It Happened One Christmas by Leslie Kelly
Six years ago, Ross Mitchell and Lucy Fleming shared a hot holiday weekend in Manhattan, back when he was just a hard-bodied guy in a tool belt and she was an impulsive photography student.

Fast-forward a few Decembers: Ross and Lucy meet again, by chance, at his office Christmas party. And when they find themselves alone and snowed in after hours, it's not long before they're making their own body heat--again. Only this time, the sex is better than ever!

But is it just another holiday romp between the sheets? Or will Lucy and Ross finally get to keep what they really want this year--each other!


I love Leslie Kelly and so was really looking forward to this book, especially as I love a good Christmas romance. Perhaps that's partly the reason that I was quite underwhelmed with this book.

Don't get me wrong, the writing was good (as always), the characters were both likeable and relatable and the plot wasn't terrible. It's just that the story seemed to lack any sparkle. The story is told both in the present day and in flashbacks to six years ago when Lucy and Ross first got together. I found this made the story a little slow going and I found myself continually wanting to get back to the modern day chapters so I could see how the pair were getting along now and not back then.

Lucy was also fairly peeved at Ross which led to a lot of the conflict for whether or not they would be able to make things work. However, when it got to the reason that the pair split up in the first place I couldn't believe it. Sure, it was a legitimate reason for breaking up but certainly not for being mad at someone - I just didn't get it.

Overall, a little lacklustre and good for a quick read on a cold night but nothing overly special I'm sorry to say. 3 stars.


224 pages

Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis rules and breaking hearts

Free-spirited Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon-to-be married sisters, she isn't ready to settle into a quiet life running their family's newly renovated inn. But soon her love of trouble--and trouble with love-draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who'd like nothing better than to tame her wild ways. 

Suddenly Chloe can't take a misstep without the sheriff hot on her heels. His rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make a girl beg to be handcuffed. For the first time, instead of avoiding the law, Chloe dreams of surrender. Can this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straitlaced sheriff? Or will Chloe's colorful past keep her from a love that lasts . . . and the safe haven she truly wants in a town called Lucky Harbor?


This is the third in Shalvis' Lucky Harbour series. I've noticed that there will be other books set in Lucky Harbour in the future but this one seems to conclude the stories of the three out of town half sisters. The previous books are Simply Irresistible and The Sweetest Thing. Although it's probably not a necessity, I would suggest that you don't read this book if you haven't read the first two in the series.

Over the course of the first two books I've been waiting for Sawyer and Chloe to get their own book and get together. I love a couple who are antagonistic towards each other in the beginning and this pair certainly were that. I think what happened for me with this book is that we had so much back story about them fighting and being at each other's throats that when it came to their story we were already half way through the beginnings of their relationship. Perhaps that took the sparkle out of it but something was definitely lacking.

I liked Chloe better than I thought I would based on the first two books and she really grew into a character I liked and could route for. Sawyer was a great brooding hero although I think I would have liked him to open up a little more to Chloe. He had a difficult relationship with his dad which gave him depth although what happened to Sawyer's brothers (mentioned very briefly in the first two books) is beyond me!

Giving this book a rating was a little bit of a dilemma for me because while I liked it and it was readable - nothing much happened! I erred on the side of generosity as I like the Lucky Harbour series as a whole although it's probably a low 4 stars and definitely not the best of the series.


381 pages

Lucky Harbor series:




Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James IT COMES TO THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION…

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.


But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar…


I have to go right in and express how much I enjoyed this book. I had read (and adored) James' previous book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive, so decided to get her next and now have decided to read every book she's ever written!

There were many reasons for my love of this book. I do enjoy couples that bicker and argue before they realise they're perfect for each other and James' is the master of this type of relationship. Payton is a strong woman but one that you can both relate to and also admire and root for while J.D. is a confident, sexy man who, underneath it all, is vulnerable and in need of the love of a good woman. Together the pair had near palpable chemistry and I loved them separately and as a couple.

The story was interesting and really amusing at points. I could barely put the book down and finished it really quickly as the pages kept on turning. The ending was satisfying and the whole book left me with that upbeat, happy feeling that only the best books can give you.

