The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

‘….Where was I?’

‘At Almack’s for your grand social debut, eating dry biscuits

and hiding a hedgehog in your pocket.’

 

Blurb:

They call him the Duke of Ruin.
To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.
Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society–and now he wants to get even.
Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.
When her imposing–and attractive–new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.
Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?
And a two-legged dog.
And a foul-mouthed parrot.
And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .
Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.
Not if he ruins her first.

 

Review:

Hi everyone. I am beyond excited and delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Wallflower Wager blog tour!

The Wallflower Wager is part of the Girl Meets Duke series, and is Penny’s story. Gabriel Duke and Lady Penelope Campion meet when she breaks into an apparently empty house to catch a runaway (flyaway?) parrot. And it just gets better, sexier, and funnier from here.

Penny is an amazing heroine. She’s spent the time since her disastrous debut in rescuing all kinds of animals. However, she’s now forced into finding homes for them when her aunt decides to give her one last chance to re-enter society . If she doesn’t, then she will have to return to the family home to become a spinster aunt. She’s apparently scatty, naïve, ditzy – but hidden underneath is a truly strong character with a caring heart.
Gabriel is…he’s…what can I say about a hero this wonderful? He’s from the slums, self made, and as sexy as hell! Called the Duke of Ruin because he financially ruins members of the aristocracy, he decides to help Penny with her aunt’s wager, because he knows that having a real ‘Lady’ living next door, will add value to his house. He’s apparently got a heart of stone, but it soon becomes clear he’s got integrity, as well as morals.

They both have secrets, both are scarred by their past, and lonely. Yet, they are equals and so perfect for each other.

This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Delilah the parrot. I have a sneaky affection for her – she’s such a brilliant creation. The interaction between them had me in stitches.
It is a glorious caper of a book! Tessa Dare has the rare ability to write real romantic comedy. It’s effortless, unforced, and done in such a way that you really will cry with laughter. The interaction between hero and heroine veers between witty dialogue and sexy shenanigans, but always with that underlying spark of real, sensual, attraction. It’s breath-taking!

The Wallflower Wager is the first Tessa Dare I’ve ever read. I loved it! So much so, I went and bought the first two in this series.

*Don’t buy this if you are a traditionalist, and don’t like ‘modernised’ language and characters.

*DO buy this if you love humour, fun, sexy, and parrots brought up in brothels!

 

Buy:

Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Amazon.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. Her books have received numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

Tessa’s Website       Tessa on Twitter     Tessa on Facebook     Tessa on Instagram

The Lochmore Legacy: The Epilogue, Final Thoughts, and A Huge Thank You!

 

Secrets of a Highland Warrior contains a beautiful epilogue by Janice Preston. It’s poignant, emotional, and it brings us full circle. I’m so glad this was included because I felt it brought the whole series together, and provided closure. And honestly, it is so emotional I didn’t just have a lump in my throat, I really did cry.

The Lochmore Legacy has been a stunning series from start to finish. The authors have been outstanding. Every single one. Each story is a testament to their ability, skill, and excellence, and they’ve all brought the uniqueness evident in their other books, and which makes each one an auto-buy author. I’ve loved each story for its own sake, but also for the underlying mystery running through each one. A mystery which was actually revealed more as each subsequent book moved us back in time. It really has been a joy to read.

I have to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in this collaborative series: Mills & Boon for the concept, all of the editors and above all, the amazing authors who brought it all to life with such breath-taking skill.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

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(Image used with permission: Image Author)

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson

‘I don’t want to be beholden to any man again. It’s why I will never marry again and place my future in the hands of a husband.’ 

‘She was everything he could ever want in a woman and that thought frightened him down to his soul.’

 

Blurb:

She’s played Cupid for others
Now she’s met her own unlikely match!
Part of The Sommersby Brides. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs Clara Sommersby thinks handsome self-made businessman Mr William Lane is just the man for her neighbour’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if somewhat emotionally distant, until suddenly―shockingly―his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this dashing younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

 

Review:

Hi everyone. I’m thrilled to be part of another blog tour. This time, I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance blog tour!

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance is the fourth book in the Sommersby Brides series, but although some linked characters appear in this book, don’t worry, you won’t be left scratching your head saying ‘huh?’. It is very much a stand-alone if you haven’t read any of the others, (and why haven’t you?)

So, on to the book proper. Set in Bath, it’s the story of Clara Sommersby, widowed aunt of the Sommersby girls of books 1-3. Now she’s on her own, it might be assumed that Clara will be bored and lonely, but she has a secret which is unknown to even her closest friends. A secret which could ruin her and her nieces if it got out. She owns a hotel which in those days was scandalous. She meets William Lane over a glass of spa water, and there’s an instant, and mutual, attraction between them. However, William is in Bath on business, and is determined to buy Clara’s hotel from the assumed owner.

Clara is a total joy as a heroine. She’s fun, shrewd, but real. She still carries some baggage from the past, which is why she’s determined never to hand over herself, or her business to another man, ever again. She’s also realistic about her ‘charms’, and her age.

William is a self made man. He’s serious, hard working, and intelligent. However, his heritage/upbringing, (he’s a foundling), has caused him to protect himself by developing a very hard shell indeed. He has a huge chip on his shoulder which Clara delights in trying to knock off every chance she gets. It’s wonderful to watch.

Laurie Benson has the gift of writing unconventional characters in a way takes our preconceived ideas, turns them upside down and inside out, and hands them back to us completely transformed. And we are the richer, more fulfilled, for it. She makes us care! She accurately reflects the fears, insecurities, and very real choices that are peculiarly associated with second marriages – particularly those embarked on in later life. Her love for the period shines through every word, as she brings the regency to life with a humour, and vividness that’s breath-taking.

