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May 22, 2015
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Kate Nagy
Showing posts by: Cheryl Sneed click to see Cheryl Sneed's profile
Fri
May 22 2015 2:00pm

First Look: Elizabeth Hoyt’s Dearest Rogue (May 26, 2015)

Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt
Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane #8)
Forever / May 26, 2015 / $8.00 print, $7.99 digital

Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.

Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.

Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

The heroine of the delightful Dearest Rogue, Lady Phoebe Batten, is blind, which presents some unique problems for her and for the reader. So much of how we experience the world - and fall in love - is done through sight. So Phoebe - and by extension we - must employ our other senses to navigate through life and love. Elizabeth Hoyt does a fabulous job of showing Phoebe's limitations but also how her other senses stimulate her life.

Lady Phoebe is the target of several kidnapping attempts and her stalwart bodyguard James Trevillion, late of His Majesty's Dragoons, whisks her away from danger, racing through the London streets on horseback.

Around them the cacophony of London continued, eternally unabated: the rumble of carriage and cart wheels, the tramping of thousands of feet, the babble of voices raised in song and argument, people buying and selling and stealing, callers of wares, and the shriek of small children. Horses clip-clopped by and church bells tolled the hour, the half hour, and sometimes even the quarter hour.

As they rode, people shouted at them angrily. A canter was quite fast for London, and judging by the bunching of muscles beneath them and the sudden changes of direction, Trevillion was having to weave in and out of the traffic.

She turned her head toward him, inhaling. Captain James Trevillion wore no scent. Sometimes she could discern coffee or the faint smell of horses on him, but beyond that, nothing.

[Oh! Captain James has her smitten...]

Thu
May 21 2015 9:30am

First Look: Caroline Linden’s Love in the Time of Scandal (May 26, 2015)

Caroline Linden
Love in the Time of Scandal (Scandalous Series #3)
Avon / May 26, 2015 / $6.99 digital, $7.99 print

Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can't forget how he abandoned a friend in need— nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He's the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn't feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel . . .

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. Though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father's control, spirited Penelope just doesn't suit his plans for a model marriage—until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope's. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful . . . beguiling . . . and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

In Caroline Linden's Love in the Time of Scandal, Penelope Weston doesn't much like Benedict Lennox. He'd courted her older sister and was rejected and now seems bent on marrying Penelope's young naïve friend in her first Season. Not on her watch! Passionate Penelope will save her friend from the machinations of the Loathsome Lennox, and though she's vastly annoying, Benedict cannot help but admire Penelope.

At her best, Penelope was exuberant and amusing, with a sparkling wit; she was loyal and fearless in her devotion to those dear to her. With her hair tousled and her color high, she was a smoldering temptress, and all her words in praise of passion ran through his mind in sinful suggestion.

[Weston is dying to get married and Penelope is standing in his way...]

Fri
Apr 10 2015 11:00am

Going to the Chapel: Wedding Drama in Loretta Chase’s Royally Ever After

Royally Ever After by Loretta ChaseThe two short, previously-published novellas in Loretta Chase's Royally Ever After anthology both revolve around a royal wedding. In Lord Lovedon's Duel the heroine's sister just married a minor German Prince whose friend is Behaving Badly, while in The Jilting of Lord Rothwick our love story takes place during the furor over the young Queen Victoria's wedding to Prince Albert, where our hero is Behaving Cluelessly. But both heroes are gobsmacked into love at first sight, bless them. And, apparently, imbibe too much at important moments.

Lord Lovedon got drunk at the wedding reception, said rude things about the bride, and was promptly challenged to a duel by the bride's sister.

He'd drunk enough to float a flagship—possibly the entire Royal Navy—to no effect.

Until a moment ago.

The last dose, the one Miss Sharp had administered externally, had brightened his mood amazingly. The eyes flashing at him had turned out to be an interesting shade of green, with gold flecks … Most important, she'd turned out to have a personality.

Lord Lovedon may be indiscreet while intoxicated, but he knows what he wants.

[I think we can guess what that is...]

