A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole
Series Reluctant Royals
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 31, 2018
Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way…
New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.
Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice—and his attraction to her—but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.
Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?
What was he doing? With his apprentice? In the courtyard?
She was right to pull away from him.
“I’m sorry,” he said, yanking his hand back.
“You should be,” she said. “I have very sensitive skin.” Then she pressed up on her toes and kissed him.
The kiss was not what he’d imagined. Because, of course, he’d imagined kissing her, and in his mind she had been aggressive and take charge, pulling him down and wrapping her legs around him. But this kiss was hesitant, though she’d initiated it, soft and just a whisper of sensitive skin rubbing over sensitive skin, as if she was prepared to pull away and run off at any second.
Can’t be having that, can we?
Tav’s arms slipped around her waist and pulled her up flush against him.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of A DUKE BY DEFAULT by Alyssa Cole, we’re giving away three paperback copies of A PRINCESS IN THEORY!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Three winners will each receive a paperback copy of A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Alyssa Cole
ALYSSA COLE is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who lives in the Caribbean and occasionally returns to her fast-paced NYC life. In addition to writing, she founded and hosted the Jefferson Market Library Romance Book Club and taught Romance Writing for Beginners. She speaks on topics such as writing erotic romance, writing multicultural romance, and self-editing. She has contributed romance-related articles to publications including RT Book Reviews, Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, and The Toast. She has also started a bi-monthly column in the Romance Writer’s Report, Romancing the Globe, in which she chats with romance writers from around the world. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching anime with her husband or tending to her herd of animals.
Love takes a special kind of courage . . .
Captain Sterling Garlington has faced down enemy fire without losing his nerve. But after a life-altering injury derails his military career, the former US marine is suddenly taking his marching orders from a sexy, edgy beauty at the Elk Heights Ranch. Even more amazing, equine therapist Harper Matthews makes him want to not only embrace life again—but give in to the attraction simmering between them.
Her love of horses is Harper’s magic bullet—her way of healing the painful past. And in the wounded soldier she recognizes a kindred spirit. Part of her wants to bolt, yet at the same time Sterling is drawing her closer. Maybe it’s his courage. Or his mega-watt smile. Or both. Either way, she’ll make a cowboy out of the wary war hero yet. It’s like getting back on a horse. They’ll just have to learn to trust each other—and be willing to open their hearts . . .
A sweet and tender love story, the third installment in a series that has won my heart over with the charming, complex characters and their lives and destinies that are relatable while intricate, tangled, and even messy at times.
Captain Sterling Garlington, the wounded Marine, had to deliver some serious goods to the table on The Cowgirl Meets Her Match, because of his actions in the previous books of the series. Was I nervous that he could not live up to the challenge? Not really, but the thought was there, regardless. Sterling turns out to be a good, solid man, with a strong need to protect and to be in control. He demonstrates a surprising amount of sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and emotional insights. He knows how to listen to understand, not just to respond. He is not perfect, he has his flaws, weaknesses, and challenges, yet he is honest, straightforward, and I claim trustworthy as well, even though that is challenged in the story. I liked him, I cared for him, and I rooted for him, even when he messed up, even when he hit the rock bottom, and especially as he stood by the equine therapist Harper Matthews and helped her wounds to heal.
Harper and Sterling have a lot in common, even though they seem to be the opposite at the first glance. Harper carries her wounds inside, her spirit was broken, her will to survive damaged for a moment. But she has champion through the horrors of her past, and she is stronger because of them, even if more careful now with whom she trusts, and whom she lets into her heart.
The attraction between Harper and Sterling is tangible, there is no doubt in my mind that they desire each other and long to be in the other's presence. The conclusion came faster and went further than I expected, I wish there would have been shown more of the hard work Harper and Sterling had to put into the relationship.
The conflict in the story came from an unexpected source. I didn't expect the story to take that route while it seemed that some things from Harper's past were left hanging. I don't say that was a bad turn, it is very topical right now in the States, and it does show the intensity of the dangers of opioid addiction, and how easy it is to get hooked on the medication, and how severe the detox can be.
A delightfully pleasing, luscious, and precious love story, truthful and lifelike, yet ardent and adorable. A story that brought me to tears, to smile, to laugh, and sigh with the happy ending. A great addition to the compelling series.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
To Love a Duchess by Karen Ranney
Series All For Love Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 30, 2018
From New York Times Bestselling Author Karen Ranney comes the first book in a royally romantic and deeply emotional new series about taking risks and allowing the power to love satisfy the questions of the heart . . .
Undercover as a majordomo, spy Adam Drummond has infiltrated Marsley House with one purpose only—to plunder its mysteries and gather proof that the late Duke of Marsley was an unforgivable traitor to his country. At the same time, Adam is drawn to a more beguiling puzzle: the young and still-grieving duchess—a beauty with impenetrable secrets of her own. For Drummond, uncovering them without exposing his masquerade will require the most challenging and tender moves of his career.
