Tag Archives: historical fiction

Last Night with the Duke

Last Night with the Duke (The Rakes of St. James Series) by Amelia Grey

last night with the duke

Overview by Publisher:

The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.

Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride in Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

This is an amazing book!  A fabulous start to a new series by an author I always know will be a great read!

Esmeralda is working as the owner of a chaperone service to the elite of the ton.  She meets her match when the Duke of Griffin enters her establishment.  Thus begins the delicious adventure she undertakes with Griffin.  The opening scene between the two of them, literally left me breathless with the heavy and hot tension between them.  Amelia Grey is a fabulous writer as she has mastered the art of anticipation and want.

Esmeralda moves into the Duke’s household to chaperone his twin sisters.  This is the beginning of the push and pull between Esmeralda and Griffin.  They are working together to make sure the twins have the season of their dreams and keep away nefarious gentleman who seek to harm them.  While they work together to figure out who would want to hurt the reputation of the twins, they grow closer.

This romance unwinds like a tightly spun thread.  Everytime you think things will lead to the bedroom or the sofa or whatever, they manage to contain their passion.  Rather than frustrate me as a reader, I wanted more!

Griffin is an interesting character.  An affirmed rake and bachelor, he has a checked past with his fellow rakes, who are introduced for future novels no doubt.  I wanted to be mad at Griffin that it mattered who Esmeralda’s parentage was, but knowing his intentions toward her from the start made me realize it was inevitable.  Esmeralda is a strong woman who was trying to establish a business and parent her young sister.  I have a weakness for historical romance novels that highlight a progressive woman who may follow societies rules, but also knows her worth and abilities.

This book captures the tension in romance that makes it so spine tingling great!  I highly recommend checking out this book!  Can’t wait for the next one in the series!

Wicked Rivals

Wicked Rivals (League of Rogues, Book #4) by Lauren Smith

wicked-rivals

Overview by Publisher:

A LORD WITH LEGENDARY CONTROL…

Merciless and powerful, Ashton Lennox is a wealthy man because he puts business before everything else, especially love. As a member of the infamous League of Rogues, he’s no stranger to scandal. His bedroom conquests are as legendary as his fortune. As he searches for a way to bring down an old enemy bent on destroying the lives of his friends, the last thing he needs is a Scottish widow getting in his way.

A FIERY WOMAN WHO WON’T BACK DOWN…

The daughter of a Scottish lord with a dark and treacherous past, Rosalind Melbourne has spent years distancing from her past. After escaping her tyrannical father and marrying an aging English lord, she has become a powerful widow with a business empire at her command. Her business dealings are everything to her, leaving her no time for love. Especially not with her business rival Ashton, a man with a scandalous reputation as striking as his blue eyes.

A GAME OF WITS TURNS TO A GAME OF SEDUCTION…

Ashton is fascinated by the strong-willed, intelligent and sensual lady who, up until now, had outsmarted him at every turn. Rosalind wishes she could deny she is falling for the brooding, handsome baron. How can she possibly trust him when doing so could cost her what she values most—her freedom? When Ashton discovers Rosalind might hold the key to saving the League of Rogues, he knows he will do anything to woo his wicked lass. As their pasts return to haunt them and dark forces rise to keep them from exposing a deadly spymaster, their game of love turns to a game of survival…

Full Disclosure:  I love Lauren Smith.  Her writing is amazing.  Her characters are well written and developed.  I have never read a book by her that I didn’t love!  (She also provided a copy of this book for review – but my opinions are my own)

The League of Rogues Series is not the typically historical romance series. Yes, there is corsets, hot sex, dangerous foes and upper class society, but there is a difference here.  Lauren Smith has found a way to make her books stand out among the crowded market.  This series features five (now six) friends that have banded together against a childhood enemy.  Along the way, the men are finding the loves of their lives.  Each romance is unique from kidnapping to business battles.

Ashton and Rosalind have been opponents in business for the past year.  They play the perfect cat and mouse game with each other.  Like chess, they strategize and scheme to figure out ways to undermine and usurp each other.  I could totally see this plot in a contemporary novel – and likely have!  But that is what makes it unique within a historical romance novel.  Women are not often running a successful shipping business and compete with men – let alone best them!  Be still, my feminist heart!

Ashton has found a way to take control of Rosalind and stop her from competing with him.  He buys her debts and business interests, essentially owning her.  This causes her to race to his country estate to confront him and fight for her business.  And so begins the romance…

Rosalind is really well developed as a character.  We learn about her horrid childhood in the Highlands in Scotland and the rescue of her older, deceased husband.  Lauren Smith makes it very clear why the company means so much to Rosalind.  It’s not a lark, nor a promise made to her husband on his death bed, rather it’s her way of taking control of her life and ensuring that she doesn’t have to rely on a man ever again.

