This is book 1 in the Heiress Games series, but is also connected to the Muses of Mayfair series.
Callista Briarly must make her way to England to claim her inheritance. Unfortunately, she must also compete for it with her female cousins. During a house party the three of them are suppose to find husbands and the person with the match, according to Ferguson (from Heiress Without a Cause), wins the house and the inheritance. Callista just wants to find a husband that will let her continue to run her father's shipping business.
Gavin, the Duke of Thorington, is on the brink of financial ruin and sees this competition as a way to ensure his family's future. He is determined to wed his brother to one of the three cousins and has decided that Callista is the one.
But what happens when Gavin finds himself falling in love with the woman he has picked out for his brother?
I LOVED this story!! This is the first story by Ramsey that I have read and it definitely won't be my last. After meeting Ferguson & Madeleine as well as Alex and Prudence, I have to read the Muses of Mayfair series!!
I always love a heroine that is not traditional because their antics always enliven a story. Callie is definitely not the typical miss having grown up with her ship captain father. I love her need for independence and her attitude toward getting what she wants.
I always love when a bad boy fights with what he thinks he wants and what he truly needs in his life and you definitely see this struggle with Gavin. He has had one disastrous marriage and doesn't want another, but he needs to save his family from ruin even if that means marry his brother to the woman he has fallen for.
Ramsey is definitely an author that I will continue to read. I love the banter that she has written between the characters and I was laughing out loud throughout the book. I can't wait for the next book in the series which features Octavia (Callie's cousin) and Rafe (Gavin's brother).
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Miss Leona Olivia Webster allowed herself to fall in love with the wrong man. Left pregnant and alone she did the best that she could with the limited resources she had. Unfortunately, it's not enough. The debt collectors have arrived and are taking all of her possessions. Confronting the men for taking her son's toy, she gets in over her head.
Malcolm Gregory Thayer, the earl of Brayton, comes to her rescue. He pays her debt and even offers her a job while he is in London. Having had a very rough childhood, Malcolm is a champion of the underdog and won't stand by and watch something unjust occur.
Having long ago decided never to get involved with a woman because of his violent tendencies, Malcolm is terrified of the feelings that Leona creates in him. Can he become a better man and win her love?
I will say this is not my favorite book of the series. There were parts of the story that were a little disturbing to me (and the heroine too, LOL!). I did enjoy the story for the most part, though. If you are not into BDSM, then this might not be the book for you.
I did enjoy learning more about Thayer. In the previous stories in the series, we don't know much about the scarred, silent, brooding man. I also enjoyed learning how he met Nassar and how their friendship developed.
As with all of Marvelle's stories the dialogue between the characters is great. I was often laughing out loud at the witty commentary she wrote.
Unfortunately this series is coming to an end, but not before Madame de Maitenon finds her happily ever after. I can't wait to read her story which comes out in the spring.
While doing my research for The Twelfth Night Wager, my Christmas novella, I enjoyed vicariously living through Christmastide in Regency England (1811-1820), when Prince George reigned as Regent. Then, Christmas was a more subtle celebration than the one we observe today.
Christmastide began with Christmas Eve (though the evening of Christmas Day was “First Night”) and continued to Twelfth Night, or January 5th, followed by the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th when the wise men who followed the star of the new King, arrived in Bethlehem to behold the Christ child.
Twelfth Night has its origins in ancient Rome and was a mid-winter event observing pagan fertility rites, a festival of feasting and public celebration. At some point, this tradition became incorporated into the Christian celebrations and included feasting, drinking, games, plays, dances and masked balls. Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night, which includes characters disguised as people they are not, was intended to be performed on Twelfth Night.
In additional to all the revelry, there was a Twelfth Night cake, an ornate confection into which a bean, a coin or a tiny carved or cast metal version of the baby Jesus was placed (it could also be a bean). During early evening, the cake was cut and its pieces distributed to guests who were advised to chew carefully. The person who found the icon became the king, the “Lord of Misrule,” or the “Bean King.” His Queen Consort or the Queen of Twelfth Night was the woman who found a dried pea in the cake. The king and queen reigned for the evening, no matter their normal status in society.
By the late 18th century, the selection of Twelfth Night's "royalty" could also be accomplished by the distribution of paper slips with each piece of cake. The slips were opened and the person holding the one with a special mark inside was declared the king.