That a servant can arouse such passion in her is too shocking for Suzanne Whitcomb, Duchess of Marsley, to consider. Yet nothing quickens her pulse like Drummond’s touch. It’s been two years since the duke lost his life in a tragic accident—and even longer since she’s been treated like a woman. But when Drummond’s real mission is revealed, and the truth behind Suzanne’s grief comes to light, every secret conspired to tear them apart is nothing compared to the love that can hold them together.
He felt the duke’s stare on him the minute he walked into the room. Adam Drummond closed the double doors behind him quietly so as not to alert the men at the front door. Tonight Thomas was training one of the young lads new to the house. If they were alerted to his presence in the library they would investigate. He had a story prepared for that eventuality. He couldn’t sleep, which wasn’t far from the truth. Nightmares often kept him from resting more than a few hours at a time. A good thing he had years of practice getting by with little sleep. He’d left his suite attired only in a collarless white shirt and black trousers. Another fact for which he’d have to find an explanation. As the majordomo of Marsley House he was expected to wear the full uniform of his position at all times, even in the middle of the night. Perhaps not donning the white waistcoat, cravat, and coat was an act of rebellion. Strange, since he’d never been a rebel before. It was this place, this house, this assignment that was affecting him. For the first time in seven years he hadn’t borrowed a name or a history carefully concocted by the War Office. He’d taken the position as himself, Adam Drummond, Scot and former soldier with Her Majesty’s army. The staff knew his real name. Some even knew parts of his true history. The housekeeper called him Adam, knew he was a widower, was even aware of his birthdate. He felt exposed, an uncomfortable position for a man who’d worked in the shadows for years. He lit one of the lamps hanging from a chain fixed to the ceiling. The oil was perfumed, the scent reminiscent of jasmine. The world of the Whitcombs was unique, separated from the proletariat by two things: the peerage and wealth. The pale yellow light revealed only the area near the desk. The rest of the huge room was in shadow.
The library was ostentatious, a word he’d heard one of the maids try to pronounce. “And what does it mean, I’m asking you?” She’d been talking to one of the cook’s helpers, but he’d interjected. “It means fancy.” She’d made a face before saying, “Well, why couldn’t they just say fancy, then?”
Because everything about Marsley House was ostentatious. This library certainly qualified. The room had
three floors connected by a circular black iron staircase. The third floor was slightly larger than the second,
making it possible for a dozen lamps to hang from chains affixed to each level at different heights.
If he’d lit them all it would have been bright as day in here, illuminating thousands of books.
He didn’t think the Whitcomb family had read every one of the volumes. Some of them looked as
if they were new, the dark green leather and gold spines no doubt as shiny as when they’d arrived
from the booksellers. Others were so well worn that he couldn’t tell what the titles were until he pulled
them from the shelves and opened them. There were a great many books on military history and he suspected that was the late duke’s doing. He turned to look at the portrait over the mantel. George Whitcomb, Tenth Duke of Marsley, was wearing his full military uniform, the scarlet jacket so bright a shade that Adam’s eyes almost watered. The duke’s medals gleamed as if the sun had come out from behind the artist’s window to shine directly on such an exalted personage. He wore a sword tied at his waist and his head was turned slightly to the right, his gaze one that Adam remembered. Contempt shone in his eyes, as if everything the duke witnessed was beneath him, be it people, circumstances, or the scenery of India. Adam was surprised that the man had allowed himself to be painted with graying hair. Even his mutton chop whiskers were gray and brown. In India, Whitcomb had three native servants whose sole duties were to ensure the duke’s sartorial perfection at all times. He was clipped and coiffed and brushed and shined so that he could parade before his men as the ultimate authority of British might.
His eyes burned out from the portrait, so dark brown that they appeared almost black, narrowed
and penetrating. “Damn fine soldiers, every single one of them. All mongrels, of course, but fighting men.”
At least the voice—surprisingly higher in pitch than Adam had expected—was silent now. He didn’t
have to hear himself being called a mongrel again. Whitcomb had been talking about the British regiments
assigned to guard the East India Company settlements. He could well imagine the man’s comments about native soldiers. What a damned shame Whitcomb had been killed in a carriage accident. He deserved a firing squad at the very least. He wished the duke to Hell as he had ever since learning of the man’s death. The approaching storm with its growling thunder seemed to approve of the sentiment. As if to further remind him of India, his shoulder began to throb. Every time it rained the scar announced its presence, the bullet wound just one more memory to be expunged. It was this house. It brought to mind everything he’d tried to forget for years. Adam turned away from the portrait, his attention on the massive, heavily tooled mahogany desk. This, too, was larger than it needed to be, raised on a dais, more a throne than a place a man might work. A perfect reflection of the Duke of Marsley’s arrogance. The maids assigned this room had left the curtains open. If he had been a proper majordomo he would no doubt chastise them for their oversight. But because he’d been a leader of men, not of maids, he decided not to mention it.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of TO LOVE A DUCHESS by Karen Ranney, we’re giving away two paperback copies of THE TEXAN DUKE!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of the The Texan Duke by Karen Ranney. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/11/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Karen Ranney
KAREN RANNEY began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained an overwhelming love of her life.
