Friday, December 1, 2023

#Excerpt: LEGACY OF EVIL by James Peyton

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A banished detective. A body drained of blood. Mexico’s vampires are all too human.

After graduating from Harvard, Artemas Salcido is determined to transform Mexico’s justice system and joins the federal police. He begins solving crimes committed by the rich and powerful and is banished to the village of Bustamante.

On a college field trip to Bustamante’s nearby caverns, the daughter of a US senator is brutally murdered. The FBI, the international media, and a Mexican hit squad tasked with making the problem go away descend on the village. When Mexico’s attorney general tells Artemas his career depends on his cooperation, Artemas realizes his life is at stake.

As other grisly murders occur, Artemas’s investigation uncovers an ancient blood cult connected to a powerful financial cabal that stretches from mediaeval Europe to Mexico's most influential politicians and businessmen. When he disputes his violent colleagues’ bogus solution to the crime, Artemas is marked for death.

Can Artemas’s determination to bring fairness to Mexico’s justice system prevail against the overwhelming power of his government—or will it prove fatal …?


Then it struck him. He, Artemas Salcido, illegitimate son of a former governor, Harvard graduate, and member of the federal police force, might have the only copy of the list containing both the group’s membership and its members’ individual holdings! If so, he possessed a weapon more powerful than he had thought. And he was in even more danger than he’d imagined. The trick would be to figure out how best to use the information and stay alive in the process.

About the Author:
Award-winning author James Peyton’s intriguing settings and memorable characters in his thrillers come from his years of international work and travel. The first two editions of his four-part thriller Artemas Salcido series are now available on Amazon; Legacy of Evil and Terror Crossing, to be followed by La Buchona and Not For Sale. Peyton’s stand-alone adventure thriller, The Royal Fifth, was released in 2022. James has had five acclaimed books published on Mexican cooking, history, and culture. Peyton's writing reflects a depth of understanding and a unique perspective that sets his work apart.

Buy the book for only $0.99.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Excerpt: VANISHED by Anna J Stewart

Anna J. Stewart
(Circle of the Red Lily, #2)
Publication date: November 21st 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

She’ll risk everything to expose the truth.

Since her twin sister Sylvie’s disappearance seven years ago, single mother Mabel Reynolds has turned grief into action and become a strong voice for victims of violence and abuse.

When new revelations shed light on what may have happened not only to Sylvie, but dozens of other women, Mabel’s hope for answers is reignited. But the new oh-so-charming DA overseeing the investigation seems more interested in a quick rather than an accurate resolution.

With little faith in the system, Mabel isn’t about to stay quiet, not when she’s finally close to the truth. She’s willing to go up against anyone—even a smug, irritating, attractive DA to get the answers she and other families deserve.

Open and shut.

That’s what Assistant DA Paul Flynn has been told about his new assignment supervising a house of horrors case. With a high-profile conviction at stake, Paul can’t afford to make a wrong move if his professional goals are to be achieved.

But Mabel Reynolds has his attention. All of it. Attraction aside, the woman knows far more than what’s in the official files which makes her something even more intriguing. But using Mabel as an asset means exposing her and her young daughter to even more danger. Danger that is closing in on them from every side. As even darker forces appear, and their lives are threatened, Paul is faced with risking not only his entire career, but also the one thing he never anticipated losing: his heart.

Goodreads / Amazon


You have a possible concussion. Even a mild one isn’t anything to play at.”

“I’m not playing with anything.” Mabel gripped the metal bumper with her uninjured hand and ignored how her stomach pitched. “I’ve had migraines worse than this. If it still hurts tomorrow, I’ll get it checked out.”

The EMT stepped back and peered down at her as if she were a naughty twoyear-old who just got caught raiding the cookie jar. Her eyes slid over his name badge identifying him as Buck.

“I promise.” Mabel offered the most saccharine smile she could muster. “I just really need to get home.”

“Can’t let you go just yet.” Sergeant Corrine Michaels, first officer on the scene, stepped out from behind the ambulance door, her dark brown hair knotted at the base of her neck. Her Black skin glistened against the glow of the streetlamps.

