Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wickedly Ever After (Baba Yaga #2.5) by Deborah Blake

Review:

Wickedly Ever After - Deborah  Blake

Wickedly Ever After (Baba Yaga #2.5)

 

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one…
Having triumphed over a powerful enemy and ended up with both a wonderful guy—Sheriff Liam McClellan—and an adorable adopted daughter to raise as a Baba Yaga, Barbara Yager is ready to welcome her happily ever after.
But first she must bring Liam to the Otherworld and get the Queen’s permission to marry him. The Queen, however, is not so easily persuaded. She gives them three impossible tasks to complete in two weeks’ time—and if they fail Barbara will have to watch Liam slowly age and die like all humans, and kiss her happily ever after good-bye forever.
Includes an exclusive preview of the next Baba Yaga Novel, Wickedly Powerful

 

 

My Review:

This has been one of the best books in the Yagas series, I really enjoyed getting the gathering. Even though it was only an novella Blake packs a lot into the few pages she fills. I especially enjoyed the journey to the Queen and the wedding plans well.. Can't say much else because I would then be giving spoilers.

I love our Yagas and I am always thrilled when we get to see more of them.

 

 

My Rating:

5 Stars

 

 


Reviewed By: Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews
http://kkmalott.booklikes.com/
 
 
Note: I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1325836/wickedly-ever-after-baba-yaga-2-5-by-deborah-blake

Midnight Revenge (Killer Instincts #7) by Elle Kennedy

Review:

Midnight Revenge: A Killer Instincts Novel - Elle Kennedy

Midnight Revenge (Killer Instincts #7)

 

 

Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons.
When D lands in Mexico, he’s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor whom D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she’s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission.
Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child..

 

 

My Review:

Derek, Derek, Derek... Readers that have read the previous books in the Killer Instincts series which I totally suggest you do before picking up this book will know that Derek is a seriously hard nut to crack and we know why. I love that we get a deeper exploration into the workings of his mind and heart in Revenge. Elle has done a fantastic job keeping all her plot strings going with so many levels plugged into intrigue and suspense that it woks out perfectly. When you think you got it all figured out she turns it around on you and throws you another one. I love it.

 

My Rating:

5 Stars

 


Reviewed By: Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews
http://kkmalott.booklikes.com/
 
 
Note: I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1325827/midnight-revenge-killer-instincts-7-by-elle-kennedy

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Tough Justice by Carla Cassidy: Special Agent Lara Grant has always been ambitious, and rigorous in her cases…but her last undercover case, to make her way into the infamous Moretti family, put her closer to the top than she would have liked… With a new job in the Big Apple she’s ready to leave her past behind…until a sniper attack forces her to face it head on.

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The Billionaire’s Secret: Betting On You Series (Book 1) by Jeannette Winters: Billionaire Jon Vinchi only cares about his job. To pull him from this single mindedness, his friends write him in as a gift at a philanthropic event. Lizette Burke just attended because her boss could’t. She did’t think she’d get a date with a wealthy man. They have one night together. Is it enough to secure their love?

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Forever Changed by Mona Ingram: Breast cancer changes everything. But when Ariana meets tattoo artist Blaine Bennett, life takes on new meaning. Can two people who so obviously belong together conquer the outside forces keeping them apart?

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The Marriage Trap (Book 2, The Mackenzies) by Diana Fraser: Gemma Winters is starting her life in new isolation—save for the handsome stranger—following a bad break up with a controlling ex. In solitude, Callum Mackenzie is just what she’s looking for. But a night together may prove damaging for both of them.

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My Stepbrother the Sheikh (A Baby for the Billionaire Book 1) by Lila Moore: Sheikh Idris is hot, cocky, and in need of an heir. His stepsister is the perfect candidate, and accepting of the arrangement. Only things quickly switch from strictly business to personal…

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City of Shadows: Part One by Jack Conner: Alchemists control the political agenda and doctors know a thing or two about resurrection in this story set against a bustling city state of unimaginable oddity. Welcome to Lavorgna.

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Ready to Were by Robyn Peterman: Essie might not want to leave her new life in Chicago to return to her home town and the hunk that broke her heart, but all these mysterious were disappearances leave her no choice.

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Southern Spirits by Angie Fox: When Verity Long unintentionally catches a spirit at her home, she can suddenly see ghosts. Soon she’s pulled into a current mystery some how tied to a death from decades before. If Verity wants to figure out who did it, she’s going to have to ask some spooks. But will she find out in time?

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Darknet by Matthew Mather: A malignant computer virus infects Wall Street and threatens to bring the world to the brink of destruction.

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London: A Visitor’s Guide by Craig Cross: A huge London guidebook containing 1,000+ pages, 500+ photos, and over 190 reviews of London’s landmarks and attractions. It has practical advice, money-saving tips, example itineraries, Top 10 lists, and a guide to using the buses and trains.

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Hell Week: Seals vs. Zombies by JT Sawyer: Former Navy SEAL James Enroy thought he was the only one to make it through the virus that took wrecked the world. An unexpected encounter with an old mentor sends him on a violent path toward a standoff with a number of thugs at the L.A. zoo…oh, an d zombies.

