Welcome! Kick off your shoes, get comfy and join in as we chat about books, romance and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coming Attractions




November is a special month for us as our blog debuted November 1, 2009! That’s right—it’s our anniversary! We have a great guest schedule set for November, along with our regular monthly blogs, reviews, and more! Be sure to stop by often because here’s what we have in store for you next month at The Romance Dish!

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
We start the month off with a BANG as we celebrate our FOURTH anniversary! Stop by tomorrow, Friday, November 1st, because we have lots of prizes to give away as PJ and I discuss personal anniversaries and would love to hear yours!

 

 

 

 

Grab a pen and paper to jot down your favorite November books from my New Releases list on Monday, November 4th!

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, November 5th, we roll out the red carpet for best-selling contemporary author Sheila Roberts! Sheila is the author of the popular series, Life in Icicle Falls. It sounds like a beautiful place!

 

 

 



 

New York Times and USA Today best-selling historical and contemporary author Sophie Jordan stops by on Wednesday, November 6th! Her upcoming release, Foreplay, releases on November 4th and is her New Adult debut.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

On Thursday, November 7th, we welcome back historical author Genevieve Graham to the Dish! Her upcoming book, Somewhere to Dream, releases November 4th.

 

 

 

 

Make Your Reservations on Friday, November 8th, as we let you know which books we are most looking forward to in December. Yes, December!!!

 

 
 

 

Saturday, November 9th brings a sneak peek of Christina Brooke’s next book!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On Tuesday, November 12th, we are thrilled to host the sweet and witty Theresa Romain! Her latest book, Season for Scandal, is the third installment in her Holiday Pleasures series and is on shelves NOW!

 

 

 





 

You all know how we love our debut authors and on Wednesday, November 13th, we have a special treat for you! We welcome historical author Rowan Keats to the blog! Her debut, Taming a Wild Scot, releases November 4th!

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 18th, brings the Sophie Jordan Foreplay Blog Tour to the Romance Dish! Be sure to stop by!

 

 

 






 

The always delightful and super talented Bandita Trish Milburn joins us Tuesday, November 19th! Trish’s latest book, Swept Away for Christmas, is an anthology with authors Tanya Michaels and MJ Fredrick and is out NOW!

 

 

 





 

The lovely and witty Anna Campbell brings us her Second Helping of a book or books that we may have missed the first time around on Sunday, November 24th!

 

 

 

 

 
Andrea interviews USA Today best-selling historical author Alexandra Hawkins on Tuesday, November 26th! Alexandra’s upcoming book, Twilight with the Infamous Earl is the final installment in her beloved Lords of Vice series! Do stop by because I’m sure there will be a giveaway!

 

 

 

 
~Andrea

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spotlight on Alexandra Hawkins!




Two classic novels by Barbara Pierce, now writing as Alexandra Hawkins - released as e-books for the first time!



The No Good, Irresistible Viscount Tipton
By Alexandra Hawkins
ISBN-13: 9781466820975
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/1/2013



How can a man who is no good be oh, so right?
Fifteen years ago, a strange twist of fate made Rayne Wyman both the Viscount Tipton and a notorious outcast. Now a practicing surgeon, even Rayne’s own vow of revenge has not tempted him to reenter the polite world—and he is certain that nothing and no one ever will. Then he meets the young and remarkably lovely Devona Bedegrayne, who summons the temerity to knock on his door and demand his help.

Intrigued by her innocence, exasperated by her determination, Rayne never imagines the danger Devona faces—or the irresistible desire she will awaken—when he becomes her accomplice in a bit of very scandalous mischief. . .


Pre-order it now for Kindle and Nook!

Here's an excerpt:


“Miss Bedegrayne, how do you know His Lordship will be this way?” Pearl whispered, close on Devona’s heels. She was determined not to be left behind.

“A simple deduction, really.” Devona tried a door, and peered within. Empty. She moved on to the next door. “This side of the house is lit up. Besides, the gargoyle went the other way.”

