One Rogue At A Time

One Rogue At A Time by Jade Lee

one rogue at a time

Overview:

A brown-eyed bastard with nothing to lose

As the illegitimate son of a duke, Bramwell Wesley Hallowsby grew up tough, on the fringes of society, learning to hide his hurt and cynicism with charm and Town polish. He’s carved out a place for himself as a mercenary, serving as bodyguard and general strong arm for the peerage. Bram has nothing to lose… and he’s exactly what Maybelle “Bluebell” Ballenger needs.

Meets his match in a blue-eyed beauty with everything to hide

Maybelle needs a mentor to teach her to speak and act like a lady, so she can claim the place in society she was denied. As they team up to take on the ton, Bram knows she’s hiding something even from him. Despite the deception he sees behind those sparkling blue eyes, Bram wants to believe that Maybelle’s love is no lie. But it seems fate has served him up his just desserts in the likes of this determined damsel.

I love books that make me laugh!  This book had great moments of hilarity including scenes with a pig.  Maybelle and Bram get into the craziest scrapes together and they are well worth reading!

Bram is a hired bodyguard for the ridiculous Dickey and his lady.  He meets Maybelle when he is stranded in Hull on his way to Scotland.  The first third of the book takes place in the teeny tiny village and we get to know a cast of colourful characters.  At first I was impatient for the book to move along, but the author takes her time to set the stage and allow us to really get to know the characters.

Maybelle and Bram have a lot in common – she has been presumed a bastard and he is the natural son of a Duke.  Maybelle is on a mission to prove that she is a lady.  Her speech requires some work – especially since she can’t stop dropping her ‘h’s’.  She is conniving and shrewd and makes Bram pay through the teeth for essentially the air he is breathing.

Bram lives on the fringes of the ton.  He has a job to do, but nothing is going well for him.  Stuck in the country, his job is a disaster and he has an intrepid young miss fleecing him left and right.  London doesn’t make anything easier for the two.  The author really delves into the class divide.  Maybelle may be a provincial, but she is accepted, but Bram will always be a bastard and not even accepted by his family.  I found this conflict to be very realistic and well executed.  It brought a lot of complication to the relationship between Maybelle and Bram – can they continue as they have been or have things changed too much?  Great questions to have your readers wondering about while reading.

Things are hot and heavy between the two and the author doesn’t shy away from getting these two into bed together.  Once again, it made me question if lust and love are enough to conquer the expectations of society.

Another solid effort by Jade Lee!

The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn

The Lost Soul of Lord Badewyn (Order of the M.U.S.E) by Mia Marlowe

lost soul of lord badewyn

Overview by Amazon:

He vowed to never fall in love…

Meg Anthony was never raised a lady. Instead, she grew up amongst grifters who used her unique “finding” ability for their own selfish purposes. Recently, she’s been taken under the wing of the Duke of Camden and the Order of M.U.S.E., learning not only the fine art of becoming a lady, but how to use her extraordinary talent to help others.

But Meg’s gift is a beacon to unsavory characters who would possess her.

Charged with her protection, Lord Badewyn knows—too well—that his wild, Welsh castle is no safe haven for this lovely, all-too-desirable creature. Part human, part fallen angel, he is one of the Nephilim. He is a recluse sworn never to love. As the dangers to Meg grow more threatening, he cannot help but find himself tempted beyond all reason…and tested to see if he has both a heart and a soul.

 

How have I not known about this series??  Paranormal and historical romance together in a spicy, spooky story?  This is the third book in the series about extraordinary humans who have banded together to protect the British royals against evil.

This story doesn’t have much to do with any nefarious plot against Prinny and the gang, but is rather a love story between Meg and Samuel.  Meg is a finder, someone who is able to locate missing people or objects.  She must leave her human form to do this and risks death every time.  She is still learning about her abilities and using them for good rather than illegal activities her family forced of her in the past.  When a threat from the past forces the Duke to protect her, he sends her to Lord Badewyn in the wilds of Wales.

From the start there is a deep attraction between the two.  Samuel is a complicated character.  Almost a recluse from the world, he lives with a death sentence over his head.  His power lies in his ability to Scribe – see the past, present and future in reflections.  His father, a fallen angel, wields a power over him that is almost unstoppable.  He finds refuge in Meg.  He likes that she is open and honest and has a natural curiosity for life.

The two are on the run for their lives.  I have said it repeatedly, but I love when stories take to the road and the small inns in the countryside.  It’s a great way for the characters to spend time alone together and to take things to the next level.  While these two definitely have attraction and lust in spades, it is the emotional intimacy that blossoms while hiding.

The plot was so unique and interesting.  I loved how the member of M.U.S.E. all have different talents and how they use them.  There is a lot of plot regarding the other characters in the Order, which would be a great addition for people who are looking for a catch up from the previous books.  It is always a fascinating read when there is a paranormal element added to the Regency era.  Drawing rooms and castles take on a different hue when there is magic being woven about.

If you are interested in a well developed story that has some great characters, then check out this book!  I found it to be highly entertaining and fascinating to read a story that takes what we know of the era and infuses it with a fresh perspective!

 

Controlled Burn

Controlled Burn (Boston Fire) by Shannon Stacey

controlled burn

Overview by Amazon:

Rick Gullotti lives the good life, fighting fires and dating beautiful women—though none for very long. And thanks to helping his elderly landlords, his rent is low. But when his concerns about their health lead to a long-legged girl appearing on his doorstep, life as he knows it starts getting away from him. 

Jessica Broussard has no interest in leaving sunny San Diego for the rougher side of Boston, but she’s been dispatched to deal with grandparents she’s never met. She’s wholly unprepared for the scruffy-but-hot danger-junkie firefighter who lives upstairs. 

At first, Jessica is determined to get out of Boston Fire country as quickly as possible. All she has to do is talk her grandparents into selling their monstrosity of a house. But nobody’s taking advantage of Rick’s friends on his watch, even if that makes Jessica his adversary. Unfortunately for them both, the only thing more urgent than the matter at hand is their sizzling chemistry—and it’s quickly becoming too strong to resist.

Rick checks all the boxes:

  • Hot firefighter
  • Takes care of elderly neighbours
  • Amazing lover
  • Hockey fan

How can you resist that combination?  Jessica tries really, really hard to keep things platonic with Rick when she comes to Boston to meet the grandparents she didn’t know existed.  Jessica is a fish out of water and Rick does nothing to help her equilibrium.

Why would you like this book?  There are tons of firefighter contemporary romance novels out there, so I wanted to give great reasons why I liked this book and it’s worth the purchase.

The relationship between Jessica and her grandparents was such a touching surprise to the story.  It was so sweet and endearing as they get to know each other.  This plot point was elemental in getting to know Jessica and how she views herself and her upbringing, which ultimately leads to her realization of what she wants out of life.  I like books like this because it shows a great evolution of the character.

The flirting between Jess and Rick was so hot.  Those long, smouldering looks that get you tingling are present.  Daydreams about lips and kissing is also part of the playbook.  Hot kisses and sneaking around the house like teenagers adds an element of spice.  Overall, they were an enjoyable couple that didn’t just fall into bed.  It was a deliberation and a battle with lust.  But man, Rick knows what to do with those firefighter muscles!

The city of Boston is so beautiful.  I love books set there and it just makes the book more special to me.  When I read the dialogue I love to imagine the Boston accent and the New England vibe.  Some of my very favourite books have been set in Boston and I think it’s one of the best places to use for the setting.

This could just be another one of hundreds of firefighter romance books, but there is a depth to this story and the characters that makes it a book to add to your list!

How to Seduce A Scot

How to Seduce a Scot (Broadswords and Ballrooms) by Christy English

how to seduce a scot

Overview by Amazon:

He’s the terror of the ton…

The plan is simple:
1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;
2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;
3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything-even the English. He just didn’t expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot…or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won’t allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians…no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn’t part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this “proper” English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves…and nothing will stop him from having her.

