Tag Archive | Kelly Bowen

Between the Devil and the Duke (Season for Scandal #3) by Kelly Bowen

between the devil and the duke

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Their love was always in the cards.

He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he’s more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty-in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he’ll have to devise a proposition she can’t turn down.

Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie’s club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible . . .

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Publisher and Release Date: Forever, January 2017

Time and Setting: London, 1820
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Review Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Sara

Kelly Bowen’s Season for Scandal series has introduced several intelligent and resourceful female characters but the third book Between the Devil and the Duke takes things one step further. Lady Angelique Archer is a true genius whose gift with mathematics may be the only salvation for her family. Her strength and composure in the face of overwhelming odds are bound to get noticed by a man who makes probability his living.

The mysterious woman had caught Alexander Lavoie’s eye from the first night she entered his gaming hell and made her way to his vingt-et-un tables to challenge the high rollers. Her skill at dominating against seasoned players marked her as someone to pay attention to; however her demeanor in the club and her quick exits at the end of play communicated to Alex this woman did not want anyone’s eyes on her. Alex is intrigued enough to personally come to her aid when another player tries to get too close to the masked beauty. His regard for her rises even more as she manages to outflank his every attempt to learn her identity. Impressed with her abilities at the table as well as her unflappable demeanor at his questioning Alex does the only thing he can to keep her within his sights just a little longer. He offers her a job.

Lady Angelique knows she shouldn’t even consider Alex Lavoie’s proposition but the need to keep her family’s dire straits hidden from the rest of London society makes the decision for her. Angelique’s father quietly sold off everything of value before he died and her brother, the new Marquess of Hutton, isn’t smart enough to realize that their family’s good name is hanging by a thread. The chance to earn money to keep her younger brothers in school and perhaps rebuild the finances of the marquessate is enticement enough; however Angelique’s attraction to Lavoie could become too much of a distraction. Alex assures her that their arrangement will be business only and Angelique accepts his conditions to run the vingt-et-un tables for the club. Their partnership immediately shows returns as the players all flock to her parlor to play against the enigmatic dealer, all while her identity is safely disguised with a stunning gown and a simple mask.

Angelique’s hope that her employment will save her family’s name is destroyed when her brother is accused of a heinous crime and the evidence points to his guilt. With no friends or family to turn to, Angelique finds herself in the offices of Chegarre and Associates, an organization known throughout the ton for its skill in fixing impossible problems with the utmost discretion. The discovery that Alex is a partner in the firm doesn’t surprise Angelique, considering his reputation as a former assassin and spy. What does surprise her is his unwavering support for her while trying to discover who has framed her brother. As secrets from her family’s past are uncovered, Angelique and Alex’s partnership is reclassified from just a business arrangement into something that goes much deeper for the both of them.

Between the Devil and the Duke may not have a lofty peer as a main character, but Alex Lavoie proves that nobility isn’t just a matter of bloodlines. His awareness of Angelique starts with her physical appearance but he is quick to change gears when he learns of her brilliance and treats her as an intellectual equal. Not once does he try to manage Angelique or disrespect her opinions as they search for clues to her brother’s supposed crime. It’s quite easy to fall a little in love with Alex just for the care he takes to protect Angelique at every turn while refusing to hide truths that could impact her life dramatically. From almost the start Alex is smitten with Angelique but he allows her to come to him and pace their budding relationship at a speed she is comfortable with.

I love that Angelique is the whole package – brains and beauty – yet she still has insecurities that keep her humble. She’s a little unnerved by her strong attraction to Alex but is equally dazed by his regard for her. Angelique knows that she is smart but was always told that she had to hide that part of herself from a man for fear they couldn’t accept a female who knows more than they do. Alex not only encourages Angelique to use her brain but her talent with numbers comes in handy to impress some very tough characters to help them. Their relationship is seductive for how honest Angelique can be around Alex. With him she feels safe enough to reveal who she is underneath all of the social polish required by her station.