Sun
Mar 29 2015 11:00am

First Look: Julie Anne Long’s It Started with a Scandal (March 31, 2015)

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne LongJulie Anne Long
It Started with a Scandal
Avon / March 31, 2015 / $7.99 digital

Lord Philippe Lavay once took to the high seas armed with charm as lethal as his sword, and a stone-cold conviction: he'll restore his family's fortune and honor, no matter the cost. Victory is at last within reach—when a brutal attack snatches it from his grasp and lands him in Pennyroyal Green.

An afternoon of bliss brings a cascade of consequences for Elise Fountain. She is shunned by her family and ousted from a job she loves, and her survival means a plummet down the social ladder to a position no woman has yet been able to keep: housekeeper to a frighteningly formidable prince.

The bold and gentle Elise sees past his battered body into Philippe's barricaded heart . . . and her innate sensuality ignites his blood. Now a man who thought he could never love and a woman who thought she would never again trust must fight an incendiary passion that could be the ruin of them both.

Everyone reading Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green series has been waiting for years for Lyon and Olivia's story. Alas, It Started with a Scandal is not it, but it is a fine way to spend your time while you wait for The Legend of Lyon Redmond (September 29—mark your calendars!)

We've met Lord Philippe Lavay before. He was born a minor prince of the House of Bourbon whose family lost everything in the Revolution, has been a soldier and a privateer and is now rusticating in Pennyroyal Green while he recovers from an attack in London. His injuries make him even more curt and surly than usual and he holds out little hope that his new housekeeper will last any longer than the last.

[Somehow I think she might...]

Fri
Jan 30 2015 2:00pm

No Second Fiddles: Secondary Characters in J.D. Robb’s Vengeance in Death

Vengeance in Death by J.D. RobbThis week, H&H celebrates the forthcoming release of the fortieth (!!!) book in J.D. Robb's In Death seriesObsession in Death. As part of the celebration, we're taking an in-depth look at the sixth book in the series, Vengeance in Death. To join the discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag#obsessedwithindeath. And be sure to check out posts from fellow romance blogs Romance at Random and, next week, Smexy Books for more re-read fun.

Check out our first post discussing Eve and Roarke's relationship and then find out about Roarke's dark past.

One of the things that keeps us coming back (and back and back) to the In Death series is the secondary characters. While the brightness of the ever-evolving Eve/Roarke relationship is at the center of the series, orbiting around them are a rich and varied cast of characters who also grow and change and are just as vital.

[In Death we trust!]

Sun
Jan 25 2015 3:00pm

First Look: Laura Lee Guhrke’s Catch a Falling Heiress (January 27, 2015)

Catch a Falling Heiress  by Laura Lee GuhrkeLaura Lee Guhrke
Catch a Falling Heiress
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Linnet Holland wants nothing to do with fortune hunters. No, she's determined to marry a man who loves her. But just as she's about to accept the perfect marriage proposal from the man she wants, the rakish Earl of Featherstone interrupts and ruins everything, including her reputation, with his smoldering kiss . . .

Jack Featherstone knows all about Linnet's “intended,” and he's determined she won't fall prey to that villain as other women have in the past. But when his attempt to save Linnet ruins her instead, he knows he has to make things right. So he sets out to win this golden beauty . . . and prove to her that being ruined by him was the best thing that could have happened to her.

Linnet Holland, the latest heroine in Laura Lee Guhrke's An American Heiress in London series, is determined to escape the fate that has befallen so many others: trading her American money for an English title. She successfully navigated a London season without becoming engaged and is happily back home in Newport, about to agree to marry an old acquaintance—more for familiarity's sake than anything else—when Jack, Earl of Featherstone steps in. 

[Where angels fear to tread?]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 11:45am

First Look: Karen Ranney’s In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams (January 27, 2015)

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams by Karen RanneyKaren Ranney
In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
Avon / January 27, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.64 digital

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington's elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he's always loved. Glynis's cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis's past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

In Karen Ranney's In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams, Glynis MacIain grew up following her brother and Lennox Cameron around; she has loved Lennox for as long as she can remember. When she finally revealed her love with a kiss, Lennox is gobsmacked, stunned into silence. Mortally embarrassed, Glynis ran off and married an English diplomat and spent a miserable six years in the backwater town of Washington D.C. Now, happily widowed, she's returned to Scotland, but the troubles of the United States Civil War follow her. Because of the blockade, her family cannot get cotton for their textile mill and are in danger of being financially ruined, while Lennox, a prosperous shipbuilder, is working on an iron-hulled ship for the Confederacy.