“Why not?” Mabel couldn’t keep the frustration out of her voice. “I’ve given you my statement, and you and your partner took care of boarding up Mrs. Lancaster’s window.” She gestured to the now-wood-covered frame on the second floor. “So, tell me why …” Mabel trailed off at the sight of the all-too-familiar black SUV that pulled up to a screeching stop right in front of the ambulance. “You have got to be kidding me.”

So much for keeping this low-key.

Quinn wasn’t alone. In yet another surprise of the evening, the sight of Paul Flynn slamming out of the passenger side of the vehicle sent her already overwrought emotions into an out-of-control spiral. There was only one way to control that storm of emotions, and that was with forced hostility. “What are you doing here?”

“Answering a damsel’s call of distress.” In the pale glow of the streetlamps, what little humor twinkling in Paul’s eyes was muted by concern. It unnerved her that her first reaction upon seeing him was relief, followed quickly by gratitude before annoyance hit dead center of her chest.

Since she’d left his office, he’d earned himself a five o’clock shadow, and damn if that didn’t increase his sexiness factor. The man looked like a knight in shining armor or at least a rival for a once-upon-a-time movie hero who would have taken over not only the silver screen but the town that built them.

An uncontrolled bubble of laughter climbed into her throat at the very idea.

Instead of armor, Paul carried a briefcase. Normally. But not now. She wondered if it was bulletproof.

She almost … almost let herself sag into him at his cautious touch. That was how long it took for his words to cut through the fog in her mind. Her spine went steel-girder stiff. “Who are you calling a damsel?”

“You,” Paul countered with a quick look at Quinn. “Told you that would work.” Quinn’s grin was quick, and her annoyance grew. When did these two become friends? “How is she?” Paul asked Buck.

“She is fine.” Mabel looked from Quinn to Paul, back to Quinn. Her eyes ached from glaring so hard. She might be one big walking bruise in the morning, but she could fake it until then.

“She’s okay,” Buck corrected. “Glass puncture on her hand. Other abrasions and bruises. Bruised larynx, no doubt because of the choking. Possible concussion, which we’ve discussed at length.”

“More like ad nauseam,” Mabel muttered, and only now did she hear how raspy her voice sounded. She touched a hand to her throat as if she could ease the roughness. “I guess I don’t have to ask how you heard.” She narrowed her gaze at Sergeant Michaels who looked far from repentant. “Quinn, it’s after seven. I need to call Keeley, and they won’t let me back upstairs to get my phone.”

As anxious as she was to call her daughter, the idea of going back up and into that room left her nauseated.

Quinn handed over his cell, and Mabel gripped it as if it were a lifeline. “Thanks for the head’s up, Corrine.”

‘Following orders,” the officer assured him. “You want a rundown of events, Detective?”

“Yes, thanks.” Quinn touched a hand to Mabel’s shoulder. “You really okay?”

“Yep.” A little freaked out. More than a tad unsettled. And really, really restless to get home and put all this behind her. Most of all, she just wanted to hug her kid. All the rest of it could wait until she was alone and could scream into her pillow.

“I’ll be back in a sec.” Quinn moved off out of hearing distance, and Mabel looked down at the phone. Only then did she notice her hands were trembling.

“I have to call her.” It was as if Mabel had to convince herself, but she looked up at Paul. “I don’t know what to tell her. How do I explain this without freaking her out?”

“Maybe you don’t just yet. Give us a few minutes?” Paul asked Buck, who snapped his medical kit shut and hoisted himself into the ambulance.

“I don’t need coddling,” Mabel said when he sat next to her. “You’re a stranger,” she insisted in an effort to explain these feelings to herself. A stranger who displayed such concern and affection for her, he made her feel as if they’d known each other forever. She didn’t want to feel comfortable with him. She didn’t want to want or need him. “I don’t need …” The warmth of his body surged against hers. When he raised his arm over her shoulders and drew her in, she stiffened. “I said I’m fine.” She squeezed her eyes shut as the soft fabric of his shirt caressed her face. Tears she’d been trying to hold onto escaped, and when she fisted her hands to make them stop, an involuntary whimper of pain escaped.

