Book Review – The Catching Kind

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cover58702-mediumHailey Tate thought she was worth more than a straight flush.

Apparently not.

When camera-shy author Hailey Tate’s agent loses a bet and brokers a deal, it leaves Hailey in the last place she wants to be: backed into the corner of Publicity and Paparazzi. Now, thanks to her girl-next-door image and role as pretend girlfriend to a womanizing shortstop, she’s getting the attention she always managed to avoid.

Connor Ryan is not only America’s Sexiest Athlete, he’s also the current Bad Boy of Baseball. But when he goes a base too far, management wants to bench him…permanently. One thing he never counted on? Falling for his sweet, fake girlfriend. He’s the guy who can catch anything and now she’s next on his list.

This is the first of Quinn’s Brew Ha Ha books that I’ve read (are you surprised?) but once again it didn’t matter.  And once again I’ve decided I’m missing out on something great.  While Hailey & Connor’s story can stand on its own, this group of friends and their amazingly talented creator are sure to bring a great deal of awesomeness to all of the books

I found The Catching Kind to be as sweet as the muffins served at the coffee shop the series is centered around.  Hailey is that perfect mixture of cute girl-next-door awkwardness.  She’s smart, funny, and caring but a little unsure of herself.  Throw her into a world populated by the oh-so-confident Connor and lets the chaos reign. 

Quinn makes it obvious that you can’t trust everything that is seen about the famous (and infamous) but she doesn’t overdo it.  She lets it flow naturally as Hailey gets to know the real Connor.  They develop a very realistic relationship, one based on an unlikely friendship but a solid one nonetheless.  Although we don’t get Connor’s inner thoughts, it’s obvious that if she lets herself believe Hailey could have something great with the reformed playboy – he definitely protests a little too much :)

Fun and quirky, with a lovely enemies to friends to lovers plotline, The Catching Kind made me smile, especially the typically Connor ending!  I can’t wait to get my hands on more of Quinn’s work.

Book Review – Someone Like Her

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cover56166-mediumKnown to the K2 Special Services team as Romeo, ex-Navy SEAL Jake Buchanan may spend his downtime living up to his nickname, but there’s one woman who sets his heart racing like no one else can: Maria Kincaid. Unfortunately, his boss—her brother—has made it crystal clear that she’s off-limits. Jake doesn’t do commitment, while Maria is the type of woman who deserves a promise of forever. Yet Maria finds herself drawn to Jake, the man who stares at her with a desire she wishes he’d act on.

Still haunted by her horrific childhood, Maria goes searching for the father she’s never met—and stumbles into a nightmarish experience. With her life in grave danger, she reaches out to Jake, her brother’s second-in-command. Jake figures he can help Maria without giving in to temptation. But some things are easier said than done.

Jake is your typical Alpha male.  He’s strong, daring and brave.  But he also has issues with commitment  and the whole lothario reputation isn’t winning him any favors with Maria’s brother.  He’s always been drawn to her though and forced into close contact together to keep her out of danger is more than he can take. 

I really like Maria.  She’s uncertain of herself and her appeal but she’s still strong.  She had a most unusual childhood but thanks to her brother she survived.  And kinda thrived, although it takes her romance with Jake to really change things.  But it is her relationship with her brother that really touched me – he was her rock for so long, but she’s good at taking him on when its necessary. 

The illicit romance with the sibling of your friend always appeals to me but when one of the two is a kick-butt military guy I just can’t resist.  There are so many complications that arise out of dating your friend’s sister, but when that friend knows 50 ways to kill you without leaving evidence – well, that makes it even more problematic :)

On top of the romance, we get a good deal of adventure and danger as well.  Owens does a fantastic job of weaving the two and making them working together to give her readers a complex story.

Someone Like Her delivers suspense and edge of your seat moments, mixed with humor and heart-warming emotions.  With bigger than life men and the women strong enough to love them, danger and laughter, steam and tears, and a good dose of HEA, The K2 Team series is a must read. 

Book Review – Cupcakes and Crushes

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cover59638-mediumSometimes there is enough sweet to make up for the bitter.

Years ago, a broken heart sent Annie Cookie running from home, and she’s never looked back—until now. Her grandpa’s broken wrist means the family bakery is at risk of losing two big orders. Reluctantly, Annie returns to Turtle Pine to help out, only to discover it’s not just seven hundred cupcakes she has to bake, but also a wedding cake for the half-sister who stole her high-school sweetheart. Annie left town to get away from her sister. No way is she getting mixed up with her again. Once the cupcakes are done, she’s outta there.

