Posts tagged “Sabrina Jeffries

Review: THE WIDOW’S AUCTION by Sabrina Jeffries

Disclaimer: I received a digital arc of this novella in exchange for an honest review. 

28803825Sabrina Jeffries’ The Widow’s Auction was re-released today, but you may have previously read the story in the Fantasy anthology.

Though Isobel Lamberton, the widowed Lady Kingsley, is confounded by her dealings with the obstinate Justin Antony, Lord Warbrooke, his commanding presence sparks something deep within her. But such romantic thoughts are for naught. For Justin’s political aspirations always come first. And Isobel’s own secret past could damage both of them permanently.

So when Isobel’s friend talks her into participating in a scandalous auction of masked widows at a gentleman’s club, she reluctantly agrees…and soon begins to relish being an object of desire. But none desire her more than Justin, who recognizes the outspoken Isobel in disguise and sets out to teach her a lesson worth far more than money…

I remember reading this novella in the anthology but, even now, years later it has not lost it’s charm. Short and sweet, the novella features two complex, compatible characters – Isobel and Justin – whose interactions are riddled with humour and romance. Though the novella is told in first person, there is a greater focus on Isobel’s character and we see Justin mainly through her eyes. I would have liked to know more about his thoughts, but for the short length of the story, his character was developed quite well. As is the case with most well-written novella’s, the story does leave you wanting more. However, if you’re looking for s quick escape this summer, then The Widow’s Auction is a neat little trip back to the Regency era.

RATING - 3

 


Review: THE STUDY OF SEDUCTION by Sabrina Jeffries

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Sabrina Jeffries‘ second installment of the Sinful Suitors series, The Study of Seduction, has hit the shelves!

25814323When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife … if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.

Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?

The Study of Seduction was a pleasant surprise for me. Ms. Jeffries explores some darker issues in this novel that haven’t been discussed in her more recent works – all of which were more lighthearted. This novel has the signature Jeffries warmth and humour, but becomes a more dense, emotional read as details of Clarissa’s past are revealed.

At first, I found it difficult to relate to Clarissa – in part, because she was not behaving according to my own bias of how I thought a trauma victim would behave. However, my judgement was subconscious at first. It sound insensitive to say – and it absolutely is – which is why I needed to check myself (and throw my own biases out the window) before I began to reread the novel with a broader perspective. I have often heard that everyone reacts a different way to trauma, but I have been fortunate enough never to experience this first hand. My inexperience made me judge Clarissa, much to my shame, and forget what I have been taught about reading a work of literature from multiple perspective – and never, NEVER, judge a character by how you think they should act. (Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, but none that apply here.)

On my second read through, although I still found aspects of Clarissa’s character contradictory or even historically beyond her time, I was more able to recognize some of her behaviors as coping mechanisms for her tragedy (at least, I believed they were intentionally written as such). I found myself able to see her as a real individuals – one who does not behave according to a preset mold, but makes us question what we know about human psychology.

Very deep stuff, I know.

But on a less deep, and more superficially attractive eye-candy level, we have Edwin. (I’m not kidding…have you seen the cover model?)

In all seriousness, I found Edwin to be a decent, like-able character on both my first and second reads, but he paled in comparison to Clarissa on my second read and I found him less memorable. The amateur psychologist in me was more intrigued with analyzing aspects of Clarissa’s character on my second foray into the novel and I didn’t pay much attention to Edwin. I found him to be a pleasant (and for Clarissa, necessary) addition to the novel but less complex in terms of development.

But, who knows, this could change on my third read?

Nonetheless, based on my two reads so far, I would give this novel a solid 4 out of 5 rating.

RATING - 4

Happy reading,

Rika Ashton

(aka The Self-Credited Psychologist)


Review: WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

What Happens Under the Mistletoe is a delightful, Christmas-themed anthology perfect for snuggling up in a warm blanket on a chilly day…or any other day for that matter!

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead.

In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle.

In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss.

In Sweet Ruin, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

The book gave me a chance to return to the worlds of Karen Hawkins and Sabrina Jeffries, as well as introducing me to the newer writing styles of Meredith Duran and Candace Camp.

In “The Heiress and the Hothead” by Sabrina Jeffries, we get a closer look at Amanda Keane – sister of Jeremy Keane (from the Art of Sinning). Amanda is the owner of a cotton mill in America and her hero, Stephen, writes about the abuse of cotton mill workers in England. They are electric from the moment they meet and share a kiss under the mistletoe. The amount of history research that Ms. Jeffries packed into the novella is astounding, and yet it does not take away from the pleasure of the romantic elements in the story. The history background enhances the experience for the reader, and adds a sense of realism to the “The Heiress and the Hothead.”

