Monday, October 24, 2016

Lady Amber's Release Day Blitz for THE SATYR'S CURSE III - REDEMPTION by Alexandrea Weis with #excerpt

by Alexandrea Weis

Available today at Amazon | Kobobooks

Since returning from Fairview Plantation, Jazzmyn Livaudais has noticed strange occurrences in her Garden District home. She attributes the ghostly happenings to Julian Devereau.

Trapped in a world between death and life, Julian waits. Jazzmyn is torn between her feelings for him, and her impending nuptials to her temperamental chef, Kyle Baker.

But before she can consider Julian’s fate, she must deal with a detective eager to solve the horrific murders of women that have plagued New Orleans for decades. The detective suspects Julian is the killer, and his frequent visits to The Sweet Note are putting everyone on edge.

With Julian’s time running out, Jazzmyn discovers there may be another spirit hanging around her home. One who is out to settle an old score.
Will Jazzmyn rescue Julian from his self-imposed limbo? And what will happen if he returns?

When one curse ends, another can begin. Beware The Satyr’s Curse.




“Do you miss the demon, Jazzmyn?”
“He’s not a demon.” Jazzmyn carefully weighed her words. “Do you think …? I keep wondering if he’s all right.”
Ms. Helen’s unsettling sigh carried through the bedroom. “That satyr man has crossed over. He’s where he’s supposed to be.”
“Is he?” Jazzmyn questioningly raised her eyebrows.
“Do you know somethin’ I don’t, child?”
Jazzmyn motioned to the newest daisy painted on the wall. “That just appeared last night.”
Ms. Helen inspected the flower. “I thought you said you painted them daisies.”
“No, that’s what I told Kyle to keep him from asking too many questions. I can’t paint. They just appeared.” Jazzmyn rubbed her hands together. “They’re a lot like the ones Julian put in Jackie’s bedroom at Fairview Plantation. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they’re exactly like the ones he painted.”
Ms. Helen spun around. Her coffee-colored skin paled.  
“That’s not all. Last night, Kyle found Odette’s painting hanging sideways on the mantle. This morning, the coffeemaker had been turned on and filled with coffee before either one of us got up.”
Ms. Helen’s brown eyes grew in size. “Do you think it’s the demon?”
“Who else could it be?” Jazzmyn gestured to the flower on the wall. “He had a fondness for painting, loved coffee before he was cursed, and who else would turn Odette’s picture on its side like that?”
“What you’re suggestin’ would mean he’s finding a way back to you.”
“But when I came back from Fairview, you said he was trapped. How can he come back?”
“I’m not sure. I’ve never seen such a thing.” Ms. Helen knitted her brow. “You told me he was the one who threw the pot on the fire, not you. And you never spoke the words banishing him.”
“Yes, the curse was lifted, and he disappeared into a ball of green light after the pot exploded.” Jazzmyn tossed up a hand. “So?”
“If the ritual wasn’t completed, that might allow him to move back and forth between this world and the place where he’s trapped,” Ms. Helen warned in a dark voice.         
Jazzmyn shivered as if enveloped by an icy breeze. “Which means he might be trying to get back to me.” She faced her daughter, sitting in her crib. “Back to Jackie.”
“Julian’s paid his debt to your family and to those he wronged, but you didn’t force him out of your life, Jazzmyn. Julian sent himself away. That tie to you and his daughter may have left a door open somewhere.”
“What door?”
Ms. Helen waved her hand high in the air. “The door that lies between this world and the next. A portal through which spirits can cross over.”
“Because I didn’t complete the ritual, he’s able to come back and forth through this door?” Jazzmyn gripped the railing of Jackie’s pink crib. “Are you sure about this?”
Ms. Helen put a reassuring her hand on Jazzmyn’s shoulder. “He’s bound to you and his daughter. It’s those ties that probably kept him from crossing over completely.”
 “Is Julian a ghost, haunting my house?”   
“Ghosts are dead people trapped on this earth, but your demon ain’t dead. Far from it.”
Jazzmyn was overcome by a wave of dizziness as what Ms. Helen was proposing sunk in. “Are you saying he’s alive, physically, somewhere?”
“If you’d performed the ritual like Ms. Evangeline instructed, your satyr man would have been sent to his rest. His physical body would have died. But you didn’t perform the ritual, at least not all of it.”
Jazzmyn glared at the woman, dumbfounded. “You never said anything about his being alive and trapped. I thought he was a spirit, and no longer living.”
Ms. Helen sighed and looked Jazzmyn up and down. “So do you want to get rid of your satyr man for good?”
Jazzmyn said nothing but glanced down at her baby in the crib.     
“What about your crazy chef?” Ms. Helen pressed. “Kyle plans on marryin’ you in October. You got any idea what you’re gonna tell him?”
Jazzmyn sagged against the crib, unable to bear the weight of her emotions. “I don’t know what I feel for either man right now.”
“You’re gonna have to decide, Jazzmyn. Sooner than later, you’ll have to let one man go.”

