Hear The First of Many Sexy Secret Confessions With: Virgina


Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives - Virginia Title:  Secret Confessions:  Sydney Housewives: Virginia
Series:  Secret Confessions:  Sydney Housewives
Author:  Rhian Cahill
Format:  ERC
Length:  33 pages
Publisher:  Escape Publishing
Release Date:  November 6th, 2014
Rating: 5 Stars

From the hottest writers in Australia comes a scintillating new series. Enter the world of Sydney’s elite, and find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country…

Meet the Housewives of Sydney. They are wealthy, elegant, poised, and constantly in the public eye. But what goes on behind closed doors, in the private homes and parties where the cameras and paparazzi aren’t welcome? Delve into the most personal details of their relationships, their friendships and their lives. The only question is: can you handle the heat?

Cool, collected, confident – those who know Virginia in her personal and professional life would never expect to find her in Boyd’s, a bar across town from her circle of friends and socialite world.

But Boyd’s offers her something she can’t get among her rarefied acquaintances: sex. Rough, hard, mind-blowing, anonymous sex.

In her casual clothes, she’s no one important. Incognito, unnoticed by everyone except one: the bartender who knows her drink order – and would like to know a whole lot more -Goodreads


My Thoughts
Virginia is so much more than her cool, collected, and uber-confident exterior would have one to believe.
She is a woman of  closely kept secrets,unhealed hurts, and lusty desires.
For two years now Carter Boyd has bartered his time; watching, waiting, listening, and learning all there is to know about 'Ginny' as she works her wiles on the male patrons that frequent his bar.  All the time, knowing that if she were to say 'yes' to a night with him...that would be a 'yes' that would last forever.

Virgina's story is written without pretense, allowing the reader to step into her life as easily as one would a favorite pair of jeans.
Though she is a woman of means, Virginia remains a very approachable and relatable character throughout this tale.
She also shows herself to be vulnerable, but never weak.

The real magic happens when her fiery passions are stoked by the cool, scintillating, and oh so sexually charged breeze that is Carter Boyd.
When these two come together, the scenes are nothing less than magic...and there are scenes.
Despite her vow of  'one time only', she soon come to understand that one time with this man will never be enough to sate her body or heal her heart.

This story of unexpected love, and mind blowing chemistry is so well expressed and kept within such a tight focus, that it seems much more evolved than its scant 33 pages would suggest.
This libidinous look into the lives of those made of glitter and gold, provides the perfectly gilded  "happily ever after" to fortify the flagging heart and revive the lagging libido.

Reviewers Note:  This book is the first in a series and may be read alone, or as part of its intended compilation.
Due to graphic sexual situations; this work is recommended to readers 18+ 


 
 


Experience The Bittersweet Splendor of "Secret Of A Thousand Beauties"

Secret of a Thousand BeautiesTitle:  Secret of a Thousand Beauties
Author:  Mingmei Yip
Format:  ERC
Length:  320 pages
Publisher:  Kensington
Release Date:  November 25, 2014
Rating:  5 Stars

Set against the vibrant and intrigue-laden backdrop of 1930s China, Mingmei Yip's enthralling novel explores one woman's defiant pursuit of independence.

Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother's belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow is ordered to become a ghost bride to appease his spirit. Under her in-laws' protection, she will be little more than a servant, unable to know real love or bear children. Refusing to accept her fate as a "bad-luck woman," Spring Swallow flees on her wedding day.


In the city of Soochow, Spring Swallow joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor's love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting--a lucrative assignment that will take a year to complete--betrayal and jealousy emerges within the group. Spring Swallow becomes entangled in each woman's story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the secret techniques learned from Aunty Peony and her own indomitable strength, determined to forge a life that is truly her own.  -Goodreads


My Thoughts

The Secret of a Thousand Beauties is one of those reads that you just have to experience. Meaning that if you try going into the read with preconceived notions, hopes, and/or plans for the characters' lives,
you will spend a great deal of your reading time very angry.

The story found here, as with most stories involving Asian women of it's period, is one of seeming unending struggle, loss, grief, and suffering. Often centering around the pursuit of, loss of, search for, love of, (and in one case) the murder of a man.

For young Spring Sparrow...her troubles all began when she was given in marriage to 'a ghost'. Meaning that even though the young man that she was betrothed to was dead. She was still expected to marry him as though he was alive, and live out her days taking care of his mother.
Seeing this as the trap that it was, our young heroine flees to a neighboring town on the day of her wedding, and has the luck of running into Purple.

Purple is one of a band of embroiderers, renown for their exquisite craftsmanship. Headed by the secretive and coolly aloof Aunty Peony.
Spring Sparrow couldn't be more pleased when Aunty Peony agrees to take her on as an apprentice.
What Spring Sparrow has no way of knowing is that becoming Aunty's protegee, makes the naive teen privy to some pretty explosive secrets.

As the story progresses, and many of the secrets of the house and its inhabitants come to light; there is a quite dramatic and consistent down turn in everyone's fortunes, accompanied by the customary parting of the ways.

Spring Sparrow and the youngest charge of the house Little Doll, leave only after they have been deserted by everyone else, Sparrow has gotten married and impregnated by a revolutionary on top of

a mountain, one of her housemates is found murdered,and she discovers her teacher's most treasured secret.

Hold on tight, because this is where the slippery slope from bad to worse gets a bit steep for Spring Sparrow and the gang in the life department.

Needless to say, this is a very vivid and most of time heart wrenching story. There are however, a few bright spots, that make all the Kleenex-worthy moments worth it.
The inclusion of the art of embroidery and all of its nuance and lore, elevated the experience into one graced by metaphor and life lessons similar to those found in proverbs.

What this book does like few others, is to extol the virtues of perseverance,hard work, patience, love, and intelligence,strength, and the preservation and creation of beauty as exemplified by women of the Chinese culture.


Pocket Star's SLACKER FRIDAY Presents Rocky Mountain Miracle

Rocky Mountain MiracleTitle:  Rocky Mountain Miracle
Auther:  Christine Feehan
Format:  ERC
Length:  177 pages
Publisher:  Pocket Star
Rating:  4 Stars

No Christmas will ever be the same after Cole and Maia meet on a snowy western ranch… Find out why in #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan’s romantic holiday e-novella!

When Cole Steele, a womanizer rumored to have killed his father, meets Maia Armstrong, a veterinarian rumored to practice magic, the sizzling romance could melt all the snow on his Wyoming ranch. And when an injured horse brings them together, Cole can’t help but believe that Maia casts spells on animals—and men. What else could explain the burning passion he feels for her and the thawing of his heart just in time for Christmas? -Goodreads




My Thoughts


This is a story that is made by Jase and Maia. Cole is basically your misunderstood, broody, and very rich hunk hiding a very wounded "golden heart".

Maia, on the other hand, is a woman with a wonderful gift. The ability to communicate with animals.
Young Jase, is also a very empathic character in hi own right.

On to the story...

The story starts off a little rough.
There is a bit of "me Tarzan...you Jane" type possessive insta-love going on with Cole...ugh!
But not to worry.
Nefarious happenings at the farm involving Jase's favorite horse, soon divert attentions away from Cole's borderline stalking and back to the drama at hand.

Things really start to pick up plot-wise when Maia finds herself snowed in at the ranch, and as such, a front row spectator to the behind the scenes pain of the Steele brothers.
More is revealed to her by Jase's beloved horse and hearts (both Maia's and those of readers melt)
There is also a mystery afoot concerning the horse's injuries and other strange and dangerous happenings around the ranch.

This is a wonderful story that blooms before readers' eyes.
The characters are well rounded and they develop and grow more detailed as the story progresses.
The thing that makes the story however, are the unexpected twists in the plot.

This is a wonderful Christmas read that is sure to warm your heart.


Are The Literary Bonds Strong Enough To Hold Readers "Captive"?

 For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price? -



 My Thoughts
Wtf did I just read?
This is a case of curiouser and curiouser turning into stupider and stupider!
While it is understandable that a person is going to make mistakes. There is no reason that making mistakes should become one's only reason for being. Sadly though, this is the case for main protagonist Kitty Doe/ Lila Hart. It is in fact, her willful bumbling that serves as the catalyst for every plot twist this story has to offer.
Not to worry though.
Predictably enough, there is always someone there to either take her place on the chopping block...or
save her.
That savior most irritatingly often being Knox, her/Lila's token fiancée and general pain in the ass.
Who surprisingly enough, one is never sure is a goodie or a baddie.

There are some OMG moments in the latter third of the book that are sure to throw readers for a well deserved loop, and lull you into the very false belief that EVERYTHING that you have suffered
plot-wise has been worth it for said OMG moment.
This is not true people.
The afore mentioned nonsense does return with a vengeance right after the OMG.

The one saving grace that that serves as a constant bright spot in this read has to be the fabulous characters that are found here. There were no small characters or small roles here. It is often the action of some secondary character that helps one to overcome some stupidity on the part of a star player.

This book is case of "I don't really know where I want this second book to go."
Here's hoping for a better book in Queen.



BookSparks PR Presents: Waking Up Joy

Waking Up Joy Title:  Waking Up Joy
Author:  Tina Ann Forkner
Format:  Print
Length:  336 pages
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
Release Date:   October 8th, 2014
Rating:


Behind every lost dream lies a second chance…

When adored town spinster Joy Talley ends up in a coma after a peculiar accident, she is surprised and incensed to hear what is being said in her hospital room, including plans for her funeral. When she finally wakes, her well-­‐meaning, but bossy, brothers and sisters dismiss her claims, thinking her accident has knocked her off her rocker, but Joy has never felt better, and is determined to set the past right.

Now Joy must face her darkest secret and risk reopening wounds caused by an old flame who rejected her more than twenty years ago. But taking risks brings change, as well as a new, younger man into Joy’s life, making her feel like a teenager again. Suddenly Joy’s once humdrum life is anything but boring and routine and the future beckons, exhilarating and bright.  -Goodreads


 




Excerpt from Waking Up Joy
Listening to Jimmy play piano always made me happy. Even when we were young, he had played music for me, usually the guitar that he kept in his pick-up truck, and on a few occasions, had written some songs just for me.
As he began to sing In the Sweet By and By, I wondered if he ever thought about when we were young, before everything went wrong.
Those were the best times.
Blessed assurance . . .
I listened to his voice soar from the church auditorium into the balcony and the thought I still couldn’t get out of my head niggled at my conscience. We were standing on the front porch of Momma’s house only a few days earlier, both adults, Jimmy’s graying sideburns crinkling as he gave me a sad smile. He pulled me close and I melted, utterly dissolved, in his arms. But then he had kissed the top of my head again. Not what I had in mind.
Why do you bother to hold me, Jimmy? Are you just being a friend?
But, a friend loveth at all times.
The thought spun through my head till I was dizzy, reminding me that he hadn’t loved me at all times. I couldn’t trust Jimmy. So then, why had I felt safe for just a moment in his hold when I should’ve been feeling betrayed? And why had my skin sizzled when he touched my face and then ached when I heard his heart beating, as he pulled me into his chest.
Friends don’t make each other feel that way.
Of course, Doc made me feel that way, too, but it was different. And with all the touching and hand-holding, Doc hadn’t kissed me yet. Maybe when he said he wanted to get to know me, he didn’t mean it like that after all.
How am I to know? It’s not like I’ve been practicing.
As the music of Jimmy’s voice caressed my cheek in the balcony, a glimmer of hope sputtered deep inside my chest. I replayed his arms encircling me, his breath in my hair, his kiss on top of my head, and the beating, no, thundering of his heart in my ear as I pressed my cheek to his broad chest. Maybe, I dared to imagine, Jimmy knew we couldn’t ever be just friends. Maybe he wanted more than a kiss to the top of my head, but I hadn’t done anything to let him know. The glimmer sparked just as Jimmy sang the last note of his song, reminding me of his lips brushing mine in the hospital. I tell you what, I might be naïve, but I’m not stupid. I know what electricity is.

My Thoughts
It is a proven fact that people in comas can hear the things going on around them.  A newscast from a nearby television, the soothing melody of a love song, from a radio, or the sounds of your family discussing the finer, and in some cases, the lesser points of your life.

Leading lady, Joy Talley, starts off her story as a big ball of "could have been".  There are many things that the off beat, forty-something, with a winning smile, and sunny personality could have and should have been doing for herself.
Instead, she has chosen to live her life cowed by the loss of a love, and haunted by the guilt of an incident in her past.  Before the coma...that is.

This is a book for anyone that has ever sat with a past hurt for too long.  Anyone who has ever lived
with the cloud of a long gone rain storm blocking out the sun that they know lies just beyond it.
Joy and her family are just like any other family, with bossy know-it-alls, snooty snobs, and people that you just can't help wanting to strangle.  They all mean well though...for the most part.

This uplifing and poignant journey of self discovery and forgiveness really finds its feet when Joy wakes, and sets about the task of shedding her old life for her new.
This is a wonderfully weird look at a life redefined.  A call to action to women everywhere.

This is a book for anyone   
About The Author

Tina Ann ForknerTina is a Women's Fiction writer. She is the author of WAKING UP JOY (Tule Publishing Group), as well as RUBY AMONG US and ROSE HOUSE (Random House).

“A wonderfully-paced weave of compelling characters dealing with buried secrets and second chances within the framework of a flawed but fascinating family. Tina Forkner is an insightful, engaging storyteller. If you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult, you won’t be disappointed.” ~ Susan Meissner Author of A Fall of Marigolds

“Tina Ann Forkner takes us on a hilarious yet emotionally demanding adventure in Waking Up Joy. The free-spirited Joy has an unforgettable voice that puts us solidly on her side, no matter how unconventional her choices. Waking Up Joy is a rollicking ride.” ~ Susan Schoenberger, Author of The Virtues of Oxygen

"Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling. -Jordin Sparks Music Artist & 2007 American Idol Winner

"Readers will not want this story to end.” - Awarded 4 1/2 Stars in praise for Ruby Among Us from Romantic Times Book Reviews

“A multi-generational saga of hope, regret, and the grace that brings us home, Ruby Among Us evokes an invitational sense of place, a cache of characters you enjoy knowing, and a story that rips and mends your heart all at once.” –Mary E. DeMuth, author of Watching the Tree Limbs and Daisy Chain

"Forkner’s writing transported me to California’s vineyards and wove a fascinating saga of how secrets and decisions impact the lives of following generations-and how love can redeem.”-Cindy Woodsmall, New York Times best-selling author of When the Morning Comes

"Captivating, mysterious, and romantically enticing, Forkner’s Rose House keeps the pages turning.”
–Alice J. Wisler, author of Rain Song and How Sweet It Is

Visit Tina at www.tinaannforkner.com


Fight The Battle Of Duty Versus Desire With "The Trouble With Honor"

The Trouble With Honor (The Cabot Sisters, #1)Title:  The Trouble With Honor
(The Cabot Sisters #1)
Author:  Julia London
Format:  ERC
Length:  384 pages
Publisher:  Harlequin
Release Date:  February 25,2014
Rating:  4 Stars
 
Desperate times call for daring measures as Honor Cabot, the eldest stepdaughter of the wealthy Earl of Beckington, awaits her family's ruin. Upon the earl's death she and her sisters stand to lose the luxury of their grand home - and their place on the pedestal of society - to their stepbrother and his social-climbing fiancée. Forced to act quickly, Honor makes a devil's bargain with the only rogue in London who can seduce her stepbrother's fiancée out of the Cabots' lives for good.

An illegitimate son of a duke, George Easton was born of scandal and grows his fortune through dangerous risks. But now he and Honor are dabbling in a perilous dance of seduction that puts her reputation and his jaded heart on the line. And as unexpected desire threatens to change the rules of their secret game, the stakes may become too high even for a notorious gambler and a determined, free-spirited debutante to handle.  -Goodreads







Excerpt from Julia London'sThe Trouble With Honor

CHAPTER ONE
The trouble began in the spring of 1812, in a gaming hell south of the Thames, a seedy bit of Southwark known to be thick with thieves.
It was beyond comprehension how the old structure, originally built in the time of the Vikings, had become one of the most fashionable places for gentlemen of the Quality to be, but indeed it had. The interior was sumptuous, with thick red velvet draperies, rich wood and low ceilings. Night after night, they came from their stately Mayfair homes in heavily armed coaches to spend an evening losing outrageous sums of money to one another. And when a gentleman had lost his allotted amount for the evening, he might enjoy the company of a lightskirt, as there were ample private rooms and French women to choose from.
On a bitterly cold night, a month before the start of the social Season—when, inevitably, the gentlemen would eschew this gaming hell for the Mayfair assembly rooms and balls that had become a spring rite for the wealthy and privileged—a group of young Corinthians were persuaded by the smiles and pretty pleas of five debutantes to have a look at this gaming hell.
It was dangerous and foolish for the young men to risk forever marring the reputations of such precious flowers. But young, brash and full of piss, they’d been eager to please. They did not allow the hell’s rule of no women to deter them, or that any number of mishaps or crimes could befall the young women in the course of their lark. It was a bit of adventure in the middle of a gloomy winter.
It was in that Southwark gaming hell where George Easton first made the acquaintance of one of those debutantes: Miss Honor Cabot.
He hadn’t noticed the commotion at the door when the young bucks had arrived with their prizes, flush with the excitement of their daring and overly proud for having convinced the man at the door to give them entry. George had been too intent on divesting thirty pounds from Mr. Charles Rutherford, a notorious gambler, in the course of a game of Commerce. He didn’t realize anything was amiss until Rutherford said, “What the devil?”
It was then that he noticed the young women standing like so many birds, fluttering and preening in the middle of the room, their cloaks framing their lovely faces, their giggles infecting one another while their gazes darted between the many men who eyed them like a paddock full of fine horses.
“Bloody hell,” George muttered. He threw down his cards as Rutherford stood, the poor lass in his lap stumbling as she tried to stop herself from being dumped on to the floor.
“What in blazes are they doing here?” Rutherford demanded. He squinted at the group of them. “Bloody unconscionable, it is. See here!” he rumbled loudly. “This is not to be borne! Those girls should be removed at once!”
The three young gentlemen who had undertaken this adventure looked at one another. The smallest one lifted his chin. “They’ve as much right to be present as you, sir.”
George could see from Mr. Rutherford’s complexion that he was in danger of apoplexy, and he said, quite casually, “Then, for God’s sake, have them sit and play. Otherwise, they’re a distraction to the gentlemen here.”
“Play?” Rutherford said, his eyes all but bulging from their sockets. “They are not fit to play!”
“I am,” said one lone feminine voice.
Ho there, which of them dared to speak? George leaned around Rutherford to have a look, but the birds were fluttering and moving, and he couldn’t see which of them had said it.
“Who said that?” Rutherford demanded loudly enough that the gentlemen seated at the tables around them paused in their games to see what was the commotion.
None of the young ladies moved; they stared wide-eyed at the banker. Just as it seemed Rutherford would begin a rant, one of them shyly stepped forward. A ripple went through the crowd as the lass looked at Rutherford and then at George. He was startled by the deep blue of her eyes and dark lashes, the inky black of her hair framing a face as pale as milk. One did not expect to see such youthful beauty here.
“Miss Cabot?” Rutherford said incredulously. “What in blazes are you doing here?”
She curtsied as if she were standing in the middle of a ballroom and clasped her gloved hands before her. “My friends and I have come to see for ourselves where it is that all the gentlemen keep disappearing to.”
Chuckles ran through the crowd. Rutherford looked alarmed, as if he were somehow responsible for this breach of etiquette. “Miss Cabot…this is no place for a virtuous young lady.”
One of the birds behind her fluttered and whispered at her, but Miss Cabot seemed not to notice. “Pardon, sir, but I don’t understand how a place can be quite all right for a virtuous man, yet not for a virtuous woman.”
George couldn’t help but laugh. “Perhaps because there is no such thing as a virtuous man.”
Those startlingly blue eyes settled on George once more, and he felt a strange little flicker in his chest. Her gaze dipped to the cards. “Commerce?” she asked.
“Yes,” George said, impressed that she recognized it. “If you desire to play, miss, then bloody well do it.”
Now all the blood had drained from Rutherford’s face, and George was somewhat amused that he looked close to fainting. “No,” Rutherford said, shaking his head and holding up a hand to her. “I beg your pardon, Miss Cabot, but I cannot abet you in this folly. You must go home at once.”
Miss Cabot looked disappointed.
“Then I’ll do it,” George said and, with his boot, kicked out a chair at his table. Another murmur shot through the crowd, and the tight group of little birds began to flutter again, the bottoms of their capes swirling about the floor as they twisted and turned to whisper at each other. “Whom do I have the pleasure of abetting?” he asked.
“Miss Cabot,” she said. “Of Beckington House.”
The Earl of Beckington’s daughter, was she? Did she say that to impress him? Because it didn’t. George shrugged. “George Easton. From Easton House.”
The girls behind her giggled, but Miss Cabot did not. She smiled prettily at him. “A pleasure, Mr. Easton.”
George supposed she’d learned to smile like that very early on in life in order to have what she liked. She was, he thought, a remarkably attractive woman. “These are not parlor games, miss. Have you any coin?”
“I do,” she said, and held out her reticule to show him.
Lord, she was naïve. “You best put that away,” he said. “Behind the silk neckcloths and polished leather boots, you’ll find a den of thieves between these walls.”
“At least we’ve a purse, Easton, and haven’t sunk it all in a boat,” someone said.
Several gentlemen laughed at that, but George ignored them. He’d come to his fortune with cunning and hard work, and some men were jealous of it.
He gestured for the lovely Miss Cabot to sit. “You scarcely seem old enough to understand the nuances of a game such as Commerce.”
“No?” she asked, one brow arching above the other as she gracefully took a seat in the chair that a man held out for her. “At what age is one considered old enough to engage in a game of chance?”
Behind her, the birds whispered fiercely, but Miss Cabot calmly regarded George, waiting for his answer. She was not, he realized, even remotely intimidated by him, by the establishment, or by anything else.
“I would not presume to put an age on it,” he said cavalierly. “A child, for all I care.”
“Easton,” Rutherford said, his voice full of warning, but George Easton did not play by the same rules as the titled men here, and Rutherford knew it. This would be diverting; George had no objection to passing an hour or so with a woman—anyone in London would attest to that—particularly one as comely as this one. “Are you prepared to lose all the coins you’ve brought?”
She laughed, the sound of it sparkling. “I don’t intend to lose them at all.”
The gentlemen in the room laughed again, and one or two of them stood, moving closer to watch.
“One must always be prepared to lose, Miss Cabot,” George warned her.
She carefully opened her reticule, produced a few coins, and smiled proudly at him. George made a mental note not to be swept up by that smile…at least not while at the gaming table.
Rutherford, meanwhile, stared with shock at both Miss Cabot and George, then slowly, reluctantly, took his seat.
“Shall I deal? George asked, holding up the deck of cards.
“Please,” Miss Cabot said, and put her gloves aside, neatly stacked, just beside her few coins. She glanced around the room as George shuffled the deck of cards. “Do you know that I have never been south of the Thames? Can you imagine, my whole life spent in and around London, and I’ve never come south of the Thames?”
“Imagine,” he drawled, and dealt the cards. “Your bet to begin, Miss Cabot.”
She glanced at her cards that were lying face up, and put a shilling in the middle of the table.
“A bob will not take you far in this game,” George said.
“Is it allowed?”
He shrugged. “It is.”
She merely smiled.
Rutherford followed suit, and the woman who had occupied his lap for most of the evening resumed her seat, sliding on to his knee, her gaze challenging Miss Cabot.
“Oh,” Miss Cabot murmured, apparently as she realized what sort of woman would sit on Rutherford’s lap, and glanced away.
“Are you shocked?” George whispered, amused.
“A bit,” Miss Cabot responded, stealing a look at the young whore again. “I rather thought she’d be…homelier. But she’s quite pretty, isn’t she?”
George glanced at the woman on Rutherford’s lap. He would call her alluring. But not pretty. Miss Cabot was pretty.
He glanced at his hand—he held a pair of kings. This would be an easy victory, he thought, and made his bet.
A servant walked by with a platter of food for a table that had resumed its play. Miss Cabot’s gaze followed it.
“Miss Cabot,” George said.
She looked at him.
“Your play.”
“Oh!” She studied the cards and picked up another shilling and placed it in the middle.
“Gentlemen, we’ve had two bobs bet this evening. At this rate, we might hope to conclude the game at dawn.”
Miss Cabot smiled at him, her blue eyes twinkling with amusement.
George reminded himself that he was not to be drawn in by pretty eyes, either.
They went round again, during which Rutherford apparently forgot his reluctance to play with the debutante. On the next round, Miss Cabot put in two shillings.
“Miss Cabot, have a care. You don’t want to lose all you have in the first game,” one of the young bucks said with a nervous laugh.
“I hardly think it will hurt any less to lose all that I have in one game or six, Mr. Eckersly,” she said jovially.
George won the hand as he knew he would, but Miss Cabot didn’t seem the least bit put off by it. “I think there should be more games of chance at the assembly halls, don’t you?” she asked of the growing crowd around them. “It makes for a better diversion than whist.”
“Only if one is winning,” a man in the back of the crowd said.
“And with her father’s money,” Miss Cabot quipped, delighting the small but growing crowd around them, as well as the birds who had accompanied her, as they now had the attention of several gentlemen around them.
They continued on that way, with Miss Cabot betting a shilling here or there, bantering with the crowd. It was not the sort of high stakes game George enjoyed, but he did enjoy Miss Cabot, very much. She was not like what he would have supposed for a debutante. She was witty and playful, delighting in her small victories, debating the play of her cards with whomever happened to be standing behind her.
After an hour had passed, Miss Cabot’s purse was reduced to twenty pounds. She began to deal the cards. “Shall we raise the stakes?” she asked cheerfully.
“If you think you can afford my stakes, you have my undivided attention,” George said.
She gave him a pert look. “Twenty pounds to play,” she said, and began to deal.
George couldn’t help but laugh at her naivete. “But that’s all you have,” he pointed out.
“Then perhaps you will take my marker?” she asked, and lifted her gaze to his. Her eyes, he couldn’t help noticing, were still sparkling. But in a slightly different way. She was challenging him. Heaven help him, the girl was up to something, and George could not have been more delighted. He grinned.
“Miss Cabot, I must advise you against it,” one of the bucks said, the same one who had grown more nervous as the game had progressed. “It’s time we returned to Mayfair.”
“Your caution and time-keeping are duly noted and appreciated, sir,” she said sweetly, her gaze still on George. “You’ll humor me, won’t you, Mr. Easton?” she asked. “You’ll take my marker?”
George had never been one to refuse a lady, particularly one he found so intriguing. “Consider yourself humored,” he said with a gracious bow of his head. “I shall take your marker.”
Word that he had taken a marker from Miss Cabot spread quickly through the gaming hell, and in a matter of minutes, more had gathered around to watch the debutante lose presumably something of value to George Easton, the notorious and self-proclaimed bastard son of the late Duke of Gloucester.
The betting went higher among the three of them until Rutherford, who was undone by the prospect of having a debutante owe him money, withdrew from the game. That left George and Miss Cabot. She remained remarkably unruffled. It was just like the Mayfair set, George thought. She had no regard for the amount of her father’s money she was losing—it was all magic for her, markers and coins appearing from thin air.
The bet had reached one hundred pounds, and George paused. While he appreciated her spirit, he was not in the habit of taking such a sum from debutantes. “The bet is now one hundred pounds, Miss Cabot. Will your papa put that amount in your reticule?” he asked, and the men around him laughed appreciatively.
“My goodness, Mr. Easton, that’s a personal question, isn’t it? Perhaps I should inquire if you will have one hundred pounds in your pocket if I should win?”
Cheeky thing. There was quite a lot of murmuring around them, and George could only imagine the delight her remark had brought the gentlemen in this room. He tossed in a handful of banknotes and winked at her. “Indeed I will.”
She matched his bet with a piece of paper someone had handed her, signing her name to the one hundred pounds owed.
George laid out his cards. He had a sequence of three, the ten being the highest. The only hand that could beat his was a tricon, or three of a kind, and indeed, Miss Cabot gasped with surprise. “My, that’s impressive!” she said.
“I’ve been playing these games quite a long time.”
“Yes, of course you have.” She lifted her gaze and smiled at him, and the moment she did, George knew he’d been beaten. Her smile was too saucy, too triumphant.
As she laid out her hand, gasps went up all around them, followed by applause. Miss Cabot had beaten him with a tricon, three tens. George stared at her cards, then slowly lifted his gaze to hers.
“May I?” she asked, and proceeded to use both hands to drag coins and notes from the center of the table. She took it all, every last coin, stuffing it into her dainty little reticule. She thanked George and Rutherford for allowing her to experience the gaming hell, politely excused herself, slipped back into her cloak and gloves and returned to her little flock of birds.
George watched her go, his fingers drumming on the table. He was an experienced gambler, and he’d just been taken by a debutante.
That was when the trouble with Honor Cabot began.

My Thoughts

Honor Cabot is one of the most tenaciously vibrant characters that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. When you couple her sheer star quality with the rakish charm, good looks, and tragic past of one George Easton, and you have romantic gold.
The chemistry between George and Honor is hot enough to set pages aflame, and will have you wanting to skip ahead to their next tryst.
The one negative in the storyline has to be the part of the plot involving the seduction of Monica Hargrove. Not only was said seduction a complete bust. It also proved to be a none too effective ‘red herring’ for the scandal that George and Honor have brewing.
As if all this is not enough to wet one’s appetite for drama. There is also the secret of Honor’s mother’s senility, and an attempt to marry Honor off to a Vicar.
This is a book for those who believe in love at all costs, are willing to risk all for the whims of the heart, and are willing to go ‘all in’ for happily ever after. 



Find Romantic Drama Heaven With "The Devil Takes A Bride"

The Devil Takes a Bride (The Cabot Sisters, #2) Title:  The Devil Takes A Bride
Author:  Julia London
Format:  ERC
Length:  368 pages
Publisher:  Harlequin
Release Date:  January 27, 2015
Rating:  5 Stars

From powerful love to sizzling passion, Julia London always delivers an incomparable reading experience. Returning to her acclaimed Cabot Sisters series, we meet an earl who can only be tamed by one wicked lady…

A plan born of desperation…

Once the toast of society, Grace Cabot and her sisters now await the shame of losing high status and fine luxuries upon the death of the Earl of Beckington. The dire circumstances are inevitable unless, of course, Grace's wicked plot to seduce a wealthy viscount into marriage goes off without a single hitch. But once a stolen embrace with the wrong man leads her to be discovered in the arms of Geoffrey, the Earl of Merryton, her plan takes a most unexpected—and scorching—twist.

…and altered by passion.

Governed by routine and ruled by duty, Geoffrey had no desire for a wife before he succumbed to Grace's temptation. Though his golden-haired, in-name-only bride is the definition of disorder, he can't resist wanting her in every way. But once her secrets meet his, society might consider their lives to be ruined beyond repair…while Geoffrey might just see it as a new beginning. -Goodreads


My Thoughts
The story of Grace Cabot is one filled with desire, sex, and secrets...ohhh the secrets!
Grace Cabot is desperate.  
Desperate to find a husband.
Desperate to cover the shame of having a mother who is slowing growing more and more senile as the days pass.
Desperate to turn the hand of fortune back to that of favor for herself, and all she loves.
Desperate enough to...

Geoffery, Earl of Merryton is also desperate.
Desperate to maintain his tenuous hold on the order that his tortured psyche demands.
Desperate to rid himself of the carnal visions and thoughts plaguing the hours of every day.
Desperate to protect the honor of title and name from any hint of scandal.
Desperate enough to...
  
This, the second installment in the Cabot Sisters series, is a much darker take on Regency romance.
Exploring topics such as:  OCD, bondage and fetish play, and senility; The Devil Takes a Bride, is a surprisingly thought provoking read.
  
Grace Cabot proves to be a bold and courageous player in this romantic drama.  Not only does she resort to drastic, albeit bungled measures, but she stands firm in her resolve to make the best of the less than desirable outcome.

Geoffery, Earl of Merryton, is much more than a pretty face and deep pockets.  A tortured soul, hiding from life within the confines of his own mind.  This leading man just happens to be where all of the action is.
The need to count to eight is just one of the many compulsions and pervasive thoughts which haunt the young earl.  His daily fight with all of his idiosyncratic behavior, all consuming, leaving no room for joy, normalcy, or love.

Until...Grace!

This is an excellent romance, alive with a strong yet tender female lead and a wounded, yet sympathetic leading man.
The pacing of the story is constant, after a very explosive start!
Unlike most romances of its ilk however, this storyline is much more sex and fetish than romantic wooing,
The heat level of this novel is set to a very scintillating SCORCH.

Not to worry though.
There is plenty of romance and "happily ever after" to be had as the read progresses.
Speaking of "happily ever afters," this one is all about self love.
Or should I say, "Learning to love and accept one's self so that one might love and accept another."


YA Reads Blog Tours Presents: A Life, Forward

A Life, Forward: A Rowan Slone Novel

Title: A Life, Forward
(Rowan Slone #2)
Author:  Tracy Hewitt Meyer 
Length:  220 pages
Format:  ERC
Publisher:  Cerulean Publishing
Rating:  4 Stars
Her father is gone. Her mother is in jail. And Rowan Slone has left her dysfunctional, violent past behind. With college looming on the horizon, she has a new job that she loves, and a safe place to call home. She is close to achieving everything she ever wanted-a sense of family, a sense of purpose, and a sense of self. But there are cracks in Rowan's life that threaten to send her future crumbling to the ground. When her relationship begins to suffer, her father returns and her long-held secret is discovered, Rowan must find the courage to fight for the most important thing yet-herself.  
- Goodreads

My Thoughts
Resuming Rowan's story immediately after the heart-stopping conclusion of A Life, Redefined.
A Life, Forward, finds Rowan alone and in flux.
Having chosen to leave the horrors and betrayals of her family behind.
She runs to the safety and stability of the one place that she has ever felt safe.
The home of her boyfriend, Mike.
But with Mike away at college and a seeming greater distance growing in
their relationship by the day.
Rowan realizes that everything that she ever wanted is on the cusp of becoming a
reality.
If that is...she can break the chains of her past to claim the freedom promised in her future.
This is the book where readers are really allowed to see Rowan
come into the sense of self that she needs.
She succeeds in distancing herself from the pain of her past,
and heal old wounds.
She is not only able to accomplish what she needs for herself,
but she is also able to be the support that her best friend needs
as events unfold that change her life forever.
This story is one of hope, perserverence, and the finding the power to believe 
in one's self.





"The Luck Uglies Reads As Nothing Short Of A Beautiful Adventure

The Luck Uglies (The Luck Uglies #1) Title:  The Luck Uglies
(Luck Uglies #1)
Author:  Paul Durham
Format:  ERC
Length:  405 pages
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Release Date:  April 29, 2014
Rating:  5 Stars

The Luck Uglies is the first in a tween fantasy-adventure trilogy brimming with legends come to life, a charming wit, and a fantastic cast of characters-and is imbued throughout with the magic of storytelling.

Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O'Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned.
Now Rye's only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can't be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning's maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she'll discover the truth behind the village's legends of outlaws and beasts...and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

The first in a series, The Luck Uglies is an altogether irresistible cross of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar, and Chris Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.  -Goodreads



My Thoughts
This book offers readers a very complex and capricious story line. It manages to couple just the right amounts of magic, whimsy, action, and suspense that great middle grade books need to both capture and cultivate the imaginations of younger audiences.

Rye is a girl who, is in and out of so many adventures, so much of the time, that it is very clear that she is not one to be confined by prescribed limits upon her gender.
In fact, she gets so much done in such a gung ho fashion, and proves to be such a great leader that one tends not to see gender at all.

The O'Chanter clan is a rather unorthodox one to say the least, and kudos must be given to the fact that much of the mystery and intrigue that occurs in the first half of the book is as a result of Rye's being out to solve mysteries supplied by none other than her mother, one Abbey O'Chanter.


If that adventure isn't enough to quench your thirst for adventure, there are a myriad of others.
It seems that the dreaded Bog Noblins, (a troll-like creature with a penchant for necklaces made of human feet)have wandered into the town of Drowning. Her mother has brought a strange but very likable man named Harmless home.
And...
There is talk that the Luck Uglies are coming to regain their former glory as saviors of the town; by banishing the dreaded Bog Noblins forever.
That is despite the best efforts of one very tyrannical ruler in the form of Earl Longchance.

No adventure would be complete without a host of colorful supporting characters, and intricate settings. This read has both in spades.
From the raw and rowdy Dead Fish Inn, to the dark and dank marsh of The Bog. The settings offer just the right backdrop for whatever action is afoot, at just the right time.

As far as a cast of characters go...
The likes of these can't be beat. Whether it be human, animal, or monster, each adds a flavor or nuance to the overall work that would be sorely missed without it.
A most outstanding example of this can be found in Shady, the O'chanters' cat. He proves just as efficient at finding mayhem and mischief as his adventurous mistress, and comes complete with some very surprising secrets of his own.

This is the first offering of what this reviewer is sure will be a wonderful series for young and old alike.
That perfect new adventure ready to be embarked upon.



Give Yourself The Gift Of New Found Romance Wth "The Perfect Gift"

The Perfect GiftTitle:  The Perfect Gift
Author:  Dani-Lyn Alexander
Format:  ERC
Length:  80 pages
Publisher:  Pocket Star
Release Date  November 17, 2014

It’s the season of second chances in this heartwarming, contemporary holiday romance where two single parents find each other—and another chance at love—in the most unexpected of places!

’Tis the night before Christmas…and businessman and single father Jason is scrambling to find the dollhouse of the season for his seven-year-old daughter Emily. But when he finally strikes gold at an obscure toy store, he’s met with resistance—literally, as a beautiful woman named Leah is grabbing onto the dollhouse box from the other side of the aisle, determined to get the same Christmas present for her own daughter.

Desperate not to let the other win, Jason and Leah forge a pact: stay together until they find the same dollhouse at a different toy store. It sounds simple, but ten stores and many hours later, they still come up empty. They might not be finding another dollhouse, but they sure are finding a lot to talk about and, as their mutual attraction grows, the unlikely pair finds the greatest holiday gift of all—love.  -Amazon

My Thoughts
What do two single parents, a very slippery start to the holidays, and one very sought after dollhouse have in common?
Under normal circumstances...absolutely nothing!
When coupled with the descriptive imagery, romantic settings, and truly chuckle-worthy comedic situations of authoress Dani Alexander, the magic created is nothing less than "wish upon a Christmas star" gold.

The thing that makes this short and sweet story work is that these two strangers are not seeking their own happiness. Yes, you heard right.
It's the selfless act know as giving and the shared bond created when the two come together in its shared purpose that makes this story work.

Jason and Leah are not working hard at playing the game of first impressions. They are putting their hearts on the line for the children that they love. Thereby, allowing each other a glimpse at their most true and beautiful selves.
 
This is just the right little romantic reminder that love can be found when you least expect it.
Note: I am throwing around descriptors like love and romance...not sex!
There is no sex here.
This is more of the feeling each other out to be sure that neither is an axe murder, with a secret stash of bodies in the basement phase.

Both Jason and Leah are strong, well adjusted, and very loving people. There is no saving of any kind going on this time around, so drama is not at a premium this time around.

The scope and content of the story are very tight, but never forced or rushed. This makes the story seems much more involved than its short length suggests.

This is a romance for those in love with falling in love.
The perfect start to a forever after tied with a very "Merry" Christmas bow.