“Humor me.” Still holding her close, Paul reached for her bandaged hand and turned it palm up. “How did this happen?”

It felt good, letting go for a moment. Being held. Having someone to lean on. For however short a time, she surrendered to it.

Author Bio:

Award-winning, USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to sexy romances for Harlequin and ARC Manor’s CAEZIK (Kay-Zehk) Romance. Her sweet Harlequin Heartwarming books include the Butterfly Harbor series as well as the ongoing Blackwell continuity series. She also writes the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and has contributed to the bestselling Coltons. Her Circle of the Red Lily romantic suspense series, published by CAEZIK, will launch with EXPOSED in November of 2022.

A Holt Medallion winner (BRIDE ON THE RUN), as well as a Golden Heart, Daphne DuMaurier, and National Reader’s Choice finalist, Anna loves writing big community stories where family found is always the theme. Since her first published novella with Harlequin in 2014, Anna has released more than fifty novels and novellas and hopes to branch out even more (horror romance, anyone?). Anna lives in Northern California where (at the best times) she loves going to the movies, attending fan conventions, and heading to Disneyland, her favorite place on earth. When she’s not writing, she is usually binge-watching her newest TV addiction, re-watching her all-time favorite show, Supernatural, and wrangling two monstrous cats named Rosie and Sherlock. Visit Anna online at and sign up for her newsletter (giveaways in every issue!).

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

#Review: IT HAD TO BE THE DUKE by Vivienne Lorret


 4 of 5 stars

This was a very enjoyable enemies-to-lovers story. Magnus and Verity each had their own burdens to bear--Magnus and his sense of duty to family and Verity, who was the sensible fixer in her rather outlandish family. The whole story starts with one little white lie--Verity was being bullied by her nemesis, Nell, and she suddenly blurts out she's engaged to the Duke of Longhurst just to shut her up. That started a series of unfortunate encounters with a very angry duke who had been courting an heiress to save his family from ruin.

There was some lively banter between Magnus and Verity with a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, although Verity did suffer from panic attacks being in closed spaces. It rounded out her character nicely that she just wasn't perfect. I liked that although it took most of the book for her to realize that she wasn't the ugly duckling, she always believed herself to be. Magnus was always striving to be perfect and do the right thing for his family, but you can't always control everything. I loved that he learned a little bit of chaos, and looking after one's own interests once in a while was a good thing. There were a couple of good twists and turns in the story before Magnus and Verity got their own happily ever after. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 27, 2023

#Review: A LADY'S RULES FOR RUIN by Jennifer Haymore


3.5 of 5 stars

Ethan, the Earl of Winthrop, has always been fascinated by Miss Frances Cherrington. She's everything he'd want in a wife, but he's never quite sure if she even likes him, so he keeps his distance but admires her from afar. Frances has been criticized by her family for as long as she can remember.  They complain she is too bold or too prickly, and she drives away potential suitors. What they refuse to do is listen to her. She doesn't want to get married and be beholden to a man. She wants her independence, so she hatches a simple plot to ruin herself. Caught kissing in the garden, her disgrace is soon all over London. Everyone seems to know what she did except the Earl of Winthrop.

Ethan has his own problems. He's been to see his mother, and she's told him a dirty family secret that knocks him on his heels. While he tries to cope with this new knowledge, he runs into Miss Cherrington. She's the last person he wants to see, but even without trying, she soothes his soul. His family situation is in crisis, but Frances stands by his side to help him navigate the troubled waters. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that perhaps they each have found the one person who sees their real self and loves them anyway.

The book was a bit slow in the beginning, and this accounts for the lower star rating. There are some cute scenes in the book and Ms. Haymore shines the light on all the double standards young women in the Regency era had to contend with. Men could kiss as many women as they pleased, but young women were not even supposed to be alone with a gentleman. The romance between Frances and Ethan is a slow burn. There are some graphic sex scenes so buyer beware if you prefer a clean romance. 

