Monday, February 8, 2016

Arc Reviews: At The Edge & Edge Of Surrender (Alpha Crew parts 1&2) byLaura Griffin

Dive into Part One of this heart-pounding romantic suspense story, which continues in Edge of Surrender: Alpha Crew Part Two!

When Emma Wright’s government plane goes down over the Philippine jungle, she’s forced to survive alone until an ultra-elite SEAL team goes in after her. As the leader of Alpha Crew, Ryan Owen is no stranger to challenges, but he’s never tackled anything quite like this sexy, smart, and resourceful woman. The mission is to get Emma home safely, but danger is everywhere, and Ryan’s unexpected desire for Emma could be a deadly distraction.

Back home in California, Ryan’s mission is over—but Emma’s has just begun. She knows her plane crash was no accident, and she’s determined to uncover the truth about what happened—even if her quest for answers puts her at risk. Torn between duty and desire, Ryan searches for a way win Emma’s heart while protecting her from an invisible enemy who wants her dead.

The thrilling conclusion to this Alpha Crew romance is just weeks away!

Wow! Emma's plane goes down and Ryan and his team are sent to rescue the survivors and it turns out Emma is the only one. Before Ryan was sent out he saw Emma's picture and he is immediately attracted to her but he needs to keep his head in the mission to keep her safe.

Once safe and some time goes by Emma tracks down Ryan and Emma explains that some things aren't right about the crash but Ryan can't talk about it. Now someone is after Emma and Ryan will do anything to protect her.

So this is part 1 of 2 part book and it ends in a cliffhanger *sobs* I was just getting all into it when it ends but I'm deeply excited for the next part. Griffin does an excellent job with descriptions and making these characters come to life.

I seriously couldn't put this down. If you like her tracers series you will love this one as well! I think every woman should have there own Ryan :-) I so can't wait for part 2!!

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: March 7th 2016 by Pocket Star

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: March 28th 2016 by Pocket Star

Part two pick up where Emma was kidnapped while trying to put some distance between her and Ryan. Ryan goes crazy with worry and calls on his fellow Alpha Crew teammate for help trying to track down Emma. 

As Ryan starts to investigate her kidnapping he realizes that someone on the inside is behind it and he doesn't know who they can trust. 

This story is filled with nonstop action and lots of suspense that had me wanting to turn the pages faster and faster. I just couldn't get enough of Ryan and how much he started to care about Emma in such a short time. 

Even though these stories are on the short side Griffin doesn't skimp on the detailed sex scenes (Yes there is more then one) and the love that is blooming between these two characters. 

I did think the end was a little rushed but maybe that's because I wanted so much more. We also meet the other members of Alpha Crew and I hope we will be seeing more of them in the future! 

If you loved Griffins Tracers series you should definitely love this! 

Arc Review: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis


After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.
 368 pages
Expected publication: March 29th 2016 by Grand Central Publishing
As soon as a Jill Shalvis book hits my kindle I have to read it and this book was no different. If you haven't started the Cedar Ridge series you are definitely missing out. It's filled with humor, emotions and some of the happily ever afters I have read.

In this book Jacob is home and is on leave but in order to make it feel like home again he has to set things right with his family. What he didn't plan on meeting was one woman who would change his whole world.

Sophie is down on her luck. She is divorced and picking up jobs here and there but that thing she needs in her life is a man. But the more time she spends with Jacob the more she knows that this time everything will be just right.

I really liked Sophie's character a lot. I thought even though she was going through tough times she had such an awesome personality and had a great sense of humor. Some of my favorite scenes with her is when she is sea sick. You feel for her but yet you can see the humor that she lives on this boat.

Jacob was a little sweeter then I expected him to be. I guess I was picturing him acting more like a jerk since he was back home but in a way I was glad that wasn't the case. I liked how he was always looking out for Sophie even though he knew she was trying to do things herself.

So what did confuse me in this book was the siblings. Ok so in this book Jacobs sister meets her man and they are engaged. Does this mean this book is the end of this series? Or does she meet someone else? Hopefully there will be more Cedar Ridge books in the future.

If you are looking for a sweet funny read i would definitely read this book. Shalvis just has me wanting to move here and Cedar Ridge hunk of my own!