What could be better than a Scot who is hot for you??  I have to say that this was a very good book and the best part about it was a huge Highlander who braved the Sassenach to be with his lady.

The story is really clever and while I have read similar books before (the Highlanders come to London to find a bride/groom), Christy English makes this telling highly entertaining.  The banter between the two lead characters, Catherine and Alex is hot and saucy.  I loved how Alex always seemed to have scorching and blazing eyes on her.  How could you resist?

Catherine doesn’t really resist, but it’s a tale of the heart versus the head.  You know that old conundrum.  What the head thinks it should do – what is prudent and cautious, is not what the heart wants.  I really enjoyed the push and pull of this dilemma that Catherine goes through.  It didn’t get repetitive or boring, because there was some steamy kisses in between the wavering.

Alex’s sister Mary Elizabeth had to be one of the best parts of this book.  She is so vivacious and alive in the dull and boring drawing rooms.  Her vivid conversations of fly fishing, hunting and sword play are not the talk of debutantes.  At first I thought she may be touched in the head, but she is the best comedic relief!

This book is well conceived and executed.  The characters are developed in pace with the story and I really liked the innuendos and dialogue bantered about.  Alex is a hot Scot and it was such a thrill to witness the merry chase Catherine takes this bachelor on!

Highland Heat

Highland Heat:  A Highland Knights Novel by Jennifer Haymore

highland heat

Overview by Amazon:

With blood still drying on the front lines at Waterloo, Lady Grace Carrington helps an injured soldier to a British medical tent. Though she believes she’s pulled him to safety, in fact she has put them both in grave danger: Because when his brilliant blue eyes meet hers, the passionate Scottish sergeant kisses her in a way that leaves her breathless and trembling. As the obedient daughter of an earl, Grace shouldn’t be tempted by someone so far below her station. But as a red-blooded woman, she longs for so much more.
 
As far as Duncan Mackenzie is concerned, getting stabbed in the arm was the best thing that ever happened to him. When he wakes on the battlefield, the sight of Grace’s lovely face sets his soul aflame. As an enlisted man and a farmer’s son, however, pursuing his guardian angel means facing the wrath of London society, not to mention his own superiors in the British Army. Aye, but he’d risk all that and more just to keep her in his arms.

This was such a great book!  I found myself sucked into the story and captivated by the emotional story Jennifer Haymore has created.  This is the first book in a new series and I will definitely be following the escapades of the Highland Knights.

The story opens on the battlefield of Waterloo.  Grace is there helping the wounded and she meets Duncan.  It is quickly apparent that they two are kindred spirits.  They spend time together and enjoy the quiet solitude in the midst of war.  They realize that they come from different stations in life and that a relationship between the two is not only impossible, it is dangerous.  Duncan is an enlisted solider and Grace a lady, but love doesn’t always follow the rules.

The book follows the relationship between the two as they sneak precious moments together.  It’s not just a physical attraction, but a deep and lovely connection that develops.  The moments when they realize the world will not accept them were truly tragic.  As the reader, I was desperate to find a way for them to be together without having to give up everything.

Duncan has been recruited with a group of Scots to be part of the Highland Knights.  They will work for the War Office on British and Scottish land to put down insurrections.  For Duncan, this is the chance of a lifetime to better himself and have an occupation other than farming in the Highlands.  His relationship with Grace jeopardizes his position and his future.

The relationship between the two was really steamy.  Duncan is a huge Highlander with a physique that made me drool.  Grace’s sister is married to a Scot and she has the best theory.  When chatting about sex, her sister refers to the ‘theory of Scots’ and that all women who marry or bed a Scot never refer to it as their duty.  They are well satisfied by their men.  This definitely applies to Grace as Duncan treasures her above everything else.

The ending was great!  I won’t give it away, but as I fretted about how things would end, the author did an exemplary job of tying up the loose ends.  This was a great story and I really liked the premise and characters.  If you like Highlanders, you need to start this series!

Target Engaged

Target Engaged (Delta Force 1) by ML Buchman

target engaged

Overview by Amazon:

Sergeant Kyle Reeves: The premier soldier of the new recruits

Sergeant Carla Anderson: The first woman of Delta Force

If the training doesn’t kill them, their passion may-but Kyle Reeves and Carla Anderson blast right in. Show no fear. Have no fear. Then they get the call. The most powerful drug-smuggling ring in Venezuela needs a takedown, and Delta’s newest team leaps into the deep jungle to deliver. Giving their all? Not a problem. Giving their hearts? That takes a new level of courage.

You know that saying about assuming something and being an ass?  Well, that is me!  I had no idea when I read this book that it was written by a man.  That shouldn’t change anything in regards to style, form and content, but it made me even more impressed with the story.

I have really never read a romance novel written by a man.  I think it was better that I didn’t clue in until I read the author biography on the last page.  I probably would have spent a lot of time wondering if a woman would have written this or included an element of judgement.

The story has two main parts that I want to cover.  The first is the action.  Wow!  I used to read all of Vince Flynn’s books and I loved the espionage, training and under cover ops stuff.  This book has it in spades.  I loved learning about the Unit and the intense training the team underwent.  The time spent by Carla and Kyle competing for a spot on the coveted Delta team gave the reader the time to really explore what made them tick.  I don’t recall the last time I read a book with such intense physical training, but before I make it sound boring, it was amazing.  I had such respect for the characters that they could perform like this.

The second thing that I want to cover is the relationship between Carla and Kyle.  After getting to know both characters as they auditioned for the Unit, I had great interest and respect in them.  Carla is the ultimate soldier – calm, emotionless and determined.  She has experienced terrible losses in her life that cause her to avoid emotional attachments.  Sex, no problem, but the mushy, gushy stuff is a no go for Carla.  Kyle is also an ultimate solider, in fact he sees Carla as his main competition in the audition and hopefully his teammate eventually.  Kyle is a natural leader and he exudes this self confidence that I attribute from his stable and happy upbringing.  Kyle wants Carla more than he has ever wanted a woman and he is the secure and confident one in the relationship.  While on missions, Carla has an attack of conscience about her feelings for Kyle.  Her introspection was very deep and in hindsight, I was so impressed that a man brought this character to life.

The push and pull between Carla and Kyle is explored at great length within the confines of their missions.  While I wanted to shake Carla at times for pushing Kyle away, because of the great character development, I truly had compassion for her feelings.

The author has taken the time to not only develop the plot and settings, but to really explore the characters and their motivations, with excellent results.  Even if I had never known that a man wrote this book, I would have been a fan of this work as it’s a fast action and sexy story that features some great characters and plot.

Mind Games

Mind Games by Laura K Curtismind games

Overview by Netgalley:

The daughter of a schizophrenic, Dr. Jane Evans prioritizes order, control, and—above all—her work in a psychiatric research lab. When an attempted kidnapping threatens to derail the project she’s on, her boss hires a bodyguard. He’s everything Jane is not, and if she can survive, she may even learn to like the difference.

Eric Sorensen owes Jane a debt he can’t possibly repay. Without her tutoring, he would not have made it through college, would not have the life he does. But none of his memories of college Jane prepare him for adult Jane. When she suddenly disappears, he follows her trail to a secret lab in a cartel-controlled Mexican jungle. Rescue seems impossible but Eric’s not the type to give up, even if it means trading his own life for hers.

This was a really interesting book to read.  I liked the love story, but what was really fascinating was the research that the author has done to create a story that is realistic.  Dr. Jane Evans is a researcher who creates drugs.  She is working on a new drug when her safety is in jeopardy.  Enter Eric to protect her.  This story goes from the office buildings of New York City to the jungles of Mexico.  I feel like I have learned so much about security, pharmacology, and cartels since reading this book!

I have to say, Eric was the big hit for me in this book.  He reminded me of a Viking avenger.  He is hot, with his muscles and long blond hair.  Hearing about his military training and reading about it in action was a major turn on.  He wasn’t the perfect man, but he was loyal, strong and sexy!

Jane was a really well developed character.  Her story unfolds as the story progresses and I had a strong understanding of her motivations and ideas by the time the book ended.  I could definitely understand her attraction to Eric.

The strength of this book is the twists and turns the book takes.  I was constantly suspicious of characters and trying to figure out who was the mastermind of the plot that put Jane in danger.  Everytime I thought things would be wrapped up neat and tidy, another curve was thrown and it just made the story more interesting.

While the romance and sex is hot and heavy, this book has more to offer.  It is a great mystery with lots of action.  It kept my attention and interest!

A Whisper of Desire

A Whisper of Desire (Disgraced Lords Series) by Bronwen Evans

a whisper of desire

Overview by Amazon:

Lady Marisa Hawkestone’s nightmare is just beginning when she wakes up naked, with no memory of the night before, lying next to Maitland Spencer, the Duke of Lyttleton—a man so aloof and rational he’s nicknamed “the Cold Duke.” A scandal ensues, in which Marisa’s beloved beau deserts her. As a compromised woman, Marisa agrees to marry Maitland. But on her wedding night, Marisa discovers the one place the duke shows emotion: in the bedroom, where the man positively scorches the sheets.
 
Taught from a young age to take duty seriously, Maitland cannot understand his new wife’s demands on his love and affection. Marisa’s hot-blooded spirit, however, does have its attractions—especially at night. In retrospect, it seems quite silly that he didn’t marry sooner. But being one of the Libertine Scholars requires constant vigilance, even more so when the enemy with a grudge against his closest friends targets Marisa. Now Maitland must save the woman who sets his heart aflame—or die trying.

I am really in love with this series.  It has a depth to the story not often found in historical romance novels and series.  The Disgraced Lords are all members of the Libertine Society and have banded together to fight an unknown enemy.  All the Lords have one thing in common – their fathers were horrible men and did a wrong to a young woman, who years later is extracting her revenge.  Like Stephanie Lauren’s Bastion Club series, each novel in this series brings you closer to identifying the mysterious lady villain and the stakes just get higher.

This book features Marisa and Maitland.  This is definitely a case of opposites attracting.  Marisa is light and carefree, a young lady on the town.  Maitland is a subdued Duke who rarely smiles or engages in small talk with the ton.  They seemingly have nothing in common, but one kiss changes things.

Marisa and Maitland barely get to settle into their newlywed status when they are thrust into investigating a “Molly Club” for information on the woman villain.  I found this a really interesting part of the story as I can honestly say that in the hundreds of books I have read, the topic of gay brothels has never been covered.  Danger lurks for Marisa and Maitland and it was really well developed and heightened the depth of the book.  I actually had to put it down for a moment because I was so worried.

Adjustment to marriage is not easy.  Maitland has a difficult past thanks to his bastard father, which has coloured how he views sex.  He is fearful of wanting Marisa too much and becoming controlled by his base instincts.  Marisa is awesome though – she stalks him, whips off her clothes and reads naughty books which all enflame Maitland.  The relationship in the bed is very hot and passionate.

The end of this book was a big surprise.  I will not spoil what happens, but be forewarned – this book has some elements that are really heart wrenching and realistic.  I appreciated the fact that the author didn’t shy away from conflict and embraced it to make the story very well rounded.  I can’t wait for the final two books in the series to come out.  This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite series out there!

Within A Captain’s Hold

Within A Captain’s Hold by Lisa A Olech

within a captains hold

Overview by Netgalley:

Captain Jaxon Steele is a tall, sun-bronzed, fierce-fighting Pirate King. He and the notorious crew of the Scarlet Night are both feared and respected for their ruthless reputation. The Captain’s only love is the open sea and the ship he calls home. When it comes to women, he has three rules: never sleep with another’s wife, don’t take virgins into bed, and most importantly, never bring a woman aboard—that brings the worst luck of all.

Annalise Gatherone has to leave London—tonight! Usually her only concern is the color of her latest gown, but now she’s choosing between life and death. Desperate to escape the clutches of an evil Duke, she stows away aboard the Scarlet Night, hoping she’s bound for Port St. Maria. Winning Captain Jaxon’s affections, she just might sneak by unharmed. But when her plans are altered in ways she never imagined, she must batten down the hatches for a journey into unknown waters…

 

I love pirate stories!  You can’t get any better than a seafaring rogue who finds a stowaway that he just can’t resist.  This book was so much fun to read!  The characters were fantastic and the plot was very well developed.

Annalise sneaks on board Jaxon’s ship to escape a deranged Duke in England.  She needs to meet up with her maid in the Caribbean to stay safe from the murdering Duke.  A genteel young lady, she underestimates the arduous journey when the ship hits a storm.  Game on as it brings our hero and heroine together.

Annalise must remain a secret on the ship otherwise there will be mutiny.  It created moments of amusement and comedy trying to keep her hidden for weeks while the ship battles other pirates and takes booty.  I think what I love so much about the pirate genre is that there is a forced intimacy that develops.  In other books, the characters don’t spend this much time together (or with so little clothing) and it just seems to hurry up the sexy time.

Annalise and Jaxon make a great couple.  You will like this book because while they develop as characters throughout the book, you don’t lose sense of who they are.  While Jaxon has a strong aversion to virgins, Annalise is a tempting morsel that he just can’t resist.  I loved how these two bantered, argued and loved.  The villain in the story was excellent as he sent shivers up my spine and definitely brought a healthy dose of reality to the idyllic cocoon Jaxon and Annalise had created for themselves.

This was a great book – nothing didn’t add up.  The characters and the setting were all fantastic and the writing was vivid.  If you have a thing for pirate books like I do, then check this one out!

Testing the Boss

Testing the Boss (Billionaires In The City, Book 6) by Mallory Crowe

testing the boss

Overview by Amazon:

Billionaire Luke Devereaux gets what he wants and what he wants right now is to bring down the shady organization threatening his family. Teaming up with the FBI is his only option–even if that option comes in the sultry Evelyn Price, the ice-princess who’s all business. 

Refusing to be distracted by the sexy, rich playboy, Evelyn forces herself to stay focused on the case, gearing up for the criminal takedown of her entire career. As the enemy closes in with Evelyn as its next target, it’s up to Luke to keep them out of danger. The more they work to protect each other, and fight for control, the harder it is to resist their undeniable attraction. 

And the one thing Evelyn has learned from working with him is that Luke Devereaux gets what he wants.

I found this book on Netgalley and one look at the cover and I had to have it! I didn’t quite realize that I was going to read a book well into a series, but it didn’t matter.  The author provides enough details to keep the reader informed, but doesn’t over whelm with backstory.

Luke is one sexy billionaire.  He is involved in a criminal white collar investigation that requires protection from the FBI.  One thing I wasn’t entirely clear about was why he invested with in the organization the FBI is trying to bring down, but he’s a good guy so I could cut him some slack.

Evelyn and Luke have met in previous books and didn’t hit it off.  She gets assigned to support him and get closer to solving the crime.  This requires her to shadow him at all times.  Of course this brings Luke and Evelyn’s attraction to each other to the forefront.  Evelyn wants to solve this drama so that she can get back to Texas and her work on the border there.  The expectation that she will be leaving encourages the two of them to act on their instincts.

This book has a great plot that was easy to follow even without reading the previous books.  The villains were great at moving the plot forward and causing complications that Evelyn and Luke to trust one another.  The sexy scenes between the two were really well written.  There is nothing better than hot chemistry that leads to great sex.

I liked this book and it intrigued me enough that I am interested in reading past books in the series and keeping up with what happens next.  Check it out if you like sexy billionaires and strong women!