Review: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries

When the Rogue ReturnsHero: Victor Cale just recently learned of his wife’s whereabouts after she abandoned him and said their marriage was a mistake. She left him to face the consequences of the crime she and her family colluded to and executed so effortlessly under his nose. He plans to confront her and seek justice for all the injuries they and she inflicted on him through their perjury. His broken heart is at the top of that list.

Heroine: Isa Cale, hiding under an assumed name, Sofe Franke, is angry and frightened when her husband shows up in Edinburgh ten years after he deserted her. Why is he there? Why now? What does he want? Does he know of their child? Does he want to trick her or force her into illegal activities again? Well, he’s about to find out that Isa is not the timid little mouse he married. She’s got teeth and she’s willing to do what it takes to protect her daughter.

Review: It’s clear from the beginning that the hero and heroine are laboring under a big misunderstanding. A decade spent apart and a series of lies has torn their fledging marriage into two and two hearts are grieving for the loss of a love they both thought was true. Their double-speak when they first meet again is quite entertaining. Victor’s reaction to Isa’s feelings, about the pet name he gave her, is particularly heart-wrenching. He did not realize he’d been so misunderstood! He’s quick to come up with an alternative. Both are unique to the heroine and I love that. What great about this novel is that Sabrina Jeffries knits both hearts, both characters, slowly back together. Trust is a big issue for them both and it’s a delight to see them work through the fabrications and make amends for back judgments in the past. It’s also nice to know that even while they trust, they did both still have doubts and had to fight to overcome them time and again. It made for a realistic read. I also enjoyed that the story took place outside of the usual London setting. Not a book to be missed!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men)

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10 Steps to Get Your Guy or Girl to the Altar by the End of the Week

FbF_LARGEGuest Blog by Catherine Bybee, author of Fiancé by Friday

10.)      Timing is everything. Make sure you and the guy you want are ‘in the act’ while your overprotective, gun-toting father is walking in the door. You’ll either be getting hitched or planning a funeral, either way, a church will be involved.

9.)        Offer copious amounts of money for a short term contractual marriage…everyone has a price.

8.)        Duct tape! Need I say more?

7.)        Vegas and Alcohol. Elvis impersonator optional.

6.)        Tijuana and Alcohol. Spanish Fly not encouraged.

5.)        Plan a secret wedding, invite the groom (or bride) and tell them it’s a reality show that will pay them copious amounts of money to pretend to get married. (Hey, it could work.)

4.)        Meet Mr. Right on Monday

3.)        Escape a near death experience by Thursday with Mr. Right

2.)        Have the most incredible sexual experience of the universe by Friday…with Mr. Right.

1.)         By the end of the week Mr. Right will be standing at the altar sexually satisfied and happy to be alive, and getting married.

*Hey, it could happen*

Happy Reading,

Catherine

Bybee Author PhotoBIO: New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned novels Wife by Wednesday, Married by Monday, and Not Quite Dating. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.  

CONTACT LINKS:
www.catherinebybe.com
catherinebybee.blogspot.com

FIANCE BY FRIDAY

GWEN HARRISON: The beautiful high-born daughter of an English duke came to America to take over her sister-in-law’s matchmaking business. But just because she’s the boss doesn’t mean she can’t fantasize about making her own perfect match with bodyguard Neil MacBain. Will the enigmatic man who haunts her dreams cost her more than she bargained for?

NEIL MACBAIN: The retired Marine can’t deny the effect blue-blooded Gwen has on his troubled soul or his battle-hardened body. But as a client, Gwen is off-limits—until a threat from Neil’s past returns… and Gwen is caught in the crossfire. Now to keep her safe he will risk it all: his career, his life… and his heart.

Buy: Fiancé by Friday (Weekday Brides Series)

PRAISE FOR FIANCE BY FRIDAY

“The hero and heroine come to life with each flip of the page
and will linger long after readers cross the finish line.
–RT BOOK REVIEWS, TOP PICK, 4 ½ STARS

“Bybee takes an elegant titled lady, a dark emotionally guarded hero, a menacing stalker,
and a cast of distinctive characters mixing it all up into an unusual courtship tale
full of danger an sexual tension.”
–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“The hottest love on mainstream paper…
Ms. Bybee does not disappoint.”
—TJ MACKAY, IND’TALE MAGAZINE, 5 STARS

Buy: Fiancé by Friday (Weekday Brides Series)

EXCERPT:

Eliza flagged down a waitress and ordered a martini. “I see not a lot has changed,” she said after the waitress left.

“What do you mean?” Gwen asked.

“We’re sitting in a bar and your giant shadow is lurking in the back of the building.” Eliza tossed a peanut in her mouth.

“My shadow?”

