Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss & a Courtly Love Quiz

COURTLY LOVE QUIZ by Elizabeth Moss

Follow this quiz to discover what kind of courtly hero you might prefer to curl up with!

Question #1- What word best describes you?A Ambitious
B Romantic
C Feisty
D Secretive

Question #2 – Complete this sentence: My preferred courtly hero is most likely to…A Set me up in a large palace with servants
B Serenade me with a lute
C Ride off with me on his horse
D Keep my head safe from the block

Question #3 - I prefer my hero’s kisses to be:A Forbidden
B Long and lingering
C Fierce
D Intriguing

Question #4 - My hottest historical hero wears…A A crown and ermine-trimmed robes
B Top designer doublet and hose
C Shining armor
D Black, for lurking in the shadows

Question #5 - On his day off from courting me, my hero usually…A Goes hunting
B Plays bowls
C Polishes his lance
D Reads Machiavelli

Question #6 - I like a hero whose bragging rights include:A Absolute wealth and power
B Fluency in five European languages
C Ancestors who led the charge at Agincourt
D A string of political assassinations

Question #7 - For my birthday, my ideal courtly hero would get me:A Diamonds, of course
B A love sonnet tied with a red ribbon
C A romantic, tumbledown castle
D A chess set

Question #8 - My hero’s worst feature is probably his:A Lack of long-term commitment
B Poor work/life balance
C Obsession with his horse
D Tendency to listen at keyholes

***

If you chose mostly ‘A’s, then you won’t settle for anyone else but the King himself. The King is the man with power over everyone, including his Queen. Regal and dynamic, he dominates his world with natural authority. But like many powerful men, he lives his private life in public. Only an ambitious woman, destined for the top and comfortable with celebrity, can keep pace with this dangerous Alpha male. You’ll need to keep him happy in the bedroom, and never stray yourself, as the King is not known for fidelity or a forgiving nature. Serial divorcer and beheader, Henry VIII got through six wives – and may have been contemplating a seventh marriage when he died!

If you chose mostly ‘B’s, then a charming Courtier is on the top of your list to love. The Courtier is a man skilled in the art of courtly love as well as international diplomacy. He was educated at Oxford or Cambridge, can sing and play the lute, and knows when to compliment the Queen’s eyes and when to hide in the closet. A lady who loves expensive gowns and state dinners would do well with the Courtier, as long as she is not too possessive and does not mind him disappearing off to another European court every few months. Many Tudor courtiers were of noble French descent, like Hugh Beaufort in Wolf Bride, and possessed substantial lands as well as looks and charm.

If you chose mostly ‘C’s, then the strong and brave Knight is just right. The Knight is a courtier with other strings to his bow. He has the charm, wit and courtly manners to seduce the ladies, yet stands ready to charge into battle for his King at a moment’s notice. Less of a smoothie than the Courtier, he’s also better equipped to protect his lady from danger. If you hanker after a Knight, you’re probably earthy and ultra-feminine, and enjoy being in the arms of a big strong man. Although Lord Wolf is noble, he’s also a Knight at heart, a fierce lover and courageous soldier whose loyalty to his lady and his country is beyond question.

If you chose mostly ‘D’s, then you are meant for life at court directing the action behind the scenes with your powerful Political Advisor. The Political Advisor is often a commoner who has risen to power at court through his own skills. A cool and calculating strategist, his innate power and influence can be very seductive. Those who find this courtier intriguing are likely to be intelligent women with low boredom thresholds who enjoy mental stimulation (and maybe some power games in the bedroom). Your main challenge will be to sidestep the scandals that often surround the Political Advisor. Sir Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s right hand man for years, becoming almost as powerful as the King himself during the period in Wolf Bride.

***

Title:  Wolf Bride
Series:  Lust in the Tudor Court #1
Author:  Elizabeth Moss
To Be Published:  May 5/15 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  352pgs
Genre:  Historical Romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

England, 1536. Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors. Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who - though she is loath to admit it - frightens her not a little. Then comes that first kiss. It awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees first-hand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives. Dare she surrender her body and her heart?


About the Author:

Born into a literary family, Elizabeth Moss lives with her husband and five children in South-West England, and is a keen countryside walker. She writes fun and sexy historical romances. She also writes award-winning fiction as Victoria Lamb. For more information, please visit her website: www.elizabethmossfiction.com.


