Review: Archangel’s Viper (Book #10: Guild Hunter Series) by Nalini Singh

Viper

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Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman—it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself—because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…

No one is safe.

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Source: Netgalley and purchase     My Rating: 5/5 stars

Holy hell!!  I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this book and the wait was so very, very, very worth it!!  And so, without further ado . . . . .

Viper isn’t a typical vampire and through most of his long life, he hasn’t felt the difference too keenly.  Of late, however, his otherness has begun to weigh a bit more heavily on him and there’s only one other “person” in the world who can understand his position.  Trouble is, that “person” isn’t Viper’s biggest fan and she can frequently be found hurling insults at him rather than just talking to him. 

Holly Chang long ago left behind the adopted name Sorrow, but that’s the only thing she’s left behind from that terrible time.  Since being taken, used, and changed by the now-dead archangel Uram, Holly has known she is unlike every other creature on Earth.  The only other being she even remotely resembles is the utterly obnoxious and thoroughly fun to insult, Viper.  Because of their similarities, Holly has been under Viper’s supervision for years for training and other cautionary reasons.  Essentially, no one can explain what Holly is and until she is better understood and her powers thoroughly catalogued, she’s not going to be truly free.  Furthermore, if she tells anyone about the unsettling changes she’s noticed, she’s going to become a prisoner. 

As if the unsettling changes weren’t enough, there also seems to be a bounty, a very large bounty, on Holly’s head.  Yeah, loads of people know of her otherness and there are those in the supernatural community who are willing to pay a fortune to have her as a part of their collections.  In order to keep her safe, Viper has been assigned to her side night and day until the culprit can be found and dealt with.  Neither expects the rat’s nest of awful they dig up and where all the awful leads them.  In fact, the awful is a whole new level of awful and leads Viper and Holly deep into enemy territory, a place they need Raphael by their side to get the hell out of in one piece. 

The Bottom Line: I have been waiting for Viper’s book for a very long time and it was so worth the wait!  Aside from Bluebell, Viper has always been one of the most playful (for lack of a better word) among Raphael’s Seven.  He likes to use his innate abilities, forged in Neha’s court, to mesmerize friends and foes alike which only causes him difficulty with Holly.  Holly is the only other person on Earth who can truly understand Viper and once they get past all the sniping and picking at one another, they make a truly impressive team.   What they have to face, endure is beyond what many could survive, but survive and flourish they do, even in the face of a truly evil archangel! 

About the series as a whole, I am immensely thankful I didn’t have to give up this series because book ten was yet another book dedicated to Elena and Raphael.  As much as I like those two, and I really do, there are still major players remaining who have yet to have their story told.  I was also quite glad to see the whole Lijuan issue take a back seat in this installment, the Legion to be included even in a limited way, and the changing relationship between Bluebell and Aodhan being addressed even in a limited way.  What I’m driving at is this, there is still a tremendous amount of ground to cover in this series and I hope that material is dealt with in the coming books and not broken up with more Elena and Raphael reads.  They need to be involved, but they don’t need another book dedicated to them and them alone.  We need more like Archangel’s Viper and we need them now 😊

Pre-order for the September 26, 2017 release:  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Paperback

About the author and where to find her:

naliniNEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series Nalini Singh usually writes about hot shapeshifters and dangerous angels. This time around, she decided to write about hot and wickedly tempting rock stars (and one gorgeous ex-rugby player). If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re not wrong.  Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing. If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. Also, don’t forget to swing by the site to check out the special behind-the-scenes page for the Rock Kiss series, complete with photos of many of the locations used in the books.

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Sale Alert, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: Jordan Reclaimed (Book #1: Preload Series) by Scarlett Cole

 

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Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.

Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.

Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.

She craves Jordan.

Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he’s never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?

 

 

Excerpt from Jordan Reclaimed (Book #1: Preload Series): 

“I think it would be fair to say that I haven’t had a welcome home like that before either,” Jordan said. He pressed his lips to her forehead and wrapped his arms around her shoulders.

