I go here all the time! They have a manuscript copy of one of Jane Austen’s poems on display and, of course, Jane is buried in the Cathedral.
I go here all the time! They have a manuscript copy of one of Jane Austen’s poems on display and, of course, Jane is buried in the Cathedral.
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted,
she’s about to find the one she needs.
Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…
A new-to-me author and a contemporary romance. Thanks to author Shana Galen for recommending this book. I usually only read historical romance but have only tried one other contemporary romance.
“But sometimes the thing you want isn’t what you really need.” (p114)
“The embarrassment was still there, but like a Band-Aid ripped off, the sting was already fading.” (p119)
“In this moment, I could forget all my fears. I could even forget the fact that I was exposed and vulnerable in a way that I had never been before. In a way I had never let myself be with anyone.” (p134)
“He wouldn’t do anything I didn’t want. This knowledge gave me a heightened sense of power. I could do anything. Kiss him. Touch him. Explore him as I wished with no fear that he would demand more from me than I wanted to give.” (p137)
A great story with emotionally-deep characters, a sweet heroine and a sexy-sweet hero, Foreplay is a memorable and enjoyable romance.
The first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers series.
EVEN THE MOST REFINED LADY
Lady Emeline Gordon is the model of sophistication in London’s elite social circles, always fashionable and flawlessly appropriate. As such, she is the perfect chaperone for Rebecca, the young sister of a successful Boston businessman and former Colonial soldier.
CRAVES AN UNTAMED MAN
Samuel Hartley may be wealthy, but his manners are as uncivilized as the American wilderness he was raised in. Who wears moccasins to a grand ball? His arrogant disregard for propriety infuriates Emeline, even as his boldness excites her.
TO RELEASE HER PASSION…
But beneath Samuel’s rakish manner, he is haunted by tragedy. He has come to London to settle a score, not to fall in love. And as desperately as Emeline longs to feel this shameless man’s hands upon her, to taste those same lips he uses to tease her, she must restrain herself. She is not free. But some things are beyond a lady’s control…
An entertaining and steamy love story about a supposedly proper Englishwoman and a self-made and wild colonial soldier.
“But those eyes were amazing. He had never seen anyone with such vividly green eyes. They reminded him of a lush pasture or of a shower of emeralds.”
– Shana Galen, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride (2012)
Exquisite, lovely, witty, and thoroughly entertaining, this is the latest book by one of my favorite historical romance writers, Sherry Thomas. I’m well aware that this book has been praised to the skies everywhere, but it is no surprise as this author has a way with language and feeling that leaves you breathless. You just can’t stop reading.
"Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Felix knows very well his golden image is a hoax. But no one else suspects the truth, until Miss Louisa Cantwell comes along.
From their first meeting, Louisa has mistrusted his outward perfection. But even she could not have imagined that The Ideal Gentleman would propose—to make her his mistress.
Yet she cannot ignore the pleasure his touch ignites. Nor can she deny the pull Lord Wrenworth exerts upon her. But dare she get any closer to a man full of dark secrets, any one of which could devastate her?”
Absolutely gorgeous writing:
“She was a woman in love and she wanted nothing less than his unscrupulous and very possibly unprincipled heart, proffered to her in slavish devotion.” (p87)
“There was an enormous difference between marrying a man one did not love wildly and marrying a man while wildly in love with someone else.” (p93)
“Then he’d proposed, and her world had turned upside down in the most pleasurable way. And she had forgotten that around him she always needed her shield and sword. Had walked into the dragon’s lair naked and unarmed, with nothing but the foolish conviction that the dragon would never incinerate a girl he liked.” (p175)
“He felt a completely inappropriate desire to smile, accompanied by a sharp pinch in his chest.” (p245)
A lush, romantic, and smart romance, this story is a feast for the senses.
Fresh rosemary and sage.
"Their lives were perfect …
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn’t bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother …
Until they met each other.
Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero’s wedding nears, and Griffin’s enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?”
