Charity’s Heart by Sophia Diana Gabel

CHARITY
Charity’s Heart by Sophia Diana Gabel
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (214 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Thornapple

Charity Llewellyn, 19, looks forward to her wedding, but upon learning that her intended groom is Mathias Baptiste, the immoral son of a wealthy banker, she runs away from home to avoid the betrothal. Angry at her attempt, her father appoints a handsome and mysterious man, Alexander Sutton, as her constant chaperone.

Furious, Charity plots an escape with help from her friend Lillian, although that leads to involvement in an unsolved 20-year old murder and a shallow burial of human bones. As she tries to unravel the secrets of the old murder, she meets a frightening man who could be Jack the Ripper.

But that’s not her only obstacle. As she and Alexander grow closer, she learns a dark secret he’s been keeping and when Mathias finds them together, he’s overcome with rage and will stop at nothing to get her back, not even murder.

Suspense and mystery added to the pot, gives this story a darker tone than some may be accustomed to in a historical romance. Personally, I like this combination of romantic suspense and historical romance which is a nice change of pace.

Charity’s father has kept her under virtual lock and key until the day arrives when she should be married. When she discovers who her father has chosen for her, a brutal man named Mathias Baptiste, Charity begins to take charge of her life in order to save herself, not only from a loveless marriage, but from being abused for the rest of her life.

Charity’s attempts to avoid marriage introduced her to Mr. Alexander Sutton, a man who has been hired by her father as a temporary bodyguard, his sole purpose being to make sure Charity arrives at the party where her betrothal is to be announced. However, Alexander is outed as the son of a former law officer, who now stands accused of murder.

For those who know me and follow my reviews online, you know that I have come to detest fluffy period novels with no substance, and an incredibly inaccurate portrayal of women’s hardships in this era of time, mainly by sugarcoating them. However, in this instance, the author got a little heavy handed with the cruelty to women. Every man in this book was mean, cruel and nasty, even Alexander, Charity’s love interest was cold, harsh, and mostly apathetic to Charity’s situation, (or ran hot and cold towards her) and not all that sexy or romantic much of the time.

The women is the story are not much better, with Charity starting off being “too stupid to live”, her best friend being very obtuse at times, although she does redeem herself somewhat, and Charity’s mother is just plain useless, making all the women in the book appear naïve, tepid, or silly.

However…. Charity does progress and grow quite nicely as the story moves along. She is still stuck in her situation and is left with little or no recourse, but to flee, if she can. I liked seeing her break out of her shell and take charge of her life, at least as much as she was able.

The mystery is a secondary plot line and eventually connects to people Charity is closely associated with. Initially, I found the set up with Alexander’s absentee father being accused of murder and leaving his son alone to take the heat and suffer a tarnished reputation, a bit odd. The evidence was circumstantial but very overwhelming. So, we cheer Alexander on as he tries to uncover the truth, with some help from Charity and her friend, although unwittingly.
The murder plot was a tad transparent in some places as you will most likely be able to ascertain who is involved, but there are still a few surprises and twist along the way.

The mystery part of the story is what kept me from sinking into utter frustration with some of the characters and events in the book. I stuck with it mainly to see the mystery solved and to see how Charity would manage to wrangle herself out the arranged marriage to Mathias. I was beginning to wonder if she would be free of this horrible man and if Alexander would simply stand by and watch it happen.

But, in the end Charity made me proud and I was glad to see she was happy, even it I did wish she had been able to experience more sigh worthy romantic elements. Overall, the story has some flaws, and it wasn’t exactly one I would gush over or highly recommend, but I found it enjoyable enough that I read it all the way through. So, if you like your historical novels with a slight edge, with a bit of mystery and suspense, you might want to give this one try.

Off Book by Jessica Dall

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Off Book by Jessica Dall
Publisher: REUTS Publications
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (181 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Twenty-year-old Eloise has learned all she can from the School, where characters live until joining their novels. No one knows genre and plot structure better than her, but despite her knowledge, she’s yet to be assigned to her own story. All her friends are off starting their lives with their authors—and if Eloise doesn’t get assigned soon, she’ll fade away, forgotten by all.

When she is offered a job at the Recording Office, instead, she takes the chance to write her own future. Suddenly living among the post-storied, Eloise meets Barnaby Fitzwilliam, a former romance novel hero who hasn’t lost any of his in-story charm. But just as their relationship begins to get serious, Eloise is sucked into a novel she was never meant to be part of, turning everything they thought they knew about their world upside down.

Now, caught where the only rules are made by authors and truly anything is possible, Eloise must find her way back home—or her life might end before she ever gets the chance to live it.

