Friday, May 30, 2014

Cover Reveal: Whiskey Prince by Toni Aleo

Take a risk.
Do something drastic.
Fall in love.

When Amberlyn Reilly loses her mother, her whole world comes crashing down. Having been caretaker to her for most of her teenage years, Amberlyn is inexperienced in many aspects of life. She hasn’t had time to live, have fun, or enjoy even the little things. It’s only when a letter from her mother, asking her to fulfill three things, sends her off to Ireland to live a life she never thought possible that she begins to heal.

Declan O’Callaghan was born and raised in Ireland and has his family’s legendary whiskey in his veins. He’s shy and not a fan of the pressure and spotlight that comes with his family name, or the title he was given at birth—the Whiskey Prince. Declan knows just what he wants and that is to take over the family dynasty, but when his father gives him an ultimatum, everything he’s worked for could come undone in the blink of an eye.

With six months to get married, the reclusive Declan spots Amberlyn across a lake and instantly feels the need to know her. Soon, the two find themselves traveling down a path neither expected. However, like any road, there are bumps and side streets to derail them. Can Declan help find the pieces that will make Amberlyn whole again? And will Amberlyn stay or run when she learns of Declan’s deadline of marriage?

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series: Taking ShotsTrying to ScoreEmpty Net, Falling for the Backup, and Blue Lines.

When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel.

She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog. Read more about Toni here.

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Tasty Virtual Book Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: Woo'd in Haste / Wed At Leisure by Sabrina Darby

Shakespeare in Regency England.

As a child, I had a book of the stories of Shakespeare’s plays that was beautifully illustrated with ruddy-faced characters that made all of the character seem like tavern frequenters. However the first performances that I saw were elegant, amazing films, such as Zeffirelli’s take on Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. And a performance of Henry IV, part 1 on the beach at Lake Tahoe was a highlight of one childhood summer. But it wasn’t until junior high when we read A Midsummer’s Night Dream and went to see it performed that I saw on stage anything similar to those illustrations.

Shakespeare was widely performed in the Regency era. Throughout his plays, whether it is Viola dressing as a man in Twelfth Night or Petruchio in his horrible clothes in Taming of the Shrew, characters transgress social codes until the end of the play when social order is almost always restored. Our popular perception of Regency England is a time when certain social codes were rigidly enforced, at least among a certain segment of society. Putting these two together lends itself to interesting stories, and we often see themes and plots from Shakespeare reappear in Regency romance.

As a Regency romance lover you’ve seen it more than a dozen times: Shakespeare used to make characters fall in love or seem erudite. You’ve seen plots borrowed and reshaped to fit Regency strictures and culture. This is my version. Woo’d in Haste and Wed at Leisure are retellings of two sides of the same Shakespeare play, The Taming of the Shrew. For those of you who haven’t read the play (or seen the modern adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You) the basic premise is that Katharina (Kate) is considered a shrew. She has tantrums and refuses to marry. At the same time, her father will not allow her younger sister (Bianca) to marry until Katharina does. In my version, there is one important switch. It’s Kate who imposes this decree.

What’s your favorite Regency romance that either updates a Shakespeare play or trades heavily on his dialogue?

Woo’d in Haste & Wed at Leisure
Taming Series Books One and Two
By: Sabrina Darby

Woo’d in Haste- Releasing May 13th, 2014

Miss Bianca Mansfield is ready for her debut. If only her older sister didn't insist on marrying first. She's doomed to wait to find love. Until she meets … him. For Lucian Dorlingsley, Viscount Asquith, recently returned from an extended tour abroad, it is love at first sight. He's determined to meet Bianca, even if it means masquerading as a tutor to her young half-brother. Soon Bianca is torn between love and duty and about to make a desperate decision. Can Lucian calm her fury over his betrayal when he reveals that he's not nearly as improper a match as he seems? And will they ever be able to find a match for her older sister to turn this masquerade into wedded bliss?

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Wed at Leisure- Releasing May 27th, 2014
The stunning follow-up to Darby's Woo'd in Haste.

In all of Sussex—scratch that—in all of England, there is no one prettier than Kate Mansfield, and Peter Colburn, heir to the Duke of Orland, has known that since the age of 15. But since her vivacious nature comes with a temper to match, Peter has always masked his hunger for her behind ruthless teasing. As far as Kate is concerned, there is no one as annoying or as incredibly handsome as Peter. So when he surprises her with a sudden and romantic courtship, Kate is sure this must be his idea of a sick joke.