Eliza looked o the right of the bar. “Yeah. The man who acts like you’re a job but can’t seem to leave you alone. If it was anyone other than Neil I’d be afraid he was a stalker.”

Gwen twisted around in her chair. Sure enough, perched at the edge of a seat on the far side of the bar, sat Neil.

“What’s he doing here?”

His eyes found hers for a brief moment before she looked away.

“I think that’s obvious.”

Her back teeth started to grind. “I don’t’ need a babysitter.”

“I don’t know, Gwen. The last time we sat in a bar I remember a certain someone getting drunk and a couple of other someones getting into a fight.”

She’d never live that down. Gwen and Eliza went to blow off steam in a Texas bar. The cowboys ewre full of “yes, ma’am” and “howdy, darlin’.” They danced and carried on…and yes, she drank a little too much. When one of the cowboys mistakenly took her smile as an invitation for intimacy, Neil erupted form the bar to teach the cowboy the meaning of the word no.

It was the first time Neil had defended her honor, and though she hated to admit it, she got a kick out of how ticked off he became when another man looked at her. “That was last year.”

“What’s changed since then?”

Nothing! It didn’t matter how much she flirted with the man, or how obvious she was about her attraction Neil didn’t bite.

“Everything.” Gwen stood, ready to put Neil I his place. “If you’ll both excuse me for a minute.”

She pushed her way through the crowd as if on a collision course with Neil. He kept his lips in a thin line as she approached and gripped the longneck bottle at his side. Slipping between the woman on the stool next to him and Neil’s massive frame, Gwen slapped a hand on her hip and growled. “What are you doing here?”

He blinked, once and picked up his beer. “Having a drink.”

She wanted to scream. “Having a drink,” she repeated.

He tilted the bottle back, took a swig.

“I know what you’re doing, Neil. And I don’t like it. I don’t want or need a bodyguard.”

“That’s debatable.”

If stomping her foot would knock some sense into him, she’d stomp better than a farm girl in a vineyard.

Poking a finger into his chest, she moved closer. “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to have a love life with a tow-hundred-thirty-pound bodybuilder standing in my way?”

A muscle in his jaw tightened. “Two hundred and fifty.”

“Ahhh!” She did scream now.

He lifted his beer again, but before he could take a swig, Gwen grabbed it from his fingers and tilted it back herself.

In a move that would make Eliza and Karen proud, she pushed the empty beer bottle back into his hand and slid between his thighs.

His jaw twitched again.

The strong musky scent that was pure Neil invaded her senses. She dropped one hand to his thigh and left it there. “This is how I see it, Neil. You have two choices. Either back off or step up.”

Gwen squeezed his thigh before vacating his personal space and marching back to the girls. A satisfied smile stretched over her face.

Buy: Fiancé by Friday (Weekday Brides Series)

Review: Princess in the Iron Mask by Victoria Parker

Victoria Parker princess in the iron maskReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Lucas Garcia is used to settling disputes on an international scale; using automatic rifles and grenades as Head of National Security for Arunthia. What he doesn’t expect is to be ordered by the king to bring back his daughter, Claudia. Claudia will not be so easily convinced to return though, as she is a stubborn girl who knows what she wants and refuses to return to the kingdom that sent her away. As a top biochemist in her field, Claudia was working on a cure for JDMS, a childhood condition but the funding for her research was grinding to a halt – soon she would have nothing to show for all those years she worked on a project that was very close to her heart.

Good bits:

  • Lucas trying to persuade her to go back to Arunthia – he has quite a task there…
  • Claudia’s reaction to him when they first meet. Talk about tense.
  • Lucas thinking Claudia has many layers he wants to strip away!

Bad bits:

  • The fantasy element in a modern setting might not be to everyone’s taste.

Review: The good part of Claudia’s life was her work; she could help others who couldn’t help themselves, and that made her feel good about what she did. The down side of being a biochemist was her seclusion. She never saw anyone other than the ones she worked with, and had no close friends, not even a lover. She thought it better that she felt nothing for any man, and then at least in that way there would be no emotional heartbreak where men were concerned. The setting of where she lives is in London, England, while the other setting of Arunthia sounds almost like a fairytale one that might not have worked in this story had the writer not done a lot of work on it to make the story sound feasible. Luckily, she works it all in rather well.

Summary: The story smouldered, much like Lucas Garcia. He starts out hating the idea of bringing Claudia back to her home, but when he meets her, he can’t take his eyes off of her. She starts out disliking him wanting to bring her back, until he uses the power of persuasion so many ordinary men lack. She thinks he is huge, he thinks she looks like the best woman around (unless she’s a geek in her lab coat!) Readers of the Mills & Boon Modern series of novels will enjoy this offering from Victoria Parker.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Princess in the Iron Mask

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Review: Untouched (Amoveo Legend, Book 2) by Sara Humphreys

untouched sara humphreysReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Book 2, the “Amoveo Legend”

Kerry Smithson is a model and we see her helping her girlfriend, Samantha, get ready for her wedding. After the ceremony, the groom’s (Malcolm’s) friend Dante asks Kerry to dance. And then he makes her a promise. He’s not like any other man you’ve ever met before.