It’s hard to sit by and watch other people find their destinies. Eloise has been gracious about it for a long time, but when will it be her turn?

There were quite a few plot twists that I didn’t see coming. Ms. Dall’s vivid imagination worked really well with the premise of this story, especially once the characters settled into their roles and began reacting to everything that was happening to them. What I appreciated the most about all of these surprises was how well they worked with the plot as well as everything I was able to figure out about the personalities of the characters involved in them.

Speaking of the characters, I would have really liked to see more time spent developing their personalities. I like Eloise and Barnaby, but I finished the final chapter without ever having a clear understanding of what it would be like to be in the same room with them. Would they be talkative or quiet? How would they react to disappointing news? What kind of response could I expect from them if they were angry? Had even some of my questions about them been answered, this book would have easily earned a much higher rating.

One of my favorite things to see in a possible romantic subplot is a strong friendship. If two characters have enough in common that I could see them being best friends, I will almost certainly root for them to end up together. It took a while for the romantic elements of this tale to fully appear, but I was glad the author took her time to show the audience why the people involved in that storyline might make such a good match. It kept my attention and made it hard to stop reading.

Off Book was incredibly clever. I’d recommend it to anyone has ever wondered what characters really do when an author stops paying attention to them.

Valentine’s Heat I by Ally Shields, Nessie Strange, Keith Melton, C.L. Bledsoe

heart
Valentine’s Heat I by Ally Shields, Nessie Strange, Keith Melton, C.L. Bledsoe
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Holiday, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (210 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

“Heart’s Pride” by Ally Shields

The Guardian Witch Series

When their wedding is ruined by a werepanther attack, Katrina is left hospitalized and Blane is just…gone. But when he finally finds his way back to Riverdale, he learns he’s not the only one who’s been tracking Katrina…

“Lost Soul, Lost Love” by Nessie Strange

The Living Dead World Series

It’s Jen MacLellan’s first trip back to earth as a new reaper, and Mardi Gras is in full swing. When she happens upon Chip, a partier stuck in a perpetual 1983, Jen decides to help him find the woman he loves so he can move on. Assuming all goes well when he finds her…

“Red Dogs” by Keith Melton

The Zero Dog Mission Series

Mercenary pyromancer Andrea Walker has just saved the world from bloodthirsty hagworms and is late for her Valentine’s date with Jake. Until she hears that Jake has already left her house…with her…

“V-Day” by CL Bledsoe

The Necro-Files Series

Daisy and her friends think going to a frat party on Valentine’s Day will be a fun, not-at-all-desperate Girls Night Out. What they don’t expect is to have Delilah’s succubus pheromones accidentally set off the apocalypse…

Valentine’s Day is for suckers…

At least that’s what the majority of the stories in this anthology relate to. In the first story, “Heart’s Pride” by Ally Shields, we meet a cat shifter with a few unwanted beaus that turn from rowdy drunks to kidnapping slavers. Katrina is searching for her lost mate and is derailed from her mission, only to find hope in the darkest places. Great tension, strong characters and I was sad when this story was over.

In the second story “Lost Soul, Lost Love” we meet a new Reaper getting her education about the other side of the proverbial fence. She meets a lost soul who won’t give up the ghost of his former life and has to decide if tangling with her mentor Sam or Death is worth the education. Great story. It made me want to read the rest. The telepathic link from Sam to the new reaper was fun and awkward all at the same time.

The third piece “Red Dogs” by Keith Melton was more militaristic than some of the other stories. An unpleasant surprise awaits a team of elite fighters when their mission to contain a disturbance at an antique shop goes horribly wrong. Mistaken identities, spiritual warfare and a sexy dinner out might be just the thing to get this Valentine’s Day heated up.

The last story is “The Necro-Files: V-Day” by C.L. Bledsoe. I love this series and this story was a fun addition. It lends itself to a common problem at frat parties. What do you do when someone spikes the punch and if a succubus with insane lusty powers drinks it, how many men do you think will still be standing? This was a hilarious car humping story that had me snorting through my nose more than once.

All of these stories had a unique view on Valentine’s Day foibles and just how much of a trial it can be. From outdated ghostly love to a doppelganger style manifestation to lusty punch and kitty shifters, this was a blast to read and I am going to go back and check out the authors I haven’t read before. Fans of the Anita Blake books, Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris will love these authors.

If you want some short reads that are urban fantasy style romance with snark, these are for you.

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

IDEA
The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre- Women’s fiction
Length: Full Length (239 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

As we like to say in the south: “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what’s a little white lie between strangers?
But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

I’m not from the South but I have a weakness for books set there. Maybe it’s the sometimes quirky characters or the strong sense of place and The Idea of Love had both.

It’s the story of two people, neither of them in a good place in their lives. Both fall into the trap of lying to each other. It was fun, sometimes funny, and I loved both Ella and Hunter. They were well-rounded characters who you cheered for. I thought they were perfect for one another but sometimes I wondered what was going to happen when they found out about the other one’s secret. It was fun getting to that part in the story and gave the book their must turn the page quality.

I also enjoyed the setting with its colorful characters and yes, there were a few quirky ones thrown in there. I thought the ending was great, loose ends tied up and everyone got either what they deserved or a very happy ending.

If you like books set in the south, and love a good splash of romance thrown into the mix then I think this is one to add to your summer reading list.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

seekrs
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (632 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people–mothers and daughters, husband and lovers–inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling–a woman you’ll always remember in world you’ll never forget. The Shell Seekers is a magical novel, the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while.

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling’s prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather’s work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer…and it lies in her heart.

The awesomeness of this family-love story reveals so much about human nature. It lures you in gently and holds on tight.

This is Penelope Keeling’s story, but it encompasses the lives of those who influenced her and whom she influenced. The Shell Seekers has a uniqueness all its own.

Penelope is an elegant woman even in her well-worn, often shabby clothes. Her generosity, industry, joy of life, tolerance, and caring for others never seems to falter. Her gentle, steadfast inner strength shines like a golden thread in the tapestry of her whole life. Her elegance comes from within, one sees IT as she gives unstinting love, rises above mistakes and hard times and “makes-do” with what she has to work with.

Another bright thread, ever present, is her belief that money buys, not necessarily just material things, but it also buys freedom, independence, dignity, learning, and time. As she deals with her children, she comes to believe that the greatest gift a parent can give the children is to maintain one’s independence, be self-reliant, and not witless.

The reader first meets Penelope when she is in a secure place in life, even though her good health is iffy. She takes the reader back to not-secure times when mistakes were made, when World War II governed their lives, and when never-to-be-forgotten love abided for a time.

The reader get to vicariously experience life in Cornwall, England with Penelope and her artist father and his young wife Sophie, One gets to know the village people and the evacuees Doris and her two sons during scary, deprivation times of WWII. Later, life is shared with her in London with her children and a wrinkle-in-time month visit in Spain when one gets to know her daughter Olivia and her friends Cosmo and Antonia. The reader gets caught right in the middle of the never-ending conflicts that her other two children, Nancy and Noel, have with her. But one of the best experiences for this reader was the time Penelope shared with Antonia and Danus, the gardener—made my heart feel good.

Rosamunde Pilcher makes no excuses for the sins of the characters (there are many), but the reader is privy to so much more than missteps. One sees the beauty of life through Penelope’s eyes as she copes and accepts whatever comes her way, never admitting defeat, and all the while stays true and honest to herself.

The Shell Seekers is a family-love saga—compelling , satisfying, memorable, and is beautifully,masterfully written.

Against the Tide by Kat Martin

TIDE
Against the Tide by Kat Martin
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (367 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Secrets—and safety—melt under a midnight sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life, and the cops haven’t been able to do a thing to help. But there’s one man who makes her feel safe, no matter what…rugged charter boat captain Rafe Brodie.

To Rafe, Liv is a beautiful mystery, one he can’t ignore. He means to unearth her secrets, and in the process, if luck is on his side, maybe the spark between them will ignite.

But Liv’s past is more dangerous than Rafe could guess, and when his first mate turns up dead, she fears that she’s next. That there’s something else coming she can’t see. That even Rafe and the remote village of Valdez, Alaska can’t protect her forever…

Mystery, murder, a secretive beauty, and a “Freckin’ Hot” hero bring Against the Tide to life.

Olivia Chandler hopes, after three years, her past is erased forever. She likes Valdez, Alaska. The people have befriended her. Here is where she’d like to make a life for herself.

When an employee’s fiancé, is murdered, Olivia joins forces with Rafe Brodie, the one Katie, the waitress, calls “Freckin’ Hot.” As they and a few friends do their own investigation to clear one friend’s name and find the real murderer, Olivia and Rafe’s attraction to each other raises the heat level. Love scenes sizzle.

However, Rafe senses all is not right with Olivia, who has a highly trained guard dog, plus she never speaks of her past and avoids his questions about it. He gets his brother Nick to check her out.

As they deal with would-be terrorists, and the fallout from an innocent picture of a party posted on Facebook, plus the information Nick gleans, Olivia seems to get more boxed in minute by minute. How they deal with the situation makes breathtaking and, sometimes, adrenaline-pumping reading.

Kat Martin weaves a tapestry of a tale with dark, dark, threads of antagonists on a mission that could create another “9-11” along with dark threads of a different shade from Olivia’s past. These dark threads threaten to overpower, but cannot dim the bright threads of friendship, love, and hope. Ms. Martin’s weaving shows the beauty of the Alaskan setting as she weaves in a few sub-plots that enhance the main plot while never ceasing to work in the bright golden threads of a love that has “toe-curling” moments.

This captivating story sweeps the reader along with loyal friends and family, with danger that lurks, and, best of all, with love that finally sparkles with happiness. GOOD reading!

Touching the Past by Ilene Kaye

PAST
Touching the Past by Ilene Kaye
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Three people are missing. Detective Zac Herrera knows their disappearances are connected. He needs psychic Mallory Woods to prove it and he’s hoping their past connection will convince her to help him.

Mallory Woods isn’t an ordinary accountant. The attractive Amerasian has a secret—the ability to see the past when she touches an object or a person—though she has resisted using her gift since a traumatic event in high school. Except she can’t turn her back on the missing victims, or Zac, the man she once cared about. But can he protect her from the evil reaching out for her?

As Zac and Mallory work together, their attraction blossoms. With a madman on the loose, will they survive to find out if they have a future?

Can Zac and Mallory move beyond the past to have a future together?

Zac and Mallory have a bit of a complicated past. They both had secret crushes on each other in high school, but never confessed their feelings for each other. Years later, Zac still can’t get Mallory out of his head. Zac needs Mallory’s help to solve his latest case, but deep down he knows his feelings would have compelled him to reach out to her eventually. Will Mallory be able to see Zac for the man he’s become, or will he always be the boy she tutored in high school?

The mystery surrounding the missing people wrapped up very simply and quickly. Most of Zac’s work on the case is behind the scenes, so readers who like the kind of mystery they can try to solve before the end will not be able to do that with this story. Mallory’s gift allows the villain to be exposed very easily. Then it was just a matter of time before Zac was able to bring the culprit to justice. I do wish that the mystery had been more detailed and drawn out. However, I still found the conclusion to be pretty satisfying.

Most of the tension in this mystery revolves around Zac and Mallory. Both of them were a bit hung up on the past and were constantly wondering if what they were feeling was real or just the memories of their crushes. They had great chemistry that Ms. Kaye built to the point that even simple actions were charged with sexual tension. I do like the fact that they didn’t rush into anything serious. They were renewing their acquaintance under some intense circumstances, and they both recognized that. I have no doubt that after solving the case, they’ll take the time they need to truly get to know each other and will be well on their way to a happy ending.

Overall, I found Touching the Past to be a quick, satisfying read that I read straight through. Mallory and Zac make a good couple, and I had fun watching them rediscover each other as adults. I recommend it to anyone looking for a light and entertaining mystery.

Be My Queen by RayeAnn Carter

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Be My Queen by RayeAnn Carter
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (154 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Lavender doesn’t want a man in her life, not if it means exposing that she’s trans. Fortunately, Diego’s only in LA for a week. She can enjoy the attention without him finding out her secret.

Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. Neither is the jealous housemate determined to ruin everything.

Is there really someone out there for everyone? Some people say there is, but Lavender isn’t so sure this is true.

The chemistry between Lavender and Diego was so sweet and bubbly. At times it felt as though neither one of them had ever had a crush before due to their lighthearted approach to the idea. The author did a good job showing the audience some of the reasons why these people might make a good match. They seemed to have similar personalities and interests, both of which are things I look for when trying to figure out if I think two characters should end up together.

With that being said, their relationship moved far too quickly. I could completely understand why they would feel infatuated with each other, but I had trouble figuring out why they said certain things to one another. The plot takes place over an incredibly short amount of time. Had their interactions been spaced out, these conversations between them and the intensity of their emotions would have made more sense.

There’s something to be said for a well-thought out-ending. I wondered how the author was planning to wrap everything up as I approached the final pages. Ms. Carter knows her characters well, though, and I was pleased with how she approached the last scene in particular. It fit in well with everything else that had happened earlier on in the plot.

I’d recommend Be My Queen to anyone who believes in love at first sight.

Eban by Allison Merritt

EBAN
Eban by Allison Merritt
The Heckmasters Book 2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (181 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

If love can’t save them, there will be hell to pay.

The Heckmasters, Book 2

Grateful for his mother’s human blood that cools the dark fire of his demon father, Eban Heckmaster has set up a medical practice in New Mexico territory. But there’s no hope of living a normal life until he rids himself of a seductive demon that’s been pursuing him.

Vanquishing it won’t be as simple as sharpening his demon-hunting sword. The clever creature is hiding inside his best friend’s head, and she has no idea of the havoc she’s been wreaking, especially with his body.

Beryl suspects Eban knows why she’s been waking up with no memory of where she’s been or what she’s done, but he’s not talking. But when she inevitably learns what he’s hiding—or rather, what’s hiding inside her—she wonders if her love for him is real, or an illusion created by the demon’s lust.

Eban is losing the battle to hold his rising desire in check. There may be only one way to extricate Beryl from the beast entangling her mind. Call upon his demon blood…and offer it as a sacrifice.

“They’d been conceived in love, they battled demons, but their blood ran thick with barely controlled evil”

This is the second book in the series depicting the story of the second brother, Eban. This series is solely focused on the three Heckmaster brothers who are half demon. Their father is a full-fledged demon who fell in love with a human.

There is a history in all the three books, which mainly comprises of what happened to their parents and their only sister. If you want to know more about all of this I would very much recommend for any reader to start from the first book, Wystan.

All of the brothers are very different from each other. Eban is a healer at heart. Fighting is not what he likes though he is good at it like his brothers. His heart is for healing people. I think this is where his urge to get the demon residing in Beryl comes from. He has a soft spot for Beryl though in his mind he still think himself in love with Rhia who is married to his elder brother, Wystan.

This book begins where Rhia and Wystan got married and left for their honeymoon, leaving Beryl in charge of the school and the classes including their otherworldy children or students.

Eban is bent on making sure Beryl lives, no matter the consequences. Their relationship did start with friendship though it wasn’t merely that for Beryl. However, their chemistry is at first very light. I could almost take it for lust. But at some point the passion and chemistry becomes difficult to ignore.

I loved the ending immensely. It was unexpected but not disliked in any way. I liked the ending very much and am looking forward to the third book and the surprises in store.

This is an easy recommend for any paranormal romance lovers.

Kilts and Daggers by Victoria Roberts

KILTS
Kilts and Daggers by Victoria Roberts
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (307 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Ever since Lady Grace Walsingham discovered her uncle and sister are spies for the Crown, she has yearned for adventure. She’s counting the days until she can leave barbaric Scotland behind, even if she must endure Highland captain Fagan Murray’s company for weeks.

Fagan has a simple mission: escort the haughty Lady Grace back to England. But nothing is ever easy. The sharp-tongued woman needles him at every turn. But when a menacing threat follows them on their journey, Fagan’s grudging tolerance for Grace turns to respect…and into a perilous attraction that could seal their fate.

Kilts and Daggers sizzles, simmers, and boils over with fighting, treachery, clan loyalty, and love. Yet, a subtle undercurrent of humor ripples through much of the story.

Victoria Roberts, once again, gives the reader a vicarious adventure with rowdy, rugged Highlanders and this time she ups-the-ante with four strong-minded English sisters that disrupt Sutherland Castle to the limit.

The ex-spy for the Crown, Ravenna Walsingham married Ruairi Sutherland, head of the clan. Her sisters, nine-year-old Kat and fifteen-year-old Elizabeth have come to live at Sutherland Castle. Kat has twelve-year-old Torquil running for cover and Elizabeth is eyeing the much-older neighbor, Lord Ian Munro, who is horrified at the very thought of an English girl.

Then there’s nineteen-year-old Lady Grace Walsingham, with her sharp tongue and prim English lady ways, who’s just there for her sister’s wedding and to be sure her two younger sister are well settled and happy before she returns to England to marry her betrothed, Lord Daniel Casterbrook.

Her new brother-in-law Ruairi’s Captain of the Guard, Fagan, a kinsman, sets Grace in a temper with his totally inappropriate attitude toward her. Her uppity ways sets him to calling her “Princess Grace” as he undermines her disdain for the “barbarian Highlanders.” Their verbal warring, as sexual tension builds, creates can’t-put-it-down reading. Ah, there’s a toe-curling kiss that both declare is not going to happen again. Oh, but it does. What a spellbinding adventure the reader gets to share as Fagan and men of his Guard set out to deliver Grace back to England and to her betrothed.

The story takes a couple of twists as they travel that are shocking and adrenaline-pumping, one of them totally unexpected.

With smooth, lyrical prose, Victoria Roberts creates a delightful, delicious love story that is blended with political intrigue, savagery, the beauty of Scotland, and diverse customs of the English and Scottish people. CAPTIVATING READING!