Author Archives for Tracy

About Tracy

Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

The Earl of Basingstoke by Aileen Fish

Earl of Basingstoke: Wicked Regency Romance (Wicked Earls' Club)Earl of Basingstoke: Wicked Regency Romance by Aileen Fish
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Wicked Earls’ Club, #5

Release Date: February 6, 2018

I really enjoyed this installment of the Wicked Earls’ Club and for a relatively short novella, there is quite a bit going on!!

Lady Phoebe Woodson, she has been infatuated with Nathan Curruthers, Earl of Basingstoke since she met him three years ago, too bad he doesn’t remember her… She writes fantasy “on dit” about the two of them in her journal and has been warned by more than one person to get over her infatuation of him and find a nice man. But Phoebe still holds out hope that Nathan will finally “see” her and they will fall in love and live happily ever after.

Nathan has been thinking of finding a wife, the ton believes him to be wicked and that he fathered an illegitimate son, but he longs for a simple life and at 29 he believes it is time. So he begins his search, he arrives at Almacks (thankfully his mother is friends with Lady Sefton!) to begin his “hunt”. He spots Phoebe and is immediately interested, he begs for an introduction and is promptly mortified to learn that they had already been introduced. He asks her to dance. Phoebe is floored, she must be dreaming because the man of her dreams has just asked her to dance and seems interested in her. But all too soon her mother drags her away.

Nathan calls on Phoebe, he is smitten, she is everything he never knew he wanted and he wonders how long he will have to wait before he can ask for her hand. But not everyone is happy with his interest in her, her parents are dead set against a match, but her mother allows her to spend time with him, thinking she will see his true colors and find a better man.

But Phoebe and Nathan are clearly meant to be and things progress between them and it seems like a HEA is inevitable. But then a nasty rumor is printed in the gossip pages saying Phoebe was seen leaving Nathan’s house in the middle of the night and her father forbids her to associate with him. Phoebe is still not ready to give up, she meets with him in private and they make plans to see each other at upcoming events, but Nathan doesn’t show. Days later, she sees him while visiting the menagerie with friends and he is not alone, he has a young boy who must be his son with him. The gentleman she is with makes cruel remarks and Nathan leaves, angry that Phoebe is not the woman he believed her to be. But when he returns later and she is still there, she apologizes for the man and strikes up a conversation with Ben. Nathan knows he judged her too harshly and they reconcile.

Nathan is planning on asking for her hand and is excited for a future with her. But when his friend shows him her journal and the gossip pages are almost an exact match, Nathan believes he has been played. He heads to the newspaper to find out if his suspicions are true but gets no answers. As he is returning, he runs in to Phoebe, she is heading towards the paper and he assumes the worst and without letting her speak, ends things with her.

Phoebe is heartbroken, she has no idea what happened to turn Nathan away from her and can’t figure out a way to make things right. Nathan is equally unhappy and hopes in time his heart will heal enough for him to try and find love again.

It seems like all hope for a happy ending is lost, until one very determined Duchess gets involved and sets Nathan straight. But is it too late? And will the secrets he has been keeping prevent them from having their hearts desire?

This was a very well written, fast moving novella. There are no love scenes, save a kiss at the end, but there is quite a bit of angst and heartache, a fair number of misunderstandings, a hero who needs a smack up side the head and finally a HEA.

** This review is for the UPDATED edition of the novella released on 2/6/18

How to Ensnare a Highlander by Michele McLean

How to Ensnare a Highlander (The MacGregor Lairds, #2)How to Ensnare a Highlander by Michelle McLean
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The MacGregor Lairds, #2

Release Date: February 12, 2018

I loved this book right up until the last few chapters and then I couldn’t believe how it ended.

Lady Elizabet Harding is distraught, she had just learned that her father has betrothed her to a man that she cannot stand, Fergus Ramsay. In an effort to collect her thoughts, she goes out for a ride, but when a storm blows up and her horse is spooked, she is sure she is going to die, but she is plucked from the runaway horse by a masked man. At first she is scared, but he is kind and sees that she is sheltered from the storm. She knows who he is, the infamous Highland Highwayman. They talk and just as it seems he will kiss her, Fergus arrives.

