismantle. Until he inherits a dukedom burdened with mountains of debt, stifling rules, and people who want to ship his seven-year-old daughter off to boarding school. He’s stuck with the title for life. Which leaves only one solution: kill the duke. And for that, he’ll need the assistance of a professional.

Sabine Diebin, the infamous pirate captain La Capitaine, has one final treasure to find before she settles down to a well-deserved retirement. Unfortunately, the key to finding her prize is buried somewhere in the mess left behind by the late Duke of Hartleigh. To speed up her search, Sabine makes a deal with the oddly charming new duke-next-door. If he digs through her clutter, she’ll help him disappear.

Working together, Cliff and Sabine uncover a trail of clues that sends them on a world-wide search for a potentially life-changing device. With their combined skills, they can dodge murderous enemies and unravel baffling messages, but they can’t deny their growing bond or the desire sparking between them. Pirates don’t have partners. But if they dare to open their hearts, they might discover that the greatest treasures of all can’t be buried.

Buy Links:

Universal        Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Kobo          Google Play          Indiebound

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DDTNT graphic 3“The leftovers of the Mad Duke.” He huffed a little laugh.

“Yes. I understand you run a scrap collection business? Perhaps I could employ you to haul everything away.”

“I was in the recycling business.” His mouth tightened into a hard line. “Now, unfortunately, I’m a goddamned duke, if you’ll pardon my French.”

Sabine tried not to laugh. She really did. But he was so delightfully, blunt-spokenly American.

“Has your new title destroyed your ability to pluck valuable bits from the rubbish?”

He adjusted his spectacles, assessing her with a steady gaze. His eyes were an icy blue, like the glacial caves in the Alps—quiet, still, and eerily beautiful.

“I don’t expect it has, no.”

“Since we are neighbors, maybe you would like to lend your expertise and help me straighten out this mess of a house? As payment, you may keep what you wish of the saleable items. After I have taken any that are of interest to me, of course.”

Hartleigh folded his arms across his chest. “Why, may I ask, did you purchase this house and all the items in it if you didn’t want them?”

“I do want them. Or, rather, I want some of them. There are items in this collection, purchased long ago, that are of great interest to me, if only I can find them in the mess.”

“So you’re a collector yourself, then.”

She chuckled. “More of a treasure hunter.”

“See, Daddy?” Lola grinned at her father. “I told you!”

“You told him I was a treasure hunter?” Sabine asked.

“No. I told him you were a pirate.”

“Oh, God.” Hartleigh put a hand to his temple. “I’m so sorry. Pirates are her new favorite thing. The trip across the ocean was very long, and we’d just read Treasure Island together…”

“Please, don’t apologize.”

He leaned so far forward he rocked the piano bench onto the front two legs. “No, I must. I’m sure there’s some way I could have better explained that you don’t call your new neighbor a pirate, even if she does collect treasure, and…”

“But I am a pirate,” Sabine said. “Haven’t you heard of the infamous La Capitaine? I am she.”

Hartleigh gaped at her. “I, uh…” Before he could stammer a coherent word, the piano bench slipped, sending the peculiar new duke tumbling to the floor with a resounding crash.


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This is a fantastic romp of a novel. It should be adapted into a movie along the lines of The Mummy and Romancing the Stone. The story is incredibly entertaining with humor, action, emotional depth, and romance blending well. The characters are wonderfully diverse and utterly likable, especially the MCs Sabine, Cliff, and Lola.

We’re better together. I’d rather have a short life with you in it than a long life thinking about what might have been.”

Cliff is my new favorite of Ms. Stein’s heroes. Reluctant duke, klutzy nerd, amazing girl dad, sexy considerate lover. He’s absolutely endearing. And Sabine, what a heroine! Super strong, smart, and capable with a soft center. They fit so perfectly.