Overall this was a smart, sexy and funny contemporary romance with great characters and a really enjoyable story. I would highly recommend it and hope that you like it as much as I did. 5 stars.


291 pages

Holiday Hideout by Various Authors
The Thanksgiving Fix by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Finding Mr. Right is the furthest thing from Beth Davis's mind when the Reno professor takes Thanksgiving break at a colleague's Lake Tahoe cabin. Until Coinneach McFarland arrives to fix a suspicious leak. It looks like somebody's playing matchmaker for two people sworn to stay single. But as things heat up, Beth is astonished to find she has discovered her soul mate just as she'd given up looking.

The Christmas Set-Up by Jill Shalvis
Competing architects Zoe and Jason have two weeks to come up with the design to win a coveted new project. But when a snowstorm strands them together at a secluded cabin, Zoe sees her chance to show Jason how she really feels. With romance blooming under the mistletoe, can she get the gorgeous Scrooge into the true Christmas spirit?


The New Year's Deal by Julie Kenner
Five years ago, Cleo Daire and Josh Goodson said goodbye and went their separate ways. But first they made a promise to reunite. Now the ex-lovers are spending New Year's Eve in a romantic cabin, where passion takes them by surprise and long-wished-for dreams can sometimes come true.


This anthology pulls together three festive stories that all focus around one particular cabin that's known to bring luck in love for all those who stay there. Perfect for warming up the cold winter evenings.

The Thanksgiving Fix by Vicki Lewis Thompson
This was a sweet story that worked even with the short time frame of the couple. I liked the setting that was built up in the story and as short stories goes I really enjoyed the story and the romance.


The Christmas Set-Up by Jill Shalvis
I love a story of a couple that hide desire behind bickering and this one was great. It was funny, sweet and I very much enjoyed it. Would say that this was the best story of the three.


The New Year's Deal by Julie Kenner
This was only so-so for me. I easily read it through but didn't really care for either Josh or Cleo. Josh was a little too spineless when standing up for what he wanted and Cleo seemed a little fickle and lacking emotion. It just didn't really do it for me, unfortunately.


Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable anthology. It wasn't overly festive or filled with holiday cheer but you did get the sense of a nice cosy cottage on a dark winter night and that was enough to make my reading experience an enjoyable one. 4 stars. 


381 pages

Sexy Silent Nights by Cara Summers never should've happened: club owner Jonah Stone was the best friend of Cilla Michaels's boss. But one look into his stormy gray eyes and the security specialist was all-in: a mind-blowing one-night fling in his sumptuous suite. No talking. No strings...

No such luck.

Because it turns out that Cilla's not the only one who's developed a taste for forbidden fruit. When Jonah starts receiving threats from a vengeful ghost of Christmas past, he hires Cilla on as a bodyguard...and makes no secret about how close he wants her to be. Of course, that makes him more forbidden than ever.

Still, a girl can only resist so much....


I don't really know how to begin when describing this book because it was a bit hit and miss for me. The premise was fine and I was looking forward to some Christmassy cheer in amongst all the cloak and dagger stuff that was going on. That was somewhat lacking which is always a little annoying when they try to sell these books as being at least a little festive.

Putting that aside, it was fairly obvious from early on that the romance between Jonah and Cilla was going to take a back seat to the "mystery". That was a little disappointing in itself as I always expect Blaze books to be sexy and romantic but ultimately with heroines that you aspire to be like. As a result I didn't feel the romance between the pair had much emotion or depth.

Add to that, both Cilla and Jonah annoyed me for different reasons. Jonah because he kept referring to Cilla and Priscilla (her full name) as if they were two people. And Cilla because she got so wrapped up in Jonah she was useless when attempts were made on his life. Fine for any other occupation except bodyguard!

The story itself also ebbed and flowed. At times I was a little bored and then it picked up and I really wanted to keep reading. It wasn't truly terrible but not one I can really recommend. The writing was okay but all in all I can only give it 3 stars.


