Fiction Friday: Book Review- Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie Bowman (Secret Brides #1)

Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides, #1)Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie Bowman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Lily discovers that Devon, the man who broke her heart, is about to be engaged, she writes a pamphlet that is sure to make his spineless fiance call off their engagement. Devon is furious when her plan succeeds and vows to get his revenge by seducing Lily. The problem is that the connection between them hasn’t really diminished over the years and they both clearly still have feelings for each other.
At first the whole revenge plan seemed incredibly stupid to me. It seemed like a really weak plot device. However it is carried off really well in this book which surprised me. I found myself enjoying this book immensely. Devon and Lily have a very clear chemistry which I enjoyed reading about. I also loved the colourful and well-developed supporting characters. This is a series that I am definitely going to follow. This book was compelling and well-written. Fans of romance and historical fiction will definitely enjoy this book and I recommend it whole-heartedly.

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Fiction Friday: Excerpt from “Duke with Benefits”

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It’s here!!! The next book in the “Studies in Scandal” series releases 27 June 2017 and I am so excited to be part of the excerpt blitz. But first, I want to share the synopsis:

 

LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on . . . and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest . . . and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

Duke with Benefits is the second in Manda Collins’ Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England.

Who would think that ordinary blue-stockings would attract so much danger and mystery? Certainly not me. This series is my first experience with historical romance mysteries and I absolutely love these characters! This series is a must for anyone who enjoys historical romance or a good mystery.

Excerpt:

“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now.
“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.”
“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?”
“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?”
His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House.
“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.”
What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived.
At the sound of the duke’s voice, Lord Forsyth turned with almost comical haste from the window and stared. For the barest flicker, he looked angry. Well, if he were upset at the knowledge that his daughter was not without friends, then he would simply have to swallow it. Because Maitland was damned if he’d leave her alone with the fellow.
“Duke,” Lord Forsyth said with a tilt of his head, “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I was a friend of your father’s, and had little notion I’d be meeting you here. He was a good man, your father.”
His father had been nothing of the sort, but Maitland was hardly going to discuss it with Forsyth.
“I am here visiting my sister, Lady Serena,” Maitland said coolly, letting the other man know in tone rather than words that he had not appreciated the older man’s speculative words about her earlier. “And of course my cousin, Kerr. He only recently married another of the heiresses here, and resides here with her.”
Forsyth’s eyes narrowed at the implication that Daphne was well protected should her father wish to cause trouble. At least that was the message Maitland was endeavoring to send. And by the looks of it, Forsyth read him loud and clear.
“Capital, capital,” the earl said with false cheer. “A merry party you must all make here. I had no idea you were in such fine company here, Daphne. No notion at all.”
“Because we have not spoken since I left,” Daphne said, looking from her father to Maitland then back again, as if wondering what went on between them. “And now, father, I really must ask you to leave. I have a great deal of work to do and . . .”
“Don’t be absurd, Daphne,” her father said with a shake of his head. “I only just arrived. And there is something very important I must speak to you about.” He turned to Maitland with a raised brow. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us, Duke. I’m afraid what I need to tell my daughter is private family business.”
Maitland was opening his mouth to tell the man he would leave Daphne alone with him when hell froze over, when Daphne did it for him.
“Maitland stays,” she said, reaching out to grasp him by the arm. It was as much of a cry for help as he’d ever thought he’d see from her. Wordlessly, he slipped her arm into his, as if they were about to promenade round the room. He covered her hand with his, keenly aware of the thread of tension in her.
Once more, the earl’s eyes narrowed, and he turned an assessing gaze on Maitland, perhaps realizing for the first time the threat coming at him from that direction.
His jaw clenched, Forsyth said grimly, “Very well. If you wish your friend to witness our dirty linen, so be it.” As if needing to be in motion in order to speak, the earl began to pace the area between the window and the fireplace. “You know, Daphne, you left me without any obvious means of recouping what I lost from years of paying that tutor of yours, old man Sommersby.”
“You agreed to pay him,” Daphne said tightly. “After I threatened to expose . . .”
Hastily, Forsyth continued, “And I am currently in need of funds. As such, I must insist you return to London with me for the time being and meet a particular gentleman who has expressed interest in marrying you. Though his birth is not as high as yours, he’s quite wealthy and will make you a good husband, I trust. He’s assured me he has no concern about your odd ways, if you’re as beautiful as your portrait.”
Before Maitland could burst out with the string of invectives the other man’s pronouncement inspired in him, Daphne said, “I cannot marry this person. I’ve never even met him. You promised me that I would not have to marry someone for money as long as I won enough at the tables. I did so. You promised me, father.”
“I never actually promised, Daphne.” Forsyth said with a shake of his head. “If you chose to interpret it as such, that is not my fault. Now, go pack your things.”
Daphne’s hand on Maitland’s arm gripped him tightly. And before he even knew what he was doing, he said, “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Forsyth. Daphne is staying here.”
“I don’t know who you think you are, Maitland,” said the earl through clenched teeth, “but I am her father, and I am well within my rights to take her back to London. Now, kindly take your hands off of her and let her go pack.”
“It might once have been your right, Forsyth,” Maitland said coldly, “but Lady Daphne is my betrothed now and as such, she will remain here. With me.”