NYT bestselling author, M. J. Rose crafts a dazzling Jazz Age jewel--a novel of ambition, betrayal, and passion with TIFFANY BLUES. TIFFANY BLUES is now available!
New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.
But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.
As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.
Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
March 13, 1957
Laurelton Hall, Laurel Hollow
Oyster Bay, New York
I lost my heart long before this fire darkened its edges. I was twenty-four years old that once-upon-a-time summer when I fell in love. A love that opened a door into a new world. A profusion of greens, shades of purples, spectrums of yellows, oranges, reds, and blues—oh, so many variations of blues.
I never dreamed I’d come back to Laurelton Hall, but I always trusted it would be there if I ever could visit. Now that will be impossible. For all that is left of that arcadia is this smoldering, stinking mess.
Somewhere in this rubble of charred trees, smashed tiles, and broken glass is my bracelet with its heart-shaped diamond and benitoite charm. Did my heart burn along with the magical house, the primeval forest, the lush bushes, and the glorious flowers? I’m not sure. Platinum is a hard metal. Diamonds are harder still. Or did just the engraving melt? And what of the man whose hand had grabbed at the bracelet? His muscle and flesh would have rotted by now. But what of the bones? Do bones burn? Back when it all happened, no report about a missing artist was ever made.
I take a few tentative steps closer to the rubble of the house. Bits of glass glint in the sun. A shard of ruby flashes, another of deep amethyst. I bend and pick up a fragment the size of my hand and wipe the soot off its surface. With a start, I recognize this pattern.
Patterns, Mr. Tiffany once said, be they found in events, in nature, even in the stars in the firmament, are proof of history repeating itself. If we see randomness, it is only because we don’t yet recognize the pattern.
So it shouldn’t surprise me that of all the possible patterns, this is the one I’ve found. This remnant of the stained-glass clematis windows from Oliver’s room. I remember how the light filtered through those windows, radiating color like the gems Mr. Tiffany used in his jewelry. How we stood int hat living light and kissed, and the world opened up for me like an oyster, offering one perfect, luminous pearl. How that kiss became one more, then a hundred more. How we discovered each other’s tastes and scents. How we shared that alchemical reaction when our passions ignited, combusted, and exploded, changing both of us forever.
Clutching the precious memory, I continue walking through the hulking mass of wreckage, treading carefully on the broken treasures. I listen for the familiar sounds—birds chirping, water splashing in the many fountains and the endless rushing of the man-made waterfall that I always went out of my way to avoid.
But everything here is silent. Not even the birds have returned yet.
MIXED UP LOVE
By Natasha Madison
Release Day: August 7th
When my business partner asked me to do him a favor, I had no idea he was sending me on a blind date his mother arranged for him. I walked in the bar, saw the woman drinking her third martini, and knew I was in for an eventful night.
After the unexpected second date, she didn't know my real name or who I really was. By that time, the lie was too far gone, and I wanted her too much to admit the truth.
It's not every day you find out your ex-boyfriend is engaged.
I shouldn't have agreed to the blind date. My mother insisted, and I wasn’t in any position to turn down a night out.
I will admit, I definitely shouldn't have ordered that fourth martini before said blind date even arrived.
The man turned out to be swoon worthy, handsome, condescending—a perfect distraction. Then I found out he was a liar.
I've never been in over my head to this degree.
Then again, I've never been in love.
I pull up to the front door, and the valet meets me at my door once I stop. “Good evening, sir,” he says once I open my door.
“Yeah, I won’t be here long,” I tell him as I get out, not bothering to take off my sunglasses when I hand him the keys.
“No worries, sir. It will be here when you are ready,” he says, handing me the ticket for later. I put it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket. I walk inside to the hostess table, where a woman who looks like she is eighteen stands smiling.
“How may I help you?” she asks sweetly. I stop and look around to see if I might recognize the woman I’m here to meet, even though I’ve never met her. I spot a couple of women at the bar, but I instinctively know they aren’t her. I also check for exits. It’s not my fault; it’s just instilled in me.
Looking to the left, I don’t see anyone sitting alone, but then I look to the right, and I see her. I don’t know why I know it’s her, but I just do. With curly long blond hair, she downs a martini, then picks up another one and brings it to her mouth. I spot a waiter walking with two more martinis on his tray, and I’m not surprised when I see him approaching her table. “Great,” I say under my breath. “I found her,” I tell the hostess and start walking toward the table. She spots me and watches my every move. Luckily, the glasses I’m wearing stop her from seeing my eyes.