During Jane Austen’s life, the celebration of Twelfth Night was at the height its of popularity. Sets of “characters” were available to purchase from enterprising stationers. They were cut up into small papers and the slips were chosen from a hat. Whatever character the person drew became their identity for the evening. In my novella, The Twelfth Night Wager, the heroine hopes to play Susie Salamander.
Fanny Knight, Edward Austen Knight’s daughter and Jane Austen’s niece, wrote about some of her Twelfth Night Celebrations in Kent. Here’s her report on the celebration in 1809:
…after Dessert Aunt Louisa who was the only person to know the characters…took one by one out of the room and equipped them, put them into separate rooms and lastly dressed herself. We were al conducted into the library and performed our different parts. Papa and the little ones from Lizzy downwards knew nothing of it and it was so well managed that none of the characters knew one another ..Aunt Louisa and L.Deeds were Dominos; F.Cage, Frederica Flirt (which she did excellently); M.Deeds, Orange Woman; Mama, Shepherdess; Self Fortune Teller; Edward, beau; G, Irish Postboy; Henry Watchman; William, Harlequin; we had such frightful masks that it was enough to kill one with laughing at putting them on and altogether it went off very well and quite answered our expectations.
Though by Jane Austen’s time the cake may not have been used to assist in the choosing of characters, it was still an important part of the celebration. They were costly and complicated to make and, if they could afford to do so, many people bought them from confectioners’ shops.
In my Christmas novella, The Twelfth Night Wager, two men at White’s club, one of whom is known as the “red headed rake,” make a scandalous wager involving a virtuous widow. The wager, by its terms, must be won or lost by Twelfth Night.
The story includes all the fall activities in London and the countryside (pheasant shooting, fox hunting and riding), as well as the Christmastide celebrations leading up to Twelfth Night. Experience the season in Regency London!
Charlotte Clayworth and John Fordyce have been friends since childhood. Stranded alone one snowy night, they become much more than friends. When John proposes to Charlotte, she doesn't accept. Can the lovers turn their friendship into something much more powerful?
This was a great quick read and look forward to reading more of the stories in the Self-Made man series.
The Kissing Bough by Madelynne Ellis
Viola Marsh has been disgraced for act she didn't do. Now she is approached by Percy Gilling and Lord William Ricborough to actually participate in the deed. Will she accept their proposal.
This story is not my cup of tea, but it was very well written.
Hamish by Samantha Kane
Edith Lambeth has fallen in love with Dr. Phineus Harper. What happens when his former lover Captain Hamish Fletcher comes back into the picture and Edith finds herself attracted to him too.
Another one that was not my cup of tea, but again it was a well written story.
All A Mistress Wants by Eliza Lloyd
Eloisa Larkin has done the one thing a mistress should never do, she has fallen in love with her protector. What happens when he asks her to spend one last Christmas with him and his family?
This is my first story by this author and I really enjoyed it. I'll be checking out more of her work.
Loving Michael by Kate Pearce
Can a wager with Angelique Delisle, an ex-courtesan, give Michael Waterstone back a part of his live that he thought lost and much more?
A well written story that makes me want to run out and get the other books in the series.
A Christmas Kiss by Jess Michaels
What will Amelia, Countess of Blackgrove, do when she finds out her husband has tricked her into spending time with him? Stephen knows that he messed up and Amelia had every right to leave him. Can he win back her love.
As always, Michaels has turned out a very well written short story. Bravo!
After being separated for 14 years, these childhood friends are finally back together. Dominic has been in love with Chloe since they were children and never stopped trying to find her after she disappeared. When her life is threatened, he takes the chance at finally making her his.
Chloe Steele has never stopped loving Dominic, but after everything that she has done and gone through she doesn't feel like she deserves his love and thinks that she can only hurt his career and future. Can Dominic change her mind while they are in a secluded hideaway?
I've been waiting for Chloe and Dominic's story since I read Lost in a Royal Kiss. I'm so glad to finally see them get their HEA. If you are a fan of Kelly's Renegade Royals series, this is a must read!!
Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, has been challenged by his good friend to seduce and walk away from Lady Grace Leisterfield, a prim and proper widow. Never one to turn down a challenge and already intrigued with the lady, Christopher sets out to win the bet. He never counted on his heart becoming engaged.