A part of her knew she should be embarrassed by the way Jordan manhandled her on the street. Lord knew that if her father had seen it, he would be in a state of apoplexy. But she didn’t have it in her to care. It was the most perfect reunion. She’d worn her favorite cream wool dress, cinched with a brown leather belt, but underneath it she was wearing new underwear from Victoria’s Secret in the hope that he might take her back to his place later. It was forward, she knew, but the last nine days of talking to the deeply thoughtful, and unintentionally sullen, man who currently had his body pressed up against hers had her all wound up.

Jordan’s brow furrowed as he studied her, like he was checking her over for injury.

“Do you ever really smile?” she asked. “Because I think I saw the glimmer of a smile when we went on our first date.”

“I do occasionally,” he replied gruffly

“If I kiss you again, will you smile for me?”

Jordan leaned forward and placed his lips right next to her ear. “If you kiss me again, I might just end up taking you standing up against this pillar. So I strongly suggest you take that pretty little ass of yours inside before I change my mind and do it anyway.”

Lexi shivered as his breath whispered across her skin and his words made her ache in the places that longed for his touch.

He reached for her hand and carefully peeled off her glove. Silently, he folded it and tucked it into her pocket. Then he repeated the process with her other hand.

She swallowed as he took her hand, scrambling to regain her control. They needed small talk, something less . . . flammable. “Are you looking forward to going inside?” she asked. It had been years since she’d visited the AGO, and when he’d asked her where she’d like to go, it was the first place she’d thought of.

“Yeah, I am,” he said, leading her in through the double doors. He leaned his head toward her again. “I’m really hoping that looking at stuffy old paintings and relics will help kill the boner you just gave me.”

Jordan Reclaimed is now $1.99 for a limited time.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jUVx0e
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2krlU1m
B&N: http://bit.ly/2tNyQ5K
Chapters: http://bit.ly/2tp45ka
iBooks: http://apple.co/2vmSnYB

About the author and where to find her:

Scarlett ColeTwo-time RITA finalist, Scarlett Cole, is a contemporary romantic suspense / contemporary romance author (represented by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency). Author of the Second Circle Tattoos Series. The Strongest Steel was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors on the Air Global Radio Network #1 Contemporary Romance Pick for 2015.  When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit.  Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles.

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Spotlight and Sweepstakes: Adeline (Book #3: Lady Archer’s Creed Series) by Christina McKnight

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A love of archery brings four young girls together to form The Lady Archer’s Creed. Through their mutual love of the sport, they solidify an unbreakable bond, and each woman has a unique quality that adds to their dynamic friendship:

Theodora, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book One): Lady Theodora with her sharp mind and love of academics becomes the perfect archery coach. Despite being the last to join their group, and the obvious outcast, she will risk her future for her friends.

 Georgina, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Two): Lady Georgina makes the perfect financier. The forgotten daughter of a wealthy duke, she seeks to belong to something—or someone—by any means necessary.

 Adeline, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Three): Miss Adeline is a natural leader. Having grown up in a large and often spirited family, she now allows no one to place her in the shadows.

 Josephine, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Four): Lady Josephine, having a sweet and impressionable nature, strives to please everyone—and keep their bond intact, even after they return to London for the Season.

Adeline, Georgie, Theo, and Josie live each day by the Lady Archer’s Creed, which they developed during their school days at Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality. “Friendship, loyalty, and honor above all” is their mantra. Now, as they face the challenges that come with adulthood, the creed is more important than ever.

Pre Order available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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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Double Review: An Unseen Attraction and An Unnatural Vice (Books #1 and #2: Sins of the Cities Series) by K.J. Charles

Unseen

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Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship…

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding… it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

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Source: Purchase     My Rating: 3½/5 stars

Rowley Green has chosen to live his life away from anger and violence.  For the better part of his adult life he has chosen to remain a quiet and solitary business owner who takes pride in his work and relishes his hard-earned solitude.  That all changes, however when Rowley meets Clem Talleyfer and dead bodies and burglaries become the norm rather than the exception to Rowley’s quiet life. 

