Contests/Giveaways

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.
Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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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Check out the other books in the Romancing the Rules series:

 

Giveaway:

  • $30 Amazon Gift Card + Signed copies of Rules for a Rogue and A Study in Scoundrel – US shipping ONLY!

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Excerpt:

CC HtWaW Teaser 1

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.”

“Likewise.”

“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.”

Wonderful.

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*

Blog Blitz: The Governess Who Captured His Heart by Sophie Barnes

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The Governess Who Captured His Heart by Sophie Barnes is LIVE!

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See our Flippin’ Pages review of this novellaHERE


Synopsis

Temptations or Priorities…?
Determined to help her oldest sister make ends meet, Louise Potter accepts a governess position in the northern part of England. If this means accompanying an older gentleman on his travels, then she will. There’s only one problem: Louise is about to discover that her traveling companion is not the elderly man she expected, but rather a seduction itself…

Alistair Langley has no desire to share his carriage with his niece’s newly hired employee. But the matron he expected to find at his door is instead a beautiful young woman, one he knows he can’t travel alone with. After all, he’s going to visit his brother who is pressuring him to marry and produce a Langley heir–or be cut off from inheritance. When he confides in Louise, together they form a plan. But the closer they become, the more temptation beckons…

Until finally a choice must be made: Love or money? Or is it possible to have both?


About the Author

SophieBarnesBorn 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.

Website: http://www.sophiebarnes.com/sb1/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSophieBarnes/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarnesSophie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5400052.Sophie_Barnes
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Excerpt:
Lowering the letter she’d been reading, Louise Potter held the expensive sheet of paper between her fingers and glanced at both of her sisters in turn. “I have been accepted for the position. Lady Channing would like me to start immediately.”

“That is what you wish to do, is it not?” Josephine asked. At six and twenty, she was two years older than Louise and six years older than their youngest sister, Eve.

“It certainly is a welcome opportunity.” With the townhouse serving as their only inheritance, and Josephine working hard to make ends meet for all of them, Louise wanted to find a way to help her older sister. As a result, she now had the chance of becoming a governess to three young children. “My only regret is I shall miss Christmas with the two of you.”

“Perhaps the countess will allow you to see us on that particular day?” Eve suggested.

Louise bit her lip. Her employment would require a major move, which was something she hadn’t yet mentioned to either of her sisters. “I’m afraid not. If I’m lucky, I shall be able to come to Town during the spring and part of the summer while the Season is underway. Otherwise, most of my time will be spent near Whitehaven.”

Her sisters stared at her. “I forget where that is,” Eve finally said.

“I believe it is in the north,” Josephine told her.

Louise nodded. “It is indeed.”

Eve’s mouth dropped open. “But then we shall never see you again!”

“As I mentioned, I might return to Town once Parliament opens and the Radcliffe family chooses to relocate to their London home.” She paused to consider their unhappy faces. “Unless I decline the offer and remain here. I can do so if you are loath to see me go.”

“No.” Josephine quickly smiled, though the effort did appear slightly strenuous. “You have been given the chance to accept respectable employment with a highly regarded aristocratic family. Neither of us will stand in your way.”

“Are you certain?” Louise was beginning to doubt her own resolve.

Travelling north had seemed like a grand adventure until she’d told her sisters about it. They’d never been apart before, and since their father’s death, they’d been especially dependent upon each other, not only to get through the grief but also to find a way forward in the following whirlwind of chaos.

Louise’s grandfather had been the third son of an earl. As such, he’d gone into law and had eventually, upon his death, left his thriving practice to his son. But he had not been as skilled a barrister as his father, nor did he have a head for the business. After he lost a  string of cases, clients had chosen to seek counsel elsewhere. As time had progressed and the funds had dwindled, the larger houses had been sold and the meeker residence where Louise and her sisters now lived had been purchased instead. But even this house would be lost to Louise and her sisters unless a decent income could be secured. Especially since their uncle, the current Earl of Priorsbridge, had neglected to take on his responsibility as their guardian.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for you,” Josephine said. Meeting Louise’s gaze, she did not need to say the money her work would produce could ease their concerns. Instead, she asked a practical question. “When do you intend to leave?”

“Tomorrow.” Knowing how surprising this comment was, Louise hastened to say, “The Countess has offered conveyance if I do. It seems her uncle, Lord Alistair, will be traveling up then as well, so it has been suggested we go together for practical reasons.”

“I suppose doing so would provide you with a better carriage for such a long journey,” Josephine said. “But is it wise for you to travel alone with a man whom you’ve never met before?”

Louise made a face. “At my age?” She shook her head. “You know as well as I that I am almost as firmly on the shelf as you are. And since I am not a young lady with marriageable prospects but rather a soon to-be-governess, I dare say no one will think much about it. Not to mention this uncle must be at least fifty years old considering the countess’s age.”

“How can you possibly know her age?” Eve asked. “It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing she would share in her letter to you.”

“Quite right,” Louise told her, “but her eldest son is eleven so I can make an intelligent guess.”

“I suppose that is true,” Josephine murmured. “Which means you’re probably right about Lord Alistair. Besides, I doubt the countess would suggest his escort unless she was sure you’d be safe in his presence.”

Louise agreed. “It is settled then?”

“I believe so.” Josephine said.

Her remark propelled Louise to hug both her sisters. She then hurried on through to her room and pulled her valise out from under the bed. It was time for her to start packing.