5 stars


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Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Social Media Links:

Website          Facebook          Instagram         Twitter          Pinterest          Newsletter

A DUKE IN TIME by Janna MacGregor – Featured New Release

A Duke In Time

A DUKE IN TIME

The Widow Rules

Janna MacGregor

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Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

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Buy Links:

Amazon          B&N          Books-a-Million          Indiebound          Powell’s


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With its wild premise, easy-to-root for main characters,  fascinating set of secondary characters, easy pace that kept the story moving, and low-angst conflict, A Duke In Time gives Janna MacGregor’s new The Widow Rules series a promising start.

Janna has always written strong and resolute female leads and Katherine is a remarkable example of them. Her occupation and hidden background provide for a refreshing change from the previous heroines who were born into nobility. Her backstory allows for a better understanding of her decisions and actions throughout the story.

Christian, the titular duke, is himself an admirable character with his care for war veterans and his taking up the responsibility for his brother Meri’s three widows and the menagerie that kept on coming. His kind treatment of the people under his employ and his resolve not to follow his father’s debauched ways make him immensely likable.

I like that Kat and Christian formed tight friendships with each other and with others. I like that while there was an instant attraction between them, they didn’t act on it until they established a bond. I appreciate the absence of excessive push and pull. They satisfied their physical desire with agreement on both parties without coy protestations.

 While there are some aspects of the story that could have been better fleshed out (I’m still unclear how Katherine managed to start a business on her own with two hundred pounds to her name) and the lack of flaws in Christian’s characterization, I recommend this light and easy read to fans of “modern” historical romance.

4 out of 5 stars


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Janna MacGregor_Credit Hilary Hope Photography

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and splits her time between Kansas City and Minneapolis with her very own dashing rogue, and one smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pug. She loves to hear from readers.

Social Media Links:

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Bookbub

AAPI SPOTLIGHT – HAPPY ENDINGS by Thien-Kim Lam

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HAPPY ENDINGS

by

Thien-Kim Lam

With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?

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Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She’s made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.

The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he’s desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.

Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?

 

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Buy links: 

Amazon     Harper Collins     Barnes & Noble     Indiebound     Bookshop

 


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A promising #ownvoices debut with a multicultural pairing, an admirable female lead, sex positivity, fierce female friendship, strong family ties, and loads of glorious food, Happy Endings is exactly my jam. 

I love that there are more and more Asian-American authors writing romance and I’m ecstatic that we are creating main characters who positively represent our heritage and who celebrate the joy of loving freely. It’s wonderful to read books with characters, backgrounds, and situations I can relate to. 

Ms. Lam’s debut excites me because she’s fearless in giving her Vietnamese-American female lead a job selling sex toys thereby confronting the issue of the hyper-sexualization of the Asian female in popular media head-on. Trixie’s pride in her accomplishments and her ambition in furthering her career no matter the obstacles delighted me. 

For me, this is very much Trixie’s story–her quest for success, her difficult relationship with her very traditional parents, her friendship with the Boss Babes were all fascinating to me. Her romance with Andre only takes second place. I do understand the attraction between them and the intimate scenes were really hot but, in my opinion, Andre needed to be more, to do more to deserve Trixie. His characterization was the weakest aspect of the book for me. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Lam’s Boss Babes. 

 

4 out of 5 stars

 


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Thien-Kim Lam_Photo Courtesy of the AuthorThien-Kim Lam writes stories about Vietnamese characters who smash stereotypes and find their happy endings. A recovering Type-Asian, she guzzles cà phê sữa đá, makes art, and bakes her feelings to stay sane. Thien-Kim is also the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy romances with erotic toys. She’s been featured on NPR, BBC America, and NBC.

Thien-Kim brings over 20 years’ experience as a sex educator and sex toy expert into a steamy second-chance romance in her debut, Happy Endings. Selected as the winner of Avon’s 2019 open call for unagented Own Voices submissions, this romantic comedy is filled with heart; it is a story of honoring each person’s culture in an interracial relationship, sex positivity, and exploring non-traditional ambitions even when they terrify you.

Happy Endings is my love letter to all Asian women,” says Thien-Kim. “We live in a society that fetishizes us, but Trixie explores her sexuality on her own terms and wants to help the women in her life do the same. She may stumble a bit, especially when love is on the line, but she’s got her Boss Babes by her side. Just like how I have my Boss Babes in my corner.”

