Monday, 30 June 2014

Cupid's Way by Joanne Phillips


What They Say:

When Evie Stone’s grandparents enlist her help to save their home in Cupid’s Way, Evie is happy to oblige. On the cusp of her thirties, and still disappointingly single, Evie’s so-called dream job with a firm of architects has been driving her crazy for months. What she needs, even more than a new man, is a challenge.
But saving Cupid’s Way won’t be easy. A perfectly preserved Victorian terrace, surrounded by modern estates and retail parks, the street is a proud oasis of quirky characters, cobbled pathways and communal gardens. Unfortunately, it also sits on prime development land worth millions.
Dynamite Construction have the deal in the bag, and soon the residents of Cupid’s Way will be forced to sell up and ship out – CEO Michael Andrews, charismatic and super-successful, has certainly never let sentimentality get in the way of business. At least, he hadn’t until he met Evie Stone.
What I Say:
I would like to thank author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
We meet Evie as she is on the train to go to a conference in Cardiff, one disaster after another and she arrives late for the speech she is giving.  This is where she meets Michael Andrews the CEO of Dynamite Construction, little does she know that in less than 24 hours they will be on the opposite side of Cupids Way fence.
Cupids Way is a row of Victorian Terraces in Bristol, there is a real sense of community about this area, it is also where Evie grew up with here Grandparents.
I loved Joanne's writing and not just because she has the same name as me lol,  I really cared about all the wonderful residents in Cupids Way, they have a spirit and sense of community about them from Mavis and Frank, Stig, Sarah and Tim.  I even felt sorry for Zac having been played by his uncle and then blamed by the other residents.
We didn't get to see much of Evie's and Michaels relationship but that didn't detract from the book in my opinion in made the book better that it wasn't solely focused on the will they won't they that so many novels focus on.
I really would love to read more from this author.
5 out of 5 stars
Thanks
Jo xx
About The Author

Joanne Phillips lives in rural Shropshire with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of romantic comedies Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of contemporary mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 100 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Before becoming a writer, Joanne had jobs as diverse as hairdresser, air hostess and librarian, but now divides her time between writing, freelance indexing and finding creative ways to avoid housework. She’s a fan of super-dark chocolate, iced coffee and Masterchef. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing atwww.writersjourney.co.uk

Friday, 27 June 2014

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson


What They Say:

Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Married for longer than she cares to remember, she feels life is passing her by and no-one sees her anymore. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars.  But the wrinkles are increasing, her husband’s passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza.

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can’t help but wonder what life on the other side of the world might be like. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles… oh.my.god. But is she being silly? What would someone like him see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give everything up to be with him?  And just what is the secret ingredient in Dan’s delicious lemon cake?

A bittersweet comedy about taking your life back before it’s too late.

What I Say:

I would like to thank Bookouture, Kim Nash and Sue Watson for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

We meet Faye as she is struggling living with a husband that doesn't pay her any attention and she is regretting not living her dreams when she was younger.

Finding her rucksack and an old postcard makes her take the bull by the horns, she decides to tell Craig their marriage is over and move out.

Faye is frightened with what the future will bring but elated at the same time, I instantly took to Faye, being a Leo myself I saw so much in her that is me it's uncanny.  The self doubt but sometimes the flirty confidence.  Running away with a conversation and talking for the sake of it.  

I really enjoyed this books because Faye wasn't a twenty something bored with life, Sue made Faye's character so realistic for someone just in her forties an unhappy with life.  Don't get me wrong this isn't a sad tale of someone who has left it too late to make a change in her life. This is a wonderful story of someone finding what she what in life with the help of her friends, lemon cake, a hot Aussie man and a Vajazzle (you need to read it to see what I mean).

It really is a light hearted fun take on life of a fortysomething, some people have tattoos at forty (me), some realise they have been with the wrong man for far too long and then find Mr right is just around the corner, some stay with the same man but at the end of the day life really is too short and instead of a bucket list, shouldn't we all have a living list (going to create mine).

I can't go without mentioning Dan, he made Faye go weak at the knees but was also fun and firty, with an Aussie accent, swit swoo.

I'm off now to get another tattoo, travel the world and get a Vajazzle, I really loved this story and look forward to reading more of Sue's books.

5 out of 5 beautiful fun stars

About The Author


Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about 'having it all,' and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act. 

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. 'Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,' tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter. 

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she's not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching 'The Biggest Loser USA.' 