Learning of the bet from her friend, Grace is determined to thwart Christopher at every turn. But when danger comes knocking at her door, she is needs him to help protect her from danger. Can she trust that his interest in her is more than just the wager?
I really enjoyed this story. Walker does a good job of getting the reader invested in the H/H in a short amount of time which can be difficult with a novella. If you've read her Agents of the Crown series (which I haven't, but will now), you will get to visit with Hugh and Mary again.
Definitely a quick enjoyable read for the holiday season!
Anne de Cheyne has no choice but to marry the English sheriff her mother has promised her to. After a horrible encounter with her betrothed, Anne is determine to leave and determine her own fate.
Aedan Donne, desperate for money to save his sister, jumps on the chance when Anne's mother offers him money to go after her and bring her back. He didn't count on being so attracted to the woman he had encountered but once before this.
What happens when Aedan decides he doesn't want to give Anne up?
I liked the premise of this book, but there was a rape scene that turned me off. The author didn't go into too many details, but it tainted my view of the rest of the story. I think she could have gotten away with some very aggressive unwanted attentions from
Anne's betrothed and gotten the same reaction (loathing of the character) from the reader that the rape scene did.
I did thoroughly enjoy the rest of the story and if you can gloss over the rape scene, I definitely recommend the story to others.
Lady Victoria Allen-Hill never imagined that she would be a widow and a virgin. Looking to have a passionate affair before her father makes her re-marry, Victoria thinks that inventor Lewis Noble would be the perfect one to divest her of her unwanted status.
Lewis knows that Victoria must marry again and he is not willing to bend to her father's dictate that the man she marries relocate and run his business. But Victoria has caught his eye and he isn't about to turn down her offer of coming to his bed.
But what does it mean when he becomes jealous every time a potential suitor vies for Victoria's hand?
I enjoyed this story. It's not often that you find a widow that is in need of divesting herself of her virginity. It also wasn't your typical ton romance and that made it all the more interesting to me.
It's always fun to see what the Redcake family is up to and this holiday store will not disappoint you.
Lord Richard Hartley has been called back from his Grand Tour when his father is injured in an accident. His family needs him to take over the reins of the household while his father recuperates. This includes finding a way to get out of their financial difficulties. His family would have him wed heiress Sophie Goodnight, but Richard has already pledged his heart to Lady Antonia Pruett.
Sophie would rather not be wed for her money and is doing everything in her power to turn away Richard. When she finds out that he wants this marriage even less than she does, they form an unlikely alliance and friendship.
But what happens when this alliance turns into something much more than friendship?
This was definitely a different type of read for me. Usually in books of this time period, the servants are only involved with the story when they have direct contact with members of the upper crust. Marlowe incorporated them into the story and made them an intrical part of it. I really like how she did this. It gave us a different side of the story that we normally don't see because she told the story from their point of view.
I loved Sophie!! She was a girl that didn't care what others thought of her and she did what she wanted even when it wasn't the "normal" thing for her to do. Having not grown up in England, Sophie had a different outlook on life and I think that made her a very interesting character.
Sophie and Richard were great together. I loved all the back and forth between between them.
I can't wait to read the next book in the series which comes out in June 2015.
Fleeing the disappointment of her brother, Cecelia Sanford has applied to Viscount Lindenhurst to allow her to be governess to his son. Since he's had to fire all the other governesses for one reason or another, he decided he might as well try his best friend's sister in the position.
Having not been raised in the serving class, Cecelia is not the obedient governess that she ought to be. She starts questioning Lind about why he won't call his son by his given name and other impertinant things that he doesn't want to answer.
Having not had a woman since his wife passed away four years ago, Lind finds it hard to resist his attraction for Cecelia. But she is hiding secrets of her own. Can they get over their past to find a new love?
I've been looking forward to Cecelia and Lind's story since I read What a Lady Craves. Cecelia and Lind were perfect for each other. I loved seeing Cecelia push Lind from his comfort zone and make him analyze his actions that were dubious. Lind made Cecelia realize that her past wasn't her fault and that she could move forward.
The next book in the series is What a Lady Requires, which stars Rowan Battencliffe. Can he redeem himself? We have to wait until February to find out!
Horatia Sheridan has been in love with Lucien, Marquess of Rochester, since she was a child. But ever since she unwittingly caused his betrothal to another woman to break, he has been giving her the cold shoulder.
