Friday, June 29, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, a Devil DeVere novella by Victoria Vane

I am already so in love with The Devil DeVere Series by Victoria Vane and today, the second in the series - THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, releases!! Congratulations Victoria!

I was so delighted when Victoria allowed me to read an eARC of this novella for I've been chomping at the bit ever since reading A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE - which by the way, if you go to her website (click here to do that but do come back) I believe you can still get a copy of that bawdy Georgian Romance novella for only 99 cents. If you haven't read  it - DO - then get your hands on THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS by Victoria Vane - you won't be disappointed.

Blurb for THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS:

Desperate times call for devilish measures…
when the object of one’s passion has eyes for another…
it’s time to take matters in hand!

Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants…
Coddled and pampered, since her mother’s death, Lady Vesta Chambers is beside herself when her father goes to London to prepare for her come-out and returns with a young bride of his own. With her world turned upside down, Vesta accompanies her godmother, Diana, to town, where she is smitten the moment she lays eyes on a certain captain of the Seventeenth Light Dragoons.

But when the object of her passion has eyes for another…
Captain Hewett DeVere, younger brother and heir to Viscount Ludovic ”The Devil” DeVere, has returned from the American war scarred, disillusioned, and looking forward to settling down to a quiet and respectable life. But when the handsome and straight-laced captain turns his eyes toward the widowed Diana, Vesta is prepared to take devilish measures to prove she is no longer a little girl, but a woman with the passion of …a huntress.

           *                       *                      *                      *                         *                      *

The year is 1783 and Lady Vesta Chambers is the most incorrigible young woman of eighteen ever to come to London for her coming out. Everyone from her guardian, Diana to The Devil himself, Viscount DeVere is at wits end as to what to do with her.  When Vesta sets her desires on having DeVere's younger brother, Captain Hew DeVere for her own, she will stop at nothing to make him notice her not as a little girl but as a grown up woman. She will stop at nothing including kidnapping.

Captain Hew DeVere has a great desire to take a wife but worries that no desirable woman will have him as he is scarred and wounded from his service in the American war. When he meets the lovely widow, Diana, he is tempted to woo her but she quickly rebuffs his attentions while both are unaware that Vesta has been scheming to separate the two and gain his attentions solely for herself.

THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS by Victoria Vane is surprisingly sweet while extraordinarily naughty. Vesta is a rambunctious, brave, and incorrigible girl far beyond anyone's expectations except perhaps those of her godfather, Viscount Ludovic DeVere. Determined and resolute to gain the attentions of Hew, Vesta takes her schemes further than anyone expects especially Hew. Inevitably, Hew is unable to resist the persistence of such a young virgin and the result is pure magic.

Victoria Vane has certainly become one of my favorite authors. Her research and attention to detail and language is exquisite. Her characters are full of depth and mischief and she excellently pulls the reader from one wonderful novella to the other but leaves each to stand on its own easily.  THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS by Victoria Vane is a wonderful Georgian Romance that will have you grinning one moment and gasping the next at Vesta's naughtiness.

An excellent story with excellent characters, I highly recommend THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, a  Devil DeVere Series novella by Victoria Vane. This is a series that cannot be ignored and should certainly not be missed.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Don't forget, you still have time (giveaway ends tonight) to enter for a chance to win an ecopy of Anna Randol's regency novella, A MOST NAKED SOLUTION - click here to go to that post. Enjoy!

THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS, a Devil DeVere Series novella by Victoria Vane, Breathless Press, available NOW in ebook format.

To purchase now, please visit http://www.breathlesspress.com/virgin-huntress .

Don't forget that A WILD NIGHT'S BRIDE, the first in the Devil DeVere series is on sale for 99 cents but today's the last day.  Hopefully, Amazon will have THE VIRGIN HUNTRESS available soon. 

                                                                

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: TIME TRAVELING WITH ANNA RANDOL, author of A MOST NAKED SOLUTION

On Monday, I posted my review of Anna Randol's newest release A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, novella now available from Avon Impulse. It's a murder mystery regency romance novella well worth reading - if you'd like to read my review, CLICK HERE but hurry back because Anna and I are about to embark on a journey back through time in hopes of learning more about the events surrounding the book's mystery!

*                   *                  *                  *                    *

Anna Randol, author of the newly released novella, A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, and I are here at the tavern owned by Mr. and Mrs. Haws in the village of Weltford in England, the year is 1816. The tavern is well-kept and clean. Oak paneling. Roaring fire in the hearth. We’re tucked away in a quiet corner with a good view of the town out of the window.

A handsome, well-dressed lord and blond, almost ethereal lady enter and go straight to the bar to speak with Mr. Haws, the owner of the establishment.

Haws: (shifts behind the bar, the rag in his hand slowing) Lord Grey. Lady Harding. It’s a surprise to see you both again. (pauses) So soon.

Lord Grey: I’ve come to ask again if you remember any strangers from around the time of Lord Harding’s murder. Lady Harding has come along to tell you how grateful she’ll be for any help.

Lady Harding: (hesitates) Of course.