John MacGregor hates Fergus Campbell or Ramsay as he is calling himself these days. John has one purpose and that is to destroy the men responsible for his brother’s death. He knows Fergus and Lord Dawsey (Elizabet’s father) are responsible and just as soon as he has enough evidence, he will see them pay for their crimes. He cannot imagine someone as lovely as Elizabet with Fergus, but he can’t be detracted from his goal.

Later that night, Elizabet’s parents return to London, they want to stop any gossip regarding her “escapade” so Fergus will not call off the marriage. On the way their coach is held up by John, who didn’t expect to see Elizabet. He robs her father and easily disarms her when she pulls a dagger on him. He asks for a kiss and doesn’t take it, instead he returns one bag of coins and kisses her hand before leaving. As he is riding away, she goes to pick up her dagger and one of John’s men shoots her. The horses are spooked and take off, leaving her laying in the road bleeding. John rushes back to her side. He takes her to his hideout and then to his home in Scotland. In all the time they are together, he is careful to disguise his voice and wear his mask. He nurses her back to health and falls a little more in love with her each day, but he knows that he has to return her to her family. They return to England and stop for the night in his hideout. He tells her he has a meeting and to stay in the cottage. She of course doesn’t, and ends up in danger, after observing her “betrothed” digging in the ruins of her dowry property. When she confronts John (whom she knows as Jack), he tells her that he is trying to stop him, but soldiers arrive and they are all in danger. She races back to the cottage and John follows her. He hides in the tub while she tries to get rid of the soldiers – but when one gets a little too friendly, she shoots at him, which brings more soldiers. When the soldiers finally leave, she learns the true reason John hate Fergus and her father. She doesn’t want to leave him, but she cannot help him destroy her father.

She returns home and it seems like the wedding will take place. She misses Jack and when she sees John at a ball – unmasked, she asks her friend Alice who he is, she puts two and two together and decides to try her hand at blackmail. She threatens to expose him as the highwayman if he doesn’t marry her. He agrees, but the King refuses to break her betrothal. He returns to his rooms and finds Elizabet waiting for him. He tells her of the King’s decision and kisses her. She knows it is hopeless, unless she is willing to turn on her father, there is no way they can be together. She asks him to make love to her, so she will at least have a happy memory. He can’t say no to her, when she is getting ready to leave, he asks her again if she would bear witness to her father’s crimes and she refuses. At that moment, her father bangs on John’s door and when he tries to slip her out through the courtyard, Fergus is there. From this moment on everything goes to hell. John is named as the highwayman and while trying to flee is shot.

Elizabet is inconsolable, until she learns he did not die. But John will have to make decisions that will change his life, a life he can’t ask Elizabeth to share.

I loved this book until the final chapters and then I was shocked at the twists and turns. I didn’t hate it, but I was not happy with the ending. The book is well written, flows nicely, has lots of action, angst and wonderful characters. There is one love scene, but it is not graphic and is barely lukewarm, the villain(s) are especially vile and the ending leaves a lot to be desired (IMO), but the epilogue was sweet and hinted that this story is not necessarily over, so I will definitely be reading the next book with high hopes for a more satisfactory outcome!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*

Worth of a Lady by Tarah Scott & Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Worth of a Lady (The Marriage Maker Book 1)Worth of a Lady by Tarah Scott
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Marriage Maker, #1)

Release Date: April 30, 2017

The Duke of Roxburgh has had enough, he has no male heir and his daughter Chastity will inherit, but he wants her to marry and have an heir before he dies, to date, she has managed to evade marriage for herself and her three sisters. So the duke threatens to marry her off to an old man if she doesn’t marry within two months. Chastity is angry, but knows her father is not bluffing, so she makes a deal, if her father can find a man who can find matches for her three sisters within a month, she will marry him.