Back in high school, Cade Revlin hid his crush on his brother’s girl, but when his brother dumped Annie for another Cookie sister, Annie slipped through his fingers and out of town. Now that she’s back, he’s determined to give her a reason to stay. He’s got one week to change her mind. Or she’ll be gone in a cloud of powdered sugar.

Warning: Contains small-town meddling, family drama and all the necessary ingredients for a second chance at love—if they have the guts to turn up the heat.

With Cupcakes and Crushes, Ford cooks up a wonderful book about letting go of the past in order to embrace the future. Annie finds that it is easier to avoid issues than face them but being back in town and seeing it through adult eyes makes her re-evaluate things. Plus the handsome, smart and sweet Cade gives her extra reasons to make peace with her past.

The story is short but the perfect warm weather read. And although it seems like Annie and Cade fall in love quickly, Ford makes it totally believable. I love them both and I was pulling for them from page one. They make such a fun and cute couple and it is fantastic watching them give in to their feelings.

Book Review – In His Corner

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We actually took a look at In His Corner last week HERE but I thought it would be a good idea to do it again because the delightful Cindy Fazzi (aka Vina Arno) has an ABSOLUTELY fabulous giveaway going on to celebrate her book’s release.  Make sure you check it all out below!

In His Corner by Vina ArnoWork Out

No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild work-out…

Knock Out

Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…

There’s an interesting mix of things going on in In His Corner.  Siena is a little uptight and secure in her gilded life.  She volunteers to help the less fortunate, works in an ER (but at an upscale hospital) and gives to charity, but she doesn’t really know how the other half lives.  Then Tommy steps into her life … and gives it a good shake.

At the beginning, we see her fighting her attraction for him because of his more coarse nature – he’s nothing at all like she’s used to.  Then once they are together those differences continue to cause issues.  I think I’d like a glimpse of how they work things out longer term (because they are so different) but I really loved the ending and the realizations that they come to.

It is less a book about a fighter than it is about a high-class girl and a working-stiff, but the old plotline works for a reason. In the hands of a good author, like Arno, it makes for a fantastic read.

*****

Giveaway:

SienaKeepsakeBox-VinaArno

The grand prize includes this gorgeous wooden box of Siena (Italy), a $50 Amazon gift card, a copy of “In His Corner,” and Italian cookies and chocolates.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f229a489166/

Spotlight – Montgomery Most Likely

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I’m very excited to welcome Samantha Chase today as she gives us a special look into her Montgomery Brothers series.  You guys are going to absolutely love these books – they are fantastic!

*****

In my contemporary romance series The Montgomerys, the patriarch of wealthy family William Montgomery is blessed. He may owe a lot to the family business, but it’s his family that owns his heart. He’s living his dream – married to the love of his life – but now he wants to step in and make sure the next generation of Montgomery’s find their true loves.

We see him get his start in Wait for Me. Lucas is living in a self-imposed exile after an injury ended his NFL career. He is content being alone – that is until the sweet and sexy Emma shows up on his doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm (thanks to some finagling from William). Jason and Maggie work together in Trust in Me and Jason’s rule about not dating employees was important to him. But his heart just won’t listen. In Return to You, Selena was James Montgomery’s first love, but a tragic accident broke them up. Now, ten years later, she’s back in his life but can he convince her to stay? And all Summer Montgomery in Meant for You ever wanted was Ethan Reed. As her brother’s best friend, he’s off limits. But Summer was never very good at following the rules.

With so many Montgomery’s coming at readers, I thought it might be nice for you to get to know them a little bit better! So let’s play a game of ‘Montgomery Most Likely’ where you will find out what makes these characters tick!

Who is the Montgomery Most Likely To…

…take a selfie?

Definitely Summer from Meant for You.  She’s a modern girl who is confident in who she is and when she looks good, she knows it and wants to share it with everyone she knows!

…have kids first?

Emma from Wait for Me. Emma was ready to settle down and she is the nurturer of the group. Marrying Lucas and having babies with him is her ultimate dream come true.

…cook a gourmet meal?

Selena from Return to You. She’s in the party-planning business and has access to some of the best chefs and restaurants in the area. She likes to observe what they make and tries them at home.

…buy the biggest engagement ring in the store?

Jason from Trust in Me.  He leads with his heart and he’s go in and see something stunning and beautiful and not even think about the price tag.

*****

MontgomeryBrothersSeries

Return To You

James Montgomery has achieved everything he’d hoped for in life…except marrying the girl of his dreams. After a terrible accident, Selena Ainsley left ten years ago. She took his heart with her and she’s never coming back. But it’s becoming harder and harder for him to forget their precious time together, and James can’t help but wonder what he would do if they could ever meet again.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FqJFZo

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1yKmioz

iBooks: http://apple.co/1HsZpLp

Meant For You

Summer Montgomery wants to be taken seriously almost as much as she wants her brother’s best friend, Ethan. But with a long resume of seemingly random career choices and a protective brother on watch, those things are nothing more than pipe dreams…

Ethan Reed would like nothing more than to live by his own rules. Not wanting to disappoint his best friend Zach, or any of the Montgomerys, Ethan’s had to push his long-denied feelings for Summer aside. But it only takes one night away from watchful eyes to make impossible dreams come true…

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/MeantForYou

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/MeantForYouBN

iBooks: http://bit.ly/MeantForYouApple

Wait For Me / Trust In Me Duo

Wait for Me

Former NFL superstar Lucas Montgomery is perfectly fine in his self-imposed solitude until sweet, sexy and completely off-limits Emma Taylor comes crashing into his world…

Trust in Me

With a make-or-break business expansion in the works, the last thing Jason Montgomery needs is a hands-on assistant who wants to get her hands on him…

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1GpHvuo

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1J0W9bc

iBooks: http://apple.co/1NHd5Eo

*****

Samantha ChaseAuthor Info:

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Website: http://www.chasing-romance.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaChaseFanClub

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SamanthaChase3

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1250276.Samantha_Chase

*****

Giveaway:

Samantha Chase romance book bundle + $50 gift card

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/07c2363f68/

Spotlight – When a Rake Falls

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I’m so thrilled to share Sally Orr’s newest historical romance.  And even more so that she agreed to give us an inside look into her characters!  Check it out below.

*****

Welcome!

I’m Sally Orr, the author of the new historical Regency-era romance, WHEN A RAKE FALLS. This is book 2 in The Rake’s Handbook series. Thank you so much to Romantic Reads and Such for hosting me today. I’m excited to introduce you to WHEN A RAKE FALLS.

In order to for you to get to know my hero and heroine, Miss Eve Mountfloy and Lord Boyce Parker, a little better, I’ve conducted a mini interview to give you a little taste of WHEN A RAKE FALLS.

Enjoy!

Best wishes,

Sally Orr

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Boyce:  Marrying Eve, seems I got the best wife, what?

Eve:  Helping Boyce reconcile with his father.

Who do you look up to the most?

Boyce: My brother, Richard. He is a brave war hero during the Battle of New Orleans.

Eve:  My mother. She never said a mean or downcast word.

What is your biggest dream?

Boyce:  To be respected in my father’s eyes and lose the nickname “Piglet Parker.”

Eve:  To present my scientific data before the Royal Institute of Great Britain.

*****

9781492602149When a Rake Falls

by Sally Orr

Sourcebooks Casablanca

The Rake’s Handbook, Book 2

Historical Regency Romance

April 7, 2015

ISBN: 9781492602149

$7.99 Mass Market Paperback

Blurb:

He’s racing to win back his reputation

Having hired a balloon to get him to Paris in a daring race, Lord Boyce Parker is simultaneously exhilarated and unnerved by the wonders and dangers of flight, and most of all by the beautiful, stubborn, intelligent lady operating the balloon.

She’s curious about the science of love

Eve Mountfloy is in the process of conducting weather experiments when she finds herself spirited away to France by a notorious rake. She’s only slightly dismayed—the rake seems to respect her work—but she is frequently distracted by his windblown physical magnificence and buoyant spirits.

What happens when they descend from the clouds?

As risky as aeronautics may be, once their feet touch the ground, Eve and Boyce learn the real danger of a very different type of falling…

Praise for The Rake’s Handbook:

“Orr debuts with a charming romp. The witty repartee and naughty innuendos set the perfect pitch for the entertaining romance. Though there are serious themes and carefully researched historical details, it’s the banter and sensuality that are sure to enchant readers.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

Buy the Book

The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide (Book 1)

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

When a Rake Falls (Book 2)

Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

*****

Excerpt:

London, 1825

Lord Boyce Parker felt a sudden urge to sing. The brisk morning air, the glorious sunshine, and the presence of a hundred or so excited gentlemen milling around him could only mean a remarkable day ahead. Boyce knew he’d be mocked if he broke out in song, but sometimes happiness just bubbled up from somewhere down in your toes and overwhelmed a fellow. “My candle burns bright—-”

“Goes without saying you learned to sing by reading a book,” said George Drexel, one of Boyce’s oldest friends. “Right now I could be in bed with the lovely Widow Donhurst. Instead, I’m standing here amongst the rabble of London, far too early for any sane man, following another one of your bacon–brained schemes.”