Finally, this is a very different kind of Romance in that the heroine is older than the hero, (Clara is 45, and William is 37). Don’t let it put you off. It is a wonderfully gentle, and tender read, yet still has all the emotion you’d expect.

 

Buy:

Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Amazon.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

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

Laurie’s Website          Laurie on Facebook       Laurie on Twitter      Laurie on Pinterest

The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath

‘You are not my master, sir. I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am that nobody is any longer nor will anyone ever be again. Nor do I need a benefactor.’

 

Blurb:
He’s got iron control…
But she might be his undoing!
Part of The King’s Elite. Haunted by Penny Penhurst’s courage on the witness stand, meticulous barrister Lord Hadleigh offers her a housekeeper position at his estate. Despite trying to stay detached, Hadleigh is charmed by her small child and surprised by how much he yearns for this proud woman! Can this he break through his own – and Penny’s – barriers to prove he’s a man she can trust…and love?

 

Review:

I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Determined Lord Hadleigh! It’s my very first time on something like this, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

I loved Lord Hadleigh a lot. The final book in the King’s Elite series, we finally get to know Penny Penhurst’s, and Lord Hadleigh’s stories. Penny’s life apparently lies in ruins, and Tristan, Lord Hadleigh, has a compulsion to help her get back on  her feet. However, this ‘knight in shining armour’ soon finds out that this ‘princess’ has every intention of rescuing herself. It’s a beautiful story of hope, healing, courage, and triumph in the face of adversity.

Penny is such a strong heroine. No-one would blame her if she did lie down and wallow, but that’s not the true Penny. She’s courageous, proud in a positive way, (not an arrogant, superior kind of way), resourceful, and as determined as Lord Hadleigh. The way she confronts her situation, the way she accepts what has happened, and decides who she will be from now on, brought a lump to my throat.

Tristan, Lord Hadleigh, has his own secrets which help explain his driving need to seek justice above all. His resourcefulness and determination mirror Penny’s, and it’s fascinating to watch them dance round each other. Tristan’s overwhelming desire for truth and justice makes him seem to Penny to be cold and overbearing; yet these very qualities enable him to acknowledge his own faults, and respond with humility.

There is a large group of wonderful authors writing Mills & Boon Historical Romance at the minute, and Virginia Heath is one of the best. She writes the most delightful, witty, and humorous characters, who are perfect foils for each other. Her dialogue is sharp, snappy, and full of wit, her settings are wonderfully descriptive, and her books captivate you from start to finish. A real paragon of storytelling, you’ll definitely want to put Virginia Heath on your autobuy list.

 

Buy:  Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Amazon.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

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

 Virginia’s Website     Virginia’s Facebook Page       Virginia on Twitter

Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple

‘She pressed her face into the soft folds of his coat to breathe the warmth of his scent, knowing the coat had a better chance of a future with him. Oh God, but her heart ached.’

 

Blurb:

A plain Regency governess
In bed with the duke!
Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Joane Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?

 

Review:

I have to say that this is the first book I’m struggling to find words for. Unlaced by the Highland Duke is such a wonderful, emotionally intense story, that I don’t think I have the skills to do it justice. But I’ll try.

The story itself is simple – Joane Langdale is a widowed cousin of Bella, the Duke of Lochmore’s late wife. However, because Jo is from a poorer branch of the family, she is still being passed from pillar to post to make herself useful to her richer relations. These relations also interfere in Bella’s son Jamie’s life, and through the machinations of Lady Theale, Jo ends up going to Lochmore with Jamie, and his father Benneit, the Duke of Lochmore. As Jo grows closer to Jamie, she also grows closer to Benneit – but he is supposed to be marrying to end a feud . . . .

Jo is, well quite simply, she IS Jo, a heroine so real she comes alive on the page. She’s a wonderful mix of what makes us human. Our experiences, emotions, personalities, and depth of character all combine to make us truly unique, and Jo is no exception. All her experiences, and the grey drabness with which she, and others have clothed her, cannot truly hide her wit, humour, and joyful spirit.

Benneit too leaps off the page. He is a dreamy hero, and completely worthy of Jo. There is something really satisfying at watching him being brought to his knees. His aloofness, his ability to fall back on years of control, his very position, have all combined to create a façade, an armour which he hides behind, causing him to appear emotionless. Jo’s presence, and her ‘Great Grey-eyed Stare’ slip through his armour, and suddenly, it seems to him, it isn’t protecting him any more. We get a real sense of his anger and bewilderment, as he struggles to subdue his passions, keep his word, and continue to hide his ‘weakness’. And although he repeatedly tries to retreat behind the façade he has built up, each time gets harder than the last. His struggle is so real, we can almost hear the cracking and shattering of his armour.

 

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Lara has a real gift in creating characters so real, you’d swear you could hear them breathing. The romance is intensely emotional, sensual, and believable. The setting and scenery are breath-taking, and skillfully drawn, so real, it’s easy to forget you are reading. And if you like men in kilts, it’s got those as well! Incidentally one of the main reasons I recommend this, or any of Lara Temple’s books, is her heroines. In my humble opinion, they are comparable with any of Georgette Heyer’s. They  are witty, humorous, fun to be with, and the hero never knows quite what to do with her.

This is the second book in the Lochmore Series, (review of the first one can be found here ). I am really enjoying the glimpses of this shared mystery, as each subsequent book moves us backwards through time.

Buy:  Amazon UK

Mills & Boon

Harlequin.com

Amazon.com

Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.

When she was fifteen Lara found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later she emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Regency Romance but it took three decades of various fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech before she returned to her first love.

Lara lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream). She loves to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and read as many books as possible. She recently went looking for that crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…

 Lara on Twitter    Lara’s Facebook Page   Lara’s Website

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this as part of my paid subscription for the Mills & Boon Historical bookclub.