*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Spymaster’s Redeemer (Dreda’s Men), by Alexie Bolton

#historical #romance

Blurb

Two people on opposite sides of a civil war. Frances Dreda is an officer in the Taylian State Security Bureau who enforces obedience to the law by the deterrent of prison and the noose. He investigates the activities of the outspoken and intellectual Lady Felea Whelani who he suspects aids the rebels by codebreaking and feeding and educating their children.

They should be mortal enemies but are intrigued by each other but he mistrusts women and Felea is repulsed by his detachment and his severity. Can love overcome cultural differences and prejudice? Can Felea humanise this officer?

My Review ~ 4 and a half stars

Entertaining and Compulsive 

Alexie Bolton’s The Spymaster’s Redeemer, the author’s first novel, kept me entertained from beginning to end. It is a sweeping historical romance with complex characters and a well developed plot.

The central story is that of the relationship between the two protagonists – the ‘Spymaster’ of the title Frances Dreda, and Lady Felea, the daughter of an academic suspected of supporting enemies of the Emperor of Taylia, a fictional country near the Austria- Hungary border. There is also much emphasis on the politics and power play between different individuals and factions. The push and pull between the couple also highlight the differing expectations put on men and women. I found the result to be a thoroughly compulsive read as the author skilfully weaves these different threads together.

I enjoyed both the sexual tension and the heated exchanges between Dreda and Felea which begin as soon as their paths cross. Dreda is investigating her father’s potential guilt, a crime punishable by death and as his daughter Felea herself is under suspicion. Dreda takes an uncharacteristic personal interest in the case as something about the young woman intrigues him, taking it on himself to establish the extent of her guilt or innocence. As for Felea, she fears for her own fate and that of her father and wants rid of this odious man who is an unwelcome threat to her sanity and wellbeing! I will not divulge how the plot develops, suffice to say that the story is a complex one and is full of unexpected twists with plenty of action, suspense and romance.

Of particular merit is the good job the author does in developing both Dreda’s and Felea’s characters. I found Dreda to be a fascinating individual who attracts and repels at the same time. As the Emperor’s right hand man, he is cold and calculating, a misogynist who uses women for his own ends and a master manipulator. Felea blindsides him not only with her exuberance and apparent innocence but also with her intelligence. I enjoyed how she gets under his skin and challenges his preconceptions. For her part she is an accomplished individual due to the freedoms given to her by her academic father and loathes the thought of being controlled by a man. Although they are opposites in many respects, they are well matched and I enjoyed how their relationship develops given the obstacles in their way, not least their own pride and preconceptions.

It is an impressive first novel by the author and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.facebook.com/The-Spymasters-Redeemer-292324974543422/

 

*ARC REVIEW* ~ A Scarlet Woman (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin, #1) by Lorna Peel

#historicalromance #victorianromance

Book Blurb

Can Isobel leave her past behind and allow Will to show her she is worthy of his love? 

Dublin, Ireland, 1880. Tired of treating rich hypochondriacs, Dr Will Fitzgerald left his father’s medical practice and his home on Merrion Square to live and practice medicine in the Liberties. His parents were appalled and his fiancée broke off their engagement. But when Will spends a night in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding, little does he know that the scarred and disgraced young woman he meets there will alter the course of his life.

Isobel Stevens was schooled to be a lady, but a seduction put an end to all her father’s hopes for her. Disowned, she left Co Galway for Dublin and fell into prostitution. On the advice of a handsome young doctor, she leaves the brothel and enters domestic service. But can Isobel escape her past and adapt to life and the chance of love on Merrion Square? Or will she always be seen as a scarlet woman?

My Review ~ 5 stars

Bewitching Victorian Romance

In Lorna Peel’s latest novel the lives of a fallen woman and an idealistic young doctor become unexpectedly intertwined after they meet in the most inauspicious of settings, a brothel. Their ensuing relationship  challenges both their own future and  society’s mores. It is a heartfelt and bewitching read, which transported me to the past as I became totally immersed in Isobel and Will’s lives. Although at times it brought a tear to my eye, the book also contains some humorous scenes. A predominently sweet romance, it  has some frank sex scenes.

The read explores the double standards between men and women, specifically the hypocrisy when it came to sexual relations. Isobel is regarded as a fallen woman, a woman who by modern sensibilities, had simply been unfortunate to have been seduced and left high and dry by a man. This event has had a huge impact on her life, reducing her to poverty which called for desperate measures. The book also focuses on the differences between the lives of domestic servants and those ‘above stairs’, who view themselves as their betters. I enjoyed how the author explored these themes and also how she delved into the underbelly of Dublin and the sexual preledictions common amongst all classes.

