ARC Review – Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Hell’s Belles

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Publisher: Avon

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean follows her highly acclaimed Bombshell with Heartbreaker, featuring a fierce, fearless heroine on a mission to steal a duke’s secrets…and his heart.

A Princess of Thieves

Raised among London’s most notorious criminals, a twist of fate landed Adelaide Frampton in the bright ballrooms of Mayfair, where she masquerades as a quiet wallflower—so plain and unassuming that no one realizes she’s the Matchbreaker…using her superior skills as a thief to help brides avoid the altar.

A King of Reputation

Henry, Duke of Clayborn, has spent a lifetime living in perfection. He has no time for the salacious gossip that arises every time the Matchbreaker ends another groom. His own reputation is impeccable—and the last thing he needs is a frustrating, fascinating woman discovering the truth of his past, or the secrets he holds close.

A Royal Match

When the two find themselves on a breakneck journey across Britain to stop a wedding, it’s impossible for Clayborn to resist this woman who both frustrates and fascinates him. But late-night carriage rides make for delicious danger…and soon Adelaide is uncovering Clayborn’s truths, throwing his well-laid plans into chaos…and threatening to steal his heavily guarded heart.


REVIEW

Adelaide Frampton didn’t have an easy childhood. Growing up as the daughter of a prominent gang leader – she made her escape and hasn’t looked back. Now a part of the Hell’s Belles, Adelaide is also known as the Matchbreaker – the one that London society comes to when the bride wants to avoid the alter.

Henry, Duke Clayborn is hiding a secret. Turns out secrets are worth quite a bit and none other than the Matchbreaker is in possession of his secret. Worse still is that she has some information not only on Henry, but also his brother. Henry will go to any length to protect his family. When Henry finds that his brother has eloped with a woman who Adelaide is trying to stop at the alter – they are in a race to see who will get there first. Henry knows that his brother loves his betrothed and Adelaide wants only whats best for young misses who might be pushed into marriage against their will. In this race across Britain – who will end up winning and at what cost?

Oh, how I loved Adelaide and Duke Clayborn in Heartbreaker. These two had so much sizzling chemistry and the banter was – chef’s kiss! I seriously had a silly grin on my face anytime these two were on the same page. I don’t know how Sarah MacLean manages to make me laugh in what should be a serious situation but she totally does it.

Duke Clayborn might very well be my favorite hero that Sarah MacLean has written and that says something because there are quite a few of her heroes that are favorites. He was the perfect hero to pair with badass Adelaide.

I am seriously falling in love with the Hell’s Belles. These women are so strong and don’t take anyone’s BS and I LOVE that. I loved the first book in the series – Bombshell, but Heartbreaker was even better somehow! I can’t wait to read more of the Belles!

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ARC Review – The Bride Goes Rogue

The Bride Goes Rogue by Joanna Shupe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Fifth Avenue Rebels #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: May 24, 2022

Publisher: Avon

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

By beloved USA Today bestselling author Joanna Shupe, the third installment in the Fifth Avenue Rebels series about an arranged engagement destined for disaster.

A hard-hearted tycoon.

A romantic dreamer.

An engagement set up to fail.

The charismatic and vivacious Katherine Delafield should be married by now. Her father arranged an engagement to the much sought-after tycoon Preston Clarke ages ago. The only problem is Preston refuses to acknowledge it. But this isn’t going to stop Katherine from living life to the fullest as she ditches all silly notions of love and marriage and sets out to sample all the excitement New York City has to offer . . . the more scandalous the better. Because no matter what happens, she and Preston will never marry.

After a tormented childhood, Preston is done letting his father control his life–including choosing his bride. But when a mysterious lover at a masquerade turns out to be his would-be fianc�e, Preston’s resolve begins to crumble. He hadn’t expected Katherine to be so charming. Or beautiful. Or passionate. And seeing her out on the town with other men is driving him crazy.

What happens when the wrong bride turns out to be the right woman after all?


REVIEW

Katherine Delafield has been waiting a full year for her betrothed to propose marriage to her. Only problem – Preston Clarke has no intention of ever marrying a Delafield. Preston and Katherine’s fathers may have been good friends once – even going so far as proposing a marriage for their children – but Preston will have none of it.

Katherine is done waiting. Waiting for a proposal, waiting living in the shadows, waiting to live her life. She’s ready to conquer and go rogue. When Katherine agrees to go to a masquerade ball with her friend, she never imagines that the person she ends up spending the evening intimately with would be Preston.

