Inkslinger PR Presents: Home With You Release Blitz


Today is the release day of Claire Cain’s HOME WITH YOU! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

Title: HOME WITH YOU

Author: Claire Cain

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

About Home With You:

I hadn’t seen Major Reese Flint in ten years—not since I was sixteen. Growing up, he was always kind to me despite our age difference and my role as the caretaker’s daughter. Our reunion forced me to see the gorgeous man he’d turned into. Reese was just as shocked by me, but evidently not in a good way since he then resolutely avoided me.

We’re forced back together when Reese’s mother hires me to help him recover from an injury since I still live in the garage apartment above the house I watched for him while he was deployed.   When Reese’s mom asks for more than that, I’m torn between my loyalty to the family who gave me so much during my childhood and my newfound feelings for Reese. Just when Reese stops resisting his interest in me and I have more than I could have hoped for, I discover I’m more at risk of losing everything than I could have imagined.

 

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Exclusive Excerpt


I groaned as I stood and lumbered into the kitchen where Erin promptly let out a little yelp. She pressed her hands to her heart and took a few deep breaths before laughing hysterically. Really. She doubled over, her long hair waterfalling to the ground, leaving me to admire the nearly bare expanse of her back but for the two small spaghetti straps of her tank top. When she finally turned upright, her face was red and her green eyes were wet with tears. “I’m sorry,” I said, chuckling long with her since the sound of laughter was irresistible. “No, I’m sorry. I—I didn’t expect to see you. I thought you were in bed. And your beard is, like, wow, so I didn’t realize it was you, even though of course it’s you.” She pressed her lips together. “Anyway, I’m sorry for laughing hysterically. It was that, or cry, and I do enough crying so laugh it was.” “I’ve been sleeping down here so I’m upright. Did you need something?” I asked, and as soon as her face fell, I realized I’d done it again. She set the rag in her hand on the counter and moved to go, but I grabbed her wrist. “Please. I don’t mean that in a brusque way. I’m not trying to get rid of you. I want to help you find what you need, if you need something,” I said, lowering my voice because whenever she was this close, which was rarely lately, I wanted to say things to only her. I wanted things between us that only we knew about. She stared down at my hand on her wrist, then back at my face, her chest rising and falling. “I, uh… I came to check and see how the kitchen was. Your mom doesn’t always clean up, so I came to make sure everything was put away so you wouldn’t wake up to a mess.” She looked down like she was embarrassed and gently pulled her arm away. “That’s very kind of you, Erin.” Her lashes fluttered when I said her name, and I wondered if she preferred her nickname. I’d have to try it out next time. “Not really. I’m saving myself from more work tomorrow.” “Tomorrow?” I asked, stepping closer to her because apparently my body wanted more of her proximity. “I’ll be here to make you breakfast. I mean, if that’s ok, of course,” she said, red rising to her cheeks. “I’d like nothing more,” I said, catching her green eyes with mine to make sure she understood my sincerity. I was done fumbling around and failing to communicate with her. I’d bungled things between us enough already, and if my mother had obligated Erin to help me, I wasn’t going to make her feel unwanted. She returned my stare a moment longer, her eyes moving between mine every few seconds. And then it happened. Then the best thing of my week happened. The month. Sure, maybe the year. I’d made the promotion list for lieutenant colonel and I was pleased about that, but this? This probably topped that. Her focus moved from one eye, to the other, and then dipped down and caressed my lips. I kid you not, I could practically feel the brush of her lashes against my mouth. Then, of course, she jerked away and plastered a smile on her face, bid me goodnight, and excused herself. But it’d happened.

About Claire Cain:

Claire Cain lives to eat and drink her way around the globe with her traveling soldier and two kids, but is perhaps even happier hunkered down at home in a pair of sweatpants and slippers using any free moment she has to read and cook. Or talk—she really likes to talk. She has become an expert at packing too many dishes in too few cabinets and making houses into homes from Utah to Germany and many places in between. She’s a proud Army wife and is frankly just really happy to be here. 

About Claire Cain:

Claire Cain lives to eat and drink her way around the globe with her traveling soldier and two kids, but is perhaps even happier hunkered down at home in a pair of sweatpants and slippers using any free moment she has to read and cook. Or talk—she really likes to talk. She has become an expert at packing too many dishes in too few cabinets and making houses into homes from Utah to Germany and many places in between. She’s a proud Army wife and is frankly just really happy to be here. Enter

Claire’s Giveaway:
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Pure Texuality PR Presents: The Rogue To Ruin + Giveaway







The Rogue to Ruin
by Vivienne Lorret
Series
Misadventures in Matchmaking Series
Genre
Adult
Historical Romance
Publisher
Avon Books
Publication Date
July 30, 2019
Purchase Your Copy Today!
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The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with a client, which shouldn't be a problem when one’s faking an engagement to the rogue across the street . . .
Ainsley Bourne needs the family business to succeed. But one obstacle stands in her way—Reed Sterling, the huge, handsome, former prize fighter and owner of the gaming hell across the street.
 His scandalous customers scare off all her marriage-minded patrons and since the devilish brute has no intention of relocating, she sets out to ruin his unsavory establishment. Yet when a vile suitor from her past reappears, Ainsley hastily claims an attachment to the first man who comes to mind . . . Mr. Sterling, to be exact.

Reed doesn’t know who is more surprised by Miss Bourne’s declaration. She clearly hates him, and he’d never admit their arguments simmer with unrequited attraction. Something about the pleading look in her eyes calls to Reed, and against his better judgment, he quickly plays the part of the besotted fiancé.

Pretending to be in love requires a convincing charade. But with each tantalizing touch and every scandalous kiss, Ainsley starts to wonder if Reed was ever really the enemy at all.
  

Please enjoy this excerpt from:
The Rogue To Ruin
(Misadventures In Matchmaking #3)

“I hardly need your advice,” Ainsley scolded him in return, every word pushing her flesh against his. Almost as if . . . as if she had just kissed him.
But this wasn’t kissing, she assured herself. This was merely a new form of arguing.
Anticipating his next contradiction, she angled her head for closer contact and Reed growled in response.
The low, primal sound sent an unexpected thrill rushing through her.
“It would be a waste of breath to attempt to tell you anything,” he said, fitting his other hand over the curve of her cheek to cradle her face. “Even if I wanted to say that your lips are soft and plump and more luscious than wine-poached pears, I wouldn’t.”
Then he tilted her head back to cement his argument, opening her mouth with his own. He nibbled gently into her flesh, tasting the seam of her lips without hurry. The slow, thorough exploration caused her eyes to drift closed.
Her senses centered on the firm, enticing pressure of his mouth, the delicious rasp of his tongue. A wanton mewl tore from her throat, hungry and needy and urgent.
The unguarded sound brought her to an uncomfortable admission . . .
She might be kissing the enemy.