The closer I get to her, the more my pulse speeds up. What the fuck? This is weird. I look around maybe to see if something else is piquing my interest or maybe I spotted something to elevate my pulse, but no, it’s her. The fact that a gorgeous woman is sitting by herself and drinking like a fish is enough to get any man’s adrenaline pumping. Isn’t it?
“Are you Laney?” I ask, taking off my glasses, and my gray eyes finally meet her blue ones. She opens her mouth, expecting, I think, something to come out, but nothing does. I continue looking around to see if anyone is watching her, and it’s no surprise that I spot two guys at the bar sizing her up.
“Here are two more.” The waiter smiles at her, putting two more glasses down on the table and taking the two now empty ones away. She laughs nervously, and I want to reach out and trip him when he walks away.
“It isn’t what it looks like.” Her soft voice breaks me out of my plan, and I turn back to her as she smiles at me, causing my heartbeat to skyrocket. The collar of my shirt suddenly feels tight, but it’s not even buttoned.
“Really? I find it hard to believe,” I finally say. Looking around again, I spot the same two guys in suits sitting at the bar watching her. This time, one of them spots me and looks back down at his drink. “It looks like you’re sitting here waiting for something bad to happen.” I pull out the chair and sit in front of her.
“Um.” She still doesn’t say anything.
When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...
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She’s a warrior at heart.
Briar’s life was changed forever by a childhood marked by loss and trauma. When she was an orphan the government recruited her into a secret program and turned her into a contract killer. No matter how hard she tries to leave that life behind her, it’s still a part of who she is. She loves and trusts her husband deeply, but old habits die hard. Now everything is about to change for them. When things take a life-threatening turn, Briar is forced to confront her most deeply buried insecurities and find the courage to lay herself bare to the man who has promised to stand by her always.
But this is one battle she can’t win alone.
Matt loves his independent, badass wife more than anything, but she’s also the most stubborn and frustrating woman he’s ever known. Haunted by a loss that shook him to his core, he’s even more determined to protect Briar now that their lives are about to be altered forever. He’ll do anything for her, but if they’re going to have a shot at a happily ever after as a family, his fierce Valkyrie must first learn to lower her guard and let him in completely.
Disavowed by Kaylea Cross blew me away with its intensity, and when I saw there was a chance to visit with Matt and Briar again at the time when their lives are changing forever, I might have squealed a bit. And Ms. Cross does manage put a wallop of emotions into this novella, get your tissues ready, you might just need them.
Briar had been, from a very young age, trained to be a killer, to avoid emotions, and focus on the task. Her struggles to hold her independence and to stay strong, to convince herself that she can be a good mom despite the way she was brought up, to reassure herself that she can take care and nurture her child is heart-wrenching.
Matt loves Briar more than anything and is willing to make any sacrifices for her happiness and safety. I love how he reacted when he saw the struggle Briar was facing, how he stood up, and what lengths he was willing to go to be there for her and for his little family.
The suspense in the story comes from the intense and danger-filled jobs both Briar and Matt have. The drama is poignant, yet compassionate and even informative. The warm, loving, tangible adoration between Matt and Briar is uplifting, the brotherhood and closeness between the members of the Hostage Rescue team are as palpable as it always has been.
A touching and moving tale, an emotional and intense continues to the devoted and passionate love story growing, developing, and maturing between Matt and Briar.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
A Masters and Mercenaries Novella
By Lexi Blake
July 31, 2018
Their first chance at love ended in heartbreak
Wade Rycroft fell in love with Geneva Harris when she was the smartest girl in his class. The rodeo star and the shy academic made for an odd pair, but their chemistry was undeniable. They made plans to get married after high school. Those plans changed when Genny broke his heart. Joining the Army gave him a chance to leave that life behind. News that Genny married the town’s golden boy let Wade know that he could never go home again.
A chance encounter rekindles an old flame
Fifteen years later, he’s found his place in the world and tried to forget the woman who left him standing in the rain. After leaving the Army he forged a new life as a bodyguard at McKay-Taggart, but he still feels incomplete. When his brother’s wedding brings him home to Broken Bend, Texas, he walks into a storm of scandal. Genny’s marriage has dissolved, the town has turned against her, and someone is making threats. Seeing her again reawakens feelings he thought were long gone, and he worries that staying close enough to help her could be too much to bear.
Their reunion just might kill them both
After an attempt is made on Genny’s life, Wade can’t refuse to help her. Watching over her day and night, it’s clear that having her back in his life could be the thing to finally make him whole. When the danger follows them back to Dallas, their second chance at love could be over before it even begins.
“Don’t. Don’t tell me how to feel. I know you’ve worked through this, but I don’t know how to.”
“It helps to admit that we were all children back then.”
“My mother wasn’t.” He needed to talk about this with her.
“No, but she wasn’t the same after your dad died. She was lost and I’ve forgiven her,” she replied quietly. “You can’t spend your life being angry.”
