Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Today's Special - - Kelly Bowen Release Day Blitz




Between the Devil and the Duke
By Kelly Bowen
A Season for Scandal - Book 3
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: January 31, 2017






Their love was always in the cards.



He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he's more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty-in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he'll have to devise a proposition she can't turn down.

Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie's club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible . . .





My thoughts:

I discovered Kelly Bowen's books last year and she has quickly become one of my go-to historical romance authors with Between the Devil and the Duke joining the first two books in her A Season for Scandal series as keepers I'll be revisiting again. 

One of the things I most enjoy about Bowen's books is her skill in creating complex, intelligent, fascinating characters who are outside the norm. Alex and Angelique are perfect examples of that skill. Gifting them with sparkling dialogue, sizzling passion, family secrets, heartwarming emotion, and a mystery with twists and turns aplenty showcases this brilliant match, landing Alex and Angelique on my list of all-time favorite couples and their book on my Best of 2017 watch list. 




The secondary characters, both good and bad, shine vibrantly in their respective roles, moving the story along without taking the focus off the hero and heroine. Readers of the series will delight in catching up with characters from the first two books while those new to the series will have no difficulty reading Between the Devil and the Duke as a standalone.  

If you haven't read Bowen's books yet, I enthusiastically recommend all three books in her A Season for Scandal series: Duke of My Heart, A Duke to Remember, and Between the Devil and the Duke

~PJ      

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Have you read Kelly Bowen's books?

Have you added any books to your Best of 2017 list yet?

Do you enjoy historical characters who are outside the norm?





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Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance.  When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process.  Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Excerpt from Between the Devil and the Duke


“I don’t suppose you’d be interested in a job?”
“A job?” Angelique was aware she was repeating him like a half-wit, but she couldn’t seem to wrap her head around the last minute of conversation.
 “Yes.” Lavoie leaned forward slightly.
“Ladies don’t have jobs.” Angelique tried to put some conviction into that statement, knowing it was what she was supposed to say. Such knowledge had been drilled into her since she was old enough to walk. Ladies grew up and married well and became wives who lived out their lives in genteel comfort. They did not partake in industry. Or gambling.
At least they didn’t until they did not marry at all, much less well, and their parents died, their family fortune went missing, and their newly titled brother couldn’t stay sober long enough to look for it. Then ladies did what they had to do to hold their families together.
She glanced up at him, but her sharp reply, like everything else, had only seemed to amuse him.
“A strange thing to say for a lady who already treats my vingt-et-un table as her personal place of business.” Lavoie’s lip had curled, his scar making it look more like a smirk than a smile.
She looked away, despising the truth in his assessment. “I do no such thing. Ladies don’t have jobs,” she repeated, though it was a pitiable attempt at her defense.
“Ladies don’t have jobs that people know about,” he countered.
“What? What does that mean?” Angelique’s eyes snapped back to his.
Lavoie moved out from behind his desk and leaned back against the front of it. He crossed his booted feet casually, never taking his eyes off her. “It means, my lady, that once you stop pretending to be aghast, and you understand that I offer the potential to earn more money in a single night than you will earn in three at the card tables, you might wish to reconsider. I wish you to deal a high-stakes vingt-et-un table that can accommodate at least six players who will be playing against the house and not each other. Who will be playing against you.”
Angelique was at a loss for words.
“I don’t need to have your answer now,” he said, tipping his head. “You know where to find me. I will pay you for your time, of course, and you will also receive a percentage of whatever you—my club—wins. I promise that your identity will remain concealed. And unlike the men you have had to endure thus far at the tables, I promise that I won’t touch your breasts. And anyone else in my club who might attempt to do so in the future will answer to me.”
She felt her face heat all over again, even as another hail of unwanted thrills crackled through her like a summer storm.
“Tell me you’ll think about it,” Lavoie prompted.
“Very well.” The shock was wearing off, and Angelique was trying her best to collect her scattered thoughts. She’d be an idiot to deny him outright. She didn’t trust him entirely, but her current situation didn’t leave her many choices. And she couldn’t deny that his offer, like the man himself, was more than a little…intriguing. Exciting. Fascinating.
Lavoie pushed himself off the desk, coming to stand directly in front of her. His eyes skimmed over her hair, her mask, her gown, as if he was evaluating—admiring—what he saw. “With a mind such as yours, I think you would be brilliant,” he murmured. “I think that you and I would make splendid partners.”