Will is a wonderful hero – principled, caring and non-judgemental. He refuses his father’s offer to work alongside him in his practice, prefering instead to set up on his own in a less salubrious part of the city where his talents are sorely needed. The advice he gives to Isobel- to leave her life of vice, she takes to heart and she applies for a position as a domestic. Imagine the surprise of the couple when their paths once again  cross. Relations between servants and their social superiors are frowned upon however and they begin a touching friendship, gradually revealing themselves to one aonother and becoming ever closer. Their romance is a slow burn but when the couple reveal their feelings for one another there are some scorching scenes.

Isobel is unwilling to commit herself as she has been let down brutally in the pasr and fears that she is not good enough for Will. Will thought he would never love again after his fiancée threw him over, yet once he realises he has fallen for Isobel nothing will stand in his way. I just LOVED how determined he is to make her his. However, he did not bank on Isobels’s reluctance to commit and also how others react to their relationship. Also luck is not on their side as a number of obstacles from their respective pasts get in the way of their HEA! I wanted to tear  my hair out at times! Can Will persuade Isobel that her past doesn’t mater to him and make her his? Can Isobel escape the shame of her past? Can Will’s family accept her as a future wife for Will?

All in all a stellar read, one of my favourite from this author yet.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

*ARC REVIEW* ~ Echo in the Wind (Donet Trilogy #2), by Regan Walker

#historical #romance #georgian

Blurb     

“Walker sweeps you away to a time and place you’ll NEVER want to leave!”  ~ NY Times Bestselling author Danelle Harmon 

England and France 1784

Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.

As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the Comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.

Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious Comte de Saintonge.

Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?

My Review ~ 5 stars

Adventure, Intrigue and Romance

Echo in the Wind, the second book in Regan Walker’s Donet Trilogy, is a beautifully crafted tale, containing adventure, intrigue and a romance between a young English aristocrat and a French noble, unexpectedly brought together by smuggling. The novel, which transports the reader from the south coast of England to London, the English Channel, the Channel Islands, and beyond to France, is a captivating and fast paced read, sure to be a hit with readers of historical romance. I am familiar with Regan Walker’s work and if you want an entertaining and heartfelt read that is strong on historical authenticity, you need look no further!

I loved the character of Lady Joanna West, an independent and  stubborn young lady who balks at the very idea of making a marriage with one of the nobles amongst the English ton. Her commitment to helping the poor on her estate is admirable, even if her methods – engaging in smuggling, are more than a little risky. Joanna’s clandestine activities with the smugglers catches the eye of Jean Donet, the former pirate and privateer who we met in the former book in the series To Tame the Wind (click on the title for the review). Although Jean is now the Comte de Saintonge, after his brother and father were killed in an accident, his real love is the sea and he enjoys the excitement and the challenge of championing free trade through his smuggling activities.

Their romance and the ensuing plot sweeps the reader away with its intensity. Donet falls hard for Joanna, the first woman he has had any feelings before since the death of his wife many years before. At first he struggles with his emotions, afraid to love again, lest he loses that which he holds most dear. Joanna in turn is drawn to the debonair Frenchman, so different to the men of the English aristocracy, yet is often confused by his actions and demeanour towards her.

Could she ever be anything more than a pleasant diversion as he remains devoted to the memory of his beloved first wife? There is also the age difference between the couple. Also how can they possibly have a future when he is firmly rooted in France and she in England?  Moreover will her smuggling activities lead to her downfall? The couple have an emotional journey to make and my heart ached for them. Circumstances draw the couple ever closer and they are put in a position where they are both fighting a losing battle to deny their feelings for one another. As the Revenue and Customs net closes in on Joanna’s illegal activities and danger waits in the wings for Jean in France, both must learn to take a chance on love before their future can be secured.

Regan Walker’s attention to historical detail and her inclusion of real historical figures in the narrative – in this novel we see Pitt, Wilberforce, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette amongst others, adds considerable depth to her novels and puts her amongst the very best of authors within the genre. Although the romance between Joanna and Jean is very much central to the plot, here is also reference to the economic and social issues of the day both within England and France. I like that her characters do not exist in a vacuum and the wider issues and personalities of the day are explored as it makes for a far more satisfying read. The descriptions of life aboard ship and on the waves is also very realistic and it is clear that the author has carried out meticulous research.