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

#Review: REALM OF ILLUSION by Thea Atkinson


 5 of 5 stars

I always read Ms. Atkinson's books with great anticipation because she's such a masterful writer. The third book in the Iron King's Assassin series wrings every emotion out of our girl Ava. What she endured while trapped in the catacombs has left her so emotionally scarred that she can barely open her eyes. Only the solid presence of the Dark Enforcer, Blade, keeps her grounded in reality. He rescued her and vowed to stay by her side. She held onto that one thought as she tried to recover from all the hits of the drug Bloodmist she had to inhale just to survive that hellhole. But, now she's in withdrawal, a withdrawal that's so much worse than ever before, especially since she's been clean for so long. She's powerless to resist as Blade guides them back to the tavern she was kidnapped from. He knows she needs time and rest to get through the worst withdrawal symptoms. Along the way, her feelings for him start to change, but she's fighting any hint of caring for Fae, any Fae, but especially for the Dark Enforcer.

When they finally make it back to the Shadow Court, Ava has hardly recovered from the trauma before she's dragged before the Fae mafia boss again. He's taken action that has shocked her, and her rage nearly causes the boss to threaten the one person she cares about--her sister Kit. Now Ava faces more danger as she's torn between two fae brothers--Stone, who has more humanity in him than some humans, and the Dark Enforcer, who makes her blood sing. There are so many moving pieces in this story that kept me glued to the story. Will Ava be able to protect her sister in Fae land while carrying out her dangerous mission, and will she ever believe that she deserves love?

I can't wait to read what Ms. Atkinson has in store for our monster hunter, Ava. If you're looking for an intriguing and engaging series about assassins, monster hunters, and the Fae, this series is a must-read.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Interview with Kaylene Winter, THE FLIRT ALERT

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

The Flirt Alert is part 2 of my 3-part trilogy of billionaire/enemies-to-lovers/forced proximity romances I’m calling “Spicy Standalones.” Each of them follow different couples who are side-characters in my Less Than Zero series, but can be read completely separately from all the other books.


The Flirt Alert is very personal to me as it delves into my FMC’s navigation of a surprisingly nuanced and common chronic health condition and how it’s affected how she moves in the world. My MMC is a self-made billionaire who has loved her for many years until he started hating her for something that happened when they were in high school. When they are thrown together at the top of a mountain…well, let’s just say a lot can happen in a ski-patrol hut.


Do you have a favorite character?

I really love Shay. Not only is she resilient, but she handles her chronic illness partly with seriousness but also with humor. My inspiration for Shay is a close family member who has navigated the same illness.


Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?

Funny you should ask! We briefly meet Austin Andrews, my MMC, in Endless Encore when he’s discussing how his company can help bring arts education into schools. When I wrote about him, I knew I wanted to explore his backstory and now we do in The Flirt Alert.


Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Not at first, but I’m definitely experimenting with it now. I just signed with SBR Media who will be helping me with all the things – including potentially putting some future works through traditional channels.


Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?

I am self-published primarily because my background is in media and publishing. Although, you’re hearing it here first, I signed a traditional publishing agreement with Page & Vine for an anthology I’m organizing to benefit MusiCares. There will be lots more about that in the coming months, the authors who are contributing are incredible.


What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?

As someone who helps people protect their intellectual property and creative works, I always knew I’d want to retain ownership of my own material. I’m also a voracious reader and fan, so I know what I like and what I want to write. I’ve put together an entire team – editors, proofreaders, formatters as well as PR and marketing – so I’m running my own author life like a publishing company—I take it very seriously.


What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?

I prefer silence – it takes me a little bit to get into a “zone” where I’m immersed in my world and story. Sometimes it’s playing a casual game or reading gossip websites, other times it’s taking a walk to mentally think through what I want to say. Ultimately, if I can get myself into this state of mind the writing just flows and the characters just speak to me.


What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?

To be adaptable and to never get caught up in any drama. The preferences of readers change. Tropes come in and out of fashion. Ultimately, you have to be true to yourself and whatever story moves you so your writing is authentic.


Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

That’s one of the hardest parts. Finding time to really focus and write is such a luxury. I’m still running a full-time business so that takes a lot of time and attention. Writing is my special happy place. I actually love the marketing part of it and I create all my own social media graphics, but it’s very hard to be active and engaging all the time. At the end of the day, I’d rather put out a lot of great stories and be smart about how I connect with readers more authentically.


What’s next for you?

Next up is The Tryst List, the final Spicy Standalone which is out on March 14, 2024. After that I’ll be releasing a new series called 


Book details:


The Flirt Alert
by Kaylene Winter
Publication date: November 17th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance



When a man who has everything will do anything to ease the pain of the incredible woman who’s living with a timebomb.

My best friend’s twin, Shay Stojanović, is my ultimate gamer dream girl come to life.

Gorgeous, flirtatious and popular, she didn’t know I existed.

Until one fateful night, she made this nerd’s every fantasy come true.

The next day she blew me up like a frag grenade.

Years later, Shay’s brother and I have built a billion dollar gaming company.

He had the nerve to give his shady sister a coveted executive role.

Oh, I’m not going to make it easy on her—she’ll quit. You’ll see.

Everything’s going exactly to plan…

Until we get stranded at the top of a mountain.

And I learn the truth.

Now I can’t—and won’t—resist her.

She has a lot to overcome.

And I’m just the man to soothe her hurt.

It’s Shay’s turn for a flirt alert.

The Flirt Alert is a scorching, standalone, billionaire, enemies to lovers, best friend’s brother, forced proximity, STEM workplace, HEA romance.








When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.

Author links:



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Thursday, November 16, 2023

#Review: NEVER MET A DUKE LIKE YOU by Amalia Howard

4 of 5 stars

This was an enemy-to-lovers story with lots of witty banter thrown in. Aspen, the Duke of Greydon, has returned from America after a lengthy absence from London before his mother can declare him deceased. Aspen and his mother have a very contentious relationship all because of her abhorrent behavior in committing his father to an insane asylum so she could control the ducal purse strings. Aspen had another reason to stay away from England in the form of the delectable Lady Vesper Lyndhurst, who was his childhood friend. Children grow up, and Vesper has become a beautiful and proper young lady. Now that he's in her company again, Aspen must use all his willpower not to fall under her spell again. He has vowed not to marry when his mother pushes her ward at him. He will not give in and marry a woman he doesn't love just to satisfy his mother's machinations.

Lady Vesper has been in love with Aspen since they were children, but when she makes her debut, he ignores her, and that hurts her deeply, especially since his actions were witnessed by so many. She has vowed never to be the subject of gossip again. When Aspen finally returns to London, sparks fly between them as they fling barbs at each other.

I admit that I was a little bored with this story about the 40% mark on my kindle and almost DNF, but I was glad that I continued to read the book. I loved the role the fluffy white kitten played in the love story. It was adorable. The banter between these two was great fun, and their chemistry was off the charts. Even though they fought their attraction to each other tooth and nail, the ending was delightful. I loved the scheme to expose Aspen's mother for the awful person she was. It was good to see her get her comeuppance. 

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

#Review: TALES OF A SOCIETY NOTHING by Shana Galen

4 of 5 stars

Margaret Vaughn loves being an agent for the Royal Saboteurs, and she's good at it. When she's given a mission to find Viscount Ambrose Holyoake, she has no idea her errant husband is very close to dying. She hasn't seen Ambrose in more than three years, ever since he forbade her to accompany him on dangerous missions. She did the only thing she could and left him without a word, but that didn't mean she wanted anything to happen to him. She just didn't want to be the typical wife. She craved the excitement and the thrill of danger being an agent. When she finally finds him, she's appalled at his condition. Now, they must work together to find the assassin who wants Ambrose dead before that man comes back to finish the job.

This is the last book in this series, and I read it in one day. It's not very long, and I enjoyed the story being tightly focused on Ambrose and Vaughn without too much filler with some of the other agents. Ambrose needed to change his ways if he ever wanted to win his wife back, and I loved watching his growth as he realized that Margaret didn't need his protection. She needed his respect. Margaret was a strong young woman who knows what she wants. She has never stopped loving Ambrose and wants to have her husband back in her life. They both must compromise to save their marriage. 