What Horatia doesn't know, it that Lucien keeps his distance from her because he is afraid that if he doesn't his best friend will want to meet him at dawn. He isn't about to break the Rogue rule about dallying with sisters.
When Horatia must stay at Lucian's country home to protect her from one of the League's enemies, it's almost more than Lucien can take. Lucien finally breaks when Honoria asks him to take her to his bed.
Is Horatia's love worth losing his best friend?
Smith's second installment in the League of Rogues series was everything I hoped for and more! You had a love story, a mystery and friend/family connections all rolled into one thrilling read.
Horatia and Lucien had sparks flying between them every time they were even close to each other and to see Lucien deny his heart's desire because of his friendship with Cedric broke my heart. I loved seeing Honoria go after what she wanted no matter the consequences (loved her visit with Lucien while masked...gotcha intrigued don't I?!?)
This series could end up being one of my favorites of all times. I love all the witty banter between the H/H as well as with the secondary characters. Between all the members of the League of Rogues plus their relatives, Smith could continue this series for many years (I hope she does!!)
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Miss Emily Parr can't believe that she has just been kidnapped. She soon learns that Godric St. Laurent, the Duke of Essex, has taken her to get her uncle to pay him the money that he stole. She does anything in her power to get away from Godric and his friends.
Godric kidnapped Emily for the sole purpose of getting his money back. He never imagined that he would be so attracted to her. Having long decided that he would never marry, he wants to make Emily his mistress. Knowing that marriage is the only way to salvage her reputation, Emily refuses to become his mistress. Godric doesn't give up and Emily is soon in his bed.
Godric claims that Emily is too good for him. Can she convince him that their love is worth fighting for?
This was a wonderful introduction to what I predict will be a tremendous series. The men that make up the League of Rogues will intrigue and delight you.
I loved Emily and Godric together. The chemistry between them practically jumped off the page. I loved that Emily played down how smart she was. This enabled her to make her escape attempts. Of course, the League was able to get her each time, but this just intrigued Godric even more.
I loved that Smith allowed us to get to know the other League members. Because of this, I'll have to read the other books as they become available. I'm already invested in their lives!! She also gives us some hints as to who she might pair up in the future and this has me eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
Next up is Lucien, the Marquess of Rochester. His lady of choice is Honoria Sheridan one of his friend's sisters. Will he break one of the League's rules to get the girl? Find out when Wicked Seduction comes out tomorrow!!
Elinor Colton has just come out of mourning for her husband. Just starting to enjoy society again, she attends the local assembly where she is told that a rake is now amongst them and warned to stay clear of him. Little did she know, he was the man to enchant her earlier in the night.
Ross Thornbury can't live down his reputation as a rake. Having written The Rake's Handbook with two of his friends on a drunken dare, everyone thinks they know what type of man he is. He just wants to make improvements to his land and move ahead with plans for building steam engines on his property. Only one thing stands in his way. He needs permission to cut across Elinor's land to get his project to work.
As Ross spends time with Elinor to convince her to go along with his ideas, his attraction for her grows and he allows his rakish ways to show. When he lets his attraction to Elinor go too far, will he lose the girl and his plans for the future?
I liked Elinor. It's not often that we have a widow in a story who is still in love with her husband. They are often relieved that their husbands have passed because of some reason or another. This added another element to the story. Elinor didn't feel it was right to feel what she was feeling toward Ross. She thought is was a betrayal her late husband's memory.
Ross on the other hand, had no qualms about his attraction to Elinor and finds himself going after what he wants. Showing that he is a good guy under all that rakish behavior, he steps up when he has compromised her.
Orr had me laughing out loud throughout the story and I'm looking forward to reading about the other two authors of The Rake's Handbook!
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Lady Theodosia "Teddy" Winslow is intrigued by the stranger she meets at her latest job as a party planner. That is until she finds out the he has lied, through omission, about who he is.
Jackson Quincy Graham Channing is just as intrigued with Teddy and won't let a little thing like who he is related to get in the way of his attraction for her. As he tries to figure out if he wants to accept his father's legacy and stay in Europe, Jackson uses the time to get to know Teddy a little better.
