Review: An Affair Downstairs by (Thornbrook Park, Book 2) by Sherri Browning

an affair downstairsHero: Logan Winthrop is an estate manager with a past. He was once gentry but was linked with the murder of his lover’s husband. To keep his brother’s family free of gossip he hid from polite society. But he can’t keep hiding around Alice.

Heroine: Lady Alice Emerson has no intention of ever marrying. She has a bucket list and she plans to pursue the completion of every adventure on it and a husband would get in the way. Alice wants to see India, shoot a pistol, and have an affair to name a few things on her list.

Review: Logan is a hero who will do what it takes to protect those around him, even if it is from himself. He has desired Alice for a while but saw the differences in their circumstances as insurmountable. He’s relatively easy to seduce when Alice chooses him as her first sexual experience. Don’t let Alice fool you, she thinks he’s a good choice for all the wrong reasons. Another man enters the picture and he says all the right things, pays all the right attention to Alice, and yet there’s something off about him. Will Logan step aside to give Alice a chance at the perfect match or will he claim her as his own? One nice thing about this book is that the sister isn’t evil (and there will be a time when you wonder, but she’s mostly shallow and clueless which are forgivable because she loves Alice).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: An Affair Downstairs (A Thornbrook Park Romance Book 2)

Review: A Rake by Any Other Name (Somerfield Park, Book 1) by Mia Marlowe

rake by any other nameHero: Richard Barrett (Lord Hartley) was enjoying his Grand Tour when he is called home to take his rightful place as the head of the household. His father fell from the roof and while alive, is no longer fit to run the estate. Richard soon discovers the financial situation is only going to be fix by wedding an heiress… which sucks because he was ready to offer marriage to Lady Antonia Pruett.

Heroine: Miss Sophie Goodnight and her parents are newly arrived from India where her father made his fortunes. Her dad is looking to sell her and his fortune to ensure his grandkids are aristocrats. Since she’s not too keen on that idea she partners up with Richard to foil their parents attempts at a match.

Review: This book sets up a love triangle between Sophie, Richard, and Antonia. As with most love triangles in romance between two females and a male, Lady Antonia was not an ideal match for Richard (or really any man) due to her duplicitous nature. All we had to do was wait for Richard to figure that out. I liked Sophie as a heroine. She was smart, capable, and put Richard in his place a time or two which left him all agog. Richard was a good hero too. He wanted to do right by his family and the estate, even when his family was using him to ensure their own comforts (a fun twist on the usual scenario where the heroine is sacrificed at the altar of marriage to ensure her family’s well-being.) The romance is sweet and lively and was one of my favorites to read this year. I devoured it quite quickly waiting to see what happened next.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: A Rake by Any Other Name (Somerfield Park)

Audio Review: The Duke’s Deceit by Sherrill Bodine

Sherrill Bodine duke deceitHero: Richard, the Duke of Avalon, knows he’s made a terrible mistake. His fiancé is a horribly vain and self-centered chit, more concerned with appearances than him. When he makes a decision to travel right before the wedding to visit a philosophy professor in Scotland, she informs him that if he does not return with plenty of time for the wedding, she will call it off. He’s eager to skirt the deadline in hopes she will actually follow-through on her threat.

Heroine: Mary Masterton faces a terrible conundrum. Her late father amassed debts trying to realize a stud farm to a local noble. Sir Robert insists she wed him to cancel the debts, but Mary has no interest in the creep. When a heroic stranger is knocked unconscious by a falling timber while aiding her in rescuing horses from a fire, she claims him as her fiancé. When he wakes, he has no memory at all. He recovers and sticks around fulfilling all the desperate longings of Mary’s heart… but can she keep a man she loves in the dark?

Reviews: What Mary doesn’t know about the barn fire is that it was staged. Readers will realize right away who is behind the attack, or do they? There’s more going on then what is happening on the surface. It’s a little convoluted – involving a late grandmother, a cousin, a fortune, America, and blackmail.

