✴🌹✴ Duchess by Mistake by Cheryl Bolen ✴🌹✴

Duchess by Mistake

by Cheryl Bolen

Series: House of Haverstock, #2

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: April 7, 2015

Another of Cheryl Bolen’s classic marriage-of-convenience stories

An innocent visit to the Duke of Aldridge’s to request a donation for her war widows puts Lady Elizabeth Upton in the midst of a most shocking scandal. . .

The Duke of Aldridge offers for his best friend’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Upton, after a mix-up sends her to his bedchamber—just as he’s emerging from his bath. She most certainly does not want to force the duke’s hand, but how can she bear the shame her scandalous behavior has cast upon her dear brother, the Marquess of Haverstock?

Once she agrees to marry her childhood heartthrob, Elizabeth realizes she wants nothing more than to win her husband’s love. But capturing his heart is no easy task when former loves threaten to destroy the fragile bonds of their marriage.

Some time after donning a dress which matched the periwinkle colour of her eyes and topping it with matching pelisse suitable for calling at Aldridge House, Lady Elizabeth Upton found herself knocking upon the door of the Duke of Aldridge’s fine house on Berkeley Square. She wondered how many times Charles had passed through this door during his two and thirty years. Since she had only come out three years previously, she had never had the opportunity to pay a call upon the duke, owing to his long absence from England.

The white-haired butler who answered her knock looked as if he’d been in the employ of the Aldridges for at least two generations. He quickly offered her a tight smile and spoke before she had the chance to offer her card. “Please come in. His grace awaits. If you will just follow me up the stairs.”

She supposed with this being the duke’s first day back, he was entertaining callers in the drawing room. She had not considered that she would not have him all to herself. It would be difficult to beg him for the significant donation in a room full of people. Her brother had once said the duke did not like to have his charities acknowledged, preferring anonymity.

Her gaze lifted to the massive chandelier that glistened above, then she began to follow the stooped-over butler as he mounted the stairs, his movements slowed by age. All the way up the impressive, iron banistered staircase portraits of long-dead Aldridges stood almost one on top of the other and seemed to be staring at her.

To her surprise, when they reached the first floor he did not stop but continued mounting stairs to the next level. Though her experience with ducal residences was limited, she was unaccustomed to finding a drawing room so far removed from the home’s entrance. In most of the houses with which she was familiar, the third level was reserved for bedchambers.

They reached the third level. It was slightly less formal than the second level, actually looking remarkably like the third–bedchamber–level at Haverstock House. The butler turned to the right and shuffled along another corridor until he reached the first paneled and gilded door. It was closed. He teetered to a stop and turned to face her with a somber countenance. “You will find his grace in here.” Then he began to retrace his steps.

She drew in a breath, reached for the door handle, and opened it.

She heard a splashing sound before the door was fully open. How peculiar. When she had clear view of the room, she gasped. There in its center, framed by the fireplace behind him, the Duke of Aldridge was emerging from his bath. His long, glistening, gloriously formed body was completely naked.

In her entire life Lady Elizabeth Upton had never seen a naked man in the flesh. Though her first instinct should have been to run screaming from the chamber, she was frozen to the spot, unable to remove her gaze from . . . the manly part. And so much more. From his wide shoulders along his burnished skin and muscled limbs, the dark-haired duke exuded a masculinity like nothing she had ever seen.

A flood of memories of her former adoration of this man many years ago walloped her. She felt the heat climbing into her cheeks and knew she should flee from the profligate duke. Yet, like a compulsion to watch a grim sight not suitable for female sensibilities, she was incapable of turning away.

“You’re not Belle!” he said, snatching his toweling and covering the lower portion of his statue-worthy body. His voice held a note of incredulity.

No doubt, Belle was a lady of the demimonde. What a wicked man he was! To think, his first day back in the kingdom he chose to spend with a woman of that sort.

At the sound of his voice, she realized how shameless she must appear. And how very improper it was for her to be there. She came to her senses, let out a full-fledged scream, turned on her heel, and fled down the stairs.

And came face to face with her brother.

“Haverstock!” she cried.

His brows lowered with concern. “What’s the matter, Lizzie?”

She tossed her head back in the direction of the duke’s private chamber. “That man! He’s thoroughly debauched.” Then she scurried down the stairs. Never again would she come to this . . . this temple of profligacy.