“Maybe the man went off to get his lord?” Pearl asked, growing more nervous with each step.

“Highly doubtful. He was about to throw a woman in pain out on the streets. We’ll be lucky if he actually went off to get a chamber pot. Ah-ha!” Devona froze when she noticed the shadow and light under this next door flicker. Anticipation bubbled in her blood. After all, it was not every day a lady introduced herself to a supposed demon.

“Gar,” she said, pitching her voice so the sound did not go beyond their small group, “you and Pearl return to the hall and await its guardian. Distract him if you must, for I will need time to speak with His Lordship.”

Devona watched the dance of light and shadows as it escaped from underneath the door. She had not explained to Gar and Pearl her reasons for seeking an audience with Lord Tipton, nor the dire outcome if she failed to secure his help. He would help her, would he not? She had never thought until this moment that she would fail. Sensing their concern, she glanced at her motionless companions. “All will be well, once I speak to Lord Tipton. Go ahead; I shall be fine.”

Without thought to the consequences, she quietly opened the door and blinked. What she saw within did not meet with her expectations. Why, the room was empty and . . . quite normal. It was not a large room, but it definitely was a male’s domain. The walls were a plain pea green; the only adornments were several landscapes depicting the changing seasons of country landscapes and a huge ornate gold-foiled mirror that was suspended over a chimneypiece of cream-colored marble. A welcoming fire beckoned her to enjoy its warmth. No dainty, fashionable furniture was displayed to impress the visitor. Everything from the old French upholstered rococo armchair, the oversized Hepplewhite library cases spanning the length of two walls, and on to the geometrically precise library table serviced its owner with efficiency and comfort.

Who was this Lord Tipton? She had gleaned every bit of gossip bandied about the ton, and none of it added up if this elegant, private sanctuary reflected the man she had been desperately trying to meet. Her lower lip pouted a bit as she turned this latest intriguing tidbit in her mind. So lost in thought was Devona that she failed to notice that she was being assessed as well.

A prickling awareness jarred her from her musings. Rubbing her arms to ward off an imaginary chill, she pivoted. Her gaze scanned the room again. There, in one of the shadowed corners, her gaze sought out, then faltered when she realized she was not alone. The mysterious Lord Tipton. This was the man the ton snidely called behind his back Le Cadavre Raffiné. The Refined Corpse. She doubted any of the fashionable would have repeated such an insult to the man’s face, if he had ever bothered to show himself.

She could tell even in the dim light that he was magnificent. Too fascinated to be wary, she took the branch of candles closest to her and brought the light to this man of shadows. He sat sprawled out in a corner chair, one leg propped up on a nearby chair while the other was bent close to his chest. His left arm rested casually across the surface of his knee. He held a smooth, flat stone between his fingers, which he slowly stroked with his thumb. Her attention caught the movement, and she stared at his long, elegant fingers. He had large hands. A long scar ran from his wrist to his thumb. He possessed the hands of a warrior, a man who had battled for everything he claimed, and won. The gentle stroking of the stone seemed contradictory and disturbed her on some level she could not define.

Lord Tipton cleared his throat. If it was her attention he wanted, he gained it. Her focus shifted to the thick column of his throat, then up to his face. What masculine beauty! It was a proud face, all chiseled angles that begged exploring. A day’s growth of beard peppered his jaw, and drew attention to his full, sensual lips. His hair, a blend of chestnut and honey, was unbound, and tangled over his shoulders. There was a distinct streak of blond or perhaps it was white that sprouted from his right temple. Someone had told her it was the mark of le compagnon du diable, the devil’s companion.

Wariness stiffened her stance as she realized the man was half-dressed. He wore a linen shirt, its only adornment four linen buttons to connect the front opening. His breeches were well made and suede. His shoes were missing! She could feel the heat in her face as she stared at his feet sheathed in silk stockings. She had never seen her brothers without shoes or coats.