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Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1325821/17-free-ebooks-1-16-16

Jade Lee's Winning a Bride (Part 10) - Free Newsletter Serial

 






Men with picks and shovels muscled the muck out from the bottom of the river. It was a sight to behold, but only one man held her attention.



New to WINNING A BRIDE?
Catch up with Will and Josephine here >>

 

Chapter 10
 

Will heard the news with his morning oatmeal. He’d come in well past midnight the night before, so he was late out of bed. Late, angry, and not in a mood to hear chatter. Especially chatter about Josephine’s engagement to the damned Scot.

Bloody hell! He’d been gone a week. A single damn week, and in that time she’d gone from coming apart in his arms to engaged to another man? Certainly, he’d known that had been the intention. That was why the bloody Scot was here. But he hadn’t expected to hear that Josephine had acknowledged the engagement. That she had sat next to the man during afternoon calls and started talking about their wedding.

He had half a mind to storm to the manor and demand to see her. But what could he say? He was their steward, for God’s sake. Nearly five years ago, her father had made his opinion of Will eminently clear. Especially where it concerned his daughters. So her father wouldn’t accept him as a son-in-law, and he couldn’t very well expose what they’d been doing at the creek. It would ruin her.

He had to wait. He would see her tonight. If nothing else, she would want to say good-bye to him. He would have to keep his hands off her. He would not touch another man’s acknowledged fiancée. Unless the urge to throttle her overcame him.

He cursed again at his oatmeal while his mother settled in across the table from him, her expression reserved. He glanced at her, then flinched away. Lord, she was going to try to talk to him. When all he wanted to do was go kill a damned Scotsman.

“You didn’t find him?”

“What?” He had to get to the canal. There was rain coming, and he feared the destruction that could cause. But mostly, he wanted to chop down some trees in the hopes that he could ease his fury.

“Grant. I assume that’s why you were gone for so very long. You went to London, didn’t you? To find your brother.”

William cursed again, but this time for an entirely different reason. His mother was much too clever and he didn’t like anyone—even her—exposing his failures. But she had a right to know. She was Lady Crowle, after all.

“I didn’t find him. I went to all his usual haunts and then the unusual ones.”

She winced at that. She knew he’d spent the last week crawling through every damned pub and gambling hell in all of London.

“There was no news of him?”

“No one has seen or heard of him in years. Years.”

“What of the solicitor?” she asked.

He shook his head. “Grant appears the second Monday of every month. That’s why he didn’t show for father’s funeral. He didn’t get the news until well after everything was over.”

“But where has he been?”

Will shook his head. “No one knows. Not even the solicitor. The man’s a bloody ghost and…” Will cut off his words. His mother didn’t need to hear his venom. He pushed up from the bench. “I need to get to work.”

Then she touched him. It was meant to be a fond caress, a gentle touch of support from mother to son. But what he saw instead was the thinness of her skin and her dark tan from working in their vegetable garden. He didn’t feel the warmth of her touch, but the callouses she had from years of toil. She was Lady Crowle, for God’s sake, and her hands looked like a scullery maid’s.

“Mother, it doesn’t make any difference. I know you have written him back, asking him to come visit, so we’ll see him this fall. As for the rest, I will see to it. We will have food and shelter as we always have.”

She shoved his hand away with her own very unladylike curse. “Do you think I care about that? Yes, I want to see Grant, but it is you who worries me. How long can you work as you do and not collapse? How long before the bitterness I see in your eyes poisons your entire life? How long can you go on this way before you break completely?”

He stared at her, his mouth slack with shock. She worried for him? But why? “Mother, I am here. I am fine. I am taking care—”

“Taking care of everything. Yes, I know. And yet every day I watch your soul shrivel another inch.”

“You cannot see my soul, mother.”

“You’d be surprised what I see, son.”

He swallowed, a little frightened by the heavy weight of her stare. He did not want his mother seeing him—his soul or anything else. She did not need his burdens. But one look at her solemn expression and he knew she understood far more than he’d ever thought possible. And so he gave her the only answer he had.

“Mother, I am trying. I thought I had found a way out, but everywhere I turn the path is blocked.”

“So don’t try so hard. We have a good life. Of all my children, I never thought you would be the one so trapped by the Crowle name.”

He frowned. “I am a Crowle. You are Lady Crowle. There is no ‘trapped.’ It is simple fact. We are—”

“No, son, you are not.” Her voice was gentle as she spoke, but he heard the steel underneath. She must have been thinking of this for a long while, and now was finally able to say it to his face. “Will, you are a second son who has made a good life for himself. And you have cared for me and for your father’s legacy far better than any Crowle ever has. But it is not your place. Let it go. Accept what you have and quit fighting for something that will never be yours. You are a second son. Can you not find a way to be content?”

Content? With nothing? With being discounted or discarded at every turn? He stared at her, fury roiling inside him. It was like a churning black pit that darkened every breath and poisoned the very air he breathed. He had no words for his mother. In truth, he’d hardly heard anything beyond her denial of him. So he was not a Crowle? Perhaps then she was not his mother.

So with a final glare, pitch-dark and full of hatred, he spun on his heel and headed for the door. He didn’t speak. He didn’t dare give vent to the poison in his head.

“Will!” she cried.

He answered by slamming the door.

