FROM THE DESK OF
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE CHRISTOPHER
Emily—Thank you for joining me for dinner tonight. And for agreeing to my proposal, as ludicrous as it is. Desperate times call for fake engagements. At least in my family.
I am attaching the contract we discussed. Our lawyers asked that I highlight the following clauses:
The engagement shall last ninety days
Both parties are to appear genuinely in love at all royal appearances
Beyond required public displays of affection, there shall be no contact of any kind between the parties
The first half of your payment will be deposited into your account upon the signing of this contract. Be sure to note your ring size. We would like to make prompt delivery
of the family emerald. The Queen and I thank you in advance for your discretion.
P.S.—Sorry to hear about your divorce. Your ex sounds like a proper knob head.
P.P.S.—You looked stunning tonight.
This is another trope that is catnip to me. Royals! Yes, I can’t get enough of them. But what really stands out for me with Royal Ruin is Kit. Yes, the hero of the book. He wasn’t an alphahole, domineering and generally an ass. He was sweet, had inappropriate thoughts about Emily but still maintained his stiff upper lip when he needed to. Also, he didn’t back down when it came to Emily and her ex, Luke. The bar scene alone had me cheering. Let’s not forget that he had family issues to deal with and you had an almost perfect hero. Yes, almost perfect. He had his flaws like not really understand Emily when it came to her business. I know, the Ms. Peterson is trying to mirror the real royals and she really does in so many instances.
Emily is a great heroine. In the beginning of the book, I really wanted to hate her for what she did to Kit but then if it were different then there would be no book. But she also stood out for me because of her convictions to her business. Yes, it was a major source of irritation from both Kit and Luke but it was who she was and she wasn’t about to let that go. But I will admit that at times I felt like I didn’t quite know her. Ms. Peterson hasn’t written the book from both Kit and Emily’s POV but we get way more of Kit’s than hers. Did I like that? Yes, because we normally don’t get the hero’s POV at all. That said, I felt a bit cheated when it came to Emily. I would have liked some more about her.
Kit’s brothers, Rob & Jack and his sister, Jane are an absolute HOOT! I can’t wait for Rob’s book. They kept Kit grounded and had him realize that no matter what, they would be there for him and back him up with whatever decision that he made in regards to Emily.
The writing is fast-paced, hilarious, sweet, hawt, but above all honest. I liked that Kit and Emily could talk to each other and mean it. There was no pretense with them and in the end…sorry. Spoiler, almost. Ms. Peterson’s use of the King’s English is spot on and funny. Yes, I said King’s English. I read this book in one sitting and I can’t wait to re-read again. Plus, waiting for Rob’s book. Ms. Peterson has a winner of a book and a great start to a series. Pick this one up. You won’t be sorry.
Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Mr. Darcy, Jamie Fraser (OMG love the gingers!), and Edward Cullen, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark and handsome heroes of her own.
She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Mr. Peterson, and her smelly Goldendoodle Martha Bean. She is the author of the super sexy STUDY ABROAD and FLINGS WITH KINGS series. Check her out at www.jessicapeterson.com
We’re so excited to be hosting Jane Godman and her Secret Baby, Second Chance Blog Tour today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!
SECRET BABY, SECOND CHANCE Author: Jane Godman Publisher: Harlequin Pages: 288 Genre: Romantic Suspense
She’s alive! Vincente Delaney has finally found his girlfriend, Beth Wade, who disappeared a year and a half ago, alive. But he’s shocked to discover someone with her: their child, a little girl he never knew about! Once upon a time, lone wolf Vincente never expected forever with Beth, but now he must put everything on the line to protect her and their family.
Beth was forced to leave Vincente to protect everything she held dear. But now the threat to her loved ones’ lives has reared its ugly head again. As danger approaches, she and Vincente must delve into her past to cast out the darkness jeopardizing their future.