About the Author:
From New Orleans, Alexandrea Weis was raised in the motion picture industry and began writing stories at the age of eight. In college, she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she decided to pick up the pen once again and began her first novel, TO MY SENSES. Since that time, she has published many novels. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning books, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable.
Alexandrea Weis is also a certified/permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries. When she is not writing, she rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She is married and lives in New Orleans.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Review of THE SATYR'S CURSE II - THE RECKONING by Alexandrea Weis

I love anything to do with the supernatural…within reason of course, I don’t play with Ouija boards. But I do love to read stories based in the supernatural. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed THE SATYR’S CURSE by Alexandrea Weis, I knew I had to read the sequel—THE SATYR’S CURSE II – THE RECKONING. Especially since the third book in the series, THE SATYR’S CURSE III – REDEMPTION is releasing October 24th. Sweeet!

***purchased for my own personal reading but sharing an honest and unscripted review


Jazzmyn Livaudais is struggling to hold it together. With a continuously cranky baby, a rocky relationship with her fiancĂ©, Kyle, and money getting tight at her restaurant, she’s having trouble staying focused. But when the strange nightmares begin, Jazzmyn knows it can only mean one thing: Julian Devereau is back.

In order to protect her daughter and Kyle, Jazzmyn must keep Julian from his moment of reckoning. Will the satyr’s curse be lifted, or will Jazzmyn find the strength to destroy Julian Devereau once and for all?

Some curses are never meant to be broken, and some desires are never meant to be undone.

Beware The Satyr’s Curse.


Having hoped she’d freed herself from the unseemly bond that the Satyr man, Julian Devereau had connected with her since childhood, Jazzmyn Livaudais was trying to make a life for herself with her daughter, Jackie and her fiancĂ©, Kyle but things weren’t going well. Kyle was pushing to get married but he’d begun drinking again even after promising her not to, especially at the restaurant. Then there were the strange dreams…sexy disturbing dreams of Julian and the sexual energy that always existed between them. Jackie seemed at odds as well, acting as if she didn’t like Kyle even though he was the only father her baby daughter had ever known. But then there were strange feelings of being watched, toys appearing out of nowhere and other things that kept her on edge. Jazzmyn was beginning to worry that Julian had returned and if he had, what he would do. He had not been happy when she and Ms. Helen sent him away in the cemetery that bizarre night.

A trip to one of the strongest voodoo witches tells her Julian Devereau is not done with her and it’s up to her to banish him forever before he stays forever, trapping her in his world—but can she do it?

I will warn you up front, THE SATYR’S CURSE series is a continuing story. To understand the second book, you must read the first and to find out what finally happens in the end, we’ll have to read the third book, which I’m looking forward to immensely.

Alexandrea Weis writes the most amazing stories set in New Orleans. She creates such an atmosphere around her characters that you want desperately to visit the city even before finishing reading the book. Whereas, this series is not a true romance in that there is not a happily-ever-after…at least, not yet…it’s a remarkable unique and suspenseful example of extraordinary women’s fiction and the relationship between men and women. She has many other series, which are equally good and I highly advise you perusing her book list. There seriously is something for everyone.

For me, I love her supernatural stories with voodoo, ghosts, and dark secrets lurking in the background, which keep you wondering about the characters and what’s really happening. This is exactly the setting for THE SATYR’S CURSE II – THE RECKONING. Julian Devereau is not a nice man. He’s selfish, self-centered, and highly egotistical but he’s also man from the past living in a modern age with antiquated ideals. He’s the man you wish you could truly despise but somehow you know there’s a good soul lurking within all the darkness and he's sexy as hell. I won’t tell you what happens but we get a glimpse of that light within the dark this time around.