Mary is a kind and tenderhearted heroine. She wants to tell the truth but is convinced by many parties that to reveal her deception to Richard would cause him irrefutable harm in his condition. He might die! So she holds her tongue, falls in love with him, and then the tables are turned. He regains his memories (not unusual) and pretends otherwise to get at the truth Mary hid. I liked Richard the man when was suffering under amnesia, he’s less likeable as the Duke in his initial dealings with Mary.

Narrator: Susan Duerden is a likeable narrator. I would describe her voice a bit like a stage whisper. It does not sound like how she might usually talk and is pitched a little low and a little husky.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Duke’s Deceit, The Duke’s Deceit (Audiobook)

Audio Review: The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides, Book 2) by Celeste Bradley

thedukenextdoorHeroine: One of three girl cousins, gorgeous Deirdre Cantor is in the running to inherit her grandfather’s fortune. In order to be the heiress though, she needs to wed a duke and she knows just the future-duke to wed! He’s a man she’s admired from afar. Originally, he was engaged to one of her cousins, but then was jilted for the younger brother prior to the wedding. This gives her the perfect opportunity to propose the match to him.

Hero: Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor, needs a wife… but mostly because he needs a permanent mother figure for his young woefully misbehaved daughter. (The child comes as a shock to the heroine after they wed… even though she saved news clippings on him for years.)

Review: This book did not work well for me as an audiobook. The narrator, Susan Ericksen, was fine, but the problems with the book are exasperated in audio format. The hero treats the heroine like a misbehaving child within seconds of reaching his country estate. If she doesn’t become the wife/governess he needs her to be for his daughter, he’ll not pay for dresses and won’t let her attend parties or go to London for the society… Apparently, he’s too distracted by his wife’s breasts to take his foot out of his mouth. How can this autocratic alpha bully not handle the nurses and governesses taking care of his child… or even his willful child? The secondary character romance and the setup for the next book’s romance were distracting, and for me, unwanted. Also, how can Diedre think that the best revenge on her husband is to actually do as he says and take his daughter in hand? That doesn’t make sense. Although, I did like the stepmother/stepdaughter relationship.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides), Audible Audiobook

Review: Treacherous Temptations by Victoria Vane

Treacherous Temptations by Victoria VaneReview by Lynn Reynolds

The prologue starts on December 31, 1720. It has a shocking beginning and then it jumps over a year ahead. The setting is Venice and our character describes it as if it were female. I always find it interesting how a town is described as being female. It also makes me wonder why they are never described as being male.

Hadley, the current Lord Blanchard, seems to be a man who only has one thing on his mind. And his “stepmother”, Lady Barbara Blanchard, doesn’t appear to be much better. The story then jumps ahead to the year 1727.

Mary Elizabeth Edwardes is a product of the times – there are only two things that she’s good for, but I admire that she tries to stick up for herself. She has what I consider to be an elegant name, but she prefers to go by her nickname.

It’s interesting to see how sometimes money can influence everything you do – no matter if someone gets hurt in the process. But it doesn’t matter what the time period, it still happens today. It seemed to rule everything back then and we still rely on it heavily today.

Victoria does a great job of creating Hadley. He’s one of those characters that you love to hate but hope he finds redemption and love in the end. He fits the definition of a Rake to a “T”. Does Mary have what it takes to change him or is she just too timid? You will have to get a copy of this book in order to find that out. Victoria gives the reader their sex scene but it is not rushed. Descriptions are graphic so that you can enjoy the moment the same time they do. As you read, you think things are going to work out but then Victoria adds some new twists and turns which just add to the suspense.

Some people don’t read all the way to the very end. With this book please make sure that you do. Victoria has included some “Titillating Tidbits”. It is very insightful. The end came too quickly for me. You will not be disappointed to read this latest book of Victoria’s and it will leave you wanting to read more.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Treacherous Temptations

Audio Review: To Marry an Heiress (Daughters of Fortune, Book 2) by Lorraine Heath

to marry an heiressHero: Earl of Huntdon needs an heiress, which means marriage, but he won’t fall in love! Wounded before, Devon is angry and devastated to learn his heiress isn’t nearly so wealthy as he thought. The wife who was to bring much needed financial aid has now become an additional burden, Devon must shoulder. With all his responsibilities, love can’t possibly matter now.

Heroine: Miss Georgina (Gina) Pierce is an American heiress from the South. Or she was. She didn’t know about the turn her father’s finances took. Her father insisted she marry and damn if he wasn’t going to snag her a title to show those snobby Knickerbockers his daughter was more than good enough, she was great. When her father passes, the reality is dumped on them both. Now Gina must find a way to pay Devon back – and clearly he does not want her heart.

Review: So the big shocker here is that Devon has kids from his first marriage and doesn’t share that fact with Gina. Um…. The guy is extremely lucky Gina wants kids or he’d be so screwed. Gina is the glue to the relationship and the story. Devon had a very difficult first marriage, and while he has many noble qualities, he didn’t do it for me. Devon is a beta hero in many respects.

Narrator: Vanessa Hart surprised me immediately, because the audio book summary didn’t reveal that Gina was American. I was expecting a British speaker, not a husky southern drawl. I also get the feeling I’ve listened to her before somewhere.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: To Marry an Heiress

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Review: An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere

An Heiress at HeartReviewed by Zarabeth

This story follows our heroine, Miss Lizzie Poole, on her quest to fulfill a promise and prove a hidden heritage. I loved Lizzie and was rooting for her from the very first page. Ms. Delamere does a wonderful job of helping us identify with Lizzie despite her numerous blunders throughout the book. To be fair, our poor Lizzie is attempting to assume the identity of her dead best friend in order to expose a family secret while avoiding a scandal that would ruin everything she’s ever worked for — no easy feat!

Our hero is the quintessential unwilling Lord of the genre. A 3rd son who chose the path of the clergy only to be forced into the title by the death of his older brothers. The woman Lizzie is pretending to be is his brother’s widow, a.k.a completely forbidden and a symbol of all the pain that has happened in the past few years. So, of course, they fall in love with each other despite their best efforts!

Last, bot not least, we have the man who destroyed Lizzie’s life trying to do so again.

Can she keep up her facade? Can she escape her nemesis? Can our protagonists accept their love for each other despite Lizzie’s betrayal?

Well, I can’t tell you!

But, I can tell you that Ms. Delamere weaves a lovely story and you should read it!

One quick note is that since our hero is a clergyman, do not come to this story expecting burning passion or erotica.

This is a love conquers all story, no sex required. For that reason I give it 4 stars. Enjoy!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: An Heiress at Heart (Love’s Grace)

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Review: Her Forgotten Betrayal by Anna DeStefano

Her Forgotten BetrayalReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Shaw Cassidy has been the victim of trauma due to awful events at her mansion where it is believed an assassination attempt made on her life has left her with amnesia. It doesn’t help that she is the heiress to Cassidy Global Research, as well as their CEO, as it has made her a target for every cash hungry nut around. As her life is in danger, she is being protected by an FBI agent, Cole Marinos, but he has other reasons for wanting to be around her.

Review: Two people are brought together in this story, but the real mystery is why Cole’s really there, and what had he done before, and what does he think she is guilty of. She is under doctor’s orders to look after herself, get well and get over the attack on her life but her bad nerves can’t be tossed aside as easy as she still has the nightmares from her ordeal.

Shaw has everything a woman could want, an important position at the top of a company, the respect of everyone around her, the huge mansion house and the ability to buy whatever she wants. She’s the poor little rich girl, but there is someone around who can ground her – Cole is an ordinary guy who doesn’t care that she’s filthy rich, even though he helps her with her problems, he still treats her as he would anyone else, using darlin’ a lot around her. If anyone can protect her, he will, and he cares for her more than she thinks. There is also the problem of the suspect shooter, and his or her motivation for doing it that still lurks in the back of Shaw’s mind.

Verdict: The story was shorter than it should have been, and felt rushed, but the two main characters are thrilling and exciting to read about.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Her Forgotten Betrayal