Haws:  (lowers his eyes to the top of the bar) Well, er …

Mrs. Haws explodes out of the kitchen. A look passes between her and Lady Harding.

Lord Grey: (watches the two women and sets his jaw before returning his attention to Haws) I know two men were here after the murder. Two men from London.

Lady Harding pales. She and Lord Grey whisper back and forth. Despite Anna and my best attempts, we cannot overhear what they say. However, we do hear Lord Grey’s growl. Sophia quickly backs away, her face wary.

Amy: (lowers her voice so only Anna can hear)  Do you think we should—  

Mrs. Haws throws a mug of ale in the man's face before we have a chance to act. Anna and I stare at each other wide-eyed as he mops up the mess, and we’re definitely disappointed when the pair leave a few moments later.

Mrs. Haws comes over to our table, the steaming meat pie we ordered in her hands. The crust is golden and flaky and just a touch of rich, brown gravy is bubbling out from under the crust.
Considering her treatment of Lord Grey, we are a trifle hesitant to take the pie.

Mrs. Haws: (winks) I’m not normally in the habit of throwing things at my customers.

Anna: (eyes her warily but then takes the pie) What was going on over there?

Mrs. Haws: (frowns) Lord Grey may be justice of the peace, but I won’t have him scaring women in my tavern. Especially not Lady Harding. The poor chick’s been through enough.

Amy: What precisely has she been through?

Mrs. Haws: (sighs) What with the death of her beast of a husband, then Lord Grey suspecting she had something to do with it. The man finally pries himself away from his mathematics and it’s to investigate the murder.

Anna: (eyes wide) Did she have something to do with it?

Mrs. Haws: (glares) If you think that, then you’re as blind as his lordship. She’s a sweet, dear lady, and if she wants me to keep quiet about the two men that were in the tavern at the time of her husband’s death, I’ll do it.

Anna and Amy glance at each other.

Amy: (lowers voice) She asked you to keep quiet about something?

Anna: (glances at Amy) That seems rather suspicious.

Mrs. Haws: (scowls) Now look what you have gone and made me say. Now eat your pie before I have to take my rolling pin to both your backsides.

We quickly grab our forks and plates and scoop a hearty portion for ourselves.   

Amy: (calls out as Mrs. Haws walks away) Is there something between the two of them? They couldn’t seem to keep their eyes off each other.

Mrs. Haws: (a smile crosses her face) She did love him as a girl, you know. She wrote him the only letter he received while he was in the army. (Her smile turns to a grimace.) Of course, he never wrote her back.

Anna: (frowns) How very sad. (suddenly smiles) But then perhaps now that they’re together again—

Mrs. Haws: (winks, smiles, and lowers her voice) Hush now, don’t jinx it.

                 *                           *                         *                        *                        *


Blurb for A MOST NAKED SOLUTION:

Sometimes the best solution is found in bed . . .

Lady Sophia Harding: beautiful, blond, and . . .capable of murder? That's what Lord Camden Grey intends to find out. It is Camden's duty to uphold the laws of the land. His neighbor's pale beauty and winsome grace don't make her the most likely suspect, but is the innocent and altogether beguiling look in her eyes the truth, or is she secretly a scheming seductress?

Lord Camden Grey is entirely too distracting and too smart. Sophia knows that to keep her family's secrets, she must avoid any entanglements with the powerful and brutally handsome man. But the pull of their mutual desire is all-consuming. Can Sophia trust Camden with the truth when she knows it might kill the love that has grown between them?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna Randal writes sultry, adventurous Regency romances for Avon. Her first novel, A Secret In Her Kiss, earned a starred review and Top Pick in Romance from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “...masterful debut…[that] spins a tale replete with mystery, espionage, and memorable romance.” When she’s not plotting fun, sexy storylines, Anna’s usually eating dark chocolate, having wild dance parties with her kids in the living room, or remodeling her house one ill-planned project at a time.

Our trip to the past was brief but we've learned that Lady Sophia Harding has friends who love and care about her. Mrs. Haws is even hopeful for a lasting romance between Sophia and Lord Grey even if she did throw ale in his face.

I'd like very much to thank Anna for traveling with me and creating such a delightfully fun post for our Wacky Wednesday (I did help a little by giving her the idea.) It's obvious that her creative talents know no bounds.  Thank you, Miss Anna and know that you are always so very welcome here at UNWRAPPING ROMANCE.  xoxo

Now, Anna and I would like to ask if you could travel to the past, what event would YOU like to eavesdrop on?

One lucky commenter will win an ecopy of A MOST NAKED SOLUTION from Anna to celebrate the release of this most excellent novella.
Please leave a comment & a valid EMAIL ADDRESS for as I've said before, if I can't contact you, you cannot win.
This Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE and will run until 11:30PM EDT Friday, June 29, 2012 and the winner will be announced on Saturday after being notified by email. (See why that email address is important?) 

Happy Reading Everyone and Good Luck!!

A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, a novella by Anna Randol, Avon Impulse, now available in ebook format.

                                                             

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY!!

