#Review In The Mouth Of The Wolf (A Romantic Suspense Novel) by Helena Fairfax @HelenaFairfax #InTheMouthOfTheWolf #RomanticSuspense

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Hello my lovelies, I have the very great pleasure to be sharing my review of In The Mouth of The Wolf by Helena Fairfax, so grab a cuppa and let me tell you all about this fantastic book.

Previously published as A Year of Light and Shadows

“Fans of Mary Stewart will love this romantic suspense. Mystery and twists abound, in a stunning setting. I found it a terrific surprise.”

When actress Lizzie Smith is asked to stand in for a real Mediterranean princess, she’s thrust into a world of intrigue and danger. Alone in a palace by the sea, isolated from her friends, Lizzie is forced to rely on her quiet bodyguard, Léon, to guide her. But who is Léon really protecting? Lizzie … or the princess?

On her return to Scotland, Lizzie begins rehearsals for Macbeth … and finds danger is stalking her through the streets of Edinburgh. Lizzie is once again forced to turn to Léon, for help – and discovers a secret he’d do anything not to reveal.

From the heat of the Mediterranean to the atmospheric, winding streets of Edinburgh, In the Mouth of the Wolf will take you on a journey of mystery and romance. Perfect for fans of Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier.

This book contains the two romantic suspense novellas Palace of Deception and The Scottish Diamond, plus a bonus short story.

Oooh, I absolutely love this! I don’t think I can really express just how much I adore this book, romantic, exciting, original...I could go on, but I fully expect to be gushing throughout this review. I was instantly drawn to this, it was the cover that caught my attention before I even read the blurb, I loved the look of it! I knew that I would be in for something great as it is written by an amazing author, and oh boy what a treat!

Actress Lizzie has been giving the role of a life time, one that is highly mysterious but one that she really can’t say no to. She is to assume the role of a royal princess who has suddenly disappeared right before she is to be crowned as the next in line to the throne. Lizzie is whisked away to Montverrier; a tiny Mediterranean Island, where she is then locked away in the palace to learn how to be the princess. Locked in her rooms with none to speak to but her bodyguard, the dreamy, serious, handsome as sin, sexy, amazing and very well toned; Leon – my goodness, how much do I love Leon? I’m telling you know, they don’t make men like him in Yorkshire 😉

You can see the romance blossoming between Lizzie and Leon as they spend more and more time locked in her room, nothing happens until later but it is the build of what could happen that I really liked. The little touches that set the air alight with mutual lust and something else, such as her walking in on him working out – sigh!! and them playing chess late into the night, may sound a bit lack-lustre, But I am telling you those moment are sweet, funny, hot – and that’s just Leon; did I mention how much I love this guy?

She soon suspects that something isn’t right in the palace and when her life is threatened and saved by none other than gorgeous Leon – Swoon! She finds out that she has been conned all along, heartbroken and hurt she flees only to find herself back in Edinburgh but it isn’t the same place she remembered it to be there is something lurking in the shadows which calls for luscious Leon, but our lovely Leon has a dark secret of his own. As Hogmanay arrives can Lizzie and Leon finally be the couple they are destined to be without various hurdles being thrown out in front of them?

I love this, it starts out as a girl a bit out of her depth and falls in love with her luscious bodyguard -as you do – but as the story progresses and we move from one part of the story on to the next we soon find that there is so much more to the tale then we originally thought. It’s intriguing, thoughtful, captivating and immensely entertaining. Lizzie and Leon have a real start crossed lovers aura about them, they are such an adorable couple. The writing is as ever perfect, it flows taking the reader on a mesmerising journey from Montverrier all the way to Scotland. Ms Fairfax flawlessly entwines a tender heart-warming romance with a wonderful intriguing sub plot.

A great quick read that will leave fully satisfied.

This was Arc copy from the author in exchange for an honest review, Thank You Helena and apologies for the late review.

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#Review The Potter’s Daughter by Jackie Ladbury @JackieLadbury #ThePottersDaughter #HistoricalFiction @ChocLitUK @RubyFiction

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Hello my lovelies, I have the very great pleasure to be sharing my review of The Potter’s Daughter by Jackie Ladbury, so grab a cuppa and let me tell you little about this sweet little story.

When Daniel Davenport saves Maddie Lockett and her young brother Tom from drowning, an immediate bond is forged between them.