Monday, January 30, 2017

Coming Attractions










Join us Wednesday, February 1 as I kick off the month of love with a blog about blessings. Readers will have a chance to win one of three Blessings Boxes filled with goodies and generously donated by Debbie Macomber.











The Catherine Bybee Staying for Good blog tour stops at the Dish on Thursday, February 2. The second in Bybee's Most Likely To series, this new contemporary romance is winning rave reviews.











Friday, February 3 brings Maggie Robinson back to the Dish with a guest blog about her newest historical romance, Schooling the Viscount. I'm hearing great things about this new book!












On Monday, February 6, Janga and I will bring you our second chat about a favorite book. This time we're turning our focus on Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James. I'll also be announcing the winner of our book chat naming contest!











Kat Martin joins us Tuesday, February 7 with a book excerpt and giveaway! Into the Firestorm is the third book in Martin's popular Boss, Inc. romantic suspense series.










Thursday, February 9 brings the Donna Alward review tour to the Dish. Somebody Like You is the first book in Alward's new Darling, VT contemporary romance series. And, good news for readers: books two and three will be released in March and April!







Janga returns with another On Second Thought review of a previously published novel now available in e-book format. Watch for her new review on Wednesday, February 15.







We wrap up the month on Tuesday, February 28 with the Meredith Duran A Lady's Code of Misconduct review tour. Duran's newest book is the fifth story in her Rules for the Reckless historical romance series.








What are you looking forward to in February?








Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review - - A Spiced Apple Winter


A Spiced Apple Winter
By Emma Cane
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: December 27, 2016
  




When the soap opera in which Tyler Fairfield starred ended, the timing seemed perfect for him to fulfill his promise to his family to join his twin Amy in managing the family orchards for six months. The Fairfield siblings had all pledged to do their part to keep Fairfield Orchards operating in the black while their parents take an extended vacation and their oldest sister Rachel, her parents’ chief backup for more than ten years, takes time to travel the world. After struggling through school and with orchard-related tasks, Tyler, at the suggestion of his future brother-in-law, is tested for ADHD. The diagnosis and the prescribed medication allow him to focus, thus altering his perception of the family business. For the first time, Tyler finds that he enjoys the challenges. The only thing marring his time at home is the awkwardness that lingers after he and long-time family friend, Brianna MacDougall, moved from friends to lovers one memorable night in New York City.

Every time she sees Tyler, Brianna remembers that night. Even though they agreed that it was a mistake and Tyler claims that his memories are vague, Brianna cannot forget. Her only regret is that her comfortable friendship with Tyler has become strained as a result. Bri, who is already stressed over her beloved father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and her increased responsibilities at her family’s country store, takes on even more when she decides to resurrect the community Christmas play that her dad managed for years. She hopes the experience will be good for her father and give her some sweet memories when his disease steals more of him from his family. She had not counted on the play throwing her in Tyler’s company more frequently nor on the added complication that Tyler’s friend, popular actress Gabrielle, brings when she takes the female lead in the play.

Tyler agrees to offer Gabrielle sanctuary from a major scandal that is threatening her career, but it is Brianna with whom he wants to spend his time. Initially, he is afraid of hurting Bri by beginning a relationship that can have no future since she will never leave Spencer Hollow and he will be leaving after Christmas, but she needs some fun in her life and she assures Tyler that she can deal with the temporary nature of a romance with him. Tyler is uneasy playing Gabrielle’s fake boyfriend to redeem her reputation at the same time he and Brianna are stealing time to be together. Bri trusts him when he says his relationship with Gabrielle is all for show, but she is unprepared to have her own reputation smeared and her life invaded by paparazzi when an enterprising reporter photographs her and Tyler as he leaves her house one morning. Can their relationship survive such notoriety? Can Brianna believe Tyler when he insists he wants more than a holiday fling?

A Spiced Apple Winter is a sweet romance with a friends-to-lovers plot that is credible and appealing. Brianna and Tyler are likable, sympathetic characters whose romantic relationship develops slowly and convincingly, based on a deep friendship with a long history that includes ties with one another’s families. As one of Amy’s best friends, Brianna grew up at home with the Fairfield clan, and Brianna’s dad served as a second father to Tyler when his own dad’s alcoholism led to parental failures. The Gabrielle complication could have turned this story into a clich├ęd mess, but Cane has her leads behave with maturity and a trust based on their knowledge of one another.