 

Social links:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram 

 

IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY by Tif Marcelo – Featured New Release

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IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY

by

Tif Marcelo

SYNOPSIS

9781982148096From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.

Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.

That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.

As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Away honors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds.

Buy links: 

Tif’s Website
Bel Canto Books
Indiebound
Amazon
B&N
Kobo
Book of the Month

REVIEW

20210406_022548605_iOSI always sound like a broken record when it comes to my reviews of Tif Marcelo’s books. It’s because I see myself in her characters. For one, there’s always a Filipina in her stories. And Filipino food, of course.

With this book in particular, I see myself in all three women–Regina, Adelaide, and Sophie. I’m a military spouse (Air Force, not Army) and a founding member of a book club initially comprised of military spouses. We set it up in a military city when our service members were all still active duty or working at the base/fort. Alongside discussions about our book of the month, we also talked about our experiences of military life. I relate closely with the strong friendship that developed among such like-minded people. Three years after I’ve left that city, I still belong to the book club and I remain great friends with many of the members. This is why this book resonated with me greatly.

However, one doesn’t have to be a military spouse to relate to this story of a fractured friendship and reconciliation. As long as you appreciate good storytelling, compelling diverse characters, great sense of place, intelligent conversations, and evocative real-life situations, you’ll enjoy this book too.

4 Four-half-stars

ABOUT TIF 

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Tif Marcelo is a veteran US Army nurse and holds a BS in Nursing and a Master’s in public administration. She believes and writes about the strength of families, the endurance of friendship, heartfelt romances, and is inspired daily by her own military hero husband and four children. She hosts The Stories to Love Podcast, and is the USA Today bestselling author of In a Book Club Far AwayOnce Upon a SunsetThe Key to Happily Ever After, and the Journey to the Heart series.

Follow her here:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Tif Heartwarming Fiction

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

PRICELESS by Catherine Stein – Featured New Release

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Happy Release Day to Catherine Stein’s Priceless, Book 2 in her Sass and Steam series.

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He’ll pay any price to win her. But her artist’s heart is not for sale.

Raised in a squalid factory, Evan Tagget has battled his way to the top. Now a multi-millionaire, he runs a global empire of telecommunication devices, mechanical dragons, and clockwork gadgets. Evan can buy anything he wants. Except the love of the brazen artist who barges into his life.

Violet Dayton has made her living painting forgeries, scrimping and saving toward her true passion: a grand Paris art exhibition to display her work and the art of the friends who have always looked out for her. But a corrupt police inspector knows her secrets, and the only way to escape his clutches is to track down the master art thief plaguing museums across Europe.

With the aid of Evan’s money and connections, Violet knows she can catch her thief, but she hadn’t counted on her powerful attraction to the arrogant millionaire, or the complex, passionate layers beneath his cool exterior. With enemies everywhere, she’ll have to trust Evan with her life. Her heart, though, she guards closely. And the only way he’ll ever win her is to prove he knows the true value of love.

Buy Links: 

Amazon          Universal          Barnes & Noble          Google Play          Kobo

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EXCERPT

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“I have a proposition for you, Mr. Tagget.”

His neatly trimmed eyebrows twitched. “Excellent!”

Ack, that smug smile. The man was too handsome for his own good, and he knew it. Vi didn’t know whether she’d rather kiss that mouth or punch it.

The grainy magazine photograph she’s scrounged up hadn’t done him justice. It made him look older, more serious. It didn’t show the single stray lock of hair curling across his forehead or the dimples at the corners of his mouth, too prominent to hide beneath his short goatee. It failed entirely to capture that wicked glint in his eye. He wasn’t the cold, merciless industrialist she’d imagined. His blood ran hot.

She’d also imagined him to be quite a bit taller. Standing here, staring at him, they looked exactly the same height.

“You and I are going to enter a partnership, Mr. Tagget.”

“Oh, are we?” He managed to both leer and sound suspicious.

“You have heard, I assume, of the rash of art thefts over the past few months?”

