#Review of A Millionaire at Midnight (Bachelor Auction #4) by Naima Simone w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @Naima_Simone

A Millionaire at Midnight

by Naima Simone
Bachelor Auction, #4
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Indulgence, Contemporary Romance

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SYNOPSIS:

Boston socialite Morgan Lett is having a run of bad luck. Her fiancé just dumped her for her stepsister, the charity foundation she’s given her life to is in danger of folding, and now, the gorgeous man she bid on and won at a masquerade bachelor auction turns out to be a cold-hearted jerk…and her new employer.

Millionaire Alexander Bishop needs the best wife money can buy. In order to inherit his family business, he must get engaged—fast. And Morgan, with her beauty and pedigree, is the perfect candidate. Her sharp tongue may drive him crazy, but she needs money to save the foundation she loves, and he needs a fiancée. It’s a flawless arrangement—no strings, no love. But soon she has him craving more, and cursing the platonic terms of their agreement.

Still, he won’t allow need—no matter how hot it burns—to threaten everything he’s built.

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EXCERPT #3:

 

“Since you’re my betrothed, I can share my worries with you,” Morgan propped a hip on the edge of his desk. “I’m not going to pretend a humility I don’t have—I’m hot.”

“You’re right.” Alex paused. “You don’t possess any humility.”

“The point is, men have been hitting on me before I grew breasts. But not you. Of course, I could chalk that up to you being a little, uh…” She pursed her lips, squinting her eyes. “A little emotionally challenged. But then it occurred to me that in addition to not liking me, you just might not be attracted to me.”

She rose from her perch and flattened her palms on the desk top, leaning forward. Her breasts pushed against the silken material of his shirt, the tiny row of buttons earning their keep by containing the soft weight of her flesh. His body tightened, a rush of lust pouring through his veins and culminating in his cock. His erection strained behind his zipper, and he grasped hold of every scrap of control he possessed not to fist the thickening column through his pants.  

Fuck, this was crazy. He wasn’t even sure he liked her, and yet thoughts of shoving that tight skirt up around her hips and tasting everything the clothing hid consumed him.

The woman was slowly shredding his control, and he hated it.

Feared it.

Yet, as he stared into her eyes that glittered with something reckless, a little bit wild, he felt nothing but hot, control-searing need.

“I think you should kiss me,” Morgan stated.

The matter-of-fact tone didn’t match the slightly taunting smile she wore or the hooded gaze that barely concealed a sensual gleam. For him.

His mind questioned the veracity of her attraction.

His body didn’t give a good goddamn.

“What are you doing, Morgan?” He couldn’t eliminate the rasp from his voice. Not with lust roughening it like a plow churning up newly turned earth. “What game are you playing?”

“The game you’re buying me a building for. Be the best fake fiancée possible. And as two people desperately and deeply in love, PDA will be expected. So let’s do a trial run. Kiss me. See if we need to work on it before taking this show on the road. So. Kiss. Me,” she murmured.

“No,” he ground out.

“Why not?” she countered. “Scared you won’t be able to live up”—her gaze dropped to his lap and the rigid flesh that mocked him—“to the occasion?” When she returned her attention to his face, that blue scrutiny fucking smoldered.

With a growl, he rocketed to his feet.

In three long strides, he rounded the desk and, as she turned to face him, he cupped the back of her neck. Dragged her forward until her chest and thighs pressed against his.

The heat in those eyes had accomplished what her words couldn’t.

They snapped his restraints.

He crushed his mouth to hers, answering the siren’s call that had been tempting him since they’d walked into the office. On another, deeper, growl, he thrust his tongue into her mouth, parting those pretty lips.

Jesus. The taste of her. Sultry. Sweet. Like ripe, delicious fruit. He entwined his tongue around hers, licked the roof of her mouth, drawing on more of her flavor. Burying his other hand in her hair, he fisted the strands and tilted her head to the side and dove deeper. Demanding she give him what he needed, wanted. Not that she was holding back. She opened wide for him, meeting him thrust for thrust, lick for lick, suck for suck, groan for groan. Her fingers curled around the lapels of his jacket, and she rose on her toes, grinding her mouth to his.

The kiss was wild, a little messy, a lot raw, carnal. Addictive. And not enough.

 Apologies for this being late.  Should have posted yesterday but I honestly forget.  Please don’t kill me Ms. Simone.  You know I love you.  In fact, one of your Indulgence books was on my top ten list from last year.  The book I’m talking about is Aiden and Noelle’s book.  Damn!  Talk about all kinds of sexy and even better, the friends to lovers trope.  You know how I love my tropes.  Ms. Simone surprised me with this book.  She had not one, not two but three different tropes going on in this book.  Enemies to lovers, boss to an employee and of course, the marriage of convenience.  Crack baby, just crack for this junkie.