There is a nice wrap-up of all the agents in the Royal Saboteurs in the epilogue, and it was fun seeing everyone again.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 13, 2023



Age of Innocence Series, Book 5

An innocent young beauty, a seasoned spy, and a mystery in the north that rages out of control, sending their worlds on a collision course no one could foresee. 

Charles Bainbridge, Viscount Edgerton, is the regional spymaster and has no time for a wife. His work for the Home Office is a top priority for him, that is, until he meets Lady Courtney Darkin, the sister of his best friend the Duke of Wetherby. The last time he saw her, she was running wild, her pigtails flying behind her at the duke’s country estate. She wasn’t a little girl anymore, and Edgerton felt like a thunder bolt had struck him when he first laid eyes on her. But he wasn’t the only one with an eye on the young beauty.


Lady Courtney Darkin is excited to come to London in preparation for her debut Season. There would be teas, musicals, dinners and balls—everything she’s been dreaming about for years. The first time she meets Lord Edgerton, however, her knees go weak. She’s smitten. No man had a right to be so beautiful—like a marble statue come to life. Can Courtney melt the tough exterior Lord Edgerton shows the world and open his heart to love?

Amazon buy link:

Reviewers Comments:


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent

This book was a pleasure to read. A wonderful light read. I haven't read romance in years but Regency period is my favorite and a good, clean and decent read was welcome. Thanks Ms. Debra.

Amazon Customer


4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect

Verified Purchase

Could easily picture all the characters in my mind and they were all very interesting. The story had me so enthralled I couldn’t stop reading. The only blip was the epilogue as it was about the villain and I didn’t want the story to end with him.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

#Review: NEVER WAGER WITH A WALLFLOWER by Virginia Heath


   4 of 5 stars

Miss Venus Merriwell has a knack for picking the wrong men to fall in love with. The first man left her humiliated when he ran off with another after their courtship, and now she was keeping company with the dodgy and much older Lord Dorchester. None of them rile her like the impossibly handsome scoundrel Galahad Sinclair, her cousin with her sister's marriage to Galahad's cousin, Giles. Venus sincerely wants to loathe the charmer and sometimes goes out of her way to be snippy to him, but what's the real reason he vexes her so?

Galahad Sinclair had been taught a series of life lessons at an early age--don't trust easily, never show weakness, and always look for the next best business deal. Now relocated to England after helping his cousin Giles retain the dukedom, he even keeps his newly discovered family at arm's length, including the delectable Venus. 

I loved all the banter between Lee and Gal, although I got a little tired of all the internal dialogue. I was losing interest about halfway through, but I truly wanted to see how the author would tie up their romance. It was definitely worth the wait. This was when the internal dialogue was absolutely necessary to understand of what each of them was thinking. After some misunderstandings and a series of unfortunate accidents, Gil and Vee finally get there happily ever after.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, October 30, 2023

#Review: THE RAKE AND THE ROSE by Eva Devon


4 of 5 stars

Ms. Devon is one of my favorite authors, and this book doesn't disappoint. Alexander Markby, sixth Earl of Derby, has loved Rose Digby since they were children, but when her father breaks the contract with Alexander's father, he throws them off the land while Alexander is powerless to stop them. When Alexander finally becomes the new earl, he does everything in his power to secretly help both Rose and her brother Henry enjoy better lives. As a matter of fact, Alexander is the benefactor for a number of other artists--people who would not otherwise be able to hone their craft while trying not to starve. He portrays himself as a rake and a darling of Society, but he longs for a loving partner. Of course, the only one he wants to marry is Rose.

Miss Rose Digby was devastated when Alexander pulled back from their friendship after the horrible circumstances with her father. She's harbored an intense dislike for his frivolous ways while she labors away, writing pamphlets trying to better the lives of those less fortunate. Of course, she doesn't know that Alexander is the one behind her payments. When she comes up with a crazy idea to help fallen women, she must seek Alexander's help in infiltrating a pleasure house.