The second book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s addictive, sensual, and seductive Maiden Lane series, set in 1730s London. I’m finally catching up with this series after listening to the first book on e-audio several months ago.
“What was it about her? He found himself staring at those diamond-clear eyes, watching as the dark pupils at their center grew larger as she looked at him. He leaned closer as if to catch the exhalation of her breath in his own nostrils. Oh, this was not good.” (p88)
”’You’ve let all of London think that you left Cambridge on some feckless whim when in fact you left to help your family. You lead others to believe that you live the life of a libertine, without care or worry, when in fact you work for your family’s sake.’” (p156)
"She felt a dangerous unsteadiness as if she were still on the stairs about to fall. A trembling giddiness made up equally of expectation and guilt." (p100)
“Wasn’t Mandeville in some ways just as much to be condemned as Reading? Perhaps more so—he had all the benefits without suffering any of the soul-shredding consequences of dealing in gin. There was a name for such a man, she knew. Coward, a tiny voice whispered deep in her heart.” (p132)
An entertaining and sexy romance, with wonderful characters, realistic dialogue, and several concurrent stories that kept me turning the pages. I can’t wait to read more in the Maiden Lane series.
“She understood him. He could not forgive her, but he could not be unfeeling. Though condemning her for the past, and considering it with high and unjust resentment, though perfectly careless of her, and though becoming attached to another, still he could not see her suffer without the desire of giving her relief. It was a remainder of former sentiment; it was an impulse of pure, though unacknowledged friendship; it was a proof of his own warm and amiable heart, which she could not contemplate without emotions so compounded of pleasure and pain, that she knew not which prevailed.”
– Jane Austen, Persuasion (1818)
This series is a lively and wonderfully naughty Georgian-era romp with great attention to historical detail, memorable and likable characters, sensual and moving love stories, and marvelous writing. You will be grandly entertained.
A letter to all DeVere fans,
In anticipation of the 8th installment in my award-winning DeVere series (Library Journal Best e-book romance of 2012), I have released a single volume e-book compilation of the three stories that feature the devil himself, Ludovic, Viscount DeVere.
A Devil Named DeVere is a full length title (105K words/555pages) comprised of three novellas (The Devil You Know, The Devil’s Match, A Devil’s Touch ). In order to better serve as a standalone story I had re-edited with the addition of a few select scenes from A Wild Night’s Bride and The Virgin Huntress.
It is my hope that this book will serve as a solution for readers who are interested in the series, but might be too impatient to wade through all of the preceding novellas in order to get “caught up” before the release of Jewel of the East (coming in January 2014).
A Devil Named DeVere
When burned once… Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley was resigned to her decade-long loveless and childless marriage to a feckless husband until a dire discovery shatters her life.
By an old flame… A master of seduction, Viscount Ludovic, “The Devil” DeVere, is accustomed to taking what he wants heedless of the cost until encountering a woman who won’t be had at any price—at least not until a dark secret compels her to seek aid and comfort in this devil’s arms. What begins as an all-consuming passion becomes a true devil’s bargain when circumstances beyond their control drive the lovers irrevocably apart.
Fire is best fought with fire…Four years later, DeVere is world-weary and bored with his life of debauchery when Diana unexpectedly reappears. Although both believe the former inferno has been reduced to bitterness and ashes, their chance reunion proves otherwise. With their passion reignited to undeniable ferocity, DeVere is hell-bent to lure Diana back into his bed… while she is equally determined to bring him to his knees.
THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES:
A Wild Night’s Bride #1
The Virgin Huntress#2
The Devil You Know #3
The Devil’s Match #4
A Devil’s Touch #4.5
Jewel Of the East #5 (January 2014)
Devil in the Making #1
The Trouble With Sin #2
Ned’s Folly#3 (coming late 2014)
This title is available in both Kindle and print formats.
Thank you as always for your friendship and support.
TEN FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE DEVIL DEVERE SERIES by Victoria Vane
Ludovic scowled. “Sin, it seems you were unduly attached to the creature. You must break this damnable habit of falling in love with every female you bed. ”
“DeVere’s right,” said Charles Fox.