This story is going to take us on an interesting ride. All we can do is sit back and get comfortable and let Sara guide us through the adventures with Kerry and Dante. Their adventure begins in New Orleans. They have a connection that Dante is aware of but Kerry hasn’t figured it out yet. And the adventure is not all – danger is following Kerry. Plus they’re so hot together.

Dante then explains to Kerry what she really is. As you read, Sara has a way of telling the story of the Amoveo. Sara’s storytelling made it so that I didn’t want to put the book down. Everything follows a natural progression. Nothing is rushed – not the evil of the piece or their desire for each other. Evil has a name and it’s “the Punisher”. Once you read this story, you will find out where they got their name from.

I missed out on reading Samantha’s story but after reading Kerry’s, I have to go back and read the first book of the “Amoveo Legend”. It will also get me ready for the November release of “Untamed”. I can’t wait to see what Sara has in store for her readers next.

If you’re a person that likes to listen to music as you read, might I suggest that you listen to some nice smooth jazz. If jazz isn’t your thing, you could listen to the blues. There’s even zydeco to listen to. You may even want to check out some famous musicians that came from New Orleans. One man that comes to mind is Louis Armstrong.

You’ve started to get your mood set. You have the book, you’ve put on the music and now you need something to treat yourself with. You might try a beignets or maybe a praline for the sweet tooth. Now you need your drink. Let me suggest either a mimosa or a hurricane. Maybe you would prefer a coffee with your beignet. Now sit back and enjoy a great story.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Untouched (The Amoveo Legend)

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Review: Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves

Reviewed by Aggie S.

“A good girl can be bad for one night… but can a bad boy be good for a lifetime…”

Bernadette has a very interesting job being the bodyguard for one of Texas’s most eligible bachelors, Jeremy. She is also responsible for taking care of her mother, who tends to be forgetful most of the time.

Bernadette has decided that she needs a different job, as she is tired of protecting an infuriating man who does what he wants when he wants without regard to anyone’s feelings. Women seem to come and go and this infuriates Bernadette. The two of them banter back and forth and somehow end up in bed with each other. Bernadette ends up leaving his employ and doesn’t tell him why, just lets him think that her boss with the security company is replacing her.

Eventually he ends up seeing her at a charity function, where she is a security guard and she is very pregnant. Apparently there was condom failure. She does tell him its his, and he talks her into moving into his home where she can have help when the doctor tells her she must stop working. He wants to get married and she is fighting it.

I recommend this book as it’s very well written with a lot of humor and heart. Read this story to find out how a good girl and a bad boy take it to the next level.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Black Ties and Lullabies

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Review: Deep Disclosure by Dee Davis

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

We meet our heroine, Alexis after she survives a family tragedy. She is a teenager at the time doing what all teenagers do – being rebellious. The hero of this story is named Tucker. He has something in common with Alexis and that is a tragic background. What’s good about this book is that the action starts almost right away.

I usually stay away from the suspense and intrigue themed romance novels. They just never seemed to interest me. Dee Davis has changed my mind. She piqued my interest right from the very beginning.

When Alexis first meets Tucker she doesn’t like him and he thinks of her as strictly an assignment. She needs to learn to trust him even though she knows nothing about him and he needs to keep her alive.

Dee does a great job in describing her scenes. Because the reader can’t watch the scenes as they unfold, we rely on the author to describe how things happen. Dee makes you feel as if you are a part of the action. That you are there watching her characters interact with each other.

The hardest thing for me to do was to think about the review. I got so caught up in the story. The “mystery” of the story would hold up against any of the movies you would see on TV. You get so “hooked” into the story that you can’t stop reading it until you get to the end. I hated to put it down.

What I love about Dee’s writing style is that you can believe anything she writes. It has a “ring of truth” to it. None of the scenes are over the top and so unbelievable that you can’t picture that the scene is actually happening.

As you continue on with the book, you notice that it is all action and suspense. You don’t even miss the lack of romance. If you expect a lot of sex in this book, you won’t find it here. The sex isn’t something that you miss in the story either. Just like in a regular relationship, things move along at a normal pace. You have to like and trust each other first and the rest will come in time. This is the impression that I get with Alexis and Tucker.

When the romance finally happens, it happens so naturally that it fits right into the story line. I don’t feel like Dee decided this is where the sex scene needs to be put because she needed to put it somewhere. I don’t feel that she forces a scene to happen – the chapters’ just flow from one to another.

Like any good suspense novel there is always a twist. You know that Alexis is going to eventually find out who Tucker is. Now we have to find out what she’s going to do. How will she get out of the trouble she is in without our hero Tucker to save the day? Tucker is the perfect hero – he’s there to make our “damsel in distress” feel safe. As far as the romance end of the story, both Alexis and Tucker need to deal with their “baggage”.

There are minor characters within the plot that know Tucker and are there to help Alexis. There are also other characters that are more questionable and don’t seem to be what they appear. All these characters are interwoven into what is happening to Alexis and it all builds the suspense.

Toward the end of the story we get to the anti-climax. Something from Alexis’s past comes back to haunt her. The ending is everything you think it will be – good overcomes evil and love wins out in the end.

The only downside to the book is that there is more suspense and less on the romance. I, and possibly other romance readers, would expect an equal mix of the two. I feel that the book could hold its own as just a suspense novel. Even with the lack of romance, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I’m glad I had the chance to read a book by Dee Davis and see what I have been missing by staying away from reading this genre. Would I read another book by her? Yes, most definitely. I can’t wait to see what happens in her next book “Deadly dance” and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Deep Disclosure, Deep Disclosure (UK)

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Review: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, Book 2) by Julie Kagawa

Kagawa’s storytelling and world-building keeps getting better and better. The Iron Daughter is book two in the Iron Fey series and packs a delicious punch. I can tell you upfront that I can hardly wait for Iron Queen, the third and final installment to the trilogy. I wholeheartedly recommend everybody to read it, the series is that amazing.

All the old characters are back. Puck is healed and finally declares himself to Meghan, fleshing out the love triangle a little bit more. Ash is still his gorgeous royal brooding iciness. Grimalkin comes along for the ride, snarky as ever. Even Iron Horse reappears on the scene declaring he won’t serve a false king.

Queen Mab is keeping Meghan Chase imprisoned in the Unseelie Court deep in the heart of winter territory. This wouldn’t be so bad if Ash was around to help her navigate all the politics, but he hardly shows his face and when he does he’s back to that harsh icy demeanor that says he could care less. It confuses Meghan and hurts her too. She doesn’t understand and she doesn’t put two and two together from what Ash told her in Winter’s Passage.

On the night the Scepter of the Seasons is passed between Seelie and Unseelie courts, Meghan finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Iron Court makes a secret attack, killing the crown prince in the process. Meghan tried to help him fight but she couldn’t reach her magic and ends up using the Scepter to bash in some heads before she gets taken down. The Iron Fey leave her alone and disappear, taking all evidence with them. Queen Mab doesn’t believe Meghan for a minute and freezes her in solid ice before declaring war on the Summer Court.

There’s no way for Meghan to get out of the ice prison on her own, if only somebody believed her! She had to stop what was happening and stop it fast before the Summer and Winter courts destroyed each other.

Favorite Scene: Easily the end sequence when Ash and Meghan make their biggest decision about their relationship. Swoon.

Bad Gal: Virus – is a wickedly drawn character and very scary.

Fey Glamour: Meghan’s power over fey glamour is blocked or is it? Her discovery of Iron glamour is essential. If only she could wield it better.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: The Iron Daughter

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Review: The Iron King (Iron Fey, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa

I am in love with the Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Her novel is full of sumptuousness. Its details and world building are lavish and exciting. Her characters draw you in like Satyr pulls in unsuspecting humans to dance until they collapse from exhaustion, except in Kagawa’s case you come out happy and anticipating the next installment.

If I had to guess, the future of the story will involve a love triangle. At the moment I am 100% completely for Team Ash. He’s the type of character I just love to love. He’s aloof, slightly moody, hard to figure out and of course the more forbidden love interest, being an Unseelie prince. He’s Winter to Meghan’s Summer. The best thing about him? He’s unwilling to give up where others would quit without a second thought.

Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) is the other love interest and as he’s yet to declare his feelings toward Meghan (if he truly has any of the romantic sort) I am afraid I’m not rooting for him. However, he is an excellent character and would make a good hero, far better for Meghan than Jacob Black for Bella Swan. He’s the merrymaker, the best friend, and the one most likely to fully have Meghan’s interests at heart.

Meghan is a great heroine. She rises to the challenge of rescuing her younger half brother from the fairy world and faces each obstacle with determination to not let it be the thing that stops her from completing her self imposed mission. Her greatest weakness is in fact her greatest strength. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to save those she loves (kind of like Harry Potter in that respect) and is unwilling to leave her friends behind. It will get her into trouble, but it’ll also be her salvation in the end.

This is just one novel from Harlequin’s new Teen line and honestly, they hit the nail on the head when it comes to young adult romance. Iron King was perfect in all aspects. I have no complaints other than that it ended and I must wait to read Iron Daughter.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

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