Blog Tour

A Rake’s Ruin by Maggie Dallen Blog Tour


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Only the wildest woman can ruin a devilish lord…

Claire is the dutiful, proper Cleveland sister, and the only one who’s not embroiled in a scandal. Until now. With her sister’s marriage to an earl, the weight of responsibility to save her family has been lifted from her shoulders, and for the first time in her life, Claire is free. A rebelliousness she’s long denied has her acting out in ways she would never have imagined. Like chasing her brother through the dark streets of London… and kissing her brother’s best friend and notorious rake, Lord Nicholas.

Nicholas thought he knew everything there was to know about his friend’s proper and boring younger sister. Beautiful though she might be, Claire holds no allure for the worldly rogue. At least, not until he holds her in his arms. Could this passionate, daring, feisty woman be the same Claire Cleveland with the simpering smiles? Even more alarming, has the woman of his heart been right in front of his eyes this whole time? He may be late to realize that there is more to Claire than meets the eye, but now that he’s seen her true nature, he’ll do anything to keep her by his side. Even if that means marrying her.

Barbara’s Review:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: A Rake’s Ruin
Publication Date: 4/10/18

I first met Claire Cleveland in the Earl of Davenport (Wicked Earl’s series) and I just knew those still waters must run deep – and they surely do. This is Dallen’s second Regency novel and she’s coming along nicely in the genre. There were still some timeline issues, but other than that I think she pretty much nailed it. It is a sweet and very short read that is well written and well plotted. There is little if any conflict in this book and that is perfectly fine with me.

Claire was raised to be the savior of her family. She was the pretty one, the one who was going to marry well and save her family from financial ruin and give them a connection to the aristocracy. She is the one who got the pretty dresses, the latest hairstyles, and the most attention while her siblings got her hand-me-downs. You might think that would make her self-centered, arrogant and condescending, but it didn’t. What it made her was – numb. She shut down all feelings and desires to become the perfect simpering, biddable ton miss. Nothing ever rattled her at an event – she always acted with complete decorum – almost as if she felt nothing.

When Claire’s sister Anne married the Earl of Davenport, the family was saved. Now, Claire isn’t sure what her role is or even who she is. Anne keeps telling Claire that she is now free to marry when and where she wants or not marry at all, but the message hadn’t really sunk in – until the night of Anne’s first ball. Then, it suddenly hits her – she’s free and she is giddy with that realization. She can actually be something other than perfect – and she giggles and she smiles… She even considers saying something impolite. Then, she sees her brother Jed and heads toward him only to overhear him talking with his best friend about leaving the ball. She asks where he’s going, but he won’t tell her. The old Claire would have docilely stayed where she was and just worried about what he was going to do. However, the new and improved Claire had to know where he was going – so she does what any other young lady would do – she follows him, right to a gaming hell in a seedy part of London.

Lord Nicholas Galwin, the best friend of Jed, notices that a coach has followed them to the gaming hell. While Jed goes inside, Galwin goes to confront whoever followed them. Shock, amazement, and awe await him as the coach door opens and Claire steps out. What! Demure and biddable Claire has followed them, unaccompanied, to a gaming hell. He’d always sort of suspected that there was more to Claire than she let the world see, but the spitfire who greeted him was awesome. They had themselves quite a row and a mind-blowing kiss – and the story is off and running.

One thing that would have made it better for me would have been mending the rift between Jed and Galwin. They had been best friends since childhood and to leave them in a strained relationship just wasn’t right. It would have been an easy fix and the book had plenty of room to add that to the story. The perfect time would have been the afternoon before the wedding, just after she had spoken with her sisters.

This was a lovely read and I’ll definitely be looking forward to Georgie’s story.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”


He saw her skirts first, bursting through the carriage door in an explosion of crinoline and silk. Pale blue silk, just like Claire Cleveland had been wearing.

No, it couldn’t be. She would never.

Then came blonde ringlets and those long white gloves. He knew those curls, he recognized the gloves, and the dress should have given it away completely. But he still couldn’t quite believe his eyes.

It couldn’t be. Claire Cleveland would never do something so rash.

But then she was out of the carriage, without any assistance from him or the driver. She glanced in the opposite direction before turning to face him.

There was no denying it now. She stood before him in all her magnificent glory. There were clear, bright blue eyes and those beautiful, lush rose red lips.

And yes, there was the scowl he knew so well.

“What are you doing here, Miss Cleveland?” He kept his voice hushed. The last thing he needed was to call attention to the fact that a lovely, young, unattached woman was here. With him. In an alley.

He peered past her. “Who let you come here?”

“No one.” She shrugged, tilting her chin up higher. “I brought myself.”

He gaped at her. “You brought yourself,” he repeated slowly. The words shocked him so thoroughly that all he seemed to be able to think about was how beautiful her eyes looked when they glittered with mischievous determination. Shaking his head, he tried to focus on the urgent matter of her being in an alley. Alone. With him. “What are you doing here?”

