Mad About the Marquess

mad about the marquess

Mad About the Marquess by Elizabeth Essex

Overview by Publisher:

WHEN A LADY TAKES TO THE ROAD TO PLAY ROBIN HOOD
Lady Quince Winthrop has been robbing from society’s rich and giving to Edinburgh’s poor for years. But everything changes the day she can’t resist the temptation to steal from the Marquess of Cairn.
SHE MUST BE ON HER GUARD AGAINST HER SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM
Alasdair, Marquess of Cairn, has come back to Scotland to stop a thief, never thinking that the lass he’s trying to woo is about to give a lesson in larceny he won’t be able to forget. From the twisted streets of Auld Reeky, to the hills of the highlands, Quince leads Alasdair on a merry chase, and finds the one man she shouldn’t fall for, is the one man she can’t resist.
LOVE IS EVEN HARDER TO RESIST THAN TEMPTATION.

This was such a great story!  Quince made this book beyond enjoyable!  She’s sassy, spontaneous and full of life!

Quince is a kleptomaniac.  She loves to steal and has found a purpose to continue to take little trifles from the rich of Edinburgh.  She steals items carelessly left behind at society events and has them melted down to donate to poor people being kicked off their land.  It has all worked out well until now.  Alasdair has come back to Edinburgh after five years in London.  Not only does he send Quince’s senses flaring, he has been tasked with discovering who is behind all the petty thefts.

But never fear dear reader!  Quince could talk her way out of anything – and into!  She manages to strike a bargain with Alasdair and she agrees to help him in exchange for kissing lessons.  I love a forward woman!

The flirtation continues between the two, including some heavy kissing sessions.  Quince continues to steal until she unknowingly implicates Alasdair into her schemes.  Not wanting him to be a suspect, Quince takes great risks as the highwayman she has become.  Not realizing that she’s falling into a trap, this becomes one situation she can’t talk her way out of!

Alasdair was so awesome!  He was straight compared to Quince’s exuberance, but definitely not without whit and charm!  He had a droll sense of humour and seemed pretty addicted to kissing her senseless.  I think what I loved about the two of them was the Quince and Alasdair connected.  He listened to her chatter and was amused by her.  Spoiler alert – they end up married, but it takes a while before they finally do the deed. The lust between the two was really hot.  I loved that Quince brought her zest for life to the bedroom.

Quince frequently used startling expressions, such a ‘by jimble’ and at first they were a little startling, but soon they became amusing and part of her character.

I found this book to be really enjoyable.  I adored the characters and the plot was well developed and interesting.  Can’t go wrong with this story!

The Rogue

The rogue

The Rogue by Monica McCarty

Overview by Amazon:

What’s not to love? Not only is Sir Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, one of the most important and wealthiest men in the kingdom, he’s charming, devastatingly handsome, and the favored nephew of King Robert the Bruce. Even so, when Isabel “Izzie” Stewart meets the vaunted knight, she’s glad he’s her cousin’s soon-to-be betrothed and not hers. He takes himself far too seriously, to her mind, and seems to be acting out the role of the “perfect” knight. In her experience, men who are too good to be true usually are. But when Izzie starts to wonder whether her first impressions might have been wrong, she discovers a complex, compelling man who is far from perfect and more seductive than she ever imagined. 

I was so interested to read this book.  The male lead, Sir Randolph has made appearances in the Highland Guard books before.  However, it wasn’t pretty.  His past was full of arrogance and indignation.  He switched sides at one point and supported the English.  His return to the side of Robert The Bruce has made him learn a lot of hard lessons.  His honour is even more important to him than ever – he must never be found wanting again.

So the problem becomes that even though he’s about to become engaged to Elizabeth, he’s attracted to her cousin Izzie.  It isn’t Elizabeth that torments him or makes him feel things he’d rather not.  He is trying to fight his attraction to her with all that he has.

I adored Izzie.  These characters have been featured in the book The Rock, and I was desperately trying to remember all the plot points so that I could figure out what was going to happen!  Izzie is opposite to her cousin.  She is lively and witty and always seem to have a smirk on her face.  Thomas notices her because she doesn’t fall at his feet to flatter and impress him.  In fact, she is often laughing at him and his stiff attitude.  Izzie is a mystery and challenge to Thomas and you know what that means!  The chase is on!

Izzie and Thomas spend time together and she gets to know the man behind the reputation.  She challenges him and makes him question if his honour is the most important thing in the world.  Like all of her books, Monica McCarty creates a world where these two lovers are fighting for a love that is challenged by war, politics and social norms.  Considering this is a novella, it features a beautifully crafted love story that is fully developed.  I felt that I completely understood the characters, the issues and the difficulties they face.  It’s such a different world that Izzie and Thomas inhabit, yet thanks to the skill of Monica McCarty, not only was I immersed, I understood.

Monica writes great love scenes.  Since this is a novella, we only get one, but it’s a great scene!  Lots of lust and eagerness to fan the fires between Izzie and Thomas.  His prowess in the bedroom is mentioned frequently, but I kind of loved that he felt like a lad facing Izzie and the importance of their union.  That is what makes these books winners – the depth of emotion you feel from the scenes and actions of the characters.

I can’t say enough about this series and book.  You will not regret getting lost in this series.  Every single one has been outstanding!  In fact, as I write this I am already plotting which book I will go back and read this weekend.  Through the eyes of Monica McCarty, I have fallen head over heels for Scotland.  I love the history, the fierce passion for the land and the deep, rich culture.  Wondering what to read next?  Start this amazing series with The Chief and let me know when you get to The Rogue – I promise not to say I told you so!

 

His To Love

his to love

His to Love by Stacey Lynn

Overview by Netgalley:

Tyson Blackwell never saw it coming when his Mafia princess girlfriend dumped him and disappeared at the age of eighteen. He never forgot her, either, even after what happened next: the killing of his father, a Detroit PD officer, at the hands of one of her father’s men. Tyson swore revenge, and now, ten years later, the kid who dreamed of a pro football career is a hard-nosed FBI agent, back in town to take down the Galecki crime family once and for all. But Tyson’s mission gets complicated fast—because going undercover means seducing the only woman he’s ever loved.

Gabriella “Blue” Galecki has been in hiding for a decade. She finally comes home to spend time with her terminally ill mother, only to receive a blast from the past when she runs into Tyson. His brooding eyes and electrifying touch still send chills down her spine. But as heir to the family empire, Blue has been promised to another. Caught in a web of deception, she is tempted to pull the trigger on the boldest risk she’s ever taken: trusting Tyson with her life, her body, and her heart.

I have been reading a lot of books lately that feature the mob.  I don’t know why that is, but it’s clear that this new sub genre of contemporary romance novels is really popular!  I think it has to do with the danger element along with the internal struggle characters’ face between family, justice and love.

This book features Tyson who is working for the FBI and is assigned to reunite with his high school love Blue.  Right around graduation, with star in their eyes and love for each other, she disappeared and it’s been ten long years since they have seen each other.  Blue comes from a mafia type family and Tyson is the son of a cop.  A more unlikely pair, along the lines of Romeo and Juliet, you would be hard pressed to find.

We come to understand that Blue’s father sent her away for her love affair with Tyson.  Living and working on her Aunt’s hippie farm in Colorado, Blue has found some measure of peace in her life.  Her mother is dying and she has been summoned home to Detroit.  Tyson intercepts Blue and the game of lies begins.

What isn’t a lie in this book is the reality of the situation. One, Tyson and Blue still have electric chemistry and their time together is just hotter and heavier than their teen years.  Two, Blue’s father is still deep in the underworld and is looking to make her the princess and heir to his kingdom.  Three, Tyson is not going to stop until he has Blue’s father in custody – especially since her father had his father killed for investigating him.

Whew!  With these truths, the story could be heavy and dark, but the light in the book is Blue.  She is so far from a mafia princess.  She wants to work, live on her own and fall in love with her choice of Mr. Right.  While she doesn’t know that Tyson is using her to get close to her father, she is reveling in the newness of their reunion.  It’s pretty sweet how quickly the heart and body remembers the first love.  I wanted it to be real between Tyson and Blue because they were so good together.

