Forsaken, abandoned, and duped, Miss Jemma Adair has no other recourse but to request her grandfather’s help to avoid living on the streets. His asking price? She must marry a neighboring lord’s odious son. Thankfully, there is a way out of her dilemma—ensuring the rake never asks for her hand. But what is Jemma to do when her ally is an all-too handsome silver-tongued lord with a penchant for poetry that makes her question giving her heart to another man?
Philip De Vere, Lord Harthorne, wishes to marry for love, but inherited debt and family obligations force him to seek a wealthy wife. Yet experience has taught him that ladies of the ton prefer rogues to gentlemen with a poet’s soul. But when an unrepentant hoyden claims to know a thing or two about how to make a man a rake, Philip finds he cannot resist Jemma’s offer or her.
Excerpt: Philip barreled out of the study, down the corridor into the main hall, and brushed past the footman who was reaching to open the door for him. Philip, needing an escape from his own thoughts, flung open the door and stormed outside. He would have kept going straight to his awaiting carriage if he hadn’t crashed right into something very soft. That something let out a hearty umpf that told him right away the something was a someone. And when he looked up, he realized that someone was Jemma, teetering on the edge of the steps, her eyes wide and her arms waving frantically in the air as she tried to right herself.
For a moment, he stood stock-still, fascinated with the emotions careening across her lovely face. Determination. Fear. Frustration. Back to determination. An inspiration of words hit him: An Ode to a Tempestuous Woman.
She swayed backward, and he reached out and snagged his hand about her waist to save her. He meant only to bring her forward, but he overestimated how hard to tug and she ended up barreling into his chest, her hands grasping—no doubt in self-preservation—both his arms. The beat of her heart hammered against his chest, and the poetic words that had failed to come to him for more months than he could remember flowed through his mind as he stared down into her dazzling eyes. How had he failed to notice that gold flecked her blue-green eyes? He’d never seen the likes of her color.
“I could write a hundred poems about your eyes,” he blurted, lost in them.
Immediately, she tugged away, then moved down to the step below him and tilted her head up to look at him. She raised her hand to shield her eyes from the setting sun, or maybe to hide her eyes from him so he wouldn’t wax eloquent about them anymore. He felt like a fool. He could make a joke of it to save his pride, but he refused to do so.
The moment she realized he wasn’t jesting was clear by the flair of her nostrils and the subtle way she tried and failed to inhale a deep breath. “How boring that would be,” she finally said. She lifted her chin. “Would it go something like, She had round eyes, very oddly colored both green and blue?”
Ah. She didn’t truly see herself. Given that he barely knew her, he couldn’t decide if the revelation was surprising or shed light on her prickliness. If she saw herself as odd, maybe her sharp wit was a defense against her insecurity. The thought tightened his chest. His sister had seen herself in that same light for most of her life, and it had been hard to watch the toll it had taken.
Devil take it. He should simply leave, but he couldn’t do it. He wanted her to see herself through his eyes, so she would have a bit of confidence when having to brave the cruel ton in her debut. “I think the poem would go more like this: She had eyes of emeralds and sapphire ice, entrancing and fearsome at once. Beguiling, beseeching, bewitching in thrice…”
His heart pounded as he looked at her. He didn’t know where that had come from, but he was damned proud of it. That was his one last act as a non-rake.
She turned her face away for a moment, and when she glanced back at him, she shook her head, almost as if at herself. “You have a beautiful gift for lying.”
He frowned. “Was that your version of a compliment?”
She cocked her head and drew her eyebrows upward. “Take it as whatever you desire.”
He wanted her to realize she was lovely because soon she would realize how little it might matter without a dowry, but it appeared he had bungled it. He could feel the heat in his cheeks. Rakes didn’t blush, damn it all.
“I do not lie, Miss Adair.”
“You’d be the first man, then, Lord Harthorne.”
“Jemma!” a voice said in clear dismay from a few steps beneath her. Philip blinked in surprise at Jemma’s sister, Miss, Miss― Ah, hell. Her Christian name had completely escaped him. He could recall she was the younger sister, though, so propriety demanded he use her Christian name. Jemma had struck him dull-witted. Fine start to being a rogue, this was.
He sketched a hasty bow. “I didn’t see you standing there Miss…?” He certainly couldn’t pretend he remembered her name when he’d just told Miss Adair he didn’t lie.
“Miss Anne,” she said, offering one of her pleasant smiles.