But Daniel is an aspiring doctor and son of a wealthy manufacturer, whilst Maddie is a potter’s daughter from a poverty-stricken area of the Potteries. Even a friendship between the two could be frowned upon, let alone anything more …

But Maddie and Daniel want more, and as they grow closer gossip and prejudice look set to spoil their blossoming romance. Do the young couple stand a chance when there are those who would stop at nothing to keep them apart?

I was fascinated by the sound of The Potters daughter since I first heard about it, there was something different about it that I found utterly intriguing. I do have a soft spot for books where the hero/heroine are working class, don’t get me wrong I have nothing against historicals that lean heavily on the aristocratic stories, but it is very refreshing having two very normal individuals take centre stage.

Aspiring doctor and son to the local wealthy manufacturer, Daniel’s life is set on a course, success and wealth is his future, that is until he rescues beautiful, impoverished Maddie and her brother from drowning. There is an instant mutual attraction between the two young love birds, but prejudice soon raises its ugly head as she is from the poverty-stricken potteries community and he from wealth – well can you see where this is going? They must face so much scorn from those who believe themselves superior to the likes of Maddie and her family, to be honest it was Maddie who really stuck with me. Her story of growing up in poverty, of doing all she can to get herself and her family out of the sewage strewn gutter where they live is not a story that most authors like to focus on, but we readers love it as Maddie’s story is not fluffy it’s raw and very relevant. With so much in Maddie and Daniel’s way can they ignore the snide gossip and fin their happy ever after?

This is definitely my kind of historical, it doesn’t hold back Ms Ladbury has really pulled out all the stops at creating a very relatable and real world and extremely likeable character’s who the reader can get behind and will them to have their so deserved happy ever after. The Potter’s Daughter is like a mixture of North and South with the luscious Mr Thornton – or in their case adorable Daniel and hard hitting drama; The Mill with his very raw and real look on just how difficult life was for the regular working class and for those who tolied long hard hours in mills.

I haven’t read any of Ms Ladbury’s work before now and I will definitly be reading more from her, I really liked her intense, straight to the point and atmospheric writing. She does a wonderful job at grabbing the readers attention. The story is a basic wealthy boy meets poor girl and family tend to get in the way kind of trope, but I love the emotional journey the character’s go on as they find their feet and as their romance blossoms, it is a very sweet little story that I think will appeal to many historical readers.

This was a Arc copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Liz and apologies for the late review!

#BlogTour : #Review Mr One-Night Stand by Rachael Stewart @rach_b52 – Exclusive Extract & #Giveaway #MrOneNightStand #DoYouDare @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonsInsiders

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Hello my lovelies, I have the huge pleasure to be the next stop on this fantastic blog tour. I am so excited to be sharing my review of Mr One Night Stand by the very lovely Rachael Stewart, plus I have an exclusive extract to whet your appetite, and on top of all that, I have an exclusive to Mills and Boon copy of Mr One Night Stand to giveaway to one very lucky winner – you may have seen the gorgeous black books popping up all over social media, Yep, I have a spare, Phew! So, grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy.

About The Book

One night only.
Just think of the possibilities

The second she sees Mr Oh-So-Delicious, Jennifer Hayes knows she needs one night of crazy. No names, no strings, no rules. Except that Jennifer’s naughty one-nighter is actually Marcus Wright—her new business partner! Now they’re mixing business with all kinds of pleasure. But when it comes to falling in love her sexy Mr Wright is either Mr Wrong or the best mistake of her life…

Mr One Night Stand is to be released on the 21st February, and can be found at Amazon

***

Exclusive Extract

Her breathe caught, a peculiar awareness taking hold.

He sat at a table beside the glass wall. A great seat from which to enjoy the far-reaching cityscape below, although his eyes showed no interest in the vista. No, they were well and truly pinned on her, projecting an intensity that had her skin prickling with such thrill.

Hell, she wanted to stride straight over – the urge was almost making her do just that – but sense prevailed. Tony wanted her. Hopefully he could explain away his crazy behaviour, and put her mind at rest over the future.

Giving a small sigh, she headed for the bar. A drink – that was what she needed. Anything to take the edge off.

Slipping on to the bar stool, she crossed her legs and replaced her clutch with the leather-clad drinks menu.

Good evening, Miss Hayes, what can I get you?” She looked up to find Darren, the head bar tender, approaching with a smile, his hands busy drying off a glass. She returned his smile easily and scanned the list, honing in on a Vodka Martini and figured that had to be strong enough.

He cocked an eyebrow when she made her request, “Shaken, not stirred madame?” his Scottish-accented Bond impression had her laughing, and the sound was alien to her eyes. It had to be weeks – months, even – since she had a proper giggle. Maybe she was the one in need of a good shake, never mind the drink.

He knew her too well. She didn’t do spirits. A spritzer was her usual drink of choice. But a spritzer just wasn’t going to cut it. Nit tonight. It wasn’t just Tony, it was her concern of her mother too. She was getting worse and there was nothing Jennifer could do to stop it.

Her heart fluttered painfully and she pushed the thought aside. Not now!

Sounds perfect,” she said, flipping open her and retrieving her mobile to check if Tony had at least messaged. But shed not eve lit the screen before her eyes sidled away drawn to the brooding silhouette not twelve feet away.

He was tall – she could tell that even though his body folded deep into the bucket seat. The ankle of one leg casually rested atop the knee of the other. The designer cut f his dark suit and tan leather shoes spoke money. Although whether he had any was an entirely different matter. She’d learned tat quickly enough in the city. People only had to dress to impress and it attracted wealth like bees to honey.

But there was something in the broad set of his shoulder’s, accentuated as they were by this tailored jacket, and the confident air in his relaxed poise that had her certain he was all about the front.

And what a front…

Her eyes drifted upwards. The crisp white shirt say smoothly over his torso, no hint of spread. Then they drifted higher, to the last fastened button of his open collar and the hint of dark hair curling there.

Her pulse skipped, her mouth watered, and her eyes snapped back to her phone. Not now!

Seriously, what was wrong with her? Was she that desperate to get laid? That fed up with her trusty vibrator that her body was putting up a fight? Truth was, there was no time in her life for that complication. Mr Dildo didn’t talk back, didn’t require care and affection. He didn’t require time that she didn’t have.

Between dashing back and forth between London and Yorkshire each weekend to be with her family she was all out of that.

But one night, though. Think of the possibilities…

Heat simmered low in her belly as she activated her phone scree. No notifications. She fired off a brief ‘Where are you?’ Message and placed the device back on the bar, her heighten awareness picking on movement from the man’s direction. She watched him crook his finger to the blonde waitress hovering nearby and an inexplicable pull ripped through her.

Christ, he was reeling her in too.

She nibbled the inside of her lip, drinking in his rakishly long dark hair, chiselled set of his jaw that softened delectably with his easy grin. And then there were his eyes – so compelling. She couldn’t make out the colour, but there was something about them, something deliciously sinful…

Her tummy contracted with a barrage of heat, and in that second she knew she wanted to leave with him. That she wanted one night of crazy. No names, no real talk, just wild, no-holds-barred sex.

Could she do it? Hell, would he?

***

My, oh, my!! What a book! Ms Stewart has been cutting her teeth with saucy, sexy romances for a while now, but what surprised me most is that this is her debut Mills and Boon Dare novel. And what a debut! The quality of this is astounding, I can see a shining long and successful writing career ahead of her. This is – and I am rather embarrassed to say – first full length novel I have read by her, why is this? I don’t have an answer to that, only I must have been living in a Historical focused bubble for the best part of a year. But, that will change. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author.

I am a late-comer to Dare books, after only reading my first this year – again living in a bubble, so when I got offered to participate in this blog tour, I did jump at the chance as fast as I could. And I am so pleased that I did, as this is fabulous!

When Jennifer has to attend a business meeting, she is rather more peeved at her boss Tony not only because he does tend to use and lay a n awful lot on her shoulders. But mainly by the fact that he doesn’t even appear to meet her as promised, he was supposed to do all the introductions with the man who has bought into their business; a Mr Marcus Wright. Jennifer is frustrated – in mores way then one, she has had enough of how lax Tony is being lately and she is in an emotional state worrying about her ill mother. So when she sees the sinfully attractive man sitting in the airport, she has only one thing on her mind – and it has nothing to do with business meeting and corporate partners, it has everything to do with a partner in a completely different sense.

She makes it very clear to the stud in the suit that she only wishes for one night, one night of no strings and good old-fashioned – and may be a bit of new-fashioned – sex. But what she doesn’t realise that she has just gone and had the night of her life with not any old random from the airport lounge, but her new business partner; the enigmatic Marcus Wright!

Now she knows the truth, can she really go on as thought nothing happened? Can she forget what they did with each other, how he made her feel sexy and special and how she melted him with a mere smile? Or should she do what is said never to be done, and mix business with a whole load of pleasure?

What really appealed to me about ‘Mr One-Night Stand’ was just how real and relatable the two lead character’s are, I sometimes find it difficult to relate or even like character’s who like nothing more than to sip champagne while wearing a cat-walk named suit, people who do nothing but complain about breaking nails and not being able to jet off on holiday. Those people – I hate to admit it, irritate me. I am more of a fan or very real character’s who have actually lived and understand the world; which is Marcus and Jennifer down to a tee. Yes, they are both powerful and wealthy individuals who have forged their way into their world with hard graft, but beneath their cool masks of powerful business magnets they are very complex and fascinating people, especially Jennifer.

I so related to certain aspects of Jennifer’s life, she spoke to me, I understood her far better than I do most character’s. Her need for her own life, her career, to protect and look after her family. The fact that she has an ailing parent at home and her guilt at not being able to be there all the time and help spoke volumes about her to me. She is an amazing women who has fought for what she has, she has toiled and worked her arse off to get to where she is, and I really admire her for that. She is a strong, independent, no-nonsense woman who knows what she wants….and she wants Marcus!

Overall, this is hot! Fiery, sexy, raunchy, spicy, steaming-up-the-windows hot. A great twisty plot that will keep the reader hooked and engaged, but the real pull of this has to be the character’s. They are wonderfully developed, each one real and with their own back story which makes you sit up even further to pay attention. Jennifer and Marcus don’t iust steam up the page, they burn the book right out of your hand. Their attraction for one and other is instant, it’s sizzlingly hot – and this is before they proceed to the bedroom, once there…well, phew pass me the ice ;-) The writing is solid, it’s stylish and flowing, it’s very easy to become fully absorbed into the story, I got a real sense that Ms Stewart has put her heart into this book and I for one cannot wait to read more from her.

If you like your romances very hot, then this is the book you need to read, even if erotic romances aren’t your bread and butter then I would say give it a go as there is far more to this then just a good old fashion romp between the sheets.

This was an Arc copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart o this blog tour, thanks you Sanjana and the Mills and Boon Insiders team.

About The Author

Rachael adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press.

She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled on A4 sheets in her loft will attest to, and the lovingly bound short stories that her father would run off at work and proudly share out with his colleagues. Thinking it was a pipe dream to be published one day, she pursued a sensible career in business but she was really play-acting, achieving the appropriate degree and spending many years in the corporate world where she never truly belonged. Always happiest when she was sat at her laptop in the quiet hours tapping out a story or two. And so here she is, a published author, her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

Rachael loves hearing from her readers, why not check out the links below.

Twitter / Website / Facebook / Amazon / Goodreads

***

I was so lucky to be sent two proof copies – you know the gorgeous black one’s which really do look amazing! – of Mr One Night Stand. One to review (Which I am ashamed to say, does look a little worse for wear now – or in other words, it looks loved.) and a spare. I so want to share this saucy and amazing book with you all, so I am giving away my spare copy plus I will throw in a selection of tea’s and chocolate for you to enjoy while reading.

How do I enter? I hear you ask.

Just comment below telling me who makes your pulse race that bit faster? Mine is below and for those who know me, it isn’t a surpise 😉

The giveaway is open across Twitter and Facebook too, same rules apply; just like the giveaway post/s and comment with your answer. (Each post you comment on is a separate entry, eg; If you comment here, Twitter and Facebook you have three chances to win.)

Good Luck, my lovelies!

*T&C’s – Closing date is 26th February at 9pm GMT, the winner will be chosen at random and will be announced shortly after, winner will be contacted directly by myself whether that be by email or DM via Twitter or Facebook. This Giveaway belongs to me and it is not sponsored or endorsed by anyone. Open to UK only, sorry!

Valentines Hotties Of The Week Special

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I know, I am a day late with this post, but for all of those who have been waiting with baited breathe, here is my valentines ‘Hotties’ special. So grab a cuppa,  try not to spill it when you swoon…..Here they are, enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Sean Bean
Richard Armitage
Johnny Depp

 

Toby Stephans
Santiago Cabrera
Aidan Turner
Henry Cavill
Tom Hardy
Matthew Goode

There you go my lovelies, I hope you all had a wonderful valentines days, and as always I would love to know your Valentine’s Hottie, you’re more than welcome to share pictures or gifs with me of your ‘Valentine’ over on Twitter or Facebook.

Valentines Special; Best Romantic Couples From Book And Film.

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Hello my lovelies and a belated Happy Valentines Day, Yes I know I am a day late – as per usual. But one thing led to another and before I knew it my well laid out plan to do a full day of Valentines Theme post’s ended up being just the one – which took me so long to write.

Note to self; when writing a post where I need to do a wee bit of research, do it the day before!

I did promise a whole bunch of Romantic/Valentine posts and I am not one to go back on my word, so here is the second Valentines post. I am going to be sharing my favourite romantic couples from both books and film/tv, to start off lets have a look at a few of my favouite romantic couples from books.

Heathcliffe & Cathy 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Jack & Robert

The Captain and The Cavalry Trooper (Captivating Captains #1) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Jean & Joanna 

Echo In The Wind (Donet Trilogy #2) by Regan Walker

Jamie & Cassie

A Warriner To Rescue her (Wild Warriners #2) by Virginia Heath

Drake & Emily

My Ruthless Prince (The Inferno Club #4) by Gaelen Foley

Aelfhild & Guy

Beguiled By The Forbidden Knight by Elisabeth Hobbes

Helen & Rhys

Marrying Winterbourne (The Ravenels #2 ) by Lisa Kleypas

Silence & Mickey

Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane #3) by Elizabeth Hoyt

Aren’t they brilliant? Even though, there are hundreds more that I could have added, these are a few of my all out favourite romances. And here is a collection of my favourite romances from TV and Film.

Jack & Melanie

One Fine Day

Anna & Declan

Leap Year

John & Margaret 

North and South

Claire & Jamie

Outlander

Evie & Rick

The Mummy

Helena & Alejandro

Mask of Zorro

Cecelia & Robbie

Atonement

As with the book’s, there are so many couples that I adore from TV and Films, but I just don’t have the time or room on the post. I would love to hear about your favourite romance, is it from a book or from TV?

A Valentine’s Day History #ValentinesDay #History

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Hello my lovelies and Happy Valentines Day!!

So Valentines Day, personally it’s all well and good and lovely to have a day to which to tell a loved one you …well, love them. But it really is far too comercilised for my liking these days, it’s all about pushing sales and dragging people through the door – I do speak from experience, after spending many years doing just that in retail I know how shops think. And anyway, we really shouldn’t need a day to tell someone you love them, right? It should really be a none pressure, every day thing. But even I am willing to put my own personal thoughts of the day behind me to celebrate in my own unique fashion, Which is why I have a whole day of Romantic/Valentines posts coming up for you all.

Over the course of the next few posts, I will be looking into the history of Valentines day, chatting about my favourite romances and sharing all things romance and valentines – which I am pleased to say will involve my very popular ‘Hotties’ 😉 I hope you will stick around.

So to start things off lets a look at the history – you know me, I like history!

Valentine’s day as it is now is far removed from how it was once seen thousands of years ago, and to be honest once you start researching this oh-so romantic day you will soon clearly see that it’s origins is anything but romantic or full of love, but it is quite dark and a wee bit gory. Yes, it was that part that got me hooked as well 😉 and what a fascinating multi layered story it is. I don’t know if people know, but I did a previous post about Valentine’s day many years ago when Chicks, Rogues and Scandals was just starting up. At looking back at that post, as fascinating as it is – who knew that I could write a fascinating post, complete news to me that one. But I did hold back somewhat on the history, which is why with this post I intend to bombard you with as much of the history of Valentines as I possibly can – you will most likely fall asleep.

Oh, by the way if your interested in my previous Valentines Post, here is a link A Little History – Valentine’s Special.

So Valentine’s day as we know it today is all about flowers and chocolates and maybe the odd marriage proposal, but what we don’t do is actually celebrate the reason why the whole day exists and that is to honour Saint Valentine. Now here it the start of where thing become a little dark and confusing as there is three Christian saints that have been recognised by the church as being Valentine and more than that Valentine in one form or another has got roots in both Roman and Christian tradition and legend – this is where the none historians of the world (such as myself) get a wee bit perplexed as to who is who, but its fun to try and figure it out.

The Tale of Valentine.

The catholic church does recognise three different saints named Valentine (or Velentinus) all three of whom were martyred, hence being a saint I suppose. There is one legend that says Valentine was a priest who served during the 3rd century in Rome and by the sounds of him he was quite a rule breaker. The Emperor Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers then those with wives and families– which I’m sure we all know that is a load of codswallop, right? So old Claudius outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine thought this, as I do was a – shall I say it again? Ok, I will – a load of Codswallop he knew that this wasn’t right, he saw the injustice so he went behind the Emperors back – he literally threw the decree back into Claudius’ face as he continued to perform marriages to all the young lovers in secret. As honourable and decent as his actions were, they led him with a death sentence once Claudius found out what Valentine was doing.

There or other stories about how he died, another source claims he was helping Christians escape harsh Roman prison’s and that was the reason he was put to death. But really, how can anyone know for certain? According to legend Valentine himself sent the very first ‘valentines’ card, it is legend that he fell in love with his jailor’s daughter after she began to visit him in prison. It is alleged that he sent her a letter and he signed it “From your Valentine” which we all know is how the majority of Valentine’s messages are signed today.

So here is where history, legend and myths becomes entwined; some believe that Valentines day is celebrated to commemorate Saint Valentines death and burial which some believe occurred in AD. 270. While others think that Valentines day is all down to the Christian Church who it is said moved their St Valentines Feast day to the middle of February so that they could ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.

Dedication To The Goddess.

The fertility festival of Lupercalia was a dedication to the goddess Faunus, this usually occurred from the 13th to 15th of February. This wasn’t so much as a celebration of even a festival, what went on during Lupercalia was more a ceremony which heavily featured animal sacrifice and an awful lot of nudity. In one source it says that they were shepherds and in others it says a secret order of Roman priests; The Luperci – anyway whoever they were, they would gather where the infants Romulus and Remus were believed to have been cared for by the she-wolf otherwise known as Lupa. Once in the sacred cave copious amounts of wine would be drunk followed by various animals being sacrificed; a goat for fertility and a dog for purification both animals would be males as these had strong sexual instincts. After the men would then strip, don the animal hides and run through the fields, village street wherever they lived basically and slap the women they wanted with the blooded hides, the women would be very swiftly married off by the priest who was watching over the ceremony and…..well, I think you can gather what comes next. I, for one am very pleased that this doesn’t happen today, but then again would we ladies really allow this to happen? I doubt it!

Towards the end of the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I ended up banning the Lupercalia festival which had already started to fall out of favour with some in the upper echelons of society. He established Saint Valentines day on the 14th February what he thought of as a more Christian holiday instead of a pagan/heathen ritual. This whole new holiday didn’t really establish itself until the 14th century which then saw Valentine’s greetings become more popular. The oldest known valentine still in existence today which is a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…”

Charles, Duck of Orleans 1415

The Chaucer Effect.

During my research for this post I have found numerous sites that state that Valentines Day wouldn’t be the day of romance as we know it today if it wasn’t for Geoffrey Chaucer. It is said that the author of the Canterbury tales brought the concept of love being connected to Valentines Day and then there are some who believe that Chaucer was the all out inventor of the day. Whether or not that part of the tale is true, no one will ever know, it depends of what you want to believe but one thing is for certain that Chaucer’s poem ‘Parliament of the Foules’ is thought to be the very first written poem which ties both love and romance with Valentines Day, it was the following verse which leads historians to believe Chaucer was the creator of Valentines Day.

For this was Saint Valentine’s day, when every bird of every kind that men can imagine comes to this place to choose his mate...”

Cards and Love Notes.

Even though the above notes and poem were popular and did start of the sharing of little love notes, exchanging Valentines Days cards or Love notes didn’t actually become popular in Britain until the 18th century The first Valentine cards were initially hand made – but then again why are we surprised, they didn’t have mass manufacturing and machines spitting a hundred out a minute in those days. Everything was more well thought out, lovers would decorate paper with romantic symbols which would have included flowers and love knots. They often would have included a puzzle or a few lines of poetry along with their card. Isn’t that sweet? I love how much thought they put into them, how they thought of the recipient. Once finished the cards would then be secretly slipped under you ‘valentines’ door, or even tied to the door-knocker with ribbon. It was during the Georgian era when pre-printed cards started to appear, at the time they weren’t as popular as the more lovingly hand-made ones but that was all about to change and soon pre-printed cards as we know are all the rage. Not just cheap but convenient for today’s all go society!

The oldest surviving examples of one of these cards dates back to 1797, it is currently held by the York Castle Museum and was sent by Catherine Mossday to a Mr Brown or London, it is decorated with little flowers and the images of cupid and a verse around the border which reads :

Since on this ever Happy day,


All Nature’s full of Love and Play


Yet harmless still if my design,


‘Tis but to be your Valentine

As we all know once the Victorian age arrived there was so much change, there was rapid advances in manufacturing and technologies that it became easier then ever before to mass produce Valentine’s cards, which soon became very popular. It is thought that by the 1820’s at least 200,000 Valentine’s cards had been circulated around London alone. Once the Uniform Penny Post was introduced in 1840 the amount of cards being sent and received just doubled. Victorian cards tended to far more elaborate, with fancy paper, lace work, embossing and various other intricate designs and as today the elaborate the design the more expensive the card and obviously there were some – just like today- that would have measured just how much their special someone loved them by how they would have spent on the card. Which I have always thought that to be a little uncomfortable thinking, what does it matter how much a card costs? It’s the thought that counts, right? One that didn’t feature on the Victorian cards was the huge red heart that is so synonymous to how we see love and valentines today. But, whatever they had on them, or however elaborate they were they came from the heart of someone who loves another very dearly.

But, that was not always the case when it came to the Victorians!

They created the not so romantic ‘Vinegar Valentines’ which it’s name literally speaks for itself, these weren’t lovey-dovey they were basically insult cards. They usually mocked the man’s profession of the woman’s appearance in some way, it is said that some of these cards were incredibly horrible – a bit like a poisonous pen letter. One of the few surviving ‘Vinegar Valentines’ which lives in the University of Birmingham features a lady with a large nose on the front with the tag line which said ‘Miss Nosey’ with the following rhyme:

On account of your talk of others’ affairs

At most dances you sit warming the chairs.

Because of the care with which you attend

To all others’ business you haven’t a friend.

By the mid-19th century the concept of sending your loved ones Valentines cards literally blew up and started to take on the form which we are more accustomed to, especially once it across the Atlantic to America. Cards rapidly gained popularity there, where they were initially advertised as a British fashion, advanced American technologies meant that more elaborate cards were produced cheaply. In 1913 Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine’s card, representing a key development in the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day and the beginning of what we know see as Valentines day.

And thus, we have gone full circle, I don’t know about you but today’s overly commercialised and cheaper valentine’s just don’t have the same appeal as the lovingly hand-made Georgian ones do.

Before, I go because this post has run on far longer then I expected – Did You Know?
Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

#Review Marquess To A Flame (Rule Of The Rogue #3) by Emily Windsor #MarquessToAFlame #RuleOfTheRogue #HistoricalRomance

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A winter’s heart…
“Debonair, handsome and with a devil’s smile. How could any woman resist?”

The Marquess of Winterbourne has long been guided by his Rules of the Rogue, but as emissary for the Crown, his next mission will break every single one. Sent to the wilds of Cornwall to beguile secrets from a country miss, the last thing this rogue expects is to unearth his own buried heart.

A taste of spring…
“A rogue and a fribble. How could any woman succumb?”

Miss Tamsyn Penrose remains far from impressed by charming London scoundrel Lord Winterbourne, preferring a wild gallop over the moors to flashing black eyes and fulsome flattery. But as danger lurks and prejudice ebbs, she uncovers a complex man who awakens her hidden strength and arouses her forgotten fire.

Seasons collide…

Desire sparks and passion flares in this Cornish land of cove and tor. Can Tamsyn step from the shadow of her past? And will Jack Winterbourne tear up the rules for a woman who maddens his senses and thaws his heart?

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes a fusty valet with a secondary love story, picnics, swordplay, peacocks and…piskies.

Note: contains scenes of a sexual nature.

These books can be read stand-alone or as part of the Rules of the Rogue Series.

#1 An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing
#1.5 Merry Christmas, my Viscount (Christmas novella)
#2 Let Sleeping Dukes Lie
#3 Marquess to a Flame

My, oh my! What a wonderful book, I have been so looking forward to this story; Jack’s story since I was first introduced to him and this series in the previous book; Let Sleeping Duke Lie and I am so happy to say that this doesn’t just live up to my expectations but it surpasses them. I am a late arrival on to the Emily Windsor bandwagon, as ‘Let Sleeping Duke Lie’ was the first of her books that I read, but from then I was hooked by her writing – I love it when that happens, don’t you?

Marquess To A Flame is book three in ‘Rule of The Rogue’ series, for those who haven’t tasted this fine authors work yet then this one just as the following can be read very easily as a stand-a-lone as well as apart of the series. I just love this series, and I am hoping for more – Emily, please you can’t leave me without any rogues, I need more! 😉 this series basically follows a bunch of aristocratic ‘rogues’ who are also secret agents to the crown and lets just say they don’t only investigate skulduggery, but they are more then willing to investigate a ladies petticoats too – Oh, I say!

In this ‘Rules of the Rogues’ book it is all about gorgeous, sinful, mysterious and rakish Jack; Marquess of Winterbourne or ‘The Moth’ as he is called by his agent brothers, much to his embarrassment – my goodness, how much do I love this man! He is really a rake in the first order, a notorious bed hopper with a silky mesmerising, devilish aura which will make any women weak at the knees – well not all, our heroine is the odd one out, at first. He has been handed his next mission, he must travel out to the wild, rugged Cornwall coast to gain the knowledge that has been hidden in the mind of a young girl who for the past seven years has been silent. Information about England’s greatest enemy, the French spy; La Chauve-Souris – who only goes by ‘The Bat’ he is elusive, notorious, deadly with a brutal reputation of never leaving anyone who meets him alive, so what’s so special about this girl? Jack has been ordered that he must find out what she knows about ‘The Bat’ why she was left alive and everything and anything else of use that is lurking within her once closed off head. Easy, right? How wrong you are Jack!

Tamsyn has spend the last seven years silent, scared and haunted by the nightmares which have followed her since the dreadful day which changed her life. As a young girl of sixteen, Tamsyn and her good friend Jonathan accidentally stumbled across none other then ruthless French spy; ‘The Bat’ proving to be as ruthless as his reputation claims him to be, he instantly kills Jonathan. Tamsyn shows far more gusto and bravery in the face of her killer and stares him down, ‘The Bat’ is fascinated by her so he leaves her alive; marking her in more than one way, with the threat that she must never say a word and with the promise that he will come back for her. Since that day Tamsyn has been silent, until now!

He Jack and his faithful valet and general dogs-body and half-brother Miggens – you need to read the book to find out all about this funny, stubborn and loyal man, he’s brilliant! When they arrive in Cornwall Jack is there undercover, he charms and woos her and acts the more or less, proper gentleman, but Tamsyn is no fool, she is a highly intelligent and perceptive young woman, who knows here is much more to the devilishly handsome, uber stylish and entirely intoxicating Jack then he would have people believe and soon she finds the truth about him. But, can she really entrust the smooth talking agent with her inner most secrets, fears…and her heart?

As this is an agent/spy story there is a fair it of that lurking in the background and life doesn’t run smoothly for our endearing couple. They have personal trials and fears to face, they both must learn; to not just to trust another, but allow another into their hearts. I love how their relationship develops throughout the story, she is very taken with him but being a women with secrets, fears and an acidly intelligent tongue which she uses to great effect with him – calling him a fribble, is just the beginning of her mutterings of him. She isn’t like all other woman who fall at his feet, he has to work tat much harder to gain her trust and I think Jack really responds to that, he admires her for how she doesn’t swoon at the sight of him. Yes, he too has his personal issues about not being worthy of true love, and Tamsyn is the balm to his unsettled soul. They are attracted to one and other, even though that mutual desire for one and other is very well hidden, but there are some brilliant moments where the reader is given an insight into the character’s thoughts – I particularly love when Tamsyn thoroughly admires Jack’s riding breeches clad, rear end as he bends over to adjust his boots. Very funny! 😉

The story is fast, thrilling, imaginative, sexy, engrossing, highly addictive and will keep the reader hooked from the onset. I love the character’s and it is so good to see my favourite Duke turn up, with his gleaming green eyes, evil looking cane and with ruthless, sex on legs attitude in-tow. Jack is such a complex, multi layered, sensual man and my goodness, is he hot!! Phew, he would make the polar caps melt with a mere dark eyed glance, love him – did I mention that already? Then there is Miggen’s I won’t say too much about him, but he is such a fantastic character and if the story didn’t end as it did I would so want his story. For the ending, beautiful and so fitting for Jack and Tamsyn!

All in all, a fantastic book! Utterly romantic and brilliantly written, I adore Ms Windsor’s writing, she really is a hugely talented writer who has a real gift.

Perfection, what more is there to say?

This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Emily!

Marquess To A Flame is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.