“That fool who styles himself ‘l’Exploiteur’? Is he the mastermind he claims, or just a braggart?”

“I’m told he has stolen near to fifty works of art, mainly from private collections and small galleries. His thefts grow bigger and bolder, and he has begun to taunt major galleries and museums with the promise of the greatest heists ever seen.”

“Well, that does sound dire, though I fail to see how it is of relevance to myself.” His dark brows quirked again. “Unless you are this Exploiter? If so, then I absolutely agree to join you on your next heist. What are we stealing?”

“No!” Vi put both hands on her hips. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, I’m not an art thief.”

“More’s the pity. I could use an interesting challenge.”

“I’m an artist,” Violet huffed. “I create, I don’t destroy. I want my work on display, where it can be enjoyed by all.”

Tagget stroked his beard. “Hmm. What, then, is your concern with this pilferer of cultural treasures?”

“I’m trying to learn his identity and put a stop to his crimes.”

“How noble,” he chuckled. “Standing up for the dead masters who can no longer defend their works?”

Obnoxious ass. She really was going to punch him right in his pretty mouth, then storm out and find herself a different assistant.

Violet clenched her fingers. Rich businessmen with questionable ethics and worldwide communications networks couldn’t be found loitering on any street corner. She was lucky to even have the opportunity to speak with him.

“I was asked to help in this case because of my own connections in the art world,” she explained, trying not to glower.

He frowned at her, causing a small furrow in his brow. “Your connections? What sort of connections would a lady artist have that would be of any use in this situation? Unless…” The frown twisted into a smile. “You’re involved in illicit dealings yourself, naturally. A forger, perhaps?” He twitched. “Well, I’ll be damned. Are you Vérité? But of course you are. ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’ Though you look rather youthful for someone who they say has been working for fifty years and faked three hundred paintings.”

“Ten years, twenty-seven forgeries. Many haven’t been discovered, and many works have been incorrectly attributed to me.”

With her police file as thick as a Bible, Violet didn’t see any need to hide her deeds, and she was proud of the work she had done. Tagget looked momentarily surprised by her admission, then his smile returned.

“Fascinating. You made a deal with the authorities, I presume? But you need assistance. Why me?”

“I heard you were kicked out of the United States for spying.”

Tagget’s green eyes twinkled. “Now, my lovely blossom, you mustn’t believe every rumor you hear. I bent some laws, perhaps, but didn’t precisely break them. People did take exception, however, so I thought it best to focus on my European interests until the furor dies down.”

Violet turned up her nose at him. “I don’t care about the details. I care that you’re a teletics expert. Can you or can you not record information over a telephone or telegraph line?”

“I can. Most of it is irrelevant chatter. Sifting through is usually a waste of time.”

“And you’re an inventor?” she pressed on. “You can build things, and understand how machines work? You could dismantle them if necessary?”

A smile of a different sort touched his lips. More boyish, maybe even happier. “I could break through that mechanical door behind me with no more than a screwdriver, given enough time.”

“Then you’re the man I need.”

He fixed her with a heated stare. “I’m pleased you think so.” The husky timbre of his voice sent a shiver down her spine. “I accept your proposal. When do we begin?”

REVIEW

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Catherine Stein maintains her impressive streak of high-quality work with this latest installment in the Sass and Steam series. Strongly-drawn characters, exhilarating adventures in the sky and on land concerning great works of art, intricate gadgetry, diverse cast, and emotion-packed plot characterize Priceless.

While I respect their uniqueness, I took a long while to warm up to Evan and Violet. They’re not easy people to relate to or like upon introduction. Once their backgrounds are revealed, understanding comes easier as well as rooting for their happy ending.

4 out of 5 stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Stein

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Follow Catherine here: 

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WRAPPED UP WITH YOU by Claire Marti – Featured New Release

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WRAPPED UP WITH YOU 

by

Claire Marti

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Claire Marti_Wrapped Up with You - FINAL ebook USA TODAY

When cocky financial genius Rafael Cruz is forced to partner with his snarky office rival Phoebe Hollingsworth to land a prestigious new client, nothing goes as planned. At work, they ignore each other, but at the Jingle Ball their unexpected chemistry changes the game. Will their secret holiday hook-up ruin the deal or is it the start of a deeper connection?

