Review: What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregors, Book 4) by Grace Burrowes

what a lady needs for christmasHeroine: Lady Joan Flynn flees her family’s estate ill prepared to join her extended family for the holidays. Her maid deserts her halfway there and she’s stuck at a train station with no help in sight. She’s not so much worried about getting to the party as she’s worried about not having a husband by the end of the holidays.

Hero: Dante Hartwell needs to drum up investors for his mills. He’s going to a house party of a wealthy Scottish gentlemen in order to do just that. But he doesn’t really like nobbing with these folks. If it wasn’t for his secretary he might not go at all. When his daughter requests he assist a woman at the train station he’s more than happy to oblige.

Review: Lady Joan was compromised by an unrepentant rake. He wanted her talent, but not her, and when Joan finds him engaged the next day it is no wonder she’s all in a panic. This fashion designer spinster needs a man willing to take her on. When Dante proposes marriage he’s the blessing she was looking for. He gives her plenty of outs – she can wait to decide or change her mind if she finds she isn’t pregnant. Their romance is a sweet one. I particularly enjoyed their wedding nights as they worked to figure out their husband and wife routine.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregor Series)

Holiday Blitz with Grace Burrowes, Terry Spear, and Carolyn Brown

A Highland Wolf ChristmasA Highland Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear

Summary

It’s going to take a lot of mistletoe…

Guthrie MacNeill, financial advisor for his clan and werewolf pack, is at his wit’s end when the pack leader’s mate hires a gorgeous party planner to bring holiday cheer to the castle. Guthrie’s wildly attracted to Calla, except he can’t reconcile the fact that his job is to save the clan’s money, and hers seems to be to spend it.

To warm this Highlander’s heart

Calla Stewart has never had a more difficult client. The laird and lady of the castle are delightful, but the handsome Highlander holding the purse strings is quite impossible. Since she specializes in holiday magic, Calla hopes she can make the scrooge-like wolf lighten up. Then Guthrie takes on the role of Highland warrior to protect her from an unexpected threat, and the holidays take a turn for the passionate.

Buy: A Highland Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf Book 15)

Excerpt from A HIGHLAND WOLF CHRISTMAS by Terry Spear

Women shrieked and shouted, but Calla was on the other side of the tree where she couldn’t see the commotion. But then she saw the twelve-foot tree toppling over—right toward her.

Before Calla could get out of the way, something hit her hard from the side and slammed her against the floor. Just before the tree landed on top of them. He was on top of her, smelling like the great outdoors, fir tree, and musky, sexy male wolf. Guthrie.

“Sorry,” he mumbled against her ear, branches framing his head and touching the floor on either side of her. “I meant to rescue you.”

She smiled. “From … the tree?”

He smiled back. “That was the idea.”

Guthrie lifted his head, smiling at her with a mischievous glint in his green eyes. Despite all the commotion, and to Calla’s surprise, Guthrie kissed her. His lips were warm and masculine and tasted like wassail. Cinnamon, apple cider, and oranges. She licked his mouth to enjoy more of the taste and he licked her back, smiling. Then he deepened the kiss.

Oh my God! She hadn’t felt this naughty in forever! The men were going to move the tree soon, and here she and Guthrie would be. Kissing. In front of several members of his pack.

Buy: A Highland Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf Book 15)

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Cowboy Boots for ChristmasCowboy Boots For Christmas by Carolyn Brown

Summary

After two tours in Afghanistan, retired Army sniper Finn O’Donnell believes his new ranch outside the sleepy little town of Burnt Boot, Texas, is the perfect place for an undisturbed holiday season. But before he can settle in, an old friend shows up looking for protection and a place where nobody knows her name.

But that’s going to take a miracle…

Callie Brewster must relocate to protect her young nephew, Martin, and the only person she trusts is her old Army friend, Finn. Burnt Boot seems like the perfect place to be anonymous, but it turns out a small town with big drama is no place to hide…

Buy: Cowboy Boots for Christmas: (Cowboy not included) (Burnt Boot, Texas)

Excerpt from COWBOY BOOTS FOR CHRISTMAS by Carolyn Brown

Callie was standing in front of the window, staring out like a bird in a cage. He crossed the room in long strides, scooped her up, and sat down in the rocking chair with her.

“I’m scared,” she said.

“I know. So am I.”

“This is too perfect, Finn. There’s a grenade somewhere and the pin is pulled. It’s just a matter of time until it all goes boom. I figured if I left now, it would be with good memories and not horrible ones. But I don’t want to leave. Just thinking of walking away from you breaks my heart.”

He tangled his fingers in her hair and held her head against his chest. “I’ll help you work through the fear if you’ll do the same for me.”

She drew her head back, her aqua-colored eyes swimming in tears. “Don’t bullshit me, O’Donnell. You’d face off with the devil.”

He let go of her hair and bent just enough that their lips touched in a salty kiss. Her arms sent desire shooting through his body when they laced around his neck. The kiss deepened into more as she opened her mouth and let his tongue inside to make love to her mouth.

“Darlin’, never doubt that my fears are every bit as big as yours, with commitment topping the list in big bold letters. Don’t run away, Callie. I need you to stay,” he whispered softly.

Buy: Cowboy Boots for Christmas: (Cowboy not included) (Burnt Boot, Texas)

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What A Lady Needs For ChristmasWhat a Lady Needs For Christmas by Grace Burrowes

Summary

Lady Joan Flynn needs a husband—any husband—if she’s not to find scandal and mischief under her Christmas tree; Scottish wool magnate Dante “Hard-hearted” Hartwell needs an aristocratic wife to gain access to the financing that will keep his wool mills secure. Can holiday magic spin an expedient match into true love, and wary differences into trust?

Buy: What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregor Series)

Excerpt from WHAT A LADY NEEDS FOR CHRISTMAS by Grace Burrowes

Dante and Joan’s wedding night has begun with a discussion of holiday gift-giving, though neither bride nor groom can stay focused on that topic for very long…

Joan stretched out her chilly foot, and encountered Dante’s calf. His bare, warm, hairy calf, because her husband slept without the benefit—or hindrance—of clothing.

He moved onto his side, facing Joan. “What shall I get you for Christmas, Mrs. Hartwell?”

“You’ve given me your very name. That’s gift enough.” Also his trust, his respect, his kisses…so many treasures.

He rolled to his back, suggesting Joan had provided the wrong answer.

“I don’t want your gratitude, madam. Loyalty, fidelity, and a good-faith effort to make something of this marriage will be a fine bargain on both of our parts. The marriage is as much opportunity for me as it is convenient for you.”

Joan did not want a fine bargain, but she did want the warmth her husband’s body gave off. She yielded to the craving and snuggled right up to his side. His arms came around her, as if they’d spent many nights visiting their way to shared sleep.

“I kept my nightgown on.”

“I know, lass. I’ll forgive you that modesty if you kiss me.”

She kissed him, and the contour of his lips told her he was smiling. “You should kiss me too, sir. My feet are cold.”

“You need your new husband to warm them up?”

Joan needed her new husband in so many ways. “Shall I take off my nightgown?” She didn’t want to, but Dante was naked, and the intimacies she’d tried hard not to dwell on were commencing.

“You feel safer with it on,” he said, shifting to blanket her with his body. “I’ll try not to tear it.”

Gracious. “I can stitch it back together if you do.”

He nuzzled her ear, sending a shivery feeling down Joan’s spine. “Kiss me some more, Mrs. Hartwell.”

Buy: What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregor Series)

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Giveaway: Captive Hearts Trilogy by Grace Burrowes

TheLairdBook: The Laird
Author: Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance

He left his bride to go to war…
After years of soldiering, Michael Brodie returns to his Highland estate to find that the bride he left behind has become a stranger. Brenna is self-sufficient, competent, confident-and furious. Despite her anger at Michael’s prolonged absence, Brenna has remained loyal to her husband, though Michael’s people, and most especially the uncle who held the estate together for him, make it clear they expect Michael to set Brenna aside.

Though his most important battle will be for her heart.

Michael left Brenna when she needed him most, and then stayed away even after the war ended. Nonetheless, the young man who abandoned her has come home a wiser, more patient and honorable husband. Brenna is hurt, bewildered, and tired of fighting for the respect of those around her, but if she trusts Michael with the truths she’d been guarding, he’ll have to choose between his wife and everything he holds dear.

Buy: The Laird (Captive Hearts)

Excerpt

Sometime after she’d fallen exhausted into her bed, Brenna felt the mattress dip and shift. A pleasant whiff of vetiver, whiskey—and meadow grass?—came to her as her husband arranged himself two feet to her left.

The next sound was harder to decipher, but she managed—the soles of two big male feet rubbing together, the bedtime equivalent of shaking the dust of the day from one’s feet, a small safeguard in the direction of keeping the sheets clean if conducted with those feet hanging over the side of the bed.

Michael punched his pillows next, several stout blows that would have knocked wayward notions from grown men.

“Are you trying to wake me up, Husband?”

The punching stopped, and she felt him flop down onto the mattress—and heard the put-upon male sigh with which he tucked himself in.

“You did not lock the door, Brenna. My things are in this room.”

So was his wife.

“Neither one of us wants talk.” The bed was huge, and they weren’t touching, but Brenna could feel her husband thinking.

“I did not want you to conclude I was sneaking up on you.”

“You’re hard to miss when encountered in a bed, Michael. Go to sleep. Morning comes quickly.” And yet, she was pleased the pillows had taken a few warning shots on her behalf.

“You want time.”

“I want a good night’s sleep.” Though she should have anticipated that, like any man, Michael would want to beat a topic to death once broached. He could not ponder a discussion and undertake it in manageable portions; he must have done with it, regardless of the hour.

“I want time, too, Brenna Maureen.”

Brenna rolled to her side, wishing she’d left a candle burning, despite the extravagance. “Time for what?”

“I was a good soldier, once I saw what was expected of me. It’s part of the reason I went to France. I was to look after my men, the same as a laird looks after his people. When I went to France, it was much the same, though I was in a garrison with soldiers of a different nationality. We looked after one another, most of the time, and when a man lapsed in that duty, he suffered consequences.”

What was he saying, and why must he say it to her in pitch darkness?

“If I were planning to run off, Michael Brodie, I would have scarpered long since. Many and many a family has left the Highlands, including entire branches of clan MacLogan. I could easily have gone with them.” Though her own clansmen had hardly recalled where they’d stashed her, once she’d come to live at Castle Brodie.

A considering pause ensued, and then Brenna felt a single, callused finger trace down the side of her jaw.

“You might have left, but you stayed. I’m glad you stayed.”

Buy: The Laird (Captive Hearts)

graceburrowesAuthor Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Website: http://graceburrowes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Burrowes/115039058572197

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraceBurrowes

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Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

HistoricalQuiz

Authors Grace Burrowes, Katie MacAlister, and Shana Galen would love to invite you to take their historical romance quiz. Below is the quiz written by the authors which asks readers if they are royalty, an operative, or a member of a retinue.

#1 What word best describes you?

a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy

#2 My favorite hobby is …

a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice

#3 What is the perfect late night snack?

a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred

#4 My ideal man must have …

a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains

#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?

a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol

***

TheTruthAboutLeoIf you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth about Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.








TheTraitorIf you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!






LoveAndLetSpyIf you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.

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Grace Burrowes Giveaway

TheCaptiveSummary

Captured and tortured by the French, Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, survives by vowing to take revenge on his tormentors. Before the duke can pursue his version of justice, Gillian, Countess of Greendale, reminds him that his small daughter has suffered much in his absence, and needs her papa desperately.

Gilly endured her difficult marriage by avoiding confrontation and keeping peace at any cost. Christian’s devotion to his daughter and his kindness toward Gilly give her hope that she could enjoy a future with him, for surely he of all men shares her loathing for violence in any form. Little does Gilly know, the battle for Christian’s heart is only beginning.

Buy: The Captive (Captive Hearts)

Excerpt

The countess brought Christian’s hand up, holding the back of it against the extraordinary softness of her cheek. Until he’d taken liberties with her in the library, he’d forgotten how wonderfully, startlingly soft a woman’s cheek could be. As soft as sunshine and summer rain, as soft as the quiet of the English countryside.

“Shall we sit?” he asked, though she’d likely release his hand if they sat. He was a widower, though, and she ought not to begrudge him simple human contact when he’d been so recently bereaved.

She let him lead her to a shaded bench near the roses, the morning air faintly redolent of their perfume. When Christian seated her, the countess kept his damaged hand in hers.

“I was not allowed to garden at Greendale,” she said, fingers drifting over his knuckles. “The estate had gardens, because his lordship would not be seen to neglect his acres, but I was forbidden to walk them, or to dig about in the good English soil, or to consult with the gardeners regarding the designs and plantings.”

Based on the studied casualness of her tone, this prohibition had been irksome.

“You are free to garden here all you like,” Christian said. “I ask only that you not disturb my mother’s roses.”

“They are lovely.”

“She was lovely.”

Another silence, while Christian became aware of his surroundings beyond the small hand holding his. The roses were in their early summer glory, and why Polite Society insisted on staying in Town through most of June was incomprehensible, when the alternative was the English countryside. The sunshine was a perfectly weighted beneficence on his cheek, the scent of the gardens heavenly, and the entire morning aurally gilded with the fluting chorus of songbirds.

He wanted to kiss the lady beside him again, not in thanks, not as a good-night benediction, but for the sheer pleasure of the undertaking.

Buy: The Captive (Captive Hearts)

graceburrowesAuthor Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Buy: The Captive (Captive Hearts)

Social Media Links

Website: http://graceburrowes.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Burrowes/115039058572197

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraceBurrowes

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Review: Darius (Lonely Lords, Book 1) by Grace Burrowes

darius grace burrowesQuick Synopsis: Virgin wife needs to be knocked up in order to keep inheritance when elderly husband dies. Stud in need of money accepts old man’s contract to seduce his wife and get her pregnant. They fall in love.

Hero: Darius Lindsey no longer enjoys being the “male mistress” (closer to gigolo) to the unhappy, bitter, callous women of the ton. He has needed to continue in the role due to finances, his father having cut him off, but Darius doesn’t pursue it because he likes it. So when an elderly Lord William Longstreet asks him to impregnate his wife and pay him handsomely for it, Darius sees it as a way to escape the clutches of a pair of women who are making his life hell. He doesn’t expect to like the man’s wife and then he falls for her…

Heroine: Lady Vivian (Vivie) wants a child, but she never thought she’d get one like this. She also understands her husband’s motives. She gave her husband a list of gentlemen she’d pick and her husband picked Darius from the list. With two people to watch out for in her life – her step-father,Thurgood Ainsworthy – and her husband’s illegitimate son’s wife, Portia – Vivian is going to need strength. Darius teaches her how to find it and makes sure she is ready to protect their child.

Review: Grace Burrowes is a compelling author. I love her books. I loved Darius and I loved the setup of a man purposefully cuckolding himself in order to protect the wife after he died. That was pretty sexy… of course the husband wasn’t in love with the wife (and he was way old, grandpa old) but married her to save her from her step-father’s schemes after his wife died. Still it was admirable. I loved the month interlude between Vivie and Darius, very engaging, quite sexy, and it smoldered. However Darius continuing to service the two jaded bisexual ladies, Lucy and Blanche, after he returned to London at the conclusion of the month with Vivie was not. He was incapable of standing up for himself, which was not at all admirable and it made me question his ability to care for Vivie in the future. He does eventually redeem himself, thank goodness especially because he was adamant Vivie be strong for their child. When he finally took his own advice I was very happy. All-in-all the book is beautiful and emotionally rich.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Darius (Lonely Lords)

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Ten Things a Man Ought to Love about Wearing a Kilt

Guest Blog by Grace Burrowes, author of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid

The topic above was not the one I was initially asked to write about. I was asked to hold forth about Ten Things I Love About Men in Kilts. What I love about a kilt is to see it worn with pride by a fellow who appreciates the privilege, and the point of this post is to convince more fellows to add a kilt to their wardrobe. In that spirit, I’m hoping scads of men will consider:

  1. The wool will look better on you than it did on that old sheep.
  2. You never have to worry about what goes with what when you wear a kilt. Tell the nice fellows in the kilt shop what your clan affiliation is (or you’d like it to be), and the colors are all picked out for you, as are the accessories. Easy peasy.
  3. The best place to shop for a kilt is Scotland. Go shopping. Go shopping right now, laddie.
  4. Shopping for a kilt is thirsty work. This is proven by the fact that I’ve never seen a kilt shop that wasn’t within three doors of either a tavern or a whiskey shop. Go shopping, ye kiltless beggar.
  5. When you’re properly togged out in your kilt, you also get to wear a sporran right over your goolies. If you misplace your car keys, there’s only one place you might ask your date to help you look for them.
  6. Fellows who wear kilts don’t have to worry about as much laundry, particularly all those pesky loads of whites.
  7. If you do it up proper, you’re also supposed to go around with a handsome little dagger tucked in your sock, honest (your left sock is the more peaceable option). How something spelled sgian dubh gets pronounced “skidoo” probably has to do with those whiskey shops and the great thirst involved with your kilt shopping.
  8. Guys who wear kilts can go to any romance writer’s conference, and make instant friends with a zillion, cheerful, friendly ladies, some of whom, being in period attire, are also doing fewer loads of white laundry.
  9. Even when you’re wearing it somewhere besides a romance writers’ conference, the kilt is a guaranteed, sure fire, believe-me-when-I-tell-you, babe magnet, to the extent that you will get heartily sick of telling women you’re not wearing undies. I promise you this.
  10. The best reason to wear a kilt was explained to me by a little fellow who drove me around the Highlands in his cab. Abbey was a native of Aberdeen, and yet had gone his entire sixty-some years without acquiring a proper dress kilt. For a niece’s wedding, he agreed to make the effort to be fitted out in clan attire, thinking the whole business rather silly.

The fellows at the kilt shop, as Abbey told the tale, were a sly bunch. They measured and fitted, and pinned and tucked, and didn’t let Abbey see himself until he was completely rigged out in formal attire. Then they turned him about to see the picture he presented in the three way mirror, and in his words, “Ma chest expanded out to here, and I felt about ten feet tall. I tell ye, I nivver wanted to tek the damned thing uff.”

Wear the kilt because it symbolizes a tradition of pride and masculine confidence, wear it because you’ll nivver want to tek the damned thing uff.

THE BRIDEGROOM WORE PLAID BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES DECEMBER 2012

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes keeps winning reader awards for her gorgeously imagined books. If you’re already a fan, you’ll devour her new characters and if you haven’t yet discovered the richly drawn worlds of Grace Burrowes, you’re in for a treat….

His Family or His Heart — One of Them Will Be Betrayed…

Ian MacGregor is wooing a woman who’s wrong for him in every way. As the new Earl of Balfour, though, he must marry an English heiress to repair the family fortunes.

But in his intended’s penniless chaperone, Augusta, Ian is finding everything he’s ever wanted in a wife.

Praise for Grace Burrowes:

“Historical details enrich Burrowes’s intimate and erotic story, but the real stars are her vibrant characters and her masterful ear for dialogue. Burrowes is superb at creating connections that feel honest and real.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Memorable heroes. Intelligent, sensual love stories. This author knows what romance readers adore.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Buy: The Bridegroom Wore Plaid

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Burrowes is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical romances. Her debut, The Heir, was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010 in the romance category, and Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Romance of 2011 and was also nominated for the prestigious RWA RITA award. The author of the bestsellers The Heir, The Soldier and Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Grace is a practicing attorney and lives in rural Maryland. She’ll conclude to the Windham Family Series with Lady Jenny’s story in October 2013, and will begin a new regency series with Darius in April 2013. The next book in Grace’s Scottish Victorian series, Once Upon a Tartan, will be in stores in August 2013. Please visit http://www.graceburrowes.com/  or follow her on Twitter: @GraceBurrowes for more information.

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid to one reader in US or CAN. Enter by telling us why men should wear kilts. Last day to enter is Dec 16, 2012.

Review: The Soldier by Grace Burrowes

Reviewed by Aggie S.

Devlin has finished with war and serving his King. He just wants to go home and take care of the family holdings. Upon arrival he finds a waif of a child in his fountain, dirty and straggling looking. He is informed that this waif conveyed with the estate, which he finds hard to believe. He is to be responsible for this child’s upbringing.

First thing he determines is that the child needs a bath, but nobody in the castle will help, so he assumes that this waif is a male child and then finds out differently rather quickly. Second he finds a governess, Emmaline, o take care of this unruly waif and a tutor to teach.

Emmaline is running from something or to something; Devlin can not decide which. But alas the soldier in him comes out again and he is determined to find out and do something about it. Emmaline in the meantime has decided that things are heating up too much and decides to take off again. She gives him notice and takes off. Winnie, in the meantime, becomes more of a handful because she wants Emmaline back. What happens, does the hero get the girl or do circumstances make things impossible?

Review: A must read! For an English romance this has a great story to it and was hard to put down once started. I hope to find more like it by this author.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Soldier

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