Highly recommended to readers of historical romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com

http://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450403.Regan_Walker

 

 

*BLOG TOUR & REVIEW* ~ Jane Grey: A Homage to the Brontë Classics (The Brontë Brothers #1), by Nina Mason (includes excerpt)

#historical #Victorian #romance

Title: Jane Grey

Author: Nina Mason

Genre: Historical Romance

Time period: 1850

Heat Level: Moderate

Here’s the blurb:

Matthew Brontë, a true romantic at heart, believes the only happiness in life is to love and be loved. And yet, he fears he lacks the capacity to love…until he meets Jane Grey. Jane, a humble English governess, seems perfect for Matthew, apart from one significant snag: Jane can only marry a man of means and Matthew must give up his fortune if and when he marries. When faced with the choice between love and money, which will each of them choose?

More about Jane Grey: 

Set in France’s Loire Valley in 1850, Jane Grey tells the story of a frustrated painter and a beleaguered English governess who comes to France to tutor a flirtatious young heiress in the social graces. Jane Grey meets Matthew Brontë when he takes a spill from his horse near where she is walking—the same way Jane Eyre met Mr. Rochester in the book our Jane is reading at the time. Jane finds it uncannier still that Matthew is a cousin to the author of Jane Eyre.

After Jane helps Gabriel home to his chateau, he offers her drawing lessons to repay her kindness. Regrettably, the only way she can accept his gift is to pretend the drawing lessons are for Lady Cecile Brousseau, her spoiled and selfish pupil.

As the weeks pass, Jane and Matthew discover they have much in common, including shared interests in art, poetry, literature, and gardening. They seem perfect for each other, apart from one significant snag: Matthew cannot marry without forfeiting his fortune, and Jane can only marry a man with the means to support her as well as her dependent relations back in England.

Will the strength of Jane and Matthew’s devotion be enough to overcome this seemingly unsolvable dilemma? Or will Jane be forced to choose her duty to her family over her own desires?

Jane Grey is an original work with subtle shadings borrowed from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.

Here’s an excerpt: 

“If you don’t mind my asking, was your relationship with the countess an affectionate one?”

“Hardly.”

Matthew’s candor pleased Jane on more than one level. “So, you didn’t love her?”

After an extended silence, he said, looking pained, “To be truthful, Miss Grey, I’ve never loved any woman—and often doubt myself capable of experiencing that most-coveted of emotions.”

His words crushed her hopes and brought more tears to her eyes. “Surely, you are wrong. For you strike me as a man of great passion.”

“I used to be.” His countenance grew even more sullen. “But now, my heart is like a tree in winter. Barren, leafless, and encrusted with ice.”

“Perhaps it will thaw when you meet the right woman,” she offered hopefully.

He brought his face very close to hers and, for a breathless moment, she thought he meant to kiss her. Instead, he said in a strained voice, “I probably should keep this to myself, but my cold heart has warmed some since making your acquaintance.”

For several hellish-yet-heavenly moments, they sat together in silence. His mouth was so close to hers she could feel his breath warming her lips. As her heart leapt toward him, her body impulsively followed. Their mouths met ever so sweetly. Then, mortified by her forwardness, she jerked back and turned away.

“Forgive me. I shouldn’t have been so presumptuous.”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” he said. “I rather liked the feel of your mouth on mine.”

She liked the feel of his, too—very much indeed—but carrying on like a common hussy would only lead to her ruin. “Perhaps we should return to the house and see if Cécile’s headache is any better.”

“Yes,” he said with audible strain. “Perhaps we should at that.”

He stood and offered her his arm. She took his coat sleeve between her gloved hands and let him lead her farther along the path. After they’d walked several paces, he said, “I don’t believe I’ve yet asked your favorite flower.”

“No, you haven’t.”

He waited a few moments before letting out a small laugh. “Will you not tell me what it is?”

“Very well.” She released a sigh. “I shall tell you. As queer as it may seem, my favorite flower is bleeding heart.”

He laughed, drew to a stop, and freed his arm from her grasp. Turning toward the bed to their right, he bent over the boxwood border and plucked several stems of the flower she’d named. Then, he offered the bouquet to her with a gallant bow. “Please allow me to offer you this humble token of my admiration.”

She accepted the flowers with joy in her heart. It was foolish, perhaps, to experience so much elation in response to so simple an offering, but no man had ever given her anything before. He’d also demonstrated tremendous compassion when she told him about her family—and had admitted to liking the brief intimacy they’d shared.

Might he have some feelings for her? Or was he just being kind? Oh—and what about his secret? She must take care not to let him turn her head, lest she end up brokenhearted when the truth came out.

 Here’s the buy-link:

https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Grey-Bront%C3%AB-Brothers-Book-ebook/dp/B06XGKX571

Note: Jane Grey will be 99 cents until May 21 and thereafter will revert to the regular price of $3.99

My Review

An expertly crafted Victorian Romance ~ 5 stars

I am familiar with reading Nina Mason’s erotic historical and paranormal romances such as her Royal Pains and Knights of the Tarot series of which I am a big fan. Jane Grey, a standalone historical romance is a departure from the erotic genre as the heat level of this work is classed as moderate and the romance between the main couple is a sweet one. Nevertheless the author’s storytelling ability and character development are once again flawless.

The tale expertly evokes the Victorian novels of the time, in particularly those penned by the Brontë’s, namely Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Anne’s Agnes Grey, to which the work, although an original, pays homage: Matthew, the hero, is a cousin of the Brontës and the book references Jane Eyre in particular. The use of language in the book and the descriptions of the Loire Valley where the novel is set transported me to the time period perfectly. Jane Grey reflects the social mores and the moral dilemmas often found within the literature of this period –  Jane, an impoverished governess can only marry a man of sufficient means to support her dependant mother and siblings and Matthew will lose his fortune should he marry. Can love triumph over this seemingly impossible situation? I was invested in the characters from the off and intrigued to find out where the narrative would go.

Matthew and Jane are perfect for each other, sharing many interests, such as art and literature, interests which Matthew, up until now a man who although having no difficulty in attracting the opposite sex, has never found in another woman. Indeed, before finding Jane, the romance his soul craves has eluded this handsome and passionate artist and his muse has mourned its lack. The quiet and studious Jane soon finds herself falling in love with a man of Matthew’s intelligence and depths, even as she doubts that her feelings will be reciprocated due to what she perceives as her own failings.  However, their relationship is blighted at every turn by the selfish antics of Cécile, the jealous and capricious heiress who Jane is tutoring and the wastrel cousin of Matthew’s benefactor who will go to desperate lengths to wrestle Matthews fortune from him. The passion and longing between Matthew and Jane is evident in their every word and glance and I was willing them to break free of their self inflicted and societal bonds as I was anxious for their HEA.

If you enjoy reading historical novels set in Victorian times, which explore the relationships between men and women and the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ within society, coupled with a sweet yet passionate romance, then this book is definitely for you. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Here’s more about the author:

Nina Mason, the author of eleven published books to date, is an incurable romantic who strives to write love stories that entertain and edify. A research fanatic, she goes to great lengths to ensure the locations and time periods in her books are accurately portrayed (and thanks the Powers That Be for the internet). Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason lived in Oregon briefly before moving to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and college-bound daughter. When she isn’t writing, she makes historic dolls, fairy babies, and putters in her garden.

Contact Nina: ninamasonauthor@gmail.com

Visit Nina’s website: http://ninamasonauthor.com

Follow Nina on Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance

Follow Nina on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor

Get Nina’s newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

 

 

~*BLOG TOUR*~ When a Rogue Loves A Woman (Rogues of Redmere book 2), by Samantha Holt (includes EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY)

#regency #historical #romance

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When a Rogue Loves a Woman

Rogues of Redmere book 2

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Notorious rogue, Lord Nathaniel Kingsley always tended to leap without thinking. Becoming a smuggler, adopting a sheep, getting engaged to Miss Patience Grey….

Patience has no need for a fiancé, or a husband. For once in her life, she wants to prove she’s just as good as a man and she does not need Nathaniel Kingsley getting in her way. With her brother injured, it is up to her to continue her family’s work…and that means tracking down a French spy and ensuring said spy will turn.

Unfortunately, no one believes she can do it alone. Which is where Nathaniel comes in.

Nate is happy to be of service. Why pass up the opportunity to repay an old friend, especially with a little intrigue along the way? Find the spy, play escort to Patience, return home to continue smuggling. Easy.

Or at least it would be if the stubborn Patience would let him do his job. The breeches-wearing woman is determined to do it all alone and, he has to admit, there’s something quite distracting about a woman in men’s clothes.

Can he keep his attention from her long enough to complete their mission and persuade Patience to let him do his job and protect her? A job he’s beginning to find he’s enjoying a lot more than he thought he would…

Available from Amazon and all other vendors for 99c for release week.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jQOfOJ

Other vendors: books2read.com/u/4N1lL6

Excerpt

“There would have been many a heartbroken lass had you really been engaged,” Drake said. His grin grew wicked. “I was looking forward to offering my comfort and condolences.”

Nate shook his head and ignored his friend’s jest. Instead he turned his attention to the ale in his hand. It would be his last for a while. He’d need a clear head for what was to come, especially if he was to keep that minx under control. If her own mother could not make her wear a dress, what chance did he have?

Either way, he was looking forward to the challenge. Smuggling was all well and good but they had only gone out once in the past month and all had been quiet. No excitement to be had. He was rather looking forward to the chance to indulge in some espionage and adventure.

Of course, Jacob Grey was aware of their illicit activities. Being a government agent had meant they had helped him before. He was one of the few residents of Penshallow who quite understood who was behind all the smuggling that took place in their small fishing village. Most thought Knight the face of it—the big, brooding, scarred hulk of a man opposite who spoke only when absolutely necessary.

At present, Knight’s attention was on something near the bar. Nate flicked a glance over but could see nothing of interest. Only the usual overly drunk patrons gathered while Louisa, the innkeeper, worked her hardest to keep up with demand.

Other patrons littered the room, gathered around small tables. Some had cards in their hands while all had drinks. The Ship Inn was not the most savory of places but it was out of the way and the food was good. Not to mention Louisa was uncannily good at ensuring the customs men never came near the place. She had saved their skin many times and they repaid her help generously, ensuring she had a good supply of excellent French wine.

“You were a damned fool, signing up for this,” Nate’s brother said, thrusting a finger at him.

“What was I to do? You were off enjoying yourself with Hannah. Far too much it seems.” His brother’s gaze darkened and Nate immediately ceased any idea of talking of Red’s fiancée. Hannah was currently installed in lodgings in the village while they awaited the license for their marriage and to finalize all the details. His brother was, unbelievably, utterly in the love with the woman. It was not such much the woman he had fallen for that surprised Nate but that his brother had the ability to fall so heavily for her. Red had always been too busy to think of love or even marriage.

Drake leaned in. The captain fixed Red with a slight smile on his lips. “Face it, Red. While you were distracted by petticoats, Nate held down the fort. I don’t blame him for offering to help, after all, are we not in this to help the crown?”

“Since when are you so noble?” Red demanded.

“Since I have a pocket full of coin,” Drake said smugly. “Things have been going uncommonly well of late. I don’t see why Nate cannot help Jacob Grey and be back in time for our next outing.”

“Uncommonly well?” Nate’s brother lifted a brow. “After Knight’s illness and the storm that near tore your ship in half, you were complaining of curses. Now you think things are going uncommonly well?”

Knight glowered. The giant of a man sat with his arms folded, a great scowl etched upon his face that in some lights looked as though it could be made of granite. Were it not for being friends with him, Nate would give him a wide berth. The man looked like trouble and, potentially, he was. No one really knew anything about him apart from the fact he was useful muscle and a damned hard worker. Though Nate suspected there was something more under that silent exterior. What that was, however, he was not sure.

“It was not an illness,” Knight protested.

Drake laughed. “You vomited on my boots, Knight. What would you call it?”

Knight fell back into silent mode and glowered some more.

About the Author

Samantha is a full-time author who lives in England with her twins girls and a dachshund called Duke. When not writing, she loves to explore stately homes and castles around the country.

Find Samantha on her website http://www.samanthaholtromance.com 

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*RELEASE BLITZ* ~ Her Savage Scot & Her Vengeful Scot, books1 & 2 of The Highland Warrior Chronicles, by Christina Phillips

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Forged in blood, United by Passion
The Highland Warrior Chronicles

Book 1 – Her Savage Scot

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 Amazon   |   iBooks   |   Kobo   |   B&N

He’s the only man she wants, and the one she can never have…

When tough Scot warrior Connor MacKenzie rides into the barbaric lands of the Picts on a mission for his king, he never expects to be captivated by a beautiful Pictish widow. Drawn under her spell, yet unaware of her true identity, he risks everything for one passionate night in her arms.

Aila, princess of Pictland, swore, after watching her husband die, that she would never marry again. But after meeting Connor, her frozen heart thaws and once again she imagines a future filled with love and passion.

When Connor delivers the message from his king, Aila becomes a pawn in a deadly game of politics. Her heart belongs to Connor, but she must marry the prince of Dal Riada – Connor’s half-brother. But the fates have other plans for the star-crossed lovers as they fight their enemies and themselves to find true love.

Previously published in 2013

Read Chapter One of Her Savage Scot 

Book 2 – Her Vengeful Scot

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 AmazoniBooks  |  Kobo  |  B&N

To avenge his sister’s honor, he must destroy the woman he wants most in the world…

Ordered to remain in Pictland, Cameron MacNeil fights the lust that consumes him whenever he encounters the aloof princess, Elise. Not only is she a cursed Pict, she belongs to the man he has vowed vengeance upon.

Despite her reputation, Elise has no interest in men until she meets Cameron. Lacking the famed Scots charm, his blunt ways enchant her and he ignites a passion she long thought dead. When she is freed from her difficult marriage, Elise places her trust in the tough Scot warrior who has stolen her heart.

Bound by blood oaths, the only way Cam can protect Elise from political schemes is to make her his bride. When Elise discovers the truth, she fears everything she knew about her husband was a lie. All she can do is trust her goddess was right and Cameron is her one true love.

Previously published in 2014

Read Chapter One of Her Vengeful Scot

*REVIEW* ~ The Ice Duchess (Scandalous Regency Widows #2), by Amy Rose Bennett

#historical #romance

Adult Read

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Blurb

Georgiana Dudley, the ‘Ice Duchess’, has just emerged from mourning after a nine-year marriage of convenience to the Duke of Darby, her twin brother’s lover. Deeply hurt by a scoundrel a decade ago, Georgie swore she would never turn her head for any man, let alone another rakehell. But then she encounters the wickedly handsome and all too charming Rafe Landsbury, the Earl of Markham and against her better judgment, her interest is reluctantly aroused. An affair may be impossible to resist but dare she trust Lord Markham with her most intimate secrets… and her heart?

Society believes Rafe to be a diplomat but for many years he has been working on the Continent as a spy for the Crown. Leaving the shadowy world of espionage behind, he returns to London with the intention of finding a wife. When he is paired with the frosty yet fascinating Duchess of Darby at the picquet table during a ton ball, he is intrigued. Do-or-die man that he is, he’s certainly not going to let her cool demeanor dissuade him from pursuing her.

When Rafe’s dark past returns to endanger Georgie, he is determined to protect her at all costs, even if that means hiding who he once was. With the stakes so high, both Georgie and Rafe must decide if love is a risk worth taking…

Author’s Note to Readers: This historical romance has a steamy heat rating. It contains open door love-making scenes and frank language is used.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Passionate, heart felt and compelling

This Historical Regency Romance by Amy Rose Bennett is a compelling read, containing a heart felt romance, oodles of sexual tension, red hot passion and a suspenseful plot. It also contains one of my top male leads in my reads this year in the form of Rafe Landsbury!  It is an erotic read dealing with some dark emotional issues.

Georgiana, a widow is a vulnerable heroine who affects the façade of the ‘Ice Duchess’ to protect herself and her heart. Deeply hurt by traumatic events in her past she avoids relationships with the opposite sex, keeping rakes in particular at arms length. Yet when faced with the mysterious and debonair Rafe Landsbury her fragile mask crumbles under his devilish charm, piercing wit and intelligence.

Once Rafe gets a glimpse of the woman beneath the act his interest is piqued, and despite her protestations he embarks on a mission of seduction which Georgiana finds hard to resist. I not only LOVED how Rafe courts Georgiana (as an alpha male he pushes her boundaries whilst respecting her fears), but also how he seeks retribution against the man who hurt her in the past. Rafe too has his own demons and he struggles to reveal his own secrets until he is compelled to do so by events.

Yet there is a foe at large who seeks revenge on Rafe and who threatens the couple’s growing happiness. As Rafe does all he can to protect Georgiana whilst keeping her in the dark about his past, will their growing affection be enough to counter his lies of omission and the danger she is now in? The read takes some dark twists before it reaches its conclusion.

I absolutely adored the sexual charged banter between the hero and heroine. Rafe is an alpha male who will stop at nothing to claim this woman and protect her from others and even himself. There are some great characterizations in the book, not just the hero and heroine but also Georgina’s brother Jonathan. We also get to meet characters from Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal (click on title for review). The story has a great deal of depth, not just emotionally but also in the ability of the author to immerse the reader in the life of Regency England, the sights, sounds and the social mores of the time.

A top read for fans of Regency Romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for a fair and honest review.

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Click on the title for my review of Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal