Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Spotlight |The Duke Can Go To The Devil. Erin Knightey

The Duke Can Go To the Devil 

Book 3 of the Prelude to a Kiss Series

In the new novel from the bestselling author of The Earl I Adore, May Bradford isn’t afraid to play devil’s advocate when it comes to a duke.…

After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave this country, its suffocating rules, and one infuriatingly proper nobleman in particular behind.

Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never steps foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can't resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?

     May stepped forward then, closing the distance he had just made between them. Slowly, she reached up one hand behind him to untie his mask. William had knotted the ribbons himself, and it didn’t give way as hers had. Instead of giving up, she slid her other arm up into something that very much resembled an embrace and worked the knot free.
     She smelled so incredibly good, he fought not to draw a long deep breath. Through force of will, he held very still until she was done. It was sweet torture, something he never would have imagined he’d feel with her.
     “There,” she said quietly, pulling the mask free. He exhaled. Finally. She allowed her hands to slide down the front of his chest, her touch little more than a skim. “I much prefer being able to see you.”
     He smiled, a lopsided lift of his lip. “After the way things started off between us, I never would have expected to hear those words from your mouth.”
     She chuckled. “Touché.”
     She didn’t step away, and neither did he. Of their own volition, his eyes fell to those full, beautiful lips of hers.
     “Won’t you be missed?”
     Surely she had come with others, so it stood to reason that they’d be wondering where she was. The last thing he needed was indignant chaperones making an appearance.
     “Soon. But not yet.” She wet her lips, sending anticipation burning through his chest. She was brash and forward, irreverent and impulsive—everything that he thought he didn’t like—yet in that moment, he had never wanted to kiss someone more in his whole life. The desire was as strong as gravity, making it near impossible for him to pull away from her.

Regency Romance Author Erin KnightleyDespite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin decided to pursue a sensible career in science. It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn't any fun at all. Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing, her mind happily in the Regency period as she types away on her very modern laptop. Now an award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author, she's living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three ridiculously spoiled mutts.
For more about her books -- or to see a picture of her wrapped in Mr. Darcy, er, Colin Firth's arms -- visit www.ErinKnightley.com

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review | The Duke Can Go To The Devil by Erin Knightley

Erin Knightley's new novel The Duke Can Go To The Devil is fabulous!! I have been patiently waiting to read May's story --- and I loved, loved it!!

Mei-Li "May " Bradford visited many countries including China, India , Thailand and Java when she sailed with her sea captain father and mother. May's mother died and her father arranged for May to live with his sister Lady Victoria Stanwix in Bath, England until he is able to return home. May refers to her very proper aunt as 'The Warden" and feels smothered by all of her aunt's rules and edicts. May meets Charity Effington and Sophie Wembley at a music audition for the Bath Summer Serenade. They join forces and enter the musicale as a trio. Charity, Sophie and May become friends and lend support to each other as the summer festival progresses. Although their music is very different; it is well received.

Thirty- year old William Spencer, the Duke of Radcliffe is England's most eligible bachelor. He is also the patron of the Bath Summer Serenade musical festival. Radcliffe notices May as she steps on stage to perform with Sophie and Charity. He is intrigued by her until he hears the sound of her musical instrument. The twanging sounds from May's guzheng annoy Radcliffe. He believes that May is purposely ruining a traditional piece by playing with the ensemble.

'What is it about you, William Spencer?" her voice was low and the slightest bit breathy.

 No one called him that. He was always Duke, or Radcliffe, or even William to a very select few. But no one ever said his whole name, without the title that had defined him for so long. 

 'What do you mean?"

But he heard a hint of longing in her voice. It was the same way he felt about her. Equal parts exasperation and desire. Knowing they were all wrong for each other, but having such a powerful attraction, it was hard to be rational about it. She was strong and independent, two things he'd never looked for in a woman, but even as those were the things that drove him mad at times, they also impressed him. She could hold her own, and he had to admire that.

Erin Knightley has crafted an excellent enemies to lovers story. The book's cover hints at the story as it depicts our well- dressed, not a hair out of place, dignified hero and our free -spirited, slightly daring, smiling heroine. The scenes which feature the back and forth banter between William and May are superbly written and contain the correct amount of passion and desire. The couple truly can not reach common ground, they annoy each other but, they can't stay away from each other either. Is it passion? Lust? Desire??

The romance builds as May visits William at his country estate. William sees how caring May is as he watches her playing with his younger brother and sister. He observes  May as she listens to his sister and brother and is surprised and charmed by her actions. Even though May annoys him, teases him and verbally spars with him--he is captivated by her. The build up to the couple's first kiss is perfect. The author made the reader want to see these two give in to their feelings and experience their first kiss.

Kudos to author Erin Knightley for creating an original series.  The Prelude to A Kiss series is set in Bath and features a series of  musical  programs. Each story within the series has characters which are multi-faceted and well  defined.  As a reader, it's refreshing to read a novel filled with interesting characters with different interests. I enjoyed reading The Duke Can Go To The Devil because  the characters were original and you know...opposites attract! William feels May is a scandal waiting to happen.  May helped William see there was more to life than duty and that his duties do not have to define him. Her actions showed him the importance of family.

