Excerpt: AMID THE WINTER SNOW by Grace Draven, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter, and Jeffe Kennedy

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As the snows fall and hearths burn, four stories of Midwinter beginnings prove that love can fight its way through the chillest night…

 THE DARKEST MIDNIGHT, by Grace Draven: The mark Jahna Ulfrida was born with has made her a target of the cruel and idle all her life. During the long, crowded festivities of Deyalda, there’s nowhere to escape. Until a handsome stranger promises to teach her to save herself…

THE CHOSEN, by Thea Harrison: In her visions, Lily sees two men fighting for her tiny country’s allegiance: the wolf and the tiger, each deadly, each cunning. One will bring Ys chaos and death, one a gentler path—but she’s destined to love whichever she chooses. The midwinter Masque is upon them, and the wolf is at her door…

THE STORM, by Elizabeth Hunter: When her soul mate died in a massacre of the half-angelic Irin people, Renata thought she’d never feel happiness again. She’s retreated to the snowy Dolomites to remember her hurts—until determined, irrepressible Maxim arrives to insist on joy, too. And before she can throw him out, they discover a secret the Irin have to know…

THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN, by Jeffe Kennedy: As a blizzard threatens their mountain keep, the new Queen Amelia of the Twelve Kingdoms and her unofficial consort Ash face their own storm. Ash knows a scarred, jumpy ex-convict isn’t the companion his queen needs. But when a surprise attack confines them together in their isolated sanctuary, the feast of midwinter might tempt even Ash into childlike hope…

Excerpt from The Snows of Windroven by Jeffe Kennedy:

“If there is some fire-breathing dragon beneath Windroven, maybe we won’t need much wood for the fireplaces—natural heat!” Ami cast me a brilliant smile from the back of her horse. Probably hoping I’d be so dazzled by her playfulness, the mischief of her joke, that I wouldn’t notice she was bent on cozening me into being happy about going to Windroven. I’d agreed—I had no choice, as there would be no winning this argument with her—but I wouldn’t give in and let her charm me. This was a bad idea, and we all knew it.

I glanced back at the men-at-arms following in our compact procession, though Lieutenant Graves could no more change Ami’s mind than I could. Even the twins, with terrible timing, were docile for once, providing no distraction from Ami’s determined flirtation. I’d argued for a carriage for Ami and the toddlers to ride in for the journey from Castle Avonlidgh to Windroven, but Ami had dug in her heels. On that and everything else.

She might be my lover, but as the newly crowned Queen of Avonlidgh, she outranked me.

Stella rode in front of her mother in the saddle, the two of them wrapped in matching furred cloaks against the winter’s chill—though the little girl kept pushing the hood back impatiently—and Astar rode in front of me, doing his best to drive my horse crazy by pulling at his mane by the fistful. During my time in Annfwn, the magic-filled homeland of my late father, who’d been full Tala, I’d learned a little mind-magic. As a part-blood I wasn’t capable of much, but I had enough ability—I was strongest with animals—to keep a thread of soothing control on the horse’s mind, despite Astar’s worst efforts.

If only my internal beast could be so easily calmed. And if only I were better at steeling myself against Ami’s gift for persuasion. In truth, she did dazzle me—simply by existing—much as I worked to toughen my hide against her charms. When she put real effort into it, I was a lost man. Redundant, as I was a lost man regardless.

Lost and broken beyond repair, even before Ami danced her way from my fantasies into passionate reality.

The old tales warn of the dangers of a man obtaining his heart’s desire, how his fantasy should never come true lest he find his tragic fate in it. I’d thought I’d been careful, that I’d reminded myself enough times that Ami could never truly be mine, not for more than a brief while. But clearly my heart hadn’t absorbed the lesson of those cautionary tales.

The story of my fucked-up life—I seemed to be determined to take the hardest road despite all warnings and good sense, every time.

“Glorianna willing,” Ami continued doggedly, now pursing her rose-petal lips with sensuous intent, and sidling her steed closer to mine, “a dragon resident could melt all the snows and we’d have no winter at all! Wouldn’t that be lovely?”

I resolutely looked away from her and her fierce beauty. Ami possesses Tala blood, too, though the royal kind, and though she can’t shapeshift or perform sorcery, her magic manifests in her inhuman loveliness. She burns brighter than the sun, and if I allowed myself to fall into admiring her, my hapless brain tended to be seared of all rational thought.

