Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Review - - Lord Holt Takes a Bride

Lord Holt Takes a Bride
by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher: Avon 
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Reviewed by Hellie  

Heiress Winnifred Humphries refuses to marry the odious man her parents have chosen. She’ll marry for love or not at all. But how does a woman know a man truly loves her? Needing answers, she sets out to discover the marriage habits of London’s aristocrats. Yet when her friends kidnap a lord for research, Winn knows they’ve gone too far. Now she’s facing a wickedly handsome scoundrel who wants revenge.
Lord Asher Holt has the perfect plan to free himself of his father’s debts. But when a trio of foolish debutantes abducts him, their scheme ruins everything! Fuming and tied to a chair, Holt overhears that one of them is an heiress. Perhaps he isn’t above a little kidnapping either.
Yet, when the heiress runs away from her own wedding and straight into his waiting carriage, Holt finds himself on an adventure he’ll never forget, falling in love with a woman worth more than any treasure. But will Winn ever believe his heart only desires her . . . and not her fortune?

Hellie’s Heeds

I love runaway brides! Especially when the bride is a much-maligned plump, freckled heroine who is determined not to marry without love. (The cover is rather misleading on the plump or freckled part, but gorgeous nonetheless.) Winnie has game: she’s plucky, she’s resourceful, and she’s just good people. Something would go wrong on her adventure to get away from the most boring awful fiance ever, and she’d press on, make do, or leave the hero marveling at her ingenuity. 

Asher, though, was swoon-worthy. A bit of a scoundrel with a heart of gold--who is saddled with a father who must have been the lovechild of the Marquess de Sade and the Prince Regent, what with his tendencies to torture his son with his abominable behavior and fiscally prolifigate ways. Honestly no good deed goes unpunished for him. He plans to return the runaway bride to her father, but soon finds himself escorting her to her aunt’s house and having to redirect her father where to find them. 

The author stops at nothing to remove all possible easy outcomes for either of these characters to arrive at her aunt’s in one piece. However, all the trying moments--losing the dress off one’s back, et al--bring the hero and heroine closer together. In less than two days, Asher knows he wants to be with her forever--but how can he possibly ever convince her he is not after her for her money when he a) doesn’t have any money himself, b) his father is working hard to get them married so he can get the money, and c) Asher promised to return her to her father for a small finder’s fee that he plans on using to find his own fortune? 

There are secondary characters that show up at the best times--and there are secondary characters I hope to see getting their own happy ending soon. The love scenes sizzle; and the romance is worthy of Masterpiece. Oh, and there is a secondary romance--a second chance one--that is just wonderful. If you are looking for happy books to help you during the Social Distancing Period, this book is perfect. The coronavirus isn’t mentioned once; and the fever you get from Asher’s kisses and smouldering looks are not contagious. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Review - - Can't Hurry Love

Can't Hurry Love 
by Melinda Curtis
Sunshine Valley - Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

You can't rush romance but you can give it a nudge...

Head-over-heels in love, Lola Williams gave up everything to marry Randy, including a promising career in New York City. Now, after one year of marriage and one year of widowhood, Lola finds herself stranded in Sunshine, Colorado, reeling from the revelation that Randy had secrets she never could have imagined. She swears she's done with love forever but the matchmaking ladies of the Sunshine Valley Widows Club have different plans...

Sheriff Drew Taylor also knows what it feels like to be unlucky in love. So when Lola comes to him for help uncovering Randy's hidden life, Drew finds himself saying yes against his better judgment - especially with the Widows Club eyeing them both. Soon enough, Lola is upending Drew's peaceful, predictable world...and he kind of likes it! But will this big-city girl ever give her heart to a small-town guy again?

PJ's Thoughts:

Melinda Curtis launches her new series with a story that had me laughing out loud, shedding a tear or two, and excited to return to Sunshine Valley for more of the same. I'm not sure how I'd classify this book. It's part sweet romance, part romantic comedy, and part small-town fiction, with a community of characters whose stories are interwoven into the fabric of the book. If you enjoy Sheila Roberts (as I do), this is written in a similar vein.