Sue's second book, 'Younger, Thinner, Blonder' was released in October (2013) and her third book 'Love, Lies and Lemon Cake' is released on June 27th 2014.

https://www.facebook.com/suewatsonbooks

Follow Sue on Twitter @suewatsonwriter

Here are the links to the books:

 

Amazon.co.ukhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Lies-Lemon-Cake-Watson-ebook/dp/B00LAKWFC0

 

Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Love-Lies-Lemon-Cake-Watson-ebook/dp/B00LAKWFC0

 

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22351228-love-lies-and-lemon-cake

 

Check out the first chapter here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/231243156/Love-Lies-and-Lemon-Cake-Chapter-One-FREE

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Cover Reveal - What Happens to Men When They move to Manhattan? by JillKnapp


What Happens to Men When They Move to Manhattan?
Jill Knapp

Harper Impulse| 7/24/2014 | EBook |

When you live in the fastest moving city on earth, how do you decide-
What is worth the chase?

Life in the city gives 23 year old Amalia Hastings a ride she is not expecting... As she tries to find her way on the little island that never sleeps, she discovers she has a harder time navigating through life then she does the streets of Greenwich Village!

Amalia thought she had everything she wanted – a new apartment in Manhattan, a first-rate education at NYU, a group of fabulous friends and Nicholas, a boyfriend who she once believed was her soul-mate. But somehow, it isn’t enough.

Stumbling through her relationships, Amalia encounters Michael. An attractive classmate who quickly moves from being one of her close friends, to an inconsistent friend-with-benefits. After all, the only thing consistent about New York is its beauty.

Amalia is essentially torn between two men, and Michael is torn between two women. Her best friend Cassandra is being strung along by her "boyfriend", Bryce, and even her friend Olivia is having a secret relationship!

After getting hopelessly lost searching for love in all the wrong places, Amalia finds herself asking – what happens to men when they move to Manhattan?!

About the author:

 A native New Yorker, Jill Knapp is the author of the New Adult series What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan?. A former adjunct professor of Psychology at her Alma Mater Kean University, she received a Master’s degree in Psychology from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post and The High Tea Cast, Knapp writes about entertainment, dating, and the differences between city and suburban lifestyles. 

One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin


What They Say:

‘Is there really such a thing as a perfect proposal?
Over the next hundred days I intend to find out. I will find one hundred ways to propose to our Chief Proposer Suzie McKenzie and post the results here for your enjoyment. One thing’s for sure, not one of my proposals will be on top of the Eiffel Tower with a dozen red roses.’


Best friends Suzie and Harry are partners in romance. That is, they runthe.PerfectProposal.com, coming to the aid of would-be grooms to create the ultimate marriage proposal.


But when Harry decides to catapult the business into the big leagues with a PR stunt all Suzie can see is a hundred days of heartbreak stretching ahead of her. But however exotic the location, or breath-takingly romantic the setting, Suzie has to keep remembering that ‘Marry Me?’ is the one question she can’t say yes to.


This business proposal should come with one hundred broken heart warnings...


One hundred proposals, one hundred chances to say yes.

What I Say:


I would like to thank GGBookTours and Holly Martin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

At the time of writing this, Holly was teasing us with the cover of the book and I can’t wait to see the cover.  All I can now say is this cover is perfect.

Suzie and Harry (OMG another Harry and is just as hot as the other one), anyway I digress.  Suzie and Harry run a marriage proposal business it is a bespoke service for someone wishing to propose.  Although Suzie and Harry aren’t together he comes up with a marketing ploy to find the best marriage proposal by proposing to Suzie One Hundred Different ways…

I don’t want to go into too much detail as that would spoil reading about the proposals, but I will say each is so very different from the other and they have plenty of mishaps along to the way.  Harry sets up a blog and this takes off in a thoroughly unexpected way, I really enjoyed the way Holly tied the blog into the story so we were also seeing things from Harry’s point of view with the blog.

I love the way Holly writes her characters as she slowly shows you’re their characters even their flaws.  I loved Harry he is incredibly sweet, but emotionally he holds back, we get to find out why later in the book.  Suzie I liked as well, still emotionally fragile from her brother Jack’s death, she really doesn’t realise how much she has been relying on Harry.  It’s only when they undertake their journey things begin to change.

Hollys book takes us around the world with the proposals, some are really romantic, some are quirky, some are disastrous and some are really cheesy, it really is a different take on a love story as Hollys other books seem to be.  I really loved the whole book, this is coming from someone who is not romantic at all, when I see couples kissing etc, my usual comment is get a room, this is what makes this book so special it really gets you into the romance of the story.  I love that Holly also mentions characters from other books Harrison from Waiting for Prince Harry by the lovely Aven Ellis, also Aven’s other book Connectivity sneaks in there.  Holly also incorporates the wonderful girls from GGBookTours.