Alexandrea takes us on a ride that keeps you changing your mind about Julian and Jazzmyn, and what she should do. What I love most about THE RECKONING is that it proves once again that the greatest gift is love and that love can conquer all things when it’s needed.

I highly recommend THE SATYR’S CURSE II – THE RECKONING by Alexandrea Weis if you love the unusual, the mysterious, and a story with such a dark core but in the end, you might just find yourself smiling.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE SATYR’S CURSE II – THE RECKONING by Alexandrea Weis, World Castle Publishing, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Avon Romance Invites Readers to Enter the #Giveaway of the Year - a chance to Win an Eastern Caribbean Cruise and a Boatload of Novels!

It's Avon's 75th birthday!
And to celebrate, they’re holding the most
amazing GIVEAWAY ever!

*Seven day Eastern Caribbean cruise for two people, embarking and disembarking from Fort Lauderdale, FL, courtesy of Princess Cruises.

*$500 gift card that may be used toward airfare.

*A boatload of 25 Avon books!

Who wouldn’t want to celebrate a landmark event with a once-in-a-lifetime cruise? This year, Avon Books, leading romance publisher and imprint of HarperCollins, celebrates its 75th anniversary by offering readers the chance to win a seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise for two people, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, FL, courtesy of Princess Cruises. In addition, the winner will receive a $500 gift card, which can be used toward airfare…as well as a boatload of 25 Avon books!

Launched in 1941, Avon is renowned for widely popularizing the historical romance category. Today, Avon is recognized as the “Diamond Standard of romance,” and the imprint is proud to publish the best and brightest authors in the romance industry. 

What’s more romantic than a getaway on the Love Boat? The publisher is ecstatic to share that Princess Cruises has generously donated an indulgent cruise for two to help commemorate Avon’s diamond anniversary.  Promotional partners - BookingBuddy®,, and Woman’s Day -have joined forces to float airfare for two, along with a travel gift certificate valued at $500.

Of course, no great vacation is complete without some me time so Avon is generously providing the winner with ultimate voyage of imagination—an extensive library of 25 timeless romances, including: 

THE EARL by Katharine Ashe
BLACK LYON by Jude Deveraux
HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost
FROST LINE by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
FORBIDDEN by Beverly Jenkins
RIDE HARD by Laura Kaye
DEVIL IN WINTER by Lisa Kleypas
GENTLE ROGUE by Johanna Lindsey
MATCH ME IF YOU CAN by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
THE DUKE AND I by Julia Quinn
STONE COLD COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan
SHANNA by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Note: As part of this special promotion, select Avon romances will also be available in gift shops onboard all ships in the Princess Cruises fleet during the month of October.

The Avon 75th Anniversary Sweepstakes is sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. Must be legal U.S. resident 18 or over. Sweepstakes begins October 11, 2016 12:00 p.m. (ET) and ends on November 18, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. (ET). Offer void in Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island and all U.S. territories and possessions, and wherever prohibited or restricted by law. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
For more information and Official Rules, visit: 

Contest Sponsors:

One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises is a global cruise line and tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships renowned for their innovative design and wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and amenities, all provided with the experience of exceptional customer service. A recognized leader in worldwide cruising, Princess carries 1.7 million guests each year to more than 360 destinations around the globe on more than 150 itineraries ranging in length from three to 111 days. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).

BookingBuddy, a TripAdvisor company, is a travel-shopping site that gives travelers easy access to the best airfare, hotel, car rental, cruise, vacation rental, and vacation deals, plus prices from 140+ travel sites. Travel search made simple.® is a TripAdvisor Media Group company.  The service is the Hotel Tell-All, sending professional investigators to every hotel, publishing comprehensive high-resolution photos, amazing panoramas, and expert reviews.

Woman’s Day is an indispensable resource to 20 million women. The brand speaks to our readers' values and focuses on what’s important. We empower her with smart solutions for her core concerns - health, home, food, style, and money - and celebrate the connection she cherishes with family, friends, and community.


