Willow’s Way by Sharon Struth

Willow’s Way by Sharon Struth
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full (228 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Willow Armstrong, the once-famous “Queen of Weight Loss” and president of Pound Busters, succumbed to stress eating after her divorce. Now the scandal of getting caught on camera binging on pizza, and the internet-wide mocking of her new curves, may destroy her career. Add in a business advisor who drained her finances, and Willow is out of options—until she learns she’s inherited a house in England’s most picturesque locale, The Cotswolds.

Willow’s trip across the pond to sell the property and salvage her company soon becomes its own adventure: the house, once owned by grandparents she never met, needs major work. Plus, single dad Owen Hughes, the estate’s resident groundskeeper and owner of a local tour outfit, isn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving . . . Yet as Willow proceeds with her plans, she’s sidetracked by surprising discoveries about her family’s history–and with Owen’s help, the area’s distinctive attractions. Soon, she’s even retracing her roots—and testing her endurance—amid the region’s natural beauty. And the more she delves into the past, the more clearly she sees herself, her future, and the way home . . .

Willow’s Way is an apt title for this book – because Willow has definitely lost her way and this novel describes how she finds it again. The book opens with the fact that Willow, creator of a very successful and popular diet program, has been caught on film sneaking pizza. It sounds like a set up for a joke, but her life has become no laughing matter. She’s divorced, a trusted advisor has taken off with her company’s (and her own) money, and she’s a stress eater. Her board of directors are not happy that the face of their weight loss company has gone from a size 6 to a size 12, so the release of the video was not a good thing. As she’s weighing her options, she quite unexpectedly learns she has inherited a house in England – and makes a decision that quite literally changes her life.

I absolutely loved Willow… I can identify with her on so many levels. I love the way she took control of things. She was a fighter, it stood her in good stead. There were a lot of issues for her to deal with over the course of the book and dealt with them she did. In doing so, she learned a lot about herself and her past she never knew. She was the type of character I felt like I could sit down and have tea with.

The rest of the characters were just as richly drawn. Owen is just scrumptious and could quite easily become one of my favorite male characters. His daughter Jilly (and Henry, her dog) are just fall-in-lovable!

The setting is almost like another character in the book. I’m a not-so-hidden Anglophile anyway, and I felt like I had stepped into the pages of a Maeve Binchy book had she written English settings instead of Irish. I would have loved to live here.

There are no great conflicts in this book, but they aren’t needed. It’s a sweet look at one woman and her life and I stayed up way too late reading it! I was right there rooting for Willow all the time she was trying to find her way, and I was very sorry when the book ended.

I highly recommend this book!

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Digging In by Loretta Nyhan


Digging In by Loretta Nyhan
Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (263 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

In Loretta Nyhan’s warm and witty Amazon Charts bestselling novel, a widow discovers an unexpected chance to start over—right in her own backyard.

Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade—and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she’s at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig.

As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. The neighbors in her tidy gated community are more than a little alarmed. Paige knows nothing about gardening, and she’s boldly flouting neighborhood-association bylaws. But with the help of new friends, a charming local cop, and the transformative power of the soil, Paige starts to see potential in the chaos of her life. Something big is beginning to take root—both in her garden and in herself.

This author tackles a hard subject. How do you go on when your other half dies in a freak accident? There was no warning, life isn’t the same and your helpmate is gone. It doesn’t help when your child doesn’t want to talk about it either. What makes this story even more meaningful is that the author’s own husband died while playing golf. Her story isn’t this story but it makes it even more touching.

Paige had been in love with him since the eighth grade and is trying to learn to live without him. Then her boss dies and his son takes over the company. Her home and her clothes and her life are all a mess and now she might lose her job…

It’s very easy to fall into oblivion when a major traumatic event shakes up your life. She’s emotionally unstable, is fighting with her neighbor, and the folks in the housing association think she’s losing touch with rationality. She thinks they may be right.