***

Aldridge was having the devil of a time trying to remember where he had seen that chit before. No doubt, she was a lady of Quality. He’d likely scared the poor thing senseless. There had obviously been a serious misunderstanding.

As soon as he called for Lawford, Haverstock came striding into Aldridge’s bedchamber. When he saw that Aldridge was without clothing, his facial expressions thundered. “What in the hell were you doing with my sister?”

Oh, damn! That’s why she looked familiar! The duke grimaced. “It’s not what you think.”

Haverstock’s gaze raked over him from the top of his wet head down the full length of his nakedness. “Oh, isn’t it? My god, Aldridge, she’s an innocent! How could you?”

By then Aldridge’s valet had come striding in with fresh clothing for his master, and Aldridge began to dress. “It seems I owe her an apology. I assure you I have no dishonorable designs on your sister.”

Haverstock regarded him thoughtfully for a long, silent moment. “Then are you saying your intentions toward Elizabeth are honorable?”

“But of course. What do you take me for?”

“It appears I shall now take you for my brother-in-law.”

When you are looking for a true Historical Romance than look no further!  This novel has it all, romance, humor, and the pure definition of what I look for in all my novels of this genre.  I would call it explicitly delightful to read! Its filled with your swoon worthy yet an even balance of heart warming plot along with characters that are more than someone in the novel. Trust me I will be remembering these characters and rereading this one again in the future.   Once I started to read this I couldn’t put it down. Within the first couple of chapters the author grabbed my attention with a very humorous event that started a chain of events.  Philip, the dangerously handsome duke has returned home after five years and receives m or than what he expects on his first week back. His duty comes first and he doesnt believe in love. However, can a beautiful woman change his mind? Lady Elizabeth has a heart of gold and seeks the help of the duke. However,  with the mistake of the butler she is way over her head as she asks for help. With a broken heart will this lady learn to love another? With a stubborn woman who knows what she wants and a man who goes after what he wants there is sure to be some fires to be set! In the wake of a scandal the author sets out to give her readers a novel they will not forget. The novel had the same historical romance genre but the author threw in a plot that will have you attached,  hook, line, and sinker. I loved the description and the fact it gave you just enough to be able and envision. The story was flawless and the pace was steady and continuous. I loved everything about this and will have to go and read some of her others.

Cheryl Bolen is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of over 20 romances, both historical and contemporary mystery. Many of her books have placed in contests, including the Daphne du Maurier (romantic suspense) and have been translated into ten languages. She was Notable New Author in 1999. In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion, Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards and she’s had four other titles place in that competition. Her 2011 Christmas novella was named Best Novella in the Romance Through the Ages. She invites readers to www.CherylBolen.com, or her blog, www.cherylsregencyramblings.wordpress.com or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Bolen-Books/146842652076424.

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☆🔥☆Lady of the Flames by Barbara Monajem ☆🔥☆

Lady of the Flames

by Barbara Monajem

Series: A Most Peculiar Season

Genre: Regency Historical Paranormal Romance

Release Date: March 23, 2015

Magic is fraught with peril—but so is love.

Lord Fenimore Trent’s uncanny affinity for knives and other sharp blades led to knife fights, duels, and murderous brawls. Five years ago, he faced a choice: marry Andromeda Gibbons, the woman he loved, or find a safe, peaceful use for his blades by opening a furniture shop—an unacceptable occupation for a man of noble birth. The choice made itself when Andromeda turned to another man. The furniture shop prospered, but now Fen’s partner has been accused of treason. In order to root out the real traitor, he may face another unpalatable choice—to resort to the violent use of his blades once again.

Once upon a time, Andromeda Gibbons believed in magic. That belief faded after her mother’s death and vanished completely when Lord Fenimore, the man she loved, spurned her. Five years later, Andromeda has molded herself into a perfect—and perfectly unhappy—lady. When she overhears her haughty betrothed, the Earl of Slough, plotting treason, she flees into the London night—to Fen, the one man she knows she can trust. But taking refuge with Fen proves to mean far more than getting help—it means learning to believe in love, magic, and the real Andromeda once again.

Years ago, Andromeda had felt no need to talk when with Fen, but now it was uncomfortable, like conversing with a stranger. She took a sip of coffee and ate a sausage roll. She sipped some more coffee. She gazed around the room and finally found something to say.