“Neither of you can understand,” Simon replied sullenly, “for you have yet to experience the grand passion, the all consuming power of love.”
“Sin, listen to me closely,” Ludovic said. “You must accept that sometimes a fuck, no matter how rapturous, is only a fuck. No more. No less.” - Devil in the Making (FREE Download!)
"Where are my clothes, Sin?" Ned demanded, his arms crossed over his broad chest and his gaze a mere slit.
"Clothes?" Simon repeated blankly.
"Yes. Clothes. I seem to be devoid of any."
Simon smirked. “However did you lose them?”
"I’m not in a humor for humor," Ned replied. "Must I drag your arse from the bed?"
"It would be a wasted effort, for you’ll find I have no clothes either." Simon chuckled. He raised the sheet that only partially covered the four bodies. "Indeed, none of us seem to have any clothes." - The Trouble with Sin
"Ah, Ned!" Ludovic cried in a voice slurred from drink. "I wondered where you’d gone. You’ve returned with a companion?"
”Only because the lady expressed a wish to make your acquaintance.”
Ludovic gave Ned a sardonic arch of his brow. “How extraordinary. Did she, indeed?” He abandoned the nearby breast to appraise Phoebe. “Charming.”
She realized she had passed muster when he waved away the woman between his legs and flashed her a bedazzling smile. “What is your name, my pet?”
”Kitty,” she replied.
DeVere threw back his head with a guffaw. “Kitty? How delightfully apropos!” His erstwhile companions forgotten, he patted a muscular thigh. “Come then, Kitty, my sweet, little puss. Sit on your master’s lap, and I’ll stroke you ‘till you purr.”- A Wild Night’s Bride
Ned looked to DeVere. “You are the master of mayhem. Any brilliant ideas?”
“If we want him to leave the gate, we must provide proper motivation.” DeVere answered.
“Such as?” Phoebe prompted.
“Let us keep to the basics, my pet. Men are primarily moved by either their stomachs or their cocks. If we cannot tempt the one, it must be the other.”
Ned glared. “What are you suggesting?”
“Our little chambermaid can take the blighter off by offering him a hand job.”
“The hell she will!” Ned barked before Phoebe could answer for herself. “Think of something else!”
“Come now, Ned. She’ll be well compensated for her trouble. He chuckled, “Hell, for a thousand, I might be tempted to do it myself.” – A Wild Night’s Bride
“Aye!” said Polly. “Keep it up and ye’ll only make a fool of yerself and spoil any chance for a suitable young man.”
“But I love him, Polly!”
“Pshaw! The frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean.”
Vesta scrunched her face. “Must you always speak in riddles?”
“Ye’ve been mollycoddled, missy, and can know nothing how the world works.”
“But I do know love, Polly! I loved Captain Hew from the moment I saw him and I just know I can make him love me too!”
“Humph!” Polly scoffed. “And the ass dreams of thistles too!” – The Virgin Huntress
Ludovic interjected, “And where ever an ass falls; there he will never fall again.”
“I indeed marvel at that, Vic.”
“That I have remained unwed?”
“No, that you are still an ass.” Hew grinned, adding, “although yet an unmated ass.”
“And that is precisely the state I intend to maintain. A man who lives alone is a god unto himself.”
“And a devil unto others.” – The Virgin Huntress
“Why would you do such a thing?”
DeVere looked annoyed. “Why must everyone always ask “why”? I do because it suits me to do. I do not adhere to the worldview that one must always have a reason for everything. – The Virgin Huntress
“Do you wish to tell me what it is that sent you to my door, Vesta?”
“Must I have a reason?” she said. “You are my godfather, after all.”
He chuckled long and hard. “No my dear, reasons are only for those beings with inferior understanding.” – The Virgin Huntress
“Should you later grow chilly, dear lady, you need only whisper the word, and I shall command every hearth in this monstrosity be lit. I would rather set my entire house aflame than cover such a magnificent…” His gaze raked over Diana’s bosom with an appreciative gleam. “… gown.” – The Devil You Know
You know I have never believed in monogamy.”