“You’re angry with me.”
For a moment he thought she would ignore him. Then she turned to him, her eyes shining in the moonlight. “Maybe. It’s hard to figure out how I feel about you. For a long time, I dreamed about you at night. You were the only man I ever loved. Brock killed that. I think he might have killed the part of me that can love someone other than my son. I didn’t feel a lot when my father passed. But then he was the one who told me to suck it up. I went to him after Brock hit me the first time. He told me to not make my husband mad.”
“Genny, he should have killed him. I would have. God, I should have.” That sorrow that had been building inside him threatened to spill over. Anger was there, but it was overshadowed by the terrible pain he felt at the thought of her being alone and afraid.
“It’s funny,” she said, studying him in the silvery light. “I went over pretty much every possible scenario I could, and this wasn’t the way I thought you would handle it. It’s why it took forever for me to talk to you. I thought you would either not care at all or that you would be so angry you went after everyone. I hesitated because I thought I might unleash a beast.”
He could give her this. Since the moment he’d learned the truth, he’d genuinely forced himself to think about how he reacted. It would be selfish to act out in anger when she needed him to be calm, to think about what was best for her. The drive from Broken Bend to Dallas with Ash had made that clear to him. They needed someone who would thoughtfully protect them, not a raging animal who fed his own needs. “You’ve had enough anger in your life. It’s there. God, it’s there, but I swear I won’t act on it because I won’t do anything that could hurt you. I’ll try to handle him in every legal way I can and if I have to take him out, I’ll do it in a way that can never come back on any of us. You don’t need my rage. You do need me though.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Because you think I’ll let you down again.” It wasn’t a question.
“Because I don’t want to love anyone again,” she admitted.
Coming to other retailers October 29, 2018
FREE Kindle app https://amzn.to/2AmPtKM to read now on Kindle
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.
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The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan
Series The Rogue Files Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 24, 2018
A bride wasn’t in his plans . . .
The last thing Marcus, the Duke of Autenberry, expects to see after sleeping off a night’s drunken shenanigans is a woman being auctioned in the village square. Before he can think about the ramifications, he buys her, thinking he’s winning the girl her freedom. Instead, he discovers he’s bought a wife.
A duke wasn’t in hers . . .
Alyse Bell is almost rid of the shackles that bound her in a name-only marriage, but the day her friend promised to purchase her in a wife auction, he vanishes, leaving her to face a mob of unsavory bachelors intent on owning her body and soul. But the appearance of a wicked, wealthy stranger changes her path forever.
The road to ruin . . .
Marcus doesn’t know what to do with the impertinent chit who clearly isn’t duchess material! Insisting their marriage isn’t legitimate, they leave for his estate in Scotland, hoping to devise a plan to get rid of each other. However, on a journey fraught with misadventure, their attraction grows and Marcus realizes he’ll do anything to keep this fiery woman for his own.
Marcus looked down at the man, unable to help himself from asking, “Is this normal practice?”
The father looked up at him. His nose wrinkled, confirming Marcus did, indeed, reek of a dung heap. Even so, the cut of his clothing and the fine horse he sat upon had the man doffing his hat. “A wife auction, ye mean?”
“I never heard of such a thing.”
“Oh, aye. Not verra commonplace but tis a way for a ’usband tae rid ’imself a wife. I seen it a time before many years ago. An older woman then.” He nodded at the slight figure on the platform. “No’ so young as this. She’ll fetch a fine price.” The man glanced at the girl wistfully. Marcus turned his attention back to the hapless girl. The bidding had reached nine pounds now. An old man stood beside the auctioneer. Her husband? Why would he wish to rid himself of a young wife?
The auctioneer’s voice boomed over the crowd, cajoling the men to dig deeper into their pockets. The onlookers chimed in, hooting and shouting encouragement as well.
“Gentlemen! Wot ye thinking to let this one slip from yer grasp?” He stood behind her and gripped her by the shoulders, forcing her to step forward as though they all needed a better view of her.
Something stirred in Marcus’s stomach at the man’s thick hands on the girl. Despite all his extolling of her hardiness, she was thin. She could easily break beneath someone bigger and ruthlessly inclined. A description that fit a fair number of men in this crowd.
The auctioneer snapped back her cloak, parting it to reveal her body, still mostly hidden within a sack-like wool gown. She snatched at the edges of her cloak and covered herself again, glaring at the auctioneer.
He felt himself smile. There was fire in her. His smile slipped. How long would it last after this day’s unpleasant business? After she was crushed beneath the boot of a man who bought her as though she were a broodmare? How long until the fire was snuffed out completely?
“ ’Tis a fine body! She’ll give ye countless sons tae work in yer trade. At two and twenty she ’as many a year left tae breed. No green girl ’ere, nay! She can work yer farm, run a ’ouse and care fer bairns.” He forced her to turn in a circle. She stumbled slightly as though her shoes were too big.
