Monday, June 26, 2017

Tasty Virtual Book Tour With Q&A And Giveaway for A Most Unlikely Duke: Diamonds In the Rough #1 by Sophie Barnes


He never thought he’d become a duke, 
or that the secrets of his past will cost him his greatest love...



A MOST UNLIKELY DUKE
Diamonds in the Rough #1
Sophie Barnes
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books



Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortunes lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…

After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelope them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.



It was past eleven o’clock in the evening by the time

Raphe returned home, his knuckles tender and his body still sore from the fight. Glad to get out of the cold, he closed the door on the rain that now poured from a thunderous sky, shrugged out of his coat and hung it on a hook behind the door just as his sister Amelia entered from an adjoining room that served as a small parlor.

“Good evenin’.” She yawned, leaning against the door frame. Squinting through the darkness, Raphe echoed her salutation. “I thought ye would be asleep by now.”

Stepping past her, he entered their tiny kitchen and snatched up the tinder box.

“I was,” Amelia said, following him into the chilly room. A threadbare shawl was draped across her shoulders, and as she pulled it tighter with pale and trembling fingers, Raphe felt his heart lurch. This wasn’t right. His sister did not deserve to live like this. None of them did. Pushing aside such fruitless ponderings, he found a candle, struck a flint and held it to the wick until a flame began to bloom, driving the darkness toward the walls where it struggled against the light.

“If it makes any difference, Juliette’s safely tucked into bed.” Amelia said, referring to their younger sister, whose weaker disposition was a constant cause for unease. When Raphe lifted the lid of a nearby pot and peered inside, Amelia added, “I made soup for dinner.”

“Smells delicious,” he dutifully told her.

“We both know ‘ow untrue that is, bu’ I appreciate yer optimism.”

Meeting her gaze, Raphe made a deliberate effort to smile. “Per’aps I can manage some meat for us tomorrow.” It would certainly be a welcome change from the potatoes and turnips they’d been eating for what seemed like forever. Christ, he was so tired of having a sore belly all the time, and his sisters . . . they never complained, but he knew they needed better nourishment than what they were getting.

“That’d be nice,” Amelia said. Her tone, however, suggested that she doubted his ability to manage such a feat. Bothered by her lack of faith in him, he grabbed a chunk of bread and tore off a large piece. “A chicken ought to be possible. If we make it last a few days.”

Amelia simply nodded. Grabbing a cup, she filled it with water and placed it before him. “I miss the smell of a bustlin’ kitchen.”

The comment threw him for a second. “Wha’?”

“Meat roastin’ on the fire, bread bakin’ in the oven.” She shook her head wistfully. “It’s funny. I can’t picture Mama, but I remember Cook—plump cheeks an’ a kind smile. I remember bein’ ‘appy in the kitchen back ‘ome.”

The sentimental thought made Raphe weary. He didn’t bother to point out that she’d only been seven when they’d lost their parents and there’d been nothing left for Raphe to do but turn his back on the house in which they’d spent the early years of their childhoods and walk away, taking his siblings with him. He’d been no more than eight years old and with a mighty burden weighing on his shoulders. “I know this isn’t the sor’ of life that any of us ever imagined.”

Feeling his temper begin to rise at the memory of what their parents had done to them all, he added, “Hopefully, in time, things’ll get better.”

“I’m sure ye’re right.” Could she possibly sound any more unconvinced?

He ate a spoonful of soup, the bland flavor just a touch better than plain hot water. Amelia took a step forward. “The reason I didn’t retire with Juliette earlier is ’cause of this letter.” She waved a piece of paper in his direction. “It arrived for ye today while ye were out.”

Frowning, Raphe stared at her. “Do ye know who sent it?” He couldn’t even recall the last time he’d received a letter. Nobody ever wrote to him or his sisters.


“The sender’s name’s smudged. So’s the address. It’s a miracle it arrived here at all.” Handing the letter to Raphe, she watched as he turned it over and studied the penmanship. Sure enough, the only legible part of the address, which even appeared to have been altered once or twice, was his name: Mister Raphael Matthews.





Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses. 

When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.




What is their favorite place to visit? 

Denmark. It’s where I’m from. My parents have a summerhouse by the beach in the southern part and a house near Copenhagen. I love it there plus I get to see the rest of my family.

What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?

My laptop, a notebook, my Jane Austen Map of London, various pens in different colors and a hot cup of coffee.

Do you have any post-publishing regrets?