224 pages

Merry Christmas, Baby by Various Authors will you find under your Christmas tree?
A cowboy?
Ranch hand Tucker Rankin isn't crazy about the holidays...until a wintry night before Christmas, when Lacey Evans shows him how much fun it is to be nestled all snug in her bed....

A wealthy New Yorker?
Stockbroker Jared Martin needs to get away, and Alaska's the perfect place to unwind. Especially once actress Theodora "Teddy" Monroe gets him to loosen his tie--and take it all off!

Or maybe even a man in uniform?
Soldier Silas Davenport is on Christmas leave. But when he arrives at his parents' home, no one is there...except for the irresistible Delphie Moreau. And she's one gift he won't be exchanging!


Harlequin Blaze always bring out an anthology near to Christmas and this year's offering has stories from Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jennifer LaBrecque and Rhonda Nelson.

It's Christmas, Cowboy! by Vicki Lewis Thompson
This was a nice tale that definitely felt the most festive of the three stories. Having said that, Lacey seemed slightly fickle in her affections and Tucker wasn't exactly the ambitious or hard-working type that I would prefer to swoon over. Still a sweet enough tale.


Northern Fantasy by Jennifer LaBrecque
This story forms part of LaBrecque's Alaskan Heat series and while other characters appear it does stand alone just fine. I didn't really get why you would write a series about a small town when all the characters hate it and want to leave. Couple that with the fact that neither Jared nor Teddy were particularly interesting and I didn't much care for this story. The fact that all the heroines in these stories also appear to have unusual names that shorten into men's names was the final irritation for me.


He'll Be Home For Christmas by Rhonda Nelson
This was a pleasant enough story even if it was fairly forgettable. I liked Delphie and could empathise with her and Silas was likeable too. It was realistic which is fine but in a Christmas anthology I was looking for something a little more `happily ever after' or even a little cheesy.

All in all this was an average anthology that didn't really delight and just didn't feel festive enough or put me in the Christmas mood. Not bad but really not great. 3 stars.


219 pages

Come to Me by Linda Winstead Jones
Of all the offices in all the world...

Why did Lizzie Porter have to waltz into his? Wary loner Sam Travers always had a soft spot for Lizzie--and now she's grown up, with the curves to prove it. But to move on his old partner's daughter would be oh-so-wrong....

Except that Lizzie won't take no for an answer. She's discovered that she might have a half sister. And she's not going to let anyone stop her on her search--even Sam!

The plot thickens when someone takes a shot at Lizzie, and Sam volunteers to move in with her--just to protect her, of course. And as they puzzle out the truth, he wonders just when he'll dare move out....


In the past I have avoided Mills and Boon Intrigue because I am a complete wimp and I assumed that the books would be too scary and tense for my liking. However, I decided to give this one a go as I liked the premise of the story. I now wish I hadn't bothered but not because of the scariness (of which there was none) but because it was, overall, a bland and uninspiring read.

Our two main characters are Sam and Lizzie. I couldn't quite figure Sam out - brooding and moody one minute and then grinning and seductive the next. His reasons for not being in a relationship with Lizzie went out the window so fast it made me really question his character. Similarly, I didn't much care for Lizzie. One of Sam's main objections to their romance was the age difference between them (8 years) and as such I think that Lizzie was written as quite an immature and naïve 24 year old. This could have been fine but she babbled on, disregarded everyone else's feelings and was generally too annoying for me to care about her or them as a couple.

The intrigue wasn't too intriguing and there was little suspense or excitement with the half-sister mystery. And generally, I just didn't feel any spark with the story as a whole. There was no sexual tension or emotion between any of the characters and I was left feeling completely uninterested. If this is the level of suspense of Intrigue novels then I might give others a go but this one just isn't for me, I'm afraid. 2 stars.


224 pages

* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

The Viking's Touch by Joanna Fulford old life shattered, Wulfgar Ragnarsson lives only for the moment, cheating death and growing rich as a legendary mercenary. His heart may be frozen, but his desire burns hot for courageous widow Lady Anwyn, who needs his protection....

For the safety of her son, Anwyn will risk everything. Even giving herself to a Viking warrior who teaches her not all men are monsters--although he shows little sign that he will ever again be capable of love.


