Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance – Laurie Benson @MillsandBoon @LaurieBWrites @rararesources #BlogTour 4* #Review #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #Bath #TheSommersbyBridesQuartet

She’s played Cupid for others
Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

The final book of The Sommersby Brides quartet. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbour’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

*Rachel, it might be worth noting somewhere that this is a Seasoned Regency Romance. I know there is an interest in older (mature) heroines at the moment and Clara is in her forties in this story.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A witty, romantic Regency romance, set in Bath, with a delightful older heroine, who is looking for her second chance at love. The final book in #TheSommersbyBridesQuartet, Clara, finally gets her chance for happiness, after helping her nieces find theirs. This story reads as a standalone, but if you get the chance to read all the books, do.

This is not a traditional Regency romance, although the Bath setting is. Lane is a businessman, with secrets, Clara is a businesswoman with secrets, which cause conflict as they pursue their unlikely attraction.

The pacing and romance are gentle, but the external conflicts of, social class and conformity, are pertinent and illustrate the hypocrisy of Regency England. The characters both main and subsidiary are well created, and the ending is lovely.

Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romances. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Now, she is happy to put that behind her and spend her time writing stories that take her and her readers on a romantic adventure. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

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Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperbacks of His Three-Day Duchess by Laurie Benson (Open INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

Dare to Love a Duke – Eva Leigh 5* #Review @MillsandBoon @EvaLeighAuthor #MillsandBoonInsiders #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance #Extract #ScandalousLadiesofLondon #TheLondonUnderground #BlogTour

Dare to Love a Duke

A Masked Stranger. A Passionate Encounter. A Chance at Love?

For a dashing duke and the proprietress of a secret, sensual club, passion could lead to love…

Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more duelling, or carousing, or frequenting masked balls. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet.

Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. Yet no member of the club has ever intrigued her…until him, the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, do they dare to give in to temptation…?

Amazon UK

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I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest reveiw.


My Thoughts…

On first acquaintance, Lucia is, the most scandalous of the ladies in this Regency romance series. The proprietress of a secret sex club, although not the owner, she is above the wild abandonment that takes place behind its doors, and never fraternises with members, until Tom. The early chapters of this book are explicit, but not in a gratuitous way. The descriptions demonstrate the ethos of the club and the double standards of polite society. It is a surprisingly egalitarian place, where identity is secret, members are drawn to the place for its freedom.

Tom first visits the club as the Duke’s heir, when it fits into his hedonistic lifestyle, Twelve months later, he attends only for his interaction with Lucia or Amina as she is known in ‘The Orchid Club’, they talk but don’t touch, which sets them apart from everyone else. Then his circumstances change, and he realises, so must his life.

Tom and Lucia are from different social classes, but they share the same beliefs, even if it takes Lucia to make Tom realise his true self. The plot has many twists, that force the couple together. Their relationship is full of conflicts that make their chance of lasting happiness unlikely.

Lucia, like all the women in this series, wants to help women and children subjected to deprivation and poverty, which she has experienced first hand. Scandal and social reform are the main themes of this Regency romance, which showcases the strength and tenacity of Lucia and her friends, in a class controlled, male-dominated society.

While the message of the novel is clear, it doesn’t deter from the delicious interplay between Lucia and Tom, and their passionate romance. The ending is romantic and satisfying, and the epilogue rounds off the series perfectly.

#TheLondonUnderground
Extract From – Dare to Love a Duke – Eva Leigh

Chapter 1

London, England

1816

A droplet of sweat rolled between the shoulder blades of Thomas Edward O’Connell Cúchulain Powell, Earl of Langdon, as he steadied the cocked duelling pistol and took aim. He looked down the weapon’s barrel, his concentration fixed on his target twenty paces away. His exhalation misted in the chill midnight air as he fought for calm.

He inhaled, held his breath, then pulled the trigger.

There was a flash and a cloud of smoke as the weapon’s

concussion split the night’s stillness.

Twenty paces away, glass shattered.

The hushed crowd burst into applause and cheers of “Bravo!” as Tom lowered the pistol and grinned. He kept his footing as people swarmed around him, offering their congratulations and hearty thumps on the back. Numerous women, scented heavily with perfume, kissed his cheeks—so many that he imagined it looked as though he wore rouge.

“The hero of Regent’s Park,” George Mowbray declared.

“Not to Culver, I’m afraid.”

Tom looked over at his opponent, Lord Culver, who sulked as he handed his duelling pistol to a footman. Culver had missed when taking aim at the bottle of claret. Perhaps if Tom had been more virtuous, he would have deliberately missed so that there was no winner and no loser. Though Tom was an earl and the heir to the Duke of Northfield, no one would ever call

him virtuous.