She ignored the question, leaning slightly to peer around him. “Where is Jed?”

Ah. So that was it. Some of his questions were answered then and there. She’d come to save Jed.

How very…naïve. Sweet, he supposed. He couldn’t imagine either of his elder married sisters rushing after him if they thought him to be heading into trouble. In fact, he couldn’t imagine them rushing anywhere for anyone for any reason unless perhaps it entailed buying a new gown. Yes, he could see them hurrying if it meant winning their ceaseless quest to be deemed the best dressed in the gossip rags.

Claire’s eyes were darting around the alley as though Jed might be hiding behind that pile of rubbish.

“I’m afraid you’ve missed him, love.” He watched with some amusement as her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed at the term of endearment. Lord, but it was fun to tease this one. He’d always taken an inordinate amount of pleasure out of teasing Claire, but tonight? Tonight there was something different about her. Tonight he actually managed to provoke a response.

And tonight, he reminded himself, this little twit had put herself in harm’s way by coming to a terrible neighborhood alone at night. Alone.

He reached for her arm, steering her back toward the carriage so she would be out of view. “What were you thinking coming here by yourself?” he scolded. The schoolmarm tone in his voice was perhaps more alarming to him than to her.

Claire was acting rebellious and he was the one scolding her. Had the world tipped over and turned upside down? Surely that was the only explanation for this reversal of roles.

Shaking off his grip, she tilted her chin up once more. “I am not leaving here without my brother.”

He stared. And then he stared some more. This could not be Claire Cleveland. “Who are you and what have you done with Miss Cleveland?”

She narrowed her eyes further so she was glaring at him through slits. “I am Miss Cleveland, you fool. And stop trying to distract me. I am here to retrieve Jed and I am not returning home without him.” Her voice rose as she spoke until she was shouting that last bit.

His mouth fell open and for the life of him, he wasn’t certain whether he wanted to laugh or shout back.

Claire shouting? What in God’s name had come over her?

She tried to take advantage of his shock by darting around him. Claire was small, but he’d never thought of her as wily until this moment. He had to spin around quickly to snag her, and even then it was like holding on to a slippery creature as she wiggled and writhed in his arms trying to free herself.

“Just hold still, you little heathen,” he muttered.

“Oh, I’m the heathen? That’s rich,” she said, her voice coming in pants as she fought against his arms, which he’d managed to wrap tightly around her upper body in an odd embrace that fell somewhere between a hug and a wrestling hold.

He tightened his grip so her arms were pinned to her sides, but that didn’t stop her lower body from wiggling against him and his body responded, apparently completely unaware that this was a struggle, not an embrace.

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MAGGIE DALLEN is a big city girl living in Montana. She writes romantic comedies in a range of genres including young adult, historical, contemporary, and sweet. An unapologetic addict of all things romance, she loves to connect with fellow avid readers.

Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke #BlogTour

DUKERUIN_RB_BANNERThe Duke of Ruin, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is LIVE!

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With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

Tracy’s Review

The Duke of Ruin (The Untouchables, #8)The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Untouchables, #8

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Simon Hastings, Duke of Romsey (aka Duke of Ruin) is probably one of the most wonderful heroes to ever grace the pages of a romance book. A man with a heart of gold, but overcome with grief, guilt and shame. Two years ago his beloved wife Miriam died along with their unborn child. Most assume that Simon killed her and he makes no move to clear his name, he was drunk at the time and doesn’t remember anything other than holding his love in his arms as she died. Unable to move past the heartbreak and the memories, he avoids the home he shared with his wife and instead travels extensively, never touches alcohol and is very much alone. Simon offers to help his friend Nick (aka the Duke of Ice) break his poorly conceived betrothal to Diana Kingman, so he can marry the woman he loves.

Simon meets with Diana and tells her that Nick is gone and asks her to break the betrothal. Diana can’t do that, her father is a cruel, overbearing man who expects complete obedience from her, he will never let her cry off. Simon offers to take her away, anywhere she wants and help her establish herself anew. Diana is terrified of her father, but longs to be free, she didn’t really want to marry Nick, he was just the means to escape.

As Diana and Simon set off, I was surprised to find myself really liking Diana, she was so cold and aloof in the previous book, that I didn’t know if I would be able to warm up to her, but beneath the cool façade, is a delightful young woman. Diana decides that she will go to her cousin Verity’s home in Lancaster, it is a long trip and gives our lovers plenty of time to get to know each other. They travel incognito as Mr. & Mrs. Byrd and are having a great adventure until they are recognized by a notorious gossip. They continue to her cousin’s home, where Verity convinces them, marriage is the only logical option.

Simon, wants Diana, but he is consumed with guilt, he can’t seem to let go of his past or believe that he can love Diana while Miriam is still in his heart and he vowed to love her (Miriam) for all time. They travel to his home and Diana knows that she loves him, but doesn’t believe that he can love her and she doesn’t want to compete with his lost love. She instead turns her attention to finding out the truth of the night Miriam died.