HarperCollins Publishers is the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publish approximately 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalog of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the Man Booker Prize. 
HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tasty Virtual Book Tour for WHEN A MARQUESS LOVES A WOMAN by Vivienne Lorret with #excerpt & #giveaway

Season's Original #3
by Vivienne Lorret

Available now from Avon Impulse

Amazon | B& N | Google | iTunes | Kobo

As a young, penniless gentleman, Maxwell Harwick knew he had little to offer Juliet White—the most beautiful debutante of the season—except his love, and one thoroughly scandalous kiss. But when they were discovered in a compromising position, a nearly ruined Juliet fled into the arms of a rich, older lord... taking Max’s heart with her.

Now a widow, Lady Juliet Granworth intends to use the fortune she inherited from her odious husband to build a new life in London. Five years have passed, but she’s never forgotten Max… or his soul-searing kiss. Yet it’s clear the newly-minted Marquess of Thayne has not forgiven her—after all, the infuriating man can barely stand the sight of her. But Juliet has endured far too much to give up without a fight and if it’s a battle of wills he wants, it’s a battle he’ll get.

He hates her for breaking his heart. She detests him for destroying her future. But beneath all the loathing, simmers an intoxicating passion that neither can ignore… and the harder they resist, the harder they will inevitably fall.



 He spread his arms out in a shrug, cakes in one hand, walking stick in the other. “Now, as you can see, I am utterly helpless”—he paused at the sound of her scoff—“and unable to taste the cake that you offered to feed me.”
“I made no such offer.”
“Then I cannot think of what I heard moments ago unless...”—he lowered his voice—“you were flirting with me. But you, the ever-composed Lady Granworth, would never do such a thing.”
He wanted to see her color rise, her ire flash, anything. Damn it all, he needed to ruffle her feathers and crawl under her skin. It was the least she owed him.
“I would not even know how to flirt,” she boldly lied and without batting an eye.
Wasn’t every nuance of flirtation woven into her being? Every downward sweep of her lashes. Every subtle curl of her lips. Every slash of her tongue. Every single breath!
“Oh, I’m certain that is a false statement,” he said, keeping his tone smooth and even. “All you have to do is admit to flirting with me, and I’ll be on my way.”
“I. Admit. Nothing.”
He held out his hand. “Then feed me a cake.”
She stepped forward so suddenly she nearly startled him in the process. “Fine.”
The crisply enunciated word tolled a warning bell within him, advising caution. He had anticipated their continued banter and even her eventual retreat, but not her acquiescence. Instinct told him to be wary. And yet curiosity fixed him to the spot.
Lifting her hand, she slipped the serviette into her delicate palm, the edges draping over fingers. He stared, paying close attention to every movement, noting how her lace mitts left the entire length of her slender fingers exposed. No doubt, like her dress, they were designed for a purpose, bringing to mind thoughts of bared limbs.
Then, with a delicate pinch of her thumb and forefinger, she picked up the first cake.
Anticipation thundered in his chest, neck, and ears simultaneously. She could still balk. Still storm off in a flurry. He was prepared for such a response but no longer assured of it. Perhaps challenging her wasn’t the best idea after all.
His gaze shifted from the cake to her eyes, over and again. Her gaze, on the other hand, remained fixed to his as she slowly lifted the cake—
And popped it into her mouth. Then she closed her eyes, a smile curving her lips, while emitting a low murmur of sensual delight.
Max couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t move if someone were to set him on fire. The pulse that had pounded so hard an instant ago abruptly dropped to his trousers, banging like a drum as blood engorged his flesh.
The tip of her pert tongue slipped out to tease him further. The taunt transformed into torture when she licked the pink icing from her fingertip and then her thumb. When she finished, her eyes opened, the blue a brighter, deeper hue than the sky overhead. He found himself unable to look away.
“Delicious,” she purred. “So good in fact that I think I’ll have another.”
She pinched the second cake, her lips parted. But before she could lift it to her mouth—before he knew what he was doing—he seized her wrist.
He was half-tempted, half-wild with the need to kiss her, to lose himself in the silken texture of her lips once more. To haul her into his arms and feel the curves of her body with his hands.
It took every shred of control he possessed not to give in. At least, not completely.
Watching her all the while, he lowered his head and took the cake into his mouth.
He swallowed it without fanfare or appreciation. The dessert he really wanted was still waiting.
He slipped her finger into his mouth next, the dainty pad at the tip more silken and sweet than marzipan. In slow, searching swipes, he laved her flesh, mapping the route of every fine impression, wicking away every last bit of icing. He would have stopped if he was frightening her. Hell, he was startled by his own actions. But when he saw her pupils dilate, her gaze drifting down to his mouth, and then heard the quickening of her breath, he knew she was not afraid of him.
She was one of two things—either wholly, explosively angry or...wholly, explosively aroused. And since he’d been the recipient of her temper before, he wagered it was the latter.
A surge of triumph merged with the unleashed desire coursing through him. She could pretend she was cool-headed and aloof all she wanted, but he knew better. Five years ago, that same passion had slipped through the cracks in her composure.
He wanted more. Greedy, he curled his tongue around her, drawing her flesh deeper, and gently grazing the delicate furrows of her knuckle with his teeth.
His name shuddered out of her lungs and past her lips, sending a tremor through him. Yet the tinge of vulnerability in her passion-laden plea swiftly brought him to his senses.
With a quick tug, he pulled her closer. Still holding his walking stick, he touched the handle beneath her chin and tilted it up. “Perhaps you should reconsider flirting with your enemy in the future.”


