Just Released: NIGHTHAWK, Book 7 of the de Wolfe pack series ~ engage your senses and join Le Veque’s world of knights

33134620Title: Nighthawk de Wolfe pack series, Book 7
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance
Story Setting: 1271 A.D., England
Pages: 389
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 2 edition
Published Date: February 21, 2017
ASIN: B01N2LA02V

Publisher’s Summary:
1271 A.D. – The Wolfe’s greatest son is a man known as NIGHTHAWK.

Patrick de Wolfe is every bit his father’s son – cunning, intelligent, and ruthless. An enormous man with his father’s dark hair and his mother’s pale green eyes, he’s the man destined to lead William de Wolfe’s great legacy. He is so great, in fact, that the king has personally asked for his service, as one of the king’s personal body guards. On the eve of Patrick departing for this auspicious assignment, he finds himself caught up in a skirmish along the Scots border.

And a prize lands in his lap that will change his destiny.

A prize in the form of a Scots captive harboring a deadly and important secret, one that could bring war and destruction upon those who shelter her. When Brighton “Bridey” de Favereux is rescued by the powerful English knight, she is taken back to the massive fortress of Questing Castle, seat of the legendary de Wolfe family. Having known nothing but hardship and cruelty her entire life, she is surprised when they are kind to her. The English, who are supposed to be her mortal enemy, are gracious and generous. For the first time, she understands that people can be kind to each other.

And the kindest one of all is the man who saved her.

Some loves are unexpected while others are instantly realized. The love between Patrick and Brighton is something that comes from a deeper place of understanding and attraction, a powerful love that cannot be denied… but it is a love that may cost them both their very lives when Bridey’s terrible secret is uncovered.

5-star-review

 

My Thoughts: I expect a story of passion, battles, knights and personal struggles when I delve into one of Kathryn Le Veque’s story.  She never, ever disappoints me.

This superb story revolves around love – love for family, friends, of one’s country and ultimately love of a true-life partner – a tie so engulfing, so fulfilling, it’s as air to a soul.

“My love for your mother has pulled me through time and space, and continues to do so. Not even death will end it.”  Quote from Nighthawk, words from William de Wolfe, Patrick’s father

If you’ve been reading Le Veque, you’ll find her books are more than three-dimensional in their setting.  They are somehow compounded with such richly textured characters, action-packed battles where death stares you in the face, such love and understanding you wish to reside in her world for all time. As I read further into her many books, it only gets better because characters from her other novels return to us as a community of people whose lives are interwoven with each other.

Patrick de Wolfe, the youngest son of William, loves his Da, never wants to tangle (she always wins) with his Scot’s born mother, is loyal to his family, and is career driven.  A dream he’s always had, to join King Henry as his protector has come to him.  Just as he thinks he knows what is important in life, he meets a young woman, saves her life, and from this point his journey diverges.

Who could know that love could change him so?  But with his need to protect this woman, he brings danger to his own family.  Brighton de Favereux has breached the dynamics of Patrick’s world.  Patrick’s decisions and actions will try the tight-knit connections with his parents, uncle, sisters and brothers. His Da, very wise and greatly respected, butts heads with his son.  Parents always think they know what is best for their children.  Patrick needs to find his way and in this elegantly written story he does. He sees his father’s actions speak louder than his words for Patrick thinks his father has lived the example that love is the most important thing in the world—that is what he needs to discover for himself.

“I think I knew I loved her from the start,” he mumbled. “It is not a matter of defying the church or disobeying you. I had to answer my heart, Da.” Quote from Nighthawk, words from Patrick de Wolfe.

Brighton is a postulate of the priory.  She’d been delivered to the church just after she was born.  She must be returned to her position there, but can Patrick let her go? Danger, secrets and evil surround her in seemingly innocent surroundings.  Mother Prioress has hidden hurt and hatred for the Haye clan.  This is set to explode with Brighton in the middle.

As Brighton and Patrick’s budding romance takes hold, doubts plague Brighton as she realizes her total inadequacy in this new world outside of the priory.  She can’t possibly measure up to the type of woman Patrick needs.

Patrick is in new territory with this woman, too.  He realizes he loves her and wants to protect her.  There is a scene, just too funny, where Patrick wants to make love to Brighton, and he likens his wife’s body as a keep – laying siege to it much like his warrior instincts!  Brother!  Can you imagine this innocent’s reaction?  Patrick, you deserve an eye-roll, big time!

If you haven’t read any of Le Veque’s work, you are in for such a treat.  The more I read, the more I become familiar with the knights and the world of Le Veque! Wonderful reads, exciting moments and deliciously poignant scenes.

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, New Book Release, Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Releases Today! Book 3 of The Imperial Season by Mary Lancaster. VIENNA DAWN

34328002Title: Vienna Dawn The Imperial Season, Book 3
Author: Mary Lancaster
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Story Setting: Vienna, Austria, 1814
Pages: 232
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc. 1 edition
Published Date: February 21, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B01MUF8PNP
 

The Imperial Season Series:
Vienna Waltz
Vienna Woods
Vienna Dawn

Publisher’s Summary:
En route to Vienna, where the great powers of Europe are making peace and elaborate entertainments, spirited Russian countess, Dunya Savarina, is rescued from ruin by Captain Richard Trelawny, a wounded British officer who has given up on life and happiness.