[The tides have changed!]

Wed
Oct 22 2014 2:35pm

First Look: Stephanie Laurens’s By Winter’s Light (October 28, 2014)

By Winter's Light by Stephanie LaurensStephanie Laurens
By Winter's Light
Mira / October 28, 2014 / $12.00 print, $7.99 digital

It’s December 1837 and the young adults of the Cynster clan have succeeded in having the family Christmas celebration held at snow-bound Casphairn Manor, Richard and Catriona Cynster’s home.

Yet where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind—the festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them, but once bitten, twice shy, Claire believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Daniel, however, is determined to press his suit. He’s seen the love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.

By Winter's Light is a transitional novel as Stephanie Laurens brings us Cynsters: The Next Generation. The romance between governess Claire and tutor Daniel is merely tangential to introducing the children of the original six Cynster cousins, and setting up the next books in the family series.

[We are family!]

Tue
Sep 23 2014 10:45am

First Look: Carolyn Jewel’s A Notorious Ruin (September 23, 2014)

A Notorious Ruin by Carolyn JewelCarolyn Jewel
A Notorious Ruin (Sinclair Sisters #2)
cJewel Books / September 23, 2014 / $5.99 digital

All the widowed Lucy Sinclair Wilcott wants is to save enough money to move to a cottage of her own and keep her younger sister safe from the consequences of their father’s poor judgment. No one is more aware than she how thoroughly her first marriage ruined her. She could not remarry if she wanted to. Then the Marquess of Thrale comes to visit and long-absent feelings of desire surge back.

Everything Lord Thrale believes about the beautiful Mrs. Wilcott is wrong. The very last woman he thought he was interested in proves to be a brilliant, amusing, arousing woman of deep honor who is everything he wants in a lover, for the rest of his life. If only he can convince her of that.

In A Notorious Ruin, the long-awaited second book in Carolyn Jewel's Sinclair Sisters series, the widowed Lucy Wilcott becomes better acquainted with Lord Thrale, whom she met the previous season,   during a house party at her father's home . Thrale, and indeed everyone, believes Lucy to be a frivolous featherbrain and is stunned—and then intrigued—to find that may not be the case.

[Hiding in plain sight?]

Fri
Sep 12 2014 9:30am

First Look: Connie Brockway’s The Songbird’s Seduction (September 16, 2014)

Connie Brockway
The Songbird's Seduction
Montlake Romance / September 16, 2014) / $9.99 print, $3.99 digital

Effervescent bon vivant Lucy Eastlake is a young operetta singer whose star is on the rise in Edwardian London. Though struggling to maintain her beloved great-aunts’ household, she holds fast to the belief that “things will work out.” Now, with the fiftieth anniversary of a siege her great-aunt Lavinia lived through approaching, it looks like Lucy is right, because a fortune is due to be divided among the survivors. All Lucy and her great-aunts have to do is travel to a small Pyrenees town to claim Lavinia’s share of a fabulous treasure in rubies. What could be more simple?

Professor Ptolemy Archibald Grant is the brilliant, straitlaced grandson of a British lord who also withstood the siege. When his grandfather asks him as a matter of honor to escort his old love on the journey, the about-to-be married professor agrees, not expecting Lucy to be part of the bargain. Losing the great-aunts en route, the handsome, buttoned-down professor finds himself caught up in Lucy’s quirky, bewildering, and probably illegal efforts to reunite with them, as he is drawn further and further into an inexplicable infatuation with the free-spirited singer. What could be more complicated?

But when unwilling attraction gives way to sizzling passion, both will be forced to confront the ages-old question of whether love trumps honor…or the other way around.