#

Enjoying a last-minute brandy in his study, Alistair Clay Hedgewick, considered his niece’s request to bring her new governess with him to Whitehaven. He groaned at the prospect of it–of having to spend a week with a middle-aged spinster instead of alone in his own company as he’d been expecting. Dreading it, he took another sip of his drink. It was a bit early in the day to be imbibing, but under the circumstances, he felt he needed the fortification before setting out in another half hour.

He glanced toward the clock on the fireplace mantle. An hour had passed since he’d sent his carriage to collect her, so she should be arriving at any moment. A knock sounded at the door, and Alistair called for his butler to enter.

“My lord,” Mr. Fox said while maids and footmen scurried around behind him, gathering last minute items in need of packing. “Miss Potter has arrived. Would you like me to show her in?”

Alistair considered the question. He could hardly say no, could he? It was tempting since doing so would allow him that extra half hour of peace before embarking on a journey that would force him to stay on his best behavior. Taking his shoes off and relaxing his feet would not be possible. Nor would sleeping, since he had no desire to snore in her presence. In fact, he was giving up a great deal of comfort for a woman he’d never met and did not care about.

“Very well,” he sighed, before downing the rest of his drink and rising. He might as well meet his traveling companion, he reasoned, since it was the polite thing to do. Like it or not, he always strove to do what was right and play the part of the well-mannered gentleman, no matter how impractical or aggravating it could be. His behavior, however, reflected not only on him but on his entire family, and being called to task by his brother was something he always tried to avoid.

Mr. Fox returned. “Miss Potter,” he said, before stepping aside so a slim woman, wearing a grey gown and a matching pelisse, could enter. On her head, she wore a straw bonnet beneath which he was able to spy a golden display of neatly combed hair. But what shocked him the most was her face, because it did not belong to the middle-aged, rotund matron he’d envisioned, but rather to the angelic youthfulness of a woman in her prime. More than that, she was the perfect picture of beauty, her delicate features lending an elegance even the highest ranking ladies of society lacked. Her eyes, he noted, were a bright glow of hazel while her lips, parting now with undeniable surprise, were the sort men dreamed of in their wickedest fantasies.

Aware he was staring, he gathered his wits, schooled his features, and stepped toward her. “Miss Potter, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

She gaped at him. “Are you Lord Alistair?”

“The one and only.”

She shook her head. “You can’t be.” Glancing around as if seeking another gentleman, she gradually returned her gaze to him when none was to be found. “You…you…” Waving her hands as if hoping to fashion the necessary words, she finally blurted, “You are twenty years younger than you ought to be!”

Blog Tour! Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke

Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. 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, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:

Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.
Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.
Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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 Check out the other books in  The Untouchables series:

Giveaway:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed copy of The Duke of Daring and Swag

*If the chosen winner resides outside of the US, an eBook will be sent instead of the print book.*

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Tracy’s Review:

The Duke of Defiance (The Untouchables, #5)The Duke of Defiance by Darcy Burke
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Release Date: 06/27/17

Series: The Untouchables, Book 6

This is the story of Joanna Shaw (sister of Nora aka the Forbidden Duchess) and Bran Crowther, the Earl of Knighton aka the Duke of Defiance.

Bran has lived the last 15 years in Barbados, ever since he left England and never looked back. As the third son of an earl, he never expected to inherit and had no desire to. He never really fit into his family and was dubbed defiant by his mother. He was happy in Barbados, he married, had a daughter, became widowed, made a fortune and never planned to return to England.

Joanna Shaw is now living with her sister Nora, Duchess of Kendal. She is widowed too, but her marriage was far different than Bran’s. Jo married her husband after Nora was ruined, he husband was very unkind and it only got worse over the years when it became obvious that Jo was barren. Now that he is dead, Jo is not sure what to do with her life. She meets Bran when he comes to the house to pick up his daughter Evie. He asks Nora for help choosing a nurse for Evie and she agrees to assist him. But when the day comes for the interviews, she is unable to make it and sends Jo in her place.

Bran is a very unusual man, I suspect that he suffers (and always has) from an Anxiety disorder, he can’t stand crowds, hates wearing clothes, is particular about what he eats and needs massages to control his anxiety. Jo is fascinated by him, he is unlike any man she has ever known. They form a friendship of sorts and when they meet again at a ball, they share a dance and a kiss. Bran has feelings for Jo that he never had for his late wife and he feels comfortable with her. After their kiss, he impulsively proposes. Jo is shocked by her reaction to Bran, but knowing she is barren, she declines his proposal.

Days later, Bran is in need of help again and seeks out Joanna. This time he asks her to be Evie’s governess. Jo tells him she will consider it, but when he returns with Evie, she agrees.

Jo really is the perfect woman for Bran, and as much as she loves Evie and is coming to love Bran, she cannot marry him because he needs an heir and she cannot give him one. When Bran approaches Jo about their attraction, she finally tells him the whole truth of her marriage. Bran is outraged on her behalf and asks her to consider an affair with him. Jo is skeptical, but she does embark on a very heated affair with him and has hope for the first time in years that she may actually be able to conceive.

When her hopes are dashed, she ends their affair, knowing that he will have to marry and she can’t bear to watch that happen. As usual, Bran does not handle the news correctly and lets Jo go.

This was an interesting tale, it touched on several painful issues, anxiety disorders and infertility. I could feel Joanna’s pain and anger and Bran’s anxiety was palpable. I applaud Ms. Burke for her handling and portrayal of these very delicate subjects. The writing was spot on, the story flowed well, there were some amusing moments, great secondary characters, very steamy love scenes and a very sweet ending.

While this book is part of the Untouchables series, it could easily be read as a stand alone title. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to the next “Untouchable”!

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

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