Each studied the other; a unique male-to-female alertness had electrified the space separating them. Neither had said a word, and yet Devona felt threatened. She gazed into eyes almost the color of pewter, and she almost could believe the rumors about him.

“For a housebreaker, you aren’t a very efficient one,” Rayne said, finally deciding it was time to end the staring contest with his bold intruder.

 

Copyright © November 2013. Excerpt from THE NO GOOD IRRESISTIBLE VISCOUNT TIPTON by Alexandra Hawkins. Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks. All rights reserved.







*******


The Scandalously Bad Mr. Milroy
By Alexandra Hawkins
ISBN-13: 9781466820968
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/1/2013


Sometimes a scandalously bad man can be oh, so good . . .

Meet Wynne Bedegrayne—destined for spinsterhood. Her beauty and charm mean nothing when her intelligence frightens off every suitor, and even her charitable work with the Benevolent Sisterhood leads her into scrapes no sensible man would condone. Then Wynne finds herself the object of Keanan Milroy’s dedicated courtship. The celebrated pugilist may be lowborn, but his character is above reproach…and the passion he awakens within her is irresistible.

But when Wynne learns that Keanan’s seduction may be motivated by something less pure than desire, she resolves to teach him a lesson. If nobility is a matter of behavior rather than blood, then she’ll risk everything to teach Keanan that he is a gentleman at heart. And that nothing is more honorable than love…


Pre-order it now for Kindle or Nook!


Here's an excerpt:


“Come, my dear Miss Bedegrayne.” He offered his arm. “I have a new friend who desires an introduction.”

Bemused, Wynne allowed the marquess to escort her across the room. Because he was a year younger than her, she considered herself quite safe from his favor. A man in his position would clearly require a young woman not quite so on the shelf as she was at three and twenty.

“Sir, a moment, if you please.”

It took all the polished skills of deportment she had learned at Miss Rann’s school not to gape openly. Seeing him again brought back the mortification she felt about that awful day near the canal.

Unaware of Wynne’s mounting horror and the fighter’s comprehending scrutiny, the Marquess of Lothbury made his introductions.

“Mr. Milroy, a pleasure,” she said; the words were false and he knew it.

#

Keanan credited her for handling what was an apparent shock. The tremor in her extended hand might have gone unnoticed if he had not been examining her reaction to him so attentively.

“Miss Bedegrayne.” To prove to them both that he could be chivalrous, he accepted her hand and bowed. “Rumors of your beauty reach beyond this ballroom. When Lothbury revealed your presence, I insisted on an introduction.”

The bland conversation seemed to steady her. The wariness had not left the cool, intriguing depths of her green eyes, but her bearing had lost that restless movement, signaling the need to bolt.

“You are most gracious, sir.” She took a deep breath; a nonverbal decision flashed in her expressive eyes. Swift determination set her jaw. Her chin lifted a notch. “Pardon my boldness, but I must ask. You seem familiar to me, Mr. Milroy. Have we met?”

Her daring, aggressive approach was most unexpected. For a lady who had secrets and a reputation to protect, she risked much in challenging him so publicly. His admiration grew toward her, even though he could not resist poking at her composure.

“Miss Bedegrayne, I can assure you, I would not forget such a meeting.” He intentionally held her gaze, wanting her to understand his warning.

Despite the orchestra playing just outside the doors in the gardens, and dozens of conversations continuing around them, he heard her small, startled gasp. She muffled the sound by nipping her lower lip with her teeth.

The action drew his gaze. The woman had incredible lips. They were neither thin nor too full. She had left them unpainted. However, their natural hue did not require artifice. Like morning dew on a raspberry, there was a sheen outlining her half-formed pout. A hunger rose within him that he had never thought possible. He fought against the demanding urge to claim her tempting mouth, wondering if she tasted as sweet as any summer berry.