Ashton has had his share of dramas as well.  He had to rescue his family from ruin at the hands of his father.  Financial security and expansion means as much to him as it does to Rosalind.  He defines a competitive nature and male arrogance – but not too much!

The lines are drawn for these two characters.  While Ashton has the upper hand, he burn for Rosalind and wants a real relationship with her.  That is something he can’t buy, bargain or threaten.  He has to earn her trust, companionship and love.  While they heat up the bed sheets (and the bath, the alcove…) it is the intimacy they develop that is so fragile.

The drama is never far behind the romance in the League books.  The League’s nemesis, Hugo, has been manipulating Rosalind without her knowledge.  This casts her under suspicious light to Ashton and his friends.  Enter Rosalind’s three protective Scottish brothers, the other Rogues, their wives, Ashton’s family and you have a well rounded story that is full of drama and also spicy passion.

What sets Lauren Smith apart is her ability to create true honest emotions in her characters.  I love how I feel the gamut of emotions while reading her books.  I veer from indignation to anticipation to anger to passion while reading her words.  She crafts great dialogue that is witty and also moves the plot forward – this is really hard to do!  The love scenes are always fresh and unique – her characters are not shy!  Most of all, it’s the emotional connection I make to the plot, the characters and the romance.

This book is available for pre-order!  Don’t miss it!

The Cynsters!

stephanie

Stephanie Laurens is a wonderful author. She has always been one of my favourite authors and I love her Cynster Series. She created this series about the Cynster family, a wonderful family full of alpha males. This series was my introduction to Stephanie Laurens and I have loved every minute of reading her books.

devil's bride

The Cynster males are:

Devil, Sylvester the Duke of St. Ives

Scandal, Richard (Devil’s half brother)

Vane, Spencer

Demon, Harry

Gabriel, Rupert

Lucifer, Alasdair

Click the link on each book to go to Stephanie Lauren’s website and view the book description and read a chapter of each.

Each has their own book and make up the original ‘Bar Cynster’ group. The stories take place in England around 1810-1815. Some of the family served in the military fighting Napoleon, so these stories take place afterwards. Since Devil is a duke and head of the family, the stories include the upper echelons of the ton. Not all the stories take place in London. Some of the stories take place in Scotland, Newmarket and country towns. Each one of these characters is distinctly male. They growl, they prowl, and they are very direct and cunning when dealing with the women who have captured their attention. Each one has a particular area that interests them and when they are all together, they are very formidable. Gabriel is excellent with money, Demon with horses and Alasdair with antiques.

In all books, the family makes many appearances. It is rare that a Cynster is alone and without the support of his brethren. With the exception of when they are seducing the lady chosen. These men are fabulous lovers. They have been rakes and terrorized the ladies of the ton for years until they chose to settle down. Which of course they all vehemently deny they will ever do (withe exception of Devil, because as a duke he needs heirs).

The ladies they all select are strong willed and formidable in their own rights. It sounds formulaic but each book is like its own adventure. I mentioned that each Cynster has their own skill or interest and their story revolves around that skill. Demon is excellent with horses and his story takes place around the horse racing town of Newmarket. Lucifer’s skills with antiques led to one of the hottest love scenes I have ever read and even years later, I still remember every word.

Stephanie Laurens knows how to write passionate and descriptive love scenes. They are hot and fiery as these men are schooled in seduction. Even with their ladies being tough as nails, they succumb to the passionate nature of the Cynster men. Even when they are fuming mad they can’t turn down a tumble. Stephanie Laurens never resorts to the men having to persuade to the point of wondering if it’s rape. So while her love scenes are reminiscent of ‘bodice ripper’ stories, they have a modern persuasion to them. The ladies quickly become masters in the bedroom and turn the tables on the men. In her stories, the women truly rule and while the men think they are in charge they always do what their lady wants. The only teeny-tiny complaint that I have about the love scenes is the use of the word ‘conflagration’. It is heavily used in the books and after a while it gets repetitive. But that’s a minor complaint!

Stephanie Laurens has expanded the series to include the Cynster sisters and now the children. I have her latest book on my kindle to read, but I have a weird quirk about reading stories of the couples I love getting old. I like how most historical romance novel series end – you know how their lives are going to go, but I don’t always want to hear about them aging or dying. Somehow it strips away the power of the story I love. I think I can make an exception as I know that I will be reading a steamy story that will satisfy the historical romance reader in me!

cynster