Each story in the Season for Scandal series has given readers a hero/heroine pairing that feels like so much more than just a simple romantic relationship. These men and women truly complement each other and the stories, like Between the Devil and the Duke are immersive and enjoyable reads.

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen

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Love takes the stage . . .

Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.

Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He’s managed to avoid any complications or entanglements-that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there’s more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity-and her true feelings for him-the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.

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EXCERPT

“You’re not going to die on me, are you?” The voice came from lower, almost directly in front of her this time, and Elise opened her eyes, staring up at a collection of clouds scudding across the blue sky.

“Not yet, I think.” She struggled to sit, her tired muscles still refusing to obey.

A warm hand caught hers and pulled her forward, and Elise was suddenly presented with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen.

They were smoky green, the color of pine wreathed in mist, the color of still waters that hid great depths. They were ringed with blond lashes, set in a strong, rugged face that spoke of hours spent outdoors. Pale blond hair fell around his ears in careless waves, the ends damp where they brushed his bare shoulders. Incredible shoulders, wide and powerful, droplets of water sliding over the ridges of muscle to disappear down the front of his chest.
Her mouth went dry, and whatever breath she thought she had caught deserted her once again.

He was crouched before her, a look of concern tempered with a half-smile stamped across his striking features.

“Hmmm. Well, if you die, can I have your horse?” he asked. “As fine an animal as I’ve seen in a long time.”

“My horse?” she repeated. Good Lord. Her wits had completely scattered under that smoky gaze.

He glanced over her head up in the direction of the road. “One of the boys brought it off the bridge for you.”

Elise struggled to draw a normal breath and formulate a thought. The man was trying to put her at ease. It wasn’t his fault that he looked as he did. It wasn’t his fault her body was threatening to make an utter fool of her because of it.

But clearly, it had been too long since she had invited a man to share her bed because she was shamelessly staring at the way his body moved as he shifted. Subtle shadows carved their way across his torso, created by lean muscle rippling under golden skin. A scattering of dark blond hair covered his chest and trailed down past his navel. Her eyes dropped further south, and she let her gaze wander over the sharp ridges of muscle that formed a V over his hips before disappearing into the front of his breeches. His free hand rested on a powerful thigh, long, capable-looking fingers spread out over the top of his knee. She imagined what those fingers would feel like against her bare skin. Because she already knew what his arms had felt like beneath her, the hard strength of his body against hers.

When he was pulling you from the water like a drowned river rat, you fool, not drawing you into a lover’s embrace.

A terrible realization struck her with the completion of that thought. Without needing to check, she knew her cap was gone. Her braid had come unpinned, and she could feel the heavy weight of her sodden hair on her back. A glance at her water-logged clothes plastered to her body confirmed her worst suspicions. When she’d bound her breasts tightly beneath her loose, baggy shirt, they were unnoticeable, but there was nothing unnoticeable about them now. The bindings had come loose and slid down to bunch at her waist. Worse, the threadbare fabric of her worn shirt was almost transparent, and stuck to her skin as it was, she may as well have been wearing nothing. The curves of her breasts were clearly visible, as were the dark areolas of her peaked nipples.

The man’s eyes were still on her face and not on her chest, which Elise was choosing to interpret as a testament to his chivalry, but no one in their right mind would mistake her for anything other than what she truly was. A woman dressed as a boy.

“No, you can’t have my horse,” she muttered, attempting to peel her shirt away from her breasts with her free hand.

“I need it to flee a lot of awkward questions.”

The man was watching her again. “They are going to want to know who you are,” he said quietly, jerking his chin in the direction of the voices beyond them. The understanding she saw in those incredible eyes made her blink.
She managed a weak smile. “Do you suppose anyone will notice if I just swim back to where I came from?” She was trying to make her mind work, but like her muscles, it seemed lethargic, her usual ingenuity depleted. “You can tell them that I was a mermaid.”