"Yes," she said tightly. "You have made that clear on many occasions. Love requires a desire to sacrifice, Ludovic. To give up purely self-indulgent pleasure in return for something deeper and more meaningful.”
"Have you ever loved before, Diana?" he asked, deftly turning the tables.
The question caught her off guard. “No,” she said softly, but then her armor came up. “I once thought perhaps I could have, but I never really had the chance to find out.”
"Is that what truly eats at you?" he asked. "Incessantly and relentlessly plagues you? Refuses to ever give you any peace?" He dug deeper. "The lost opportunity? Never knowing for certain whether you have the capacity for it or not?" He twisted the knife.
"Yes! Damn you!" she cried, feeling the brunt of his counterstrike full force.
"Damn me, indeed," he murmured, "for I suffer the same.” – The Devil’s Match
"A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.
Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…”
What a wonderful story. Set in Victorian England in 1840, this lovely novella’s central theme was bullying. Featuring Lady Elaine Warren, Margaret’s good friend first seen in Unveiled, this heartwarming and heart wrenching story hooked me from page one.
“She’d been entirely unlike all the other debutantes; not just in body, but with that long, loud, vital laugh. It had made him think that she held nothing back, that life was ahead of her and she planned to enjoy it. Her laugh had always put him in mind of activities that were decidedly improper.” (p8)
“It didn’t matter what people said; if you pretended not to hear it, they couldn’t embarrass you. She need show no reaction, need have no shame. If you didn’t acknowledge what they said, you need shed no tears.” (p13)
“Somehow, over the years, she’d developed the talent of delivering the most splendid snubs in that breathy tone of voice. She hid her claws behind that innocent demeanor. But, by God, she was insulting him. And, by God, he liked it.” (p16)
“The pale blue had been one of Elaine’s favorites—the color of a winter sky. With that delicate lace edging the sleeves, it had made her feel like an icicle—cold and unmelting, no matter how hot the fires of gossip burned.” (p30)
Touching, gorgeously written, and romantic, Unlocked is a treasure you will remember for a long time.
A beautiful young woman—preferably one with no connections, who won’t ask too many questions—to spend two weeks in the North of England with an obstinate, aloof, and utterly handsome man.
Must love dogs, fixing up crumbling castles, and gorgeous and complicated war heroes who may or may not be hiding hearts of gold under their gruff exteriors.
Must not, under any circumstances, fall in love …
Simpering misses need not apply.”
Note: I read an ePUB copy, so page references may differ.
Another exquisite story by a new favorite author, Sabrina Darby, this novella takes place in 1816 Regency Yorkshire and London.
“Because he needed to be grounded by the feel of stone under his hands, of iron, wood, earth. He needed to lose himself in something that required all his thought and attention. Because he was trying to forget.” (p16)
“The novelty of it all had its own pleasure. When had she ever spent this many hours with a man whom she hadn’t yet slept?” (p37)
“This was not the Garden of Eden. It was a broken-down castle housing two broken people.” (p61)
“She cared for John, but not only as her lover or her keeper. In fact, he’d hate that she ever thought of him that last way at all. Oddly, he was her friend.” (p73)
“She missed fresh air and freeing space. She missed all the colors of the countryside. She missed that collie sticking his wet nose in her face. She missed John.” (p83)
A sweet treat of a story that can be read in one sitting, this novella is beautifully written, with fascinating characters, great pacing, and two wounded souls who heal each other with friendship and love.
“She’d been entirely unlike all the other debutantes: not just in body, but with that laugh, that long, loud, vital laugh. It had made him think that she held nothing back, that life was ahead of her and she planned to enjoy it. Her laugh had always put him in mind of activities that were decidedly improper.”
– Courtney Milan, Unlocked (2011)
Note: This review is an advanced review copy (ARC) from Net Galley, so page references may differ.