“Ah, shag him,” Mowbray said magnanimously.

“I’ll leave that to the professionals.”

Tom smiled ruefully as Culver’s hired companion for the evening attempted to soothe her client. When Culver shoved her away and she stumbled, Tom immediately strode through the crowd and jammed his fist into his opponent’s sternum.

“You may have lost, but you’re still a gentleman,” Tom said in a low, warning voice. Gently, he took the woman’s arm to make sure she kept her footing.

“Apologize to the lady.”

“She’s just a whore, Langdon,” Culver said.

“Apologize.” Tom’s jaw firmed as he held up the pistol. “Or else the next time I fire this, it will be at your worthless heart.”

Culver scowled, but said in a grudging voice, “I’m sorry.” Under his breath, he muttered, “You Irish son of a bitch.”

Tom narrowed his eyes. “Repeat that.”

“I . . .” Culver gulped. “It was a jest.”

“A poor one.” Since the age of twelve, when he’d been brought from his mother’s Irish home to be educated in his father’s country of England, Tom had heard some variation of Culver’s insult. Why anyone thought Tom ought to be embarrassed about his Irish blood, he’d no idea. But he wouldn’t tolerate slurs.

“Must I ask for another apology?”

“My sincere contrition,” Culver said. After casting Tom a wary glance, he hurried toward his waiting carriage.

“Hope I didn’t cost you your night’s earnings,” Tom said to the woman.

“Ah, no.” She gave him a dry smile as she eyed the throngs of young, wealthy bucks passing bottles back and forth as they caroused. “There’s plenty of pickings in this crowd.” She glanced at him and her smile turned more genuine. “Happens that I’m free right now, my lord. If you’re interested.”

“Perhaps another evening.” He wasn’t ready for bed yet.

One of the rakes came forward with a substantial bundle of cash and jammed it into Tom’s hand. “Your winnings, Langdon.”

No sooner than the cash was in his hand than Tom turned and handed it to the woman. “For putting up with Culver.”

“I couldn’t, my lord,” she said as she tucked the money into her bodice. She gave him a wink. “ ’Night, love.” She pressed a quick kiss to his cheek, then

strode off into the darkness.

“That was near seventy pounds, Langdon,” Mowbray said in shock.

“She’ll have better use of it than me.”

There was no shortage of funds in Tom’s coffers, between income from his earldom as well as his generous allowance provided by his father, the duke. Other lordlings and bucks swam in seas of debt, hounded constantly by tailors, club proprietors, and wine shop owners. Tom made certain to pay everyone on time, for no other reason than the fact that he could.

“I’d do it again for free if it meant humiliating Culver. Bloke’s had it coming since he refused to cover his mistress’s bills.”

“You’re a daft bastard,” Mowbray said with a shake of his head.

“I’d agree,” Tom said affably, “except everyone knows about my parents’ celebrated fidelity. Bastard in deed but not blood.”

Someone handed him a bottle of whiskey and he took a drink before passing the spirits along to a trio of bucks who looked in dire need of refreshment.

“Good Christ, here you are!”

The throng opened up just enough to allow Christopher Ellingsworth to emerge, looking slightly bedraggled despite his military bearing. Since returning home from the War a year ago, Ellingsworth had renewed the friendship he and Tom had begun at Oxford, and from that point forward they had been nigh inseparable, with the exception of tonight.

“Missed the excitement.” Tom handed his pistol to the footman, who returned it to its polished mahogany case.

“Not for want of trying,” his friend said. “I’ve been to the opera, two gaming hells, and a phaeton race. Everywhere I went, I’d just missed you by ten minutes.” He shook his head but his eyes gleamed with reluctant admiration. “Good thing we’re not competing for the title of Most Scapegrace Gentleman in London, or else you’d best me.”

“That trophy isn’t much sought after, anyway. Why such urgency to find me?” Tom lifted an eyebrow.

“My father’s not looking for me, I hope.”

The duke periodically got it into his head that Tom would somehow reform and conduct himself with the dignity and sobriety of a ducal heir with a family history of deeply traditional beliefs, but that was precisely why Tom spent his days asleep and his nights in endless rounds of revelry. One day, hopefully in the far distant future, Tom would inherit the title, and with it, the morass of responsibilities and duties that came with being one of the most powerful men in England—and a voting record dedicated to preserving the ancient systems of power.

Life as Tom knew it would end. He’d say goodbye to nights entertaining opera dancers, midnight swims in the Serpentine, and behaving like the kingdom’s veriest rogue, with his equally dissolute companions keeping him company.