Soon these two end up spending more and more time together. Do they still hate each other as fiercely as they once did or have their walls come crumbling down. Does Preston still hate Katherine because she’s a Delafield, or are they ready to move past that?

The Bride Goes Rogue was swoony, angsty and so sexy. Joanna Shupe has such a way with words and once I started reading The Bride Goes Rogue, I had a hard time putting it down. Katherine and Clarke’s relationship wasn’t always easy. These characters were never black and white – and the scenarios they found themselves in had my heart breaking on their behalf on more than one occasion.

If you’re looking for a sexy, angsty and swoony historical romance I highly recommend The Bride Goes Rogue.

Spotlight & Excerpt of The League of Gentlewomen Witches

The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton

Genre: Historical/Fantasy Romance

Series: Dangerous Damsels Series #2

Release Date: March 15, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

I adored the first book by India Holton – The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels and am looking forward to reading The League of Gentlewomen Witches.

When a pirate and a witch must team up to retrieve an important talisman – an unlikely alliance forms. Charlotte, a witch, despises the Wisteria Society and one day aspires to be future leader of the League. Alex, a pirate, has vowed to never work let a witch get close again. Can these two work together to retrieve the talisman without their feelings getting tangled?


SYNOPSIS

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the teahouse…

Miss Charlotte Pettifer belongs to a secret league of women skilled in the subtle arts. That is to say—although it must never be said—witchcraft. The League of Gentlewomen Witches strives to improve the world in small ways. Using magic, they tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper, entirely unlike those reprobates in the Wisteria Society.

When the long lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it is up to Charlotte, as the future leader of the League, to make sure the powerful talisman does not fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is most unfortunate when she crosses paths with Alex O’Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy. With all the world scrambling after the amulet, Alex and Charlotte join forces to steal it together. If only they could keep their pickpocketing hands to themselves! If Alex’s not careful, he might just steal something else—such as Charlotte’s heart.


EXCERPT

THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEWOMEN WITCHES by India Holton

Berkley Trade Paperback Original | On sale March 15, 2022

Excerpt

A policeman’s whistle pierced the clamor of the crowd, and Charlotte winced. Pain from the noise ricocheted along her nerves. If only she could leave London with all its cacophony and retire to Hampshire, birthplace of Jane Austen, where green peace whispered wild yet gentle poetry to one’s heart. It was never to be-duty forced her presence in London, noble duty (and the fact there was not much of value to steal in the countryside)-yet still she dreamed. And occasionally took brief jaunts by train because, truly, there was nothing like leaving home for real comfort.

Thus imagining oak trees and country lanes while behind her the brawl intensified, Charlotte made her way without further impediment toward Almack’s. Its door stood open, a delivery boy’s bicycle leaning on the wall beside it, and the warm interior shadows promised respite from London’s inconveniences-as well as a back door through which she could slip unnoticed by policemen, pumpkin carters, and aggravated briefcase owners. She was almost there when she saw the child.

A mere scrap of humanity, he huddled within torn and filthy clothes, his small hand extended pathetically. Charlotte looked at him and then at Almack’s door. She came to a decisive stop.

“Hello,” she said in the stiff tones of someone unused to conversing with children. “Are you hungry?”

The urchin nodded. Charlotte offered him her wrapped sandwiches but he hesitated, his eyes growing wide and fearful as he glanced over her shoulder. Suddenly, he snatched the food and ran.

Charlotte watched him go. Two cucumber sandwiches would not sustain a boy for long, but no doubt he could sell the linen napkin to good effect. She almost smiled at the thought. Then she drew herself up to her fullest height, lifted her chin, and turned to look at the gentleman now looming over her.

“Good afternoon,” she said, tightening her grip on his briefcase.

In reply, he caught her arm lest she follow the example of the urchin. His expression tumbled through surprise and uncertainty before landing on the hard ground of displeasure; his dark blue eyes smoldered. For the first time, Charlotte noticed he wore high leather boots, strapped and buckled, scarred from interesting use-boots to make a woman’s heart tremble, either in trepidation or delight, depending on her education. A silver hook hung from his left ear; a ruby ring encircled one thumb, and what she had taken for a beard was mere unshaven stubble. Altogether it led to a conclusion Charlotte was appalled not to have reached earlier.

“Pirate,” she said in disgust.

“Thief,” he retorted. “Give me back my briefcase.”

