A Texas Christmas Past (Whiskey River Christmas #1) by Julia Justiss #BookReview #ATexasChristmasPast #NetGalley

A Texas Christmas Past (Whiskey River Christmas #1) by Julia Justiss

Blurb:

Death denied Felicity a future with the man she loved, but her spirit lingers in the the Harwood House Hotel hoping to heal broken hearts and help them to find love again….

Widowed World War I nurse Audra Donaldson returns from France planning to devote her life to helping those suffering the lingering effects of war—effects she knows all too well, as she suffers from them herself. When, staying at the Harwood House Inn on a Christmas visit to her brother, she hears a man in the throes of a violent nightmare, she goes to him without question—and is stunned by a physical attraction as strong as her desire to help.

About to embrace the beautiful angel come to save him from the horrors of the battlefield, former soldier Drew Harwood recoils when he realizes Audra is real—and has seen his “weakness.” Brusquely rejecting her offer of help, he intends to avoid her. But more than just her beauty continues to draw him back. Though this compassionate, kind, and giving soul has seen more of war than he has, somehow, talking with her brings him peace–and seems to comfort her, too. If he can just resist acting on the desire she’s ignited in him since his first glimpse of her…

But someone else was watching, too. After tragedy denied Felicity a future with Drew, her dying wish was that he live his life and be happy for them both. To her sorrow, a year later, her former fiancé is still struggling. Deciding Audra is the perfect lady to heal the wounds of her beloved, this determined ghost resolves to bring Drew and Audra together. Who can resist a love that lasts beyond time?

 

My Review

A Texas Christmas Past (Whiskey River Christmas #1)

By Julia Justiss

 

This story starts out with Drew Harwood coming home from the war and ready to marry his sweetheart Felicity.  Drew had injured his leg in battle.  Every year Drew’s mother has a Christmas ball, and everyone was getting ready for the ball.  Felicity got sick with the Spanish Flu and passed. No ball that year. Drew really was depressed, home from the war with an injury and not marrying his Felicity.

There is more, but I really love, but also was sad at the beginning of this story. It was around 1919 this story takes place.

The following year Audra came to stay for Christmas but arrived early. Her brother was the foreman of the ranch.  She also was also affected by the war, she was a nurse and now she was looking for a new job as a nurse in Texas helping Shell Shocked soldiers.

I loved this well written story about The Harwood House, the Felicity Ball and how Drew and Audra came to be.  There is a Christmas magic that happens. I love their story and how it came to be. Such a sweet story for such a hard time. I did enjoy reading this 1st book of this series.

I want to thank Tule Publishers/Netgalley for an ARC of this book. What a fantastic series to start the Christmas season.

I give this book 5 stars

 

Purchase on Amazon

 

Diana's Book Reviews

 I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

The Scot’s Secret by Cecelia Mecca #ReleaseBlitz @CeceliaMecca

A clan’s greatest warrior. An Englishwoman in disguise.

Can their love survive her secret?

The Scot

When his brother foists an English squire upon him, Alex Kerr is completely disinterested in training the lad—until he discovers that his new recruit is not a lad at all. “Alfred” is a beautiful Englishwoman in disguise, hiding a horrible secret. Determined to uncover the truth about Clara’s past, Alex agrees to take her with him on a journey across the Scottish border into England. Passion flares between them, but as Alex gets closer and closer to discovering Clara’s secret, their future seems ever more uncertain.

The Secret

For six years, Lady Clara has lived as “Alfred”—a squire who talks little and trusts no one. But everything changes when she agrees to squire for Alex Kerr. Her feelings for him are far from those of master and apprentice. He makes her long to leave her disguise behind. . . except to do so is to risk the lives of everyone she cares about. Will her secret doom the unlikely pair before they have a chance at love?

 

About the Book

The Scot’s Secret
by Cecelia Mecca

Series
Border Series #4

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 14, 2017

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About the Series

    

About Cecelia Mecca

Cecelia Mecca is the author of medieval romance including the Border Series.

Born and raised in Northeast, Pennsylvania, Cecelia spent fifteen years as an 8th grade ELA teacher and currently works as a curriculum specialist by day, small business owner by night and romance author when most people are sleeping. She has always loved both romance and all things medieval, so when introduced to the likes of Kathleen Woodiwiss and Jude Devereux, it was the start of a 20+ year love affair.

Although she began a manuscript in college, it would be a degree in Education/English, two children, a PhD in Curriculum, two jobs and a marketing business later before she resumed the story which became The Thief’s Countess. The Border Series is a labor of love which she’s excited to share with historical romance readers.