OUR REVIEW

Publisher and Release Date: Forever (July 26, 2016)

Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Review Rating: 4 stars

Review by Sara

A Duke To RememberA Duke to Remember is the second book of Kelly Bowen’s Season for Scandal series which follows the exploits of the employees of Chegarre & Associates. To say that the women and men of this firm have a unique set of skills would be an understatement. Readers briefly met Elise deVries in the previous book Duke of My Heart as a celebrated actress and chameleon who could impersonate anyone. When she is contracted to find the missing Duke of Ashland, Elise has to slip into the role she is possibly most uncomfortable with; being herself.

Most of London society believes that Noah Ellery, heir to the Ashland dukedom, has been dead for fifteen years and his parents have never denied the rumors. When the old duke dies, his nephew Francis is ready to take on the title and all the wealth that comes with it, but the duke’s daughter Lady Abigail insists that her brother is alive. Desperate to protect the title from her cousin and save her mother – who has been committed to Bedlam against her will – Lady Abigail hires Chegarre & Associates to find her lost brother and return him to London before the House of Lords can decide who will become the next Duke of Ashland.

Elise has only a general idea of where to start her search for the missing heir and even less of a plan on how to convince him to return with her. The only lead she has puts her on the road to Nottingham in search of a blacksmith who may have met Noah Ellery sometime in the past. Elise has no time for distractions as Francis has hired men to track down and kill his cousin, but her trip is interrupted when she witnesses a small boy fall off a bridge into a fast moving river and she is the only one around to save him. Jumping in and grabbing the boy, Elise is then pulled out of the water herself by a strong pair of arms attached to one of the most handsome men she’s ever encountered. Her noble savior seems kind and chivalrous, unlike many of the men she’s known before, and it isn’t long before she finds herself agreeing to his offer of a warm place to dry off and stay for the night.

As they travel together Elise begins to notice small things about her knight errant that seem too similar to what she knows of the lost heir. The man who introduced himself as Noah Lawson has physical features that match the boy who “died” years ago and his manner of speaking reveals a careful consideration of his words. When he mentions that he had a sister named Abby, Elise puts the whole thing together and is shocked that she has accidentally stumbled upon her quarry. Unfortunately once Elise explains to him her reason for seeking him out Noah is adamant that he will never return to London or take his place as the Duke of Ashland. With very little time left to save the Duchess and prevent Francis from taking the title Elise must convince a reluctant lord that the tragedies of his past cannot affect the possibilities of his future.

A Duke to Remember folds a lot of emotion into a lighthearted historical romance. Noah’s backstory is heartbreaking and it impacts every scene he’s in. The abuse he suffered at the hands of his father or the struggles he’s had to survive on his own made him stronger; however being sheltered and never revealing himself kept him from knowing that power was inside. I love how confident Noah is about his growing affection for Elise and how he could separate the woman he cared for from the job she was sent to do. He and Elise are perfect companions for each other in that they always try to be clear about what is on their minds or how they are feeling. Their conversations can be flirty, serious or even angry but they always have an understanding of what the other person is really saying in that moment.

There are just as many fun and funny moments in the story to offset the heavier character driven scenes. Noah and Elise are not dreary people for all the pain in their pasts but are in fact rather amusing with their shared dry wit and the small ways they compete with each other. The time spent together in Nottingham is all the more important when everything shifts to London and Noah and Elise find themselves having to play new roles in order to restore his name around town. Their romance, while perhaps a bit too insta-love to warrant a 5-star rating, grows through their talks or by the little gestures they make to show just how much they care.

Kelly Bowen is an auto-buy author for me and has a knack for creating very strong and capable heroines who challenge convention in amazing ways. A Duke to Remember is another winner from this great storyteller and I’m eager to see the next case for Chegarre & Associates.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

kelly bowenKelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.

But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

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Duke of My Heart (Season for Scandal #1) by Kelly Bowen

duke of my heart
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Scandal can be handled…

Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he’s returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl – quite inconveniently deceased – tied to his missing sister’s bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he’s at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.

Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she’s somehow…flawless. It’s just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected – yet absolutely true.