Ms. Simone delivers a sweet, emotionally powerful story about two people that have been hurt badly by past relationships including from their family that I really didn’t think it was going to work out for them in the end.  Alex isn’t your usually Indulgence hero.  He never comes across as the AlphaHole.  In fact, he’s more beta than anything.  Loves to read, dislikes crowds and loves his half sister and hates his father for everything that he did or didn’t do about her and Alex’s on upbringing.  If there is a hero that needed a hug or two, it’s Alex.  Not that he is wimpy but he just knows that besides Kim, his sister, he isn’t cut out for anything lasting when it comes to relationships.

Morgan is just so damn funny.  Snarky but that attitude is covering up for the ultimate betrayal.  I just can’t even…I mean really?  By her step dad and then her step sister?  Hell no and ick.  I did, however, love her sister Merri and their mother.  She knew that she was loved and taken care of but what really got me is that she could have gone the whole socialite role but no, Ms. Simone wrote her story with dignity and grace. And a bit of snark when needed.  I also liked that fact that she had an actual job.  Very smart, good at what she does and has a heart big enough for her charity.

Now the sexy times are great..well, Ms. Simone writes them they way I like them but I also liked the aloofness, too after their first time.  I kinda expected it but instead of the big insta love thing after their first time, it instead made both of them think about having an actual relationship with each other and that scared the crap out of both of them.  They realized that all the snark, dancing around each other was just foreplay for them.  *sigh*

Again, I LOVE, JUST LOVED this book.  A great edition to the series and no one writes for Indulgence like Ms. Simone.  I almost feel like she interviewed me when she started writing for the line and asked me what I liked and didn’t like.  Or let me beta read for her.  One or the other, she just gets me and my loves.

ABOUT NAIMA SIMONE

Naima’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Linda Howard many years ago. Though her first attempt at writing a romance novel at 11 never saw the light of day, her love of romance and writing has endured. Now, she spends her time creating stories of unique men and women who experience the dizzying heights of passion and the tender heat of love.

She is the wife to Superman – or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent – and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

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#Review and Playlist of Distracting the Duke (Wayward in Wessex #1) by Elizabeth Keysian w/a rafflecopter giveaway!

Distracting the Duke

by Elizabeth Keysian
Publication Date: February 20, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select, Historical Romance

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SYNOPSIS:

Devonshire, England, 1820

Determined to avoid the strife-filled marriage of his parents, Marcus, the Duke of Ulvercombe, wants an amenable, biddable wife, and has set his cap for a certain pretty miss. Unfortunately, her vastly opinionated, frustrating, and lamentably beautiful guardian, Lady Clara Tinniswood, keeps distracting him, tempting him to consider a far more tempestuous—and passionate—union.

Recently widowed Lady Clara Tinniswood wants only to organize a quiet new life for herself, beyond the control of any man. But one shockingly unguarded moment while confronted by Marcus’s gloriously naked body catapults her headlong into a forbidden passion and threatens to undermine all her well-laid plans.

Even if Marcus abandons his sweet ideal and surrenders to his growing desire for Clara, there’s one unalterable issue which could destroy their hopes forever…

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MUSIC PLAYLIST for DISRACTING THE DUKE with commentary by author Elizabeth Keysian

  1. 1. The Kiss by Trevor Jones from Last of the Mohicans movie soundtrack–  it floats me away and I travel back in time to the Eighteenth Century
  1. What a Beautiful Day by The Levellers– catchy and uplifting
  1. The Firth of Fifth by Genesis– just an amazing piano instrumental
  1. The Bells of Rhymney by Oysterband– stirs the blood
  1. Mr. Blue Sky by ELO– a cheering reminder of the fun parts of my teenage years!
  1. No Man’s Land by June Tabor– I can’t sing this without a catch in my throat and a tear in my eye. 
  1. Amoureuse by Kiki Dee– evokes the magic of “The First Time”
  1. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin– departure and loss
  1. Blowin’ Free by Wishbone Ash– poetic and atmospheric
  1. Thank You by Led Zeppelin– eternal love
  1. Lady Fantasy by Camel– love, magic and atmosphere- something every good HEA romance should have!

EXCERPT #2

 

Clara crept softly across the carpet of pine needles until she came to where a rivulet split the dunes on its way down to the sea, and halted. She caught sight of Ulvercombe standing at the water’s edge with his back to her, hands on his hips.

She stepped aside swiftly, her heart beating hard. She would have to hide behind one of the dunes to avoid being seen, if he should turn round. Fortunately, the tide was still some way out and he was thus a considerable distance away, giving her time to make her escape if he spotted her.

Plucking off the old shawl she was wearing, she spread it over the grass-matted dune, then lay down on her stomach so only her head—with the telescope pressed to her eye—might be seen. Hopefully, with the waving sea grasses fanning across in front of her, she was well-hidden from any casual observer.