USA Today bestselling author, VIVIENNE LORRET loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order…but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is an Avon Impulse author of works including:  TEMPTING MR. WEATHERSTONE, THE WALLFLOWER WEDDING Series, THE RAKES OF FALLOW HALL Series, THE DUKE’S CHRISTMAS WISH, and the SEASON’S ORIGINAL Series.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Tasty Book Tours Cover Reveal for STRIPPED BARE, a Vegas Billionaire novel by Heidi McLaughlin + #Giveaway

A Vegas Billionaire Novel #1
by Heidi McLaughlin

Releasing March 28, 2017 from Loveswept

"By far one of McLaughlin's best!" - New York Times bestselling author LP Dover 

They don’t call it the Strip for nothing. . .  

In this sinfully sexy Las Vegas romance from bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, a man who has it all reunites with a woman who takes it all off. 

Living in Sin City, Finn McCormick is no stranger to one-night stands, but the last person he expects to find losing big on the casino floor is a former high school fling. Even though Macey Webster’s clearly down on her luck, she’s still a knockout, and she’s dressed like a stripper—because she is one. Drunk off an unfamiliar cocktail of lust, pity, and compassion, Finn offers to pay Macey’s debts if she cuddles up to him around town . . . and does whatever he wants between the sheets. 

Macey came to Vegas for one reason only: money. She’s got a young daughter to support, and the tips really are bigger in Vegas. But when she blows her earnings on blackjack, her guardian angel is the rich boy who once stole her heart and never called her back. Although Macey would love to turn the tables on Finn, she can’t afford to refuse his proposition—and soon she’s enjoying herself much more than she cares to admit. Macey’s used to baring her flesh, but baring her soul will take far more courage. 

Amazon | Barnes | Google | iTunes | Kobo

About the Author:

HEIDI MCLAUGHLIN is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. Originally from Portland, Oregon, and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, and a Highland Westie/Mini Schnauzer, Jill and her brother, Racicot. When she's isn't writing one of the many stories planned for release, you'll find her sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.

STRIPPED BARE at Goodreads


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Promo Stop on a Virtual Tour for THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL by Jennifer McQuiston with #excerpt & #giveaway

Seduction Diaries #3
by Jennifer McQuiston

available now from Avon Romance

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston continues her enchanting Seduction Diaries series as a bookish spinster and an unrepentant rogue unite to unmask a traitor.

