Monday, February 29, 2016

I Kissed a Rogue by Shana Galen

Publisher & Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 1, 2016

Time and setting: Regency, London

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Length:  384 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Book Description: 

Once she spurned the man…

When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring, England’s best investigator, to find his daughter, Brook intends only to rescue the lady and return to his solitary life. He deals with London’s roughest criminals every day of the week; surely he should be able to endure seeing his first love again—the perfect girl who broke his heart...

Now her life depends on him

Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has always done her best to live up to her father’s standards of perfection—at the cost of following her heart. When she’s kidnapped and her perfect life is shattered, Lila has another chance. Together, Lila and Brook navigate not only the dark and deadly side of London but the chasm of pride and prejudice that divides them.

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Vikki’s Musings

I found Ms. Galen’s books years ago, and I have been a fan ever since. I can always count on her to give me a story with plenty of adventure and intrigue. When I received a request from the publisher to read I Kissed a Rogue in exchange for an honest review, I immediately accepted. This is a lovely Regency romp.

When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring to find his kidnapped daughter, he is not enthused. After all, she is the very woman who broke his heart seven years ago. Can he rescue Lady Lillian-Anne without losing his heart all over again when he finds the attraction is as intense if not stronger than it was years before?

Lady Lillian-Anne knows she treated Brook badly when he courted her as a young debutante right out of the school. She let her status and the admiration gentlemen showered on her to go to her head. Now, she has to depend on the man she hurt. Will she accept her punishment from Brook and turn what was antagonism into a lasting love?

I enjoyed the story a great deal, and the pacing is fast, making this a quick read. Ms. Galen starts this one with an exciting action scene. I always enjoy a book where I am dropped into a high suspense scene. It certainly sets the tone of the novel. I Kissed a Rogue is very well-written, something I can count on with one of Shana Galen’s books.

Lila is a complex character with quite a bit of depth and flaws. So many times, Regency heroines are perfect, but Lila is not. Granted most of her flaws are in her past, so she needs to redeem herself to Brook. Ms. Galen takes her from a spoiled debutante, careless and thoughtless, to a mature woman ready to be a caring and compassionate individual.

I was not sure I was going to like Sir Brook Derring’ character in the beginning of the story, and he does set out determined to teach Lila a lesson in unrequited love. His form of revenge is not honorable, but again, Ms. Galen turns it around when Brook becomes so protective of her, even when he is still determined to have his revenge. By the end of the tale, I was really rooting for him the win the girl!

One thing I particularly enjoy about Shan Galen’s books is her ability to write action-packed scenes and make them believable. That is a skill that I admire a great deal. She is also able to give the hero and heroine great sexual tension, keeping to romance in the forefront of the story.

This is a wonderful book for all Regency addicts. I Kissed a Rogue has intrigue, suspense and a great love story with plenty of tender moments along the way. This is the 4th book in this unique Covent Garden Cubs series and is easily a stand alone. It is not necessary to read these books in order. Happy reading!


She had to escape. She couldn’t die down here, in the rank dark, alone. She might deserve such a death, but she’d fight it with every last ounce of strength. She’d almost freed her hands by twisting and working the rope against her chafed wrists until it slackened. Her captors hadn’t tied it very tightly, but that was the only mistake they’d made.
Lila had no idea how long she’d been in the dank, cold cellar, but she knew the moment her life went completely astray. The carriage had raced along the dark streets of London, the familiar clip-clop of the horses’ hooves almost like music in her ears. She’d pulled her thick pelisse more tightly around her bare shoulders and rested her dancing slippers on the warm brick at her feet.
All she’d wanted was her cozy bed and a cup of tea. She hadn’t even cared that by leaving her cousin Rose’s betrothal ball early, she risked her father’s wrath in the morning. She’d attended the betrothal tea, the betrothal dinner, and now the betrothal ball. Would that Rose marry and be done with it. It was during that uncharitable line of thinking that she heard John Coachman call out and the carriage slowed.
Lila had parted the curtains in an effort to see what was the matter, but all she’d seen was the swirl of London fog and the amorphous shapes of the outriders moving to stand protectively in front of the carriage door. She’d sighed with impatient annoyance.
“Now wh—?” She’d clamped her mouth shut at the sound of a thump and an unfamiliar man’s voice. The carriage rocked as the horses danced with fear. She waited for John Coachman’s reassuring words and heard only a muffled shout and the pop of what sounded like her father’s rifle.
Her heart pounding in fear, she’d slid one lock into place and was reaching for the other when and a tall, lanky man yanked the door open.
He’d smiled, his thin lips and cheeks stretching over his facial bones. “Hello, Lady Lillian-Anne.”
From there, everything was a blur. She’d been dragged from the carriage, hooded, and pushed against the conveyance, her hands roughly bound. Lila had been so shocked at her mistreatment, she hadn’t even screamed, and then she’d been lifted and tossed over a man’s shoulders. She hadn’t been carried far before she’d heard the squeak and squeal of a door being pried open and the echo of boots on slatted wood floors. Another door and then another and her captor had carried her down a flight of stairs and dropped her on her bottom.
She’d screamed then and scurried backward, only to run up against a pair of hard boots. A voice, much like the one who’d greeted her, hissed in her ear. “Shut yer potato hole. Keep quiet or I stuff my drawers down yer throat. You hear me, Duchess?”
She’d nodded and closed her mouth. She’d pulled her legs in and hunched her shoulders, making herself small, waiting for what seemed an eternity for what was to happen next. Would they rob her? Rape her?
She was not a duchess, only the daughter of one. She had the wild thought that perhaps the men wanted her stepmother, the Duchess of Lennox. But, no. They’d called her Lady Lillian-Anne. They knew who she was. They’d planned the abduction and whatever was to come next.
Lila had shivered, her body shaking uncontrollably with fear and cold. Finally, the man moved away. At his word, the others followed, and she heard their boots on the stairs and then the thud as the door closed.
She’d sat on the hard floor, the small pebbles and rocks digging into her skin through her silk ballgown and the pelisse. She jumped at the creaks and pops of the building settling, fearing each minute sound was the men returning for her. Gradually, she grew accustomed to the sounds but not the smell, never the smell. Something had died down here—many somethings—and with the hood over her face, she could only imagine. Lila envisioned rat corpses responsible for the sharp, sickly fragrance that burned her nostrils. When she began to imagine human bodies, she bit her lip hard to stop the rising panic.
Strange that in the middle of London, all was silent but for her teeth chattering.
They’d stopped chattering now—after too many hours to count. Lila was too numb to feel the cold any longer. The rope around her wrists was all she cared about. She twisted and pulled until finally she managed to squeeze one hand free. She bit her raw lip against the pain of the rough rope sliding against her bare skin. The gloves she’d painstakingly inched off might have protected her bare skin, but they were one more layer between her and freedom.
With a wince, her wrists slid apart, and she exhaled softly, hugging her arms around her chest. Her shoulders throbbed, and the simple act of rotating them in the opposite direction was sheer bliss. She felt for the opening of the hood she wore and quickly tore it off. Charcoal gray replaced the blackness. If the cellar had openings of any kind, she couldn’t spot them in the dark of night. She prayed it was still night and that morning would show her some sort of escape.
And not a stack of rotting bodies.
She had to find a way out. By now her father must have realized she’d been abducted. He would be frantic with worry. Had her captors sent a ransom note? Was that what this was about? Colin would make the duke pay it. Colin and Lila had grown closer since their mother’s death. He wouldn’t allow their father to ignore a ransom note.
If there was a ransom note.
What if the Duchess of Lennox was behind this? Lila’s stepmother hated her, but even she would not stoop to hiring mercenaries to abduct her stepdaughter.
Lady Selina would. She and Lila had hated each other since their first Seasons when Lord Hugh had asked Lila to dance before Selina. From then on, it had been war.
Selina was married now and certainly too busy to plan attacks on Lila. But Madeleine Stratham, her cousin Rose’s friend, was not too busy, and she had intentionally stepped on Lila’s gown at the ball tonight, hissing, “Watch out!”
Had that been a warning?
Lila’s head spun. If she tried to count all of her enemies, it would take hours. And who knew what her abductors would do to her when they returned. She pressed her hands against the cold, dirt floor beneath her, moving her fingers until she found her gloves. She pulled them on again, for warmth as much as protection, and moved cautiously forward, hands outstretched. Her knees trembled and wobbled.
“Please, no bodies. Please no bodies,” she chanted under her breath.
The cellar was blissfully empty. She discovered a wall and followed it around to the base of the stairwell. Her hands traveled over that rough wood until she found the opening. The stairwell had no railing, so she carefully lifted her skirts and moved slowly and silently upward. Her fingertips touched the wood of the door at the top, and she stood listening.
She heard nothing but silence and the strains of music farther away. Perhaps a tavern or gin house was nearby. She couldn’t be certain a guard wasn’t on the other side of the door, but she tried the handle anyway. The handle moved, but the door did not budge when she pushed on it.
Some sort of lock to keep it closed and secure.
Lila waited, again listening for movement or an indication her efforts to escape had been noted. When she heard nothing, she rattled the door. The wood was flimsy and old. One serious push against it, and she could compromise the lock.
She took a jagged breath and said a quick prayer. She’d never prayed so much—no, she’d been her own god for too many years. Lila stepped back, careful not to go too far and tumble down the stairs, then rammed the door with her shoulder.

Author Bio:

Shana Galen is the national bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

For Love or Legacy by Ruth Cardello

Publisher & Release Date: Self-published, December 29, 2013

Time and setting: Present Day, NYC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length:  222 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Nicole Corisi will lose her inheritance if she doesn’t find a way around the terms of her father’s will, but she will have to partner up with her estranged brother’s rival to do it. As pretense becomes painfully real, Nicole will have to choose between Stephan and the family he is driven to destroy.

Stephan Andrade has been planning his revenge ever since Dominic Corisi unscrupulously took over his father’s company. With Corisi Enterprises gambling its reputation on the success of a new software network for China, Stephan finally has his chance to take back his legacy. Dominic’s younger sister, Nicole, asks Stephan for his help and provides him with an opportunity to exact his revenge on a personal level.

It all goes smoothly until he falls in love.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the second book in the Legacy collection series. I’m very glad I found this series because I am enjoying it immensely. For Love or Legacy is another riveting love story. 

This is another fast-paced read, keeping me turning the pages as fast as possible. The characters are complex and the plot intriguing. I thoroughly enjoy Ms. Cardello’s writing style. She gives enough description to paint the picture, but not enough to slow the pacing.

Stephan Andrade is a complex character with many layers to his personality. He does have a vengeful side that threatens to overpower his good characteristics, but his backstory did make me empathetic to him. Under his tough exterior, he has a generous heart and the ability to love deeply.

The heroine, Nicole Corisi, is also a complex character with a mix of innocence and worldliness that helped me bond with her immediately. While she wants to be the CEO of her father’s company, she does have insecurities about her ability to lead. No wonder she has them, considering the neglect she experienced as a child, always seeking the approval of an uncaring father.

I like all of the secondary characters in this series, and it’s fun catching up on the previous characters’ lives as well. If you are looking for a great billionaire series without any BDSM elements, yet still has plenty of hot scenes with an enthralling story, then you will love the Legacy Collection. Happy reading!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Adult Romantic Suspense: Conflicted by M.M. Koenig

New Adult Romantic Suspense
Date Published: December 2013

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Find out what happens when a sexy, tattooed bad boy goes head to head with a sassy, fierce female in the first book of the explosive Secrets and Lies series!

Mia Ryan was on the path to make all her dreams come true. Her life was everything she wanted it to be; until one fateful night changed everything – leaving her broken and without direction. Nearly a year later, she still has little faith in anyone or anything. Desperate to reclaim her life’s ambition, she takes an unexpected offer that promises to solve all her problems. But as Mia moves forward, she’s faced with obstacles she couldn’t have foreseen. The biggest of them lies within the mystery of Ethan Fitzgerald; a man who affects her like no other, but who she should avoid pursuing, at all costs. On a mission himself, Ethan Fitzgerald didn’t care who he pissed off on his road to fulfill his mother’s dying wish. He relied on himself, and was closed off to the world around him – until Mia Ryan walked through his door. Normally one to avoid messy emotions, Ethan’s world is turned upside down by Mia, and he can’t seem to get enough of her. There are lines you can cross that will change the course of your life forever …


“Why are you so upset?”

“I'm angry because you keep denying me when it's clear you want me. To top it off, you come to my club and dance with countless men right in front of me,” Ethan growled.
He ran his nose down my neck before licking away a bead of sweat. I gasped. The hand that he had moved to my waist slipped underneath my top. He caressed my belly before running his fingers further down, making every ounce of me come to a dull ache. Against my will, my body moved in ways to encourage him to travel further south to take full advantage of me. Ethan's hands settled along my waistline, lazily trailing his fingers along it. My mind screamed one last time that this was not an option for me. In a last-ditch attempt, I paused his hands so he wouldn't go any further. Ethan whipped me around to face him. The passion in his eyes was unmistakable.

“I'm trying to do the right thing,” I moaned.

His hands drifted underneath my shirt and up my sides on their way north this time. As he progressed along my rib cage to the lower line of my bra, he moved us off the dance floor. Ethan pushed me up against a pillar at the far end of it. He brought his body right into mine. He tossed in an occasional thrust of the hips as he pinned me, just to remind me how very well he knew my body. Ethan cupped my breast with tender strokes of his hand before pressing his lips on a spot underneath my ear lobe. It was enough to melt every part of me. I was throbbing all over for him.
 “You want me. I want you. I don't care what's right or wrong,” Ethan hissed.

I tilted my neck as he trailed deep kisses down my collarbone and exposed shoulder. I wanted him so much that it was close to making me burst. I moaned even louder when his teeth grazed the crook of my shoulder. He sucked along my neck with eagerness,making no effort to hold back his want for me. I slanted my head to bring my lips vigorously down on his. My tongue drifted across the top of his mouth before his tongue met mine where they danced to the beat with the music around us. My hands moved down to his hips as he pumped against me. I slid them even further down to his ass. Ethan responded by grinding harder and grabbing one of my legs to raise it around his hip.

Our bodies melded together in an erotic dance as our mouths devoured each other. I lost myself in the music, in his lips, in his body, in his hands, and in the desires he brought out in me. His hands ran up and down my body while his lips and hips brought me to the point of no return – I ached for him.

About the Author

M. M. Koenig enjoys being active and has a variety of interests that coincide with her passion for life. Always one to try new things, she has acquired a variety of skills. Her sarcastic nature and multitude of experiences tend to find their way into her novels.

When she has free time and isn't writing, she spends as much time as she can with friends and family. To fuel her soul, she is constantly looking for new music, movies, and books to keep the writer's block at bay.

Get your Copy FREE!

There are two other books in the series:

Mia Ryan has learned the hard way that her choices can have horrible consequences. Taking an offer that was supposed to get her life back on track was nothing but a ploy. To keep the ones she holds dear safe, she's forced to finish what she started, without any hope of finding out why she was targeted in the first place. Though Mia has Ethan by her side, she can't seem to believe in him, especially since most of his life remains a mystery. Ethan Fitzgerald has done everything in his power to prove to Mia that she can trust him, but it never seems to be enough to convince her to drop the last wall around her heart. With deep and dark secrets lurking around every corner, he has his own plan to keep Mia from any danger, but it may just shatter their love forever. There are so many questions – with even more shocking answers – and when Mia uncovers the truth, nothing will ever be the same...

