Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: Daniel’s True Desire by Grace Burrowes

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The Joys of True Gentlemanliness… by Grace Burrowesimage

About twenty books ago, I lamented (whined) to one of my brothers that coming up with ways to challenge a romance hero into facing his worst fears and risking all to win the heroine’s heart was taxing my imagination. My brother, without a heartbeat’s pause said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.”

THAT was great advice. Make the hero choose between the woman who needs him, and the military unit depending on him. Make him choose between avenging injustices from his past, or respecting the wishes of the pacifist woman he loves. Make him decide whether to be publicly vindicated or privately forgiving… Delightful stuff, for an author!

And yet, to travel along these brilliant character arcs, our hero must have one characteristic: He must have a well-developed sense of honor. To me, that means this fellow must be honest and kind. He can be poor, grouchy, lacking in charm, without prospects, unlucky in love—Daniel Banks is nodding his head—but ideally, he will still be a true gentleman at heart.

The true gentleman, alas for him, can be tormented from page one by the author and by the story, but from the start, the true gentleman will play by the rules of decency.

Rules are tough. The true gentleman will never misrepresent himself, which means Daniel Banks must inform Lady Kirsten that a) he’s married, and b) he won’t disrespect his vows. Too bad for Daniel, this honesty only raises him in the lady’s esteem, when he’s trying to emphasize his unsuitability.

The true gentleman will lend a hand—or an ear—to those in need. When Daniel Banks realizes that Lady Kirsten has been overlooked by her entire family, and is as lonely as an earl’s daughter can be, the least he can do is listen when she explains the misery in her past. Again, his respect for, and understanding of her increases, but what else could a gentleman have done?

The true gentleman is kind. He does not ignore the suffering of others, even if that means, he’s left with a bigger helping of suffering on his own plate. When Lady Kirsten needs a champion to fight her battles with an overbearing brother, Daniel steps up, though it might cost him his position. Once again, Daniel’s decency only gets him in hotter water, because now Kirsten’s brother is also viewing the impecunious, reserved, sometimes grouchy, vicar with renewed respect.

This business of being a true gentleman is darned hard, and darned heroic. What Daniel has to learn, though, is that true gentlemanliness begins at home. When he’s honest with himself, and shows himself the compassion we all deserve, all the inconvenient rules, tough choices, and honorable standards turn out to have been his second-best friends.

Lady Kirsten is, of course, his very best friend, being a true lady. But that’s another story…

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Excerpt from Daniel’s True Desire

Daniel Banks is the new vicar in Haddondale, temporarily a guest of Lady Kirsten’s family. They’ve dragooned him into tutoring some of the local boys, and Kirsten is managing the staff who’ll turn the dower house into a place of learning. What Daniel doesn’t know is how a married man, even one estranged from his unworthy spouse, can resist the allure of friendship with Lady Kirsten…

“I dread crossing the garden,” Lady Kirsten said. “Susannah has taken up reading old issues of La Belle Assembleé, Della is memorizing DeBrett’s, and the countess talks only of fashion. Nobody does anything.”

“Most would envy them their idleness,” Daniel said, though he did not. The earl gave a good account of himself, tending to significant acreage and mercantile interests, but the women were bored.

One of the women was mortally bored, though never boring.

“I want to take the vicarage in hand,” Lady Kirsten said, marching from the pantry. “I doubt I’ll have time before we leave for Town the week after next. Lemon and beeswax won’t cure rising damp any way.”

Nothing cured rising damp save for replacing every scrap of affected wood. “You’re leaving soon, then?”

The prospect of distance from Lady Kirsten should have been a relief. She was unconventional, discontent, and unpredictable. Worse yet, she was patient with small boys, had a strong streak of domestic competence, and could not dissemble even to appease appearances.

Most troublesome of all, Daniel liked her. A lot.

“I smell fresh bread.” Lady Kirsten’s pace increased, then she halted to twist a sachet from behind a curtain. “Nicholas told George that in addition to Digby and the Blumenthal brats, you’re to take on both of Squire Webber’s sons. He aspires to send them to public school, but they lack a foundation.”

And years of dedicated tutors had been unable to remedy that lack? “I think you had better join me for lunch,” Daniel said resuming their progress toward a hot meal.

“I believe I shall. I adore a hearty beef stew with bread and butter on a cold, rainy day. Cook uses Mama’s recipe, and I’m partial to it.”

Peasant fare, for an earl’s daughter. Daniel liked her entirely too well.

A scullery maid set places for them at a wooden table heavy enough to double as a threshing floor, while Lady Kirsten served up bowls of steaming stew and Daniel sliced the bread. Daniel held the lady’s chair, and then, without even a nod in the direction of further small talk, took shameless advantage of his companion.

“I want to know every detail you can share about my scholars, Lady Kirsten. They’re shaping up to be a pack of ne’er-do-wells, scamps and scapegraces. One wonders if the parish isn’t attempting to run me off rather than welcome me.”

She snapped her serviette across her lap. “They’re out and out rotters, every one save for Digby, but George says he’s showing dubious potential. Don’t steal all the butter.”

Daniel passed her ladyship the plate of butter, small golden molds in the shape of roses.

“Your butter, and Lord-we-thank-Thee-for-this-food, amen. Now tell me about these scoundrels.”

Lady Kirsten sat back, her smile indulgent. “I’ve known them since they were babies, Mr. Banks. They’re full of energy and mischief, and there’s not a Latin scholar among them. They are truly, truly awful.”