To be sure, the first eight months of knowing Clem weren’t all about the fear and uncertainties.  Those precious months were about building a friendship, sharing long hours before the fire talking, and quietly developing unspoken feelings for one another.   Unfortunately, many a quiet night has been broken up by the drunken antics of one particular lodger whose presence is as annoying as it is disturbing.  Though Rowley feels the man should be thrown out of the otherwise pleasant lodging house, Clem assures him that is an action that can never, ever take place.  Clem’s brother, the earl of Moreton not only owns the lodging house, but has demanded Clem never evict the drunkard no matter his exploits and antics.  As it happens, someone else takes care of the beast and leaves the dead body on Clem and Rowley’s front steps thus ushering in weeks of danger, fear, and confusion. 

Though Rowley doesn’t consider himself a particularly brave man, he does know the situation he and Clem are facing will require them both to muster all their courage.  Rowley almost instantly sees how Clem’s brother is involved and pushes for Clem to confront the earl to ensure their safety.  Clem’s relationship with his brother has never been good and confronting him would only create more issues.  Though Clem is loathe to bother his brother, he isn’t above calling on the help of a few friends who are uniquely qualified to help Clem and Rowley.  With a little bit of digging and a whole host of disbelief, the group uncovers secrets and lies that are most certainly worth killing for. 

The Bottom Line:   An Unseen Attraction is a very typical first in a series read.  There is a lot of ground that needs to be covered with world building, character introduction/development, and short- and long-term plot lines.  With that being said, there are moments in this read where it really does drag and you just have to plow through those moments to get to the fun ending.  Clem and Rowley are both likeable characters, the plot is just twisted enough to have kept me interested, and naughty bits are fairly tame.  I can’t say there is any one of the aforementioned characteristics I  overwhelmingly loved, but there are a lot of little moments within each that sort of accumulated and got me through this read and to liking it well enough to move on to book two.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audio CD

Vice

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Crusading journalist Nathaniel Roy is determined to expose spiritualists who exploit the grief of bereaved and vulnerable people. First on his list is the so-called Seer of London, Justin Lazarus. Nathaniel expects him to be a cheap, heartless fraud. He doesn’t expect to meet a man with a sinful smile and the eyes of a fallen angel—or that a shameless swindler will spark his desires for the first time in years.

Justin feels no remorse for the lies he spins during his séances. His gullible clients simply bore him. Hostile, disbelieving, utterly irresistible Nathaniel is a fascinating challenge. And as their battle of wills and wits heats up, Justin finds he can’t stop thinking about the man who’s determined to ruin him.

But Justin and Nathaniel are linked by more than their fast-growing obsession with one another. They are both caught up in an aristocratic family’s secrets, and Justin holds information that could be lethal. As killers, fanatics, and fog close in, Nathaniel is the only man Justin can trust—and, perhaps, the only man he could love.

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Source: Purchase     My Rating: 4/5 stars

**REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE**

Nathaniel Roy likes nothing better than unearthing a juicy story and exposing scandals. Of late, he’s turned his attention to Justin Lazarus, the so-called Seer of London.  As far as Nathaniel is concerned, Lazarus is the lowest kind of villain, preying on people’s insecurities, fears, and losses.  Exposing Lazarus as a fraud will suit Nathaniel just fine and further his social crusade.  Once that’s done, Nathaniel can move on to the next story, the next social injustice.

