BRAVE NEW EARL~~JANE ASHFORD~~With #Giveaway, #Excerpt + #review

 

An Earl mired in melancholy is no match for a determined woman…

Widower Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, has given up hope of finding happiness. His wife died in childbirth five years ago, leaving him with a broken heart and a child who only reminds him of his loss.

Miss Jean Saunders is a cousin by marriage. She doted on Benjamin’s late Countess, and can’t bear it when she hears rumors that the Earl is too bereaved to care for his young son. She arrives on the scene to evaluate his fitness as a father, and if necessary, to take his son away.

Jean’s sudden eruption into the Earl’s household simultaneously infuriates and invigorates him. She may be the only person who can breathe life into his neglected home—and his aching heart…

 

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Excerpt:

Toward the far end of the attic, Jean came upon a row of leather trunks bound in brass. Resettling her lamp securely, she opened the first. The scent of camphor wafted out at her. Pushing aside a layer of tissue paper, she unearthed a swath of satin brocade in an exquisite shade of peach. Although the fashion of another era, it was one of the loveliest gowns she’d ever seen.

There was no one around, and she was so tired of the few outfits she had with her. She couldn’t resist. She slipped off her much plainer gown, placing it out of the dust on a sheet of tissue, and slithered her way into the peach creation.

The dress was a bit large on her. Fortunately, it laced up the side so she could reach to pull it tighter, but the shoulders still threatened to slip off. Her shift and stays showed above the low neckline, and without the elaborate underpinnings such a garment required, the skirt sagged around her in heavy folds. Even so, she felt very grand.

“Very elegant,” said an appreciative male voice.

Jean whirled and nearly lost the dress. She frowned at Lord Furness, who stood near the head of the attic stair, as she pushed the shoulders back into place. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my house.”

“Yes, but you went riding.”

“And I returned.” Benjamin strolled toward his disheveled houseguest. In his ancestress’s gown, Miss Saunders was an unsettling combination of little girl playing dress-up and lush courtesan, with her clothes falling off and her curling hair making a determined break for freedom.

She gathered the heavy skirts and retreated to a rank of trunks a little distance away. “I was just… I’ll put on my own gown.”

Benjamin walked a bit closer.

“If you will go away.”

“But I came up to help you look for toys for Geoffrey.” It was an increasing delight to tease her. There was something so charming about the look she got, which said she knew precisely what he was up to and refused to stoop to acknowledge it. And yet she couldn’t help but react.

“I haven’t found any.”

“Only a hoard of finery.” Benjamin walked along the row of trunks and glanced inside them. He picked up a satin coat. “I think I remember my grandfather wearing something like this, with lots of lace at his shirtfront. Perhaps it was this very coat.” He held it up and looked closer. “I’m not sure. He died when I was around Geoffrey’s age.” He smiled at his disheveled companion. “Grandpapa didn’t care much for change at the last. Or for what people thought of his appearance. He wore what he liked.” Geoffrey would have appreciated that attitude, Benjamin thought. “He had a dueling scar across his cheek.” His hand went to his own face to demonstrate. “A bit puckered and quite frightening, as I recall. They don’t seem to go together—all this frippery and bloody sword work.”

“I imagine gentlemen took off their coats when dueling,” replied Miss Saunders.

Benjamin laughed.

“You should try it on,” she added in an odd tone.

He looked at her, hands clutching the brocade bodice to keep it from sliding off, a beam of sunlight shining through the uninhibited glory of her hair. Holding her gaze, Benjamin slowly took off his coat. “No wigs,” he said. “I draw the line there.”

“I haven’t found any,” she answered breathily.

He donned the bright satin garment. It fit well enough, only a little tight in the shoulders. It felt strange to have wide skirts around his legs. He made an elaborate bow. “Pon rep, my lady, I am so pleased to see you. I hope I find you in better health?”

“What do you mean, better?”