This is a lovely story of forgiveness, friendship and the power of love, both old and new. There are steamy love scenes, moments of heartbreak, more than one shocking secret, forgiveness, acceptance, snowball fights, awful relatives and an epilogue with a great reunion.

I thought the writing was superb, the story was great and the characters memorable. What I had a hard time with was Simon’s love for his first wife – logically, I know humans have a great capacity for love and can romantically love more than one person, but in my books, I long for the “soulmate” or “love of a lifetime” type of love – I like that he was so steadfast in his affections, but the constant reminders of his previous love grated at me and made me feel like while I believed he loved Diana, Miriam was his soulmate and Diana is and always will be, second best.

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


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About Darcy

Darcy BurkeDarcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

Join her reader club at A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

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Blog Tour: The Duke of Ice by Darcy Burke


The Duke of Ice, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is available NOW!

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Title: The Duke of Ice

Author: Darcy Burke

Genre: Historical Romance

Publishing Date: December 26th, 2017


Everyone Nicholas Bateman ever loved has died. Except Violet Caulfield, which must mean he never loved her. Eight years after she threw him over to marry a viscount, Nick is a widowed duke who prefers isolation. When a friend convinces him to leave his lair of self-imposed solitude, he considers taking another wife, provided she agrees to his terms: no emotional attachment of any kind.

Now widowed, Lady Violet Pendleton hopes for a second chance with the man she’s always loved. But she isn’t prepared for the desolation in his soul or the animosity he still bears toward her. Despite those obstacles, it’s clear their passion hasn’t dimmed. However, the heat between them isn’t enough to melt the Duke of Ice, and this time Violet may find herself the jilted party. Can love, once so tragically lost, finally be found?


“Looks like it’s you and Lady Pendleton,” Simon said. His voice carried a hint of something.

Nick snapped his head toward his friend and detected the glimmer of a smile in his gaze. He was enjoying this. He was playing matchmaker. And he had his sights set on Nick and Violet. Bloody hell.

Nick wanted to be angry, but his pull toward Violet was too strong. He’d felt it last night and again today when Simon had asked if it would be odd for him to pursue her. Nick had been jealous. Shockingly, blood-boilingly, desperately jealous.

The realization shook him to the core.

“Who’s to be the crier?” Simon asked.

“Why not Mr. Adair since he won Kiss the Nun?” Seaver suggested.

With everyone in agreement, Violet and Nick moved to the center of the room.

“Is this awkward?” she whispered.

“No.” His pulse quickened. Should he kiss her or should he fail?

His mind screamed the latter. And really, that was for the best. Jealousy aside, he and Violet had no future, not when their past was so painful.

And yet when they knelt with their backs to each other, he caught her scent of rose and an earthy spice. It was wholly feminine yet slightly wild. He hadn’t smelled a rose in the past eight years without thinking of her. His body reacted, heating at her proximity.

“Make ready,” Adair said.

Nick looked over his right shoulder and felt the air move as she looked over her left.


Nick leaned close to her cheek. He could feel her warmth, and his skin tingled.


He moved closer, but she sprang up. Instinctively, he reached for her, his arm curling about her waist. He pulled her back down. To stop her from hitting the floor, he spun to his back and sprawled, bringing her down on top of him. He cupped the side of her face and kissed her, his lips sliding over hers for a brief but delicious moment.

“The cheek,” she murmured, her gaze locked with his.

He leaned up and brushed his mouth against the soft flesh of her cheek. His lips lingered perhaps a second too long, but he didn’t care. Desire coursed through him, and for the first time in years, he felt alive.


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About Darcy:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

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Barbara’s Review

Barbara’s Rating – 4 out of 5 stars

Series:  The Untouchables #7
Publication Date:  12/26/17

This has been and is a wonderful series – I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in the series and anxiously await each new addition.  However, I do have to say that this has been my least favorite so far.  I tried and tried and tried and just never could warm up to Nick.  I know he’s had a lot of pain in his life but his total abdication of responsibilities at the end just kept me from getting that happy glow – it is also why I have given a 4-star rather than a 5-star review.  I believe it tells you something about the hero when you feel the real hero of the book is Simon and you fervently wished Simon and the heroine would get together.  Both Violet and Simon have much worse issues in their life and yet they are still nice people.  Nick seems to use his past as a weapon to be hateful to everyone around him.

This is a book of juxtapositions – fire and ice, love and hate, loyalty and disloyalty, cowardice and heroism – as well as second chances.  Can two flawed people find their way back to each other?

Nicholas Bateman was never in line to become the Duke of Kilve.  A lot of people had to die before that could happen and Nick mourned each and every one of them – most particularly, he mourned his brother Maurice who died at Badajoz.  Then, after inheriting the title he lost his wife and child.  He felt everyone he cared about died, so it was better to just not care – therefore, he became the Duke of Ice.  He built a wall around himself, never letting anyone in – except his best (and only) friend Simon, the Duke of Romsey (aka Duke of Ruin).