I adored Lola. She thought she had found her prince in her husband Randy, a man who came to her rescue on a NYC street then proposed after a whirlwind romance, taking her home to his small Colorado hometown following their wedding, a town that never stopped viewing her as an outsider. She's still mourning him - and feeling very much alone - when she accidentally discovers his secret life. Who could blame her for going off the rails? What follows, as she tries to track down the mystery women in her late husband's life, is hilarious, poignant, and surprising. I enjoyed how the many layers of the real Lola - her insecurity, vulnerability, and kindness - are revealed to the readers, and the other characters, through her actions. I was especially touched by her interactions with her clients and their families. And I absolutely loved her kick-ass, take-no-prisoners attitude at the funeral of one member of a local prominent family. I can't wait to see the fall-out from that in coming books. 

Drew is a man with problems of his own. He has too many women in his family to look after already, an ex who wants joint custody of their six-year-old daughter after abandoning them when their daughter was a baby, a Barney Fife-wannabe deputy (who also happens to be his cousin), and has convinced himself he needs a sweet, calm (boring) wife to sway the judge in his custody case. In his mind, and the minds of most of the town, Lola is not what he needs. Yet, he can't seem to stay away from her...though he sure does fight it hard. He's a good guy, and a great father, but his personality has been shaped by childhood events which have led him to think he knows what's best for the women in his life. He's about to get schooled. ;-)

At the center of the community are the members of the Sunshine Valley Widows Club and they're having problems of their own. Some of their antics are hilarious and sometimes their meddling goes sideways but, at their core, they are goodhearted women who share a solid bond of friendship, want the best for Sunshine Valley, and happiness for the couples in their matchmaking sights. They're also behind most of the fundraising activities in town, such as the annual fashion show. A word of advice: don't have anything in your mouth when you get to that scene!

The second book in the Sunshine Valley series, A Very Merry Match, will be released September 29th and features a newly-divorced single dad running for state assemblyman and a sweet, widowed kindergarten teacher with a side gig that, if uncovered, would be scandalous with a capital S. I already have it on pre-order. In the meantime, if you want more Sunshine Valley fun now, check out the prequel novella: The Christmas Wish

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Winner - - Remington Medical:Back to You

The randomly chosen winner of a Kindle copy of

Back to You by Kimberly Kincaid is:

Patricia B


Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Tracy Solheim Winner

The randomly chosen winner of  Tracy Solheim's 

Between Love and Honor prize package is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, March 27, 2020

Review - - Highland Sword

Highland Sword
by May McGoldrick
A Royal Highlander Novel - Book 3
Publisher: St. Martin's 
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?

PJ's Thoughts:

Highland Sword brings (husband and wife writing team) May McGoldrick's Royal Highlander trilogy to a close with another satisfying story set amidst the events of the Radical War of 1820. One of the things I most enjoy about a McGoldrick novel is the rich, well-researched historical detail. That, combined with their storytelling skill, brings characters and events to life, immersing me fully into time and place. Had they been my college professors, I would have been much more excited about learning history!

While Highland Sword is a romance, it leans heavily on the historical aspects of the story and there's no doubt that Morrigan is the central character. She's a warrior, holding herself apart from others, intent on training with the men of the Mackintosh clan, honing her skills to a deadly edge, foiling her opponents, and taking her revenge. As her story unfolds, and her character evolves, we learn the heartbreaking reason for that determination. I appreciate the way the author handles the situation as Morrigan faces her past, regains control, and finally begins to move forward.  

I adore Aidan. He's a wonderful match for Morrigan, with a calm, measured personality that balances her fiery temper. I love his honor, his humor, how he not only accepts the warrior within Morrigan but celebrates it. I love how determined he is to put their relationship first even if that is at the expense of his career ambitions. I finished their story confident that their future would be a happy one.  