She loved these rotten boys, and—greatest possible inconvenience—Daniel regarded this her most attractive quality of all.

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Daniel’s True Desire by Grace Burrowes

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Genre: Historical Romance

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imageAn honorable life

Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left-and even his churchman’s collar is beginning to feel like a noose. At the urging of family, Daniel attempts to start his life over as vicar in the sleepy Kentish town of Haddondale, family seat to the earls of Bellefonte.

Challenged by passion

Lady Kirsten Haddonfield has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. Then the handsome new village vicar, Reverend Daniel Banks, becomes a guest of the Haddonfield family while the vicarage is being renovated, and Kirsten finds herself rethinking her position. Lady Kirsten does not know that Daniel’s past is about to cast a shadow on love’s future.

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GOODREADS LINK 

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IMG_3312Grace Burrowes’ TRUE GENTLEMEN series – including an ARC of WILL’S TRUE WISH

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

Social Media Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford

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First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

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imageTwo classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season

FIRST SEASON

Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.

BRIDE TO BE

Emily Crane is the toast of the ton—and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…

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“There you are,” said someone from the hall below. “They said you had gone upstairs.”

Anabel looked down to find Sir Charles Norbury gazing up at her. A tingling shock ran through her body, and the candle trembled a little, dripping wax.

“You have missed the first waltz,” he added, meeting her at the bottom of the staircase and taking the candlestick from her hand. He snuffed the flame between forefinger and thumb and set it aside. “And I came early especially to engage you for it.”

“I wanted to look in on the children.” As always, his presence overwhelmed her. He seemed to tower over her, yet his pale green eyes felt close and compelling. She found it hard to breathe.

“It is a country dance now, unfortunately. Mayn’t we wait outside here for the next and hope?” He smiled and reached for her hand to lead her across to a small empty anteroom.

Anabel knew she should say no, but her voice seemed to have died, and she went with him silently and allowed him to escort her to a sofa and sit beside her, his arm thrown along its back.

“You look exquisite tonight,” he said softly. “The loveliest woman at the ball.”

This outrageous compliment revived her. “What a plumper. There are dozens of prettier ones.”

“No.”

“Flatterer.” She smiled, but when she met his eyes, they were very serious.

“No,” he said again. “To me you are the most beautiful.” He held her gaze for a moment, then slowly bent forward and took possession of her lips, his arm tightening around her shoulders.

Anabel’s slight trembling increased, and her mind dissolved in confusion. She should pull away, part of it cried; this was terribly fast, and someone might come in at any moment. But another part urged her on, fascinated by Sir Charles’ attractions and filled with curiosity.

His kiss was very expert, and nothing at all like her deceased husband’s, Anabel’s only standard of comparison. His lips seemed to draw all strength out of her, leaving her limp and pliant, yet she felt disconnected from the expected sensual pleasure. He knew how to draw response from her body, clearly, but her heart and mind remained in turmoil.

Norbury, on the contrary, was in the grip of feelings stronger than any he had ever experienced, and for him the kiss confirmed a decision. This was the woman he wanted. Never had his passions been suffused with such emotion. Beyond thinking, he moved his free hand to Anabel’s knee and slid it upward caressingly, savoring the curve of her waist under the thin satin dress and cupping his fingers around her breast. She drew her breath in sharply.

A scuff of footsteps in the hall, followed by a scrap of conversation and a laugh, jerked Anabel upright. She pulled away from him only just in time to avoid being caught by two couples coming into the room. But it was obvious in the way that the newcomers stopped, smiled, and apologized that their appearance gave them away. Anabel rose and hurried from the room, Norbury behind her. Her cheeks were flaming, and she felt that she could not possibly face the crowd in the ballroom.

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3 copies of Jane Ashford’s First Season / Bride to Be historical romance duology

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imageimageJane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Dark Before the Rising Sun and Chance the Winds of Fortune by Laurie McBain

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Titles: Dark Before the Rising Sun and Chance the Winds of Fortune
Author: Laurie McBain
Series: Dominick Trilogy books 2 and 3

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Genre: Historical Romance

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imageChance the Winds of Fortune

Lady Rhea Claire, kidnapped and shipped to the Colonies as an indentured servant, manages with wits and courage to escape…straight into the arms of a ruthless English pirate.

For all his worldly ways, Dante Leighton, Marquis of Jacqobi and captain of the Sea Dragon, never expected to discover his redemption
and his greatest treasure within the amethyst eyes of a beautiful English refugee.

Amazon Buy Link:

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imageDark Before the Rising Sun

Newly-wed, Lady Rhea Claire and Dante Leighton must return to England, where their reception is anything but warm.

Now armed with wealth and power, Dante is a target for the murderous smugglers who despoiled his family home, while Rhea’s father, the powerful Duke of Camareigh, vehemently rejects their marriage.

The two lovers thought themselves invincible together. But in the riveting conclusion of McBain’s epic trilogy, Dante’s determination to reclaim his family seat and Rhea’s desperation to win over her father threaten to cause an insurmountable rift that could break them apart forever.

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1LOwfgo

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Chance the Winds of Fortune Excerpt

Rhea blinked in disbelief. “What an insufferable man you are. And whether you are, as you would have me believe, a marquis, or whether you are a tinker, I would still find you the rudest, most vulgar individual I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”

“I am impressed by this splendid show of ladylike disdain, feigned though it be, but well done nonetheless. But the light of truth has revealed you in my cabin. Now, how do you explain yourself out of that?”

