Month: September 2016

An Uncommon Duke ~ Review

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Laurie Benson : An Uncommon Duke ( The Secrets of The Ton #2)

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Back Blurb :

Confessions of a Regency Duke…

When the Duke of Winterbourne proposed to Olivia, she felt like the luckiest girl alive. Thier happy marriage was the envy of the ton. But all that changed when Gabriel wasn’t there the night Olivia gave birth to their son…

Gabriel’s life is rooted in darkness, and he’s learned the hard way not to trust anyone with the truth. Yet, now his wife want’s to try for another child…and Gabriel must bear his secrets in order to bring Olivia back into his bed, and by his side, forever!

My View:

This is just about the perfect Historical Romance novel that you can get, it has everything that you want from a good book. suspense, intrigue, fabulous love story, character’s that you adore from page one, brilliant plot and I absolutely loved it.

It start’s off with Gabriel and Olivia, married but living as practical strangers for the past five year’s since their son was born, they neither speak to one another or in fact like to be in the same room as each other but all that changes when Olivia want’s another child but the question is can they put the past behind them to finally achieve the desired goal? Easier said then done especially when all Olivia can think about is what happened that fateful day that caused this animosity between them. It all started when Olivia was giving birth to their son, Gabriel missed that special event because he was in a brothel with a notorious Madam. From that point on Olivia wanted nothing more to do with him. But the thing is Gabriel had a very good reason to be in that particular brothel on that day.

Gabriel is actual a secret agent working to protect the King and the Prince Regent, as his father had done before him and as his brother doe’s alongside him. Gabriel is the leader of their little band of heroe’s which include various other high-profile aristocrat’s and on that fateful day when he lost his wife’s trust he was actually gathering information about a assassination attempt on the King. As the year’s goes by and His and Olivia’s marriage becomes nothing more than a few well versed notes handed to one another through the staff, Gabriel’s role as an agent is becoming more and more demand with this whole new assassination attempt on the Prince Regent, this mean’s that Gabriel has got an awful lot on his broad shoulders; this serious case and a wife that hate’s him but want’s a child with him.

Gabriel is such an incredible character, right from the first moment when we meet him as he is obsessing over how his cravat is tied, he is so mesmerizing. He is fiercely protective, to a point where his protectiveness doe’s push the love of his life away and Olivia is that, no matter what happen’s his love for her absolute, and no matter what she think’s she has always been his one and only. He is as equally fragile as well, he is deeply scarred from his past and from the betrayal that nearly cost him his life, and that vulnerability really make’s him such an engaging character.

” I have nothing to give you, Gabriel. Not even my anger.”

Gabriel was Losing her. He could hear it in her voice and see it in her eye’s. Once she walked out of his room, she would remove him from her life forever. He could not let that happen. He loved her too much to live without her.

He needed to tell her everything.

I love it when he finally tells her everything, about who he is and when show’s her his vulnerable side, when he is stripped bare and all Olivia see is the man that he is. Husband. Lover. Father and Agent. Gabriel is on his last leg’s and he is at the point where he may lose her for good and there is only one last thing that he can do to make her stay with him and that is tell her the truth. That for me is by far one of the most romantic scenes in the book and Benson has written it beautifully.

“Dear god, I didn’t mean to make you cry. Please, Livy, don’t cry.” He was pleading with her . She was the only one in the world he would lower himself to beg. Looking into her eyes, he no longer saw anger. There was something else.

“Will you stay? I couldn’t bear it if you left me,” he said.

“Will you promise to always be honest with me?”

“I will. I love you, Livy, with all my heart and all that I am, I love you.”

“And I love you. I always have.”

he had been so afraid he would never convince her to stay. Leaning closer, he kissed her.

If the lead character’s Gabriel and Olivia were so brilliant then the support character’s are just as engaging I do particular like Lord Hartwick; who is also a member of Gabriel’s team, he is charming, funny and too intelligent for his own good and I am very much looking forward to getting to know this particular blue-eyed rogue.

I have to say that Laurie Benson is right up there with the best, An Uncommon Duke remind’s me so much of my all time favorite series; The Inferno Club by Gaelen Foley, you have high-ranking, gorgeous peers of the realm secretly protecting the Crown and Country from enemies’ all the while trying to forge relationship’s with loved one’s. Secret’s of the Ton is a suburb series and this is one of those rare gem’s that you can read and re-read over and over again with tiring of and I absolutely insist that everyone read’s this.

Absolutely stunning, a joy from page one and a series that can only get better and better.

An Uncommon Duke is released on 1st October.

 

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A Chat With. . .Brianna Labuskes

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Today on Chicks Rogues and Scandals I am very pleased to have the lovely author Brianna Labuskes, chat with me today. So take a seat and let’s get to know Brianna.

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Brianna via Twitter

Reading Chick : Hi Brianna, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals, Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, Firstly what five word’s would you use to describe yourself?

Brianna : Thanks so much for having me! I would have to say: a hopelessly romantic bubbly bibliophile. I’m cheating with the “a” so I’ll throw in friendly as well! ;

Reading Chick : Ahhh, that’s lovely. If you could live in any era and place, when and where would it be? And Why?

Brianna : I am such a sucker for Regency London. The fashion alone gets me, but there’s something wickedly tempting about London in that time, with its foggy streets and slick society affairs and dangerous flirtations all bound together with a thin layer of upmost propriety. It just feels like it could be all sorts of fun. If you’re a part of high society that is.

Reading Chick : Oooh,; very nice, I have to admit that I am equally in love with Regency clothing, Who was your childhood hero?

Brianna : I loved Harriet Tubman. I couldn’t get enough stories about her bravery and determination when I was a kid.

Reading Chick : Brilliant, What is your favourite time of the year?

Brianna : Spring, absolutely! I am the biggest baby in the world when it comes to winter, and then everything just starts to soften and warm up and it feels like a fresh beginning every year. You can’t beat a perfect Spring day in my opinion.

Reading Chick : Very nice, I have to say that I am very fond of Autumn/Winter, Now I have a tough one, Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Brianna : Gemma in One Step Behind. I love how she wants to be independent and she’s fiercely determined and courageous, but also insecure in some of the ways that matter the most

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One Step Behind

Reading Chick : Your book’s are incredible, where doe’s your inspiration for them come from?

Brianna : Everyone who has published before me! I started reading Regency historical s as soon as I could get my hands on them, and they just bred my fascination with both the setting and the talented authors who created them.

Reading Chick : What three tip’s would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Brianna : First, write and then write some more and then keep writing. Write until it feels weird to go home and not write. Treat it like a muscle, it needs exercise. Second, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. If you’re staring at a white page and keep deleting the words you type out, try not deleting them. Try pushing through and then going back to edit. Having words on the page moves you forward, even if they’re not the ones you end up with. And third, don’t get discouraged. Persistence is key, and don’t compare your progress to someone else’s and find yourself lacking.

Reading Chick : Wow! They are brilliant tip’s thank you Brianna, If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, dead or alive)

Brianna : Eleanor Roosevelt, Rembrandt and Harry Styles (sorry! total guilty pleasure)

Reading Chick :  That sound’s great, this is a dinner party that I would like to join. Thank you again Brianna for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favorite naughty but nice food

Brianna  : A Soft, gooey chocolate cookie. Sinful, but delicious! Thank you so much, again, for having me.

Reading Chick : Mmmm! Yummy! You have got us all hungry now.

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One Step Behind

One Step Behind is out now, you can find it at Amazon, link below for full index as to where you can find One Step Behind then visit Brianna’s website.

Amazon

If you want to find out more about Brianna and her work the click on the links below.

https://briannalabuskes.com

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The Reluctant Viscount ~ Review

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The Reluctant Viscount

Back Blurb :

The Rake’s Return.

A decade ago, wallflower Alyssa Drake’s heart broke when Adam Alistair was banished from Mowbray. Now, he’s back – wealthy, titled and more cynical than before! And Alyssa’s determined not to fall under this notorious rake’s spell ever again. . .

Reluctant viscount Adam knows only betrayal. But Alyssa proves herself and unexpected ally when he finds his life endangered, and they are forced into sham engagement. Their betrothal may be fake, but there’s no denying the very real passion that explodes between them!

My View :

The opening set’s us up nicely to get to know our two lead’s, with Alyssa waiting for the newly titled Adam in his town house, for a favor after ten year’s of not seeing each other. He is her last hope for whats she think’s is a scandal and a heart-break in the waiting but what she doesn’t expect is that Adam, after being banished from society and having been traveling for the past decade he is a completely different man from the one she knew, from the one she fell in love with when  she was but a teenager.

Then after what is an uncomfortable and extremely unsuccessful trip in Alyssa’s eye’s she goe’s back home redundant and decides to take matter’s into her own hand’s, unbeknown to her that Adam isn’t exactly the cynical, un-feeling rake that she and society thought him to be and decides to help the little Helion in her mission. This is when the fun between the two start’s as they bang head’s at every opportunity.

What I like about The Reluctant Viscount is that Adam’s and Alyssa’s isn’t your regular love story, there is a lot of misunderstanding’s between the two, and yet they both feel very strongly for the other, but both are equally unable to admit to those feeling’s not just to each other but also to themselves. Add the fact that someone is trying to frame Adam for murder and the only way to keep him out of prison is to lie to the authorities saying that Adam was with her and that they are engaged and to keep Adam safe they have to keep up this charade.

On first encountering Adam I wasn’t really sure what to make of him, he comes across as a rakish, soulless, unfeeling cynic that all he want’s out of life is to do exactly what he want’s. But he isn’t at all like that once we get into the story and get to know him, his true personality comes forward and it is a huge surprise just how much of a decent, emotional and likable chap he is, which I do have to say I was surprised but i ended up really liking the man that he became in the end.

Alyssa is just the loveliest heroine that I have met for a while, she is trying to get past her broken heart and get on with her life but unfortunately so many thing’s get in the way of what she want’s. This poor girl has the wight of the world on her tiny little shoulder’s but yet she carries on as we all have to, I really like her strong will, her resilience and the fact that nothing – especially Adam – get’s in her way once she is on a mission.

She shrugged off his hand’s and strode toward’s the door and had almost made it when he grabbed her arm, turning her. she looked up, surprised at the expression in his eye’s.

“No. You can’t go yet. I didn’t mean to scare you, Alyssa. Stay, I won’t do anything. I promise. . .”

She stayed up at him, amazed he had so little faith in her. She had thought she had made it abundantly clear she was extremely willing and had no more wish to wait upon propriety than he.

“That’s a pity. Then there’s no point in locking the door?” she asked.

“Locking the door?”

The only thing that I have to fault about The Reluctant Viscount is that after the initial meeting between Adam and Alyssa the following chapter does tend to drag a little, there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between our two lead’s but not a lot of action, but after that little blip it doe’s heat up nicely once we really start getting into the story. it is a shame that, that one little quiet period of the book doe’s let such a good book down but it doe’s redeem itself, especially when Adam and Alyssa start dropping the mask’s that they have created for society and show their real self’s.

For those moment’s when they are letting go and give into their baser need’s it is very emotional and sexy, Temple did it is so lovely and without a fuss, that when they do finally give in, you do feel that you are intruding on their precious time together.

In all it is a very entertaining read, the character’s are very likable and you feel your self backing them at every turn, crossing your fingers and willing someone to bang their head’s together to see what is in front of them. This I am absolutely certain is going to be a favorite of any Historical Romance reader, and I can see this is going to be on many bookshelves.

Lara Temple has definitely got a real winner on her hand’s with The Reluctant Viscount.

 

A Spring Deception ~ Review

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A Spring Deception; The Seasons #2

Back Blurb :

Miss Celia Fitzgilbert’s grandfather has decreed she must marry a man with a title or he’ll never reveal her mysterious father’s identity. But her engagement to an Earl was already broken, leaving her steeped in scandal. She has all but given up until the reclusive Duke of Clairemont returns to Society and sweeps her off her feet, a potential solution to all her problems.

But things are not so simple for the duke. Aiden is not comfortable with his position in Society, perhaps because he is a fraud. In truth, Clairemont died months ago and the man playing him is a spy, bent on uncovering a dangerous secret. A flirtation with Celia, meant to help him fit in, quickly turns very real. But can Celia recover when the lies come out? And can Aiden keep them both alive long enough to even consider a future?

My View :

The second installment of the Seasons is just as brilliant as the first, it follows on from where A Winter Affair left off, Celia is the middle of a bit of scandal due to what happened with the end of her engagement and then along comes John Dane, who is at the time inperdonating the Duke of Clairemont obviously the pair meet and fall helplessly in love at the first moment but unlike a lot of romance tales theirs is hindered by this case that John is investigating.

I really, really did like John and Celia’s story, you can see what is happening between them and yet you are caught off guard with the twist’s and turnings with Johns case and it’s really interesting seeing how they struggle with what is going on around them and then both trying to move on past the various obstacles that is being put in their way.

I am so glad that the second part of the Seasons has focused on Celia, she did get a bit of a raw deal in A Winter Affair, she was portrayed as a bit of a title-hunter/gold-digger even though the reason behind her actions was explained, with the fact that she was being blackmailed by her grandfather, I still thought that she did need her story telling.

She is an interesting and complex character, she is strong-willed and she knows her own mind, but like her sister Rosalinde (Book 1) she is very vulnerable. I like how Jess Michaels has teemed this fragile young woman up with an equally fragile man, but yet when they are together you don’t see that vulnerability, you see a partnership that you know is going to work.

“My name. It’s John Dane,” he repeated.

Her lips parted and the washcloth slipped from her fingers as she stared at him. He had refused her that answer before and it had hurt her. Now he said it and she recognized it for what it was. A gift and a goodbye.

I adore John, he is such a mesmerizing and thought-provoking character, he is a man who due to his job as a spy seems to have lost apart of hisself throughout the years, he is scarred and bruised from his traumatic early life and that has made its mark on this remarkable man. On the outside while he is doing his job as a spy he is this large, unfeeling man that basically get’s on with the job with no emotional attachment’s. . .That is untill he sets eyes on beautiful, young and sensitive Celia and then we see his other caring, loving and very sexy side come to the fore front.

Seeing this vulnerable man as he struggle’s with his feelings for Celia and how protective he is of her is so lovely, he is caught between a rock and a hard place with needing to do his job and find the traitor to the crown and wanting to protect and be as close to Celia as humanly possible, and when the one thing he didn’t want to happen, does happen. . .He falls in love.

“What would you have me do, Celia?” he whispered, not to argue with her, but because he truly didn’t know. He’d never known himself, never been anyone but a lie, a ghost, a tool.

She smiled as if she understood. ” Make a new start with me. As John Dane. Whoever he turns out to be. Make a life with me. Love me, and more that, allow me to love you as you grow into the man you will be next. Please”

the “please” was what broke him. She was offering him everything he’d always wanted and never dared hope for. She was offering him herself, and he knew that would be enough, more that enough, to sustain him for the rest of his life.

“I-I love you,” he whispered

Spring Deception is a rare gem that needs to be read and appreciated for how truly wonderful it is, any Historical Romance reader will adore this, it has everything that we want in a good love story. The story is flawless, it is richly charged with a sizzling emotional and sexual tension. . .especially when John start’s showing Celia exactly what he want’s to do with her.

The Seasons series started of with a great start with Rosalinde and Grey, but I think that the remarkably talented Ms Michaels has just upped the game with John and Celia, the series is just getting better and better and I can’t wait for the next installment. This definitely has to be added to any Historical Romance readers book shelf, it really is too good.

 

A Cantata of Love ~ Review

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The Code Breakers #4

Back Blurb :

Napoleonic France is no place for an Englishman, especially Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, who is on a clandestine assignment for the Crown. Already injured and facing imminent discovery by Napoleon and

Fouche’s men, Michael finds his escape made even more perilous when he is charged with the safety of a young boy who must be spirited out of Paris.

Desperate to escape the terrible fate that awaits her if she remains in France,

Lady Gabrielle De Valmont must disguise herself as a boy and rely on the cunning of a virtual stranger—an Englishman, no less—to smuggle her out of the country. When the Earl’s injury becomes severely infected, rendering him gravely ill, Gabrielle realizes it is now up to her to save them both.

Look for more heart-pounding adventure, international intrigue, and sizzling romance with the release of Book Four in The Code Breaker Series.

My View :

This is my first foray in to the wonderful world of The Code Breaker’s, and I can’t believe how I have missed out on such a brilliant series. I absolutely loved this there is suspense, love, intrigue, assassination attempt’s and espionage.

The story starts with Michael waking up in enemy controlled France after being shot, to find beautiful young Lady Gabrielle tending to him. unfortunately their first proper encounter doesn’t go off very well as he, being confused and in pain after his ordeal mistakes her for a whore. Which obviously doesn’t go down very well with her, and as they both escape France Michael’s soon realises his mistake and very quickly try’s to build bridges with her and in doing so fall head over heels for her, his feeling for her are raw and wild and times he his green with jealously at the merest glance another man gives sends her way.

But doe’s this damaged, and fearful beauty feel anything for him, apart from anger at being mistaken for a common whore?

In all essence, Yes! she does feel very strongly for him, she was peeved at first at his brusque and outlandish behaviour towards her, but she soon put’s that aside as a the mistake that it was.

But their happy little blossoming relationship soon get’s a bit of a kick in the teeth as someone is out to snatch Gabby and because of Michael’s role in the Code Breakers he is told in no uncertain terms that untill, they find out who is after Gabby and put an end to their evil plan, he is to stay far away from her. This is where the longing and built up emotion and sexual tension start’s and it is really very entertaining watching as they both struggle to ignore each other publicly and play their role’s that they have been cast in, as the Code Breakers conduct their investigation.

The feelings of being loved by Michael had been a startling awakening. Like on the first days of spring sunshine after the long winter rains, she felt renewed, alive and hopeful again. Michael loved her and she loved him.

She glanced up at him, her eyes and heart filled with yearning for this man. This man who made her laugh, who made her believe in love and hope after terrible times. His rich laugh rumbled in his chest. “Gabby, you can’t look at me like that and not expect a kiss.”

“Am I that obvious?” She placed her arms around his neck and pressed against his solid, hard body.

“Gabby.” Michael tightened his arms and pulled her closer. Gabby felt herself soften around his hard planes and unyielding ridges. His warm lips tenderly touched hers.

I really like Gabby, she is a very complicated and yet interesting character, she has been through so much, while being so young the fact that she watched her parent’s being dragged off to the guillotine has let a very visible mark on her that not even Michael can dispense, but she is so strong-willed, she has got a great spirit and her love for those that are close to her like Michael and her brother are is absolute. She may be a little slip of a girl but she has a mesmerizing, innocent charm about her. No wonder that Michael fall head over heels for her.

Michael! Well what can I say about him? He isn’t your regular hero, he isn’t a soldier or a spy, but he has this absolutely amazing mind, he is overly protective especially of Gabby and his sister. He has this very serious quality about him, that counteract’s his jovial, and cheeky side, but he is a mesmerizing man and it is highly entertaining watching him struggle with wanting to protect Gabby by doing his job and leaving her alone and wanting to protect by keeping her close to him at all times.

Lucien tucked his sister next to his side. “I don’t like him.” For some inexplicable reason, probably because it was exactly like her brother to make a quick and contrary judgement, Gabby started to laugh and couldn’t stop. The overwhelming fears, the violence, and the relief combusted together into joyous, almost hysterical laughter.

Lucien looked down at her in a mixture of disbelief and shock. “This has been too much for you.”

Gabby hugged her brother and broke free of his hold. “I’m so glad you’re not dead.”

And then she walked into Michael’s waiting arms. She turned back toward lucien. “You will have to like him. I love him. And plan to marry him.”

What I liked about this is that even though I didn’t begin at the beginning of the series, and in stead started with book four, it is just so well written, and intelligent that I knew exactly who everyone was and their roles in the story without any difficulty.

A Cantata of Love is a refreshing take on the regular regency romance, it get’s you thinking and keep’s you engaged from the first page to the last and I highly recommend this book and The Code Breakers Series.

Very intelligent and entertaining.

 

 

 

Marrying Winterborne ~ Review

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Marrying Winterborne, The Ravenels #2

Back Blurb :

A ruthless tycoon

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .

A sheltered beauty

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with . . .

Marrying Mr. Winterborne

My View :

I have been looking forward to this book for a very long time, ever since meeting Rhys Winterborne in Cold Hearted Rake I have been on the edge of my seat waiting and waiting to find learn more about this man and his and Helen’s story. And I can honestly say, that I haven’t been disappointed.

This is exactly what I have come to expect from the very talented Ms Kleypas, Rhys is the best hero I have come across for a very long time and I love the fact that his isn’t aristocracy, he is a blunt, rough around the edges hard-working man who has pulled hisself out of the gutter and become a successful self-made man. he isn’t afraid of hard work and he appreciates what life is like to be below the bread line and that for me is very refreshing, I do love a good down to earth, ordinary hero who we can all relate to and with Rhys we have just that. and he is just so damn gorgeous to boot.

The interaction between him and Helen is mesmerizing, it is lovely witnessing how the moment she walk’s into a room bring’s this brusque hard as steel Welshman to his knees, is simply stunning. The way she tames and softens him is so lovely but he is still his ruthless self especially when it comes to protecting her.

“I’m from North Wales, we show our feeling’s by throwing rock’s at tree’s”

This is how he describes himself, but the moment they are both in the same room as each other that brusque statement just flies out of the window, Rhys is very romantic and he shows it in his own way all the time by the little touches and look’s and the simple heart warming gift’s he showers on her, like creating an Orchid glasshouse on his roof top just for her. if that doesn’t shout that he loves her I don’t what does.

Everytime he calls her “Cariad” and “The heart of my heart” my own heart melt’s, it is not surprising that she can’t tear her self away from him.

“Heart of my heart, you need no man to give you away. Just come to me of your own free will. Love me for who I am. . .Just as I love you for who you are. . .and our bond will last untill the stars lose their shining”

Marrying Winterborne is definitely the book that has brought the old Kleypas magic back into this series, I hate to say but the first one Cold Hearted rake, was a huge disappointment, I never really could relate to either Devon of Kathleen, and unlike so many of Kleypas’s character’s those two just didn’t make me warm to them. But thank good ness that Rhys was introduced, this handsome Welshman has just saved an entire series, not surprising really seeing. he is a born protector and hero.

There wasn’t a part of this that I didn’t like, the characters are just incredible, the twin’s Pandora and cassandra are just as funny as ever ( I love the part where they are playing with the new carriage door handles) and I know that we are going to have a lot of fun with those two, in fact I actually rather liked lady Berkley too, the way she transformed from the dragonish, old dowager to the simpering teenager whenever Ryhs was around is very entertaining. the story line is flawless and I love how we have moved into the Victorian era it makes it more modern and this era really does work so well for Rhys being a business tycoon.

This really is right up there with the best that Kleypas has to offer, it is sensual, intelligently steamy and downright sexy, the atmosphere pulses with sexual need whenever Rhys is around, I loved it and this was well and truly worth the wait, it is a beautiful read and Rhys has definitely set up the stage nicely for book three which i believe if none other than my other personal favorite character Sebastian’s son; Gabriel, Lord St.Vincent.

This is magical.