Arc Review: Play To Win by Tiffany Snow


Falling in love with polar-opposite men was an intoxicating ride that nearly ended Sage Reese's life. Now it's time for Sage to decide: Parker, the clean-cut, filthy-rich business magnate . . . or Ryker, the tough-as-nails undercover detective. Her choice? Neither. Because she can't stand the thought of coming between two brothers-in-arms finally trying to repair their friendship.

Yet not everyone feels the same way, including a mysterious woman who's come to Ryker and Parker for help. Sage knows firsthand how hard it is for the two former Marines to resist a damsel in distress. But something just doesn't feel right.

Now there's a danger closing in that only Sage can see, and she intends to do everything she can to protect Parker and Ryker-even at the risk of losing them both.

Thank goodness this story is finally over. While at the beginning of this series I really loved the whole who would Sage end up with drama but by this book I was really over it.

Did Sage finally pick someone? Yes but believe me she didn't really pick it was kind of chosen for her by the events that happened in this book. Of course if you read the previous books you know it was a back and forth thing but at the end I was a little disappointed in the choice.

Okay this book is similar to the others. Lots of shooting, drama and bad people who are out to get Sage. I swear I haven't read a book in a long time where the heroine just had a black rain cloud over her head the entire time. If it wasn't one thing it was something else.

There were times while I was reading that I couldn't stop my eyes from rolling or skimming through certain parts. I really wanted to say this was a great trilogy but I wish something would have been different for this third and final book.

Without spoiling with who Sage ends up with is kinda hard but I'll try my best not to. Okay so while everything is going on someone from Parker and Rykers past is back and honestly a lot of the drama has to deal with them. Sage just gets caught in the middle of these two alpha men again just like she does in the first two. Does the friendship between Parker and Ryker finally get repaired? For that you will actually have to read this.

Did I enjoy the series up until this book? Yes,
I did and I really did like the first two books but yet this last book just didn't capture me the way the previous books did. Would I recommend it? Yes, but be warned its a lot of going back and forth.

This book does have a HEA for all three of them and an epilogue that ties them all together. 
Mass Market Paperback352 pages
Expected publication: February 23rd 2016 by Forever
Edition Language

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review: Playing Hard by Melanie Scott


Baseball fanatic Oliver Shields has had his eye on the ball since he was a kid. Playing for the New York Saints is a dream come true, and making the play-offs is a reason to celebrate years of dedicated field work and batting practice. The season isn't over yet, but meeting gorgeous Amelia Graham seems like a bonus grand slam—until one night of partying threatens to take Oliver out of the game for good…


All work and no play has always been Amelia's motto, earning her a coveted job on Wall Street job and the professional clout she's always longed for. Oliver is a real player—in more ways than one—and a distraction she doesn't need, especially given her dating record. When flirtation turns to attraction so fierce neither one of them can say good-bye, will Oliver and Amelia step up to the plate—and give love a chance?

I love sports romance novels and Ms. Scott's New York Saints series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It's sexy, fun and of course it includes my favorite sport baseball! 

Finally it's Oliver's turn to find his happily ever after. We first meet Ollie in book one where although he is the first baseman of the team he is also the ex and good friend of Maggie. At first I wasn't sure what to think about him because he had a reputation of a player off the field and he loved the game but after reading this book there is definitely more to him and I'm so glad Scott showed that. 

Maggie asks Ollie to give his new teammate Finn a ride home from a party that they were having for the team when they were in a car accident. Oliver was hurt more then Finn so Finn has taken over his first base duties. Basically these two cant stand one another. Finn wants Oliver's position. 

Enter Amelia ... She has been in NY for a while and her best friend asks her to look out for her little brother (Finn). But as Amelia and Oliver start to get closer it seems like her "family" is taking Finns side even if he is in the wrong and it's starting to hurt her new relationship with Oliver. Amelia doesn't want to hurt anyone but it's time to do what she wants and stepping up to the plate to go for what she has always wanted. 

I really liked these two main characters. Amelia was so sweet and genuine it kind of felt like she was taken advantage of most of the time by the people she was closest too. Even though Ollie was hurt for the whole book you could see how determined he was for his career and the woman who was beginning to mean so much to him. I just thought these two were a great match. 

I loved that Scott brought in the previous characters and not just a glimpse here and there. They ended up being a part of the whole book while Amelia and Oliver were figuring out what they meant to each other. 