** A shorter version of this steamy enemies-to-lovers romance originally appeared in the Jingle Balls anthology. It has been revised and expanded into a novella. **

Buy Links: 

Amazon:  amazon/wrappedupwithyou
B&N: barnesandnoble.com/wrappedupwithyou

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He flashed a grin. “Look at us, agreeing and everything. This truce isn’t too tough.”

Her lips curved upward in the first genuine smile she’d ever bestowed on him. “We’re regular besties now. And who knows, maybe we can even extend it to work on Monday.”

He held up his hands and laughed. “Don’t get all wild and crazy on me now. One evening at a time.”

She rolled her eyes, but grinned back.  “Anyways, should we head downstairs?”

 

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Headshotfullbody518smallClaire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.

 

Social Media Links:

Website:  clairemarti.com
Facebook:  ClaireMartiAuthor
Twitter:  @clairepmarti
Instagramclairepmarti
Goodreads: Claire_Marti
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Amazon:  Claire-Marti

 

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Review to follow.

REVEALING A ROGUE by Rachel Ann Smith – Release Day Feature

REVEALING A ROGUE

by

Rachel Ann Smith

How do you safeguard your heart from the rogue you’ve sworn to protect?

As secretary at Neale & Sons barristers, an unusual job for a woman, little surprises Miss Bronwyn Cadby. But nothing could prepare Bronwyn for the day Landon Neale, the Earl of Hadfield, waltzes into the office and proposes marriage — to her.

Ready to fulfill his duty and marry, Landon decides the only woman who suits his needs is the brilliant and fiery Miss Bronwyn. But the woman is no blushing debutante. Rather than accept his proposal outright and marry properly, she insists they elope to Gretna Green.

Landon has one carriage ride to reveal his inner rogue and convince Bronwyn she is worthy of being his countess. With every scandalous mile that passes, he will work to win over his reluctant bride.

But will her plan to divert him from the altar succeed?

Revealing a Rogue is a fun, steamy regency romance. If you like unconventional heroines and rogues in disguise, then you’ll adore Rachel Ann Smith’s fast-paced series-opener.

Buy Links:

Universal link          Amazon          Barnes & Noble          Kobo          Apple

Review to follow.

Rachel Ann Smith writes steamy historical romances with a twist. Her debut series, Agents of the Home Office, features female protagonists that defy convention.

When Rachel isn’t writing, she loves to read and spend time with her family. She is frequently found with her Kindle by the pool during the summer, the soccer field in the spring and fall, or curled up on the couch during the winter months.

She currently lives in Colorado with her extremely understanding husband and their two very supportive children.

Follow Rachel Ann here: 

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THE RETURN OF THE DISAPPEARING DUKE by Lara Temple – New Release Feature

THE RETURN OF THE DISAPPEARING DUKE

by

LARA TEMPLE

 

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A scarred mercenary … Or the Disappearing Duke of Greybourne?

Rafe has spent years running from his true identity. He’s a lone wolf, living far from aristocratic England and his violent father. Then unconventional Cleopatra Osbourne requests his protection as she crosses the Egyptian desert. In Cleo he discovers a fellow outcast—and a fierce desire! Cleo must return to London, and here lies Rafe’s dilemma—because following his heart means claiming the title he’s avoided for so long!

BUY HERE:

Amazon: http://mybook.to/RafeDuke
Amazon US paperback: https://bit.ly/RafeDuke1
Amazon UK: https://bit.ly/RafeDukeUK

 

ABOUT LARA 

Lara Temple

Lara Temple writes strong and sensual Regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion. She lives with her husband, two children, and one very fluffy dog and they are all very understanding about her taking over the kitchen table so she can look out over the garden as she writes and dreams up her Happy Ever Afters.