This story was a little different than the usual historical romance because it's a woman who is immovable in her opinion. Rose will not forgive Alexander for abandoning her, and she has left all joy behind in her life, trying to make things better for those who cannot speak for themselves. Rose has a lot of growing and changing to do, and I loved how Ms. Devon made sure her feelings did not change on a whim. Alexander has always been a good man who enjoyed the beauty in life and tries every day to help someone. When he agrees to help Rose, he can't help but hope her opinion of him will change. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to happen. This is a well-crafted story and the plot moves along nicely. I did think Rose was a bit harsh in her judgmental way. Through a myriad of misunderstandings and a few twists in the book, Alexander and Rose finally get their happily ever after.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy, and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023


His Assistant’s New York Awakening
Emmy Grayson
Published by: Harlequin Presents
Publication date: October 24th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Will the CEO be able to resist when she lays her passion on the boardroom table? Find out in this steamy office romance from Emmy Grayson.

He’s utterly off-limits…
and the only man she’s ever wanted!

Temporary assistant Evolet Grey has precisely the skills and experience to help Damon Bradford win the biggest contract in his company’s history. But she’s also maddeningly attractive and testing the iron grip the Manhattan CEO always has on his self-control…

Putting her needs first has never come easily to innocent Evolet. But she can barely think straight in her new boss’s presence! She’d be putting everything on the line by revealing the powerful attraction Damon has awoken, but would walking away from it be the biggest risk of all?

From Harlequin Presents: Escape to exotic locations where passion knows no bounds.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Harlequin


The music slid over Damon Bradford’s skin like a lover’s caress. He sipped his cocktail, the smooth taste of gin lingering on his tongue. Better to focus on that then the slow, languid heat spreading through his veins as he watched her.

The cellist.

Music had never been an important part of his life. He knew the difference between classical and rock, paid hefty sums for bands and singers to perform at the various functions he hosted throughout the year. But the actual music had always been background noise.

Whereas this…the rich, somber notes of her solo rising and falling with perfect precision, the languid tempo encouraging listeners to slow down, to forget the demands of life for just a moment…

It was unlike anything he’d ever heard before.

Just like the woman behind the cello was unlike anyone he had ever encountered before.

Author Bio:

Emmy's interest in romance can be traced back to her love of Nancy Drew books, when she tried to solve the mysteries of her favorite detective while rereading the romantic chapters with Ned Nickerson. Fast-forward a few years when she discovered a worn copy of "A Rose in Winter" by Kathleen Woodiwiss on her mother's bookshelf, and she was hooked. Over 20 years later, Harlequin Presents made her dream come true by offering her a contract for her first book.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

#Review: A DUKE'S LESSON IN CHARM by Sophie Barnes


 5 of 5 stars

This was a delightful story of enemies to lovers, and Ms. Barnes weaves a wonderful story of mishaps and accidents. Callum, the Duke of Stratton, has always been regarded as honorable and unflappable, that is, until he's in the company of Lady Emily Brooke. Then, he becomes a babbling and clumsy idiot. He's either stepped on her toes, spilled wine on her, or, worst of all, ripped her dress, all because he becomes so flustered around her. So, he did the only thing he could and has avoided her for six years. 

The one person Lady Emily wished to avoid was the Duke of Stratton because every time they'd been in the same room together in the past, something horrible always happened, but when she ran into him while walking her dog, she was surprised to see a young boy with him. Come to find out Peter was now his ward after losing his parents, and her little dog has done the one thing that Callum hasn't been able to do--put a smile on Peter's face. Thus began a tentative truce in their relationship.

I really loved how the powerful Duke of Stratton could be reduced to a nervous wreck, and it was fun to watch him change and grow in Emily's company. He was taken by surprise that the more time he spent with Emily, the more he wanted. When she began to show interest in him, he wanted to be more than her friend. When she suggests a fake courtship, he agrees, and that's when things spiral out of control. The whole plot around the three dukes writing a book was quite inventive, but it also led to a series of misunderstandings that threatened to cost Stratton Emily's affection before they finally got their happily ever after.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Monday, October 23, 2023

#Excerpt: CHALLENGING THE CHEF by Shanna Hatfield

Challenging the Chef
Shanna Hatfield
Publication date: October 19th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Western

When an interloper arrives in his kitchen, will romance start to simmer?