I would have loved to see more baseball in this book but I was happy with the storyline overall. I'm happy to know this isn't the end of this series and Scott will give us Finns book later on this year. I'm hoping he can redeem himself from all the crap he did in this book. I just can't wait to read more of this series! 
Mass Market Paperback320 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Edition Language

Arc Review: Return Of The Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

Lemmon is back with my favorite bad boys and oh yes Asher is just yummy! If you read the previous books you know already that Asher doesn't have the best reputation. He's a rock star and children's book author but now he is ready to put down roots since he found out he has a 3 year old son. 

Gloria dated Asher 3 years ago but that ended badly. Now it's only a business/friends relationship with an hookup here and there but once she starts seeing the changes in Asher she starts thinking that just maybe they could have a chance but she needs to realize her issues and slay her own dragons along the way. 

I loved how Gloria was independent and hard as nails when she needed to be but as I kept reading this story I loved the softer side of her as well. Asher's character felt like night and day. You can see how much he loves her and they connect. I love how he wants to fight for her and believes in her. These two had some really great tension and chemistry with even hotter sex scenes. 

I get that Asher's baby's mother (Jordan)  had to be apart of this story but it really annoyed me she was so juvenile and acted like it for majority of the book. I would have liked to see Lemmon use her in trying to get Asher back to be a family with them and causing a more of a problem in the relationship between Asher and Gloria. 

Some of my favorite parts of the book was when the group was hanging out. I really enjoyed how they all got along and gave each other advice. The bachelor and bachelorette scene was pretty cute and it kind of reminds me of when that happened to my friends. I mean how does anyone know sometimes they would end up the same place as the other party:-) 

The end ends up having a epilogue which makes it seem like it's the end of the series but I truly hope this isn't the last book. I would love to continue to check in with these characters at some point just to see how they are all settled in their HEA. 

Overall I finished this book and wanted more. Asher was funny, sexy and had this sweetness about him. It had some humor and some emotional parts but I loved every moment of this read. Definitely one of my favorite series to date! 

Arc Review: Torn by Cynthia Eden

Eden is back with another heart pounding story that takes Lost to a new level. Since this is the 4th book in this series we have seen each character fall in love one by one while trying to discover the truth of each mission. But in this novel we seen two members of lost fall for one another while killers on the loose. 

Victoria and Wade both have secrets and they don't want them to surface but while on this mission they take there trust to a whole new level. While they are in Savannah hunting down leads to killer Victoria quickly becomes the next target and Wade will do anything to keep her safe. 

I truly loved this story. Eden brought a lot of mystery, sex, love, and lies that made this story one of my favorites in this series. I liked how Wade and Victoria ended up getting together and how they started to learn more about one another.

I also really enjoyed the mystery of who was behind the murders of the two women who went missing. By the end of the book I have to honestly say I was shocked speechless on who the killers were. Yup that's right.. It ended up being a team and I was pleased with how it was written. It just worked for me. 

And guess what?!? More LOST will becoming in the future because by the end of this book we meet two new members that I am excited to get to know and uncover there pasts and secrets on why they joined the group. 

This book is a must read just as the previous books in this series are. If you haven't read them you are missing out on the amazing world Eden has created. I would definitely advise getting Lost in this series! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Spotlight :Passions In The Dust by Faye Hall

Red Sage Publishing Presents

Passions in the Dust by Faye Hall

Releasing March 1, 2016

Novel 252 pages

ISBN: 9781603100304

Historical Erotic Romance

Pre-order your copy here!


When Duke Seth Kenner arrived in Bowen, Australia, never could he have imagined that in a few short years he would be the wealthiest property owner in the state.  He had birthright, money, property…but he didn’t have love.

Once there was a woman Seth had wanted to spend his forever’s with, but he had been forced to leave Ella Matthis back in England.  Out of desperation he agreed to order a mail order bride, hoping if nothing else to fill the void Ella had left in his heart.


When his mail order bride arrived at his cattle station in Bowen, he was well surprised to see the woman who was once his lover standing before him.


Though still bitter at each other, neither Seth nor Ella can ignore the burning passion that still lays smouldering just beneath the surface. Together they face cattle rustlers and scrub fires, poisoned and shot livestock, and police who constantly turn a blind eye; each calamity drawing them closer and closer until finally they are again surrendering their desires to each other, their passions igniting a flame neither had felt before.

