LGBTQ Romance Book Reviews

How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead | #HowToMakeThePerfectMan #Review #SomeLikeItHauntedCollection |@MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead

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Hello, Sunshines, I am super excited to be sharing my release day review of the fabulously funny new Halloween novella; How To Make The Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. Firstly I want to say thank you to Catherine and Eleanor for the advanced reader copy. Now let me tell you all about this spookily good book.

How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Genre: M/M Romance,

Series: Apart of the Some Like it Haunted collection

Publisher: Pride Publishing/ First For Romance

Release Date: 27th October 2020

Love isn’t science. It’s alchemy.

Needing a date for the hottest Hallowe’en party in town, scientist Aubrey Waldegrave sets to work creating his perfect man. Unfortunately, the Adonis who emerges from his laboratory is a free spirit who has no time for Aubrey’s brogues and tweeds.

Alchemist Trismegistus Nimlet can turn anything into gold, but when his apocathery’s alligator starts talking back and his werewolf allergy leaves him sneezing, it looks like Halloween might be a washout. Worse still, is Tris really about to lose the chap he secretly loves to a manmade surfer dude who’s more flash than Frankenstein?

With werewolves leaving fur in the ornamental fountains and a banshee making enough noise to wake the dead, Aubrey’s Halloween is going from bad to worse. All he wanted was to make his perfect man, but what if he was right there all along?


Have you seen the cover?? Isn’t it fabulous, I love it!!


Excerpt

The figure lay inside a large glass tank in the middle of Aubrey’s laboratory. The water it contained was cloudy and white, luminous from the brightness of the lightning that filled the room at intervals. Aubrey leaned against the side of the tank and peered fondly at his creation.

At him.

Aubrey had put so much work into his creature, and soon—soon—he would have a man, fashioned by his own hands, as beautiful as Aubrey had power to imagine.

As the rain beat ever harder against the glass panes of his laboratory’s roof, Aubrey looked over at a fluttering dial that told him the lightning was at just the right intensity for his man to breathe at last.

He stepped back from the tank, then grabbed the handle of a huge brass switch. Still watching the dial fidget in its glass case, the needle advanced just enough, and Aubrey pulled down the handle.

A great sizzling tore the air, and Aubrey had to squint behind his green-lensed goggles. A bolt of lightning shot down from the inverted conductor that hung from the ceiling and arced into the machinery that stood next to the tank.

The tank’s glass sides cracked apart and the cloudy water burst across the floor. There, twitching on a wooden platform inside what was left of the tank, was Aubrey’s man.

Aubrey yanked off his goggles and stared in awe at the figure.

“It lives!” Aubrey cried. I’ve always wanted to say that. He took a step closer, clutching his hands, unable to tear his gaze away from the man before him. The man Aubrey had created. “He lives! Hurrah, I have a date for the party!”

He had never seen a creature like him. A bronzed god, his muscular frame shuddering as he drew in his first breath. The long-lashed eyelids opened and his creation parted his perfect, full lips. A moment passed before the Adonis said, “Woah… Dude. What a wild freakin’ ride!”

Aubrey tipped his head to one side. Had he really heard that properly? Had the thunder banging overhead dimmed his hearing?

But no. His Adonis had just addressed him as dude. Surely it was only a temporary glitch.

“G-good evening,” Aubrey stammered. “Are you comfortable? Can I get you anything? A cup of tea, perhaps?”

The creature sat up, surprisingly nimble for someone who had just been brought to life by a lightning strike. He looked down at his naked body, his eyes alighting on his own impressive manhood.

“Dude, I’m seriously hench. And hung!” He lifted his hand and waited, offering Aubrey a nod. “Hit me, bro! Yeah!”

Aubrey lifted his hand in response and waved, slowly. The man would have to learn how to greet people properly, but a raised hand was halfway to a wave. And physically, Aubrey had got it just right. The toned figure was perfect.

“Hello, my name’s Aubrey. And I’m calling you Adam.”

“Who’s Adam?” He slapped his palm against Aubrey’s. “I’m Kai, bro, good to know you. Woo! Yeah!”

“Kai? No, no…” Aubrey shuddered. What nonsense was this, interfering with his newfound Godlike powers of creation? “No! I’m your creator, and I’m calling you Adam!”

Kai—Adam—frowned then laughed, showing off his perfect white teeth. He slapped Aubrey’s shoulder as, outside, Aubrey heard the throaty purr of a familiar engine .

“Yeah, right. Adam!”

“But…but…” Aubrey pouted. Oh bloody blast it, it’s gone to pot again.….

*Excerpt is taken from publisher’s website, which can be found here – How To Make The Perfect Man.



Review

How To Make The Perfect Man is easily the funniest of all of Catherine and Eleanor’s books, (believe me I have read them all to date unless the ladies have sneaked one past me with me realising) this is a real hoot right from page one when Aubrey’s ‘Monster’ came alive, (even though I was expected the old line of; ‘It’s alive, It’s alive..’ I think I have been watching far too many Carry on’s a lately) I was in hysteric’s honestly a surfer dude Frankenstein that has an aversion to ‘proper’ clothes.

This is a very short and hugely satisfying read, and rather surprisingly the romance is a bit of a slow-burner, it isn’t; boom, right lets jump in bed, the build-up is sweeter and works perfectly with Tris and Aubrey’s love story.

Prim and proper Aubrey Waldegrave, the local lonely scientist is in need of a date for the annual Halloween party. He can’t go alone, what would people think? No, he must have a date but seeing as the one man he wants doesn’t look on him in the same way, he is a bit stuck. So our Aubrey does what any eccentric scientist does and makes his own, the time and effort to make his perfect man and then when the lightning bolt wakes his date….well, let us just say all goes wrong!

Instead of the sophisticated, classy and handsome chap, he planned, out pop’s well what can I say about Aubrey’s ‘Adam’ other than….put some bloody clothes on and actually button your shirt up!! It seems like Halloween is ruined before it’s even started, that is until glorious multicoloured coat wearing and shimmering Trismegistus Nimlet (Is that the best name ever?) turns up and with he brings certain magic which can only be described as Tris.

I was instantly charmed by Aubrey, he’s a stereotypical eclectic befuddled chap who likes nothing better than to wile away the hours, days and even months in his lap or a dusty library, but really all he wants is the love of a good man. Not any man, as we have seen, but one specific man. I could have wept with all those longing glances into the direction of our resident Alchemist.

Our poor old Tris has never got around to actually declaring his feelings for the handsome scientist, friends for forty years and neither knows that the other is madly in love with him. I loved Tris the moment he stepped out of that flashy car, he oozes charismatic charm and old-school gentlemanly elegance, no wonder our Aubrey is completelty smitten.

What is supposed to a good night out at the spookily brilliant Halloween party with a wonderful array of guests which do include a slightly tipsy fairy and a Bichon Frise fluffy werewolf (you have to be there ;-)) which turns into a hunt for their Adonis, aided by a talking stuffed crocodile and ends in love. Phew!!

This is perfect for making you laugh and escaping the chaotic real world for a short period of time, which is what Catherine and Eleanor are perfect at, no matter what is going on in the world you can always rely on the dynamic duo to put a smile on your face.

This is so much fun and delightfully enjoyable; friends to lovers novella. It’s original and unexpected and most importantly it had me giggling happily into the night. That is crucial, I love to be thoroughly entertained! I loved the romance between Aubrey and Tris – when they finally plucked up the courage and admitted their feelings – there is sparkling and shining magic in the air and it has nothing to do with Tris’ ring, your going to have to read it for that one 😉


Link

Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook | #BlogTour #Review #FinandRyeandFireflies #lovebookstours | @HarryCook @lovebooksgroup

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Hello, Sunshines, Thank you for stopping by, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this blog tour for; Finn & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook. I can’t wait to share this book with you, but first thank you to Kelly at Love Books Tours for my complimentary copy, now on to the book, I hope you love it as much as I do.

Finn & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook

Genre: Young Adult, M/M Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: Ink Road

Release Date: 12th August 2020

“It started with a kiss…as love stories often do. Jesse Andrews had the arms of a Greek god and he was on the track team. The night of our kiss fell on a Friday.”

Then, only a few days later, Fin’s world is turned upside down – and not in a good head-over-heels-in-love way – when Jesse cruelly outs him. An event which ultimately leads to his family leaving town.

But a fresh start isn’t going to change the truth of who Fin is. And it’s not going to stop his sexuality causing everyone all sorts of problems. Everyone, that is, apart from his new best friend Poppy, her girlfriend-in-waiting June, and his new crush Rye… So, while Fin and Rye are enjoying some seriously intimate moonlit moments together, Fin’s parents decide to pack him off to the local ReSouled ‘therapy camp’.

It’s a nightmare – and there’s no easy way out. Can Fin’s squad hatch a plan outrageous enough to spring him before the ‘conversion’ acolytes force him into the straight and narrow?

Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2Xv2YBt

***

Fin & Rye & Fireflies is an emotionally charged, inspirational and beautifully written book, Harry Cook has written a heart-warming coming of age love story that will stay with you for a long time.

At times it isn’t the easiest of reads, there is a deep and heavy feeling that you get from certain scenes, and the prejudice that these young men have to face is real and harsh, and has no place in our world. But it is written in such a way that it isn’t depressing or uncomfortable to read, it just gives the facts and tells the story. And it’s a story that is essential to tell especially with so much darkness in the world we need true love stories of brave young men who are discovering and showing the world who they are and who they want to be. It’s a strong message, one that I think many will be able to relate to and take strength from.

There is a lot of happiness and fun in it too, it has a certain playfulness about it that I really liked. I loved the relationship between Finn and Rye, they are an adorable couple, whenever they are in the same scene together it’s like a lightbulb has been turned on. There is a vulnerable side to them, especially Finn he goes through so much as he tries to find his feet and start being happy, it’s so heartwarming watching as he slowly comes out of his shell and starts to be the person he is.

My only fault with this is that for a relatively short book there is a lot in it and as it is a fairly fast-paced book, it did feel as though certain parts especially the ending flies past without you fully grasp it. I think that the overall plot could have very easily worked as a longer novel so that certain parts didn’t feel so cramped together and the author could have really allowed his talent for story-telling to shine.

But, that is just my opinion, and it takes nothing away from the fact that this is a charming story of true love and genuine friendship and that is what I will be taking away from Finn & Rye & Fireflies.

***

About the Author

Born in the UK, Harry Cook is an Australian actor and international LGBTQI+ activist. He has starred in major film, TV and theatre productions, including the lead opposite Geena Davis in Accidents Happen. In 2013, at age 22, Harry came out to his fans on YouTube. The video went viral and Harry became front-page news in Australia, the UK and the US. Harry lives in Sydney with his rescued English Bulldog Poppy.

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#Review | The Captain And The Baker (The Captivating Captains #7) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainandtheBaker #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @PridePublishing

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Hello, Sunshines! I am super excited to be sharing my review of the latest instalment of the amazing Captivating Captains series by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. I will be waffling my way through another attempt at a review, this time for the gorgeous; The Captain and the Baker. So as always grab that cuppa and cake – you will need a cake, believe me, I hope you fall in love with this book as much as I have.

The Captain and the Baker by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Series: Captivating Captain’s #7

Genre: M/M Romance

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: 25th August 2020

When a hot-tempered TV chef and a mild-mannered baker meet on the rugged Cornish coast, they’ve got the perfect ingredients for a red-hot snack.

Sweary and stressed celebrity chef Jake Brantham is the captain of several floating restaurants. When he’s sent to the idyllic village of Porthavel to turn a pirate ship into the next gastronomic sensation, it’s the last place on earth he wants to be.

Locryn Trevorrow is the bakery king of Cornwall. From the humble pasty to a wedding cake fit for a mermaid queen, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the art of baking. He lives in a cosy world of gingham and ganache, but at night he goes home to his smugglers’ cottage alone.

When he’s adopted by a lost kitten, Jake soon discovers that there’s more to Portavel than cream teas, lobster pots, and the annoyingly fastidious Locryn. As the village prepares for the wedding of its favourite young couple, Jake and Locryn find themselves as unlikely matchmakers for two locals who’d given up on love.

Torn between the call of Hollywood and the kisses of Locryn, will Jake choose a mansion in Beverly Hills or a cottage on the Cornish coast?

***

If I had to pick just one series that I could read until the end of days, then this would be the one. I have love, love, loved these Captivating Captains right from day one. I eagerly anticipate each new Captain, which I devour it, I love it and then at the end go through a spell of cold turkey awaiting my next Captivating Captain fix and on it goes with every book, and the further into the series we go the more hooked I become.

Poor Catherine and Eleanor, they must be getting very tired of me bleating the same shameless bright-eyed, obsessive adoration for this series. I must be getting quite repetitive now after seven books, but I can’t help myself, I just feel the need to shout as loudly as possible for all to know just how much I love this series, and just one more thing; ladies you can never, ever stop writing these books, ever. I would be completely lost! There I’ve said it, I’ll move on now and actually talk about this book with cutie-pie Loc and hot-headed Jake.

So, as you may have gathered from my rather embarrassing love note at the start of this review, this is the seventh book in the Captivating Captain’s series – wait, seven!? Wow, where has the time gone? I remember each one as though I read them yesterday. For those who haven’t discovered the brilliance that is the Captivating Captain’s every book is completely different from the next. Different era’s, setting’s, characters, the only connection is that each one has a gorgeous Captain taking centre stage. So take your pick, I’m not going to recommend that you start with this one or that one, all I’m going to say is; your bookshelves NEED some Captivating Captain love. That’s it, simple!

Drat, I’ve gone and spent half an hour writing waffle, again, ah well, I’m sure everyone is used to my incessant babble by now.

Righty-O, back to the important stuff…

This time we are back in captivating Cornwall with a very prim, proper and passionate baker who has very …shall we say…colourful imagination where cream horns are concerned. (I will never look at that particular confection in the same light again) and one of the most foul-mouthed chef’s you have yet to meet, me think’s our Jakey would give a certain ‘Ramsey’ a run for his money with the swearing, my goodness that swoonsome, leather jacket-wearing chef is a cauldron of fire and brimstone….phew, it’s a wee bit hot around here!

These two are the complete opposites, chalk and cheese, sour and sweet; one being pleasant and unruffled with glorious arms…sigh; glorious, gorgeous arms…and the other is growly and sweary with surprising gentleness, and yet they really work together. When around each other there is a shimmer in the air, playfulness and a little cheeky banter. And I love them both! The story is told out through Jake’s perspective which works fabulously as we do get a ‘feel’ of the real Jake quite early, but – and this is the only negative thing I will say about the book – I would have loved to occasionally read Locryn’s perceptive on certain situations too, that’s just my personal view.

City boy and incredibly sweary chef; Jake is stressed to the hilt, he is under pressure and under doctors orders to slow down but being a celebrity chef with a new TV show to film, that ain’t going to happen, especially when he must transform an old pirate ship into a classy and successful floating restaurant as he has done in the past with huge success. But the catch here, he is on a deadline and he has to do in time for a wedding. And another reason which is shooting up his blood pressure is a certain dashing and irritatingly proper baker. Jake would love to be anywhere else but in quiet Portavel, being surrounded by giant fibreglass cod’s, chirpy bakers and villagers who just happen to dislike him (at first)and being constantly harassed by a demoness of a producer.

Yup, our laddo is stressed, but thankfully he starts seeing that there is far more to this little fishing village then he originally came to think. And far more to the very polite, passionate and plummy toned, perfectly turned out, baking artist; Locyrn, the king of all things Cornish and the man who just happens to make Jake’s heart (and other places) go all a flutter with his ‘Goshs’ and ‘Fiddlesticks’.

I love the secondary match-making plot, that smoothly runs side by side to Locryn’s and Jake’s story and with it, we get to really see the softer, kinder and thoughtful Jake, the real Jake which he likes to hide behind the furiously raging and vile tongued celebrity chef persona. Plus that aspect of the story gives our lad’s the perfect chance to really get to know each other as they plot, expect lots of tongue in cheek flirting, sweet endearments and lots and lots of food. I think I went up a dress size just reading, all those pasty’s, cream buns and the bread…I am in bread heaven!!

The Captain and the Baker is a sweet, saucy, scrumptious and surprisingly very short love story. I love the second chance feel to it in regards with Jake, to me he starts off a little lost and then with Locyrn’s and little Dorothy’s help he is ‘found’. The setting is beautiful, with the briefest hint of sadness within the village. A great selection of colourful characters feature throughout, some you instantly adore and want them to be happy and then there is one in particular who you love to hate – thank goodness she hobbled off, leaving the rest to breathe freely.

This is such a great feel-good, delightful, cheerful and endearing read, which is full of real village charm and some very saucy, blush-worthy moments, I was laughing and sighing in equal measure.

Yet, again another winner from the dynamic duo, I am super excited to see what comes next!