Social Media links:
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/LaraTempleAuthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaraTemple1
Twitter: @laratemple1
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2mWin9R
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LaraTemple
Website: www.laratemple.com

 

REVIEW

The Return of the Disappearing Duke is my new favorite among the Lara Temple books I’ve read so far.  This book gave me respite from my sadness upon a good friend’s much-too-early passing.

Ms. Temple’s signature lyricism is at full display in her vivid descriptions of the characters’ travels through exotic Egypt, their turbulent sea voyage, and eventful arrival in England. Her command of languages, whether English or Arabic, is masterful in both narration and dialogue. The unpredictable nuances of her characterization for both Rafe and Cleo make them easy to love and root for. The fluidity with which she tells their story is highly admirable.

What places this book over the top for me is the delightful humor that I’d only seen flashes of in Lara’s previous works but which is amped up here. The witty banter between Rafe and Cleo, Rafe’s nicknames for Cleo, her love for Shakespeare, his verbal exchanges with both friends and villains provided many smiles and grins from me if not actual bursts of laughter. 

I finished reading The Return of the Disappearing Duke feeling light and excited to share my love of it with Romance readers everywhere. 

TRUST FUND FIANCÉ by Naima Simone – Release Day Feature

TRUST FUND FIANCÉ

by

Naima Simone

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An intriguing proposal mixes romance and finance…

His friend needs a fiancé to claim a fortune.

But they both know it’s about more than money…

Ezekiel Holloway’s proposition could save his friend Reagan Sinclair’s inheritance and give her the freedom she craves. But when family scandals force Ezekiel to end their fake engagement, the heiress comes up with a counterproposal—and they elope to Vegas after all! Is there something more than mere convenience at stake here?

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON US | BARNES & NOBLE | APPLE | KOBO
| AMAZON CA | AMAZON UK

EXCERPT

“Marry me.”

Ezekiel stared at Regan, struck speechless. Dozens of questions bombarded him, and he mentally waded through them, finally settling on the most important one. “What?”

“Marry me,” she repeated, closing the short distance between them, not stopping until her hands fisted the lapels of his suit jacket, her thighs braced against his and that honeysuckle scent embraced him like a long-lost lover.

He swallowed a groan at her nearness, at the feel of her body pressed to his. Lust, hot and hungry, punched him in the gut, then streamed through him in a swollen flood. Desperate to place distance between them so he could f*cking think, he gripped her hips to set her away from him. But touching her backfired. Instead of pushing her back, he held her close, his body rebelling and taking control. Two weeks. It’d been two long weeks.

“Reagan,” he rumbled.

“No, Zeke. Don’t give me all the reasons why we shouldn’t. I don’t care. Do you know where I just came from?” she asked, switching topics with a lightning speed that left him floundering. Between that and his *ick finding cushion against her stomach, he couldn’t keep up. “I just left a restaurant where my father arranged for me to have lunch with Justin McCoy.”

“The hell?” His grip on her tightened. Douglas had set her up with that a**hole?

“Yes.” Reagan nodded as if reading his mind. “Apparently my father considered him a more suitable match than you. A man who uses and throws away women for his own gain rather than you, a man who has been nothing but honorable and unfailingly kind and respectful. I had enough. I walked away from him and his machinations. I’m through allowing him to run my life, to make choices for me out of guilt and loyalty.”

Guilt? What the hell did that mean?

Shoving the questions aside for the moment, he refocused on her. “I understand your anger, believe me, I do, but take a moment and think this through before you make a mistake you can’t take back. This decision will cost you your inheritance. It could damage your relationship with your parents. Is this rebellion worth that? Because you’re not in…” He couldn’t finish that sentence. Couldn’t fathom it.

“No, Zeke, I’m not in love with you,” she assured him, and he exhaled a heavy breath. Even as an unidentifiable emotion twisted in his chest. “And maybe this is a little bit of rebellion on my part, but it’s so much more. I’m taking control—of my choices, my mind, my life. I respect you, Zeke. But this isn’t about you. It’s about me. About finally becoming the woman I’ve been too afraid to own. So, from now on, I’m making my own decisions,” she continued. “And that includes you. I choose you, Zeke. And I want you to marry me.”