Can you believe another month has passed and a whole new list of wonderful reads is heading our way? It's NEW RELEASE TUESDAY and there are some fabulous new reads now available!

Got your list? It's about to get longer. All of the following are releasing TODAY!!


  

                                                                  


                


                


                 

                                                                

                                                                


                  

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!

DON'T FORGET TO JOIN
ANNA RANDOL AND MYSELF
TOMORROW FOR A TIME TRAVELING ADVENTURE
ON WACKY WEDNESDAY - A GIVEAWAY WILL BE HAPPENING!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, a novella by Anna Randol

When Anna Randol debuted with A SECRET IN HER KISS, I knew I would want to read everything this young author wrote so imagine my delight when Avon asked me to read an eARC for Anna's upcoming new release - a novella sequel to her first called A MOST NAKED SOLUTION. This historical romance novella releases TOMORROW!

Doesn't she get the most beautiful covers!?

Blurb for A MOST NAKED SOLUTION:

Sometimes the best solution is found in bed . . .

Lady Sophia Harding: beautiful, blond, and . . . capable of murder? That's what Lord Camden Grey intends to find out. It is Camden's duty to uphold the laws of the land. His neighbor's pale beauty and winsome grace don't make her the most likely suspect, but is the innocent and altogether beguiling look in her eyes the truth, or is she secretly a scheming seductress?

Lord Camden Grey is entirely too distracting and too smart. Sophia knows that to keep her family's secrets, she must avoid any entanglements with the powerful and brutally handsome man. But the pull of their mutual desire is all-consuming. Can Sophia trust Camden with the truth when she knows it might kill the love that has grown between them?

                  *                    *                   *                  *                 *                 *

The novella, A MOST NAKED SOLUTION by Anna Randol is a wonderful sequel to A SECRET IN HER KISS. This was the novel where we first hear of Bennett Prestwood’s sister, Sophia, whose marital condition Bennett frets over even as his heart and protection are claimed by Mari Sinclair. We learn that Sophia has entangled herself with a husband who is less than honorable in regards to her respect and Bennett has long suspected of her abuse. Bennett, it turns out, was not wrong in his assumptions.

Lady Sophia Harding now finds herself the widow of Lord Harding after the man is shot dead, presumably by a poacher. When Lord Camden Grey, the Justice of the Peace for the village of Weltford, has evidence brought to his attention that the man may have actually been the victim of a hired killing, he sets out to solve the crime. His main suspect, the dead man’s wife and the same woman who had claimed his heart so many years earlier.

In A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, Anna has continued the story first brought to our attention in A SECRET IN HER KISS but without taking anything away from either story. A MOST NAKED SOLUTION stands alone in its tale containing a murder mystery, a second chance at love, and how that love can clear the mind, the conscience, and the soul.

Lord Camden Grey, with his mathematically analytical mind, has more than a crime to solve. He’s been so caught up in his attempt to impress his father by solving a mathematical mystery that he’s ignored the mystery of his heart – his unrelenting attraction and desire for the young girl who used to linger in the hallway to listen to his tutorial lectures on mathematics. Now he is faced with not only confronting that part of his heart that he's shut away but he's also faced with the prospect that Sophia may also be involved in her husband murder.

Lady Sophia Harding, on the other hand, has never forgotten her first love or the assumed rejection she’d felt after writing Camden of her love and respect while he was away at war. Despite the cruelties she was forced to endure at the hands of a husband who claimed to love her, her heart refuses to allow Camden to keep himself from her even while he believes her capable of murder. So who did kill the dastardly Lord Richard Harding and why? Was it Sophia or someone who loved her enough to protect her from such a monster? Was it someone who wants to see Sophia go down for the crime? All will be revealed in A MOST NAKED SOLUTION.

A MOST NAKED SOLUTION by Anna Randol is a novella of dimension containing multiple levels of plot and intrigue. Anna proved herself a talented story teller with A SECRET IN HER KISS but has acknowledged herself even more improved with A MOST NAKED SOLUTION. The characters are believable and extraordinary in intelligence and personality. Many questions are put forth to the reader and then summarily answered easily and intelligently - except for one unanswered question left at the end. I can only hope that this question will lead us to the next creative story from this talented author.

I highly recommend A MOST NAKED SOLUTION by Anna Randol to anyone who enjoys a bit of murder and intrigue with their delightful Regency Romance.

Happy Reading Everyone!

BTW, join Anna Randol and myself as we go on a time traveling adventure this coming WACKY WEDNESDAY - she's even offering a giveaway!

A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, a novella by Anna Randol, Avon Impulse, release date - June 26, 2012 in ebook format.
                                                                  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Unwrapping: Winners Announced!!




THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO VISITED AND ENTERED
THE GIVEAWAY OF A SIGNED E-COPY OF
THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR BY ELYSE MADY

THANK YOU TO ELYSE FOR HELPING ME WITH ONE
OF THE BEST WACKY WEDNESDAY POSTS EVER!


REMEMBER THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR BLOG TOUR WITH ELYSE MADY
CONTINUES THROUGH JULY 6TH
SO BE SURE TO FOLLOW IT FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN
HER EXCELLENT ROMANCES.



The Winner of the signed e-copy of
THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR by Elyse Mady

is

Stephanie Tracy


I've also got 2 new winners for the 2 remaining copies of
A WARRIOR'S PROMISE by Donna Fletcher

The Winners are

lorimeehan1

and

Dalila G.


Congratulations to all of the Winners!!
You have all been notified by email, so please check your
mailboxes and SPAM folders!!

Thanks again to everyone who visited both of these
Giveaways and as always

Happy Reading Everyone!

P.S. If you haven't noticed already, you can now sign up to receive my posts by email.
The button is over on the right hand side of the blog. Thank you. xoxo

Friday, June 22, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of FIRST DO NO EVIL by Carey Baldwin

I opened my email one day and discovered a wonderful treat from debut author Carey Baldwin. She had sent me an eARC of her debut novel, FIRST DO NO EVIL, Blood Secrets Book 1 from Samhain Publishing, releasing June 26, 2012. It seems I was the first person to enter her first contest on her brand new website - love being in the right place at the right time. Added bonus, she's a debut author and you know how I love debut authors.

Blurb for FIRST DO NO EVIL:

One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.
There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That’s why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother’s life, it can’t save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.
When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky’s life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything—his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?
Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that’s coming next…

Product Warnings
Contents include: One heart-melting hero—good luck getting this delicious detective out of your head. One reluctant heroine—wielding a Glock was never on her to-do list. One crazed villain—an entire flock of baa baa black sheep won’t be enough to put you to sleep. And a lifesaving vaccine with one deadly side effect—murder.

                    *                  *                  *                  *                  *                  *

Dr. Sky Novak is no stranger to crime or the aftermath but when months later she is confronted with the idea that she may be next or her brother, Garth, she turns to the one man she hopes can help her make sense of things.

Detective Danny Benson puts his life on the line all the time as a cop but when he entered Jolene's diner that cold morning he hadn't expected to meet Sky Novak or come quite so close to death. In the aftermath, while rehabilitating, Danny starts questioning the events of that day. That day that Jack Spurlock robbed Jolene's, held Neveah Flores at gun point and threatened to kill Sky if her brother didn't sit down and shut up. For a robbery, it was all so atypical that Danny couldn't let it go.

It isn't difficult for Danny to convince Sky that this was no ordinary robbery for she had already started to question the coincidences between the Halloween night that her father was killed and this Halloween robbery that left her fiance and the criminal dead, Danny severely injured and Neveah too frightened to return to work at the diner. There was one thing that tied both events together - Skylar Novak. Was there a serial killer behind both events? Was Sky the target or only those around her? As Sky begins to examine her world and the world of those around her, more questions are raised than answered. As Sky begins to worry for the safety of others around her, her own feelings for Danny begin to go far beyond trust and safety. When she asks him to teach her to shoot a gun, he gladly agrees on the condition that she tell him the truth about everything. It's this truth that pulls them closer and opens the door to things that might be best left unknown.

I wish I could tell you more but if I do, I'll ruin the read for you. FIRST DO NO EVIL by Carey Baldwin is an action-packed, grab you by the throat and not let you go until the very end, story! This being her debut novel, Carey Baldwin has hit an A+ grade. She's created great characters and a plot that twists and turns so many times that when you start to see it come together, you'll smack your forehead and say, "why didn't I see that coming?" I am a little disappointed, Carey, that you actually used the word snuck ... sorry, English major in me that makes me cringe at such slang.

FIRST DO NO EVIL, Blood Secrets Book 1 by Carey Baldwin is a romantic suspense that will have you gripping your ereader while worrying if you're going to be able to sleep after turning off the light. There's nothing like a well-plotted serial killer on the lose story to give you chills and heighten your senses. Throw in a hot sexy detective and a doctor heroine whose no shrinking violet and you've got yourself one excellent, steamy romance filled spine tingling suspense that you won't soon forget.

I highly recommend FIRST DO NO EVIL by Carey Baldwin for anyone who loves suspense, a killer on the loose who when revealed makes your blood run cold and a heroine who will have you cheering when she shows her true iron self. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next in the Blood Secrets series and Carey Baldwin is definitely now on my list of authors I read.

Happy Reading Everyone!
(Don't forget there's still time to win a signed e-copy of THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR by Elyse Mady at the Wacky Wednesday post and I'll be choosing 2 new winners in the A WARRIOR'S PROMISE by Donna Fletcher giveaway since 2 past winners never responded. All will be announced in a special post on Saturday - stay tuned.)

FIRST DO NO EVIL, Blood Secrets Book 1 by Carey Baldwin, Samhain Publishing, release date - June 26, 2012 in ebood format.

                                                                

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: Interview with Robert Aspinall about THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR

Welcome to Wacky Wednesday and a stop on The White Swan Affair tour with Elyse Mady! You might recall me raving over this historical romance, if not feel free to read my review - click here - but hurry back! - for today we are visiting with Mr. Robert Aspinall, a character from the intriguing and unexpected new historical romance, THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR by Elyse Mady.

Mr. Robert Aspinall has been arrested and charged with having patronized this certain common, ill-governed and disorderly house in Clare Market and in this said house committed with sundry evil and ill-disposed persons all manner of dishonest conversation and unnatural acts. This means that Robert has been charged with homosexual activity, a crime carrying the maximum sentence of death by hanging.

MIDDLESEX SESSIONS HOUSE
We are here today, at the Middlesex Sessions House, with him as he awaits the verdict of the court.

Amy:  I would like to thank Mr. Robert Aspinall for allowing us to speak with him today.
Good Day to you, Mr. Aspinall - would it be acceptable for me to refer to you as Robert for the remainder of this interview?

Mr. Robert Aspinall: I hope that you will. Your support at this difficult time is greatly appreciated.

Amy:  Thank you, Robert. You certainly do have our utmost support at this difficult time. Perhaps you will tell us a little bit about yourself for those who do not know you yet.

Robert:  I am tailor by trade. For the past four years, I have resided here in London with my sister, Hester. Our parents were taken from us very suddenly by illness. Before being taken up by the Bow Street runners I was owner of a small but growing tailor’s shop in High Holborne. I spent my youth in the small market town of Malmesbury, which is in the Cotswolds, in Wiltshire. The Aspinalls have hailed from that part of the world since before Queen Bess’ time. I was engaged to be married but the arrangement was broken upon news of my arrest.

Amy: My deepest sympathies on the passing of your parents and the misfortune of your broken engagement. It seems your life certainly took a very disturbing direction on the night of July 8th in this year, 1810 when you visited a public house by the name of the WHITE SWAN. Would you mind telling us about that night?

Robert: It is difficult for me to speak of that dreadful night but since I know that your interest is sincere, not prurient, I will try my best to lay the scene for you. As you may know, sexual relationships between men are illegal in England. Such encounters are called unnatural. Yet despite its illegality, there has been a secret community of some long standing here in London. Men who are so inclined can seek out, at some considerable risk to themselves, individuals who share the same proclivities. Some meet in alleys. St. Paul’s Cathedral is another notorious spot as are the privies around Lincoln Fields. But most prefer a greater degree of privacy, hence the proliferation of what are known in common cant as molly houses.

The White Swan, which was a public house in the Clare Market, not far from our lodgings in Great Wild Street, was one such place. Below stairs, it looked much like any other: a tap room, a private parlour and a kitchen. It was above stairs that its true purpose was revealed: there were several bedrooms, all with multiple beds. A dressing room filled with women’s clothes and accoutrements. Even, I am ashamed to say, a chapel where marriages might take place. It was always busy but Sunday nights were known to be particularly lively, as many men who lived outside the Capital, made it a practice to travel into the city on that night.

It had been in operation some six months when the raids occurred. I was in a back room, drinking with some of the other men, when the police arrived. There was a great deal of confusion and shouting. The constabulary did not hesitate to use force if they met with resistance. Those of us who had not the means to escape or the funds to pay for escape, were rounded up. We spent a miserable night in the watch tower and then Monday morning, were paraded before the magistrates to be bound over until trial.

News of our arrest caused a great deal of anger and indignation and as we were hauled in open carts to prison, a great number of Londoners took it upon themselves to mete out justice with whatever objects might come readily to hand: dung, turnips and cobblestones being the most frequent.

Amy: *pauses in an attempt to comprehend such a humiliating event* My dear sir, such humiliation should not be endured by any person. I am so very sorry that you were put through such an experience. Your sister, Miss Hester Aspinall, found you at Newgate Prison the next day. You were already suffering the ill effects of the arrest and the environmental state of your surroundings, how were you holding up emotionally?

Robert: I was furious. Scared. Humiliated. Angry at myself for allowing my base desires to supersede my better judgement. Everything I knew, everything I had planned or held dear, had been ripped away when the Bow Street officers descended on the club. I knew what happens to any man unlucky enough to be branded a sodomite – their fate is an ugly one – and my only paltry defense in the first confusing days was to deny my culpability entirely. I was not ready to accept my true identity and that was perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the whole situation.

Amy: *reaches out to compassionately squeeze Robert's hand before the guard notices*
It is sometimes more difficult to admit such things to yourself than to others. Your dear sister promised to come every day to visit yet it was some time before she returned again. Did you fear she had abandoned you or did you have great trust that she was doing all that she was capable of to gain your freedom?

Robert: Hester has been a pillar of strength through this entire ordeal. In the beginning, I will admit that I could not fathom telling her the truth: that I care for men romantically. I thought she would shun me. But over the past two and a half months, I have come to appreciate her capacity for understanding to a degree I had not thought possible. She has stood by me through every test and I thank her for it every day.

Amy: A sister's love knows no bounds. I understand she tried to make a go of your business upon your incarceration only to come under attack by a mob led by none other than Charlotte Stroud's own father. After discovering your sister's plight upon being attacked by Mr. George Stroud - your fiancée's father or rather your ex-fiancée - you heard of news that she was in the care of your landlord, Mr. Thomas Ramsey. I hear say that this angered you even though you considered this man a friend. Why should you carry such anger toward such a kind and generous man?