Boyce ignored him and kept his gaze fixed on the balcony of Stainthorpe House. Yesterday, the Earl of Stainthorpe had placed an advertisement in all of the newspapers inviting London’s finest bachelors to gather in Royston Square. Although the details in the advertisement were few, it hinted fame and five thousand pounds might be gained by winning one of several “challenges.” As the son of a wealthy marquess, Boyce had no need for the money, but he longed for a chance to impress his father. “It’s not my bacon–brained scheme; it’s the earl’s. Cheer up. You will be the friend of the victorious Lord Boyce Parker.”

Drexel turned to glare at the pressing horde of eager young gentlemen behind them. “You don’t even know what the old man’s challenges are. They could all be a hum, like a scavenger hunt to find his great–uncle’s tricorne hat or his aunt’s lost poodle.” Drexel dressed in somber colors without fancy cravats or fobs, so his words had the gravity of a humorless man no one would willfully cross. This morning, his rumpled clothes, dark whiskers, and obvious lack of sleep—-no doubt due to a long night of amorous adventure—-made him appear grumpier than normal. “I hardly think the earl’s tomfool challenges will make you famous.”

“You don’t sound cheerful.” Boyce grinned at his old school friend. “I’m confident the earl’s challenges will be significant and my assured victory will pave the way to restoring my father’s esteem.”

Drexel spat on the ground. “Chasing your brother’s fame? Richard is a glorious war hero. I’m sure winning some silly challenge won’t compete with his elevated consequence.”

“You’re wrong. When my name is printed in the newspapers, my father will have to speak of me with the same admiration he gives Richard.”

“I don’t think winning a challenge will change the marquess’s opinion of you—-”

“Look.” Boyce pointed upward.

The Earl of Stainthorpe stepped to the edge of his balcony overlooking Royston Square. “My friends, I understand there are no great men left in England.” Silver wisps of hair escaped the earl’s old–fashioned queue and blew over his forehead, but he ignored them as he squarely confronted the men below.

The audience surged forward and yelled retorts to the earl’s audacious remark.

Boyce had arrived an hour early so he would be close enough to hear his lordship’s every word. But if this hubbub continued, he might not catch what the earl had to say. He turned to the man yelling behind him. “I’ll give you a pound, my good fellow, if you can shout louder.”

The man smiled and shouted.

“Definitely not louder, unfortunate loss indeed,” Boyce said. “Now I suggest you hush and let his lordship speak.”

Standing two steps behind his master, the earl’s butler vigorously rang a handbell to gain the attention of the boisterous crowd.

“The earldom of Stainthorpe owns numerous and diverse holdings,” the earl bellowed. “Therefore, upon my death, my daughter will be the richest woman in England.”

The crowd cheered.

The earl waited for them to settle down. “What I’m trying to say is, Lady Sarah Stainthorpe needs a husband. But so far, none of the Eligibles paraded before her will do. She refuses to marry and claims all the gentlemen in London are rogues, dandies, or worse. The point is, she’s a bluestocking and might fall in love with some bloody…a poet. I tell you, my friends, that Byron fellow has a lot to answer for.”

As the youngest son of a marquess, Boyce was considered an Eligible. Only, Lady Sarah had rejected him, and all the other Eligibles, seconds after they had presented themselves at Royston House—-an unfortunate circumstance, since he believed Lady Sarah would make an excellent wife and a very pretty one too. After a moment of reflection, he realized every lady of his acquaintance would make a pretty wife. One or two may have a feature some might call “unfortunate.” Nevertheless, he always found something pretty in every female countenance.

“Are all the gentlemen I see before me rogues or dandies?” the earl shouted. “Of course not. One or two maybe, and several of you are shockingly loose in the haft.” His lordship pointed to a young man wearing a violet greatcoat, hanging by one arm on a streetlight. “Especially you, sir.”

With his free hand, the man doffed his top hat.

“Yes, I mean you,” the earl said. “My condolences to your poor father.”

All of the Parker men possessed a fine figure, so he knew even a poorly tailored coat hung well upon his shoulders. The many compliments he received had gained him a reputation as an expert in masculine fashion. Therefore, Boyce felt his lordship should show more sympathy to a man wearing a lamentable violet greatcoat, since the earl wore an old square coat and baggy breeches.

“Where was I?” The earl paused to scan the crowd. “Besides an obvious bone–breaker or two, you gentlemen are the embodiment of the character traits that make Englishmen the greatest people on earth. So I am challenging you—-the finest Englishmen alive—-to a race. A race to Paris!”