“But can she work a cock?” an anonymous voice cried out.
The crowd erupted into laughter. The auctioneer stomped his boot on the platform. “Wot scoundrel said that?”
A bent-backed old man in a vicar’s collar rebuked the crowd. “Mind yer tongues! I’ll not stand fer it!”
Marcus shook his head. But the vicar would stand for such an exhibition as this? As long as there were no obscenities?
The girl’s face was fiery red as she faced front again.
Marcus stared at that face, thinking of his sisters, Clara and Enid. Safe back in Town. Pampered and genteel, shopping and taking tea in the parlor and rides in the park. He hoped that would always be so. That this side of life would never touch them as it touched this wretched creature.
The bidding stalled and the auctioneer looked displeased. “Come, men! Ye would let such a fine lass go fer so paltry a sum as thirteen pounds!”
“Why didna ye plow ’er, Beard?” a man heckled. “Ye weren’t man enough fer the task or the lass be squeamish?”
The old man turned red-faced.
The auctioneer shouted, “Enough of that!”
“Bite yer tongue, MacDunn, or I’ll ’ave a word wi’ yer mam!” A heavy matron called out.
MacDunn wasn’t to be fazed. He hollered back. “Untried as she is, we’ve a right tae ken if the lass can perform ’er duties!”
“Aye, thirteen pounds should get us a sampling, Hines!”
Hoots of approval followed this. The girl actually looked alarmed, her gaze flitting over the surging crowd as though Hines might agree to such a thing.
Frustration flashed across the auctioneer’s face. He was losing control over the horde and he knew it.
In an impulsive move, he grabbed her by the chin and forced her face higher. “She be fair enough.” He peeled back her lips. “And a fine set of teeth. A proper sign of ’ealth!”
Marcus’s stomach squeezed anew and he had the urge to vault onto that platform and give the man a good thrashing. He never could stomach the sight of a woman being manhandled. No matter her rank. Farm girl or lady. He supposed his stepmother had something to do with that. She’d raised him to be a gentleman—more than his father ever had. His father always accused him of being weak. Too soft.
He pushed thoughts of Graciela and his father aside. His stepmother was part of the reason he was out here in this godforsaken little backwater. He would not think of her now.
The girl’s head sprang forward at Hines. The auctioneer lurched away suddenly, yanking his hands from her as though she were afire. “Ouch! The little ’ellion bit me!”
The crowd laughed in approval.
“Och! There be some spirit in ’er!”
Marcus grinned. Served him right.
The auctioneer glared down at her crossly, nursing his wounded hand.
A man suddenly cried out, “Take off ’er dress!”
The auctioneer flipped her cloak back off her shoulders, revealing her in her ill-fitting brown wool gown.
Despite his disgust at the sordid scene, Marcus couldn’t look away. He should turn and leave. One voice commanded that, but another part of himself was rooted in place, taking it all in . . . taking in her, this proud girl with fire in her eyes.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE DUKE BUYS A BRIDE by Sophie Jordan, we’re giving away a paperback set of the Rogue Files series by Sohpie Jordan and a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a one paperback set of the Rogue Files series by Sophie Jordan and a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/6/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Sophie Jordan
SOPHIE JORDAN grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she’s the New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of more than twenty novels. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with anything that has a happily ever after. You can visit her online at http://www.sophiejordan.net.
Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James
Series The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date July 31, 2018
The richest bachelor in England plays matchmaker…for an heiress he wants for himself!
For beautiful, witty Lavinia Gray, there’s only one thing worse than having to ask the appalling Parth Sterling to marry her: being turned down by him.
Now the richest bachelor in England, Parth is not about to marry a woman as reckless and fashion-obsessed as Lavinia; he’s chosen a far more suitable bride.
But when he learns of Lavinia's desperate circumstances, he offers to find her a husband. Even better, he’ll find her a prince.
As usual, there’s no problem Parth can’t fix. But the more time he spends with the beguiling Lavinia, the more he finds himself wondering…
Why does the woman who’s completely wrong feel so right in his arms?
Gentlemen didn’t kiss like this. And yet he couldn’t stop . . .
She tasted better than anything—anyone. She tasted like honey and spice, like brandy ans excitement.
Dimly, he was aware that blood was thundering through his veins . . . from a mere kiss.
The reality of it shocked him back into sense and he pulled back, ending the kiss. Lavinia opened her eyes. Annoyed. She was annoyed. Years of reading her face told him exactly how she was feeling.
“Kiss me again, Mr. Sterling,” she ordered, her voice husky. For a moment he just felt a flare of anger at that formal address, but she tugged at his hair.
He dove back into the kiss as if it had never ended.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of BORN TO BE WILDE by Eloisa James, we’re giving away one hardcover set of THE WILDES OF LINDOW CASTLE series!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a hardcover set of The Wildes of Lindow Castle series by Eloisa James. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 8/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About the Author
ELOISA JAMES is a New York Times best-selling author and professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at http://www.eloisajames.com.