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- I Dared the Duke by Anna Bennett (The Wayward Wallflowers #2)

I Dared the Duke (The Wayward Wallflowers, #2)I Dared the Duke by Anna Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Duke of Blackshire arrives home determined to move his grandmother to the country in an attempt to protect her. Someone is trying to kill the Duke and he doesn’t want his beloved grandmother to be collateral damage. However Alex encounters an obstacle in his grandmother’s companion, Beth. Beth sees Alex as uncaring to his grandmother and refuses to leave. So they strike a compromise that will please Alex, Beth and the dowager duchess.
This was a really intriguing read with a surprising end. This was a well-written book that I really enjoyed. The character of Alex was absolutely terrifying but I fell in love with him by the end of the book. Something that really stood out to me was the ending. As much as I love historical romance novels, I usually skip the end scenes since they’re sickening, boring declarations of love. That wasn’t the case here and I really enjoyed that.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

The Duke (Victorian Rebels, #4)The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cole and Ginny spend a night together when he pays for her “services”. Years pass and the two of them are unable to forget each other.
However Cole remembers Ginny as a dark-haired lady of the night and not as Imogen, the blonde nurse who helped to save his life. As time goes on, Imogen ends up living in the house next to Cole and Cole sees her as nothing more than a gold-digger.
But a secret from Imogen’s life as Ginny is about to tear her new life apart and Cole may be the only person who can help her.
There isn’t much romance in this book but it was natural which I enjoyed. The focus of this book is on Cole’s past and Imogen’s past as well as how it affects their lives now.
I loved the supporting characters from other books in this series and can’t wait to read the precious books.
This was a fun read with entertaining characters that I enjoyed immensely.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman (Playful Brides #6)

The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides, #6)The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I binge-read the first three books in this series earlier on this year and really enjoyed myself. However I still struggle to identify the characters as there as so many (maybe it’s time for a brush-up of the series?) At first I had no idea who Christian Berkeley was. Eventually his title sounded familiar but I still couldn’t remember him from previous books. This annoyed me to no end but I tried not to let it spoil the book for me.
Christian Berkeley is a viscount who stutters and is uncomfortable in social situations. When he comes across Sarah Highgate, a runaway who was once the belle of the season they strike a deal- Christian will help her return to London with no harm to her reputation while Sarah needs to help Christian become the catch of the season.
I enjoyed seeing characters from previous books especially Jane Upton and Daphne Swift. This book was excellently written and such a pleasure to read. The Playful Brides series usually seems too long to me but this wasn’t a problem with this book. I couldn’t read fast enough or put the book down. This is a book that fans of historical romance will definitely enjoy.

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Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Pleasure of The Rose by Jane Bonander (The MacNeil Legacy #1)

The Pleasure of the Rose: The MacNeil Legacy - Book OneThe Pleasure of the Rose: The MacNeil Legacy – Book One by Jane Bonander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve never read any of Bonander’s books before but I really enjoyed this one. Roz is instantly attracted to Fletcher when he arrives to reclaim his home and title as Duke. She reluctantly enters into a marriage of convenience with him so that they can both keep the property. As time goes on Roz begins to develop feelings for Fletcher but they both hide secrets in their past. I loved Fletcher’s character and found the chemistry between him and Roz tangible. This book was incredibly well-written and impossible to put down. I enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more of Bonander’s work.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

I love Lisa Kleypas’ work especially her historical romance. The Ravenels series reminds me of the Hathaways so I can’t wait to read the next book. I just know it’s going to be a gem. Her writing is flawless and her characters are always so real.

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Release Date: 31 May 2016

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
A ruthless tycoon
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable…the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…

Marrying Mr. Winterborne