He made it to the canal in record time. He was in too foul a mood to check on crops or visit sick livestock. So he went straight to the canal and asked his foreman for the dirtiest, most dangerous job in the pit. It was digging, of course. Deepening the river while others tried to shore up the sides with wood or brick or metal, whatever they had on hand. Lawton wanted the canal done fast. Well it would be done fast and cheap, and Will would be in the thick of it sweating out his life blood for someone else.

Because that was the destiny of a second son.
 

***


Josephine heard the news from Megan, who heard it from her maid, who heard it… well, it didn’t matter. If someone was saying it in Crowlesby Village, then Megan would know of it.

The news was that Will was back and that he was in a devil’s own temper. That he was digging the canal almost singlehandedly in his fury. There wasn’t any more information, but Josephine could speculate on the rest. He must have heard about her engagement to Alastair. He heard and was angry, though God alone knew why. It wasn’t as if he had asked for her hand. It wasn’t as if he even liked her all that much.

Of course, given what they had done by the creek, maybe she had the wrong of it. Maybe there was something between them. But what? Anger and… what had he called it? Seduction. That wasn’t the same thing as affection. And if she were choosing a husband, logic would suggest affection should rule the day. Still, he was back after an eternity away and she had to see him.

She used the excuse of giving Nanny a break. The twins always wanted to see the canal, and so she gathered up the boys and headed off. They were in high spirits, of course. They were always in high spirits when they could escape the nursery. So the three of them made it to the edge of the canal quickly enough.

They weren’t the only ones there to see. Despite the fact that Lawton owned the land, Will was the lord here in Crowlesby. He was the one who nursed the ill livestock, who worked side by side with the men to bring in the harvest, who rose earlier and bedded later than anyone else. Anyone with eyes could see that he was the core of this land, and so when he returned to throw himself into a river, everyone else came to watch.

Most were kept back by the foreman. After all, this was a work site, not a menagerie viewing. But she was Miss Josephine, so she was allowed to slip through. And in truth, she needed to follow Tadd, who could wiggle his way anywhere.

She broke through the wood to stand on the muddy cut of road beside the canal. Eventually, horses would walk along this track as they pulled the boats. Far behind her—a good quarter mile upstream—a lock was being built with thick logs and huge iron nails. But downstream from them was the shallowest part of the river. It needed to be deepened and widened, and so there was Will, along with a dozen other men, waist deep in water as he shoveled the dirt out. Men with picks and shovels muscled the muck out from the bottom of the river. It was a sight to behold, but only one man held her attention.

Will shone in her eyes like a god among men. He wasn’t the largest or the even the strongest, but he riveted her attention nevertheless. It was the intensity with which he worked. There was a dark power in his movements. He stabbed his shovel deep into the water, then steadily pushed to the bank. Without his shirt on, she could see his back rippling as he worked. There was no fat on the man and his hair was slicked down from the wet. She saw his body, corded and virile. She saw strength in his physical presence, but also in the way men shied away from him. They worked as he did, but all gave him space, and the few times he barked a command, men rushed to respond.

Then he chanced to look up. She didn’t know what could possibly draw his attention, but in that moment when he straightened from his work, his gaze shot to hers. Dark and cold, it froze her where she stood. All thought drained away. She was simply pinned there by his stare. And by the certain knowledge that she had hurt him. She didn’t even know how, but it didn’t matter. He was in pain, and she was the cause.

She didn’t break the spell. She couldn’t. But a second later, he dismissed her. After the stark power of his stare, his slow shift in stance as he looked away from her was like a jagged knife being drawn out of her body. Slowly and cutting deeper as it went. Pain blossomed in her body the longer he looked around him, his eyes unerringly picking out every other woman in the crowd. How she could feel physical pain from a simple look, she didn’t know. But she did. And it was all she could do to hold in her sob.

She didn’t hear the splash. She didn’t even hear Tegur’s cry that his brother had fallen into the water. But others did, and they screamed for her attention.

She figured out what had happened in a blink, but it was still much too slow. She picked out the thin indentations in the mud where Tadd had slid from the edge into the water. But she couldn’t see him. Couldn’t find the boy in the churning dark water.

Everyone stopped as she rushed to Tegur. “Where is he?” she cried. “Do you see him?”

Tegur pointed, but she saw nothing in the dark water. Then she heard another splash. It was Will as he dove for the deepest part of the river. The current was too fast there, she knew, for a little boy. Dangerous enough for a man, but deadly to a child.

She pressed a hand to her mouth, too horrified to do more than stare and pray. She gripped Tegur, who was straining forward. He wanted to follow his brother, but she would not lose him.

Will didn’t find the child. Not at first. But then a tiny head popped up from the waves, gasping for air. A dozen people cried out, everyone pointing at the child, Josephine included. Will seemed to see her and immediately swam for the boy in powerful strokes.
It took too long. Much too long, but man and boy finally connected far downstream. Josephine and Tegur had run to follow, their feet slipping on the muddy road. But there were many hands to help them, many people rushing along as well. They came to a stop at the next lock, half constructed and dangerous. But there were ropes in place to stop their headlong rush downriver and logs to help them clamber up.

Tadd came first, grinning from his adventure as he scrambled like a monkey to the bank. Will came next, weariness slowing him down, but fire still blazed in his eyes. Josephine was on her knees, hugging Tadd while checking him for injuries. He was fine, and so he told her over and over while she scolded him for not staying at her side.