“Miss Bedegrayne,” Lothbury interjected, breaking her gaze away from Keanan’s magnetic spell. “Mr. Milroy is relatively new to society. I doubt you would have encountered him unless you share an appreciation for pugilism.” He gave her a considering glance. “Perhaps one of your brothers?”

She was more than willing to give the marquess her complete attention. “My lord, both of my brothers are out of the country, and my father cares little for the sport. You are correct,” she conceded, looking at Keanan. “I can think of no situation in which we would have met.”

So she intended to deny the encounter. He saw no advantage to revealing her lie, so he smiled, letting her know he had teeth and could use them at any time of his choosing.

 
Copyright © November 2013. Excerpt from THE SCANDALOUSLY BAD MR. MILROY by Alexandra Hawkins. Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks. All rights reserved.




Learn more about Alexandra Hawkins and her books at her website and check out the Barbara Pierce section of her website here!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Today's Special - - Jill Shalvis







Rumor Has It
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date:  November 5, 2013




Rumor Has It returns readers to the small town of Sunshine, Idaho and this time Jill Shalvis is turning her focus on second grade teacher Kate Evans and ex-soldier Griffin Reid.  Seriously wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan, Griffin returns to the hometown he couldn't get away from fast enough to attend his sister's wedding to his best friend, try to mend fences with his father and figure out what he's going to do next now that his military career is over.  The last thing he expects is an attraction to his little sister's best friend: the sweet girl who's had a crush on him since they were kids, the woman that his sister has ordered him to stay away from but whose kisses are setting him on fire.

Science whiz, Kate Evans has a full plate...and then some.  A second grade teacher, she's also her family's lifeline, taking care of her father, teenage sister and eight-year-old brother following her mother's death and father's addiction to pain meds.  For the past two years, Kate has turned down a chance to attend grad school because of her family responsibilities and once again, the deadline is fast approaching.  She has two weeks to make a decision to go to San Diego to school or stay in Idaho.  Only now, it isn't only her family that's impacting her decision.  Her best friend's older brother has come home and has Kate spouting obscure science facts all over town.  It's a family trait to babble science facts when she's nervous and Griffin Reid is making her very nervous indeed!

Reading a Jill Shalvis novel is like spending time with good friends.  By the end of the story, I know the characters well and I'm completely invested in them, their families and their happy ending.  Kate and Griffin just may be my favorite Shalvis couple.  Kate is kind, caring, sweet, funny and very, very intelligent. I would love to be her friend. Griffin is one of the good guys.  Strong in character but wounded in body, he's reluctant to show any weakness...until he's reunited with a quirky, nerdy, sexy lady who just may be the best medicine any doctor could order.  Add to that a stand-out secondary cast (Kate's younger brother, Tommy is a personal favorite), realistic challenges, humor and heartfelt emotion and you have a story that I couldn't read fast enough and never wanted to end.

Rumor Has It made me laugh, cry, sigh and want to revisit Sunshine, Idaho again and again.  I highly recommend it!

~PJ






We’d like to welcome the Jill Shalvis Rumor Has It blog tour to the Romance Dish today.  Jill is the bestselling author of over four dozen romance novels, including her upcoming sexy contemporary romance RUMOR HAS IT, book four in the Animal Magnetism series set in the small town of Sunshine, Idaho.  Jill is known for stories that are sexy, fun and full of heart.  The 4-time Rita nominee and 3-time National Readers Choice winner makes her home near Lake Tahoe.  Visit her website at www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog.



Q:  Jill, will you tell our readers a little bit about the Animal Magnetism (Sunshine, Idaho) series, and where your inspiration came from? 

A:  I’ve always wanted to write a series where I could incorporate cute animals.  Cute animals and sexy heroes together, who can resist that.  So I came up with a series about a set of wildly alpha brothers running an animal center in Sunshine, Idaho at the base of the Bitteroot Mountains. 


