Friday, January 24, 2020

Unwrapping a New Release - A CONVENIENT ENGAGEMENT by Amy Valentini


A CONVENIENT ENGAGEMENT

A Contemporary Romance

Amy Valentini

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New Release!

Available Now in print and ebook at Amazon
Read for Free at Kindle Unlimited
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Sometimes fate has other ideas…

Feeling like her world is falling apart, the last thing Eden Murphy needs is to discover her new neighbor is the only guy in high school she ever had a crush on and who humiliated her.

Starting fresh in a new city, a new job, and discovering a beautiful new neighbor across the hall, Will Trask hopes his future is bright and on track.

When they discover being single seems to be holding them back in their careers, Will comes up with a temporary solution. Pretend to be engaged. At first, Eden rejects the idea but then she sees an added benefit to his scheme—get what she wants at work and maybe exact a bit of revenge on him.


But sometimes the best-laid plans can go awry. Eden gets to know the real Will and things go far beyond a convenient engagement.

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Excerpt:

When the sound of her door buzzer dragged Eden Murphy from her sleep, she cursed the day she had ever thought living in a trendy neighborhood in DC would be fun. Trying to sleep in was difficult enough with the sounds of normal activities in the neighborhood on a late summer Sunday morning here in Georgetown but after a late night working, she was not in the mood for much more.
The buzzer sounded again. With a growl, she threw off her covers and climbed from her bed. No friend of hers would ever dream of showing up at her door unannounced so she could only imagine it was someone selling something or wanting a donation. She neither wanted to buy anything or make a donation so they’d better stop leaning on her buzzer.
“All right, all right,” she muttered as she pulled on a pair of shorts beneath the over-sized T-shirt she preferred to sleep in.
Stumbling barefoot across the small living space of her overpriced apartment, she stubbed her toe on the leg of her coffee table and cursed as she hopped on one foot. When she reached the front door, she leaned against it and rubbed her throbbing toe. The buzzer sounded again with such an urgency she began to worry if the building was on fire.
Peeking through the security keyhole, she saw the back of a head and then suddenly a wide eye as the person on the other side of the door peered back at her through the hole. The buzzer sounded again.
Stepping back from the door, she wasn’t sure if she should open it or not.
“Who’s there?” she called out through the door.
“Will, I’m your new neighbor,” a male voice came through in a loud whisper. “I presume you’re the concerned neighbor who left me this note.”
Suddenly, a piece of paper covered the peephole.
Crap! He didn’t sound happy about my suggestion of what to do with his trash.
She hadn’t met her new neighbor yet but knew someone had finally moved into Greta Charles’s apartment because there had been an ever-growing stack of boxes outside the unit’s door for the past three days. She’d barely been able to get past them when she returned home last night and when she got no response after ringing his doorbell as well as knocking, she left him a note.
She opened the door. She’d only planned to open it enough to ask him what he wanted but the man grabbed the door and pushed his way into her apartment, shutting it behind him.
“Excuse me,” she exclaimed as she took several steps back and looked around for something to use as a weapon. “How dare you? What do you want?”
The man walked to the center of her living area and turned to face her. He was tall, muscularly lean and rather good-looking in a disheveled, slept in his suit kind of unshaven way. His brown hair with tale-tell sun-streaks in it was sticking out around his head as if he’d had a rough night and had just climbed out of bed as well. He also looked somewhat familiar but that was impossible since she’d never seen him before.
“I arrived home this morning to find this,” he said holding out the note she did recognize.
Suddenly, he seemed to perk up, came to his full height which was easily a few inches over six feet and stuck his hand out.
“Hi, I’m Will,” he said with a far too charming smile and twinkle in his blue eyes she’d come to recognize well as belonging to a man on the prowl.
Before she had a chance to respond, the buzzer sounded again. When it did, Will hurried back to look through the peephole then turned to look down at her. “Um…can I use your bathroom?”
“What is going on?” she asked pushing past him and looking through the peephole.
Standing on the other side of the door was a woman. She was glancing around and when she faced the door, Eden recognized the look of a woman in a not very good mood. She sighed and turned to confront her new neighbor but found him gone.
Coward.
Yep, she had pegged him right. Her new neighbor was a player and she wanted nothing to do with him or his drama. She opened the door.