The crowd cheered.

“This is not a race where the winner arrives first,” the earl said. “No, it is a test to discover the gentlemen who possess England’s greatest traits.”

“Gin drinking, gov?” someone shouted.

The crowd laughed and called out a few additional “traits.”

The earl ignored their comments. “And I mean English character traits—-not British. That country was some tomfoolery created by meddlesome politicians. This is a race for Englishmen only. Now, my race will have five challenges and five winners. Each winner will win a prize of a gold cup and five thousand pounds.”

The mob erupted in huzzahs; top hats flew into the air.

Under his sky–blue waistcoat, Boyce’s heartbeat escalated. This race presented him with his best opportunity to distinguish himself. He would win at least two of the earl’s challenges and earn a reputation as a prime example of English manhood. “Huzzah!” He too threw his beaver hat in the air.

The butler rang the handbell for a full minute before the crowd settled down.

The earl held up his hands. “Here are the details of the five—-count them—-five challenges. You have one month to reach Stainthorpe House in Paris. Each gentleman will write about his journey and provide the name of a witness. The man whose travels provide the best example of an English trait wins a challenge. Once the winners promise to spend the remainder of the summer in our company, they will be rewarded with a gold cup and five thousand pounds. With such excellent examples of true English manhood escorting Lady Sarah around Paris, she must certainly fall in love with one of you unlicked cubs.”

The assembled men danced in circles. Each one of them was probably dreaming about how he would spend his winnings.

Eager to hear the details, Boyce frowned at the clamorous riffraff behind him. The earl was right; they all appeared to be a lot of rag–mannered coves, so he gained complete confidence that he could best any of their English traits—-whatever those traits may be. Once he reached Paris, Lady Sarah would discover he was the finest of fellows and they would fall in love. Women seemed naturally to favor him over other gentlemen—-wonderful creatures, women.

The earl’s voice boomed across the square. “What are the character traits that make Englishmen so great, you ask?”

The young men below the balcony tendered several improper suggestions.

“No.” The earl waved his hand. “Not physical features. Traits like courage and intelligence. So the challenges are thus: The first gold cup will be given to the gentleman who represents English courage. We are the country of Nelson, so bravery and courage course through every one of our veins.”

Someone shouted the nature of what was coursing through his veins.

The earl continued without hesitation. “The second gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey represents classic English sportsmanship. Any Englishman alive can out hunt, out fish, and out ride all other races of men. So to win the second cup, some outstanding feat of sportsmanship will rule the day. Extra consideration will be given to the best example of a journey completed under difficult circumstances.”

Boyce huffed. “Well, his lordship is wrong. The true nature of English sportsmanship is not victory over adversity, but our support for the dark horse and sense of fair play. We are, by nature, a generous people.”

Drexel slapped him on the back. “For once I agree with you. But considering your history in the field, I suggest you don’t try for the sportsmanship cup.”

“Sportsmanship can be demonstrated by means other than fishing or shooting every magnificent creature—-for example, by boxing or gaming. I practice my pugilistic skills at Jackson’s twice a week now. You cannot tell me his place is not full of sportsmen. Or how about when a fellow loses a fortune gaming at White’s and faces his loss with the grace and good humor of a gentleman? That’s sportsmanship under pressure, if you ask me.”

“Yes, but the earl believes boxing is for professionals and only women play cards.”

Boyce widened his eyes. “In my opinion, his lordship’s definition of sportsmanship is rather limited.”

The handbell sounded again before the earl continued his speech. “The third gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey best exhibits loyalty to the king or service to a lady.”

One man yelled, “I’d be delighted to service all the ladies on my way to Paris.”

Others in the crowd shouted similar generous offers.

“If you do so, sir,” the earl replied, “you will be shown the door. Loyalty means old–fashioned manners, being polite, and keeping your distance from your betters. Of all the challenges, I believe service to the Crown is the greatest honor any man could desire. And considering the manners I’ve witnessed here today, I’d say the challenge of this cup will remain unmet.”

Jeers filled the air.

Boyce wondered how a fellow could show loyalty to the king in a race. He supposed a gentleman might salute the king’s profile on a sovereign with every step of his journey, but dismissed it as an absurd notion. No, he’d be better off trying to provide a service to some lady.

His lordship nodded, and the handbell rang again. “Now quiet down. The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then.”

Boyce elbowed his friend. “Yes, yes, that’s the cup for me. Bet I’ll win too. What do you say, fifty?”

“Agreed,” Drexel said. “I will also wager by the end of this whole flummery, Lady Sarah will reject all the winners out of spite. I would, if I were her.”

Boyce refused to believe Lady Sarah would object to any of the winners, once she knew them well. The lady wanted to be married, didn’t she? “No, no, young women are full of tender affection. I have never met one who did not want to fall in love and make her family happy.”

Drexel rolled his eyes. “I suspect that is because there are so many unmarried ladies dangling after you, you cannot imagine one refusing. And from the stories I heard yesterday, I’ll wager that if I throw a pebble into the crowd at the next assembly, it will hit a widow who has, or wants to be, in your bed. And believe me, those ladies are not expecting marriage.”

“You’re being vulgar in public,” Boyce said. “All of the widows I have ever…met were delightful. Deep in their hearts, they want to be married again, I’m sure.”

“So why haven’t you married one of these delightful ladies?”

“Never understood how fellows choose one to fall in love with.”

“If I know the marquess, the best way to impress him is to give him grandchildren. My father becomes unhinged with even the thought of grandchildren.”

“Grandchildren? Grandchildren are far in the future. A great public achievement is my best and only chance to regain my father’s respect. You’ll see. When I am crowned the victor of more than one challenge, my achievements will be the toast of London. Then all of England will think of me differently. I will no longer be just one of the seven anonymous brothers of the war hero Richard. Worse yet, if people do recognize me, they remember I’m the Parker son who published a scandalous book and then received the cut direct from his father—-his own father. After my victory in the challenges, everyone will have to refer to me as the intelligent, courageous Lord Boyce. Don’t you understand?”

Drexel winked at his friend. “Tell me, which of the great English traits do you represent best? Sounds like only Service to a Lady, and believe me, your service is the wrong type as far as the earl is concerned.”

“Ah, that’s my secret. But you will be a witness to my victory, won’t you?”

After pulling off his hat, Drexel took a full minute to smooth the beaver nap on the brim. “I’ll consider it.” A wide smirk broke across his dark, handsome face. “You’ve persuaded me to join the race too.”

“No!”

The handbell clanged, and everyone faced the balcony again. “Gentlemen, there is one last challenge, the fifth cup. Since this was my daughter’s idea, perhaps in jest, you never know with females, let us call it the Lady’s Favorite.”

Shouts and laughter rose from the rabble.

The earl leaned forward over the mob. “Perhaps there are no gentlemen in England, and my daughter is right?” His lordship waited until the crowd quieted. “Lady Sarah has a funny notion that the greatest achievements of the English race are their sense of humor, wit, and eccentricities. I mean, now really, she is fond of Sheridan’s plays.” The earl held up his right hand to quiet the laughing crowd. “For this cup, Lady Sarah will be the final judge.”

The mob tendered several humorous jests of questionable wit.

The earl coughed several times but remained unmoving. “So there you have it. The five greatest English traits are courage, sportsmanship, intelligence, wit, and service to a lady. Now to business. I expect all who plan to take up the challenges to gather in our vestibule below. There, we will compile a list of the participants. You do not have to choose which cup you aspire to, and you may switch to another challenge at the end of your journey. Finally, you may win more than one challenge. Oh, and you must provide an acceptable witness. Anyone who observes your achievement and can testify on your behalf may be an official witness. The only exclusions are people who cannot be trusted, like paid companions or dear old mums.”

Several groans were heard, and one person clapped.

The earl nodded in the direction of the man who clapped. “Good man. The race will officially start after I stop speaking and will end a month from now on the second of July. On that day, you will present your written story describing your journey to Stainthorpe House at Rue de la Chaussée-d’Antin. There, I will choose the five best stories for each challenge, and those finalists will be asked to recite their adventures aloud. Indeed, everyone here today will be invited to attend this party and hear my pick of the winners. Lastly, the five thousand pounds and gold cups will be presented at the end of the evening. It goes without saying that the victors will be appropriately recognized in all of the newspapers.”

Boyce elbowed Drexel. “Yes, yes, my father reads every paper.”

The crowd’s cheers erupted again after the mention of the winnings.

The earl held his arms out. “I tell you, my friends, I’m excited about this race. To help defray the cost of your journey, any man who takes up our challenges will receive a hundred pounds after reaching Paris.”

Shouts and applause echoed around the square.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, Lady Sarah and I look forward to hearing the adventures of England’s finest men. I am positive that once my daughter is acquainted with you fine fellows, she will fall in love. With such excellent examples of the greatness inherent in the English, how could she not? We also anticipate the pleasure of your company during our summer in Paris. The only other thing I can say is…” The earl lifted his quizzing glass to his eye and scanned the crowd. “Ready, steady, go!”