My Thoughts
Prizefighter turned gaming hell proprietor, Reed Sterling.  Has literally "fought tooth and nail" for the comfort and respectability that both his business and its coveted St. James address affords him.
But his new neighbor, Ainsley Bourne, and her family's matrimonial agency are about to change all that.  In ways that that could cost him both his business and his heart.

Ainsley Bourne may be a breed apart from the brawniest of bare-nuckle brawlers.
But make no mistake.
When it comes to protecting what or who she deems important. She is a force to be reckoned with.
A force that Reed Sterling is on course to release in both love and war.

The Rogue To Ruin may be authoress Vivienne Lorret's third in the Misadventures In Matchmaking series series.  But its enemies to friends and beyond story.  Is one that stands in a class by itself.
There is no one part of this tale that serves to carry any other. Instead...
Character interaction blends with storyline.  With both the scenic and continuity aspects acting as the perfect binder.  Allowing for a three dimensional tableau of sight, sound color and immense emotion.  In which readers are effortlessly transported into Ainsley and Sterling's world.  And given  "fly on the wall" access to every snarky quip, heated glance, and stolen kiss that these two share.

Technical perfection aside however.
The emotional impact of Reed's quiet patience.  In the face of Ainsley's struggle to overcome the unhealed wounds of her past.  In the face of the reemergence of the  villain who inflicted them.
Is the stuff that legendary romances are made of.

Just as any great boxer takes the time to learn their opposition.  Readers get to see Reed come to know Ainsley.  Strengths, weaknesses, warts, and all.
Not in the effort to destroy her.
But in the effort to prove himself a champion worthy of the prize that is her heart.
And yours...

In short...


To him, she’d seemed like a little queen with her stiff, regal bearing and he was already set on despising his new neighbors. Then she’d done something he didn’t expect. Once her sisters were inside, Ainsley stood on the pavement and lowered her umbrella. She tilted her head back, closed her eyes, and let the rain fall on her face. He’d been struck by her, fascinated in a way that he couldn’t explain. And since that moment, he’d wanted to see her like that again, wholly unguarded and serene as the rain bathed her skin. She was always going to be his, whether she knew it or not. Tilting her face up, he wanted to kiss away her tears, sip them from the thorn-shaped clusters of her eyelashes, drink them into his soul so he could take her pain away.
-Reed Sterling, The Rogue To Ruin


About Vivienne Lorret

USA Today bestselling author, VIVIENNE LORRET transforms copious amounts of tea into words. She is an Avon author of works including: The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Season’s Original Series, and the Misadventures in Matchmaking series. For more information on her books, sign up for her newsletter at http://www.vivlorret.net.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Tour Wide Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of THE ROGUE TO RUIN by Vivienne Lorret, we’re giving away one paperback copy of Ten Kisses to Scandal!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 8/31/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copy out to the winner directly.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!








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Quiet And Enduring Love Paves The Way To Everlasting Happiness In "The Outlaw's Heart"

Title:  The Outlaw's Heart
Series:  Runaway Brides #3
Author:  Amy Sandas
Length:  384 pages
Expected Date Of Publication: October 29, 2019
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rating:  5 Stars


Three runaway brides
Determined to escape their fates
Flee West to find freedom that can only be had
in a cowboy's arms...

Desperate to escape an unhappy marriage, Boston socialite Evelyn Perkins flees west in hopes of losing herself to the dusty frontier. But when her train is boarded by outlaws, Evelyn is taken for ransom. Despite her terror, Evelyn fears being returned to her husband more. Refusing to co-operate, she becomes the responsibility of a man whose steady gaze threatens to pierce her brave façade and reach the wounded heart within.

Gabriel Sloan has his orders, but the haunting shadows in the pretty young woman's eyes spark an intense protective instinct he can't deny. Every look, every touch brings them closer together. He would do anything to protect her, but dangerous men are on their trail, and soon the two must face Evelyn's darkest nightmare―or risk losing the unexpected joy they've found forever... 


Please Enjoy This Excerpt From:
The Gunslinger's Vow
*Runaway Brides #1

After knocking sharply, he lowered his chin, crossed his arms over his chest, and waited. He chose not to analyze why the idea of disturbing her sleep gave him a perverse sort of pleasure.

He was about to knock again, when the lock released and the door opened to reveal a very sleepy— and very undressed—woman blinking at him with wide blue eyes.

“Mr. Kincaid? Is something wrong?”

Wrong? Hellfire and damnation. Malcolm could barely think.

The foolish woman stood there in nothing more than a white towel wrapped around her body from chest to knee. The creamy skin of her limbs and shoulders was entirely exposed, and dark hair fell in heavy waves down her back. She looked soft and feminine and too damned enticing.

Lust swept hot and furious through him. He ground his back teeth hard to stop his body’s instant reaction to the sight of Miss Brighton in such a state.

“What the hell are you doing opening the door like that?” Malcolm growled, glancing down the hall to make sure no one else was about.

Her eyes grew wider as she looked down at herself. A swift blush pinkened her cheeks, and she tried to step back around the edge of the door. “I was in a deep sleep,” she explained. “I forgot I wasn’t dressed.”

“What if it hadn’t been me knocking?” he asked angrily.

It was probably his tone that had her lifting her chin and narrowing her gaze. “Well, it is you, isn’t it? And you still haven’t told me why you have come to bother me in the middle of the night.”

“It’s barely ten o’clock.”

Apparently over her embarrassment, she crossed her arms over her chest in a perfect copy of his own stance and lifted her brows in question. The action plumped the upper swells of her breasts, and Malcolm’s mouth went bone-dry.

Forcing his attention back to her face didn’t seem to help much. Not with her eyes all soft from sleep and those lips looking so damn kissable.

“I’ll take you to Montana,” he said abruptly, trying to shake himself free of the sensual snare he’d walked into.

Her mouth dropped open in surprise. “You will?”

Malcolm was tempted to back out then simply due to the strength of his unbidden desire. He did not want to entertain the idea that his attraction to her was growing stronger rather than fading. But it was the damned truth. The journey was going to be torturous in more ways than one. He had no intention of acting on the lust she inspired, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel it, and it didn’t mean he’d always be able to hide it.

But he couldn’t in good conscience leave her stranded. Doing so would make him no better than Lassiter, and there was no telling what manner of character she’d end up in the hands of if he wasn’t there to keep her out of trouble.

“We do things my way,” he stated firmly. “No arguing.”

She nodded vigorously. “Of course. Whatever you say, Mr. Kincaid.”