Enter Sir James Stirling, he will find husbands for the sisters and then marry Lady Chastity, the reader is not privy to how the duke and Stirling meet, but Stirling is serious about marrying Chastity. He visits his friend and surrogate brother Quinn Ramsey, Baron Denly aka the Devil of Denly and reminds him of his promise to his dying father to marry. Quinn is a rake and happy to remain so, he tells Stirling he will marry when Stirling does. Stirling then announces that he will be marrying in five weeks and tells Quinn to prepare to meet his bride.

Lucy is the youngest daughter of the duke and the prettiest, she wants to marry, but is not sure that her father’s plan will work. She meets Quinn and is not overly impressed, but he is attractive and seems nice, until she learns he didn’t know about the plan with the duke and Stirling, she tells him and he laughs, he doesn’t plan to marry any time soon. But when he sees Lucy dancing with other men, he admits to being jealous and when another man claims her for a waltz, he announces to all that they are betrothed.

They marry days later and seem to be a perfect match. Chastity isn’t willing to concede defeat to Stirling and tells him that Lucy was the easiest to marry off, he baits her and she calls him a rogue, he says that just makes him interesting and that she will have the rest of her life to find out how interesting.

This was a very short story, but is was surprisingly good and fleshed out. I am now eager to find out who Stirling will pair the other sisters with and how he will win over Chastity.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayne

Highland Conquest (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod)Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayne
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Sons of Gregor MacLeod

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Amber MacPhearson is desperate, years ago Machar Murray took over her clan and has been pursuing her ever since. It was not so bad when her father and grandmother were alive, but since their deaths, Murray has escalated his attacks, going as far as to break into her cottage, she has kept him at bay by pretending to be a witch, but now even that is not working. So with the help of a clansman, she cuts her hair, dresses as a boy and escapes. Only to be captured by Laird Lachlan MacKay.

Lachlan has spent the last five years hunting the man who killed his brother and tried to kill him and he has finally found him, Machar Murray is finally in his sights and he will finally have his justice. He is scouting the castle, when he sees a boy go over the wall and head straight for them, he grabs the boy and takes him back to his camp. Once there he learns his young cousin Adaira has stowed away in one of the supply wagons, so he ties up the “boy” and deals with Adaira. He and his foster brother Callum then leave to take the castle and kill Murray.

Amber is glad that Lachlan is going to kill Murray, but she is worried for her clan and as a healer, she wants to be there to take care of the injured. She tricks Adaira into releasing her and then overpowers her guard and returns to the castle.

Murray bolts, but not before he takes aim at Amber, she runs from him, right into Lachlan. Lachlan is floored to realize the “boy” is actually a woman, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Desire flares between them, but before they can act on it, Earc (the guard) shows up with Adaira, she was stabbed by Murray and left for dead. Amber uses the situation to her advantage, she promises to heal her, if Lachlan will take over the clan. He agrees and Amber immediately takes over, she tends Adaira and all the injured. Lachlan is both impressed and annoyed by her and worries for her health and does little things to ensure she is taken care of, including diverting the castle priest, who hates her and calls her a witch.

Once all the injured are tended, Amber rests and then goes up to a chamber to bathe. Lachlan walks in and they realize that Niall, the castle steward is trying to compromise them, there is an amusing scene with Lachlan trying to hide from him, so he doesn’t end up wed to Amber.

Lachlan is frustrated that Murray escaped and they find several tunnels and bolt-holes, they have had no sightings of him. Callum speculates that he will not have gone far, he is obsessed with Amber and won’t leave until he has her. Callum suggests setting a trap, with Amber as bait.

When Amber is injured during an ambush by Murray, the clan decides that she must marry, Amber agrees, but has rules, she chooses Lachlan, thinking he will refuse and is shocked when he agrees to marry her.

Lachlan cares for Amber and despite his best efforts, he has not been able to run Murray to ground or keep her safe. Murray is an incredibly intelligent villain, so Lachlan hopes with the aid of Gregor and his foster brothers, they will be able to outwit him and finally be free of his reign of terror.