She was a pretty thing, her pale looks currently all the fashion, but strangely not compelling to him as her flame-haired, freckle-flecked sister was. Everything about Jemma begged inspection, dissection, and quill to paper to figure out the conundrum she presented. Whereas Miss Anne appeared to be an open book. There was nothing wrong with that, but he had always liked the puzzles of life.
He cast a sideways glance at Jemma and found her studying him as if he were some foreign specimen she wasn’t sure whether to crush under her slipper or capture in a jar. “It’s a pleasure to see you again,” he said to Miss Anne.
“You’ll be seeing more of me,” the young lady gushed. “And my sister. We’re making our debut this Season.”
His gaze immediately went to Jemma’s face. He couldn’t help it. She displayed her displeasure vividly. A dark scowl marred her lovely features, and her lips pressed into a thin, white line. Clearly, she was not nearly as pleased to be making her debut and partaking in the Season as her sister was. He could relate. The prospect of countless balls filled with nonsensical chatter, false smiles, and his having to actively search for an heiress did not entice him in the least, but it was necessary.
“I wish you both happy hunting,” he said, unsure what else to say. “I’m certain we will run into one another again very soon.”
Jemma snorted, and her sister elbowed her in the side. Jemma cut her eyes to her sister before focusing on him once again. Something mischievous stirred in the depths of her eyes that matched the wicked smile suddenly lighting her face. “Is that what you are doing, Lord Harthorne? Hunting?”
“Are you?” he parried to sidestep the need to lie.
“No. I’m running.”
“Jemma,” her sister groaned.
She shrugged. “I doubt Lord Harthorne is bothered by me speaking my mind. Are you, Lord Harthorne?”
He had to smile. He rather liked her bold nature. “As long as your words don’t sting me, I am not bothered a bit. In fact, I find I’m quite intrigued.”
Her eyebrows knitted together. “My aim is not to intrigue.”
“Don’t you want a husband, Miss Adair?”
“About as much as I want the plague,” she replied cheekily.
He threw his head back and laughed, even as her sister grabbed her hand and started tugging on her. “I’m terribly sorry, Lord Harthorne. My sister is not herself tonight.”
“I’m myself,” Jemma called over her shoulder as her sister dragged her up the few steps to the front door.
As the door opened, Philip remembered the money in his coat. He’d forgotten to give it to his sister. “Miss Adair!”
Jemma swung around to face him and quirked her brows up. “Miss me already?”
By God, she was an outspoken lady. He itched to get home and create a poem worthy of her.
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-Romance Reader Girl
Blurb: Brandon Gilbert has spent years in hiding, but finally he’s accomplished his dream of working as a public school teacher. When offered the chance to help bullied children, there was no way he could say no. Not to mention that meeting Dr. Tash Weber, the psychiatrist who helps them, a sad yet sexy older man, ignited a spark inside Brandon he’d never had before.
Though five years have passed since the death of his lover, Dr. Sebastian “Tash” Weber has no interest in relationships or love. But young, enigmatic Brandon awakens his heart and his desire. Despite Tash’s best efforts to push him away, Brandon unlocks the passion for life Tash thought he’d lost forever.
Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan for either Brandon or Tash, but neither family disapproval nor self-doubts can stop them from embracing the fire that burns between them. And when Brandon returns home to fight for a future he never imagined possible, he and Tash discover that the one thing worth fighting for has been with them all along
Author Info: I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.
But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.
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“Maybe we should get started? I’m, ah, kind of interested in seeing what you want me to do.” Beneath lowered lashes he shot a glance at Tash, who, thank God, had turned his attention to talk to the other men in the room.
Though he couldn’t remember their names, Brandon recognized the husky blond-haired man, hovering protectively next to a dark-haired young woman, from the picture hanging outside on the wall.
“That’s Mike, Dr. Levin, the dentist. He and Drew’s sister, Rachel, are dating,” Gage murmured in between sips of coffee. “She’s got a PhD in child psychology and set up the suicide prevention hotline here at the clinic. They really thought of everything here.”
Once again, regret slammed into Brandon. What dreams could Ash, Luke, and he have accomplished if someone had cared about them? Ash might not have run away, and Luke might’ve had someone to talk to instead of becoming so sad and withdrawn.
“Hey, Randy, where’d you go?”
Brandon blinked and found Gage’s sympathetic gaze trained on him. He swallowed hard and averted his eyes. “Nowhere.”
Gage shot him a sharp look but returned to sipping his coffee. As Drew approached, Brandon braced himself for the inevitable onslaught of getting-to-know-you questions. It didn’t matter as he had his whole pretend history well rehearsed.
“So, Randy, we’ve already heard from Gage before today. What do you think we need to do, to reach and help as many kids as possible?” Drew sat in the chair next to him.
Brandon instantly sensed Drew was a person who rarely passed judgment on people; he was the person you wanted to come home and tell all your problems to.
“I think you need to make sure the kids know first this is a place of trust and security. Also if they come here to talk, or we talk to them anywhere, we’re there to help them work out their own solutions safely.”
Rachel’s friendly smile encouraged Brandon and increased his confidence. “The most important thing to teach these kids is that they have a chance to break free and be what they want to be.”
Drew rubbed his chin, and his eyes clouded. “One thing from the beginning I have to make clear. If we hear of any abuse, we go straight to the police. If there’s any bullying, the school and the parents have to know.” The smile he wore so easily faded, replaced by an almost trembling frown. “We lost someone very dear to all of us because we held back, and I made the mistake of trying to handle the problem on my own.”
Rachel whispered in Mike’s ear, and he came over to place a hand on Drew’s shoulder. Drew smiled tremulously at him but continued. “The consequences are too enormous and dangerous if we don’t bring in the authorities when we know a person is at risk.”
The police? Shit. He couldn’t be a part of this. For years Brandon had evaded them, deliberately taking every precaution to keep as far away from them as possible. Now with this project, he’d be putting himself practically in their pockets. Though the mission sounded amazing, he knew he’d have to decline. He couldn’t afford the risk.
“Um, I’m not sure if I’m the right person for this.” Brandon’s fingers shook as he reached for his jacket. The room fell silent as he fumbled and stuttered over his words. “I mean, I’m so new; you really need a person who’s more experienced.”
He stood and grabbed his backpack. “Uh, I have to go, but I’ll let you know if I can do it. Thanks.”
“Wait, Randy, please.” Tash put himself in between Brandon and the door, but Brandon couldn’t let the disappointment and confusion in Tash’s handsome face dissuade him from leaving. He circled Tash and wrenched open the door.
“I’m sorry. I gotta go.” Cheeks burning, Brandon put his head down and raced through the hallway toward the front of the building. He’d just reached the door, when it burst open, and a tall, dark-haired man stood facing the street, shaking out his wet umbrella.
“Excuse me,” muttered Brandon, brushing by him, not waiting for a response. He plunged headlong into the foggy drizzle that had begun again, uncaring if he got wet. His long strides ate up the block as he pushed himself farther and farther away from the clinic. It hurt, walking out so abruptly, but once he got home, he’d call Gage and make up some excuse.
At the intersection he spotted a cab with its light on, and even though he could barely afford the fare for his monthly subway pass, he hailed it, asking it to drop him off at the nearest subway station in Carroll Gardens. He’d find a way to get home to Flatbush somehow.
The farther away he got from the clinic, the better, yet as he sat back in the cab, he couldn’t help recalling the disappointment in Tash’s face. But Brandon knew if he stayed he’d do more than disappoint everyone, and that wasn’t a chance he was willing or able to take. Copyright © Felice Stevens
Blurb: Miss Sophia Vane, a hoyden of the first order, makes an unlikely match when she weds Nathaniel Ellison, the rich and wary Duke of Scarsdale. What starts with an unexpected friendship soon blooms into a fiery passion. But a betrayal plunges Sophia into the thorny world of London Society and entangles her in a labyrinth of manipulation and jealousy that will test the strength of her marriage. Behind her husband’s sudden icy facade, Sophia believes dwells the caring, passionate man she loves. To break through the barriers and reclaim their happiness, they must do more than simply cast away their pride. They must fight for their very lives.
Excerpt: Sophia trailed her fingers over Nathan’s strong jawline. She would reveal some of her fear in hopes that one day he would reveal some of his. “You’re like Michelangelo’s David. I’m afraid one day you will wake up and wonder who the stray puppy is that you married.”
He stood so abruptly she feared he was about to agree with her and then walk out of this room and her life. He looked down at her from his towering stance, reached behind him to tug off his shirt, and revealed a rippling abdomen and muscled chest. She stared in awe and wistfulness; his body―marred only at his shoulder by the bandage covering his healing wound―was every bit as beautiful as his face.
“I’m no statue, Sophia,” he growled as he yanked his boots off, then his pants and undergarments. She gaped at the size and power of his body that could not be denied now that he stood there without a stich of clothing.
“You are perfect,” she whispered, ashamed that she was so far from it, so very unmatched to him.
His gaze grew hard. “Expecting perfection from me will hurt us both. I like that you’re not perfect. Do you understand?”
She understood that he’d been hurt deeply and that he was trying to tell her how without saying it explicitly. “I do.”
He lowered himself over her, and something fierce glittered in his eyes. “I’ll hurt you and I’ll fail you, and then you’ll see. You won’t think me perfect. You won’t want to love me then.”
“Come to me, Nathan,” she replied, knowing arguing was futile. “Show me your imperfections.”
I guess this is it, huh? After fourteen years together, starting a life of our own on this island, five deployments and countless letters I’ve written you through it all, I finally go out to the mailbox and see something I’ve always dreamed of: an envelope with your handwriting on it. For one moment, I actually thought you’d changed your mind, that all the awful things you said to me were just your way of coping after everything you’d been through. I was still here, Fisher. I was still here, holding my breath, waiting for you to come back even though you told me you never would. You always said you’d find your way back to me. Out of all the lies you’ve told me, this one hurts the most.
Enclosed you will find the signed divorce papers, as requested.
I hope you find what you’re looking for. I’m sorry it wasn’t me.
To get the ending they want, Lucy and Fisher will have to go back to the beginning. Through the good and the bad, they’ll be reminded of why they always made their way back to each other, and why this time, one way or another, it will be the last time.z
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-Romance Reader Girl
I am currently reading this book for the second time and I am loving it. It’s a great follow-up to book 1, Beneath it All. Make sure to comment click on the giveaway link to win a copy of Beneath, You’re Beautiful. I will pick a winner on Monday 3/2/15.
Blurb: Four words continue to haunt me . . .
You. Have. Breast. Cancer.
I associate them with the upheaval of my life to this point. The last few months have been a test of my strength . . . mentally, emotionally, and physically. Cancer is a monster. It preys on your mind and it consumes you, consistently reminding you of how your life used to be. Life before cancer. I was a successful business woman, running my own design firm, and was happily married to my college sweetheart. My life seemed perfect. Until it suddenly came crashing down all around me.
So, here I am, in the midst of treatment, incinerating the remnants of my shattered marriage and attempting to piece the rest of my life back together. With three amazing friends pushing me forward, the ‘post-chemo’ finish line is coming into view.
And then . . . there’s him. The man I never anticipated. The one who breathes hope and meaning back into my life. A man who kisses my scars and shows me that I’m beautiful. I never expected him. Hell, I never expected cancer. I’m finally ready to write my future, a future I never planned on, but one that is better than I could’ve ever imagined.
Excerpt: After turning on “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child I got to work on the pancakes. The butter was melting in the glass pie pans in the oven while I whisked the batter and sang along to the song. “After all of the darkness and sadness. Soon comes happiness.” Setting the bowl down on the counter, I danced over to the oven to pull the pans out and continued to shake my ass.
When I turned back around to get the bowl, I noticed Blake leaning against the wall in the doorway watching me with humor dancing in his eyes. “As a child I dreamt of finding Wonder Woman dancing provocatively in my kitchen while making dinner. Guess they’re right when they say, never give up on your dreams.” He smirked as he pushed off the wall. “You look hot. Don’t let me stop you.”
He grabbed a bottle of sparkling water and perched himself on a stool. “What are you making anyway?”
“German pancakes. A friend and I used to make them growing up. They are the perfect mix of sweet and salty with the butter and syrup combo . . . and can make a very sticky mess.”
“A sticky Wonder Woman? Wow. This just keeps getting better.”
I placed the pans back in the oven to bake and put the bowl in the sink to soak. “So Doc McHottie has a thing for Wonder Woman, huh?” I taunted him while wiping my hands on a kitchen towel.
“Doc McHottie has a thing for the Wonder Woman that was dancing in his kitchen a few moments ago.”
My Thoughts: I am currently reading this book for the second time and I am amazed by how much I admire Victoria’s strength. I honestly don’t know if I would have the courage to go through the battles Victoria went through. Dr. Mc H0ttie aka Blake has a sweet soul and is sexy as sin. It was great to see Noah get his just desserts. This book leaves me giggling one minute, highlighting one-liners hoping I can use them one day and in tears the next.
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