Every girl dreams of a hero…

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face. And Westmore’s is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

~*~              ~*~              ~*~              ~*~


From the Diary of Miss Mary Channing
May 24, 1858
Eleanor wrote today. I should have been glad to hear from her, given that she is my twin sister and I love her dearly, but it would be untruthful to say the contents of her letter pleased me. Her new husband, Lord Ashington, has been called away on business and she’s asked me to come to London to keep her company during the last two months of her confinement.
Can you imagine? Me, in London?
My family says I must get my nose out of my books and begin to live in the world around me. It is true I’ve never been further afield than a day trip from home, and that I have never slept a night outside my own bed. But why would I ever want to leave, when I have my books to keep me company? And a trip to London is not without its perils. I could very well end up like one of the characters in my beloved stories, snubbed by the popular crowd. Whispered about behind lace fans. Or worse...led astray by a handsome villain and then abandoned to my fate.
Yet, how could I not go? Eleanor is my sister, and she needs me. So I shall put on a brave face. Pack a trunk. Smile, if I must. But I can’t help but wonder...which worries me more?
The many things that could happen in London?
Or the thought of seeing Eleanor, with her handsome new husband, and her shining, lovely life, and everything I am afraid of wanting?

Chapter One

London, May 29, 1858

The smell should have been worse.
She’d expected something foul, air made surly by the summer heat. Just last week she’d read about the Thames, that great, roiling river that carried with it the filth of the entire city and choked its inhabitants to tears. Her rampant imagination, spurred on by countless books and newspaper articles, had conjured a city of fetid smells, each more terrible than the last. But as Miss Mary Channing opened her bedroom window and breathed in her first London morning, her nose filled with nothing more offensive than the fragrance of...
Disconcerted, she peeked out over the sill. Dawn was just breaking over the back of Grosvenor Square. The gaslights were still burning and the windows of the other houses were dark. By eight o’clock, she imagined industrious housemaids would be down on their knees, whiting their masters’ stoops. The central garden would fill with nurses and their charges, heading west toward Hyde Park.
But for now the city—and its smells—belonged solely to her.
She breathed in again. Was she dreaming? Imagining things, as she was often wont to do? She was well over two hundred miles from home, but it smelled very much like her family’s ornamental garden in Yorkshire. She didn’t remember seeing a garden last night, but then, she had arrived quite late, the gaslight shadows obscuring all but the front steps. She’d been too weary to think, so sickened by the ceaseless motion of the train that she’d not even been able to read a book, much less ponder the underpinnings of the air she breathed.
She supposed she might have missed a garden. Good heavens, she probably would have missed a funeral parade, complete with an eight-horse coach and a brass band.
After the long, tiresome journey, she’d only wanted to find a bed.
And yet five o’clock in the morning...she couldn’t sleep.
Not on a mattress that felt so strange, and not in a bedroom that wasn’t her own.
Pulling her head back inside, she eyed the four-poster bed, with its rumpled covers and profusion of pretty pillows. It was a perfectly nice bed. Her sister, Eleanor, had clearly put some thought into the choice of fabrics and furniture. Most women would love such a room. And most women would love such an opportunity—two whole months in London, with shops and shows and distractions of every flavor at their fingertips.
But Mary wasn’t most women. She preferred her distractions in the form of a good book, not shopping on Regent Street. And these two looming months felt like prison, not paradise.
The scent of roses lingered in the air, and as she breathed in, her mind settled on a new hope. If there was a flower garden she might escape to—a place where she might read her books and write in her journal—perhaps it would not be so terrible?
Picking up the novel she had not been able to read on the train, Mary slipped out of the strange bedroom, her bare feet silent on the stairs. She had always been an early riser, waking before even the most industrious servants back home in Yorkshire. At home, the cook knew to leave her out a bit of breakfast—bread and cheese wrapped in a napkin—but no one here would know to do that for her yet.
Ever since she’d been a young girl, morning had been her own time, quiet hours spent curled up on a garden bench with a book in her lap, nibbling on her pocket repast, the day lightening around her. The notion that she might still keep to such a routine in a place like London gave her hope for the coming two months.
She drifted down the hallway until she found a doorway that looked promising, solid oak, with a key still in the lock. With a deep breath, she turned the key and pulled it open. She braced herself for knife-wielding brigands. Herds of ragged street urchins, hands rifling through her pockets. The sort of London dangers she’d always read about.
Instead, the scent of flowers washed over her like a lovely, welcome tide.