After all, he's the one man who knows how flawed she really is. And the only man to whom she has ever been so attracted. It's only after she rejects him that she realizes he might actually have been serious. And she just might be regretting her hasty decision. As Kate's determination wars with her traitorous heart, it may be too late. Now she's putting everything, including her reputation, on the line to give this accidental tragedy a happy ending.

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Author Info
Sabrina Darby has been reading romance since the age of seven and learned her best vocabulary (dulcet, diaphanous, and turgid) from them. Her debut book with Avon Red, On These Silken Sheets, was a Favourite Erotic Romance finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards and a Best First Book finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards. Her new Regency novella, The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe, released July 31st from Avon Impulse and her first contemporary romance, Entry-Level Mistress, released February 2013.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Forever Romance Blog Tour + Excerpt + Giveaway: The Scoundrel's Seduction by Jennifer Haymore

The Scoundrel's Seduction 
by Jennifer Haymore 
(May 27, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $8.00)


Undercover agent Sam Hawkins has devoted his life to protecting king and country. So when he receives orders to assassinate a ruthless traitor, he doesn't question his mission. But Sam didn't know his deed had a witness--the beautiful and mysterious betrayer's wife. Now he has no choice but to take her as his prisoner-one he can neither trust . . . nor resist.

Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, will do anything to escape her powerful captor--including seducing him senseless. She didn't know of her miserable husband's crimes, but she has secrets of her own, secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. With his piercing dark eyes and gentle touch, Sam inflames Élise's deepest desires, but how could she ever trust a man who won't let her go? Caught between the crown he's sworn to serve and the woman he's come to love, Sam will risk his heart--and his very life--to keep her safe.

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About Jennifer Haymore:
As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their homebuilt sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes quiet, sometimes raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she's earned degrees in computer science and education and held various jobs ranging from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she's never stopped writing.

You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel. 

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Excerpt from The Scoundrel' Seduction:

Sam watched Dunthorpe skim the papers, his movements growing more frantic, his eyes widening at what he was reading—all the sordid details about the plot, with the slight twist eliminating Dunthorpe from the list of those at fault and instead pointing to him as the hero.
“You bastard. This isn’t the schedule.” He flung the papers away. They fluttered to the floor as Dunthorpe lifted dark, furious eyes at him. “Who are you?” he growled.
Sam raised a brow. His heart wasn’t even beating hard. He might as well have been sitting in his desk chair reading the Times.
What did this say about him? If nothing else, it said that he was too far gone to ever feel truly human again.
He shrugged and said softly, using his own, English-accented voice, “I am a concerned citizen. For God, king, and country, my lord. We cannot let you destroy it.”
He reached into his coat again, this time drawing out his weapon, cocking it at the same time. But Dunthorpe was faster than his aging appearance made him out to be. The man scrambled backward, hands fumbling with the desk drawer behind him. He jerked it open and yanked out his own pistol as Sam advanced on him, aiming.
Sam possessed the advantage. He had plenty of time. His heartbeat had still not increased in tempo. He was perfectly calm.
He squeezed the trigger while Dunthorpe’s gun was still pointed at the floor.
The resulting boom of gunfire echoed through Sam’s skull, loud enough to rouse every Londoner in a half-mile radius. Dunthorpe lurched backward and slammed into the desk, his body flailing as if he were a rag doll before crumpling to the carpeted floor.
For the first time, Sam’s heart kicked against his ribs. Now he needed to hurry. Needed to vanish before the authorities were summoned, before Richards showed his face in this room. Sam didn’t want to hurt the butler—there was no evidence that he had been privy to any of Dunthorpe’s traitorous deeds.
Sam glanced at Dunthorpe’s fallen body, saw that the shot had been clean, straight through the man’s heart. He quickly bent down to check for a pulse. The viscount was already dead.
Rising, Sam strode to the window and shook the curtains to signal Laurent that he was on his way down. Then he turned and made for the door.
A noise stopped him in his tracks. A tiny, feminine whimper. One he wouldn’t have heard had every one of his senses not been on high alert.
He homed in on the source of the noise, turning to that little round table tucked into the corner. It was covered with a silk tablecloth whose edges brushed the carpeted floor.
In two long strides, he was at the table. He ripped the tablecloth away, sending the china tea service that had lain upon it crashing to the floor. Hot tea splashed against his boots, steaming when it made contact with the cold leather.
It smelled damn good—strong and brisk. He wished Dunthorpe had offered him some.
A woman cowered beneath the table.
A small, blond, frail-looking woman dressed in white and curled up into a tight ball, as if she might be able to make herself so tiny he wouldn’t be able to see her.
Goddammit. A woman. Sam ground his teeth.
She glanced up at him, her midnight-blue eyes shining with terror. “Please,” she whispered. “Please.”
Her slight French accent clicked everything into place. He knew who she was, of course. It was the surprise of seeing her so out of her element—cowering under a table—that had shocked him into not recognizing her immediately. He’d laid eyes on her once before, when he’d
been watching Dunthorpe’s movements. A month ago, she’d been on Dunthorpe’s arm as they’d strolled into the Royal Opera House.
It was Lady Dunthorpe, Dunthorpe’s beautiful, elegant, cultured French wife. She’d emigrated from France during the Revolution, after her entire family had suffered
the wrath of the guillotine. She’d been rescued, sent to relatives who had found sanctuary in England, and had married Dunthorpe ten or eleven years ago. It was then that Dunthorpe’s ties to the French had grown much stronger.
Because, of course, she was in league with him. She must be.
She wasn’t supposed to be here tonight. She’d been at her residence in Brighton and wasn’t due back in London for another week. Men had been watching the house for days, and no one had reported her entering or exiting the building.
Bloody hell.
“Get up,” he told her brusquely.
Her eyes flicked toward Dunthorpe, who lay on the floor, blood seeping across his chest and turning his gray coat black. She drew in a terrified, stuttering breath. But she didn’t get up.
Sam considered his options. Killing her with Dunthorpe’s pistol was the first idea that came to mind. The odds were that she was as guilty as Dunthorpe was.
But Sam had drawn solid lines between those acts he would and would not commit. He would steal, lie, torture, and assassinate in the interests of king and country. He would not commit cold-blooded murder of an innocent British citizen, even to save his own hide. He would not perform any act that would put a member of his family in danger. And he would not kill a woman.
Those lines were all he had left—all he had to use as the threads by which he grasped on to the unraveling spool of his humanity.
Killing her was out of the question.
He could leave her here.
But she knew too much. Just from the short conversation he’d had with Dunthorpe, she would have learned enough to put everything at risk.
That left the only other option, one that was almost as unpalatable as the other two. He had to bring her with him.
“Get up,” he repeated. His voice sounded harsh even to his own ears.
“I . . . don’t . . . Please, I . . .” She moaned, appearing to make a valiant effort to follow his command but failing, her limbs trembling too violently to support her.
He jammed his pistol back into his coat pocket and crouched down beside her, aware that his time was already up. They needed to leave this place. Now.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he told her, and he prayed that it was true. “But I need you to come with me.”
She made a little moaning sound of despair. With a sigh, Sam scooped her into his arms and rose. God, she was a little thing. Light as a feather. But she was stiff in his arms.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said again. Although he didn’t blame her for not believing him. How could he? She’d just witnessed him kill her husband in cold blood.
He turned to the door, to the only escape from this room, and froze, tucking Lady Dunthorpe’s rigid, shaking body tightly against him.
Running footsteps resounded on the wooden floor of the outside corridor, and then the door flew open.
Damn it. He’d run out of time.

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Baby, It's You by Jane Graves

When I first read the synopsis of Baby, It's You by Jane Graves, the first thought that popped in my mind was "MUST READ." I have a soft spot for runaway brides. Usually, runaway bride stories tend to be fun and this was a fun read.

Now Kari Worthington felt at the last moment that marrying the guy her dad chose was a bad a idea, so the next best thing was to get out of town. Once she arrives to Rainbow Valley her life takes a dramatic toll. She finds herself in a crappy situation and the only advice she gets is to return back to Houston by Marco Cordero. Now Marc senses that his life his going to get turned upside-down by this little red head.

Marc is on the verge of experiencing freedom that he has been waiting 18 years for. So, when Kari steps on his porch he smells trouble. His natural tendency is to help those who are weak and in need, but he's a bit stubborn. I mean he has this plan to travel, take life as it comes, and to experience things he missed out when he was younger. After all, at the age of 17 he had his dreams put on hold to raise his daughter and his siblings, so he has been waiting a long time.

I thought Baby, It's You quite entertaining. Here's why: You have Kari who's a bit of a free spirit and kind of lives in the moment, then you have Marc who takes his life seriously. Marc is so wound up tight that when his plans get a little eschew he freaks out. I liked the story, but some might find the story predictable. Yes, there are some parts that I predicted would happen, but it didn't change my feelings about the story. I found myself laughing and crying throughout the book. So, if you are looking for a runaway bride and a white knight kind of story, you might give Baby, It's You a go.

On a side note, this is a book two, but can be read as a standalone, because the story focuses more on Kari and Marc's relationship.

Copy provided by Forever Romance via NetGalley