Violet, Lady Pendleton, was forced to marry a Viscount she didn’t love to further her parent’s ambitions.  They spirited her off from Bath to London to keep her from marrying the man she truly loved with all her heart.  He was a sweet, happy, smiling, charming young man but he had no title.  Her parents wouldn’t even let her say goodbye.  She endured several years of living with a cruel, philandering husband before he finally sickened and died.  Violet returned to Bath to live and has no plans to ever remarry – and she sees her parents as little as possible.

Nicholas and Violet have a history.  He was the man she loved and had wanted to marry.  She wrote him a letter when she had to leave Bath, but he never got it.  So, he has hated her all these years and blamed her for leaving him for a title.  Imagine her surprise – and his – when they attend the same house party.  Violet was there because the party was given by her best friend and Nick was there because Simon had begged and cajoled him into attending.

Violet and Nicholas do spend some time talking at the party and get to know each other at least a little bit.  Enough so that Nick decides to travel to Bath to further renew their acquaintance – to see if anything of their former relationship can be salvaged.  Even though they have a physical relationship, he still can’t make up his mind about marriage.  Then, when she gets into an accident and almost dies, he shows his true cowardice and takes off for London.

In London, he really gets himself into a mess that, frankly, I would just as soon he didn’t escape. He certainly deserved what he had gotten himself into.  Leave it to sweet Simon to clean up Nick’s leavings.  When Nick left without cleaning up any of his own mess and left it all to Simon, that was it for me, I was done with him and he was un-redeemable from then on.

Nick and Violet get a sweet epilogue that was one of my favorite parts of the book.  You’ll just have to read the book!

The next book is Simon’s story and I am really looking forward to it.  However, I’m concerned that I’ll dislike his heroine as much as I disliked Nick in this book.  It will be interesting to see how Ms. Burke treats Miss Kingman.  I didn’t dislike her and suspect that there are scars under that cool demeanor.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes

The Duke of Her Desire (Diamonds in the Rough #2)Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Diamonds In The Rough #2
Publication Date: 12/26/17


I loved this book. It is one of my favorite books (and series) for 2017! The writing is excellent – as always – the story is well plotted and the characters are well developed. We met most of the characters in the first book, A Most Unlikely Duke. While you get some of the family background from this book, it is well covered in the first book. So, I’ll give you a little detail here. The definitely unlikely duke, Raphe Matthews, was born into the gentry – his mother was the daughter of a viscount — but through an awful set of circumstances, he, at the age of 8 ends up living in St. Giles with his three younger sisters in his care. For fifteen years he manages to care for all of them by working on the docks and prizefighting. Sadly, he does lose one sister, and that eats at him. Can you imagine any 8-year old today managing to do what this child did? Never happen – but they seemed to mature earlier back then.

After a month or so of marriage, Raphe is taking his bride on a wedding trip. That leaves his sisters with an eccentric aunt, Lady Everley, as a chaperone. Raphe also asks his best friend, Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry to help steer his two younger sisters through the beginning of the season. While he is hesitant, Thomas agrees. Little does poor Thomas know what he is getting himself into.

Amelia has lived almost her entire life in St. Giles. She’s learned to be resourceful, smart and determined because she had the care of her younger sisters. She cleaned, scavenged for food, prepared meals and otherwise did all the things that needed to be done to see to her family’s welfare. She has had a really hard time adjusting to her new life in Mayfair since her older brother inherited a Dukedom a couple of months ago. She’s been diligent about her dancing, deportment and other lessons, but she just doesn’t feel as if she belongs. She’s at a loss and needs something to do with herself – and she knows what that is and what she needs to do. Hang on to your hats – you are in for a ride! Almost as soon as her brother is gone she begins to put her plan into motion – much to her own peril as well as Thomas’s. She just needs to manage to avoid Thomas as much as she can – because she is so very, very attracted to him.

Thomas has changed over the last five years. The once happy and cheerful man has become a recluse who seldom smiles and cuts himself off from society. He is a very loving man and has taken on many responsibilities that he feels keeps him from being able to marry himself – not to mention his big secret. However, he finds himself more and more drawn to Amelia’s sunny and determined personality. He fights that attraction with everything that is in him – but he has no success. As they are thrown together more and more his attraction grows.

I love how accepting Thomas is of Amelia’s project and how he tries to help her. I also love the other suitor’s Amelia has. They genuinely care for her and are lovely and understanding when she doesn’t return their regard. They even pitch in and help with her project as well.