As a marquess’s third son who had recently sold his commission, Ellingsworth had considerably less money but shared Tom’s appetite for running riot. There wasn’t one corner of the city they hadn’t explored in search of amusement and pleasure.

Ellingsworth hooked an arm around Tom’s neck and led him several paces away from the celebrants.

In a low voice, he said, “I’ve heard about something that I knew would interest you. A place in Bloomsbury called the Orchid Club.”

Tom groaned. “I’ve grown weary of clubs. Same games of chance, same people, same wine, same everything.”

His friend’s grin flashed. “This club is different.

For one, it opens its doors only once a week and it just so happens to be open tonight.”

That wasn’t enough to snare Tom’s interest. Many clubs did what they could to cultivate an air of mystery in order to ensure steady business from those eager to discover its secrets.

“What else makes it so special? Is it a brothel?”

“It is most decisively not a brothel. You’ll need this, however.” Ellingsworth unhooked his arm from around Tom’s neck. He reached into his coat before producing something, then slipped the item into Tom’s hand.

Tom held up the object so he could study it better. It was a half-mask made of midnight blue satin.

“What the devil . . . ?”

Ellingsworth chuckled. “You’re intrigued.”

“You’ve gotten my attention.”

Tom had torn all over London tonight, but still, edginess and restlessness pulsed just beneath his skin. He needed diversion. Surely there had to be something in the city he hadn’t already done.

“Excellent.” Ellingsworth clapped his hands together. “I left my horse with the boy watching yours.”

He headed toward where the animals waited, and Tom quickly followed.

“Won’t you tell me more about this mysterious Orchid Club?” he asked.

“I wouldn’t dream of ruining the surprise.”

They reached the horses and after tossing coins to the lad holding the reins, Tom and Ellingsworth swung up into the saddles.

“Not even a hint?” Tom pressed.

In response, Ellingsworth put a finger to his smirking mouth, then wheeled his horse around.

Together, he and Tom rode off into the night.

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Daring To Love The Duke’s Heir – Janice Preston @MillsandBoon @JaniceGPreston 5* #Review #MillsandBoonInsiders #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #TheBeauchampHeirs

She’s totally unsuitable…

…to be his Duchess!

Part of The Beauchamp Heirs: Dominic Beauchamp, Lord Avon, is a powerful duke’s heir and it’s his duty to marry well. His bride must have impeccable breeding, manners and grace. But can anyone meet his exacting standards? Certainly not the irrepressible Liberty Lovejoy, who’s been thrust into society after years of being a provincial nobody. She’s too bold, too bubbly…so why is she the only lady he’s thinking about?

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second book in ‘The Beauchamp Heirs’ is a delightful read. I like the originality of the plot, the complexities of the heroine and hero, and the cast of characters who bring this story to life. The historical detail and the ethos of living with the expectations and rules of the ‘haute ton’ are cleverly interwoven into a story that explores marrying for love, over the marriage of convenience.

Liberty Lovejoy protects her family at all costs after the loss of their parents and her intended husband to illness. Her meeting with the outwardly proper Lord Avon would leave society’s matron’s gasping, but thankfully he sees beyond her risque actions, to the caring person, who only wants to save her brother from himself and ruin.

Dominic, The Marquess of Avon is to marry, he has a list of likely ladies, but his unexpected encounter with Liberty severely threatens his plans. Both protagonists are damaged by events in their past, especially Dominic, who believes in duty over happiness.

The romance is gentle, the couple like each other, but the love element to their relationship is a surprise to both. The dialogue is witty and often amusing, and the romance as it deepens passionate. The ending is so romantic, almost fairytale-like, but a perfect completion to a lovely story.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

The Rake’s Enticing Proposal – Lara Temple @MillsandBoon@laratemple1 #Romance #HistoricalRomance #Egypt #Insiders #RegencyRomance -5* #Review #TheSinfulSinclairs #TheRakesEnticingProposal

The rake has a proposition…

Will she accept?

Part of The Sinful Sinclairs. When globe-trotting Charles Sinclair arrives at Huxley Manor to sort out his late cousin’s affairs, he meets practical Eleanor Walsh. He can’t shake the feeling that behind her responsibility to clear her family’s debt, Eleanor longs to escape her staid life. Chase can offer her an exciting adventure in Egypt… But that all depends on her response to his shocking proposal!

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Chase, one of the notorious ‘Sinful Sinclairs’, returns to his uncle’s estate, to retrieve his legacy, stored in the folly on his late uncle’s estate. His surprising meeting with Eleanor (Ellie), threatens the creed he lives by.