Karen Hawkins’ “Twelve Kisses” is an equally delightful story. The characters Marcus and Kenna are reunited after 10 years and one stolen kiss under the mistletoe proves that these two have some unfinished business. Despite the short length of the novella, Ms. Hawkins is able to inject her signature humour and wit into a Scottish romance.The romance of the two characters is helped along with the aid of a fairy godmother – none other that the Grand Duchess from the Oxenburg series – who will make a fortune of her cupid-esque skills one day.

Candace Camp’s “By Any Other Name” is an entertaining read. It features a case of mistaken identity, but will with a lighter twist. The heroine, Rylla Campbell, sneaks away dressed in her brother’s clothes, who she is searching for. She meets with misfortune when leaving a gaming club during her search and is rescued by the hero, Gregory. It’s love at first sight for the hero – a refreshing change – but it’s not so easy for him to win Rylla’s love in return (an interesting prospect for the reader because it proves to be delightfully entertaining).

In “Sweet Ruin” by Meredith Duran, a story about a bluestocking daughter of a peer and a commoner, we have a tale of epic proportions. The distinct social backgrounds of the characters provides an engaging backdrop for the tale of a a stolen letter and a diplomatic mission. The story is engaging and full of witty banter. However, it’s short length let me wanting more.

I highly recommend this book to those looking for a light holiday read that will leave you with a feel-good mood!

RATING - 4


Review: THE ART OF SINNING by Sabrina Jeffries

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher. (Also, beware of spoilers…maybe…)

What happens when you pair an American artist who looks like Adonis with an opinionated, but kindhearted lady of the ton? Well, nothing less than a masterpiece called The Art of Sinning to be sure!

American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father’s business. He’d much rather sample bevvies of beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he’s driven to paint. When he meets Lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she’s perfect for his work—and determines to capture the young heiress’s defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas.

No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane’s subject—in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city’s brothels he knows intimately, so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they find a bold and lasting love?

The first book in Sabrina Jeffries new series, Sinful Suitors, is certainly a work of art…not to mention that cover! (Is anybody else falling deeper in love with Jeremy just staring at the cover?)

But, truthfully, Jeremy is more than just a pretty face. He’s witty, charming, wicked, and not to mention, downright hilarious at times. Though he is rumoured to be a rakehell, Jeremy proves himself to be a decent and (contrary to his own opinion of himself) selfless.

Yvette is an equally “arresting” character. Wary of rogues and men in general, Yvette is skeptical of Jeremy’s intentions.

Mr. Keane’s warm gaze poured over her like honey. “I don’t recall ever seeing you at my exhibit. Trust me, I would have remembered.”

A shiver danced down her spine before she could steel herself against reacting. Very nicely done. She’d have to be on her toes with this one. “We attended it in the morning. I daresay you were still lying foxed in some gaming hell or nunnery.”

“Good God, here we go,” Edwin [Yvette’s  brother] muttered under his breath,  recognizing the vulgar slang for bawdy house.

“I am rarely foxed and never in a nunnery,” Mr. Keane retorted, “for fear that it might tempt the ‘nuns’ to bite me.”

“I should love to know what you consider ‘rarely,'” Yvette said. “That you even know that ‘bite’ means ‘cheat’ in street cant shows how you must spend your days.”

“And how you must spend yours,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “After all, you know the terms, too.”

Though Yvette and Jeremy have a mutual attraction to one another, they each hold back for different reasons. Yvette is wary of rogues in general because of both the scandal that haunts her family and her own past. Likewise, Jeremy is also haunted my the memories of his first marriage and home. And, though, Jeremy’s past is shaded with death, I still felt that Yvette’s past was more heartbreaking – especially after the full truth is revealed towards the end of the novel. It went completely against my expectations of a family reunion – and it showed how much of a scoundrel Yvette’s disowned brother, Samuel, truly was. Samuel is, in some ways, the true villain of this novel even though his is not physically present on the story.

But it goes to show that a well-written villain still has the ability to manipulate others, even from a distance.

It isn’t until they individually overcome their pasts that Jeremy and Yvette can admit what they feel for the other. Both characters grow stronger in the course of the narrative and the reader is witness to both a tale of friendship and love.

Speaking of friendship, the growing bromance between Jeremy and Edwin was equally as touching (and funny) as the interactions between Jeremy and Yvette. Brought together by their individual wariness (aka fear) of their sisters, Edwin and Jeremy decide to open their own club…but that is a tale for another time. (No, really, Ms. Jeffries should write a novel based solely on the interaction between these two because they are so entertaining….it’s like watching a sketch comedy!)

The Art of Sinning is an imaginary masterpiece that combines humour and romance, and is home to a cast of characters with honourable intentions – some of which are hilariously misguided. A summer must-read!

RATING - 5 And look out for Edwin’s novel, The Study of Seduction, soon!

Study of Seduction

Rika Ashton

(aka Jeremy’s Muse – though he knows it not!)


Ah, Jeremy! (aka One Very Sinful Suitor)

A few days ago, Heroes and Heartbreakers revealed the cover for the first book of Sabrina Jeffries‘ upcoming Sinful Suitors series, The Art of Sinning. But, of course, you may all remember Jeremy – the very sexy scene stealer – from How the Scoundrel Seduces.

However, if you haven’t had a chance to look at the cover or read the back blurb, hakuna matata (no worries) – we’ve got another look below:

American artist Jeremy Keane refuses to return home and take over his father’s business. He’d much rather sample bevvies of beauties abroad, in search of a model for the provocative masterpiece he’s driven to paint. When he meets Lady Yvette Barlow at a London wedding, he realizes she’s perfect for his work—and determines to capture the young heiress’s defiant spirit and breathtaking sensuality on canvas.

No stranger to scandal, Yvette agrees to be Keane’s subject—in exchange for his help gaining entry to the city’s brothels he knows intimately–so she can track a missing woman and solve a family mystery. But when their practical partnership leads to lessons in the art of sinning, can they rise from the ashes of their troubled pasts to find a bold and lasting love?

So what do we think of the very naughty expression on Jeremy’s face? It sure would be nice to be Yvette at that moment, huh?

How many of us are eagerly awaiting this novel…and how many of us (however unlikely) have no idea who Jeremy is?

Rika Ashton

(aka The Sinful Scribe)


Find Out How the Scoundrel Seduces in Sabrina Jeffries Latest!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in return for an honest and spoiler-free review.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Sabrina JeffriesHow the Scoundrel Seduces a few months ago and I didn’t waste any time diving in! Ms. Jeffries has proven herself to be a talented writer of intricately plotted mysteries that can link several novels together. As she did in the School for Heiresses series, where she kept the reader guessing until the very end about who Cousin Michael could be, Ms. Jeffries keeps us turning the page as we try to figure out the motives of this series’ villain and how he will ultimately fall…

The Blurb:

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies— and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life— to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well… or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth

The Review:

Few authors can make a historical setting come to life as well as Sabrina Jeffries and, in How the Scoundrel Seduces, she seems to have mastered the technique. Characters, setting, and language are so well controlled and utilized on Ms. Jeffries latest novel that you really feel the historical context come to life.

And speaking of characters, Zoe is one of the smartest heroines I have read from Ms. Jeffries. The soon to be Countess was a scene-stealer on When the Rogue Returns, but had real moments to shine in this novel. We get to see more facets of her characters as she searches for her parents. Resourcefulness, spunk and humour were some of Zoe’s trademarks – making her the real selling point of the novel.

However, compared to Zoe, Tristan didn’t stand out as much for me in this novel. He was fun and generous, but not the standout character that Zoe was. On the other hand, Tristan had amazing chemistry in his scenes with Zoe. In a romantic sense, Zoe brings out the best in Tristan – now whether Ms. Jeffries intentionally or accidentally wrote Tristan that way is anyone’s guess?

But a character that surprised me was Jeremy Keane, Zoe’s cousin. I didn’t expect to like Jeremy so much, especially considering the fact that he was rarely in the novel, but I adored all his scenes.

With its well-written setting, fun characters, and suspenseful pacing, I recommend How the Scoundrel Seduces to all fans and new readers!

RATING - 4

Rika Ashton

(aka Zoe’s Fan Club President)


All Those Books…Just Enough Time

It’s time for another quick update. I’m almost done with my back list of ARCs, but I’ve got a few more reviews to go. The next batch of amazing books – some of which I had to BEG for – include some of my favourite authors.

First off, I was given a copy of Hunt the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy with a request to complete the review sometime after the release date, so I’ll likely be posting a review for that this weekend.

The vampire Roke is raw, sensual, always in control. Yet somehow he’s allowed the unthinkable to happen: a nymph-like witch named Sally has used her magic to trick Roke into mating with her. The pair will remain bound for eternity unless Sally breaks the spell. The trouble is, she has no idea how…

Mating with Roke was an accident; at least that’s what Sally keeps telling herself. She’s on the hunt for her demon father, whose identity holds the key to releasing the spell. The search won’t be easy with Roke shadowing Sally’s every move. As they mate with a ferocity that leaves them both aching for more, Sally isn’t sure if her world is more dangerous without Roke – or with him…

The next novel with a review to be released after that will likely be Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard. The publication date for this novel is July 22, 2014, so I’ll be aiming to post a review a little after that. This is a final installment and I don’t want to spoil anything.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Then we’ll be getting a review of Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye, which will hit stores on August 5th, 2014. I guaranteed a copy of my ARC for this novel after much hassling, bargaining, bribing, begging – and quite possibly blackmailing, but I should be able to get you a review of this a few days before the publication date. 😉

Eternal Obsession

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Finally, I’ll be writing a review for How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries (release date August 19th, 2014, which means the review will be released at least a day before.)

Lady Zoe Keane’s father is pressing her to marry a cousin she’s never met. As Lord and Lady Olivier’s only child, spirited Zoe will one day inherit the title of countess and their Yorkshire estate, the land she adores—but she wants to marry for love. Then an unsolved family mystery shatters her world: is it possible Zoe’s birth mother was actually a Romany named Drina? Desperate to know her true lineage, Zoe hires the Duke’s Men to search for the woman who will determine her destiny.

Tristan Bonnaud is the man for the job, and not because the roguish investigator cares about a spoiled aristocrat and her inheritance “problem.” To protect himself from his villainous half-brother, Tristan needs to track down his Romany horse trader friend who has information about a decade-old scandal—and this young beauty’s far-fetched case is just the excuse he needs.

But if untangling the past isn’t risky enough, the sizzling attraction drawing the scoundrel to the lady is the most dangerously seductive surprise of all. . . .

Rika Ashton

(aka Blogger With No Middle Name)


When the Rogue Returns: A Book Review

WARNING: This book review may contain spoilers. (Oh, those pesky things!)

So I’ve been reading…a lot.

Really, what’s a girl to do when she keeps receiving goodies from booksellers in the mail? I really feel like I need to give a special shout out to Chapters/Indigo for sending me a gift card, which I then used to buy a copy of Sabrina Jeffries’ latest masterpiece, When the Rogue Returns.

Victor Cale never imagined his sweet, shy wife, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels for criminal pursuits. But there’s no denying it was Isa’s handiwork that turned up in the brazen heist of the Dutch royal family’s diamonds after she disappeared into the night.

Ten years later, still reeling from her betrayal and enraged that her duplicitous side was so undetectable, the sexy investigator heads to Edinburgh, where his cousin Maximilian has landed him a job tailing a wealthy baron’s bride-to-be. Simple enough—until the “fiancée” in question proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluringly eligible young widow.

No longer the meek and mild girl he once knew, the bold woman vehemently asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her. Piecing together the past to prove Isa’s innocence reawakens a volatile passion, hotter than ever. With a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the scheming thieves to justice–without getting burned themselves.

Of course, I also have to mention that Ms. Jeffries was cruel enough to bait me with a 40-page preview of the novel, but then withhold the rest for a good 6 months before release date. How did she expect me to survive when the last lines I read before a 6-month blackout were:

With her back to him, Isa froze. 

Good. He hoped he’d thrown her into a panic. He was looking forward to seeing her alarm at being caught, after all these years. Or better yet, worried about what vengeance the husband she’d betrayed might mete out.

She began to turn toward him slowly, as if in a dream. He just had time to glimpse the porcelain skin, full lips, and other sweet features he’d found so compelling nearly ten years ago, when her gaze met his. 

To his shock, it was ablaze with fury. 

Yes, dear readers, for 6 whole months, Ms. Jeffries left me hanging with the thoughts – “OMG! What’s Victor going to do? What is Isabella going to do? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!” – rolling around in my head. Worst of all, I was sworn to secrecy and, therefore, couldn’t discuss my inner turmoil with anyone.

And I had thought, as one of her precious street team members, Ms. Jeffries would not play such cruel games with my heart.

But I digress…

I eventually was given the opportunity to read When the Rogue Returns – I read it on release day in fact – but I was unable to post my review, due in part that I was still reeling from the emotional, action-packed thrill ride that is the novel.

When the Rogue Returns was all about second chances. Isa and Victor have to learn to work together despite the fact that they each feel the other betrayed them ten years ago – the readers, of course, know this wasn’t what happened but Isa and Victor have to work through their misconceptions together. It doesn’t help the fact that ten years ago both Isa and Victor were very young and vulnerable to the manipulations of those around them. Isa grew up in the ten years after Victor “abandoned” her and has made a home for her and her daughter in Edinburgh. Victor, on the other hand, thinks his wife is a con-artist and refuses to let himself trust her.

I think the best part of this novel is that Isa and Victor learn to communicate for the sake of their daughter. And it helps that both of the characters have matured in their ten years apart, and grown into their own identities, enough to realize that in reality events are not always black and white. For Isa and Victor, the ten year separation was a good thing because when you see the characters reunite after the prologue, they are both strong enough to stand their own ground and smart enough to admit their faults.

That said, I nearly died from all the things Ms. Jeffries made me feel, such as the intensity of the “I want to punch Victor!” emotions and the “Why, Isabella, why?!” torment.

Only, apparently, torturing me through the novel wasn’t enough because Ms. Jeffries left a sneak peek at the end of the book for Tristan’s novel, How the Scoundrel Seduces and she’s making me wait until August to read it – of course, she blames the delay on her publisher but we all know who the real culprit is. 😉

Rika Ashton

(aka The Much Tormented)


Cover Lover: Historical Edition

2014 means more reading for me. Only this year, I don’t have to read theoretical papers on the importance of intrinsic motivation – or at least, this year I will have the choice of whether or not I want to read them.

That said, I’m looking forward to the line of historical romances coming out this year. Here are a few of the HR books I know I’ll adore!

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.

New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns to the Highlands of Scotland in her hottest new historical romance yet!

Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan . . . with the most sinful of curves.

Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved . . . until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding . . . and lead to a love she’s never known?

(UK Cover)

Miss Amity Doncaster, world traveler, is accustomed to adventure and risk. Benedict Stanbridge, a man of science and a spy for the Crown, has faced danger in the darker corners of foreign lands.

Now they are about to face a threat that is shockingly close to home . . .

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. Yet Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her – for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge -gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him – as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and they will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings neither of them can run away from . . .

And that is my list so far – although there are other authors, such as Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, and Johanna Lindsey (previously posted here) among others, whose novels I can’t wait to get my hands on as well.

Rika Ashton

(aka The Historian)


It’s 2013 in a Pretty Blue Bow!

Hi all,

It’s the last day of 2013! And this has probably been the busiest year of my life! (Not that I have lived long enough to have very many busy years, yet.)

I have some pretty great (and not so great) memories from 2013, but because I know there is a limit to how far people like to scroll on webpages, I’m going to share only my top ten. (Trust me, picking only a few was hard to do.)

1. I graduated with my Bachelor of Education and got my teaching certificate – I am now certified to mold young minds. (Epic army of Kindergarteners, here I come!)

2. I WON the Liebster Award for blogging! (Clear proof that I am actually as awesome as I think.)

3. I got to join Sabrina Jeffries’ Street Team. 

4. I was NOT chased by any perverted squirrels this year! (HUGE accomplishment in my book.)

5. I FINISHED and started my first round of edits on Dagger of the Sun. (I am now one step closer to fame and fortune.)

6. The year introduced me to some great music! JT made a comeback and Lorde is now one of my favourite singers.

7. I got three jobs, worked all of them at the same time, and lived to tell the tale.

8. I am halfway closer to buying myself a Porshe, which is awesome because I was dead broke at the end of August.

9. I took my class of Kindergarteners to a museum and we all walked away unscathed (aka, there was NO heist). 

10. I got a letter telling me that my FIRST EVER short story/essay would be published in February 2015.

And those are my highlights from 2013. Yes, most of them are more sentimental than tangible, but I really did have a great year – and somewhat insane – year.

Best of all, I SURVIVED!

And so what was the last book I read this year…

Drum roll please…

BLACK AND BLUE by Gena Showalter.

I really did love this one!

Rika Ashton 

(aka “I MADE IT TO 2014!)

P.S: Here’s the latest from Lorde…