Robert:  *sighs* Jealousy, mostly. I am not proud of it, either. Although my sister did not see it, a man is always aware of how other men look at those they are attracted to. I knew that Mr. Ramsay liked my sister, even before he took such prodigious care of her after the riot. I resented the fact that he could act so openly towards the one that he desired, whilst I could not even acknowledge my attractions to myself, but was reduced to subterfuge and slaking my hungers in low places like the White Swan.

Amy: You've since learned that your sister loves this man. Has your opinion of Mr. Thomas Ramsey changed?

Robert: He is the best of men. Not only does he love Hester, he has done her the great honour of asking her to be his wife. There are few men who would do so, when it meant that they must call a man such as myself brother-in-law. Yet not only does he not repudiate me, he has moved heaven and earth to secure me the best representation possible and rescued my dear sister from the hands of that deceiver and fraud, Wooley. The debt I owe him is impossibly high.

Amy: Aye, Wooley turned out to be a much greater villian than yourself. It's a shame he cannot take your place here in your stead. Your experiences in Newgate Prison over the past few months have not been good ones. Was there anyone or anything that helped ease the time spent in that place?

Robert: Newgate is a hellish place. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

But yes, I have met someone who has helped ease my incarceration. Timothy is a man like myself. We were drawn to each other almost from the first moment. I have never experienced the like before. I would like to say I bravely embraced the opportunity he presented but I did not. Instead, I did everything in my power to delay the inevitable until finally, we could stay apart no longer. He has given me so much – love, acceptance and sense of self-worth and peace that for so long were lacking in my life. When he laughs, it is the best sound in the world and his presence alone makes Newgate bearable. I will spend whatever time on this earth that God and the jury give me making him happy.

Amy: *nods in approval* It is good to know you've had such comfort at such a difficult and trying time. As your trial draws to an end and you are about to face your sentence, have you the wish that your life might have traveled a different path and if so, how so?

Robert: I wish that my path might have been easier, yes, but not if it meant that I could never meet the love of my life. Timothy has changed everything. If I had not been found out that night in July, and my marriage to Charlotte had gone on as planned, I don’t think things would have been easy, either. I would have been married to a woman I cared for but could never love as she deserved and I would have never come to achieve the personal understanding I now hold so dear. I would have been living a lie and I suspect that my soul would have been the worst for it.

I can only hope that in the future, men and women such as myself, who find themselves attracted to their own sex, will find their path less tortuous than the one I now tread. That they will not be branded criminals nor threatened with death and expulsion from polite society. That their choices will be respected and their commitments to their partners acknowledged openly and with joy by their families and friends. I fear that day is as yet far off, but I will hope for it always.

Amy: As long as there are good folk such as your sister, Hester, and Mr. Ramsey, I believe there is hope for a better future. If you should be exonerated and set free, or hopefully receive a lesser punishment than transportation or worse, death by hanging, what will you do with your life? Will you return to your life as it was, living on Brewer’s Court on Great Wild Street and working your tailor's shop?

Robert: No, I will not return to Brewer’s Court. My life there would be too notorious. If I am spared by the jury today, I think I will set out for a new corner of the world. A man who claims a talent with needles and cloth enjoys a portable skill. Of course, I will miss my sister dearly but now that I know she will be protected as Thomas’ wife, I do not fear for her well-being. I understand that Upper Canada is a fertile, growing colony. York or Queenston, mayhaps? Or perhaps the sub-continent. I have not allowed myself to think that far ahead. At present, my trial consumes my every thought. But as long as I am with Timothy, I will be happy to call whatever our eventual destination is home.

Amy:  Dear Robert, Mr. Aspinall, thank you for your candid and honest responses to my inquiries. We all wish you only the best of luck with the outcome of your trial. May the love of your sister and the goodness of your acquaintances sustain you no matter the sentence handed down this day. May God be with you.

Robert: Thank you, Miss Amy, for speaking with me today. Your support means a great deal to me and my sister, Hester and we thank you for it. 
*bows his head gracefully before being led away*

Amy: I hope everyone will join me in wishing Robert, Mr. Aspinall, the very best of luck that his verdict will be a fair one and that his life may continue with Timothy and with grace.

Ah, joining me now is the author of this wonderful historical romance, Elyse Mady.

Greetings, Elyse!

Elyse Mady: I’d just like to say thank you for having me today, Amy. It’s always a thrill to get to talk to readers about my books – or in this case, for my character to talk about their experiences. I’d love to give one of your readers a chance to win a signed e-copy of “The White Swan Affair” in their choice of format.

Amy: How wonderful! Elyse, thank you so very much for the incredible insight into your character, Robert Aspinall and for the generous gift!

Well, my dear readers, here's your chance to win a signed e-copy of THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR by Elyse Mady. This is a MUST READ!! If you don't believe me, check out my review - I loved it.

Blurb for THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR:

London, 1810
After the tragic death of her beloved, Hester Aspinall vowed never to be ruled by her passions again. Still, she is drawn to her landlord, handsome adventurer Thomas Ramsay–but she doesn’t fool herself that a man of his station would look twice at a poor tailor’s sister.

