ARC Review: A Tangled Ruse (The Beckett Files #4) by Laura Beers

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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A Tangled Ruse by Laura Beers

Releases July 1, 2018

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋

Buy Links (3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Blurb

After a failed abduction attempt, Lady Rachel is sent into hiding on her uncle’s estate near the sleepy village of Rockcliffe on the shores of Scotland. As she struggles to cope with the nightmares of her past, she unwittingly stumbles into even greater danger than she left behind. And this time, Shadow isn’t around to save her.

Luke Beckett, the Marquess of Downshire, was content running his stud farm in solitude, far from the scheming of the devious women of Society. That is, until his neighbor’s infuriatingly contrary niece rides into his life. Hiding behind the guise of a common horse trainer, he begins to form a peculiar friendship with Lady Rachel, without the constraints of his title. However, the longer the ruse continues, the more Luke realizes there is much more at stake than just their friendship.

With the looming threat of a French invasion, Luke and Rachel must work together to stop the tangled web of treachery before it is too late. When the truth is finally revealed, will they have the strength to trust each other with their hearts, or will the fear of rejection destroy their relationship before it has a chance to begin?

My Review

Oh, what a tangled mess leaving out a bit of information can become. With every book in this series, its get better and better. Laura just gives you more characters to love and nail-biting adventure that brings the spies together again. I couldn’t put it down from the moment Rachel started talking on the way to her uncle’s home. I knew it was going to be fun and a wild adventure. Their first meeting is one of the best I have seen and makes it clear they are going to be put through it all. I loved the twist on his ruse with how many people were involved and why. As with the other books, you will not see anything coming and will find yourself cheering, laughing, and crying throughout the story. Many answers are in this book, but just as many new questions to keep you asking for more.

Rachel definitely has been through it all, but it hasn’t killed her heart of gold. She is a woman that makes her own choices and is not your typical Lady on the ton. I was excited to see her get her own story and get to know her more. I loved that she wanted to help everyone, but wouldn’t hesitate to lay into them as needed. She didn’t give up easily and did things she never imagined she would have to.

Luke has a hard shell and won’t win you over right away, but you will love him as you get to know him. He hates what society expects and wants to avoid marriage and women for the most heartbreaking reasons. I loved that he didn’t realize how much he could scare people and when he was cornered by his siblings. He would give up everything for her even if it meant himself.

I will never get tired of the Beckett family or Mr. Larson. I hope to see more of Rachel’s cousin because of his story and David’s sister because she seems like she will be fun.

Disclaimer

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An Affair with a Spare (The Survivors #3) by Shana Galen

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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An Affair with a Spare by Shana Galen

Releases July 3, 2018

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋 1/2

Buy Links (3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Blurb

He’s turned seduction into an art form…

Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.

Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…

My Review

The seducer has met his match and jumped without a thought into the flames. I couldn’t put it down from the start wondering what would happen between them and when. They both had reasons for avoiding each other, but to everyone else, they were stupid to try. I was on the edge of my seat when they came up with their plan. At every turn, they were met with a fight and sometimes a friend, but it was always a surprise. I wanted to scream when he went back to London, but the talk he had with his stepmother and other were so worth it. The ending was perfect especially with what she made him do. I hope to see them again and Grimes was an interesting man.

Collette will do anything to save her father even shielding her heart. I loved her right away because she tried so hard to find what she needed and wouldn’t give up. She let fear and her mission blind, but not completely.

Rafe always wanted the exciting mission he just didn’t realize this one would turn into one. He will break your heart with his reason for not wanting to marry and win you over with his charm and kindness. I loved that he was willing to do anything to help.

I can’t wait for the next story!

Disclaimer

Tour and Review: The Gambler Wagers Her Baron (Craven House #4) by Christina McKnight

Gambler_Badge.jpgWhen happily ever after is the name of the game, gamblers must risk it all in this emotional conclusion to Christina McKnight’s bestselling Craven House series.

Out June 26th – Regency Romance, The Gambler Wages Her Baron by Christina McKnight.

Follow the tour and enter to #win one of three print copies of The Thief Steals Her Earl

Enter at:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29542/

Gambler_1600x2400Title: The Gambler Wages Her Baron
Series: Craven House
Author: Christina McKnight
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Release Date: June 26, 2018

WAGERS GO AWRY

Payton Samuels has always known she wants more out of life than being the youngest daughter of the ton’s most disreputable family. While her siblings are content to bet their future happiness on marriage, Payton learned early on from her mother that love is fleeting and leads only to disappointment. She’s got a different plan: she’ll work as a governess for Baron Ashford’s children, but only long enough to win her fortune at one of his infamous masked gaming parties. When she loses big, Payton sees her chance at an independent life go up in flames—until Lord Ashford surprises her by paying her debts.

WHEN LOVE IS IN THE CARDS.

Since the tragic death of his wife, Damon Kinder, Lord Ashford, has been a man made of ice. His determination to never be hurt by love again runs so deep that he can’t even connect with his children. When they quickly take to Payton, he thinks he’s found a solution: she’ll give them the affection and support he can’t. As he spends more time around Payton, his heart begins to defrost, and he can’t stop thinking about the captivating governess.

But every seasoned gambler knows that eventually, luck runs out. Can two souls so burned by past loves forge a new future together?

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

My Review:  My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ Spice Level: 💋

I think this is my favorite in this series! A man of ice just needs a little melting and Payton is just the warm heart that can do. You know when children are involved that its going to be a fun time. I was hooked from the start with her in the closet and couldn’t wait to see what she did. The spark between them will leave you breathless and so will the words between them at times. Theirs is an intense story from his heartbreak and protecting her to her gambling and the fight in her.

Payton has her eyes on a better path, but she just doesn’t know the end is so close. She will win you over right away with how she doesn’t hold back and loves the children. I loved when she realized that she had found the right path.

Damon is a shattered man that thinks he is protecting his kids and himself by being a man of ice. Don’t be fooled by him at first because he will melt your heart once you hear his story and get to know him. I loved when he opened his heart again even if he didn’t know it.

I can only imagine what these children will be like when they are older.

Copy provided for an honest and voluntary review

More from the Craven House series:

The Thief Steals Her Earl – JUST 99CENTS!!

The Thief Steals Her Earl

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The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis

The Mistress Enchants Her Marquis

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The Madam Catches Her Duke

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Christina Photo Small (1)Author Bio:
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Christina McKnight writes emotional and intricate Regency Romance with rebellious women and maverick heroes. 

Her books combine romance and mystery, exploring themes of redemption and forgiveness. When not writing she enjoys coffee, wine, traveling the world, and watching television.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Follow the tour and enter to #win one of three print copies of The Thief Steals Her Earl

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Review: Bed of Flowers (Sweetness and Light #1) by Erin Satie

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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Bed of Flowers by Erin Satie

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

Buy Links (3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Blurb

Bonny Reed is beautiful, inside and out. 

A loyal friend and loving daughter, she’s newly engaged to her small town’s most eligible bachelor. She’s happy for herself—but mostly for her family, who need the security her marriage will bring.

An old enemy shatters her illusions. 

First Baron Loel cost Bonny’s family her fortune. Now he’s insisting that her fiancé has hidden flaws, secrets so dark that—if she believed him—she’d have to call off the wedding.

How will she choose? 

When the truth comes out, Bonny will have to choose between doing what’s right and what’s easy. Between her family and her best friend. And hardest of all—between her honor and the love of a man who everyone wants her to hate.

My Review

This is my first book by Erin Satie and OMG! This story shows love can survive anything that is thrown at in its path. Both of them will pull at your heart with heartbreaking stories and how they find each other in a cruel world. I was hooked from the start with her work and how she and her friend were. You will go through many emotions with how people treat them and following their story until the end. That spark between them just got stronger as time went on and they could take on anything. They both had amazing friends that stood by them no matter what. The ending left me wanting more in a good way because I wanted to see them rise higher than before.

Bonny has the biggest heart and doesn’t turn her back on someone in need. I loved her right away because she truly cared about others equally no matter their social status. She was extremely brave in many ways and stood her ground when it came to finding the truth and doing what she wanted.

Loel suffered horribly and was still paying for an accident from years ago and should want revenge, but his heart won’t allow it. He had me the moment he kissed her wrist and I loved him as he told his story of what happened after everything. He learned to understand her and would do anything for.

I can’t wait for the next one and hope to see them again. This is going on my all-time favorite list.

Disclaimer

ARC Review: A Lady’s Prerogative (Lord Love a Lady #2) by Annabelle Anders

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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A Lady’s Prerogative by Annabelle Anders

Releasing June 18, 2018

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

Buy Links (3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Blurb

IT’S NOT FAIR!
Titled rakes can practically get away with murder, but one tiny little misstep and a debutante is sent away to the country. Which is where Lady Natalie Spencer is stuck after jilting her betrothed.
Frustrated with her banishment, she’s finished being a good girl and ready to be a little naughty.
Luckily she has brothers, one of whom has brought home his delightfully gorgeous friend.
After recently inheriting an earldom, Garrett Castleton is determined to turn over a new leaf and shed the roguish lifestyle he adopted years ago.
His friend’s sister, no matter how enticing, is out-of-bounds. He has a run-down estate to manage and tenants to save from destitution.
Can love find a compromise between the two, or will their stubbornness get them into even more trouble?

My Review

A heart-melting Earl with a heartbreaking story meets his match with a lady rake that is just what he needs! I was so happy to see Natalie get her own story and she does not disappoint. They are like to halves to a whole heart from the start even though you wouldn’t think so by the way they act at first. I loved getting to know both of them and uncovering their own stories as they did with each other.  They came from two very different upbringings, but both had scandals that put them at risk. I was holding my breath wishing for a certain twist and wanted to jump up down when it appeared. I did not see the twist of what happened with the trunk coming and was worried for a bit. I laughed when it came to her mother and godmother coming up with a plan. The ending was perfect and I hope to see her brothers again.

Natalie did what she had to so that two people that truly loved each other could be happy. She just didn’t expect the rules and lectures that followed. I loved her right away and especially as soon as she decided to take control and be free. She never shied away from anything and really understood him more than anyone.

Garrett is free from his father, but not the scandal that surrounded him. He broke my heart with his fears and reasons for not wanting to marry. But he also was heart-melting with how he listened to her and asked the questions that no one else did. When he discovered the truth it was like a weight off of his shoulders and he had the support he needed.

Disclaimer

ARC Review: Lord of Secrets (Rogues to Riches #5) by Erica Ridley

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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Lord of Secrets by Erica Ridley

Releases June 15, 2018

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

Buy Links (3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Blurb

Some secrets should never be unveiled…

Heath Grenville is the problem-solver for London’s elite. Unmask the devious cretin skewering the ton with audacious caricatures? With pleasure. His success should keep the powerful happy. But when his work leads him to a young lady outside his class, surely he won’t do anything so scandalous as to fall in love

By day, Miss Eleanora Winfield is a proper, unremarkable paid companion. By night, Nora’s skillful hands sketch the infamous penny caricatures rocking high society. Nora desperately needs the money…and her anonymity. But how can she keep them both, when she’s fallen for the one man whose livelihood and reputation requires him to expose her?

My Review

Love has a way of making two worlds collide. From the moment they met, it was love at first sight and I knew it was going to be interesting to see how they got together. The story keeps you on the edge on your seat wondering how and when he will find out about the caricatures. I loved that it overlapped a bit with Lord of Pleasure. His sisters add so much to things and so does her cousin.

Nora does what she has to so that her family is taken care of even something she doesn’t want to. I loved her right away with her attitude towards things and her skills. She didn’t hold back when someone did or said something wrong.

Heath does his job very well, but its not the dream he has. I loved how much he loved his sisters and that his work helped them. He may put family and keeping the tons secrets, but he listens and understands too.

Disclaimer

Review: His Wicked Secret (The League of Rogues #8) by Lauren Smith

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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His Wicked Secret by Lauren Smith

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

Buy Links (3)

AmazonBarnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | Lauren Smith Books

Blurb

When a lady decides to become a spy, she must resist all temptation…especially love.

Audrey Sheridan is London’s sweetheart, a position that allows her access to the ton and all its secrets. As the enigmatic writer, Lady Society, she is wild, reckless, and speaks her mind. She matchmakes wicked rogues with their perfect wives. But there’s one thing she’s failed to find since her debut. A husband for herself. And there’s only one man she’s ever wanted. There’s just one problem…he doesn’t want her. What’s a lady to do to mend her broken heart? Run off to become a spy…

Jonathan St. Laurent is anything but a saint and certainly not husband material. He spent nearly his entire life as a servant to his half-brother the Duke of Essex. He’s trying to play the gentleman now, but it’s damned hard when he’s tempted by the ton’s darling spitfire Audrey. There’s something about her that makes him want to abandon the rules of polite society and show her just how wicked he can be…which is why it’s better to avoid the minx altogether.

When Audrey’s plan to be a spy is discovered, Jonathan knows he must move heaven and earth to protect her while guarding his own secret…

My Review

This story will keep you on your toes and the edge of your seat! You got a taste of the story in The Earl of Pembroke. Now you get to know more about the hellfire club and who’s behind everything. From the deal they made about training to the wild ride of going after when she ran I was holding my breath. It was clear they were meant to be together, but both needed to reveal themselves fully. I absolutely loved what she did on the boat and what he did to protect her. The ending has me so excited for the next one!

Audrey has deeper reasons for wanting to become a spy than most think. I loved her right away because she is not afraid to learn and act if needed to. She isn’t as invincible as she wants to be, but her heart is always in the right place.

Jonathan never realized that his plans made her think the opposite of what he meant. I loved him and how he understood her more and more. He has the unique ability to see things from above and below stairs and become an amazing gentleman.

Charles is a mystery more and more and he is becoming a favorite.

Disclaimer

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Review: Sleeping Lord Beattie (Contrary Fairy Tales #1) by Em Taylor

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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Sleeping Lord Beattie by Em Taylor

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋💋

Buy Links (3)

Amazon

Blurb

EM TAYLOR brings you an amazing new series of Regency stories based on the fairy tales you loved as a child.

Young ladies of good breeding do not kiss gentlemen in their bed chambers even if they have been asleep for three weeks. One would think Lady Emily would know that. One would think Lady Emily would not have entered Lord Beattie’s bed chamber alone. One would have thought that kissing the handsome viscount would have been the last thing she would have done.
But kiss him she did. And that was when the apothecary walked in. All of which meant she had to marry Lord Beattie.

Why the silly little chit had kissed him when he’d been out cold for three weeks, the Lord alone knew. And now Gideon, Viscount Beattie had to marry the outspoken little minx. But there was something a little charming about her. The problem was, her uncle was after his hide, the peasants were revolting – in the rioting sense, not in the disgusting sense – and he really needed to procure some grain from up north. He may as well kill two birds with one stone and elope with the interesting, frustrating, irritating and thoroughly delightful Lady Emily – soon to be Viscountess Beattie. It would be an interesting journey.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This book has no magic in it. While loosely based on a fairy tale, the story is gender swapped and there is no paranormal happenings.

My Review

This is an amazing take on a fairy tale that I absolutely love! I really liked the reversed roles in this and that it wasn’t full of fairy tale fluff. From the moment she kissed him I knew it was going to be a fun read. They are not your typical couple and are more real and relatable. I loved how they were learning about each other and that they both spoke their minds. I held my breath when they got to her brother’s, but loved the talking to he got from Gideon and how he was afterward. I loved the ending and the part at the ball really left me interested for more.

Emily is a favorite of mine! She is very outspoken and as curious as can be, but she also is very self-conscious. Both things make her very real and relatable. I loved her right away because of how outspoken she was and that she asked the questions that worried her. She needed him to raise her up and treat her the way she deserved.

Gideon can come off as a brute and rough at times, but he really has a kind heart and keeps his word. I loved how he would answer her questions and wanted her to know she was perfect to him. He would do anything to protect her and prove to her that she was special.

Disclaimer

 

Review: Captain of My Heart (Heroes of the Sea #2) by Danelle Harmon

*This post contains affiliate links which means 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 puppy in sweaters and toys. I only post links for books I love.*

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Captain of my Heart by Danelle Harmon

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋

Buy Links (3)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Blurb

Excitement heralds the arrival of Captain Brendan Jay Merrick, a dashing privateer whose daring sea battles against His Majesty’s fleet have made him a legend in the American colonies. Brendan has plans for the Ashton Shipyard to build his magnificent new schooner. But one look at the handsome Irishman, and Ashton’s daughter Mira is making plans of her own . . .

Mira Ashton – queen of schemes and mistress of spunk – disguises herself as a crew member and sneaks aboard the newly built Kestrel to become the schooner’s sharpest gunner … and the captain’s most outrageous distraction. As passions flare, desire explodes with the turbulence of an angry sea with Mira competing against Kestrel for Brendan’s love. But when tragedy strikes, Mira must join forces with her mighty rival in a daring adventure that turns the tide of battle and brings glorious victory to the colonists, the captain … and the lady who has captured his heart.

My Review

Be ready for an adventure filled story with this one. This is more than a romance because you really get to know about the ships and battles that bring them together time after time. Their relationship is full of ups and downs that keep you guessing and hoping for them. I loved how they were together on and off the ship because they truly balanced each other out and were made for each other. I held my breath when everything happened with her brother and then again with the last battle. The ending was perfect and I loved the story of her brother and his sister.

Mira always gets what she wants and you don’t want to mess with a temper. She really matured and changed over the course of the book. She went from a childlike loose cannon to a more understanding woman that still could be a loose cannon. I loved her as the story continued and her skills on a ship were amazing.

Brendan is a cool-tempered skilled captain that definitely has the luck of the Irish on his side. Nothing was going to stop him from winning his four-year battle. I could just picture him when he started talking and when he realized who was on his ship. He was just amazing in everything and loved his sister.

This cover was burned into my mind everytime he talked.

Disclaimer

Tour and Review: The Duke of Lies (The Untouchables #9) by Darcy Burke

DUKEOFLIES_SBPR_BT.jpg

“Darcy Burke is synonymous with passionate, emotional romance. Her heroines are intelligent and strong, and her unforgettable heroes melt my heart. Darcy never fails to deliver hot, keeper-shelf historical romance.” – Erica Ridley, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Duke of Lies, an all-new historical standalone from USA Today bestselling author Darcy Burke, is coming May 29th!

Burke, Darcy- The Duke of Lies (final) 800 px @ 300 dpi high res

Verity Beaumont has suffered domineering men most of her life, first with her father and then with her husband. Free from both men, she has finally found peace. Even meeting a kind and hard-working gentleman who just might be the perfect father her young son so desperately needs. But as she dares look to the future, her carefully ordered world is shattered when her dead husband returns.

Imprisoned in America during the war, Rufus Beaumont, Duke of Blackburn, wants nothing more than to return to his native England. He longs for comfort and safety away from the horrors of battle, only the life he returns to is not the life he left. He must convince his wife that their marriage is worth fighting for, that he’s not the man he was. But when the truth about what happened to him leaks out, he must prove that not everything about him, especially his love for her, is a lie.

AVAILABLE NOW1

Download your copy today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2tmDvgO

Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/TheDukeofLies

iBooks: https://apple.co/2GTaUlc

Nook: http://bit.ly/2oDweDr

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2F9pHLk

Review:

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤ ❤

Spice Level: 💋💋💋💋

Just when I think I have a favorite Untouchable Darcy gives me the heart-melting Duke of Lies! I almost jumped out of my skin when he returned after hints of what he was like before. But he was definitely not the same person as before. There is so much to uncover and keep secret in this book that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time not know ing what was coming. The Duke of Lies fits him perfectly, but not for reasons you think and when the full truth comes out you will be jumping up and down. I somewhat figured out who was behind things, but not the full truth of it and it was shocking.

Verity is determined to make sure her son turns out to be a great man unlike the men in her life. She had been through a lot of things, but they just made her stronger. She found real love while seeing right through lies, but didn’t give up.

Rufus is not the person he seems to be and he will melt your heart. As his story came out I loved him more and more. He was determined to keep her and Beau safe no matter what happened. I loved him when he was reading to Beau and everything he did for her.

Of course, you know when the Untouchables get involved things are going to turn out perfectly.

Copy provided for an honest and voluntary review.

Excerpt:

The day was warm and bright, and she was looking forward to being outside. The door she’d come through suddenly burst open. Beau dashed out, his laughter immediately filling the courtyard.

He was quickly followed by Rufus, who chased him along the edge of the garden to the center path. Beau didn’t slow as he rounded the corner, and his feet slipped on the cobblestones. He fell down, landing on his side.

Verity dropped the blanket and ran toward him, but Rufus beat her by quite a bit. It was then that she realized he hadn’t been using his top speed to chase the boy. She’d seen that when he’d caught Racer that day at Mr. Maynard’s farm.

Rufus picked Beau up and set him on his feet and squatted down in front of him.“All right?”

Verity had expected Beau to cry, and his face had gone slightly pale. She lowered herself next to Rufus.“Did that scare you?” she asked, stroking Beau’s arm from shoulder to elbow and back again.

Beau nodded. Then a moment later, he ran to the top of the stairs leading to the courtyard.“Come on, Papa, catch me!”

Rufus stood and offered his hand to Verity to help her rise. She wasn’t wearing gloves, and neither was he. It was the first time their flesh had touched, and it was like grabbing lightning. Or how she imagined it to be—electrifying and hot, and it left a lasting impression.

“Please don’t chase him down the stairs. He already fell once.” She turned to Beau and called,“Please be careful.”

“I am being careful, Mama. And don’t worry about the stairs. I ran down them to the kitchen passage and didn’t fall.”

She looked over at Rufus.“Is that right?”

His gaze drifted to the side, and he hesitated a moment.“Er, yes. We were playing knights and villains.”

“Which one were you?”

“It was my turn to be the knight.”

Verity frowned and shifted a glance toward Beau.“I don’t like thinking of my boy as a villain.”

“It’s pretend,” Rufus said.“But if it makes you feel better, he only chooses to be the villain because he likes to be chased.”

“Can’t the villain chase the knight?”

His mouth tipped into a crooked smile, and her stomach did a flip. It was as if lightning had struck again.“It’s pretend. We can do whatever we like.” He looked back toward the basket and the blanket on the ground.“I’ll get the things for the picnic.” He turned and started along the path.

“I can grab the blanket,” she offered.

He waved a hand.“I’ve got it.”

Verity went to Beau instead. She took his hand, and they descended into the courtyard, then veered right toward the gateway to the stable yard.“Perhaps I should play knights and villains.” She wondered why they hadn’t done that before and felt bad. It was a stark reminder of how much he’d missed not having a father.

“But you’re a girl.” Beau sounded scandalized.

Rufus met them as they approached the gate.“Whats wrong with your mother being a girl?”

“She wants to play knights and villains.” He made a face that clearly showed what he thought of that idea.

Verity was caught between laughter and disappointment.

“It would be better if she joined us,” Rufus said, drawing Beau’s sharp attention.“A knight needs a fair maiden to rescue.”

“Then I am definitely going to be the villain. I don’t wanna rescue a girl.” He frowned, then sent his mother an apologetic glance.“Except I do want to save you, Mama.”

Verity surrendered to the laughter. “Thank you.”

“But Papa should be the one to save you. That’s what dukes do, right?”

“That’s what husbands do,” Rufus corrected,“whether they are a duke or not.”

About Darcy:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

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