"In Zoë Archer’s Dangerous Seduction, Alyce Carr has no time for the strange man in her little Cornwall village, no matter how breathtakingly handsome he is. Life in Trewyn doesn’t allow for much fun—the managers of the copper mine barely provide the miners and their families with enough food. Outsiders are suspect and flirts are unimaginable, but Simon Sharpe is as keen as his name…and Alyce can’t ignore him for long.
As the founder of Nemesis, Unlimited, Simon Addison-Shawe is well accustomed to disguise and deceit. Yet he’s not prepared for Alyce’s dogged defense of her people and the injustices the copper mine has dealt them. With Alyce’s help he can change the fate of an entire town, and convincing her to join him is only part of the thrill. Together, they ignite a desire in each other much too powerful to deny. But at what cost?”
This was a very fast-paced, exciting, and edgy story about the dark side of Victorian England society. Zoe Archer writes with directness, honesty, and feeling about the destitute and downtrodden; her themes are reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ harsh world.
“'Vengeance at any cost'—that was Nemesis's unofficial motto.” (p55)
“He likedthat she was strong. Just as much as she did. A quick, swift pleasure coursed through her.” (p84)
“The faintest trace of danger emanated from him, like a concealed knife. Unseen, but that didn’t lessen its potential.” (p28)
“'Nobody can help the circumstances of their birth. It's what comes after that defines them.” (p121)
“With her, he felt…real. Body and mind and purpose united into a single self. He could show her both the gentleman and the vigilante. She didn’t turn away, but demanded more of him.” (p179)
“To her own ears, she sounded as if she had dandelion puffs for brains, but from the way the rest of the company at the table looked at her, she’d clearly said the right thing.” (p277)
“She could survive without him. But it would be a barren endurance, empty of joy or passion. Or love.” (p379)
If you enjoy your historicals raw and realistic, this series is for you. Winter’s Heat, a novella in this same series, is also available.
It’s Barton Cottage, from Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.
"Ambrosia Tisdale is the very picture of propriety and the epitome of what a respectable young lady should be. Haunted by a memory and compelled by her family, she pursues perfection to a fault.
The Earl of Bristol, Duncan Maddox, has returned to London after years of familial-imposed exile. As the second son, he has led a life filled with frivolity, leisure, and a healthy dose of debauchery. Now his older brother has died, leaving the family’s flailing legacy in Duncan’s unwilling arms.
At the behest of his uncle, Duncan is advised to do the one thing that could provide instant fortune and respectability—he must marry. But there is only one prospect who meets the unique requirements to solve all the Earl’s problems—the lovely Miss Ambrosia Tisdale. But securing the prudent daughter of a Viscount’s hand proves to be more challenging than this scandal-ridden second son of an Earl has bargained for.
With scandal, extortion, treachery, and even love itself threatening to keep him from his goal, will Duncan succeed or find himself compromised by Miss Tisdale?”
Note: I read a PDF copy, so page references may differ.
This was a very charmingly written and poignant romance, the first in The Regency Blooms series by debut author, Jessica Jefferson. Four loving sisters with pretty floral names and distinctive personalities who find true love in Regency England.
Beautiful and elegant writing:
“It was as if before this evening, her life had merely been a wick and suddenly she found herself aflame.” (p21)
“When in his vicinity, in body or in memory, she felt herself lose control, lose her character, and lose her sense of self. For a few brief moments upon their first meeting she had felt it—utter abandon. She hadn’t felt such…relief before. Freedom.” (p55)
“He could charm the chemise off a governess in less than an hour—Miss Tisdale should at least have the good manners to pretend to be affected. All should haves and no action made Duncan an irritable man.” (p61)
”’Your refusals are some of the most polite I’ve ever heard. So polite I’m certain they thank you after you’ve broken their hearts and shattered their dreams.’” (p68)
“It was if she were beginning to win him over. And that suspicion left him unnerved, to say the least.” (p81)
This was a very lovely novel of manners, funny, elegantly well-written, with realistic and interesting characters, strong themes of of family love and relationships, with a sexy and tender romance. I look forward to reading more by this promising author.