HIGHLAND JUSTICE by Heather McCollum

May 6, 2022

Sons of Sinclair, Book 3

From the publisher:

As the new chief of Clan Mackay, Gideon Sinclair knows the importance of maintaining order at any cost. To keep the conquered clan in line, Gideon must mete out ruthless justice or risk losing their precious new peace. But from the moment he meets Cait Mackay―aye, from the moment the sweetness of her lips captures his―all of Gideon’s careful objectivity is well and thoroughly compromised.

Cait knows that kissing the brawny Highlander is a dangerous game. It was bad enough she picked his pocket to feed the children in her care, but sometimes a desperate woman must disguise her crimes any way she can. Only her act of deception has made things worse… Because one kiss with the Highland’s most brutal chief leaves her breathless and out of her depth.

Now Gideon must choose between his duty and his heart when his lovely thief is accused of treason against the king himself.

Each book in the Sons of Sinclair series is STANDALONE:

* Highland Conquest

* Highland Warrior

* Highland Justice

https://amzn.to/3Fmj1Wx

I read the first book in this series, Highland Conquest, but somehow I never got the second book. So here I am, reviewing the third and I have to say it’s true, they definitely stand alone. And they are so good!

This series is set in Scotland during the 1500s, so a fascinating time period. This book begins each chapter with a rule of law that was used during that time and I found those so interesting, and each law explained ties into the story. The main characters are Cait, a beautiful young widow, and Gideon, one of the sons of Sinclair. They were raised as the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and Gideon is the Horseman of Justice. He makes the laws, and he enforces the laws, determining each suspect’s guilt or innocence. But when he meets Cait, everything changes.

Cait was married off when she was 15 years old by her father, to settle some debts. Her younger sister Willa was part of the package deal. But her husband was a cruel man, and told her she didn’t conceive because she’s a cold woman. She believes that until she meets Gideon.

Cait loves babies, and she takes in any children that need a home. Gideon is impressed with her good heart, and there is a strong attraction there. But when her oldest child, Jack, is accused of heinous crimes, Gideon must decide between helping Cait with her child, or the helping James, the King of Scotland, as ordered.

I really enjoyed this story and this time period. I haven’t read much set back then and I find it so interesting. These characters really touched me, and now I have to backtrack and try to find the second book in the series that I missed. If you like historical romances with some steamy sex, this is a good one.

5/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HIGHLAND JUSTICE by Heather McCollum. Entangled: Amara (April 26, 2022) ISBN:‎ 978-1649370761. 400p.

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TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE by Martha Waters

April 15, 2022

The Regency Vows, Book 3

From the publisher:

The “sweet, sexy, and utterly fun” (Emily Henry, author of People We Meet on Vacation) Regency Vows series continues with a witty, charming, and joyful novel following a seasoned debutante and a rakish theater owner as they navigate a complicated marriage of convenience.

Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan to benefit them both.

With a marriage of convenience, Emily will use her society connections to promote the theater to a more respectable clientele and Julian will take her out from under the shadows of her father’s unsavory associates. But they soon realize they have very different plans for their marriage—Julian wants Emily to remain a society wife, while Emily discovers an interest in the theater. But when a fleeing actress, murderous kitten, and meddlesome friends enter the fray, Emily and Julian will have to confront the fact that their marriage of convenience comes with rather inconvenient feelings.

With “an arch sense of humor and a marvelously witty voice that rivals the best of the Regency authors” (Entertainment Weekly), Martha Waters crafts another fresh romantic comedy that for fans of Julia Quinn and Evie Dunmore.

“Sure to delight Bridgerton fans.” —USA TODAY

https://amzn.to/3uwuy1V

This is my first time reading this author, so I haven’t read the first two books in the series – but I could tell I was missing information. Nevertheless, the story pulled me in and the characters came to life on the page.