I will honestly say that once you pick this book up you won’t want to put it down until you have read all 100 Proposals, I ended up having 2 late nights during the week but can say it was worth it.  I am counting down the days until Hollys next book is out the second book of Hollys Sentinel Series.

5 out of 5 stars

Jo xx


buy links;  http://amzn.to/1ouP9w0

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Glimpse by Kendra Leighton


What They Say

The highwayman came riding –
Riding – riding –
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door


Liz just wants to be normal. Her life is anything but.

Seven years ago Liz lost her mother and ten years’ worth of memories. When she inherits the infamous Highwayman Inn, she hopes the move will be a fresh start. Then she meets Zachary. Zachary who haunts her by night and in dreams; who makes her question everything she is and wants to be; who seems scarcely real – yet makes her feel so alive.

Inspired by Alfred Noyes’ classic poem ‘The Highwayman’, 
Glimpse is a ghost story, a love story, and a story of a girl fighting for her future by confronting her terrible past.

What I Say:

I would like to thank the publisher for approving the advance copy of this book on Netgalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I have been waiting for this book to be released for months and once I saw that it was on Netgalley I was hoping I would be approved to read it and thankfully I was.

We meet Liz at school and start to find that she is no ordinary teenager, she sees Glimpse and is not sure what these are, because of this is bullied by other pupils at her school.  Liz hasn’t always seen Glimpses this happened when she was 10 years old and was involved in a car crash that killed her mother.

She inherits The Highwayman public house from her grandfather and desperate for a new start, she moves to the long closed public house, where she meets the caretaker Crowley (instantly taking a dislike to him) and his son Scott.  Trying to put her past behind her and forget, Liz moves to a new six form college where she meets a new friend in Susie.

I really liked Liz and was so glad that she found a friend in Susie that accepts her as she is, faults and all. I liked Zachary, although all through the book I was never really sure if he was a good guy or bad guy.  Crowley and Scott, I didn’t like and wasn’t sure where Kendra was going with them, but it all came out in the twists and turns of the book.  I loved that Kendra had you guessing on every page what would happen next.

This is a story about love and that love will conquer anytime and place, I don’t want to go too much into the story as I think it will spoil it for anyone who wants to read it.  If you like romance with a twist then I suggest you read this, I loved it that much I couldn’t put it down and read the book in a day.  

5 out of 5 Stars

Jo xx

About The Author

Kendra Leighton is a YA author represented by Lutyens & Rubinstein Literary Agency. GLIMPSE is her debut novel.

Kendra has a BA in English Literature from Durham University and a PGCE from Cambridge. Her first 'grown-up' job was teaching English in China, Spain, and the UK. She discovered her love for YA fiction while working as a middle-school English teacher. These days, she's a chocolatier and writer.

Find out more about Kendra at www.kendraleighton.com, or connect with her on Twitter (@KendraLeighton) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/KendraLeighton).

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman




Title: BONESEEKER
Publication date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Brynn Chapman


What They Say:
Arabella Holmes was born different and raised different. After it became apparent she wouldn’t fit the role of a proper 1900′s lady, her father, Sherlock, called in some lingering favors, and landed her a position at the Mutter Museum. The museum was Arabella’s dream; she was to become a purveyor of abnormal science. What her father called a BoneSeeker.

Henry Watson arrives at the Mutter Museum with a double assignment–to become a finder of abnormal antiquities and to watch over and keep Arabella Holmes. An easy task, if he could only get her to speak to him instead of throwing knives in his general direction.
But this is no time for child’s play. The two teens are assigned to a most secret exploration, when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in upstate New York. Soon, Arabella and Henry are caught in a fight for their lives as scientific debate swirls around them. Are the bones from a Neanderthal … or are they living proof of fallen angels, who supposedly mated with humans according to ancient scrolls?

Sent to recover the skeleton, they discover they are the second team to have been deployed and the entire first team is dead. And now they must trust their instincts and rely on one another in order to survive and uncover the truth.

What They Say:

I would like to thank ChapterbyChapter for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The book is set in 1910 in the Mutter Museum, we meet Arabella Holmes (yes the book says her father is the famous Sherlock Holmes) and Henry Watson (again his father is Dr John Watson), having been childhood friends they were separated 4 years previous when both went off to boarding school.

