Novella

The Traitor’s Club: Jeb by Laura Landon

The Traitor's Club: JebThe Traitor’s Club: Jeb by Laura Landon
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Traitor’s Club, #3

Release Date: December 26, 2017

Lieutenant Jeb Danvers is a former spy and “traitor” who has no desire to resume his work for the crown, but when Her Majesty makes him an offer that he cannot refuse, he agrees to take one last mission.

His mission is to travel to Scotland and find out who sent the Queen a jewel from a crown that was stolen years ago and assumed lost and retrieve the rest of the jewels. The package sent to the Queen was traced back to the MacFarlane clan and Jeb is expected to use his family connections to gain entrance.

Jeb’s father, the Earl of Stafford went to school with Laird MacFarlane and Jeb uses that connection to stay with him for a few days. He hopes to find the person who sent the jewels and return to England as quickly as possible.
Jeb meets Mariah MacFarlane shortly after he arrives and knows he has found the person who sent the jewel – but why? Why would Mariah turn on her own father?

Mariah MacFarlane is impressed by the Englishman sent by the Queen and out of loyalty to her English mother, she will do all she can to help him retrieve and return the jewels, but she has one condition, she goes to London with Jeb. She knows once her father learns of her deeds, there will be no going back to Scotland – – – ever.

Jeb doesn’t want Mariah to be involved, any more than she already is, but knows her life will be forfeit if she stays. Over the few days spent in her company, he has come to admire her and he cannot deny their mutual attraction, but until the jewels are safely returned to the Queen and Mariah’s father has been brought to justice, there can be no future for them.

As they travel to London, Mariah shares her reasons for turning on her father and also admits to the attraction between them, however, there is no time to explore their deeper feelings as they are being pursued by her father and his men. They narrowly escape the first attack, but are not so lucky the next time. Jeb is shot and Mariah risks her own life to save him.

They hide out at Caleb’s house and Mariah nurses Jeb back to health. They both know they are in love, but until they can find a way to keep her father away from her – there is no way they can have a real relationship. When Jeb’s father shows up at Caleb’s house, he insists that Jeb and Mariah return with him. He has a plan to draw out her father and end the standoff once and for all.
Unfortunately, things do not go as planned and Mariah is shot and in grave danger of losing her life. This is when Jeb realizes that she is the love of his life and that he cannot imagine life without her.

This was a short novella, but of the three I’ve read, this was hands down the best of the bunch. I loved this story, it is well written, flows perfectly, it has amazing depth for such a short book, it has a lot of action, some warmish love scenes, a lot of heart break, a visit from the Queen and from the other “traitors” and finally, a beautifully done HEA.

This is the third book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title with no problems at all. I highly recommend this story and can’t wait for Caleb’s book!!

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

Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue)Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Rules of a Rogue, #1.5

Release Date: November 28, 2017

This was a very sweet Christmas novella that is tied into the Rules of the Rogue series, but could easily be a stand alone title.

Spymaster and newly minted viscount, Asher Rainham is attending a holiday house party being hosted by his friend and former spy Lucas. Asher is a very sweet man who happens to be perceived as a bit odd by most people, he has a keen ability to read people, calculate odds and it a bit socially awkward. The book opens with Asher being perplexed by Mrs. Lily Mereworth, for the first time in too long to remember, Asher cannot read someone and it fascinates him.

Lily Mereworth is a distant cousin and dear friend of Rosalind, Lucas’ wife. She is a widow who is trying to find herself again after years of an unhappy marriage. She has concocted a list of things to accomplish before Christmas Eve, things that will help her reclaim her former joy and happiness. And she has managed to complete all but two things on her list – Drinking Absinthe and seducing a rogue – both of which she hopes to do at this house party.

Lily and Asher do not start out on the best of terms, she beats him at cards and he unintentionally insults her. But neither can really deny the growing attraction. Lily tries to ignore the feelings Asher invokes, because she doesn’t want to remarry and she is pretty sure Asher is not a man who would dally with a woman.

Asher wants Lily, but treads carefully, he knows he wants more than Lily is ready to give, but he is determined to win her in the end.