The Serpent by Sarah Fine
Series The Immortal Dealers #1
Genre Adult Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy
Publisher 47North (Imprint of Amazon Publishing)
Publication Date July 24, 2018
THE FIRST BOOK IN AN EXCITING NEW URBAN FANTASY SERIES BY BESTSELLING AUTHOR SARAH FINE.
One woman is in a world of otherworldly trouble—and she’s going to have to bet her life to save humankind.
Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger has put her dreams aside to look after her eccentric mother. Case in point: saving her from a mysterious stranger who’s just stormed the terrified woman’s antique store wearing a rattlesnake tattoo, leveling threats, and brandishing the weirdest deck of cards Ernie’s ever seen.
When Ernie grabs some of the cards and runs, she’s launched into a world she never knew existed—one her mother may know more about than she’s revealing. With a handful of stolen cards, Ernie has just been made an unwilling player in a game of good versus evil. But she’s not even playing with a full deck, and its original owner is more than happy to kill to get his cards back.
Suddenly Ernie’s matching wits and plays with the supernatural Immortal Dealers, who can raise empires, damn souls, and shape the world’s destiny. It’s up to Ernie to defeat the most brutal member of their order. And if her roguish new ally isn’t bluffing, he can help. The mystery is all in the cards, and to save her life—and humanity—Ernie had better learn how to deal.
Caught off guard, Ernie stared at the cards. The backs had an elaborate design. It looked like a snake—its tail ending in a rattle, its back crisscrossed with a diamond pattern—coiled around a globe, its mouth stretched wide to take a bite, fangs out. She shoved the cards toward the man’s chest, needing that creepy image as far from her as possible. She freaking hated snakes. “If I was interested in cheap tricks and whiskey breath, I’d go hang out with Morris the homeless magician over in Pritchard Park. Just tell me what you said to my friend that scared her so badly.”
“Maybe she’s easily scared,” he said, leaning forward and deliberately blowing his boozy breath at her face. “Peeking at the future is hardly for the faint of heart. Now if you will excuse me.” He took Ernie by the shoulders, but she threw his hands off.
“’S there a problem?” asked the bartender, pausing with a cocktail shaker in each hand.
“Not at all,” said the card guy. “I was just leaving.” Taking advantage of the distraction, he brushed past Ernie and was out the door before she could stop him.
“Ugh,” said Ernie before realizing the bartender was still watching her. “Hey—did you hear that guy talking to my friend? She has long blond hair, really pretty?”
The bartender poured the drinks into two glasses and handed them to waiting patrons with a curt nod. “’S been busy tonight. He seemed to be minding his own business.”
“Playing solitaire, riiiight,” said Ernie, rolling her eyes.
“Nah, that wasn’t solitaire. I think it was—tarot, maybe? Symbols and pictures on the cards. He had your friend pick one. I did see that.”
He’d said something similar to Ernie. “Thanks,” she said to the bartender, then made her way to the bathroom. There was a long line of drunk dudes and irritated women waiting, and none of them were her friends, so Ernie banged on the door. “Guys? It’s me.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of THE SERPENT, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Sarah Fine. Giveaway ends 8/4/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About the Author
Sarah Fine is the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes(McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, the bestselling Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), and The Impostor Queen (McElderry, January 2016).
She is also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scan and its sequel Burn. Her bestselling adult urban fantasy romance series, Servants of Fate, includes Marked, Claimed, and Fated, and was published by 47North in 2015, and her second adult UF series --Reliquary (and its sequels Splinter and Mosaic) was published 2016. When she’s not writing, she’s psychologizing. Sometimes she does both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble delivers her signature blend of romance and suspense when Ellie Blackmore sets out to find the truth about what happened to her sister.
Ellie Blackmore is making a name for herself as a young house flipper. But when her sister disappears, she can’t focus on anything but finding out what really happened. Blood on the floor might indicate that MacKenzie was killed and her body was removed.
Ellie is at odds with Grayson Bradshaw, the handsome Coast Guard intelligence officer who thinks MacKenzie faked her own death and is off enjoying her ill-gotten gains: billions of dollars in cocaine.
They both want the truth, but truth—and family—is often more complex than it may first appear.
From stealing a major load of drugs, to sabotage, murders, fires, and terrorist attacks the story covers or glimpses many different kinds of criminal activities and near death situations in the intense suspense side of the tale. Add to that the family drama, the kidnapped baby, the secret adoption, new families, bitter exes, and the developing love story, and I admit at times it felt a bit overwhelming at times. Thankfully, the protagonists, Ellie Blackmore and Grayson Bradshaw, hold the story together well with their intriguing characteristics, charm, and composure.
