Georgian Era (1714-1837)

Seductive Surrender by Collette Cameron

Seductive Surrender (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, #6)Seductive Surrender by Collette Cameron
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, #6

Release Date: May 23, 2018

Gwendolyn McClintock meets Dugall Ferguson when her carriage runs him down. Injured by highwaymen, Dugall had stumbled out of the woods into the carriage’s path. Gwen insists on caring for him.

Gwen is aunt and guardian to Jeremiah, the new Laird McClintock, she has traveled from their home in South Carolina to Scotland. She has no idea what to expect in Scotland, but she is intent on seeing Jeremiah claim his birthright. She sold their plantation, packed up her niece, nephew, aunt and nanny and is anxious to see what the future holds for them.

When Dugall wakes, he is surprised to find himself bound and the fiery angel who found him on the road riding his horse! He convinces Gwen he is not a threat and offers to help her oversee the estate – until he hears back from the diplomatic corps – his lifelong dream is to be an agent for the corps and nothing, not even a gorgeous red head with a charming accent and hysterical sayings will stop him from leaving.

They arrive at the estate and Gwen immediately takes charge, she tends Dugall’s wounds and shares a kiss with him, letting it slip that she had been betrothed before – four times to be exact. As she is coming to terms with the kiss, she meets some of the other residents of the house. From Aunt Dolina, she learns that her grandparents eloped. Her grandfather was the younger brother of the previous Laird and caused quite a stir when he eloped with his brother’s intended bride.

Dugall takes her and the family to meet his brother, Laird Ewan, on the way there, someone takes a shot at Gwen. Terrified for her, Dugall insists on guards and when she learns the shooter escaped, she agrees and begins to think coming to Scotland was a mistake.

Weeks pass with no further incidents until the solicitor, Mr. Christie shows up with the will – Gwen is stunned by not only the revelations, but by the conditions. Dugall promises to look into it – but has received his acceptance to the corps and needs to leave. Gwen is a more than a little heartbroken, but she will not stand in his way. She cannot stay at Suttford House and accepts a position at Craiglocky Keep. Dugall leaves for his meeting with the corps and Gwen and the children settle in at the keep. Gwen misses Dugall and when he returns a week later, she is overjoyed to see him, until she is shot! Dugall is beside himself – his Gwenny has been shot and it makes him realize how he feels about her.

When news arrives from their investigation, it changes everything and Dugall will have to decide if he will give up his dream or keep the woman he loves.

This was a sweet, quick read with likable leads and cameos from previous characters, there is a decent mystery, entertain banter, some kisses, some shocking twists/turns and a sweet epilogue.

This is the sixth book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand alone title with no problems.

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

Lady of Desire by Darcy Burke

Lady of Desire (Legendary Rogues, #1)Lady of Desire by Darcy Burke

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Legendary Rogues #1
Publication Date: 8/18/14

I read the third book in this series, Lord of Fortune, and absolutely loved it so I just had to read the earlier books in the series. This one didn’t reach out and grab me by the ears and pull me into it like the third one did, but it was a good story and it had another job to do. It did an excellent job of setting up several recurring series characters and the overarching story of the thirteen treasures and the secret organization, The Order of the Round Table, who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. The H/h in this book are the parents of the main characters in the next two books. I think I liked our MC’s of this book much better in the third book.

I noticed a lot of Americanisms in the book and sometimes felt like I was reading something from 2018 rather than 1794. Another thing I never got a handle on was Mr. Digby. Was he a Mister, a Lord, a peer of the realm? He’s referred to in all of those ways in the book – in Chapter 18, he is even referred to as a baron.

Mr. Digby stood. “Good morning Mr. Bowen.” Rhys scrutinized the baron thoroughly.”