When Teddy is put into an unwanted position, Jackson steps up and says he is her fiance. Knowing that it helps both of them, they agree to continue with the shame betrothal. What happens when one of them decides they want the betrothal to be real?
As with the rest of the books in this series, I absolutely loved this story. Alexander has a way with dialogue that just keeps me riveted up until the very end. The witty back and forth between the H/H in each of her novels is what keeps bringing me back time and again.
Alexander's story line for this book was a nice change of pace. A well born man having no idea that he is in line for a title let alone that his father is alive. You also have the added element of a lady of the peerage actually working. These elements plus many more made this a very refreshing read.
We meet Jackson's best friend Lucy Merryweather in this story and I'm so happy to hear that her story is next in the series. Her hero is the story is Cameron Effington, so I'm hoping to see more of my favorites from Alexander's Effington series.
This is book 2 in The MacGregors: Highland Heirs series.
Caitrina Grant can't believe there are actual pirates on their island. Always looking for adventure, she has to check out the pirate ship before it leaves. She never imagined it would leave with her and her cousin, Kyle, on it.
Alexander Kidd can't believe that Caitrina and Kyle stowed away on his ship. Convinced they are trying to find the map to his father's treasure, he wants them off at the first port.
Circumstances lead Alexander to keep Caitrina and Kyle on his ship longer than planned. What happens when he realizes he doesn't want her to leave?
Paula Quinn hits it out of the park again with this pirate adventure! It's like she took Pirates of the Caribbean and added some very brawny highlanders to the story. Although I imagined Alexander a little less flamboyant than Captain Jack Sparrow.
The chemistry between Alexander and Caitrina practically leaped of the page. I loved that Quinn didn't have them immediately act on that chemistry. She let it simmer until the spark between them actually ignited! I always love a good romance aboard a ship because the H/H can't really get away from each other. It always leads to good fun!
I definitely hope that Quinn has a heroine in mind for Kyle because I thoroughly enjoyed him in this book. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!!
Lady Amelia Pembroke has been managing her brother's home since she was very young and he inherited the dukedom. The managing tendency has carried over into her personal life as well. Upon realizing that her brother probably won't marry until she does, Amelia decides to use the upcoming Christmas ball to find a husband. That is until she learns that a lightning strike has cancelled it.
Lord Benedict's well ordered life is turned upside down when Amelia decides to take care of the planning of his family's annual Christmas party. Deciding to let her have her way with the planning, Benedict never imagined that this managing female would worm her way into his heart.
This is my first story by Erica Ridley and it definitely won't be my last. I was laughing out loud throughout the story and loved every minute of the bantering between the H/H. I can't wait to see what the rest of the series has in store for us!
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The third book in the VOICES series, VOICES ECHO stands alone as a riveting depiction of both the beauty of 18th-century Jamaica and the horrors of plantation life in the British West Indies.
When Albert Ross sailed to Jamaica months after their wedding, Rhiannon Ross believed he'd abandoned her for the sanctuary of his West Indies plantation and complacent mulatta mistress. Not one to live life in limbo, Rhiannon has followed in a bid to secure the funds necessary to ensure her financial independence and position as his lawful wife, and to quell her growing attraction to her unsuitable American advisor, Liam Brock.
Determined to put the enticing Mrs. Ross out of his mind, Liam Brock accepts an assignment to escort a young heiress to her father's Jamaican estate. Convinced his and Rhiannon's ships have crossed paths, he is stunned to learn Rhiannon is still with her husband, and shocked when he finds her isolated and frightened--a shell of the vibrant woman who still fills his dreams. He begins to suspect that beneath the exotic beauty of an island teeming with vitality, there beats a sinister pulse.
As evidence of smuggling and dark magic are uncovered, Rhiannon realizes that not only is her plantation in danger, but the lives of those she holds dearest are at stake. Though she struggles to hide her feelings for Liam, she cannot bear the thought of him coming to harm because of her. As greed on the island evolves into violence and violence into murder, Liam and Rhiannon find themselves in the midst of a deadly intrigue. Both must decide how far they will go in the name of protecting the other, and how much they will sacrifice to attain a future neither thought possible.
History and real-life narratives had always blended in Graham's imagination, particularly when she delved into the stories of her family's ancestors. Eventually the engaging voices of characters who might have lived emerged. Tracing paper trails quickly gave way to creating her own stories, and she hasn't looked back since.