Novella

To Love a Highland Rogue by Collette Cameron

To Love a Highland Rogue (Heart of a Scot Book 1)To Love a Highland Rogue by Collette Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Heart of a Scot, #1 (also part of the anthology The Forbidden Highlands)

Release Date: August 28, 2017

Another charming novella by Ms. Cameron! My understanding is this novella is part of the anthology titled : The Forbidden Highlands and inspired Ms. Cameron to begin a new series, Heart of a Scot.

I really loved this novella, Logan and Mayra have been betrothed since they were children, yet they have only seen each other a few times since the contracts were signed.

Logan had no desire to marry Mayra, but when he learned his father spent her dowry and they had no means to repay it, he left his home hoping to make his fortune and escape the arranged marriage. Unfortunately his hopes were not realized and he returned home shortly before his father died. He also learned that his intended had been writing to him and requesting the contract be voided – but that cannot be, he must marry her because he cannot repay the dowry.

Remembering a promise he made to her father to woo her, Logan sets out to meet his betrothed. He is stunned to find the gangly girl he remembered has blossomed into a stunning beauty. He decides that he will get to know her, but does so incognito – he pretends to be his cousin, Coburn. Logan is a bit jaded and distrustful of beautiful women. He wants to get to know Mayra to determine if she is like his spoiled stepmother.

As he gets to know her, he realizes that she is a truly wonderful person and he wants to marry her, but he has yet to reveal his true identity and fears her reaction.

Mayra has been raised knowing she will have to marry Logan, but after her father dies and the clan starts to decline, she begs Logan to release her, so she can use the dowry to help her clan. She is immediately attracted to Logan/Coburn, but knows she is not free to indulge her desires with him.

Logan declares his love to Mayra and attempts to tell her the truth, but they are interrupted and his secret is revealed before he can explain himself.

Mayra is heartbroken, she fell in love with Logan, but feels betrayed and more than a little bit angry. She listens to Logan’s explanations and even understands his position, but something has broken in her that she is not sure she can regain. She tells Logan that she needs time and will talk to him when she returns from Edinburgh.

This was a very sweet story, I really liked both Logan and Mayra and felt their connection and hoped that they would be able to overcome the secrets and lies that drove them apart. The writing was excellent and the story flowed nicely, there are not really any love scenes, but the story does not suffer the lack, there are very few secondary characters in the book, but Logan’s cousin Coburn is priceless (in the notes at the end of the book, Ms. Cameron promises the next book will be about Coburn – he was such a scamp in this book that I can’t wait to meet the woman that brings him to his knees!!).

All in all, this was a great little novella and I am happy to recommend it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an arc provided to me by the author*

A Love to Remember by Bronwen Evans

A Love to Remember (The Disgraced Lords, #7)A Love to Remember by Bronwen Evans
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Disgraced Lords, #7
Release Date: August 29, 2017

I LOVED this book, if you have been following the Disgraced Lords series then you already know Philip and Rose and you have probably been wondering why they haven’t married. If you haven’t read the series, you will still enjoy this book as Philip and Rose have primarily been secondary characters and Ms. Evans give more than enough back story to make this a stand alone title.

The book opens with Philip Flagstaff, the new Earl of Cumberland standing at the grave of his older brother Robert, the previous Earl. Philip is overwhelmed with grief and guilt, he blames himself for his brother’s death as Robert sacrificed his own life to save Philip at Waterloo. At that moment, Philip makes a vow, he will never marry or have children, so the earldom he feels he stole from his older brother will go to Thomas, his younger brother. He believes the only way he can honor his brother is by sacrificing his own happiness. As he is standing there he is approached by Rose Deverill, Duchess of Roxborough. Rose has long admired Philip and had secret hopes to one day marry him, but her father sold her into marriage at 18 to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She endured marriage to him and was rewarded with the birth of her son and widowhood on the same day. She has no desire to remarry and has spent the last few years as a “wicked widow”, taking lovers and refusing all offers of marriage.