Eventually, she managed to locate Ulvercombe with the glass, and when she did her mouth dropped open in shock. In the time she’d taken to settle herself, he’d stripped off boots, stockings, jacket, and breeches, and now stood in nothing but his shirt, looking out to sea.

Clearly, the man had every expectation of being alone, and had no idea he was being covertly observed. It was early in the morning, it was his beach, his pine forest, his sand. She should back away and return to the house as quickly as possible.

A small attempt to move was made, but then he pulled his shirt over his head and she was transfixed.

The muscles rippled across his shoulders and she recalled, far too quickly, the feel of that hot body pressed against hers.

“Drat it!” The glass lens against her face had misted.

Crossly, she rubbed it with a corner of her shawl, and scanned the beach again until she found the duke.

The completely naked duke.

Her breath hitched in her throat. “Sweet Lord in heaven…”

It was not the splendid symmetry of his body, nor the very pleasing curve of his buttocks, nor even the straightness and supple power of his legs that had elicited her exclamation of shock.

It was the scars.

She hadn’t seen the backs of his thighs when he’d disrobed that day in his bedchamber. Now she could see them very clearly, and she could also see a complex pattern of pale, crisscross lines etched across the skin. They were scars, surely?

Had he received them in battle or in some horrible accident? Had he been taken prisoner and tortured by the French? Maybe he’d been involved in a fire and something hot had branded him thus.

The chance to observe the marks more closely was abruptly removed as the duke, who had been walking straight out into the waves, suddenly dove in with a splash and began swimming out to sea with deft, powerful strokes.

She shuddered. The water must be absolutely freezing. How could he stand it?

“Good morning, Lady Tinniswood. A very fine one, is it not?”

And so my love affair with historicals now is still intact.  Every historical that I have read lately has been awesome.  And they have all been so different from each other, too.  I won’t go into why historicals are so much a hit and miss with me so I’ll just share with you why Clara and Marcus just rocked in my book.

  1.  Clara – I can’t even imagine what she went through with her first husband.  The abuse, the horror, and then finally the ultimate betrayal.  Again, I can’t even…but what I truly liked about her was the fact that she would actually admit it to Marcus.  Of course, she felt shame but when she realized that Marcus was nothing like her dead husband learned to trust him, it was golden.  She also stood up to him.  He wanted someone biddable but what he got was her.  Brilliant dialogue when they were together.
  2. Marcus – What a revelation.  He was kind, a little bit backhanded (in a good way) and once his heart was set on Clara, he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  I loved how he wound up testing her when it came to her fears but Ms. Keysian wrote it brilliantly.  Again, it is her dialogue between the characters that had me from the very first page.  Marcus had NO shame when it came to showing Clara his body.  The above scene had me giggling.  He never forgot that she was a widow but what he didn’t realize at the time was how traumatized she was from her first marriage.
  3. The smexy times are NOT plentiful but the build up is SO worth it.  Ms. Keysian had me fanning myself at times and that was before the dead was actually done.  Well played, well played.
  4. The secondary characters are wonderfully written.  I can’t wait to read about Ellie and Snetty.  Oh, my…If I had one complaint, I didn’t like Clara’s brother Phillip in the beginning.  He kinda came off as a shrew.  I understand the why but I still didn’t like him that much.
  5. The setting – I’m a sucker for England and especially the English countryside.  Like another English author I know, she knows what she writes about when it comes to the setting of the book.

Did I mention that not once, NOT ONCE in the book was bored with the ton.  This is a character driven novel about two people that shouldn’t fall in love with each but do.  The getting there is half the fun of the book and I have to say that I don’t even know what Clara wore in the book.  She had a bonnet, a shawl, and a thin summer cotton nightgown.  Why do I mention this?  Because I didn’t have to skip a bunch of paragraphs/pages with all the details that bore me to death.  Again, characters are key for me in a historical romance and Ms. Keysian wrote it that way.  Of course, I don’t think I’ll look at skinny dipping the same way again.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book.  Just for me, please.  You will not be disappointed at all.  It has all the romance of a historical, some family issues but now the filler that irritates so much.

 

ABOUT ELIZABETH KEYSIAN

Elizabeth Keysian felt destined to write historical romance due to her Cornish descent, and an ancestral connection to the Norse god Odin. Being an only child gave her plenty of time to read, create imaginary worlds, produce her own comics, and write sketches and a deplorably bad musical for an amateur dramatics group.

Three decades spent working in museums and archaeology fired Elizabeth’s urge to write, as did living on a Knights Templar estate, with a garage full of skeletons, a resident ghost and a moat teeming with newts.

Elizabeth lives near Bath in England with her partner and cats.