Oh, thank goodness.
She hadn’t been imagining things after all.
Something hopeful nudged her over the threshold of the door, then bade her to take one step, then another. In the thin light of dawn, she saw flowers in every color and fashion: bloodred rose blooms, a cascade of yellow flowers dripping down the wrought iron fence. Her fingers loosened over the cover of her book. Oh, but it would be lovely to read here. She could even hear the light patter of a fountain, beckoning her deeper.
But then she heard something else above those pleasant, tinkling notes.
An almost inhuman groan of pleasure.
With a startled gasp, she spun around. Her eyes swam through the early morning light to settle on a gentleman on the street, some ten feet or so away on the other side of the wrought iron fence. But the fact of their separation did little to relieve her anxiety, because the street light illuminated him in unfortunate, horrific clarity.
He was urinating.
Through the fence.
Onto one of her sister’s rosebushes.
The book fell from Mary’s hand. In all her imaginings of what dreadful things she might encounter on the streets of London, she’d never envisioned anything like this. She ought to bolt. She ought to scream. She ought to...well...she ought to at least look away.
But as if he was made of words on a page, her eyes insisted on staying for a proper read. His eyes were closed, his mouth open in a grimace of relief. Objectively, he was a handsome mess, lean and long-limbed, a shock of disheveled blond hair peeking out from his top hat. But handsome was always matter of opinion, and this one had “villain” stamped on his skin.
As if he could hear her flailing thoughts, one eye cracked open, then the other. “Oh, ho, would you look at that, Grant? I’ve an audience, it seems.”
Somewhere down the street, another voice rang out. “Piss off!” A snigger followed. “Oh, wait, you already are.”
“Cork it, you sodding fool!” the blond villain shouted back. “Can’t you see we’re in the presence of a lady?” He grinned. “Apologies for such language, luv. Though...given the way you are staring, perhaps you don’t mind?” He rocked back on his heels, striking a jaunty pose even as the urine rained down. “If you come a little closer, I’d be happy to give you a better peek.”
Mary’s heart scrambled against her ribs. She might be a naive thing, fresh from the country, and she might now be regretting her presumption that it was permissible to read a book in a London garden in her bare feet, but she wasn’t so unworldly that she didn’t know this one pertinent fact: she was not—under any circumstances—coming a little closer.
Or getting a better peek.
Mortified, she wrapped her arms about her middle. “I. . .that is. . .couldn’t you manage to hold it?” she somehow choked out. There. She’d managed a phrase, and it was a properly scathing one, too. As good as any of her books’ heroines might have done.
A grin spread across his face. Much like the puddle at the base of the rosebush. “Well, luv, the thing is, I’m thinking I’d rather let you hold it.” The stream trickled to a stop, though he added a few more drips for good measure. He shook himself off and began to button his trousers. “But alas, it seems you’ve waited too long for the pleasure.” He tipped a finger to the brim of his top hat in a sort of salute. “My friend awaits. Perhaps another time?”
Mary gasped. Or rather, she squeaked.
She could manage little else.
He chuckled. “It seems I’ve got a shy little mouse on my hands. Well, squeak squeak, run along then.” He set off down the street, swaying a bit. “But I’ll leave you with a word of advice, Miss Mouse,” he tossed back over one shoulder. “You’re a right tempting sight, standing there in your unutterables. But you might want to wear shoes the next time you ogle a gentleman’s prick. Never know when you’ll need to run.”


A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal.

Praise for Jennifer McQuiston and THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL:

“McQuiston’s third Seduction Diaries novel is to be commended for its complex and unusual plot and for featuring characters the reader comes to care for. A surprising, readable story about healing, forgiveness, and trust.” — Kirkus

“The story is equal parts mystery and romance, and just when readers begin to feel cheated, the twists and turns navigate to a stunning ending.”— Publishers Weekly

“Pure Escapism. Ms. Mcquiston created a romance as epic as the characters who lived it. [...] With easily identifiable main characters and a thrilling story, it was a no brainer for me to gift this book with 5 stars and a Top Pick.” — Night Owl Reviews

“McQuiston’s Seduction Diaries series captivates readers with clever plots and engaging characters. Incorporating plenty of sexual tension, bantering dialogue and a mystery into this installment delivers everything fans expect from McQuiston. This is truly a delightful addition to a reader’s library.”— RT Book Reviews

“THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL is full of interesting characters and their interactions, especially those between West and Mary. There is also plenty of suspense concerning the assassination. The era is also a change from the Regency that so Dominates British historical romances.”— Romance Reviews Today

“Regency romance fans will adore this addition to McQuiston’s Seduction Diaries series”— Booklist


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