*****

Author Info:

Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery. As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars.

Connect with Sally Orr

Website – http://www.sallyorr.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SallyOrrWriter

Twitter – https://twitter.com/OrrSally

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/SallyOrr

*****

Giveaway:

For 3 copies of The Rake’s Handbook by Sally Orr

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af785/

*****

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Spotlight – SEAL My Home

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We’re kick off the end of the weekend with a sexy (and troubled) SEAL.

*****

SEAL My Home book coverSEAL My Home

Bad Boys of Team 3 (SEAL Brotherhood #9)

by Sharon Hamilton

Blurb:

Bad boy Rory Kennedy was raised in foster care, bouncing in and out of trouble along the way. He finds his true family and real brothers as a Navy SEAL, one of the Navy’s elite warriors. When his BUD/S instructor barked the SEAL’s Motto: Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, he knew he had found home.

Megan Palmer works in a bookstore and finds her passion in life through reading steamy romance novels. Her brief affair with a man she later found out was married has left her damaged, until she meets the handsome SEAL, who stands ready to open her world and give her things she’s only dreamed.

On a skiing trip, Rory suffers a possible career-ending injury and also comes face to face with a past he never knew of, and a family who had abandoned him. His relationship with Megan is tested to the breaking point as Rory wades through the dark waters of recovery and whether or not he can live without the life he loves. A home-grown terrorist cell forces his hand and he discovers his true purpose.

Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs7dcYKCE3U&feature=youtu.be

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24861724-seal-my-home

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CXccSp

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/seal-my-home/id969350849?mt=11

*****

Excerpt:

Whatever she’d bottled up had come loose. Her appetite met her need, which should have scared him. But for the first time, he wanted her to need him. He could fill he up. She was starving for it.

And so was he.

She was sleeping, and he fell into her rhythm, inhaling when she did, exhaling also in tandem, feeling her soft sex crowning his thigh. He thought of all the lovely things he wanted to say to her, but knew he shouldn’t. He knew the speaking part would mess up what he now felt, something he rarely felt.

Happiness.

He tried to breathe without making a sound, hoping that this time together, which was as precious to him as the love making part, was prolonged for as long as possible. She was fire and ice. The salt and the caramel. She tucked inside the hard exterior of his soul and shivered, rested there under his protection.

He must have twitched or done something, because she startled and rose up quickly, rolling to the side and covering herself up. He could almost feel her heavy thoughts tossing about the room as he viewed her light pink spine glowing in the near moonlight as she sat on the edge of the bed away from him. An inch of her butt crack was in shadow, but the alabaster surface of her skin was flawless and made her look like a statue.

He inhaled without a sound, and let his index finger trace down the middle of her back, traveling over the ridges of her vertebra. She stiffened at first, then rolled her head to the side and killed him with the blue gaze that showed him she was still hungry.

“Come here, Megan,” he said, worried he’d been a little too loud.

She touched her shoulder with her ear in a shy move that belied her real feelings for him. He could see it in the coral shaded corners of her lips, how they quirked up at the ends.

*****

authorAuthor Info:

NYT and USA/Today Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance.

A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.

Author Links:

Website/Blog: http://www.sharonhamiltonauthor.com/

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/SharonHamiltonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonlhamilton

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/298863.Sharon_Hamilton

*****

Giveaway:

Grand PRIZE: Book and SWAG Mega Bundle

3 Additional Winners eCopies of SEAL’s Promise

OPEN INTERNATIONAL

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b4c0001d143/

*****

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SEAL My Home Blog Tour Banner

*****

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Book Review – Worth the Wait

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cover58660-mediumThirteen years ago, Vivi LeBrun was sketching a rooster and eating Oreos when she first met—and fell for—her friend’s brother, David St. James. Since then, her love for David has only intensified thanks to years of friendship with his family, who rescued her from a lonely, tumultuous childhood. As she travels to Block Island to vacation with the St. James siblings, Vivi daydreams about reuniting with David, hoping he’ll finally see her as his soul mate.

After his mother’s death, David distanced himself from his siblings, determined to hide a devastating family secret. Now, he’s brought a new girlfriend along to his homecoming—one who’s pushing for a serious commitment. The last thing he needs on his growing list of problems is his budding attraction to Vivi.

With tensions running high, David’s behavior triggers a series of events that might cost him the love he’s always taken for granted and Vivi the only real family she’s ever known.