It is a true delight to watch Amelia and Thomas dance around their love for each other. You begin to wonder if Thomas will finally come to his senses, but a firm sock in the face can do wonders for making one see the light. Of course, you also have a bad guy in the story who, I’ll almost bet, will be back in the next book. Can’t wait to see that one.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Blitz – The Duke Who Came To Town by Sophie Barnes

The Duke Who Came to Town

The Honorable Scoundrels
by Sophie Barnes
Publication Date: November 21, 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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She doesn’t want to be a kept woman…

Josephine Potter knows she must retain her employment to provide for her younger sisters and to maintain the house. While a young woman working as an accountant – at a hotel no less – could be frowned upon by some, it’s still a respectable way to earn a living. No matter what a certain duke might think. Besides, Josephine has a few rules she lives by: Don’t rely on others, don’t accept money from someone you don’t know, and never allow a man to control your life. But when she is fired from her job, Josephine may have to bend a few rules…

Devon, the Duke of Snowdon, has never met a more bull-headed woman than Josephine Potter! The Potter sisters are granddaughters of a Viscount and should not have to work for a living. So despite Josephine’s arguments, Devon insists she end her employee status immediately and accept a stipend for her and her sisters. When she is then fired, she accuses him of meddling in her life…and things are about to heat up despite the cold winter weather. As they work together to figure out why Devon’s hotel is losing money, a mutual attraction that won’t be denied, grows between them.

But when rumors of impropriety abound, can Josephine’s reputation be saved…or will her life be destroyed by scandal?

To see our review, click here

About Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

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

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How to Woo a Wallflower by Christy Carlyle #BlogTour

Meet the Author:

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.
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About the Book:

An Unconventional Wallflower…
Clarissa Ruthven was born to be a proper lady, but she’s never wanted to live up to the expectations her late father set. Determined to use her inheritance to help the less fortunate women of London, she’s devastated to learn that she won’t be inheriting anything until she marries, a fate she has no interest in. Unwilling to let go of her plans, Clary works at Ruthven Publishing for Gabriel Adamson, a man who’s always hated her. She’s always returned the feeling, but as she begins to turn her family’s publishing company upside down, she finds herself unable to forget her handsome boss.
Never Follows the Rules…

Gabriel Adamson believes in order. He certainly doesn’t believe Clary should be sticking her nose in the publishing company, and she definitely has no business invading his every thought. But Gabe soon finds he can’t resist Clary’s sense of freedom or her passionate kisses and he starts to crave everything she’s willing to give him.
Especially When It Comes to Love…

When Gabe’s dark past comes back to haunt him, he’ll do anything to make sure that Clary isn’t hurt…even if it means giving up the only woman he’s ever loved.
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Few visited the Ruthven offices who were not expected. Workroom employees were due at half past seven. Vendors arranged appointments weeks in advance. No meeting was ever scheduled before nine. Gabe imposed order efficiently and effectively on the daily goings-on of the business. If some random Londoner happened across their threshold, it was usually because the poor sod got lost.

Over the years, Gabe had learned the rhythms of the workroom floor by heart, memorizing the clatter of the printing presses and the patterned strikes of Daughtry, his assistant, and other clerks tapping at their typewriters. When productivity waned because of inane chitchat, he caught that too. And immediately cut such nonsense short.

So when he settled behind his desk on Monday morning, a half hour before any other employees were due to arrive, as was his habit, he savored the bliss of quiet. He felt something akin to peace. After weeks of mulling, he’d made a choice. He would inform Kit Ruthven of his plans to leave Ruthven’s and take the position offered by Wellbeck Publishers.

Why shouldn’t he go? He owed no loyalty to the late Leopold Ruthven. The man had been a reprobate, far worse than his family suspected. Only grudgingly, Gabe had come to respect the son. Kit Ruthven trusted him to carry out his duties, rarely questioning or interfering with his management. He even admired the man’s determination to share ownership with his sisters. If he’d been lucky enough to inherit anything of value, he’d have happily shared with Sara too.

Of course, Gabe didn’t believe in luck. Only in scrabbling and fighting for every scrap of good fortune that came his way.

Change was necessary. He needed the higher salary Wellbeck’s offered. He’d been beholden to the Ruthvens for long enough.

Unfolding the letter from Wellbeck’s, he smoothed the document on his desktop. Beside it, he poised a nib pen over a fresh sheet of foolscap and began scratching out a formal reply. A moment later, a noise in the outer workroom jolted his attention, and his nib sputtered blots of ink across the paper.

Hell and damnation. Gabe crushed the ruined page in his fist and shot up from his chair. No one ever arrived this bloody early, and he’d secured the door behind him when he’d let himself in.

After shrugging out of his suit coat, he rolled up his sleeves and moved slowly toward the door. He took care to land his boots softly on the polished wood. A distinctive sound froze him in place. Not the rustling that had initially drawn his notice but a steady, rhythmic tick of type bars hitting the platen of a typewriter.

Plastering himself against the frame of his open office door, Gabe gazed across the workroom to get a glimpse of the early morning typist. Irritation flared, and his chest collapsed in a long sigh.

Bent over Daughtry’s typewriter, Miss Ruthven swiped a strand of hair from her face and then proceeded to jab haphazardly at the keys. With her back to him, her body curved in a perfect hourglass shape. A single loose curl had slipped its pin, hanging down her back in the same sinuous line. Despite the fact that he’d never entered the workroom to find a lovely woman working away at one of the desks, she looked strangely right perched on Daughtry’s chair.