Highland Sword is not a book I would recommend as a standalone read. It concludes an overarching story that begins in book one, Highland Crown, and could be confusing to the reader without the information imparted in books one and two. I recommend reading the three books in order: Highland Crown, Highland Jewel, and Highland Sword

Content Warning: rape

Cover Reveal - - Beyond Just Us

PJ, here. I am so excited for the upcoming (May 19) release of the final book in Kimberly Kincaid's Remington Medical contemporary romance series. I'm loving the sexy, sassy, and deeply emotional stories in this series and have been looking forward to Tess's book from the beginning. And how fitting that this series centers around health care professionals. These people are my heroes!

Remington’s most cynical doctor is about to get upended by two little words:
I do.

Tess Michaleson runs her ER like she runs her life—
no pretenses, no exceptions.
As a single mother, she can’t afford anything less.
As a woman who’s been burned by love?
She can’t believe in anything more.  
Her son and her job are the center of her world.
That’s all Tess needs.

Until Declan Riley falls into her arms…

His tattoos and his Irish accent are enough to melt her panties
His diagnosis? That’s enough to break her heart.
But Tess can help him get the care he needs…

All she has to do is marry him.

Declan knows he should keep Tess at arm’s length.

What they have is temporary. Necessary.

And he knows from experience just
how dangerous getting close can be.

But the longer he’s around the smart, sexy doctor and her son,
the more Declan realizes
close isn’t enough.

He wants Tess. He wants it all.

Even if he has to do the one thing he swore he never would to have her.



 “Ah, I do love wedding duty,” the judge said, not batting so much as a single lash at the fact that both Tess and Declan were clad in jeans and T-shirts or that one of their “witnesses” was still in diapers. “I’m Judge Esposito, and I’ll be presiding today. Shall we get started?”

“Yes, please,” Tess said. They went through a couple of legalities to establish that she and Declan were both who they claimed to be and that they had witnesses who were who they claimed to be.

Then Judge Esposito threw out a whammy. “Tess. Declan. You may join hands as you recite your vows.”

Oh, hell. She had just watched Charlie and Parker get (re) married. How had she forgotten this part?

Thankfully, Declan covered her hesitation by smoothly scooping up both of her hands. His fingers closed around hers with the perfect amount of pressure to let her know he was there, steady, but not so much that he overpowered her. It put her oddly at ease, and before Tess knew it, Judge Esposito was on to the ceremony. The words were boilerplate, and Tess had, of course, heard them before at her own failed wedding, not to mention a dozen more for family and friends. They got through the intention part easily enough, needing only to say “I do” when called upon. Tess even managed to repeat the judge’s words about richer or poorer and sickness and health, then slide the ring Connor had given her onto Declan’s finger, without much fanfare from her heart. She was a doctor. Sickness and health were the whole point.

But then it was Declan’s turn, and her heart delivered a completely unexpected bitch-slap before galloping through her chest.

“I, Declan, take you, Tess, to be my wife. To have and to hold”—he slid his right hand from her left to cup her chin in illustration, and making Charlie and Harlow and Tess’s traitorous lady bits sigh in unison. This is an act to make things look genuine. The words don’t really apply to you, she reminded herself sternly, meeting his gaze head-on as he continued with the script—“in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer”—Declan’s thumb swept over her cheek. God, he was really selling it—“and I promise my love to you. With this ring, I thee wed.”

He slipped the ring he’d chosen onto her finger, gathering her hands in his again as Judge Esposito took the lead.

“Love is the reason you’re here today, and it should be the core of your marriage.”

Tess’s pulse sped up. Speaking of words that didn’t apply. Still, this had to look legit, so she kept her expression steady, and—whew—Declan did the same.

“But it also will take trust,” Judge Esposito continued. “To know in your hearts you want the best for each other. It will take dedication, to stay open to one another; to learn and to grow together even when it’s not always so easy to do.”

The thump of her heartbeat pressed faster against her ears. “It will take faith, to be willing to go forward to tomorrow, never really knowing what tomorrow will bring. In addition, it will take commitment, to hold true to the journey you both now pledge to share together. Tess and Declan.” The judge smiled so warmly that for a tiny, split second, Tess felt a ribbon of warmth uncurl in her chest, too.

“In so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows, I now declare you to be husband and wife.” Judge Esposito’s smile grew even bigger as he added,

“You may now kiss the bride.”