My Review:

Wolf has created a world in which her characters take over. Passion & lust rule the day throughout. Intrigue did wind its way throughout the novel, adding to the enjoyment. Readers experience so much more than simply a budding (even if arranged) romance. I found the plot of the story to be quite a treat to read. Moss drew readers into a world that those living today look at in awe.

I did find the author’s writing a bit difficult to digest at times. While the flowery language definitely paints a very pretty and eloquent picture, giving readers more than just a glimpse into this world, the story gets lost at times. My other issue, if you can even call it that, was the slight muddying of time periods. Now, in reality, no one ever said ‘today we’re in the Tudor period, tomorrow the Regency period will start,’ however, in the world of literature we expect certain things in certain ‘eras.’ I found that Moss muddied this a bit. Most readers won’t notice and will simply be along for the ride, especially when the actual historical facts in the novel are correct (if with a bit of literary lenience at times), but those with historical background may get stuck on it.

The female lead’s sweetness & naiveté was a welcome change from your typical female lead. The feeling that she actually needed someone to protect her lent a great deal of credence to the story. With her counterpart being a cunningly ruthless man that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know, this became even more apparent. I enjoyed the fact that the characters’ romance heated up gradually. There was no ‘insta-love’ (even if ‘insta-lust’ was present). It really gave the relationship substance.

As a whole, this novel was rather enjoyable. I understand why so many will love it. Once you get past the flowery language, the story itself is very fun to read.


Be sure to enter this fantastic tour wide giveaway!

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Cover Reveal ~ Vampire Affliction by Eva Pohler


Vampires, Demigods, and Gods--Oh, My!

It's time to reveal the cover for the second book in Amazon bestselling author Eva Pohler's The Vampires of Athens series.  



Gertie has become friends, and has possibly fallen in love, with both a demigod and a vampire, who happen to be at war. Although she sympathizes with the vampire uprising, she distrusts the leaders, especially when they plan to kill humans to cull out the demigods before ambushing them. As the three unlikely friends discover that neither side is perfectly good or evil or right or wrong, they work together to try to bring about the best outcome; but, when their parents and the gods undermine their efforts and hang them out to dry, the three teens realize they're on their own and no one will save them. 

Release date for this novel is May 11/15.  Find it on Goodreads HERE or click on the cover above to pre-order from Amazon.

To celebrate the reveal of Vampire Affliction: The Vampires of Athens, Book, Two, we are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! You can enter the Rafflecopter widget below each day through April 21st, which is PARTY DAY! 

If you haven't already joined the party, you can do so here! We are also celebrating by running a special on the first book in the series. For a limited time, you can purchase the first book, Vampire Addiction, for 0.99 cents! Go here for purchase links, or click on the image below to go directly to Amazon.



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Monday, April 20, 2015

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry

Title:  The Patriot Threat
Series:  Cotton Malone #10
Author:  Steve Berry
Published:  March 31/15 by Macmillan
Length:  401pgs
Genre:  thriller
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is why Americans pay income taxes. But what if there were problems associated with that amendment? Secrets that call into question decades of tax collecting? In fact, there is a surprising truth to this hidden possibility.

Cotton Malone, once a member of an elite intelligence division within the Justice Department known as the Magellan Billet, is now retired and owns an old bookshop in Denmark. But when his former-boss, Stephanie Nelle, asks him to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top secret Treasury Department files—the kind that could bring the United States to its knees—Malone is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four hour chase that begins on the canals in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia.

With appearances by Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Mellon, a curious painting that still hangs in the National Gallery of Art, and some eye-opening revelations from the $1 bill, this riveting, non-stop adventure is trademark Steve Berry—90% historical fact, 10% exciting speculation—a provocative thriller posing a dangerous question: What if the Federal income tax is illegal?

My Review:

What a captivating tale! Berry takes readers on a wild ride like no other. I love how many different side turns Berry takes you on, without ever bringing anything out of left field. The author sure kept me on my toes throughout. I loved the well-researched & presented economic background to the story. Attention to detail is found throughout and easy to believe. Combined with real history, it makes for an enthralling tale that is hard to overlook.

The characters in this novel really drew me in. They were well presented & easy to get to know. At the same time, they weren’t obvious or static in their development. The gradual and intricate development was fantastic. I felt as if I were really in this with some real people that I actually knew (by the end of the book, anyways).

Although the 10th novel in the series, this can easily be read as a standalone novel. It was a fantastic, fast paced novel that had me on pins and needles throughout. It’s a must read for all who enjoy a good thriller.


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Alpha's Domain by A.J. Tipton

Title:  Alpha's Domain
Series:  Bear Shifter Billionaire #3
Author:  A.J. Tipton
Published:  April 14/15
Length:  58pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Ben Broyles is a billionaire, polar bear shifter and hotel mogul haunted by his tragic past. He built his magical ice hotel as a sanctuary for the supernatural. When the evil goblins who murdered his clan check in, Ben knows they’ll do everything they can to destroy all he’s built. With the future of his hotel--and his life--on the line, Ben must stop the goblins and find justice before it's too late.

Sally is the curvy and capable manager of the Wondernasium Hotel who thinks she has everything handled. A whole conference of supernaturals with crazy dietary restrictions? Handled. Guests who try to eat the other guests? No problem.

But there's one thing Sally can't handle: her desire for her boss. When a steamy encounter in Ben's office turns her entire world upside down, Sally has a choice: will she embrace the magic within? Or will she flee from her true self?

This paranormal romance for adults includes sexy bear shifters, interfering supernatural bartenders, explosive magic training, and a workplace romance so hot it will melt even the coldest heart.

My Review:

I love the way that Tipton has developed her supernatural world. There are so many different kinds of supernaturals that we encounter throughout. There is also a well-defined concept behind what each creature/being/race is and how they act and appear. For example, there is a very well defined concept of what being a witch means, & how there is more than one kind of witch. I like how humans can ‘choose’ whether or not to perceive the supernatural world surrounding them, albeit in a subconscious manner.

Tipton’s character development is unique & quite well done. Although this is a short story, I felt as if I’d really met the characters. Sally’s journey to discovering the real world around her was fascinating and more than a little bit hot too. Her ‘trigger’ had me laughing repeatedly. And you’ve got to admit that a Polar Bear shifter with an ice hotel is more than a little awesome.

Tipton’s slightly snarky, very comical writing kept me coming back for more and has me dying for the next story in this series. This story may be short & sweet, but it’s definitely a complete story in and of itself.


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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Shadow of Doubt by P.A. DePaul

Title:  Shadow of Doubt
Series:  SBG #2
Author:  P.A. DePaul
Published:  April 21/15 by InterMix
Length:  428pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

When her secretly filmed tryst shows up on the internet, Michelle Alger goes on the run. She has no choice. Not only was her one-night stand the son of a US senator, but he’s been murdered—and she’s the number one suspect. With both the senator and an avenging drug lord on her trail, her life is in danger. There’s only man she can trust. He saved her once, but will he still be her hero six years later?

Captain Jeremy Malone and the rest of Delta Squad have the senator’s order: find the mystery woman who killed my son. But to Jeremy, she’s no mystery. Six years ago his team of Green Berets rescued her from the torturous clutches of a Colombian cartel, and he’s never forgotten her. His personal and covert mission: find Michelle before anyone else. When he and Michelle do meet again, the sparks are explosive and consuming. They’re also dangerous as hell.

Because with each new bit of evidence, Jeremy suspects that Michelle’s innocence may be a ruse—a beautiful trap set by a woman who has even more secrets yet to bare.

My Review:

This novel was fast paced & action packed throughout. DePaul maintains her fast forward pace throughout, giving readers both intensely dangerous and suspenseful scenes as well as sweetly romantic & wildly heated ones. The plot was well thought out and easily believable while also being outside the realm of the everyday for most individuals. She had me on the edge of my seat more than once, and I was always trying to figure out who was behind it all.

The main characters in this novel were actually quite intriguing. Both had very complex and difficult pasts, and were fighting in the here and now. That said, they were such different individuals who easily stood up on their own. I enjoyed Cappy’s mix of sensitivity and all-alpha persona. Michelle’s battle with her demons was heartbreaking, yet reassuring at the same time. It was amazing to see how far she’d come. And DePaul developed this all in such a realistic manner that it was easily believable. These characters really shone, especially when placed against the backdrop of the secondary characters. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was well developed and could easily become the main character in their own story, but the contrasting personalities and views really made Cappy & Michelle stand out.

As to whether or not this can be read as a standalone, well, that’s actually a complex question. The story is contained in and of itself. All of the information required to enjoy it is contained within the pages of the novel. That said, the dynamic within Delta Team is developed in and carried over from the first novel in the series. For the full impact, readers would benefit from having read it first, but as I said, it’s not strictly necessary.

Overall, this was an extremely enjoyable, endlessly entertaining novel. DePaul takes readers on a suspenseful, action packed adventure in the lives of two characters whose love really shines through.

Pre-order your copy today!
Goodreads - Shelfari - Amazon - B&N - Indigo - Google Play

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Her Soldier's Touch by JM Stewart

Title:  Her Soldier's Touch
Author:  J.M. Stewart
Published:  March 16/15 by Crimson Romance
Length:  214pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Experience has taught single mother Rachel Madison that the only person she can truly rely on is herself. But what she wants most in the world—to give her son the life she never had growing up—means she must put her faith in a man who once walked out on her.

Retired from the service, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Colten Taylor makes a detour to Phoenix to bury his brother. Nobody is more surprised than he to see Rachel waiting for him at the airport. He regrets the morning he walked away from her, but coming from an abusive home taught Colt to put limits on all his relationships—especially this one.

So when he discovers he has a son, Colt knows this is a chance to prove to himself he’s not a chip off the old block. Turning his life around doesn’t come naturally, though. Then a drug dealer crops up from his brother’s dark past, threatening their son and forcing Colt and Rachel to face their demons … and each other.

My Review:

Stewart’s approachable style makes it hard to put the novel down while the storyline grabs at your heart. The author approaches a myriad of topics with emotion and sensitivity, not only bringing them to the forefront of the story but also showing readers how they affected the characters in question on a real and deep level. Combine this with the larger than life secrets that are revealed and you have an emotional plot that will continue to drive you forward.

The characters are uniquely developed. It’s so easy to get to know what makes them tick & how they feel. Stewart develops them quite intimately on an emotional level. It makes them very easy to identify with. The contrast between her open nature & his very standoffish one made the trials that they’d both been through stand out even more.

This novel is definitely well worth reading for all romance lovers out there. The emotionally packed plot will keep you going from the beginning to the end.


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Air by Heather James

Title:  Air
Series:  Elements of Power #3
Author:  Heather James
Published:  March 12/15 by Heather James
Length:  222pgs
Genre:  YA fantasy
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Air.

I needed air.

I was gasping, but my lungs refused to take any in.

Jasmine's world is crumbling around her. Still reeling from the discovery of her parents' identities, she is forced to face the repercussions of her actions in the Helian Realm, while her beloved home is besieged by Helian attackers. And she still can't control her powers.

Roxy is confronted by the realisation that she has travelled across the Realms for a boy who thinks she betrayed him. A boy dating the girl who sold her out. And even while freezing in the Arcan Realm it seems she can't escape Cinaer's grasp.

Time is running out for the girls to save the world - and the boy - they love. But to have any chance of defeating Cinaer, they are going to have to work together. Cinaer is on a warpath and he's not giving up until he has secured the Helian throne - even if he has to reduce the Arcan Realm to dust in the process.

Air is the gripping final installment of the Elements of Power trilogy.

My Review:

James picks up this story where we left off in the previous novel. She writes with the same polished, inviting style that we’ve come to appreciate from her while at the same time throwing in a few twists that readers would never expect. James brings her fantasy world to the forefront of readers’ minds via her vibrant descriptions that allow readers to place themselves in the story. Although geared towards a YA novel this is definitely a story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

The dual perspectives in this novel really let you get to know a lot about the female leads. By this point in time readers know them quite well. I enjoyed seeing their perspectives on what was going on infused throughout. James brings the entire cast to life in a larger than life manner that really captures your attention. I love how she develops not only the individual characters but the different peoples of this world. Readers get to know the different customs associated with each. It’s truly a unique experience.

As a whole, this was definitely a one of a kind conclusion to James’ series. James ties up all of the loose ends well while taking readers on a fantastical journey, but yet never closes off the possibility that there will be more to come. But I will warn readers that it is just that, a conclusion to the series. One should really read the series in order for the full effect.


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Friday, April 17, 2015

Bon Appetit & a Book: From Fake to Forever by Kat Cantrell

Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book

Hummus and Pita Chips

This is my recipe for hummus, which I love to make fresh because store-bought generally has a high sodium content, as well as preservatives and other yucky stuff. This is easy to make and doesn't call for tahini which can be expensive.

Ingredients (4 servings)
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 drops sesame oil, or to taste (optional)

PREP:  5 mins

READY IN:  5 mins

Directions
Blend garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and sesame oil in a food processor; stream reserved bean liquid into the mixture as it blends until desired consistency is achieved. Spoon into a serving bowl. You can let the flavors blend several hours or overnight before serving this.

To make fresh pita chips:
Cut two-three pitas into wedges (like a pizza)
Arrange on a pan and brush with olive oil
Grind or sprinkle salt and pepper to taste
Cook for 15 minutes at 375.

This is such an easy snack. I love to make it with my two boys and there are things even the little one can do. He likes to use the basting brush to "paint" the chips with oil. My older son likes to use the food processor--probably because I don't make him clean it!

About the Author:

KAT CANTRELL read her first Harlequin novel in third grade and has been scribbling in notebooks since she learned to spell. What else would she write but romance? She majored in Literature, officially with the intent to teach, but somehow ended up buried in middle management at Corporate America, Inc. After three years and many thousands of words, her dream of publication finally came true. When she's not writing about characters on the journey to happily-ever-after, she can be found at a soccer game, watching Friends or dancing with her kids to Duran Duran and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Praise for Kat Cantrell:

“This is a great example of category romance done right…I so had that happy sigh moment at the end.” – The Good, The Bad and the Unread

“What do you get when you take the allure of Venice, a masquerade ball and a night of unparalleled passion? A trifecta of sizzle in a can’t put down read.” –RT Book Reviews

“Sweet and heartfelt with loads of spice and best of all a story that does a 360 degree bend of the normal meet, fall in love, happy ever after.”  – Contemporary Romance Reviews

“The sassy and smart dialogue is just one of many things to enjoy about Cantrell’s latest.” –RT Book Reviews

Title:  From Fake to Forever
Series:  Newlywed Games #2
Author:  Kat Cantrell
Published:  April 7/15 by Harlequin
Length:  192pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Bride: Meredith, soon-to-be co-owner, wedding dress business

Marital Status: Victim, Vegas wedding mix-up

Action Required: Divorce, ASAP

After one night of tequila and sex, their impromptu Vegas wedding shouldn't be valid. But Meredith Chandler-Harris just discovered she's still tied to irresistible businessman Jason Lynhurst. She needs out of their marriage, but to become his company's new CEO, he needs her as a bride. Let the newlywed games begin.

My Review:

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right? Well, Cantrell easily proves that’s not always the case with this one. Comedy & romance ensue in this wildly creative second chance romance. Cantrell’s well presented & easygoing writing style brings this story to life in a big way.

The characters… What can I say? I loved them even if I couldn’t even fathom what possessed them to do what they did. I loved getting to know them and seeing how they made everything work for them. The magical fairy tale quality of their lives makes this feel like a storybook romance, but with a huge twist. On top of all that, they were individuals that I truly liked getting to know. It was the perfect combination to go with the plot.

Overall, this was a comical & cute story, even if it made me question the sanity of the characters at times. I did quite enjoy reading it.


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Dawn of the Dark Knight by Zoe Forward

Title:  Dawn of the Dark Knight
Series:  Scimtar Magi #1
Author:  Zoe Forward
Published:  February 18/13 by Wild Rose Press
Length:  366 pages
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

In the shadows of our world, a secret band of warriors fights to protect us. They are the last line of defense against an evil no human can stop.

An ancient nemesis has resurfaced. Duty demands that Ashor Vlahos, Scimitar Magi commander, recruit a magical healer to fortify the remaining eight magi. The gods' choice is the woman who helped him escape torture a decade ago. Ashor couldn't have imagined a better punishment for his vow-breaker homicidal incidents than for the gods to bind him irrevocably to the only woman in the universe he cannot have. The soul-searing desire she ignites in him is strictly forbidden.

Kira Hardy, M.D. is a brilliant, hardworking internal med resident with big secrets. But when Ashor asks for aid after a brutal daemon attack, she is sucked into his dangerous, secret world. Enslavement to the magi, no matter how hot they are, may be an unattractive life plan, but being targeted for death by their enemies is less tolerable.

She must trust the sexy, tormented Ashor to keep her safe while he must deny his ultimate desire and keep Kira at arm's length lest he bring destruction down on them both. As a centuries-old evil catches up to them, they face a crucial decision--follow the gods' rules or follow their hearts.

***Warning: Contains explicit sex, graphic language, action-adventure, and an exceptionally hot tatted hero.**

My Review:

Forward’s writing style sucked me in. I found it intriguing yet easy to connect with. The story itself is fast paced, exciting, and adventurous. Forward’s writing takes it to another level. It makes this story into something so much more, completely addictive and unforgettable. It’s a fantastic escape from reality as we perceive it.

The main character may be otherworldly but I found him quite easy to connect to. His personality combined with his past create an unforgettably deadly combination. Kira’s character is so in depth and intricately crafted. The multifaceted development really lets you get to know her. The main characters really stand out in this novel, but the author really lets us get down and dirty with the entire crew of Magi.

I love the intricate history presented in the prologue. The author sets the stage for the novel while at the same time developing an entire race and culture. The Egyptian background had me hooked. It is quite well done yet with a twist that allows these characters to shine. The gradual development of the various species and races that we meet gives readers an entire picture of the world that these characters find themselves living in. The magic in this world is also thoroughly developed, which allows readers to understand every aspect of what’s happening.

This is the perfect start to a series that you won’t be able to put down. Forward has me hooked and dying for more. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to lovers of paranormal & Egyptian mythology.


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

When a Rake Falls & Traits of a Gentleman, a guest post by Sally Orr

 Traits of a gentleman: Service to a lady. by Sally Orr


London 1824

The traits of a true gentleman include: courage, intelligence, sportsmanship, service to the king or service to a lady. Some even believe the traits of a gentleman also include wit and compassion for the young, elderly, and animals.

My name is Lord Boyce Parker, and I was present when the Earl of Stainthorpe challenged London’s finest bachelors to a race to Paris. To win the challenge, I planned to fly to Paris by balloon, thus guaranteeing my victory in the courage and intelligence races.

Miss Eve Mountfloy, a lady of science, joined me on the journey. Of course I did my best to help her with her scientific experiments on the atmosphere as we traveled to France. Then during the test to determine if spices lose their flavor at high altitudes, a small amount of spice landed on her lips. Here’s approximately what we said to the best of my memory.

“Granted we are not very high,” she said. “Still, I believe we have made progress toward establishing the altitude limits where we begin to lose taste.”
I inhaled as deeply as possible to slow my obvious panting. “Let’s get this over with, I am very eager to land.” I stared up at the balloon and focused on the lovely blue color, the same hue as her eyes. I focused on the rigging.
“Just one more.” She fiddled with the box, and in doing so, rocked upon my knee.

This time my moan could have awakened the dead. “What next?”

“Sugar.”
“Get on with it,” I said, my tone sounding like a growl. My sight fixed upon her lips.
She placed the sugar in my mouth and started to do the same for herself.

The second the pinch of sugar neared her tongue, I jerked forward knocking the majority of the sugar upon her lower lip and chin. I moved my hands to cup the back of her head, pulling her forward until I could only see her beautiful sapphire eyes. “Miss Mountfloy, have you ever been kissed? As a lady of science you must be curious. You must want to gather facts and learn what it feels like?”

So you see I offered—as a gentleman—the service of a kiss, thus performing a Service to a lady.

If you entered the earl’s race, which trait of a gentleman do you think is the most important?

About the author:

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

Connect with Sally Orr 

Title:  When a Rake Falls
Series:  The Rake's Handbook #2
Author:  Sally Orr
Published:  April 7/15 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  384pgs
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

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

She’s curious about the science of love

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

What happens when they descend from the clouds?

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

Praise for The Rake’s Handbook:

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

Excerpt:

London, 1825
Lord Boyce Parker felt a sudden urge to sing. The brisk morning air, the glorious sunshine, and the presence of a hundred or so excited gentlemen milling around him could only mean a remarkable day ahead. Boyce knew he’d be mocked if he broke out in song, but sometimes happiness just bubbled up from somewhere down in your toes and overwhelmed a fellow. “My candle burns bright—-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Look.” Boyce pointed upward.

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

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

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

The man smiled and shouted.

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

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

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

The crowd cheered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The crowd cheered.

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

“Gin drinking, gov?” someone shouted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The young men below the balcony tendered several improper suggestions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Others in the crowd shouted similar generous offers.

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

Jeers filled the air.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No!”

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

Shouts and laughter rose from the rabble.

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

The mob tendered several humorous jests of questionable wit.

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

Several groans were heard, and one person clapped.

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

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

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

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

Shouts and applause echoed around the square.

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

My Review:

This novel was at times thought provoking, more often than not awe inspiring, and always comical. Orr draws us into her world with a flair rarely seen in historical romances & keeps readers engaged throughout. This is a fun & light-hearted novel. It’s not full of erotic elements, nor is there palpable chemistry throughout, but the romance is still present nonetheless. Orr’s writing easily brings this world and characters to life, making it easy for readers to picture themselves in it. Her tone sets the stage for this light hearted romance.

The main characters in this novel are a very unlikely pair yet at the same time the perfect match. His need to prove himself coupled with her love of science created some intensely enjoyable moments. Eve’s very scholastic outlook on life is also tempered by Boyce’s ‘all or nothing’ approach. All in all, these two were a joy to read about. I can’t picture one without the other (even if at the beginning I couldn’t quite picture one with the other).

This was a fun, enjoyable read that was definitely different that most novels in the genre. Although part of a series, it can very easily be read as a standalone.


Enter below, & one lucky winner will receive a copy of The Rake's Handbook & When a Rake Falls along with a personalized note from Sally Orr

Contest is limited to residents of Canada & the US, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm April 24/15. 
Winners will be drawn April 25/15. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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A Highlander's Passion by Vonnie Davis

Title:  A Highlander's Passion
Series:  Highlander's Beloved #2
Author:  Vonnie Davis
Published:  April 7/15 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  257pgs
Genre:  historical paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

As a bear-shifter in a pack roaming the Scottish countryside, Bryce Matheson embodies brute force and untamed abandon. As a widower, he's running scared. When Bryce attempted to open his scarred heart to another, she grew tired of waiting for him to state his intentions, and the unearthly beauty spurned him for someone who wasn't worthy. But now that fate has conspired to set Kenzie Denune free once again, Bryce vows to finally win her love.

Kenzie is a witch who summons her powers to protect those too weak to care for themselves. After surviving an abusive husband, she swears off men—even men like Bryce, whose iron muscles make her knees weak, and whose piercing eyes fill her with longing. Her life's purpose is to help others. However, dark forces have different plans for her gifts. To save herself, Kenzie must team up with the shifter who has always stirred her soul—and trust in a passion powerful enough to set her blood aflame.

My Review:

What a unique novel. The plot is well crafted & one of a kind. Davis brings this world to a vivid reality through her interesting narrative and picturesque descriptions. Not only is this novel inductive to a few laughs, it’s also quite emotionally infused. This novel runs the emotional gamut, giving readers quite the ride. She also brings her shifters to life in a big way. I enjoyed the multifaceted development that really allows readers to understand them.

Davis brings her characters to live in a brilliantly larger than life manner. The fact that the main characters are both having a second chance at love makes the story even more poignant. I love the fact that the dialogue matches the characters and time period they live in. The thick brogue in the dialogue is enough to make a girl drool. It adds extra authenticity to the tale.

As a whole this was a great story. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in this world I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wagers Gone Awry by Collette Cameron

Title:  Wagers Gone Awry
Series:  Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper #1 
Author:  Collette Cameron
Published:  March 30/15 by Blue Rose Romance in cooperation with Windtree Press
Length:  175pgs
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Brooke Culpepper resigned herself to spinsterhood when she turned down the only marriage proposal she’d likely ever receive to care for her family. After her father dies, a distant cousin inherits the estate and becomes their guardian but permits Brooke to act in his stead.

Heath, Earl of Ravensdale is none-too-pleased to discover five young women call the dairy farm he won and intends to sell, their home. Desperate, pauper poor, and with nowhere to go, Brooke proposes a wager. His stakes? The farm. Hers? Her virtue. The land holds no interest for Heath, but Brooke does and he accepts her challenge.

Brooke loses, and her devastation is compounded when the cousin arrives, intending to haul the Culpepper misses off to London. Heath astounds himself and proposes in order to apply for guardianship of the other girls.

Does Brooke dare marry the handsome stranger who’d been bent on compromising her? Will Heath regret his impulsive gesture, or will unexpected love flourish?

My Review:

Cameron’s writing sets the tone and the scene of this story perfectly. She develops the world for her readers, without taking away their ability to imagine themselves into the story. I love the fact that this Regency romance doesn’t take place amidst London’s ton scene, but rather in a rural setting. This twist causes more plot twists than readers could fathom, while still remaining true to the regency romance genre. I love the unique feel of the novel combined with the real romance within. This novel doesn’t careen around at a breakneck pace, nor does it stagnate. Everything pieces together perfectly.

The characters in this novel and their interactions with one another make this novel even better. The main characters are a hoot. Not only is their romance sweeter than anything I can remember seeing in a regency romance, as individuals they’re amazing characters. It floors me how this author has thrown convention to the wind while developing these two without actually going outside the bounds for the time period in question. They are such unique and caring individuals that you can’t help but love them. I love how Cameron develops more than just the main couple for readers to get to know intimately. One thing I will comment on, however. I’d love to know exactly what happened to Cousin Sheridan. I assume I know, but it wasn’t spelled out for the reader. In all honesty, it’s neither here nor there with respect to the plot and Sheridan is a slimy eel, it’s more for curiosity’s sake.

Ok, it’s confession time. This novel caused me to burst into tears in the lunchroom at work. It’s fraught with emotional upheaval & this novel may be emotional, but it’s also extremely comical. And I love the fact that I have a suspicion as to who’s story comes next. Can’t wait! My final thoughts boil down to this: Read it! Read it! Read it! If you enjoy romances at all, this is a must read novel.


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Claiming His Cub by Kayleigh Malcolm

Title:  Claiming His Cub
Series:  1Night Stand #226
Author:  Kayleigh Malcolm
Published:  April 8/15 by Decadent Publishing
Length:  62pgs
Genre:  M/M paranormal romance
Shelf:  bought
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Dary, an officer with the Paranormal/Research/Intelligence/Discipline and Education (PRIDE) department of the RCMP, has little time to pursue his personal interests outside of his job. As a dominent bear shapeshifter in his prime, and a taste for slim, trim boy-toys, his preference has brought him to a crossroad—his desire to find a partner to share his life with is overcast by immature males who don’t share his interests When he learns about the 1Night Stand service and Madame Eve’s incredible track record for successful matches, he utilizes a rare weekend away from his job to indulge in some much-needed fantasy.

Rhudaii is a unique man in every imaginable way. With an unusually youthful appearance and a little known inherent bombshell of his own, he longs for a deeper connection with a man than just instant gratification. Being an avid romance junkie, Rhoo plans a getaway to a book convention in Ottawa, except surrounded by hundreds of women isn’t what he’s looking for. Instead, he arranges a date through the 1Night Stand service.

When the men meet sparks fly and the sexual tension soars. Each of them has a secret that could make or break any potential long-term relationship. But, what if they have more in common than they thought?

My Review:

Ok. There’s a large possibility that I may be drooling right now. Malcolm has created some absolutely unforgettable characters that I was able to connect with emotionally and mentally. Not to mention the fact that they are hot as sin. I love how she combined what it means to be a shifter with what it means to be living in the real world today.

Relationships aren’t easy, but when you find ‘the one’ things just seem to fall into place. That’s the general premise behind this fantastic short story. I appreciated the fact that there was a plot on top of the romantic/erotic interlude. I enjoyed the way that the characters interacted on so many levels, actually taking the time to get to know one another. I also felt as if I’d really gotten a glimpse into the lives of the characters & what they really wanted.

My final thoughts? Bears, & Dragons, & Men, oh my! I really do need to get in touch with Madame Eve myself.


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