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


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Have you read Kelly Bowen's books?

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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.

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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.”


  1. I have not read any of Kelli's books but after your review I will. I've recently discovered Sarah Morgan and Samantha Chase. I haven't read any books out in 2017 yet I'm currently reading Valerie Bowman.

    1. I do like intelligent, outspoken heroines.

    2. If you like intelligent, outspoken heroines then Angelique is right up your alley, Laurie!

  2. I read 1 awhile ago. This sounds like an enjoyable read.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. So far, I've read all of the books that Kelly has written. I've loved every single one of them.

  4. I haven't read her yet, but the excerpt sounds captivating. :) I'm hoping to get Seven Minutes in Heaven today, so that's likely to make my best of 2017 so far.

    I also got a review book for a Beverly Jenkins book that looks promising and I will probably read that next. For me, reading that book would be a historical with characters outside the norm because they're HEA stories for people of color in a time setting I wouldn't imagine much to be happy about, but the more I learn, the more I realize those stories very well existed and I'm glad Ms. Jenkins is writing those stories and Avon is publishing them. Yes, it was hard; yes, it was unfair; but yes, they also made the best of everything and lived happily too, through perseverance and hard work and maybe a little luck. Just like most anyone did or does. I used to avoid books that I didn't automatically relate to (I loved Kleypas' SUGAR DADDY, which I understood, but avoid mostly the Susan E. Phillips books with millionaires and football players because I don't get the culture--nor really want to, for instance.) But now I'm finally getting that these stories are for me too. These books--all books--are a great way of slowly changing the culture for the new norm, revealing what's already there but making it accessible. (Okay, I got all philosophical. I'm so sorry. I mean, I've read books for 40 years practically--and I'm now getting an epiphany of why books are important? SERIOUSLY?)

    Right now I've been reading backlogs of Nora Roberts books, and many of them are going on my Best of list, even though they're older books.

  5. I haven't read her as yet but this sounds like something I would enjoy. No favorites yet this year but I'm behind in my reading. I love variety so outside the norm sounds like a good thing!

  6. I've seen Kelly Bowen's name pop up a lot lately, PJ. I think the previous 2 books in this series made some "Best of 2016" lists at AAR. Looks like it's time to give her a whirl! I'm itching for a good historical. I've started and stopped several series in the past couple of weeks and it's getting frustrating. No "Best of 2017" yet. I just love historicals (and contemps, for that matter) with good characterization, whether it's outside the norm or not. Sometimes the authors that Wow me are the ones that take the same old, same old and make it work - keep me turning those pages. Thanks for the rec!

  7. I haven't read them yet - I do love historical romance!

  8. Thank you so much for hosting and for all the kind words! For those of you who have read my tales - thank you & I'm so happy you've liked them! And for new readers - I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them! The authors mentioned in the comments here are all so talented and they write fabulous heroines (and heroes !). Fair warning - I love writing strong heroines and strong men who love them for it. My heroines might need help, but they don't need saving :) Thanks again and happy reading!