Q:  What is your favorite thing about writing this series? The sexy men, the heroines, or the animals?

A:  All of the above, but okay, let me admit the truth – the combination of hot guys and adorable animals is pretty much irresistible for me.


Q:  What do you think makes romance readers and the romance community so strong?

A:  I think what makes the romance community so strong is that romance readers are awesome.  They’re loyal and dedicated and always so willing to help support our community by talking about the books and making it okay to read whatever you want, may that be straight contemporary, romantic suspense, erotica, whatever.  I love that.  As far as having a strong presence, that is an accidental cause of working alone most of the days out of the year.  Reaching out to romance readers and writers via social media is just a really great way to not always be alone.  J


Q:  Are contemporaries your favorite genre to read as well as to write? If so, can you give our readers some of your favorite recommendations? 

A:  Yes, though I love to read everything, across all genres.  Heck, I’m happy reading the back of a cereal box.  But as for my recommendations in the contemporary genre, you can’t go wrong with Robyn Carr, Kristan Higgins, Carly Phillips, Susan Mallery, Lori Foster, Rachel Gibson…


Q:  Do you think reading romance makes us expect more from our own romantic partners? What effect do you think romance has on those that read it?

A:  We’re writing fiction.  Not nonfiction.  But made up stories, fantasies really.  I’m not writing “How To Have A Hot Romance.”  Or “How To Train Your Significant Other Into Being A Perfect Mate.”  I’m writing a fictional tale.  I think our readers are sharp, and are well aware and capable of knowing the difference between a pat Happily Ever After and real life.  If I can provide someone with a fantasy, a little escape from her reality, then I am considering it a job well done. 


Q:  You write so many wonderful contemporaries, how do you keep each novel fresh and exciting?

A:  Keeping it fresh is a constant battle, and I struggle with that daily.  I just love writing, and this genre, and work hard to do the job so I can keep doing it and pleasing readers.  Also, I find that stalking neighbors and friends, and being extremely nosy about their personal lives and conflicts is very helpful.  J


Q:  What’s your advice for a first-time pet owner?

1. Read up on your pet, on the specific breed. 
2. Be patient. 
3. Be patient. 
4. Be patient.  J 
5. Oh, and if there’s training issues?  Chances are it’s you, so revisit #1.


Q:  The interactions shared between you and Alpha Man always entertain; what is a recent “He Said, She Said” between you and Alpha Man that we may not have heard yet?
Me:
What are you eating?
Him (mouth full):
Nothing
Me:
It smells like Oreos.
Him:

Me:
Are you … eating Oreos? I thought we were out of cookies!!
Him:
There’s only four left.
Me:
I need two.
Him:
I’ll give you one.
Me:
No! You can’t eat just one cookie!!! There’s a rule!!!
Him:
Show me the book where this rule lives.
Me:
I’LL WRITE YOU THE $%#!#$!@ book, give me a second cookie and no one gets hurt!
Him:
Is it possible that you need something to go with that cookie?
Me:
Milk?
Him:
I was thinking Midol…


Q:  Your friendship with Kristan Higgins and your friendly battle for “Man Wars” has become infamous.  Why do you two connect so well?

A: I think our chemistry translates well because it’s genuine.  You can’t fake a real friendship.   We connect on lots of levels, such as competing for readers (kiddin!), and because we’re both raising aliens—er, teenagers.







Q:  What’s next for Jill Shalvis?

A:  If you read RUMOR HAS IT, you may notice a new vet is working at Belle Haven. Dr. Wyatt Stone.  He and his two sisters, Darcy and Zoe, are each going to get their own story next year. J









Readers, why do you read romance?  And what do you think makes the romance community so strong?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment no later than Friday, November 1st will receive a copy of Rumor Has It.  (U.S. addresses only)




Monday, October 28, 2013

Today's Special -- Jodi Thomas




Today, we welcome back New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas! Jodi is the author of 38 novels and 11 short story collections. A five-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. Her newest book, Promise Me Texas, the seventh book in her Whispering Mountain series, releases November 5th! Welcome, Jodi!