The ending of this novel was superb and had a few twists and turns. William and May have many obstacles to overcome.  Loved the epilogue which Charity, Sophie and May as it was heartwarming, perfectly written and made me cry.

Looking forward to the next book in the series The Viscount Risks It All which will be available in 2016.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Thank you Erin Knightley for the paperback copy of the book.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Samantha Grace Spotlight Tour

Hi, everyone. I'm Samantha Grace, RITA-nominated author of the historical romance series, Rival Rogues. Today I’m very happy to be joined by Benjamin Hillary, the hero of my latest novel, THE BEST OF BOTH ROGUES, and his rival for Miss Eve Thorne’s affections, Sir Jonathan Hackberry. We also have another very special guest who graciously agreed to lead today’s interview, Miss Gracie Kendrick. Gracie is the 9-year-old sister of Eve Thorne’s new sister-in-law, Helena. Gracie and Eve became fast friends when Gracie moved into Thorne Place, and I expect she will be perfect for the job. Whenever you are ready, sweet girl.

Gracie waves to Sir Jonathan then smiles shyly at Ben. Sir Jonathan returns her wave.

Gracie: Eve told me to ask anything I want, and I thought of a perfect question just now. Sir  Jonathan, do you prefer cats or dogs?

Sir Jonathan rubs his chin: That is an excellent question. A dog is loyal, but needy and a bit messy at times, whereas a cat is cleaner, but perhaps not as affectionate.

Gracie: Do you have a cat or a dog?

Sir Jonathan: Well, no. I tend to travel to foreign lands often, and I’m afraid a dog or cat would become seasick.

Gracie nods: Very wise. Perhaps a fish would be better. Mr. Hillary, I’ll ask you the same question. Cat or dog?

Ben: I’m a kitten lover myself.

Gracie slaps a hand over her mouth to smother her giggle.

Sir Jonathan looks from Gracie to Ben: What is funny? Why is she laughing?

Gracie flashes a gap-toothed smile, the result of having lost a tooth recently: Kitten is your name for Eve.

Ben grins: You are close friends. What else has Eve told you about me?

Gracie: She said you might try to coax her secrets from me, but that I shouldn’t tell you anything, even if you bribe me with a lemon drop. Do you have a lemon drop?

Ben: It just so happens that I brought a box along today.

Ben holds the box out to her and insists it is a gift: Please remind Miss Thorne that she has no secrets, which is what I like best about her.  

Sir Jonathan scratches his head: Wait. You have a pet name for my betrothed?

Ben shrugs: She was my betrothed first.

Sir Jonathan frowns: And did she have a pet name for you?

Ben: I believe Kitten called me the only man she would ever truly love.

Sir Jonathan smiles ruefully: I asked for that.

The worst thing Mr. Benjamin Hillary ever did was abandon his bride-to-be on their wedding day.

The hardest thing he will ever have to do is watch her marry another man.

After two long years abroad, Ben finds Eve every bit as captivating as she was the first time he saw her, and he vows to set things right.

Lady Eve Thorne has a new man in her life, and Ben is nothing but trouble. She is no longer a starry-eyed young woman, and now that he’s back, he can go hang for all she cares. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself…
Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney’s Robin Hood. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn’t want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publishers Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