Lady Emily was an interesting character; a dutiful daughter, an intelligent woman, and a woman always in complete control of her emotions. When Lord Julian proposes this marriage of convenience, Emily is thrilled to escape from under her parents iron-fisted rule, and happy to jilt the man who’s been squiring her about for a few years, without a proposal in sight. Not that she wants to marry the odious man, but the scandals that have befallen her family leave her out of the running for most men.

But Julian is different. He owns a somewhat disreputable theater and is estranged from his family because of it, especially his father who gave him an ultimatum to either sell the theater or he would be cut off. Julian is making tons of money from the theater and doesn’t need his father’s money, but deep down he would like his approval. So he hatches this plan to marry a proper society woman in hopes of getting the ton to come to his theater – the wives, not just the mistresses.

Of course they fall in love, but both are afraid to admit it, and to admit what it might mean for their plans. But no worries, Julian and Emily mend fences, support one another, and get their happily ever after. Now I have to find the first two books in the series!

4/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE by Martha Waters. Atria Books (April 5, 2022). ISBN: 978-1982190484. 336p.

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Spotlight Review: HIS LESSONS ON LOVE by Cathy Maxwell

February 3, 2022

A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women Novel, Book 3

From the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s delicious Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women series continues with this provocative romance between a reprobate earl and a sensible spinster who agree to marry under scandalous circumstances. Perfect for fans of Sophie Jordan and Sabrina Jeffries. 

Lesson #1: A man, even titled and handsome, cannot be careless forever.

The Earl of Marsden—better known as Mars to all—has lived his life by his own rules…until he is presented with a very big problem in a very tiny package—a baby girl, his daughter cast off by his ex-mistress. Mars won’t let his child be cast adrift, except he doesn’t know the first thing about babies.

Panicking, he turns to a woman for help. Not just any woman, but Clarissa Taylor, village spinster, matron-in-training, and Mars’s greatest critic. Still, who better to tend a motherless child than a woman who was abandoned as a babe herself?

Lesson #2: Life always plays the upper hand—especially when it comes to love. 

Clarissa desperately wishes to not to be beholden to anyone. She has spent a lifetime being pitied by the village. Her plan is simple—to use what the intolerable earl will pay her to become her own woman. It all sounds so straightforward until the threat of scandal sends her and the one man she can’t abide toward . . . marriage?

Mars and Clarissa are about to learn the greatest lesson of all—that sparks always fly when the iron is hot

https://amzn.to/3uh7ioZ

I haven’t read Maxwell in a few years, so I missed the first two books of this series. That said, I kind of knew there were stories before it (I thought just one) but it didn’t really matter. I didn’t feel like there were any holes in the story or that I was missing some crucial plot point. It stands alone beautifully – but now I want to read the first two books in this series!

Mars is local royalty in this small town and his nemesis has been a foundling raised by the village cleric and his wife, Clarissa. They just rub each other the wrong way. But when an ex-paramour dumps a baby in his lap and takes off, he falls in love instantly but quickly realizes he is in over his head. While the baby isn’t a newborn, she is well under a year old and he has zero experience with babies. He turns to the town matrons, who immediately push Clarissa to take care of the babe.

Clarissa can’t stand Mars, but as an abandoned baby herself, she can’t bear the thought of this little girl growing up unloved, so she reluctantly agrees to help out. Fairly quickly Mars realizes that he needs a wife and mother for his daughter, and somehow manages to convince Clarissa to take on the role. There is some family drama going on that adds some hurdles to their happily ever after, but that is the fun of a romance!

I really enjoyed this book. I like learning how babies were fed and cared for when they didn’t have a mother to nurse them, for instance. Mars and Clarissa both had interesting back stories and I liked getting to know them. I couldn’t help but root for them to find their happily ever after, and there was some real chemistry between them – along with some hot bedroom scenes. This was a terrific Regency romance, so if you enjoy those, don’t miss this one.

A Logical Man’s Guide to Dangerous Women, books in order:

  1. His Secret Mistress
  2. Her First Desire
  3. His Lessons on Love

2/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HIS LESSONS ON LOVE by Cathy Maxwell. Avon (January 25, 2022). ISBN: 978-0062897350. 400p.