Resourcefully, Dunya secures Trelawny’s alliance in her master-plan to marry her first love. After all, having lost an arm and an affianced bride in rapid succession, the captain is clearly in need of her peculiar brand of help in his own affairs. Together, they embark upon a deception intended to win back their old loves.

Roused from indifference by Dunya’s whirlwind vitality, Trelawny adroitly handles his sham engagement, hostile family, wicked seducers, espionage, elopements, and duels, all the while protecting Dunya and trying very hard not to fall in love with her.

And Dunya begins to suspect that first love is not always the greatest love – or even the most fun.

My Thoughts:   Mary Lancaster hits a home run on this story, the third novel in The Imperial Season series.

Dunya, a Countess of Russia, good-hearted, lively disposition, full of exuberance and determined nature seeks to reunite herself with Etienne de la Tour.  She is convinced he is the love of her life, therefore, uses any means at her disposal to somehow win his love in return.

On her way with her family to Vienna, she is frustrated, angry and upset with her sister and husband, Anastasia and Nicolai. Rather stupidly, as she soon realizes, she leaves their party, to travel alone to Vienna.  Luckily, or perhaps not, she falls prey to a rake – Lord Sebastian Niven.  He lulls her into a false security, takes her to an inn for the evening and plans to have his way with her. Niven is always looking to lift a skirt, and obviously, this young innocent, with no travel companions or maid, is meant to provide entertainment.

Richard Trelawny, Captain of the 95th Rifles is man of many facets, and one I particularly enjoyed getting to know.  Dunya, trying to escape Lord Sebastian’s seductive intention dives into Richard’s room in the inn.  She quickly tells of her predicament, consequently Richard is able to thwart Niven.

Richard remembers when he was very much like Dunya, full of the need of adventure and the desire to live life to the fullest.  But the war had reduced his horizons, and now it is but a memory.  He changes his travel plans and accompanies Dunya into Vienna.  She changes his life.

Excerpt of dialog where Dunya comes up with a brilliant scheme while travelling by carriage to Vienna:

He watched her for several minutes before she drew in her breath sharply and turned back to meet his gaze. “I have a plan,” she announced.

“Go on,’ he invited, waiting to be amused.

“You and I should pretend to be engaged,’ she said blithely. “To each other.”

With difficulty, ‘Trelawny prevented his jaw from landing on the carriage floor. “We should?” he asked in fascination.

“Of course!  It’s a perfect solution.” She raised her hands from her lap counting all the reasons on her elegantly gloved fingers. “Firstly, it would help with the problem of my chaperone—at least my lack on one!–last night, with both my family and the world. Indeed Anastasia and Nicolai—and maybe even Vanya—will be terribly grateful to you. And best of all, we shall make both my Etienne and your Jane jealous? When they see us together, they’ll realize they’ve loved us all along and can’t bear us to be married to each other. In this way, you and I shall win our true loves again and be happy.”

We are quickly caught up in a society of trivial lives, where one seeks his/her own advantage, where danger lurks even in allies, where society mines are ready to trip the naïve and discontent. Lancaster paints a rich and dangerous society, yet balances it with a convergence of subplots convoluted with half-truths and assumptions to tickle any funny bone!

We meet Jane, a seemingly shallow woman, once betrothed to Richard, now betrothed to Mr. Fawcett, while Etienne de la Tour is pursuing her, looking for an advantageous marriage and win a wager.

Anastasia and Nicolai have recently married and already their marriage is on the rocks. Anastasia seeks Lord of Niven’s attentions to salve her ego, who also wants to win the same wager which Etienne is hoping to win. The wager between the two is who is able to ruin a virtuous woman first.

Will Anatasia wake up and seek love where it truly lies?  Will Jane stop playing the game of riches when she has none? Will Richard have what his heart desires? Will Etienne or Niven win the wager?

I highly recommend this series.  It sounded like it may continue.  I hope so.  Lancaster writes an entertaining, suspenseful story with class.

Posted in Book Reviews, New Book Release, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Audiobook Review: WYVERN’S MATE by Deborah Cooke ~ beyond our galaxy, be transported to the Kingdom of Incendium

29926812Title: Wyvern’s Mate The Dragons of Incendium, book 1
Author: Deborah Cooke
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, YA
Page: 188
Published by: Deborah A. Cooke, 1.1 edition
Published Date: June 14, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B01E7CP9NY

Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 3 hours, 41 minutes
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Published by: Deborah A. Cooke

The Dragons of Incendium Series: ecopy purchase
Wyvern’s Mate
Wyvern’s Prince
Wyvern’s Warrior
All Three Books Series

 

Publisher’s Summary:

Once, in the Kingdom of Incendium, there were twelve princesses of the realm, each a dragon shifter. Each fiery and passionate. Each possessed of an appetite for pleasure that only her destined mate can satisfy. Twelve men are expected in Incendium, each with special powers of his own, each with the gift to claim one dragon princess’s heart forever.