An unapologetic fantasy geek, she discovered Frodo in middle school and is still awed by Tolkien’s talent. When not reading romance she is learning the fate of Rand al’Thor and waiting anxiously for Winds of Winter. On a typical day, Cecelia is immersed either in the world of Waryn (Border Series) or is scoping out the next epic historical on Netflix.

 

Author Links

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

The Pirate’s Duty by Katherine Bone #BookRelease @aurorapub @katherinelbone

 He lost everything . . . but his duty to her brought him back to life.

 

Blurb:

Innkeeper Oriana Thorpe is a smuggler’s daughter who has been hardened by a legacy she cannot escape. She has risked everything, including her safety, in her attempts to break free, going so far as to challenge her evil pirate brother, Charles, in order to save a lady and her maid from his wrath. Determined to atone for his villainy, Oriana distributes the blood money he left behind to widows and orphans living nearby. But when threatening letters promising retribution begin to arrive from Charles, she suspects one or more of her customers may be her despicable brother’s spies. Yet one haunted man promises to protect her, and she finds herself taking the greatest risk of all—falling in love.

 

Captain Pierce Walsingham should have died when his ship was destroyed by the notorious smuggler Captain Carnage. Instead, Pierce was pulled from the water by the Robin Hood of Cornwall, a pirate known only as the Black Regent. In gratitude, Pierce accepts the Regent’s offer to take over the man’s role, allowing his name to be added to the list of the dead and vowing to protect the beautiful innkeeper who saved his sister Chloe’s life. Unfortunately, Oriana is also Carnage’s next of kin, and the smuggler has sworn vengeance against her and Chloe.

 

While there is no cause dearer to Pierce’s heart than stopping Carnage, the task won’t be easy. Strategic allegiances have replenished his enemy’s power at sea, and he’s moving ever closer to enacting his revenge. Now Pierce must find a way to defeat Carnage, all while fighting his desire for the resilient woman who fiercely defends her roost.

 

Excerpt 

Miss Thorpe’s stillness gave Walsingham pause. She didn’t trust him, as well she shouldn’t.

I am going to betray her.

Those six words ate away at his gut as he gazed down at her glorious hair, fisting his hands to keep from touching her, spinning her around to face him, and taking her into his arms.

Oriana Thorpe was a desirable woman. He was uncertain what else she truly was, however. Girard and O’Malley claimed she was trustworthy, and the threatening letters she had received proved Carnage had a vendetta against her. And yet, if she was innocent, why hadn’t she turned in her brother’s gold? Girard and O’Malley didn’t know where it was, though they suspected it was in the cellar. If Miss Thorpe wasn’t involved, she’d be the only member of the family who hadn’t joined free trade. What were the odds? Or was she simply a brilliant actress? Marauders were content to wait out their enemies in order to succeed. Was it possible she was luring them all into a trap?

Therein lay the challenge. Miss Thorpe’s beauty had become an ensnaring temptation he was finding hard to resist. Her stubbornness matched his, and in her eyes, there were instances where unbridled passion leaped from their depths, yearning—no, begging—to be satisfied.

She had a habit of reining in her emotions, except when she spoke of saving young orphans from a life of misery. That wasn’t the kind of woman who’d lure men to their deaths.

“What are ye doing, Mr. Hunt?” she asked.

Jolted from his musings, Walsingham decided to tell the truth. “I’m looking at you, Miss.”

She dropped the curtain, her hand shaking slightly. “Why?”

He couldn’t be sure if anyone in her family, aside from Charles, had ever dealt with Captain Pierce Walsingham, or for that matter, anyone who frequented the tavern. If they had, he couldn’t trust her too soon.

“Do you really want to know?” He was playing a dangerous game, and he knew it. But he couldn’t seem to help himself when he was near her.

“Aye.”

The longcase clock sounded in the hall. Ding. Ding.

She tilted her face upward to look at him, her gaze locking with his.

“You’re a vision, Miss.”

He would count himself lucky to claim such a woman, but not as long as Miss Thorpe or Carnage had the power to commit an unspeakable act that would seal the Regent’s fate . . . He didn’t intend to be the Regent forever. He already had an idea of who his successor might be, should the man agree. But he couldn’t retire the mask until he prevented Carnage from coming for Chloe. She ran an orphanage of her own. He couldn’t risk innocent lives, not even at the detriment of his own happiness.

The world thought Captain Pierce Walsingham was dead, but in the candlelight, in Miss Thorpe’s eyes, he saw the man he wanted to be, a man who was blessedly alive.

He narrowed the space between them, and she splayed her hand over his heart. “Don’t come any closer,” she said softly.