Only when those hunting Ella track her to Australia does her life again begin to unravel.  Though Seth had sworn to protect her, he too soon finds it isn’t only her past that has found them here in Bowen.  He too has some explanations to make when Ella learns he still has a wife back in England.

Reader Alert! Ella Matthias thought by coming to Bowen, Australia she would find freedom from the life of servitude she’d been forced into, as well as the lover, Seth Kenner, who had so coldly deserted her.  Never could she have imaged that it was Seth who had sent for her.

Again being drawn into Seth’s life, Ella finds herself surrendering to passion, and experiencing pleasures in the Australian outback that she had only ever dreamed of.

These pleasure come under threat though by those who wish to destroy everything they had worked so hard to achieve.  Together they must fight bush fires, cattle rustlers, poisoned stock and a wife and fiancĂ© who had come to Australia to claim what they believe is rightfully theirs.

To My Readers: Ella Matthis, the heroine, has had to face one disaster after another but never has she given up.  She shows a strength that was needed by so many women who moved to Australia during the 1870’s. Seth Kenner, the hero, shows a humility and work ethic so rarely seen amongst others of his class.  And he shows resilience far beyond his years.

I love the characters, I love their strength, but most of all, I love the passion they still hold for each other even after life rips them apart.  I also love the setting…an Australian cattle station…it’s just so iconic to this part of the world, as too are the threats and struggles that are faced.

 I hope all my readers hold a little piece of Australia in their hearts after reading this book.

 About the Author: I’m an Australian by birth, and grew up not far from where Passions in the Dust is set.  I love my country, and I feel that by setting my stories in Australia, I can give my readers a little part of my world.  I have always loved romance, and the happily ever after that goes with love stories, but I also love a good mystery and scandal too, and that’s what I try to incorporate in my stories.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mary Balogh Spotlight: Four books coming February 8th!


By Mary Balogh

Releasing on February 8, 2016

Class Ebook Editions, Ltd.


Edward Marsh, Earl of Raymore, is a connoisseur of beauty, whether it be music or art or women. When he inherits two wards, however, and decides to marry them off as soon as possible during a London Season, he finds one of them virtually unmarriageable. Rosalind Dacey has none of the delicate, blond beauty of her cousin, and a pronounced limp resulting from a childhood riding accident has robbed her of grace and self-assurance. She resents what she sees as Edward's ruthless, high-handed tyranny, and he is infuriated by her outspoken stubbornness. Their volatile quarrels soon lead to passion of  adifferent sort, however. And Rosalind possesses talent as a pianist that draws Edward secretly and against his will to listen, enthralled, to her daily practices in his music room.


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By Mary Balogh

Releasing on February 8, 2016

Class Ebook Editions, Ltd.


Giles Fairhaven, Viscount Kincade, does not believe his life can get much worse after his purse is stolen at an inn before he has paid his bill and then he is set upon by three ruffians in the inn yard before he can leave. But it does grow worse when a little slip of a lady clad only in a flannel nightgown and wielding a large black man's umbrella comes to his rescue and puts his assailants to rout and then--after he has left--pays his reckoning at the inn plus the money he lost the evening before in a card game with a fellow guest plus what he owed the barmaid with whom he spent the night. The ensuing gossip is almost too much humiliation for Giles to bear. Yet when he finds and confronts Daisy Morrison in London, far from being cowed by his displeasure, she declares with sunny good nature that if he insists upon repaying the slight favour she was able to do for him, then he can recommend a lady sponsor to her so that she may find a husband for her younger sister among the gentlemen of the ton. Inexplicably, Giles finds himself agreeing. His troubles are only just beginning.


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By Mary Balogh

Releasing on February 8, 2016

Class Ebook Editions, Ltd.


A very proper aristocrat, who always does his duty and never sets a foot wrong, the young Duke of Mitford is on his way into the country to propose marriage, sight unseen, to a young lady of equal virtue and propriety chosen for him by his grandfather and hers. For once in his life, Paul decides to have a little adventure by traveling there incognito and without his usual ducal entourage. He finds the experience disappointing until at an inn one evening he rescues a female from certain ravishment and then learns that she is fleeing from the dreadful fate of having to marry the Duke of Mitford. Before Josephine Middleton discovers the true identity of her rescuer, the two of them are embroiled in a very big, mad adventure after she finds that her would-be abductor has stolen her jewels.


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By Mary Balogh

Releasing on February 8, 2016

Class Ebook Editions, Ltd.


Piers Westhaven and Alice Penhallow have always been close friends, even during their marriages to other partners. Now they are both widowed, and Piers, who needs an heir, has asked his friend to help him choose a new bride. Alice has always been in love with him herself, but hiding her feelings has become second nature to her. As a boy, he dearly loved her too until his best friend announced his intention of courting and marrying her. Soon their mutual passion begins to break through the careful bonds each has imposed upon it just as Piers is being trapped into offering marriage to someone else. Will honor permit them to speak the heart's truth before it is too late? Or is it already too late for them--again?


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Mary Balogh was born and educated in Wales and now lives with her husband in Saskatchewan, Canada. She has written more than one hundred historical novels and novellas, more than thirty of which have been New York Times bestsellers. They include the Bedwyn saga, the Simply quartet, the Huxtable quintet, and the seven-part Survivors’ Club series. |  Newsletter





WHEN WE KISS Review & Giveaway with Darcy Burke

Enter to Win a BlueFire Download 

Ribbon Ridge #5
Darcy Burke
Releasing on January 19, 2016.
Avon Impulse

Denver real estate mogul, Liam Archer, has always been a thrill-seeker, and the loss of his identical twin brother has only intensified his reckless behavior. Sky diving, heli-skiing, motorcycle riding…he’s tried everything once. Except falling in love. Liam doesn’t do relationships, but a no-strings fling with Aubrey Tallinger-the smart, gorgeous lawyer handling his brother’s estate-is totally his speed.

At first, hooking up with Liam whenever he’s in Ribbon Ridge is perfect; but Aubrey fears she could fall hard for the sexy daredevil, if he’d only stop refusing to acknowledge the demons he’s trying to outrun. To protect herself from heartbreak, Aubrey ends their affair. But this time, Liam isn’t leaving town and instead of seduction, he wants to be…friends.

The white hot attraction between them still sizzles but Liam knows that winning Aubrey back won’t happen in his bed. He’ll have to convince her that he’s more than the careless, adrenaline junkie she believes him to be. Because when they kiss, Liam feels whole again… and he isn’t ready to give her up without a fight.

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Finally Liam's book! Yippee! 

Burke is back with another emotional story that honestly just tugs at my heart. Liam's brother Alex committed suicide and left his family directions and to pick up the pieces. While Liam's other siblings were falling in love, trying there best to move on and coming home to work on the project there brother left Liam has stayed away and became even more of a thrill seeker. 

When Aubrey met with Alex to get his affairs in order she had no idea what he was planning. As the months have gone by she and Liam hooked up when they could now that's not good enough anymore so by ending it she thinks it will all work out but the more time these two spend together the more they realize what they have been looking for is right in front of them. 

You can see from the beginning that clearly these two have something special. They bonded over grief but it turned into a friendship of sorts and some benefits. I loved how Aubrey without even trying just fits into this loving family. 

There were so many parts in this story that had me in tears but Burke did a great job at balancing it out with the romance that was blooming so I didn't feel so overwhelmed during the story. 

This couple flirts and tries to become friends which was fun but knowing what was to come and when was the exciting part. Liam was totally fighting his feelings because he didn't think he could give her what she wanted when in reality he was beginning to see what he wanted and only wanted it with her. 

One of my favorite parts of this book is when the ladies have girls night and boy do they get drunk and funny! 

It looks like we have one Archer left to go so eventually Hayden will be coming home to Ribbon Ridge and I can't wait!

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

RUNNING WILD Promo with Sara Jane Stone

Don't Miss this FREE Prequel Novella!

A Second Shot Novella
Sara Jane Stone
Releasing on February 2, 2016
Avon Impulse

Before they were Serving Trouble, they were Running Wild

She’s always been off limits…

Noah Tager has always played by the rules and proudly wears the label “Local Hero.” But before he leaves to become one of The Few, The Proud, The Marines, he wants to turn his fantasies into reality with the one woman who has always been off limits.

He’s always been a challenge…

When it comes to her less-than-stellar reputation, Josie Fairmore is ready and willing to cross over into nothing-left-to-lose territory, if it leads to an all-night ride with the man of her X-rated dreams. With her big brother leaving in the morning to “Be All He Can Be” in the Army, Dominic will never find out about her fling with his best friend Noah.

But one wild ride together doesn’t change the fact that Noah’s leaving in the morning—and he’s taking Josie’s heart with him.


After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more! Visit and look for her newsletter entry form.

Need more of Noah & Josie?
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MY AMERICAN DUCHESS Excerpt & Giveaway with Eloisa James

Enter to Win a 
$25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller


Eloisa James
Releasing on January 26, 2016
Avon Books

The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford— an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancĂ©s.

But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.

The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honor clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:

All is fair in love and war.


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He didn’t move. “Tell me, do you consider yourself representative of American ladies?”
“In some respects,” she said, hesitating.
His smile deepened. “How do American ladies compare to their English counterparts?”
“Well, American ladies prefer to speak rather than warble,” Merry said, with a mischievous grin. “We never faint, and our constitutions are far hardier than those of delicate English gentlewomen. Oh, and we add tea to our milk, rather than the other way around.”
“You are of the impression that ‘delicate’ characterizes the fair sex as represented tonight in Lady Portmeadow’s ballroom?”
Merry pursed her lips, thinking of the hawk-eyed ladies who ruled over London society. “Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Englishwomen aspire to delicacy, and American women do not. For my part, I believe that a woman’s temperament is something she ought to be able to decide for herself. I have no plan to have an attack of the vapors now, nor shall I in the future.”
“I’ve heard about these ‘vapors,’ but I have yet to see a woman faint,” he said, folding his arms over his chest.
He had a nice chest. Her eyes drifted all the way down to his powerful thighs, before she recovered herself and snapped her gaze back to his face. His expression was unchanged, so hopefully he hadn’t noticed her impropriety.
Still, in the back of her mind, she admitted that Aunt Bess was right: on the right man, snug silk pantaloons were an undeniably appealing fashion.
He was patiently waiting for her to respond. He had a kind of power about him that had nothing to do with fashion. Now she thought of it, she had seen that kind of self-possession before: in the Mohawk warrior she’d once met as a girl.
She shook her head, pushing the thought away. “Not even once? In that case, you’re either lucky or remarkably unobservant. Didn’t you notice the fuss earlier this evening when Miss Cernay collapsed?”
“I arrived only a quarter of an hour ago. Why did Miss Cernay faint?”
“She claimed a mouse ran up her leg.”
“That is highly improbable,” he remarked, a sardonic light in his eyes. “Lady Portmeadow is notorious for her frugality, and not even mice care to starve.”
“Miss Cernay’s claim is not the point,” Merry explained. “She was likely groped by Lord Ma—by someone, and fainted from pure shock. Or perhaps she feigned a swoon to avoid further indignities. Either way, I promise you that an American lady would have taken direct action.”
He unfolded his arms and his eyes narrowed. “Am I to infer that you know who this blackguard was because he groped you as well?”
“‘Grope’ is perhaps too strong,” Merry said, noticing the air of menace that suddenly hung about those large shoulders. “‘Fondle’ would be more accurate.”
Her clarification didn’t improve matters. “Who was it?” he demanded. His brows were a dark line.
She certainly didn’t want to be responsible for an unpleasant confrontation. “I haven’t any idea,” she said, fibbing madly.
“I collect that you did not faint.”
“Certainly not. I defended myself.”
“I see,” he said, looking interested. “How did you do that, exactly?”
“I stuck him with my hatpin,” Merry explained.
“Your hatpin?”
She nodded, and showed him one of the two diamond hatpins adorning the top of her gloves. “In America, we pleat silk gloves at the top and thread a hatpin through. They hold up your gloves, but they can also be used to ward off wandering hands.”
“Very resourceful,” he said with a nod.
“Yes, well, the lord in question might have squealed loudly,” she told him impishly. “Everyone might have turned around to look. And I might have patted his arm and said that I knew that boils could be very troublesome. Did you know, by the way, that a treatment of yarrow is used for boils, but it will also stop a man’s hair from falling out?”
She could feel herself turning pink. He had no need of that remedy. Although cropped short, his hair was quite thick, as best she could see on the shadowy balcony.
But he gave a deep chuckle, and Merry relaxed, realizing that it was the first time all week—perhaps even all month—she felt free to be herself. This man actually seemed to like it when a bit of information escaped from her mouth.

A New York Times bestselling author, Eloisa James is a professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but who can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. (Her husband is a honest to goodness Italian knight!) Eloisa’s website offers short stories, extra chapters, and even a guide to shopping in Florence. Visit her at