Troy will do whatever is necessary to earn his freedom from solitary confinement on the penal colony of Xanto, even assassinate a princess of Incendium. Being a MindBender, he has a serious advantage as a predator and thinks the princess in question doesn’t have a chance. Only one of them can survive and Troy knows who it will be—until he meets Drakina.

Royal dragon shifter Drakina has a quest of her own, to seduce her destined mate and conceive the crown prince of Incendium. Her father will free her from all other responsibilities if she completes this one task. Drakina craves her independence enough to seduce the unattractive Terran who is the Carrier of the Seed. She’s sure it will be a quick seduction—until she meets Troy.

Worlds collide when Troy and Drakina meet, and passion flares. The attraction is so powerful that they both choose to put their goals aside for one night of passion together. When their respective secrets are revealed, will the truth turn one against the other? Or will destiny allow this star-crossed pair to save each other and their unborn son?

My Thoughts:  Knowing both the narrator and author in a historical romance setting, it was a little hard to shift gears.  Nevertheless, the story caught my attention and held lots of appeal.

Drakina, the first of the princesses of Incendium, is pretty much like any rebellious daughter when parents lay down the law.  But Drakina is not a human, but a dragon shifter and comes from a planet more highly advanced than Terran, which we know as earth.

Her father’s astrologers have foretold Drakina must journey to Terran where the carrier who carries the seed is.  Her body must be impregnated by this seed to bear a royal egg, a child destined to save the kingdom.

Drakina is obstinate, doesn’t want to do her duty, but is told this is the last thing she must do for the kingdom.  Then she would have her freedom.  Again, this sounds suspiciously like our teenagers of today!  Drakina, knowing this, says she will not marry him, but will bear the royal prince. She sees her freedom ahead of her, therefore, prepares for the journey, learning several languages, and does what she must to ‘fit’ in.

Drakina is such a beauty with a curvaceous, voluptuous body that no matter if her clothes and speech fit in the small town of St. Anthony, she does not. Troy is drawn in like bee to nectar.

Troy is aware the princess wants him.  He, in fact, is returned to earth to destroy her. By so doing, he gains his freedom from the penal colony where he’d been for the last ten years. If he fails, he will be executed.

Both Troy and Drakina have every reason to succeed in their individual quests–the stakes are high on both sides.  Drakina is intrigued by Troy and decides to draw out her time with him–she has 48 hours. Troy is captured by not only her beauty, but her spirit and finds joy in her dragon form.  So what to do?  Can either do what they set out to do?

I hope you enjoy this story where galactic justice just may prevail and two souls find true love.

Recent interview with Deborah Cooke at Paranormal Romance Lovers Blog

Posted in Audiobook Review, Romance, Science Fiction | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Released today — MARKED BY HONOR by Alexa Aston ~ feisty, brave heroine, honorable and determined hero make for an enticing read!

33987239Title: Marked By Honor Knights of Honor Series, Book 2
Author: Alexa Aston
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: England, 1363
Pages: 196
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 1 edition
Published Date: February 10, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B01MR9R868

Knight of Honor Series:
Word of Honor [presently free on Amazon] my review  http://wp.me/p40XtX-20z
Marked By Honor

Publisher’s Summary:

1363 A.D. – Lady Beatrice Bordel loses her mother and grandfather on the same day, leaving her penniless. With no protector and no prospects for marriage, her future is dismal. Hoping her grandfather’s oldest friend will take her in, Beatrice journeys north and is set upon by a band of highwaymen. All seems lost—until Sir Raynor Le Roux arrives.

Raynor nurses a broken heart as he returns to his home. He comes upon a scene of horror in the woods and rescues a beautiful woman who stirs strong emotions within him. When he learns that Lady Beatrice travels to her betrothed and is alone in the world, the code of chivalry that guides Raynor’s life compels him to escort her so that she may marry her intended.

But Beatrice has told Raynor a white lie, trying to protect herself, even as she is drawn to the handsome knight. As their growing attraction turns to love, her dishonesty stands in the way. Will Beatrice admit to her deception and tell Raynor the truth—or will this chivalrous knight turn away from the women he desires?

Join Raynor and Beatrice as they travel toward their inevitable destination of love.

A Five-Shield Reviewgold_shieldgold_shieldgold_shieldgold_shieldgold_shield

 

My Thoughts:  Simply a lovely read with protagonists full of strength and honor, although each have difficulties to overcome.  It is fast-paced, with richly textured scenes, easily followed, moving the story forward in an energetic way where I didn’t lose interest in either the events or the characters.

Beatrice plunges into a new beginning, not knowing where it will take her.  After losing both her mother and grandfather on the same day, and losing her home and mother’s pearl necklace to a greedy landlord, she has little choice but to follow the plan her grandfather had for her—a journey to Brookhaven where her grandfather’s friend might help her find her way.