“I won’t. Unless you ask me to.” He laid his left hand over hers, pressing ever so slightly to ensure she knew his heart beat as rapidly as hers did.

She glanced down at his hand before raising her gaze to his. “You’re as solid as stone.”

Pleased with her praise, he chuckled. “I’m not made of granite, Miss. I’m flesh and blood, a man with needs and desires. Do not doubt it.”

She focused on his chin, avoiding his gaze.

He stroked her cheek and then lowered his finger to her chin, tilting her head back, forcing her to look into his eyes. “And you’re a beautiful, desirable woman. Why aren’t you married?”

Her green eyes sparked, boring into him. “I am well aware of what men desire and I do not need a man to survive.”

“But what do you desire?”

“I . . .” Her breath hitched. “I’m not in the habit of touching men who come to my inn.” She tried to remove her hand from his chest, but he held it steady.

“Don’t,” he said.

She bit her lip, drawing his attention to her mouth. “This isn’t proper.”

“That depends on who you ask.” She wanted him, he could tell, but she was too proud to admit it. By all that was holy, he would never pressure a woman to do anything she didn’t want to do, no matter from what echelon of society she hailed. He wasn’t that sort of man. “May I speak freely?”

“Of course,” she said. “It appears I’m your captive audience.”

“I’ve been drawn to you from the moment I walked into your inn.”

Her throat bobbed gently as she swallowed. “And I ye.”

Her green eyes radiated unequaled strength, a steely reserve that drove her to betray her own flesh and blood to save a stranger—his sister. Was that what motivated him? A need to show her his gratitude? Or was it something more, something deeper, instantaneous, the type of attraction that gripped a man by the heart and never let go?

Who could blame him? She’d worked tirelessly to operate an inn where men continued to exploit her femininity. She was a true Cornish woman who had joined forces with the church and the Seatons to support those without resources, those who could not care for themselves, extolling praises for the Regent . . . Or in essence, for him!

“I’ve dreamed of kissing you,” he admitted.

“Ye have?”

“Aye.”

A growl escaped his throat as he bent to taste her lips. But just before their mouths made contact, the latch on the door shifted loudly. Dredging up strength he didn’t know he possessed, he dropped Miss Thorpe’s hand and stepped over to one of the tables. Once there, he made quick work of appearing as if he had been rearranging the chairs.

Miss Thorpe, in all her decadent allure, bent to rearrange lavender several tables away, the quick ruse perfection as Jarvis walked in, followed by Girard and O’Malley.

“All is well in the barn, Miss,” Girard said, stopping cold and causing O’Malley to walk into him. “Miss, are ye unwell? Your face is as red as a brandy bottle.”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sKc78y

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iBooks: http://apple.co/2sUmidS

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2u6Sta2

 

 

Katherine’s Bio:

National bestselling historical romance author Katherine Bone has been passionate about history since she had the opportunity to travel to various Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals as an Army brat turned officer’s wife. Who knew an Army wife’s passion for romance novels would lead to pirates? Certainly not her rogue, whose Alma Mater’s adage is “Go Army. Beat Navy!” Now enjoying the best of both worlds, Katherine lives in the south where she writes about rogues, rebels, and rakes—aka pirates, lords, captains, duty, honor, and country—and the happily-ever-afters that every alpha male and damsel deserve.

Connect with Katherine:

Website: www.katherinebone.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/katlbone/

Facebook- Official Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Katherine-Bones-Official-Fan-Page/134578253291785

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/katherinelbone

Instagram: http://instagram.com/katlbone

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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Bone/e/B009MO30MU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6535406.Katherine_Bone

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/katherine-bone

 

 

Download Book 1, The Pirate’s Duchess, for FREE! Grab your complimentary download here: http://eepurl.com/cRhc9b

I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Lord Of Night by Erica Ridley #BookReview @EricaRidley #BookBlast #RoguesToRiches

Lord of Night

by Erica Ridley

Unlike proper debutantes, Miss Dahlia Grenville is secretly Robin Hood in a bonnet. Her home for wayward girls has too many dependents and not enough donations. But just as she’s about to pull off the heist of the Season, she tumbles straight into the arms of the handsome detective who has sworn to deliver Mayfair’s mysterious thief straight to the gallows.

Highly principled Bow Street runner Simon Spaulding’s world is black and white. There’s no mastermind too clever, no criminal alive who can escape the hangman. Until he realizes the delightful young lady he’s been courting is a liar and a thief. Suddenly, his career—and his heart—are in peril. How can he bring her to justice when it means losing her forever?

Lord of Night  is the third book of a new series. In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind rags-to-riches romance with rollicking adventure.