Dante glanced down at the map, which was lying at his feet. “Since the map is still here, I must deduce that was not your intended object in stealing on board the Sea Dragon. Rather, you wanted to make my acquaintance. Perhaps you imagined that a marquis makes love differently from other men you have known. I assure you, except for my own personal preferences, I am no different from any other man.”

Dante eyed the girl up and down, noting with distaste her limp hair and dirty clothes, and guessed she was eighteen or older. Probably older to have so arrogant a demeanor and the derring-do to beard the lion in his den. But one thing was for certain, she was old enough to be held accountable for her misdeeds. She needed to be taught a sobering lesson, one that she would not soon forget, Dante decided, for he was in no mood tonight to show leniency to anyone. Besides, odds were, if she’d had a pistol tucked away somewhere, he would be lying dead at her dainty, secondhand shoes right now.

“So, you wish to get to know me better,” Dante commented. “You have been rather inept at engaging anything more than my displeasure thus far. If your scheme is to succeed, then you will have to make a few concessions to me. You should have taken more care to learn my likes and dislikes. I am a very particular fellow about whom I let into my bed. And right now, you haven’t a ghost of a chance to fulfill that wish of yours.” Dante was pleased to see an expression of concern passing across her grimy face.

“However, that can be remedied quite easily,” he continued. “I’ve never been one to stand in the way of another’s ambition, as long as it does not interfere with mine.” He sounded almost friendly, but Rhea was not deceived, for his painful grip on her wrists had not lessened.

“Either you are hard of hearing or extremely obtuse,” Rhea declared furiously. “I despise the very sight of you and would find the burning fires of hell preferable to sharing a bed with you. I do not care if you have an arm’s length of titles to your wretched name, whatever that might be. All I desire is to get off this ship, and away from you.”

“Ah, come now, no more protestations against sharing my bed, for we both know how hollow they are,” Dante responded easily. His smile was forced, though, for this insolent chit had a way with words that cut deeply into a man’s self-esteem, and his had already been inflicted with a few jabs of late.

Dante’s gaze clashed with the violet eyes that were glowing with hatred of him, and he resented the fact that such beauty should belong to a dirty little street urchin, who would spit in his face if she thought she could get away with it unscathed. Her contempt for him was visible in every quivering ounce of her, and yet she was the one who had set out to entrap and deceive him. He was the one with the grievances, although to look at her one would think she had been the victim of foul play.

Dante allowed his eyes to linger on the contours of her face for a moment longer, a moment which seemed endless to Rhea. Then he smiled, and it was a strangely beautiful smile in spite of its coldness. Abruptly, he released her wrists, picked up the map, and walked away from her.

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Laurie McBain became a publishing phenomenon at age twenty-six with her first historical romance. She is a winner of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Romance Author. All of her romances were bestsellers, selling over 11 million copies. Laurie’s books have been out of print for over 5 years.

Author Links: Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: The Duke and His Duchess/ The Courtship by Grace Burrowes

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Message from the Author

My parents recently celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary—you read that correctly, 7-0. I’m the sixth of their seven children, so I missed a lot of the opening rounds of the Burrowes family story. To make up for that great unfairness, I ask my parents and my older siblings to fill in blanks for me. What was it like for my mom, starting out with twin boys, when the nice obstetrician—who didn’t want to upset her—failed to inform her she was carrying twins?

Mom learned she was to embark on double motherhood in the delivery room, when the nurse said, “Keep pushing, Mrs. Burrowes. You’re still in labor.”

She kept pushing. My brother Dick is particularly grateful she did, too.

What was it like for my father, to be the sole support of nine people, various shirt-tail cousins, and extended family members, on just a professor’s salary?

We never did without the essentials. How did he DOOOOO that?

These stories are the stuff of family legends, and every family has them. When I’d written stories for all of the Windham siblings, I still had a sense that the family tale wasn’t complete. How did Maggie and Devlin join the family? How did Percival, occasionally more stubborn than insightful, have the great sense to marry Esther? Why has Esther remained his champion, conscience, and confidante despite all the trying moments?

To find those answers, I had to write two novellas. First, came “The Courtship”, wherein Their Graces fall madly in love, despite—what a surprise!—meddling parents. Second, came “The Duke and His Duchess”. We know Percy and Esther’s household was in some regards unconventional, but they chose love over appearances from the start of their relationship. I wanted to know how they got through the challenges created by Percy’s behavior prior to the marriage, and emerged a stronger couple and a happier family for their choices.

The Duke’s Courtship duology is the result of my curiosity about the ongoing magic of a loving family, and also a tribute to my parents, whose happily ever after continues, even as a I write this.