This is a very well written book and is filled with non-stop action from the first page until the last, there are steamy love scenes, wonderful secondary characters, amusing moments that keep the book from being too dark, an amazingly brilliant and supremely evil villain and finally a very touching and sweet HEA.

I really enjoyed this book and while it is not necessary, I am glad I read the first book in the series before reading this one. This book can be read as a stand alone, but if you want to learn more about Gregor and how he ended up with his foster sons, I would recommend reading Highland Promise.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

The Taste of Temptation by Julia Kelly

The Taste of Temptation (The Matchmaker of Edinburgh, #2)The Taste of Temptation by Julia Kelly
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Matchmaker of Edinburgh, #2

Release Date: February 5, 2018

Caroline Burkett is traveling to Scotland to live with her brother Michael and his wife Elise, and hopefully to begin anew, she hopes to be taken on by Moira Sullivan, the Matchmaker of Edinburgh. Two years ago she was jilted and sued her ex for breach of contract. She won her suit, but destroyed her chances for marriage in the process. Hounded by the press and humiliated in court, Caroline just wants to find a husband and fade into obscurity.

Jonathan Moray is the founder and owner of two papers in Edinburgh, he would love to start a third paper, but refuses to borrow money to do so, he tells his staff that they need to sell more papers. When he learns that Caroline Burkett, the “Lovelorn Lady” has come to town. He wants to get an exclusive interview with her and has a plan.

They “accidentally” meet when he is in her seat at the theater. She is immediately attracted to him and is delighted when he asks to talk to her during intermission. When they meet up, she learns who he is and what he wants and she is disgusted. The press was relentless in their pursuit of her story and made her life a living hell. She has no love for newspapermen and tells Moray so. He makes a counter offer, tell him her story or he will begin to dog her every step in his scandal sheet. She refuses and makes the acquaintance of Robert Trevlan, a friend of her brother. Trevlan immediately makes his interest known and Caroline feels a little bubble of hope that her dream to marry might actually happen.

The next morning, she receives an invitation to meet Mrs. Sullivan. The woman agrees to help Caroline, but tries to convince Caroline to want more than just security. Caroline is firm, she just wants a husband and almost any man will do. After her experience in London, she doesn’t trust her own judgement and wants no part of a “love match” as love only brings pain.

At her first dinner party, Mrs. Sullivan invites Moray and seats Caroline between him and Trevlan. Caroline is at first annoyed, especially since she enjoys talking to Moray. For his part, Moray is attracted to Caroline, but he has secrets that could ruin everything he has worked so hard to build. He knows that Caroline is looking for a husband, but he could never be that man. He tries to refocus on his goal and ignore his attraction to her.

These two are thrown together several more times and a friendship of sorts blossoms. When they share a kiss and some personal confidences, Caroline knows that she wants him. He desperately wants to see her, but she is being watched by the press and he doesn’t want to give them anything to gossip about, he knows Trevlan is staking a claim and learns disturbing information about him. There is no opportunity to see her alone, so he sneaks in her room.

They embark on a heated affair and they both share their deepest, darkest secrets. But when Moray’s secrets are revealed, he turns on the only woman he has ever loved and pushes her in to the arms of his rival.

This was a very well written, well paced story that was surprisingly steamy (much to my delight), I really became invested in these two characters and found myself shaking my head and chastising them both at times, while still rooting for their HEA.

This is the second book in the Matchmaker of Edinburgh series, but I did not read the first book and had no problems at all following this story. I would happily recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this author in the future!

* I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

The Most Eligible Highlander in Scotland by Michele Sinclair

The Most Eligible Highlander in Scotland (The McTiernays, #7)The Most Eligible Highlander in Scotland by Michele Sinclair
Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The McTiernay’s, #7

Release Date: January 30, 2018

This was not a bad book, but personally, I found it a little boring.

The book opens with Conan McTiernay, the second to youngest McTiernay son and indisputably the most brilliant and the rudest of the bunch, being held at sword point while bathing in a loch near his brother Cole’s castle. He is on his way to Cole’s at Laurel’s bidding to help Father Laneghly and assist in moving items from the burned out priory to the McTiernay holding, when two men accost him and seek to take him captive. Conan has no time for this, even naked and wet, he knows these two men are no match for him. He quickly dispatches the first man and the other man runs off.