The details about orchard life, about the MacDougall store, and about the Christmas play give Spencer Hollow a substantial realness and make this more than just another small-town romance. The secondary characters make the novel a richer read. Amy Fairfield and Jonathan Gebhart (At Fairfield Orchard, Book #1) play their parts without appearing to wave “Read Our Book” signs. The MacDougall family’s coming to terms with Mr. MacDougall’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis is authentic and poignant. Gabrielle is not a spoiled, conniving Hollywood bitch, but a talented actress and a genuine person.

I loved Cane’s Valentine Valley series, and the Fairfield Orchard series promises to be just as good. If you are looking for a small-town romance with a freshness and charm that make it a standout in a subgenre often plagued by sameness, I definitely recommend this book.  The Fairfields are a big family, and I’m looking forward to stories from the other siblings. I’m also hoping to see more of Gabrielle and Spencer Hollow’s reclusive playwright. I’m hooked on this series!

~Janga



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Last Chance Winners







The following winners have not claimed their books. 

Kim M

Amy Higgins

Annette Naish

Please send your full name and mailing address to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

 no later than 11:00 PM, January 30th. 

If I do not hear from you by then I will draw new winners.

Review - - Molly's Mr. Wrong

Molly’s Mr. Wrong
By Jeannie Watt
Publisher: Harlequin (Superromance)
Release Date: January 1, 2017

 

Molly Adamson remembers her time in Eagle Valley, Montana, as one of the few stable and happy periods of her growing-up years which were characterized by the frequents moves of her family. When a romantic relationship sours, she accepts a position as English professor at Eagle Valley Community College. Looking for a new start, she, along with her younger sister, Georgina, moves to the town she remembers fondly.

Finn Culver has also returned to Eagle Valley after a long stint of military service, but he finds that the changes that have taken place in him during his time away from his hometown make him ill fitted to spend the rest of his life managing the family feed store. When he considers what he wants to do instead, he remembers how much he enjoyed teaching recruits and decides that he would like to become an industrial arts teacher at the high school level. He knows that he will need a college degree, and taking core courses at the local community college seems a logical start. He enrolls for two courses, math and English.

Molly and Finn have a history. Their mothers conspired to have Finn, a popular athlete, escort nerdy Molly to the homecoming dance. It was a miserable experience, especially for Molly, who had a crush on Finn. She is humiliatingly aware of her “mercy date” status and of Finn’s rush to get her home as early as possible. A first meeting of the adult Molly and Finn awakens her memories of that painful experience and makes her determined to avoid Finn in the future.

To everyone’s surprise except the reader’s, Molly and Finn next meet in Molly’s composition class where Finn is a student. Finn finds his first writing assignment a real challenge, but even so, he is not prepared for the low grade he receives or for all the red ink with which Molly decorates his paper. Convinced that Molly’s harshness is in retaliation for an old offense, he is even less prepared for her suggestion that he may be dyslexic and spurns her offer to help him. When he reconsiders and accepts her help, the two develop feelings for one another that are more than the friendship Molly claims she wants. But As Molly’s student, Finn is off limits as a romantic interest, and a disgruntled student from an influential family will use all the ammunition he can find to create difficulties for Molly. Can they overcome these obstacles?

My reactions to this book were mixed. I liked the community college setting, and Molly and Finn are likable, sympathetic characters. Molly’s past and her recent bad breakup make her especially vulnerable, and Finn’s struggle with a learning disability that threatens his image of himself exposes his vulnerability as well. The secondary characters, particularly Finn’s grandfather and Molly’s sister, add interest to the story. Best of all, Watt is skillful at revealing the extraordinariness of ordinary people, something I really enjoy.

But I have problems with the relationship between Molly and Finn developing as it does while Finn is still her student. They are consenting adults, and I know the heart is no organ of reason. However, the taboo against student-teacher romances exists for a reason. In addition to the ethical objection, there is the practical concern that Molly is risking her career. I would have liked the book much better had Finn withdrawn from his English class before they became sexually intimate. This struck a nerve with me as a veteran of decades teaching classes similar to the one in which Molly teaches Finn, albeit not in a community college. As much as I liked parts of this story, in the final analysis, I could not move beyond these concerns and give the book a high recommendation. Jeannie Watt is a fine writer whose books I have enjoyed, and I am a big Superromance fan.  I look forward to other Superromances, including Watt’s novels.