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GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon

January 21, 2022

Outlander, Book 9

From the publisher:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Diana Gabaldon returns with the newest novel in the epic Outlander series.

The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .

Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.

It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible.

Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt. Tensions in the Colonies are great and local feelings run hot enough to boil Hell’s teakettle. Jamie knows loyalties among his tenants are split and it won’t be long until the war is on his doorstep.

Brianna and Roger have their own worry: that the dangers that provoked their escape from the twentieth century might catch up to them. Sometimes they question whether risking the perils of the 1700s—among them disease, starvation, and an impending war—was indeed the safer choice for their family.

Not so far away, young William Ransom is still coming to terms with the discovery of his true father’s identity—and thus his own—and Lord John Grey has reconciliations to make, and dangers to meet . . . on his son’s behalf, and his own.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. And with the family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever before.

https://amzn.to/33bF2Jm

It’s been a long wait – seven years – for the ninth book in this series, and Gabaldon has said she will end it with the tenth book. I hope it’s not another seven years! Because it has been that long, I feel the need to discuss the series in general, in addition to this new book.

Gabaldon’s educational background: Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and a PhD in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, (plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters). I’ve met her a few times and heard her speak several times. I mention this because she was primarily a researcher in science, so when she decided to write a novel, she figured the best/easiest way for her to do that was to utilize her research skills. I think she also, if not directly then subconsciously, also sought to write the book she would want to read.

This series defies categorization and genre. When I worked for Borders, it was shelved in the Romance section. Another big bookstore chain had it shelved in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Amazon classifies it that way as well. I believe it was Barnes & Noble who just had it in the General Fiction section, and honestly, that is where it should be. The books are also very long, and getting the first book published was not easy. Publishers like to put everything in a slot, and they couldn’t do that with Outlander. It was over 600 pages, another no-no. But the right editor found it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Speaking of history, to me this series is basically historical fiction with a time travel element and romance. The time travel is done very well. The main character, Claire, was a nurse during WWII. After the war, she and her husband go on vacation to Scotland. There are standing stones, like Stonehenge, there, and Claire falls through the stones to the 1700s. There she meets and marries Jamie, and theirs is a romance of the ages, still going strong 20+ years later. The time travel isn’t a constant thing at all. Claire does go back to her own time for a while, but that’s all I will say about it – I don’t want to spoil anything.

The history is well researched and presented in a way that feels very personal, and that I think, more than anything else, is Gabaldon’s gift. I may have learned about the battle at Culloden in school, but she put me there, in the battlefield, along with everything that led up to it and everything that followed. Eventually, Jamie and Claire make their way to America, prior to the Revolutionary War, and again, we get to live it. We can see what life was like, what they ate, how they lived.

This newest book takes place in 1779 in North Carolina, with forays to Savannah and Charles Town (Charleston) and even Philadelphia. While George Washington doesn’t make an appearance, his and some other famous names are dropped.

Instead of focusing primarily on Jamie and Claire, the story is spread between them, their daughter Brianna and Roger and their family, Jamie’s son William, and to a lesser extent, Jamie’s nephew Ian and his family. There are skirmishes on Fraser’s Ridge between Tory loyalists and those, like Jamie, with allegiance to the new country, and it ultimately ends on a battlefield at King’s Mountain with its aftereffects. There is love, war, and mostly what life was like in the 18th century in America.

Bottom line? Gabaldon’s latest was worth the wait. While not the strongest book in the series, it is definitely a good read.

If you haven’t read them, I envy you the chance to do so. This is the series that I wish I could read again for the first time. These are the books I would want to have with me if I was stranded on a desert island. I’ve read them all at least twice, and I’ve listened to the audiobooks of all of them but this one…yet.

This series truly must be read in order:

  1. Outlander
  2. Dragonfly in Amber
  3. Voyager
  4. Drums of Autumn
  5. The Fiery Cross
  6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  7. An Echo in the Bone
  8. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
  9. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone

There is a TV series based on the books, “Outlander” on the Starz network. Each season follows one book, but it does veer away from the source material now and then. The casting is fantastic, and Gabaldon herself pops up now and then! You can also purchase individual episodes or seasons on Amazon Prime, or stream the entire series on Starz.

