How to Deceive a Duke

Will the world let them have their second chance?

How many times, and in how many different ways, can a heart be broken?

A duke in disguise broke Fiona’s heart one glorious summer. She thought they would have a forever -until she found out who he was, and that a future between them was impossible.

Fiona’s life since that cataclysmic summer has been a constant struggle to survive. She is finally ready to unveil an invention that will change the lives of people everywhere. But she cannot find a way to distribute her creation. She travels to London to find financial backing and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy against the Crown.

The Duke who crushed her girlhood dreams posts her bail when she is thrown in prison for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Years later they still hold each other’s hearts, and even though every obstacle on earth seems to launch into their path, he is determined to spend his life with her. Even though his arms are the safest place she has ever known, Fiona is determined to resist him because she knows that her ignominy and notorious family will ruin his reputation.

He broke her heart once. Her family has broken her heart countless times. The world breaks her heart and her spirit every single day.

Fiona has learned that she must go her own way. Everything she has worked for comes of her blood and tears, her desperation and perseverance. She can depend on no one but herself because her journey is full of peril and hardship no one has been willing to share or look beyond.

Until him.

Just some of the reasons I loved this book:

It is a second chance romance with a couple who mean everything to each other, and are separated by a chasm of expectations and doubt.

It features two strong personalities who complement and encourage one another. Theirs is a full partnership and all the hero wants to do is ensure the woman he loves and believes in gets all of the success she deserves. Even if that means he is only in a supporting role.

A fierce STEM heroine with the courage and fortitude to banish her past and seize her future.

Plot & Setting: 5 Stars

Characters: 5 Stars

Steam: 4

Some of my favorite quotes:

“She was stubborn, immovable, and impassioned, and if he let himself spend too much time with her, there was every chance he’d weaken and toss decades’ worth of reputation management to the wind.”

“That journey taught me an important lesson. That if I wanted security, I would have to create it for myself.”

“She was barely steady before he had both sides of her face cupped in his palms, and he bent his head to capture her mouth in a kiss. It was like a burning fire after a freezing walk, a good meal after too long without food. It nourished her body and soul in a way she hadn’t known she was lacking.”

“She could stay like this forever, with nothing between them. Not even clothes. Not even space. But she didn’t have forever, and the salt of his sweat mixed with the salt of her tears until she didn’t know where she ended and he began.”

Featured

The Rebel and the Rake

All bets are off when their walls come tumbling down…

“You’re wrong.” He moved his hand to caress the soft curls gathered at the back of her neck, and she pressed into his touch. “I’ve been avoiding you these last few days. I told myself it was for your protection. That it wouldn’t do you any good if people thought I was paying you particular attention. But I was also protecting myself,” he added softly.

She’s in hiding. He’s undercover.

It should be a match made in heaven. But it feels more like a headfirst dive into bad decisions and decadence. Neither one of them can afford to blow their cover.

Sylvia endeavors to be inconspicuous. Her colorful past has left her with few choices, and her current position as personal secretary to an overly perceptive employer, means she has no choice but to blend into the woodwork. Despite her concerted efforts to escape notice, she immediately catches the eye of the notorious womanizer and rakehell Rafe Davies.

Rafe is at this houseparty for one specific reason. He’s here to ferret out secrets and plots against the Crown. His devil-may-care, studied nonchalance, is the perfect way to throw the scent off his trail and cloak his true intentions. But the inobtrusive secretary unfailingly draws his gaze every time they are in a room together. It’s a dangerously combustible compulsion he needs to quell before she becomes too big of a distraction.

Despite his determination to avoid Ms. Sparrow, Rafe finds himself sharing confidences with her that reveal he is a multi-faceted man, with more on his mind than parlor games and boudoir assignations. She is intrigued, but wary of his intentions. And then like a besotted fool, she gives him a glimpse into her distrust of the male half of the species. And then she is at pains to avoid his gaze, as it seems he is irrevocably drawn to her.

They begin to seek out each other’s company at every opportunity. They are irreverent of the danger their connection poses, and the fact that their true selves are revealed one painstaking layer at a time. Their first kiss happens in the quiet of the library. And the flame is ignited.

I absolutely adored the second book in the League of Scoundrels series!

Plot: 5 Stars

Characters: 5 Stars

Steam: Off the charts!!!!

Featured

Must Love Cowboys

These sexy cowboys will knock your socks off!

4.5 ⭐️

I loved these two modern cowboy romances!

Must Love Cowboys features a librarian heroine- one of my fave tropes😍😍😍- and a dyslexic hero who seeks her out for reading lessons.

Beau has muddled through his entire life. He avoids things like text messages and contracts and anything that will reveal his learning disability. When his brother decides to move away, Beau is forced to address the issue he has buried for so long.

Alice agrees to tutor Beau if he’ll tutor her in return. She needs to learn to flirt so she can find her HEA. All of her friends are settling down with their sweethearts and starting families and she feels like her life is on eternal hold.

Beau and Alice’s mutual lessons quickly spiral out of control and their fake dating arrangement becomes all too real.

Plot: 4⭐️
Characters: 4⭐️
Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Big Bad Cowboy is a rivals to lovers, fake dating live story that will make your toes curl!

Maggie is always just one of the guys. But she has always had a crush on JD- the town’s golden boy and one of her best friends. Tired of trying to get his attention she decides to change tactics. She dresses up for the Halloween party like Red Riding Hood on the prowl and ensnares a hungry wolf. When the heat between them on the dance floor leads to a HAH rendezvous in a tool shed, she is both embarrassed and mystified. They keep their masks on the entire time.

Travis can’t stop thinking about Little Red Riding Hood. He can’t afford distractions- he’s trying to pay the back taxes on the family ranch, take care of his newly orphaned nephew and clean up the mess left behind by his incarcerated brother.

Maggie and Travis are thrown together when they land the same landscaping job. Maggie is drawn to him even though they are business rivals. He is drawn to her even though his time in town has an expiration date. But they are both in another relationship that has off the charts sexting.

The snafus get sorted once secret identities are revealed.

Features:
A HAH mind- blowing sex in a tool shed meet cute.

Plot: 4⭐️
Characters: 4.5⭐️
Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥.5

Not the Kind of Earl You Marry

A fake engagement gone awry…

3.5 ⭐️

This was a solid debut and I look forward to reading more from this author.

William is a rising political star, with the looks and pedigree to enchant the ton’s matchmaking mamas. He is focused on fulfilling his father’s legacy and making a name for himself as a reknowned orator and negotiator on the Parliament floor – he is not interested in obtaining a wife.

Charlotte is decidedly unimpressed by William’s rank or reputation. She is incensed when he accuses her of trying to manipulate him into an engagement. She reluctantly agrees to a fake engagement to keep the whiff of scandal from affecting his political ambitions.

The gossip rags ensure they must pretend in earnest. But when they both catch feelings, the ruse becomes real and neither one wants to end it.

My favorite elements:

  1. The fact that William willingly turned over the reins to his carriage- this is definitely a rare occurrence in historical romance! He was indulgent without being patronized and seemed genuinely invested in teaching Charlotte to drive.
  2. The in-depth examinations of parliamentary maneuverings. As a legislative history buff fascinated by the evolution of the law, I appreciated the attention the author gave to William’s political aspirations and knowledge.

I love a slow-burn romance. William and Charlotte are determined to deny the tender feelings building between them due to their unsuitability. As their orchestrated courtship is sabotaged by fervent kisses, breathtaking waltzes, and heartfelt notes, they realize that Cupid could not have chosen better.

Featured

A Duke Worth Fighting For

The sparks fly between a wounded warrior and a courageous widow.

Margery has already experienced the love of her life – and was profoundly devastated by its loss. She is absolutely certain that she will never find its equal, and has resigned herself to a life spent caring for others and burying her dreams. A malicious letter changes that. Suddenly, Margery must navigate an impending scandal and begins to question all of her own assumptions about the past.

Margery has no resources of her own. She is desperate to meet the demands of her blackmailer but has nowhere to turn. Enter Daniel. The enigmatic, battle-weary veteran whose social awkwardness is hampering his search for a wife. Daniel is a reluctant duke. He wants a wife for more than duty, but is convinced that his emotional and physical scars are repulsive. He knows that his situation is hopeless. Margery strikes a bargain with him – she will find him a suitable wife in exchange for a fee. The problem is that Margery has captivated him, even though she’s made it abundantly clear she is unavailable.

Margery is far from immune to the allure of the tall, imposing duke with the voice that is “dark and deep, with a delicious timbre that is as rich and mouthwatering” as the chocolate she consumes every morning. His injuries do not bother her- she finds him compelling and irresistible. And Daniel finds it harder and harder to suppress his yearning for the sweet, solicitous, entrancing widow.

I adored this slow burn romance with a scarred hero and a mature widow. I was heartbroken by the fact that Daniel’ s experiences in war have left their stamp on him – his use of a cane and his self -doubt were extremely realistic depictions of the emotional trauma inflicted on soldiers. I was touched by Margery’s realization that love doesn’t just come once, that the heart is open and resilient and has an endless capacity for care.

Their relationship is gentle and consuming and brings the solace and fulfillment they both needed.

These two broken souls who have seen the world trample on their dreams finally surrender to the possibility between them. They are forced to acknowledge it will change the course of their lives, and nothing – not blackmail, not self-doubt, not social expectations- can keep them apart.

West End Earl

They don’t expect to find their HEA…

Ophelia has known nothing in her life but loss, denial and hardship. Until she is rescued by Calvin, the enigmatic Earl of Carlyle, and given a job as his land steward. Under an assumed identity and an assumed gender, she becomes an indispensable part of his inner circle. She assists him in the running of his financial empire by managing a network of informants and spies. She adroitly bests him in regular bouts of fencing. She becomes a trusted confidante and adeptly avoids pursuits and situations that would sabotage her masquerade.

But one of Ophelia’s guilty pleasures is staring at his profile – and thank goodness he’s oblivious to her scrutiny. When her life is threatened by a series of unfortunate accidents, her employer insists that she take up residence in his luxurious townhome.

Ophelia’s disguise is revealed when she has no choice. But the Earl’s treatment of her doesn’t change. Until he can’t stop thinking about her. Or staring at her profile. And wondering at his previous blindness.

They begin a clandestine affair that is all Ophelia has ever dreamt of. But she knows they only have this moment, and is determined to make a new beginning once she buries the demons in her past. It’s up to Calvin to use all of his powers of persuasion to convince her that the only new beginning she should choose is one by his side.

I loved this story so much! Ophelia’s fierce independence and Calvin’s equally fierce protective nature were the perfect halves to a whole. I loved the fact that Ophelia didn’t conform to the traditional view of beauty, but was irresistible to Colin because of her courage and spirit. I loved the fact that Colin was a cinnamon Teddy Graham- he acknowledges his shortcomings, is loyal to a fault, and is not afraid to give his heart to a woman who is both strong and broken.

5 Stars!!!!

Seven Days in June

Their love story deserves a second chance…

Being a grown woman and a single mom, and competently handling your shit on a daily basis doesn’t leave much space in your life for finding love. Especially when the only love you ever really believed in gutted you during a tsunami like obsession that only lasted for seven days and happened fifteen years ago. Especially when you have to battle the demons of your debilitating illness.

When Shane walks into Eva’s life again, the doubts and struggles of her past come roaring back to life. He is the one shining joy and agonizing betrayal she cannot forget. He broke her and doesn’t deserve her forgiveness- much less a redo. But they are still drawn to each other as if they are magnetized. They still strike sparks off each other with a single loaded glance.

Shane has spent fifteen years trying to escape himself. He has spent fifteen years running from the one jubilant moment he had with Eva. He has spent fifteen years self-medicating with alcohol. His addiction is a crutch he is finally conquering, and he sees every decision he made leading to this rare love story.

Whether they are ready to lay down their burdens in each other’s arms, to treasure the acceptance and solace they find in each other, will be the ultimate test.

There are so many things I love about this book:

  1. The incisive, insightful summaries of personal struggle and redemption.
  2. The unflinching portrayal of rising like a phoenix from the debris of a destructive, soul-stealing childhood.
  3. The uncanny truths about mothering in the 21st century.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Girls are given the weight of the world, but nowhere to put it down. The power and magic born in that struggle? It’s so terrifying to men that we invented reasons to burn y’all at the stake, just to keep our dicks hard.”

“Maybe they’d always be disasters- but couldn’t they support each other and grow together? No one was perfect! And maybe that was what real, adult love was. Being fearless enough to hold each other close no matter how catastrophic the world became. Loving each other with enough ferocity to quell the fears of the past. Just fucking being there.”

How to Survive a Scandal

Think warm thoughts….

A rescue from a wrecked carriage leads to dishabille and disaster…

When Benedict rescues Amelia from her capsized carriage, he doesn’t think about the repercussions. He just knows he needs to find the closest shelter available and get her warm as fast as he can. She is pale, her pulse is weak, and she’s talking nonsense. Of course he still notices how delectable she is. But he ignores that side of his brain because he knows they are complete opposites. She is a spoiled belle of society and he is a self-made man- the result of an affair between a notorious noblewoman and her brawny footman.

She’s suddenly issuing commands like an ice princess, and the only way to quiet her down is to pull her into his lap. Of course the moment he is settling in, the door bangs open and they have the attention of an audience. Her father demands they marry – she is on the verge of receiving a proposal from a duke and she refuses. But her duke avoids scandal at all costs — and he can’t afford to wed a woman whose scandalous encounter is on the tip of every tongue. So Benedict does the valiant thing and rescues the reluctant damsel in distress. He assures her that their marriage will be one of convenience, in name only.

Amelia is flummoxed by her handsome husband. She wanted a spouse and a household she could control. She wanted a relationship that didn’t make her dependent or weak. And her husband’s glimmering gaze definitely makes her weak in the knees. She can’t help staring at his biceps, or how he fills out his breeches, She can’t help but admire his quicksilver mind and his accomplishments. And she’s falling fast.

He can give her the purpose and security she longs for, and she can give him the peace and confidence he needs. But first they have to admit how they feel and simply surrender to it.

I absolutely adored this lush historical romance with all my heart. A huge thanks to Netgalley and Forever for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review.