How rude! Not even the suggestion of a please! But what else could one expect from a barbarian who probably flew around in some brick cottage thinking himself a great man just because he could get it up? Pirates really were the lowest of the low, even if-or possibly because-they could go higher than everyone else in their magic-raised battlehouses. Such an unsubtle use of enchantment was a crime against civilization, even before one counted in the piracy. Charlotte allowed her irritation to show, although frowning on the street was dreadfully unladylike.

“Possession is nine-tenths of the law, sir. Kindly unhand me and I will not summon a police officer to charge you with molestation.”

He surprised her by laughing. “I see you are a wit as well as a thief. And an unlikely philanthropist too. If you hadn’t stopped for the boy, you might have gotten away.”

“I still shall.”

“I don’t think so. You may be clever, but I could have you on the ground in an instant.”

“You could,” Charlotte agreed placidly. “However, you may like to note that my shoe is pressed against your foot. If I am so inclined, I can release a poisoned dart from its heel which will penetrate boot and skin to paralyze you within moments.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Ingenious. So you too are a pirate, I take it?”

Charlotte gasped, trying to tug her arm from his grip. “I most certainly am not, sir, and I demand an apology for the insult!”

He shrugged.

Charlotte waited, but apparently that was the extent of his reply. She drew a tight breath, determined to remain calm. What would Jane Austen’s fiercest heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, do in this situation?

“I consider myself a reasonable woman,” she said. “I take pride in not being prejudiced. Although your behavior is disgraceful, and I shall surely have bruises on my arm, I do appreciate this has been a difficult afternoon for you. Therefore, I give you permission to withdraw.”

“How kind,” he said wryly, although he did ease his grip on her arm. “I am going nowhere, however, without my briefcase.”

ARC Review – A Perfect Equation

A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Secret Scientists of London Series #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: February 15, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

How do you solve the Perfect Equation? Add one sharp-tongued mathematician to an aloof, handsome nobleman. Divide by conflicting loyalties and multiply by a daring group of women hell-bent on conducting their scientific experiments. The solution is a romance that will break every rule.

Six years ago, Miss Letitia Fenley made a mistake, and she’s lived with the consequences ever since. Readying herself to compete for the prestigious Rosewood Prize for Mathematics, she is suddenly asked to take on another responsibility—managing Athena’s Retreat, a secret haven for England’s women scientists. Having spent the last six years on her own, Letty doesn’t want the offers of friendship from other club members and certainly doesn’t need any help from the insufferably attractive Lord Greycliff.

Lord William Hughes, the Viscount Greycliff cannot afford to make any mistakes. His lifelong dream of becoming the director of a powerful clandestine agency is within his grasp. Tasked with helping Letty safeguard Athena’s Retreat, Grey is positive that he can control the antics of the various scientists as well as manage the tiny mathematician—despite their historic animosity and simmering tension.

As Grey and Letty are forced to work together, their mutual dislike turns to admiration and eventually to something… magnetic. When faced with the possibility that Athena’s Retreat will close forever, they must make a choice. Will Grey turn down a chance to change history, or can Letty get to the root of the problem and prove that love is the ultimate answer?


REVIEW

Letty Fenley is the most at home at Athena’s Retreat, where women scientists such as herself are free to complete their experiments without any outside interference. When Letty’s best friend and owner of Athena’s Retreat, Violet asks Letty to manage Athena’s Retreat, Letty reluctantly agrees. What she doesn’t count on is having to manage the retreat alongside Viscount Greycliff. Letty and Grey have had a rocky past and Letty wants nothing to do with him and the feeling is mutual. How will these two keep the retreat open when they can barely be civil with one another?

Oh, how I adored Letty and Grey in A Perfect Equation. These two had so much chemistry. I loved their banter and immediately needed to know what history they shared that made them dislike each other so much. And while I loved their enemies-to-lovers slow progression, I also loved how fierce and protective they were of one another (swoon).

I loved delving into both Grey and Letty’s past. These two individuals had been through so much and both of them had such a hard time letting their guard down. There were so many times when I just wanted to scream at them, but at the same time I knew exactly where they were coming from.

A Perfect Equation had the perfect amount of humor, romance, angst and suspense! I was hooked from the beginning and loved the storytelling. I can’t wait for the next book in The Secret Scientists of London Series. Overall I would give A Perfect Equation 4.5 stars!