On the road with all her worldly possessions, she and Tolly come upon something in the middle of the road.

“What’s that?” Tolly asked, surprise in his voice.

Beatrice turned to look at the road and saw a dark shape in the middle of their path. With dusk falling, though, she couldn’t make out what the obstacle might be.

Tolly slowed the cart and leaned over to pick up the lantern. He stood and held it high.

“It’s a man. I must see to him.” The servant eased himself down from the driver’s seat and reached for the lantern to guide his way.

She climbed down from the cart, as well. If the man was injured or ill, she could help.

They approached the still figure. Beatrice checked his body, finding no apparent wounds. Perhaps a weak heart had caused his collapse.

Unfortunately, the man in the road was not only uninjured but was a highwayman, with another in the hidden in forest.

She watched in horror as Tolly’s eyes widened in surprise. He howled in pain and fell back as his hands grabbed for the buried dagger. As the stranger sat up, Beatrice ran back to the cart, the lantern swinging wildly at her side. Tolly kept an ax in the cart which he used to chop wood. She would threaten this man with it.

But as she set the lantern in the cart and reached for the ax, she found a second man waiting in the bed. He’d already opened her trunk and was rifling through it, tossing clothes and books aside. A book hit the lantern and knocked it over, spilling oil everywhere. The clothes scattered in the bed of the wagon caught fire.

This scene is very nerve wracking and shows the stuff that Beatrice is made of.  Even so, if it hadn’t been for Sir Raynor happening above the scene, the story would have been much different.

When Raynor stumbles upon a woman defending herself furiously in the road, he quickly dispatches justice, with thoughts of respect in her ability to handle these ruffians. He cannot leave the woman alone, with her servant dead, so takes her to Ashcroft. Beatrice is very quick to protect herself.  She quickly tells him she is on her way to her betrothed at Brookhaven. As expected, this places limits on Sir Raynor thoughts and actions.  But such a small lie seems to grow wings and gives Beatrice second thoughts and problems.

Nothing is lacking in Sir Raynor Le Roux. He’s a solid, fair man, honorable and kind.  Once back at Ashcroft, he sees how his brother, Peter, has let the property deteriorate.  He feels guilt, leaving his home for so many years, therefore decides to bring Ashcroft back to rights.  But has he waited too long to be home, to support his brother, Peter?

I enjoyed how Beatrice pitches in to help get the manor back in shape. In the process, she gains self-esteem, and gains respect from the servants while catching Sir Raynor’s eye for not only is she kind, intelligent and a beauty.  So bottom line:  Can Sir Raynor let Beatrice go to her betrothed in Brookhaven, after capturing his heart?  Does he even know how much he is trapped by the person she is and her beauty?

I’ve enjoyed the first two books of his series.  This book can be read as a standalone, but it is very enjoyable knowing the backstory of Sir Raynor Le Roux which lies in book one, Word of Honor.

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, New Book Release, Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: STEALING THE ROGUE’S HEART by Erica Monroe ~ Can love born in the slums ever be set free?

33152546Title: Stealing the Rogue’s Heart The Rookery Rogues, Book 4
Author: Erica Monroe
Genre: Historical Romance, Pre-Victorian Era
Story Setting: London, England 1833
Pages: 173
Published by: Quillfire Publishing
Published Date: January 24, 2017
ASIN: B01M7XO6O9

The Rookery Rogues Series:
A Dangerous Invitation
Secrets in Scarlet
Beauty and the Rake
Stealing the Rogue’s Heart

I didn’t know what a rookery was, so with the ease of getting my question answered on the internet, this is what I found.

Merriam Dictionary states it is:  a breeding ground or haunt especially of gregarious birds or mammals (such as penguins or seals); also :  a colony of such birds or mammals

 Wikipedia’s definition of a rookery: The nickname rookery originated because of the perceived similarities between a city slum and the nesting habits of the rook, a bird in the crow family. Rooks nest in large, noisy colonies consisting of multiple nests, often untidily crammed into a close group of treetops called a rookery. The word might also be linked to the slang expression to rook (meaning to cheat or steal), a verb well established in the 16th century and associated with the supposedly thieving nature of the rook bird. The term was first used in print by the poet George Galloway in 1792 to describe “a cluster of mean tenements densely populated by people of the lowest class”.[1]

Thomas Beame’s The Rookeries of London (1850) also described one:

The Rookery… was like an honeycomb, perforated by a number of courts and blind alleys, cul de sac, without any outlet other than the entrance. Here were the lowest lodging houses in London, inhabited by the various classes of thieves common to large cities… were banded together… Because all are taken in who can pay their footing, the thief and the prostitute are harboured among those whose only crime is poverty, and there is thus always a comparatively secure retreat for him who has outraged his country’s laws. Sums here are paid, a tithe of which, if well laid out, would provide at once a decent and an ample lodging for the deserving poor; and that surplus, which might add to the comfort and better the condition of the industrious, finds its way into the pocket of the middleman.

Isn’t this an exciting setting to stage a romance, albeit full or suspense and dark emotions?  If so, join me in this delightful series, as I’m just starting to get acquainted with, The Rookery Rogues series.