With the sea for a mistress, Thomas has no intention of entering into matrimony. And yet, he can’t get the plain-spoken and desirable Hester out of his mind, even though she’s never tried to secure his attentions as other women do.

Everything changes the night Hester’s brother is arrested during a raid on a gay brothel, the infamous White Swan. With no one else to turn to, and terrified Robert will hang for his crime, Hester accepts Thomas’s offer to bear the cost of the defense. A true gentleman, Thomas expects nothing in return–but Hester is no longer able to deny her own desires…

She may offer her body eagerly, but can she protect her heart?

                      *                        *                     *                     *                     *

About the author:
Elyse Mady is the author of historical romances “The White Swan Affair” and “The Debutante’s Dilemma" with Carina Press and two contemporary romances. Upcoming books include the Regency novella “The Debutante’s Desire”. She blogs at http://www.elysemady.com/. You can also find her on Twitter at @elysemady, Facebook and Goodreads.

In addition to her writing commitments, Elyse also teaches film and literature at a local college. With her excellent writerly imagination, she one day dreams of topping the NY Times Bestseller’s List and reclaiming her pre-kid body without the bother of either sit-ups or the denunciation of ice-cream.

If you'd like to follow the rest of THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR tour with Elyse Mady, please check out all of the tour dates at THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR tour page. There are loads more chances to win Elyse's fabulous books at each stop. Or you can come back any time and click on the Tour Badge at the top of my blog.

Now for the Giveaway!!
As you have surmised, THE WHITE SWAN AFFAIR by Elyse Mady is not your typical romance. Oh there's a lovely heroine and charming hero but there's also the other side of the coin - a man who loves men.
***For a chance to win a signed e-copy of THE WHITE SWAN by Elyse Mady:
tell me what you think - any comment will do but you MUST comment in order to be entered and you MUST include a valid email address.
PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS or I can't contact you and if I can't contact you, you cannot win!
This Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE including my International readers and will run until 11:59PM EDT on Friday, June 22, 2012. One Lucky Winner will be picked at random and notified by email -- see how important that email address is?
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED - THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!
Happy Reading Everyone and Good Luck!

                                                                      

Monday, June 18, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe

Molly O'Keefe is a new author to me and you know how I enjoy being introduced to new authors. Out of the blue, a few months ago, I received an ARC of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe. It seems I had commented on the Romance at Random blog and won a copy of the book. Sometimes, it's that easy - I tend to fall into these things. Well, I honestly didn't expect much from this book as I typically took a sneak peek at the first two chapters - sometimes those chapters are enough to catch you but sometimes not - however, sometimes if you keep going you just might be surprised and so it was with this contemporary romance, CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe from Bantam Books, release date - June 26, 2012.

Blurb for CAN'T BUY ME LOVE:

A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Tara Jean Sweet knows that opportunity will never knock. She'll have to seize it. Elderly Texas rancher Lyle Baker has a dying request: He will give Tara Jean a stake in his leather business in exchange for a little family subterfuge. All Tara Jean has to do is play the part of a gold-digging fiancée to lure his estranged children home. And the mission is soon accomplished.

Now, Lyle's gone—and his ridiculously handsome son, Luc, an ice hockey superstar sidelined by injuries, is the new owner of Crooked Creek ranch. He's also Tara Jean's boss. But being so close to sinfully sweet Tara Jean does crazy things to his priorities. Like make him want to kiss her deepest secrets from those irresistible lips. But when Tara Jean's past demands a dirty showdown, will Luc stay and fight?

            *                 *                 *                  *                 *                 *                 *

Tara Jean Sweet isn't who she appears to be, nor is she even who she used to be. Tara Jean has a past she wants to escape but is about to have it come screaming back into her life just when she is beginning to get a handle on what she wants and what she hopes to accomplish. Luc Baker wasn't part of the plan but something about him has brought her back to life emotionally and physically even as his control on her business and her desires begin to unravel her even her past threatens to reveal her true self.

Luc Baker has grown into a strong successful man despite the degradations he experienced at the hands of his own father. Now that his father is gone, Luc still feels like a failure because he's facing the end of his career as a star ice hockey player. Forced to stay on at Crooked Creek ranch as owner so that his sister can inherit the money she needs to care for herself and her sick son, Luc's anger is building to the point of eruption. Even as he turns his anger on the woman he believes to have manipulated his father into the trap he now finds himself in, Luc can't resist the mysterious Tara Jean Sweet.

Molly O'Keefe has created a troupe of dimensional characters who drive this story to the point where the reader is silently cheering for Tara Jean for finding the need to protect others and Luc for discovering he cares enough about her and everyone else to make the sacrifices needed to make sure everyone can move on from their pasts and failures. Luc and Tara Jean are perfect for each other (even though they're not meant to be) and their desire for each other is believable and palpable. The supporting cast of characters - Victoria, Celeste, Ruby, Jacob and Eli - help expand and develop the sexual tension that exists between Luc and Tara Jean from the first moment they meet. Each has their reason for their own unhappiness but eventually come together in touching moments to show their support for the others. Dennis is the quintessential bad guy/villain and you feel his sleaziness the first time you meet him.