Ms. Nyhan takes you through Paige’s life as she fumbles around trying to put her life back together. She finds a man she likes and decides to take it slow and see how it goes. Her son rebels. She’s gardening even if she really doesn’t know how because she’s friends with a lady from the Farmer’s Market. And the road isn’t clear yet but she’s finding her direction.

The story sounds authentic and the author makes you feel her sorrow and her uncertainty. Paige can’t give up but she’d like to. Then, with the help of friends, she perks up and starts making a new life. Everyone has gone through that at some time in their life. Did you do as well as Paige?

Duke du Jour by Petie McCarty

Duke du Jour by Petie McCarty
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Time Travel
Length: Full (337 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

..a reverse Kate and Leopold…a light-hearted time travel romance where a bewildered modern-day duke ends up in Regency England and meets the girl of his dreams…

Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor–the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.

Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo–only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.

Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain–before Seven shows up–so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.

Duke Du Jour kicks off with a surprising scandal – one that we readers could scarcely expect…and this story is intriguing immediately. Kudos to the author for plunging in so creatively. I must confess; given the time period, the titled character, the very word ‘romance’ – I expected my initial thought to be ‘entirely predictable.’ Happily, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Jared, third duke, is not getting his own way – right from the start. People and events transpire to affect him in ways he can scarcely imagine, but somehow, we believe. His meeting with Lady Ariana is both wonderful and awful, because we cannot see how this romance could ever actually work out. No spoilers here – McCarty enthralls us with this intriguing story line.

I’d call this a ‘mostly’ historical romance and suspect historical romance fans will find it enjoyable – don’t be put off by the time travel aspect. Definitely worth the read.

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Cushion by Tamela Miles


Cushion by Tamela Miles
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (119 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Natalie Kliebert finally has the perfect life she spent years dreaming of. She’s on the fast track to her fantasy-come-true career as a therapist. If she can help pop star Billy Chambers, it will be her greatest achievement and even sweeter than earning an “A” grade.

The last thing Billy Chambers wants is anyone’s help, especially when he doesn’t see a single thing wrong with his life. When bossy Natalie becomes his court-appointed personal therapist, sparks fly from day one. Annoyance was never so arousing. Hooking up should be easy, but an undercurrent of evil is coming for Natalie, which may force her to reveal her deepest secret.

The problems of their pasts are no match for today’s demons. Natalie and Billy must come together and be the allies they were meant to be in a supernatural fight that may cost them their lives.

This is a unique second-chance story filled with spice and the supernatural. Carin Bell is a writer. Seems normal enough. Then, she gets killed in a fiery car accident, but his is not the end of the story. It’s the beginning. Her love match, Billy Chambers, is a pop star who is in trouble. Billy had made fun of Carin when she was a teenager. Now she’ll get her chance to confront him. She is gifted with a second chance at life, not exactly the typical reincarnation story. She comes back as a different adult with a new identity, not as a baby reborn.

The new Carin, now Natalie, approaches Billy, and the meeting is memorable. How will he react when he sees the new, supernatural woman in his hotel room? Something in him changes, and it is good to see.

After some time he meets her again, but she is his therapist, charged with helping him overcome alcoholism. He makes his hard journey into sobriety. The chemistry between these two is hot, and the romance develops, as one might expect. However, their’s is not the typical love story. There is more to this tale, an underlying sinister presence, seeking to destroy them and others. The tale becomes somewhat of a supernatural thriller. The suspense is created when the characters are scared by their enemy.

During these occurrences, the characters are developed well. Billy shows himself to be thoughtful and considerate. He’s so human, and we see his weaknesses and struggle as well as those of Natalie. Both have personal demons to confront as well as the literal one. Though of battling that one is terrifying. They must go to a bad place and rescue trapped souls. The stakes are very high. They could easily lose themselves and the souls depending on them.

This is a fast-paced story that takes twists and turns to keep up the suspense level. It is well worth the read.

Betting on Kincade by Devon McKay


Betting on Kincade by Devon McKay
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (228 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Everyone Cassie Wilcox loved is gone. And now, thanks to her drunken stepfather, her house and family business will be taken from her, too, unless she can find a way to buy back the ranch from the new owner. With less than two months to come up with money she doesn’t have, her options are running out, and apparently, her common sense as she rents out rooms to an eclectic group of strangers.

Returning home for Dalton Kincade is bittersweet. Not a damn thing has changed. Two years on the rodeo circuit weren’t able to shake free the memory of the feisty redhead who’d broken his heart into a thousand pieces. Nor the sting of her parting words…Never trust a Kincade.

Winning her beloved ranch in a drunken bet is the last thing he expected to happen, but at least he saved it for her. Now, he has to figure out how to break that news to a woman who never wants to see him again. Renting a room in the house he now owns might be a risk, but it’s nothing compared to betting his heart on winning back the love of his life.

This is purely a feel good book that is quick and easy to read. I have read a huge amount of contemporary western romance stories so I recognized a lot of familiar tropes; some I liked, some were just okay. There was one scene that I can safely say was unique and I know beyond of a shadow of a doubt that I’d never read this in a story before because I’d sure remember that particular scene. Despite relying on a lot well-worn storytelling techniques, I can classify this novel as an entertaining read that was worth my time.

Dalton Kincade is the hero in this romance and he carried the momentum for me in this story. He had his reasons for leaving the heroine, Cassie Wilcox, to join the rodeo for two years. Cassie should have understood. Yes, she suffered a broken heart when he left but under the circumstances, she should have had a less selfish perspective, especially after two years. It obviously hurt him to leave too.

Cassie’s stubbornness and pride was borderline annoying. For that reason I had a hard time connecting with her “woe is me, I must save the ranch all by myself” attitude. It was a broken record to hear Cassie constantly talk about how she can make more money to save the ranch. I’d say that Cassie was the most presumptuous character I’ve ever read. Some of her solutions to make money were surreal and unrealistic. All I know is that Dalton had way too much patience and clearly loved her more than she loved him. Although their past love was well established, the chemistry in the present was lacking. There were some good moments when Cassie let down her walls and showed some vulnerability. I wished there were more scenes like that. It would have helped.

Cassie viewed Dalton as bossy, stubborn and a man who will always try to step in and save her. I didn’t view Dalton as bossy and stubborn at all. I actually viewed the heroine as ungrateful that she didn’t appreciate his stepping in to help her. What’s wrong with a man who loves you wanting to protect and help you? I’m not saying Dalton was perfect but I sure liked him more.

Some upbeat and positive elements were when Cassie and Dalton kept making wagers back and forth between themselves. That added a bit of humor into the story and helped me to connect to them as a couple. They did have some sizzling scenes but that only reinforced my impression that Dalton was too good for Cassie.

Some characters were more developed than others. Cassie’s stepfather, Gary Evans, was definitely a loser, a dirt bag, and a pathetic piece of life. He added suspense and drama to the story because he was the main conflict throughout the book. How his character was handled at the end didn’t exactly work for me. One of my pet peeves is not having all the plot threads tied up. I need absolute, complete closure. There must be justice. I don’t want to speculate in my head that everything worked out. I love happy endings with a pretty bow. There at least could have been an epilogue. If it weren’t for Dalton, then this entire book would have been infuriating to me.

Betting on Kincade was a good read. It was mostly enjoyable. I made it through and didn’t consider it a waste of my time, because time and time again Dalton drew me back into the story and kept my interest. I know not all romance books can be smooth sailing. Reading this book was like being in a car with a manual transmission whose driver didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. You’re just glad to be out of the house and going for a ride. You just have to hang on even when you hit the potholes because spending time with Dalton Kincade is SO worth the risk.

Flirting with Fairies by Peg Pierson


Flirting with Fairies by Peg Pierson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (233 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Literary agent, Nicole McConnelly is in trouble. Her career’s in the toilet, her bank account overdrawn, and she’s a wanted, fugitive fairy, from the Realm of Imagination, with a price on her head and a ruthless bounty hunter, who happens to be Satan’s brother, on her heels.

