Review: The Pursuit of Pleasure (Dartmouth Brides #1) by Elizabeth Essex

*This post contains affiliate links which mean I may earn a small commission if you buy a book through my link. There is no extra charge and I use these funds to feed my book addiction and keep my dog in sweaters. I only post links for books I love.*

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The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋💋

Buy Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo

Blurb

SHE DOES SAY SHE’LL NEVER MARRY…
Miss Elizabeth Paxton is a new sort of heiress–educated, opinionated and entirely independent. The last thing she wants is a husband mucking about her life. Even if he is the only man she’s ever loved.

BUT SHE HAS ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A WIDOW.
When dashing Captain Jameson Marlowe returns to Dartmouth, he proposes to give Lizzie exactly what she wants–a marriage without the man. After one night of searing passion, his sworn duty will take him far off to sea…or so she thinks until secrets and lies set a collision course with the smugglers along the south coast, and Lizzie is caught in the dark tide of treason. Can she salvage her pride and learn to trust in true love before it’s too late?
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The Pursuit of Pleasure was originally published in 2010. This new edition has been revised and reedited. This book was a 2009 Golden Heart finalist with the Romance Writers of America.

My Review

*I received a copy via NetGalley.

Another up until 2 AM read! This one is steamy and will give you chills for many reasons. I love a story with smugglers, secrets, and a bit of mystery. You will be hooked from the start like I was because you know right away how they will be with each other. I had my suspicions from the start about who was involved in the smuggling and was partially right. Some favorites include her a shooting and the twists surrounding everything. The ending was perfect.

Lizzie is definitely opinionated, educated and voices her thoughts to anyone. She comes off as a wild child many times, but also is very stubborn and doesn’t always think thing through. I did love her for fighting things she believed in and her struggle to be true to herself.

Jamie (Jameson) convinced himself that everything was apart of his plan and nothing else, but from the start, you know the truth. I loved him right away because he had a hint of mystery to him and also spoke his mind. He is on a mission that isn’t quite going to plan in many ways.

I highly recommend this one.

Review: Encounters With a Rogue (Half Moon House ) by Deb Marlowe

*This post contains affiliate links which mean I may earn a small commission if you buy a book through my link. There is no extra charge and I use these funds to feed my book addiction and keep my dog in sweaters. I only post links for books I love.*

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Encounters With a Rogue by Deb Marlowe

My Overall Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Buy Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – Google Play

Blurbs

Two favorite, related novellas from the Half Moon House series, now available together!

An Unexpected Encounter

Tall, practical girls might not be worth much in man’s world, but Miss Lisbeth Moreton knows she’s worth more than the squire’s prized heifer.

To change her fate, she’s run off to a date with destiny at the British Museum. Her would-be swain never shows, but an unexpected encounter with Lord Cotwell and his lonely ward might lead to altogether new prospects . . . and perhaps to love.

A Waltz in the Park

James Vickers once believed honor and family duty to be his life’s work. Now he knows better–and he’s appointed himself as silent witness to his father’s sins. His greatest goal is to act as the continuously pricking thorn in his lordship’s side–and scandal is his greatest weapon. He has no use for an innocent young miss.

Propriety is Miss Adelaide Stockton’s most important asset. She must be all that is prim and proper if she’s to live down her parent’s misdeeds and have any hope of catching a husband. She must avoid scoundrels like Vickers at all costs.

Yet fate has thrown them together–and given each a key to the other’s ambition. A bargain is struck…but together they find that gaining what one desires most is far more difficult than a waltz in the park.

My Reviews

Encounters with a Rogue

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

I love that there are available together because they really do connect and I think need to be read together so you get a full understanding of some things. I loved both and how they go with the whole series.

An Unexpected Encounter

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

I was in love with this one from the start! When Hestia gets involved I’m never sure how things are going to happen, but know it will have some twists and a great ending. I loved how Aurelia was so quick to make up a story at first and everything that involved her. I wasn’t expecting the small twist with Lisbeth’s trustee or everything with James Vickers. One of my favorite parts involved little girls following on Lord Cotwell’s his heels.

Lisbeth is a very brave and strong woman that didn’t fully panic when her plans fell through. She had a very good reason to run from her family and a way of understanding people. I loved how she was with Aurelia and when she took over the household.

Lord Cotwell is a very smart man and honorable. He is my favorite kind of hero because he of things he does in his lab and that he didn’t blink an eye at taking Aurelia and would do anything for her. I loved how quick he was to defend people he cared about and how he came out of his shell.

A Waltz in the Park

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋

I love that this one continues with James. This one has a mystery that involves people in their lives that you will not realize what it is until you get to the end.They started out just helping each other for different reasons and then slowly put down the walls. Hestia, of course, was involved in it and I loved the story about Adelaide’s parents and the scandal. The ending is my favorite out of all the books I have read.

Adelaide is definitely a girl with a plan. Everyone thinks her the prim and proper girl, but she has a sassy side and loves adventure. I loved her right away because she didn’t skirt around questions and knew how to read people. She was smart and at times forward in a good way.

James has changed a lot, but still makes it his mission to drive his father crazy. I knew there was a reason for why he did this stuff, but in no way expecting the reason. His reason made complete sense and showed the real him. I loved how he could see people for what they were and how he was with his mother.

Blog Tour and Review for Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth

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Fool Me Twice
by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Publication Date: December 1, 2016
Madison Street Publishing
eBook & Paperback
ASIN: B01M6TZ9UY
ISBN13: 9780996264846

Genre: Historical Romance

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In the gaming hells of eighteenth century London, orphan Caro Worth is leading a double life. By day she plays a proper gentlewoman on the lookout for a wealthy husband. By night she plays the infamous Angelica, her fictional half-sister with a talent for cards and an ability to finance the life her respectable self has built. An introduction to a rich Marquis brings marriage and security within Caro’s grasp…until the arrival of the unpredictable and totally ineligible Mr. Tobias Felton.

Dismayed by Felton’s persistent appearances, shocking frankness, and enigmatic green eyes, Caro watches helplessly as he comes closer than anyone to guessing her secret, but when complete and utter ruin threatens, she finds that Felton’s suspicions just might become her salvation. As the walls she has built to protect herself crumble down around her, Caro learns that no matter how careful your plans, life and love have a habit of falling quite spectacularly out of control!

Purchase on Amazon

My Review

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋

This was my first time reading a book by Philippa Jane Keyworth and I am now a fan! I stayed up until 2:30 am reading the whole book. I love that this one had the powdered hair and beauty patches because I rarely see books with that. They seemed like totally different people, but were alike in many ways when the walls were down. I was not expecting the twist with the Marquis and what he would do or how her brother would be.

Caro is a strong woman that has done what she must to survive after her father dies. I was on edge thinking someone besides Tobias would start to figure it out. She tried so hard to convince herself that Tobias plan would end a different way.

Tobias was very different because he was a gentleman when he wanted to be, but most of the time he said and did what he wanted. I loved how he started changing when he realized his father might follow through with his threat and when he met Caro.

I loved Lady Felton because she was not as quiet as you think at first. I love a good duel scene!

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Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel a Georgian romance will come out at the end of 2016.

For more information, please visit Philippa Jane Keyworth’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 13
Review at The Sassy Book Lover
Review & Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, March 14
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 16
Review at Rainy Day Reviews
Interview at Book Boyfriends & Booze

Saturday, March 18
Interview at Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, March 20
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, March 21
Interview at Aurora B’s Book Blog

Thursday, March 23
Interview at Ms. Stuart Requests the Pleasure of Your Company

Saturday, March 25
Review at Laura’s Interests

Monday, March 27
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, March 28
Review at Mel’s Shelves

Wednesday, March 29
Review at Blushing Babes Are Up All Night

Sunday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, April 5
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

To win a copy of Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane Keyworth, please enter via the Gleam form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Fool Me Twice

Review: For The Love Of A Widow: Regency Novella by Christina McKnight

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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For The Love Of A Widow: Regency Novella by Christina McKnight

Also available March 13, 2017 in the Hearts of Courage Anthology.

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋1/2

Buy Link

Amazon

Blurb

A widow scarred by love and loss…

After years spent following her husband as he fought against Napoleon’s troops, Lady Lettie Hughes returns to London a widow to take her rightful place among the ton as the daughter of an earl. Her parents and friends expect her to enter the marriage market and secure the match she should have pursued in her debut Season. But Lettie is not the same innocent girl she was before Waterloo. Nightmares of the battlefield plague her, and she doesn’t see a place for herself in society anymore.

A lord determined to save the woman he loves…

Daniel Greaves, the Duke of Linwood, is a man who knows rejection and loss. He’s lived the last six years alone after the woman he was betrothed to cast him aside for another man. Instead of taking control of his title and lands, Daniel fell into a life a debauchery—gaming, women, and spirits. But now the woman who stole his future and left him hollow is back in London.

When Lettie and Daniel are reunited, their connection burns as bright as it once did. But neither of them are the same people they were in their youth—they must trust one another to heal the wounds of their past to find a love that lasts forever.

My Review

*I was provided a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review

This is much more than just a romance its about two people that have suffered heartbreak, loss and need to heal and find each other. Both have been on downward spirals at different times and needed to grow and find each other again. I loved everything because of the raw emotion and how they both had horrible witnessed things that made them grow and change. They needed each other because they understood each other.

Lettie is a strong woman that is stronger than she thinks after what she has seen and done. She saved soldiers lives and saw more death than anyone in London can understand so they push her to be like them again. I kept cheering her on hoping she would find peace soon.

Danial was on his way to ruin when he witnessed a horrible thing that turned him sober. He changed in many ways but still had hints of the man she knew. It was easy to understand why he had acted the way he did before she left, but no one realized why or understood.

This one is high on my favorite list and a must read.

ARC Review: Windswept (Wales #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Windswept by Sabrina Jeffries

Releasing February 28, 2017

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋💋

Buy Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – Google Play

Blurb

Originally written under the pseudonym Deborah Martin, this unforgettable tale of mystery, treasure, and passion is back in print at last and newly revised for today’s audience!

Welsh widow Catrin Price is haunted by a family death curse. Any man whom she marries without first drinking from an ancient Druid chalice sold by her ancestor long ago is unquestionably doomed. But when she hunts it down to purchase it, the chalice’s former owner ends up dead. Who will believe her innocent with the man’s treasure in her hands? Now she lives in fear of discovery, afraid to trust, afraid to give away her heart…

Even Newcome, a scholar struggling to overcome a difficult past, travels to Wales to find the mysterious woman last seen with his murdered friend. So when the lady proves to be a beautiful yet shy creature who shares his love of Welsh mythology, he’s torn between believing her guilty and trusting the passion blazing between them. But as unscrupulous men seek the chalice for their own devious purposes, will Catrin and Evan let their wall of mistrust stand between them? Or will they defeat their enemies together and embrace the love intended for them since time immemorial?

My Review

*I received a copy from the author via NetGalley

This story will make you want to read up on Wales and Welsh mythology. The opening was perfect and hooked me from the start with the tale of the chalice. I loved the mystery and had absolutely no clue who the murderer was or why and was taken by surprise when it was revealed. Catrin and Evan are perfect for each other and definitely have instant chemistry. I loved their first meeting and how they are kind of opposites in many things. The ending was AMAZING! So much happened that made non-believers into believers.

Catrin is so shy but so strong too. She has had so much happen to her that it’s easy to understand why she believes in the curse and doesn’t trust strangers. I loved her personality and her name. When she needs to take action and protect someone she loves she is powerful. I loved her with the gun.

Evan is not shy at all and is very smart. His past is heartbreaking and has convinced him to never marry, but he is not his past. I loved how he didn’t hide what he felt and the way he went about getting her to listen. He did have a bit of an inner battle and didn’t see what others saw in him which affected him in many ways.

I wanted to dislike Catrin’s father in law, but he proved himself to be a good man in the end. I was so excited to see Juliana and Rhys and how they played into the story.

ARC Review: The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis (Craven House #2) by Christina McKnight

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis by Christina McKnight

Releasing February 21. 2017 

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋

Buy Link

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo

Blurb

COURTSHIP WAS NEVER SO SCANDALOUS

The grandson of an unconventional marquis and son of a notorious woman, Elijah Watson, Marquis of Ridgefeld, has spent most of his life outside of London. His atypical upbringing has left him longing for roots and a traditional family life, and he’s determined to live his life above reproach. When he meets Miss Samantha Pengarden, he believes he’s found the woman he wants to marry—except she has other far more sensual ideas for him.

Known throughout the ton as the illegitimate rebellious daughter of London’s disreputable Craven House Madame, Samantha has never had to face the world without her shy twin by her side—until now. Her sister’s marriage and the return of her blackguard father leaves her alone and adrift. When Elijah agrees to escort her to the town’s most infamous establishments, she thinks she’s finally found a man with a taste for scandal and a knowledge of matters of the flesh.

But she never counted on Elijah being so honorable. When Samantha is listed as the mistress of the Marquis of Ridgefeld in White’s betting book, her reputation is in ruins—and only Elijah can save her. Can two total opposites come together for a love certain to last a lifetime?

My Review

*I received a copy via NetGalley

I knew Samantha’s story was going to be an adventure and I was right. The pain of their pasts brings them together to help and understand each other in many ways. I really liked that it picked up with her sister’s wedding and continued a bit of the story. I loved that they were opposites on some things, but not on others because it was like it made them think and understand each other. Their chemistry was amazing and the sparks definitely were flying.  The ending was perfect and I liked how it was working out with her father.

Samantha is not shy and can come close to be scandalous in her behavior, but that’s why I love her. She was in a limbo over her sister getting married and then her father showing up and it was heartbreaking because not everyone saw it. I loved her personality.

Elijah is a bit quieter and more careful, but just as adventurous if not more. He was in his own limbo over his grandfather and mother and no one knew the whole story. I loved how he was a bit out of place in the city after all of his travels, but still fit in at the same time.

I can’t wait to see what else Christina has in store for this series. I hope to see more on Samantha’s father and Elijah’s mother.

ARC Review: Only a Duke Will Do (To Marry a Rogue #2) by Tamara Gill

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Only a Duke Will Do by Tamara Gill

Releasing February 20, 2017

 My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

Buy Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – Google Play

Blurb

Without a Season, Lady Isolde Worthingham captured the Duke of Moore’s heart at a country dance. But on the eve of her wedding, a scandal that rocked the ton and sent her fleeing to Scotland alone and unwed, leaves her perfectly planned future in a tangle of disgrace and heartbreak.

Merrick Mountshaw, the Duke of Moore, loathes the pitiful existence he portrays to the ton. With a scandalous wife he never wanted, who flaunts her many indiscretions, life is a never-ending parade of hell. When the one woman he loved and lost returns to London, he knows he can no longer live without her.

But vows and past hurts are not easily forgotten. Love may not win against the ton when a too proper lord and lady play by the rules.

My Review

*I Received a copy via NetGalley

One word WOW! I felt like I was in the book. I was not expecting the type of scandal that happened and was already wanting to yell this can’t be happening. There are a few twists that can be shocking and times that I was celebrating and times I wanted to cry which is why this is going on my all-time favorite list. I highlighted so many things that I loved in this book from funny things to shocking confessions.

Isolde’s heart was shattered the night before her wedding, but she didn’t let it break her completely. I felt for her every time she tried to move on and convince herself that the rumors she heard were not true. I loved her from the start and how she followed her heart instead of listening to others.

Merrick can break your heart because he carries a guilt and shame for everything. His wife wasn’t just scandalous she seemed evil and loved to torment him and everyone. I think somewhere deep down he did somewhat care for her because he blamed himself. I loved him right away but even more when he saw Lily.

This is defiantly a must read and I hope to see her family more and find out what happened to his friend.

ARC Review: Lily, One Lord’s Temptation (The Garden Brides #1) by Jane Charles

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Lily, One Lord’s Temptation by Jane Charles

Releasing February 13, 2017

 My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋

Pre-Order Links

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo

Blurb

Lady Lilian Bliant appears to be a serene earl’s daughter, but under her exotic façade she has a spine of steel. She is determined to thwart her manipulative father’s plan to shackle her to a weak-willed man of the ton and is successful until Lord Maxwell Warrick becomes a suitor.

Lord Maxwell is anything but weak-willed. He is happy with his life until Lady Lilian wreaks havoc on his heart. No lady has ever tempted him as she.

Will Max be able to resist, or will he succumb? And, if he does, will Lily be able to resist?

*This book was previously published as The Healing Tree by Amy De Trempe*

My Review

*I was provided a copy by the author in exchange for my honest review

An amazing start to a series! I read this in one sitting because I could not put it down. When you have a father that is crazy and will do anything to make sure you marry who he wants and for crazy reasons, a lady only has one choice. And that to run off all the men that her father has picked with some very interesting plans. I loved all the unexpected twists in the story and differences between Lilly and Max. They were made for each other, but both had reasons they didn’t want to get married and the back and forth was great. I loved the ending and many of the characters.

Lily is very smart and wants to be free from her father for good reason. I loved how she ran off the men and how she got her cousins to help. Her ancestry was unexpected and very different from others and I loved it. My heart broke at her fears of what it would be like to be married and have children, but her reasons were totally understandable. She has some great skills to help people.

Max is pretty much the perfect man in the eyes of everyone and for good reason. I loved him from the start when he met with his father and the work he did. He had no plans to marry and to avoid her, but curiosity drew him to her. I liked that he never gave up on understanding her. At one time I wanted to knock him upside the head, but he quickly realized his mistake. The lengths he went to in the end was amazing.

Loved her cousins and his whole family especially his mother. I was shocked about Wesley and hope to see him again along with her cousins.

Release Blitz and Review for The Rakehell’s Seduction by Lauren Smith

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RELEASE BLITZ

Title: The Rakehell’s Seduction

Series: Seduction #2

Author: Lauren Smith

Genre: Historical/Regency Romance

Release Date: February 6, 2017

Buy Links – 99c for a limited time only

Amazon – Amazon UK – Amazon CA – Amazon AU – Barnes & Noble – Kobo – iBooks

Blurb

HE’S MADE A DANGEROUS WAGER

 Ambrose Worthing is no gentleman. He’s a proud cold-hearted rake who’s determined to stay a bachelor forever. He enjoys bedding a different woman every night without the risk of falling in love. When he hears about a wager over the seduction and ruination of the daughter of his father’s best friend, he knows he must intervene. Committing himself to the bet, he agrees to seduce Lady Alexandra Rockford—for her own good. He never expected the lady in question to be a beautiful, fiery creature who has passions of her own that call to his guarded heart.

SHE’S VOWED NEVER TO FALL IN LOVE AGAIN

Alexandra Rockford has sworn off men, her heart still broken from the false promises of a childhood sweetheart who left her to marry an heiress. When she stumbles into Ambrose outside of a country ball, she knows the rake his trouble. His smile, his touch, his forbidden kiss are all too tempting but being with him would ruin her. Determined to enjoy herself without falling in love, Alex can’t help but let her defenses down with the too charming rake. But when she discovers Ambrose is seducing her to win a bet, it will take everything Ambrose has to prove to her that he is worthy to love her.

My Review

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋💋

Absolutely amazing!! I highlighted so many favorite parts and lines from start to end. The moment they met I knew they were a perfect match even with the pranks that followed. I loved that when I thought everything was going great a twist was thrown in about the wager that I did not see coming. All of the characters are a bit surprising as you get to know them and a couple of more twists are in there. The ending was perfect with the whole book having that bit of fairy tale feeling.

Alex may be my favorite heroine of all time. She is not shy, very bold, and knows how to stop a man in his tracks when he tries something. I loved how she got along with her father and how open she was about things.

Ambrose was exactly like I thought he would be after meeting him the last book. He definitely is a rake, but there is a side of him that wants to protect people. I loved how he treated people and when set out to make things better.

Vaughn was one I wanted hate when he showed up, but as it went on he sounded like a pretty good guy really. The parts in the end with Lady Society really have excited and I want to know who she is.

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Excerpt

 Ambrose Worthing was attending a country dance.

The notion was laughable. He, a glorified rakehell with a distaste for country life, was currently entrapped in a bloody assembly room that could pass for a barn on better days. In fact, as he glanced around the room, he decided it most certainly resembled a farmyard at the moment, with the gaggle of society mamas squawking like geese, their turbans festooned with tall ostrich plumes.

He groaned when he saw them scrutinizing him, whispering behind their fans, their eyes dancing over his form as they assessed his marital suitability. From the clever smiles he glimpsed, he knew they were ready to throw their innocent daughters at his feet.

Like bloody hell. He was not about to find himself accidentally “compromising” any of the young ladies here tonight. He’d come here tonight to find one particular young woman to seduce her, to win a bet he’d made in London the previous week, and hopefully save her. He was not about to let the gathering of society mamas intimidate him into dancing with their daughters, even if they rivaled the great ancient Mongolian Golden Horde led by Genghis Khan. Many a rake had fallen under their wiles, surfacing months later to find themselves stuck with a shy chit of a girl as a wife and an obnoxious mother-in-law.

At twenty-nine years old, he’d managed to weather many attempts by his friends and relatives to see him settled. If those who loved him could not bring him to the altar, no silly chits from the country would have any success either. He was a permanent bachelor, and he liked it. Marriage was not made for men like him. To be tied down with one woman for the rest of his life and suffer the trappings of home and hearth when he could be exploring the world and living? Heavens no, he would not give up his freedom for anything.

A few daring matchmaking mamas separated from the crowd and walked in his direction. Damnation, even the need for a master of ceremonies to perform introductions wouldn’t stop these women.

Ambrose spun on his heel, desperate to avoid conversation. If he had to listen to one more story about how well their daughters played the pianofortes or how accomplished they were at needlepoint, he’d run from the assembly hall screaming.

He had met almost everyone present at the dance and had no desire to continue any of the acquaintances. He was only here because of the wager placed in a betting book at White’s. A damned fool named Gerald Langley had put down in the books that anyone who plucked the fruit of this girl’s vine would receive five thousand pounds from him. Langley was a brute with little in the way of good sense and far too much coin. Ambrose had no idea why Langley had it in for the Earl of Rockford’s daughter, but he did. After reading the bet, Ambrose had penned his name to the challenge and notified Langley he had accepted the wager.

For once in his life he was trying to do the right thing by a woman. It was a bit ironic, though, that saving the woman required compromising her. But the Earl of Rockford and his father had been friends, and Ambrose felt he owed it to Rockford to win the wager and keep the lady safe from true scoundrels. No other man would take the care with her that he would and see to it that her first time with a man was a pleasurable experience.

He had one month to seduce Rockford’s daughter and provide proof of this seduction in London. As the lady in question had never been to London, there was much speculation among the men at his club whether she was a diamond of the first water or a dowdy creature. The betting book listed her age as twenty-two, young enough not to be an ape leader, a nasty term for women nearing spinsterhood.

Apparently Rockford wasn’t one for traditions. Any father wishing to ensure his daughter’s future would have brought her to London at seventeen or eighteen, had her presented to the queen, and then made the round of balls to hunt for a husband.

Yet Rockford had not done any of that. He’d kept his daughter in the country, living a quiet life. An unplucked fruit to tempt the worst sort of men in White’s to bet upon the taking of her maidenhead for their own amusement.

Normally Ambrose had little desire to compete in wagers, especially ones which involved the corruption of innocents. It was not out of some moral principle, but rather a dislike of virgins. They tended to fall in love and cling to the man who took their innocence. But after witnessing the sort of men discussing whether to take the bet that night, Ambrose decided he would do this innocent lady a favor. He’d penned his name in the books, taking up the wager, and sent a letter to Rockford, renewing their acquaintance.

A letter from Rockford arrived only a few days later, inviting Ambrose to this ball and to spend a few weeks at Rockford’s home as a guest. It was the perfect opportunity for Ambrose to cozy up to the man’s daughter and see what sort of creature he would soon be bedding.

If only he knew what the lady looked like. In the chaotic din full of dancing and music, he could not find a single young lady among the crush that he was willing to bed. It wasn’t that the young ladies weren’t attractive. They were, but none were to his taste. Innocent young ladies had never appealed to him. If his friend Gareth Fairfax had been there, Gareth would have been laughing at him. Gareth was stuck in his own hell—the poor fool was happily married. Married! Ambrose couldn’t think of anything more terrifying than being stuck with one woman for the rest of his life. Helen was a darling creature and perfectly suited to Gareth, and Ambrose supposed it would be not too terrible to share a bed with a woman like her. But still, to be leg-shackled?

I would rather die in a thousand unspeakable ways than stand in a bloody church and tie myself to one woman for the rest of my days.

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In the Seduction series

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Author Bio

 lauren-smithLauren Smith is an Oklahoma attorney by day, author by night for Grand Central Publishing, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She knew she was destined to be a romance writer when she attempted to re-write the entire Titanic movie just to save Jack from drowning. Connecting with readers by writing emotionally moving, realistic and sexy romances no matter what time period is her passion. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Detroit BookSeller’s Best Awards, Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. To connect with Lauren, visit her at http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/  or twitter at https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor.

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