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IMG_3307-0Miss Esther Himmelfarb has been dragooned into attending a house party to make up the numbers, and to keep an eye on a cousin with a penchant for gambling. Little does Esther know Lord Percival Windham will risk all to win her heart.
“Miss Himmelfarb, I believe?” Lord Percival winged an arm and smiled at Esther graciously. “Shall I have us introduced, or in the informality of the occasion, will you allow me to join you at supper?”
A more calculating man would have offered to escort her to whoever had the honor of dining with her, but then, Lord Percival likely did not have to be calculating.
“I will happily accept your escort to the buffet, my lord.” Esther laced her gloved hand around Lord Percival’s arm, only to encounter a small surprise.
Or not so small.
Gossip had not lied. The man was muscular in the extreme, and this close, he was also of sufficient height to uphold the fiction that he’d protect Esther from any brigands or wolves wandering about Lady Morrisette’s parlor.
“Does your family hail from Kent, Miss Himmelfarb? I know most of the local families and cannot recall Himmelfarbs among them.”
The question was perfectly pleasant, and so too was his lordship’s scent. Not the scent of exertion or the standard rose-scented rice powder—he wasn’t wearing a wig—but something elusive…
“You’re twitching your nose like a thoughtful bunny, Miss Himmelfarb. Are you in anticipation of something particularly succulent among the supper offerings?”
He smiled down at her as he spoke, and for moment, Esther could not fashion a reply. Of all the times for Charlotte Pankhurst to be right about a man’s blue, blue eyes…
“I’m trying to fathom the fragrance you’re wearing, my lord. It’s pleasant.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think from your expression that you do not approve of men wearing pleasant scents.” His tone, amused, teasing, suggested that sometimes, all he wore was a pleasant scent—and that just-for-you smile.
Lord Percival leaned nearer, as if sharing a confidence amid the noise and bustle of the first night of a lively, extended social gathering.
“Bay rum lacks imagination, don’t you think? I shall wear it when I’m a settled fellow with children in my nursery. There’s cedar in the scent I wear, reminds me of Canada. You’re partial to spicy scents yourself.”
He was inviting a reciprocal confidence from her with that observation. The notion of trading secrets with Percival Windham made something beneath Esther’s heart twang—disagreeably, of course.
“Lavender with a few other things.”
“My dear”—his lordship had straightened only a bit—“why is My Lady Hair Bows staring daggers in this direction?”
My lady…? Then… my dear?!
“I’m not sure what you mean, my lord.”
“You know exactly what I mean, Miss Himmelfarb.” Lord Percival picked up a plate, though they were still some distance from any sustenance. “Now the Needy girl is at her elbow, pouring brandy on the flames of gossip. You and I will be engaged by this time tomorrow, I don’t doubt.”
Did one correct a duke’s spare when he made light of marriage to a woman within staring distance of professional spinsterhood?
Yes, one did.
“Her name is Needham, my lord. And I should think an engagement unlikely when you have yet to ask for my hand and I have given no indication I would accept your suit.”
The light in his eyes changed, going from friendly—yes, that was the word—to something more intent.
“You are an impertinent woman. We shall get on famously, Miss Himmelfarb. I adore impertinent women.”

***

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Title: The Duke and the Duchess / The Courtship
Author: Grace Burrowes
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance

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THE COURTSHIP
The first novella to be published by New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes features the foundation story for her bestselling Windham series. This is the tender story of love tested and won, and how Percy Windham, the dashing and brilliant man who was never supposed to become the Duke of Moreland, wooed Esther Himmelfarb, the amazing lady who became his beloved Duchess.

THE DUKE AND HIS DUCHESS
In this second prequel novella to the popular Windham series, Grace Burrowes continues the story of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland through the tumultuous and bittersweet first years of marriage and parenthood. Percival Windham is a second son and cavalry officer when he weds the beautiful Esther Himmelfarb. Percy and Esther must grow into the nobility they’ve been resisting and stand together, or face the threat of destroying their young family and the beautiful love that started out with such promise…

IMG_3308Amazon – http://amzn.to/1gxjS9C
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IMG_3312a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Social Media Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: TREAMINE’S TRUE LOVE by Grace Burrowes

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What makes a man a gentleman?

For a romance writer, this question has to be answered in every book, because implicit in the term “hero” is something of the gentleman. Heroes need not be charming, handsome or wealthy, and they might not even be obviously heroic, at least at the start of the book, but they have to be worthy of our loyalty for the duration of an entire book.

In the True Gentlemen series, I took three men who’d wandered across my pages in previous stories—Tremaine St. Michael, Daniel Banks, and Willow Dorning—and found them each a happily ever after. Tremaine is a flinty business man, Daniel is poor and pious, Willow finds polite society an enormous trial and would far rather be with his dogs. These fellows were not obvious choices as romance heroes, but they each had something that tempted me to write stories for them.

When we met Tremaine in an earlier book (Gabriel: Lord of Regrets), Tremaine was convinced that he’d found a good candidate for the position of wife. He offered marriage, listing all the practical advantages to both parties, and he congratulated himself on how much sense his proposed union would make.

The lady turned him down flat, and as a gentleman is bound to do, he graciously ceded the field. He didn’t like it, he didn’t entirely understand how or what he’d lost, but he wished the happy couple well.

Daniel’s role in David: Lord of Honor was to charge to London with sermons at the ready in an attempt to restore his sister’s honor. The very man Daniel accused of wronging that sister had already set her back on the path to respectability.

Oops. But again, being a gentleman, Daniel wishes the couple every happiness, even if doing so costs him the future he’d envisioned for himself and his loved ones. Like Tremaine, he’s a gracious and even dignified loser.

Willow’s appearance in Worth: Lord of Reckoning is brief, but he too is determined to see a sister rescued from a possibly compromising position, and again, rescue is simply not on the heroine’s agenda.

In all three cases, the true gentleman acts in the best interests of those he loves and is responsible for, regardless of the inconvenience or cost to himself. Because Tremaine, Daniel, and Willow were honorable, I liked them. I trusted them, I wanted them to have the happiness they clearly already deserved.