“Oh, hi…I…well, sorry to bother you but I was looking for the guy who lives across the way. I think his name is Bill or Will,” the girl said with a shrug. “I’m looking for the no good son of a bitch. Do you know if he’s been home yet?”
“Um…well,” Eden said then glanced over her shoulder to see the guy in question peeking around the doorframe to her bedroom. “I don’t know the guy but maybe you’d like to come in and leave him a note or something.”
She nearly burst out laughing when he started waving at her and shaking his head.
“Or maybe have a cup of coffee. You could wait for him to get home,” she said with a chuckle.
“Uh…thanks, but no, I…well, I…he stood me up last night,” the girl said with a scowl then suddenly glanced toward the stairs. “Maybe that’s him. What I have to say to him wouldn’t fit into a note.”
The girl glanced behind her and then leaned in toward Eden.
“If you’re smart, you’ll stay clear of him. I don’t know why I thought he’d be any different than any of the other guys around. Besides, it turns out he’s not the kind of guy you want more than one night with…if you know what I mean,” she said in a low voice.
Eden chuckled and nodded.
“Yep…I know what you mean.”
“Thanks,” the girl said then turned and stepping past the pile of boxes proceeded to descend the stairs without even a glance back.
Eden closed the door and even as she tried not to laugh, she couldn’t help it. Resting against the door, she chuckled but when she saw the shock of dismay on her neighbor’s face, she busted out laughing.
“Not funny,” he said as he came into the room.
“Oh yes, it is,” she told him as she walked to the kitchen. “You stood up some girl…probably for another one…and she’s actually glad to have escaped you.”
Still laughing, she opened the refrigerator and grabbed an individual-sized bottle of orange juice. Turning to face him and still chuckling, she snapped open the cap. He did look so familiar. She was sure she’d seen him somewhere before.
“Do I know you?” she asked.
“Ha ha. We just met at the door, remember?” he said with a scowl as he plopped down into a chair facing her. “So what’s for breakfast?”
“Excuse me?”
“I just got in from a business trip so haven’t had a chance to get groceries yet and I just figured if you’re going to eat then perhaps…”
Just then, he cocked his head just so, squeezed one eye shut, and shrugged. It was at that very moment she recognized him.
“Will Trask!”
He came to his feet so fast she thought he was going to attack her so she grabbed a knife from the block on the counter.
“What the hell?” Will held his hands up in front of him as if to ward her off.
“I…I thought you…oh, never mind,” she stammered, looked at the knife in her hand then set it on the counter beside her.
“You know my name? How? Have we…you know?” Will moved his hands back and forth as if to insinuate she and he had played the same game he’d played with the girl who had just escaped him.
“Hell no!”
“Wow…I didn’t think so. I’m sure I would’ve remembered you,” he said rubbing his chin before running his long fingers through his unruly hair. “Wait…then…how do you know my name?”
“Never mind. It’s not important since you’d never remember me anyway,” she said before taking a long swig off the bottle of orange juice and wishing it had some rum in it.
“Oh, no way. If we’ve met, I’d remember you,” Will asked with a lecherous waggle of his dark brows.
“Ha! Since we never actually met, I doubt it,” she said with a laugh. “And it seems you haven’t changed at all.”
Eden rolled her eyes and pulled out a chair from the small table set where she ate her meals alone these days, when she ate at home, and took a seat.
“Did we go to college together?”
“No,” she said shaking her head and wondering why she’d even brought it up. “Like I said—unimportant.”
Will glanced around the space and she wondered if he was looking for a clue of some sort as to her identity. Suddenly, he glanced toward the bedroom.
“You live alone?” he asked.
It was then she realized he’d taken notice of the stack of boxes near the door with Paul’s name on them.
“Yes, he doesn’t live here anymore,” she said picking at the label on the bottle with fingertips in need of a manicure. “I suppose he’s off with someone more exciting. We’re not engaged anymore.”
“Oh, you were engaged? But you’re not anymore?” he replied a little too upbeat but when she narrowed her eyes at him, he continued, “I mean…oh, that’s too bad. His loss.”
“Yes, it is his loss. He’s the one who decided he didn’t want to marry me,” she said with probably a bit too much bitterness in her tone. “It seems he met the love of his life and it isn’t me.”
“Well, he’s an idiot because you’re gorgeous,” Will said taking a seat on the arm of the couch and folding his arms across his chest.
She wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. The man just hid from a woman he’d obviously had a one-night stand with but then stood up, most likely for another one he had only arrived home from spending the night with and now he was sitting here chatting her up like they were old pals. Was she cursed or something that the worst player in the world was now living across the hall from her?