 ~Janga




Review - - The Cowboy's Twins

The Cowboy’s Twins
By Tara Taylor Quinn
Publisher: Harlequin (Heartwarming)
Release Date: January 3, 2017

 

The only thing more important to Spencer Longfellow than making a success of his ranch is that he be the best dad possible to his seven-year-old twins, Tabitha and Justin. The lack of rain has left him with a cash flow problem, and that is the only reason he gives his reluctant consent for the cooking show, Family Secrets, to use his barn for a season of on-location shows. He intends to keep contact with the show’s creator, host, and producer, Natasha Stevens to a minimum. He has good reason to distrust “city girls,” and while Natasha and her crew may be invading his ranch for a period, Spencer is determined to keep them well away from his life, particularly his children.

Natasha knows the importance of keeping Family Secrets fresh. She believes the show will benefit from a season on a ranch that is a source of some of the world’s best beef and it doesn’t hurt that the ranch owner is a hunky cowboy sure to appeal to the women in her audience.  However, she doesn’t expect to become involved with the ranch and its residents. She is unprepared to ruin a pair of expensive boots assisting at the delivery of a calf or to be charmed by the lively Longfellow twins or to find Spencer Longfellow more intriguing with each encounter.

With Spencer’s dislike of city sophisticates and his plan to avoid Natasha and her crew and Natasha’s conviction that she is self-sufficient with no desire or need for long-term relationships, there should have been no problem. But the attraction between them is potent, and Tabitha and Justin are eager to befriend Natasha. Spencer and Natasha discover that plans, as poet Robert Burns famously said, go “agley.” Spencer’s effort to find himself wife who is at home on the ranch fails, and Natasha finds that she doesn’t understand her single mother and role model as well as she thought. However, there are hang-ups and secrets and misperceptions to be dealt with before this unlikely couple can find their way to an HEA.

This is the third book in Quinn’s Family Secrets series. Fans will be pleased to see Natasha get her own story, but readers new to the series will find that this novel works well as a standalone. It is a sweet story with the children providing light moments to balance Spencer’s angst. Readers will root for this deserving single dad and his twins to create a new family with the likeable Natasha. If you are looking for an easy, enjoyable read, The Cowboy’s Twins will fill the bill.

 ~Janga



Friday, January 27, 2017

Review - - On Second Thought

On Second Thought
By Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: January 31, 2017





Kate O’Leary, a professional photographer, is pushing forty with little expectation of finding a man she wants to date, much less marry, when she meets Nathan Coburn, a divorced architect at a wedding. Six months later, after a rather old-fashioned courtship, they are married. Life with Nathan is so close to perfect that Kate can hardly believe it is real. The only flaw is that, although both she and Nathan are eager to have a child, Kate is not yet pregnant. They have been married four months when their idyll ends. Nathan dies as the result of a freak fall at a party.

Kate’s half-sister Ainsley once had a successful career in television, but it evaporated amid a scandal. Currently, she works for a regional magazine where her abilities are underutilized. Ainsley believes that Eric Fisher, her boyfriend of eleven years, is on the verge of asking her to marry him. She has been in love with him since they were college students, she supported him through his battle with testicular cancer, and she enjoys a close, loving relationship with his parents. It is at a party celebrating Eric’s being declared cancer-free that Nathan’s accident occurs.

Kate and Ainsley have never had a close relationship, but Ainsley is at her sister’s side during the days after Nathan’s death. When shortly afterwards, Eric dumps Ainsley in a very public, humiliating manner, Kate opens her home to her sister. Both women are devastated by their losses, but as they deal with the changes in their lives, they grow as individuals and as sisters, sharing their lives as they never did growing up and discovering the jealousies and misperceptions that limited their relationship.

Both sisters discover they are stronger than they knew. Even broken hearts heal, and love can be found in unexpected ways. Kate finds a friend in a familiar face from her old Brooklyn neighborhood. Daniel Breton, aka Daniel the Hot Firefighter, proves that he is more than a pretty face and a swoon-inducing body. Jonathan Kent, Ainsley’s grumpy boss, proves that he is more than a wealthy magazine publisher and professional grouch.