As he approached, he sized up the building. Nothing about it made him think of Beth. It had a slightly neglected air, as if the owner didn’t have the time, energy or money to spend on it. He contrasted that with the Stillwater house she had lived in. That had been as neat as wax. Being organized seemed to come effortlessly to Beth, spilling over into how she dressed, her surroundings
and how she dealt with other people. Vincente wondered, not for the first time, if the reason she had struggled with their relationship was because she couldn’t neatly package up her feelings for him. When they were together there was no controlling what they felt. It had always been raw, primal…and incredible.
The thought spurred his feet up the front step. His heart was pounding so loud it almost drowned out the sound of his knock on the door. Prepared for disappointment, his nerves—already under intense pressure—were ratcheted up to crisis level when he heard a voice calling out.
“Did you forget something, Detective ?” It wasn’t just any voice. It was Beth’s voice.
He wondered how she would react if she checked who it was through the peephole in the door. Her words indicated she thought Laurie had come back again and he heard a key turn in the lock immediately after she spoke.
The door swung open and the smile on her lips faded. As she gazed at him in shock, Vincente took a moment to drink in her appearance. Her hair was shorter, just reaching her shoulders now instead of the waist-length mass in which he had loved to bury his hands. It was scraped back into an unflattering ponytail. She looked thinner. And tired, definitely tired. Almost to the point of exhaustion. But maybe the reason for that was sitting on her hip.
The baby wore pink sweatpants and a T shirt with butterflies embroidered all over. Not quite a toddler, she was a perfect little girl. Her black hair clustered in a halo of curls around her head and she studied Vincente with eyes that were huge, dark and framed by thick, spiky lashes. The hint of olive to her skin and the full ruby lips were additional confirmation of his first suspicion. It was
like looking in a mirror .
Vincente almost took a step back in shock as he gazed at his daughter.
This book is my catnip. Romantic suspense, secret baby, second chances and small town. Yep, Ms. Godman had me at the title of the book. Then throw in the cover, the blurb, and the first paragraph. But really sold me on the book as a whole was Vincente and Beth. I loved reading about how they ran hot and cold during their first run as a couple. The fighting, the hot making up sessions afterward. Catnip. Both characters had some issues when it came to relationships but none more than Vicente.
I times I really wanted to slap Vincente upside his head when it came to how he viewed relationships. Look, I get the abandonment issue with his mother but his stepmother did everything that she could to make him feel wanted and loved. Keep this in mind though, I haven’t read Bryce and Cameron’s books so maybe I missed out on some more of their backstory in regards to how they were brought up but still. Vincente…get over yourself. You have a second chance with the only woman that you ever truly loved and a daughter now. Anywoos…other than that, Vincente was a dream. He realized that he did need to finally put the past behind him and get it together if he wanted a second chance with Beth.
Beth, I could totally understand the motivation to disappear. I would have freaked out if I got the letters and photos. That was just too creepy for me and then to find out in the end who was doing it? I honestly thought it was someone else and I was wrong. Love when an author does that to me. I’m no Sherlock but sometimes I do get it right. Not here. Ms. Godman puts up a few red herrings so when the truth is finally revealed, you are left gobsmacked. Plus, the secondary characters from the past were interesting. Rick really sticks out for me. You will have to read the book to find out why. Plus, since I didn’t read the other books in the series, I loved getting to know Laurie, Cameron, Bryce, and Steffi. They are great at being there for Vincente and Beth. Let’s also not forget about Vincente and Beth’s daughter, Lia. She is NOT plot device but a character in her own right.
In fact, the line from Vincente is classic: “She trashed the place,” he whispered. He expression was stunned. “As soon as you left the room, she just went for it.”
Nothing can prepare a new daddy like Vicente like that. There were other moments between Lia and her daddy. I had the giggles at times with Lia and the dog, Melon. I know that they could be perceived as humorous plugs but in the end…well, you just need to read the book.
Overall, I just loved this book. I read it in one afternoon but it has definitely stayed with me. I’m still thinking about the scene in the bedroom when Vicente went all “bossy” with Beth and her reaction to it. Oh yes, this book has some sexy times and they are hawt. Just a friendly warning. *wink*
I will definitely look Ms. Godman’s books up. She is a new to me author that I really liked. Her style of writing, pacing, characters and overall, how did she fool me in the end, has me hooked.