I liked both main characters and could see a lot of the great Sherlocks characteristics in Arabella. She is different from other women of the 1910 era and that is one of the things I liked about this story.

There is a great mix of fantasy and history in this book, this takes you on a journey with Henry and Arabella.  It is intrigueing and well paced. I liked the idea of the Mutter Museum, I for one like anything that tells stories of times gone by.

There is adventure, mystery with a bit of romance along the way.

3.5 out of 5 stars

ABOUT BRYNN CHAPMAN:
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.


Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Monday, 23 June 2014

Crazy, Undercover Love by Nikki Moore



Nikki Moore's debut novel with HarperImpulse - Crazy, Undercover, Love - released as an ebook, 24th April 2014.

What They Say:


If you like pacy, sexy romance and fancy a long weekend in Barcelona with a smoking hot guy this one's for you!  Want to know more...?

When uber-feisty career girl Charley Caswell-Wright takes on the assignment as PA to the gorgeous Alex Demetrio, CEO of Demetrio International, she's there under entirely false pretences; to get her life back on track. Having lost the job she worked so hard to earn, she’s determined not to give it up so easily, especially when she didn’t deserve to lose it in the first place.

Mr Dreamy CEO is her only chance of clawing back her career – and her reputation. So she has to keep things strictly professional… boy, is she in trouble!

What I Say:

I would like to thank GGBookTours, Nikki Moore and Harper Impulse for send me a copy of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

We meet Charley as she is down on her luck having be sacked through no fault of her own, she is dashing across London to become the PA for the weekend for her old boss Alex as his PA as been taken ill unexpectedly.  Alex doesn't exactly know that Charley used to work for him.  

From the moment they meet in the car there is a spark between Charley and Alex. 

I love Nikki's writing because even though in someways I shouldn't feel sorry for Charley having not exactly lied to get the job, she is doing it with good reason, if a little misguided in the way she goes about it, I did feel sorry for her.  As the book goes on you begin to find out why she is lying to Alex.  You also find out more about Alex and why he is a little reserved.

Both characters are great and the way Nikki writes the story, she paints the picture of everything, I could almost imagine myself sat with the characters.

I love Nikki's books and she really is talented in getting you to invest time in each character.

More please soon!

5 out of 5 stars

Jo xx
 
To buy Crazy, Undercover Love as an ebook:


Or to buy it as a paperback on pre-order, released on 26th June:-



What people are saying about Nikki's other stories...

The Love Letter and A Day in the Life... HarperImpulse short story collection Be My Valentine, with Teresa F Morgan and Brigid Coady, attracting 4 and 5 star reviews.

'I loved all 5 stories and will look out for more books by each author.'
CometBabesBooks, Amazon

'Whilst I enjoyed all of the stories, I particularly liked Nikki Moore's … her voice as an author really resonated with me and I can't wait to read more of her work.'
Kate Beeden, Goodreads

Nikki's short story A Night to Remember in the Mills & Boon/Romantic Novelists Association anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply which has also attracted 4 and 5 star reviews.

'My favourite story was A Night To Remember. I think what drew me to this … was its resonance with real life. I'm not going to spoil the story but I could feel the emotions spilling out of the page - it was beautiful.'

'A Night to Remember - Beautiful, devastatingly so.'
Cheryl M-M, Goodreads &http://mmcheryl.wordpress.com/

About The Author:

Nikki Moore lives in beautiful Dorset and writes short stories and sexy, pacy romances. A finalist in several writing competitions including Novelicious Undiscovered 2012, she graduated from the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers' Scheme after four years and and has contributed to their magazine Romance Matters. She has far too much fun attending the annual RNA conference and has previously chaired a panel and taken part in a workshop at the Festival of Romance.

She blogs about some of her favourite things – Writing, Work and Wine – at
and believes in supporting other writers as part of a friendly, talented and diverse community.

You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/</a>NikkiMooreAuthor or on Twitter @NikkiMoore_Auth and she invites you to pop in for chats about love, life, reading or writing!

Visit

Friday, 20 June 2014

Cover Up by Kim Black



What They Say:

Emily Roberts is a confused woman. While her heart feels entangled with Julien’s, her mind fights for the man who had always been true to her, Adam. Feeling that she can never trust Julien again, she tries to move on… But the heart is not one that can be ignored. Even after Julien’s lies, she yearns still for his touch.