I never really bought into the chemistry between the two main characters. Yes, the lust was there and I understand that, but given the side most often shown to the reader, I couldn’t see what would make either of them fall in love with the other. That seems true for the heroine much more than the hero. The author tried to give an explanation for her mistrustfulness, but if she was that fragile, she really had a problem! She was just a piece-of-work – she didn’t trust Rhys yet she suddenly decides to get into bed with him. Say what. She actually initiates intimate encounters twice – then gets up, acts very cold and walks out – leaving him to wonder what just happened.

I absolutely LOVED the action/adventure portion of the story. Sort of Indiana Jones(ish) or National Treasure, etc. Discovering the missing books, finding the code and then finding the treasure while trying to outwit the villains (yes, more than one) is an adventure to keep you flipping those pages!

Miss Margery Derrington and her dear aunts are on the verge of being totally impoverished. If they can’t find something of value stored somewhere in their townhome, they’ll have to sell the townhome and try to survive on the proceeds. Margery wants to avoid that at all costs because that is all her aunts have left and they’ve lived there for a great many years. They took Margery in when she was just ten years old and had just lost both of her parents. She loved her aunts beyond measure. If she can’t find something to sell, she’ll either have to enter into a loveless marriage (if she can find a groom who will marry her without a dowry) or she’ll have to become a mistress. Neither option is appealing to her. So, she and her aunts are plowing through all of the trunks in the attic when they finally uncover a very old manuscript. Is it valuable? It is beautifully illustrated and the tales are wonderful. Margery becomes immediately attached to it, its beauty and its history. They will just have to contact a renowned antiquarian to get a valuation on it.

Rhys Bowen lost his father just a couple of years ago and he’s still mourning for him. His father was the only person in the world that Rhys loved and now he is gone. His father, Alexander Bowen, is a renowned antiquarian as is Rhys. However, Rhys wants to break out from his father’s shadow. Rhys is tall, handsome, very intelligent and not so comfortable around ladies and children. Now, he has a young ward named Penn (hero in 3rd book) and he’s feeling his way through how to handle that. Rhys never had any female influence in his life because his mother died within a day of his birth, so he’s not particularly comfortable with hugs. I think he was doing a great job of handling Penn, but they definitely needed a woman’s touch.

A letter asking for a consultation arrived – addressed to his father. Some ladies were asking for a consult about an item they had found. He expected older ladies and his mouth dropped open when the person who arrived was a beautiful young woman and her companion. She shows Rhys the book and he is stunned. It is a medieval manuscript with beautiful illustrations. Rhys recognizes it immediately and can’t wait to verify that it is real. His cousin already owns the companion piece to the book and Rhys knows that there is supposed to be a code contained in the book that should lead to a treasure. Rhys isn’t interested in the treasure for monetary reasons – he’s interested in the historical value. That is – if the tales are even true – and he sees nothing in the book that would indicate that they are true. So, Rhys offers Margery thirty-five pounds which is the full value of the book itself. Margery can’t believe it – only thirty-five pounds. They can’t live on that for any time at all.

Things go back and forth between them and he tells her about the treasure. They end up taking off on a quest to see the other book only to find it has been stolen. Then, they are off on an adventure to find and see the other book, solve the code, and find the treasure. Margery is attacked multiple times by someone wanting to steal her book. Being an independent, adventurous, resourceful lady, she manages to fend off the attacker. During the adventure – she doesn’t trust Rhys because he didn’t tell her about the treasure right away – and then – Rhys doesn’t trust Margery because she really does do a betrayal of him. The adventure is exciting and fun.

As I said above, I just never bought into the chemistry between the two. I can see why Margery would be attracted to Rhys but I can’t see it from his side. She was mad at him for lying to her, but then she betrayed him and took every opportunity throughout the rest of the book to lie to him and deceive him – yet he just keeps coming back for more. Then, there is Digby. Margery didn’t like him from the first, yet when she runs into him she immediately puts her trust in him rather than Rhys and tells him all – including the solution to the code to Anarawd. Say what!

I did absolutely love the King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table aspect to the story (and the series). It is exciting and keeps you interested from beginning to end.

It is definitely a good read and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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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.”