Her words dried up as Will emerged in front of her. He wore pants cut tight and short, tucked into an old pair of boots. All of it dripped wet, and all of it clung to his body so that no part of his outline was left to the imagination.

She looked up slowly, taking in spread legs, thick thighs, tight hips, and golden belly. A dusting of hair darkened his chest, but she couldn’t linger on the broad expanse of flesh before her. Her eyes were drawn up past his broad shoulders to his chiseled jaw and the seething anger in his eyes.

“Will—” she began, but he didn’t allow her to speak.

“Boys will always make mischief,” he snapped. “What fool brings a child to a place where men work? Go home, Miss Josephine.” Her name was spit out like a curse. “Back to your parties and your dandies. You have no place here where good people labor.”

She swallowed. Another time she might have argued back. She might have flaunted her position and her right to be anywhere on her father’s land that she wanted to be. But she couldn’t. Not with Tadd narrowly escaped from disaster. Not with the men who should be working standing there glaring at her. And not with the women slipping away back to their tasks.

She was at fault here. None of this would have happened if she weren’t Miss Josephine. If she hadn’t been allowed—with the boys—to be too close to the edge. He was right and she was a fool.

She bowed her head, fighting the tears. Her throat was too choked to speak. She simply grabbed both children and left. She heard Will curse, the word loud and short. She heard the foreman order the men back to work. But most of all, she heard herself—her heavy steps and her cut off sobs as she trudged away.

He was right. She didn’t belong here. Sadly, she didn’t belong in London either. She was a misfit wherever she went and a fool to boot.

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1325819/jade-lee-s-winning-a-bride-part-10-free-newsletter-serial

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Jade Lee's Winning a Bride (Part 9) - Free Newsletter Serial

 






Megan was right, his red hair was rather intriguing, especially in the afternoon sunlight. But she found more interesting the arch to his brow and the sparkle of interest in his eyes.



New to WINNING A BRIDE?
Catch up with Will and Josephine here >>

 

Chapter 9
 

Canals were boring. That was Josephine’s inescapable conclusion as she endured yet another excited discussion with the twins about the latest developments in construction. And it wasn’t just the twins. It was on all the men’s lips, from the lowliest bootblack to her father. Even the minutest detail seemed to fascinate the men.

The village was boring too as the women all talked about the new influx of workers. Most hated it, and the talk was turning uglier by the second. The men were rough, they were scary, and as there were only four rooms in the inn, the workers camped out anywhere there was open space. There had already been three brawls and countless “very strange” incidents. She had no idea how much truth was in the gossip, but the mood in the village was as frightening as it had been nearly five years ago when the Lawtons were the horrible outsiders.

All in all, the men grumbled and the married women were very anxious. The only ones who seemed happy were the unmarried girls, who remained annoyingly excited and giggly. They dressed better, they practiced coy glances, and they universally tried to duck away from their mothers.

Josephine thought it was boring. The men were just men of a certain ilk. She didn’t want to speculate about them because she was busy thinking about one man in particular. One man who had to go to town, damn it, to manage supplies. One frustrating steward who disappeared right when things were so very different between them. Which meant that man was not at their spot on the creek for a week’s worth of nights because of supply problems. For the damned, boring canal!

But no one wanted to talk about Will’s absence. No one cared except to wonder if his new second-in-command could do the job. And it wasn’t like Josephine could talk about what really consumed her thoughts: the way he’d touched her, the things they’d done. No unmarried woman talked about that, and even the married ones only whispered.

Besides, Josephine didn’t have any confidantes in Yorkshire. Her best friends from school were scattered about England with their husbands and new babies. The closest friend she had here was Megan, and she wouldn’t trust Megan with a secret this big. But if she didn’t share it soon with someone, she very much feared she would explode.

“Does the grass offend you that much? Or is it some insect in the blades that bothers you?”

Josephine spun around at Mr. Montgomery’s questions. Her thoughts tumbled about, refusing any type of order, as she struggled to find something appropriate to say.

“I’m… I’m just tired of Yorkshire, is all,” she said. It was a lie. She was tired of her own company.

He raised his eyebrows. “Truly? I thought you loved it here.”

How to answer that? “I do. And I don’t. And truthfully, I’m terribly out of sorts, so be warned. I’m not likely to be pleasant company right now.”

They were on the back lawn, an hour before afternoon tea. The nanny and the boys were—as usual—at the canal. The village children who always hung about were with the boys, again at the canal. Megan and Mama were probably stitching or doing some other very ladylike activity. Which left her at loose ends wondering what to do with herself.

“I have no fear of ill temper,” he said with a congenial smile. “Actually I find it rather invigorating at times.”

“Then we are a match made in heaven,” she returned before immediately regretting her words. Lord, why had she said that? Everyone knew the whys and wherefores of his presence here, but did she have to allude to their marriage so bluntly? “I’m terribly sorry,” she mumbled. “I—I don’t know why I said that.”

“Why not say it?” he asked, his expression still pleasant. Rather sheeplike, she thought, then immediately regretted her uncharitable thought. “Our match is the question at hand, isn’t it?”