Mia Ryan’s past and present are about to collide in startling ways, leaving her to question everything she’s ever known about herself.
After a shocking turn of events that revealed some mind-blowing secrets, Mia becomes more determined than ever to take back her life from the darkness that’s consumed her. In her pursuit for answers, she quickly discovers that parts of her past, which have always been a mystery, might be the key to saving the ones she loves…and the man that stole her heart.
Ethan Fitzgerald knows that things are never what they seem. Taking down his father’s empire wasn’t supposed to be a challenge—that was before Mia Ryan waltzed through his door. Forever changed by a love that reignites his purpose in life, Ethan is willing to do whatever it takes to protect Mia, and his enemies know it.
In this edge of your seat finale of the Secrets and Lies series, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before. Can Mia and Ethan’s relationship withstand the malicious forces threatening them, or is letting go the answer that saves them and the ones they love? Everything comes at a cost—and it might just be true love.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life: The Embargo Act of 1807

A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life: The Embargo Act of 1807: There's an awful lot of research involved in writing a historical novel and I'm thrilled to welcome Vikki Vaught with news not only...

Book Review: Maid for the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello

Maid for the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello (Legacy Collection, Book 1)

Publisher & Release Date: Self-Published, November 23, 2013

Time and setting: Present Day, Boston, China

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotic

Length:  221 pages

Heat Level: 3 Flames

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Dominic Corisi knew instantly that Abigail Dartley was just the distraction he was looking for, especially since having her took a bit more persuading than he was used to. So when business forces him to fly to China, he decides to take her with him, but on his terms. No promises. No complications. Just sex.

Abby has always been the responsible one. She doesn’t believe in taking risks; especially when it comes to men - until she meets Dominic. He’s both infuriating and intoxicating, a heady combination. Their trip to China revives a long-forgotten side of Abby but also reveals a threat to bring down Dominic’s company. With no time to explain her actions, Abby must either influence the outcome of his latest venture and save his company or accept her role as his mistress and leave his fate to chance. Does she love him enough to risk losing him for good?

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Vikki’s Musings

I have really gotten lucky lately at finding new to me authors. I was intrigued by the title, and the book description sounded interesting. Since not only was this book FREE, it also had the audio version for $1.99. I downloaded it right away. I’m so glad I did. This is a great book.

Maid for a Billionaire starts out by introducing me to the hero, Dominic Corisi. He’s an angry, bitter man, feeling that his father has escaped the downfall Dom had planned for him. Although he is not shown in the best light, there was something about him that called to me, and I had to find out what made him such a hard man.

When he meets Abby, the heroine, he again does not show the best side of his personality, but I was compelled to read on. Now Abby Dartley is a sweetheart of a character from the first scene. She is the perfect woman for Dominic. She is quiet and reserved, nothing like any woman Dom has ever been attracted to before, but there is steel in her backbone. Abby’s character had to grow up quickly when her parents died and she had to assume responsibility for her much younger sister. This makes her very risk averse, and having a relationship with Dominic is way out of her comfort zone.

For me, this was a riveting read. The pacing is fast, but at the same time, it did not feel rushed. Ms. Cardello’s writing is smooth and flowing and a joy to read. The plot, while common in romances written recently, involving a billionaire, is told in a refreshing manner. She gives just the right amount of detail when describing the surroundings without taking too far. I could see the garden she visits in China, visualize the flowers, smell them even. I love when that happens.

I LOVE Kim Bubbs narration. She is one of the best narrators I have listened to recently. Her ability to give each character their own distinctive voice is amazing. So many of them have different accents, but she handles it beautifully. Her well-modulated tone pulls me into the story and was a joy to listen to. I will definitely look for other books narrated by her.

If you are looking for a billionaire story that has complex characters and an interesting plot, the I highly recommend Maid for the Billionaire. I have already downloaded the next book, and so far, it is as great as this one. I think I’m going to having a long relationship with Ms. Cardello since there are seven books in this series. Happy reading!