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#Review of Alpha Lover (The Alpha Council Chronicles #3) by Brenda Sparks w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @brenda_sparks

Alpha Lover

by Brenda Sparks

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GENRE:   paranormal romance

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BLURB:

Starved for blood, vampire, Nicholai Peterhof is greatly relieved when two tourists decide to grace his restaurant, but one sip from the pretty brunette and his world is forever turned upside down. Juliette Staint-John is everything he could have asked for in a heartmate; pretty, smart, built with curves in all the right places…and totally unavailable.

Juliette doesn’t want anything to do with the handsome, young-looking Nicholai. As if their differences aren’t enough, the acute grief over the loss of loved ones keeps her heart guarded. He may be her fantasy, but that’s all he can ever be.
To get past Juliette’s defenses and in order to keep her safe, Nicholai must prove himself worthy of her love and trust. Unbeknownst to the couple, her personal demons are not the only ones threatening their relationship. Hiding virtually unseen by the vampires, Demon Royalty plots to destroy not only the couple but the entire vampire breed. Luckily, Nicholai will do anything for Juliette—even if it means sacrificing himself.

Alpha Lover will be on sale at all retailers for 99¢ from February 3 – March 2, 2017

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Excerpt Two:

Nicholai took Julie’s hand in his, leading her through the velvet ropes to the Grand Staircase. The fine, white marble stairs rose on either side of the room toward a large landing at the top. Golden, life-size statues stood as sentinels along the gilded iron railing. Penny’s eyes widened as they tracked along the walls, looking at the painted cherubs and golden moldings.

“Let’s take a picture.” Penny shoved the camera into Julie’s hand.

“Come on, Nicholai.” Penny linked her arm around Nicholai’s and pulled him toward the bottom of the immense set of steps.

The two of them situated themselves at the base of the stairs while Julie crossed to the opposite side of the rounded staircase.

“All right, you two.” Julie backed up as far as possible and adjusted the camera. “I think I can get you and those golden statues in the frame. Say cheese. I mean syr.”

“Syr,” Nicholai and Penny sang in tandem with big grins on their faces.

Every nerve ending in the warrior’s body suddenly lit up like the Vegas strip. Fear crept along his spine, circling it before it wrapped around his heart and squeezed until he could not breathe. His senses searched the palace.

A blank spot registered the exact moment Nicholai’s keen eyes noticed movement above Julie’s head. Horror gripped him with its icy tentacles when the statue of the golden woman holding a sickle leaned toward his heartmate. Time slowed his vision as it can only do during a time of danger. The heavy sculpture leaned further and further until it hung upside down, its head directly over Juliette’s. Suspended ominously in midair, it dangled for a second then fell, making a bee line for Julie.

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Man, a hot Russian and he’s a vampire.  I know, I don’t typically read PNR but this one got my attention.  Plus, I liked the fact that his mate is human.  I love when the “mates” aren’t the same species.  *giggle*  I know, I said species but it’s the truth.  I also liked that Nicholai had to romance Julie, too.  He had to this while keeping her safe from the demons that wanted to destroy the vampires.

Okay, backing up.  I loved the world building in the story and no, I didn’t read the first two books.  Sure, did I think that I was missing some things but I felt that Ms. Sparks gave me enough information to be able to follow the subplot in the book?  There are vampire councils, royalty, demons (*swoon*) and the fact that this is a series and with the ending of the book, there are still unanswered questions from the overall arc of the book.  There is enough intrigue to keep me engage in the story.  The pacing is slow in the beginning but it picks up quickly and never let’s go.

Julie is breath of fresh air.  I liked the fact that she was a normal looking woman.  The connection that I felt for her was instant and even though she was dealing with her own demons, her connection to Nicholai is quick.  I know, sounds like instant love but for me, it’s not.  But again, he had to romance her.  Sure the smexy times are hot but that’s not the point of their relationship.  Julie had a lot of things to work out and Nicholai had to NOT get her killed.  They had to grow up apart from each other, to make their relationship work.

Overall, I really liked the story.  Did I feel like I was missing something?  Not really but I will definitely be on the look out for the next book in series.  Yes, I’m hooked.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 

Born in Virginia, Brenda Sparks now resides in the Sunshine State.  Balancing her professional commitment to the local school district with her writing is challenging at times, but writing suspenseful paranormal romances is a passion that won’t be denied. Her idea of a perfect day is one spent in front of a computer with a hot cup of coffee, her fingers flying over the keys to send her characters off on their latest adventure.  Brenda loves to connect with readers.  Please visit her online or stop by her website to say hi. www.brenda-sparks.com

 

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Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brenda-Sparks/e/B00B7AJBBQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Website : www.brenda-sparks.com

Blog: www.brenda-sparks.com/blog

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