Lonely young writer, Kaleb Whalen, lives in a rundown apartment with his pet cockroach and dreams of becoming a best-selling author. But after a run-in with a Boston city bus, he may have lost any chance of a future at all.

When both agent, and author, magically appear center-page in Kaleb’s jungle adventure novel, Nicole finds herself faced with something more terrifying than her long-time nemesis…the possibility of something she has artfully avoided for three centuries. True Love.

This is the other side of the printed word where books come alive in the Realm of Imagination. The combination of author and agent are dumped into the Realm where they meet the author’s characters. The consequences are hilarious and bring the story to life with a jungle man complete with ape, a cannibal and of course the ditzy heroine.

I loved how the author didn’t stop at the characters’ written lives, Ms Pierson also brought in other characters such as a vampire, bounty hunter and a dead sister. When mixed together this made for a book reminiscent of a comic strip but with more depth.

All the characters are larger than life and intertwine with each other to great effect. Just when it seems things have worked out well for everyone, another event happened to stir the plot up again. Good book but not if you want something deep and meaningful; this one is for laughing and enjoying.

Secret Valentine by Cherry Christensen


Secret Valentine by Cherry Christensen
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Professor Hannah Wagganer spends her days teaching and her nights dating Glen Arbor’s new mail carrier, Jasper Morgan. Not only does he spark Hannah’s heart, but he has become best friends with her cat, Jingles.

As Hannah prepares for the church Valentine’s Day potluck and makes cards for local veterans, her relationship with Jasper takes a detour when a snowstorm hits town and she seeks refuge at his cottage. While there, Jasper is a warm and gracious host, but at the same time, he’s turned as cold as the February wind. Doubt creeps in, leaving Hannah worrying that she’ll end up spending another holiday alone.

Once again, blessings and suspicions abound when an anonymous donor pays to have the church pipes repaired and other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental or the work of a secret valentine?

Hannah is in love with Jasper and is willing to keep his secret past from the rest of Glen Arbor. Valentine’s Day is approaching and she wants to make it a day for them to remember.

As with all good romances there is some misunderstanding which brings doubt to Hannah regarding Jasper’s feelings for her.

The book is definitely inspirational, although I usually enjoy inspirational books I found the references and phrases from the Bible tended to take over the story and these interrupted the flow to the point where it became irritating. On the whole this was a nice tale of love and belief which could be a really good inspirational book had it been just a little less heavy handed.

The storyline is good and their evolving love for each other is well handled as is the developing attachment of their two best friends. The characters are well rounded and Jingles the cat adds a bit of humor to the story.

Jayden’s Innocence by Sue Perkins


Jayden’s Innocence by Sue Perkins
Publisher: Caishel Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Life is hard when Jayden is released from prison.

No one wants to employ him and his family want nothing to do with an ex-con. He retreats to a quiet village with no amenities to hide from the world.

Jayden decides the only option is to clear his name. He did not embezzle the money from his employers but knows all prisoners swear they are innocent.

Will anyone believe him?

Sophie lives in the same village and is willing to help him prove his innocence plus she has the skills to do the investigation.

Their quest draws them closer but danger follows every move they make.

Will their search make things worse for Jayden or will they clear his name?

Newly released from jail, Jayden is trying to figure out how to go on with his life. Wrongly convicted for fraud he couldn’t revert back to his old job in finance. With his family refusing to acknowledge him and no one from the local village willing to take a chance and hire him, Jayden quickly starts to lose all hope. Knowing he needed to clear his name to start his life again, Jayden is determined to prove his innocence.

I enjoyed this sweet story – it had the feel of an old-style romance novel. I was a little intrigued by how stand-off-ish the local villagers were. Initially I was quite skeptical – since I know in a small town the comings and goings of other residents is usually frightfully important and talked about endlessly – but it was the reluctant attraction that Jayden felt towards a pretty neighbor, Sophie, that sold me on this story. At first Sophie’s character seemed quite simple to me – a pretty, nice and sweet local village girl. But just like the other residents of the village neither Sophie – nor any of them – are exactly what they seem at first.

With an interesting plot and a few subtle mysteries that unravel at a deliciously slow pace I found this to be a fun and character-driven sweet mystery/romance. Between the plot of who framed Jayden and sent him to jail for embezzling money that he never touched, to what exactly is going on in that strange little village I slowly found myself getting more and more thoroughly invested in both the small town and particularly the characters of Sophie, Jayden and Jayden’s elderly neighbor, Geoffrey. While the story isn’t precisely realistic (Sophie’s occupation and the other villagers’ secret were a little too coincidental/serendipitous for my liking), I did find both the plot and characters to be excellently written and I personally really enjoyed the slower pace of the story as a whole. The romance unfolds slowly and I thought it was very sweet – just a few kisses right near the end of the story – and honestly the mystery and characters were what captured my attention, the extremely light romance was just a bonus, not a main factor of the story to my mind.

Readers wanting a light and well-written mystery with strong characterisation and just a hint of romance should find this as satisfying as I did.

Please Be My Valentine by Jennifer Wenn


Please Be My Valentine by Jennifer Wenn
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (77 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Benjamin Emerson is determined to honor the dying Mrs. Brody’s last wish, that her granddaughter shall not spend Valentine’s Day alone. But as the special day is closing in, he still doesn’t know how to reach the stiff, correct librarian.

Broken by her psychopathic former fiancée, Leonore Brody moves back into her empty childhood home in Barnesville, numbly taking one day at a time. When Ben asks her to help his daughter, she can’t refuse, knowing how much he meant to her grandmother.

Caught at the Emerson Farm by a snow storm, Leonore finds herself drawn to the charismatic Ben. But the scars from her past are deep – can she ever trust a man again?

After being dumped almost at the alter by her long-term fiancé, Leonore knows that her mood is volatile and that she’s far too easily irritated. She knows that her Granny would hate the snappish, waspish woman Leonore had become, but Leonore just can’t seem to help herself. Even Ben – whom she’d known since childhood – wasn’t safe from her temper and annoyance. When Ben comes to the library to get a book explaining about puberty in females – his almost-teenaged daughter suddenly mystifying him – Leonore a can’t help but try and help the humble, shy man and his delightful no-longer-little girl.

This is a lovely and mostly sweet story about a very hurt woman trying to find herself again and in the process helping a caring and loving young man raise his teenage daughter. I found it to be full of heart-warming emotion and definitely with that “small town” type of feeling. I sympathized with Leonore and her initially crabby mood – she’d been harshly treated by her ex and hadn’t really healed from the painful break up. While I felt for her, I didn’t really particularly *like* her in the first half of the book. Leonore’s actions – her anger and cynicism – were completely understandable, but I didn’t feel as connected to her or like her as much as I would have hoped. Ben, however, I felt smitten with almost instantly. A shy, sweet, humble farmer who simply wants to do hard work, love and raise his family and keep his nose clean – he was absolutely hero material to my mind and I was eager for him to receive his (well deserved – in my opinion) happy ending.

I found this story to be a very interesting, if character-based, plot. Again with a “small-town” kind of feel Ben’s relationship as a single father with his almost-teenaged daughter, and then the growing friendship/relationship with Leonore was definitely central to the storyline. Readers who want an action filled, fast-paced style of story might not find this as satisfying as I did. But I honestly feel sometimes everyone needs to sit back with a slower paced story, with vibrant, relatable and believable characters and read something a little sweeter and in those respects this book completely exceeded my expectations. While I admit a part of me would have been ecstatic had I found Leonore more appealing as a heroine, she was real. She had a temper, she was hurt and needed to complete her healing process. I might not have enjoyed her as a heroine as much as I could have – but I could certainly respect her and understand where she was coming from.

This is definitely a slow-moving romance story. Leonore takes quite a bit of the book emotionally healing from her ex and I wasn’t keen how she compared so much of who Ben was to what her ex had been like. I found for me, personally, that got old pretty quickly, but again it was understandable and realistic. When Ben comes clean on his promise to Leonore’s Granny and Leonore finally starts to look at Ben with romantic interest their relationship really starts to build. While they became intimate fairly promptly after this, I didn’t find the singular sex scene graphic – the bedroom door wasn’t “closed” as such but it absolutely wasn’t drawn out or described in explicit detail. I would think most romance readers who enjoy a bit of spice (but not erotic levels of it) in their romance should find this satisfying without being overly graphic. There are only a few passionate kisses and the one sex scene – so really to my mind the majority of the story revolves around the characters and their growing relationship to each other – not the physical and intimate side of the romance.

Readers looking for a story with a whole bunch of characterization, realism and good, warm-fuzzy type of feelings, this is a great story to kick back and relax with. While absolutely not perfect, it is a great read and one I fully intend to enjoy again in the future.

Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath


Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

This is my first Lorraine Heath novel. I started this book hoping to finish it in one sitting. My interest was captured quickly enough and was held in a moderate manner. 1AM came too soon and I still wasn’t done. I had to put it down or risk being a cranky monster the next day. Turns out I was a cranky monster regardless. Even though I put the book down I couldn’t top thinking about it. It took forever to fall asleep and then it was one of those sleeps where you felt like you never really did sleep. I had to wait until after work to pick the book back up. It was a torturous work day knowing that the book was at home and all I wanted to do was finish it. Needless to say it’s a riveting book that has laid down the base work for an enthralling new series as Beyond Scandal and Desire is book one in the Sins for All Seasons series.

The plot introduced the practice of “baby farming” to me which I didn’t know existed and was widely known in the late 1800’s. I love when I learn new factual knowledge even though it was a bit appalling. At the end of the book the “Author’s Note” explains that she took “a bit of literary license with this story.” Which means that she took that horrific historic practice and made it a tiny bit less despicable by tweaking a few of the facts. Altering the facts is what has led to the “Sins for All Seasons series” to be in existence. Although it is sad to think about the reality of that time period and how people found it necessary to participate in such a cruel practice. I’m a very sensitive person so this plot point was a bit disturbing for me. It is threaded through the entire book because it’s part of the hero’s make up. Without it Mick Trewlove wouldn’t be who he is. I almost felt it was redundant and repetitive but it’s the core of the story. I mean, there is no way around it. Like I already said, without it there’d be no series. I know some readers are sticklers about their historical romance books being one hundred percent historically accurate. The author clearly states that she used that bit of history to create her fictional story. Therefore no one can complain about the historical inaccuracy.

Mick Trewlove is the hero in this story. His character was established exceptionally well to the point that I completely understood his choices and actions. Actually, all the characters were very well developed. It sounds like his siblings will all be getting books of their own starting with his sister, Gillie in September 2018 “When a Duke Loves a Woman”. I’m really looking forward to reading her story. She is an intriguing character since she is a tavern keeper and not very feminine. Anyway, Mick is portrayed as a big, strong and successful businessman with a dark, angry aura but he really is a sweetheart with some deep wounds. Wounds that Mick believes will heal once he gets his revenge but we all know that never works out. He has a plan that goes astray when he meets Lady Aslyn Hastings.

Aslyn is the opposite of Mick but they both have a heart of generosity. They complement each other to the point where they can’t function without each other. There was no turning back to the way things were before they met. Aslyn and Mick were brilliantly implemented into an elaborate storyline with unexpected plot twists. There were numerous characters that were all relevant to the well-crafted sequence of events. This story clearly took contemplation from the author. It is a well thought out story with a plethora of olive branches for future stories. I don’t think it could have been executed any better than it was.

I fell in love with Mick and Aslyn. Their romance was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. They had chemistry that caused yearning to the point of boiling. Aslyn didn’t need to secretly communicate with her parasol. They just looked at each other and they knew how the other one felt. Beyond Scandal and Desire was the perfect romantic love story. Only true love can overcome secrets, vengeance and society’s obstacles. I appreciated all the unique and creative elements that were installed in this story. I will definitely be suggesting this series to my family and friends.