Mhairi Mayboill is the younger daughter of a traveling merchant, she has been residing with her sister (who is a nun) for the last several years, but since the priory burned and the church has moved them, Mhairi is no longer welcome with them unless she is willing to take vows. Mhairi has no desire to commit to the church or to marry – she wants her freedom and will not be tied down.

When she and Conan meet, sparks fly, I think they both realize that they have met their match – but neither wants marriage or commitment of any kind.

After this start, I expected this book to be action packed and filled with intrigue and adventure. But, nope – it is two incredibly stubborn people falling in love but refusing to change their plans to accommodate that love.

The story would have been a total bust for me if not for the secondary romance of Seamus and Maegen and the antics of Conor and Laurel’s daughters Brenna and Bonny.

The story ends with a HEA, but it is a long and torturous road (for the reader), there are some steamy love scenes, some laugh out loud moments (thanks to Brenna & Bonny), cameos from ALL the McTiernays, a little heartbreak and I am sorry to say a lot of modern verbiage and cliffhanger epilogue.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1)Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Sin for All Seasons, #1

Release Date: January 30, 2018

WOW, Just WOW! Anyone who follows my reviews knows I read A LOT of books, but rarely do I want to cry at the end of book as much I as did this one – not because it was sad, but because it was over! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! Ms. Heath has a way with words, she has the ability to draw a reader in and force them to become invested in her characters – their joy is your joy, their pain is your pain, their troubles become your troubles – it is a rare treat to find an author who has this talent and an amazing gift for anyone lucky enough to read the book.

This is the first book in the Sins for All Seasons Series, the series is centered around the Widow Ettie Trewlove and the children she raised, who are all illegitimate cast-offs. Ms. Heath sets up the series and introduces us to the future characters, but never does it feel like this book is just a set up for the series, Mick Trewlove and Lady Aslyn Hastings are truly the stars and the main focus of the book.

Mick knows that the Duke of Hedley is his father and wants to be acknowledged as such. He is a wealthy self-made man who literally pulled himself from the gutter and forged an empire. But he longs for the respect and acceptance of the nobility, he is sure if his father would acknowledge their connection, doors would be opened to him. He has written to the duke several times, but after responding that he has no bastard to the first letter, the duke has ignored him. Mick wants his acknowledgement more than anything in the world and hatches a plan. If the duke won’t accept him, Mick will ruin his heir.

Lady Aslyn Hastings in the orphaned daughter of an earl and the ward of the Duke of Hedley. She has lived with the family since she was a young child and though it has not been officially announced, she and everyone in society assume that she will marry Hedley’s son and heir, the Earl of Kipwick and affectionately known as Kip. Aslyn has been sheltered and knows little of the world, the duchess is a recluse and extremely over protective of her. Aslyn longs for excitement and begs Kip to take her to Cremorne Gardens. This is where Mick and Aslyn meet for the first time.

Mick along with his sister Fancy are at the gardens and “happen” to run into Kip and Aslyn. Kip knows of Mick and longs to gain entrance to his brother Aiden’s club – The Cerberus Club. After a bit of friendly chatter, Mick tells Kip, he will take him to the club. Meanwhile, Aslyn is mesmerized by Mick, never has she had such a reaction to a man and it makes her question her feelings for Kip.

Over the next few days, Mick enacts his plan and plays on Kip’s weakness for gambling, he also begins to “woo” Aslyn. He plans to steal her from Kip and bring Kip to ruin, thinking he will then be able to force the duke’s hand. What he didn’t plan for was Aslyn or his reaction to her.

This is an amazing story, it is well written, flows wonderfully, there are secrets, betrayal, moments of wonder and joy, moments of immense heartache, steamy love scenes, shocking twists that have even bigger shocking twists and a truly beautiful soul-mate type love. I cannot recommend this book enough, I will definitely be re-reading this one and cannot wait for the next book in the series.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher*

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