Upon reading the inscription in this book I found that it appears to be the sequel to The Viking's Defiant Bride however this book stands completely alone so you can still enjoy it even if you know nothing of the first story.

From the outset I was charmed by this book and the writing style. I'm not sure whether all the language was completely correct to the time period but it was still engaging and the interactions interesting.

Anwyn was a likeable character - strong and defiant but still true to her time period and never becoming a stereotype. Wulfgar is my favourite type of hero - someone who is strong and tough but with a sensitive core and that is crying out for the love of a good woman. The pair had great chemistry and as such I would have liked the love scenes to be a little more in depth.

The story itself kept me interested and I always wanted to carry on reading just a little bit more each time. The ending was wonderful and a good culmination of everything that had happened throughout the story.

Overall, if you like tales of Vikings and the women that tame their hearts and enjoy a good romance then I really think you will like this story so it's one I would recommend to you. 4 stars.


304 pages

Riding the Storm by Joanne Rock
Interior designer Josie Passano is married to her work. But when she dozes off on a prospective client's boat (thank you, motion sickness pills), she's startled to be awoken by a seriously hot guy...and sailing away on the ocean!

Businessman Keith Murphy (of the Cape Cod Murphys) is blown away by the sexy stranger on his brother's boat. It's like Goldilocks--only it's more fantasy than fairy tale. But their sexual chemistry is lightning-hot, and Keith will do anything to keep Josie onboard...and in bed.


This is the second of a series of books about the Murphy Men of Cape Cod after Making a Splash. Despite it being part of a set, this book stands completely alone and they books will make sense even if not read in order.

All in all this was a likeable book with characters I enjoyed even if I didn't overly identify with them. Josie and Keith had chemistry and their scenes together were nicely sexy.

My main problem was that for the majority of the story nothing really seemed to happen other than Josie and Keith being together on the boat and that made me a little less than enthusiastic in returning to the book when I put it down. It wasn't terrible and the writing is good but it just didn't capture or hold my attention to any degree. I liked the ending but even then, it was cut off without an epilogue which always annoys me.

If you're reading the series then it's not one you should necessarily skip but it's not a book I would go out of my way to recommend.


224 pages

Prince Voronov's Virgin by Lynn Raye Harris
‘Kiss me,’ he growled… ‘And make it believable. ’

Alone and scared on the dark streets of Moscow, staid, bespectacled Paige Barnes has no choice but to comply with the handsome stranger’s command… Little does Paige know she’s been rescued by Alexei Voronov – a Russian prince and her boss’s deadliest rival.

Now he has Paige unexpectedly in his sights, Alexei is prepared to play emotional Russian roulette to keep her close and discover her true motives. But in his splendid gilded palace his game of chance spins out of control and passion takes over… It’s only when she’s back home that Paige realises she’s pregnant with the Prince’s baby…


As soon as I started reading this book I began to enjoy it. Unlike other Modern books I have read, Alexei is the perfect blend of arrogance and kindness. You can understand why he acts as he does and he comes across as the perfect, brooding hero. Paige, too, is a good heroine and although shy, she isn't as insipid or weak as other heroines I have read even if I did want her to be a little bit bolder when it came to her sister. Together they have good chemistry and a relationship you can root for.

The story was interesting and kept you wanting to read and turn the pages. The storyline is quite simple but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since there isn't any annoying secondary romance to distract from the main love story.

If you're not a fan of romance novels or don't enjoy Mills and Boon novels then perhaps this isn't the book for you! However, if you do like a good romantic story that will allow you to escape for a couple of hours then I can definitely recommend this book. It's got good characters who work well together and a storyline that's interesting and keeps you wanting to turn the pages. I enjoyed it a lot. 4 stars.


192 pages

His Wayward Ward by Kate Harper
Eliza knows exactly what she wants from life and has already found the man of her dreams in the handsome Mr. Henry. But she hadn't counted on the intervention of her guardian, the wicked Lord Carlton. Carlton has come by his responsibilities by default and is determined not to let the sudden intrusion of two feckless orphans interfere with his pleasures. But then he meets Eliza and the sparks start to fly. Can Eliza persuade Lord Carlton that she knows her own heart? Especially when the man seems determined to change everything she thinks she knows about love...