1/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

GO TELL THE BEES THAT I AM GONE by Diana Gabaldon. Delacorte Press; First Edition (November 23, 2021). ISBN: 978-1101885680. 928 pages.

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AFTER DARK WITH THE DUKE by Julie Anne Long

January 7, 2022

The Palace of Rogues, Book 4

From the publisher:

Sparks fly when a daring diva clashes with an ice-cold war hero in the newest thrilling romance in USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long’s Palace of Rogues series.

She arrives in the dead of night, a mob out for blood at her heels: Mariana Wylde, the “Harlot of Haywood Street,” an opera diva brought low by a duel fought for her favors. But the ladies of the Grand Palace on the Thames think they can make a silk purse from scandal: They’ll restore her reputation and share in her triumph…provided they can keep her apart from that other guest.

Coldly brilliant, fiercely honorable, General James Duncan Blackmore, the Duke of Valkirk, is revered, feared, desired…but nobody truly knows him. Until a clash with a fiery, vulnerable beauty who stands for everything he scorns lays him bare. It’s too clear the only cure for consuming desire is conquest, but their only chance at happiness could lead to their destruction.

The legendary duke never dreamed love would be his last battleground. Valkirk would lay down his life for Mariana, but his choice is stark: risk losing her forever, or do the one thing he vowed he never would…surrender.

https://amzn.to/3zxcK7I

Mariana has a mob after her. Two men fought a duel, purportedly over her, and she is on the run. The opera singer cannot perform while the ton is up in arms about this brouhaha. She has heard about The Grand Palace on the Thames and the women who own it, and decides to see if they will let her hide out there for a while.

Of course they do, and get the idea of having Mariana perform to inaugurate their brand new ballroom. It will take a little time to decorate and arrange everything, and meanwhile, they house her and feed her. One of their other guests is the Duke of Valkirk, and they immediately butt heads. Eventually he really insults her, breaking the rules of decorum the house insists upon. His punishment is to give her Italian lessons. Spending all that time alone together leads them down a different path, as anyone who has ever read an historical romance can guess.

Valkirk is revered throughout England, and is hiding out himself. He had published his memoirs and they were a huge bestseller. Now his publisher wants a sequel, and he is trying to write in solitude at the boarding house at the docks, under the radar of anyone in his social circle. But as he gets to know Mariana, he becomes smitten. Eventually things progress until he offers to set her up as his mistress. That isn’t exactly what she had in mind.

There are some difficulties in reaching the happy ending, much of them Valkirk’s own doing, but they get there eventually. It is a lot of fun taking this journey with them. Long adds another terrific entry into this wonderful series, best read in order:

  1. Lady Derring Takes a Lover
  2. Angel in a Devil’s Arms
  3. I’m Only Wicked with You
  4. After Dark with the Duke

12/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

AFTER DARK WITH THE DUKE by Julie Anne Long. Avon (November 30, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063045095. 384 pages.

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BOMBSHELL by Sarah MacLean

December 8, 2021

Hell’s Belles, Book 1

From the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with a blazingly sexy, unapologetically feminist new series, Hell’s Belles, beginning with a bold, bombshell of a heroine, able to dispose of a scoundrel—or seduce one—in a single night.

After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.

No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss.

Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.

https://amzn.to/31qAe1R

If you have been dying to read an historical romance with a strong heroine who is also vulnerable, intelligent, and sassy, then this is your book! On the other hand, if modern slang put in the mouth of said heroine rubs you the wrong way, then maybe not. I am not a fan of modernism rearing its head in historical anything, be it TV (I’m looking at you, “Dickinson”) or a book like this. MacLean doesn’t typically do this, but it is definitely trendy so I’m guessing that’s what is going on here.