When I began PROMISE ME TEXAS, I thought about how some people are actors and some are reactors.  Some, like my Beth McMurray, are tired of waiting and decide to make change happen, while others watch.
 

On a sudden impulse, she travels north, catching up to the train her fiancé is on. She plans to surprise him.  Within hours, she realizes her mistake.  He’s not the man she thought him to be.  When a train wreck happens, she has only a moment to stand by the bum, or turn to a stranger and claim him as hers.  As always, Beth jumps.
 

Andrew McLaughlin, on the other hand, has always been a reactor.  He watches people, writes about places and daydreams.  When the beautiful lady claims him as hers, he goes along.  Interested in the details of this story this pretty lady seems to be living in. 
 

When he first wakes up from the wreck, injured and disoriented, he finds they’re engaged.  Second time, Beth claims they are married. Third time, he sees two kids in the pictures.  Confused, he doses off wondering what the grandkids will look like when he wakes again.
 

PROMISE ME TEXAS is the story of a strong loving family who founded Whispering Mountain Ranch and how their big hearts open up to let others in.
 

Readers often ask me where my characters come from.  That is a hard question to answer.  For the most part I just open my mind and let them walk in. 
 

That’s what happened when I began this story.  Beth had been a baby in another book.  Andrew was lost, trying to find his reason for life.  He was one of those men she wouldn’t have given a second glance to if fate hadn’t stepped in and tossed them together.  Once she saw him, really saw him, she wouldn’t let go. 
 

I think the hardest thing in life is finding what direction to head.  Real people as well as those in my head sometimes have trouble finding the road to take.  Maybe the important thing is to simply keep walking.
 

I had a great deal of fun writing about a writer trying to live in reality and a beautiful, spoiled woman trying to make up her life as she went along. 
 

Everyone, even the outlaw leader, tries to give them advice, but somehow they find a crazy kind of love. In my experience it’s sometimes that crazy kind of love that is just right.  Enjoy the journey through Texas as you come along with me meeting people that are very real to me, if only in my mind.

 

Jodi Thomas

 
 
 
Question! What is the best advice you've ever been given? What is the worst? Tell us and one lucky commenter will win a copy of Jodi's Promise Me Texas after it releases! Open to anywhere Book Depository ships!




NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas returns to Texas with her seventh Whispering Mountain historical about an unpredictable adventure in romance that sets two unlikely hearts on fire…

 
"When 24-year-old Beth McMurray sneaks onto a train to surprise her fiancé, former Senator Lamont La-Croix, she’s shocked to overhear him bragging about his plans for her and her money. By the time Beth drives a wagon out of town, she has collected a pretend husband, two little boys, an ill teen cowboy, and a pregnant young woman, and the adventure has just begun. Complex plot-ting, superb character development, and touching roman-tic scenes make this a winner. "—Publishers Weekly starred review

"One of my favorites." Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times Bestselling author

"PROMISE ME TEXAS is one of the best western historical tales of this year!"—Vickie@ReaderToReader.com

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Molly O'Keefe Winner




The winner of 
Can't Buy Me Love and Wild Child
by Molly O'Keefe
is:

Laura R

Congratulations, Laura!  
To claim your books, send us your full name and mailing address
no later than Thursday, October 31, 2013.

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Terri Osburn Winners





The winners of a signed copy of
Up to the Challenge 
by Terri Osburn 
are:

erin

and

librarypat

Congratulations, ladies!  
To claim your book please send your full name and mailing address to us no later
than Thursday, October 31, 2013.

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com




Saturday, October 26, 2013

Historical Hookup Second Chance Winner





The winner of the Historical Hookup Blog Tour did not claim the prize so 
we've drawn a new name.  The new winner of the
five-book giveaway from Forever Romance is:

Barbara E

Congratulations, Barbara!
  To claim your books, please send your full name and mailing address to us no later than 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Lord of Darkness winner!