“By the way, you know my name—”
“You can just call me neighbor and we’ll leave it at that. By the way, the reason I left you that note is because you can’t leave those boxes out there. Fire hazard and all,” she said pointing in the direction of the hallway on the other side of the door with the hand holding the orange juice bottle.
“Right. I just moved in and I hadn’t had a chance to get them to the trash. I’ve been out of town on business,” Will said with a shrug when she nodded and rolled her eyes. “Right. I’ll take care of it.”
An awkward silence descended on the room making the sounds from outside, the sound of mowers, blowers, and cars suddenly louder and more intrusive. She couldn’t help but wonder when Will planned to leave. She wasn’t the type to be rude and ask him to leave but there was always room for a first time.
“So, how long have you lived here?” Will asked glancing around.
“Um…since January,” she said.
“Oh…so how long since your…um…ex…he lived here too?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but yes,” she said standing and moving to the sink to rinse her bottle.
Staring out the small window over the sink at the brick wall across the way, she wished she had ignored the buzzer. She glanced at the clock on the microwave and saw it was already noon.
“Listen…I’ve got to get a shower and get dressed. I have a lot of work to do today.”
“Work! On a beautiful Sunday? It’s still summertime. I was just going to suggest I take you to lunch. I noticed a quaint little café just down the street—”
“No! Look, we might be neighbors but I’m not interested in any kind of friends with benefits thing with you—”
Will came to his feet, his hands in the air. “Whoa! I was just suggesting lunch…you know, to say thanks for saving my butt with what’s her name. Nothing more.”
Feeling bad for jumping to the wrong conclusion, Eden sighed. Would it hurt to have a meal with the guy? After all, she knew she couldn’t hide how she knew him forever and anything sounded more appetizing than just a bowl of cold cereal since she wasn’t going in to the office. Normally, she’d grab a bagel and egg sandwich at the bagel shop on the way so maybe letting him get her some lunch wasn’t a terribly bad idea.
“Of course, if you’re interested in a kind of if you’re lonely and I’m free kind of thing—”
“Get out! Just get out! You are most certainly deserving of whatever hell you catch from your girlfriend,” she exclaimed throwing the plastic bottle at him.
It hit his shoulder and bounced off but he yelped as if it hurt. She was sure it was more out of surprise than pain, but still hoped it hurt a little bit.
“Okay…okay! I was just kidding,” Will exclaimed. “Seriously, we’re going to be neighbors, can’t we be friends?”
“Right now, I’ve got other things on my mind and you’re not one of them. It’s time for you to go. Thank you for the offer of lunch, but not today,” she said as she moved past him to the door and pulled it open. “If you don’t mind…”
She waved her arm in the direction of the open door leading into the hallway. Will dropped his shoulders as if disappointed and dejected causing her to roll her eyes. What a performer. She wondered if that kind of act actually worked on women. Once upon a time, it might have but not since the last time she saw him and never would now.
Will walked slowly to the door and when he reached her, he stopped.
“Thank you for not ratting me out…neighbor…and I do apologize about the trash. I’ll get it cleared out today. You know, I’m kind of new to the city and I don’t really know anyone and since you seem to know me…” He cocked his head in what she recognized as his Will Trask way and spoke in what she assumed he thought was a woe is me tone.
It is kind of endearing…damn him.
“Well, I’m sorry but I don’t know too many people either. I’m simply too busy with my job. I’m working on a new project,” she said glancing at the clock on the bookshelf. “And I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“Okay.” He took a step toward the open door but stopped again.
Turning slightly, he leaned in making her unconsciously step back.
“I’m not that bad.”
“Yeah…well, I’ve seen you at work and your friend, although I doubt she is anymore since you stood her up last night, said you’re not the kind of guy she goes out with twice. That speaks volumes,” Eden said shaking her head. “Now, excuse me but—”
“I don’t think she meant…never mind. Yeah, I’m going. Thanks again,” Will said and stepped through the doorway.
Eden quickly shut the door and locked the deadbolt. Shaking her head as she crossed to her bedroom, she stopped and lifted her hands toward the ceiling, closed her eyes and leaned her head back. Then she opened her mouth and without making much more of a noise than a groan, she screamed. Once done, she dropped her hands and released a heavy sigh.
“Why did it have to be Will Trask, of all people, who moved in next door? Oh, Mrs. Charles…why did you have to go live with your daughter? You were such a nice quiet neighbor.”


Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll finish reading Will and Eden’s story. It’s my favorite one of all. 

Happy Reading Everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of SAVING MISS EVERLY, an Inglewood novel by Sally Britton

Greetings my darling readers, I know I’ve been remiss in providing you reviews of good reads this past year and I apologize. Life has a hold on me which does not allow me much reading time. I have tried to make up for that by publishing my own good reads for you and I hope you’ve given them a try. So to make up for my neglect, I will be offering up guest reviews for you enjoy. I hope to be back reviewing for you soon but in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my dear friend, Connie Fischer’s reviews to guide you to good reads. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

I present to you a guest review of SAVING MISS EVERLY, an Inglewood novel by Sally Britton, published November 3, 2019.


Blurb for SAVING MISS EVERLY:

Pretending she's her twin gets complicated when Hope is shipwrecked with a handsome castaway. When rescue comes, will she risk her heart to confess the truth or will they part forever?

Pretending to be her sister, Hope Everly finds an adventure at last. The Caribbean's warm waters and tropical islands fulfill nearly all her dreams. When an excursion to visit another island with a naturalist expedition is interrupted by a storm, Hope is stranded on a desert island where she and her fellow castaways are dependent on a handsome stranger for their survival.

Alejandro Córdoba, trapped and alone on the island long enough to give up all dreams of rescue, knows nothing of what has become of his war-torn homeland or his family. When he finds the beautiful Miss Everly washed up on the shore, along with her companions, he does not know if their arrival is a blessing or a curse.

Hope's behavior, acting one way with Alejandro and another with her friends, further confuses things when they begin to fall in love. If rescue ever comes, will telling Alejandro the truth mean losing him forever?

This is the third book in the Inglewood series and can be read as a stand alone. A Sweet Regency Romance.

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Connie’s Review:

Hope Everly and her friend, Miss Irene Carlbury, are traveling with Irene’s parents and brother to London where they will board a ship to sail to the Caribbean. Hope is to act as companion to Irene during the journey. However, Hope is actually Grace impersonating her twin sister Hope. It turns out that Grace’s father had forbade her to take the trip because she had recklessly caused a carriage accident. Her father said that Hope may go instead. Hope is a homebody and does not want to travel but Grace wants so much to do so. Therefore, the sisters dream up this switch. Grace hopes she is able to sail before her father finds out the truth. One deterrent of the trip is that Irene’s odious brother appears to be determined to propose to “Hope” during the trip.

Hope and a group of people get on a boat to head to an island to check out the plants. But a storm comes up and Hope is washed overboard.

Alejandro is on a deserted island and using his wits to stay alive. When Hope washes ashore, he is happy to save her and help her adjust to life on the island. But soon, the rest of the people on the boat with Hope arrive and Alejandro is faced with finding a way to feed them and cater to their arrogant ways. Many of them remain helpless but Hope is eager to learn which gains Alejandro’s admiration. However, many of the others still think they are bound by the laws of society and just cannot grasp that they have to work to feed themselves.

Before long Hope and Alejandro find themselves attracted to one another, but there is always the odious brother of Irene who thinks Hope belongs to him. Will these people survive and will they be rescued?

A very interesting and intricately written story of survival on a deserted island and all that is involved in finding food and shelter. As always, Sally Britton writes a delightful and compelling novel.