He couldn’t lambast her for skulking into the office and commandeering the old man’s typewriter. This was her office now. Her business. Her typewriter, if she damn well pleased to use the machine. Apparently, she did.

Gabe cleared his throat as loudly as he dared.

She jumped before turning an irritated glare his way. “You startled me.” After an enormous gulp, her tone softened. “I didn’t expect anyone so early.”


“Do you always arrive before everyone else?” She collected whatever she’d been composing from the typewriter and turned to face him.

“Always.” Gabe gestured toward Daughtry’s work space. “What required typing so urgently?”

“Nothing.” She shoved the paper behind her.

The movement amused him. How many filched objects had he pushed behind his back or stuffed into his pockets as a child? Once he’d even hidden a stolen pocket watch in his mouth while a constable passed on his nightly rounds. The bitter tang of tarnished metal had lingered on his tongue for days.

“May I?” he asked, palm out, much more politely than any copper had ever cross-questioned him.

She notched up her chin a moment and then relented, shoving the half-covered sheet in front of him. “It’s nothing. Truly.”

The page smelled of flowers. Gabe wondered if she imprinted her scent on everything she touched. Rows of letters typed over and over were broken with lines of text such as “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.” The words were familiar to Gabe, though he couldn’t recall from where.

“I must become proficient with the typewriter. I came early so as not to disturb anyone.” She stepped closer and snatched the sheet from his fingers. “Did I disturb you, Mr. Adamson?”

“No,” he lied. But she did disturb him. Mightily.

His senses ignited in awareness, every nerve firing. She was the brightest spot in the room, her blouse a bright buttercup yellow that clashed with the darker gold of her hair. And those violet eyes of hers seemed to eat up everything they beheld. She had an eager way of gazing about, as if she was seeing the world for the first time, and every sight fascinated her.

She moved constantly too, like a flower swaying in a stiff breeze. Shuffling her feet, twisting at the hips, she behaved as if the act of standing in one place put a fearsome strain on her patience. “Would you mind if I continue, at least until the other employees arrive?”

Yes, I would mind quite a lot.

“As you wish, Miss Ruthven.”

“Will you be at the meeting later this morning, Mr. Adamson?” she put to him over her shoulder after settling herself back into Daughtry’s chair.

“Of course.” The question irked him, almost as much as her sweet floral scent. Where did she think he’d be? This was his domain. At least for a little while longer. “I’m the one who called the meeting.”

As he headed back to his office, a thought struck like a punch to the gut.

He’d miss this damned place—the tidy workroom, the hum of activity when a shipment came in or a new title started production, even the simple orderliness of his desk. Employees like Daughtry, who believed in working as hard as he did to make the enterprise a success, were a rarity. Would he find the same at Wellbeck’s?

Then another thought came, and a chill spilled down his back like ice water.

“Will you be attending the meeting, Miss Ruthven?”

She shifted her enticing hourglass figure, glanced at him over her shoulder, and shot him an irksome grin. “Since I’m here, I might as well.”


Tracy’s Review:

How to Woo a Wallflower (Romancing the Rules, #3)How to Woo a Wallflower by Christy Carlyle
Release Date: November 14, 2017

Series: Romancing the Rules, #3

Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Gabriel “Gabe” Adamson is a self made man, born and raised on the streets of Whitechapel, he has done many things he is not proud of, but he has left that life behind and never intends to look back. However, at his sister’s request, he is back in Whitechapel looking for their mother. Unable to find her, he leaves intending to return home, but he is side tracked when he hears a scream and finds a woman fighting off a man. He is ready to intervene when he realizes two things, one the woman is doing a fine job on her own and two she is his employers sister, his secret desire and greatest annoyance.

Clarissa “Clary” Ruthven is helping her friend Helen at the Fisk Academy for Girls, Clary firmly believes in helping others and wants to give these girls a chance at a better life. While fighting off an unwanted suitor of one of the students, she notices Gabe standing near by. The two have known each other for years and she can’t stand him, he is so proper and perfect and gorgeous (not that she is looking). Once the attacker is sent on his way, Clary invites Gabe in to see the school. And when he says he must leave, she suggests they share a cab.

On the ride back to town, they butt heads and Gabe has the cab stop and leaves. Clary follows him, she wants the feuding between them to be over and invites him to her birthday dinner. He refuses and leaves her to go home alone. After her dinner, she learns that her father did not leave her an inheritance like she thought – he left her a dowry. Upset with this information that ruins her plans for the Fisk Academy and an independent life, she tells her brother Kit that she wants to be more involved in the family business. The business that Gabe oversees. Kit encourages her to attend the board meeting.

Gabe is on the verge of quitting, he has been offered a job with an competitor who will pay him more and with his sister getting married, Gabe needs the extra money. He composes his letter of resignation and requests a meeting with Kit. Before he can say anything, Kit offers him a raise and a bonus if he will mentor Clary. The amount is too good to pass up, so he grudging agrees.