This was an Arc via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed. Thank you, Catherine and Eleanor! xx

***

Pre-Order Link

#Review | The Captain And The Prime Minister (Captivating Captains #6) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainAndThePrimeMinister #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @PridePublishing

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Hello, my Sunshines! I am super excited to be sharing my review of the latest instalment of the amazing Captivating Captains series by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. I will be waffling my way through another attempt at a review, this time for the gorgeous; The Captain and the Prime Minister. So as always grab that cuppa and cake – you will need a cake, get comfy and enjoy!

When a devoted prime minster has a second chance at romance, he discovers that love is love on Downing Street.

Captain Tom Southwell has swapped bullets for babies and works as a manny at one of the world’s most famous addresses. Behind the doors of Downing Street, he cooks dinner, puts the children to bed and is the prime minister’s best friend.

Alex Hart is the prime minister Great Britain’s been dreaming of. He’s dedicated, caring and has a conscience. He’s also a widower with two small children. The last thing he can let himself do is fall in love with the manny who has held his family together.

When an old flame from Tom’s past gets in touch, Tom’s first instinct is to keep him at arm’s length, but hell hath no fury like a yoga teacher scorned. As Alex fights to push a life-changing bill through Parliament, the tabloid vultures are circling. With rumors swirling about the prime minister and his gorgeous manny, every shark in Westminster senses blood.

Will Alex put love ahead of duty, or will the most important man in the country be the loneliest, too?

Happy Dance Alert!!

Another Captivating Captain book has landed and as per usual the ladies do not disappoint, you know what that means; time for me to dance happily around like a wonky spinning top on way too many sugary sweets. (Yes, while writing this review did, in fact, involve devouring a whole share bag of Jelly Babies) This one has such a sweet old fashioned romance feel to it, the two leading men are perfect for the roles Catherine and Eleanor have written them in; as the star-crossed friends who eventually become lovers; and what charming – and may I say, well endowed? (You know me by now, I can never write a review without mentioning a well-formed bottom or a shapely set of arms) – lovers they make.

Dishy Captain Tom Southwell, after hanging up his rifle and uniform for good, he now is the widowed prime minister’s nanny – or ‘manny’ as the papers have named him. While taking care of the equally dishy prime minister’s two little adorable tearaways, aptly dubbed the Mini-Harts, Tom begins to see his ridiculously attractive boss in a completely different way – it’s those blue, blue eyes – isn’t everyone susceptible to a set of handsome blue eyes? Or maybe it’s the arms? ….Sigh!! Or maybe it’s just me and my overly active imagination?

But really Alex is such a charismatic man, who has this old school charm about him, plus a hidden naughty mischievousness which compliments Tom’s bold, romantic and vivaciousness perfectly – really who doesn’t love a man who is so at ease with his own nudity.

But Tom knows that he can’t take his crush on his boss further after all the guy is straight! So its a bit of a surprise to Tom to find that Alex is attracted to him too, but how can they explore their newfound love when Alex is in the midst of a parliament bill battle and the sudden appearance of an ex, who doesn’t like to hear no?

I was completely pulled into the lad’s little romantic bubble, Tom and Alex are an adorable couple; Alex is so tentative, shy and unsure of himself, he is full of doubts and I think at the beginning he is still full of confusion over his growing feelings for Tom and there is a little guilt in there where his late wife is concerned. Should he have told her he also liked men? Would she approve of how he wishes to live his life? Tom is a rock of support and encouragement, over the past four years he has been the unwavering supportive shoulder that the little family needed when Alex’s wife died, Tom is the voice of honesty and clarity, he never pushes or forces anything. No matter how much he wants to have his wicked way with the Prime Minister in the shower, Tom never allows his lustier raunchy thoughts override his gentlemanly side, the side that takes each milestone with Alex one step at a time. But when they do give in to their more baser needs it’s well worth the wait and so wonderfully done, it’s not super saucy like a lot of the previous Captains books, their bedroom antics is mild but those moments are still full of total love, cheekiness, flirty wit and respect.

I particularly loved how Alex’s situation was handled, a straight widowed father of two who for the first time in his life he is accepting and embracing who he is and Tom’s patience with Alex is so touching and loving. He, after all, knows what he wants, he has already done the whole ‘coming out’ moment in his life, so he can understand Alex’s feelings, he knows that for Alex their relationship won’t be an easy one. Coming out after a long relationship as a bisexual man is one thing, but our Alex is the most powerful man in the country where his every move is watched and scrutinized, where any sniff of scandal at such an important moment in his career could be the turning point for the country as he teeters on verge of pushing his new bill through parliament, that is one of the key factors of the whole book and it is all written so beautifully, you can feel Alex’s raw passion for what he believes in through the story, which is quite something indeed as the whole book is written through Tom’s point of view, yet Alex’s presence and his opinions are so strong throughout.

This has got to be the most sensitive, gentle-paced and emotional book of the entire Captivating Captains series, instead of; Boom, let’s rip off the clothes and jump into bed for a good old romp at the mere whisper of a saucy glance, this is a slower more tentative and tender romance that builds up steadily as their love and trust in each other grows. I always thought that I preferred faster-paced plots, but as always the ladies have proved me wrong with this book as everything about this just works. Every aspect of the story from the character’s, their own personal histories, the hurdles they have to overcome, plus the addition of the cutest four-year-olds that anyone could ever meet, all wrapped up with that instantly recognisable Curzon Harkstead flare and marching under the beautiful ‘Love is Love‘ banner, then you have yourselves am charming and hugely appealing true- love story.

This book is definitely more about the emotional conflicts of a new and complex relationship, which shows off Catherine and Eleanor’s writing at it’s very, very best, there is no other author who can compare to these two amazing ladies! I best leave my overly enthusiastic gushing there, otherwise, I will go on all night about how bloody brilliant they are!!

Just a slight warning though, you may never look at a courgette in the same way again 😉 who knew that preparing vegetables for dinner, could be so….suggestive?! Ouh, La La the innuendo’s in that one little scene!

Overall, an original, delightfully sweet love story, another winner for our award-nominated, dynamic duo.

This was an Arc via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, Thank you, Catherine and Eleanor. xx

#Review | The Dishevelled Duke by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheDischevelledDuke #ALittleBitCupidCollection @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @PridePublishing

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Hello Sunshines! I am so super excited to be sharing with you all my review of the charming; The Dishevelled Duke by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead, which is apart of the A Little Bit Cupid Valentines Collection, so grab that cuppa, a large slab of cake and enjoy!

Will a photographer be swept off his feet by a duke who’s more dishevelled than dashing?

It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s Billy last shift at The Chelsea Bunn. His photography career never took off, so it’s time to leave London, parcel up the leftover heart-shaped cakes and head back home to Hampshire.

Rumpled Charlie and his two mischievous dogs are Billy’s favourite customers, so when Charlie turns up at closing time with a mysterious wrapped gift and the offer of a whirlwind trip on the London Eye, Billy can’t say no. But Charlie is keeping a secret that could turn Billy’s world happily upside down.

As the snow falls over London and the big wheel grinds to a halt, Billy discovers that wishes aren’t just for Christmas.

***

A Little Bit Cupid Collection

Cupid is aiming his arrows and we’re all aquiver! Whether it’s a second chance at love or a whirlwind small-town romance, these stories are all about falling in love on Valentine’s Day.

Pride Publishing

***

Time to do the overly enthused happy dance, we have another Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead romance in the house!! How much do I adore these ladies? I do love these short seasonal stories which Catherine and Eleanor are so good at treating us all to, they are just perfect for those moments when you crave for something delicious and sweet, so instead of reaching for yet more Jaffa Cakes (honestly, the number of Jaffa Cakes I consume I am going to end up looking like one) I now reach for a Curzon/Harkstead story, which is far more delectable and long-lasting and far more addictive. The only thing I have to worry about is letting one’s tea go cold…. I really have gone completely off-topic, yet again!

So, The Dishevelled Duke is a very short story, set over the course of one day; Valentines Day to be accurate and it is apart of the appropriately named; A Little Bit Cupid Collection, which is a collection of short Valentine’s day stories written by an array of authors – each one looks so good, so I hope you will go and check out the other’s in the collection too.

As you would have gathered it’s Valentines Day in London, Billy who is as cute as a button is having to leave the bright lights of London when his photography career refused to take off, his hopes and dreams shattered he decides that now is the time to return home to lick his wounds, which means giving up his job as a barista in the brilliantly named; The Chelsea Bun – how much do I love the name of that little cake/coffee shop? and that also means leaving the object of his unwavering secret affections, his favourite customer; the handsome if deliciously unkempt; Charlie. Who suddenly turns up with a mystery parcel under his arm (but what is in the parcel??) just as Billy is closing The Chelsea Bun and saying a sad farewell one last time.

Delectable Charlie and his two gorgeous and immensely huge dogs have been visiting the bun every day for the past year, always sitting in the same spot and just enjoying a hot drink while reading the paper of doing the crossword – as you do! But he has secretly been admiring the hot little barista all along and trying to work up the courage to ask Billy on a date. Honestly, these two are the cutest, I adore their blossoming romance each one is very reluctant up until this point to even test their mutual attraction and yet once they open that door you know that these two are for keeps, but there is a little thing Billy doesn’t know and that is our dear, dishevelled Charlie has a wee bit of a secret….and what a bobby-dazzler that is!

Oh, gawd, did I honestly just write bobby-dazzler??

So with Charlie determined to send Billy off with a lasting memory we embark with the lads on a snowy rush through the city to the London Eye, but will a turn on the eye reveal more than just an eagle-eyed view of London to the boys, or will plans and futures change?? Well, you know me, I ain’t going to tell you what happens or what secrets they are both holding from each other, your just going to have to read it. But, I will say that you will sigh deeply into your mug of hot chocolate while ramming an iced bun into your mouth…it has to be done!

As always Catherine and Eleanor have written another winner, honestly they could write a dinner menu or a phone book and I’d be happy…did I mention how much I adore these ladies? The writing is as always flawless, it’s got great pacing sometimes with very short stories they can at times feel a little rushed, but not with this one, it moves along perfectly as we all make a dash across London.

The Dishevelled Duke is a delightful, charming delicious little romance with a wee twist and quite unusually for a Curzon/Harkstead romance there are no steamy scenes, I know!! Shocking, but to be honest this didn’t need a romp in the hayloft type of scene it is like it’s leading men; perfect exactly how it is.

This was an arc copy via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed. Thank you, Catherine and Eleanor. xx

The Dishevelled Duke is to released on 11th February.

#Review | The Captain And The Squire (Captivating Captains Series ) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainandtheSquire #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @PridePublishing

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Hello my wonderful Sunshines, on this grey and blustery day! I am soooo excited to be sharing my review of the next Captivating Captains novel….squeals!!! Not only will I be boring you silly with my babble which after reading the review back does seem to focus a lot of bottoms, but I also have an exclusive excerpt for you all to devour, so settle in grab that cuppa and cake, and enjoy!!

A sexy city boy and a country squire will set the countryside alight!

Tarquin Bough is a tweedy squire with an ambitious fiancée who controls his every move. He’s also the owner of the finest collection of saucy artefacts in the world. From Christine Keeler’s eyelash to the Virgin Queen’s dildo, they’re all safe in Tarquin’s care.

Christopher Hardacre is a city-slicker with the tightest jodhpurs and the most smackable bottom in London. He’s given up the rat-race for a country life as captain of the village rowing team. The only trouble is, he’s lost his money to a ruthless scam and Bough Bottoms is his last hope of a home.

But Chris hasn’t reckoned on his late uncle’s will. The house comes with a sitting porcine tenant and if Chris can’t look after his newly-acquired pet pig, he’ll lose his inheritance and his last chance at happiness.

When Tarquin sees Chris it’s lust at first sight, but dare he be honest about his feelings in a village where being gay is bound to be a hot topic? As soon as Chris and Tarquin get together, it’s the hottest summer this little corner of England has ever known.

With a scheming local hotshot out to turn the beloved pig into sausages, can the captain and the squire save everybody’s bacon?

Amazon / Goodreads / Pride Publishing

***

Exclusive Excerpt

Tarquin yawned and stretched in his deckchair. Although most of the blossom had gone from the orchard, blown away by the storms in late spring, it was still a beautiful place to sit in the evening. He took a mouthful of brandy and scratched the head of the pig who was snuffling at the grass beside his chair.

Now look here, Oracle!” Tarquin held up the length of carved wood that he had been nursing on his lap. “The craftsmanship is second to none.”

The Oracle seemed to be listening, even if she was still busy hunting for truffles. But over the contented snorts of the pig, Tarquin heard the music from next door rise in volume and yet another car revved in the private lane outside his house.

His new neighbor had arrived.

The bastard.

The car doors slammed and the sound of braying laughter carried on the breeze as yet more visitors arrived to greet—who? Who was it who was moving into the Hardacre house anyway? Who was it who’d had removal vans and tradespeople coming and going for weeks to the empty house? Who was responsible for the smell of fresh paint and the sound of hammering and drilling from that tottering, crumbling pile where the late Beardsley Hardacre had lived for his one hundred and three years? Who had landscaped that wild garden?

Who was it who had arrived by nightfall not quite twenty-four hours earlier and was apparently already throwing a party?

And why had this interloper made no effort to claim the Oracle of Delphi?

Your new mummy and daddy have arrived, my friend,” Tarquin told the pig, his voice soft. But as another toot and another bray of laughter reached him in his formerly tranquil orchard, he rose from the chair, fire in his tone as he declared, “And I’m going to have words!”

Tarquin ran across the orchard and, his brandy in one hand and the carved wooden length in the other, took the fence in a single bound like a steeplechaser.

The evening air was torn by that most dreadful of sounds—the cry of ripped corduroy trousers.

Now in the Hardacre garden, Tarquin cast a glance back at the fence, where a ragged square of golden-colored corduroy waved back at him like a tiny flag. It must’ve caught on a nail, but instead of going home to change, Tarquin was too inflamed with rage to turn back, and instead plunged on through the garden.

And what an improvement it is!

What had once been a tangle of brambles amid a sea of grass that would have hidden an army was now a manicured lawn so flat that it could have been a golf course. Bright bursts of color sprang from well-tended borders and for the first time in years Tarquin could actually see the banks of the river that ran along the bottom of their neighboring gardens. How strange it was to think that such a beautiful view had been hidden all these years, but the cantankerous old gentleman who had lived here far longer than Tarquin had even been alive’d had little time for gardening. He had been too busy with wine, women and song for that.

And whoever was now in his house seemed to be of similar appetites, Tarquin realized, as he rounded the corner and froze on the edge of the patio.

Everyone appeared to be in swimwear, or something resembling it. Tall, elegant women wearing sarongs and high heels with their jewelry chatted with handsome young men in shorts and little more, each of them holding a fizzing glass of champagne, each of them exuding money and confidence and…the city.

A huge hot tub that bubbled on the patio contained yet more of the incomers, tan and braying and so bloody loud and one of them, he knew, must be the new master of Hardacre Grange.

It had to be the man whose braying laughter was louder than anyone else’s. The man who seemed to be holding court in that absurdly overstated hot tub.

The only one wearing sunglasses on an evening that required no such thing.

Tarquin strode straight up to the hot tub and bellowed, “Which of you ruddy coves is in charge here?”

The chatter fell silent but the thump of the music, of course, did not. The man in sunglasses took a leisurely sip from his glass of champagne and said, “That would be me, squire. Why don’t you grab a glass and hop on in?”

Tarquin shook with fury, the brandy slopping up against the brim of his glass. “Hop in? Hop bloody in? The bally cheek of it—I don’t bathe in public with strangers!”

Oh, you’ve brought your own booze, I like it!” He lowered his sunglasses just a little and peered closely at Tarquin’s other hand. “And you appear to have also brought a large wooden penis. Is that a traditional welcome in Bough Bottoms? Hello, old man, here’s a penis from all of us on the parish council!”

The partygoers guffawed that braying laugh, every eye now focused on Tarquin’s hand.

Penis?” Tarquin thundered. Then he recalled the antique object in his hand. “This? This is a Tudor dildo! It belonged to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I herself!” Tarquin wagged it under the nose of the man in sunglasses, because surely the man couldn’t see properly wearing Ray-Bans in the dusk.

Although Tarquin could see his new neighbor very well, smarmily grinning at Tarquin from under his arrogant flop of blond hair. Tarquin wasn’t going to admit it, but the fellow was in exquisite form, with swimmer’s shoulders and toned arms that Tarquin would have happily spent hours squeezing like a shopper deciding on a grapefruit. And that angular jaw was worthy of a statue, finished off with a square chin that Tarquin would never tire of nibbling on.

Not that he would. Tarquin threw a furious glance at the woman chortling at his new neighbor’s side.

Married. Has to be. Bugger it.

Or sadly not.

A Tudor dil— oh, just a minute!” The man pushed his sunglasses up into his hair, his welcoming smile evaporating. “You’re Bough! You’re the man who did Great-Uncle Beardsley out of Prince Albert’s ceremonial Prince Albert!”

No, I bloody didn’t! It’s mine!” Tarquin stamped his foot. Oh, my dander’s most definitely getting up! “And besides which, you could at least extend the courtesy of pronouncing my surname properly. It’s Boff, to rhyme with cough, not Bow as in bough as in part of a tree! It’s bloody Anglo-Saxon and if my ancestors weren’t conquered by the Normans, I won’t be conquered by a bloody blow-in Yuppie like you, accusing me of theft, who’s got a bath on his patio like a peasant!”

A collective intake of breath sounded around the patio. And where had the patio come from anyway? The last time Tarquin had glimpsed the back of the neighboring house before the brambles had claimed it, this had been a mud pit.

An eyesore.

But the man who now rose from the water of the hot tub was certainly not an eyesore.

Bloody hell, he’s no old Uncle Beardsley.

Uncle Bea said you were a Bow,” he said in a plummy sneer. Then he grinned and held out his hand, as though Tarquin weren’t juggling a glass of French brandy and Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dildo. “Christopher Hardacre. You can only be my new next-door neighbor. You’re exactly like Bea said you were in his letters. I feel like I already know you!”

Tarquin shoved the dildo into his pocket, its curved end poking out like a rhino horn. He held out his hand. “Your Uncle Beardsley was a dreadful old git—never got on with him, and he always pronounced my name wrong just to rile me. I’m Tarquin Bough, as in cough, and that’s the end of it. Christopher Hardacre, eh? My new neighbor!”

As Tarquin shook Christopher’s square hand, his gaze wandered down the planes of Christopher’s dripping chest, down to his muscular stomach and those wet shorts that clung to his every contour.

My other dander’s up now, blast it.

**Excerpt provided via the publisher’s website**

***

I love, love, love, love this book!! Can I put anymore ‘loves’ in that first sentence? I know, I know, I say the same every single time I read a Captivating Captain book, but I can’t help myself this series is just…..well, I am unable to say, as I think I have used every word that has been listed under amazing in the thesaurus…hmmm, went slightly off subject.

Anyway, Just when I think that this series has peaked and it can’t possibly get any better, and I have found my new love and favourite, then boom! The ladies-only go and pull out another winner and turn me into a melting, withering and babbling wreck, yet again, but this is too damn good!! It is in times like this when I need my heart-eye emoji’s to say what I can’t seem to put in words. Honestly, I don’t think that I have the adequate vocabulary to really do this amazing book the justice it deserves, but I’ll give it a darn good shot.

There are so many things that I want to say about this, and yet I don’t want to give away too much – I would rather hint and intrigue then give spoilers. But like all of the Captivating Captains series, this has everything that I look for in a good romance, it has the perfect mix of enigmatic character’s, sizzling chemistry, lots of fun and laughter, love to hate villains, a wonderfully original plot, plus the sharp, clever and very English wit which we have all come to know and love about this series.

When his elderly neighbour dies, Tarquin Bough – alias the very naughty ever so slightly kinky Squire – meets the new Hardacre to grace their little village of Bough Bottoms, Tarquin is all set to hate his new neighbour as there had been a small neighbourly war going on between the Hardacre’s and the Bough’s, but when our Squire meets sexy, confident and constantly unbuttoned Christopher Hardacre sparks fly and trousers rip (literally). For Tarquin it is an instant attraction, he feels proper raging lust for the first time, yet with his fiancée Petunia back at Bough Towers and who insists on wearing the trousers for him, his secret lust and desperate yearning to really get to know their new neighbour may not be as easy to accomplish as he hopes.

Oh, goodness me, that first meeting between Chris and Tarquin is hilarious, I was up most of the night giggling away with that first chapter which is full ripped trousers, lot of bottom showing, super tight swimwear; which leaves very little to the imagination and a squire brandishing an Elizabethan dildo; that alone ensures for some very tongue in cheek, hilarious and very, very cheeky banter between our boys, something which carries on throughout. These two are the best, I love their instant attraction, the trust they place on one and other, I love their chemistry it doesn’t just sizzle it steams up the windows with a mere peacocking, cheeky glance… I will never look at a simple barn or a shower cubicle in the same way again….phew!

City boy and newly named Captain of the rowing team; Christopher has moved to Bough Bottoms with the hope of making a whole new life for himself, a slower life, unfortunately, our golden-haired, fine bottomed Christopher has been through t’mill, after being caught in the snare of terrible con he is now broke, Bough Bottoms is his saving grace, Well it would be if it wasn’t for a certain clause in his late uncle’s will, basically, there is a pig and said pig has Christopher’s fate and future happiness in her trotter, because if Christopher and the cute as a button Oracle of Delphi don’t get along then its goodbye Christopher.

The Oracle of Delphi, what a brilliant addition to the story, I love that a pig is such an important part of the plot, there are some very funny and very touching moments where the Oracle is concerned, especially with Christopher. But, it’s not all sweetness and sexy jodhpur clad bottoms, there is a dastardly villain in the village, one with a plan and whom wants to serve our Oracle with apple sauce….the absolute cheek!!

There is a slight different feel to this one that the previous ‘Captivating Captains’ didn’t have, nothing bad just a little different, it’s a lot more saucier then the other’s that’s for sure. I love how it’s written predominately through Tarquin’s point of view, I really liked the way that Tarquin’s personal story is written how he knows he is gay yet for his own reasons won’t actually come out and say it openly, he doesn’t want scandal or to be the only gay squire in Bough Bottoms, I think he just lacks the confidence to actually be himself, and this is what Christopher does so perfectly, he shows Tarquin how happy he can be if he just allowed the saucy Squire to come out and once he does, there is no locking him away again.

The Captain and the Squire is an excellent, gloriously funny and sexy romance, the tongue-in-cheek humour, great banter and brilliant interaction between all the characters is perfect. The writing is as you’d expect from Catherine and Eleanor strong, witty, immensely clever and entertaining. Even the villains are brilliantly written – there is one that in particular, which I just loved hating – this character definitely mad me want to ‘boo’ and ‘hiss’ every time they were in a scene – which makes it all sound very pantomime-ish, but this is far, far better than sitting through another version of Aladdin for a start there are far more cheeky winks, pig wooing and well-shaped thighs and bottoms (Its official, I have a perversion for fine rear ends, someone help me)

I don’t think I have to say how much I loved this book, do I? Because I did, I thought that I was ruined with Guy the Pilot in The Captain and the Best Man and of course my beloved Captain Thorne from The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper, but this has galloped in right to the top.

If you love a jolly good ride through the country with two scandalously seductive gent’s then you need to read it!

This was an Arc copy via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you, Catherine and Eleanor. Xx

The Captain and the Squire is available from today, do go and grab yourself a copy, it’s definitely worth it!

#Review | The Captain And The Best Man (Captivating Captains Series) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainAndtheBestMan #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @PridePublishing

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Hello Sunshines, I am super excited to be sharing my review of the latest gorgeous Captivating Captains book; The Captain and the Best Man by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. Have I been looking forward to this book, or what? Not only will I be sharing my review of this fabulous book, but I have an exclusive excerpt for you all. So settle in, be prepared for a fair amount of gushing, grab your cuppa, a cinnamon bun and enjoy.

When Josh meets handsome airline pilot Captain Guy Collingwood on a sun-kissed island, he finds out what flying first class really means!

When Josh leaves the rainy shores of England for the sun-drenched tropical island of St Sebastian, his biggest worry is remembering his best man’s speech. But a chance meeting with dashing airline pilot Captain Guy Collingwood leads to a hot and raunchy holiday romance.

Guy’s everything Josh is looking for in his ideal man. Mature, dashing and confident, he’s also single and more than happy to show Josh the pleasure of St Sebastian. Yet Guy’s unruffled demeanor hides a past regret. Is the wedding of Josh’s best friend about to reopen a painful chapter that has never fully closed?

As a fearsome tropical storm threatens the island paradise and a broken family threatens Josh and Guy’s happiness, the stakes have never been higher. Can St Sebastian work its magic to heal past wounds and will Josh and Guy’s holiday fling take flight?

Pride Publishing / Goodreads / Amazon / First For Romance

***

Exclusive Excerpt

The farthest Josh had ever traveled before was Magaluf. He glanced at his boarding pass again as he headed to the departure lounge, still not quite believing what it said.

Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Nine hours on a plane.

At least I can have a nap.

Josh trundled his cabin bag through Duty Free and left with aftershave and sunglasses that he wasn’t sure he needed. Then he found a café, the perfect place to camp out with a book and kill time before the flight. Half-asleep, Josh clambered over other people’s luggage to join the queue.

Nine hours in steerage.

The cafe’s prices seemed only slightly more reasonable than the eye-watering first-class ticket that Josh couldn’t afford, but he could treat himself at least. An array of elaborate, decadent pastries filled the glass-fronted cabinet, tempting any travelers who were about to submit to airline food, and Josh was happy to surrender to their charms. It was a nice way to start the holiday, after all.

Where are all these people going? he wondered idly as he waited to be served. Screaming babies, excited gaggles of students with packs on their backs, stressed-looking business types and children zooming around making plane noises, all of them ready to escape the autumn drizzle.

Josh ordered a latte, then selected a cinnamon bun from the pastries on offer. It was the last one, a complicated twist of pastry zigzagged with icing and dark with cinnamon. He’d never seen a bun like it.

“If that’s really the last bun, you’d better hope you’re not on my flight,” a plummy voice announced from behind Josh. “Or I’ll make it a bumpy landing.”

“It’s the last one,” the young woman who was serving Josh said with a comical pout, a red flush creeping over her throat. “Sorry, Cap!”

Cap?

When Josh turned to face the man behind him, his fringe swished into his eyes. He brushed it away with the back of his hand as he looked up.

Bloody hell.

There behind him in the queue was a pilot clad in the sort of immaculate uniform he could only have dreamed of—every button shiny, every seam straight, his hat at a perfect angle on his head. But Josh barely noticed because his gaze was drawn to the pilot’s handsome, chiseled face.

“I…erm…sorry! I don’t mind having an almond croissant instead, if you’ve got your heart set on a cinnamon bun.”

“Well it is my birthday,” the pilot told him, his expression somber. Then he blinked his blue eyes and smiled. “But I’m a nice fellow, so take it. It’s my treat.” He looked to the woman behind the counter, who was beaming at him, Josh entirely forgotten in the wake of the Cap. “Throw me something nice with pistachios into a bag and a huge cup of tea, please! I’m paying for His Cinnamon Munching Majesty here, too. And something for you as well, of course! Happy birthday to me, eh?”

Josh smiled. A stranger—a pilot, no less—was footing his bill. “You really don’t have to!”

The bright lights of the café picked out discreet flecks of silver in the pilot’s hair and Josh couldn’t look away. The man was so effortlessly confident and self-assured. Radiant. And at this time of the morning, too. “But…if you insist. And—happy birthday, by the way.”

“Thirty again.” The pilot grinned. “I’ve been thirty for about nineteen years now, but don’t tell anyone.”

“Do you keep a portrait in your attic or something? You’re never—” Forty-nine? Josh stopped himself before he announced the man’s age across the café. “I’m thirty next year,” Josh volunteered, though he had no idea why.

“Happy early thirtieth.” He chuckled, handing a note to the woman. “Take my advice and always claim to be thirty next birthday. It’s a good age to be, even for nineteen years.”

Josh chuckled. “And what if I claim to be twenty-nine again next year? Then I’ll always be a year younger than you!”

Always? Josh glanced away. You don’t say always to the man stood behind you in the queue, who’s about to fly off to God knows where. Josh looked instead at the bottles of syrup along the shelf and caught the pilot’s reflection in the mirrored wall behind.

What a smile.

“It’s a deal,” was the reply. “Maturity is vastly overrated, after all.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Josh turned back to the pilot with a grin. Why not? If he was straight, the bloke wouldn’t notice he was flirting. “Maturity can be very nice indeed.”

He heard the tinkle of coins as the pilot dropped his change into the tip cup. “Well, this birthday’s getting better. No cinnamon bun this morning, but you’ve more than made up for it.”

They stood at the end of the counter, waiting for their drinks.

“Is it your favorite?” Josh asked. “I honestly don’t mind relinquishing it. Seeing as it’s your birthday. That bun does look amazing, but so do all the others.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it!” The pilot nodded toward a brightly decorated paper bag on the counter. “Whatever’s in there will be just as tasty. Besides, I can always have something special when you and I go out to dinner. If you’d let an old reprobate like me take you to dinner, that is?”

Stunned, Josh rubbed his tired eyes and blinked. “I’m not imagining things, am I? You did just invite me to dinner?”

“Don’t tell me you’re flying out of Blighty for good?” The pilot’s grin grew more mischievous. “I’m off on a bit of a jolly once I clock off but I’m safely back on British shores in a fortnight. What do you say?”

“I’d say very definitely yes. I’m going to my friend’s wedding, but I’ll be back in a week. So…once you’ve returned from your jolly, let’s meet.” Josh’s face began to ache from smiling. He added, “I’m Josh, by the way.”

“Guy,” he replied. Guy. How well the name suited him. Guy the pilot. Guy with the immaculate uniform and blue eyes. Happy birthday to Guy. “Hello, Josh!”

Not knowing what else to do, Josh held out his hand to shake. “Hello, Guy.”

Gorgeous Guy. 

Who was about to hop into the cockpit and fly off who knew where.

Guy took Josh’s hand in his own and shook it. Josh was barely aware of the drinks arriving, his placed on the tray with a clink of crockery, Guy’s in a takeaway cup. When Guy released Josh’s hand, he reached into the well-cut jacket of his uniform and took out a silver pen.

A fountain pen, Josh noted. Just right.

“Let me give you my number,” Guy said. Josh resisted the urge to tell him he could put it straight into his phone, because there was something about that dark blue ink and the swirl of handwriting as Guy wrote on one of the napkins, something wonderfully traditional. Romantic, even. “There you go!”

“Thanks.” Josh carefully laid the napkin on his tray. “Enjoy your flight. And your jolly, Captain Guy.”

“Enjoy the wedding.” Guy gave a little bow. “And my cinnamon bun.”

“I intend to!” Josh said. “We’ll speak soon.”

With another flash of that brilliant smile Guy picked up the cup. He raised his cap momentarily to Josh, then picked up the bag and said, “Happy flying!”

“Bye!” Josh waved.

Why did they both have to go their separate ways so soon after meeting? But Josh had Captain Guy’s number. They’d meet again, he knew it.

He watched Guy stride away across the wide expanse of gleaming floor. He wasn’t the only person watching, Josh knew, but he was the one with Guy’s number.

Dinner. How could I say no to that?

In a daze—partly brought on by an early start, but mainly due to the last few minutes of his life—Josh took a seat at a table. He put down his tray and tore a piece from his bun. It really was delicious, the pastry melting on his tongue and the—

His table jolted as a little boy in a striped T-shirt accidentally barreled into it.

“You okay?” Josh asked, but the child ran off. Josh shrugged and went back to his bun, only to discover that the child’s impact with his table had sent his coffee sloshing over the side of the cup.

And it had saturated the napkin.

Guy’s phone number, written with such crisp elegance in fountain pen, was nothing now but a smudged, smeary watercolor. Josh carefully peeled the napkin off the tray and stared at it, trying to decipher the blurred mess. He could just about see a seven… It definitely started with a zero. And there was a three…or was it an eight?…at the end.

The number had gone. Lost. Just as suddenly as Captain Guy had entered Josh’s life, he had left it.

Oh, well.

It had been a nice little fantasy while it had lasted. The HR manager and the airline pilot. And now a fantasy was all it’d ever be.

**Excerpt provided via the publisher’s website**

***

How much do I love this series? Honestly, l don’t have the adequate words to fully describe how much I love this series, I could say the usual; glorious, splendid, fabulous – but they don’t really do it justice, maybe I should just stick with heart-eyed emoji’s and swooning gifs? Those would probably be easier to read than my waffle, which is what I do whenever I get my hands on another Captivating Captain.

The Captain and the Best Man is book four in the Captivating Captains series, as I always say they are stand-alone stories, the only thing that connects them together is that there is a ‘Captain’ in each one, each book is as different as the next. So if you are new to the series, you can pick up any and start reading straight away and I cannot say it enough how much I recommend these books.

Isn’t it everyone’s fantasy to be swept off their feet by a gorgeous man in uniform and to be flown away to a romantic island in the middle of nowhere? Sound’s amazing right? Well this is exactly what happens to Josh, there is minding his own business waiting to fly off to be best man at his mate’s wedding, when all of a sudden is he accosted over the last cinnamon bun by this charming, sexy as hell silver fox in – yep, you guessed it – uniform. I may have died and gone to heaven there and then! In fact our Josh thinks the same, he is utterly amazed that this gorgeous, suave and very gentlemanly pilot with the voice like chocolate would be interested in a run of the mill HR manager, with very floppy hair like him, but he is, which begins the start of what is a whirlwind frolicking romance on a Caribbean island.

Our Captain Guy is one enticing chap indeed, he definitely knows the way to a girl’s – or should that be in this case; boys? – heart, from the moment he wrote his number down – yes actually takes a pen and writes his number on a napkin, which is unheard off now isn’t it? – for Josh, I knew that this fella was something special…plus the fact that he’s in uniform, honestly I am beginning to sound a little obsessed! He is a proper gent, and he certainly knows how to woo, this is how you steal a heart!

Once they reach the beautiful island of St Sebastian Guy and Josh don’t waste any time at all getting to know each other, they really are a randy couple, I’m exhausted just by reading, I love that it’s very passionate and tender sex between them, it doesn’t overshadow the story in any way, it’s written so beautifully that even though they are at it like a couple of rabbits on Viagra, you get a real sense of just how much they mean to each other, even though they have only known each other for a short period of time their love for each other and the chemistry between them leaps off the page.

But, it isn’t all sunshine in paradise for our adorable couple, as there are storms coming – and I’m not just talking about the tropical one about to hit the island. There are deeply ingrained heartaches that arise which our couple must work through too, a lot to ask for a brief holiday fling, but what happens when they are back in old Blighty, well you’re going to have to read it and find out what happens and what the unexpected twist is.

I adored this one! There isn’t a single moment I didn’t love, everything is perfect, I loved ‘floppy-haired’ cutie-pie Josh, dazzling uniformed Guy, the story, the setting, the romance, the banter, the twist that occurs – which I won’t be talking about, as I refuse to spoil any part of this gorgeous book 😉 everything is just perfect! This could be my favourite of all the Captains, except now after admitting it, I feel like I am cheating on my beloved Captain and the Cavalry Trooper – how could you do this to me ladies?

This is such a great addition to the Captains series, I loved the cheeky, flirty, sexy and fun banter between Guy and Josh, they had me giggling away well into the early hours. The plot is pure escapism, it’s a fantasy we all have dreamed about at one time or another and lucky bugger Josh (or as our Captivatingly cheeky Captain has dubbed him; Josh with the poets hair, it’s not just me who has a love of a heavy fringe on a man) gets to live it.

A glorious romance, that will whisk you away.

This was an Arc copy via the author’s, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you, Catherine and Eleanor. xx

The Captain and the Best Man is to be released on 3rd December and can be pre-ordered now.

#Review | The Captain’s Flirty Fireworks (The Captivating Captains) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainsFlirtyFireworks #CaptivatingCaptains @MadameGilflurt @eharkstead @PridePublishing

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Hellooo, my lovelies! I am so super excited to be sharing my review of the latest Captivating Captains story; The Captains Flirty Fireworks by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. So, park yourselves in your comfiest chair, grab that cuppa and a toffee apple and enjoy getting to know Rob and Ollie, I can tell you now, that your going to love them.

When a hunky fireman and a gorgeous gold medalist meet on Guy Fawkes Night, sparks are sure to fly!

For fireman Rob Monteagle, this Guy Fawkes Night seems like it’s going to be anything but fun. After all, who wants to spend the noisiest night of the year saving careless cats from trees or rattling a fundraising bucket at Longley Magna’s annual bonfire, the pride of the village’s bad-tempered old retainer?

For Ollie Tresham, the night isn’t looking any better. He might have won gold in the Olympic showjumping ring yet he’s still expected to meet the public at his dad’s charity fireworks extravaganza. But when a rogue rocket heads straight for the showjumper, it takes a quick-thinking fireman like Rob to save the day.

As the flames of the bonfire smolder, Rob and Ollie’s night is just getting started. And it’s sure to go with a bang…

Amazon / Goodreads / Pride Publishing

Here it is, the brand new Captivating Captains…..Squeals!! **Dances a happy, if slightly clumsy jig**

There is nothing better then sitting down with a cuppa and diving into another Captivating Captains story, honestly I live for the moment when I get another Captain in my hands, my birthday has definitely come early – uniformed and jodhpur wearing men what more could I want? (Hmm, that sounded a bit perverse, but I don’t think anyone expect anything less from me)

As always this book is apart of the Captivating Captains series, each one are stand-a-lones, they only share the fact that there is a hunky ‘Captain’ in there somewhere to tempt us away from reality….something which isn’t hard to do where I am concerned, I think everyone knows by now that I have a one track mind, I just can’t get enough of these delicious, luscious Captains. Set over the course of a few hours on Guy Fawkes Night, this is a very short story, we go from flirting in a pub, saving a life – and a cat, to romping in the bedroom – phew, I’m exhausted just reading….but our boys have a lot of stamina, I’m pretty sure they can keep up with the pace.

Fireman, Rob Monteagle having recently moved to a quaint little village is about to face one of the busiest nights of a fireman’s schedule; Guy Fawkes Night, before donning his uniform ….and sigh! Do I really need to say more than; dishy fireman saving cats from trees, to tempt you? The night ahead has bucket rattling, fireworks, bad-tempered; but hugely funny old Tresham ranting about clipboard welding firemen and young excitable children – I know sounds like hell on earth, right? Well it would be hell, that is until Rob umps into Jodhpur wearing, Olympic gold medal winning show-jumper; Ollie Tresham, who puts a flame to Rob’s practically dormant libido. Really who wouldn’t feel a flurry of lust when seeing that fine specimen of a man waltzing around in his “leaving little to the imagination” Jodphurs 😉

Ollie isn’t looking forward to the night a head any more then Rob is, he must show his face at his father’s charity fireworks bonanza, he may be the star Olympic athlete but that doesn’t mean he wants to be the poster boy of his fathers grand night, but he is a dutiful if reluctant son and does as is expected of him. He fully thinks that this night is going to go along the same lines as the previous Guy Fawkes, oh how wrong he is, as his night starts with fireworks of a completely different kind when he meets a luscious, tempting fireman who shows that he far more then a handsome face, he is a genuine, bona-fide hero ….yes, there is a bit of swooning moment, when Rob shows us all just how heroic he is!

I adore that first proper meeting between Rob and Ollie; sitting in the pub bonding over a drink, there is a crackle in the atmosphere around them they just gel together like peas in a pod. The banter between them is fabulously fast and witty, I love how incredibly cheesy and funny they are, they seem to bounce off each other and when they finally reach the bedroom you have the customary flirtatious wit and a sizzling ‘steaming up the windows’ sexiness.

These two are a wonderful couple, Ollie is such a good looking chap, he knows it yet he’s not arrogant he is just very aware of how he looks and who he is, he is fun and a little cheeky whereas Rob is such a cutie, handsome, serious, proud and cheeky. There are moments where he reminds of someone, a person who loves a well form male backside in a pair of fitted jodhpurs – oh, ok he reminds me of myself!

The only thing I will say against it; is I did wish it was a little longer as I would have loved to really get to know both Ollie and Rob and to have more of the glorious Tresham senior – honestly he is a real hoot, I was happily giggling away as he ranted about health and safety and clipboard wielding firemen – Nevertheless it is an excellent read, for such a short story we get a real insight of the character’s personalities, I love the transition that they both go through from meeting to the end, which is so lovely.

If you love a quick romp around the bonfire, with two sinfully attraction and sexy men (yes, I do realise how that sounds) then this is the book you, just like a firework; it’s sparkly, explosive and glittery and ends with a bang.

This was an Arc from the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Catherine and Eleanor! Xx

The Captain’s Flirty Fireworks is to be released on non-other than 5th November, and can be pre-ordered now and I definitely say go and grab it.

#Review | The Low Road by Eleanor Harkstead #TheLowRoad @e_harkstead @PridePublishing

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Hello my lovely friends, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of; The Low Road by Eleanor Harkstead, which is a gorgeous little story, perfect for curling up with a cuppa and couple of biscuits, enjoy.

Can a lonely driver and a tragic hitch-hiker cheat both time and death?

One night in the pouring rain, Alex stops on Gallows Hill to pick up a hitch-hiker. But when the hitch-hiker vanishes from the passenger seat, Alex fears for his sanity.

Then he discovers that Gallows Hill is a place filled with ghosts—of smugglers, witches and highwaymen.

And a young, tragic hitch-hiker named Joe.

When Joe appears again on Gallows Hill, Alex dares to hope that they can cheat both time and death. But how can there be a future for them when Joe is trapped in a few minutes of a rainy night forty years before?

What a lovely little story this is, I was fascinated by the premise of this from the off, it’s quite an unusual love story but I knew that if there was one person who could pull off a living/dead romance then Eleanor Harkstead is the author to do it, and by jove does she pull out a original and beautiful little romance out of her hat.

The story opens one stormy rainy night with Alex driving along a deserted road called; Gallows Hill, he is a bit low in spirits, I felt a real loneliness pouring off Alex even his mother senses it from him as she tries play cupid and set him up with a nice young man she knows. Alex is a bit in limbo where it comes with relationships, then when on the road he spots a hitch-hiker through the rain spattered windscreen, it is an encounter that changes everything for Alex. I love how in those few moments when Alex and Joe first meet there is a real spark between the two men, Alex enjoys the ‘younger’ man’s company, but only for Joe to completely disappear from a moving car. I mean literally poof, now you see him and then he’s gone, but where has he gone? Or more importantly was Joe even in the car in the first place?

I real feel for Alex, he thinks he may have found a guy who he enjoys being around, and who he feels very comfortable with and then all of a sudden he’s not there, Alex is confused and a bit perplexed, he thinks he might be going a little mad, but when Joe appears again on the same stretch of road, Alex knows that this is real he has formed a real connection with very adorable, all smiley Joe, and at the same time he knows that there is something not quite right going on here, which is when he starts to investigate Gallows Hill and Joe the hitch-hiker.

In such a short story there is a lot of emotion, it’s not just a wham bam, I have fallen in love with a ghost, story, there is a bit of intrigue. I particularly love how Alex is desperate to know more about the young man who appeared beside the road, the young man who even in such a short space of time stole Alex’s heart. It is a weeping moment when we all learn what happened to Joe, yes he’s dead, but what happened to him?

The ending is so lovely, it goes full circle, we not only find out what happened to Joe, but the past and the present entwine themselves together to form a wonderfully engrossing story. I love the fun and cheeky banter between Alex and Joe, they flirt, tease and wink their way through their shared part of the story, they are such a cute couple to get to know. The writing is solid, its a real skill to be able to achieve such wonderful character and emotional development in such a short story. Even though I wish there was more, I loved where it ended, this is a splendid love story.

This was a Arc copy from the author, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Eleanor. x

The Low Road is to be released on 15th October, and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

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Review | The Captain and the Theatrical (Captivating Captains Book 3) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainAndTheTheatrical #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt

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Hello my lovely friends! Have I got a wonderful book to share with you all today, or what? I am so excited to be sharing my review of The Captain and the Theatrical, which is the third book from the Captivating Captains series…..squeal!!! I think anyone who follows me, will know how much I love this series, be prepared for waffling…so grab a cuppa and maybe a packet of biscuits and enjoy.

FROM MULTI-PUBLISHED AUTHORS OF GAY ROMANCE, CATHERINE CURZON AND ELEANOR HARKSTEAD

Book three in the Captivating Captains series

When Captain Pendleton needs an emergency fiancée, who better to turn to than his male best friend? After all, for Amadeo Orsini, life’s one long, happy drag!

Captain Ambrose “Pen” Pendleton might have distinguished himself on the battlefield at Waterloo but since he’s come home to civvy street, he’s struggled to make his mark. Pen dreams of becoming a playwright but his ambitious father has other ideas, including a trophy wife and a new job in America. If he’s to stand a hope of staying in England and pursuing his dream, Pen needs to find a fiancée fast.

Amadeo Orsini never made it as a leading man, but as a leading lady he’s the toast of the continental stage. Now Cosima is about to face her most challenging role yet, that of Captain Pendleton’s secret amour. With the help of a talking theatrical parrot who never forgets his lines, Orsini throws on his best frock, slaps on the rouge and sets out to save Pen from the clutches of Miss Harriet Tarbottom and her scheming parents.

As friendship turns into love, will the captain be able to write a happy ending for himself and Orsini before the curtain falls?

Finally, its here!! *She says jiggling about like someone with ants in their pants* The long awaited next instalment of the gorgeous ‘Captivating Captains’ is here, am I excited about finally getting my hands on this or what? Patience is not my strongest quality, it feels like an eternity since I had my last Captain fix, honestly, poor Catherine and Eleanor, they must be pretty tired of hearing my constant whining of “I’m so excited’s” and “I cannot wait’s”….I have bored myself…Anyway, it’s here woo-hoo!

This time we are in the Regency era, Captain Ambrose Pendleton (Pen) having just returned from the battle of Waterloo he is shocked to find that his father has arranged a marriage for him, in fact not just a marriage but he has planned out Ambrose’s future, which consists of him leaving England and everything he knows to marry a stranger, move to America and turn his hand to industry. All poor Ambrose wants is to follow his heart and write, while perhaps floundering around in the sea with a certain Italian, not that I blame him at all, Orsini is wonderful and he has the best wardrobe any woman could ever want, I was cheering him on at every turn, follow your heart Ambrose! …anyhow, Ambrose is a dutiful man, as much as he doesn’t want to leave and me hitched with a spoiled little girl he wouldn’t dream of going against his father that is until his good friend Amadeo Orsini comes up with a brilliant plan to release him from the vicars mousetrap.

Ah, Orsini what a fabulous creature you are! Thespian Orsini has made a name for himself – or should that be herself – on the stage in the guise of exotic, vivacious and striking Cosima, she is loved by all where ever she may go she has become the most sought after actress to tread the boards. Orsini and Ambrose have been good friends since meeting while Ambrose was on his grand tour, he is not about to see his good friend be forced into something he doesn’t want and be sent far, far away. Oh no, the tempting Italian has other plans for his darling Ambrose, But how to extricate him from the clutches of the Tarbottom harridan? – or as Orsini says; ‘Tarrow-Bottom’ – why, with a performance that would earn him a Olivier off course.

And this is when the fun really starts! Imagine it; A Derbyshire house party, A set of vile American’s (no offense to my lovely American friends, I know you not all vile ;-)) a actor who just happens to explode on to the scene dressed as a woman announcing her undying love for the brooding Captain and who has very saucy thoughts regarding his gold military sash 😉 a cheeky parrot who sets his eyes on the lady of the house and amongst it all you have a theft….ouh la la! I don’t think I can take anymore excitement…wait, oh yes I can, especially when Ambrose and Orsini finally declare their feelings…honestly I thought they never would, but it was well worth the wait, because these two are just too adorable for words.

I adore Ambrose, even though he has had flings in the past while in the army I think that his feeling’s for Orsini confuse him, he is a worrier, he is undeniably attracted to Orsini as both himself and as Cosima but he is afraid about what his friend would make of his attraction to him….Ambrose, you really don’t need to worry!

But alas as much as I adore both Ambrose and Orsini/Cosima the star of this has to be Pegolo, yup, the sarcastic, clever and brilliantly hilarious parrot has stolen the show and teamed up with the equally brilliant Mrs Pendleton, well we have a fabulous comedy duo….honestly where else would you see a married older lady walking about with a parrot propped on her shoulder?

This book holds some of the best character’s I have come ever across, not only in the shape of our two romantic leads – who in themselves are absolutely adorable – but the supporting cast are brilliant, from the very amusing Mrs Pendleton, who sees far more then she lets on, to the brilliantly funny Pegolo (this parrot needs a show of his own, he is fabulous) and the ever so slightly vile Tarbottom’s (I can never say that name with a straight face, I’m stifling a giggle now as I write, I can’t help it.) there was something about the Tarbottom’s that really made my skin crawl, and yet I couldn’t look away, which goes to show how much skill there is in this writing.

I love this, there isn’t anything I didn’t like, even though the start was a little slower then expected, with surprised me, but once the reason behind Ambrose’s slight melancholy is revealed all makes sense and I think the slower more thoughtful start is perfect for Ambrose and Orsini and their story. The chemistry and passion between our leads is wonderfully tantalizing and tender, those little glances they cast each other made my heart melt. I loved the little theft twist away from the romance, it builds up slowly and as you read you begin to wonder….hmmm, now is something going on here? I loved the investigation then ensures to find the culprit.

This really has everything I look for in a historical romance; beautifully portrayed lead character’s who you can get behind from the start, a wonderfully original love story with an unexpected sub plot. It has a real whimsical feel about it that made me think of fairy tales, and the humour, my goodness this is so much fun to read, there are some real laugh out loud moments…..Yes, I did a fair amount of giggling an sighing… I definitely think me and Orsino are two peas in a pod, especially whenever he thinks of a certain Captain in those fitted trousers and tall military boots…sigh!!

This is enchanting, it’s fun, romantic, original, the perfect escapism from the real world, I have said it before but I’m going to say it again…I love it!

This series just goes from strength to strength, each is as different from the next as you can get and with the constant love is love message tightly ingrained in each one there is nothing not to love about the Captains. Plus with another planned for later this year and fingers crossed more after…I’m not hinting, OK, I am, I need more Captains…. I am going to be in Captains heaven….or as excitable as a hyperactive spinning top, I may need sedating.

This was an Arc copy via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Catherine and Eleanor xx

The Captain and the Theatrical is to be released on 3rd September and can be pre-ordered now.