I was quite looking forward to this story. Billed as a risqué Regency romance and at only 89p what could go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

I have read and enjoyed a number of stories where wards and guardians get together and never before have I read one where I felt slightly uncomfortable by the relationship between the two. Eliza is 18 but young with it. She's naive, hot tempered and brattish. In contrast, Carlton is 32 and a disillusioned rake. There was just something off about their interactions in my opinion. Perhaps it was because he continually referred to her as a child or girl that, to be truthful, gave me the creeps.

As well as that, there were a large number of typesetting errors which is just sloppy and irritating when you're trying to get into a story.

The story itself was very short but you know something's not going quite right when you feel a little bored and unenthusiastic about the story even with such limited pages. The writing wasn't terrible (hence the 2 stars rather than just 1) but it seriously lacked any emotion or depth which made it doubly hard to feel anything for the characters.

My last complaint has to be about the term 'risqué' romance because it wasn't in the least sexy or sensual. Perhaps that harks back to the lack of emotion in the text but I still think it's terribly misleading and makes the story even more of a disappointment.

Overall, even at only 89p I really can't recommend this story and would suggest you avoid.


49 pages

By Invitation Only by Various Authors
Texas Tycoon J. D. Maynard Jr. and famous actress Holly Addison are getting married on exotic Rapture Island. And you're invited!

Exclusively Yours by Lori Wilde
In order to scoop the wedding story, journalist Olivia Carmichael feigns an engagement with infuriating writer Nick Greer. But getting-under-his-skin turns into getting-under-the-sheets....

Private Party by Wendy Etherington
Non-hired caterer Tara Lindsey crashes the wedding to get a taste of the food, but drop-dead-sexy security chief Wade Cooper catches her in the act! Fortunately, Tara is about to be the guest of honor at a much more exclusive party...for two.

Secret Encounter by Jillian Burns
Though a disguise gets Dr. Peyton Monahan into the celebration, it doesn't help her find the elusive philanthropist she's seeking to fund her latest research project. But she does find one hot gorgeous guy. Too bad Quinn Smith's hiding a few things of his own.... 


A wedding between famous actress Holly Addison and Texas Tycoon J.D. Maynard on exotic Rapture Island is the celebrity event of the season. Everyone wants an invitation which is the basis for these three short stories.

Exclusively Yours by Lori Wilde
This was a fun story with great characters. I was able to suspend belief and just enjoy the story although the editing mistakes were quite irritating. Overall a good story that I enjoyed reading!


Private Party by Wendy Etherington
For being a short story this was surprisingly sweet and you really felt the relationship build. I liked the characters and was happy for them together as a pair.


Secret Encounter by Jillian Burns
I liked this story but if I'm honest it didn't completely entertain me. I couldn't understand why Peyton was so angry at Quinn's "deception" and their whole relationship was a little unbelievable. But I did still enjoy the story and the characters were likeable enough.

Overall this is a good collection of short stories all centred around a theme but without much connection other than that. They are short, fun and sexy and worth a read if you enjoy Blaze romances. 4 stars.


218 pages

Making a Splash by Joanne Rock
Jack Murphy's Law: When things go wrong, get it on...

Alicia LeBlanc is ready for a new life. Tonight, she'll be on a catamaran and on her way to running a B and B in Maine. But when the catamaran reaches open sea, she thinks she must be dreaming--because Jack Murphy has just slipped into her bed, and is picking up where he left off five years ago...

It was an honest mistake, really. Navy Lieutenant Jack Murphy simply got into the wrong bed. Now that they're on the open water, Jack and Alicia have endless opportunities to explore the carnal side of seafaring...and work out all that unresolved sexual tension, completely and thoroughly! But once they hit land, will their hot, steamy chemistry dry up?


I've always enjoyed a 'second chance at love' story and I was excited by the premise of this one as the pair would be stranded together and have to deal with each other and their feelings. Unfortunately, the book just didn't live up to my expectations.

Alicia was a likeable enough character but, to tell the truth, she came across as a little bland. Jack, surprisingly, didn't do much for me either. I think the problem was that Jack's initial reasons for dumping Alicia and joining the Navy seemed a little flimsy and weak. After that, I couldn't help but feel that every complaint that Alicia had about him (being too controlling etc) was actually true. And since Jack had thought Alicia too young previously, I think she was written as quite bland to ensure she didn't come across as too immature.

Another surprising complaint about the book was that there was too much sex! Being a Blaze book you're obviously going to get a hot and sexy read and that's what I want but it just got a little boring in this particular book. It was as if there wasn't enough plot so a sex scene was thrown in to try and make it more interesting.

I just couldn't get into this book, unfortunately. I kept picking it up and planning to read it but I could only manage a few pages each time before I got bored. So it's not one I would recommend and only 2 stars from me.


224 pages

3 Brides for 3 Bad Boys by Lucy Monroe
After tragedy struck six years ago, Rand buried what was left of his heart - until Phoebe Garrison comes along with an enticing deal: a coveted deed his company needs in exchange for a week in her bed. Trouble is a week is not enough to indulge his fantasies with this amazing woman...

To fulfill his father's generous will, Carter needs a wife. For half-a-million dollars, Daisy Jackson says "I do." But after a wedding night of non stop, sheet-soaking consummation, Carter wants Daisy to have, to hold, and to everything else...

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? Unless you wake up in bed with a showgirl named Fayre - aka your new wife. How could the stable, workaholic Colton gamble on such an unpredictable force of nature? Still, he has to admit, all bets (and clothes) are off when playing with Fayre...


This is a set of three stories about three brothers and the women that finally manage to tame them.

Rand Alexander always has a gorgeous woman on his arm but since his wife died 6 years ago, he's never again given away his heart. Innocent Phoebe Garrison has always felt like the unnoticed wallflower on the edge of Rand's life but now she has a plan - the deed for the property his company needs in exchange for a week in her bed.

This was an okay story but Rand never really came out of his shell and remained from beginning to end a little bit of an enigma. I also didn't really like the fact that Phoebe was the ex-fiancée of Rand's brother - it just made her seem a little fickle.


Carter Sloane needs a bride quickly to ensure he fulfils the terms of his late father's will and he has just the girl in mind. Daisy Jackson works for his company and has always had a little crush on her boss but she is more than stunned when suddenly he's proposing marriage. But does he want a bride of convenience or a wife in truth?

This was a sweet little story and would have worked well if the author hadn't tried to convince the readers that this was rational behaviour and something that would happen in everyday life. That, for me, meant I couldn't really enjoy it for a fun little escape from reality that it should have been.


When straight-laced Colton Denning wakes up in Vegas next to a showgirl after a scorching night of passion he's shocked and high tails it out of town. When the lovely lady in question, Fayre Cranston, turns up in Mexico where he's working, Colton is quite keen to pick up where they left off. Until he discovers that she's his wife.

Again, a fairly standard story that suffers largely due to its short length. It's not hugely believable and for some reason I had huge issues with the name 'Fayre' although both she and Colton were reasonable enough characters if nothing overly exceptional.

Overall, if you have this book then it's worth a read but certainly not one that I would recommend you rush out and buy. As with many short stories, these suffer a lack of character development and believability due to the story length. They are readable, a little sexy and inoffensive. 3 stars.


352 pages

Fool for Love by Eloisa James
The Woman
Lady Henrietta Maclellan longs for the romantic swirl of a London season. But as a rusticating country maiden, she has always kept her sensuous nature firmly under wraps -- until she meets Simon Darby. Simon makes her want to whisper promises late at night, exchange kisses on a balcony, receive illicit love notes. So Henrietta lets her imagination soar and writes...

The Letter
A very steamy love letter that becomes shockingly public. Everyone supposes that he has written it to her, but the truth hardly matters in the face of the scandal to come if they don't marry at once. But nothing has quite prepared Henrietta for the pure sensuality of...

The Man
Simon has vowed he will never turn himself into a fool over a woman. So, while debutantes swoon as he disdainfully strides past the lovely ladies of the ton, he ignores them all...until Henrietta. Could it be possible that he has been the foolish one all along?


This had all the elements for the perfect story: an arrogant lord who is brought down by the love of a woman who is so far from what he expected yet perfect for him in every way. I so wanted to love this book but it really missed the mark for me.

I liked the premise of the story and at first I liked and was rooting for both Henrietta and Simon as they seemed to play off each other well. However it wasn't long before my liking for both Simon and Henrietta took a turn for the worse. Simon was described as an elegantly perfect man who wore an astonishingly large amount of lace over his clothing including his red velvet suits. Despite the reason for the lace being explained away, the image of a man, any man, in a red velvet suit does not tend to make me giddy with lust! I could also understand Henrietta and was sympathetic to her plight however when she schemed to trap Simon into marriage simply to suit her selfish wants I really questioned her as leading lady material.

As well as the main story there was the story of Esme and her baby which, despite taking up a fair number of pages, was never resolved by the end of the book. There was also mutterings of Simon's best friends Rees and his estranged wife and talk of a married Duchess who seemed to have been previously engaged to one of the other characters within the book. I now realise that this book is part of a series after Duchess in Love and before A Wild Pursuit and Your Wicked Ways although if I'm honest this book did little to make me want to read the rest.

Finally, the number of modern Americanisms in this book was truly appalling - babies 'spitting up' and people telling others to 'give over' were just two of the more memorable that had me shaking my head in annoyance. Then you have to add in the surprisingly frequent amount of spelling and grammar mistakes littered throughout the text as well as some baffling instances of repeated words.

I've read and very much enjoyed Eloisa James before but I would only recommend this book to avid fans or those reading The Duchess Quartet in order. It's not truly terrible but it just didn't grab or hold my attention to any degree. 3 stars.


369 pages

Holy shit - these covers are hideous!

Click to see other books by Eloisa James

The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell's never wise to blackmail a highwayman.

Lady Corinne, rebellious daughter of the duke of Banfield, refuses to marry Lord Freddie Sherwin. Yes, he's the catch of the Season and the man her father chose for her. He's also the most despicable male of her acquaintance. With her wedding only weeks away, she flees and finds herself a prisoner of the notorious Thorn!

Who says the devil isn't a woman?

The rich and powerful tremble at the highwayman's name, while England's villagers rejoice in his bold exploits. His identity is a secret; his life a mystery until Lady Corinne tumbles into his arms. If the Thorn wants her silence, he must hide her until her wedding day passes. It's a devil's bargain and one that can only lead to a hangman's noose.

Corinne believes it the perfect plan until her highwayman reveals a passionate lover's heart, and she realizes that in the seduction of scandal, she may have found the hero she's been waiting for her whole life.


This is the fifth book in Maxwell's Scandals and Seductions series after A Seduction at Christmas, The Earl Claims His Wife, The Marriage Ring and His Christmas Pleasure. Corinne briefly featured in the last book but apart from that the books stand very much alone and in this one at least, there are no appearances by the main characters from previous books.

From start to finish I really loved this book. It is full of intrigue and romance all the while maintaining the lightness that put me in mind of The Scarlet Pimpernel. However, the real highlight of the book for me had to be Thorn. When we first are introduced to him I was intrigued as to how he would fare as a romantic lead but he turns out to be a brooding, tortured and lonely man who desperately needs the love of a good woman. I liked Corinne too and together the pair had good chemistry. The writing was sharp and this is the kind of story you're desperate to pick up again if you can manage to put it down in the first place.

My one negative about the book was the sheer number of typos. It drove me mad to see duplicated words, spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes on top of the smattering of Americanisms dotted throughout the book. I realise that this isn't necessarily the fault of the author so it's a shame that it affected my feelings about a book whose characters and storyline I otherwise very much enjoyed.

Having said that, if you like regency romances that you can get lost in and really root for the characters then I would very much recommend this book to you despite its faults. 4 stars.


389 pages

Scandals and Seductions series:

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