ARC Review The Lady Gets Lucky

The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Fifth Avenue Rebels #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: October 26, 2021

Publisher: Avon


SYNOPSIS

Following The Heiress Hunt, beloved author Joanna Shupe continues her new Fifth Avenue Rebels series with a scandalous romance about a good girl desperate to rebel and the rebel desperate to corrupt her.

A first-rate scoundrel.

A desperate wallflower.

Lessons in seduction.

The woman no one notices . . .

Shy heiress Alice Lusk is tired of being overlooked by every bachelor. Something has to change, else she’ll be forced to marry a man whose only desire is her fortune. She needs to become a siren, a woman who causes a man’s blood to run hot . . .and she’s just met the perfect rogue to help teach her.

He’s the life of every party . . .

Christopher “Kit” Ward plans to open a not-so-reputable supper club in New York City, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to hire the best chef in the city to guarantee its success. Even if it requires giving carnal lessons to a serious-minded spinster who has an in with the chef.

Their bedroom instruction grows passionate, and Alice is a much better pupil than Kit had ever anticipated. When the Society gentlemen start to take notice, Kit has to try to win Alice in other ways . . . but is he too late to win her heart? 


REVIEW

Heiress Alice Lusk needs a teacher. Specifically someone to teach her the art of seduction. Her mother thinks that Alice will have no problem finding a suitor – especially with her large dowry. But Alice wants to marry for love. So she finds the one person who she thinks would be perfect in helping her become a vixen – Kit Ward.

Christopher “Kit” Ward is a known scoundrel. He likes to keep his relationships on the surface and is definitely not the settling down sort. So when Alice comes knocking at his door with a proposal to teach her how to seduce a man… he’s at a loss for words. But Alice and Kit just happen to be at the same place at the same time – a house party thrown by Kit’s friend Maddie. And Maddie has forbidden Kit to seduce any of the young women at the soiree.

But when Alice has a proposal for Kit – he has a hard time turning her down. She will help Kit with written recipes for the opening of his supper club and he will help her with her lessons. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh how I loved The Lady Gets Lucky. Kit and Alice had so much chemistry together and I loved every single scene where they were together. Their interactions always left a grin on my face. But with the sweet and funny was also the perfect amount of angst. I wanted these two to end up together right from the beginning of the book.

I will admit, I wasn’t a fan of The Heiress Hunt, but absolutely loved the second book in the The Fifth Avenue Rebels series. I can’t wait to find out who is getting their story next!

CW: parental verbal abuse, alcoholism, death of a friend by alcoholism

ARC Review Portrait of a Scotsman

Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: September 7, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

Going toe-to-toe with a brooding Scotsman is rather bold for a respectable suffragist, but when he happens to be one’s unexpected husband, what else is an unwilling bride to do?

London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted “just” three things in life:

1. Acclaim as an artist.
2. A noble cause.
3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman.

Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain’s peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she’s stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions….

When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old revenge, he has no room for his new wife’s apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her.

But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything—as long as she is prepared to lose her heart.


REVIEW

Hattie Greenfield is looking for the perfect husband. He has to be sweet, kind – love reading books and going on romantic trips. She wants a love match and to a man who she chooses. Except that Hattie finds herself tangled with Lucian Blackstone. Blackstone is a bit dark and dangerous and rumor has it he is capable of ruining men financially if he so chooses. Hattie doesn’t want anything to do with him, but her father has other plans and so she finds herself married to the broody Scot. Will their marriage be just a farce, a means to an end or will they end up falling in love and making it a true love marriage?

I have to start of by saying that I love the marriage of convenience trope. Hattie and Lucian have so much chemistry together and I loved every scene that they had together. And although their marriage started off rocky and not on the right foot, I was rooting for them to fall in love the entire time.

Portrait of a Scotsman was such a romantic book, I was often swooning at these two beautiful characters who had so much love to give but often stopped themselves for fear of being hurt. Lucian and Hattie had a lot of obstacles to overcome, including their socioeconomic upbringings. Where Lucian was poor growing up, Hattie was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Evie Dunmore did a wonderful job showcasing the differences between both characters. And I often found myself agreeing with both sides of the story.

I also really enjoyed the various secondary characters in the story. Not only Hattie’s friends who we have seen in pervious books, but also the coal miners and their families while Hattie and Lucian were in Scotland. I could totally see and feel the various experiences/scenes while reading the book.

I will say that the book did start off a little slow for me, but picked up the pace after the first quarter or so. The slow burn between Lucian and Hattie definitely paid off.