I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

SAVING MISS EVERLY, an Inglewood novel by Sally Britton, Blue Water Books, available now in ebook and print at Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Unwrapping - In Memory of Johanna Lindsey

Johanna Lindsey
March 10, 1952 - October 27, 2019

My first introduction to the world of romance novels was in my teens with The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss but it was the talent and storytelling skill of Johanna Lindsey that kept me coming back for more. I read her debut novel, Captive Bride, in 1977 while in college and was hooked. It was her ability to take me to other times, allow me to step into the shoes of the heroine, and fall in love with the hero that kept me captivated and her, my go-to author, my favorite romance author for a very long time.

Sadly, the romance community has lost one of the brightest stars of our world. Johanna Lindsey passed away on October 27, 2019 after battling cancer. The family, devastated as all of us can only imagine, has only now released this information. My heart is broken for she was still so young and I have no doubt had many more stories to tell.

She was my inspiration to write romance. I am a huge reader of many genres—mysteries, thrillers, horror, science fiction, and historical fiction—but Ms. Lindsey was my favorite author of romance then and pretty much even now. Oh, I enjoy so many and if asked, I could never name one particular romance novel as my favorite even among Ms. Lindsey’s—although, I do have a particular penchant for rereading Gentle Rogue and Warrior’s Woman so many times my original copies are well worn. But she was still the author I searched many a bookstore and airport shop for something new by her to read while traveling or vacationing. While reading her books, I could probably ignore any situation or commotion around me.

I hope if you have never read anything by the talented and exceptional Johanna Lindsey that you will seek a copy of any one of her wonderful tales. She is a talent not to be missed, although we shall forever miss her. Her many books will forever grace shelves and thrill readers as her legacy.

Dear Ms. Lindsey, we shall miss you but always read you. 💔

Do you have a favorite romance by Johanna Lindsey?

Wishing everyone a Happy and Peaceful Holidays and only the best coming to you in the New Year.

NY Times announcement of her passing.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE, a Penniless Brides of Convenience novel by Marguerite Kaye


Greetings my darling readers, I know I’ve been remiss in providing you reviews of good reads this past year and I apologize. Life has a hold on me which does not allow me much reading time. I have tried to make up for that by publishing my own good reads for you and I hope you’ve given them a try. So to make up for my neglect, I will be offering up guest reviews for you enjoy. I hope to be back reviewing for you soon but in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my dear friend, Connie Fischer’s reviews to guide you to good reads. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

I present to you a guest review of THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE, aPenniless Brides of Convenience novel by Marguerite Kaye, published November 1, 2019.



Blurb for THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE:

A marriage hiding secrets

…but forged by passion!

A Penniless Brides of Convenience story. Miss Estelle Brannagh has never met a man who’s tempted her to renounce her hard-won independence—until an encounter with Irish landowner Aidan Malahide blossoms into spine-tingling attraction. He’s carefree and charismatic; accepting his proposal seems practical and shockingly desirable! Yet Aidan is hiding a dark secret, and it will take all of Estelle’s courage to ensure it doesn’t tear them apart…

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Connie’s Review:

Florence - 1832

Estelle Brannagh, 25, is of Irish descent and is traveling throughout Europe on her own. Presently, she is in sunny and warm Florence. She is writing journals of her travels with a thought to publish them when she returns home to Elmswood Manor in England. Estelle is also a talented musician. She has a twin sister named Phoebe who owns her own restaurant in London and another sister named Eloise.

Estelle has noticed a handsome man sitting at the same cafe she frequents. Soon, they introduce themselves to one another. Aiden Malahide, 30, is taking a sabbatical for a year in Florence while he studies mathematics. Aiden’s home is Castle Duaric in Ireland. He has been widowed for a few years.

Estelle and Aiden spend a lot of time together visiting museums, local sights, and enjoyed meals together. Before long, they find an attraction to one another. Estelle reveals that she has always wanted to adopt children, and as Aiden’s first wife was unable to conceive, he believes that adopting children is a great idea. So, they wed and head back to Castle Duaric. Their plan is to have a marriage in name only with the adoption of children to complete their family.

As their life together begins, Estelle learns how Aiden’s tragic first marriage had been. She learns more about their intimacy and realizes how things went wrong.

