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#Review A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead @MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead @PridePublishing #MMRomance #AlateSummerNightsDream #ContemporaryRomance

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Today I have the very great pleasure to be sharing my early review of ‘A Late Summer Night’s Dream’ by the wonderfully talented Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon.

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 79 pages

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release: 19th February 2019

Among Oxford’s dreaming spires, can a widowed professor and a wide-eyed scholar make their own dreams of love come true?

Simeon Shakespeare is living his academic dream. As an Oxford scholar, he spends his days in libraries and whiles away his nights at the theater. A mix-up over a seat number leads to a very awkward first act, but that’s nothing compared to what happens when the lights go up.

Professor Anthony Meadows is finished with love. Shattered by the death of his husband, he divides his time between his book-lined study and Oxford’s theaters. The last thing he needs is an annoying research student bickering with him over who should sit where.

When Anthony and Simeon discover they have more in common than a shared love of the Bard, it looks as though the stage is set for romance. Yet with the memory of Anthony’s lost love keeping the professor from moving on, can Simeon’s love mend his broken heart?

Pride Publishing / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

I do love reading these two fine ladies work, whether its historical, contemporary or even supernatural (Read The Captains Ghostly Gamble ;-)) Curzon and Harkstead together are such a treat for the romance reader and this is a wonderful addition to their ever-expanding CV.

A Late Summer Night’s Dream is another wonderful novella, set in picturesque Oxford. A love-at-first-sight tale, which sees a young wide-eyed, who is living the scholarly dream, who meets a handsome, widowed professor at the theatre.

I love the concept of this one; meeting a gorgeous stranger who not only dresses well but smells divine – which is so important, don’t you think that they smell nice? And could very well be ‘the one’ because of a mix up with seats at the theatre, giggling and joking through a bad performance of ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ all the while having a hard-boiled sweet chomping woman beside you giving you the evil eye, and finally ending up in the pub sharing a pie supper; just how perfect is that? Now, that is my kind of date! But there is more to this merry little, exceedingly English tale then getting to know one an other over pie and peas there is a real sadness to the tale that pulls at the heart-strings.

When scholar Simeon Shakespeare (Great name!) arrives at the theatre a tad late he finds a nice smelling, suit wearing gorgeous man sitting in his seat. The nerve of the man! But is it his seat, really of has there been a mistake on Simeon’s part? Honestly it can happen, believe me. But the seating mistake is soon pushed behind him as he and the god beside him soon find that they have a lot in common, and as happens in this case one thing leads to another and after the play and a meal they head off to Simeon’s.

Simeon has just come out of a not-so-happy relationship with a man who claimed him to be boring, honestly the nerve of the man, he finds peace in trips to the theatre, in disappearing into books. He isn’t looking for love but he knows that the moment he sets eyes on the gentlemanly Anthony that this is the man for him. He senses there is something about him, there is sadness behind those pearly blue eyes. A sadness that Simeon would love to help heal and which makes his heart bleed for him.

Professor Anthony Meadows is attempting to regain his life after the terrible loss of his husband four years earlier to brain cancer, Anthony knows that Iain; his late husband wouldn’t want him to disappear into his shell, he would have wanted Anthony to carry on and live again; which is the reason why he finds himself at the theatre that night. Anthony is shocked that gorgeous, vivacious and young Simeon would want to be with an older guy like him. As soon as meeting the young scholar; Anthony begins to feel himself enjoying himself again, he is flattered by the attention but he is also confused by that and feels he is betraying his late husband’s memory and he can’t take the relationship further. It is at this point where you think “No, what the hell are you doing Anthony, you fool. Get back in there, Simeon’s brilliant!But never worry, all will come right in the end.

The budding relationship between Anthony and Simeon is so lovely to see blossom, each of them have initial issues, Anthony especially. Not only because of his sadness over his late husband but also because he is very aware of the large age gap between them, that aspect of the story along with Simeon’s patience and how he encourages Anthony to just be himself is so beautifully written.

Curzon and Harkstead just gel together, there is always something very special about their writing. Plus it always is so very realistically and wonderfully English in tone, I could hear Anthony’s plummy tones in my mind as I read – which to me oddly enough sounded something along the lines of a younger James or Edward Fox, weird I know! With a realistic plot, witty and sensual dialogue between the characters this is a charming and delightful read, that ended far too soon.

Definitely another winner!

This was an Arc copy from the authors in exchange for an honest review; Thank you Catherine and Eleanor!

A Late Summer Nights Dream is to be released on 19 February and can be pre-ordered from Amazon; links at beginning of review.

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#Review – The Captains Cornish Christmas (A Captivating Captains Story #4) by Catherine Curzon (@MadameGilflurt) & Eleanor Harkstead (@e_harkstead) #CaptivatingCaptains @PridePublishing

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A Captivating Captains story

For a lonely Cornish lifeboatman and an author who’s more used to crime scenes than love scenes, this Christmas is going to be very merry indeed!

When Jago Treherne agrees to man the Polneath lifeboats one snowy Christmas, he knows he can forget turkey and all the trimmings.

Yet when he boards a seemingly empty yacht and stumbles upon sexy Sam Coryton enjoying an energetic afternoon below decks, Jago soon realizes that he might be unwrapping a very different sort of Christmas gift this year!

My View

I always get very excited whenever a new ‘A Captivating Captains’ book is out, I have been avidly following this series from the very first book and I’m always giddy to see what is to come next. As always, I jumped at the chance to read this one, and as always I was not disappointed, not only is the cover gorgeous, but the story is pretty good too 😉

The Captains Cornish Christmas is a short novella, set in gorgeous Cornwall and revolves around the Captain of the Polneath lifeboats; Jago Treherne. What surprised me about this and what was different from the other’s in the series, is that instead of being split POV between the leads this story is told more through Jago’s perspective, which I found quite endearing especially as Jago is – for me, the star of the whole book and I really enjoyed seeing the story play out from Jago’s perspective.

Jago is spending this festive season on duty, he is manning the lifeboats and has no expectations of celebrating Christmas – except maybe at the end of his shift he will go home have a cuppa with his very spoilt cat; Peregrine – Isn’t that a great name? Yet when the weather begins to turn, he comes across the what looks like a yacht in trouble, which actually turns out to be the Morveren owned by best-selling author and child hood friend; Sam Coryton. Once on board he finds to his embarrassment that Sam isn’t in trouble at all – well only if he counts falling head over heels, crashing to the floor and ending up butt up on the floor with a black eye, which is very funny – he is in, shall we say a rather intimate position, that leaves poor Jago feeling rather hot under the collar and a tad embarrassed 😉 Sam has moved back to Polneath after becoming tired and a bit world-weary of London life and he is trying to escape a family Christmas. When ruggedly handsome Jago unceremoniously barges in on him, it is like a gift from the gods and he fully intends on making the most of his good fortune.

Jago is by far one of the most adorable character’s from the whole series, he is uncomfortable, shy and a tad lonely, plus not to mention his self-confidence issues. He believes that the glittery, handsome as hell and overly confident Sam would never look twice at an ordinary, gruff and rough around the edges, salty sea-dog like him. But that is where he is so wrong, from the moment when we first meet them you know instantly that there has only ever been one man for Sam, every other relationship has just been a stop-gap, he is the kind of man that he needs someone in his life.

What I love about this series is that each one is different, you don’t have to read them in any order as they are all stand-a-lone stories. Each one is as different as the next, every aspect of romance is covered so no matter what genre you read there will be something everyone will love.

The Captains Cornish Christmas is a charming, witty and sensual romance. The story progresses quickly right from the off there is a buzz about Jago and Sam. I love the difference in their personalities, Sam is far more relaxed and confident in his own skin whereas Jago is more reserved and shy, that is until they are behind closed doors, then he shows his hidden lusty side. The thing that I particularly love is the dialogue between Jago and Sam, they are very open with one another, there is no hidden agenda’s with them and at times it is wonderfully cheesy, plummy and very Cornish – courtesy of Jago, who actually reminds of the characters from the TV show Doc Martin.

Another winner, really these two wonderful ladies can do nothing wrong in my book, the writing is as always perfect and highly enjoyable. It’s sweet and sexy, with the best laugh out loud moment’s – the beginning on the yacht is a corker.

Highly recommended, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

This was an ARC via the authors in exchange for an honest review.

The Captains Cornish Christmas is to be released on 11th December and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble (Captivating Captains #3) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

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When a ghostly dandy and his roguish companion try their hand at matchmaking, things definitely go bump in the night.

For centuries, foppish Captain Cornelius Sheridan and brooding John Rookwood have haunted the mansion they duelled and died for. Now these phantom foes must join forces to save both their home and their feuding descendants.

But when Captain Sheridan sacrifices his afterlife for the sake of true love, will Rookwood risk everything to keep his companion by his side, or is it too late to say “I love you”?

My View

Oh, my goodness! How much do love this series?…Really, there isn’t enough time – or space in the post to say. As soon as I got offered to read this, I jumped at the chance to read it and I did stay up way past my bedtime to read it 😉 The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble is book three in the wonderfully diverse and splendiferous Captivating Captains series, I have fallen in love with this series, you never know what’s going to come next. Or for that matter what era you’re going to be transported to.

After they killed each other in a duel over Rookwood/Sheridan Manor Sheridan and Rookwood are left roaming the huge house for the next couple of hundred years protecting it from various threats. Plus, left to put up with each other, the two men who were mortal enemies in life carry on bickering in death, steadily over the years growing closer and closer when suddenly their home under the threat again – from a very unlikely source – they must join forces to protect their manor.

Captain Cornelius Sheridan is by far the dandiest ghost you have ever seen – or not seen. Gentlemanly, foppish, vain and hugely entertaining; Sheridan has been irritating and winding up brooding, highwayman John Rookwood from life and into death.

Rookwood is a brooding, monosyllabic and devilishly attractive man who is harbouring a secret love towards his spectral companion. But being the typical grizzly and grumpy bear that he is, he refuses to confront and admit what his heart is telling him. So when Sheridan sacrifices himself, they both could have lost their chance to finally be honest about how they feel.

These two are a hoot, they constantly snipe and provoke one another, whether it’s Rookwoods growling and stomping about or Sheridan’s fabulously up beat chatter. Curzon and Harkstead have a this talented of created the most engaging and laugh out loud characters, ever and these two are two of the best. If I was going to be living in a haunted house, I want to be sharing that house with these two. I love how different they are to each other and yet their personalities’ tend to bounce of one an other. Sheridan or ‘The Captain’ is such a fabulously fun character, the way he antagonizes Rookwood is so entertaining – Plus, I’ve always been charmed with green eyes. Rookwood – Oh, Rookwood! I probably sound like a broken record, but I do love a rough-around-the-edge, gruff man and this one is simply grand. Sheridan and Rookwood are definitely two of my favourite character’s, they are a wonderful double-act!

The Captains Ghostly Gamble is an amusing, dreamy and original romance that will keep you enchanted and riveted to the end. I love how even though this is a short story, there are two romances packed in, one in the mortal realm and the other on the ghostly plane. Both are connected, but I ain’t going to tell you in what way, you’ll just have to read it and find out. This is another hugely romantic story about ever-lasting love, with two of the least bit scary but hugely entertaining ghosts you have ever met. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest instalment of this marvellous series and I wait with baited-breath to see what comes next.

Roll on the next one!

This was an ARC copy via the authors in exchange for an honest review.

The Captain’s Ghostly Gamble is to be released on 11th September and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

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

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As the Great War tears Europe apart, two men from different worlds find sanctuary in each other’s arms.

Captain Robert Thorne is the fiercest officer in the regiment. Awaiting the command to go to the front, he has no time for simpering, comely lads. That’s until one summer day in 1917, when his dark, flashing eye falls upon the newest recruit at Chateau de Desgravier, a fresh-faced farmer’s boy with little experience of life and a wealth of poetry in his heart.

Trooper Jack Woodvine has a way with strong, difficult stallions, and whispers them to his gentle will. Yet even he has never tamed a creature like Captain Thorne.

With the shadow of the Great War and the scheming of enemies closer to home threatening their fleeting chance at happiness, can the captain and the cavalry trooper make it home safely? More importantly, will they see peacetime together?

This is book one in the new ‘Captivating Captains’ series, and what an introduction! I think this is set to be a powerful and addictive series and a great addition to both Ms Curzon and Ms Hartstead’s catalogue, it is astoundingly touching and beautifully portrayed. There is heartache, tender romance and danger all wrapped up in brilliant story from an era that really doesn’t get show cased enough in Historical Romance – which I don’t know why, as it was such a intriguing era that had so much going on.

On one summer day in 1917 a young trooper arrives at the Chateau de Desgravier, where a segment of the British Army is based. Trooper Jack Woodvine is a raw and inexperienced soldier having enlisted late due to a shoulder injury and so far, he’s seen very little in the war, but what he lacks in experience he makes up for in his skills with horses. He can calm and soothe the most stressed and temperamental animal and in doing so can also soothe the owners. As soon as he gets to the Chateau he soon finds out that this place could just be a dangerous as being at the front.

Budding poet Jack has always thought there was something not quite ‘right’ about him, his desires don’t follow with what is expected, he has always hidden that side of himself and has never acted on his urges. Up until he had joined the army, he was always ashamed and embarrassed about his what he calls ‘unnatural desires’ and then he stepped into the Chateau de Desgravier and meets his commanding officer; the fierce, professional and charismatic Captain Thorne, who captures Jack’s attention and his imagination from the first moment he see’s him. But, surely such a fine figure of a man wouldn’t be interested in a lowly farmer’s son.

Jack is a real cutie! He is just wanting to do his bit for his country, even though he had broken his shoulder – which would have meant that he would have been exempted – he still joined. Jack is such a cute lad, he is naive of the world around him I don’t think that he thoroughly realises what is in store for him and what he would be facing. Yet he yearns to take his place amongst all the others who have taken the King’s shilling, and I respect him for that. He isn’t made for war though, but he does feel very strongly about doing the right thing. I think in a way he wants to prove himself, he wants to show that he isn’t just a farmer’s son.

Captain Thorne – Robert, is by far the most gruff and fiercest of all the officer’s, he is an experienced Captain and has seen way too much fighting. He is based at Chateau de Desgravier but he knows that it is only a matter of time before he and men at the Chateau will be deployed to the front, especially with the way the war is going and the amount of men that the army is losing on a daily basis. He really isn’t interested in anyone and finds that he isn’t in the right frame of mind to have his head turned by handsome young lad’s, that is until he meets his newest recruit.

“It’s Robert.”

Jack sighed, a laugh in his throat.

“See, I can whisper the horses and I can whisper the officers too….but I havn’t a clue what the B. stands for.”

“that’s my one remaining mystery…”

Jack is given the job as Robert’s groom, to care for his temperamental white horse; Apollo. Under Jack’s gentle and unwavering care of Apollo he starts to calm the tormented mind of the horse and in the process he and Robert begin to grow closer until they finally give into their mutual attraction for one and other. But, all does not go plain sailing for our couple, not only are they under constant threat from the war but there is danger’s lurking within the Chateau de Desgravier itself that Jack ad Robert have to overcome.

Robert is a good man he wants to do the best for his boys, if he could he would send each and everyone of them home, so they can’t be hurt by the vicious fighting. He has seen what this brutal and violent war is doing to innocent young men and he has aged ten years since it started. He has been in the trenches and at the front and that has darkened him in ways that may never see light again, it has jaded him. Meeting Jack has really brought some fun and love back into his life and light back into his dark nearly dead eyes. And in return Robert is an attentive, caring and super sensual lover.

They are such a cute couple and there are some really lovely and tender moments between them, I particulay like those quiet moments when they are just being themselves. There is a really lovely scene when they are having a quiet moment together where Jack is quietly writing a poem about Apollo while Robert is secretly drawing him. It’s so beautifully written and shows them for the tender and romantic men they are and gives them the moment of calmness before the storm as there are dangers on the horizon not just with the war but closer to home in the shape of their own comrades.

“I love you, Robert. No matter what happens, I always will.”

“Wherever we may be, I shall never love another but you.” Thornes voice trembled, just enough for Jack to sense the trepidation in him. “And I never have until I saw you.”

Jack pressed his lips to Thornes neck.

“I loved you from the moment you first smiled at me.”

There are some real characters at the Chateau, from the manipulating and bullying Quin ‘Queenie’ to the cheeky and rakish, choir boy Bryn, the mix of different personalities gives the story a sense of real life.

This is wonderful, a haunting tale of love found in the most unexpected and dangerous places between two characters, who are sensitive and courageous. Even though it is set right on the front with the war in the background, at a time where there was so much bloodshed and loss, the story is very much about Robert and Jack. It is very moving and beautifully written – not that I was surprised at that, as these two ladies are wonderful narrators. I do love The Captain and The Trooper, I will admit to being, a little biased as I already have a love for this era, but this really captures the imagination of that period but in a completely new and profound way.

I am looking forward to reading more from The Captivating Captain’s, I think this series is going to be a wonderfully moving and addictive and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

This is so good, I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical romances. Even for those that don’t usually read this genre I would highly recommend it, all I will say is put a side what you think of WW1 era romances and read this with fresh eyes, because it is fabulous and so wonderfully romantic, and I am positive you will fall head over heals for Robert and Jack. 😉

This was a ARC  copy via the authors in exchange for an honest review.

The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper is to be released on 3rd April and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

Review – An Actors Guide To Romance by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

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When long-time theatrical enemies are cast as lovers, their late-night rehearsal brings a whole new meaning to method acting.

For twenty years, Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox have been the best of enemies. From their first meeting at drama school to shared stages, shared bills and a competition to amass the most illustrious awards, they have been the names on every theatregoers’ lips. Separately they can sell out an entire run in an hour, so when they’re cast as lovers in London’s hottest new play, the tickets are gone in minutes.

But for rakish Adam and gentlemanly Thomas, the small matter of their first on-stage kiss is causing a headache for everyone. Over a bottle of wine on one rainy night in the city, these two acting legends will do whatever it takes to banish their first-night nerves. After all, as everyone knows, the show must go on.

This is so different to anything I have read by Ms Curzon before, it’s fresh and new and the first contemporary I have read for a while. I am in two frames of mind about it, though on one hand I like it, the story line about these two rival actors taking on their most difficult job by playing lovers is fresh and so different to what I have read before. The characters are interesting as different from each as you could get and, yet they make a great duo, for a short story their past history is surprisingly very detailed – from the moment when they first met and why they are rivals even their past relationships everything is covered. On the other I would have liked a bit more of it, I would have liked to know where Adam and Thomas go from where the book leaves them, for me their story is cut of in it’s prime and it left so many questions in it’s wake about the characters and where the story was going.

“Equal billing, darling! I am no one’s support.”

Adam and Thomas have known each other since drama school, which is where their rivalry really started they have both competed with each other for roles for as long as they can remember and now they are both actors at the top of their game and both are highly sourght after. So when a mutual friend cast them as lovers in her knew theatre prodiction they both jump at the chance not just to help an old fiend out but to maybe rile each other up a bit. As soon as the word is out that the great Thomas Fox and Adam Fletcher are actor together in this new show people flock to the theatre and the ticket fly out of the door, so now the first show is a sell out but there is a problem – our leads have an issue with the kissing scene.

After weeks of rehearsing they just cannot do this scene, with the opening noight just around the corner Thomas knows that some thing has to be done about it, so one night he grits his teeth and goes to try and resolve the issue between the two of them. But can Adam and Thomas get past this obstacle and make this a show a success? or will their mutual mixture of irritation and lust for each other get in the way?

“Two handsome chaps like us, eh?” Thomas tried for levity. “What’s the world coming to if we’re both single?”“Isn’t it a shame that it was hate at first sight?” Adam laughed…

These two are like chalk and cheese, you really have never known two such different characters Thomas is a gentleman to the core, he is cool and serious and unlike Adam – who you find is far more flamboyant, Thomas is more reserved. Thomas, I think is more nervous about this scene then Adam, but it’s got nothing to do with him being ashamed or embarrassed about his sexuality – and why should he be? Its more of the fact who he has to kiss.

Adam is a rake, there is no other word to describe him, he likes nothing better than messing about and playing the clown. I find Adam hugely fascinating he does act like the court jester, but I think there is something else beneath all that bravado. He is just as nervous about this kiss as Thomas and this is why he fools about as much as he does, he enjoys winding Thomas up to see how far he can push him and yet when Thomas is obviously nervous, Adam has this knack of calming him down.

For a short story it has a lot in it, I find that those moments when Adam and Thomas are alone to be their real self’s is very beautifully written, there is a lot of sexual tension between them. Apart from it being a bit too short – I would have liked this to be a full story so that we can really get to know Thomas and Adam. I liked it, it’s clever and very witty and a really interesting and different read, and yes I do very much recommend it.

This was a ARC copy via the author’s in exchange for an honest review.

An Actors Guide to Romance is released on 23rd January 2018 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.