by Samantha Grace

     Ben made a slow circle of the brightly lit ballroom, stopping occasionally to study the couples as they sashayed past, their cheeks pink from exertion. After several moments, he was satisfied Lord Wellham wasn’t among the dancers, not that Ben was surprised. If his memory served, the earl favored gambling over gamboling.
     Reaching a secluded corner near a dark alcove, he paused to check once more for his quarry before he sought out the card room.
    “What are you doing here?” a voice hissed. “You are not on the guest list.”
    “Pardon?” Ben spun toward the speaker and came up short. His eyebrows veered toward each other. “How do you know?” he whispered back to the mass of green palm fronds.
    “Because I helped make the list.” The plant’s fronds parted, and Eve Thorne’s stern glare greeted him. What the devil was she doing?
     Her frown deepened when he simply stared, at a loss for words. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Hillary?”
     The corners of his mouth twitched. “Let me guess, you’ve been attacked by a man-eating plant. Are you in need of rescue, Kitten?”
     She growled softly and the fronds snapped back into place. Ben checked the surrounding area to be certain they hadn’t earned any unwanted attention, then peered around the massive greenery. Eve was wedged against the wall, her yellow chiffon skirts crushed against the large pot. Her chest rose and fell in rapid movements, drawing his attention to the modest swell of her breasts peeking above her lacy neckline. A rosy glow infused her ivory skin, making the sprinkling of freckles across her cheeks almost unnoticeable.
     God, he had missed her – her freckles, her pouty lips, her soulful brown eyes. He had been smitten from the moment he had spied her at the theater during the little Season, and two years on a faraway continent had done nothing to cool his ardor.
    “What are you doing back there, Miss Thorne, and shouldn’t you have a chaperone?”
     She crossed her arms as if erecting a wall between them. “God only knows why, but I am trying to save your skin, Benjamin James Arran Hillary.”
     Damnation. He had almost forgotten he’d been burdened with so many names, and that she had a habit of invoking every one when she was perturbed. His smile expanded. Despite her pretense of indifference, she was worried for him. “Am I to conclude your skulking about means you still care?”
     “I care about Lady Eldridge, and I do not want to see her ball ruined by you and Sebastian coming to fisticuffs. You really must leave before he sees you and demands another meeting on the field.”
     Crossing paths with Sebastian Thorne didn't concern Ben. Her brother’s need to defend her reputation after Ben jilted her had been satisfied three weeks earlier in a duel, and Thorne would not issue a second challenge for fear of losing. Ben suspected neither of them wanted to risk looking like fools again either. Instead of dueling with pistols or swords as any other normal men would do, they had allowed Eve to choose the weapons. She had chosen gloves.
     He scowled. “Do you have any idea how ridiculous it looked for two men to engage in a slapping match?” The gents at Brooks’s hadn’t stopped talking about the duel for days, and Ben had endured the brunt of the teasing since he’d followed his youngest brother’s advice and allowed Thorne to win.
     Eve’s smile radiated with self-satisfaction. “Since no one died, I would say I made an excellent choice.”
     He grudgingly admitted her cleverness had managed to resolve the conflict without bloodshed – or much, anyway. Ben had walked away with a cut on his cheek and a nasty bruise, thanks to her brother filling his glove with pebbles. But bruised pride and a bruised mug were small prices to pay to see Eve’s position in Society restored.

Do you want to read a review? Click here to see Susan Gorman's review. 

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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace

The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace is a second chance at love romance with a few unusual twists. It's a sensuous story of love and forgiveness infused with lots of humor and romance!

The story begins as our hero, Ben Hillary has returned home to London two years after leaving Lady Eve Thorne at the altar. Ben climbs over a fence, walks in the back door and crashes Lady Eve's engagement ball.

 'One more thing." Her cheeks turned scarlet as she slipped from her hiding place. "Please don't call me Kitten. I am not that girl anymore."

He nodded in understanding, sobering. Two years had changed him, and the scandal he'd created seemed to have changed her as well. Eve seemed stronger. More capable of making him toe the line, if she wished it.

He held out his arm. She hesitated to touch him. One she had made her decision, however, she gripped his arm and attempted to drag him toward the dance floor.

The meaning of her odd behavior dawned on him, and a bitter taste coated his tongue. 'You don't want to be seen with me, do you, Miss Thorne?" He expected a clever retort, a denial, or a frank affirmation, not the quivering of her bottom lip as her shimmering brown gaze lifted towards him.

'Oh, Ben. Why didn't you just stay away?"
Samantha Grace has created a  flawed hero in Ben Hillary.  He's the epitome of the charming, sexy regency rogue hero. He's fabulous! The bad boy that you know you shouldn't like but you do anyway! I wasn't prepared to like Ben as he jilted  Eve (one of my favorite characters from In Bed With  A Rogue). Ms. Grace drew me into this character driven novel by showing how determined Ben was in his pursuit of Eve. Loved, loved Ben's visit to the Woodmere Foundling Home , especially the time he spent with Baby Toby!  These scenes are lough-out loud funny! Ben and Eve have an honest conversation and he confides some of the events that led to his decision to leave Eve.  Can Ben win Eve's heart?

Eve Thorne has matured in the past two years. She is more self confident and stronger because she persevered and got through the humiliation of being left at the altar. She has her family and her volunteer work and is newly engaged to an interesting man, Sir Jonathan Hackberry. She is torn between her duty to Sir Jonathan and her desire for Ben. Who will Eve choose?

Enjoyed the scenes where Sir Jonathan Hackberry is center stage. He appears to be a forgetful academic who studies the use of drums in ceremonies and is preoccupied with the Goddess Althena.  Loved the scenes with Sir Jonathan, Eve and Grace as they enjoy a walk. It's apparent that Jonathan is clueless about Eve's needs and desires. All of the scenes with our charming hero and the absent minded scholar are fabulously written. Does Sir  Jonathan  fight for Eve's heart?

The well paced storyline has several interesting subplots. Kudos to Samantha Grace for including characters who suffer from PSTD and presenting how it can manifest in an individual over a period of time. Loved that many of the characters from the earlier Rival rogues books were included in this novel. Enjoyed seeing Sebastian, Helena and Fergus. Enjoyed meeting Ben's friend Crispin Locke, Viscount Margrave and the elements of suspense and intrigue he provided to the story. Am hoping to see more of Margrave in the future!  Enjoyed reading every word of this charming novel  and I look forward to Ms. Grace's next book!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman 
ARC provided by Sourcebooks.