Review & Giveaway: With Every Breath by Maya Banks

NEW RELEASE: WITH EVERY BREATH (Avon Books, Trade Paperback Original; 9780062410160; eBook: 9780062410177) the fourth book in #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks’s suspenseful and sizzling Slow Burn series.

414bdJAxEmL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_As a vulnerable teenager, Eliza Cummings was the target of a predator who cultivated her need for love and approval. Until she found the courage to fight back and help put him away. Years later, she works with Devereaux Security Services and devotes every hour to taking down the very thing that nearly destroyed her. But now the killer has been set free, and Eliza knows it’s only a matter of time before he comes for her, and the people she loves.

Wade Sterling never allows anyone close enough to see the man behind the impenetrable mask—but one woman threatens his tightly leashed control. He took a bullet for Eliza and the result was more than a piece of metal embedded in his skin. She was under his skin and nothing he did could rid him of the woman with the heart of a warrior.

But when Wade sees a panicked and haunted Eliza he knows something is very wrong, because the foolish woman has never had the sense to be afraid of anything. So when she tries to draw a monster away, the primal beast barely lurking beneath his deceptively polished façade erupts in a rage. She may not know it, but she belongs to him. This time, Eliza isn’t going to play the protector. She was going to be the protected. And as long as Wade breathes, no one will ever hurt what is his.

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Win a Digital Copy of With Every Breath by Maya Banks

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PRAISE FOR THE SLOW BURN SERIES

“Raw emotion and deep, powerful love are at the heart of Banks’ latest Slow Burn novel. The love and tension between Zack and Anna-Grace are equal parts intense and passionate. With a good dose of action, good pacing and seductive alpha heroes set within a solid plot, this story is high-stakes, gripping and emotional.”     — RT Book Reviews on Safe at Last

“Maya Bank’s KEEP ME SAFE takes readers into the black depths of anguish, face-to-face with evil. Her characters are a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and to the power love has to heal even the deepest wounds.”     — New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard

“Caleb and Ramie’s intense connection and fiercely passionate romance will keep readers hooked along with suspense and intrigue. Banks’ first novel in her new Slow Burn series will leave readers wishing for the next one.”     — Romantic Times BOOKclub, 4 1/2 stars

“Crisp storytelling, steady pacing and a well-defined, strong, overly protective alpha male in Beau will appeal to readers.”       — Romantic Times BOOKclub, 4 1/2 stars

“A well-paced read with non-stop action and buckets of family drama, but there are also some gorgeous romantic moments.”     — Heroes and Heartbreakers

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With Every Breath is the fourth book in the Slow Burn series by Maya Banks.  I am kicking myself for not discovering these books sooner, and I added the first three titles to my TBR list before I even finished this book. In the first chapter of Book 4, we learn that a woman known to her colleagues at Devereaux Security Services (DSS) as Eliza Cummings has been living under an assumed identity for a decade.  She changed her name and location to save her own life ten years earlier, but a shocking phone call has her obsessed with saving the lives of those around her.  The author does a good job of filling new readers in on some of the harrowing adventures and near death experiences Eliza and the others at DSS have been through in the first three books.  You will learn what they have been through and why they are such a tight group.  Loyalty to her friends and guilt from the past compels Eliza into a solo mission focused on revenge and justice.  She hides these plans from the folks at DSS, but the man she loves to hate, Wade Sterling, sees right through her deception.  He calls her out on her plans and interjects himself in her agenda – quickly taking the lead on her mission.

How he does it and what happens next is a fast paced, thrilling adventure, and I could not put the book down.  I very much enjoyed the story, characters, action, romance, and all the surprises along the way.  This is a great story for readers who enjoy romantic suspense with strong females, action packed plots, alpha heroes, dramatic twists and turns, and satisfying conclusions.  If you are a Maya Banks fan, this book should be just what you expect.  If, like me, you like talented authors crafting complex characters in breathtaking adventures: you need to give the Slow Burn series a try!!

author

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Maya Banks lives in Texas with her husband, three children and assortment of pets. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting, fishing or playing poker.

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New Release: On a Red Horse by Monica Corwin

Scarlet needs a new job, but Horseman of the Apocalypse doesn’t sound good on a resume. Three years ago she followed her companions to Earth in an effort to live human lives. But the moment she left her husband Tyr she knew life wouldn’t be worth living. Lonely and longing for her husband, Scarlet is on a path of destruction that could endanger all the riders.

Tyr, god of justice, hunts his wife across the realms. From Hell to the Golden Throne, he travels until he finds her working as a phone operator. Scarlet is no longer the woman he fell in love with, and he is determined to bring that woman back to him if it takes the rest of eternity.

Even though the Horsemen live on Earth, they are still responsible for guarding four seals that can unleash the Apocalypse. When a prophecy is awoken by a deity who only has her own interests at heart, they must go on the defensive to keep their homes on Earth and protect the seals. If even one seal opens, it will start a chain reaction that will force the Horsemen to take up their mantles and destroy the new lives they’ve worked so hard to build.

On a Red Horse Website

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Cover Reveals: The Boyfriend Bet & The Summer Before Forever

The Boyfriend Bet & The Summer Before Forever Cover Reveals

Let us know what you think of the covers for

The Boyfriend Bet by Chris Cannon and

The Summer Before Forever (Before Forever, #1) by Melissa Chambers!

Both titles release on August 22, 2016

The cover reveals are brought to you by Entangled TEEN, YA Interrobang, & YA Books Central!

About The Boyfriend Bet:

The Boyfriend BetZoe Cain knows that Grant Evertide is way out of her league. So naturally, she kisses him. Out of spite. Not only is Grant her brother’s number-one nemesis, but he has zero interest in being tied down to one girl. She’s shocked—and secretly thrilled—when they start spending more time together. Non-exclusively, of course, but that doesn’t mean Zoe can’t change his mind, one PDA and after-school detention at a time.

Zoe’s brother claims Grant is trying to make her his “Ringer,” an oh-so-charming tradition where a popular guy dates a non-popular girl until he hooks up with her, then dumps her. Zoe threatens to neuter Grant with hedge clippers if he’s lying but Grant swears he isn’t trying to trick her. Still, that doesn’t mean Grant is the commitment type—even if winning a bet is on the line.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains multiple PDAs, after school detentions, and gambling on the side. Warning: Betting on a boyfriend is bad for your health.

Want to Read More? Pre-order The Boyfriend Bet (Boyfriend Chronicles, #2) Today!

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Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies.

Find Chris Cannnon Online:

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About The Summer Before Forever:

TheSummerBeforeForever-final-500x750Some boys break your heart. Others teach you how to heal it.

Chloe Stone’s life is a hotmess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.

Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way.Problem is, Chloeis everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient.Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend,and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.

But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again…

Want to Read More? Pre-order The Summer Before Forever (Before Forever, #1) Today!

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melissa-chambers

Melissa Chambers writes contemporary novels for young, new, and actual adults. A Nashville native, she spends her days working in the music industry and her nights tapping away at her keyboard. While she’s slightly obsessed with alt rock, she leaves the guitar playing to her husband and kid. She never misses a chance to play a tennis match, listen to an audiobook, or eat a bowl of ice cream. (Rocky road, please!) She’s a member of RWA including several local and online chapters thereof. She holds her B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee.

Find Melissa Chambers Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads’ Author Page |

Entangled Author Page

$275 Amazon Giveaway: Forbidden Fling by Skye Jordan

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Title: Forbidden Fling     Author: Skye Jordan

Publisher: Montlake Romance     Release Date: July 26, 2016

Category: Hot Contemporary Romance     Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1ROM2Ih

 

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Forbidden Fling, Book 1 in the Wildwood Series by Skye Jordan

Delaney Hart has come a long way from her wild youth, dating tattooed bikers at her father’s bar, The Bad Seed. But when his death pulls her back to Wildwood, California, she must stay to renovate the dive he left her. And also face the lies and secrets that sent her running ten years before.

When Wildwood’s chief building inspector, Ethan Hayes, shows up on the property, Delaney doesn’t recognize him. The last thing he wants to do is save the bar where his cousin died in a brawl. But the good boy from her past is all too willing to remind her of the bad girl she used to be. And one night of passion leaves them both in a compromising position.

The last place Ethan should be is in Delaney’s bed. Guilt, family pressure, and plans for a brewpub of his own make shutting down The Bad Seed his top priority…until his feelings for Delaney interfere. Because her future depends on the success of the bar’s renovation and his dreams are rooted in its failure, their forbidden romance may be destined for heartbreak.

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Tour Wide Giveaway: $275 in Amazon Gift Cards!

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coasters3The Book Beacon Giveaway: A digital copy of any Renegades book (winner’s choice) and a book coaster (US only for the coaster) … To Enter: Leave a Comment Below about your favorite Beach Read this Summer!

**CONTEST CLOSED**

 

excerpt

“Here’s the thing.” She was done with the push and pull. Time for her line in the sand. “You may be the only game in town, but you’re not the only inspector in the county. And if I catch you in one more lie—just one—I’ll not only file a formal complaint with the city, I’ll go over your head and demand the city manager bring in an inspector from one of the cities nearby. If I have to, I’ll go over the city manager’s head and bypass the mayor by going to the city council, because we all know how tight the Hayes and Ryan families can be when things go bad. And this time, I’m not leaving until I decide I’m leaving.”

She stabbed her index finger toward the floor. “This is more than a building renovation. This is my entire life savings. This is money I’ve worked the last decade of my life to put away. This is my future, Avery’s future, Chloe’s future. This, Ethan, is business. And in business I play straight, clean, right up the middle. I’m good at what I do, so I don’t need to play dirty. But even better, I know how to beat dirty with good business. So I’m more than happy to take dirty and meet it head-on, and I can guarantee those on the dirty side won’t like the outcome.”

When she stopped and took a breath, Ethan looked both shocked and awed. For a long moment, Delaney didn’t think he was going to say anything, but he finally said, “All this arguing is useless. You’ve only got twelve days to start renovations. There’s no way any architect is going to be able to get all the required documents together for the building permit by then, let alone begin working on this place.”

She smirked. “Keep telling yourself that, Hayes. Tell your dad, too, while you’re at it. Maybe it will keep him off your back while I’m weighing all my options. Thanks for your time. Sorry we called you in on a Saturday.”

She slid her hands into her back pockets again, turned on her heel, and sauntered toward the door, avoiding the divots in the floor that Phoebe had marked with fluorescent sticky notes. But she didn’t feel vindicated or triumphant for standing up to Ethan. Nor did she feel hopeful or excited the way she always did when she was on the brink of a new project.

She felt mean and thoughtless and bitchy. When she’d left Ethan’s bed this morning, she’d hoped they could be friends while she was in town. Maybe even have an occasional hookup and keep it quiet.

Now they were enemies. On opposite sides. The very last place she wanted her building inspector or her lover.

She’d only gotten halfway to the door when Ethan’s hand closed on her bicep. He swung her around so hard she hit his body, and his arm closed at her waist, keeping her there. His eyes burned a deep, smoky green, his mouth firm with frustration.

Delaney saw a little of that wild side he’d shown her last night. Intensely passionate, demanding, edgy. Lust rolled through her body in waves. God, she wanted that again.

“This,” he said, breathing hard, his voice rough, “is going to be a fight every step of the way. You know that.”

It wasn’t a threat. Wasn’t even a warning. Not exactly. It was more like the voice of reality. Making sure she realized just how dicey it could get. But she’d lived here. Part of her had died here. She knew how wild Wildwood could get with the Hayeses and the Ryans at the helm.

She curled one hand into the tee at his shoulder. The other into the cotton at his side. “Are you talking about you and me? Or this project? Mr. Hayes.”

His gaze lowered to her mouth, and the sight kicked up an urgent need to taste him, to have him taste her . . . “Both.”

She let the tension slide from her body and softened against him. He was as hard and warm as she remembered. Lifting her hand from his shoulder, she ran her thumb along his lower lip. “Then I think you have a few problems on your hands.”

review1

I am a big fan of Skye Jordan’s books – I have reviewed her popular Renegades series and I was very excited to hear about this new Wildwood series.  As usual, the author does not disappoint!!  This is another hot romance with plenty of drama and surprises to make for an intriguing plot, and her characters are flawed, authentic, and full of surprises of their own.

I work for a Design-Build firm in Charlotte, and I LOVED the backdrop of commercial renovations in the story: the demo, inspections, county zoning, etc.  I couldn’t help but cheer for Delaney as she fought an uphill battle to keep and transform the family business.  As if building standards and deadlines are not hard enough, she has serious opposition from town leaders who don’t want her to succeed.

Delaney has a one night stand (which is hot enough to melt your e-reader) with Ethan, an acquaintance from high school.   This leads to another obstacle because Ethan is the only building inspector in town.  The conflict of interest would undermine her project, so she and Ethan have to shelve any possibilities of dating.  Ethan has his own crosses to bear: serious family drama, obligations, priorities, and dreams of a different life make him a very complex, and sometimes disappointing, character.  As he struggles with what he feels he HAS to do and what he WANTS to do, you realize they are both victims of the status quo in Wildwood.  The transformations of Delaney’s project and Ethan’s career are very rewarding, and you can’t help but hope they are able to find their way back to each other once the dust settles.  I look forward to the next story in this series!

author

 Joan Author Photo - CopySkye Jordan is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling romantic suspense author Joan Swan. Skye’s novels are about enjoying that little wild streak we don’t let out often enough. About those fantasies we rarely get the opportunity to indulge. About stretching limits, checking out the dark side, and maybe even acting a little naughty. They’re about escape and fun and pleasure and romance. And, yes, even love, because while wicked-great sex is good, happily ever after with wicked-great sex is even better.

When she’s not writing, Skye loves to read, knit, craft, row, ride, and dabble in photography.

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

#MustRead: One by Jewel E. Ann

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Title: One
Author: Jewel E Ann
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: July 28th, 2016

CoverOne copyLake Jones is a cover girl for cutting-edge prosthetic legs, a binge-watcher of Netflix, known to spy on her neighbor through her door’s peephole, and fond of laser games with her hairless cat. She’s also a bit sexually-frustrated.

Until …

God bestows a breath of mercy upon her in the form of Minnesota’s NFL starting quarterback. But this gift is no stranger. Lake met Cage Monaghan three years earlier.

It was one day.
One moment.
One kiss that resurrected her dreams of finding love.

His dimpled smile distracts from his imperfections, which include: a love for country music, fishing, and a feline-hating girlfriend.

When life finally gives them their chance, it’s a humorous and heart-wrenching journey to find their place in the world.

“We would be Cage and Lake. We would be unpredictable. We would be reckless. We would give normality the middle finger.”

***This book is a standalone. However, it is HIGHLY recommended that any readers who have not, but may consider, reading the Jack & Jill Series, do so before reading this book. It contains spoilers to Jack & Jill.

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review1

One is a spin-off of the author’s wildly popular Jack & Jill series, and I HIGHLY recommend you treat yourself to this incredible roller coaster of romance, suspense, humor, and drama.  While you could read One first, it would seriously spoil the epic adventure that unfolds with End of Day (get it FREE!), Middle of Knight, and Dawn of Forever. IT. IS. SO. SO. SO. GOOD.

Lake and Cage are two of the secondary characters whose paths cross in the Jack & Jill series. Their mutual attraction during their brief interaction is perfectly scripted.  It’s the kind of scene you re-read. Often. Their chemistry was so memorable  that readers often asked the author if they ever meet up again… and Jewel E. Ann delivers an immensely satisfying romantic comedy in One.   

Lake and Cage are unlike any characters you have encountered before: she is an amputee/ bionic leg model and he is a humble, thoughtful, kind quarterback.  Both have overcome tremendous loss and adversity with grace, humor, and resiliency.  

They reconnect in a funny scene that involves a rowdy party and a hairless cat. Their romance takes off from there, and it is the type of love story that makes you smile when you read it. It’s full of heart, surprises, and the swoon factor is off the charts. It’s the kind of story that ruins you for other  books.

Actually,  the last books I devoured like this one were the Jack & Jill series… and this is the perfect companion piece to the trilogy. 

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author

Jewel E. Ann: Adult Contemporary Romance Author

www.annajon.es

Jewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor.

With 10 years of flossing lectures under belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business.

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked. Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing.

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree a a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course . . .heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels.

Author Links

Email: author@jeweleann.com
Website: http://www.jeweleann.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorjeweleann

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JewelE_Ann

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Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie

Someone I Used to Know

Someone I Used to Know ~ A Novella

By Tessa Marie

RELEASE DAY BLITZ

7/27/16

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Charlotte was not looking forward to Spring Break. No technology and a boy she can’t stand. But when she realizes the boy is actually a hot guy now, and wants to hang out with her (!) she cant help but think this break may turn into something pretty awesome. But, is he harboring a secret that will challenge their budding relationship?

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review1

This is a great novella about a teenage girl who was dreading a week at a remote lake house but ended up having a time she’d never forget.  During her Spring Break,  Charlotte puts down her favorite book and hangs out with new friends. Life outside her comfort zone leads to an unexpected week of firsts for the bookish good girl: unsupervised parties,  drinking beer, tubing on the lake, swimming in her undies.  She also experiences her first love and all the emotions that come with it: nerves, doubt, hope, and jealousy.  

I enjoyed the storytelling, characters, setting, and plot… it is a fun, light read. 

author

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Tessa Marie aka Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin). (ONCE) AGAIN will release this summer. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

His Scandalous Kiss: Secrets at Thorncliff Manor by Sophie Barnes

“The depth of emotions, the light of the redeeming power of love and the intrigue and suspense make this third installment Barnes’ strongest tale to date.” –RT Book Reviews

Scandalous Kiss

Thorncliff Manor is the perfect setting for a masquerade ball . . . where the heart’s secret desires are about to be uncovered in this scintillating Regency romance from Sophie Barnes

Richard Heartly has exiled himself from society since the war, plotting his revenge for a terrible betrayal. A masked ball at Thorncliff Manor is intended to be a brief diversion. Instead, he encounters a fascinating young woman as entranced by the music as he is. He can’t reveal his identity to Lady Mary. But her siren song keeps drawing him back, and their clandestine meetings could be hazardous to his plan—and to her virtue . . .

Avoiding an unwanted marriage was easy when Lady Mary was ignored by the ton. Thanks to her dazzling appearance at the masquerade, she’s a wallflower no longer. Eligible suitors abound, yet the only man she wants is the brooding, seductive companion who keeps his face hidden. A man who tempts her to disclose her own shocking secret, one that could divide them forever . . .  BUY-LINK:  Avon Romance

excerpt

Forcing back all thought of potentially kissing his way down the side of her neck and over the smooth skin of her shoulder, Richard struggled to gain control. “Perhaps it is the atmosphere,” he suggested. “Masquerades do have a tendency to encourage more carefree behavior.”

“I suppose it must be because of the anonymity. Hidden behind masks, people have the opportunity to do things they would not otherwise dare to consider.”

“Such as?”

She pursed her lips, which made her look adorably cheeky. “A shy gentleman might suddenly feel emboldened, allowing him the courage he needs to ask a lady to dance.”

“I hope you are not suggesting that I might be shy, for I can assure you that I am anything but.” Not entirely true, though he preferred apprehensive.

“And yet I have no clue about your identity. In truth, you could be anyone, perhaps even a groomsman who happened to chance upon some quality clothing.”

“I see your point. But if I were a groomsman, would I be as well-read as you know me to be?” Emboldened by their light repartee, the magical touch that the evening provided, and the reminder that nobody knew who he was, Richard moved his hands to her waist and lifted her right off the ground. He heard her suck in her breath while several onlookers gasped in confounded shock. Heedless of it all, he proceeded to swing Lady Eleanor around while spinning in a wide circle.

“That was far too daring,” she chastised as soon as he set her back on her feet and resumed their previous pace.

“Tell me you did not enjoy every second of it.”

Setting her mouth in a firm line, she looked away from him. “Everyone is watching,” she eventually said, not answering his question. “My aunt does not look the least bit pleased.”

“Then it is fortunate that I care more about your opinion than I do about your aunt’s.”

The corner of her mouth twitched. “You are intolerable. What if you had dropped me?”

“A gentleman never drops a lady.” Twirling her around, he led her between two other couples.

“Perhaps not, but then again, we have not yet established that you are in fact a gentleman. For all I know, you could be a scoundrel.”

“I can assure you that I am no such thing.” Dipping his head, he whispered close to her ear. “In time, you will learn that I value honesty and dependability. That I consider a man’s honor to be paramount to his character. So I would be much obliged if you would refrain from suggesting otherwise, even if you only meant to do so in jest.

Briefly closing her eyes, she gave a little nod. “Forgive me,” she whispered, regret marring her features. “I did not mean to insult you in any way.

“I know.” The music gradually faded and their movements slowed until they came to a gliding halt. Stepping back, Richard offered Lady Eleanor a bow while she curtseyed in return. He didn’t like the tonehe’d just taken with her, but it was too late for that now. “Will you join me for a walk in the garden?” he asked, stiffly offering her his arm. He was suddenly desperate to smooth away the tight expression that he’d caused.

“As lovely as that sounds, I am not so sure that it is going to be possible,” she said, her eyes fixed on a spot directly behind his left shoulder.

Turning, Richard winced as he spotted an older woman bearing down on him with Lady Duncaster in pursuit. “Your aunt, I presume?”

“Yes. With Mama and Papa abroad, I am presently under her protection.” She looked up at him with calmness in her eyes. “No need to worry. She is not as fierce as she looks. Just be polite.”

Squaring his shoulders, Richard stood his groundas Lady Eleanor’s aunt came to a halt before him. She was a slim woman with delicate features, possessing a chin that was sharper than most. Her dark brown hair was streaked with random lines of silver, and in front of her eyes, she held a lorgnette surrounded by a vast array of colorful feathers.

“Signor Antonio,” Lady Duncaster said, coming up alongside her, “May I present my dear friend, Lady Foxworth?”

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Countess.” Reaching for her tiny hand, Richard bowed over it while hoping that his gallantry would win him her favor.

“Thank you,” she said as she peered up at him from behind her lorgnette. “You clearly have me at a disadvantage. Will you please tell me who you are? I should also like to know why you presumed to have the right to dance with my niece in such a scandalous manner.”

Every muscle in Richard’s body grew taught. Was it just his imagination, or was his cravat more restrictive now than it had been earlier? With rigidity, he met Lady Foxworth’s assessing gaze. “I must apologize for allowing myself to get carried away during the dance. It was not my intention to offend anyone. As to my name . . . I am afraid that Signor Antonio will have to suffice.”

Lady Foxworth pressed her lips together in a firm line of disapproval. Beside him, Richard sensed Lady Eleanor’s surprise. Like her aunt, she’d probably expected him to reveal himself when asked to do so.

“Unfortunately that is not good enough,” Lady Foxworth said. “Not when I am responsible for my niece’s reputation.”

“I can vouch for his character,” Lady Duncaster said with a hasty look in Richard’s direction. “Signor Antonio comes from a very respectable family—a family with whom an association would be a coup.”

Raising her chin a notch, Lady Foxworth was silent for a moment and Richard realized that he was holding his breath in anticipation of what she might say next. “I have always trusted your judgment,”

Lady Foxworth eventually told Lady Duncaster, “but I am afraid that my conscience will not allow me to do so in this instance. Unless I am made aware of Signor Antonio’s exact identity, then I am afraid that I cannot allow him to continue socializing with my niece.”

Closing his eyes on the finality of her words, Richard expelled the breath he’d been holding. Silently, he cursed the fear that kept him from living and the hatred that fueled his vendetta. Because in spite of what Lady Eleanor had told him—that she had no desire to marry—the way in which she responded to him suggested that he might be able to change her mind if he was allowed the chance to do so.

“What if he confides in me?” Lady Eleanor asked, cultivating this idea.

Lady Foxworth regarded him shrewdly. “I do not believe that he is prepared to do so. Are you, Signor?”

Heart hammering in his chest, Richard forced himself not to look at Lady Eleanor. He didn’t want to see the hope brimming in her eyes or the disappointment that would take its place when he said what had to be said. “Not yet.”

As soon as the words were out, he felt as though a cavern had been carved into the ground, separating him from the woman who stood by his side. Tonight, for the first time in years, he’d felt a sliver of hope that the happy future he’d always dreamed of might one day be his—if he could only win Lady Eleanor’s affection. Unwilling to give up completely, he said, “Perhaps in time—”

“No,” Lady Foxworth said, her hand slicing the air between them. “You have every right to keep your secrets, Signor, but until I am made aware of what they are and have been reassured that they pose no threat to my niece’s reputation or happiness, then you will stay away from her. Is that clear?”

The ultimatum was not to Richard’s liking even though he understood Lady Foxworth’s reasoning completely. Had he been in her shoes, he would have made the same demand. “Yes.” He spoke the word with difficulty.

Lady Foxworth finally allowed a faint smile. “Thank you. I appreciate your understanding.”

Clenching his jaw, Richard nodded. “If you will excuse me,” he said with a curt bow directed at Lady Foxworth and Lady Duncaster. Turning toward Lady Eleanor, his heart ached at the sight of her pained expression. “It has been a pleasure.”

She gave him a bleak little nod, but said nothing in response. Turning his back on her, Richard walked away without a backward glance, his pace brisk as he strode toward the French doors leading into the house. Rushing through the well-lit hallway, he marched toward the stairs, climbing them quickly in his haste to return to his bedchamber and the darkness that beckoned within.

review1

This was a fun historical romance with a Phantom of the Opera vibe.  There is a lot going on in this book, and most of it has to do with secrets: concealed identities, scandalous occupations, midnight rendezvous, mysterious locations, hidden agendas, and more.  There is also family drama, the London season, matchmaking, forbidden love, revenge, and betrayal.  What I thought would be an easy romantic read had a complex plot and a myriad of characters making the story intriguing and suspenseful.

The settings were vivid and the dialogue was entertaining.  The historical elements,social traditions, and strict etiquette were perfect, and I enjoyed the depiction of life at Thorncliff Manor.  Richard and Mary take the slow path from strangers to friends to sweethearts, but secrets threaten to derail their romance at every turn.  They must tell each other what they have kept hidden from the world for their love to stand a chance.  I would recommend this book to any fan of historical fiction; it is a well written romance that is anything but predictable.

author

sophie barnesBorn in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she’s been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

When she’s not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

PUBLICATION INFORMATION

Title: HIS SCANDALOUS KISS

Author: Sophie Barnes

ISBN: 9780062358929

E-Book ISBN: 9780062358929

Avon Romance

On Sale: 07/26/2016

 

Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway: Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? by Megan Frampton

Megan Frampton blog tour banner

why dukes fall love mm cAbout WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE?

In Megan Frampton’s captivating new Dukes Behaving Badly novel, we learn the answer to the question:

Why do dukes fall in love?

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, has the liberty of enjoying an indiscretion . . . or several. But when it comes time for him to take a proper bride, he ultimately realizes he wants only one woman: Edwina Cheltam. He’d hired her as his secretary, only to quickly discover she was sensuous and intelligent.

They embark on a passionate affair, and when she breaks it off, he accepts her decision as the logical one . . . but only at first. Then he decides to pursue her.

Michael is brilliant, single-minded, and utterly indifferent to being the talk of the ton. It’s even said his only true friend is his dog. Edwina had begged him to marry someone appropriate–—someone aristocratic . . . someone high-born . . . someone else. But the only thing more persuasive than a duke intent on seduction is one who has fallen irrevocably in love.

guestpost

Something I have talked about before is that I can not (as in CAN NOT) write a book without knowing precisely whom the hero looks like. Not just that; the person I have in mind has to be a) relatively in his prime and b) tall and c) is usually an actor, although I have made an exception for British supermodel David Gandy (because duh).

I use the image in my head as an anchor to figure out what the hero might do or say at any given time. I don’t print pictures out or create a Pinterest board or any of that actual visual stuff; as long as I have the guy in my head, I’m good.

Generally, what ends up happening is that the actor’s personality seeps out through my hero as well (or maybe a role the actor played that I particularly enjoyed). So, for example, the hero of Put Up Your Duke was modeled after Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, so a bit of Jaime got included, particularly the effortless charm and incredible good looks.

Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?’s hero was someone I like, but I sometimes feel uncomfortable liking. That’s because some of the roles he’s played—and played well—have been despicable, and also because in real life he seems as though he is not the nicest person in the world.

New Picture

This hero is modeled after German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender, and in particular I kept his portrayal of Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre in mind while I wrote. I know some people find Mr. Rochester—and likely Fassbender as well—overbearing, autocratic, and sometimes sneering, and that attitude was definitely part of my hero Michael (yeah, I named the hero Michael. I have no imagination when it comes to names). I took that attitude and wrote Michael as though he were on the spectrum, keenly intelligent, but not very tolerant of social niceties.

Fassbender’s presence—that commanding stalk of a walk (which sounds funny when you say it aloud—maybe don’t try that), his low, rumbling voice, the way he stares so intently at the person he’s talking to. All of that went into my writing of Michael, and made him come alive in my head, and hopefully on the page.

I am sometimes reluctant to share the image of the hero in my head, since readers will bring their own vision of the hero, and I wouldn’t want to tamper with that (the author can only impose so much of her viewpoint on the book—after it’s been printed, it’s up to readers to figure out what they think about it, and who they see when they read). But it is such a crucial part of my process I think it can be fun to know, too.

Do you see people when you read?

excerpt

Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?

Excerpt from Chapter 1

 

1844

The Quality Employment Agency, London

 

“He left you with nothing?”

Edwina glanced to the side of the room, a tactic she knew full well wouldn’t disguise the moisture in her eyes, especially not from Carolyn, her oldest and dearest friend. They’d met when Edwina’s late husband had wanted to find a respectable, but inexpensive, maidservant, and Carolyn’s agency had found the perfect person. And Edwina had finally found a friend she could actually talk to.

The room was as familiar to her as her own lodgings—and definitely more welcoming. A kettle was heating up water on the small stove, the tea things—the chipped blue cup for Carolyn, the cup with the handle that was always too hot for her—waiting until the water boiled.

Cozy, comfortable, and everything else she was not.

“No.” She spoke plainly, unable and unwilling to disguise the truth of it.

Eight years of marriage to one of the most boring men of her acquaintance, and he didn’t even have the decency to leave her financially comfortable when he died.

“I can help you, you know,” Carolyn said in a soft voice. She got up as the kettle began to whistle and started preparing the tea.

Edwina’s throat tightened. “I won’t take your money.” Fine words for a pauper—they both knew that if the choice came between accepting charity and letting her daughter starve, Edwina would take the money. Gertrude sat on the floor, playing with her dolls. Was she already getting thinner? Edwina’s heart hurt at the thought, and she had to bite the inside of her cheek not to start fretting aloud. That would do nothing but worry her daughter, who wasn’t old enough to understand.

Edwina wasn’t entirely certain she was old enough to understand, either.

“I wasn’t offering to give you any money,” Carolyn replied in a dry tone of voice, glancing over her shoulder as she spoke.

Edwina’s gaze met Carolyn’s.

“Well, what then?” she asked in an unsteady voice.

“Employment,” Carolyn replied, returning to her task.

“Employment?” Edwina echoed, an uneasy feeling settling somewhere in her gut. The gut that was remarkably close to her stomach, which hadn’t eaten today, and had only had some porridge and some hard cheese yesterday.

So the uneasy feeling would have to ease.

“You do know I run an employment agency.” Carolyn gestured to the room they sat in. “Since you have used my services.”

“Yes, back when I could afford them,” Edwina replied in a tone that was both wry and pained.

She took a deep breath, and looked around her. It was undeniably pleasant, if modest. The cozy, comfortable room of the Quality Employment Agency, filled with books, papers, mismatched chairs, and an enormous battered desk, where Carolyn normally sat, welcomed her, made her feel safe in a way her new lodgings did not.

“Yes, but—” and then Edwina felt both foolish and snobby, since the answer was obvious, and yet had not occurred to her because of who she was. Who she had been.

“But what?” Carolyn picked up the teacups, wincing as she felt the heat from the offending handle. She brought them over to where Edwina was seated, placing them on the desk and sitting back down in her usual spot. “You need a job, Edwina. No matter who you are. Even ladies—especially ladies, judging from my experience—need to have enough money to eat and to live. Even if their husbands were so disappointing as to leave them bereft of anything but their good name.”

“And even that was sullied, thanks to George’s entrusting of the accounts to his brother as soon as it seemed the businesses were getting profitable, and worthy of notice,” Edwina remarked in a bitter tone. She kept her tone low, so her daughter couldn’t hear. “I told him I could handle them, that I had gotten them to the state they were in, not to mention I told him how untrustworthy his brother was—and yet he said he’d never ‘let a female deal with important things,’ ” she said in an imitation of her late husband.

“More fool he,” Carolyn remarked. “If he had allowed you to continue to oversee the finances you wouldn’t be in this situation now, would you?”

It was a well-worn discussion, but one that still made Edwina angry. George had been so blind to her attributes he hadn’t seen she was skilled at maths, far better than anyone in his own family, especially his debt-beleaguered younger brother. He had been fine when she oversaw the accounts when they weren’t important—but ironically, as soon as her skill had yielded results, he took them away from her and handed them to a man. Simply because he was a man, and his brother, and not a woman, and his wife.

And now she and little Gertrude were being made to suffer for it. George’s brother hadn’t done more than shrug when Edwina had told him how George had left her. He already had a wife, he said, and he couldn’t afford to take her in, although he had offered a place to his niece.

But Edwina couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from her daughter; she was the only thing keeping Edwina from stepping in front of an oxcart one day. That she and Gertrude might starve to death was not something she wanted to contemplate—what reasonable person would?—even though she had to.

Which brought her back to why she was currently sitting with her closest friend in said closest friend’s employment agency, realizing that perhaps she had to consider employment herself.

“What can I do?” she said at last, hating how pathetic and needy she sounded. Better pathetic and needy than dead, a voice said inside her head.

Carolyn chuckled, taking a sip of her tea. “What can’t you do? You can balance accounts, drive hard bargains with tradesmen, oversee skittish maids, sort out the temperamental discord among upper-class servants, and keep an older husband relatively comfortable in illness. Not to mention you are extremely well-read—there are benefits to having a neglectful husband—and your parents ensured you had all the education you’d need to be an adept wife, whether you married a politician, a solicitor, or even a lord.”

“Or a businessman with lofty pretensions,” Edwina added. “They thought they had taken care of me. I wish they were still here.” She shook her head. “I do not wish to be married again, if that is the employment you are suggesting.” Once was enough, and she would have said never would have been enough if it weren’t for Gertrude. And it is not as though she had any other family to resort to; her parents had both been only children, and she had no relatives that she knew of.

“I am not in a husband acquisition business, Edwina,” Carolyn replied in a mocking tone. “If

I were, don’t you think I could afford a better office?”

They both glanced around at the tidy but shabby room. “Excellent point,” Edwina replied with a grin, picking up the cup with the still-hot handle and taking a welcome sip of tea. “So what do you have in mind?”

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Win 1 of 3 print copies of One-Eyed Dukes are Wild

by Megan Frampton

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author

meganfMegan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her website at http://www.meganframpton.com. She tweets as @meganf, and is at facebook.com/meganframptonbooks.

 

Enlightenment by Liz Keel

BANNER ENLIGHTENMENT LIZ KEEL FQP SV JULY (1)This book blitz is brought to you by YaReads Blog Tours

enlightenmentTitle: Enlightenment
Series: The Driel Trilogy
Author: Liz Keel
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date: 21st April 2016
ISBN: 9780996974875 ( paperback)
9780994664198 ( e-copy)

 

After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice. With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…

 

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author

Liz Keel

I live in Surrey, England, a short walk from the beautiful Windsor Park, with my husband Richard and our two gorgeous children Noah and Olivia. For me, writing is nothing short of an addiction and I often find myself sneaking out to my writing shed for just a few minutes, which can often turn into hours of pure, unadulterated bliss catching up with my characters and continuing their story. In-between writing, I teach in a primary school where there’s never a dull moment! I will also often be found Kindle in hand, reading a wide variety of genres but with YA fantasy and paranormal romance at the forefront of my reading list. Although I’m currently writing the second book in the Driel trilogy, other characters involving all things fantasy, paranormal and YA romance are jockeying for position, wanting me to write their story next, so watch this space! It is such a privilege to share my stories with you the reader. Thank you enough for taking the time to find out more about me. To find out more about Liz, visit her website: www.lizkeelauthor.com

Author’s Links

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Website
Fire Quill Publishing

 

ABOUT Fire Quill Publishing

Fire Quill Publishing is located in sunny South Africa. We strive to only publish and distribute pre-eminent novels to our audience, and work to offer superb marketing services to our authors. Each division is run by a team of experts in their respective fields in order to make your experience in the publishing industry as fun and exciting as possible, whilst still offering the highest quality and professionalism.

Fire Quill Publishing operates internationally, and supports international authors.
Take a look at our titles and new titles coming soon, and for those that like to read before novels are released, you can grab some of our titles before publication on Netgalley

Our aspiration is to market popular genres such as fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction, in South Africa. However, we are most certainly open to other genres as well. Please visit our Submission Guidelines for detailed instructions on how to submit your manuscript to Fire Quill Publishing.

Cover Reveal: Friction by Casey L. Bond

Title: Friction (Frenzy, #4)
Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: YA Paranormal
Cover Designer: Cover Me Darling
Model: Daniel Wells
Cover Photography: Cassy Roop of Pink Ink Designs
Expected Release Date: Early August 2016
Blurb:
A cure has been found for both the Infection and Vampirism, and Porschia Grant must take this news out of the colony. Between her friends volunteering to go with her and a well-planned route, the first journey should be easy. But when they make it to Mountainside, things are strange. The people are frightened of female night-walkers and won’t say why.
When the excursion takes a wrong turn, Porschia’s friends make a decision that will impact the rest of their lives. They expect to save Porschia from the evil contained in The Manor; they don’t expect to have to save her from herself.
When everything goes wrong, who will be left to pick up the pieces and save Ford from a threat no one could have seen coming?
What will happen when they risk everything to save one?
Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links:

Buy Links:
#Free with #KindleUnlimited
Frenzy: http://amzn.to/29P92Jg
Frantic: http://amzn.to/29P9cGp
Frequency: http://amzn.to/29VpTxG