The heart is not one that can be ignored and even after all Julien has done, she yearns still for his touch…

Julien Belmont never meant to hurt Emily. One night, one mistake, one lie costs him the love of his life and he is left with no choice but to watch her leave. When Julien’s action causes Emily to have an accident, the guilt that he feels is unbearable. Determined to get her back, he tries to ends his ties to the only thing standing in the way of his happiness, his wife!

But all is fair in love and war.

Cutting ties with a woman scorned is never easy.

What I Say

I would like to thank author Kim Black for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

We catch up with Emily and Julien just after Emily has been involved in a serious car accident. Julien is devastated and spends all his time by her bedside, with Emilys friends Suzie and Diana. Adam her ex is also there, as Emily was on the way to see him when the accident happened…

Would Emily remember everything that had happened before the accident? Who would Emily choose? Her first love Adam or Julien who sends her pulse racing at just a look. Would she make the right decision?

You couldn’t hate Adam as he was a nice guy who had been affected by someone else’s lies that had destroyed his relationship with Emily, I was annoyed at him that he didn’t fight for her in the first place. I can see as the series continues there are going to be far more twists and turns.

Julien I loved in the first book and the fact he spent so much time at Emilys bedside is so endearing, Emily changed who he was in the first book and it certainly was for the better.

Emily and Julien also have to contend with Julien’s wife, it was a marriage of convenience as far as Julien is concerned but Charlette doesn’t see it that way, especially when Julien asks for a divorce.

The story is far from an easy ride for either Emily or Julien, it was totally different than I was expecting, not as steamy as the first book, but it did have its moments. The chemistry between Emily and Julien sizzled off the page and kept you reading, as this is a second book in a series it can not be read as a standalone you have to read the first book. I am now eagerly awaiting book three.

5 out of 5 stars



Jo xx




About The Author

Kim was born and raised in the great state of New York.

She has always believed that one day she would become an author. She enjoyed reading and writing all of her life and had always felt that it was somewhat of a calling for her. At age 28, she had no idea that she would become an Erotic Romance Author, mostly because she just got into reading Romances and instantly fell in love with the genre.

Kim enjoys the passions of love and believe that there is no greater feeling than the initial jilt we get when we first meet that right person. Wanting to provide romance readers with stories that they can feel and get lost in, Kim decided in September 2013 to become a published author. Her first debut novel is “DISCOVERED” which will be apart of “The Cover Series,” debuted on December 28th 2013

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Bookshop on The Corner by Rebecca Raisin


What They Say:

Who said that only real heroes could be found in fiction?
Sarah Smith had an addiction – she was addicted to romance novels. The meet-cute, the passion, the drama and the gorgeous men! Now this wouldn’t have been such an issue if she hadn’t been the owner of the only bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut.
Ever since her close friend Lil, from The Gingerbread Café, had become engaged she had been yearning for a little love to turn up in her life. Except Sarah knew a good man was hard to find – especially in a tiny town like Ashford. That was until New York journalist, Ridge Warner stepped into her bookshop…
Love could be just around the corner for Sarah, but will she be able to truly believe that happy-ever-after can happen in real-life too!
From the brilliant author of The Gingerbread Café trilogy don't miss this linked novella to get a sneak-peek at how Damon and Lil are getting on before the next book in the series - Coming October 2014!

What I Say:
I would like to thank Rebecca Raisin and Carina for sending me a copy of this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Since I started blogging I have become good friends with Rebecca and when she told me about the book months ago I was so excited and dying to read it, so when I was told it was available I couldn't wait.  Having been part of the cover reveal I still love this cover it is so perfect.

We have met Sarah briefly in Rebecca's previous book Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Cafe and I really liked her in that so I new I would love her in this book to.

Ridge turns up at Sarah's bookshop under the premise that he would like to interview Sarah but from the onset it's clear he would like to get to know her. He is gorgeous and I loved how he kept making excuses to see Sarah, even if she didn't realise it.

I loved Sarah's bookshop and could imagine spending days looking through the shelves or sitting in the corner reading.  

I was glad to see Lil, CeeCee and Damon, I love these characters and I loved how close Sarah is to them all.  My favourite character is Sarah's best friend Missy, she is a fun bubbly character and I would love for her to get her own book.

5 out of 5 stars

Find The Bookshop on the Corner here:

Find Rebecca here:

And Coming soon: The Bookshop on The Corner blog: http://thecornerbookshop.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Guest Post Once Upon a Wager by Julie Lemense



Publishing 12th May 2014
Crimson Romance
Will be available to purchase at available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes

What They Say:


When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from war, hailed as a hero, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man he really is. They’d been friends before a passionate kiss changed everything, before a reckless wager left her broken and bloodied, and he abandoned her.