Married by Moonlight by Heather Boyd

Married by Moonlight (Distinguished Rogues, #9)Married by Moonlight by Heather Boyd

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Distinguished Rogues, #9

Release Date: May 8, 2018

The book opens with Gilbert Bowen, the Earl of Sorenson rushing into Lady Berry’s home to save his friend Price Wagstaff, the Earl of Carmichael from being officially charged with murder for the death of Angela Berry. Gilbert vows to find the killer and clear Carmichael’s name. Gilbert has a reputation of a being a brilliant investigator and before he inherited the earldom and was a simple country vicar, he helped Bow Street solve many crimes. But never has a case been more important to him, Carmichael is one of his oldest and dearest friends and only a very few people know that he was in love with Angela and had planned to announce their betrothal at the ball.

Anna Beasley is a very proper young lady, daughter of Carmichael’s godfather and good friend to Angela Berry, she is dancing with Viscount Wade at Almack’s when Carmichael enters. Carmichael is the bane of her existence, her father would love nothing more than for Carmichael and Anna to make a match, but she would rather die a spinster than marry a rake like Carmichael. He approaches her with a friend in tow – a very handsome friend and he teases her. Introductions are made and his friend, Gilbert, Lord Sorenson is charming and nothing like Carmichael. Anna asks if they have seen Angela and Carmichael seems upset and leaves, Gilbert too makes his excuses, he has promised the next set to Anna’s friend Portia. Anna is surprised that she is jealous and tries to ignore the attraction she feels for Gilbert.

The plot thickens when Gilbert’s investigation undercovers two more murdered women with ties to Carmichael, it seems Carmichael has kissed all the slain women. With no real leads, Gilbert forces Carmichael to remain in society and they keep Angela’s death secret while they investigate. They attend a ball on Friday night and Gilbert sees Anna again – Carmichael teases him about her and says he should pretend to court her, she was good friends with Angela and might have information that would help them. Gilbert refuses, he is attracted to Anna, but he won’t use her for information. He dances with her, but ignores her while they are dancing and then goes to dance with other ladies and chats with them, Anna is hurt and slips away to compose herself. But she finds more than she was bargaining for – Carmichael and Gilbert are in the room as well as the murdered body of Miss Goldwell, another friend of hers. She is understandably upset, but Gilbert asks her to keep quiet about what she has seen.

Over the course of the next few days, Anna wonders about Miss Goldwell’s death and when she runs into Gilbert, she asks about news of Miss Goldwell. Gilbert finally gives into his attraction and kisses her. When they are caught together, he announces that they are betrothed. Anna is shocked, but plays along. They say they haven’t spoken to her father yet and beg Lord Wade and Lady Winmere to not say anything.

Anna tells Gilbert he doesn’t need to marry her, but he finds that he wants her as his wife and asks for time to court her. She has doubts, but agrees.

When yet another murder is committed and this time is found out by the ton – Gilbert worries for Anna’s safety, especially when he learns Carmichael kissed her once – he insists that they marry.

This was a very fast paced murder mystery with a dash of romance. The writing is excellent and the story flows nicely, the mystery is well done and kept me guessing until almost the very end, the romance is sweet and understated, but it is not lost to the mystery.

This is the ninth book in the series, but can easily be read as a standalone title. I would happily recommend this book and look forward to more installments.

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

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Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

Three Lessons in Seduction (A Shadows and Silk Novel)Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: A Shadows and Silk Novel #1
Publication Date: 9/27/17

WOW! I can hardly believe this is the author’s first novel. I’ve seen many novels by very experienced writers who haven’t done nearly as well as Ms. Darling has with her first. It is excellently written and the characters are fully developed, likable, and they make you want to get to know them better. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

The book is set in 1824 Paris, so what is not to love. The wars are over, but there is still a chance that civil war could happen because France’s king is at death’s door. Should the monarch expire and his successor is assassinated, chaos could reign supreme in France and then spread to the rest of the continent and even destabilize England. While the main story is set in 1824 Paris, there are flashbacks to England and the initial meeting, marriage and separation of Nick and Mariana. While I’m not a big fan of flashbacks, these were well done and didn’t bother me.