Oh, Connie Brockway's The Songbird's Seduction was a fun read! The setting is refreshingly different, set in 1908 Edwardian England, and has a distinct Bringing Up Baby vibe, a 1938 screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Our hero's name is even Ptolemy Archibald Grant (Archibald is Cary's real name) and he's a professor of anthropology. His heroine is Lucy Eastlake, and up and coming operetta singer and general free spirit. And while Cary Grant looked perpetually gob-smacked in the movie, poor Archie is similarly caught up in Lucy's whirlwind and left wondering what the heck happened to his well-ordered life.

[Seduction of the zaniest!]

Wed
Sep 10 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Maggie Robinson’s The Unsuitable Secretary (September 16, 2014)

The Unsuitable Secretary by Maggie RobinsonMaggie Robinson
The Unsuitable Secretary
Penguin / September 16, 2014 / $4.99 digital

Harriet Benson takes her work at the Evensong Agency seriously, but lately, between convalescing from an illness and tending to her father and two young brothers, she’s had to shorten her hours. So when a promising position opens up for part time work, she immediately accepts, despite the fact that her new boss is scandalously indecent—and dangerously appealing.

Though his reputation paints him as a scoundrel, Sir Thomas Featherstone is more proper than anyone would guess. But Harriet’s wit and luscious curves are driving him to distraction. She’s the perfect woman to fill his office requirements, and other desperate needs he’s been ignoring…

Harriet has always held firm to the rule that a secretary must never fall in love with her employer. Only Thomas is determined to win her affections—and he’s willing to risk any cost to make her his…

The Unsuitable Secretary features two of romance readers' favorite tropes: the Virgin Hero and the Plus-size Heroine.

[Ooh! Not unsuitable at all!]

Mon
Sep 1 2014 1:30pm

First Look: Victoria Roberts’s My Highland Spy (September 2, 2014)

My Highland Spy by Victoria RobertsVictoria Roberts 
My Highland Spy
Sourcebooks / September 2, 2014 / $5.31 print, $6.49 digital

This Highland Laird won't bow to the Crown

Laird Ruairi Sutherland refuses to send his only son away to be educated by the English. And he most definitely will not appear in Edinburgh to pay homage to a liege who has no respect for Scotland. So he does what any laird would do—he lies to the king. The last thing Ruairi expects is a beautiful English governess to appear on his doorstep.

But this lady spy might make him...

Lady Ravenna Walsingham is a seasoned spy who is sent to the savage Highlands to uncover a nefarious plot against the Crown. Playing the part of an English governess—a job easier said than done—she infiltrates the home of Laird Sutherland, a suspected conspirator.

If she doesn't betray him first

Ravenna soon discovers that the only real threat Sutherland poses is to her heart. But will the proud Highland laird ever forgive her when he discovers the woman he loves in an English spy?

In Victoria Roberts's My Highland Spy, Lady Ravenna Walsingham is following the family tradition of being a spy for the crown and has made herself very useful to King James in the years following Queen Elizabeth I's death. Her latest assignment is to go to the Highlands of Scotland in the guise of a governess.

[As you do...]

Tue
Aug 26 2014 5:15pm

First Look: Elizabeth Vail’s The Duke of Snow and Apples (August 26, 2014)

The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth VailElizabeth Vail
The Duke of Snow and Apples
Entangled / August 26, 2014 / $0.99 digital

Frederick Snow, first footman, is the perfect servant: efficient, hardworking, and completely bereft of emotion. Unbeknownst to his employers, he’s the lost Duke of Snowmont, on the run from a suspicious stepfather and a powerful magic he can only control by burying his passions beneath his frosty demeanor. He's managed to hide behind his carefully ordered life until an impertinent miss arrives and challenges everything he thought he wanted.

If Charlotte Erlwood wants to land a wealthy, titled husband at her great aunt’s house party, she has to stop losing her temper – especially with inordinately handsome footmen. Perhaps if she recruits Frederick for her matrimonial schemes, she'll be able to direct her attention toward suitable single noblemen and away from inappropriate dalliances. But Frederick’s frigid control is no match for Charlotte’s irrepressible spirit, and her passionate kiss could summon the darker side of his magic...or wake his heart from its frozen sleep.

Elizabeth Vail's The Duke of Snow and Apples is an alternate-reality romance where magic is the norm and the gulf between the Pure-Blooded and Underfolk is even greater than that of your basic Regency-set Historical.