Chef Owen Thorpe left behind his celebrity status when he moved to Summer Creek. The quaint town and country atmosphere allow him to seek solace in his recipes. His peace and quiet is threatened when he’s coerced into being part of a big auction package that includes the winner spending a week cooking with him in his restaurant. The last thing he wants is some chef wannabe in his way. However, the real danger he faces is losing his heart when the winner turns out to be a beautiful woman who knows her way around a kitchen.

Burdened by the weight of her demanding career as a school psychologist, Tawni Young turns to cooking and gardening to escape from the never-ending stress of her work. When her aunt gifts her an auction package that includes cooking lessons in the small town of Summer Creek, Tawni realizes the chef she’ll be working with is none other than a celebrity she had a huge crush on during her college years. From the moment the two of them meet, an undeniable attraction sizzles while wits collide.

As they embark on a tantalizing journey of culinary delights, will Tawni and Owen discover the most important ingredient is love?

In this heartwarming and deliciously wholesome tale, Challenging the Chef takes readers on a savory adventure filled with sweet romance.

Read the entire Summer Creek Series!
Catching the Cowboy
Rescuing the Rancher
Protecting the Princess
Distracting the Deputy
Guiding the Grouch
Challenging the Chef

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He could do this. Play nice and dig deep to dredge up the charm that used to come to him so easily. He’d unearthed it anytime a food critic or reporter came to town interested in reviewing the restaurant. If he thought of the woman as someone he needed to impress, like a critic, then maybe it would be easier to get through the next few days.

What were four measly days in the grand scheme of things, anyway?

Just nearly a hundred hours of misery. Pure misery.

Nothing to worry about, he thought derisively.

Scoffing, he removed the sauce from the heat and set it aside. Owen glanced at the clock. Time was growing short before Miss Young arrived. If he hurried, he could whip up the sour cream lemon blueberry Bundt cakes he planned to offer for dessert that evening. He’d already made strawberry pudding that would be served with shortbread squares and fresh whipped cream topped with candied lime peel.

Determined to have the cakes baking before Miss Young messed up his afternoon, he rushed to mix the ingredients and was just sliding the last cake pan into the oven when he heard Mayor Mitchell Kane speaking to someone as they entered through the back door.

Owen really needed to get a keypad lock back there one of these days. Grumbles drifted under his breath as he set the timer for the cakes, quickly washed his hands, and turned with a towel in his wet hands to greet the interloper who was about to completely upset his schedule for the next four days.

Despite what Nate had mentioned about her not being too hard on the eyes, Owen wasn’t prepared for the woman who stepped into the kitchen with Mitch. His hands stilled, clenching the towel as he took in her appearance.

Dark brown hair flowed over her shoulders in thick, chunky waves. Apple cheeks tinged with pink, lips that appeared entirely too kissable, and the slightest smattering of freckles on her nose gave her a girl-next-door vibe. Pretty brown eyes sparkled like fizzy root beer but looked intelligent and interested when their gazes connected.

The mayor helped her remove her coat, and Owen’s mouth went dry at the sight of her curvaceous figure. He sucked in a breath and inhaled a delightful floral fragrance that tantalized his nose.

What was he supposed to do with this beautiful being when he’d been expecting a middle-aged foodie with money as expandable as her waistline?

This was even worse than he’d envisioned. He had no time for distractions like Tawni Young, who certainly lived up to her name. She looked young. Fresh-faced. Yet the name Tawni made him think of a jungle cat and something that held a great deal of danger.

If the attraction he felt to her was any indication, she was going to be nothing but trouble to him.

Author Bio:

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes sweet romances rich with relatable characters, small town settings that feel like home, humor, and hope.

Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

When this farm girl isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. She also experiments with recipes, snaps photos of her adorable nephew, and caters to the whims of a cranky cat named Drooley.

To learn more about Shanna or the books she writes, visit her website or find out more about her here:

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