Lady Mariana Montfort Asquith has lived separately from her husband for over ten years. He lives in Paris and only comes home to see his children three or four times a year and Mariana has little, if any, contact with him in all that time. She’s spent those ten years hardening her heart and trying not to love him because he betrayed her and ripped her heart from her chest. Now, she has a letter saying that he is either missing or deceased in Paris as part of his service to the Crown. Service to the Crown? He haphazardly worked for some minor government agency there didn’t he? Whatever it is, she has to know, so she’ll go to Paris and either find him alive or bring his body home to be buried in England.

Lord Nicholas Asquith was raised by parents that were at war with each other. Their battles, at home and in public, were legendary. They had married for love, but Nick’s father was a philanderer. Nick had always felt that he was to blame for all of the governesses who came and quickly left, but later he learned why that was so. That made Nick very distrustful of love because it would blow up on you and cause you no end of pain. No, Nick would have a society marriage where there were no emotions involved. Then, he met Lady Mariana Montfort and he was lost – he loved her more and more each day and then when the twins were born his heart swelled with even more love. Then, panic set in – he knew that it was only a matter of time before the love would blow up and his work for the Home Office put his family in danger. So – what could he do to keep them safe? Yep – I didn’t like his answer either.

When Mariana arrives in Paris, Nick wonders what is going on, but he knows that he MUST keep her at arm’s length because he can’t control himself around her. He’s created a popinjay persona that he always uses around her because he knows she hates it and will stay away from him. Then, he realizes that someone is using Mariana to get to him. He needs to know who that is and to flush them out because they are most likely the person who is plotting an assassination to destabilize France. Nick can’t get Mariana to leave, so he has no choice other than to involve her in foiling the plot and unmasking the master-mind. That way, he can keep an eye on her and keep her safe. As they work together, they each discover that the love isn’t gone – but – they still have to guard themselves because they know they can’t have a life together.

I had a very hard time getting to like Nick – well – maybe that isn’t accurate. I liked him right away – but I didn’t, in the least, like what he did. He chose – very deliberately – to leave the wife and children he loved – and he deliberately hurt her very, very deeply in doing so. We come to know his reasons for that, but like most of those kinds of reasons, they are pretty flimsy and could have been resolved with some good conversations and loving support.

What didn’t I like about the book? Well – I absolutely, completely and totally hated that the villain in the story got absolutely no punishment. None. Nada. Zip. This person hurt his own family deeply – especially his two nieces and their husbands, he plotted an assassination, he used an injured man unmercifully and he was going to destabilize a country and maybe even a continent. Yes – he does all of that and he gets no punishment. No – and that dissatisfaction caused me to reduce the star-ratings for the book.

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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.”

A Devil of A Duke by Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, #2)A Devil of a Duke by Madeline Hunter
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Decadent Dukes Society, #2

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford is an unrepentant rake, he revels in his debauchery and could care less what society thinks. But he is more than just a decadent duke, his is also a protective older brother and that is what brings him to his brother Harry’s house, Harry is suffering from his first heartbreak and Langford will console him and assure him that women are plentiful and basically interchangeable – no point in being sad if you lose one, especially when there are so many to choose from! Harry wants to retreat to the country and mope in private, but Langford insists that he stay in town and attend the masked ball in three days.

Amanda Waverly is the secretary of the eccentric Lady Farnsworth, she is also the daughter of thieves, a life she thought she left far behind, but with her mother’s freedom and possibly her life in the balance, Amanda will have to return to a life she hates to save her. She attends the masked ball for the purpose of meeting Lord Harry, she needs access to his house to achieve her objective. But Harry is not interested in her flirtations and sends a silent plea to his brother to save him from the bold shepherdess who is currently throwing herself at him.

Langford smoothly separates the shepherdess from his brother’s side and maneuvers her put into the garden. If she is looking for a tryst – he is better suited to the job. They share a kiss and she finagles an invite to Harry’s house. She agrees to meet him there and leaves – he asks her name and she ignores him.

They meet and when he falls asleep, she does what she came to do and slips away. Langford wakes alone and annoyed. He still doesn’t know her name! So when he finds her shawl, he uses it to see her again. He is fascinated by her and can’t remember the last time (if ever) a woman didn’t fall at his feet. He will find her and she will succumb!

Let the games begin! These two are a perfect match but who they are may make that meaningless, especially when Langford learns the whole truth.

This is a well written, entertaining story, with witty banter (especially with the other dukes), steamy love scenes, secrets, lies, a resourceful heroine, a determined hero, schemes and finally a HEA that seemed impossible to attain! I really enjoyed this book and will be impatiently waiting for Brentworth’s story!!!

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

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Marry by Elizabeth Essex

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Marry (Highland Brides, #4)Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Marry by Elizabeth Essex
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Highland Brides, #4

Release Date: March 20, 2018

The wedding day of Lady Greer Douglas and Ewan Cameron, the Duke of Crieff is finally here, after 10 years of writing letters and falling in love, they will finally meet and marry.

Greer is in alt, she loves Ewan with her entire being and he is her best friend and today she will not only marry him, but look upon his beloved face for the first time! Betrothed as children, they have never met, the timing has always worked against them, but they have written letters and come to know each other and have fallen in love. Both are anxious and excited for the wedding.

But this day will not be the fairy tale Greer has envisioned, first they are delayed when they find a badly beaten man in the road, Greer doesn’t hesitate to help, the man is barely alive, they are preparing to take him to the castle when the moorkeeper for Crieff, Dewar comes along. He recognizes the man and tells Greer, he will take him and care for him. Greer is reluctant to let the man go, she feels drawn to him, but Ewan awaits. They continue up to the castle and are shocked that no one is there to greet them, they knock on the door and learn the awful news – Ewan is dead. His cousin Malcolm has installed himself in the castle as the new Duke and has the audacity to offer to marry her in Ewan’s stead. Greer is devastated and Malcolm doesn’t give them any straight answers. He says he doesn’t even have Ewan’s body yet, he was killed in Edinburgh after a night of carousing with his friends. Greer doesn’t believe him, but has no way to refute his words. In her sorrow, she runs out of the house and to the moors to grieve, this is where she finds Ewan’s dog Gent, alone and disheveled. As she takes the dog and makes her way back to the castle, she is intercepted by Malcolm and has no choice but to walk with him. They pass the moorkeeper cottage and Dewar tells her that the man died. He sees the dog and offers to take him, but Greer asks Malcolm if she can keep him.

Dewar tends to the man from the road, he is barely clinging to life and has only said one word – Crieff. The man is Ewan and Dewar is convinced that his life is still in danger. Ewan doesn’t remember anything – his mind is a black void, the only thing he knows is the name “Crieff”, but he doesn’t even know what that means. His only memory is a vison of a bridge, a woman and a penny. Dewar tells him that the Douglas of Delshee found him, that is another name he knows, but doesn’t know why. For his protection, Dewar moves him to a brothy near Glas Maol (yet, another name he knows).

Greer returns home and is inconsolable for the next two weeks, but finally she is given a purpose to get out of the house – the new duke is selling off unentailed land and her father wants her to look at it, it is near her favorite place, Glas Maol – this is the place between hers and Ewan’s estates – a place they had planned to meet but never got the chance. She goes and sees Ewan, but doesn’t’ recognize him as Ewan – having never met him in person and this man is still healing from a beating and is covered with bruises. She doesn’t know him, but Gent does! Greer begins to foster hope that this man, might be her Ewan. She talks to him and learns that he has no memory since the beating. She befriends him and promises to visit him again. She returns home to find Malcolm there – inviting them to Ewan’s funeral.

Ewan begins to heal and bits and pieces of his memory return, he is also falling in love with Greer, but sadly has no memory of his previous relationship with her. Greer is now positive that this man is Ewan and writes to his friends for answers to his last day in Edinburgh. But they have to proceed with caution, because even if Ewan can’t remember what happened to him, it is clear that someone tried to kill him. When he finally remembers who he is, it is bittersweet for Greer, as he has no memory of her. So she has found the man she loved, but has still lost him.

Together with his friends, they try to sort out what happened to Ewan that last day and who is trying to kill him.

This is a very sweet story of lost love found, betrayal and friendship. It is well written, it is set in the present, but is interspersed with the letters Greer and Ewan wrote to each other, so the reader learns their past and sees them falling in love, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when Ewan doesn’t remember her. The story has several suspenseful moments, some steamy love scenes, cameos from Quince and Alastair from Mad About the Marquess (Highland Brides, #2), a really nasty villain and a very, very touching ending.

I have loved all the books in this series, but I think this might be my favorite, Greer and Ewan truly are soulmates. I highly recommend this book, it is the fourth in the series, but it could be read as a stand alone title with no problems.

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

The Earl in My Bed by Stacy Reid

The Earl in My Bed (Rebellious Desires)The Earl in My Bed by Stacy Reid
Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Rebellious Desires, #2

Release Date: April 10, 2018

Daphne Collins and Sylvester Wentworth, The Earl of Carrington met when he saved her and her dog from a near drowning, he takes her back to his home and they talk, he is enchanted with her and she with him. Once she is home she asks her father about him and learns that he is an earl. Her father Viscount Blagrove then does the unthinkable, he blackmails Sylvester into marrying her.

For six years Sylvester has ignored his wife and she is unhappy, she learned on her wedding night that he was blackmailed into marrying her, but has no idea what her father held over him or why he believes she was party to the blackmail – but after six long, lonely years, she is done. She knows she cannot divorce him, so she plans to force him to divorce her. She then imagines she will travel and maybe one day re-marry. She has been faithful to her vows, despite being left alone and at the mercy of the ton’s rakes and gossipmongers. Viscount Redgrave has been pursuing her for the past year and tries in earnest to have her become his lover. But Daphne will not break her vows, she tells Redgrave that she plans to make Sylvester divorce her and Redgrave warns her that he will not be able to marry a divorcee – she doesn’t care – she needs to be free. She loved Sylvester when they married and still does, but she can no longer live with his distain and barely leashed anger.

Sylvester is back in England after spending time in Jamaica where his is actively trying to free slaves and enforce the crowns law regarding slavery – he is passionate about this cause and has made enemies – enemies that have tried on more than one occasion to kill him. After barely surviving the last attack, he decides to go home, make peace with Daphne and get himself an heir. So when he learns from his man of business that Daphne has a lover, he is enraged. He confronts her and doesn’t believe her when she insists she has been faithful. Then she informs him that she wants a divorce – he refuses and makes a counter offer – give him 8 weeks to woo her and if at the end of that time she is still unhappy, he will petition for a divorce (a promise he has no intention of keeping).

She reluctantly agrees, but refuses to allow him in her bed. He agrees and plans to seduce her into staying with him. But when old threats, secrets, doubts and mistrust come calling, can these two come together and find their HEA?

I thought the writing was great and I liked both Sylvester (great name!) and Daphne, but I had a really hard time wrapping my head around Daphne wanting a divorce – because she is unhappy in her cold marriage? Because she is lonely? Because she wants to be free? None of these reasons made sense to me – as a divorcee she would be shunned. So being shunned and becoming a social pariah is better than having a loveless marriage where your husband ignores you but gives you a huge allowance and pretty much doesn’t care what you do with your time? There were also some inconsistencies in the plot that baffled me and I am still not sure if the threats to Sylvester were all done by the same person. Overall, I thought the previous book was much better, but I am not sorry I read this book and would recommend it. It is the second book in the series and while Georgiana and Rhys make an appearance in this book, it could easily be read as a stand alone title.

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

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