Higgins returns to Cambry-on-Hudson, the setting of her earlier foray into women’s fiction, If You Only Knew (2015), for another tale of two sisters and their relationship with each other, with family members, and with the men in their lives. Although setting is the primary link between the two books, fans of the earlier book will doubtless be pleased to see Jenny and Leo make an appearance in this one.

The talented Higgins is at her best as she alternates point of view between Kate and Ainsley, allowing readers to understand these flawed, likable, complex characters. Fans of Higgins know that she is among the best at combining the funny and the poignant, sometimes in the same scene, and she does exactly that with great skill in this book. The wake scene is superb. Higgins captures the sense of unreality, the double-consciousness of being part of the experience but feeling as if you are also observing it, and the minutiae that intrude amid the shattering pain. Any woman who has ever worn Spanx will sympathize with Kate’s need to escape the receiving line with its endless parade of mourners to find a bathroom and get the rolled-up Spanx positioned properly.

Those who have known loss will understand the painful accuracy of these later observations:

It was funny how time is measured after you’ve lost someone. Everything relates back to that second your life swerved. The calendar isn’t measured by the names of the months or seasons anymore, but by those significant dates.”

            . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And every day takes you further from the time he was alive, slicing you with the razor-sharp realization that these days would never be celebrated again. . . . All those dates that held no meaning for anyone on the outside, but were slashed into the hearts of those of us who’d been left behind.

But On Second Thought is not just a book about grief. It is also about surviving and growing and loving. While I give it my highest, most enthusiastic recommendation, I also caution romance readers that this is women’s fiction, not romance. The romantic element is strong, but it is the relationship between the sisters and their individual journeys to self-knowledge and self-acceptance that is the core of the novel. If you like books that evoke a giggle one moment and leave you wiping away a tear the next, I think you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I loved it! It prompted me to start my Best of 2017 list and to hope I don’t have to wait long for the next great read from Kristan Higgins.

~Janga

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review - - Accidentally on Purpose


Accidentally on Purpose
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 24, 2017
  



Elle Wheaton is smart, assertive, and tough. She is a whiz at her job as the general manager of the Pacific Pier Building, and she has found her tribe in the core group of fiercely loyal friends who work in the building and in surrounding businesses. She is also ambitious, devoting time and money to pursuing a degree in accounting. Her life now is very different from the difficult one she knew as a child. However, Archer Hunt, head of Hunt Investigations, is an ever-present reminder of her troubled past. She cannot ignore him, despite her efforts to do so. She cannot forget what she owes him, and she cannot control his effect on her libido.

Archer has unobtrusively kept an eye on Elle over the years since he blew his cover on an undercover operation in order to protect a then-sixteen-year-old Elle and ended his career as a cop in the process. It was he who recommended her to Spencer a year ago for the general manager’s job. But Elle is no longer that vulnerable teenager; she has become a smart, sassy, sexy woman. Archer has promised himself that he will keep ignoring how attracted he is to the grown-up Elle because she deserves someone who will not remind her of a past she has fought to escape. He keeps his promise until he has to watch Elle dating someone else. However, moving from friends (of a sort) to lovers is complicated by their shared past, which is not as past as they thought. Old enemies pose present danger, and Archer will have a close call, retreat to his default attitude, and be forced to do some major groveling before he and Elle begin their HEA.

Accidentally on Purpose is the third book in Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay series, and it has the clever repartee, sizzling attraction, and friends-as-family theme that delighted fans of the first two books. The tension between Elle and Archer in those books signaled readers that these two were meant for each other, and their story has been highly anticipated. The story has sufficient steam and emotional power in the romance and in the characters’ separate family complications to please lovers of sexy contemporary romance who are just discovering Shalvis as well as eager readers already enamored of Elle and Archer.

I belong to the latter group. I like the tribe of friends Shalvis has created for this series, and I like the San Francisco setting. I began reading this book already invested in seeing Elle and Archer finally become a couple. With characters as stubborn as these two, a push-pull relationship was almost a given, but it seemed to me that the sequence of no-yes-no became a bit repetitious—not enough to ruin the story but enough to make it less than a five-star read. The flaw is a minor one, however, and the book is still a winning addition to a solid series. It is a must for those who enjoyed the first two books, and I recommend it to readers who like a mix of sizzle, humor, and heart in their contemporary romance reads.