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Publisher and Release Date: Forever, Feburary 2016

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: England, 1819
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Caz

I thoroughly enjoyed the books I read in Kelly Bowen’s début Dukes of Worth series last year, and had marked her out as a new author to watch as a result. In Duke of My Heart she has once again crafted an entertaining story that is well-written and strongly characterised, with deft touches of humour and a nicely developed romance.

Maximus Harcourt, Duke of Alderidge, returns home after two years at sea to discover a dead, naked earl tied to his sister’s bed and his sister missing, while downstairs, there is a ballroom full of people gathered to mark Lady Beatrice’s come-out. Used to being in control and having every order obeyed, he isn’t predisposed to listen to the advice of the lovely, but unfamiliar woman who seems to have taken charge of the situation and starts telling him what to do.

Miss Ivory Moore represents Chagarre & Associates, an incredibly discreet organisation that specialises in fixing the seemingly unfixable, salvaging reputations and making scandals disappear. She has been summoned by Max’s aunt, Lady Helen, to prevent the ruin of her niece’s reputation as well as to see if she can discover what has happened to her. But Ivory’s clients are usually pleased to allow her to handle everything and then pay the bill, and Max makes it quite clear that he isn’t having any of that. His sister is missing, and it’s his responsibility to find her.

Max and Ivory’s relationship doesn’t get off to a great start, but once his initial panic wears off, Max realises that Ivory does know what she’s doing and starts to trust her. And for her part, Ivory has to accept that Max isn’t going to be a typical client who just sits back and waits for results. Even so, the pair continues to clash over methods, with Max generally wanting to rush in all guns blazing, while Ivory wants to take a more considered approach.

Being a third son, there was never any expectation that Max would inherit the dukedom, and so he was never prepared for it. In fact, his parents never bothered all that much about him and packed him off to sea as soon as he was old enough. But even though the death of his father and twin brothers has brought him a title, he doesn’t feel like a duke; he has never felt comfortable in the ballrooms and drawing rooms of the ton, loves his life at sea and sees no reason to change it. He believed he was doing the best for his sister and all his dependents by leaving them in the capable hands of his aunt while he pursued his interests elsewhere… but Beatrice’s disappearance is the catalyst for his realisation that perhaps what he thought was right for her was no such thing, and for him to face up to the fact that he has been running from his responsibilities.

And Ivory has spent so long bearing her own burdens and taking care of herself and everyone around her that she has almost forgotten what it is like to be able to let someone else shoulder some of them and what it is like to trust another person. Yet part of her longs to be able to share some of those burdens with Max, even if only for a short while, before he leaves England and returns to his former life at sea.

I enjoyed the book and raced through it in a couple of sittings. The premise is different, and both protagonists are complex, well-rounded characters with good reasons for acting as they do. I liked how Ivory was able to bring Max to draw his own conclusions about his deficiencies as a brother, and how Max was able to show Ivory that allowing a man into her life didn’t mean she was weak or had to give up her independence (although, of course, it would depend on her choosing the right man!)

But with all that said, there were a couple of things in the story that didn’t quite work for me. In the first place, the idea that an unmarried, childless peer of the realm – and a duke, no less – could spend his life captaining his fleet of ships rather than attending to his responsibilities to his estate and dependents required considerable suspension of disbelief; and in the second, while I appreciated Ivory’s sterling qualities, her intelligence, her desire for independence and her ability to stay one step ahead of the game, it was another big stretch to believe in her background as a former-opera-singer-turned-duchess-turned-society-‘spin-doctor’. Ms Bowen certainly gives plausible explanations for the situations of both protagonists, but I couldn’t quite buy either of them.

The ending is also a little weak. Ivory makes a distasteful deal to ensure Lady Bridget’s safety, leading Max to ride to her rescue – which he does most impressively. But then his efforts are shown to have been largely unnecessary, which made the whole thing rather anticlimactic. We’re repeatedly told that Ivory can handle herself and doesn’t need someone to rescue her, but this is a romance, and there are times when it’s allowable for one character to save the other. And it’s not as if Ivory hadn’t already pulled Max out of numerous tricky situations and saved his sister, so I think he could have been allowed his moment of glory, just that once.