Justin Lazarus knows what it’s like to have nothing, to be at other people’s mercy, and he will never be that vulnerable again.  In recent years, Justin has established himself as the Seer of London, a man who can commune with the dead and bring peace to those left behind.  As long as the bereaved can pay, Justin strings them along dropping tidbits of information about their lost loved ones, but once the money has dried up, the mystical connection to the dead is lost.  Yeah, Justin is a fine upstanding citizen, just a real gem of a human being. 

Justin and Nathaniel crossing paths is inevitable and the second they meet, Justin begins working his “magic” and preying upon Nathaniel’s past, his tragic loss.  Nathaniel is a man who is rarely at a loss for words, but Justin’s “knowledge” of his past, his loss, and his general demeanor is inconceivable at it leaves Nathaniel completely shaken.  As Nathaniel retreats to the safety of his established circle of friends, he discovers that he may, in fact need Justin for more than just the subject of his latest investigation.  As it turns out, Justin is connected to the mess brought about by the death of Clem Talleyfer’s brother, the earl of Moreton.  Oh, hell!!

In the wake of the earl’s death, the title has been claimed by the late earl’s disgusting brother, but there is still the question of the legitimate children left behind by the late earl.  If one of those children is a boy, he is the legitimate and legal heir and Nathaniel has been tasked by his friends to dig up whatever documentary evidence may exist to prove or disprove the case.  Just as he is pondering the situation, Nathaniel finds a disturbed and somewhat scared Justin Lazarus at his door with information that can blow the missing twins case wide open.  Because of his “fame,” Justin needs to flee the city and Nathaniel has just the place.  Only their friends know where to find them and until the matter of the missing heir is solved, Justin and Nathaniel intend to stay out of sight.  Unfortunately, being sequestered and relatively alone brings up a whole host of new naughty issues that both are incredibly uncomfortable with. 

The Bottom Line:  An Unnatural Vice picks up exactly where An Unseen Attraction leaves off.  Nathaniel is right in the thick of things and those things get thicker and thicker when Justin Lazarus enters the mix.  Justin turns Nathaniel’s world upside down and brings him out of the miasma of sadness and loneliness he didn’t even realize he was engulfed in.  As the two become closer and more comfortable with the other, their respective secrets are revealed, and their walls come crashing down.  As the plot unfolds, the situation gets more and more dangerous which increases the suspense and the plot pace.  The naughty bits are delicious in this read and overall, this read is even better than the first.  Additionally, the heir issue is still somewhat unresolved though progress is made in this book.  There is still a great deal of sinning left to do in the city 😊

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Spotlight: Her Spy to Have (Book #1: Spy Games Series) by Paula Altenburg

Spy #1

Spy #2

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Au pair and Canadian ex-pat Isabelle Beausejour has been living abroad for most of her twenty-four years, traveling the world with her irresponsible father. When Isabelle finds herself stranded in Bangkok, with no job, no money, and nowhere to turn, she soon becomes desperate.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service officer Garrett Downing is on the hunt for Canadian military goods that have gone missing. Instead, he finds himself coming to the aid of a young Canadian woman with more resourcefulness than common sense.

Isabelle has no choice but to accept a stranger’s help in getting back home to Canada. Once there, however, as enemies turn into lovers, it soon becomes a game of keeping secrets. Garrett is more than he seems. Isabelle knows more than she’s willing to admit. Will she choose loyalty to her father over the love of a man who tells lies for a living?

Amazon → http://amzn.to/2rnzYvr
Amazon UK → http://amzn.to/2s4Id0Q
Amazon CA → http://amzn.to/2qNmOte
Amazon AU →  http://amzn.to/2sqoZ2Y
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iBook → http://apple.co/2sByITt
Kobo → http://bit.ly/2rR9J1Q

About the author and where to find her: 

Spy #3Paula Altenburg grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was likely to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother.  A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience. She’s taken business courses, writing courses, and physiology of aquatic animals courses, all at the university level and all for fun.  She has worked in the Aerospace industry, although now makes writing her full-time career. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can.   She reads in all genres, but fantasy and contemporary romance are her writing loves.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Artificial Sweethearts by Julie Hammerle

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It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying student golf coach, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.

So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.

But Tinka keeps people at arm’s length—she’s always been second best, even to her parents. And her relationship-for-show could crush everything when she realizes she’s done with fake, pretend, and second-best.

Excerpt from Artificial Sweetharts:

The sliding glass door whooshed open behind them. Their opportunity for escape was lost. Tinka spun around as the guy headed toward them. He was carrying three bottles of water and had put on a T-shirt, a faded movie tee, over his mesh shorts. Jaws. A story about a terrifying shark that kills people. The guy handed a bottle to Tinka. “Take a seat.”

Ready to flee at any moment, she perched next to Jane on the bench, where the hot, sticky varnish stuck to her legs immediately. Tinka unscrewed the cap, which gave off the familiar rip-pop sound that proved the bottle had not been tampered with. Tinka tilted it back; and as the cold water coated her parched throat, she forgot for a moment she was about to be murdered.

“This is a gorgeous house,” Jane said.

The guy knocked back his water, then screwed the cap back on. “Thanks. I like it.”

Tinka decided to play civil. “Do you do all the landscaping yourself or do you have a crew that helps you?” He smirked at Tinka, like she was the most curious thing he had seen in a while. “We have a crew, but I noticed a few spots on the bushes that needed trimming.”

She nodded. “If you need to get back to work, don’t let us stop you. We wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with your boss.”

“My boss?” He was still grinning at Tinka with those dimples as he kneaded the plastic on his water bottle. “You mean my father?”

“Your father owns the landscaping business?”

“My father owns the house. I’m Sam. Anderson,” he added for good measure. “I live here.” He gestured toward the back door.

Jane dropped her face into her hands. “Oh my God, Tinka.”

Tinka spun toward her, pointing. “Oh my God nothing, Jane. You didn’t know he lived here, either.”

“I did so.”

“How?”

Jane waved her hand to indicate Sam and the flirty smile reappeared on her face. “He has a way about him.”

“He has no way about anything. No offense.” Tinka nodded to Sam.

“None taken.” Knitting his brow, Sam lifted his hat and ran his fingers through his curly brown hair. He had hazel eyes with friendly crinkles on the corners that didn’t disappear even when he frowned.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

About the author and where to find her:

Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us (Entangled TEEN, 2016) and the North Pole, Minnesota young adult romance series (Entangled Crush, 2017). She writes about TV and pop culture for the ChicagoNow blog, Hammervision, and lives in Chicago with her family. She enjoys reading, cooking, and watching all the television.

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Spotlight and Sweepstakes: The Misadventures of Lady Ophelia (Book #3: The Undaunted Debutantes Series) by Christina McKnight

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Quiet, reserved, Lady Ophelia Fletcher always has her nose stuck in a book; hence why she didn’t witness the death of her friend the fateful night of her passing. Now, she writes the Mayfair Confidential column to expose unsavory men as a way of making amends for not backing her other friend’s claims of murder. When a handsome stranger arrives to meet with her father, Ophelia is helpless to keep from investigating the dashing lord.

Colin Parnell, Lord Hawke, has a promise to uphold: find the book that proves his grandpapa worked as a spy for King George II and did not die as a no-good smuggler off the coast of Kent. Shrouded in mystery and scandal, the Parnell family has been at war with one another for decades, and Colin is determined to put a stop to it all by discovering proof of the family’s honorable past. Unfortunately, the book he seeks is in the hands of a fiery-haired beauty, and he’ll need to enlist Ophelia’s help to uncover the truth.

Ophelia is more than happy to use her skills to help Lord Hawke. But will their search for answers lead to misadventure, or will they get something greater than they bargained for: the truth and each other?

The Disappearance of Lady Edith:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

The Misfortune of Lady Lucianna:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

The Misadventures of Lady Ophelia: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

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.

  Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

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