The story is well written, flows nicely, has a lot of amusing scenes, a few steamy-ish scenes, a great cast of secondary characters and a very well earned HEA. One of the things I liked best about this story is that Asher and Lily are not your stereotypical hero and heroine – they are both older, he is not a rake and she is not a dewy eyed virgin, it was a nice change of pace from the atypical historical romance and much appreciated by this reader.

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

Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane, #12.6)Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Maiden Lane, #12.6

Release Date: December 5, 2017

This was a sweet (and surprisingly steamy) little Christmas novella.

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque (Remember him from ML#5 Lord of Darkness?) hates Christmas, but he loves his grandmother, so agrees to travel with her for the holidays. When they are caught in a snowstorm and their carriage is wrecked, Adam sets off to find shelter for them – imagine his surprise and dread when the only house nearby is that of Godric St. John’s mother and that she is hosting a Christmas house party, whose guests include Godric, Megs and his step-sisters.

Adam asks for assistance and is welcomed by the family, by all except Sarah St. John – she hates him, well not him in particular, she hates rakes and Adam is a self-proclaimed, unrepentant rogue.

Sarah and Adam banter back and forth, each is fascinated by the other, but Sarah has no more love for rakes than Adam has for innocents. Forced into each others company, they begin to see there is more to the other than just a label – Sarah has a reason to hate rakes and Adam has reasons to scorn love, but there is a lot more to Sarah than her past and Adam may not be the rogue she thought he was.

This was a sweet story of opposites that turn out to be a matching pair and find a love of a lifetime.

The book was short, but it was well written and fleshed out, the love between them did seem a little out of the blue, but overall it was a very good story with steamy love scenes and delightful cameos by Godric and Megs St. John.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by the author’s assistant/publicist*

A Scottish Lord for Christmas by Lauren Smith

A Scottish Lord for Christmas (Sins and Scandals #3)A Scottish Lord for Christmas by Lauren Smith

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Sins and Scandals #3
Publication Date: 12/5/17

Scrumptiously, deliciously different tale of love. Lauren Smith always delights us with her wonderful way of developing wonderful characters and writing compelling stories for them. This book – and this series certainly attests to that.

This stories in this series begin with a house party in book one of the series. Leopold Graham, Earl of Hampton was almost ‘pockets to let’ and needed to find a rich wife. He had his sights set on Millie, but he didn’t like her very much. So, Leopold gets his HEA in the first book and Millie gets hers in the second book – and now, in the third book, Millie’s sister gets her HEA.

As this tale begins, Leo and Ivy are engaged and Owen has just ‘ruined’ Millie so they have to marry. Millie and her parents leave Rowena at the house party while they go to their neighboring estate to make arrangements for Millie’s wedding to Owen. Rowena is so nervous because she’s just had her first season and this is her first house party. She’s afraid she’ll make a mistake and fall flat on her face even with Leo’s mom as her chaperone.

During dinner that night, all of the ladies are all a’ twitter about Quinn MacCauley, Lord Forres, a Scottish Earl. Rowena is half-way down the table from him, but she finds his voice mesmerizing and her eyes are constantly drawn to him.

The next day, while taking a walk in the gardens, Rowena sees a small girl running her chubby little legs off – directly for the slippery, frozen fountain in the garden and there is nobody running after her. Rowena hikes up her skirts and takes off at a full run and manages to snare the little sprite just before she pitches headlong into the fountain. She is about two or three years old and she was looking for ‘fishies’. Rowena hugs her close and falls in love with the child. She has no idea who the child belongs to or why she would be all alone in the garden. Then, the child’s nurse comes puffing up to Rowena and explains that the little girl is a bit of an escape artist and that she is the daughter of Lord Forres who is a widower. At about that time, Lord Forres himself runs up and is surprised to see his daughter, Blair, being held in the arms of a stranger because she will not usually have anything to do with people that she is not totally familiar with.

Quinn was totally, completely, profoundly and irrevocably in love with his wife and her death devastated him. If it weren’t for his sweet bairn, he wouldn’t have made it through. Now, he has decided to find himself a wife – not because he wants to, but because Blair needs a mother and he needs someone to oversee the household part of the estate so he can be free to manage the rest. He wants someone who is totally different than his first wife because he doesn’t want any reminders. Since Maura was a Scot, he looked for an English woman, etc.