This not your usual Rake Regency romance. Chase has a Rake’s reputation, but it is at odds with the true man and his actions. Ellie is fiercely independent and willing to sacrifice the truest part of herself, which she denies, to ensure her family’s security.

The attraction is instant, but forbidden, as soon as one obstacle to their romance disappears, another appears, and the internal conflicts are the biggest barrier to their happiness.

The Egyptian setting and the quest for the missing box gives the story added historical interest and mystery. The romance is slow burning, but you do empathise with their unrequited feelings. Chase is a charming man, far too nice to be a Rake, but nevertheless a worthy man for Ellie. She is brave, selfless and intelligent, so glad they get the ending they deserve.

A Regency Romance with an original twist.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

The Determined Lord Hadleigh – 5* #Review Virginia Heath #KingsElite @MillsandBoon @rararesources #BlogTour #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #TuesdayBookBlog

King’s Elite #4

Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can this he break through his own – and Penny’s – barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?

Amazon UK   

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Firstly, even though this book is the last in the ‘King’s Elite’, series, it reads well as a standalone. The King’s Elite is a group of brave men who protect the crown against enemies abroad and within. The first three books feature British Spies, Hadleigh is a barrister, very skilled and an integral part of the King’s Elite.

Troubled by his past, he is an advocate for justice and the victims who are collateral damage from their outcome, particularly wives. His meeting with Penny is unorthodox but memorable and it acts as a catalyst for his future actions, which although kindly meant, creates instant conflict with Penny.

Penny, the wife of a traitor, and a victim of domestic abuse values her independence above everything, she sees Hadleigh’s well-meant actions as controlling and dislikes him intensely. Not the most auspicious start to a romance, but circumstances contrive, and chemistry sizzles, and as the sensual heat escalates, the couple learn to trust each other, and their feelings.

The setting; preparing for an important trial, gives the plot and original twist. The romance is lovely, full of conflict and indecision, making the ultimate passion, deserved. There is a further twist, which jeopardises the happy-ever-after but rest assured it ends well. The epilogue perfectly sums up the series, whether you’ve read it all or not.

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

A Debutante in Disguise – Eleanor Webster 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @ewebsterauthor #HistoricalRomance #RegencyRomance #Historical

A society lady… 
…with a secret!

Determined to help people, Letty Barton has a double life – she’s a trained doctor! No-one must know ‘Dr Hatfield’ is actually a woman. Called to an emergency, she comes face to face with her patient’s brother, Lord Anthony Ashcroft… They’d once shared a spark-filled flirtation – now he’s a brooding, scarred war-hero. But how long will it be before he recognises her, beneath her disguise, and the sparks begin to fly once more…?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Women’s education was not the norm in Regency times, so a well-educated woman, either had to waste her skills, or use subterfuge to achieve her full potential. Letty is a medical doctor, who works under a pseudo name, disguised as a man. Her life is complex, two identities two lives and when she meets Lord Ashcroft, it becomes even more so.

There is intriguing chemistry between the Tony Ashcroft and Letty, in her female persona. Both sense a familiarity that they cannot pinpoint. The unlikely romance is full of intrigue, confusion and sensual heat. 

It is an entertaining quirky, romantic read, that highlights Regency society’s unforgiving conventions, in respect of both women and those of less than perfect countenance.

30th May 2019

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance

5* #Review – Sophia James -The Cinderella Countess – @MillsandBoon

From rags to riches

By the earl’s side!

Abandoned as a small child, Annabelle Smith has only vague memories of her past. Now living as a healer in London’s poverty-stricken East End, she receives a life-changing visit from the rich and imposing Lytton Staines, Earl of Thornton. He needs a cure for his ailing sister and helping him thrusts Belle into his dazzling life of luxury. But it’s Lytton who makes her world come alive!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An elegant Earl is not the usual visitor at Miss Anabelle Smith’s rented accommodation It is her reputation as a healer that draws him to her, but when they meet there is instant chemistry. The plot is fast paced and has clever twists, which gradually reveal the puzzle of Anabelle’s former life.

The romance is charming. Lytton is an honourable character and Anabelle, self-reliant and kind, they deserve their happy ending, but are their backgrounds and the conflicts that befall them too diverse and numerous?

This is the third book in the ‘Gentlemen of Honour’series, but the first one I have read, and it is a good standalone read. However, the characters from previous books, who feature briefly here, make me want to read their stories too,

Romantic, full of secrets and simmering passion this Regency romance is the perfect escape for an hour or two.