Jesus, did she know what a delicious temptation she was? How he’d fought following after her that evening he’d let her walk out of his house? That had required strength he hadn’t realized he possessed. Doing it a second time…

No, she might feel certain here in this office, but she was still upset. Could feel very differently in the morning, hell, hours from now. Maybe after they talked this out, she would see—

She rose on her toes and crushed her mouth to his.

Oh f*ck.

His control snapped.

Like a flash fire, the press of her lips to his poured gasoline over the lust that had been steadily simmering. He took possession of that sweet siren’s mouth, claiming it with a thrust of his tongue. Possessing it with a long, wet lick. Corrupting it with an erotic tangle and suck that left little to the imagination about what he wanted from her.

And he wanted it all. In this moment where the lines between platonic friendship and desire incinerated beneath his greedy mouth and her needy whimpers, he wanted everything she had to give him.

He'd known her since she was a girl. He had no business thinking of her naked, sweating & straining beneath him.

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ABOUT NAIMA

Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”  She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

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REVIEW

An angsty, seriously steamy read that’s in keeping with what I expect from Naima Simone’s books. 

Marriage-of-convenience and friends-to-lovers are two of my favorite tropes in romance and Reagan and Zeke’s story brings them to life in an emotional and sexy way.

At first, it’s easy to dismiss the premise of their coming together as rich people problems. Reagan wants access to the millions in the trust fund her grandmother left her. Zeke needs to help out a friend to feel useful amidst his family’s rapidly escalating financial scandal. Reading further along, one could see that the causes of their internal turmoil are real and relatable. Reagan chafes from living under the control of her parents as a decade-long penance for a teenage mistake. Zeke has closed off his heart after the death of a beloved. Their union, however temporary, changes their lives for the better. 

I especially liked Reagan’s growth arc in this book. She takes control of her life even if it means losing the people she loves.  Zeke’s turnabout could have been less sudden. Same with Reagan’s father’s change of heart. 

While Trust Fund Fiancé can be read as a stand alone, I’d recommend starting the series from the first book in order to fully appreciate the dramatic saga of the Wingate family. 

BRAINS AND BRAWN by R.L. Merrill – Release Day Feature

The cover on an eReader. Behind it is a set of drums.

BRAINS AND BRAWN

Summer of Hush Book 2

by 

R.L. Merrill

 

Billy “Brains” Brennan has achieved rock stardom in not just one, but two chart-topping bands, but events from his past have him convinced he’s living on borrowed time. Brains and his brothers-in-Hush are ready to take the last cross-country Warped Tour by storm…until the actions of two drunk dudes with bad attitudes set off a chain of events that leave him incapacitated…and face-to-face with a handsome stranger that inexplicably feels like home—and not the home he fled at sixteen. 

Chief Petty Officer Paul McNally has spent his 24-year career as a Navy Corpsman responding to emergencies and caring for wounded soldiers. When fate has him in the right place to provide aid to a fallen rockstar, it sends his life spiraling on a trajectory he never planned for. Instead of concentrating on his impending retirement and a second career, he’s now playing nursemaid to a fascinating younger man and falling in love—a fact he can’t seem to figure out how to explain to his adult son. 

A health scare, band drama, and pain from their pasts threatens to end their fledgling relationship. Fate brought them together. It will take trust, honesty, and hope to keep them together. 

Buy on Amazon. Free to borrow for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Once upon a time… A teacher, tattoo collector, mom, and rock ‘n’ roll kinda gal opened up a doc and starting purging her demons. Several self-published books and a debut gay romance with Dreamspinner Press later, R.L. Merrill is still striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after. She writes stories set in the places she loves most and loves connecting with other authors. She currently sits on the board for the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America chapter as VP of Communications. You can find her lurking on social media where she loves connecting with readers, educating America’s youth, being a mom taxi to two busy kids, in the tattoo chair trying desperately to get that back piece finished, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Connect with Ro at www.rlmerrillauthor.comwww.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor, or www.facebook.com/rowritesrocknromance. Stay Tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance.