All posts by kiltsandswords

Blogging about smutty history and the books that make modern ladies swoon.

Enforcer’s Pride

Enforcer’s Pride (Demon Horde Series) by Sarah Hawthorne

enforcers-pride

Overview by Publisher:

A man looking for redemption 

Colt spent eight months in prison for trusting the wrong woman, nearly bringing down his entire motorcycle club in the process. Now he needs to fix the MC’s cash flow problems or watch the only family he’s ever known fall apart. 

Meeting Krista wasn’t part of his mission. 

Falling for her could mean his destruction.  

A single mom trying to get by 

Krista was ready to leave hooking behind when her ex cleaned out her bank account. Stuck working to provide for her daughter, she protects herself with one rule: never get involved with someone at the club. 

Not that she wants to. Sex has become a job, a means to an end. 

One night together as an escape 

Krista’s body wakes at Colt’s touch, allowing her to imagine a life after the MC. A future. A happily-ever-after, if only briefly. Krista brings out feelings in Colt he forgot could exist. But just as he begins to trust again, Krista’s truth is revealed—testing the very boundaries of Colt’s jealousy and faith.

So….this was a different book!  I was surprised, because to be honest, I didn’t really read the whole blurb when I requested this book on Netgalley.  I just saw *BIKER* and clicked YES!

What an experience.  This book was really worthwhile.  It was the first time I have read a book at a woman who is sex worker.  We all think we understand why women work in the sex trade, but to read a story about a woman who you get to know, makes it personal.

Krista is a single mom.  She works as a bartender at the biker club and sleeps with the members on the side.  She is a great mom and has put herself through school.  Since she got pregnant at age 16, she is a statistic that society doesn’t care about.

The author makes it so easy to slip into Krista’s world and understand her life.  It doesn’t mean that it is easy to read about her work.  What I appreciated as the reader was that Krista’s life and work was not romanticized, nor glamourized.  She didn’t like being a stripper or prostitute.

Krista meets Colt when he beats up her dead beat baby Daddy-meth head.  He takes an immediate interest.  For Krista it was the first time in a very long time that she felt actual attraction.  He made her feel alive.  That is so liberating and was exciting to read about.  However, misunderstanding abound and the two are on and off and on and off.

There is a purpose for Colt being in Tacoma.  He is about to patch over the club, but has to find who is skimming off the club books.  I really enjoyed this sub plot.  It was an interesting story of the dynamics of biker clubs and the investigation allowed more time to get to know Colt.

The sex is quite prevalent throughout the story.  As a reader, I was able to clearly distinguish between the work Krista did and the emotional moments she had with Colt.  I found this to be an interesting and thought provoking story to read.

Hooked

Hooked  (Viking Motorcyle Club) by Christina Phillips

hooked

Overview by Publisher:

Zach…

I like my sex dirty and disposable. I’m not into commitment or chicks who want more than one night. My brothers and club come first, second and last.

Until she walks into my life. Classy, rich and so out of my league it’s crazy. A week together should get her out of my system, but this good girl is so bad when we’re all alone and I can’t get enough of her.

I don’t do forever, but she’s hooked me so bad I don’t ever want to let her go. Except there’s no way a princess can live in my world and I sure as hell won’t live in hers…

Have you ever daydreamed what it would be like to hook up with a biker?  Or a rough around the edges guy that is far out of your norm?  I think one of the reasons that Sons of Anarchy did so well was that so many women loved Jax and had fantasies about hooking up with him.  Imagine that – then what?

This book starts with a hot and very sexy encounter with two strangers.  Zach is a bad biker and Grace is an heiress and a good girl.  She takes a walk on the wild side. This story investigates what happens when the one encounter goes further.

The sex in this story is scorching hot.  I was worried at first (I know) that the book was pure erotica, but it just starts with a bang.  The story is well developed and I found that it was so realistic.  What does happen when two people who come from totally different worlds find something real with each other?  The story isn’t just about great sex, it focuses on Zach and Grace finding common ground and navigating how to take a sexual relationship into a real one.

The characters are well developed and I felt like I understood both perspectives.  I understood the life that Zach led and how he was uncomfortable in Grace’s rich world.  I also empathized with Grace as she tried to balance her families’ expectations with the tattooed biker she was bringing home.

This is a great biker read!  I have a recent fondness to this genre and this book was a great addition to my library!

Mogul

Mogul (Knickerbocker Club Series) by Joanna Shupe

mogul

Overview by Publisher:

As owner of a well-respected national newspaper, Calvin Cabot has the means to indulge his capricious taste for excess—and the power to bring the upper crust of society to its knees. So when a desperate heiress from his past begs for his help, Calvin agrees . . . as long as she promises to stay out of his way. Except, like the newsman, this willful beauty always gets what she wants . . .

Lillian Davies lives a life brimming with boundless parties, impressive yachts, and exotic getaways. But when her brother disappears, Lily knows that blood runs thicker than champagne and she’ll spare nothing to bring him back alive. Unfortunately, the only man who can help her is the one she never wanted to see again. Can Lily keep Calvin at arm’s length long enough to save her brother and protect her name . . . even when the tenacious powerbroker turns out to be absolutely irresistible?

This is a really great series!  It’s set in the gilded age of America which is a departure from most historical romance novels.  It’s a very interesting time in the world and the author Joanna Shupe has definitely done her research to make the series authentic.

I have a weakness for books that feature reunited lovers.  Calvin and Lily were briefly married.  We are lucky that we get an upclose and intimate view of their honeymoon in the Poconos.  It was really smart to begin the story with these lush and lusty passages as it really gives the reader a clear view of the relationship between Calvin and Lily as they find their way back to each other.

A Chinese under lord is blackmailing Lily and Calvin to get something valuable back that Lily’s brother took.  This conveniently throws them together and after four years apart, they have a lot to catch up on.  What makes this story work so well is the attention to details.  The treatment of the Chinese immigrants to America is highlighted and how unfair the policies of the time were.  Racism is shown without glossing over how society viewed foreigners at that time.  I appreciated that the author didn’t gloss over this or romanticize it.

The heart of the story is the relationship between Calvin and Lily.  Members of the Knickerbocker Club (and previous book characters) make appearance, but the heart of it is the reunion between the two.  Since they had been married, the action between the two gets hot quickly.  There are some pretty memorable love scenes in this book.  Calvin is a man of words and Lily is a woman of action.  They make a formidable pair.  I couldn’t put the book down as I couldn’t wait to find out how the story unfolded.

Joanna Shupe presents the characters with all their flaws.  Calvin and Lily are not perfect.  Calvin has an aversion to telling the truth.  He would fit right in as a political pundit on CNN with how he manipulates and bends the truth to suit his purposes – even if they are noble.  Lily was headstrong and could be impetus with her actions.  However, they compliment each other and as I got to know them, I fell in love with them.

This is the last book in the Knickerbocker series, which is great!  It starts with a short novella and is followed by three full length books.  Joanna is a confident and adept writer who takes the standard recipe for historical romance and infuses it with interesting and engaging characters and plot.  The book comes out January 31st.

Finding Kyle

Finding Kyle by Sawyer Bennett

finding-kyle

Overview by Amazon:

When you’ve lived your life as a criminal…
When you’ve done unspeakable things …
When your soul has become dark and stained…

The path to redemption begins where you least expect it.

Kyle Sommerville is in hiding and doesn’t want to be found by anyone. Certainly not by his quirky, free-spirited neighbor who’s managed to push her way past the walls he’s built around him. But Jane Cresson’s indomitable will and insatiable curiosity about her reclusive neighbor makes it impossible for Kyle to stay immersed in his dark world.

Little by little, she claws through his shell.
Day by day, she gets him to smile a little more.
Night by night, they both find pleasure they never knew existed.

When Kyle’s terrible past is exposed, Jane begins to think she’s in over her head. Can her love for this broken man finally clear his path to redemption, or will Kyle’s darkness extinguish every bit of hope she’s put into him?