The winner of a signed copy of Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt is:
 
Karen H in NC
 
Congratulations, Karen! Please send your full name and address to theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com with "LOD Winner" as the subject and I'll get your book in the mail. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Review - - Up to the Challenge

Up to the Challenge
Anchor Island - Book 2
By Terri Osburn
Publisher:  Montlake Romance





It's said that opposites attract and they don't come much more opposite than Lucas Dempsey and Sidney Ann "Sid" Navarro.  A boat mechanic who dreams of owning her own garage, Sid is a straight talking, potty mouthed tomboy who has no idea of the power lurking in the gorgeous hair and playboy-worthy body beneath her favored baseball caps and over-sized tee shirts with their rude sayings.  Sid loves the laid back atmosphere and small town closeness of Anchor Island and can't imagine living anywhere else. Lucas Dempsey, on the other hand, had fled Anchor Island - where he'd lived in the shadow of his older brother - almost before the ink had dried on his high school diploma. Shunning his small hometown for the big city, the hotshot attorney's priorities have been designer clothes, designer cars, a partnership in his high-powered Richmond law firm and a woman who can help him achieve his goals. Sid is as far off his radar as a woman can get.  Not much encouragement for someone who's secretly been in love with Lucas since high school.

Lucas thought he'd found the perfect woman but then he brought her to Anchor Island to meet his family, left her almost immediately when work called and ended up losing her to his older brother.  He's still smarting over that, even though he's given them his blessing and reluctantly admits his pride was hurt more than his heart.  Given those family dynamics, one can understand why he's not thrilled to be back on the island six weeks later but when a heart attack lands his father in the hospital Lucas steps up to the plate and offers to help manage the family restaurant until his dad's back on his feet. Then his mom asks Sid to help him and the fireworks begin.  These two could start a forest fire with the friction they create and left me laughing more times than not, especially before they realize what's causing all that friction.

A bet as to who can pull in more tips has Sid following a friend's advice and ditching her over-sized tee shirt for the tank top beneath, a move that finally opens Lucas's eyes to all those luscious curves Sid hides from the world.  It's unwrapping the outer package that initially puts Sid on Lucas's radar but as they spend time together and get to know one another, it's the person inside that pulls him in.  And, for Sid, being admired, desired and accepted for who she is is more than she dared to dream.  But they both know their time together is limited. Lucas has a career to return to and a partnership to secure while Sid's dreams are firmly entrenched in Anchor Island.  Are they destined for heartbreak or will they open their eyes to the fact that what they thought they wanted may not be what they need?

Osburn has a real talent for humor and it's clearly evident in this book.  She also has a talent for writing deep, heartfelt emotion and characters that are realistic, multi-dimensional and worthy of this reader's care and concern.   If you're reading this series you already know what I mean.  If not, today would be a great time to meet the wonderful people of Anchor Island through the pages of Up to the Challenge and Meant to Be. I highly recommend the trip.

~PJ


Have you read any good small-town romances lately?  What do you recommend?



Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Review -- When the Marquess Met His Match

When the Marquess Met His Match
An American Heiress in London-Book 1
By Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: 10/29/13






In the first of a dazzling new series, USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke introduces London’s most renowned matchmaker—and a scoundrel intent on seducing his way to the altar.

     She’s the matchmaker…

     Lady Belinda Featherstone’s job is to guide American heiresses to matrimony, and away from men like Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge. But the charming, disreputable marquess needs a wealthy bride, and he hires Belinda to help him find one. Her task seems easy: find that scoundrel the sort of wife he so richly deserves. But Nicholas’s hot, searing kiss soon proves her task will be anything but easy.

     He’s the perfect match…

     Nicholas plans to wed a rich, pretty young darling to restore his fortune, and he’s happy to pay a marriage broker to help him. But one taste of Belinda’s lips and Nicholas’s sensible scheme to marry for money goes awry, and he yearns to show his beautiful matchmaker he’s the perfect match…for her.

 

My introduction to Laura Lee Guhrke and her books came back in 2007 when a friend of mine recommended her Girl Bachelor books to me. There was a lyrical quality to her writing that drew me in immediately, and I’ve been a LLG fan ever since. Secret Desires of a Gentleman is still one of my all time favorite romances. With her new An American Heiress in London series, Laura has introduced us to a whole new cast of characters to fall in love with.

Lady Belinda Feathestone is an American heiress who married a British aristocrat who made no bones about the fact that he married her for her money as soon as they wed. Now a widow, Belinda has found a niche for herself helping other American heiresses navigate British society and make good matches. Due to her past experience, she is once bitten and more than twice shy. Belinda is on a mission to protect these young heiresses from making an unwise match like she did. Therefore, when Nicholas, the Marquess of Trubridge, an acknowledged rake and fortune hunter, asks her to help him find a wife and catches the eye of friend and fellow heiress Rosalie Harlow, she’s determined to stop him at all costs.

I struggled a bit with my feelings for Belinda. On the one hand, I completely understood why she immediately saw Nicholas as a foe to be vanquished, and why she would go to such lengths to stop him. She is driven by her past experience, and wanting to protect her clients from fortune hunters like her late husband. However, the tactics she used went a bit too far, in my opinion, and made me lose some sympathy for her. In addition, Belinda has her emotions so clamped down, and she is so consumed with maintaining propriety and her reputation, that it made it hard for me to relate to her. But ultimately, throughout the course of the novel, Belinda lets down the walls she built up and learns to trust her heart again. I found myself liking her more and more as she dealt with the scars from her past, and I liked her true personality emerging. The real Belinda is actually very passionate and feisty, and very protective of those she cares about. THAT Belinda I relate to and would want as a friend. The leap of faith Belinda takes to prove her trust and love for Nicholas truly warmed my heart and made me sigh with happiness.

Nicholas, the Marquess of Trubridge, is not quite what he seems at first glance. Popular opinion is that he deliberately thumbs his nose at his father, the Duke of Landsdowne, and lived a carefree life on the continent, until his father forces his hand to find a suitable bride. But there’s more to the story. I admired Nicholas wanting to make something of himself on his own, and I found his fondness for science interesting. I totally understood Nicholas lashing out at his controlling and overbearing father by doing everything possible to aggravate him. Despite Belinda’s initial impressions, Nicholas is caring, loyal, funny, and trustworthy and has a big heart. In other words, a man who is nothing like her first husband. I liked and rooted for him right away. He falls head over heels for Belinda right away, and I related to his frustration with Belinda’s doubts and reluctance to open up. But his determination to prove himself worthy of Belinda made me melt and love him even more.

I like battle of the sexes stories, and When the Marquess Met His Match is a great example. The sparks fly immediately, and Belinda and Nicholas butt heads the minute they meet. The war they wage with each other was funny and Laura uses it as a great opportunity to up the tension, conflict, and emotions between Nicholas and Belinda. The first part of the book reminds me a bit of Beatrice and Benedict from Shakespeare’s Much Ado when they insult and snipe at each other, but you know the attraction and lust is boiling underneath.  In a good romance novel, the love scenes are just gratuitous, but they further the story and character development of the hero and heroine. That is definitely the case with this book. Laura does a great job of using the love scenes to show the increasing trust and intimacy between Belinda and Nicholas, and that is one of my favorite aspects of the book.

When the Marquess Met His Match is not my favorite Laura Lee Guhrke, but it is still a very good book. Laura definitely knows how to write a compelling story and engage the readers’ emotions. Readers who enjoy great writing and battle of the sexes story will enjoy this book. I am definitely looking forward to her next American Heiress in London book.

 
~Lisa
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