 

Release Date:                                                July 2017

Series Order:                                                  Rogues to Riches #3

Publisher:                                                       WebMotion

Length:                                                            300 pages (65,000 words)

Genre:                                                             Historical Romance (Regency)

Purchase on  Amazon

 

My Review

I love reading Historical Romance and this book Lord of Night (Rogues to Riches #3) by Erica Ridley has me wanting to read the whole series.

What does Dahlia Grenville, who is supposed to be a proper debutante but prefers to help homeless girls with her girl’s school do to feed and house 24 girls? She steals from the rich.
How does Simon Spaulding, a highly principled Bow Street Runner, handle when he finds out the woman he loves is a thief? And she has a good reason to be one.

When their two worlds collide, Simon thinks Dahlia is just a Headmistress of a school for girls and he wants to help. But Dahlia also has won his heart.

There is so much to this story. I really enjoyed everything about this book. The characters and the events are very interesting. This book has so much more than just the blurb. If you love reading Historical Romances you will need to read this book. This is such an awesome book I gave it ***** stars

 

Excerpt: Visit

 

Simon did not pay calls upon ladies. Or anyone at all. He had no time for idle fraternization. Yet here he was on the threshold of the St. Giles School for Girls, adjusting his cravat.

The door swung open.

Just as the night before, no butler or housekeeper attended callers, but rather the headmistress herself.

He bowed. “Good afternoon, Miss Grenville. I trust the rest of your evening passed much more peacefully?”

“I’ll send for the others at once,” she said without curtseying. Her eyes twinkled. “I thank you for both your service and your punctuality. She has been looking forward to your visit all day.”

Before he could so much as blink, Miss Grenville motioned to a young girl in a frayed pinafore, who immediately raced up a somewhat lopsided staircase and disappeared into the next floor.

Miss Grenville turned back to him with a brisk nod. “There. She will be down any moment. We won’t keep you long.”

“She needn’t rush,” he found himself saying. “I’ve nothing but casework awaiting me.”

Miss Grenville gave him a long, considering look.

Simon straightened. He had the distinct impression this young lady was taking his measure in the same careful, detailed way he had taught the other men on the force.

Something like: Hat, medium quality. Not rich, not poor. Hair, a bit too long—too much time between visits to the barber. Jaw, clean-shaven. Suit, waistcoat, cravat, well-tailored and pristine. He was an inspector, not a beadle or a street watchman. And he had returned, just as he’d promised.

“Forgive me.” Miss Grenville dropped a curtsey elegant enough to rival a duchess. “We have just finished lessons, and I’m afraid my mind was with administrative responsibilities, and not on my manners.”

Simon could scarcely fault her for a trait his colleagues would claim he himself had perfected, so he merely tipped his hat. “There is nothing to forgive. A strong focus on one’s duty is a worthy quality indeed.”

“Is it? ’Twould be better if I could do less focusing, more achieving, but, well… Someday, things will turn around. I would invite you to tea, but we don’t often take it.” She pushed the door open wider. “But you can still come in. As long as you aren’t expecting crumpets.”

“I despise crumpets,” he assured her. “Ghastly things. Make me sneeze worse than cats.”

“Well, if you ever find yourself with a surplus, I am certain my girls will be happy to dispose of them for you.”

“Duly noted,” he promised, and stepped across the threshold…

The Rogues to Riches romance books in Series Order:

#1         Lord of Chance                                                        April 2017

#2         Lord of Pleasure                                                      May 2017

#3         Lord of Night                                                             July 2017

#4         Lord of Temptation                                                   Sept 2017

#5         Lord of Secrets                                                         Early 2018

#6         Lord of Vice                                                               Mid 2018

 

 

Amazon:   *     Apple iBooks/iTunes:   * Barnes & Noble:  Kob:  *Google Play:  

 

Dukes of War Reader Group:

Facebook.com/groups/DukesOfWar

Official website:

www.EricaRidley.com/books

 

 

Author Bio

Erica Ridley is a USA Today and New York Times best-selling author of historical romance novels.

In the new Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind rags-to-riches romance with rollicking adventure.

The popular Dukes of War series features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

 

Get free stories and 99¢ new releases: http://www.EricaRidley.com/club99

Website: http://www.EricaRidley.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EricaRidley

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EricaRidley

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YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ericaridley

Street Team: http://www.ericaridley.com/street-team

 

I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

ShadowWolfe: Sons of de Wolfe By Kathryn Le Veque #ReleaseBlast @KathrynLeVeque @aurorapub

ShadowWolfe: Sons of de Wolfe (de Wolfe Pack Book 4) by USA Today and Amazon All-Star best-selling author Kathryn Le Veque.