About the Author
JANE GODMAN worked in a variety of shops, bars, and offices before settling into a career as a teacher. She was born in Scotland and has lived in Germany, Wales, Malta, South Africa, and England. Home is now the Wirral, a beautiful English peninsula situated between Wales and Liverpool.
Jane still gets the urge to travel, although these days she tends to head for a Spanish beach, or a European city that is steeped in history. Venice, Dubrovnik, and Vienna are among her favorites.
When Jane isn’t reading or writing romance, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. She is married to a lovely man, has two grown up children and has recently discovered the joy of becoming a grandparent.
Jane writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne and SMP Romance, thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and self-publishes her steamy historical and gothic stories.
When Caroline McNeill shows up outside her husband’s mansion, she claims to have no memory of the past year…or their passion-filled honeymoon. But faking amnesia is the only way Caroline can find out if Damon was behind her abduction. She needs to trust him—a man she craves but still barely knows—before she can tell him about their infant son.
Did the Silicon Valley mogul merely marry to claim an inheritance then dispose of her?
He shook out the waterproof blanket on the snow—plastic on one side, wool plaid on the other. She watched him line up the sled at one end of the blanket before he knelt in the snow to open the picnic hamper. All the while, Caroline rocked the carriage gently, tilting it back and forth. Thankfully, their bodyguard sat outside the trees, keeping an eye on the hill below to make sure no one intruded on their space. She didn’t feel “watched,” per se, although she felt certain the guy kept an eye on them somehow. The team Damon hired seemed very skilled at maintaining a discreet presence.
“I know that I’m not alone any longer, and I’m glad for that.” She debated lifting Lucas out of the baby carrier, but then changed her mind, putting the brakes on the contraption and facing the carrier toward the blanket so they could keep an eye on him.
“Are you ready for the winter picnic to end all picnics?” Damon asked, waiting to open the picnic basket until he had her attention. He shoved his gloves into the pockets of his vest. His dark hair had a few fresh snowflakes coating the top where he must have brushed against one of the evergreen boughs.
“Do you know what’s in there?” She peeled off her own gloves, ready to eat. “I can’t imagine what a winter picnic entails, so my expectations are fairly low.”
“I packed this myself. And believe me, my expectations run permanently high.” He tipped open the lid with a flourish. “I present to you, the Post-Sledding Woodland Feast.”
Caroline felt her eyes go wide. Crammed inside the huge basket were two brightly colored thermoses and insulated mugs, a red-and-white-checkered tablecloth, a wooden
cheeseboard with fresh fruits and cloth-covered cheeses, a tray of shrimp on ice, a stack of Sternos and a lighter, a bag of huge, homemade-looking marshmallows, a tin of graham crackers, chocolate-covered strawberries…
“And champagne!” Her gaze finally reached a bottle of a highly recognizable brand of bubbly inside a champagne bucket. “Is that even legal?” She glanced around, half expecting a park ranger to issue a citation.
“Alcohol in the park is regulated, but not prohibited, so no one will bother us unless we start causing trouble.” Grinning, he gestured for her to have a seat on the blanket.
“Get comfortable and I’ll serve us.”
She did as he asked, her eyes still on the stuffed hamper.
“You packed this?” It was a feat of engineering, the way everything was stacked and prepped.
“The technical mind is good for more than designing software, you know.” He pulled out fondue sticks and set them beside the Sterno cans so they could toast their own marshmallows. “And under the champagne is a bottle of whiskey if you’d rather doctor up the hot chocolate.” He produced a smaller basket with airline-sized bottles of Jameson and Baileys, plus a variety of add-in flavors from vanilla and almond to butterscotch.
“You have outdone yourself.” She glanced up into the carriage to check on Lucas. Surrounded by trees on three sides, their picnic spot felt safe and surprisingly private considering the view of the mayhem near Cedar Hill and the row of emerging snowmen lining the biggest walking trail less than fifty yards away.