In the Nicholas Haddonfield’s sisters—Nita, Kirsten, and Susannah—I found ladies willing to oblige my ambitions for these men. In each case, our hero has lessons yet to learn, and in each case, his inherent honor wins the day. He might not be handsome, wealthy, or charming in the eyes of the world, but because he’s a true gentleman in the eyes of his lady, he wins her true love.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

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Title: Tremaine’s True Love
Author: Grace Burrowes

Release Date: August 4, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Historical Romance

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He’s had everything he could ever want…until now

Wealthy wool magnate Tremaine St. Michael is half French, half Scottish, and all business. He prowls the world in search of more profits, rarely settling in one place for long. When he meets practical, reserved Lady Nita Haddonfield, he sees an opportunity to mix business with pleasure by making the lady his own.

Nita Haddonfield has a meaningful life tending to others, though nobody is dedicated to caring for Nita. She insists the limitations of marriage aren’t for her, then Tremaine St. Michael arrives-protective, passionate, and very, very determined to win Nita’s heart.

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Wealthy businessman Tremaine St. Michael has concluded that marriage to Lady Nita Haddonfield would be a prudent merger of complimentary interests for the mutual benefit and enjoyment of both parties… or some such blather.

Tremaine rapped on Lady Nita’s door, quietly, despite a light shining from beneath it. Somebody murmured something which he took for permission to enter.

“Mr. St. Michael?”

Tremaine stepped into her ladyship’s room, closed the door behind him and locked it, which brought the total of his impossibly forward behaviors to several thousand.

“Your ladyship expected a sister, or a maid with a pail of coal?”

“I wasn’t expecting you.” Lady Nita sat near the hearth in a blue velvet dressing gown. The wool stockings on her feet were thick enough to make a drover covetous. “Are you unwell, Mr. St. Michael?”

“You are not pleased to see me.” Did she think illness the only reason somebody would seek her out?

She set aside some pamphlet, a medical treatise, no doubt. No vapid novels for Lady Nita.

“I was not expecting you, sir.”

“You were not expecting me to discuss marriage with you earlier. I wasn’t expecting the topic to come up in a casual fashion either. May I sit?”

She waved an elegant hand at the other chair flanking the hearth. Tremaine settled in, trying to gather his thoughts while the firelight turned Lady Nita’s braid into a rope of burnished gold.

“You are pretty.” Brilliant place to start. The words had come out, heavily burred, something of an ongoing revelation.

“I am tall and blond,” she retorted, twitching the folds her of her robe. “I have the usual assortment of parts. What did you come here to discuss?”

Lady Nita was right, in a sense. Her beauty was not of the ballroom variety, but rather, an illumination of her features by characteristics unseen. She fretted over new babies, cut up potatoes like any crofter’s wife, and worried for her sisters. These attributes interested Tremaine. Her madonna-with-a-secret smile, keen intellect, and longing for laughter attracted him.

Even her medical pre-occupation, in its place, had some utility as well.

“Will you marry me, my lady?”

More brilliance. Where had his wits gone? George Haddonfield had graciously pointed out that Nita needed repose and laughter, and Tremaine was offering her the hand of the most restless and un-silly man in the realm.

The lady somehow contained her incredulity, staring at her hands. “You want to discuss marriage?”

“I believe I did just open that topic. Allow me to elaborate on my thesis: Lady Bernita Haddonfield, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife? I think we would suit, and I can promise you would know no want in my care.”

A proper swain would have been on his damn bended knee, the lady’s hand in his. Lady Nita would probably laugh herself to tears if Tremaine attempted that nonsense. Lady Nita picked up her pamphlet, which Tremaine could now see was written in German.

“Why, Mr. St. Michael?”

“I beg your pardon?” Tremaine was about to pitch the damned pamphlet in the fire, until he recalled that Nita Haddonfield excelled at obscuring her stronger emotions.

“Why should you marry me, Tremaine St. Michael? Why should I marry you? I’ve had other offers, you’ve made other offers. You haven’t known me long enough to form an opinion of my character beyond the superficial.”

This ability to take a situation apart, into causes, effects, symptoms, and prognosis was part of the reason she was successful as a healer. Tremaine applied the same tendencies to commercial situations, so he didn’t dismiss her questions as coyness or manipulation.

She wasn’t rejecting him either. She most assuredly was not rejecting him.

***

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

Social Media Links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: Hot Point (Firehawks Series) by M.L. Buchman

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Mount Hood Aviation Profile

imageFull Name: Vern Taylor
Occupation: Firehawk pilot
Height: 6’
Hair Color: dark brown
Eye Color: dark brown
Age: 29
Originally from: Vashon Island, Washington

Describe yourself in 100 words or less:
Not much to describe really. I like helicopters. Old Yuri taught me in his little Bell 47 Angel of Mercy back when I was kid and I never really stopped. Moved on to the Augusta Westland with the Coast Guard. Did three tours for them and now four years flying to fire. People all the time ask me why I do something so dangerous. It’s not dangerous, I tell them. You fly careful, you fly clean, have an ace mechanic and let life bring whatever she’s going to bring. Seems pretty easy to me.