Fast forward two years, Rose and Philip have been exclusive lovers since that day at the graveside, but now Rose wants more. She loves Philip and wants to marry him, her young son adores him and she would love more children, but she is afraid to broach the topic with Philip. For his part, Philip loves Rose and can’t imagine a life without her and if not for his vow, he would marry her. So when the topic comes up, Rose is crushed to learn that Philip does not want to marry. She believes that he will marry, but not her. When a misunderstanding at a ball occurs, these two are forced to have the conversation they have both been dreading. Philip again says he will not marry and Rose tells him that she can no longer be his lover, she will remarry for the sake of her son, but if Philip cannot be her husband, she must be free of him so she can move on. Heartbroken, they spend one last night together and part ways.

Over the next few weeks, they dance around each other and each are subjected to jealousy when they are seen with other people. The tension between them is white hot and again Philip asks Rose to reconsider and again she refuses. When her son’s guardian learns of their split, he tells Rose it is time for her to remarry and expects her to find a suitable groom by the time her son goes off to school. Rose is still holding out hope that Philip will change his mind and asks Lord Kirkwood to invite him to his house party. He agrees but tells her if Philip does not propose, she must move on and find someone else. Rose knows there will never be anyone else and has a secret that could force Philip to marry her – but that is not what she wants, she wants him to let go of his guilt and choose her.

At the house party Rose decides that she must tell Philip her secret, but when an attempt is made on her son’s life and threats are made to her, she doesn’t know who she can turn to. She decides that she must leave and returns to London without telling Philip anything. Philip knows that someone is trying to hurt Drake and enlists the Libertine Scholars to help him. He knows he loves Rose and will do anything to protect her – even if that means they must marry. When he learns she left the house party without telling him, he is furious.

He returns to London to confront Rose and tells her they will marry. Rose refuses, she tells him that she loves him, but if he can’t choose her over his guilt, they would both be unhappy. Philip does not take this news well and is determined to change her mind. But before he can the villain strikes again. And Philip must decide if being a martyr is worth losing the only woman he has ever and will ever love.

OMG! This book was amazing, it is well written, flows perfectly, has super hot love scenes, a lot of action, a bit of angst, moments when you want to smack the hero, a couple of misunderstandings, cameos by the former Disgraced Lords and their ladies and finally a hard won HEA.

I highly recommend this book, even if you haven’t been following the series, this book is not to be missed!!

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

A Diamond for a Duke by Collette Cameron

A Diamond for a DukeA Diamond for a Duke by Collette Cameron
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Date: July 24, 2017 (tentative)

Series: Seductive Scoundrels, #1

This sweet novella is based on the Fairytale “The Fairies” aka “Diamonds and Toads”

The heroine, Jemmah is the younger sister of Adelinda and daughter to Belinda. Adelinda and Belinda are outwardly beautiful women, yet they are nasty, selfish women in reality. Belinda favors her older daughter who takes after her in both appearance and personality. Both women are verbally abusive to Jemmah and treat her like a servant. Jemmah believes her mother distains her because she takes after her father. Her father passed away while in the arms of his mistress and soon after, Belinda started taking out her unhappiness on Jemmah and opened the door for Adelinda to treat her the same way. The one bright spot in her life was her friendship with Jules.

Jules is now the Duke of Dandridge, but years ago he was simply the often overlooked second son. He and Jemmah shared a special bond, both never quite fitting into their families. When he left for school, he lost touch with her. He has suffered incredible losses, his father, his brother and his betrothed. When a chance meeting reunites them, he is thrilled and immediately knows that she is the woman he has always been looking for. They share a kiss and Jules asks to call on her.

Knowing her mother would never let Jules court her, especially while Adelinda is unwed, she makes plans to meet him at her Aunt’s house. Later that evening, she is offered the opportunity to act as companion to her Aunt’s mother in law and she will also sponsor Jemmah for the season. She is happy to accept the position and participate in the season. But her mother and sister make a scene and insist that Adelinda should be the one to be sponsored. Aunt Theo steps in and threatens to cut them off if they do not allow Jemmah to be sponsored.

The next day, her mother confronts her and tells her in no uncertain terms that if she doesn’t step down and let Adelinda have the position, Jemmah will no longer be welcome in their home.

Jemmah has a kind and sweet soul, but for the first time in her life, she thinks of herself first and leaves. She meets up with Jules at her aunts house and he informs her he intends to court her.

