by Kristabel Reed
GENRE: Regency Romance
Two years ago, Isabella Harrington defied her parents and society, and ran off with her lover to Milan. They thought they’d conquer the world at the gaming tables. But her dream of happily-ever-after led to nothing but debts and a shattered heart.
Abandoned and left on her own in a foreign city with little but her wits and skill, Isabella managed to survive. Survive and thrive, commanding the cards until she won enough to send for a very particular matchmaker.
Isabella needed a way back into the society she shunned and what better way than through a proper, aristocratic marriage? And this matchmaker of note would be her key back home to England.
Traveling the Continent, Jonathon, Duke of Strathmore, agreed to meet the mysterious Miss Harrington. Wary of the rumors surrounding her, a woman who vanished from London with only scandalous tales left in her wake, he hadn’t counted on the intriguing Isabella to thoroughly capture his attention.
Will a game of cards change both their fates? Will she become a mistress or a duchess?
“I’ve observed you this evening,” he said as they stepped outside.
“I’m well aware,” she said with the control that so fascinated him.
He raised his eyebrow and bit back a smile. Oh, that restrained passion captivated him. “I’d no idea you were so skilled at the games,” he said instead, leading her carefully along.
Watching her, he had the feeling she knew his game and didn’t rise to the bait. Jonathon bit back another smile.
“You didn’t give me an opportunity to show you the other night,” she said with a small grin that was more pride in her talents than interest.
But her gaze remained steady on his, darker in the shadowed balcony. Miss Harrington stood straight, with none of the deference normally given a duke. And none of the deference a woman in need of a suitable match to return to England ought to show.
She fascinated him all the more.
“And if I’m ready now?” His voice lowered, and Jonathon didn’t fool himself when he saw her breath hitch.
Her smile turned predatory. “I wouldn’t mind relieving you of the coin from your purse.”
He leaned closer and lowered his voice again. He watched her, knowing she followed his every move and was not unaffected. “Money holds no interested as a wager.”
She raised her own eyebrow in question. “You wish to make it a more interesting evening, then?”
“What terms would you suggest,” he asked softly, his breath a caress along her cheek, “to make it more stimulating?”
Oh my how I loved this book. I don’t read a lot of historical romance and when I do, I have my favorite authors that I read. I don’t search out new authors in historical romance. I’m sure glad that I did with Ms. Reed. She writes with an emotional center in her story and she doesn’t weigh down the story with all the normal nonsense that most writers do. I don’t care about the ton, society, manners, etc. when it comes to historical romance. For me, it’s just clutter and the characters get lost in the story.
I loved, just loved Isabella. She’s a strong woman who was left to fend for herself when her ex-lover leaves her in a foreign country. She cried, she got over it and lived. Did she move on from the hurt and betrayal? You will have to read the story to find out. I liked how she grew more confident as a woman with Jonathon. She was his match and not just in bed but also in mind and spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two fall in love over the course of the story.
Jonathon was a great hero. It was heartwarming to see him fall in true love with Isabella. He had no intention of doing so but watching him go from liking her as a friend, to a lover, to loving husband was truly magical. He wasn’t your typical historical hero either. He wasn’t a rake, rogue or needing to be reformed in any way. I liked that in him.
Are there outside forces that want to tear these two apart? Nope but they do have some issues that they need to figure out and deal with before they can truly be happy. Oh…one of the ending scenes with Jonathon and Isabella’s mom is truly priceless. And yes, I read it twice because it was that good.
If you are looking for a straight forward, character driven historical romance than look no further. Ms. Reed is definitely an author to read and I look forward to more stories in this series.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kristabel Reed lives on the East Coast and loves to explore the steamier side of historical romance. “There are so many sexy situations that didn’t just pop up in the 21st century and my goal is to burst the myth of the prim and proper debutante.” She loves romances of all sorts but currently writes Regency and Contemporary romances with curvy women. She also loves old movies, taking the dog for walks, and anything Cary Grant. And is always interested in talking about erotic romance, so drop her a line: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tweet her @kristabelreed; find her blog: kristabelreed.blogspot.com
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Kristabel Reed will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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