“Le Veque writes… winning epics….” — Publisher’s Weekly

Publication date: July 27th, 2017

Genre: Medieval Romance

ABOUT SHADOWWOLFE:

 

1272 A.D. – Recovering from a great tragedy that had befallen his family, Scott de Wolfe, eldest son of William de Wolfe and Jordan Scott, has become a career knight with no feeling, no compassion. As a premier knight for Henry III, Scott has been tasked with the management of the massive fortress of Castle Canaan after the death of the castle’s commander. Although it seems like a simple enough task, little does Scott know that the moment he enters this fortress is the moment his life will change… forever.

Lady Avrielle du Rennic is reeling over the death of her husband and she blames de Wolfe for it. Fed by grief, she lashes out at the big knight who has come to take her husband’s place and, eventually, take the fortress. Scott has no patience for the woman in mourning but he stops short of punishing her because she is the mother to three small children. When Scott happens to save one of her children from certain doom, a path of healing and understanding begin for them both but when the king intervenes to take Avrielle and her children away, Scott must fight for what has become precious to him. He cannot stand to lose another family.

A deep and passionate love is born from the ashes of grief in this stunning Medieval Romance, part of the de Wolfe Pack series.

Excerpt

Scott was standing over her, looking down at her head, the infant against her breast, and feeling his heart swell in ways he could hardly comprehend. He came around to the front of her, taking a knee and bringing himself to her eye level. The expression on his face was nothing short of raw as he gazed into her eyes.

“Swear it to me,” he breathed.

She nodded fervently. “I swear it.”

It was all Scott needed to hear. Those three words cemented something into his heart and soul that he would never again lose, cementing faith that he thought he’d lost. Faith that there would be happiness again in his life and faith that there was hope for the future. He thought he’d lost those feelings long ago, but Avrielle had somehow managed to bring them back. The realization nearly overwhelmed him.

As the babe nursed at her breast, Scott brought his hands up, cupping Avrielle’s sweet face. All he did was stare at her for a moment, feeling her soft flesh beneath his hands, hardly believing this moment was upon him. It didn’t seem real. Yet, Avrielle was very real in his hands, her skin warm and delicate in his palms, and those lips he’d admired from afar were calling to him.

This time, he answered the call.

His mouth slanted over hers, warm and gentle, as her scent filled his nostrils, intoxicating him. It was a defining moment for him because it spoke of untold promises, unspoken words, and a future he thought he’d lost. He could taste her sweetness upon his lips and he feasted on her, listening to her soft gasps of pleasure as he suckled her lips.

His kisses grew bolder, more demanding, but he knew this wasn’t the place for such things. This was only the beginning of what was to come and his mouth left hers, kissing her cheeks, her nose, her eyes, before moving down her neck. Gentle kisses rained over that beautiful neck and onto the swell of her beautiful breasts, feeling the soft and gentle skin against his lips.

ShadowWolfe is only $0.99!

 

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Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Subscribe to Kathryn’s blog by visiting her website. On the right side you’ll see a ‘subscribe to my blog’ option. http://kathrynbouseleveque.com/

After subscribing to Kathryn’s blog, share this blog post on your social media, and then email aurorapublicity@gmail.com with your social media post link to be entered to win!

ABOUT KATHRYN:

KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier Indie author magazine. She is also quintuple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2016.

Kathryn’s Medieval Romance novels have been called ‘detailed’, ‘highly romantic’, and ‘character-rich’. She crafts great adventures of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages. More than that, she writes for both women AND men – an unusual crossover for a romance author – and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the action, and the adventure.

 

CONNECT WITH KATHRYN:

Website: http://kathrynbouseleveque.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathrynlevequenovels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KathrynLeVeque

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kathryn-le-veque

I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS by Sarah MacLean #ReleaseBlast @TastyBookTours @sarahmaclean @AvonBooks

A love that neither can deny…
THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS
Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Sarah MacLean
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books

 

The
one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in
self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and
a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires
an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only
one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a
single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by
the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her
freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend
the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow
cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their
broken past, he can give her forever, making every day…

Chapter 1

DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!

August 19, 1836

House of Lords, Parliament

 

She’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.

Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.

August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.

Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.

He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.

January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.

His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.

April the seventeenth, 1833.

The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.

He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.

Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.

Where had she gone?

The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.

And they had.

March the first, 1833. The day they met.

So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.

If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?

That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.

And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.

Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?

Where had she gone?

The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.

Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.


 

New York Times, Washington Post & USA
Today 
bestseller Sarah MacLean is the
author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than
twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical
romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place
at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly
column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in
support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on
Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to
call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College &
Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and
daughter.

 

 

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl