The Widow's Auction by Sabrina Jeffries
Though Isobel Lamberton, the widowed Lady Kingsley, is confounded by her dealings with the obstinate Justin Antony, Lord Warbrooke, his commanding presence sparks something deep within her. But such romantic thoughts are for naught. For Justin’s political aspirations always come first. And Isobel’s own secret past could damage both of them permanently.

So when Isobel’s friend talks her into participating in a scandalous auction of masked widows at a gentleman’s club, she reluctantly agrees...and soon begins to relish being an object of desire. But none desire her more than Justin, who recognizes the outspoken Isobel in disguise and sets out to teach her a lesson worth far more than money...


This novella is a re-release of a story that appeared in an anthology called Fantasy first released in 2002. I bought that book back in the day - wow, was that really nearly 15 years ago? - only for Jeffries’ story so it’s nice to have an opportunity to purchase it now as an individual novella.

Almost from the first word this story just pulls you in. There’s no filler, twaddle or tedious scene setting - you’re just in it, experiencing it and immediately learning about and loving the characters. The scene sets itself. As for time periods, although it’s not specifically stated, the mention of Lord Grenville as PM and Charles Fox as Foreign Secretary dates the story to sometime in 1806.

But, with any romance, what matters most is the characters. Despite starting off quite hoity-toity, Isobel quickly becomes a character you feel for and root for. You understand her reasons for doing things, and the reasons why she has doubts over the way things often turn out. She’s very well written and feels as real as you or me. As for Justin - he again is very real - his motives clouded by his very real list for Isobel and changing as his feelings develop.

Normally a short story of this length (about 84 pages) leaves you unsatisfied and unfulfilled. With this tale, of course you want more of the characters, chemistry and love, but you’re left with that happy, fully satiated feeling like all is right with the world!

And speaking of satiated, the story has a nice amount of heat and a love story that gives you that delightful jump in your stomach. Isobel and Justin are the perfect match and even though I’ve read this story before, the feeling doesn’t leave you with repeated readings. My girl crush on Ms. Jeffries and her amazing work - past and present - continues. She really is the queen of historical romance.


Her Sexy Vegas Cowboy by Ali Olson in a Stetson…

For most women, going to a friend's bachelorette party in Vegas is the ultimate gals' weekend. Jessica Gainey is not most women. An introverted worrywart, Sunset Strip is not her idea of a good time. But, it's rodeo weekend, and the town is crawling with seriously hot cowboys…none more wickedly sexy than Aaron Weathers.

He's Texas. She's New York. Still, Jessica can't stop fantasizing about that ripped cowboy bod. So for one weekend, she throws caution to the wind to be a wild and daring version of herself before returning to a life where men can't be trusted and love is a four-letter word. Except that in Vegas, even the greatest odds can have unbelievable—and thoroughly satisfying—payouts!


This is the first book by Ali Olson and, I believe, her debut for the Blaze line.

The story is a little bit of a twist on the usual Vegas storyline which is really down to the characters. We’ve got Aaron - the cowboy in town for the rodeo, and Jessica - an introvert who is like a fish out of water in the sin city.

Our heroine is a well written and well rounded character. Before I started reading I was intrigued how she was going to be portrayed. Was it really possible to write about an introverted worrywart without making her sound like a moany bore? Yes, as it turns out. I liked the way that Olson handled Jessica’s character and made her true to herself without making her into a caricature. As a card carrying introvert - I approve! Not your usual Blaze heroine but fun to read about every now and then.

It was Aaron that I had more of a problem with. He comes to the rodeo every year to enjoy the rodeo and engage in casual sex with women. It seemed like one woman was more prominent in his liaisons but it did appear that he was something of a cad. Sure, it happens, but I’m not really keen on men (or women) who are supposed to be the hero of the novel being so free with their, well, affections or sleeping around. But if that wasn’t bad enough - when Aaron and Jessica meet for the second time, Aaron is staring at the boobs of two women who are helping him stand. Fear not though - he’s only looking at them and wondering what Jessica’s boobs look like. Right then.

Oh, he’s not that bad but as a result of my slight indifference to him, the book felt a little tepid. The sex scenes were fun and the interactions between Aaron and Jessica were likeable but the book never really kicked into high gear to make me love it. The additional extra of Jessica’s father’s illness, and eventual demise, was tacked on at the end just to tie up loose ends and remove the  barrier to the happily ever after. Or at least that’s what it felt like. It seemed a strange angle to take in a Blaze novel.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I liked Olson’s writing style. It’s not a book to write home about and not one that I would pick up and read again, but if it’s sitting on your shelf or in your kindle then it’s worth a couple of hours of your time. 3 stars.

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