Buy Links 

Link to book on all retailers: https://kimberlykincaid.com/beyond-just-us/ 

Link to the preorder special exclusive (a Remington Medical epilogue featuring the entire series cast) bit.ly/BeyondBonusScene 

Connect with Kimberly:

FB reader group: bit.ly/TasteTestersKK
Newsletter: bit.ly/newsletterKK
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kimberly-kincaid
Goodreads: bit.ly/kincaidgoodreads
Amazon author page http://amzn.to/29Z3LU8
FB: www.facebook.com/authorkimberlykincaid
Instagram: www.instagram.com/kimberlykincaidauthor

Stay up to date with Kimberly by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2WwXAKW

Have you discovered Remington Medical yet?

What books are lifting your spirits these days?

Do you have a medical professional in your family? Give them a shout out!

One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM (Eastern), March 28, will receive a Kindle copy of Back to You, book one in Kincaid's Remington Medical series. 

*Must be 18 or older

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review, Q&A, and Giveaway - - Between Love and Honor

Between Love and Honor
by Tracy Solheim
Men of the Secret Service - Book 3
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: March 26, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

The Secret Service’s number one cyber asset, Special Agent Ben Segar, has a reputation for playing it straight... until a top-secret assignment has him cozying up to an enigmatic beauty from his past – his runaway prom date. Now, he’s willing to break a few rules to even the score, including unmasking a potential traitor, which would make his revenge even sweeter.

Photographer Quinn Darby was born into the spy game. When her life is threatened, she turns to the one man she knows she can trust, but Ben is no longer the mild-mannered lab partner she once loved. Instead, he’s a full-grown, alpha-man whose appeal is even more irresistible. She’s vowed to never again deceive him, but to protect him, she must keep her double life a secret.

Soon, Quinn and Ben are embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game with the enemy – and each other. As the case intensifies, so does the heat between them. Will the greatest casualties be their hearts?

PJ's Thoughts:

Between Love and Honor is filled with the sensual chemistry, thought-provoking intrigue, and heart-stopping action that readers have come to expect from Solheim's Men of the Secret Service series. I've read it twice and, even knowing how it would all end the second time around, I still couldn't put it down until I reached the conclusion. I love when an author, especially one writing romantic suspense, is able to surprise me. The twists and turns expertly woven into this story kept me on my toes and trying to guess what would happen next until the very end. 

One of the facets I've most enjoyed about this series are the complex and fully dimensional characters Solheim brings to life on the pages of these books. I love the friendship among Adam, Griff, and Ben and the sense of family that extends to the women in their lives. The vibrantly depicted secondary characters, both good and evil, enrich the story and I'm hoping readers will see more of some of them in future books. Several characters from the first two books have significant roles in this third story but it never feels as if they are trying to steal the spotlight from Ben and Quinn. 

Ben and Quinn are clearly the heart of this story and I was in their corner from the get-go though it did take me a while to decide whether or not I fully trusted Quinn not to hurt him again. Second chances are my jam and the circumstances surrounding both Quinn's abrupt disappearance from Ben's life when they were teens and her equally abrupt reappearance, along with the secrets both are keeping, only upped the ante. I love that they meet again as equals, even if they don't immediately realize that. I love that each of them is determined to protect the other, even when their trust is still in question. I love their intelligence, honor, and bravery, but also their vulnerability. And, boy howdy, do I love their set-the-sheets-on-fire chemistry. They're my favorite couple from the series and I couldn't get enough of them. 

Between Love and Honor has my enthusiastic recommendation. It can be read as a standalone but, as the main characters from the first two books figure prominently in this one as well, I'm glad I read the three books in order. 


Q&A with Tracy Solheim

Welcome back, Tracy!

Thanks for hosting me, PJ. I always love hanging out with your readers. Everyone here is so welcoming and enthusiastic about the romance genre.

Between Love and Honor is the third book in your Men of the Secret Service series. What would you like readers to know about this series?

I’d like readers to know they won’t find any politics between the covers!! Our society is quite polarized right now, and people read to escape. Some see a picture of the White House or the Capitol on the front, and they might shy away from this series. Nothing could be further from the truth. This series is about an unbreakable bond of brotherhood between three West Point classmates who, after serving in the Army, now work for the U. S. Secret Service. The trio of special agents, dubbed the Heartthrob, the Brain, and the Enforcer, are devoted to their demanding jobs, thriving on the daily pressure and adrenaline. When each of them meets the one woman he can’t live without, their lives take on a whole new dimension.

I love second chance romances. Add in a revenge twist and it’s even more intriguing. What is it about these tropes that inspire you as a writer?

I think everyone can envision a situation in their life where they’d like a “do-over.” Especially in a relationship. We often imagine in our head how it will play out and the result we want—especially if we want revenge! But as a writer, there are so many different directions we can go with these scenarios. In this case, I had a geeky guy who was stood up at his senior prom by the hottest girl in school. Living in a small town meant it was hard for him to outrun the embarrassment. So when I bring them face-to-face again, revenge is one of the first things on Ben’s mind. But he’s never met puzzle he couldn’t solve and that suddenly becomes his main focus. That, and the lingering attraction he feels for Quinn, make him want to uncover all her secrets. Unfortunately, Quinn spends her entire life spinning secrets. She’s very good at it.  Readers know the trope well, and they are confident they’ll get their HEA, but it’s fun to lead the characters through an intricate dance before they get their second chance.

How would Quinn and Ben introduce themselves to readers who have yet to meet them?

Ben is the Brain of the trio, with a big heart and a love for sailing. He’s also a bit of a Boy Scout, loyal to his two buddies he thinks of as brothers. And he is always prepared. Except when he unexpectedly crosses paths with Quinn once again. That throws him off his axis. And he doesn’t like not being able to know the answer before everyone else.

Quinn can only be described as elusive. She’s confident, self-sufficient, and used to being a one-woman-show--right up until she sees what she has been missing all these years. Quinn has a soft heart, too. She’s just had to keep it locked up for her own survival. She was also the most difficult character I have ever written. It took several tries to make her likeable!

This book has a great balance of action, suspense, and romance. What was your favorite scene to write in the book? Which was most difficult?

One of my favorite scenes is when Ben takes Quinn to his sister’s restaurant. There’s a fun interaction with his nutty family members. The reader gets to see how much his family means to him and why keeping his alter-ego a secret creates such a strain on him. Quinn, on the other hand, gets a glimpse of what her life might have been had she stuck around. The scene is both funny and laced with emotion.
The hardest scene to write—and get right—I can’t talk about because it will reveal too many spoilers!

There are several intriguing secondary characters in this series. Will you be returning to Washington, D.C. for any future books?

I’d like to, at some point. Agent Groesch needs her HEA after all. There’s also the Secretary of Homeland to consider. There are also some additional fun facts about the White House I’d love to share with readers, not to mention taking a peek at the Vice President’s residence. Both buildings transcend their residents and are more character than setting.

All three books in this series have kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end. To what author do you turn when you’re in the mood for edge-of-your-seat, action-filled romance?

My all-time favorite action-filled romance is For the Love of Pete, by Julia Harper, aka Elizabeth Hoyt. It was funny, sexy, and very suspenseful. I love a good Julie Garwood book, as well.

What’s next?

I’m headed back to the gridiron for the near future, finishing up book one in a series I’d started before the Men of the Secret Service books. This one focuses on a new football team in Milwaukee but will feature some familiar faces from the Baltimore Blaze. I’ve also got a seasoned romance trilogy flushed out that I’d love to write. If only I wrote as fast as the voices in my head!

Thanks for visiting with me, Tracy. Is there anything you’d like to add? Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

Thanks for inviting me, PJ and thanks to all the readers for stopping by. 

The second chances trope is one of my favorites to read. I’m curious, readers, what are some of your favorite tropes? Tell me, and PJ will randomly select one person to receive this fun prize of a signed copy of Between Love and Honor and a heart shaped key chain from Brighton. (US only, please.)

Winner will be chosen from comments posted by 11:00 PM, March 27.