Next up is Chasing Christmas Eve (September 26, 2017)—Spencer’s story. That’s the one for which I have been waiting most eagerly. I’ve already preordered my copy.

~Janga

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Today's Special - - Stephanie Laurens' Lord of the Privateers Blog Tour

Lord of the Privateers
By Stephanie Laurens
The Adventurers Quartet - Book 4
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: December 27, 2016
  





The eldest of the Frobisher brothers and widely known as the lord of the privateers, Royd Frobisher expects to execute the final leg of the rescue mission his brothers have been pursuing. What he does not expect is to be pressured into taking his emotional nemesis, childhood sweetheart, ex-handfasted bride, and current business partner, Isobel Carmichael, with him. But is it Isobel doing the pressuring, or his own restless unfulfilled psyche?

Resolute, determined, and an all but unstoppable force of nature, Isobel has a mission of her own—find her cousin Katherine and bring her safely home. And if, along the way, she can rid herself of the lingering dreams of a life with Royd that still haunt her, well and good.

Neither expects the shock that awaits them as they set sail aboard Royd's ship, much less the new horizons that open before them as they call into London, then, armed with the necessary orders and all arrangements in place, embark on a full-scale rescue-assault on the mining compound buried in the jungle.

Yet even with the support of his brothers and their ladies and, once rescued, all the ex-captives, Royd and Isobel discover that freeing the captives is only half the battle. In order to identify and convict the backers behind the illicit enterprise—and protect the government from catastrophic destabilization—they must return to the ballrooms of the haut ton, and with the help of a small army of supporters, hunt the villains on their home ground.

But having found each other again, having glimpsed the heaven that could be theirs again, how much are they willing to risk in the name of duty?



Stephanie Laurens brings her The Adventurers Quartet to a close with a story of adventure, suspense, and a second chance to claim the love of a lifetime. 

Royd and Isobel are a couple that should have made it. They had known one another since childhood, were friends before falling in love, and shared common interests and goals. But they were young when they were handfasted and it fell apart, largely due to a lack of communication and trust...on both sides. They've continued to be business partners but Isobel has been clear that there will be no second chance for a personal relationship...until the day she appears in Royd's office to insist she be allowed to sail with him to West Africa to look for her cousin who has disappeared from the settlement there. 

I'm all for high seas romance and the potential inherent in Royd and Isobel being confined aboard ship for a weeks long journey had me rubbing my hands with glee. It was obvious desire, and deeper feelings, between them still simmered, even though Isobel fought it every step of the way. Watching them dance around each other had me flipping pages to see what would happen next but it was the surprise awaiting them when they boarded Royd's ship that really mixed things up and had me second-guessing just whose side I was on. And, while they are both likable characters, one of them is responsible for a decision that I was not quick to forgive...though in the end, I did.  

I've enjoyed all of the main couples in the quartet and Royd and Isobel are no exception. I always enjoy a good second-chance romance that doesn't come easily and Laurens put these two through some significant hoops and individual soul searching that made their happy ending all the more enjoyable.

While the first half of the book focuses primarily on Royd and Isobel's relationship, once they arrive in West Africa it switches to the rescue of the captives as well as the mystery of who has been behind the abductions. I like the mix of suspense and romance that has continued throughout this series and found that part of Lord of the Privateers to be as intense and satisfying as I had hoped. 

If you enjoy a blend of mystery, romance, and high seas adventure, I recommend you give Stephanie Laurens' The Adventurers Quartet a try. I also strongly suggest reading the four books in order as each builds upon the events of the previous book. They are, in order: The Lady's Command, A Buccaneer at Heart, The Daredevil Snared, and Lord of the Privateers.  

~PJ


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Stephanie Laurens’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 16th: The Sassy Bookster
Tuesday, January 17th: Reading is My Superpower
Wednesday, January 18th: Bibliotica
Friday, January 20th: Reading Reality
Monday, January 23rd: Buried Under Romance
Tuesday, January 24th: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, January 25thThe Romance Dish
Friday, January 27thA Chick Who Reads
Monday, January 30thFrom the TBR Pile
Monday, January 30thLet Them Read Books – Excerpt
Wednesday, February 1stA. Holland Reads
Friday, February 3rdBecky on Books
Monday, February 6thBroken Teepee
Tuesday, February 7thLaura’s Reviews
Wednesday, February 8thBlack ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Friday, February 10thThe Maiden’s Court