Of course there are complications and the truth always comes out.  I really enjoyed how the author unwound the knots the plot was tied up in.  She slowly and carefully revealed just enough pieces to keep the reader entertained and engaged.

This is a story that highlights the love and lust of reunited lovers, but also has a dark and dangerous side as well.  I really enjoyed the heightened sense of drama the law element brought to the plot, but I was a sucker for the great romance between Tyson and Blue.

The Untamed Earl

the untamed earl

The Untamed Earl by Valerie Bowman

Overview by Netgalley:

Lady Alexandra Hobbs, the daughter of the Duke of Huntley, has intended to marry Lord Owen Monroe since she first glimpsed him from the window of her bedchamber, back when she was just a girl. But the duke has already chosen Alex’s infamously spoiled elder sister, Lavinia, for Owen. And now there’s no turning back.

Owen has spent most of his bachelor years drinking, gambling, and skirt-chasing. He won’t see another pound from his parents, however, until he’s engaged to Lavinia. Desperate, he accepts an offer from her innocent and spirited—and absolutely beautiful—sister Alex: She will
turn him into a perfectly tamed suitor, and show him how to woo the shrew. But when Alex’s true motives come to light, will their bargain lead to recriminations—or to a romance that defies everyone’s expectations?

I really, really enjoyed this book!  Alexandra is such a wonderful character!  The author has created complex and unique characters and situations that make for a delicious and sassy romance!

So here’s the details – Owen is forced to woo Lavinia (Alex’s sister) and make her fall in love with him.  Their parents are drawing up a marriage contract, but Lavinia is beyond horrid and she must be in love with Owen.  Owen has to win her hand or risk being cut off by his family.  Alex offers to help Owen, but she is secretly in love with him.  Owen and Alex spend time together…the friends get involved…I don’t want to spoil it!

Alex is so charming and hilarious!  The middle child, she has lived in the shadow of her horrendous sister Lavinia.  Lavinia is the perfect English lady on the outside, but inside, she is true evil.  Her exploits would be amusing if other’s were not the recipients of her behaviour!  Alex has always wanted to have a successful come out, but her debut was less than stellar.

As a teenager, she witnessed Lord Owen perform a gallant act and immediately fell in love with him.  Her devastation at the news of the betrothal between her sister and the man of her dreams forces her to take drastic measures.  She offers to help Owen if he will return the favour.  They meet daily so that Alex may tell him how to impress Lavinia, while Owen teaches her how to dance and flirt.  I just about fell over laughing at how naughty Alex was – the stories she tells Owen and methods of wooing her are hilarious.  Owen takes his task to heart and is the recipient of the change in Alex.

These two were a delightful couple.  I loved how his sister and friends meddle in their affairs.  I found that Alex was just so refreshing as she admits that she likes to drink, gamble and swear.  This was new territory in a historical romance novel as I can’t remember the last time a debutante admitted those vices!

The passion between Alex and Owen was hot!  I loved that the seasoned rake heart beat faster for the young woman who has turned his head!  But considering that her sister is about to be engaged to Owen, things are not smooth sailing for these two.  The misunderstandings move the plot and relationship forward and well, let’s just say, I was extremely thrilled with the very satisfying ending!

Not In Scotland Anymore

out season 2 ep22

Let’s start with the costumes this episode.  Seriously, Claire had the most GORGEOUS outfits I have ever seen!  I LOVED the black and white ensemble she wears to visit the apothecary.  The red dress was stunning and those SHOES!  It’s astounding to think of how much work it was to dress all the extras for the scenes in this episode.  Jamie’s reaction to Claire’s bosom on display was so cute!  The look on Murtagh’s face when he saw the swan nipple dress was priceless.  That outfit looked so painful!

The setting is second on my list to talk about.  We see more of France as Claire and Jamie settle into their new home.  Jarrod’s townhouse is the stuff of dreams!  Claire’s interactions with the staff were hilarious – that she would endeavour to be messier to give them something to do!

I loved the apothecary shop – it was just like I imagined it would look like at that point in France.  Versailles was a dream!  I have been there when I was a child, but seeing a replica with all the aristos was just amazing.  The producers don’t have the majestic beauty of Scotland as a background, but they have outdone themselves making Paris beautiful (even though I know it is Prague).

out season 2 ep23

So, let’s get to the plot of this episode.  It opens with Jamie and Claire in bed…always a great way to start, until we see that Jamie is tormented by his time at the hands of Black Jack.  While this is not surprising that he would struggle with intimacy, it’s painful to watch their relationship suffer.  It’s a strong message for our society about the aftermath of sexual assault and how hard it is for survivors to find normalcy afterwards.

out season 2 ep25

Claire is still pushing her agenda of stopping the Bonny Prince Charles from making a claim on the throne.  Jamie meets with him in a brothel.  I have read countless historical romance books that feature brothels, but it was so cool to see one on television – even if the idea is distasteful.

out season 2 ep24

Claire has made a new friend.  She is now rubbing elbows with the influential and important aristos in Paris.  The scene at her friend’s house had me laughing.  I wish I could wallop my esthetician every time she waxes me!  Claire’s daring nature shows when she later lets Jamie feel what happened to her hair.  Unfortunately, the scene ends with cuddling instead of action, another reminder that Jamie is not able to resume an intimate relationship yet.

When I visited Versailles, I was given the comprehensive tour.  It was explained how the King was attended to for all his personal needs.  But seeing a royal grunting and squawking as he tries to pass his bowels, was a whole new experience!  To Jamie and Murtagh, this is the height of ridiculous.  Jamie’s introduction to the King’s room by a former flame was funny.  It was nice to see him flustered and Claire give him pointed looks.  Although considering his lack of knowledge of how to have sex, she really didn’t need to be worried.

Out season 2 ep2

Claire and Jamie meet the Minister of Finance in a scene out of a romance novel.  The man is trying to have his way with Claire in a pleasure garden and Jamie throws him in the lake.  But they seem to be friends by the time he is drying off.  This will be a relationship that Claire will want to cultivate.

But then, they run into the terrible Duke of Sandringham.  I worried that blood would be spilt in the grand hall.  Claire speaks alone to him and finds out a harsh and devastating truth.  Jack Randall is still alive and in Scotland.  His brother is working for the Duke, which he admits is no coincidence.  IT means that their time in France will be shared with Black Jack.  But Claire worries more for Jamie’s well being and need for revenge.  It has been shared by the cast that Black Jack will make an appearance again, so now we just have to wait for the final showdown!

This episode has me straining to remember what happened in Dragonfly in Amber.  I remember the emotions I had while reading it, more than the intricate details of the plot.  I long for the days at Castle Leoch when the only drama was trying to find the stones at Craig na Dun.

out season 2 ep27

Risk of Exposure

Risk of Exposure (An Alpha Ops Novel) by Emmy Curtis

risk of exposure

Overview by Publisher:

He is a trained professional-but nothing can prepare him for the hottest mission of his life. Assigned to protect his boss’s daughter, British former SAS operative Malone Garrett breaks the first rule of covert surveillance-don’t make contact. And especially don’t take your mark out to dinner, then agree to a rooftop quickie. But now that Mal has Abby in his arms, he has no intention of ever letting her go.

Abby Baston told herself it was a hit and quit, a one-nighter with a hot, handsome stranger whose hands were trained to take action. Working undercover for the CIA, she can’t risk anything more. But when an international crisis ignites, Abby must make a call: trust Mal with her secret-and her heart-and partner up, or lose everything in a split second . . . 

This book was full of great surprises!  I loved the characters, especially Abby.  At first, she seems like a lonely aide worker helping an orphanage in Ukraine, but quickly we find out that she is anything but.

I really enjoy books where the female lead is just as capable as the male.  Abby is undercover for the CIA and has been an operative for years.  While her father has sent one of his men to watch over her, we quickly learn that she doesn’t really need a babysitter.

What she does need is someone to ease the boredom.  Malone provides the distraction she needs and the quick f*ck she desires.  What she doesn’t expect is to find herself with another special forces soldier on her mission.

The politics and the mission are very interesting and I found it fascinating how the undercover world works.  I once met a US officer who served on a submarine and he told me that they frequently patrol the Pacific Ocean and watch what the Soviet subs are doing.  This was in the ‘90’s, so I can only imagine what things look like now, especially since the Soviet government has annexed Crimea.  You don’t need to be up on your politics to enjoy this book, but it does add some perspective.

The relationship between Abby and Malone is challenging.  One minute they are working together, or having amazing sex and the next they are sparring, both physically and verbally.  It keeps the reader on their toes.  High stress situations ramp up the feelings between the two and by the time the mission is over, the reader is wondering what will happen?

This isn’t a long book, but really enjoyable.  I found the element of danger and spying added great drama to the story and the lust between Abby and Malone was fantastic!

The ending is great and I was happy with how the characters found their happily ever after!

Desire’s Hostage

Desire’s Hostage (Viking Lore, Book 3) by Emma Prince

Overview by Amazon:

She is his hostage… 

As the daughter of a proud Pict chieftain, Elisead’s duty is to make a marriage alliance for the betterment of her people. Yet the forest spirits whisper to her, calling her into the woods to carve in stone the long forgotten markings of the old ways. But when she witnesses a terrifying band of Northmen land on the shores of her village, she senses that her fate lies with the golden leader who entrances her with his dancing emerald eyes and claims her with his forbidden touch. 

Desire binds them together… 

Alaric sets sail from the Northlands with the weighty responsibility of making a permanent settlement in Pictland. To build an alliance with a local Pict chieftain, Alaric agrees to exchange hostages—and claims the chieftain’s daughter as his leverage. Now, his greatest challenge is to resist Elisead, the auburn-haired beauty who captivates him completely. When the fragile negotiations turn deadly, Alaric must choose between his mission and his desire to protect Elisead from the mysterious forces working against peace between their peoples. 

I love a book that teaches me just as much as it entertains!  I found myself fascinated by the history of this time period.  There are many historical facts about the Vikings coming to Scotland, but this was an amazing vision of what it would have been like.  How did the Vikings arrive?  How did they settle the land?  What happened to the tribes already there?

So in this well researched book, we find out that modern Scotland, was inhabited by the Picts.  They are the people that famously painted themselves blue for battle (hello Braveheart).  They are the ancestors of Scots today.  While there are tribes and settlements, none of them are completely united.  There have been many raids by Vikings – mostly to plunder and kill.  The history of the Picts is mostly told through the stone carvings left behind for centuries.

This is a very interesting love story.  I have read many Viking tales in the past, but this one is by far the best.  Elisead is the chief’s daughter and engaged to the King’s son.  She is like a fairy in the woods – a part of the ethereal beauty that surrounds the village.  When she spots Viking ships in the distance, she knows that life will never be the same.

This is the third book in the series, so you can read the back story on some of the characters present in the book.  Alaric is the leader of this band of warriors.  They are looking for land to settle and stay.  He is a smart and canny leader who recognizes the benefits of patience and negotiations.  He wants to align with the existing Picts instead of wiping them out.  It didn’t hurt that he had a saucy smile and was head over heels for Elisead.

I liked the politics and danger in the books as much as I liked the romance.  It’s a dangerous time to be alive and it lurks in every hallway and forest.  The passion between Alaric and Elisead was intense and he fit every romantic Viking stereotype.  Strong, charming, fierce, Alaric was the stuff of dreams.  It was fabulous that Elisead was just as developed as a character.  Her spirit was captured so beautifully and her skill with rock carving was an element that just made her more special.

If you haven’t tried a Viking historical romance before, but are interested, this is a great book to pick up!  I really enjoyed how much history was woven into the exciting love story of Alaric and Elisead.

Nannyland

Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes

nannyland

Overview by Publisher:

This delightful, romantic debut follows a sophisticated Manhattanite who trades her fast-paced Wall Street life for the English countryside, and unexpectedly becomes a nanny to the children of a widowed British lord. Who is as infuriating as he is intriguing…

Jordy Greene has it all—the high-powered job, the high-octane New York lifestyle, the powerful lover—until she’s suddenly forced to flee the city. Running to avoid false charges of illegal trading and a destructive relationship, Jordy escapes to England. There she finds refuge in a cottage on the estate of the icy Lord John Grey—a descendant of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

The four rambunctious Grey children are in desperate need of a nanny, and Jordy is in desperate need of a purpose—so they plunge into an investigation of the Tudor queen’s mysterious life and shocking death. Amid flying subpoenas, willful adolescents, outraged aristocrats, and an unexpected attraction to Lord Grey, Jordy struggles to regain control of her life. In the midst of the chaos, can she find the kind of happiness she’d never thought to have?

If The Sound of Music and The Wolf of Wall Street had a child, it would be the captivating Nannyland!

I was so intrigued by this book when I saw it posted on Netgalley, I knew that I just had to read it!  I am so glad that I did!  This book is witty, charming and laugh out loud fun!

Jordy has run away from a clusterf*ck in New York.  Up and left her high powered job on Wall Street, ran away from the man abusing her and the possible criminal prosecutions coming after her.  She runs to the Cotswolds in England – imagining a bucolic and peaceful existence to write a book about Wall Street investing.

But life never goes as planned.  Without intention, Jordy gets sucked into the lives of the Greys.  Descendants of Lady Jane Grey, the nine day queen, they live in Bradgate Castle and are members of the aristocracy.  Lord John Grey is a widow with four children who can’t seem to keep a nanny.  Jordy ends up helping out and goes from managing millions to four children.  For someone who has never been around children, I’m sure you can imagine the results!

Jordy is a complex character.  She has serious issues in her life and the uncomplicated future she was planning for herself becomes complicated quickly.  She starts a friends with benefits arrangement with Lord John and is persuaded to continue on as nanny for the children.

I think we learn the most about Jordy through her interactions with the children.  Her observations of them are from the point of view of someone who doesn’t have kids.  She swears and makes mistakes, most of which are hilarious.  She is seriously one of the worst drivers and her daily, no hourly, scrapes are great moments of brevity.  She gets to know each of the children and works to find a way to make their indifferent life better.

Lady Jane Grey is the eldest child – a somber, sober child who vehemently dislikes being named after her famed relative. I think I adored this part of the plot the most.  How Jordy worked so hard to find a connection with Jane and help her to establish who she was in this crazy life that was determined for her.  While Jordy wasn’t perfect, her dedication to supporting and guiding Jane was so honest and sweet.

I have to say, that this book was not what I expected, but the tart and sassy Jordy made it such an adventure.  From dealing with the crazy family obsessed with Lady Jane Grey to the antics of four children to managing a relationship with a Brit, this book was just flat out charming.  I felt the frustrations that Jordy faced, I applauded her successes and wanted to take her for a drink when she was lonely.

While the romance isn’t front and centre in the book, John was a good man who was steadfast in his love for the children.  The relationship between Jordy and John was complicated and not what I was anticipating, I wanted it to work because it felt like Jordy belonged.

I highly recommend picking up this book.  It was fun and engaging and had me laughing out loud.  I adored the English adventure that saved Jordy in the end!

 

Kill or be Kilt

 

Kill or be Kilt by Victoria Roberts

kill or be kilt

Overview by Publisher:

It’s been three years since Lady Elizabeth Walsingham ended her childish crush on Laird Ian Munro, the fierce Highlander who scared everyone but her. She’s a grown woman now, heading to London to find a proper English gentleman. But when the wild Highland laird walks through the door, she’s that breathless youth all over again.

Ian tries hard to avoid the young lass who’s confounded him for years. But now that they’re attending court, he must keep watch on her night and day. Danger is at every turn and advisors to the Crown are being murdered. Ian soon realizes the girl he’s been protecting is a beautiful lady who needs his help, almost as much as he needs her.

This is the third book in the series featuring the Walsingham sisters.  Ravena and Grace have had their happily ever afters, but Elizabeth is still pining for Laird Munro.

The Walsingham sisters are a breed unto themselves.  Noisy, nosy and opinionated, they have taken the Highlands by storm.  Elizabeth is the third sister out of four.  She has been relocated to the highlands by her sister’s marriages and has been infatuated with Laird Ian Munro for three years.  No one can understand her interest, especially Ian.  He is a rough man, brawny and curt.  But somehow, now that Elizabeth is finally of age, he sees her differently.  And it scares the kilt off him!

The Walsingham uncle has died and the Laird’s are expected to see King James and give their yearly pledge of loyalty.  So off to England they all go.  While on the trip, Elizabeth has had a change of heart on a few matters.  She is no longer traipsing after Ian.  She has decided that she wants her come out at court and to find an Englishman to wed.  She doesn’t know about her uncle and sisters spying, and is woefully unprepared for life at court.

It’s like a case of wanting what you can’t have for Ian.  Now that Elizabeth isn’t panting after him, he realizes what a great woman she is.  She saw beneath the harsh exterior and liked him for the man.  Now he wants to reclaim her affections, but he is so not up to the task.  His friend Fagan (Grace’s husband) has to help him and give advice when he continually messes up his courting of Elizabeth.

Of course the minute they arrive at court there is intrigue and danger afoot.  I loved how the court politics played out.  It tied together some plot points covered in the past, as well as helped to move the plot forward between Ian and Elizabeth.  King James liked to make the Highlanders wait for his audience, so there was nothing for Ruiari, Fagan and Ian to do but watch over Elizabeth and her admirers.

The relationship between Ian and Elizabeth was a dance.  One minute Ian would bring Elizabeth into his sphere and bungle things, so she would move away.  The actions would repeat themselves until they had a heart to heart and agreed to give a relationship a try.  Elizabeth was worried about getting her heart crushed again and Ian suffered from negotiating a relationship with no experience.  The result could have been whiplash from the posturing, but it was delightful how Ian tried so hard and was flummoxed when he failed.  I loved the relationship advice that Fagan was always dishing out.

The political court and the danger to the Privy council was very interesting.  I love books that feature the realities of court life and what it was like to be a part of that society.

This is another great addition to the series on the Walsingham sisters.  I think I really enjoyed this book because Elizabeth was such a great character and her empathy and love for Ian made their romance special.

 

 

Coded For Love Series

Heated Match by Lynn Silver

heated match

Overview by Publisher:

The Program: an organization of elite soldiers with superior strength, agility, and intellect. These men put their lives on the line to execute the government’s most dangerous missions.

Journalist Loren Stanton wants nothing more than to break a big story that will catapult her career. But the only item that’s caught her eye lately is Adam Blacker, a soldier whose rugged sexiness sets her pulse racing. When rumors surface that he’s part of a classified government program, Loren has every excuse she needs to get as close to him as possible, no matter what it takes.

As team leader of a covert ops group, Adam steers clear of all journalists, but there’s no denying the blazing passion Loren stirs in him. A scorching night together convinces him their connection is more than skin-deep, still, he’s not ready to let down his guard—his genetic enhancements make him an exceptional soldier, but what woman would want to commit to his high-risk life?

When a dangerous enemy from Adam’s past resurfaces and Loren insists on joining the fight rather than running, he’s forced to face a dark truth. This courageous, loyal woman moves him in ways he never imagined possible. And now that Adam knows she has his back, he also knows he has to win her heart.

I am really digging this series.  It’s been previously published and both books in the series are making their way back to readers, hoping to catch a new audience.  It’s definitely caught my attention and I really hope the author puts out the other books in the series for readers.

The Program is the stuff of science fiction, but not the weird Area 51 type.  The soldiers at the Program are genetically enhanced.  These books would make an awesome tv show – just enough military jargon and drama, sexy buff men and a secret organization that has their own way of functioning.

Genetics are at the heart of the Program.  Started in the 50’s, it now has the second generation of fully enhanced operatives at it’s disposal.  In one of the books, which I can’t seem to find in print, the secrets of the Program are released to the media and it’s a shit storm of attention.  While people may have imagined the US government would look at enhancing the gene pool, it’s another thing to find out they have been living in DC and operating for years.

One of the interesting aspects is the matching of couples.   They look to find their best DNA match and have super babies.  The match is taken extremely seriously and it’s almost overwhelming how much relies on the DNA.  We meet Loren and Adam at a birthday party and the sparks coming off the two are like fireworks.  They can’t figure out why they are so attracted to each other, but it doesn’t matter because the birthday party goes south, when the guest of honour – a one-year-old baby – disappears on Adam’s watch.

Loren is a reporter and she finds her way to the Program compound.  This starts a chain of events that will change her and Adam forever.  Loren and Adam are locked in a room together after her DNA reveals that they are a match.  It reminded me a bit of JR Ward’s vampire series when they go into heat and the uncontrollable lust that rages.  But there is more than that – Loren finds out the truth about her family.  She is actually one of the enhanced babies, but fate kept her from the truth until now.
Adam has his reasons for resisting Loren. He believes that his gene line is inferior and doesn’t want to take the chance of having a child that would be rejected.  He bears deep scars from his own childhood.  It became like a battle of nature.  Adams body was so primed for Loren, but his head kept telling him no.  Loren is just as affected and she longs for Adam.    The sex between the two is really hot and heavy.  There is such a deep itch between these two that they seem incapable of satisfaction.

I loved learning more about the Program and the political drama.  There is a traitor on campus and his actions are reeking havoc amongst the ranks.  Through the eyes of the traitor, many questions are answered and you see how deep and dark the lies and subterfuge of the Program go.

I was totally hooked reading this book.  I loved the other members of Adam’s team and I think there are books telling their stories too.  I really hope they get published as this is one series I would read from start to finish!

False Match by Lynn Silver

false match

Overview by Publisher:

The Program: an organization of elite soldiers with superior strength, agility, and intellect. These men put their lives on the line to execute the government’s most dangerous missions.

Kidnapped with her son and forced into helping a rogue scientist with his experiments, Dr. Samara Jones saw no escape. Until the day she was rescued by a group of elite soldiers from the Program. Now under the protection of the Program, Samara is working to prove her innocence—and struggling to control the burning need she feels for Chase Stanton, one of her rescuers.

As laid-back as he is deadly, Chase is a well-honed solider who always responds to the call of duty, whether it’s a life-or-death mission or a scorching night of passion. When he’s assigned to protect Samara, he’s immediately drawn to the smart, headstrong woman, and confides a dark fear to her—despite feeling torn by his suspicions that she could be a double agent. Duty demands he resist temptation, but desire has its own demands . . .

So we find out about the Program in the first book, Heated Match.  This book features Loren’s half brother, Chase.  He is the surfer bum of the group.  Happy, joking and easy going, until he needs to work and then he is all business – and deadly.

The aftermath of the previous book has the lovely Dr. Samara Jones relocated to the Program compound with her son.  She held been held captive for a year by the mad doctor from the first book.  Samara doesn’t see much difference between this jail and the last one, with the exception of being close to her son.  She still is forced to work on genetics and creating super soldiers with manipulated DNA.

Chase is Samara’s watchdog.  He is responsible for keeping her safe on campus, where she is not well liked nor trusted due to her role in the past.  I found this unfair.  While Adam had reason to be upset with her, clearly they could see that she was a prisoner and not a spy.

Chase has the hots for Samara, although the way he describes her, he had to look past the exterior.  Samara wears the frumpiest clothes imaginable and it’s like a shield to keep herself safe.  But she isn’t safe from Chase’s attentions.  These two are smoking hot once they get between the sheets!

I really liked the inclusion of Samara’s son in the story. Chase bonds well with him and it solidifies what a good guy he is.  This is important to the story because her young child has been mistreated in the past year and she worries about his future.

The future for Chase and Samara is fraught with worries as well.  Chase has to deal with the dislike and mistrust from his team towards Samara.  This is in addition to the fact that they have not been matched and a soldier from the Program has a responsibility to be with the one meant for him.  These are challenges that keep the plot fresh and moving forward.  There is also the matter of Samara’s safety from her previous captor who wants her back desperately, but it’s just a great way for the reader to see Chase go all alpha male and protective – which is super hot!

This series is just getting better and better.  I really am hoping that the next books which feature the other members of Adam and Chase’s team will be re-released and I can binge read the whole series!