“I will admit, it’s been hell keeping a lid on the surprise all day.” He found two small hurricane lanterns and placed candles inside them even though the sun still shone brightly outside. Then, he uncapped one of the containers of cocoa and poured her a mugful. “Here. You can add what you like while I work on the seating.”
He scrambled around to the back of the blanket where he used one arm to scoop a pile of snow under the edge of the wool plaid. It took her a moment to understand why he wanted a big lump of snow under the spot where she was sitting. But then he covered it up again, packing the pile into a U-shaped curve to create a support for her back.
“Genius,” she announced, settling into the snow seat with her mug of hot chocolate, the picnic spread out at her feet. “It really is the picnic to end all picnics.”
“I’ll drink to that.” Damon poured his own hot chocolate and settled on the blanket beside her. “Here’s to our first real day as a family.”
She met his blue gaze, his eyes all the more crystalline in the bright sun. He’d taken considerable time and trouble to make the day perfect for her, and Lucas, too. While she’d been sleeping late to catch up on rest, he’d been ordering a special sled and packing the perfect picnic.
“To family,” she echoed, softly clanking her pewter cup to his. Tipping the drink to her lips, she savored the complex swirl of flavors. She hadn’t added much alcohol, just enough to give a pleasant jolt of warmth on the way down. The almond and vanilla notes were especially good, and the melting homemade marshmallow she’d set on top was a gooey bonus.
She was about to compliment the first beverage course, but when she turned to him again, she felt a flash of heat from the simmering look he gave her. His mug remained untouched, his attention fixed on her mouth.
He was very still.
Self-conscious, she set her cup aside in the snow. “I have marshmallow all over my face, don’t I?” Her hand went to her nose, but Damon caught it. He’d set his own drink aside, too, freeing his hands.
“Let me.” He canted closer, his focus shifting to her eyes. The heat ratcheted up so much it was a wonder they weren’t melting snow. She could feel her heartbeat quicken, the answering spark she’d always experienced with this man. Time and distance hadn’t broken it. Even forgetting him completely for weeks on end hadn’t erased the response she had to him.
A few things before I start. I’ve been reading Ms. Rock since she started writing for Harlequin. It’s been a while. Karen Rock is her sister in law. Yes, that Karen Rock who also writes for Harlequin. And yes, I read her books, too. I love both of their writing styles and they are as different as night and day. While Karen writes the sweeter side, Joanne likes to keep it spicy and I love that. Her Desire books never disappoint. Damon McNeill’s book is one of those books that I eagerly waited for and I was sad when it was over.
We are introduced to Damon in the last book and I really felt for him and his quest to find Caroline. We get a sneak peek into that quest but it wasn’t until the very end of it do we understand the depth that he will go to, to find her. Man, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that with just a few paragraphs can set up a book with that much grief, love, and determination to find the heroine. *sigh* With that in mind, the intro to Caroline in this one is kinda funny actually. I know, I shouldn’t say that but once you read it, you will understand what I’m saying.
Ms. Joanne has written a true love story that ended so abruptly but quickly picks up with some unanswered questions in regards to Caroline. While reading the story, my heart just broke for Caroline. I’ve read some stories with some horrible fathers but her’s takes the cake. I was surprised at the depths that he went through and the end…oh wait. I almost spoiled it but let’s just say that Caroline, not Damon got the final say. Woo Hoo! These two had a long way to go but once they finally figured everything out, in the beginning, their romance and love for each other shined through.
Let’s not forget about Lucas, their son. Oh, my. To say Damon was shocked would be the understatement of the year but again, Ms. Rock shows us how its done in the romance world with her writing and ability to not make the child a plot point but a real character in the book. Not to mention, that she brings Caroline’s two brothers and sister into the mix and it was perfect. And Cam. Yes, that Cam. I still love him.
Again, I was bereft when this one ended. I know, you shouldn’t get too attached to couples and their stories but Caroline and Damon’s has stayed with for a while. NOTE: I read this one during the Christmas holiday and I’ve read it again. Yes, it’s that good and again, their love story will forever be in my heart. Bring on the last McNeill. Oh wait, there are now more McNeills that have been discovered in…I’m not telling you THAT. You have to read the book.
Four-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.