If you’re looking for a romantic, but equally feminist book – grab a copy of Portrait of a Scotsman.

Overall I would give Portrait of a Scotsman 4.5 stars, but rounding up because I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely romantic book.

ARC Review The Lady Gets Lucky

The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Fifth Avenue Rebels #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: October 26, 2021

Publisher: Avon

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

USA Today Bestselling Author

Following the book called “an alluring blend of love and playfulness” (PWThe Heiress Hunt, beloved author Joanna Shupe continues her new Fifth Avenue Rebels series with a scandalous romance about a good girl desperate to rebel and the rebel desperate to corrupt her.

A first-rate scoundrel.

A desperate wallflower.

Lessons in seduction.

The woman no one notices . . .

Shy heiress Alice Lusk is tired of being overlooked by every bachelor. Something has to change, else she’ll be forced to marry a man whose only desire is her fortune. She needs to become a siren, a woman who causes a man’s blood to run hot . . .and she’s just met the perfect rogue to help teach her.

He’s the life of every party . . .

Christopher “Kit” Ward plans to open a not-so-reputable supper club in New York City, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to hire the best chef in the city to guarantee its success. Even if it requires giving carnal lessons to a serious-minded spinster who has an in with the chef.

Their bedroom instruction grows passionate, and Alice is a much better pupil than Kit had ever anticipated. When the Society gentlemen start to take notice, Kit has to try to win Alice in other ways . . . but is he too late to win her heart? 


REVIEW

Heiress Alice Lusk needs a teacher. Specifically someone to teach her the art of seduction. Her mother thinks that Alice will have no problem finding a suitor – especially with her large dowry. But Alice wants to marry for love. So she finds the one person who she thinks would be perfect in helping her become a vixen – Kit Ward.

Christopher “Kit” Ward is a known scoundrel. He likes to keep his relationships on the surface and is definitely not the settling down sort. So when Alice comes knocking at his door with a proposal to teach her how to seduce a man… he’s at a loss for words. But Alice and Kit just happen to be at the same place at the same time – a house party thrown by Kit’s friend Maddie. And Maddie has forbidden Kit to seduce any of the young women at the soiree.

But when Alice has a proposal for Kit – he has a hard time turning her down. She will help Kit with written recipes for the opening of his supper club and he will help her with her lessons. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh how I loved The Lady Gets Lucky. Kit and Alice had so much chemistry together and I loved every single scene where they were together. Their interactions always left a grin on my face. But with the sweet and funny was also the perfect amount of angst. I wanted these two to end up together right from the beginning of the book.

I will admit, I wasn’t a fan of The Heiress Hunt, but absolutely loved the second book in the The Fifth Avenue Rebels series. I can’t wait to find out who is getting their story next!

CW: parental verbal abuse, alcoholism, death of a friend by alcoholism

August Reads

August was a really good reading month! Somehow I managed to read 11 books – which is the most I have read in a month this year. I think it was a combination of reading really good books, audiobooks and my kids being back in school that allowed me to read so much. Standouts from this month included Hook, Line, and Sinker from Tessa Bailey (which doesn’t release until next spring), Electric Idol by Katee Robert, Lease on Love by Falon Ballard (another spring release) and The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe which releases next month!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey (ARC)

The Lady Gets Lucky by Joanna Shupe (ARC)

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (reread via audiobook)

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas (reread via audiobook)

Electric Idol by Katee Robert (ARC)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross (ARC)

Lease on Love by Falon Ballard (ARC)

A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria (ARC)

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (ARC)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory (ARC)

Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas (ARC)

Spotlight & Excerpt of Along Came a Lady

Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: All the Duke’s Sins #1

Release Date: August 24, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

Lady Edwina is hired to teach Rafe – the illegitimate son of a Duke – how to interact in polite society. In this opposites attract romance, Rafe is not interested in joining the Gentry and Edwina will do whatever it get Rafe there! The longer Edwina and Rafe are in each others company, the more their attraction grows. Will Edwina be able to get the job done as their mutual attraction grows? Find out in this new series from Christi Caldwell.


SYNOPSIS

The brooding, illegitimate son of a duke meets his match in the determined woman hired to transform him into a gentleman from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell—perfect for fans of Bridgerton.

Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne’er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who’ve been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke’s man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.

Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She’s quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child’s play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.

As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard.


EXCERPT

“Are you going to drink it or cradle it?” he asked, changing the subject. Rafe lifted his tankard, clarifying his question.

Edwina raised the steel cup to her lips and inhaled. Her pert nose wrinkled, and her face pulled in a grimace, and with that, Rafe managed another smile since he’d caught sight of his brother in all his happiness. “It smells horrid.”

Holding his tankard out, he clanged the ring against hers in a mock toast; challenging her. 

He thought for a moment she intended to reject that challenge, he should have known better. 

Taking in a deep breath, Edwina raised a glass, tipped it back, and chugged. 

Deeply. 

The long, graceful column of her neck moved rhythmically and quickly as she downed the contents of her drink. 

“Whoa, you are not supposed to consume it quite so quickly,” he instructed, hastily reaching across the table, and resting a hand on the fingers cradling her mug.

Edwina set it down with a little splat, and then ever so gingerly, dabbed at the corners of her mouth. “That is…rather horrid stuff,” her shoulders and chest lifted as she hiccoughed, and he grinned. 

Mr. Ward immediately reappeared and eyed Edwina’s empty tankard approvingly. “I knew I was right about this girl,” he said proudly. “Knows her spirits, she does.”

From over the top of the innkeeper’s hand, as he poured, Edwina caught Rafe’s eye. 

“Do not say anything,” she silently mouthed, perfectly annunciating each syllable.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Rafe followed that assurance with a wink.

“What is that, Mr. Audley?”

“I was just saying to the lady I couldn’t dream of a more splendid ale,” he expertly substituted, and the already tall innkeeper grew several inches under that praise. Bustling off, Mr. Ward went to refill the tankards of the table of nearby patrons.

“You’re not horrified.”

Her tankard still in her hands, Edwina dropped her elbows on the table and leaned across the small, cylindrical surface. “That was your intention and plan.”

Rafe’s cheeks went warm. 

Edwina’s eyes rounded. “Why…why…you are blushing, Mr. Audley.”

“That is p-preposterous,” he sputtered. “I would never do anything like… Like…”

“Blush?” she winged up an eyebrow and edged forward another fraction so that their elbows touched. “You needn’t worry,” she whispered. “Your secret is safe with me. The men and women who work for you will never learn about your blushing.”

And that brief good humor, ended with that reminder; the reminder of his brother’s new role. And their father’s determination to control Rafe’s life.

From ALONG CAME A LADY published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christi Caldwell.

ARC Review The Devil and the Heiress

The Devil and the Heiress by Harper St. George

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Gilded Age Heiresses #2

Heat Level: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: June 29, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


SYNOPSIS

Sparks fly when a runaway heiress bargains with a devilish rogue to escape a marriage of convenience.

No one would guess that beneath Violet Crenshaw’s ladylike demeanor lies the heart of a rebel. American heiresses looking to secure English lords must be on their best behavior, but Violet has other plans. She intends to flee London and the marriage her parents have arranged to become a published author–if only the wickedly handsome earl who inspired her most outrageously sinful character didn’t insist on coming with her.

Christian Halston, Earl of Leigh, has a scheme of his own: escort the surprisingly spirited dollar princess north and use every delicious moment in close quarters to convince Violet to marry him. Christian needs an heiress to rebuild his Scottish estate but the more time he spends with Violet, the more he realizes what he really needs is her–by his side, near his heart, in his bed.

Though Christian’s burning glances offer unholy temptation, Violet has no intention of surrendering herself or her newfound freedom in a permanent deal with the devil. It’s going to take more than pretty words to prove this fortune hunter’s love is true….


REVIEW

Violet Crenshaw has aspirations of becoming an author. She feels like she has so much life yet to live, but an heiress who is in her 20’s is prime for the marriage market and Violet’s parents are looking for potential suitors. Violet is crushed and decides to take her chances and run away.

Christian Halston, Lord of Leigh has his own ambitions. He wishes to marry into a wealthy family and has his eye on Violet. Whenever the two of them are together sparks fly. Christian decides to help Violet escape and convince her to marry him on their road trip together.

I really enjoyed The Devil and the Heiress. Violet and Christian had amazing chemistry together and I enjoyed their banter. Harper St. George knows how to write steamy scenes and the sparks between Violet and Christian were smoking! The forced proximity component really added to their romance. While I’m not always a fan of insta-love, it really worked for me in this case.

I’m hoping that there’s a third book with the last Crenshaw sibling – Max!