Malcolm narrowed his gaze. Her ready agreement was suspicious, but he’d made his decision. “Malcolm,” he muttered.

Her eyebrows lifted in surprise. Then she smiled, and Malcolm’s gut clenched. The curve of that lower lip was going to be the death of him.

“All right, Malcolm.” She unfolded her arms to extend her hand. “And you may call me Alexandra.”

Malcolm knew he shouldn’t take her hand. Not there in the dark while she stood in nothing but a towel, not when desire ran rampant through his blood at the simple sight of her. But she kept her hand extended and lifted a brow as though in challenge.

He took her hand in his, noting its softness and how easily it became folded up in his larger grip. His bicep tensed with the urge to give a quick and forceful tug so she’d tumble toward him until her breasts flattened against his chest, her thighs bumped his, and her breath spread across his throat. It’d be so easy to take her in his arms and claim her mouth.

But she was innocent and far too trusting—not to mention way the hell out of his class—and Malcolm had never taken anything from a woman that wasn’t freely given. Miss Brighton was not for him.

Oblivious to his train of thought, she gave a surprisingly firm handshake. Her smile never wavered as she declared, “You won’t regret this. I promise.”

Malcom released her hand and stepped back. “Be downstairs by seven o’clock tomorrow.”

“I will. Thank you, Malcolm.”

“And ask who’s at your door before you open the damned thing.”

Malcolm held his position until the door closed and he heard the lock click into place. Then he stalked down the hall to his own room, taking slow breaths to rein in his body’s fierce and unwelcome craving. He’d need to see to his own relief tonight. There was no way he was going to start on the trail with that woman wound as tight as he was.

Not if he hoped to survive the journey.



My Thoughts

Amy Sandas offers readers a tale of innocence lost. And strength, freedom, and a love meant to endure all that would come to test it found. In The Outlaw's Heart. The third offering in her Runaway Brides series. And this reviewer's first encounter with her as an author.

Evelyn's story of abuse and escape was one that proved nothing less than riveting from word one.
But as the story progressed. With her consequent mistaken identity and kidnapping. I was sure that she would be harmed in some way. Or at least find herself back in the hands of her abusive alcoholic of a husband.

That was of course until she and Gabriel met in front of the outlaw campfire.
And he saw her fear, strength, and desperation to simply be free.
Emotions which called to longings within his own soul. Triggering memories of his own captivity, alienation, and quest for autonomy.

Though Evelyn's transition from battered wife, to fugitive, to captive, and finally to love interest happened quite rapidly. The sheer seamlessness of each progression locked in perfect step with like forward momentum in the storyline.
Drawing clear lines in the proverbial sand between the adventurous and romantic aspects of the tale. With none taking precedence over the other.

Speaking of romance. Can we just take a moment to admire the quiet, patient, and beautifully compassionate, leading man that is Gabriel.
As a man ripped away from his family at a young age. Having lived a life marred by scorn, ostricazion, abuse, and fear. To then turn such a quiet and often unspoken understanding toward his leading lady.
Simply phonominal.
In Gabriel's presence, Evelyn knew that she would always find safety.
Whether with in on horseback. In the seclusion of his valley cabin. Or protected by the warmth of the man himself.
Evelyn was never unsure of her value to him as a person, a woman, or a soul.
Seeing these two together was nothing short of a study of symbiosis. With a simple glance or touch conveying more depth of emotion than words could ever dare.
Long before any physical advances toward carnality were even a thought.
Theirs is a romance that is more of a joining of souls. A joining so profound that the joining of bodies; no matter how wondrous, pales in comparison.

This is a beautiful testament to the healing and fortifying power of true love. And what the gift of storytelling can bring to life. When exercised by an author talented enough to wield it.

Reviewer's Note: This is the third volume in a related series. It may be read as a standalone. Although it is strongly suggested that it be read as part of its intended collection.
I would like to thank Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgally for the opportunity to review this book.



About Amy
Amy Sandas’ love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children in Wisconsin.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest


Buy The Book Here!

Secrets, Losses, And Undying Loves Spell Big Wins For Romance In "Marry In Secret"


Title: Marry In Secret
Series: Marriage Of Convenience #3
Author: Anne Gracie
Length:  323 pages
Date Of Publication July 30, 2019
Publisher:  Berkeley Romance
Rating:  5 Stars


A rugged and ruined naval officer comes to claim his bride in an unforgettable tale of love, revenge and redemption from the national bestselling author of Marry ein Scandal.

Lady Rose Rutherford—rebel, heiress, and exasperated target of the town's hungry bachelors—has a plan to gain the freedom she so desperately desires: she will enter into a marriage of convenience with the biggest prize on the London marriage mart.

There's just one problem: the fierce-looking man who crashes her wedding to the Duke of Everingham — Thomas Beresford, the young naval officer she fell in love with and secretly married when she was still a schoolgirl. Thought to have died four years ago he's returned, a cold, hard stranger with one driving purpose—revenge.

Embittered by betrayal and hungry for vengeance, Thomas will stop at nothing to reclaim his rightful place, even if that means using Rose—and her fortune—to do it. But Rose never did follow the rules, and as she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an unexpected and infuriating predicament: he's falling in love with his wife.... 

Please enjoy this excerpt from
Marry In Secret 

Chapter One

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”
           —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Lady Rose Rutherford was not a young lady who dithered and, having made up her mind, she generally stuck to it. It was, she had decided, high time she moved on.

She was not generally superstitious either. But after refusing twelve offers of marriage, the thirteenth . . . well, it was bound to make a girl think. Especially since it came from a duke.

Even if it was the most careless, most dispassionate offer of marriage that a girl could ever receive. “Oh, and by the way, if you want to put an end to all this nonsense . . .”

The truth was, she did.

Now it was the eve of her wedding and she’d planned a quiet night in, a nursery supper with just her sister and her niece—who was more like a sister, really—toasting bread and crumpets before the fire. But instead of a cozy, quietly intimate sisterly celebration, it was turning into an argument.

“It’s a civilized arrangement,” Rose said.

“No, it’s a mistake,” her sister, Lily, insisted.

“I can’t imagine why anyone would want to marry him,” Rose’s niece Lady Georgiana Rutherford said. “He’s rude, he’s arrogant and he doesn’t care two pins for anyone. Why would you imagine he could make you happy?” She peered at the slightly scorched crumpet on her toasting fork, then, deciding it would do, reached for the butter dish. Behind her a large hound watched mournfully, doing his best imitation of a Dog Who Hadn’t Been Fed in Weeks.

Rose threaded bread onto her toasting fork. “Nobody can make another person happy, George. The recipe for happiness lies within each of us and is unique every time.” And if she told herself that often enough, she might even believe it.

George snorted. “That’s as may be, but people can make other people unhappy—and he will, I’m sure of it.” Ever the cynic when it came to marriage, George had been betrayed by every man she’d ever known until her uncle, Cal, Rose’s brother, found her and brought her into the family fold—the family she’d never known she had.

Lily laid a hand on Rose’s arm. “Are you sureabout this, Rose? Because it’s not too late to back out.”

Rose’s expression softened. Her sister was such a dear, but really, there was no backing out at this stage. “No, Lily darling, I’m not going to back out. The contracts are signed, the banns have been called, the church is booked, my dress is finished, the guests invited. Discussion over.”

“But you barely know him.”

“And you hardly knew Ned Galbraith when you married him, and look how happy you are—not that I’m planning to fall in love,” she added hastily. “I leave that sort of thing to you, little sister.”

“But—”

“The point is, I need to marry someone and the duke is more than eligible—the match of the year, they’re calling it.” She needed to marry and get the waiting, the endless, fruitless waiting, over and done with. To start her life instead of . . . dreaming.

“Why do you even need to marry? In five years’ time you’ll be in full control of your fortune and you can do what you like.” It was George’s plan, they all knew.

“She wants children,” Lily reminded her. She spread her toast with strawberry jam, cut it into four careful triangles and topped each one with a lavish dollop of cream.

Rose nodded. “I do, but it’s more than that. Five more years of waiting, George? I’d go mad. I can’t bear this life, where nothing interesting ever happens and everything I do is reported and monitored and judged. As a young unmarried miss, I am, oh”—she flung up her hands—“‘cabin’d, crib’d, confin’d.’ But as a dashing young matron I’ll be my own mistress.”

George shook her head and made a thumbs-down screwing motion. Under the thumb.

“Yes, but why the duke, Rose?” Lily persisted. “You don’t love him, and he doesn’t love you. I know you’ve turned twenty, but you still have plenty of time to find the right man and fall in l—”

“But I don’t want to fall in love, Lily dear,” Rose said gently. “Neither he nor I have any interest in that kind of marriage.” It was the very reason she’d accepted his offer.

“Enact me no emotional scenes” was how he’d put it, and wasn’t that a relief, when the others who’d proposed had vowed their undying love and devotion—and expected the same of her? Or said they did.

How dreadful it would be to marry a man who loved her, knowing that with the best will in the world, she could never return that love. She’d never been good at lying. She’d probably end up hurting such a man, and she didn’t want to hurt anyone.

The duke, on the other hand, had been very clear—quite adamant, in fact—that he didn’t love her, and that he wasn’t looking for love—quite the contrary. What he wanted, he told her, was a courteous, unemotional, rational arrangement. And children. An heir, in particular.

Rose had decided she could live with that, and so she’d accepted.

So what if the rest of the world thought her calculating, cold-blooded and ambitious. She knew who she was. A marriage was made between two people, and if she and the duke were content with—actually preferred—a lukewarm pragmatic arrangement, it was nobody’s business but theirs.

“But you don’t know what you’re missing,” Lily began. “Love is—”

“Not for me,” Rose said firmly. She knew exactly what she was missing. And was grateful for it.

“But you’ve never been in love, so how can you—”

“Drop it, Lily,” George interrupted. “If she doesn’t want to fall in love, she doesn’t. You don’t go on about love to me all the time. Why badger Rose about it?”

“I’m not badgering her,” Lily said indignantly. “Besides, you and Rose are different.”

“I know—you wouldn’t catch me putting my fortune and my future into the hands of a man I barely know and don’t much like. Or any man, for that matter.”

“On the contrary, I’ll be virtually independent. Cal has arranged the marriage contract and the settlements are very generous. And Aunt Agatha is over the moon.”

George snorted. “Call that a recommendation? Aunt Agatha would happily marry you to a . . . a cannibal, as long as he was rich and titled.”

Rose couldn’t help but laugh. It was pretty close to the mark. “Nonsense. A cannibal would never meet Aunt Agatha’s lofty standards of behavior. His table manners would be lacking, for a start.”

“As long as he had a title and a fat purse, she’d forgive his peculiar eating habits,” George said darkly.

“It’s not badgering,” Lily persisted. “When we were schoolgirls, Rose and I both dreamed of falling in love—we used to talk about it all the time, remember, Rose?”

Trust her little sister. Lily might not be able to read books, but she could read people, especially her sister.

But Lily didn’t know everything.

“Yes, well, that was a long time ago. A lot has changed since then. I’m not soft and sweet, like you. I don’t want the hearts and flowers. I just want to be married and get on with my life.”

“You know he won’t be faithful,” George said into the silence.

Rose dusted crumbs off her fingers.

“You don’t mind?” Lily said incredulously.

“It’s the price of freedom.”

“Freedom?” George echoed. “To be under a man’s thumb?”

“I won’t be under his thumb,” Rose said. “We have an agreement. I’m to give him an heir, and he will give me the freedom to do what I like, as long as I’m discreet.” Not that she had any intention of breaking her marriage vows. She took her vows seriously.

“That’s horrid,” Lily said, dismayed. “I can’t believe you’re being so . . . so cynical, Rose.”

“Cold-blooded,” George said.

“Practical,” Rose corrected her. “I used to want too much out of life. I’m more mature now.”

“Oh, but you should want more,” Lily exclaimed in distress. “I never believed I could have even half of what I dreamed of, and then I met Edward. You never know what—or who—is around the corner.”

Rose loved that her sister was so happy, but she knew it was not for her. She leaned forward and took Lily and George by the hand. “Please, my dears, let us drop the subject. I know this marriage is not what you hoped for me, but you’ll just have to accept that I’m a cold-blooded creature who will marry a man she doesn’t love for the sake of freedom, a beautiful home, and a very generous allowance. And babies.” She ached for a child of her own, and seeing her sister-in-law, Emm, so rounded and glowing, her child growing within her . . .

Lily shook her head. “You can’t have changed that much, I don’t believe it. I don’t understand why you’re doing this thing, and I wish you wouldn’t, but if it’s what you want—what you really truly want, I’ll say no more.”

Rose gave her sister a one-armed hug. “Don’t worry about me, little sister. I’m going to be just fine.” Dear Lily, so newly married and so deeply, joyfully in love. Of course Lily wanted the same for her sister.

But falling in love was the very last thing Rose wanted. She couldn’t explain why to Lily and George—or anyone else. Not without stirring up . . . things better left untouched.

Love was simply too painful.

* * * * *

Rose paused at the church door. Lily and George fluttered around her, straightening the circlet of flowers in her hair, arranging the lace train of her dress. Rose stood, lively as a statue, and about as warm. “Now, don’t be nervous,” Aunt Dottie had said a few moments before. “It will all work out perfectly, trust me, my love. I have one of my feelings.”

But Rose wasn’t the slightest bit nervous. It all felt strangely distant, as if it were happening to some other girl. She moistened her lips and waited.

George poked her head around the door, glanced in and pulled a face. “He’s there.”

“Well, of course he’s there,” Lily said crossly. Poor Lily. She’d been in a brittle mood all morning, trying to put a good face on a wedding she still had grave doubts about. Lily wasn’t very good at hiding her feelings.

What if the duke hadn’t come? He was notoriously unreliable about keeping engagements. What if he’d jilted her at the altar? Rose considered it briefly and decided that it would be embarrassing . . . and possibly something of a relief.

Nonsense. She needed to do this, needed to draw a line in the sand between her old life and her new. Cut the bonds of the old, and move on.

The church was full—Rose’s friends and relations come to see her married, the duke’s too, of course, and quite a few other members of the ton come to witness what some were calling the wedding of the season. Strangers had gathered in the street outside to watch and wait, in hope of some largesse in the form of a shower of coins from the happy groom.

It didn’t feel real.

“Ready?” her brother Cal asked. She nodded and took his arm.

Now. She took a deep breath and stepped inside the church and stood blinking as her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the interior. A hush fell, followed by a susurration of whispers and rustling silk as the congregation turned as one to look at the bride.

The church smelled of flowers, spring flowers, and beeswax, brass polish and perfumes, a hundred clashing perfumes.

At the end of the aisle, in the dappled light of a stained-glass window, stood her future husband, the Duke of Everingham, looking bored. He’d removed his gray kid gloves and was slapping them in his palm. Bored and impatient.

At least he’d turned up.

The organ played a chord that swelled to a crescendo, then died, and then the music started and she was walking, walking like an automaton, toward the altar, toward her fate.

She felt everyone’s eyes on her. She’d hardly slept. Did it show? Did she care if it did?

The duke stepped forward. Cal waited, his arm steady beneath her hand, ready to hand her over—like a parcel, like a possession, George had muttered once at another wedding they’d attended.

Rose glanced up and met the duke’s gaze. Dark eyes, gray-green, and cold as the winter sea. Perfectly good eyes, but the wrong color. The wrong eyes.

She regarded them bleakly. Time healed all wounds. Or so they said.

The bishop, resplendent in his robes of gold and purple, cleared his throat and they turned to face him. For the marriage of a duke and the daughter of an earl, their usual minister wouldn’t do, it seemed. Aunt Agatha’s doing, no doubt.

Rose hoped he wasn’t the kind of bishop who would give some long dreary sermon. She wanted this wedding over. Over and done with. No going back.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here . . .”

The familiar words washed over her. She was calm, quite calm. Coldly, perfectly calm. Not like last time.

The bishop continued, speaking in those melodic rises and falls peculiar to ministers. Did they teach them that singsong cadence at minister school? “. . . not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites . . . but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly . . .”

She shivered. Lord, but this church was cold.

“. . . for the procreation of children . . .”

Children. Yes, think of that. Imagine swelling like Emm, round and glowing with joy in the child she was carrying. Not long for Emm now. Would it be a boy or a girl?

“Therefore if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak or else hereafter forever hold his peace.”

Her fingers were freezing. She should have worn kid gloves instead of these lace ones.

The bishop paused for a perfunctory breath, then continued, “I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that—”

“Stop the wedding!”

There was an audible gasp from the congregation, followed by a hush, as everyone waited to hear what would happen next. Rose’s heart jolted—feeling as though it stopped. Heart in her mouth, she turned to stare at the man who’d just entered.

After a long, frozen moment, she breathed again. For a moment she’d imagined—but no. She’d never seen this man before.

The church door banged shut behind him, the sound echoing through the silent church.

“What the devil?” Cal muttered.

Rose fought to gather her composure, shaken by the brief flash of—whatever it was.

The stranger stood in stark contrast to the smoothly groomed and elegant congregation. He was tall and gaunt-looking, but his shoulders were broad—a laborer’s shoulders. His clothes were ill-fitting, coarse, the trousers ragged and patched in places. He wore no coat. His shirt was too flimsy for the season and his shoes were of laced canvas, dirty and with visible holes.

If he knew he was grossly out of place in this, the most fashionable church in London, interrupting the most fashionable wedding of the season, he showed no sign, no self-consciousness.

He was heavily bearded. Thick hair rioted past his shoulders, wild and sun-bleached. The face above the beard—what she could see of it—was lean and deeply tanned, the skin stretched tight over prominent cheekbones. His nose appeared to have been broken at least once. The tattered shirt sleeves revealed tanned, powerful-looking muscles.

No, she’d imagined that fleeting resemblance. But who was he? And what was he trying to do?

“Is this a joke?” the duke demanded of his best man.

“Lord, no, Hart—of course not. Nothing to do with me.”

“Rose?” Cal asked.

Her heart was still pounding. She stared at the big ruffian who stood in the center of the aisle, shabby and confident, as if commanding it. He met her gaze with an assurance that shook her.

For a moment she wondered . . . But no. He was too brutal-looking, too rough, too wild.

“Rose?” Cal repeated.

She shook her head. “No idea.”

The bishop surged forward. “Ho there, fellow, by what right do you seek to disrupt God’s work?”

“By the right of law,” the stranger replied coolly. “Lady Rose is already married.”

A low, excited murmur of speculation followed his announcement.

Rose’s heart almost stopped. He couldn’t possibly know.

“Throw the dirty beggar out!” Aunt Agatha shook her stick at him.

“Rose?” Cal glanced at her, and despite the racing of her heart and the knotting of her stomach, again she shook her head. She did not know this man. How many times had she imagined—but no. No! It was some cruel, tasteless joke.

Cal snorted and raised his voice. “Is she now? And who is my sister married to, pray tell?”

A hush fell as everyone waited for his response.

“To me.” His voice was deep, a little rough. Faintly surprised by the question.

There was a universal gasp, then a babble of amused and outraged speculation. Several people laughed. There were a couple of catcalls.

“That’s a lie!” Dry-mouthed, breathless and suddenly furious, Rose moved forward.

“Stay here, Rose.” Cal caught her arm and thrust her toward the duke. “Look after her, Everingham. I’ll get rid of this madman. Galbraith?” Rose’s brother-in-law, Ned Galbraith, nodded, and the two men approached the rough-looking stranger.

“Back off, gentlemen,” the stranger warned with chilling menace. “I’m neither madman nor beggar. Lady Rose is indeed my wife.” His bearing was in stark contrast to his ragged appearance. And he spoke with the crisp diction of a gentleman.

Cal frowned and glanced at Galbraith.

“What rubbish! Who the devil do you think you are, coming here to disrupt my wedding?” Furious at the sight of her brother’s hesitation, shaken by the tall beggar’s confidence and the cruelty of his lies, Rose shook off the duke’s grip and marched forward. The duke tried to draw her back, but she evaded him and half ran, half stumbled up the aisle, almost tripping over her train. She pushed in between her brother and brother-in-law, ready to confront the big weather-beaten stranger who was trying to ruin her wedding.

“What nonsense is this?” she snapped. “I’ve never seen you before in—”

White teeth glinted through the beard. “Ahh, that temper of yours, Rosie.”

She froze. This man with the spare, rangy frame, the powerful shoulders, the crooked nose, and the wild sun-bleached hair, he wasn’t . . . He couldn’t be . . . He was nothing like . . .

She opened her mouth to repudiate him again—and met his gaze. Eyes of the palest silvery blue. She faltered. And in her memory the echo of her much younger self saying, Like a summer sky at twilight.

“Thomas?” she whispered, and fainted dead away.


My Thoughts

Lady Rose Rutherford has never been one keen on setting her sights on winning big in the "dog eat dog" world that is the English aristocracy's marriage market.
But with both her sister, Rose, and her brother, the esteemed Earl of Ashendon, ensconced in wedded and familial bliss.
And her battle axe of an aunt, one Lady Agatha Salter. Resident family matriarch and "grande dame" of the ton, declaring that she is to marry a duke.
Marry a duke she must.
Or so it seems...

But it also seems that fate and a secret marriage of some four years before, are about to foil even Aunt Agatha's best laid plans.
Yes...
You heard right.
Rose was married before, and is in fact still married to...
Wait for it...
Commander Thomas Beresford, late of His Majesty's Royal Navy.
And quite miraculously having survived his ship going down at sea. The loss of all but five crewmen. Years spent as a slave. And the loss of fortune, home, and country. All to claw his way back from the Barbary Coast. Just in time to stop his wife pledging herself to another man.

It appears that our dear Rose just may have "a lot of explaining to do."
After she wakes up from her dead faint in the middle of the church first.
And...
Readers pick their entire faces up off of their respective floors.
Of course.
And this is just the tip of the revelational iceberg that is Marry In Secret.

Author, Anne Gracie, wastes no time when spinning stories capable of compelling audiences to read on from word one until the last page. With Rose's story being no exception.
With both Rose and her Thomas proving again and again that both they and their love are causes worth fighting for.
Whether that fight be with society, Rose's family, or even themselves.
The most profound of those afore mentioned revelations though...
Thomas's time as a slave, and how it changed him as a man born of privilege.
Giving him the heartfelt sincerity with which he now approaches life, people, and Rose.
Add to this the heart-wrenching secret that Rose has carried from their their shared past.
And the emotional impact of this story is phenomenal.
But the hits just keep coming.
This time, in the form of a diabolical plot. By an unseen foe. Bent on destroying Thomas by any means necessary.
Because fate and Rose's long lost husband seem to have other ideas.
And so much more!
OK...
Ready to see if love truly conquers all?
And read what can only be described as a prime example of stellar romantic story craft.
Yes?
Then run...don't bother walking to your e-reader, bookstore, library, or Kindle and get your copy of Marry In Secret today.
You will be so glad you did.

Reviewers Note: though this book may be read as a stand-alone. It is highly suggested that it be read as part of its interrelated series.
I would like to thank Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with the ERC on which my unbiased review was based. 



About Anne
I've always loved stories. Family legend has it that I used to spend hours playing in the sand pit, with a dog on either side of me and Rocka the horse leaning over me, his head just touching my shoulder, while I told them stories. I have to say, dogs and horses are great audiences, apart from their tendency to drool occasionally. But people are even nicer.

In case you imagine we were a filthy rich horse-owning family, let me assure you we weren't. The horse period was a time when my parents entered a "let's-be-self-sufficient" phase, so we had a horse, but no electricity and all our water came from the rain tank.


As well as the horse and dogs, we had 2 cows (Buttercup and Daisy and one of them always had a calf), a sheep (Woolly,) goats (Billy and Nanny) dozens of ducks, chooks, and a couple of geese, a pet bluetongue lizard and a huge vegie patch. I don't know how my mother managed, really, because both she and Dad taught full time, but she came home and cooked on a wood stove and did all the laundry by hand, boiling the clothes and sheets in a big copper kettle. Somehow, we were always warm, clean, well fed and happy. She's pretty amazing, my mum.

Once I learned to read, I spent my days outside playing with the animals (I include my brother and 2 sisters here) and when inside I read. For most of my childhood we didn't have TV, so books have always been a big part of my life. Luckily our house was always full of them. Travel was also a big part of my childhood. My parents had itchy feet. We spent a lot of time driving from one part of Australia to another, visiting relatives or friends or simply to see what was there. I've lived in Scotland, Malaysia and Greece. We travelled through Europe in a caravan and I'd swum most of the famous rivers in Europe by the time I was eight.



This is me and my classmates in Scotland. I am in the second front row, in the middle, to the right of the girl in the dark tunic.

Sounds like I was raised by gypsies, doesn't it? I was even almost born in a tent --Mum, Dad and 3 children were camping and one day mum left the tent and went to hospital to have me. But in fact we are a family of chalkies (Australian slang for teachers)- and Dad was a school principal during most of my life. And I am an expert in being "the new girl" having been to 6 different schools in 12 years.The last 4 years, however, were in the same high school and I still have my 2 best friends from that time.

No matter where I lived, I read. I devoured whatever I could get my hands on -- old Enid Blyton and Mary Grant Bruce books, old schoolboys annuals. I learned history by reading Rosemary Sutcliffe, Henry Treece and Georgette Heyer. I loved animal books -- Elyne Mitchell's Silver Brumby books and Mary Patchett and Finn the Wolf Hound. And then I read Jane Austen and Dickens and Mary Stewart and Richard Llewellyn and Virginia Woolf and EF Benson and Dick Francis and David Malouf and Patrick White and Doris Lessing and PD James and...the list is never ending.


This is me posing shamelessly on a glacier in New Zealand.
This is me in Greece with my good friend Fay in our village outfits. The film went a funny colour, but you get the idea. I'm the one in the pink apron.

I escaped from my parents, settled down and went to university.To my amazement I became a chalkie myself and found a lot of pleasure in working with teenagers and later, adults. I taught English and worked as a counsellor and helped put on plays and concerts and supervised camps and encouraged other people to write but never did much myself. It took a year of backpacking around the world to find that my early desire to write hadn't left me, it had just got buried under a busy and demanding job.


I wrote my first novel on notebooks bought in Quebec, Spain, Greece and Indonesia. That story never made it out of the notebooks, but I'd been bitten by the writing bug.
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An unidentified skull...

A trail of terrifying secrets...

And a woman whose talented hands could reveal the shocking truth...

As a forensic sculptor, Eve Duncan helps identify the dead from their skulls. Her own daughter murdered and her body never found, the job is Eve's way of coming to terms with her personal nightmare. But more terror lies ahead when she accepts work from billionaire John Logan.

Beneath her gifted hands a face emerges from the skull he has given her to reconstruct—a face no one was ever meant to see. Now Eve is trapped in a frightening web of murder and deceit. Powerful enemies are determined to cover up the truth, and they will make certain that truth goes to the grave...even if Eve gets buried with it.



Excerpt

"You look beautiful," Eve said.  "Where are you going tonight?"
"I'm meeting Ron at Anthony's.  He likes the food there." Sandra leaned forward and checked her mascara in the hall mirror, then straightened the shoulders of her dress.  "Damn these shoulder pads.  They keep shifting around."

"Take them out."

"We all don't have broad shoulders like you.  I need them."

"Do you like the food there?"

"No, it's a little too fancy for me.  I'd rather go to the Cheesecake Factory."

"Then tell him."

"Next time.  Maybe I should like it.  Maybe it's a learning type thing." She grinned at Eve in the mirror.  "You're big on learning new things."

"I like Anthony's, but I still like to pig out at McDonald's when I'm in the mood." She handed Sandra her jacket.  "And I'd fight anyone who tried to tell me I shouldn't do it."

"Ron doesn't tell me--" She shrugged.  "I like him.  He comes from a nice family in Charlotte.  I don't know if he'd understand about the way we lived before-- I just don't know."

"I want to meet him."

"Next time.  You'd give him that cool once-over and I'd feel like a high school kid bringing home my first date."

Eve chuckled and gave her a hug.  "You're crazy.  I just want to make sure he's good enough for you."

"See?" Sandra headed for the door.  "Definitely first-date syndrome.  I'm late.  I'll see you later."

Eve went to the window and watched her mother back out of the driveway.  She hadn't seen her mother this excited and happy in years.

Not since Bonnie was alive.

Well, there was no use staring wistfully out the window.  She was glad her mother had a new romance, but she wouldn't trade places with her.  She wouldn't know what to do with a man in her life.  She wasn't good at one-night stands, and anything else required a commitment she couldn't afford.

She went out the back door and down the kitchen steps.  The honeysuckle was in bloom and the heady scent surrounded her as she walked down the path to the lab.  The aroma always seemed stronger at twilight and early morning.  Bonnie used to love the honeysuckle and was always picking it off the fence, where the bees constantly buzzed.  Eve had been at her wit's end trying to stop her before she got stung.

She smiled at the recollection.  It had taken her a long time to be able to separate the good memories from the bad.  At first she had tried to save herself from pain by closing out all thoughts  of Bonnie.  Then she had come to understand that that would be  forgetting Bonnie and all the joy she had brought into her and Sandra's lives.  Bonnie deserved more than--

"Ms.  Duncan."

She stiffened, then whirled around.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you.  I'm John Logan.  I wonder if I could speak to you?"

John Logan.  If he hadn't introduced himself she would have recognized him from the photo.  How could she miss that California tan? she thought sardonically.  And in that gray Armani suit and Gucci loafers, he looked as out of place in her small backyard as a peacock.  "You didn't frighten me.  You startled me."

"I rang the doorbell." He smiled as he walked toward her.  There was not an ounce of fat on his body, and he exuded confidence and charm.  She had never liked charming men; charm could hide too much.  "I guess you didn't hear me."

"No." She had the sudden desire to shake his confidence.  "Do you always trespass, Mr.  Logan?"

The sarcasm didn't faze him.  "Only when I really want to see someone.  Could we go somewhere and talk?" His gaze went to the door of her lab.  "That's where you work, isn't it? I'd like to see it."

"How did you know it's where I work?"

"Not from your friends at the Atlanta P.D.  I understand they were very protective of your privacy." He strolled forward and stood beside the door.  He smiled.  "Please?"

He was obviously accustomed to instant acquiescence, and annoyance surged through her again.  "No."

His smile faded a little.  "I may have a proposition for you."

"I know.  Why else would you be here? But I'm too busy to take on any more work.  You should have phoned first."

"I wanted to see you in person." He glanced at the lab.  "We should go in there and talk."

"Why?"

"It will tell me a few things about you that I need to know."

She stared at him in disbelief.  "I'm not applying for a position with one of your companies, Mr.  Logan.  I don't have to go through a personnel check.  I think it's time you left."

"Give me ten minutes."

"No, I have work to do.  Good-bye, Mr.  Logan."

"John."

"Good-bye, Mr.  Logan."

He shook his head.  "I'm staying."

She stiffened.  "The hell you are."

He leaned against the wall.  "Go on, get to work.  I'll stay out here until you're ready to see me."

"Don't be ridiculous.  I'll probably be working until after midnight."

"Then I'll see you after midnight." His manner no longer held even a hint of his previous charm.  He was icy cool, tough, and totally determined.

She opened the door.  "Go away."

"After you talk to me.  It would be much easier for you to just let me have my way."

"I don't like things easy." She closed the door and flicked on the light.  She didn't like things easy and she didn't like being coerced by men who thought they owned the world.  Okay, she was overreacting.  She didn't usually let anyone disturb her composure, and he hadn't done anything but invade her space.

What the hell, her space was very important to her.  Let the bastard stay out there all night.



She threw open the door at eleven thirty-five.

"Come in," she said curtly.  "I don't want you out there when my mother comes home.  You might scare her.  Ten minutes."

"Thank you," he said quietly.  "I appreciate your consideration."

No sarcasm or irony in his tone, but that didn't mean it wasn't there.  "It's necessity.  I was hoping you'd give up before this."

"I don't give up if I need something.  But I'm surprised you didn't call your friends at the police department and have them throw me out."

"You're a powerful man.  You probably have contacts.  I didn't want to put them on the spot."

"I never blame the messenger." His gaze traveled around the lab.  "You have a lot of room here.  It looks smaller from outside."

"It used to be a carriage house before it was a garage.  This part of town is pretty old."

"It's not what I expected." He took in the rust and beige striped couch, the green plants on the windowsill, and then the framed photos of her mother and Bonnie on the bookshelf across the room.  "It looks .  .  .  warm."

"I hate cold, sterile labs.  There's no reason why I can't have comfort as well as efficiency." She sat down at her desk.  "Talk."

"What's that?" He moved toward the corner.  "Two video cameras?"

"It's necessary for superimposition."

"What is-- Interesting." His attention had been drawn to Mandy's skull.  "This looks like something from a voodoo movie with all those little spears stuck in it.

"I'm charting it to indicate the different thicknesses of skin."

"Do you have to do that before you--"

"Talk."

He came back and sat down beside the desk.  "I'd like to hire you to identify a skull for me."

She shook her head.  "I'm good, but the only sure ways of identification are dental records and DNA."

"Both of those require subjects to match.  I can't go that route until I'm almost certain."

"Why not?"

"It would cause difficulties."

"Is this a child?"

"It's a man."

"And you have no idea who he is?"

"I have an idea."

"But you're not going to tell me?"

He shook his head.

"Are there any photos of him?"

"Yes, but I won't show them to you.  I want you to start fresh and not construct the face you think is there."

"Where were the bones found?"

"Maryland .  .  .  I think."

"You don't know?"

"Not yet." He smiled.  "They haven't actually been located yet."

Her eyes widened in surprise.  "Then what are you doing here?"

"I need you on the spot.  I want you with me.  I'll have to move fast when the skeleton is located."

"And I'm supposed to disrupt my work and go to Maryland on the chance that you'll locate this skeleton?"

"Yes," he said calmly.

"Bull."

"Five hundred thousand dollars for two weeks' work."

"What?"

"As you've pointed out, your time is valuable.  I understand you rent this house.  You could buy it and still have a lot left over.  All you have to do is give me two weeks."

"How do you know I rent this house?"

"There are other people who aren't as loyal as your friends at the police department." He studied her face.  "You don't like having dossiers gathered on you."

"You're damn right I don't."

"I don't blame you.  I wouldn't either."

"But you still did it."

He repeated the word she had used with him.  "Necessity.  I had to know who I was dealing with."

"Then you've wasted your efforts.  Because you're not dealing with me."

"The money doesn't appeal to you?"

"Do you think I'm nuts? Of course it appeals to me.  I grew up poor as dirt.  But my life doesn't revolve around money.  I pick and choose my jobs these days, and I don't want yours."

"Why not?"

"It doesn't interest me."

"Because it doesn't concern a child?"

"Partly."

"There are other victims besides children."

"But none as helpless." She paused.  "Is your man a victim?"

"Possibly."

"Murder?"

He was silent a moment.  "Probably."

My Thoughts

The Face Of Deception is book one in Iris Johansen's Eve Duncan series.  And a brilliantly penned, intrigue laced, game of whodunnit to boot.
Leading lady, Eve Duncan, is a woman who knows the pain of loss all too well.
After having suffered through the devastation of the death of her only daughter, Bonnie.
At the hands of an unrepentant serial killer.
Only to then have the secret of where he hid her body die with him as well.  On the day that he was executed for his crimes.

A secret that she now hopes her work as one of the world's premiere forensic sculptors and age progressionists will one day allow her to uncover for herself and her child.  Just as she has for so many parents and children during the course of her career.

A career that she would continue to pursue via the cozily eclectic, and unassuming personal lab in her back yard.
If it weren't for tech billionaire, John Logan. And his unrelenting quest to enlist her help for what at first seems a far fetched quest to rewrite America's political history.
But upon closer inspection, proves to be a race against both time and a murderous foe.  To ensure that America's political future does not rest in the hands of a desperate psychopath.  Willing to do anything to justify the means with their desired ends.  Even if they have to kill Eve to do it.

The Face Of Deception is the perfect first book.
Not only are readers introduced to a relatable, tough, and intelligent heroine in Eve Duncan.
They also become privy to a treasure trove of supporting players in both Eve's story and the greater one of the book at large.
While both driving the happenings of both Eve's and the story's present. And seamlessly coloring within the shadowy and gut-wrenching details of her past.

With the most notable member of said cast being one Joe Quinn. The former FBI agent and Navy SEAL, turned Lutinant Detective of the Atlanta police department.  Has been a major player in Eve's life since his time with the FBI put him face to face with a then desperate mother seeking justice for her lost child.  While struggling to maintain a rather tenuous hold on her sanity in the process.

While it is very aparant that a great deal has changed for the two since the pain of those early days.  It seems that the bond that the two share has only deepened.  Both personally and professionally as time has passed.
So much so in fact.  That Joe sometimes seems as much Eve's leading man as Logan.

Another notable quotable among the Duncan clan.  Bonnie, who now shares some of Eve's most poignant inner dialogue. When she appears to her mother in dreams.  Providing her with very practical and heartfelt advice.  At just the right moment.

And it seems that as Eve follows Logan down what appears to be an ever deepening political rabbit hole.  The both of them are going to need all of the sage advice they can get.
Especially when it comes to light that Logan is in the possession of the proverbial "bones that could sink a thousand political ships." If what he believes is true.

The Face Of Deception, as a story has so many twists, turns, nooks, and crannies.  That one will want to explore. Safe in the assurance that there is an easy continuity that is always in the background.  Just  waiting to guide the you, as the reader back to the story at large.
When you add in the author's meticulous attention to technical, scenic, and contextual details.  As well as natural character interaction and plot progression.
And finally...
An ending to literally die for.
Or in the case of this reviewer...
An ending that will make you want to go out and get the next book in the (at the time of my writing this) 25 book series.
You can safely conclude that Eve and her stories will be winding their way through your TBR pile and your heart for quite some time to come.

Reviewer's Note:  While The Face Of Deception is the first in a continual series. It may be read as a standalone.  Although, it is strongly suggested that it be enjoyed as part of its intended collection.









About Iris

Iris Johansen is a New York Times bestselling author. She began her writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great success.

She lives in Georgia and is married. Her son, Roy Johansen, is an Edgar Award-winning screenwriter and novelist. Her daughter, Tamara, serves as her research assistant.

IRIS JOHANSEN is The New York Times bestselling author of Night and Day, Hide Away, Shadow Play, Your Next Breath, The Perfect Witness, Live to See Tomorrow, Silencing Eve, Hunting Eve, Taking Eve, Sleep No More, What Doesn't Kill You, Bonnie, Quinn, Eve, Chasing The Night, Eight Days to Live, Blood Game, Deadlock, Dark Summer, Pandora's Daughter, Quicksand, Killer Dreams, On The Run, and more. And with her son, Roy Johansen, she has coauthored Night Watch, The Naked Eye, Sight Unseen, Close Your Eyes, Shadow Zone, Storm Cycle, and Silent Thunder.

http://www.irisjohansen.com