What is the hardest part of your job? What is the most rewarding?
Hardest part of the job is staying on your toes. Whether it’s a USCG patrol or a wildfire, the hours are never short. Keeping your focus in back-to-back-to-back sixteen-hour days, that’s what the job is about. But the payoff is huge. When I fly over someone’s farm and I look down to see that their house or their barn or even their town is still standing because of something I did, well that’s a sweet feeling.

When not working, how do you spend your time?
Never really was good at much other than flying. I bought a sweet car, a ‘Vette—my girl is bronze-colored. Sometimes we’ll cruise to the bar because the old, “I fly helicopters to wildfire,” sure sweeps pretty tourist girls off their feet. But more often, I’ll go out on the back country roads. Not even fast. Just roll down the window, put on a little Buffet or Clapton, and let the world roll by.

If money was no object and you had 3 weeks of vacation what would you do with your time?
Don’t know as the money would make any real difference. But the vacation is easy. An interesting lady, a nice place in the country, a little peace, and a lot of time. I should mention a strong preference that they serve truly exceptional coffee.

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Title: Hot Point
Author: M.L. Buchman
Series: Firehawks, Book 3
Publication Date: August 4, 2015

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imageTHESE AIRBORNE HEROES BATTLE MORE THAN FLAMES

The elite firefighters of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can’t penetrate.

FROM WILDFIRE TO GUNFIRE

Master mechanic Denise Conroy-with a reputation for being as steel-clad as the aircraft she keeps aloft-shuns useless flyboys who don’t know one end of a wrench from the other.

Firehawk pilot Vern Taylor-known for unstoppable charm and a complete lack of mechanical skills-proves his talent for out-of-the-box thinking with every flight. He’s a survivor and a natural-born heli-aviation firefighter.

When Denise and Vern crash together in the Central American jungle with wildfire on one side and a full-fledged military coup on the other, their newly forged partnership is tested to the max. They have each other, but not even their formidable skills combined can protect Denise and Vern from the conflagration sweeping the jungle…and their hearts.

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FIREHAWKS SERIES INFORMATION 

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image imageM. L. Buchman has over 35 novels and an ever-expanding flock of short stories in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year,” Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” and RT “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of the Year.” In addition to romantic suspense, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at http://www.mlbuchman.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

Feature & Giveaway: COURTLY LOVE QUIZ by Elizabeth Moss

 

COURTLY LOVE QUIZ

by Elizabeth Moss

 

 

Follow this quiz to discover what kind of courtly hero you might prefer to curl up with!

Question #1- What word best describes you?

A             Ambitious
B             Romantic
C             Feisty
D             Secretive

Question #2 – Complete this sentence: My preferred courtly hero is most likely to…
A             Set me up in a large palace with servants
B             Serenade me with a lute
C             Ride off with me on his horse
D             Keep my head safe from the block

Question #3 – I prefer my hero’s kisses to be:

A             Forbidden
B             Long and lingering
C             Fierce
D             Intriguing

Question #4 – My hottest historical hero wears…
A             A crown and ermine-trimmed robes
B             Top designer doublet and hose
C             Shining armor

D             Black, for lurking in the shadows

Question #5 – On his day off from courting me, my hero usually…
A             Goes hunting
B             Plays bowls
C             Polishes his lance
D             Reads Machiavelli

Question #6 – I like a hero whose bragging rights include:
A             Absolute wealth and power
B             Fluency in five European languages
C             Ancestors who led the charge at Agincourt
D             A string of political assassinations

Question #7 – For my birthday, my ideal courtly hero would get me:
A             Diamonds, of course
B             A love sonnet tied with a red ribbon
C             A romantic, tumbledown castle
D             A chess set

Question #8 – My hero’s worst feature is probably his:
A             Lack of long-term commitment
B             Poor work/life balance
C             Obsession with his horse
D             Tendency to listen at keyholes


***

If you chose mostly ‘A’s, then you won’t settle for anyone else but the King himself. The King is the man with power over everyone, including his Queen. Regal and dynamic, he dominates his world with natural authority. But like many powerful men, he lives his private life in public. Only an ambitious woman, destined for the top and comfortable with celebrity, can keep pace with this dangerous Alpha male. You’ll need to keep him happy in the bedroom, and never stray yourself, as the King is not known for fidelity or a forgiving nature. Serial divorcer and beheader, Henry VIII got through six wives – and may have been contemplating a seventh marriage when he died!

If you chose mostly ‘B’s, then a charming Courtier is on the top of your list to love. The Courtier is a man skilled in the art of courtly love as well as international diplomacy. He was educated at Oxford or Cambridge, can sing and play the lute, and knows when to compliment the Queen’s eyes and when to hide in the closet. A lady who loves expensive gowns and state dinners would do well with the Courtier, as long as she is not too possessive and does not mind him disappearing off to another European court every few months. Many Tudor courtiers were of noble French descent, like Hugh Beaufort in Wolf Bride, and possessed substantial lands as well as looks and charm.

If you chose mostly ‘C’s, then the strong and brave Knight is just right. The Knight is a courtier with other strings to his bow. He has the charm, wit and courtly manners to seduce the ladies, yet stands ready to charge into battle for his King at a moment’s notice. Less of a smoothie than the Courtier, he’s also better equipped to protect his lady from danger. If you hanker after a Knight, you’re probably earthy and ultra-feminine, and enjoy being in the arms of a big strong man. Although Lord Wolf is noble, he’s also a Knight at heart, a fierce lover and courageous soldier whose loyalty to his lady and his country is beyond question.

If you chose mostly ‘D’s, then you are meant for life at court directing the action behind the scenes with your powerful Political Advisor. The Political Advisor is often a commoner who has risen to power at court through his own skills. A cool and calculating strategist, his innate power and influence can be very seductive. Those who find this courtier intriguing are likely to be intelligent women with low boredom thresholds who enjoy mental stimulation (and maybe some power games in the bedroom). Your main challenge will be to sidestep the scandals that often surround the Political Advisor. Sir Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s right hand man for years, becoming almost as powerful as the King himself during the period in Wolf Bride.

***


Wolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor Court #1) by Elizabeth Moss

Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Erotic Romance

 

SYNOPSIS

Bound to him against her will…

Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII’s court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors.

Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who-though she is loath to admit it-frightens her more than a little.

Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees firsthand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives…


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IMG_9442ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born into a literary family, Elizabeth Moss lives with her husband and five children in South-West England, and is a keen countryside walker. She writes fun and sexy historical romances. She also writes award-winning fiction as Victoria Lamb.

        
Social Networking Links:

Website: http://www.elizabethmossfiction.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.moss.566
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElizabethMoss1
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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Just in Time for a Highlander by Gwyn Cready

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Title: Just in Time for a Highlander
Series: Sirens of the Scottish
Author: Gwyn Cready
ISBN: 9781492601937
Pubdate: February 3rd, 2015

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From RITA winner Gwyn Cready comes a Scottish borderlands time travel romance perfect for fans of Outlander

For Duncan MacHarg, things just got real…

Battle reenactor and financier Duncan MacHarg thinks he has it made—until he lands in the middle of a real Clan Kerr battle and comes face to face with their beautiful, spirited leader. Out of time and out of place, Duncan must use every skill he can muster to earn his position among the clansmen and in the heart of the devastatingly intriguing woman to whom he must pledge his oath.

Abby needs a hero and she needs him now

When Abigail Ailich Kerr sees a handsome, mysterious stranger materialize in the midst of her clan’s skirmish with the English, she’s stunned to discover he’s the strong arm she’s been praying for. Instead of a tested fighter, the fierce young chieftess has been given a man with no measurable battle skills and a damnably distracting smile. And the only way to get rid of him is to turn him into a Scots warrior herself—one demanding and intimate lesson at a time.

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“Undine, do you see what your magic has wrought?” Abby stabbed a finger in Duncan’s direction.
The woman gave him a full look and her eyes widened. “Oh. Oh, dear.”
“What magic?” Duncan demanded.
Undine regarded him thoughtfully. “He’s handsome, at least. And tall. That could be useful. But that hair…”
“If I wanted handsome, Rosston would certainly do. He at least wields a real sword.” She took Undine by the elbow and turned her away from Duncan. “The poor man appears to have no skills beyond his fists,” she said in a lowered voice. “And I think he’s addled in his head—like Hal the sheep shearer.”
“What were you thinking?” Undine demanded.
“What was I thinking?! ’Twas your herbs.”
“I mean when you opened the paper.”
“I didn’t open the paper. It was shot out of my hand.”
“All of it?!” Undine paled.
“Except for the part that flew in my mouth.” Abby wiped the back of her hand across her tongue and made a sharp sound of disgust. “It tasted like burnt groats.”
Duncan had had enough of being ignored. “What herbs? What magic? What are you talking about? Did you bring me here?”
Undine considered. “You could try to make do with him.”
“Make do?!” Abby cried. “You make do with him! Can’t you see this is the last thing I need with the clans right now?” She pulled herself onto the horse. “You need to get rid of him.”
The “get rid of him” made Duncan’s stomach tighten. “No. Wait—”
“Abby?” a voice called from beyond the trees. “Abby, are you there?”
“Oh, God help us, it’s Rosston.” Abby gave Duncan a warning look. “Don’t say another word.”
“No!” Duncan grabbed her pommel. “I want to go home! Send me home! I don’t know what you two witches have done.”
“Silence, you fool.” She jerked the reins in an effort to keep the beast from lurching. The arrow fell from her bow.
A kilted clansman crested the rise.
“You, there!” Duncan called to the man. “Help me. These women have—”
Duncan felt a thwack on the head, and the world went dark.

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Gwyn Cready is the RITA-winning author of sexy, funny romance novels. Her newest book, Just in Time for a Highlander, is the first in the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series. In the book, a young but determined clan chieftess seeks a strong arm to help her command her clan, but when a fortune teller’s spell goes awry, she finds herself with a dashing man from the twenty-first century instead. Find out more at cready.com.

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The author photo is copyright 2014, Garen DiBartolomeo.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Highland Dragon’s Lady by Isabel Cooper

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The Highland Dragon’s Lady by Isabel Cooper
Series: Highland Dragons
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Historical Romance
Publication Date: December 2, 2014

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He’s Out of the Highlands and on the Prowl…

Regina Talbot-Jones has always known her rambling family home was haunted. She’s also aware her brother has invited one of his friends to attend an ill-conceived séance. She didn’t count on that friend being so handsome…and she certainly didn’t expect him to be a dragon.

Younger son of a family of shapeshifting dragons, Highlander Colin MacAlasdair has lived a life free of both family duty and mortal cares. Moving in and out of human society as he wishes, he takes very little seriously—until Regina drops onto his balcony one midnight, catching his attention and his interest. She’s like no mortal he’s ever met, and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to get her out of his head.