She nearly groaned. Did he truly want to discuss this now? Right out in the open? It boggled the mind, especially as she had labeled him a “gentleman” in her thoughts. And gentlemen, as a rule, did not speak so openly about marriage. “Um, of course, sir. If you wish,” she said dully.

“Come, come,” he chided. “Don’t grab hold of your temper now. As I said, I enjoy ill humor. Cuts to the heart of things. If you turn polite on me now, I shall become very bored indeed.”

“And that is the very worst, isn’t it? Becoming bored?”

“I detest it. I will go to great lengths to avoid it.”

She twisted to look at him more fully. Megan was right, his red hair was rather intriguing, especially in the afternoon sunlight. But she found more interesting the arch to his brow and the sparkle of interest in his eyes. It wasn’t flirtatious, by any means. It was simply curiosity, as if he saw her as a person and truly wanted to know her thoughts. But they were talking about nothing! She narrowed her eyes in thought.

“How much do you detest it?” she challenged.

“I cannot think of anything worse.”

“Then why are you here with me?”

His brows shot up at her bold question.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

She regarded him, deciding to be completely blunt. It would, after all, get some of her endlessly whirling questions out of the way. “You have come here for the land and to learn how to manage it after we are wed.”

His lips tightened at that, but he didn’t speak. And in his silence, she pressed on.

“You have spent most of your time doing exactly that. Meeting the crofters, surveying the canal.” Always the canal. “You and my father seem to have found some sort of understanding. Mama adores you and even Megan thinks you are my best suitor ever.”

“Surely she doesn’t think that!” he said.

“I assure you, she has said so repeatedly.”

He pursed his lips. “But you don’t agree?”

“Oh, I do,” she said quite honestly. “My suitors, on the whole, have been a sad lot.”

“Damned by faint praise,” he drawled.

She shrugged and then resumed her slow meandering about the edge of their lawn. He followed, of course, even as she looked longingly at the surrounding trees. She wanted to run wild through the woods, but this was her very last clean, good gown, and so she had to be careful with it. At least until after the laundry was done. Meanwhile, he was dancing attendance on her and she needed some answers.

“So the question is,” she repeated, “why are you here with me?”

“Because if I am to wed a woman, I should get to know her first, don’t you think?”

She threw up her hands. “Well, I thought so at first. But it has been over a week and we have barely spoken more than pleasantries. So what has happened now, sir, to bring you to my side?”

He shrugged, and far from being annoyed by her question, he seemed rather embarrassed. “I have lately come to think that perhaps the woman does make a difference.”

She snorted and echoed back his words. “Damned by faint praise.”

He acknowledged the hit with a nod of his head, then focused on her with a steady gaze. “Does the man make a difference to you?”

“Yes,” she said. “A very great deal.”

“Then I suppose I have a very great deal to make up for.”

She kicked at a stone and watched it fly into the trees. “Mr. Montgomery, may I be blunt?”

His lips curved in a smile. “By all means, be more blunt.”

She winced. “I told you I was out of sorts,” she groused.

“Fair enough. I was warned.”

“You were.” Then she waved his comment away. “I want to get married. I want to have children. But mostly, I want something to fill my days and nights.”

“You do not think running a home will do that? That children will absorb your time?”

“Well, of course they will, but… but I don’t like running a home. And besides, Mrs. Ransey, our housekeeper does that. And yes, I will adore my children—I adore all children—but they don’t appear the day after we are wed. And really, they’re not very interesting until they can walk and talk.”

He reared back as if struck. “You don’t like babies?”

“Of course I do! Everyone likes babies. But after a little cooing and cuddling, they spit up on you and need to be cleaned.”

“I suspect that will change once the child is your own.”

She nodded. “No doubt. But…” But what? What did she want? She wanted Will to come home so they could meet by the creek again. She wanted to explore more of what they had done. But even he had warned that what they did was only a temporary solution. Eventually this restlessness would return.

“I see you are correct,” he said in absolute seriousness. “You are out of sorts.”

She nearly laughed out loud at that, but she held it back. If she once let out the sound, she feared it would rapidly descend into hysteria. And how ridiculous was that? Will had only been gone a week, and yet she felt she would go mad if he did not return immediately!

Meanwhile, Mr. Montgomery stepped around her, as if he wished to consider her from another angle. Then he leaned against a tree, his eyes alight as he studied her. “What did you do in London? Did you like it there?”

“Well, of course, I was busy there.”

“Doing what?”

What did any unmarried woman do? “Dressmaker, dance instructor, luncheon parties, musicales, and balls. Then there was Almacks and of course in between were the discussions.”

“Discussions?”

No way to delicately explain that. “The merits of each gentleman, speculation as to his interest, and recommendations on how to attract it.”

He shuddered. “Goodness, that couldn’t possibly have taken up all your time in London.”

“Oh, I assure you it did.”

“And you disliked it?”

“On the contrary, I adored it at first. It was very exciting meeting all those men. Would this one be my husband? What about that one? I shall snare an earl at the very least!”

“Ah. But you didn’t?”

“Didn’t want to! Have you met any of the dukes? Old, lecherous, and…” And not a one of them appreciated her tendency to speak her mind. She couldn’t imagine having this discussion with any of them.

“And I believe you are much too forthright a woman to make them want to risk their dignity with you.”