Clary is the complete opposite of Gabe in every way, she is warm, friendly, unconventional and overly sympathetic. Gabe is no nonsense, proper, by the book and somewhat grim. They are oil and water. But there is something there, they both feel it and try to ignore it. Gabe tries to ignore Clary, but she is impossible to ignore and when he learns she is planning to go to Whitechapel again, he intercepts her. He knows better than to try and stop her, so he offers her a quick lesson in self defense. Clary is touched that Gabe took the time to help her and begins to admit that her feelings for him confuse her. One minute he is stern and unyielding and the next he is kind and going out of his way to help her.

When a mishap at work leads to Clary being taken into his office to get cleaned up, she tries her hand at flirting with him, but they are interrupted by a visitor to see Gabe, Jane Martin. Gabe was close to her father and considers her a friend, even thought she and his sister hope for more.

When Gabe brings Jane as his guess to the Fisk Academy benefit ball – Clary is horrified to realize she is jealous. When she steals away to compose herself, Gabe finds her and explains that Jane is just a friend and he asks Clary to teach him to dance. They share a kiss before they are interrupted by her sister.

Gabe knows he should stay away from her, but he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame. Clary feels the same way and since she has begun working with him, she is even more impressed with him.

When Gabe is called to Whitechapel and ambushed, he ends up at the Fisk Academy, Clary cares for his wounds and things heat up between them, but when she asks about his scars, he immediately goes cold and leaves.

The next day, he gets bad news and is late to work, when he finally arrives, the building is dark and only Clary is there. The office is closed due to a gas problem and Gabe asks Clary to leave with him, determined to share his past with her.

Once his past is in the open, it seems like these two are headed to a HEA, but Gabe still has secrets and when ghosts from his past come calling, Gabe may have to give up the only woman he has ever loved.

This was a very well written story, it flowed well and it was a very intense, emotional story. Gabe and Clary are both extremely likable characters with strong personalities, there are secrets, passionate kisses, steamy love scenes, a great secondary cast, amusing moments, some heart breaking moments and a very rough road to their HEA.

This is the third book in the series, but I had no problems following the story, without reading the previous books. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be looking for more by this author.

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

Release Blitz for Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

by May McGoldrick,
E-Original published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
ISBN: 9781250166906
Price: $3.99


In this stunning series starter by USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick, meet the new generation of Pennington’s…five brothers and sisters of passion and privilege. Enter their aristocratic world…where each will fight injustice and find love.
Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

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Authors Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick (writing as May McGoldrick) weave emotionally satisfying tales of love and danger. Publishing under the names of May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey, these authors have written more than thirty novels and works of nonfiction for Penguin Random House, Mira, HarperCollins, Entangled, and Heinemann. Nikoo, an engineer, also conducts frequent workshops on writing and publishing and serves as a Resident Author. Jim holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance literature and teaches English in northwestern Connecticut. They are the authors of Much Ado About Highlanders, Taming the Highlander, and Tempest in the Highlands with SMP Swerve.

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Excerpt: Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

RomancingtheScot - Copy
Looking the shipping crate over for damage and seeing none, he retrieved an iron crow from a workbench. Jo was standing inside the doors, eyeing the box doubtfully from a safe distance.
“Come closer. It won’t bite.”
“Not a chance. From the smell of that thing, a person would think you’re importing cadavers. Have you also taken up being a Resurrectionist as a hobby?”
He patted the crate affectionately. “This sweet thing has been sitting in the bowels of a ship from Antwerp. You know what the hold of a ship smells like?”
“Actually, I don’t.” She held a handkerchief to her nose and drew closer. “But I think you’re correct with the reference to ‘bowels.’”
Hugh took the first nail out. “Well, stand back, since you’ve become so prissy. Though I recall a younger version of you leading the rest of us through bogs and marshes that smelled no better.”
“Of course! But as I recall, we had frogs and turtles and the occasional dragon that needed hunting,” she replied with a smile. “Very well. Open it and let’s see this treasure of yours.”
Prying off the top took him only a moment. Throwing it to the side, he pulled back the tarp that covered the basket and then stared curiously at the dark green rags bundled at the bottom.
Leaning in, Hugh’s enthusiasm evaporated as a horrid realization settled in. This was no pile of old clothing. A shock of blond hair. A shoe. A hand. The body of a dead woman lay curled up in the gondola.
“Bloody hell.”
“What is it?” Immediately, Jo was at his side. “Good God!”
Hugh climbed in and crouched beside the body. He took her hand. She was cold to the touch. His heart sank. The crate had been shipped from Antwerp. To be trapped for so many days with no water, no food, in the cold and damp of the ship’s hold. He had no idea who this woman was or how she came to be in here.
The thought struck him. Perhaps it wasn’t an inadvertent act. Perhaps she was murdered and her body had been dumped into the crate.
Dismay and alarm clawed at him as he pushed away the matted ringlets of golden hair. She was young. He lifted her chin. The body had none of the stiffness of postmortem. He stared at her lips. He may have imagined it but they seemed to have moved.
“Bright . . .” The whisper was a mere rustle of leaves in a breeze.
The fingers jerked and came to life, clutching at his hand.
“She’s not dead,” he called to Jo, relieved. “Send for the doctor. I’ll take her to the house.”
His sister ran out, calling for help, and he lifted the woman. She emitted a low groan. Her limbs had been locked in the same cramped position for so many days. Hugh propped her over the side of the gondola.
“Stay with me,” he encouraged. “Talk to me.”
Holding the woman in place, he clambered from the basket and then gently lifted her out, cradling her in his arms. She weighed next to nothing.
As they went out into the rain, he feared she was about to die. The exertion of trying to breathe showed on her face. He’d seen this on the battlefield. The final effort before death.
Starting up the path, he stumbled, not realizing the woman’s skirts were dragging on the ground. He staggered but caught himself before they went down. Her head lolled against his chest, her face gray and mask-like. She appeared to be slipping away. It would be a shame that she’d survived the crossing only to perish now.
A dagger point of anger pierced Hugh’s brain as he recalled another dismal day when he’d lifted two other bodies, wrapped in burial shrouds, from a wooden box.
“Talk to me,” he ordered. “Say something.”
As he made his way up the hill toward the house, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky above Baronsford. Thunder shook the ground and the sky opened, unleashing fierce torrents of rain on them.
His wife. His son. Hugh hadn’t been there for them. They’d died as he and the British army were being chased by the French across Spain. He’d been trying to save his men’s lives, not knowing that those most precious to him were suffering.
“You’ve survived a horrifying ordeal. Give me the chance to save you.”
The woman struggled weakly in Hugh’s arms, and her head tipped back. He watched as her lips parted, welcoming the wetness of the falling rain.
“We’re almost there.”
“Bright . . .” she murmured.
He looked into her face and saw she was trying hard to open her eyes.
“Yes, brighter than that crate,” he said, encouraged by her effort. Any movement, however small, gave him hope. “And you’ve been in there for Lord knows how long.”

Tracy’s Review

Romancing the Scot (The Pennington Family, #1)Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this story, Hugh and Grace are wonderful characters that having you rooting for their HEA.

When Grace Ware finds her father and their servants dead and the villains still in the room, she runs. She hides in a shipping crate and ends up being sealed in.

When Hugh Pennington, Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Commissary Court, opens the crate housing his balloon gondola, the last thing he expects to find is an almost dead woman and a handful of American coins.

Grace wakes with a fever and doesn’t know where she is, in her delirium and tries to find her father. What she finds is Hugh in the library. In her fevered state, she doesn’t answer his questions, but does tell him her name is Grace. Since he found her, there have been more questions than answers, including who is she and why did she have an uncut diamond sewn into the lining of her gown?

Grace finally wakes and is horrified to learn that Hugh is the Lord Justice and she is in Scotland. Her Irish father was a commander for Napoleon and her mother’s family were Jacobites. Afraid to reveal her identity in fear of being imprisoned as a traitor, Grace feigns amnesia. But the ruse is hard to maintain, Grace has the gift of a photographic memory, she can remember every word she has ever read and pretending to have no memory is hard for her. She wants to trust Hugh and his sister Jo, but fear keeps her quiet. In addition, she has no idea how the diamond ended up in her possession and wonders if she has unintentionally become a conspirator with her father.

Hugh is intrigued by Grace and feels alive for the first time in years. His family believes he has a death wish and that he is overcome with grief after losing his young wife and son eight years ago. But what they don’t know is that guilt more than grief has kept him prisoner for all these years. Grace is the first woman he has ever met that stirs his soul.

Hugh does his best to protect Grace and as they get to know each other, something sparks between them. But Grace is still keeping secrets and Hugh has too much honor to start a relationship with a woman who might be spoken for. They continue to grow close, Grace challenges Hugh and he begins to change. When a nosy neighbor comes calling with her houseguest in tow, Jo tries to hide Grace by sending her off with Hugh, but the neighbor catches them on the road and Grace knows her time is running out, because the houseguest knows her true identity. Later Grace learns of Hugh’s wife and child, she is heartbroken and finally confesses who she is.

Hugh struggles with this knowledge, he also finally faces his past and knows without a doubt that Grace is the woman he wants in his life, no matter her past or her family. When the houseguest tries to lure Grace into a trap – Hugh knows that he loves her and will never let her go.

But there are forces at work that could ruin any future between them and secrets that must be discovered and set to right before they can even consider a HEA.

This was a fantastic story, well written and fast moving. The story has action, intrigue, secrets, steamy love scenes, wonderful secondary characters and a nail biting, sigh worthy ending.

I am happy to recommend this book and look forward to reading Jo’s story. FYI – The story of Hugh’s brother is already available in the anthology Christmas in Kilts!

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

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