Forgetting all that, Sesily is an interesting character for sure. Caleb, on the other hand, is not as well developed. The attraction between them is strong, but Sesily isn’t interested in being part of someone’s forever. Until the very end of the book.

I liked how these women are trying to help other women, and how Caleb is happy with a woman who doesn’t need to be rescued, yet he keeps rescuing her. It’s all a bit of a mishmash, with Sesily’s interior monologue leading the way through the mess. Despite all my misgivings, I did end up liking this book. I just wish it could have been written differently. While that is my problem, it may not be yours. MacLean is a good writer as a rule, so I would say give this a try. The reviews have mostly been positive and I understand that. I did like it, and I will read the next book in the series for sure.

12/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BOMBSHELL by Sarah MacLean. Avon (August 24, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063056152. 400 pages.

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THE WEDDING WAGER by Eva Devon

October 25, 2021

From the publisher:

All Lady Victoria Kirby wants is to dig in the dirt, take notations, and record history, thank you very much. Bumbling through ballrooms and getting disdained by the ton for her less than ideal looks, on the other hand, is the last thing she wants. But her reckless father has a different idea for her future when he puts up the ultimate ante—her hand in marriage—and loses. Over her dead body.

The Duke of Chase cannot bear to see a woman misused. After all, he saw that often enough as a child. So when he’s witness to a marquess gambling away his daughter to a lecher of a man, he has no choice but to step in and rescue her. Lady Victoria has a reputation for being as tart as a lemon and as bitter as one, too. So, he may have just found the perfect wife to keep a promise he made to himself long ago–to never have an heir. With her, surely, he’ll never be tempted to take her to bed and break that promise.

But when he meets the wild, witty intelligent young lady he’s bound to marry, he knows trouble is headed his way… And everything he ever swore to uphold may very well come undone, especially his heart.


There is an unusual setup here for a Regency romance; Lady Victoria’s father has put her up as collateral for a bet at his club. He is rolling the dice on her future with an old lech, and the Duke of Chase, a bystander, is not going to let that happen. One of the most sought after single men in London, the Duke comes from a very old, very distinguished family and is one of the richest men in London as well. He has vowed to never marry or have children, but Lady Victoria has a reputation as being a very plain woman, and a very bright woman, with a sharp tongue. She may be the answer to his prayers; if he marries her, he’ll have a Duchess he has no desire for. She is also very independent and works as an assistant to her father, an archeologist. That is where her passions lie.

Victoria cannot believe her beloved father would force her into marriage, but he has. She meets with the Duke, and he outlines his plans; she will have the income and freedom to do whatever she wants, and so will he. Theirs will be a true marriage of convenience, with each of them living their own lives.

Chase has a terrible reputation as a womanizer, and has caused several women in the ton to get divorced. What no one knows is that in truth, he never sleeps with any of them. These are women trapped in bad marriages, like his mother was, and he helps them escape their confines by helping them get divorced and supporting them as needed. No one knows about his good deeds, and he certainly isn’t going to tell his new wife.

Chase has an assignation scheduled for a few days after the wedding. Victoria agreed to allowing him to continue being a rake without complaint, but he feels badly about it. It cannot be helped, so off her goes. When her husband walks in on them, he jumps out the window as his wife is driving by in the Ducal carriage. She stops to let him in, and doesn’t say much at all. He is amazed that she isn’t yelling or crying, and he is impressed even more with her. Chase is drawn to her despite himself, and he especially loves the way she is so thoughtful and smart about everything. She soon figures out that he is not at all what he portrays himself to be.

They end up as lovers, but he is always very careful not to get her pregnant. He may have broken his vow to never marry, but is determined to never produce an heir. Instead, the Dukedom will go to his wastrel of a cousin. But things between Chase and Victoria get more complicated, and she decides it is time to travel the world, excavating wherever she can. But rest assured, these two find their happily ever after.

This was a really fun, fast read. The characters are developed enough that I wanted them to find their happiness, and the story was a good one. This author was new to me, but I would certainly read her again.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE WEDDING WAGER by Eva Devon. Entangled: Amara (October 25, 2021). ASIN: B0951RX59Z. 277 pages.

 


ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL by Tina Gabrielle

October 23, 2021

Daring Ladies series, Book 1

From the publisher:

Ana Gardner is determined to lose her virginity before her thirtieth birthday. She’s no stranger to fake identities, having posed as a chaperone since the scandal that destroyed her titled family. So she dons a mask, changes into a low-cut red gown, and attends the city’s most elite brothel, the Silver Chalice.

Oliver Bedford, the imposing Earl of Drake, is only at the Silver Chalice to appease his debauched friends—until he spots Lady Scarlet. She’s refreshing…and a complete mystery. Certain she’s a lady in disguise, Oliver is determined to learn her identity, but she eludes him at every turn.

The night with Oliver was unforgettable. But when he arrives at her employer’s home, she’s horrified to discover her lover is the Earl of Drake, the son of the man responsible for her father’s death and subsequent family ruin. And that he’s there to court her young charge.

Oliver never had any interest in the debutante, but he is drawn to her chaperone—a woman he soon realizes is his Lady Scarlet. Now that he’s found her, she claims she wants nothing to do with him, even though her kisses say otherwise. Fortunately, Oliver is not one to give up when he finds something he wants…and he wants Ana. In his bed, and in his life. Forever. But first, he must persuade her to trust him—and to believe that one wild, passionate night can turn into forever.


This was my first read from this author, and I am looking forward to more; this is the first book of a new series, so more will follow.

Anahit was born to a Lebanese mother and her father was an English Baron. Her mother died fairly young, and her father never recovered, ignoring his children and drowning his sorrows. The end came for him when he lost his home gambling with an Earl. After his death, Ana sold her mother’s jewels to pay for school for her much younger brother, changed her last name, and found a position as a chaperone to a young woman.

As she nears her thirtieth birthday, Ana is determined to lose her virginity. She approaches the madam of the finest brothel in London, and arranges to spend one night there. The madam allows her to select whoever she wants, and she spots a dark, brooding man that captures her attention. He is entranced with the dark haired, dark eyed beauty, and they spend a very passionate night together. He can’t understand what a virgin is doing in this place, but she is masked and not talking. He is completely intrigued with the woman he dubs Lady Scarlet, for the sexy red dress she wore.

The madam won’t tell him who she is, but he finds out soon enough. Oliver inherited his position after his father, then his older brother, died. He has always been the serious one of the family. His father and brother were all about drinking and whoring and gambling. In fact, he is only at the brothel because he feels an obligation to spend some time with his brother’s friends, even though he shares nothing in common with them.

The Earl’s grandmother sets him up with a young woman new to the marriage mart. He acquiesces and goes to see her, but has no interest in this young girl. Herchaperone, on the other hand, seems familiar. He soon realizes he found his Lady Scarlet. She assures him that one night was it, she can’t afford to lose her position but the pull between them is so strong, neither one of them can fight it for long. Of course that leads to all sorts of trouble.

This is a very sexy Regency romance with interesting characters and a good storyline. There isn’t as much humor or witty dialogue as many Regency romances have, but it was a very enjoyable, engrossing story and I highly recommend it.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ONE NIGHT WITH AN EARL by Tina Gabrielle. Entangled: Amara (October 18, 2021). ASIN: B09H5JGNM8. 324 pages.

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THE DUCHESS HUNT by Lorraine Heath

October 3, 2021

Once upon a Dukedom, Book 2

From the publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath continues her Once Upon a Dukedom series with this lush love story of a duke who discovers what he desires in a wife may not be what he needs…

If there exists a more unpleasant task in the world than deciding who is to marry the man you love, Penelope Pettypeace certainly can’t imagine what it might be. Still, she is determined to find the perfect bride for her clueless, yet ruthlessly charming employer.

But when an anonymous note threatens to reveal truths best hidden, Kingsland has no choice but to confront the danger with Penelope at his side. Beguiled by the strong-willed, courageous beauty, he realizes he’s willing to risk everything, including his heart, to keep her safe within his arms. Could it be the duchess he’s hunting for has been in front of him all along?


We all have secrets, and that is at the heart of this Victorian romance. Penelope Pettypeace has been the Duke of Kingsland’s secretary for eight years. King may be ahead of his time in hiring a woman for this very important position, and she has done an outstanding job for him. In fact, she is his right hand, so when the woman he was courting throws him over for someone else, he tasks Pettypeace to find him a duchess. He advertises for a wife, and lets her sort through all the letters to narrow down the list.

Turns out the Duke, his brother, and his mother were severely abused by his father. When King inherits the title, he finds out his father has left them penniless. But King is smart and turns their fortunes around by his judicious and farsighted investing. Now all he needs is a wife.

The Duke is a shrewd businessman, and Pettypeace is privy to all his secrets, or so she thinks. Turns out he is hiding a monumental one, but she is unaware as she herself dwells on her own very shady past. It is hinted at throughout the book but we don’t find out either secret until pretty much the end. No matter. Meanwhile, the Duke wakes up one day and realizes he is attracted to Pettypeace and decides to see where it goes. For both of them, the best situation is that they have an affair by night and are professional by day. Of course we know how that is going to turn out.

Heath writes steamy romances, and this is no exception, but it has a really sweet ending once you get past the big secret reveals. I liked these characters and although King was very much oblivious to his feelings for most of the book, Pettypeace was not, and it was her struggles with her feelings that really made this such a compelling read. This is another excellent addition to Heath’s body of work. If you like sexy Victorian romances, you will be a happy reader – I was!

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE DUCHESS HUNT by Lorraine Heath. Avon (September 28, 2021). ISBN: 978-0062952011. 368 pages.

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SCOUNDREL OF MY HEART by Lorraine Heath

October 2, 2021

Once upon a Dukedom, Book 1

From the publisher:

Amazon April 2021 Best of the Month Pick

Lorraine Heath begins an exciting new series with a breathtaking romance about a young woman who must marry a titled gentleman to obtain her inheritance and the usuitable man she begins to fall madly in love with…

She is desperate to wed a duke…

Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled gentleman to claim her inheritance and has finally gained the attention of a duke. Yet she is unable to forget the scandalous second son who aided in her achievement—or his betrayal.

He wants what he can never possess…

Lord Griffith Stanwick is tormented by the bitter truth that as a “spare,” he will never be able to give Kathryn what she yearns to possess. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff detours into the dark and dangerous corners of London, haunted by memories of the woman lost to him forever.

Love not to be denied…

As the duke’s courtship intensifies, Kathryn discovers Griff has become a man to be reckoned with. When old passions flare and new desires ignite, she must decide if sacrificing her legacy is worth a lifetime shared with the scoundrel of her heart.


Heath is one of my favorite authors – her books never disappoint. This is the first book of a newish series; it’s actually a sort of spin off of the Sins for All Seasons series, which is great. You definitely do not have to read that series to enjoy this new one.

In the last book of the Sins for All Seasons series, Beauty Tempts the Beast, we met the Stanwick family. There are three siblings, Althea, Griffith, and Marcus, who have their world turned upside down when their father, the duke, is hanged for treason. Lady Kathryn Lambert was best friends with Althea until all of the siblings disappear after the scandal.

Griff grew up as the second son, the spare, and his father always made him feel less than. After his father’s treason, he was penniless and is working on the docks. Lady Kathryn planned to marry a man with a title in order to gain her inheritance, a cottage that she longs to live in. The Duke of Kingsland is supposed to offer for her, but she doesn’t love him. When she sees Griff again, she realizes that she has deep feelings for him. Will she be strong enough to give up her plan to gain her inheritance, or will she marry for love? If you’ve ever read a romance, you know the answer.

I loved this story and these characters. This is a steamy, historical romance and a terrific read.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SCOUNDREL OF MY HEART by Lorraine Heath. Avon (March 30, 2021). ISBN: 978-0062951960. 368 pages.

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