Publisher’s Summary:
Scoundrels, thieves and rebels inhabit the rookeries–where the women are fierce and the men are dangerous. 

WHEN AN UNDERWORLD PRINCESS…

Beautiful, innocent Mina Mason has led a sheltered life as the sister to the most notorious crime lord in England. Her family’s wealth and expectations keep her in a gilded cage, never able to act on her true desires. Like kissing — and engaging in far more scandalous behavior with–Charlie Thatcher, her childhood best friend. As a member of a rival gang, Charlie is distinctly off-limits.

FALLS FOR THE WRONG MAN…

Charlie Thatcher has known since he was a boy where his loyalties should lie: with the Chapman Street Thieves, who saved him from a brutal death in the dark alleys of the Ratcliffe rookery. As a bartender for the Three Boars public house, he protects his fellow brothers with his mind and his fists. But when one of those members threatens Mina’s safety, Charlie’s primal, protective instincts are triggered–and his defense of her puts them both in danger.

PASSION MAY BE THEIR DOWNFALL. 

——–
Stealing the Rogue’s Heart is a dark, gritty, and sexy romantic suspense about the working class of pre-Victorian England. While it is book four in the Rookery Rogues series, it can be read as a stand-alone historical romance.

4-star-review                                                REVIEW

My Thoughts:   It’s a dangerous world we step into.  Gang against gang, whim against whim, the power struggle of those with little power. Rarely is good able to surface above the dirt and muck of the city slum streets where people etch out an existence, many die from each other’s blade.

The Kings and the Chapmans were rival gangs in the past, but a truce of sorts had been lasting for some time now.  Tension had slightly loosened, hence we find Mina Mason, the sister of the Kings’ crime lord at her usual place on Friday night, the Three Boars public house, in Chapman gang territory.  She is kept far from violence and ignorant to some degree about what her brothers do.  She is well-educated, with a kind demeanor and doesn’t fit within the rookery, although she has made friends with some of the woman who work in the public house. The public house is the place she can see Charlie Chapman, a bartender and her childhood friend.  They are from rival gangs, neither wants to deny the attraction, admiration and friendship which exists between them.  The hope of ever being more than that just can’t be.

Unfortunately, in such environments, the slimy, uncouth drunken men thrive and prey upon the weaker, those who can’t protect themselves.  Violence breaks out, Charlie steps in, and the story takes off.  Will Charlie survive his own gang’s punishment for hurting another gang member, just to protect an outsider? Will Mina ever be able to see Charlie again? Has she the backbone to defy her brothers, to take what she wants?

Monroe’s usage of gang and slum terminology, and the gripping and realistic brutal violence in the rookery makes this a most powerful read. Her protagonists are fighters, fighting for the life they want. Secondary characters are well-defined, giving us a glimpse of what will come in the next sequence of this series.

And with that, author Erica Monroe supplies a glossary right at the front of the book, not lost in the back.  The reader can browse the list even before reading, helping to clarify terms not in use today.  Some of them I already knew from other reads, but who would have thought a ‘loblolley boy’ is a surgeon?

Posted in Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Audiobook Review: ASHES OF ROSES by Christine Pope ~ fall in love with this Cinderella fairy tale where good and purity overcome evil and wrong-doing.

Ashes of Roses AudiobookTitle: Ashes of Roses Tales of the Latter Kingdoms, Book 4
Author: Christine Pope
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Story Setting:  Kingdom of Sirlende
Pages: 330
Published by: Dark Valentine Press
Published Date: November 13, 2013
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B00GOGIRKO

Narrated by: Valerie Gilbert
Length: 10 hours, 34 minutes
Release Date: February 20, 2014
Published by: Christine Pope

Tales of the Latter Kingdoms series ecopy purchase link:
Dragon Rose
All Fall Down

Binding Spell
Ashes of Roses
One Thousand Nights
Threads of Gold
The Wolf of Harrow Hall
Moon Dance

Publisher’s Summary: Even the Emperor of Sirlende cannot always do as he pleases, but when custom demands he find another bride after the death of his betrothed, a princess he barely knew, Torric Deveras  defies his counselors and changes the rules rather than make a loveless marriage.

Ashara Millende is the only daughter of a nobleman, but had her inheritance stolen from her by her unscrupulous stepmother. A servant in the house that should have been hers, she dreams of escaping the drudgery of her life and finding someone who will love her for who she truly is.

When Torric invites all the marriageable women in his kingdom to a five-day holiday of feasts, tournaments, hunts, and balls so that he might choose an Empress from among them, Ashara never dreams that she can attend, much less catch his eye and win his heart. Then a woman with hidden secrets appears who will give Ashara the chance to win her heart’s desire — if only she is bold enough to take the first step.

Christine Pope’s Ashes of Roses sets the timeless story of Cinderella in the world of her Latter Kingdoms series, weaving a spellbinding tale of royal intrigue, familial deceit, and the magic of love.

Author’s Note: While this is the fourth book in this series, all Tales of the Latter Kingdoms novels are written as standalone romances and can be read in any order.

My Thoughts:  I thought this may be another ‘Cinderella’ tale, which I’d readily read, because it is a tale hard to grow tired of.  However, it has its own unique twists and is truly very glorious, leaving me with an afterglow of extreme satisfaction where good does prevail over wicked.

I enjoyed listening to this story, told in first person, some chapters told in first person by Ashara Millende, others told by the Emperor of Selende, Torric Deveras.  Both these individuals are in cages, one gilded and one of drudgery and hopelessness.

Narrator Valerie Gilbert is terrific in her depiction of the step-mother, her moments of hysteria and her harsh treatment of Ashara are over the top.  Additionally, a very memorable moment is when the emperor’s representative spoke with Ashara questioned about where Ashara worked previous to her present station. This is when the emperor is searches for Ashara all over the kingdom.  No, there is no glass slipper here.

Torric and Ashara were smittened at first sight.  Torric has always wanted to marry for love, but when an emperor is it even possible? The story is sweet when he quickly makes his mind up after meeting some 400 women of eligibility in his realm she is the one to grace his arm as queen.  But then, she disappears!

Narrator Valerie Gilbert does such justice to this tale. She tells a tale of a man living in a gilded cage, yearning to be free and learns much from his sister to guide him to the path of happiness.

We see the palace through Ashara’s eyes.  She hasn’t seen such opulence in her life.  Author Pope creates the wonderland we dreamers wish to discover.

Ashara’s life with her step-mother and two step-sisters is nothing but drudgery.  She is ill-used where in fact, she should be mistress of their town-dwelling, for the property is left to her by her father.

The emperor is looking for a bride. Ashara’s long lost aunt suddenly appears, who happens to have some very unusual magic at her fingertips.  (Has no one told her magic is a criminal act in the kingdom?)  Will Ashara take the risk to change the misery of her life?

If you are one who loves endings full of happiness, without too much agony getting there, you’ll love this story.  It is made more perfect by its narration by Gilbert.  Her understanding of the tone of wickedness, arrogance, purity of spirit and charming princes, makes this listen even more enticing. I, for one, would love to continue reading the rest of the series.

 

Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Coming of Age, New Adult, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Valerie gilbert, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Misty Evans continues her hot romantic suspense series with FATAL LOVE, Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway

33801200Title: Fatal Love Shadow Force International, Book 3.5
Author: Misty Evans
Release Date: February 1, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Buy Links: Amazon USAmazon UK /Amazon CA /AmazonAU/ Kobo/ iBooks

Book Summary:

***Girl or boy? Find out what Cal and Beatrice are having in this Shadow Force International Worlds novella! And meet Connor and Sabrina – two SFI members who must overcome their inner demons in order to find love in the middle of chaos.

Once upon a time, former Navy SEAL Callan Reese risked everything to protect his estranged wife from the enemies who wanted her dead. Now reunited and expecting their first child, Cal’s past makes Beatrice a target once again.

When Beatrice is kidnapped by a desperate woman bent on revenge, Cal must put everything on the line in the most dangerous mission of his life to keep her and their unborn child alive.

Full of pulse-pounding intrigue and a whole lot of heart, FATAL LOVE is a passionate thriller that’s sure to keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.

Review: This is a really quick story, but perhaps Beatrice who was in labor didn’t think so.  I’ve enjoyed the Shadow Force International a lot.  It’s full of people who put their lives on the line every single time and quite the thriller.  When you’re around that team, you can expect just about anything to take you down.

As we move through the series, the team grows and only gets better as they work to save lives.  This novella had a jewel thief’s daughter after Cal and Beatrice both.  Although Beatrice isn’t exactly in a position to protect herself, she, as gusty as ever takes care of her own.   In this story, we discover how much the SFI means to her.

Two other members of the team, not usually in the line of fire, did what they had to do—Connor, who is the resident geek of the company and answers phones, and Sabrina who flies the team in and out of danger.  They definitely have some attraction to each other, too.

Below is an excerpt from this novella.  At the worst times, when you’re scared out of your wits, somehow the author gets you laughing.  Check it out below!

I’m ready for the next big full-length novel, Misty!

 

 Misty EvansAbout the Author: USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

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Excerpt from Fatal Love 

EXCERPT

Connor McKenzie woke to the phone blaring in his ear.

Probably because he was sleeping on top of it.

Drooling on it as well, because when he jerked back, his instincts automatically directed his hand to the handset, and he found slime all over the black SFI office phone.

Gross.

Of course, since he’d been working 24/7 with no time off, he hadn’t seen his bed since zero dark thirty-seven…no, make that eight, since the clock on the phone’s readout said it was after midnight.

Rubbing his eyes as the phone blared again, he pushed up off of his desk and cleared his throat. Near the desk, Maggie raised her big, black head and looked at him with her perpetually sad Labrador eyes.