This is another great novel by Marguerite Kaye. She does thorough researches before putting pen to paper and it certainly shows. Well done!

Copy provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

THE TRUTH BEHIND THEIR PRACTICAL MARRIAGE, a Penniless Brides of Convenience novel by Marguerite Kaye, Harlequin Historical, available now in ebook and print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks

Friday, December 6, 2019

Unwrapping a Guest Review by Connie Fischer of THIS EARL OF MINE, a Bow Street Bachelors novel by Kate Bateman

Greetings my darling readers, I know I’ve been remiss in providing you reviews of good reads this past year and I apologize. Life has a hold on me which does not allow me much reading time. I have tried to make up for that by publishing my own good reads for you and I hope you’ve given them a try. So to make up for my neglect, I will be offering up guest reviews for you enjoy. I hope to be back reviewing for you soon but in the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy my dear friend, Connie Fischer’s reviews to guide you to good reads. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

I present to you a guest review of THIS EARL OF MINE, a Bow Street Bachelors novel by Kate Bateman, published October 29, 2019.

*And check out that gorgeous cover!

Blurb for THIS EARL OF MINE:

The first book in a new Regency romance series, an heiress and a rogue accidentally end up in a secret marriage of convenience.

In a desperate bid to keep her fortune out of her cousin's hands, shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed marries a condemned criminal in Newgate prison. The scoundrel's first kiss is shockingly heated, but Georgie never expects to see her husband again. Until she spots him across a crowded ballroom. Notorious rogue Benedict Wylde never expected a wife. He was in Newgate undercover, working for Bow Street. To keep their marriage of convenience a secret, Wylde courts Georgie in public, but the more time they spend together, the more their attraction sparks. Could an heiress with the world at her feet find happiness with a penniless rake? Kate Bateman's This Earl of Mine is a delightful start to the Bow Street Bachelors series, with witty banter, dynamic characters, and swoon-worthy romance.

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Connie’s Review:

London - 1816

Georgiana (Georgie) Caversteed, age 24 and a wealthy heiress, is off to Newgate Prison to find a husband. Her father’s manservant, Pieter, is with her. She prefers someone about to be hanged the next day leaving her a widow and in control of her own money. After her father died, she came under the dictates of her odious cousin Josiah who wants to marry her and control her money. This way, he must now leave her alone. She had inherited her father’s trading and shipping business and is extremely wealthy. Her mother and younger sister live with her and they also received nice inheritances.

Benjamin (Ben) William Henry Wylde, age 28 and the second son of the late Earl of Morcott, is a war hero who has been imprisoned at Newgate. He, along with two friends, Alex and Seb, own the Tricorn Club, a gambling hell, which also allows them to spy on people for the Crown. Ben is in prison as a plant to listen in on a smuggling scheme. Ben makes extra money from the Crown to help his brother, John, pay off their late father’s debts.

At the prison, Georgie finds there are no men assigned to be hanged soon so she decides to marry Ben because the jailer says he is to be deported the next day. In exchange for marrying her, Ben will receive 500 pounds with no claim to anything more.

Thinking herself safe, Georgie is shocked to meet Ben at a soiree. She soon discovers his true background and admires him for vowing that he did not marry her for her money. But before they can even consider whether they should continue their marriage, there are many adventures ahead for them.

This is a nice romance with lots of intrigue thrown in. I think that there is almost too much “extra" added to the story which is why I gave it 4 stars. Sometimes, less is more.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

THIS EARL OF MINE, a Bow Street Bachelors novel by Kate Bateman, St. Martin’s Press, available now in ebook, audio, and print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks

Monday, November 25, 2019

Unwrapping a Review of TO BED THE BRIDE, an All For Love novel by Karen Ranney

Greetings my darling readers, I know I’ve been remiss in providing you reviews of good reads this past year and I apologize. Life has a hold on me which does not allow me much reading time. I have tried to make up for that in publishing my own good reads for you and I hope you’ve given them a try. In an attempt to make up for my neglect, I have been offering up guest reviews for you to enjoy by my dear friend, Connie Fischer. I hope you have been following them.

However, today I am actually sharing my review of a book I actually got to read, thanks to the lovelies at Avon for sending me a print copy of TO BED THE BRIDE, an All For Love novel by Karen Ranney—and it only took me three weeks to read. It will take you a lot less time, I promise. TO BED THE BRIDE is releasing November 26, 2019.

***provided to me by the publisher but I am sharing an honest and unscripted review.

Blurb for TO BED THE BRIDE:

New York Times Bestselling Author Karen Ranney’s captivating series concludes with a tale of opposites whose attraction scorches a trail from the Highlands to the glittering halls of London—and courts scandal at every turn . . .

Politics has introduced MP Logan McKnight to many fascinating people, but the lady he encounters on the lands bordering his ancestral Scottish home outshines them all. Eleanor Craig of Hearthmere seats a Thoroughbred like a queen, knows as much about world events as any of his colleagues—and is engaged to one of the worst men Logan knows. She also seems lonely, so Logan brings her a friend. Thus should their acquaintance end, yet it’s only just begun.

The puppy Logan delivers is every bit as irresistible as the man himself. How could this stranger sense the isolation Eleanor suffers among her scheming, snobbish extended family and fiancé who control her life? It’s even worse in London—until she begins meeting Logan secretly in a secluded park. Their passionate connection frees Eleanor, body and soul. But discovery threatens disgrace—or worse.

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My Review:

Eleanor Craig is a lonely woman, unsure of herself, or her place in the world. Her father had instilled in her that family comes first and the family estate, Hearthmere, is of utmost importance and her responsibility. When Eleanor meets a handsome stranger while out on a ride, she mistakes him for a simple shepherd. She is instantly both unsettled and annoyed by him.

MP Logan McKnight has met and encountered many people through politics but none are as interesting, charming, or as smart, in his opinion, as the lovely stranger he discovers is his neighbor in Scotland. Logan is immediately attracted to Eleanor. He admires her horsemanship, intelligence as well as her looks, but can she’s unhappy and lonely. He believes there’s much more to her. With the hope of giving her some joy and possibly bringing her out of her shell, he sends her an adorable puppy.

Initially Eleanor is outraged and then intrigued by Logan and his gift. She decides to return the puppy, but ends up becoming too attached to it. (Who wouldn’t?) After she returns to London, she finds herself more and more trapped by her family—truly nasty and toxic people. When she encounters Logan at her aunt’s house she discovers he is actually an upcoming and coming Member of Parliament. As it becomes more and more apparent how little respect or affection her family has for her and the man to whom she is engaged, the Earl of Westcott, is a despicable creature as well, she turns to Logan for friendship and emotional support.

Karen Ranney does a wonderful job in her historical writing of making us feel as if we are there. I have to say this story touched my heart very hard. Having people around you who belittle, demand of you, and treat you as if you’re nothing is true toxicity. I was easily able to step into Eleanor’s shoes and found her to be a truly heartbreaking and tragic figure. Her aunt and cousins were Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and stepsisters personified.

I do wish there had been more interaction between Eleanor and Logan while in Scotland but then I understand the perceived status separation while there, which did not allow it. Once back in London, their status more the same, their friendship grows and even though they must meet in secret, it’s apparent to both their feelings of friendship are growing to something far more…even as they fear being found out.

TO BED THE BRIDE, the final book in the All For Love trilogy, by Karen Ranney might be my favorite of the three and I’ve enjoyed each one. This one pulled at my heartstrings a bit more and had me hoping Eleanor could have a better life, and had me hoping she could extricate herself from her horrible family and get rid of her fiancé. Logan is caring, charming, and respectful of her even as he wishes her for his own. He’s a great friend and we all know where that can lead. This is an intriguing friends to lovers story with some truly nasty villains.

Each book in the All For Love trilogy can be read as standalones and for those who truly love historical romance, I highly recommend them all, but definitely read TO BED THE BRIDE. Oh…and puppy Bruce is such a delightful treat from Karen. He’s adorable and makes me miss my Marco so much.

Happy Reading Everyone!!

TO BED THE BRIDE, an All For Love novel by Karen Ranney, Avon Books, available November 26, 2019 in print, ebook, and audio at: