Mystery and desire cloak the Scottish Highlands
Unruly. Unmarried. Unapologetic. Catriona Mackenzie’s reputation precedes her everywhere she goes. Her beloved late aunt Zelda taught Cat to live out loud and speak her mind, and that’s exactly what she does when Zelda’s legacy—a refuge for women in need—comes under fire. When her quest puts her in the path of the disturbingly mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose, Cat is soon caught up in the provocative rumors surrounding the dark duke. Never one to retreat, Cat boldly goes where no one else has dared for answers.
Shrouded in secrets, a hostage of lies, Hamlin must endure the fear and suspicion of those who believe he is a murderer. The sudden disappearance of his wife and the truth he keeps silent are a risk to his chances at earning a coveted parliamentary seat. But he’s kept his affairs tightly held until a woman with sparkling eyes and brazen determination appears unexpectedly in his life. Deadly allegations might be his downfall, but his unleashed passion could be the duke’s ultimate undoing.
Oh, my word! This is incredibly good! I have been a fan of Julia London’s work for ages now and I have been avidly reading this ‘Highland Grooms’ series with relish but this, I have to say is the best of the series, so far. I will admit that the last book; Aulay’s story didn’t live up to the previous book’s, after reading Rabbie’s and Cailean’s stories I didn’t think that this series could get any better and along come Catriona and Hamlin.
After her auntie Zelda’s death, Catriona is left to run Kishorn Abbey on her own, for it is in fact a refuge for women who for whatever reason need a safe place to turn to. Catriona has had a lot to deal with, she was by her auntie Zelda’s side through her illness and slowly she withdrew from society and public life and now she is practically a shell of what she used to be. To an extent that her family are worried, she is drinking heavily, unsociable and severely unhappy. She maybe proud of her spinsterhood and the fact that she doesn’t want or need a man in her life, deep down she is lonely.
Which is why they plot against her and send her to recuperate at her uncle Knox’s, Catriona doesn’t intend to spend her days lounging about she fully intends to get her wealthy English uncle’s support to help save Kishorn Abbey from being taken by the crown. But her well laid out plan’s soon take a turn when she meets the mysterious and devilishly handsome Duke of Montrose. As soon as she sees him across the Inn for the first time in years she feels alive and intrigued by something.
From the onset of meeting Catriona, you see straight way that there is a darkness hanging over her head, London has wonderful job with Catriona’s depression in the first part she hasn’t gone over done it but in those few moment’s you can get a glimpse of Catriona’s state of mind and she isn’t a happy woman. She tries to show to the world she is content but deep down she is a crying wreck.
Hamlin Graham is living under a dark and heavy cloud, of secrets, lies and scandal after the disappearance of his wife all of society think’s that Hamlin murdered her. He has lived with that hanging over his head, it has tarnished his reputation blackened his good name and now driven him to live a lonely and isolated life. It would all be well and good if he didn’t have his hopes set on gaining his seat in Parliament, after all Scotland were only allowed a handful of seats and he wanted one. He had plans to help and he could only do that once he gained that seat. But the scandal in his past and the secret he holds close to his heart are standing in his way.
That is until he meets feisty, determined kindred spirit; Catriona. Who brings the sunshine back into his dark life and makes his once dead heart begin to beat again. Catriona is the only one that knows Hamlin wouldn’t have killed his wife, he may be a huge, brawny and monosyllabic man but he she sees the goodness, she knows beneath that rude persona there lies a gentle, sensitive man.
Oh, my goodness, what a stud! Hamlin is soooo swoon-worthy, he ruggedly handsome. Kind, generous, dark and brooding. Plus, he is very good with his hands in more ways than just welding a hammer to fix his own roof, he isn’t your stereotypical duke. Part man part devil and when he looks at Catriona with those dark/black soulful eyes you melt. He is dark uncivilised and equally as sad as Catriona, they are a match made in heaven!
I love that first chapter where all the Mackenzie clan are all together after Zelda’s death, their closeness and protectiveness to one and other is so heart-warming. This is why I love this family so much, they maybe brutish men in kilts and fierce women with great mind, but they are also hugely supportive of each other and a wonderful family.
Just want to say that I am so intrigued by Nichol Bain who is Hamlin’s secretary. He is a mysterious young man, he has many secrets hidden behind those green eyes and I do hope that he will get a story of his own. He is quite a man I would love to know more about him.
This really is so good, wonderful storyline that keeps you hooked, and keeps you turning those pages to find out what happens’. Character’s that are engaging, intriguing and it’s a joy to watch as their relationship blossoms and their personal characters develop.
As I said in the beginning of the review, this is the best of the series, it’s thrilling, romantic, sexy with two of the best character’s. London has outdone herself with this, it is perfection!
This was an ARC copy via the Author’s PA in exchange for an honest review.
Tempting The Laird is to be released 26th June and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
I have a wonderful and exclusive to Chicks Rogues and Scandals Giveaway, to be in for a chance to win some exclusive Julia London swag then just answer the question below.
As the Highland Grooms is set in Scotland, what is your favourite thing about Scotland?
It can be anything, from food, clothes, the highlands or something Scottish from TV, mine has got to be Outlander 😉 what’s yours?
This giveaway will be open on here and on the Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Facebook Page which means you have the chance to put your name into the hat twice.
(Eg: Comment on this post -1 entry / Comment & Like Facebook post – 1 entry)
Good luck everyone!
*Unfortunately, giveaway is only opened to US and UK, Giveaway closes on 31st May at midnight GMT. Winner will be announced as soon as possible after closing date.
All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the thing his enemy held most dear…her.
A BATTLE IS JOINED
The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.
When the Earl of Salt Hendon marries squire’s daughter Jane Despard, Society is aghast. But Jane and Lord Salt share a secret past of heartache and mistrust. Four years on, they are forced into a marriage neither wants; the Earl to honor a dying man’s wish; Jane to save her stepbrother from financial ruin. Beautiful inside and out, the patient and ever optimistic Jane believes love conquers all; the Earl will take some convincing. Enter Diana St. John, who has been living in a fool’s paradise believing she would be the next Countess of Salt Hendon. She will go to extreme lengths, even murder, to hold the Earl’s attention. Can the newlyweds overcome past prejudices and sinister opposition to fall in love all over again?
Set in the opulent world of the 18th century aristocracy, Lucinda Brant delivers another delicious 18th century romantic experience. High drama, witty prose, a deft palette of historical detail, and a weave of subplots will keep you mesmerized from beginning to end.
Jane and Salt—four years of Happily Ever After
Sir Antony Templestowe—four years of Exile
Lady Caroline—four years of Heartache
Diana St. John—four years plotting Revenge
The time has come…
How does a brother cope with life knowing his sister is a murderess? How can a nobleman have the life he has always wanted when a lurking evil consumes his thoughts and haunts his dreams?
What will it take for good to triumph over evil?
I started reading/listening to “The Salt Hendon Collection” with an open mind, I have tried audiobooks before and I have always been skeptical, as I have never really enjoyed them as I do a regular book. But I am not one to give up on something without at least giving it a secret chance and as the lovely Lucinda Brant so generously offered me a complimentary copy, how could I refuse? So I gave Audiobooks their second chance.
As much as I want to say I loved every moment of this, I hate to say I didn’t. It has nothing to do with the brilliance of the story because the overall plot is fabulous, I have heard so many good things about Brants work and I do agree that she is an exceedingly talented author. The way she entwine’s the characters personal lives with a fast and intriguing plot is superb and I cannot say a single bad thing about her writing.
It’s the same with the narrator, Alex Wyndham. He is a sensational story-teller, his articulated voice is like pure velvet. The way the simplest words just rolls off his tongue can make any woman melt, if I was watching him on the stage or Television, then I would be swooning. His ability accentuate each individual character is pure brilliance, he could read the phone book and still make it could sexy. But, unfortunately even his refined and cultured tones couldn’t save it for me.
The issue wasn’t the story or the narrator, but the Audio version itself. When I’m reading a regular book I become transported to the era, I am living and breathing the story along with the characters, I just didn’t get that same sense with the Audiobook. I couldn’t visualise the characters or the scenery, I couldn’t understand or relate to them and get their personalities like I usually do, all I got from it was the wonderful Mr. Wyndham’s voice in my head telling me a story.
I know without a doubt that if I read this as a regular book, then I would become emersed into the Georgian era and love it, because it has all the ingredients of a great story. For me this particular way of reading it, didn’t work.
I always hate giving negative reviews, but I abide by my own rule, that I will always be honest in my reviews. For those that do like an audiobook they will adore “The Salt Hendon Collection” but this has just confirmed that audiobooks aren’t for me, but I am going to get the book version of this and I am going to read more of Brants work as I want to get to know the characters and plots.
Overall the Audiobook experience didn’t work for me, but Lucinda Brant is definitely an author I am going to read more off.
This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
England and France 1784
Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.
As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.
Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her its darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious comte de Saintonge.
Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donet?
Because of his turbulent relationship with his father; basically Jean’s father didn’t approve of Jean’s lifestyle or of Jean’s marriage, and soon he was cast out of the family. At first everything was fine until his beloved wife passed away, loosing his wife and being turfed out of the family did have a huge effect on the enigmatic Jean, he completely ditched everything to do with his aristocratic roots and set sail.
He become a legendary pirate and then privateer, never wanting to become close to another woman and risk loosing it all yet again, vowing to only open his heart to the sea. That is until he glimpses a vivacious, beauty with a temper as fiery as her hair. But can the Lady smuggler lure the pirate into opening his heart?
Lady Joanna is just as reluctant at risking her heart as Jean, she has vowed she will never be shackled to a man in wedlock, she won’t have her every move governed to her by a man. She has her own mind and she knows exactly what she wants to do with a her life, and that is to build up her smuggling ring to further help the less fortunate people in her village and everything is going exactly to plan until two things happen. One, she gets her first look at the notorious Captain of the black smuggling ship; La Reine Noire. Secondly, she meets the elusive and mysterious Comte De Saintonge. Both the Captain and the Comte capture and intrigue her, but what she doesn’t realise is that both are the same man and more importantly will she take a chance?
Oh, my word!! How much do I love this? I cannot say enough good things about it, Echo in the Wind is a beautifully written story, its thrilling and exciting but yet the love story is so tender. Our lead man really steals every scene he is featured in, there isn’t anything about this that I don’t like!
Jean is a proud man, a strong man who has worked hard to gain the absolute respect and trust from his crew of pirates. The relationship between him and his crew is rock solid there is equal amounts of respect between them and their Captain, he treats his men properly. I have always believed that you can very easily judge a man’s character on how he treats their staff/crew and going by that alone you know that Jean is a kind but forceful leader, he treats them with the respect they deserve and he is the kind of leader that won’t have a member of his crew do something if he isn’t willing to do it himself. He doesn’t lord it over them his crew are his equals, he is a brilliant Captain who knows the seas and his ship like the back of his hand.
Jean is a very distinguished man, a man in the prime of his life he is a robust commanding and enthusiastic Captain who knows what he wants and will do anything he can to get it.
“If a tiger can don the disguise of a kitten and be convincing. But I know ye well, Capitaine, and no matter what clothes ye wear today, I see ye all in black standing on the prow of yer ship, yer eyes full of menace, a sword and knife dangling from yer waist and pistols shoved into yer belt.”
Because of his estrangement from his family, Jean finds it difficult to act the Comte once he has gained the title after the deaths of both his father and his brother. He doesn’t like all pomp that goes with the title, such as dressing up to the nines and having to make polite conversation with bigoted, high and mighty spoilt people of the ton, he is so much more comfortable in his black pirates clothes bellowing orders while steering his ship through a storm. But he does his duty and that’s when he spot’s a beautiful woman who has a fiery personality that matches her hair.
Now I do like a heroine that knows her own mind and Lady Joanna is just that, she is spunky, intelligent and she has got this incredible kind heart.
She has got more courage than your average man, she is bold and brassy and immensely headstrong and she genuinely cares for the people of her little village. The reason why she started smuggling in the place is because the people from her village were starving, so she started smuggling in food eventually her little enterprise got bigger and bolder and she now smuggles in tea and brandy from France.
It is on one of these times that’s she gets her first glimpse of the pirate Jean Donet. From that first sighting of him standing aboard his black smugglers ship, with a pistol and sword strapped to his lean waist that intrigued her. And I’m not surprised!
‘Donet appeared like a black panther that had crept in amongst the sheep….’
She is such a little fire cracker with a fiery personality that is nearly as fiery as her vivid hair, she is like a caged fox just wanting to break free of the constraints of society and her brother’s match making.
This is just so unbelievably good! It is an exciting tale, the relationship between Jean and Joanna is steamy and tender. They are a sensual and seductive couple, who you like instantly. It has everything you would ever want in a Historical Romance, intelligently written, atmospheric and engrossing.
A hero who can make any woman swoon with just a smouldering look, he is an enigmatic and suave individual who has a breath-taking Gaelic confidence and charisma. A heroine, who is not a wilting wallflower she is a vibrant and strong-willed, independent woman who has her own beliefs and views on the world and she isn’t afraid of voicing them. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with, but they compliment each other too.
‘Joanna wondered if so elegant a man could, in truth, be a pirate.
Still, she could not deny the air of mystery about him or the intense fire in his dark eyes.
’Twas as if Lucifer himself had paid them a visit.’
The plot is the pièce de résistance of this, it is a resounding success. You have smuggling, pirating, shootings and emergency surgery at sea, done by the Captain no less. It is action packed from the very start and all wrapped up with some incredible Historical fact.
I just love it!
I have been hooked with Walker’s work since reading the amazing Viking Warrior’s she draws you in with her skill and knowledge, she ignites a fire in your imagination that makes you believe that you have left your comfy chair and you are in another time and place and this is no different. In fact this is something special. Echo in the Wind is flawless, it flows seamlessly it takes you on an exhilarating adventure through a dark and dangerous time, you become absorbed into the era and you never want to leave.
I cannot recommend this enough, this is a complete and utter triumphant Historical Romance.
This was an ARC via the author in return for an honest review.
Echo in the Wind is released on 23rd May and can be purchased at Amazon.
I have a very special post today, Chicks Rogues and Scandals have joined up with the Pirate Wenches to help them celebrate the release of their new Swashbuckling Romance box set; Romance on the High Sea’s. I have got Exclusive Excerpts from each book plus a get to know the author’s section with an Exclusive Interview with all Seven of the author’s. So let’s set sail onto the high seas….
PREPARE TO BE BOARDED.
If you love historical romance, pirates, adventure and thrills, you’ll love this 7-book set by these award-winning and best-selling pirate romance authors!
Seven Swashbuckling Pirate Romances by Seven Pirate Wenches:
Katherine Bone ☠
Barbara Devlin ☠
Chloe Flowers ☠
Danelle Harmon ☠
Amanda Mariel ☠
Kamery Solomon ☠
The Pirate’s Debt by Katherine Bone:
An earl-turned pirate is ordered by his benefactor to find an adventurous young runaway and return her home. To do so, he must retrieve her without being discovered by the most ruthless pirate hunter on the seas: her brother.
Dead Man’s Kiss by Jennifer Bray-Weber:
Eight weeks. That’s all pirate captain Valeryn Barone has to escort a tempting naturalist untouched across the Caribbean or face the gallows. Can he resist the beauty who’s fallen for him? Does a dead man walking even have a chance?
The Black Morass by Barbara Devlin:
In exchange for a chance at redemption and pardons for his crew, Jean Marc Cavalier accepts a pact that could result in liberty or death, if only he can survive the terms, but at least he will be free.
Captain Conal O’Brien has already lost control of his ship to the most unlikely band of pirates sailing the seas. If he’s not careful, he’s going to lose his heart to a notorious lady pirate determined to destroy both.
My Lady Pirate by Danelle Harmon:
The sea delivers a handsome castaway to Pirate Queen Maeve Merrick’s island. But her handsome prisoner harbors secrets dark enough to change the fates of nations and threatens their new-found love.
Captivated by the Captain by Amanda Mariel:
What happens when an American shipping company heiress crosses paths with a pirate? Can two people whose life paths are at odds find common ground?
Carried Away by Kamery Solomon:
After falling through time and being forced to join a pirate crew, Mark Bell falls in love with his fellow time traveler, Samantha. She’s a woman he can’t have, though. Will their presence in the past alter the future they know and love?
The Pirate’s Debt by Katherine Bone
He thought he lost his honor… then she teaches him what it means to be a hero.
Lady Chloe Walsingham is an enthusiastic gothic romance reader and hopeless romantic focused solely on finding her perfect hero. She also happens to have a penchant for getting into trouble. So when the man she loves disappears after a scandalous duel, she decides to follow him to the ends of the Earth. To do so, however, Chloe must evade her brother, an infamous revenue man, and board a ship bound for Penzance. And nothing in her beloved books can prepare her for the harsh realities of wreckers who ply the coast.
After his father destroyed the lives of countless innocent people, Basil Halford, Earl of Markwick is willing to do anything to earn back his honor. Betrayed by his blood and his reputation ruined, Markwick answers the request of a well-heeled duke and dons the Black Regent’s mask to repay the debt. His task? Rescuing a young woman who is chasing down a ghost of a man.
But a pirate has plenty of enemies, and Markwick isn’t any different. No matter how diligent a captain he may be, sailing to Lady Chloe’s rescue involves risking not only the Regent’s legacy but the last thing he can afford to lose…his heart.
Seated in Markwick’s cutter, cloaked in his clothing, Chloe felt incredibly shallow. To think that she’d cast all inhibitions to the wind and sailed off for an enterprising adventure, only to need to be rescued by the very man she’d set out to find. Though she hadn’t known she’d be finding the Black Regent.
Regent sightings were rare for the average villager. She’d never known anyone who’d actually met the gallant hero that stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
Oh, to be sitting so near to him now, to have touched him, to be in love with him, is even more exceptional than I imagined it would be!
She fought to curb the jubilation pulsing through her veins, igniting her headstrong passions, and forced herself to remember this was all about her devotion to Markwick and the lives lost on the very ship on which she’d obtained passage. To anyone else, the Black Regent might be a dashing pirate who’d just plucked her off the Mohegan’s decks and saved her from certain death, but Markwick was also the man she loved.
She sighed, half trembling, half in despair. Unable to tear her gaze away, she desired to stretch out her fingers and touch the man, to assure herself that he wasn’t a figment of her imagination. What kind of nightmare would that be, to discover she was dreaming and that Markwick really wasn’t there?
Oh, but the blackguard truly was just as she’d envisioned! In her mind’s eye, he’d been a swashbuckling champion born from the pages of fiction and fantasy. Now, sitting before her, was the living man whose very existence defied her infatuations because he was the man she loved. Broad-shouldered, lean, with a firm authoritarian profile, he stood a head taller than she did, and oh . . . when he’d held her in his arms on board the Mohegan, a light headed euphoria had immediately stunned her. Markwick had stood behind her before but only to teach her how to shoot a bow and arrow. Not like this. Never like this!
Her gaze lowered to his upper arms. They were thick, flexing muscular limbs capable of sweeping her off her feet at a moment’s whim. And oh, she wanted to be his Matilda. She wanted him to be her Theodore.
Bother. Matilda and Theodore were Horace Walpole’s creations. She and Markwick lived in the real world. She inhaled a breath of frigid, moist, salty air.
Admit the truth, you silly girl. Markwick triggered breathless exhilaration and the unbridled beat fluttering within her breast, not the Black Regent. For her, there had always only been the Earl of Markwick.
Pirate Heiresses by Chloe Flowers
A beautiful pirate, a vengeful sea-captain and a secret treasure…will love save them or destroy them?
Reluctant pirate Stevie Savauge is on a quest with her family to find a secret treasure hidden by her great-great-grandparents, the two notorious pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham. When her eight-year-old twin siblings are kidnapped and the ransom demand is a merchant ship called the Seeker, Stevie must find the courage to conquer her fears and fight for those she loves.
Italian-born, French privateer Drago Viteri Gamponetti (Gampo to his men) has coveted the Ahern merchant fleet for years, and sets a trap in Jamaica. Unfortunately, he has two small trouble makers aboard; a boy who wants to be just like him, and a girl who will either steal him blind or turn his black heart.
When Captain Conal O’Brien discovers that the pirates work for his sworn enemy, he doesn’t resist capture. What better way to locate Gampo’s secret stronghold than to sail right into it? But these nutty brigands aren’t who they seem to be, and if Conal’s not careful, he’s going to lose his heart as well as his ship to the woman determined to possess both.
A high seas, historical, pirate romance filled with action and adventure, mystery and intrigue, and a quest for hidden treasure!
Stevie swallowed and gripped the pistol handle more firmly. Her arm was beginning to tire from holding it for so long, but she didn’t dare lower it. The mountain of a man in the tub looked as if he could crush her head like a grape with one hand, and her young cousin’s with the other one. More often than not, she could look an average man straight in the eye. However, with this one, she doubted her head would reach his nose.
The man in the tub cocked his brows, then his eyes narrowed before sliding down to her soft doves skin boots and back up again. She should have stayed more in the shadows; she might have appeared a bit more intimidating that way.
“Relinquish your freedom and possessions,” she said, barely able to keep the tremor from her voice. Her gaze paused at the gold ring on the man’s finger. If they were going to become pirates, she might as well start acting like one. She took a deep breath and drew her shoulders back a little.
“Beginning with your ring,” she said, holding out her hand. The man’s jaw clenched and the knuckles gripping the tub’s edge whitened. What thoughts were flying around in his head? He was contemplating his chances of overpowering her and taking her pistol; she could see that in the way his gaze shifted back and forth between her and her cousin, Remi. If he had a weapon, and if it had been a one-on-one situation instead of one against two (with guns), he likely wouldn’t have paused to contemplate it this long. He would have defended himself by attacking them. And he’d have won. Even now, she sensed he was still calculating his odds.
She eased a step back, careful to keep her pistol well within a lethal range. “Please don’t try it,” she said. “I’d prefer to save my shot.” She was far from her cozy little room off the kitchens of her brother’s gaming house. Uncle Bernard had given her a brief lesson on managing a pistol, but it still terrified her to hold it.
His eyes widened and his brows raised in surprise. She’d been right in her assumptions, then. She usually was. Her intuition annoyed her brothers no small amount, and they always avoided her when they wished their thoughts to remain…theirs. Only one of them could hide from her, but he was a gambler and so it was expected, otherwise he wouldn’t be a very good gambler, would he?
The man twisted the ring from his finger and tossed it to her. She caught it and placed it on the only finger it would fit—her thumb.
“Get dressed,” she said, with as much authority as she could muster.
He slowly stood with the oily movement of a cat as he reached for a linen rag. Stevie felt her eyes widen. She was wrong. Very wrong. The top of her head would barely reach his chin, let alone his nose. Wide, thick shoulders took up most of the space in the galley. The muscles across his shoulders rippled as he moved. A long scar trailed from the top of his shoulder to the middle of his ribcage. A fighting man. A very strong, very muscular, very handsome, very naked, fighting man.
Carried Away by Kamery Solomon
Mark Bell is being haunted.
Ever since his friend, Samantha, drowned in the Treasure Pit, he’s been running from her ghost. When his path takes him to a historical site and shipwreck in Texas, he hopes the past will stay where it belongs. However, the more he uncovers, the clearer it becomes that something is not right. Old friends need his help, and he doesn’t know if he’s the man to get the job done.
Samantha O’Rourke is a time traveler trying to survive in the past. Trapped in the social pyramid of the French Court and the secret society her husband, Tristan, defends, she feels more out-of-place than ever before. Nothing ever stops a treasure hunter for long, though, and she soon finds herself caught up in another mystery, only to have life yanked to a precarious perch, where only the truly strong will survive.
Can the future be changed? Or is everything set in stone, destined to follow only one course?
Chuckling, she waved her hand in front of her face, smiling at me in a way that made my heart stop. “Really, though. You’ve saved my life more than once, and even in our own time when you kept me from going into the Pit when it collapsed. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
“Don’t,” I said immediately, sitting and staring at her. “Don’t act like you owe me anything. You lived—that’s all I wanted. I don’t need anything more than to know you’re in the world and okay.”
If there had been no Tristan, no pirate hostage situation, no anything but us, it would’ve been easy to kiss her then. Her face was so sweet and soft, her eyes wide as she watched me, only a few inches away. My hands ached to hold her, to cuddle her against my chest and run my fingers through her hair. Drying quickly at the thought, like I was a man dying of thirst, my lips tingled with the image of her mouth on mine. Heart racing, I felt myself leaning in, slowly, as if every millimeter was killing me.
Jerking back into the present, I blinked, and then looking away, I stood so quickly she jumped.
“What is it?” she asked in alarm.
Glancing at her, I tried to focus on the things that would help me remember what our situation was. Her black shirt was dirty and torn on one shoulder from getting caught on a branch as we rode out of the mountains. The pants she was wearing belonged to Flanagan, who had been more than happy to tell everyone I’d let her get in his breeches. The shoes I’d bought for her in Veracruz were muddied from our trek as well, tied to her feet with little care for whether or not they stayed on.
She was a prisoner, a captive among this crew.
Captivated by the Captain by Amanda Mariel
Miss Prudence Drake desires nothing more than to return to America and pick up the pieces of her life. After being held captive on the Black Dawn and witnessing her papa’s murder, the last thing she wants is to find herself in the hands of another pirate-even if he is handsome and honourable.
Captain Jasper Blackmore has forsaken his past, walking away from England’s shores in search of a new adventure after the war left him physically scarred and jilted by the one lady he dared to love. An American hoyden could never fit into his world despite his attraction to her.
Can two people whose life paths are at odds find common ground?
He slanted a glance at her as they came to a stop near the railing. The sky behind her was a blaze of red and pink. Her honey blond hair danced in the evening breeze while her hazel eyes sparkled. The chit was breathtaking and the snug breeches, and the flowing shirt did naught to hide her ample charms. There was a mysterious edge to the woman who only added to her appeal.
If he were forced to spend much more time with her, he would not be able to resist stealing a kiss from her plump lips. His gaze roamed to those very lips and he could not resist imagining what they would feel like pressed to his. Soft and sweet.
“It will be fair weather tomorrow.” She notched her chin, indicating the sky and breaking the spell he was under.
He looked out over the expanse of ocean at the setting sun. How did she know to draw such a conclusion? He would not ask now, but before she left his ship, he would know where she gained her knowledge. It was not common place for a woman to understand such things—let alone speak on them. She had been around ships before, and often. But in what capacity? “Indeed,” he replied.
Before he could say more, a scream issued from above. He tilted his head back to look up into the sails and rigging. Payne dangled from a mast, his leg wrapped in thick rope If the man kept struggling he might plunge to his death. “Be still,” Jasper hollered up at him as he surveyed the situation.
“Captain, I lost my balance. It’s lucky the rigging caught me, but I need an extra hand to get free.” Payne stopped wriggling as he took hold of the nearby lines, steadying himself.
Jasper rushed forward to help, propelling himself up the lines toward Payne. How the bloody hell an experienced boatswain managed to get himself in such a position was beyond him. The fool was indeed lucky the rigging stopped his fall. Leastwise, his sorry ass would be splattered on the deck.
“Do be careful.” Prudence called after him.
Jasper could not miss the grin that lit Payne’s weathered face as he looked down at her. He would wager the fool had been paying more attention to her than his duties when he slipped. Having a woman, worse yet, an attractive woman, on board was bad for all of them. He would have to convince her to stay out of sight until he could be rid of her. Surely she would see reason once he explained the danger she presented to his men.
Jasper reached for the thick rope tangled around Payne’s leg. “Hold tight to that line. Once I loosen this, it will be up to you to keep yourself off the deck.”
“I’m ready, Captain.” Payne’s knuckles turned white as he fisted the line in preparation.
Jasper held onto the lines with one hand and wrapped his legs around the mast while he worked to free Payne. Just as suddenly as the man’s yell had sent Jasper up the mast, his boatswain was freed from the snare he’d found himself in.
He waited for Payne to make his way down to the deck before following after him. Irritation pricked at him as he made his decent. Several of his men stood clustered around Prudence. As soon as his boots hit the deck he moved toward her. She stood near the mast with her hands on her hips and seemed to be taking in the damage to his ship.
“Those lines will need to be repaired sooner rather than later.” She glanced up, her gaze following the damaged rigging before coming to rest on his. “The main sail is useless without them.”
Jasper surveyed the damage, annoyance warming his blood. She was right in her assessment. How did she know so much? And why were his men tripping over themselves to pay her homage? Did they not realize the dangers of having a woman on board? The bloody fools could not see past her charms. He could not allow her to take command of his ship. “It is not your—”
“Yes, miss. I am going to take care of them straight away,” Payne interrupted then gave an awkward bow.
Prudence looked at Payne, offering a wide smile. “I do not doubt you.”
Styles offered her an amused grin. “Seems ye know a thing or two ’bout ships.” He nudged Jasper playfully. “She’s a good eye, Captain.”
“Ne’er saw another woman who’d know that.” Finch, the ship’s carpenter, agreed.
“Back to your stations.” Jasper ordered his voice firm as he battled his growing frustration.
A chorus of “Aye, Captain” followed as his men turned to follow their orders, but not before they tipped their heads or offered a bow to Prudence. How had one woman reduced his crew of fearsome pirates to a lot of bustling peacocks?
Bloody hell. He’d had all he could tolerate of this nonsense. He took hold of her elbow, determined to remove her from his men’s sight. “Let us return to the cabin.”
Prudence did not budge as he attempted to propel her into motion. Blast the woman was stubborn. Worse, somehow her defiance made her more attractive. The urge to take her to bed and tame her tightened his loins.
He peered at her, his rising lust battling with anger, and tightened his grip a fraction. “Now.”
Dead Man’s Kiss by Jennifer Bray-Weber
Forced to make a bargain… One drunken night in Cuba lands Captain Valeryn Barone in a life or death situation. To escape the gallows, Valeryn must agree to a bargain only a fool would make: Escort the tempting and tenacious niece of his captor across the Caribbean or lose his ship, his crew and his life! The caveat? The beautiful Spanish woman must remain untouched for the entire voyage.
Determined to get what she wants… Catalina Montoya will stop at nothing to get what she wants-even when trouble is certain. Sent to live with her uncle after a scandalous affair, Catalina intends to concentrate on her dream to become a renowned naturalist. She never expected her uncle would send her with a notorious pirate to further her studies. Worse, she never expected to want the devilishly handsome pirate more than anything else.
It’s a battle of wills… Now Catalina only has 8 weeks to seduce Valeryn and collect her specimens before he returns her to her uncle. And Valeryn has 8 weeks to secure his redemption. Except neither would be that lucky. Not when ruthless enemies threaten to destroy them at every turn. Can Valeryn save those that foolishly depend on him? Can he resist Catalina’s heart? Does a dead man walking even have a chance?
Bloody hell, these people did not know who he was, what he was capable of doing.
Valeryn rose from his seat, reining in all his will to not break the prick’s neck. “Do you want to know why I am feared across the Caribbean?”
“Feared? I do not fear you,” Fraco said. “You were willingly led by your nose by a woman who had more cojones than you.”
A growl rumbled from deep within his chest. “I have sailed with Ned Low and Charles Vane.”
Catalina blanched. Worry stole her calm demeanor. Nalda also traded her stoicism for alarm. Good. They had plenty to be worried about. Valeryn had been disciplined by the most barbaric, sadistic pirates to ever sail the seas.
“I am well-schooled in vicious, torturous deaths.” He bared his teeth, an old habit when on the edge of unleashing his fury. “You will be fooling yourself if you entertain a mere inkling that I will let a fanciful poppet and a princock take me down.”
Fraco opened his mouth to speak.
Valeryn pulled out his dagger from his waistband, spinning it his hand before pointing it at the wastrel. “This is your one fair warning.”
He strolled to the door and yanked it open. As he expected, Henri fell across the threshold onto the floor. “See the ladies to their cabin,” he said to the eavesdropping old man. “Take the maid’s plate.”
“All of you, get out of my quarters. Now.”
One by one they filed out. Catalina was the last to leave. She paused beside him, close enough to inhale her fragrance—floral, spicy, like the white and yellow petals of the frangipani flowers. Slowly, excruciatingly so, she lifted her inquisitive gaze to meet his. Her beauty could turn a saint into a sinner. Luckily, he already had a place reserved for him in hell. Her plump lips parted to say something. Whatever ’twas, a second thought had snapped her mouth shut and lit a fire in her sable eyes. Valeryn rather liked that tempestuous look. He couldn’t help but wonder if she were a hell cat in the bedchamber. Couldn’t help his craving to stoke that fire. He dropped his gaze to the deep chasm between her breasts. How he desired to get lost in there. Damn, damn, damn.
“Take your leave, Miss Montoya.”
The Black Morass by Barbara Devlin
Forever glancing over his shoulder, Jean Marc Cavalier is a ruthless pirate with the blood of countless souls on his hands and a price on his head, but he is a lonely man. In exchange for a chance at redemption, pardons for his crew, and a peaceful life, he accepts a pact that could result in liberty or death, if only he can survive the terms, but at least he will be free. When he rescues a young woman in distress, and vows to return her to her family, he is torn between his natural instincts born of violence and the honorable bargain he struck. What will Jean Marc choose?
En route to Jamaica to join her father, after her guardian dies, Lady Madalene Davies departs Boston in anticipation of a new life in a foreign land. When her ship is attacked and set afire, she is left for dead, until an unlikely savior comes to her aid. Brash and bawdy, her flawed hero defies the conventional ideal, as he is no knight in shining armor and seems forever intent on shocking her, yet she cannot resist the lure he presents. What happens when danger lurks in unexpected places, faith is broken, and Madalene must rely on Jean Marc to stay alive?
Freedom often commanded a steep price, in many instances exacted against the will of the innocent soul caught in its implacable lure, and Lady Madalene Davies pondered the cost her liberator, a self-proclaimed, one-time pirate blackguard who seemed much invested in his former trade, given his bawdy behavior and iniquitous demeanor, might demand in exchange for safe passage to Port Royal. But could she endure the consequences of such a bargain, as she foundered somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea?
Out of place in her new cabin, which contrasted with her modest chamber aboard the Trident, she doffed her cloak and bonnet. A plush, red velvet counterpane covered the largest bunk she had ever seen, given Captain Hammond used a hammock, and the mattress hosted a mountain of matching pillows. The wall at the head boasted a salacious painting of a naked woman resting on her side, and its companion, a smaller work that featured a nude male and a female bent forward, pressed front to back, and engaged in some sort of odd activity, did little to inspire confidence, as she assessed her clean but well-worn accommodations and her precarious situation.
Behind the thick oak panel stood a surly looking character she dared not challenge, and the small side chamber held naught but clothing. A locker marked with unique carvings revealed additional personal items, so she gave her attention to the hand-tooled desk, to search for some indication of the character of her erstwhile savior.
In the top drawer, she discovered a logbook, a set of maps and charts, and a deck of cards with the usual suits on one side and shocking images of ladies sans garments on the other, and she dropped the offensive items. Then her gaze lit upon a rolled parchment secured with an elegant ribbon. With a cursory check to ensure privacy, she untied the swath of silk, smoothed the paper, and examined what she realized was an official document, distinguished by its heading, Letter of Marque and Reprisal.
“Upon my word.” Madalene gasped. “Jean Marc Cavalier was a pirate.”
My Lady Pirate by Danelle Harmon
QUEEN OF THE SEA
Maeve Merrick is the notorious Pirate Queen of the Caribbean-a fierce and fiery she-wolf burned by the treachery of men. Sensuous and independent, she sails the world’s oceans with her loyal band of women warriors. Desiring neither marriage nor love, she wants for nothing—until the sea delivers to her a treasure beyond compare.
KING OF THE ROGUES
Her gift is Gray, a handsome castaway with a dangerous secret, who is overcome with desire for the bold and bewitching pirate queen. Beneath a star-studded sky, Maeve succumbs to the magic of Gray’s passionate touch. For the dark stranger has vowed to conquer the beautiful buccaneer’s heart. But can he teach her to trust—and to love—once more?
Maeve drew her dagger and flung it at his head, satisfied to see him jerk away so that the vicious blade impaled the wall just above and behind him. “You are disgusting, despicable, and totally without pride!”
“On the contrary, madam.” He reached up, pulled the dagger from the wall, and plucking an orange from the nightstand, began to use it to peel the fruit. “I am quite proud of it, thank you.” Still holding her gaze, he popped a section of the orange into his mouth, eating it with slow, suggestive motions that shortened the breath in Maeve’s lungs and made her realize that he was not the only one who was hot. Her temper rose. Had she had her pistol, she probably would have shot him. Probably. Maybe.
Maybe … not.
Her gaze darted from him to the window. From the window to him. From him to the window … and each time she looked at him, she saw that he was watching her, fully enjoying her discomfort.
He grinned, and suggestively licked at the juices trailing from the sweet fruit, letting his tongue wrap around each section and making sure she saw him doing it. His eyes were dark, laughing, and half-veiled by heavy, thick lashes that did nothing to conceal the wicked expression that lit them.
The suckling noises increased.
“Stop it!” she hissed.
He dropped the orange section into his mouth, licked his lips with a slow, languorous motion, and slowly peeled off another.
The heat rose in Maeve’s blood.
“Would you like … a taste, madam?”
She raised her cutlass. “I’ll give you a taste—”
“No decisive battle was ever fought from afar,” he interrupted on a low murmur, still grinning. “Nay, two vessels must lie alongside of each other in order to best bring their guns to bear.” He bit into the orange, making lewd, evocative noises as the juice trailed from the succulent flesh and dribbled down his chin. There was a dimple in that chin, and Maeve felt her heart skipping, staggering, faltering. “We have a signal for such an engagement in the navy. ’Tis called close action.”
“You are no longer in the navy, and I am not a ship!”
“Nay, you are not …” His voice grew low, dangerously seductive. “But I like the cut of your jib, the trim of your sails”—the dark gaze slid over her breasts, the gentle flare of her hips—“the shape of your hull.”
“Get out of my bed.”
“Why? I really am most comfortable. Not as comfortable, of course, as I would be if you were to drop anchor beside me….”
Her skin tingled and flushed crimson. “I said, Get out of my bed!”
He suckled the juice from his fingers. “What, would you prefer to do it on the floor?”
“I’d prefer that you shut your mouth before I shut it for you!”
“Now that,” he said wickedly, “could be interesting….”
About The Authors
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Danelle Harmon started her career with Avon Books/Harper Collins in 1991, and has written sixteen books (with a seventeenth coming out in late spring of 2017). A recipient of numerous awards from RT/Romantic Times, Danelle and her family make their home in New England with four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and various other pets.
Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at Danelle@danelleharmon.com or you can find more information about Danelle at her WEBSITE
USA Today Bestselling, Amazon All-Star author Barbara Devlin was born a storyteller, but it was a weeklong vacation to Bethany Beach, DE that forever changed her life. The little house her parents rented had a collection of books by Kathleen Woodiwiss, which exposed Barbara to the world of romance, and Shanna remains a personal favorite.
Barbara writes heartfelt historical romances that feature flawed heroes who may know how to seduce a woman but know nothing of marriage. And she prefers feisty but smart heroines who sometimes save the hero, before they find their happily ever after.
Barbara earned an MA in English and continued a course of study for a Doctorate in Literature and Rhetoric. She happily considered herself an exceedingly eccentric English professor, until success in Indie publishing lured her into writing, full-time, featuring her fictional knighthood, the Brethren of the Coast. You can find out more information about Barbara at her WEBSITE
Kamery is not the person who grew up dreaming of the day that she would clutch her very own novel to her chest, tears brimming over the rims of her eyes as she thought about how she’d written it herself, finally! In fact, anything remotely like that didn’t even happen until she was actually holding her first book in her hand, amazed that she’d written it and wondering how on Earth she’d managed to do it when it hadn’t ever occurred to her to write one until months before. Surprisingly, though, it was just what she never realized she loved doing.
When starting out in life, Kamery had (and still has) big dreams to perform on Broadway. She loves music and acting very much, while she and dance have a love/hate relationship; she would love to do it and every form of dance decides it hates that about her, haha! The one constant she always had between the performing world and the book world were the stories, tales that transported her to other worlds and made her feel like she really could do anything. Finally, she decided she wanted to do that for someone else and sat down to write.
It’s been a few years since she held that first book, realizing that she really liked writing and wanted to do more, but the love that blossomed in that moment has only grown. Currently, Kamery works from home in Arizona, while taking care of her two adorable kids, a girl and a boy, and talking her sweet husband Jake’s ear off about the insane amount of characters in her head who are ready to fight to the death for a chance at their own novels. It truly is a wonderful life! You can find out more about Kamery at her WEBSITE
National best-selling historical romance author Katherine Bone has been passionate about history since she had the opportunity to travel to various Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals as an Army brat turned officer’s wife. Who knew that an Army wife’s passion for romance novels would lead to pirates? Certainly not her rogue, whose Alma Mater’s adage is “Go Army. Beat Navy!” Now enjoying the best of both worlds, Katherine lives in the south where she writes about rogues, rebels, and rakes—aka pirates, lords, captains, duty, honour, and country—and the happily-ever-afters that every alpha male and damsel deserve. You can find out more about Katherine and contact her at her WEBSITE
USA Today Bestselling author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word.
When Amanda is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family.
You can contact and find out more about Amanda at her WEBSITE
Award winning author Chloe Flowers is married and lives in a small Ohio town with her best boyfriend ever, three children and two dogs: Luke and Indie. She writes and historical adventure romance, small town contemporary romance and Women’s Fiction.
After many years in the corporate environment managing marketing promotions for major consumer products companies, running a gourmet cookie company, Chloe broke free from the cubicle to write full-time.
She’s always been a Parrothead, loves to write while listening to Celtic music and when life gets too serious she reads Calvin and Hobbes comics.
Chloe lives in Ohio with two rambunctious dogs, Indiana and Luke, who are named after her two favorite action heroes. You can contact and find out more about Chloe at her WEBSITE
Award-winning author Jennifer Bray-Weber is a proud native Texan. She is a married domestic goddess/beach bum with two beautiful daughters. The type to take on dares, she has been able to express her creative thinking through countless questionable, often hilarious, life experiences.
Her interests include writing, reading, traveling (what she likes to call “research”), horseback riding, scrapbooking, shopping, relaxing at the beach, and dares. You can contact and find out more about Jennifer at her WEBSITE
Exclusive Interview with the Authors of the Romance on the High Seas
What hobbies or pastimes do you partake in to relax?
Danelle Harmon : I’m not sure it’s “relaxing,” but we own, and occasionally breed, German Shorthaired Pointers, and I’ve been heavily involved in the world of dog shows for over thirty years. I’ve shown several dogs to their championships and one of our puppies, now nearly three, was named for the hero of my book CAPTAIN OF MY HEART (Brendan) and takes both his registered and call name from that dashing privateer. I showed Brendan to his championship last year and he’s my pride and joy and constant shadow. I also have a small skiff whose lines and design were taken from a late 19th century small craft which I enjoy sailing – it’s one of my passions. I also enjoy plane spotting, photography, and reading.
Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write in and why you are drawn to it.
Barbara Devlin : I began my writing career in the Georgian and Regency eras tied to the Peninsular Wars, because I just felt drawn to those times. I lived in London, during my undergraduate studies, and I toured the Naval Academy at Greenwich. Later, I toured Wellington’s home in Hyde Park, and I was hooked.
What historical period have you not yet written about, but would like to?
Amanda Mariel : I would love to write in the medieval time period, I have a book underway that is set during the medieval period and I am very much enjoying researching and writing it. However, it is only about one third of the way written because my focus remains on the Victorian and Regency. I work on the medieval in-between releases and hope to release it sometime late in 2018.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Chloe Flowers : A grossly underpaid volleyball coach. I have been coaching for almost ten years. I did the math once and discovered that when I divided the total hours into the pay, I was making about $2.37 an hour.
What is your writing environment like?
Kamery Solomon : I have a desk in my front room that I normally write at. It’s got a Himalayan salt lamp on it, plus some other stones and gems to help with creativity and anxiety issues. There’s also a small pot full of pens and markers and a gift a reader sent me. The walls around it are covered in erasable calendars, white boards, cork boards, posters of my book covers, old maps, ship models, and other odds and ends that I like having around for ambience.
Do you have a favorite place you have traveled to? Or perhaps a place you long to visit?
Jennifer Bray-Weber : The Caribbean calls my name. I’ve visited 10 Caribbean islands. St. Lucia, St. Thomas, and Barbados have been my favorites so far but there are hundreds more I want to see. Visiting Italy is on my bucket list.
If you could meet any person living or dead, who would it be and why?
Katherine Bone : I’d want to meet Admiral Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton! In a time when scandal meant the end to reputation and a place amongst the ton, these two lovers shrugged their shoulders at public convention and shared a deep passion no one understood.
Romance on the High Sea’s box set is out on 23rd May and available at Amazon and all related online stores.
*All excepts belong to authors and were kindly provided to Chicks Rogues and Scandals for this post. The interview is exclusive to Chicks Rogues and Scandals.
Tempted by the damsel in distress!
Captain James Warriner is startled to find a curvaceous beauty caught up a tree in his orchard! Despite his shattered leg, he rescues Miss Cassandra Reeves, then is determined to have nothing more to do with the enticing vicar’s daughter.
Except when Cassie seeks Jamie out to apologise, they find themselves persuaded to work together on her storybook. Secret liaisons with the dashing soldier make Cassie wish Jamie would rescue her once more…by making her his wife!
Jamie is tormented! On returns home from the wars severely wounded and severely depressed and I think he may have been a little bit suicidal at times. He is haunted by his experiences from battle, from his capture and from his past, now poor Jamie suffers. In his day-to-day life he has constant reminders of what he has gone through, he thinks that the life he had planned for, he life he desperately wants is over, why would a woman want a cripple? He keeps asking himself.
Jamie has a temper which is never too far from the surface and he can go off like a rocket at a moments notice, the only thing that has helped keep his sanity is painting. For a large tormented man he make the most beautiful pictures he is skilled with a paintbrush as any officer would be a rifle.
He has given up hope of a family of his own, he has given up hope of happiness and soon finds himself a dark place that is until he meets a beautiful witty and curvaceous woman stuck in a tree. Yes, you heard right – up a tree. He may have lost all hope, but he is still a military man with honour and he cannot stand by while the fair maiden is hazardously perched on a branch.
Cassie is as equally tormented as Jamie, she is living through her own hell she is stuck under the ever-present and resentful eyes of her father the Reverend Reeve’s. She is bullied abused and more often than not scared from the moment she wakes in the morning. Her only saving grace is her secret writing, the one thing that as long as it’s secret can’t be take from her. She too has lost all hope of happiness, then while picking apples pony she gets rescued by a knight in shining armour; her very own Galahad, true this knight has a foul temper and he grunts a lot but she knows that she has found herself a kindred spirit.
Soon Cassie and Jamie learn that they are just as scarred as each other and under cover of darkness, in secret from her fearsome father they start soothing both their wounded hearts by creating a children’s book. In the process they become closer and closer until nether of them can resist the attraction but will each of their demons rears it’s head to spoil their blossoming romance?
Move over Heathcliffe there is a new gruff, monosyllabic, tormented hero in town in the form of Captain Jamie Warriner. Oh my word! I was warned I would love him and he has more than lived up to the hype, he really is something special. He is a proud man who after serving his country with courage facing down more horrors than any man should face he is back and he is in pain, not just physically but he is trying adjust to civilian life but like a lot of soldiers today poor Jamie is struggling. I was drawn to him the moment I met him in the previous book “A Warriner to her” there is just something about this gruff but hugely sensitive man, that draws you in. Yes, he may be as stubborn as an OX – as well as built like one – but he has a good and kind heart, who needs a little love.
Our hero is battling unseen demons not just memories of his past as a front line soldier but of his experiences once he was captured all those different traumas shows them self on a daily basis and it is heart-breaking.
On the surface Cassie is a chirpy Lass, on a constant high forever smiling and she constantly babbles. I love how from the moment she sets her eyes on our Jamie she is forever referring to him as “My dashing pirate” or my personal favourite “Galahad”. Cassie holds a deep dark secret, one that she is too ashamed to tell anyone especially Jamie. She is stuck with her evil and abusive father the Reverend Reeve’s; who really is pure evil for a man of the cloth, he is got a seriously nasty temperament and personally speaking he ought to stop preaching at his daughter and the Warriners and drown himself in his own holy water. But then again, that may be too good for him. I have come across real bad and sadistic characters before but the Reverend Reeve’s does take the award for just how horrific he is. The way he treats his poor daughter is truly shocking.
“Which of those multiple questions would you have me answer first?” those glorious blue eyes locked on hers for a moment and he was almost smiling, which was devastating, until Cassie realised that he was smiling because he probably thought she was an idiot. A banking, blushing, ridiculous idiot.
“I know you think I am silly, Captain Warriner, I am well aware of the fact that I tend to babble.”
“I thought we had agreed that you would call me Jamie.” The stubborn ribbons finally came free and his hands finally left her skin. “And I sympathise on the babbling, when I am nervous I tend to grunt, which makes me appear rude when I do not mean to be.”
“You get nervous?”
“Have you heard me grunt?”
Yes she had, quite a bit. And he was smiling again….
Cassie’s story, like Jamie’s is so beautiful written and actual very to date, I like the fact that Heath has brought some very important, yet unspoken issues of today, such as PTSD and slavery and family violence into the plot. This makes it so much more than your regulated Historical Romance.
I think Heath has found her niche the way she has proven yet again that she is the master of the damaged and flawed heroes the way she portrays the vulnerability in Jamie is a work of art. I have said it before but I do love a fragile military hero, military men are very close to my heart so when ever I come across one in a Historical Romances I want realism, I don’t want raving and constant fighting that’s not the way of scarred military men they try to get on with their lives no matter what and Heath always gets her heroes psychological states spot on, she doesn’t over do it. Her character’s come to life right before your eyes you go on this journey with them and you are willing them on.
I don’t really rate my reviews but if I did this would be something nearing ten stars, it has everything you would want from an HR, perfect love story entwined with each of our leads personal troubles. It is a breath-taking assault on the senses, you will laugh out loud, cry like a baby and go into a rage that our Jamie would be proud of.
It is a powerful story with real heart, it is rock solid and I couldn’t recommend it enough this one has to be read.
This was an ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A Warriner to Rescue Her; book two in The Wild Warriners is out on 29th June and available from Amazon.
An indomitable governess…a brooding Highlander…a forbidden affair…
An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Holly her reputation, her unsuitable lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naive wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette’s solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off…while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.
A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It’s even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss—unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie’s life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan’s future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?
Rabbie MacKenzie hates the English, he is a self-confessed Jacobite and who was apart of the attempted Jacobite uprising only to have it fall through and making him flee his own country to the safety of Norway. Now he has returned and his clan needs him to do the one thing that he never thought he would have to do, the one thing that any proud Jacobite would never do – Marry an English Sassenach!
Bernadette, is the governess of timid and foolish young girl that has been betrothed to the Scottish brute, Avaline is like Rabbie she is coerced into marrying. Bernadette knows that these two are just no good for each other, he would bull doze his way over little Avalaline,, she isn’t strong enough to take on the brooding giant. So Bernadette comes up with a plan to try to get this betrothal called off and in doing so she begins to see Rabbie in a whole new light, she sees his vulnerability and out of the blue she falls for this fragile man.
Can Bernadette get this betrothal cancelled and what’s more will Rabbie and her be able to have their much need Happily Ever After?
Rabbie caught my attention from the first moment we met him in the previous book and you needed to get to know more about this man, about why he is how he is and he is well worth the wait.
Rabbie is a deeply troubled man he is on the cusp of alcoholism and depression, he is in a very dark and dangerous place. It’s heart-breaking to watch as he starts dropping further and further in to the dark and gloom and you do worry if even Bernadette can bring him back to the light. He is stressed and forced to marry against his will to keep peace, he is still very much in love with his childhood sweetheart that was brutally killed while he had to flee Scotland and it is that what has contributed to turning him into this dark and dangerous man.
London has got Rabbie’s depression spot, on she hasn’t over done it, she hasn’t pushed his suicidal thought’s and alcoholism into your face at every turn. Instead there is an atmospheric undercurrent throughout and it is so skilfully done.
The girl Avaline that Rabbie is supposed to marry is a timed little mouse, she is like a deer in head lights. She is a scared and naive little thing and so not good for Rabbie, she would let him walk all over her he needs a woman who has got some gumption and a brain and wit of her own that can match his strength and who can heal his fragile heart and mind.
Bernadette is a fiery strong woman, she is a woman who knows her own mind but deep down so well hidden she has a secret heartache. She is just like Rabbie, scarred and lonely and in need of love. She at first thinks him a dark large brute but as time passes she begins to see that there is more to that darkness ten mere grumpiness. There is a real beautiful moment when she finally sees his vulnerability and when he finally confesses all to her.
“For God’s sake, you are to be wed, you’re to start a new life. This is absurd!”
“This is what you want,” he said, nearly upon her. “As do I.”
“I don’t want this !” she insisted, but her words sounded false to her own ears. “You don’t understand,” she said, her voice trembling now. “I am standing on the edge of utter destruction, Rabbie . You stand on the edge of ruining a young woman’s life. Is this… this infatuation worth that?” she asked pleadingly. “You need to be with her now! We both must rid ourselves of the madness that has gripped us!” He put his hand on her elbow and drew her into him. He shoved his fingers into her hair, pulled her head back and kissed her hard.
Bernadette splintered. She rose up on her toes and gripped his arms as she returned his kiss with a ferociousness that felt quite unlike her. He was suddenly holding her so tightly that she could feel the thud of his heart against her chest.
“I want you, Bernadette,” he whispered into her ear. He roughly ran his palm over her hair while his gaze searched her face. “Aye, I do, I want you, and you want me. You betray your mistress. I betray a memory. We are both of us traitors, then, we are, but let’s no’ betray each other.” Her heart pulse was racing, her body craving him, her mind screaming its warning to her.
“It’s so wrong.”
“Aye,” he agreed. “But the desire exists between us, and Diah, we’ll neither of us rest until we’ve put an end to it.”
There is darkness in Rabbie that I havn’t come across in a Historical Romance hero before, he is a fearsome, monosyllabic giant of a man who doesn’t care whether he lives or dies, he doesn’t care what people think of him and he doesn’t care if his insults or upsets anyone. He is struck in his dark brooding world.
Bernadette picks up on his darkness right away, she is very wary of this giant Scotsman, she as never met anyone like him and yet she is inexplicably drawn to him; like a moth to a flame. With Rabbie he wasn’t interested in the young lass, it was just a duty that he has to do but yet as soon as he sets eyes on Bernadette he knows that there is something about this lass.
They are both severely scarred and have both lost so much in their lives, they have both got splintered hearts that need fixing. As unlikely a pair as they may be, Rabbie and Bernadette are really good for each other they know what the other needs and how to help them in their darkest hour.
London has out done her self with this and especially with Rabbie, she has created a highly complex and scarred man and I think that he is the best of London’s heroes to date. This story is heart wrenching, you go through so many emotions while reading this there are highs and lows that keep you on the edge of your seat.
This is an absolute masterpiece from Julia London, I don’t have enough good words to say about it. This has to be read, it is definitely a five out of five. Just amazing!
This was an ARC copy from the publisher via Netgalley.