Being the office manager for Rock Star Security came with a lot of perks. RSS was the front for Shadow Force International, where former SEALs roamed the hallways, covertly saving the free world on a daily basis. Connor was constantly surrounded by men he respected and who respected him. They understood each other; understood what each other had been through. Add to that the fact Beatrice let him bunk two floors up in an office he’d converted to a bedroom, and it was the best home he’d ever had. The bedroom wasn’t much, but it beat living out of his car.

Maggie was another perk. He loved that dog. Meeting his eyes, she wagged her tail with a solid thump-thump-thump against the floor.

She was always up for an adventure, and good to have around because of his PTSD. She didn’t have any training, but Cal had told Connor she’d saved his mental health many times. The dog had kept Connor from sinking into a dark hole on more than one occasion as well.

Technically since he lived upstairs, Connor could go home anytime he wanted, even though no one was in the office to man the phones but him. He and Rory had set up a system that transferred all calls to Connor’s phone in his bedroom when he quit for the day or needed down time. Beatrice didn’t trust an answering service with the particular calls that might come in from Rock Stars or SFI operatives.

Connor opened his tired eyes and caught sight of the blinking button on the phone as the damn thing continued to ring insistently. Red, not orange. The private line Emit had for the managers to use when they needed immediate assistance.

Shit. Grabbing one of the napkins from the pizza he’d half eaten earlier, he wiped off the drool from the handset and punched the button under the red, blinking light. “This is Slash. How may I direct your call?”

SFI rules were that they never identified the business when answering on the off chance it was a wrong number or one of them had been compromised. Beatrice was strict about that. While the cell phones every employee used were secure, breaches could happen. All personnel used code names and had to answer a security question before discussing any Rock Star or SFI business.

Just in case, Beatrice always said.

Connor had the feeling he didn’t want to know what just in case meant. He also didn’t want to know what might happen if he failed her.

“Con, we’re in trouble.”

Connor sat straight up, nearly knocking over his Coke. The voice on the other end was low and guarded, and the person had already broken protocol.

But it was a voice he knew well, and a person he definitely didn’t want to fail to help. If anything, he hoped to get on the guy’s SFI squad one of these days. “Sir? Please state your security clearance code.”

“Fuckin’ A, that’s my security code,” Cal Reese quipped. “We need help. We need reinforcements.”

“Are you in imminent danger?”

“Yes. The queen bee is in the hive and she is in imminent danger.”

“But sir, there are no…”

The line when dead.

“…reinforcements,” Connor finished.

He stared at the handset. The queen bee was Beatrice. The hive was her and Cal’s home.

Beatrice was in imminent danger.

At home.

From whom? From what?

Fuck on a stick. Connor dropped the handset into its cradle, his guts turning over on themselves.

Emit, Rory, Jax, and Colton were all still in Chicago, opening the new Central Division Rock Star headquarters. Obviously, Cal, Beatrice, and Trace Hunter were back, but the rest of the Rock Stars and SFI operatives were working, many of them out of the country.

RS bodyguards couldn’t simply leave their clients. Ditto for the SFI operatives who were undercover on assignments at all four corners of the earth.

Connor started to lift the handset again and call Miles, but no, Miles was in San Diego, once more running the West Coast SFI office.

Which meant he was out of options.

Zeb. Yeah, he’d call the old spymaster…

His out-of-options list grew. Zeb had gone to Chicago with Beatrice. Connor hadn’t heard from him. Had he come back with Cal and the others or stayed in Chicago?

A burning sensation started in his gut while icy pinpricks attacked the base of his spine. Both spread like blood from a gunshot wound, making his body tremble and his breathing come in short, barely-there intakes.

Beatrice was in danger. Real danger if Cal was ignoring protocol and calling him for backup. Callan Reese was a former SEAL who’d saved the president in front of the entire world.

Beatrice’s personal bodyguard was Trace Hunter. Another former SEAL with superhuman powers. The guy belonged in a Marvel comic book for realz.

If both of them couldn’t handle whatever trouble Beatrice was in, well, then… How the hell was he supposed to?

His hand shook as he jammed his fingers through his hair. Get up, he told himself, but he couldn’t make his legs move. They were frozen stiff.

Not now! He couldn’t let his PTSD handcuff him.

Breathe. Beatrice was always telling him to take a deep breath and focus on one thing. A trick she’d learned from Hunter.

Grabbing the handset, he dialed Zeb, hoping against hope the old man was back in DC. Bracing the handset between his ear and shoulder, he woke up the computer and started shutdown procedures. He’d never had to do it before and another moment of indecision and self-doubt caught him with his fingers hovering over the keyboard.

He never left the office unless his backup, usually Rory or the new lab tech, Sabrina, was available to answer phones and handle emergencies.

Zeb’s phone rang three times. Voicemail answered. Connor left a quick SOS and asked Zeb to call him back.

What now? Should he gear up and head to Cal and Beatrice’s?

What about the baby?

If anything happened to any one of them…

Breathe…

Maggie whimpered, drawing his gaze. She sat beside the desk, tail rapping the floor and stuck her head in his lap.

There was no time to pet the dog, but his hand had a mind of its own, naturally going to Maggie’s head and rubbing her sleek, soft fur. His breathing resumed a semi-normal in-out rhythm after a moment and his mind re-engaged.