Yes! In my first book, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, Tchaikovsky is mentioned as a current figure. I meant to change him to a different composer since he wasn’t even born at the time when the plot takes place, but I forgot. Really wish I’d seen that during edits. I haven’t used ‘fillers’ since.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a fresh spin on Pygmalion featuring a bare-knuckler boxer from the slums of St. Giles who suddenly becomes the Duke of Huntley. Navigating high society can be troublesome – especially with two younger sisters in tow – but thanks to his next door neighbor, the alluring Gabriella Radcliffe, he comes up to scratch while losing his heart in the process.

What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

I LOVED Julia Quinn’s The Girl With The Make-believe Husband. Right now I’m reading Sarah MacLean’s The Day Of The Duchess. Both authors are auto reads for me.

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

Definitely dialogue. When the characters are interesting and there’s a bit of tension, the dialogue pushes the story forward in a fun and interesting way. Describing what people are doing sometimes gets me while Love scenes are the hardest.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?


The sequel to A Most Unlikely Duke is called The Duke Of Her Desire. It releases December 27th and features Raphe’s sister, Amelia, as she struggles to renovate a house on the edge of St. Giles and turn it into a school. Contending with her brother’s friend, the Duke of Coventry who’s been charged with protecting her, leads to a lot of quarreling, tension and high passion. 



June 26, 2017 New Releases

Friday, June 23, 2017

Tasty Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway Sweet Scandal: Heart's Temptation #4 by Scarlett Scott


He’s not ready to give up on the plucky Lady Helen, 
especially when he discovers that she has secrets of her own…



SWEET SCANDAL
Heart's Temptation #4
Scarlett Scott
Released May 9, 2017


Not the average lady Lady Helen Harrington is a spinster by choice. She hasn’t any desire to entangle herself in romantic nonsense. Instead, she prefers to spend her time championing the causes nearest to her heart through writing articles for the London Beacon. When a ruthless American tycoon suddenly buys the struggling paper with plans to turn it into a business journal, Lady Helen isn’t about to stand idly by or put down her pen. Even if the ruthless tycoon in question happens to be the most maddeningly handsome man she’s ever met in her life.

Not the average man Levi Storm built his empire the hard way, spending years working his way out of the slums where he grew up. He won’t allow a spoiled aristocrat like Lady Helen to interfere with his plans to further his brand with the newspaper he’s just acquired. It doesn’t matter how lovely she is or how persuasive her arguments or how perfectly she fits in his arms.

One sweet scandal When scandal looms and Helen discovers a shocking secret about Levi, she does what she must to protect herself. But Levi isn’t the sort of man who admits defeat, and he’s not ready to give up on the plucky Lady Helen, especially when he discovers that she has secrets of her own…




Everything sounded as if it were very far away, carried to her on a lush summer breeze. Maybe she should not have consumed quite so much champagne. She’d lost count of how many flutes she’d drained over the course of the ball. Good heavens, had it been more than five? A fresh wave of dizziness assailed her and she stumbled against his powerful, lean frame. He smelled divine, she thought fuzzily.

“Come,” he ordered, ushering her hastily away.

She collected her thoughts enough to protest. “Where are you taking me?”

He couldn’t simply escort her out of the ballroom and into a private room. Propriety certainly didn’t allow such a thing. She ought not to allow such a thing. Would not if it weren’t for the spinning of her head. As it stood, she was ineffectual as a fly at the moment.

“Hush.” He steered her around a tittering countess and a footman bearing a tray of champagne flutes.

“But—”

“My lady, hush.”

“Someone will see.”

“No one will notice. Everyone here is either far too inebriated or preoccupied.”

Casting a quick look about, he led her from the ballroom, down the hall, and into another chamber. As the door closed at their backs, stifling the cacophony of sound from the ballroom beyond, Helen realized they were in Jesse’s study. Alone. Still dizzied, she clutched Mr. Storm’s arm. “We are in our host’s private study. We cannot be here together.”

“Jesse won’t mind,” he assured her, guiding her to an overstuffed chair and easing her into it. He sank to his knees before her, his expression for once unguarded. “Are you unwell, my lady?”

He was concerned. A strange, new warmth stole over her. The world came back into crisp focus but her heart hammered furiously against her breast. She still felt off-kilter, almost as though she were out of her own skin, almost as if she were giddy.

Oh dear. He was before her like a knight of old, so striking and elegant, so unlike the arrogant stranger who had unceremoniously removed her from his offices the day they’d met. This Mr. Storm was different. Or maybe she was different. Or the night was different. Or she was hopelessly, thoroughly in her cups. She didn’t know which.

“I am fine,” she forced herself to say. “I daresay I sampled too much of the champagne this evening and that is all.”

“You don’t seem fine, my lady.” He frowned. His hands bracketed her skirts, near enough to her that he almost touched her, and the thought of those big hands of his on her made her quite weak. “Can I fetch you something? Some water, perhaps? Some ice?”

She licked lips that had suddenly gone dry. “There is nothing I need other than for you to return me to the ball. This is quite scandalous, sir. If someone should come upon us, it would cause us no end of trouble.”

“No one will come upon us. I’ve locked the door.”

His casual pronouncement did wicked things to her body that she was sure had everything to do with the blasted champagne. The door was locked. No one could disturb them or happen upon them. They were free to do what they chose.


Yes, she was in her cups alright, she had to be. There was no other reason for her to lean forward, set her palms upon Mr. Storm’s shoulders, and press her mouth to his. No other reason save for the fact that she had been thinking about him all day, about how he had touched and kissed her, how he had made her feel, how he had wanted her in his bed. She kissed him just for the feeling of his mouth upon hers once more, because she couldn’t help herself, because she couldn’t not.



Award-winning author Scarlett Scott writes contemporary and historical romance with heat, heart, and happily ever afters. Since publishing her first book in 2010, she has become a wife, mother to adorable identical twins and one TV-loving dog, and a killer karaoke singer. Well, maybe not the last part, but that’s what she’d like to think.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she’s not reading, writing, wrangling toddlers, or camping, you can catch up with her on her website. Hearing from readers never fails to make her day.














June 23, 2017 New Releases

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tasty Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway Preservation: The Walshes #7 by Kate Canterbary


Riley Walsh has spent a lifetime flying under the radar. 
One woman -- and a wild weekend -- is about to change everything.


PRESERVATION
The Walshes #7
Kate Canterbary
Released June 13, 2017
Vesper Press




Two lonely hearts.

Just once, she'd like to be someone's first choice. She's strong-willed and spunky, but she's left picking up the pieces from her ex's lies and manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum.

Flying under the radar is what he does best. He's laid-back and loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will ever make that a reality.

An arrangement of mutual benefit.

Two months, four dates. Five, if things go well. Five at the most. But possibly six. Definitely no more
than six dates. Only the appearance of a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their time together. There will be none of those benefits involved.

One wild weekend.

After waking up in bed together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their arrangement no longer apply. Now they're faced with something riskier than exposing their fake relationship: letting go of the past and zipping up the future.

Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.

PRESERVATION excerpt – © 2017, Kate Canterbary
Riley pointed at the plate between us. "These are my favorite pretzel bites in the city. Try some."

I shot him a sharp look. "Are you just trying to get me in a good mood?" I asked. "I did eat lunch today."
"Oh yeah?" he asked, dipping two pretzels in the accompanying sauce. "What did you have? Based on you yelling at me about noticing your shoes, I'd say it was an iced venti skinny latte."
"Almonds," I replied. And an iced venti skinny latte but I wasn't copping to that just yet.
Riley tried to fight a laugh, and failed. "Almonds?" he repeated.
"Chocolate covered almonds, yes." I folded my arms across my chest. "It was an appropriate amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbs."
He shook his head and ate another pretzel. "I don't want to live in a world where a few almonds—chocolate or otherwise—are lunch." He pointed to the plate and pushed his beer toward me. "Eat. Drink. Please." 
I glared at the pilsner and pretzels. I hated being told what to do. Just fucking hated it. But then my stomach growled—goddamn it—and Riley shot me a pointed glance.
"People think that a rumbling stomach is the sign of hunger," I said, reaching for his glass. I drained the beer and then selected a pretzel for dipping. "It is not."
Riley gazed at me, his expression flat. It gave me a moment to study him while choosing another
pretzel. He was wearing jeans, a tailored shirt with the cuffs rolled up to his elbows, and a pinstriped vest, and his hair was a wreck. It looked like he'd been tugging the dark strands in every conceivable direction. His eyes were rimmed with a bit of red and his lids heavy, as if he'd been rubbing them or hadn't gotten much sleep. Perhaps both. There was a small notebook beside his phone, and a mechanical pencil tucked into the spiral binding.
And he was still more attractive than I knew how to handle. Even tired and irritable, and ordering me to eat his pretzels and drink his beer, he was hot as fuck. I bit into another pretzel and offered him a small smile.
"Would you say the chip on your shoulder is massive or epic?" he asked. There was no hint of amusement in his tone, and he was staring at me with more ice than I'd believed he could muster. It didn't feel like we were sniping at each other anymore. "It might be semantics to you but I'm trying to get a feel for what I'm dealing with here."

But then one of his big hands found my leg under the table. He squeezed and rubbed his thumb along the hollow of my knee, and I started to believe I'd been all wrong about this man. There was the player and there was the overgrown kid, but there was so much more than that. 



Kate Canterbary doesn't have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean--Pacific or Atlantic--is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn't writing sexy architects, she's scheduling her days around the region's best food trucks.