“Good!” Ami chirped, an edge beneath the music. “I take it from your non-response that you’re in total agreement with my plan. I’m so glad to hear it.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Three curse it, now she’d cornered me. I couldn’t leave it there.

“Going to Windroven is a terrible idea and you know it,” I replied, studying the road ahead. We’d had fair travel thus far, but with all the strange monsters appearing around the Thirteen Kingdoms, it paid to keep alert. “Adequate firewood and snowfall will be the least of our worries.”

She waved that off with a flick of her gloved fingers. “You only say that because you’ve never witnessed a Mornai storm at Windroven. They’re spectacular. They blow in off the ocean, full of sea moisture. When the cold winds of the Northern Wastes hit them, the clouds turn heavy-bellied as a nine-months-pregnant woman—and just like that poor woman, they dump out snow in a torrent of afterbirth, deeper than a man can stand.”

I swallowed the laugh that wanted to rise and gave her a stern look. She wasn’t going to draw me out that way. “That’s disgusting—and crude.”

She blinked at me in contrived innocence, that practiced flutter of rose-gold lashes over the deep twilight blue of eyes the poets never seemed to tire of describing. “This from the man who taught me every crude word I know.”

I sighed for the truth of that. “I’m well aware that I created a monster. But you’re not distracting me. There’s no reason we couldn’t have stayed at Castle Avonlidgh, spent the Feast of Moranu there. The whole winter, even.”

“Ugh. I hate that place. I’m glad to be free of its gloomy walls. I handled the governmental minutiae and now court is on hiatus. Everyone is going home to spend the Feast of Moranu with their families and that’s what I want, too. Andi is in Annfwn and Ursula is still off in the Nahanaun Islands, helping Dafne free her own dragon and whatever else all those letters are so carefully not saying. I might as well be in my own home.”

“Castle Avonlidgh is as much your home now as Windroven.”

“That’s just not true.” Ami’s voice had gone serious, steel in it that so belied her frivolous exterior. “I don’t expect you to understand, but from the first time Hugh brought me to Windroven, I felt at home there. He would have wanted the twins to winter at Windroven. It’s their family’s ancestral home and if all had been as it should, they would have spent their infancy there, taken their first steps on her stones, as all Avonlidgh’s heirs have.” Ami turned her smile on Stella, stroking the toddler’s wild, dark curls. “Hugh might be gone, but I owe it to his memory to raise his children as he would have, had he lived.”

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Spotlight and Sweepstakes: The Desires of a Duke: Historical Romance Collection by Darcy Burke, Grace Callaway, Lila DiPasqua, Shana Galen, Caroline Linden, Erica Monroe, Christina McKnight, Erica Ridley

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Enjoy eight historical romances from bestselling authors, featuring dashing, roguish dukes who are willing to risk it all to get the lady their heart desires. When these powerful, bold men take a chance on love, nothing can stop them.

THE FORBIDDEN DUKE by Darcy Burke The Forbidden Duke helps ruined Eleanor find a second chance for happiness. What will she say when she learns of the role he played in her downfall?

THE DUKE WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Grace Callaway A spinster and rake join forces to catch a murderer. Wills clash and passion flares; will they risk all for love—before it’s too late? 

THE DUKE’S MATCH GIRL by Lila DiPasqua The only woman Leo, Duke of Mont-Marly, has ever yearned for is the adorably unconventional beauty who got away. Suzanne creates and selling matchsticks, elixirs for the ill…and is still so damned alluring. Leo is determined to give her a Christmas beyond her wildest imagination… WAITING FOR A

DUKE LIKE YOU by Shana Galen Pursued by assassins, Princess Vivienne of Glynaven escapes to England. The Duke of Wyndover aids her, but is he the man she’s been waiting for?

WHEN I MET MY DUCHESS by Caroline Linden The Duke of Wessex realizes he’s about to marry the wrong woman when he meets his bride’s sister…and the wedding may become a scandal.

I SPY A DUKE by Erica Monroe A governess entering into a marriage of convenience with a duke gets more than she bargained for, as he’s also a spy for the crown.

THE MISFORTUNE OF LADY LUCIANNA by Christina McKnight The Duke of Montrose has only one choice: find a wealthy heiress to wed. When his quest brings him to Lady Lucianna, he can’t deny that he wants her for more than just her dowry.

THE DUKE’S ACCIDENTAL WIFE by Erica Ridley The unflappable Duke of Ravenwood meets his match in this rollicking New York Times best-seller!

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About the author and where to find her:

christina-photoChristina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.  Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

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Spotlight: Where I Found You (Book #1: Sea Series) by Heidi R. Kling

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WhereIFoundYou_1600After her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn’t anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be…and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

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About the author and where to find her:

heidi-r-kling-199x300Heidi R. Kling writes about normal girls in fantastic situations. PAINT MY BODY RED, a romantic thriller about a girl fleeing secrets from home launches November 2 with EntangledTeen, followed by several more novels on various Entangled imprints. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the New School, but has been writing books, plays and screenplays since she could practically hold a pencil.

Her first novel, SEA (Putnam), was a Gateway Readers Award Finalist & Northern California Book of the Year nominee, was a Summer 2010 Indie Next Pick and a Goodreads “Mover and Shaker”.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Little Secrets: His Pregnant Secretary (Book #4: The McNeill Magnates Series) by Joanne Rock

 

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HisPregnantSecretaryThe boss’s baby bargain…
Becoming a father was never part of Jager McNeill’s plan, until the heat between him and his luscious assistant turned into searing passion. Now Delia Rickard is carrying his baby. After growing up without a father, Jager’s determined to be there for his child. And marriage would ensure that. But despite their chemistry, Delia’s unwilling to marry for anything less than love.
A trip with Jager to Manhattan could change all that. For in this enchanting city ablaze with Christmas lights, romance begins to blossom. And a kiss under the mistletoe just might turn into lasting love.

Excerpt from Little Secrets: His Pregnant Secretary (Book #4: The McNeill Magnates Series):

“Are you okay, Delia?” The voice in her ear was familiar; she’d heard it nearly every day for the past year, even if she hadn’t seen the man in person for weeks on end.

Her boss. Jager McNeill.

“Fine,” she spluttered, the word ending in a cough.

Of course, it was foolish to be embarrassed since she had dived in the water to save a child. And yet, it still felt terribly awkward to be caught with her dress up around her waist today of all days when she’d wanted to make the perfect professional impression.

Also, she’d scratched him.

Coughed all over him.

If she hadn’t had a crush on him once upon a time, maybe she wouldn’t be tingling from head to toe right now in spite of everything. But she feared if she tried to swim away from him to escape all the feelings, she just might drown. She was surprised to notice how far she’d drifted from the dock in her search. Behind them, she noticed the transport skiff that Cyril had sent out to meet Jager’s seaplane. Jager must have been arriving at the same time she’d jumped into the water.

“Hold onto my shoulders,” he told her, shifting their positions in the water so he faced her. “I’ll tow you to the dock.”

Nose to nose with him, Delia stared up into his steel-blue eyes. She thought she’d gotten used to his good looks in the past two years that they’d known each other. His dark hair and sharp, shadowed jaw made for enticing contrasts to those incredibly blue eyes. His hair had grown longer in the past months, as if barber visits were the last thing on his mind. But the way the damp strands curled along the strong column of his neck only added to the appeal.

This close, she had the benefit of sensing the wealth of muscle in his athletic body where he held her. Feeling the flush of heat course through her, she ducked deeper into the cold water to hide her reaction to him.

“I can make it.” Shaking her head, she scattered droplets from her wet hair. “I just needed to catch my breath.”

She attempted to paddle away, but Jager only gripped her tighter.

Oh. My.

Feeling the warmth of his chest through their clingy clothes roused an ache she should not be feeling for her boss. Adding to the problem, the strapless bra she’d been wearing had shifted lower on her rib cage where it did absolutely no good.

“Humor me,” he ordered her, his voice as controlled as his movements. “You’re exhausted and dry land is farther away than it looks.” He took one of her hands and placed it on his right shoulder. Then, turning away from her, he very deliberately set her other hand on his left shoulder.

He began to swim toward the dock with measured strokes, towing her along behind him. Water lapped over them in light waves. She felt every ripple of his muscles under her palms as the light waves swished over them. She debated fishing one hand down her dress to haul up her bra before they reached land, but decided the potential scolding from Jager if she let go of him wasn’t worth it. So she clung to him and gritted her teeth against the friction of her pebbled breasts rubbing against his back. By now he had to be as keenly aware of her as she was of him.

The only positive of this awkward reunion?

Any anxiety she had about talking business with him was utterly eclipsed by physical awareness. So when they reached land, she clamped onto the dock, evenly met his blue gaze and said, “I definitely deserve a raise.”

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About the author and where to find her:

Author_Joanne_RockFour-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: The Lord Meets His Lady (Book #3: Midnight Meetings Series) by Gina Conkle

 

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The Lord Meets His LadyLord Marcus Bowles has stained his family’s reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn’t one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.

One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner’s handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won’t hurt…

Excerpt from The Lord Meets His Lady (Book #3: Midnight Meetings Series):  

“Have you kissed her yet?” Samuel asked.

Marcus and Samuel rode along the pasture’s perimeter with an eye to the cottage. Miss Turner’s vibrant red cloak stood out against mellow sandstone. Shovel in hand, she jabbed the earth with determined thrusts. The weeds didn’t stand a chance.

“I assume we’re speaking of my housekeeper.” Marcus halted Khan. “A hardworking, respectable woman of excellent character. She’s done a fine job with Pallinsburn. I wouldn’t besmirch her honor with talk like that nor should you.”

Samuel rode on, his shoulders bouncing with laughter. “And every night she ascends to heaven on angel’s wings.”

If his friend saw right through him, how soon before others did?

“Came on strong, did I?”

Samuel pinched a small space between his thumb and forefinger. “A little.”

He urged his horse forward. “I don’t want her reputation damaged.”

“Should’ve thought about that before making her your housekeeper. People will talk.”

Marcus searched Miss Turner out again, a gust boxing his ears like some admonishing aunt.

Was it so wrong to want to help a woman in need?

His housekeeper cleared the last weedy invaders off his front step. Her serious exterior belied deep-seated passion, evidenced in the way she dove into every task. The enthusiasm fascinated him.

And yes, he admired her other parts.

“What will people talk about? Her youth?” he retorted. “Does a woman have to be long in the tooth to hold a decent position?”

“No, but it’d help if you were toothless. Or married.” Samuel stared ahead, the wind assaulting his queue. “We don’t set the rules, but we both know them.”

“You hired her, and you’re not a married man.”

Samuel’s gaze pinned him. “Nor do I have your unsavory reputation.”

“I’d wager my housekeeper has more honor, more determination in her little finger than any woman of my acquaintance,” he said fiercely. “Who I am should have no bearing on her.”

“Me thinks you doth protest too much…or whatever that drivel is. A clear sign you have it bad for her, but haven’t touched her. Yet.”

Why did Samuel hunt for sordid details? Likely he’d seen through Miss Turner with her low-cut bodices and saucy skirts. Didn’t matter. She worked hard. He didn’t care if she fit the proper housekeeper stamp or not.

He ought to buy a dull grey gown for her, if only to aid her reputation. Smiling against his collar, he guessed she wouldn’t wear it. Nor should she have to. One look at his red-cloaked gardener and he was certain of one thing: he’d do his anything to keep his friend, or any man, on the straight and narrow when it came to Miss Turner. She deserved a fresh start.

His housekeeper had nabbed a piece of his heart.

But the afternoon ride wasn’t meant to discuss his housekeeper’s allure. Samuel pulled his hat low, failing to look him in the eye.

“Quoting Shakespeare,” Marcus said. “You must be reading with Adam again.”

Copyright © 2017 The Lord Meets His Lady by Gina Conkle

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Other Books in the Series:

Meet the Earl at Midnight (Book #1):  It’s going to take a Beast to tame this Beauty: Enigma Earl. The Phantom of London. That’s what the gossip pages call Lord Edward Greenwich, a mysterious nobleman who doesn’t show his face in London Society. With a reputation like that, no wonder Lydia Montgomery is horrified to be dragged from bed and packed off to live with him to save her mother from penury.

While Lydia has received all of the training a lady should endure, she’s decidedly un-ladylike. She despises her corset and isn’t interested in marriage. She’d prefer to remain unmarried and spend her time improving her art. But if she wants a chance at happiness, she’ll have to set aside her fear of the earl and discover the man hiding behind the beast.

Will Edward and Lydia’s greatest discovery be each other before time runs out?

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The Lady Meets Her Match (Book #2): Locating Her Is Only Half The Battle…: Cyrus Ryland didn’t become England’s wealthiest bachelor by being a pushover, but the mysterious beauty he discovers sneaking around at his grand ball enflames his curiosity. When the clock chimes midnight, and she’s nowhere to be found, Cyrus vows to scour all of London to uncover who she is. Little does he know that not only does Claire Mayhew not want to be found, but she wants nothing to do with him at all…

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Meet the Rogue at Midnight (Book #3): A Saved Scoundrel…: Jonas Bacon Braithwaite wants to make peace with his grandfather before departing England. Once Nottinghamshire’s favorite trouble-maker, he’s since become an upstanding man of honor. But, the lushly curved thief hiding in his bedchamber makes him think twice about one last conquest.

A Stubborn Siren…

Livvy Halsey bristles at life’s rules. Always has. Sneaking into the Braithwaite house to reclaim a treasured family heirloom is one way she upends the conventional life that awaits her. Duty demands she marry. But what harm is there in having a little fun with her childhood friend before the Twelfth Night ends?

And Twilight Temptation…

Stolen kisses fan hot flames. Surprising passion intertwines with friendship…but will it be enough to last forever?

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About the author and where to find her:

Gina Conkle 1 (1)Gina Conkle writes lush Viking romance and sensual Georgian romance. Her books always offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook.

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Review: The Girl in the Picture by Kerry Barrett

 

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Two women. One house. Centuries of secrets.

East Sussex Coast, 1855: Violet Hargreaves is the lonely daughter of a widowed industrialist, and an aspiring Pre-Raphaelite painter. One day, the naïve eighteen-year-old meets Edwin; a mysterious and handsome man on the beach, who promises her a world beyond the small costal village she’s trapped in. But after ignoring warning about Edwin, a chain of terrible events begins to unfold for Violet…
East Sussex Coast, 2016: For thriller-writer Ella Daniels, the house on the cliff is the perfect place to overcome writer’s block, where she decides to move with her small family. But there’s a strange atmosphere that settles once they move in – and rumours of historical murders next door begin to emerge. One night, Ella uncovers a portrait of a beautiful young girl named Violet Hargreaves, who went missing at the same time as the horrific crimes, and Ella becomes determined to find out what happened there 160 years ago. And in trying to lay Violet’s ghost to rest, Ella must face ghosts of her own…

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Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 5/5 stars

Ella Daniels has never been a risk taker.  In fact, Ella Daniels has always chosen the safe route, the path which virtually ensures safety.  That is, until she sees the Cliff House and makes the decision to pack her bags and her family, leave her safe job and London, to become a full-time writer.  Little does she know, her first ever risk is going to lead her straight into a 150-year-old mystery and the book of a lifetime.

Ella’s Cliff House is well-known and something of a local legend in her new small town.  Some 150 years ago, a young woman, Violet Hargreaves went missing the same night her family’s gardener and the next-door neighbor were brutally killed.  As a part-time, now full-time mystery writer, Ella just can’t help but be intrigued by the mystery surrounding her new home and Violet Hargreaves.  With little actual information, one very pregnant police office, and a whole lot of determination, Ella sets out to solve the mystery of Violet Hargreaves. 

Ella’s task isn’t an easy one as the facts she uncovers seem to only add more questions to her list of unanswered questions.  What she knows, what is fact is that Violet Hargreaves was an artist of considerable talent and she lived in a time when women were largely restricted from such activities.  In a dusty old cupboard in her attic, Ella has discovered a few of Violet’s works including a self-portrait and studies for a larger work.  The studies create a great deal of excitement as they are, by and large sketches of an attractive and only partially clad man.  Such a thing 150 years ago would have proven to be quite the scandal and as Ella digs deeper she discovers not only the identity of the man, but also his nefarious role in Violet’s life. 

The Bottom Line:  Yeah, I dove into this book head first and didn’t come up for air until I finished it!  What a great past meets present, alternating between past and present chapters, historical fiction read!  This one has a bit of everything including art and art history, an old unsolved mystery, scandal, and true redemption in the end.  Ella is by far my favorite character and it is her strength and determination (along with one fierce tantrum from her young son) that brings Violet Hargreaves back into the light and the justice she deserves.  As Ella uncovers Violet’s story, she evolves as both a person and a character and it is lovely to watch her come out of her self-imposed shell.  In all, I absolutely loved this book and encourage you to pick this one up if you’re looking for a mixed bag of goodness.

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Review: Grigori (Book #1: Brothers of Ash and Fire Series) by Lauren Smith

 

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He’s one of the last of a powerful but vanishing bloodline …
Grigori Barinov is the eldest in an ancient line of dragon shifters and the guardian of his family’s lands and fortune. Sworn to protect their history and magic, he won’t rest until he neutralizes any threat to their existence. When he discovers an ancient manuscript that exposes his family and their dragon lineage has fallen into a mortal woman’s hands, he knows he must get the book back by any means necessary. If that means seducing a nosy American woman with an intoxicating scent, he is more than willing to carry her off to his palatial home deep in the heart of Russia.

She’s the one woman who could expose him to the world…
Madelyn Haynes has never fit in. As an adopted child she grew up in a loving home but never felt as though she belonged. Plagued by mysterious dreams she’s had of a silver scaled beast ever since she was a little girl, she is convinced dragons are real. While in Russia working on her PhD in mythology in order to escape the ridicule from fellow professors, she unexpectedly crosses paths with the sexy and dominating Grigori, and after just one night with the man whose eyes seem to burn, she starts to change inside. Isolated in the Russian wilderness Grigori calls home, Madelyn can’t help but fall under his sensual spell, yet something deep inside her calls out that she can’t trust him. She has to show the world dragons are real to salvage academic reputation, even if it means costing her the heart of the dragon she’s falling in love with.

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Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

 

I am a sucker for a dragon book and Grigori certainly did deliver for me 😊

Madelyn Haynes has always felt different, separated from those around her, but she has no idea why.  Her intense interest in dragons and proving their existence has led her to a desperate situation with her job and to Russia in a last-ditch effort to prove her wild theories.  Little does Madelyn know, not only will she be able to definitively prove her theories, but she’ll also meet the love of many lifetimes.

Grigori is a man who has spent many lifetimes protecting his family, their secret, and their land.  As a shape-shifting dragon, and one of the last of his family’s line, it is imperative no one find out about Grigori and his brothers.  With only one slip about a century ago, Grigori and his brothers have done a fine job hiding who they are from the world at-large.  Unfortunately, that one slip is now in the hands of the ultra-inquisitive Madelyn Haynes and Grigori has some serious damage control to do!  The best way to control the potential damage?  Kidnap the girl causing the problems 😊

While Grigori would normally put the mind-whammy on a human and be done with it, Madelyn seems to be somewhat immune to his abilities.  Additionally, Madelyn stirs long forgotten feelings in Grigori that tend to indicate having found one’s life mate.  Trouble is, Madelyn is human and mating for a lifetime with a human when you’re immortal never goes well.  Finally, in the midst of everything else, an ancient enemy has chosen the here and now to poke at Grigori and his brothers in an effort to take full control of Russia.  When it rains it pours ☹

For Madelyn’s part, the kidnapping certainly isn’t ideal, but the discovery of actual dragons is thrilling.  Unfortunately, telling the world what she’s discovered just isn’t going to be possible.  On the bright side, Madelyn’s feelings for Grigori mirror his feelings for her which makes her decision to sacrifice her research all the easier.  All she must do is convince a one-thousand-year-old dragon he should absolutely mate with her, a mere human. 

The Bottom Line:  I am often quite fond of Lauren Smith’s offerings and Grigori is no exception to that rule!  In fact, I’m sort of sad I found this book when I did and not after the other two had already been released.  This was a devour it kind of read with loads of smoldering (HA! Dragons!) sexy, an old hatred coming into play, secrets revealed, and a few mysteries unlocked that will surprise everyone. I enjoyed this insta-love read immensely and can’t wait for the rest of the series to be published.  If you’re a lover of all things dragon, you’ll want to check Grigori out for sure!!

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About the author and where to find her:

Lauren SmithBorn and raised in Tulsa, Lauren Smith spent the first twenty-two years of her life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school she attended Oklahoma State University where she earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, she has satisfied her fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands.  Over the years, Lauren’s studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, she has discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever she goes. After completing college, Lauren moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, she returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.  Since third grade when her English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, Lauren has been hooked on writing. Her first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to Lauren that writing was her true passion. 

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