[Magic conflict!...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 9:30am

First Look: Mary Jo Putney’s Not Quite a Wife (August 26, 2014)

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo PutneyMary Jo Putney
Not Quite a Wife
Zebra / August 26, 2014 / $7.99 print, $7.59 digital

James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent...except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife. Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl - until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest. Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love.

Very often in romance, the hero will kill someone during the novel, especially if he is in the Spy Biz. The deed is usually done without much thought or care for the consequences—the villain needed killing, so he was killed. But what happens when the novel's heroine is a very moral person with a deep sense of what is right and wrong? What if she can't accept that the man she loves is an instrument of death? This is the theme Mary Jo Putney explores in her latest novel, Not Quite a Wife.

[Troubled times ahead!...]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 1:30pm

First Look: Liz Carlyle’s The Earl’s Mistress (August 26, 2014)

The Earl's Mistress by Liz Carlyle

Liz Carlyle
The Earl's Mistress
Avon / August 26, 2014 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning.

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty— but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood's words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . . her body.

But when fate sends Isabella back into Hepplewood's arms, the earl must make an impossible choice—draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.

Liz Carlyle's The Earl's Mistress is a bit of a departure for her. Both Hepplewood and Isabella are damaged people who have control issues. Their efforts to work them out through their sexual relationship is a riveting—and at times, disturbing—read.

[A battle for control?...]

Fri
Aug 15 2014 9:30am

First Look: Elizabeth Essex’s A Scandal to Remember (August 26, 2014)

A Scandal to Remember by Elizabeth EssexElizabeth Essex
A Scandal to Remember (Reckless Brides)
St. Martin's / August 26, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

In Elizabeth Essex's A Scandal to Remember, for too long, Miss Jane Burke’s father has taken advantage of her painstaking research. Heading to the South Seas to make her own name as a scientist despite the crew’s insistence that a woman aboard is bad luck, she isn’t prepared to be championed by a handsome ship’s officer who rouses longings inside her as wild as any storm…

For Lieutenant Charles Dance, a post on His Majesty’s survey ship Tenacious is just one more dutiful rung on the ladder of his career. Even a headstrong bluestocking on board is less troubling than the ship’s drunken captain—and the ferocious gales that drive the ship off course. Stranded on a remote island, passion blazes between them as hot as the sun, but it’s Jane’s love that Charles wants forever…

Elizabeth Essex's A Scandal to Remember is a very good Adventure on the High Seas romance. I could almost taste the salt in the air, feel the spray of the waves, and hear the creaking of the masts as they are buffeted by the winds. This is a Naval Story, and in particular, a story about Lieutenant Charles Dance as he struggles to do his duty with what has to be the worst ship and crew in the Royal Navy.

[Scandal ahoy!...]

Mon
Aug 4 2014 9:30am

First Look: Ashlyn Macnamara’s What a Lady Craves (August 12, 2014)

What a Lady Craves by Ashlyn Macnamara

Ashlyn Macnamara
What a Lady Craves
Loveswept / August 12, 2014 / $2.99 digital

Henrietta Upperton is about to marry Alexander Sanford when he rushes off to India to salvage his family’s fortune. Then comes the devastating news that he has wed another. Eight agonizing years later, a storm washes Alexander ashore—injured, widowed, and hunted—and one glimpse of his ruggedly handsome face reawakens the desire Henrietta thought she had buried deep inside. Her body still yearns for his touch, but she’s determined not let him wound her again . . . not this time.  

For Alexander, honor always comes first. But only now does he realize that when given the choice between two virtuous deeds, he picked the wrong one. On the run with his life in tatters and a pair of daughters in tow, Alexander burns for Henrietta. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. And yet he longs to wrap his arms around her warm body once again. What’s more, he is sure the lady craves the same.

The above synopsis does an excellent job of laying out the story of Ashlyn Macnamara's What a Lady Craves—what a treat! As you might expect in a tale of a lost love reunited after years apart, there is a lot of angst and longing and wistfulness over “what might have been.”

[But we still have hope, Henrietta!]