I went back and forth over the final grade for this book. The weaknesses I’ve pointed out, plus the general modernity in tone pull the rating down, but those issues are balanced out by the strength of the writing, characterisation and sheer entertainment value. I enjoyed Duke of My Heart in spite of its flaws and it gets brownie points for being such a thoroughly engaging read. I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different and definitely intend to look out for the next in the series.

A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal (Lords of Worth #2.5) by Kelly Bowen

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Lady Viola Hextall is bored—of the ocean, her chaperones, and the woeful lack of available dukes on the ocean voyage from London to New York. Scrambling for any diversion short of jumping overboard, Viola strikes up a conversation with the ship’s rough-hewn, blue-eyed surgeon—and discovers an immediate cure for what ails her…

To Nathaniel Shaw, Viola has the bearing of a lady and the spirit of an adventurer—an unlikely combination that he finds utterly irresistible. So he’s hoping to convince Viola to leave the stifling ballrooms of London high society behind because there is a big, wide world just waiting for them to explore—together.

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Publisher and Release Date: Forever Yours, August 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Early 19th Century, Atlantic Ocean
Heat Level: 2
Genre: Historical Romance Novella
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review by Jenny Q

Bored out of her mind on a punitive transatlantic voyage with two stuffy old birds for chaperones, young, vivacious Viola decides to strike up a flirtation with the handsome ship’s surgeon to occupy her time. But she doesn’t count on finding his work so interesting, or on his willingness to let her assist, or on how boldly he touches her. Even more disconcerting is how responsive she is to that touch, especially since she has her mind set on marrying an English duke to bolster her family’s standing in society.

Nate is leaving the past behind and looking forward to a new life in the American West, and he’s earning his passage by serving as the ship’s surgeon for the voyage. He promised his friend he would keep an eye for on his sister and make sure she doesn’t get into trouble like she did in England; but keeping Viola out of trouble is hard to do when she is so tempting. As medical lessons give way to steamy encounters, Nate realizes Viola is just the woman to step into the wild unknown by his side. But can he convince her to choose a life of adventure with him over the life of a duchess before their time aboard ship is over?

This is a fun novella and an effective introduction to Kelly Bowen and her Lords of Worth series. I was drawn to this because of the setting aboard ship and the fact that Nate is a surgeon. I have not yet read the previous books, but I don’t not feel that it’s necessary to read the others first, though some of the people mentioned may have had more meaning if I had.

As happens often in novellas, the story and characterization are somewhat lacking in development. Everything happens rather quickly, and I could have read a full-length novel about these two and the adventures that await them. But though the story is a little light on substance, I found the author’s style to be highly enjoyable – smart, quick, witty, and sexy – and I will definitely read more from Kelly Bowen.

You’re The Earl That I Want (Lords of Worth #3) by Kelly Bowen

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THE EARL DOTH PROTEST . . .
For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it’s always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.

. . . BUT THE LADY KNOWS BEST
In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she’s always been able to count on. That doesn’t mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases-and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It’s put Heath in peril once, and Joss won’t let that happen again. She’ll do what she must to ensure the earl’s safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.

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Publisher and Release Date: Forever, September 2015

RHR Classifications: Historical Romance
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

Review by Natalie

Heath Hextall has done everything he can to keep his family together, his newly inherited title and lands in good standing, and build his father’s soap business into an empire. If that meant giving up the things he most wanted in life and always doing what was expected of him then so be it. Now that his life has become stable and he has been (mostly) accepted as a member of the ton he has decided to take the next step; select a wife from the eligible debutantes to become his partner and help him run his household. Heath asks his childhood friend, the Duke of Worth, to suggest some suitable candidates.

Worth is dubious of his friend’s intentions but none the less is happy to have him around, especially since his own younger sister, Joss, has returned from her adventures on the continent. Before Worth can even began looking for a suitable partner Joss and Heath collide into each other and much to Heath’s chagrin are thrown together on a treasure hunt – and then on the hunt for a possible murderer.

Joss has spent most of her life careening around the world, learning languages and making a way for herself in spite what is expected from a woman of her station. It helps that her brother supports her in her endeavors and that her mother is known throughout society for her own eccentric behavior. Joss is happy to be home with her family, although her first foray into polite society has not gone as well as she hoped. That’s when she finds herself in the presence of Heath Hexall, her older brother’s friend and the person who made her felt safe and cared for as a child. Suddenly the adventurous world Joss has built for herself doesn’t seem as rewarding without Heath by her side.

Heath and Joss are both engaging characters and the book is filled with lots of action and suspense from the beginning. It is easy to fall in love with these two characters, knowing that they had always had a way of both protecting each other and getting on each other’s nerves. The relationship that grows between them is well-developed, especially because Kelly Bowen manages to let Heath tame certain parts of Joss as well as having Joss reviving Heath’s long-buried spirit of adventure.

The mystery Ms Bowen sets up at the beginning of the book is intricate and made all the more intriguing by the fact that Joss, her family and servants seem to be far more comfortable around intrigue than your average aristocrats should be.

You’re the Earl That I Want is the third in the Lords of Worth series, and because I have not read the first two books, there were times that I was left wondering about certain characters. In the end, however most of those were explained as having been major players earlier in the series. Joss and Heath are supported by a handful of other characters who are interesting all on their own and I look forward to reading the first two books in the series to learn more about their backgrounds and storylines.

RELEASE BLITZ: You’re the Earl That I Want (Lords of Worth #3) by Kelly Bowen

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THE EARL DOTH PROTEST . . .
For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it’s always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.

. . . BUT THE LADY KNOWS BEST
In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she’s always been able to count on. That doesn’t mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases-and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It’s put Heath in peril once, and Joss won’t let that happen again. She’ll do what she must to ensure the earl’s safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.

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EXCERPT

Joss watched him, wanting to smooth the troubled lines from his forehead. “I once knew a boy who told me, when he was grown up, he would become a pirate king and sail his own ship to the four corners of the world in search of treasure,” she said quietly.

His mouth twisted but his eyes remained hard. “That boy grew up. And discovered that there were no such things as pirate kings, and no time to search for treasure.”

“Yet that boy now owns his own ships.”

“He does.”

“And what stops him from sailing them where he pleases? What stops him from doing and taking what he truly wants?”

Bowen_You're the Earl That I Want_MMHis eyes caught hers and held them trapped within their brilliant blue heat. The remoteness was gone, replaced by a sudden predatory hunger that made Joss swallow convulsively. Her breath stuttered, anticipation and desire roaring to life and sending frissons of longing pulsing through her. The question she’d flung at Heath was swirling around in her brain now, demanding an honest answer from her own conscience.

What was stopping her from taking what she truly wanted? Because what she wanted was standing before her in perfectly tailored evening clothes, his hands clenched around a pile of newspapers, looking at her with such raw covetousness that it was making her nearly drunk with a reckless want.

“Perhaps one day I’ll take you there,” she said into the sudden silence.

Heath stilled. “To Bombay?”

“To start.” She’d meant it to sound like a jest, but it came out as an invitation. “I could take you a lot of places.” Holy hell, but what was she doing?

Heath seemed to have stopped breathing, though he took a step closer, his scent enveloping her. Instantly her mouth went dry, and a steady throb built in her belly. She squirmed, but she was backed against the desk and had nowhere to go. Sanity was rapidly disintegrating around her, crumbling beneath an overwhelming ache to touch this man. To have him touch her.

“Of course I don’t have my own ships, so I’d have to hitch a ride on one of yours.” She barely recognized herself.

There were reasons why she shouldn’t do this, she knew. She just couldn’t think of one right now.

Heath’s expression shifted suddenly, as if something within him had given way. He took another half step closer, close enough that he was pressed against her skirts now, the hard steel of his legs nudging hers apart so that he dominated her space and trapped her against him. He dropped the newspaper carelessly and braced his hands on the edge of the desk on either side of her waist, bringing his lips a breath away from hers.

“Would you take me?” she whispered, and neither of them could pretend she was still talking about ships.

“Yes,” Heath rasped.

And then he kissed her.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

kelly bowenKelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields. Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

You can connect with Kelly at: www.kellybowen.net * ~ * ~ * Facebook * ~ * ~ * Twitter

RELEASE BLITZ: A Good Rogue is Hard to Find by Kelly Bowen

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HE THOUGHT HE’D SEEN IT ALL . . .
The rogue’s life has been good to William Somerhall: He has his fortune, his racehorses, and his freedom. Then he moves in with his mother. It seems the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Worth has been barely skirting social disaster-assisted by one Miss Jenna Hughes, who is far too bright and beautiful to be wasting her youth as a paid companion. Now home to keep his mother from ruin, William intends to learn what’s afoot by keeping his friends close-and the tempting Miss Hughes closer still.

. . . UNTIL HE MEETS HER
He’s tall, dark, and damnably intelligent-unfortunately for Jenna. She and the duchess are in the “redistribution business,” taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and it’s going great – until he shows up. But even as William plots to make an honest woman out of her, Jenna will use all her wiles to reveal just how bad a rogue he can be . . .

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Publisher and Release Date: Forever, May 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and setting: London, England 1817
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review by Jill

When William Somerhall, Duke of Worth realises his mother’s eccentricities are getting out of hand and her household is in uproar, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Firstly, he moves into the dower house with her, and then he proceeds to straighten out her finances, her staff and her reputation.

For Jenna Hughes, companion to the Dowager Duchess of Worth, this could be just about the worst news possible. Both she and the duchess are, unbeknownst to the duke, involved in business together – stealing from the rich who have stolen from the poor. It’s more recover, recoup, retrieve. But should the duchess’s upstanding and intelligent son ever uncover their swindles while they’re playing Robin Hood, it would spell disaster for those they help.

Though I wasn’t quite as impressed with Ms Bowen’s début, I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm, the first book in this series, this second book is a tremendous read. It’s a lot of fun, yet has real depth. The build-up here to the love scenes is much slower, more realistic (especially considering the era) and I could see and understand the protagonists’ attraction. The tone in the second half changes from the light-hearted relationship between the couple, and also between Will and his mother and other characters, to a more serious one, dealing with the lack of legal options for those merchants and labourers who have been swindled and left in debt by nobles who refuse to pay their accounts.

…the peerage had devised a robust system of laws to punish cheats and debtors while the peers themselves remained largely immune…

Bowen_A Good Rogue is Hard to Find_MMLike the first book in this series, the deceptively blithe title suggests that the story will be a light, breezy little number. And in parts it is. But the subject matter of class differences in early 19th century England, and the lack of laws to protect the lower and middle classes from the upper classes defaulting on payments of bills and debts makes this at times a rather grimly realistic story. And as with the earlier book, it does help if the reader suspends disbelief for the duration of the read. It does border on the implausible that the dowager duchess has her fingers in so many philanthropic (and illegal) pies. From her network of helping abused women escape abusive marriages, to defrauding those of her own class of their ill-gotten gains, to her strategic plans for winning at the horseraces. But if you can manage to suspend your disbelief, you’ll enjoy the book.

However, there’s far too much to enjoy here to allow a few improbable plot points to dilute what is overall a very good story. From the characters, to the absolutely delightful dialogue and brilliant humour, A Good Rogue is Hard to Find is a well-written and thoroughly enjoyable historical romance. And I’m looking forward to the next in the series, You’re the Earl That I Want, featuring Will’s sister and his best friend. This one’s highly recommended.

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

kelly bowenKelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She worked her way through her teenage years as a back country trail guide and ranch hand and spent a year working on a cattle station in Australia. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.

But it was Kelly’s infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

You can connect with Kelly at: www.kellybowen.net * ~ * ~ * Facebook * ~ * ~ * Twitter