“Did you carve the figures on your looking-glass frame?” she said. As a boy, he had whittled constantly. “They seem so…familiar somehow.”

“They should,” he said with a sudden smile. “I carved it from my memories of the fairies and hobgoblins back home.”

“Fairies and hobgoblins?”

“At your father’s estate,” he said. “Surely you remember Cuff the bedchamber hob, and Heck the buttery spirit, and all the rest.”

“My mother told stories about them,” Andromeda said, nostalgia filling her again. “I must say, I like the way you’ve imagined them.”

Fen frowned at her, his smile fading, his eyes perplexed. “I didn’t imagine them,” he said. “I saw them.”

Andromeda rolled her eyes. “That sounds like something my mother would have said.”

“Because she saw them, too.”

Andromeda began to be annoyed. “Don’t be ridiculous, Fen. She made up stories based on tales she was told as a child.”

Fen shook his head. “You saw them when you were small. You saw Cuff and Heck and the others. We both did.”

“No,” Andromeda said. “We saw movement out of the corners of our eyes and said they were fairies, but we were just playing games.”

Fen’s expression was pained. “You really don’t remember, do you?”

“There’s nothing to remember,” she insisted, wolfing down another cream puff. “As a matter of fact, that happened to me this morning. I had the impression that one of the creatures on the looking-glass winked at me, but of course it didn’t really do so.”

“What a pity,” Fen said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That you’ve forgotten. That wink was Cuff’s way of saying good-day to you. He’s somewhere hereabouts. He’s the only one I didn’t have to carve from memory, because he came with me when I left home.” He glanced toward the tin cup and plate by the wall. “He ate the bread and milk I put out, and I gave him the rest of your brandy, too.”

She couldn’t stand any more of this. “Fen, stop this nonsense! We’re in danger from traitors and spies who murder people, and all you can talk about is hobgoblins.”

He went on as if she hadn’t spoken. “I wondered why he came with me when I left, but it’s because he enjoys human company.” He grimaced. “Your father and aunt aren’t his sort of humans. I thought you were, and so did your mother, but evidently you’re not.”

That struck her like a blow. “What do you mean, my mother thought I was. Was what?”

“She had a sizeable amount of fairy blood, so she thought you must have some, too—but perhaps she was wrong.” He paused. “I know I have some. It’s not uncommon for children to see fairies, but I didn’t lose that when I grew up. Not only that, it’s their magic that guides my knives and tools, and inspires me when it comes to furniture design.”

She couldn’t bear it. “Stop it! You’re as—as mad as my mother was.”

“She wasn’t mad, Andromeda.” He sighed. “And whether or not you see the fairies, they’re still here.”

She put her hands to her ears and shut her eyes. After all the chaos of yesterday, this was too much. When he said and did nothing, she opened her eyes again. “Why did she discuss me with you?”

“Who else was there to speak to? Your father and aunt, although worthy people, wouldn’t have understood. They already found her far too strange.”

This was true—but it was because Mama’s mind was unbalanced.

“She knew I cared for you,” Fen said.

His eyes were kind but dispassionate; his use of the past tense meant that he didn’t care anymore, except perhaps as an old friend. Why couldn’t she become accustomed? Every single reminder hurt.

“You believed in them at the time your mother died,” he said. “She gave you that heart-shaped locket, didn’t she?” It still hung at her breast, but she resisted the urge to clasp it in her hand.

“I was nine years old. I believed in many foolish things then,” she retorted. Such as magic, but a household run by her aunt was no longer vibrant with promise or belief in anything much at all. And then, when she was seventeen, Fen had destroyed what little belief remained. She didn’t try to keep the bitterness from her voice. “I learned soon enough what utter nonsense it all was.”

He watched her, head cocked to one side, as if she were some strange, incomprehensible creature. “As a matter of interest, when did you stop believing?”

How dare he ask such a personal question? “What business is that of yours?”

“None, I suppose.” He shrugged and stood. “Stay away from the windows. I’ll see if my valet has found you something to wear.” He took the last of the beignets, set it on a saucer, and left it on the floor by the wall.

As if prying into her business wasn’t enough, now he was mocking her. Did he seriously expect her to believe that a hobgoblin would eat the beignet? Anger stirred and grew within her. “If you must know, it was at the same time I gave up other foolishness, such as believing in love!”

Fen stared at her, his expression incredulous. He left the room, slamming the door behind him. By what right was he upset? Not content with playing stupid games with her, did he really not remember what he’d done to her five years ago?

I have to say this novel was very original and unlike other historical romances that I have read in the past for that it already has my votes! The author took your everyday historical romance and gave it a whole new fresh touch with magic but still kept the whole genre that I enjoy in my novels. I do have to say at first it confused me but definitely kept me on my toes. This jewel starts off with a suspense of possible treason in the air and Fen (oir main character) trying to make head out of it. The plot is filled with lost love, suspense, mystery, passion, rekindled love. The characters each brought on a certain part to add more kindling to the story. Fen, born into nobility gave up not only his love but also took up work (which was beneath his status according to his father). In his eyes it was somewhat worth it, but magic does have a play in this and he just wanted to keep everything and everyone safe. A woman scorned! Andromeda had given up on her love for Fen and has lived the last few making herself into a shell of what a perfect lady should be. Unfortunately you can feel that her heart is not into this shell and that’s exactly what she has become. I felt so sorry because I can only imagine her heartache with having to do this ever day! It would be tiring… As the author focuses further into the novel the pace starts to pick up and the danger starts to become even more eminent! What is the fate of this story? That is for you to read. Overall, the story kept me entertained and had twists at every turn and angle. I would recommend this for those that enjoy a good quick read with historical romance and magic.

Paperback

Barbara Monajem grew up in western Canada. She wrote her first story, a fantasy about apple tree gnomes, when she was eight years old, and dabbled in neighborhood musicals at the age of ten. At twelve, she spent a year in Oxford, England, soaking up culture and history, grubbing around at an archaeological dig, playing twosy-ball against the school wall, and spending her pocket money on adventure novels. Thanks to her mother, she became addicted to Regency romances as well. She is the award-winning author of several Regency novellas, many of which include elements of magic, and the Bayou Gavotte series of paranormal mysteries. Apart from writing, she loves to cook (especially soups), and the only item on her bucket list is to be successful at knitting socks (which she doesn’t expect to achieve). She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Cover Reveal for Marked by Charisse Spiers

 

 

Welcome to my fucking world. My name is Kaston Cox and I’m a criminal’s worst nightmare. Most people run from darkness, but I live in it, require it, and thrive in the night. Some call me a monster, some a lover of evil, and others, the devil himself, but they’re all wrong. I’m just a shadow in the dark. I speak for the innocent when no one else will. Once I have marked you, you better beg for forgiveness, because your time has run out…

 

Revenge is the ultimate wage for evil. Some just can’t stomach to do it themselves. That’s where I come in. I am the ultimate judge when called upon for justice. I will decide who lives and who dies. Blood may be on my hands, but it’s not the blood of the innocent. Remorse is nowhere to be found. I don’t give a shit if you understand. I can live with the man I look at every day in the mirror. My soul was tainted the day I was conceived. You think you know me? You have no fucking idea. I am who I am because of what they did to her, and to him. They were my family. This was the only form of restitution he believed in. I owed him everything. I took over the empire he built. This is how I repay him. There was only one rule: never allow emotions to form. Numb and heartless are the only two ways to live.

 

What I never included in the plan…was her.

 

My name is Lux Larsen. My life is as perfect as it can get. I’m a partier, a seductress when it comes to something that I want, and the ultimate sexual con artist. I use my body to get what I want and I’m not ashamed. Designer tags are what I’m after. I love sex. I’m good at it. Fuck double standards. Guys can do it, well guess what, so can I. I will never be caught back on the other side of the tracks for as long as I live. I left that hellhole years ago. I’ll do anything to stay away. You can call me a whore if you want, but I just look at it as I’ve decided to become a player in a man’s game, and I’m a fucking pro at it. Love is for the weak minded. Weak is something I’ll never be.

 

I never anticipated the predator that would find me. I’m now his prey…but I’m not sure I can run.

 

The world likes to think that love is only pure, only for those that do good, but what no one considers is when bad has to be done to formulate a different type of good. Two of the most random people can be a perfect match, being placed together like pieces to a puzzle. Being in the wrong place at the right time can be terrifying and it can also be exactly what is supposed to happen, because sometimes…love is born in the dark.

 

 

Excerpt:

 

“Here. Good play. I can’t say with that view it was the worse time I’ve ever lost money.” He turns and walks away as they announce last call over the speakers.

“Does that mean I get half? I’d say I earned it.”

I look at Makayla as she turns toward me and hangs her legs over the side. “You think so?”

“I didn’t see you pulling your dick out as bait. My pussy was the one on display so you could win.”

I move in front of her and grab her chin, closing in toward her. She starts to close her eyes until I speak. “Let’s get one thing straight, baby. I would have won whether your pussy was present or not, but since you helped by sending him to the bathroom to take care of the hard-on you just created, I’ll repay you in orgasms here in a few minutes. How does that sound?”

She grabs a handful of my shirt in her fist, pulling me closer. “Damn, just take me already. I’ve never been so turned on in my life.” She presses her lips to mine and the alcohol takes over, directing all of my muscle movement. I grab her hips and pull her toward me as I roughly kiss her back. She instantly wraps her legs around my waist. I grind her against my now hardening cock.  She grabs the waistband of my pants, no longer concerned with where we are.

“Starting without me?”

I release her lips and look at Danyel standing next to the pool table. It’s just now that I realize the bar is completely empty. “Where is the rest of staff?”

“I sent them home and locked the doors. Since I’m the manager I can do that. No one ever complains when being sent home early at closing. No work for them and a good time for me after a long night. It’s a win/ win situation.”

Makayla groans out, clearly frustrated and not wanting to share. I nod for Danyel to come closer and look at Makayla, locking my eyes with hers. “I’m your partner. You trust me in the field, right?” She nods, her eyes flitting from my eyes to my mouth and back again. “Trust me now. Be open-minded. Just because you try something new doesn’t mean you have a label. We’re all straight. Danyel probably likes dick more than you do. Got me?”

She breathes deeply, clearly nervous, but nods lightly. “Yeah, okay. I’ll try…for you.” I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear longing in her voice and hope like hell I don’t regret this at work Monday.

I reach out and hook my index finger over Danyel’s waistband, pulling her closer. I kiss her, starting things slow. She slides her tongue inside my mouth, allowing each of our taste’s to mix, creating one of its own. I stop and turn to Makayla, doing the same. She moans into my mouth before I release her lips. “See. You taste her. You taste me. It’s no different.” I continue to look at her. “Danyel. Come show her how gentle you can be. I want to watch.”

I step back, allowing Danyel to take my place. I can see the disappointment written all over her face, but she remains silent. Danyel touches her knee and skims her fingertips up Makayla’s thigh, tracing the side of her body until her hand is on the side of Makayla’s neck. “Relax, Makayla, and I’ll reward you later.” Her shoulders immediately drop.

Danyel lowers her face and kisses Makayla, slowly at first, but then you can tell the moment Danyel slides her tongue between Makayla’s lips, because she completely lets go, and places her hands in Danyel’s auburn hair, wanting more. My dick presses against my pants, wanting free, as I watch two beautiful women experiencing each other for the first time. The room is hazed from the alcohol, but that’s exactly where I need to be.

I walk up to Danyel’s backside, pressing my front against her. I press my lips next to her ear as they continue to kiss. “Do to her as I do to you. Are we clear?”

Charisse Spiers Books

 

 

I found books when I was going through a hard time in life. They became my means of escape when things got bad. I realized quickly how much I loved to take a backseat to someone else’s life and watch the journey unfold. That began my journey with books in November of 2012. I constantly had a book open on my Kindle app. Never in a million years would I have imagined myself as a writer, because I never thought I was creative enough. I’m living proof that things will fall into place when they’re meant to be. People will make their way into our lives when we don’t expect it, setting the path for what we are meant to do. Never give up on people. Never stop taking a chance on others. Someone took a chance on trusting me with her work when she didn’t know me from a stranger on the street and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime as our relationship progressed, which led me to editing and writing as well. This is my dream I never knew I had. As soon as I sat down and gave writing a shot, it was like the floodgates opened. Now, I am lost in a world of fiction in my head, new characters constantly screaming for their stories to be told. Continue to dream and to go for them. No one ever found happiness by sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes we have to take risks and put ourselves out there. Thank you for all of your support, and may there be many books to come. XOXO- C

 

 

 

 

 

 

TSU