Mon
Jul 28 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Sherry Thomas’s My Beautiful Enemy (August 5, 2014)

My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry ThomasSherry Thomas
My Beautiful Enemy
Berkley / August 5, 2014 / $7.99, print & digital

Hidden beneath Catherine Blade’s uncommon beauty is a daring that matches any man’s. Although this has taken her far in the world, she still doesn’t have the one thing she craves: the freedom to live life as she chooses. Finally given the chance to earn her independence, who should be standing in her way but the only man she’s ever loved, the only person to ever betray her.

Despite the scars Catherine left him, Captain Leighton Atwood has never been able to forget the mysterious girl who once so thoroughly captivated him. When she unexpectedly reappears in his life, he refuses to get close to her. But he cannot deny the yearning she reignites in his heart.

Their reunion, however, plunges them into a web of espionage, treachery, and deadly foes. With everything at stake, Leighton and Catherine are forced to work together to find a way out. If they are ever to find safety and happiness, they must first forgive and learn to trust each other again…

Wow. I loved this book. There are so many Good Things I could talk about, but I want to highlight something that Sherry Thomas does that almost no one else does well: The Flashback.

We meet Catherine Blade in “present day” Victorian England, as she is getting off a boat from India and being introduced to the family of fellow boat passengers when she hears a voice.

[A voice that's very familiar...]

Wed
Jul 9 2014 11:00am

First Look: Suzanne Enoch’s Rogue with a Brogue (July 29, 2014)

Rogue with a Brogue by Suzanne Enoch

Suzanne Enoch
Rogue with a Brogue (Scandalous Highlanders #2)
St. Martin's Press / July 29, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital

London, 1817: Stuck in a Mayfair ballroom thanks to his lovestruck brother, highlander Arran MacLawry wants nothing but a bit of distraction from an arranged betrothal—and a clever auburn-haired lass in a vixen’s mask promises just that...until he discovers that she’s the granddaughter of the Campbell, chief of clan MacLawry’s longtime rival. Despite their families’ grudging truce, falling for fiery Mary Campbell is a notion too outlandish even for this Highlander…

Raised on tales of savage MacLawrys, Mary is stunned to realize the impressively strapping man in the fox’s mask is one of them. Surely the enemy shouldn’t have such a broad chest, and such a seductive brogue? Not that her curiosity matters—any dalliance between them is strictly forbidden, and she’s promised to another. But with the crackling spark between them ready to ignite, love is worth every risk…

Aaran MacLawry and Mary Campbell belong to feuding Scottish clans who have declared a temporary truce. To shore up the truce, their families have arranged marriages with other clans that will support them when the truce is inevitably broken. Sounds like we got us a Romeo and Juliet story here. But wait, Mary says no.

[Mary won't be taking poison!]

Sun
Jun 29 2014 12:00pm

First Look: Celeste Bradley’s With This Ring (July 1, 2014)

With This Ring by Celeste Bradley

Celeste Bradley
With This Ring
St. Martin's Press / July 1, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Elektra Worthington is the lovely middle daughter of the eccentric, impoverished Worthington family. Her beauty means nothing to her except as her currency to return the Worthington name to its former glory of status, riches, and dominance in the ballrooms of Regency England. To this end, she will stop at nothing—even if she must kidnap a rich lord in the process. If this lucky gentleman is just returning from a long absence and knows nothing of the Worthington reputation, well, a girl shouldn’t look a gift lord in the mouth…right?

Lord Aaron Arbogast, returning to England after a decade-old scandal—of which he was not truly guilty, but instead took the blame out of loyalty to a good friend—is the last of his line. He will someday become the Earl of Arbodean and inherit the estate…if, that is, he can prove to his ailing grandfather that he is a reformed man. Falling for a woman like Miss Worthington could cost him everything. But his desire for her? Priceless…

In Celeste Bradley's With This Ring, Elektra Worthington's latest scheme to marry very well and thus save her family from its genteel poverty is to kidnap Lord Aaron Arbogast. Aaron is newly returned to England after ten years and is reportedly looking for a wife. Elektra hopes that his long sojourn abroad will mean that he is unfamiliar with the Worthington family's well-earned reputation for eccentricity. Kidnapping does not seem to me to be a convincing argument in her favor, but she is desperate.

[Desperate times call for desperate measures!]