Was that a kind way of saying she was too routinely out of sorts to attract a titled man? Well, of course it was! And what was worse: it was true!

“Bloody hell,” she moaned as she dropped down onto the grass. Then a moment later she remembered she was in her last clean dress and she had now gotten it filthy. Which made her moan in disgust again.

He laughed at that, the sound rich and full in the afternoon air. It was startling and rather annoying, so she glared up at him.

“You need not poke fun at me, Mr. Montgomery. I warned you—”

“That you were out of sorts, yes. But as I say, I enjoy other people’s temper.”

“Then you are extremely odd.”

He acknowledged that with a grin as he settled onto the grass beside her. “I am indeed. But we were discussing your mood.”

“Pray do not tell me to take up stitching. It will likely encourage me to start throwing rocks.”

“So long as you do not throw them at me—”

“I make no promises, sir.”

He chuckled. “Very well, stitching is a very bad idea. On no account should you venture near needle and thread.”

“Thank you. Now if you could share that with my mother, I would be ever so grateful.”

He leaned back on his elbows as he stretched his face to the sky. She took a moment to be surprised that he would be so careless with his clothes, then shrugged off the idea. His attire was already slightly dirty. He’d worn it at the canal just this morning. She could tell by the distinct odor in the fabric.

Meanwhile, he spoke, his eyes not on her but the darkening clouds. Would there be rain? “You were with your father in India, were you not?”

“We all were. Mama didn’t wish to separate us. That’s why I had my first Season so late: because we spent so much time there.”

“And do you remember India?”

“Of course I do. I loved it!”

He rolled slightly to look at her, a gleam of interest in his eyes. “Really? What did you love?”

She shrugged. “I know I am supposed to say that it was beastly hot. And to tell you the truth, it was. The people smelled funny, and it was always so noisy.”

“But you loved it?”

“I did! Everything was different, everything was new! No matter what I did, where I looked, there was something different to see. I spoke to everyone, you know. Mama despaired of me ever learning polite conversation, but I wanted to know! Why did they put dots on their faces? What was the beggar saying? Could I go to the market too?”

“And did you? Ever get to the market?”

She grimaced. “A few times, yes. But only with a nanny who was perpetually nervous and constantly grabbing my arm to keep me by her side.”

“I understand India can be a very dangerous place. Especially for pretty English girls.”

She noted that he’d just suggested that she was pretty, or had been a pretty girl, but she really didn’t care. Her mind was back in India and everything she had seen and done there. Which, truthfully, hadn’t been all that much. For all that she had done, there were a million more things that she had wanted to do and wasn’t allowed.

“I used to spend as much time as I could talking to our butler.”

“Really?”

She nodded. “He told me about his religion, mostly. I think he was trying to convert me.”

“And were you converted?”

“To Hindu? No, but I did find the ideas interesting. Mama was appalled—”

“Naturally.”

“But I just wanted to learn more.”

“And did you? Did you read about it? Did you discover as much as you wanted?”

She nodded. “For the most part, yes. I can never be put off when I really want to know something. I found people to ask. There weren’t many books, but I learned what I wanted to. And then I met my maid’s mother. She was a… well, a witch healer of some sort.”

“Really? How extraordinary. I wonder that your parents allowed it.”

“Oh, well, they didn’t. Not once they found out. And she wasn’t really a witch, you know. She just made potions of a kind. Teas for aches, love spells, that sort of thing.”

He leaned toward her, his eyes sparkling with interest. “And did they work?”

“The teas, yes. The love spells, no. And before you ask, yes I did try the love spell. Once in London.”

“What happened?”

She snorted and pulled up a too tall blade of grass. “Absolutely nothing, but perhaps I was doing it backward. I wanted to fall in love with a very acceptable man who adored me.”

“You didn’t?”

She sighed. “Not in the slightest. But some of her other recipes work. Especially the one for face cream.” She sighed. “I wish I could write her, but she never learned to read.”

“Hmmm,” he said, his gaze turning back to the sky. “So did you get bored in India as well?”

“Definitely.” She sighed. “I suppose I bore easily.”

“I suppose you have been too restricted in your life to not get bored. Imagine living in India and not being allowed to explore.” He shook his head. “I can’t imagine how frustrating that must have been.”

She laughed, feeling more relaxed than she had in a week. “Beyond frustrating!”

“So do you want to go back?”

She blinked. “To India?” Then she grimaced. Of course he meant to India. “I have never really considered it.” She dumped her chin on her palm. “How odd. I loved it there, and yet I have no real desire to go back. I was ever so excited to come back to England. And then I was in school, and that was fun. I had friends there and studies that were interesting.”

“Anything in particular?”

“In what? The studies? No. I mean I’m glad I learned them, but I am no scholar.”

He nodded, rolling back onto his elbows to look up at the sky. “So it seems to me that you need a project.”

She looked down at him, then decided if he was practically lying down that she could too. Especially since she’d already dirtied her dress. So she flopped onto her back and stared up at the sky. She found it to be a beautiful blue in between the clouds, but really of not much interest at all.

“A project,” she repeated. “Other than trapping you into marriage with my feminine wiles?”

“I assure you, I cannot be caught by any wiles, feminine or otherwise.” Then he twisted his head to look at her. She saw the dusting of freckles on his cheeks and found them oddly endearing, though they did mar the handsomeness of his face. “But I do find you interesting, Miss Josephine. And I think you need to find something worthwhile to do. Something,” he added with a frown, “that has absolutely nothing to do with me.”

She grimaced. So he had no interest in marrying her. Mama would be crushed, and Papa would be furious. Curiously, she felt nothing other than a vague kind of disappointment. “I suppose I shall have to start making plans for the new Season. I shall be an heiress then.” She huffed out her breath, vaguely amused when a lock of her hair flew off her face.

“What? No, no, I still plan to marry you, Josephine. And yes, we will have to make an appearance in London as husband and wife, but I do want to return here as soon as possible.”

She rolled back to stare at him, completely stunned. She couldn’t get past his casual words. He planned to marry her. Spoken in the same tone as if he planned to buy new boots.

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry,” he said, clearly realizing he had erred. “We were talking so plainly, I forgot I was speaking to a gently reared lady. I should be wooing you, shouldn’t I?”

And now his tone seemed to be more like he was discussing socks. He ought to be wearing the thinner ones rather than the thick.

“The thing is,” he continued rather awkwardly, “that you already understood the whys of our marriage. You know I want your land and, forgive me, your steward is a wonder all on his own. Good man, that Benton.”

“Yes,” she said numbly. “He is a good man. If things were a little different, he would be the lord here.”

He nodded, his expression grim. “Yes. Sadly, life rarely goes as it ought. But never mind that. We were discussing our marriage.” He shifted up so that he was seated while she was still flat on her back. “The thing is, this is a prime piece of property, and I would be a fool not to want it. Especially with the canal going in.”

Of course. Men and that damned canal.

“And you seem like such a practical woman. You understood exactly why I am here, and I have yet to see any missish airs out of you.”

“Those only happen when I am in sorts as opposed to out.”

He laughed, the sound rather grating now to her ears. “And that is exactly why I like you.”

“Because I am out of sorts?”

“Because there is no pretense in you. I adore that in a woman. We are talking frankly, and you haven’t gone weepy or silly at all.”

She sighed. Much as she didn’t want to hear it, she understood exactly what he meant. “You believe we shall tolerate each other well over the years.”

“Exceedingly well. I shall let you have your head, you know. Pick a project—anything you like within reason—and we shall be very happy together. Eventually we shall have children to occupy your time. Meanwhile, I shall be very busy with my factory.”

She frowned. “What factory?”

“Oh, well, there are some textile mills nearby that I believe I shall buy. Both need a steady hand, so to speak, and I believe I can make them very profitable.” He glanced at her. “I’m horribly vulgar that way. I believe it’s why your father and I get along so well. We both simply adore making money.”

She nodded. Yes, she had noticed that similarity between them.

“So that will be my project,” he said. “You are quite correct that the children will take some time to appear.” He said it as if he thought they magically popped out of a woman’s belly without any aches or pains whatsoever. “So all that needs to be done is that you find something to do to occupy yourself. And then…” He spread his hands with a grin.

“We shall be very happy?”

“Exactly!”

She sat up as she studied him. She watched his friendly expression and felt his genuine warmth. The truth was that she liked him. And more importantly, everything he said made absolute sense. She needed something to occupy her time, something that was not husband hunting or… or scandalous. Of course, once she was married, she could do those very scandalous things with her husband, and so perhaps the restlessness would be eased there, too.

While her mind churned, she squirmed on the lawn, readjusting her feet so they tucked beneath her rather than sprawled out in front. She was supposed to be a lady, she reminded herself. Kicking her legs every which way at the creek was one thing, but she was now sitting with Mr. Montgomery and discussing their marriage, their lives, and their children. The problem was she couldn’t imagine doing the things that created children with anyone other than Will. But once she married, she and Mr. Montgomery would share a bed. And what happened by the creek would have to stop.

“You are frowning rather fiercely. I am quite afraid.”

She immediately schooled her expression to calm. “I am thinking, Mr. Montgomery—”

“Please call me Alastair.”

She nodded. “Very well, Alastair, I am thinking that perhaps you are right.”

He brightened abruptly, straightening up to match her pose. “I am?” Then he flushed. “Well, I know I am, but I am just surprised to hear you say it so quickly.” He shrugged. “Most people fight good sense at first.”

She had no answer to that, so she simply deflected it with a shrug. “I am counted rather different from ‘most people.’”

“Something I shall cherish, I assure you.” Then he leaned forward and captured her hand. “So are we in agreement? We shall marry?”

She swallowed. Of course they were in agreement. After all, that was the plan wasn’t it? And in truth, he was about a million times better a man than she had ever dared to hope. So she flashed him her best smile.

“Of course, Alastair, I shall be happy to marry you.”

 

***

 

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1324133/jade-lee-s-winning-a-bride-part-9-free-newsletter-serial

First Comes Love (Hot Water, California #1) by Christie Ridgway

Review:

First Comes Love - Christie Ridgway

First Comes Love (Hot Water, California #1)

 

 

Kitty Wilder longed for a little respectability, so eight years ago she finagled an "I do" out of local hero Dylan Matthews. The ceremony was only supposed tobe a tourist attraction sham, but a loophole made it legal ... a little fact she'd "conveniently" neglected to share until Dylan came storming back into her life.

How could he be married and not even know it? As an FBI agent, Dylan thought he'd seen it all, but this was outrageous. Kitty is still gorgeous, appealing, and even she deserves more than the toughened man he had become. But before Dylan can accept the powerful emotions he has for this unexpected wife he has to first face down the demons of his past

 

 

 

My Review:

I thought the characters really carried this story and more than all of them Dylan was the one that kept me reading. Kitty was a little more than annoying mostly because of her naivete at her age started to get on my nerves less than half way in. I need characters I can like and relate to and see myself in or imagining in real life as someone I could like as a person. While Kitty isn't unlikable she was just too irritating for me to really be able to enjoy the rest of the book. 

 

My Rating:

3 Stars

 

Reviewed By: Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews

http://kkmalott.booklikes.com/

 

 

Note: I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review via California Girls

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1324129/first-comes-love-hot-water-california-1-by-christie-ridgway

Disconnect

 

 

 

 

Every once in awhile people need to pick a day out of the week to turn off the computers, tablets, readers, game systems, televisions, cameras, dvrs, internet, digital and wireless systems, just turn everything off leave it at home and go out.

 

Go out for lunch. Go out alone or with someone. Go out and actually talk to them. 

Go for a hike, go to the park, go to the zoo, visit a historical location or a tourist trap. Hang out with a friend or family member you haven't seen in awhile without your toys, discover something new.

 

Open your eyes and look around experience the world around you.

Stop going on trips and hanging out with your faces buried in cameras and cell phones. Reach out and touch it with your fingers, look and realize there is an entire world existing around you.

Stop observing the world through your phones and actually be in the moment.

In a world obsessed with its technology and its conveniences it feels good to remember you are alive once in awhile.

What do you do to unplug?

 

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1324118/disconnect

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Naughty Wishes (Part I) by Joey W. Hill

Review:

Naughty Wishes Part I: Body - Joey W. Hill

Body (Naughty Wishes #1)

 

Samantha and her roommates Geoff and Chris have always shared an innocent and casual intimacy, but for Sam it has cloaked a deeper desire that remains tantalizingly out of reach. The two men have been best friends since childhood, and that friendship keeps them frustratingly hands-off toward her and each other. She wants to respect their code of honor, but Sam craves something more primitive, and she knows they feel the same way. Maybe there’s a way to bring it out in both of them—one man at a time.

When Chris goes out of town for the week with his landscaping company, it’s time for her to initiate her adventurous goal. Her plan is to go toe-to-toe with Geoff, the alpha of their trio, and tease to life that Dominant side of him she’s waited so long for him to express. And Geoff is more than willing to claim her. But things don’t go exactly as planned. They’re even better.

 

 

My Review:

I have been reunited with the queen. *Bows*

I love love love Joey Hill. I have missed her writing so much because its been so long since I've gotten to read more of her works. Joey Hill is the kink queen. I loved the beginning of her roomie three way romance. You can totally feel the sex vibe from the get go and she builds it beautifully. I totally have to get the rest of this serial so I can find out what happens next! Beware this book is pant worthy!

 

 

My Rating:

5 Stars



Reviewed By:
Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews
http://kkmalott.booklikes.com/



Note: I received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley

 

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1323387/naughty-wishes-part-i-by-joey-w-hill

Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter

Review:

Blood In Her Veins: Nineteen Stories From the World of Jane Yellowrock - Faith Hunter

Blood In Her Veins: Nineteen Stories From the World of Jane Yellowrock (Jane Yellowrock)

 

 

In this must-have collection of stories, experience nineteen thrilling adventures from the world of vampire-hunter Jane Yellowrock, including many fan favorites and two all-new novellas. Read about the first time Jane put the pedal to the metal in “The Early Years,” and the last thing a werewolf will ever see as Jane delivers justice in “Beneath a Bloody Moon.” Get a searing look into the pasts of some of the series’ best-loved characters: Beast in “WeSa and the Lumber King,” Rick LaFleur in “Cat Tats,” and Molly Everhart Trueblood in “Haints.”
 
In the brand-new “Cat Fight,” the witches and vampires of Bayou, Oiseau, are at war over a magical talisman—and Jane must figure out how to keep the mysterious artifact out of the covetous hands of the Master of New Orleans. And in the never-before-published “Bound No More,” Jane welcomes a visit from Molly and her daughter, Angie, who is about to prove she’s the most powerful witch in Everhart history....
 
From the Big Easy to the bad bayou, from the open road to a vampire’s lair—with Jane Yellowrock, it’s always a given: have stakes, will travel.

 

 

 

 

My Review:

For some reason I've jumped around a lot in Faith's books instead of reading them in order. I really need to get all the books and read through the full series in order soon but that's another reason why I loved this book so much because you get all the small between stories and stories related to books I have yet to read. It gives you more incentive to invest in all of them. I love Faith's writing and her characters they're fantastic.

 

 

My Rating:
5 Stars


Reviewed By:
Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews
http://kkmalott.booklikes.com/



Note: I received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley

Original post: kkmalott.booklikes.com/post/1323383/blood-in-her-veins-by-faith-hunter

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