Hardly the actions of a hero.

But shocking lies have distorted the past. Can Alec uncover its painful truths, and still keep his distance? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares hotter than ever?


Ask A Romance Expert:

Guest Expert:

Lady Sophia Middleton, Countess of Marchmainappearing courtesy of “Once Upon A Wager,” by JulieLeMense

Lady Marchmain
I’d like to make myself more attractive to the opposite sex. Any tips?

In all honesty, men have always swarmed about me like honeybees. I was blessed to be born beautiful, and not a day has passed since that has ever made me regret that good fortune.

However, I will let you in on a little secret. Confidence is the real key to beauty. Take my darling niece, Annabelle Layton, as an example. She’s quite the most beautiful thing. However, she has lost the confidence that such a gift bestows. She’s let an old infirmity color her self image, and allowed herself to overlooked.

Anytime that you ignore your gifts, whatever they may be, you risk the same fate.

Confidence is the most powerful weapon a woman can yield. If you want to be attractive to the opposite sex, realize that you have opinions worth sharing. Know that you have your own, unique blessings, and recognize them for what they are. Allow yourself to grow and mature whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself. Nothing is so beautiful as a woman who is comfortable with how she looks, how she speaks, how she interacts with others.

In other words, embrace yourself, and another type of embrace is destined to follow.

If you have any additional questions, come visit me atMarchmain House in “Once Upon A Wager.” I always have teacakes and a bottle of brandy at the ready.

Excerpt

Just as evening fell, Alec walked up the crushed stone drive to Astley Castle. Despite its rather grandiose name, it was more accurately a fortified manor house, although it did have a moat. Briefly the home of Lady Jane Grey, England’s unfortunate Nine Days Queen, it had also served as a garrison for Cromwell’s forces during the Civil War before passing into the Layton family. Tonight, however, the house gave no hint of its troubled history. Japanese lanterns were strung, not only in the trees leading up the drive, but also in those surrounding the house, and the effect was magical. In the early dusk, a gentle light bathed the grounds, softening the lines of the old home, coloring it with pale pinks and darker purples. Alec heard strains of music and conversation. In fact, it appeared to be a remarkably conventional party, which was something of a surprise. Surely, circus animals were lurking somewhere.

The oversized front door was open to the evening air, and dozens of people were assembled in the Great Hall, which was brightly lit with wall lanterns. Chandeliers decked with wax candles flickered high above as Gareth’s parents received their guests. Sir Frederick, who often panicked in crowds, was hiding his misgivings well, and Lady Layton was radiant beside him. Gareth stood next to her, dressed in a colorful approximation of evening attire, but he seemed distracted. His eyes were darting the crowd and looking for someone. A footman with the champagne tray, no doubt. Alec did not see Annabelle.

But then familiar, melodious laughter washed over him, and he turned. A willowy, honey-tressed blonde stood at the center of a crowd of adoring men. Her face was hidden from view, but her gown—the color of moonlight—caressed her curves like a lover. Alec braced himself, every nerve taut. As if sensing his presence, she looked over her shoulder and smiled.

God in Heaven, he should never have come here tonight.

Annabelle had been only four years old the first time he saw her. He’d joined his mother on a neighborly visit to Astley Castle, and the little girl had utterly charmed him, struggling to sit still while Lady Layton served tea to her guests. Delicate, soft, and pink, like a rosy-cheeked doll, she’d roused all his protective instincts before kicking him in the shins to gain his attention.

If only he could see the girl she’d once been in the woman standing before him. Even two years ago, there had been hints of her, hiding in the body of a goddess. But there was nothing childlike about Annabelle now. She was spectacularly lovely, with arched brows, high cheekbones, and cornflower blue eyes that took his breath away.

Excusing herself from her admirers, she walked toward him with a slow smile. Then again, walking was not the right word. Swaying was the better choice, and all he could do was stand there, heart slamming in his chest as she approached, the gossamer silk gown caressing her curves. Were it dampened—as was the fashion with London’s faster set—it would be almost transparent. Just like that morning when she had gone swimming in the fountain, casting a spell over him like a sorceress.

About the Author


© William Donlin of Studio D, Berwick PA

A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, I have been a Regency romance addict since I read my first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. These days, I prefer the complex characterizations and plotting of Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran. A member of the Romance Writers Association of America, I am currently working on my next two novels, as the ghosts who live in my haunted, gilded age-era home try to sneak their way into my stories.

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