Grayson Bradshaw's career and life, in general, was shattered by the ambush that killed his best friend and left him with a bad knee that put him into a desk job with the coast guards. At the start of a new investigation, he finds out a family secret that changes his life forever and rocks his stable mind and relationship with his parents.
Ellie Blackmore is happy with her life as a successful business owner of a construction company that flips houses. She might have to balance her life, and the peace of mind, between her sister Mac and her business partner Jason, who happens to be Mac's ex-husband, but things are going well for Ellie until her sister disappears on her birthday, and the rumors start to fly about her involvement of stealing drugs, and being part of terrorist cell.
I liked Ellie and Grayson together, they had a palpable thing between them, a connection, an understanding, a bond, attraction. It is like from the first moment they met, they click, even if it is not obvious to themselves, at least it is to the readers. Their faith in God is an assumed and understood fact, while it is in not a major part of the plot, God's guidance in their life is a trusted datum.
They do not agree on every or most points of the investigation, yet they support each other, protect each other, and encourage the other while on the hunt for information and for the truth. A truth that is so twisted and convoluted that I could have never guessed it while reading the story, the surprises keeps coming, and even the major players of the tale are not safe from the harm and malice of the criminals.
A vibrantly speedy action-packed tale with plenty of twists and turns, in the intense suspense, the human drama side as well as with the lovely, sweet and clean romance. With vivid images, constant surprises, startling twists, and compelling characters the author delivers another gripping and puzzling tale in the winning series, an entertaining and captivating tale.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
A woman on the run seeks sanctuary in a peaceful Pennsylvania Dutch community—and finds a protector in the most unlikely of men…
One moment Rachel Hartline is secure in her career and community. The next, she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time—watching her ex-husband commit a crime that puts her in unfathomable danger. Fear and hurt send her home to an Amish farm and the family she’s always trusted. But a private investigator is close behind—and he may be a threat to her in more ways than one…
Cold, calculating Clint Mordan isn’t convinced Rachel is as innocent in her ex-husband’s schemes as she claims, but when her ex’s enemies target Rachel, Clint is driven to keep her safe. Maybe the terror in her beautiful eyes and the target on her back aren’t an act. But as his feelings toward her deepen, Clint realizes he’s the only one who can keep Rachel alive in a game where only the killer knows the stakes.
With the ascended tension of the investigation and the sweetest love story developing in the shadows of it, the Shattered Silence captured my mind, vastly entertaining and holding my interest with the frantic search for the truth and near escapes from the potentially deadly attacks.
I loved how the graceful homecoming for Rachel Hartline to her Amish roots made me smile and brought so much joy to the story, while the intensifying suspense put me on the edge, only hoping for the best.
Rachel is a strong and capable, smart and independent heroine who was easy to like, admire and relate to. From a young age, she has learned not to trust easily, being let down by the ones who should love and care for you the most. But that has not made her bitter or hard, quite the opposite, she is kind, resilient, considerate, generous person, all the trades she learned during her summers at the Amish farm with her grandparents.
Clint Mordan is a complex, wounded hero. What at first seemed like a cold and hard man, goal oriented with no sympathy, turns out to be a considerate, kind, gentle, fiercely protective hero, who would do anything and risk everything to keep Rachel safe, and alive.
I enjoyed how the story was built, how the moments of fear, dread, and tension take turns with the adorable times with the family at the farm. The tale is well written and had such an easy flow to it, the development of the plot was so effortless and smooth, going from fun and enjoyable to frightening and even deadly without missing a beat.
The characters were well thought out, the protagonists had depth and stood out, they had a tangible chemistry in between them, while the story held in the clean and sweet category when it comes to the romance.
Shattered Silence is an entertaining, dramatic, and thrilling story, suitable for all suspense as well as romance readers. It has an intense, arresting investigation, splendid and touching romance, and a homecoming that will remind the readers of the importance of a family, of the people who will always be there for us, a life-lesson of trust and forgiveness served as a side dish.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Legends of the Veil by Various Authors
Series Summer of Supernaturals #4
Genre Adult Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance
Publisher Pure Textuality PR
Publication Date August 1, 2018
Slip into the seelie realm with this collection of paranormal short stories dedicated to ancient magical creatures with the power of silver tongues and a talent for trickery.
LEGENDS OF THE VEIL, the fourth action-packed anthology in the Summer of Supernaturals series featuring fae from nine of today’s best urban fantasy and paranormal romance authors.
Featured Authors: Courtney Shockey, DJ Shaw, Joynell Schultz, Katherine McIntyre, Laura Greenwood, Laurie Treacy, Michelle Irwin, Miranda Lynn, and Pauline Creeden.
To celebrate the SUMMER OF SUPERNATURALS anthology series, we’re giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to four lucky winners!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. Four winners will each receive a $50 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of PTPR and Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Book Bargains. Giveaway ends 8/31/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Pure Textuality PR will send the prizes to the winner via email. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!