Bound by circumstance, drawn by the fire awakening inside of them, Colin and Regina must work together to defeat a vengeful spirit—and discover whether their growing love is powerful enough to defy convention.

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Over the course of his life, Colin had been alone with young ladies in a variety of places: featherbeds, haystacks, and even the occasional riverbank in pleasant weather. Dusty attics had never featured. Yet these places also had never featured Reggie, with her dancing eyes and her hair falling down around her shoulders.
“You’ve got a bit of cobweb,” he said, noticing the strands at her temple. He knelt down and reached out. “Hold still. And, er, brace yourself.”
She closed her eyes and waited, patient for once in their brief acquaintance. Colin brushed his fingers over her temple, lifting the spider’s web away. Beneath it, the edge of her face was warm and soft, and her hair was like heavy silk. He swallowed, brushed his hand off on his trousers, and noticed that Reggie hadn’t yet moved.
Mostly, at least. Her breasts were rising and falling rapidly, and he could see the quick pulse in the hollow of her neck.
Colin touched his fingers to that spot, lightly, and felt the speed of her heartbeat. Desire was coursing through his own veins, collecting warm and heavy in his groin, but he kept his voice quiet. He could be playful for the moment. He could be human, as she was.
If she let him, at least.
“‘Exciting people,’ is it?” he asked. “You certainly don’t seem calm.”
Without opening her eyes, Reggie shook her head slightly. “No,” she said, drawing the word out.
Colin traced a finger along her collarbone, just above the neckline of her dress. “Are you afraid of me, then?”
Her eyes snapped open at the question. “No,” said Reggie, very definitely. Then she gave him an impish smile, one that went straight to his swelling cock. “Should I be?”
“That depends verra much on who you ask,” he said, and leaned forward to kiss her.

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The Highland Dragons Series:
http://www.isabelcooper.org/books.html
Legend of the Highland Dragon
The Highland Dragon’s Lady
Night of the Highland Dragon

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I’m a geeky Boston girl, who started writing when I was 12—mostly so that I would have something to do in math class other than math. Didn’t work out well for either the story or the long division skills. Over the years, my writing’s improved in ways beyond “not being in four-color pen”, to the point where Sourcebooks published No Proper Lady, my first romance novel, in September 2011. Two sequels are coming soon!

The long division, on the other hand, still eludes me.

I like exploring weird combinations of history, fantasy, romance, and (very very soft) science fiction. I have often been known to say that I come up with plots the way some people come up with cocktails: hopefully the next morning is better, though.

Oh, two of the four colors in that pen? Hot pink and turquoise. We were living in California at the time, and it was the early nineties, so I can’t entirely hold myself responsible for that one.

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: FULL THROTTLE (Black Knights Inc.) By Julie Ann Walker

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FULL THROTTLE (Black Knights Inc.) By Julie Ann Walker
Publication Date: December 2, 2014
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/Donna
Rated: 5 Stars

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Abby Thompson didn’t sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she’s content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father’s policy of “not negotiating with terrorists” means she’ll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there’s one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he’s the only man who can save her…

Carlos “Steady” Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he’s tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved-who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he’s got. Plus there’s the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him… for the second time?

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Another great installment in the Black Knights Inc. story! Carlos is, well perfect and embodies all my points for a hot special ops member with a heart. Abby was so likeable and funny that it was a match made in heaven. I also need to mention that the fast paced heart stopping story started immediately and didn’t let up. This book was filled with humor, action, hotties, heroes and steamy romance. It hit all my checkboxes and then some.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Sniff…wuffle…baraaaaaag!

The elephant was getting frustrated at their continued ability to evade its searching trunk, and Abby could only pray the advice she’d read in those articles was correct. It was bad enough to think of dying at the hands of militants, but getting snuffed out by a pissed–off pachyderm?

PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER DONE IN BY DUMBO…

Yep, she could see the headlines now. Definitely not the most respectable way to go and—-

Baraaaaaag! She jumped as another head–splitting trumpet blasted through the humid jungle air. Carlos tightened his arms around her, and she couldn’t help but think of what would have happened had the elephant not timed its arrival so precisely.

I mean, what the frickin’ sticks was I thinking? Oh, yes. She hadn’t been thinking. That was the whole problem. She’d simply been playing the part of Slutty McSlutNuggets, attempting to bang the one guy on the face of the planet she had no business banging.

Of course, in her own defense, it was a hard to say no to him when she’d been fantasizing about saying yes for most of her adult life. And then, as if that weren’t enough, there was the shock value of the thing. As in, Carlos Soto kissing her, caressing her, telling her to ride him and—-

She still had trouble believing it. Trouble believing he’d actually, factually wanted her. And, alrighty then, so maybe instead of seeing her as nothing more than that pesky undergrad who followed him and Rosa around like a lost puppy, she had, in fact, grown up in his eyes.

Still, you’re an idiot to have let things go so far, she admonished herself, even as she reveled in the feel of being held so tightly against his wide chest that she could hear his heartbeat thudding steadily beneath her ear. She wondered how it was he could remain so calm when they were ten seconds away from being skewered on a set of pointy ivory tusks. But then he moved his leg, just a little, and every thought in her head came to tire–squealing stop.

He was…hard.

***

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Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as “alpha, edgy, and downright hot.” Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

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Social Networking Links:
Website: http://julieannwalker.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JAWalkerAuthor
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/JAWalkerAuthor

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