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe might've started off a tad slow but it quickly developed into a fast-moving, intriguing, question creating story with more steam than I expected. I enjoyed the relationship that Molly built between Tara Jean and Luc. Tara Jean not expecting anything and Luc always willing to give her the space to make her own decisions on where and how far it would go. CAN'T BUY ME LOVE surprised me and I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to read it for it introduced me to a new author - an author whose works I plan to get to know better.

If you love strong characters, bad guys trying to make good things go sour, and a steamy romance that keeps you guessing about just how two people are going to overcome their own angsts to come together where they belong - then I highly recommend CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe. You won't be disappointed.

Happy Reading Everyone!
BTW - I'm still waiting to hear from 2 of the winners of A WARRIOR'S PROMISE by Donna Fletcher so if suthunlady and CindyO read this, please check your email/spam folder for an email from me. I don't want to have to give your books to someone else, it would make me feel terrible.  : )

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe, Bantam Books - an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, release date - June 26, 2012 in print and ebook formats.

                                                                      

Friday, June 15, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Candis Terry

Candis Terry writes wonderful stories with wonderful characters who bring her novels and novellas to life in a way that touch you straight to the heart. Her newest and third installment of the Sugar Shack series is no exception. I was thrilled when Avon sent me an eARC for the delightful new Avon Impulse novel, SOMEBODY LIKE YOU releasing June 19, 2012. Isn't that the cutest cover ever?!

Blurb for SOMEBODY LIKE YOU:

Welcome Back to the Sugar Shack

Straitlaced . . .

Chicago prosecutor Kelly Silverthorne has a perfect record in the courtroom and a big fat zero in the bedroom. When she loses her first case ever, she returns home to Deer Lick, Montana, to regain her confidence and shake off the "Sister Serious" moniker she's been stuck with since childhood. Only a few hours into her repentance, karma thrusts her face-to-face with yet another of her major fiascos—a one-night stand with the hottest cop in the county.

Rebel with a Cause . . .

Deputy James Harley has always played with fire. When smart and sexy Kelly pops back into his life, he doesn't mind going for a full burn. And that might be exactly what happens when his past threatens to catch up with his future.

A Match Made in . . .

Heaven only knows what Kelly's dearly departed mom has planned from the other side—especially since she's already meddled in Kelly's siblings' love lives. But even heaven knows that when love comes knocking, there's no stopping the good things to come.

                    *                  *                *                 *                 *                 *

Kelly Silverthorne has returned to Deer Lick for her brother's wedding and some very needed R & R after losing her first case ever. Feeling like a failure, the last thing she needed to be reminded of was the night of her sister's wedding when she had too much champagne and ended up in bed with Deputy James Harley, the well-known bad boy of Deer Lick. He was an embarrassing reminder of her having lost control - something the Serious Sister just didn't do. To make matters worse, James is determined to make her remember every minute of her night of cut-loose pleasure with him.

James Harley has a past that haunts him every moment of his life but tries desperately to learn from it and help others, including Kelly and his little brother Alex, to not make the same mistakes he did. Having learned a hard lesson from selfish acts as a young man, he is now a respected member of the Deer Lick community and Sheriff's Department but his constant reminders of how he failed his brother haunt him to the point of pushing away anything worthwhile - including the one woman he has desired since high school, Kelly Silverthorne. Even as he works to bring out the special talent that he knows lives deep down inside Kelly, he feels himself drawn to her yet unworthy of her attention. Can Deer Lick's bad boy bring out the fun in the Serious Sister and overcome his less than macho emotional failings with Kelly's help?

SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Candis Terry is a touching, sweet story that I was easily able to relate to on many levels. I fell for James Harley as hard as Kelly did and found myself easily stepping into Kelly's shoes. I enjoyed the previous Sugar Shack romances but I think this one is the best yet. I found myself cheering for James every time he brought Kelly closer to recognizing her true self even while I found myself wanting to give James a hug when he felt he wasn't worthy and a kick in the butt whenever he came down too hard on his little brother.

Candis Terry has created characters who come to life building a family and friends relationship between them and the reader. The Silverthorne family, as well as the community of Deer Lick, won't be soon forgotten and I hope we re-visit this lovely place more in the future. SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Candis Terry is a love story that contains more love than most - the love between the hero and heroine, the love between siblings, the love of parents even those who have left the earthly world, the love of good friends and even the unconditional love of faithful, albeit adorable, canines.

I highly recommend SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Candis Terry to anyone who loves a romance between a saviour and a bad boy, families who are as believable as any of our own and even a visiting spirit of a mother who refuses to stop watching over her family. I loved SOMEBODY LIKE YOU by Candis Terry and hate that she writes so emotionally that she always makes me cry at least once and with this one - three times.

Happy Reading Everyone!


SOMEBODY LIKE YOU: A Sugar Shack Novel by Candis Terry, Avon Impulse, releasing June 19,  2012 in ebook format - everywhere!

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