Whomever Quinn decided to marry, she would have to understand that there would never be love between them. It would always be a marriage of convenience – no love, probably not even affection. However, he couldn’t help but be attracted to Rowena who was sweet, gentle and kind – and she genuinely cared for his daughter. Once he decided to propose he was really surprised when Rowena accepted.

Their journey, most especially Quinn’s journey, to finding love and happiness is a delightful read. I couldn’t put it down. The characters were wonderfully developed and I was truly invested in the story and their happiness.

See my reviews for the first two books:
An Earl by Any Other Name – Book 1
A Gentleman Never Surrenders – Book 2

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev

“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 Christmas Stranger by Anna Campbell

The Christmas StrangerThe Christmas Stranger by Anna Campbell

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Kitty Hall is at her wits end, her son Joss refuses to settle down and ignores all the nice girls she has placed in his path. In desperation, she writes to his godfather, Dr. Thomas Black and asks if he would help her find a bride for Joss. Dr. Black is about to refuse when he remembers that his cousin’s daughter is working as the housekeeper at his estate in the north. When her mother died five years ago, he meant to see her settled and find her a husband, but he never got around to it. Seems like he can kill two birds with one stone. Joss is a gifted architect, so Dr. Black requests that he go to Thorncroft Manor and give him suggestions for updating the house. He means to write to Maggie and let her know and to Kitty to tell her the plan, but he gets sidetracked and forgets.

Maggie Carr is not looking forward to spending Christmas alone, she has been alone too much since her parents died. But alone she will be, because she wouldn’t ask Jane to stay with her and miss time with her family. After Jane leaves, Maggie settles in for the night only to be awoken by a banging at the door.

Joss barely made it to Thorncroft with the blizzard raging, but he is here now and no little slip of a girl is going to keep him out. Maggie is shocked when Joss shows up, she would love nothing better than to kick him out, but if Dr. Black sent him, she doesn’t have the right and the storm is too bad. Shaking with cold as they are standing in the foyer arguing, she refuses to go with him to the kitchen. So Joss picks her up and tosses her over his shoulder and takes her himself.

Joss is a gentle giant, he was raised a gentleman, but his manners are a bit rusty. He knows he should leave, but Maggie sparks something in him he has never felt before. He wants to know more about her.

As they spend time together, they form a friendship and Joss does his best to bring some joy in her life. When an impromptu kiss unleashes the barely passion he feels for her, he knows he must leave. He wants Maggie, but he will not dishonor her, he will return later once Jane has returned and court her properly.

Joss sets out and Maggie is heartbroken, she knows she loves him and wonders if he will return and if he does will the magic between them be the same. She feels even more lonely now that she has ever felt and worries about his safety. Later that night, Joss returns, half frozen. The road was impassable and his horse was lame.

Maggie immediately takes charge and gets him warm and fed. After Joss retires, she goes to his room, determined to make memories with Joss that will sustain her after he is gone.

This was a sweet, slightly steamy little novella. The writing was wonderful and the story was well paced. The story is amusing and heartfelt and it has a wonderfully sweet epilogue.

I happily recommend this novella, it is set at Christmas, but it is not overly “Christmas-y”, it is just a great story about two wonderful people meeting and falling in love around Christmastime.

*I was provided a copy for review by the Author*

The Duke Who Came To Town by Sophie Barnes

The Duke Who Came To Town (The Honorable Scoundrels, #3)The Duke Who Came To Town by Sophie Barnes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Honorable Scoundrels #3
Publication Date: 11/21/17

This is the last of three novellas in the Honorable Scoundrels series and it is absolutely lovely. It is well paced, excellently written and Ms. Barnes manages to do the almost impossible – she manages to provide a truly romantic story filled with fully developed and likable characters while also wrapping up the series with all of the siblings and their spouses – in a novella. All I can say is – well done!

The series follows three sisters who are gently-born but impoverished. They are the great-granddaughters of a member of the aristocracy, but they have fallen on hard times. Their grandfather went into the practice of the law and was very successful – accumulating wealth and estates. Their father, however, didn’t have the acumen his father did and wasn’t successful. Then, after his wife died, he took to drink and eventually had to leave the practice. By the time he passed away, there was nothing left. The estates were sold, the Mayfair mansion was gone, dowries spent and hope for a happy future was crushed. Josephine, the oldest sister, is our heroine in this novella. Louise, the middle sister, was featured in the first novella and Eve, the youngest sister was featured in the second novella. They are very close-knit, lovely, caring, intelligent and independent ladies and watching them find their HEA is a great delight.

All three of these novella’s all take place at basically the same time. Louise leaves on her way north one day, Eve leaves to visit her friend the next day and Josephine’s adventures start that same afternoon.

It is a very cold and windy day in London when Josephine is walking home after seeing her sister Eve off to visit her friend. She’s wondering how much longer she can keep them all afloat on her salary as a bookkeeper. Louise’s taking a job as a governess will help greatly, but it will still be a tight squeeze. Her hands are nearly frozen as she approaches her front door – and spots a grand coach parked at the curb. That is certainly an out-of-place sight in her neighborhood. As she moves to her door and tries to use her frozen fingers to fish her door key from her pocket, the coach door opens and a tall, elegant gentleman steps out and approaches her. After he convinces her to let him enter her home, she learns that he is there as a representative of their absentee guardian to see that they are well. He is dismayed to learn that Louise has taken a job as a governess and that Josephine is employed in a job normally held by a man. Those things reflect badly on the reputation of their guardian and so the gentleman informs Josephine she’ll have to tell Louise to come home and she’ll also have to quit her employment as well. Josephine is incensed by his arrogance and tells him he is a pompous ass – and it gets better from there.

Devon, the Duke of Snowden is immediately attracted to the beautiful Josephine, but he must convince her to take the stipend being offered by his friend and her guardian. Her guardian cannot attend to the task himself because his father, her previous guardian, has died and he’s taking over the title – and discovering he has wards. So, he asks Devon to check on them.

Josephine refuses to leave her position because the men in her life have all proven untrustworthy. She’ll depend on herself from now on. Yet, two days later she loses her employment because the owner has told the manager to cut costs. What follows is a lovely romance story. Devon pursues, but Josephine is very hesitant. How will he win her over? He’ll have to figure out how to extract the real man from the arrogant Duke. Can he? Read this lovely, lovely novella to find out!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev

“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.”

Other Books in this series:
Book 1 – The Governess Who Captured His Heart
Book 2 – The Earl Who Loved Her

Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon a Maiden LaneOnce Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series: Maiden Lane, #12.5

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this was such a sweet book! Mary Whitsun has been a reoccurring secondary character throughout the entire series and it was so nice to see her get a HEA.

Mary Whitsun is an orphan, former of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children in St. Giles but now she is a nursemaid for Lord and Lady Claire. Mary has spent her entire life not knowing her real family, but all that changes the day she meets Henry, Viscount Blackwell.

Henry spies Mary at a bookshop and mistakes her for his fiancé Lady Joanna, but he soon realizes his error and is convinced that Mary is the long lost twin of the Earl of Angrove and Henry’s true fiancé

Mary thinks Henry is just a rake looking to seduce her and refuses to give him her name or her direction. She returns home and tries to forget about the handsome lord. But the next day, Henry shows up at the Claire’s home and he is not alone. He brings with him the Countess of Angrove and her mother the dowager Marchioness. The ladies are sure that Mary is the lost twin, Lady Cecilia and ask her to come home with them. Lord Claire intervenes and tells the ladies to return the next day for Mary’s decision.

Mary can’t believe how much her life has changed and after a visit from her sister Joanna, she decides to take her rightful place and agrees to marry Henry.

Henry is thrilled, he likes Joanna, but Mary sparks something primal in him. As they grow closer, they both begin to fall in love.

But just when it seems Mary will get her fairy tale ending, a surprise twist changes everything and a HEA seems impossible.

I loved this story and it was so fitting that Lord and Lady Claire played such a big role in the book, it brought the entire series full circle. The book is short, but well written and beautifully paced. if you have been following this series, you MUST read this book, but if you haven’t, it could easily be a standalone title. I highly recommend this book and while I am sad that the series is over, I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter ending.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC*

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