I was beyond excited to find a new book out by Sawyer Bennett!  I adore her books!  Then I found out that this book had a link to her Wicked Horse series – which was ridicously hot!

I stayed up all night reading this story.  Kyle was undercover for the ATF in a motorcycle gang in Wyoming.  He helped to bring down the corrupt and dangerous bikers who were peddling drugs, guns and women.  He’s left tired and haunted by the things he did during his time with the gang.  He is hiding out on the East coast waiting for the trial so that he can testify and then get on with his life.

He comes to a sleepy town to be the lighthouse keeper.  His nosy and adorable neighbour Jane is like the welcome wagon on steroids.  She is pushy, but in such a sweet way that Kyle has a hard time getting rid of her, no matter how rude he is.  Part of me wanted to shake Jane and tell her to stop chasing after a man so shamelessly, but since I know as the reader how much Kyle needs someone like Jane in his life, I let it go.

The story is like a love letter to the East coast.  It’s charm and beauty and the culture of those who live in a small town.  It made me want to book a trip this summer and get lost in eating lobster, taking ferry rides and enjoying small town USA.  While Kyle is world weary, Jane is the epitome of small town and yet seeing the town through her eyes is like looking at a foreign land.

Kyle is sexy and rough, Jane is sweet and light.  I was really curious how Kyle would handle the bedroom scenes with Jane since she is the farthest thing from a club whore or biker chick.  But of course Sawyer Bennett never lets a reader down with the passionate and lusty scenes she creates.

If you have followed the Wicked Horse series and wondered what happened to Kyle, then you need to read this book and find out how he transitions back to reality.  A sweet romance with the baddest biker/cop!

Wicked in His Arms

Wicked in His Arms (Wedded by Scandal #2) by Stacy Reid

wicked-in-his-arms

Overview by Publisher:

Tobias Walcott, the Earl of Blade, has learned it is best to exercise rigid control over his passions and emotions in all that he does. Uncaring that it makes him seem cool and aloof to most in the ton, he is content with his desire to only woo agreeable and demur females. Then unforeseen circumstances see him trapped in a closet at a house party with the last woman he would ever make his countess.

Lady Olivia Sherwood is everything he should not desire in a female—unconventional, too decisive, and utterly without decorum. But passion ignites between them and they are discovered. Honor demands they wed, and while Tobias finds himself unwillingly drawn to the bewitching beauty, he must do everything not to tempt the passion that burns in him for her, lest it leads to disastrous consequences.

I loved this book!  I started to get that feeling pretty soon into the book, that this was something special.  I almost felt like I was reading a Judith McNaught book.  What makes this story work so well is the epic events that take place, alongside the small intimacies of courtship and everyday life.

Tobias and Olivia are so well developed that as the reader I understood their motivations and fears.  I don’t want to spoil the story, so I will refrain from revealing their inner most thoughts.  As the reader, you will appreciate how the characters are unveiled, how their compromises come about and how they find themselves.

There are all the usual elements:  the ton, house parties, scandals and duels, but that doesn’t do this book justice to just list points.  The story is masterfully told and the romance is exquisite.  Tobias and Olivia share a lust and attraction for each other that was very enjoyable to read about.  What I liked was that Olivia approached the bedroom with the same lust for life that she had out of it.  Like the book, Lady Sophia’s Lover, Tobias and Olivia find unusual places to consummate their relationship.

The epic ending gripped me.  It was past three in the morning and I couldn’t put the book down.  There was no way that I was going to stop reading and it was SO worth it!  I truly adored this story and while it’s very hard to quantify, this book has the hallmarks of the great historical romance novels I have read!

 

Home Run

Home Run (Boys of Summer Novel) by Heidi McLaughlin

home-run

Overview by Publisher:

LOVE ISN’T A GAME . . .

I’ve given up everything for the chance to play major league baseball. Everything. Now I’m so close I can practically hear the crowd chanting my name. There’s nothing that could take my dream away from me . . .

Unless I lose focus. And Ainsley Burke is the most beautiful, distracting woman I’ve ever met. When I’m with her, I can’t think of anything else.

But no matter how much I want Ainsley, there’s no room for love in my game plan. I can give her a quick tour of the bases, but that’s it. Then I have to let her go. If she wants to think I’m a love ’em and leave ’em player, fine.

All dreams require sacrifice. I just wish this one didn’t mean tearing out my own heart.

Get the kleenex ready for this book.  While it is a sports themed contemporary romance, it strikes a chord that transcends the genre.  Ainsley lives in Fort Meyers and is caring for her mother who is sick with cancer.  The reality of what it means to care for a loved one who is fighting for their life is a large part of this story.  At times, this story had me in tears.  As crazy as this sounds, I love books that make me cry.  It means that I connected with the story and my emotions are fully engaged.

Ainsley and Cooper meet at the zoo where she works.  He is smitten right away and even though he is only in Florida for spring training, he pursues her.  I found his attempts charming and I was rooting for him.  Ainsley plays hot and cold with him, which was frustrating, even though I understood her indecision.  They have a hot romance for a couple of weeks.  Lusty sex and moonlit walks on the beach bring them closer together.  All things must end and thus begins the big challenge for the couple.

The author is really great at writing baseball stories.  Cooper is the new rookie to the team.  She captures what it is like for a newbie to come to a well established team and fight for his place.  Heidi really emphasizes what it is like to struggle with the transition to the big leagues and deal with family pressures.  Cooper really struggles with balancing a life and baseball.  His challenges were understandable.

This is a very emotional story.  It was a very realistic story and I found myself drawn into the story of Ainsley and Cooper.  If you are a fan of baseball, definitely add this to your list!

Check it out here on Amazon.

Highland Spy

Highland Spy (Mercenary Maidens Series) by Madeline Martin

highland-spy

Overview by Publisher:

Ariana Fitzroy has lost her family and her fortune. The fight for survival leads her to the shadowed card games of court where she discovers she has quite a talent for slipping cards into her favor. While the winnings are enough to sustain her at present, they will not last forever…

Connor Grant, trainer of the fallen women from the English court and personal assassin to the king, is just as broken as the women he trains. After losing his own land and all his people in a brutal attack from a trusted friend, he has no choice but to rebuild any way he sees possible—even if it means going against everything he’s ever believed in.

After catching Ariana cheating at cards, Connor has a new trainee to instruct at one of the king’s many confiscated castles. In the dilapidated ruins, he discovers Ariana is more than she appears and falls in love with her incredible tenacity and dedication—a love that is challenged by Connor’s chance at reclaiming the inheritance he once lost and has sought so desperately to regain.

This story is one of second chances, of realizing a strength where only hopelessness once resided—a story of rising above the bad hand one has been dealt into a life of accomplishment and love.

This is a new series from Madeline Martin.  She is a relative new comer to the historical romance genre and garnering attention for her amazing stories set in the Highlands of Scotland.

This story is a really interesting premise – high born ladies who are alone or in trouble are recruited to be trained as spies for King James.  It is a given that royal courts were places filled with gossip, intrigue and politics, so it’s a realistic premise that women on the fringes of society would be targeted.

Ariana is one such woman.  She is recruited by Connor and taken deep into the Highlands to train to be a spy.  I found the training regime fascinating.  Exercise is never really covered in historical romance novels, unless the hero is practicing his swordplay.  In this book, the women are fit and fierce.

Ariana takes her training seriously.  She realizes that she has been given a second chance in life and puts her full energy into her new role.  At first she views Connor as a saviour, but eventually they develop an easy relationship and friendship.  They begin to plan missions in accordance with the King’s commands.

What works well in this book is the premise.  It’s so unusual but so plausible at the same time.  The Highlands were at times lawless under England’s rule, clan chiefs and politics taking precedence.  I can’t count how many books I have read that are based in the Highlands that didn’t have spying happening between clans – but it was all men.  The missions and the strategies Ariana and Connor employ are fascinating and keep the reader very engaged.

The relationship between the two is developed slowly, which adds authenticity to the plot and the emotional response the reader has.  Ariana has suffered much in the past.  Alone in the world, it would be natural for her to lean on Connor for strength.  However, that was not why they develop a relationship.  When Ariana arrives at their stronghold, she is painfully thin and weak.  Attraction is the last thing on Connor’s mind.  Rather, it is through their conversations, interactions and common purpose that they find each other.

This book works because it’s so original and refreshing.  Madeline Martin doesn’t waste words.  So often, there can be paragraphs between dialogue from authors so eager to spell out everything to readers.  Thankfully, that is not the case with this book.  The plot is really well developed and precise.  The plot is complicated, full of twists and turns.  I found myself tense while reading because I was dying to know what was coming!

If you haven’t read Madeline Martin yet, you need to check out her work!  This is the first book in an exciting new series!

Highland Spy: Q and A

Highland Spy by Madeline Martin is coming out very soon!  I posted a review of the new book and series today!  I have really enjoyed Madeline’s writing and when I had the chance to ask her a few questions, I jumped at the opportunity.

highland-spy

Her website is here – it’s full of beautiful images from her book covers.

Here is a bio from her website:

Hi, I’m Madeline Martin, a USA Today bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. I live in sunny Florida with Mr. Awesome (a man who truly deserves such a great name) and two wonderfully magical girls, known collectively as ‘the minions’.
I enjoy working out (really to support my love of Nutella and wine), traveling, and doing fun kid-like things with the minions.  In addition to working full time, writing, mothering and keeping everyone in the house alive, I also support a FB addiction where you can not only read about all our crazy daily antics (and see how addicted I really am to cat memes and videos), but you also might have an opportunity to win a free book from another author during my weekly Free Book Friday giveaway.

 

So Madeline gamely answered my questions that I sent her over the holidays – even while hosting family and suffering from a cold!

1.     How did you come up with the idea of female spies?  What was the inspiration?
When I wrote my debut release, Deception of a Highlander, I found I really enjoyed having a heroine who played a spy. It was dangerous, edgy and fun. I even took Krav Maga when writing it so I could have a better understanding of the fight scenes (that was a blast!). After I released that book, I had ideas in place already for the following books, but knew I had to do a whole series on female spies.
I did a lot of research on spies in history and slowly but surely pieced together the idea for the Mercenary Maidens. It was really fun taking modern day spy applications and putting them in a historical context. Like lock picks and color contacts to change eye color, etc. It really put my creativity to the test and I loved it!
 
 
2.  I follow you on Facebook and saw that you went to Scotland this past year.  What inspired you when you were there?  What should a tourist not miss?
            Oh wow – it was such an incredible trip. All of it was so inspiring, even just breathing in the air and walking through that gorgeous scenery. We were really fortunate to have sunshine almost every day we were there and it lit up Scotland in such a beautiful way, it made everything feel like we were walking through a calendar.
            In addition to the scenery, there was the folklore. I think every town, every pub, every home has its own legend associated with it. I have to say one of my favorite stops (and a definite recommendation to anyone planning a trip to Scotland) was the private tour of Castle Stalker. It’s near Oban and is privately owned, but the man who owns it will ferry you in on a small boat and take you through everything. He’s a natural born story teller and shares all kinds of wonderful tales while taking you on a personal tour through the home he rebuilt with his father. It was truly a memorable experience.
 
 
3.  What is your writing routine?  You have a busy life with work, two adorable minions and marathons, how do you find time to write?
LOL I definitely do stay busy J I have a really strict schedule I stick to. I usually wake up around 430 for an hour or so before I have to get the kids up for school and prep for work. I’m what I like to call a ‘time scraper’ and I try to make something whole out of all the pieces of time I can rummage together. That said, I go to the gym on my lunch break, then when I get home (if it isn’t a Girl Scouts night with the minions) we set to doing homework while I make dinner. No matter how busy we are, I always love to have dinner at the table as a family with no electronics or TV or other distractions. That’s very important to me. After that, it’s bed time for them and I have a chance to catch up on social media and e-mail.
            It’s a busy life, but it’s a full life and I absolutely love it. I feel very fortunate to be able to fulfill my dreams despite my tight schedule.  
 
4.  Wishes for 2017?  2016 was pretty crappy, so what do you hope to see in this new year?
            I confess the latter part of 2016 was a little stressful and I did sacrifice some of my healthier habits in 2016 that I’ll be picking back up again in 2017. I’m putting a strong focus on my health, which is always a worthy investment.
            Regarding book news, I have so many exciting things in store! I’m going to be part of three different anthologies, all releasing in 2017. I’m also very excited to announce I’ll be one of the authors of the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, WA (http://www.historicalromanceretreat.com). And I’ll officially begin writing my next series, the Jacobite Jezebels.
 
5.  What is next for the Mercenary Maidens Series?  When will the next book be released and who will be the heroine?
            The second book of the Mercenary Maidens will be Highland Ruse. There is no date for that one as yet, but that book will be Delilah’s story. That will then be followed by Highland Wrath, which will be Sylvi’s story. Neither have release dates as I’m aware of as yet. I actually just sent out Highland Wrath to beta readers for feedback! It’s so exciting to have this series starting to release and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have.
Thank you Madeline!
You can get Highland Spy on Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo
Read my previous reviews of Madeline’s books here:

The Rakehell’s Seduction

The Rakehell’s Seduction (The Seduction Series, Book 2) by Lauren Smith

rakehells-redem

Overview by Publisher:

HE’S MADE A DANGEROUS WAGER

Ambrose Worthing is no gentleman. He’s a proud cold-hearted rake who’s determined to stay a bachelor forever. He enjoys bedding a different woman every night without the risk of falling in love. When he hears about a wager over the seduction and ruination of the daughter of his father’s best friend, he knows he must intervene. Committing himself to the bet, he agrees to seduce Lady Alexandra Rockford—for her own good. He never expected the lady in question to be a beautiful, fiery creature who has passions of her own that call to his guarded heart.

SHE’S VOWED NEVER TO FALL IN LOVE AGAIN

Alexandra Rockford has sworn off men, her heart still broken from the false promises of a childhood sweetheart who left her to marry an heiress. When she stumbles into Ambrose outside of a country ball, she knows the rake his trouble. His smile, his touch, his forbidden kiss are all too tempting but being with him would ruin her. Determined to enjoy herself without falling in love, Alex can’t help but let her defenses down with the too charming rake. But when she discovers Ambrose is seducing her to win a bet, it will take everything Ambrose has to prove to her that he is worthy to love her.

One of the reasons I love historical romance novels is that there are plot elements that could only happen in the past.  This book starts with a naughty and deceptive wager being struck.  A young lady is to be ruined for the sum of $5000 pounds.  While gambling and wagering are popular today, a wagering book at a gentleman’s club is a relic of the past.

Lady Alex is the young lady who is the target of the wager.  Ambrose reacquaintants himself with her father in order to find her in the English countryside.  He accepts the wager planning to seduce her and take her virginity, but he will make it good for her – magnanimous of him, isn’t it?  They meet, they flirt and a romance ensues…

Ambrose isn’t the only one with an agenda.  Other men are hot on his heels to ruin Alex.  While the romance between Alex and Ambrose is lovely and fun to read, things get really interesting when the truth comes out.  When disaster strikes, it was enjoyable because of the evolution of Ambrose.  I loved how he changes from an arrogant and entitled young man to one who was willing to bare his soul to save his relationship with Alex.

What I enjoy about Lauren Smith’s writing is the attention to details.  She works hard to create imagery that makes a scene come to life.  She also creates amazing conflicts.  I literally had to put the book down at one point because I was getting stressed out at the events, but in the best possible way!  This story moves quickly and what I appreciate is how tight the plot is.  Often there is pages of dialogue or descriptions that distract from the storyline, but with this book and so many of Lauren’s, things are tightly put together.

Definitely check out this story!  You’ll love the consequences of wagering!  Pre-order here.