I liked this group of people but there were definitely moments when I wanted to smack David.  He’s the quintessential clueless male – more than a few times actually.  He (and everyone else) is aware of how Vivi feels but he thinks that she’ll always be there, trailing after him.  He’s contemplating marriage to his girlfriend but seems surprised that she’s picking up on that vibe and thinking long-term with him as well.  He thinks that everything can go back to normal even after he momentarily gives in to his attraction to Vivi.  Get the idea?  He’s overall a good guy and he’s carrying a pretty big secret, so I can give him a pass on some things.  But that doesn’t mean it is any less frustrating when he has a stupid guy moment :)

Vivi has so much energy to her that it is hard not to like her and you have to admire her tenacity for holding on so tight to her feelings for David, putting herself out there so blatantly.  But my favorite part is how she finally learns to stand up for herself and consider her needs.  She’s got a couple of bad relationships in her life but once she gets her wakeup call she starts looking at what’s best for her.  It’s refreshing to see that kind of growth in a heroine.

David also has a brother and sister who come with their own set of problems.  I’m definitely looking forward to more from Beck so they can get a shot at their own HEA.  We get glimpses of their issues here so it’ll be interesting to get more details and see where they go from here.

Sometimes funny, sometimes raw, but always engaging, Worth the Wait is an emotional powerhouse and Beck is going on my list of authors to watch. 

Spotlight – Jayded

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We’ve got a new book out now … and with a sexy cover like that how can you resist?

*****

jaydedJayded

by Shevaun DeLucia

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: April 10, 2015

Photographer/Cover Designer: George Parulski

Blurb:

Maxine Daniels was made an offer that she couldn’t refuse. She couldn’t think of a better time—after breaking things off with her fiancé—to change cities and merge her company with Saunders Literary Agency. At thirty-three, she isn’t getting any younger, so it’s time to start fresh and leave her past behind.

What she doesn’t anticipate is the diversion that lies ahead. Kyle Saunders is a catastrophic tsunami that enters her life and consumes her world in just a matter of minutes. Everything about him is telling her no, but her heart and the heat between her legs is screaming yes. He was never a factor in her divine plan—nor was she in his.

Kyle is the cliché bachelor; he is a twenty-four-year-old charismatic chick magnet who refuses to settle down. He’s dead set on living the carefree single life—that is—until Max comes strolling in. Then all his ridiculous rules fall to the wayside.

Who knew that just one hello could alter their lives forever?

Add it to Your Bookshelf on Goodreads

*****

authorAuthor Info:

Shevaun DeLucia, author of the Eternal Mixture series, lives in upstate New York with her husband, four children, and two dogs. As a stay-at-home mom while her children were young, she fell in love with reading. She indulged in the small moments that took her away from the reality of her loud, rambunctious household, bringing her into a world of fantasy. When reading wasn’t enough to satisfy her, she turned to writing, determined to create the perfect ending of her own.

http://shevaundelucia.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Shevaun-Delucia/563843076961083

https://twitter.com/shevaundelucia1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7375844.Shevaun_Delucia

*****

Tour Info:Jayded Banner 851 x 315

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Book Review – Still the One

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cover58310-mediumLove is a dare in the sexy new romance by the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of the Animal Magnetism novels and the Lucky Harbor series…

Darcy Stone is game for anything except sexy Navy vet and physical therapist AJ Colten, the guy who’d rejected her when she’d needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately Darcy can’t refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.

AJ admits it Darcy is irresistible. But he’s already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he’s not making the same mistake twice until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they’d ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What’s the real thing? And where does it go from here?

Shalvis is a genius at writing contemporary romances – one of the most popular authors around, she’s produced tons of fantastic love stories and I’m happy to report that Still the One is one of her best.

I really loved Darcy and AJ. They’ve been fighting an attraction for a while, but both have hangups that make it a no-go. Plus, AJ is close friends with Darcy’s siblings and there is a code about that … one of my favorite storylines :)

Darcy has a lot of gumption. A horrible accident left her with physical impairments, but thanks to AJ’s treatment (and her own stubborn nature) she’s doing very well. Unfortunately, thanks to her childhood, she’s got scars on the inside that rival those on the outside. AJ is one of THOSE guys – he’s gorgeous and built and strong (both in body and spirit). He’s also loving, giving and generous, combining to be an all-around hot package. But, of course, he’s got some internal scars of his own.

Stuck together by forces out of their control, and forced to fake a relationship thanks to Darcy’s big mouth, nature kinda takes over. Of course it isn’t smooth sailing – they still have those hangups, plus quite a few misunderstandings crop up. But it all leads to a very satisfying HEA (and plenty of material for more delicious stories).

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