This was a truly sweet and touching story of two overlooked people finding complete happiness with each other. The book is well written, paced perfectly and while I generally prefer a steamier read, I found I did not miss the lack of love scenes in this book (it was kisses only).

I would be happy to recommend this book and look forward to the next book in the series!

*I was gifted a copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review*

Catching Captain Nash by Anna Campbell

Catching Captain Nash (Dashing Widows, #6)Catching Captain Nash by Anna Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Dashing Widows, #6

Release Date: Available Now

This is the story of Morweena & Robert Nash and in my opinon, the best book in the entire Dashing Widows Series.

We first met Morweena in book 4, Pursuing Lord Pascal, when Sally convinced Amy and Morweena to come with her to London and become dashing widows. Morweena had no desire to go to London and had no intention of being a dashing widow. She was still in deep mourning for her husband Robert, who had been lost at sea and declared dead almost 4 years prior. The only thing that kept her going was their daughter, Kerenza, a daughter that Robert never met or even knew about.

Morweena finally decides to put aside her grief for the sake of her daughter and agrees to marry Hugh Rutherford, Baron Garson. She doesn’t love him, but she considers him a friend and holds some affection for him. The night they are to announce their engagement, Robert reappears.

Robert is not the man Morweena remembers and as overjoyed she is at his return, she maintains her distance, unsure of the man standing before her.

This is a second chance at love story done so right, I cannot even put into words how much this story moved me. I always hoped that Robert would miraculously return from the dead, because the love that Morween held for him was so potent, so deep and so beautiful, that I couldn’t bear for her to have lost it so soon after finding it. But the man that returns to her is not the man who left all those years ago, any more than she is the same woman.

Robert has lived through a nightmare and his return to his former life is not as simple as one would assume (I kept thinking of the movie Castaway while reading this book – but thankfully, this has a much better ending!). Robert is overwhelmed by everything, especially finding the love of his life on the verge of marrying another man and learning he has a daughter.

Other reviewers have commented that the story suffered from a lack of conflict and while I respect their opinions, I disagree. I thought the conflict was subtle and mostly internal – but I felt Robert’s pain and internal struggle to accept the changes, I grieved for the lost moments with his daughter, I was awed by the steadfast love that both Robert and Morweena shared and I was filled with joy when he finally met his daughter (I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when they met for the first time). I also felt Morweena’s apprehension, her worry and her undying love for this man. It is so rare to read a book that both points of view are so clearly expressed and Ms. Campbell nailed it.

This book is well written, paced perfectly, it is super steamy (YES!!), emotionally charged and perfectly executed. And while I am sad that the series is over, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. I highly recommend this book – it could be read as a stand alone title, but believe me when I say you should really read at least books 4 & 5 before you read this story.

*I was gifted a copy of this book for the purpose of review*

Mists and Moonrise by Various Authors

Mists and Moonrise: The Reluctant Brides CollectionMists and Moonrise: The Reluctant Brides Collection by Kathryn Le Veque, Eliza Knight, Madeline Martin, Laurel O’Donnell, Catherine Kean and Elizabeth Rose

Release Date: 06/20/17

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice collection of never before published novellas, they are all based on the legend of the ill-fated lovers Kael & Aelwen. While all the stories are rooted in the legend, they are not connected and are all easily read as stand alone titles.

Lady of the Moon, Kathryn Le Veque – 4.5 stars. This is the story of Samarra & Rhodes. When Rhodes refuses to marry the woman his father has chosen for him, his father hires Samarra to abduct him and deliver him to the cave in St. Agnes. His father believes that if Rhodes touches the wall with his betrothed, he will fall in love with her and willingly marry. This was a story of “insta-love”, but it is very well done and surprisingly believable. The story moves at a fast pace, has a lot of action, a little steam and an ironic twist.

Laird of Darkness, Eliza Knight – 5 stars. This is the story of Rosamond and Tierney. Rosamond’s father has abandoned her in the cave at St. Agnes to punish her for rumors at court (which are actually about her twin sister). Tierney has been held prisoner at the tower of London for the last ten years, he was branded a traitor when he saved the Bruce’s life in battle. He has finally been released and is returning to Scotland to reclaim his lands and title when he finds Rosamond in the cave. Tierney rescues Rosamond and on the journey back to Scotland, they share a kiss that leads to a misunderstanding. Once resolved, the decide to marry. They return to Scotland, marry and declare their love before Tierney must leave on a mission for the Bruce. This was one of my favorite novellas in the book, it is fast paced, well written, very steamy, had a believable love story and best of all – Eliza Knight says that this is just the beginning of their story, that she will be following this up with a full length novel later this year (Yay!!)

The Highlander’s Untamed Lady, Madeline Martin – 5 Stars. This is the story of Diana & Evander. Evander’s people are starving so he accepts a bride from England sight unseen as her father has offered him an outrageous dowry to marry her. Diana has been imprisoned by her father for refusing to marry, she manages to escape only to be chased by Evander. He catches up with her in the cave at St. Agnes and tells her that they are to marry and return to Scotland. She of course refuses, leaving Evander no choice but to drug her (and her two pet wolves). They travel back to Scotland and Diana begins to realize how wrong she was about Evander. They marry as soon as they reach his castle, but Diana is not ready to share all her secrets with Evander and tries to keep him at arms length, but the more she gets to know him, the more she admires him. Once Diana admits to herself, that she is in love with him, she takes the ultimate leap of faith and shares her darkest secret. Evander is all you could want in a hero – I loved him! It seems like these two are destined for a HEA, when an unexpected twist threatens to tear them apart. This was my favorite novella – it is well written, emotional, steamy and has a really sweet ending.

Bravest of them All, Laurel O’Donnell – 3.5 Stars. This is the story of Luke and Nessa. Luke has known Nessa for most of her life, they grew up together and Luke is betrothed to Nessa’s older (spoiled/vain) sister Melwyn. Luke has been in France with the girls father for years fighting in the war, their father was struck down and Luke is returning with him to England. They arrive to find that Nessa has been abducted – the villain mistook her for her sister. Luke immediately sets out to rescue her, but his party is betrayed and ambushed. He manages to escape with Nessa, but their story is far from over. Luke is injured when the traitor catches up to them and they must run for their lives. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that they love each other. Once they reach her father’s castle, Nessa has decided that she cannot betray her sister and tells her father that she does not love Luke. This leads to a misunderstanding that almost costs them the love of a lifetime. While I found the story entertaining and well rounded, it did wrap up a bit too quickly and ended abruptly. It was well written and had a lot of action, but there was no steam at all and the heroine comes across as a martyr.

That Knight by the Sea, Catherine Kean – 3.5 stars. This is the story of Garret and Adaline (Addy). Six years ago Garret and Addy were in love, but Garret was sent away. Six years later, Addy believes Garret is dead and is on the verge of being married to a man she detests. Garret is a mercenary and has survived the last 6 years by his sword, when the man who helped him gain his knighthood requests that he abduct Addy, he immediately refuses, the lord then blackmails Garret into compliance. Garret still loves Addy, but he does not believe he is worthy of her because of his part. When he abducts her, she does not recognize him, but it does not take her long to figure out who he is. She begs him to release her, but he refuses – until he learns that he has been double crossed. He tries to get Addy away, but she escapes him and all hell breaks loose. It doesn’t look good for our lovers, but help comes from an unexpected source. This novella had a lot of potential, but there were a lot of typos and some inconsistencies that dimished the story for me.

Pirate in the Mist Elizabeth Rose – 2.5 stars. This is the story of Brody and Gwen. Brody is the captain of a pirate ship, his crew has mutinied and forced him overboard. He swims to a deserted island and spends a week building a raft. He is picked up by a passing fishing boat, only to go overboard again while rescuing the captain’s daughter, Gwen. They find the raft (?) and make it to shore, where they enter the cave in St. Agnes. They touch the wall and immediately fall in love – at least Gwen does. They leave the cave and head to an inn, where miraculously Brody’s long lost friend is the owner. Gwen learns some awful truths about her family and Brody wants to protect her. He decides that he is also falling in love with her and wants them to marry. This story was just too short to do it justice – it seemed rushed and totally unbelievable. If it was longer and the author had time to build up the story and develop a stronger relationship between Gwen and Brody, I think it could have been at 4 star read.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read and for the price, you can’t go wrong – I happily recommend this book

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an ARC provided to by the author*

A Fine Madness by Elizabeth Essex

A Fine Madness (Highland Brides Book 3)A Fine Madness by Elizabeth Essex

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

This was a charming little story about Hamish Cathcart, the third son of an earl and Rory’s (from Mad for Love) half brother and Elspeth Otis, orphaned daughter of John Otis, infamous author of a banned book. This is the third book in the series, but it appears to run concurrently with Mad About the Marquess and I thought it tied the three books together nicely.

Hamish is in a bind, his father has decided that it is time for him to marry and has given him about 5 weeks to pick a bride or be cut off. Hamish has no desire to dance to his father’s tune and is determined to find a way to make his own fortune. As luck would have it, opportunity knocks in the form of Lady Ivers – sister to John Otis. She suggests that Hamish revive and revamp her late brother’s book and points him in the direction of the original publisher.

Elspeth is at home with her two aunts (her mother’s sisters) celebrating her 24th birthday when she is surprised by a delivery from her aunt (Lady Ivers) from Edinburgh – since she has never had any contact with her father’s family, she is shocked to find out that her aunts have kept the knowledge that Lady Ivers has sent her letters and gifts over the years from her. She makes a rash decision and leaves the cottage and travels to Edinburgh – much to the dismay and contempt of her aunts. Unsure of her welcome, Elspeth is delighted by the warm welcome she receives from Lady Ivers. Lady Ivers explains to Elspeth that the trunk that was delivered to her was actually her father’s and encourages Elspeth to explore the contents and pick up where her father left off on the manuscript within. She then points in the direction of the original publisher of her father’s book.

When Hamish and Elspeth first meet, it is definitely not love at first sight – but after Elspeth leaves and Hamish reads the book she has written – he is blown away and sees the means to make his venture a success and to escape the marriage noose his father is trying to trap him in.

Hamish and Elspeth meet again at Lady Ivers home and agree work together to publish the book. Hamish realizes that Elspeth is not the mouse he first thought and the more time he is with her, the more he wants her and not just for the book. Elspeth is also smitten by Hamish – but she has lead a small life and is sure that a worldly man like Hamish would never want a girl like her. When they meet at a ball and things become heated between them – Elspeth’s upbringing resurfaces and she is ashamed of herself – so when Lady Ivers tells her one of her aunts is ill and asking for her – she bolts.

Hamish is not willing to let Elspeth walk away and sets out after her. Just as he convinces her that should be together – a misunderstanding sends Elspeth running again.

I really enjoyed this book – it is well written, has an interesting storyline, likeable characters, no real villains (unless you count the aunts as villains – which they kind of were), a couple of steamy-ish love scenes, a quickly resolved misunderstanding and a wonderful declaration scene.

This book could easily be read as a stand alone title – but it does tie the other two books into the series very nicely.

The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding. In Seven Days or Less by Victoria Alexander

The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding. In Seven Days or Less (The Lady Traveler's Guide, #0.5)The Proper Way to Stop a Wedding. In Seven Days or Less by Victoria Alexander

Release Date: 04/01/17

Series: The Lady Travelers Guide #.05

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars!

OMG! This book was totally delightful! It was laugh out loud funny and even though Henry and Celia were the primaries, I fell in love with Edward!

Henry and Celia met briefly and felt an instant connection – but parted ways without exchanging names and even though they both tried to find the other again, they did not and both accepted defeat and moved on.

Henry actually moved on to Katherine and after a whirlwind courtship, proposes to her. So imagine his shock when he meets her family and realizes his missing soulmate is her younger sister!

Unable to break his word he proceeds with the wedding plans even though he’s miserable and knows that marrying Katherine is a huge mistake. Celia is heartbroken but knows that Henry is a man of honor and would be devastated if he had to break his word.

Fortunately for our star-crossed lovers, Henry’s brother Edward and Celia’s Aunt Guinevere have no such scruples and set off on the campaign to make Katherine cry off!

This was an absolutely delightful read and whetted my appetite for the next book in the series! The only complaint I had was Henry came off as a little bit fickle – but in the end he is totally redeemed.

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