Grasping at straws, he dialed the lab extension, hoping against hope that Sabrina might somehow still be in the building. He’d never seen her leave—one of the reasons he routinely stayed at the desk so late every night was for that very reason. He enjoyed watching her sexy legs in those righteous high-heeled boots walk past his desk every evening. He loved her red hair and the way she teased him about being a camo-wearing receptionist, even though the term ‘receptionist’ made his ego smart.

From big, tough, badass SEAL to a useless receptionist. His life had gone to hell, thanks to 12 September.

Bastards.

Still petting Maggie with one hand, he closed off the black hole that sucked at him every time he thought of the terrorist group.

Bzzz-bzzz. The phone on Sabrina’s end rang again. It was Saturday night. A beautiful, smart, hip gal like her couldn’t possibly still be working this late on a Saturday night, could she?

“Conmeister?” Her voice was rough and sexy, like he’d woken her from a nap. He heard her yawn. “It’s nearly two a.m. What are you still doing at the main desk?”

God Almighty, he hated it when people called him nicknames, but hearing any version of his name coming from Sabrina’s luscious mouth was heaven. She got a free pass, regardless of what she wanted to call him.

“What are you still doing in the lab?”

She chuckled. “Touché. What’s up?”

“SOS from Cal. He and B got home from Chicago but something’s wrong. I don’t know what. He must have thought his cell was compromised because he was speaking in code, but he used my name, which is like, I don’t know what. I think he was definitely shook up.”

She was fully awake now. “Oh, shit. What can I do?”

“Man the phones and watch Maggie for me. I’m gearing up and heading their way.”

Her voice was full of indignation. “No way! Not without me. Who did you call for backup?”

“There is no one. Everyone is working or out of town.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

Connor opened his bottom drawer and pulled out his Beretta PX4 Storm and checked the clip. Full. “With the addition of the San Diego and Chicago satellites, we’re short on staff. Literally, there’s just you and me in DC at this moment. We can’t leave the phones unmanned, so tag, you’re it.”

“Why don’t you call the cops?”

If Cal had thought the police could handle it, he would have dialed 911 himself. Whatever this was, he didn’t want them involved. “I’ve got to go.”

He hung up on her protest, punched the button to transfer incoming calls to the lab phone, told Maggie to stay, and headed for the weapons room.

Preparing for the enemy was challenging when you had no clue who the enemy was.

Pretend it’s a sleeper cell of 12 September. If you were taking them on, what would you bring?

A rocket launcher.

The biggest one he could carry, in fact.

SFI’s weapons room had plenty of firepower, but they did not, in fact, have any rocket launchers.

A shame, that. He mentally added it to his inventory list for next month.

Connor snatched a black duffel from a shelf and started throwing in grenades, a couple of H&K submachine guns, ammo, and a sweet sniper rifle he’d been dying to use.

He was strapping on a vest when Sabrina came skidding into the room in her socks. Her boots were in-hand, her hair flat on one side, totally sexy and tousled on the opposite.

Probably what she looked like when she first got up in the morning.

And damn, if her big brown eyes and that crazy hair didn’t make him hard.

“You’re not leaving without me, Conmeister.” She slipped on one boot—with a 3-inch black heel—jumping and hobbling on her other foot, and breathing heavy from her run to catch him. She was dressed from head to toe in red like always.

A deep burgundy red that totally clashed with her copper colored hair.

Connor tore his gaze away from her full lips and even fuller cleavage on display from the deep V of her silky shirt. She continued hopping on her foot as she pulled on the second high heel, the action jiggling her double-Ds and making his hard-on downright painful. “I’m totally leaving without you, Red.”

“Bullshit!” She snatched a bulletproof vest from the wall and shoved her arms through the holes. “You have no idea what you’re walking into. This is Beatrice we’re talking about!”

He slammed the cage shut on the submachine gun selection and locked it. “I’ll handle it, whatever it is.”

“Look,” she said, grabbing his arm. “I know I was just a chopper pilot and I never saw action like you did when I was in the Navy, but I know how to handle a gun. At least let me fly you to their house and set up a stakeout. I can have you there in fifteen. It will take you at least thirty by car.”

Fly? “Unless you have a magic carpet hiding under your lab coat, how are you going to fly me anywhere?”

Sabrina grinned, shrugging out of the lab coat and putting on the vest. “You know the helo pad on the U-Comm building at the end of the block? There’s an EC 145 that can cruise at 150 miles per hour easy. I happen to know the owner and we can use it, no questions asked.”

This woman in red was a mystery, but then, so were many of the people that worked for SFI. “You’re friends with the owner of one of the most expensive luxury helicopters available in the marketplace today?”

She grinned again. “More than friends, actually.”

Connor’s hard-on softened. “I don’t think your boyfriend will appreciate you taking his helo on a rescue mission.”

And if your boyfriend is a millionaire, why are you here working tonight?

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Sabrina said, grabbing a .38 mil from the handguns. “He’s my dad.”

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