Benjamin straightened. “I’ve been concerned about you since—”

“I’m fine,” she interrupted. “My…outburst in the library was quite uncharacteristic, I assure you. It won’t happen again.”

“No apology is necessary.”

“I wasn’t apologizing.” Coppery glints snapped in the depths of her eyes. “Only informing you that all is well.”

He didn’t believe her, though he couldn’t have said why. Her bearing and expression were calm, her manner quelling. Clearly, she didn’t want to talk about the bout of weeping, and he had no right to press her. Why should he wish to? “I don’t know how ladies moved about in those gowns.” He indicated the sweep of peach brocade trailing over the floorboards.

“With stately elegance,” she replied.

“That is to say, very slowly. Have you seen the sort of shoes they wore? Teetering along on four-inch heels must have made it hard to run away.”

“From what?” she asked with a quizzical glance.

“Anything.” Benjamin had spoken randomly. All his attention was on her, leaving his tongue unsupervised. “Bears.”

“Bears?” She laughed.

It was a delightful sound. Benjamin realized he hadn’t heard it nearly often enough. Irresistibly drawn, he stepped closer. “Or impertinent admirers.”

“The gentlemen wore heels, too,” Miss Saunders said. “So it would have been an equal race, mincing along the cobblestones in a satin-draped procession.”

She looked up at him, still smiling. Her eyes were suffused with warmth now, her lips a little parted, and Benjamin couldn’t help himself. He moved closer still and kissed her.

Just a brush of his mouth on hers, an errant impulse. He pulled back at once.

She leaned forward and returned the favor, as if purely in the spirit of experiment. Benjamin felt a startling shudder of desire.

In the next moment, she’d twined her arms around his neck, and they were kissing as if their lives depended on it. He buried his fingers in her hair, as he’d been longing to do for days. It sprang free and tumbled over his hands, a glorious profusion of curls. Hairpins rained onto the attic floor.

Then she pulled back and blinked at him, her eyes wide, dark pools. Her arms dropped to her sides. She took a step away, and another. “Oh.”

The small sound was a breath, a worry, an astonishment. Benjamin struggled with his arousal, glad now of the long, concealing coat.

Miss Saunders put her hands to her wild crown of hair. The lovely lines of her body were outlined in peach brocade and sunlight. “Oh dear.”

“I could help pin it up, if you like.” Benjamin bent and gathered a handful of hairpins.

“No, you couldn’t.”

He gave her the pins. “I have a deft hand,” he said.

“My hair is beyond deftness. It has to be wrestled into submission.”

He nearly lost his careful control at the phrase and the thoughts it elicited. “I have strong fingers.”

 

About the author:

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely. She’s written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published all over Europe as well as in the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Find her on the web at w

http://www.janeashford.com and on Facebook. If you’d like to receive her monthly newsletter, you can sign up at either of those sites.

 

 

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☆☆☆☆☆

 

My thoughts 

The Way to a Lord’s Heart: Brave New Earl (Book 1) by Jane Ashford is a delightful and charming Regency romance.  Follow, Benjamin Romilly, Earl of Furness, a widower with a five year old son and Miss Jean Saunders, a cousin to Benjamin’s late wife on their journey of redemption, finding love and a HEA.

What strong, wonderful and charming characters! Well crafted, well written with plenty of wit, charm and romance. Readers will be glued to the pages of this charming,  witty, delightful and energetic Regency Romance. Unpredictable and unique with interesting obstacles, challenges and a strong romantic love story.

Ms. Ashford expertly bended the conventions of Regency historical with a refreshingly different, and sweetly romantic love story. Fans of cute kids, kitty antics and witty charm with a message of redemption will definitely enjoy BRAVE NEW EARL. BRAVO, Ms. Ashford!!! #NewGalley,#BraveNewEarl,#Sourcebooks

“I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are my honest opinions. I was in no way required nor compensated to write a review.”
Rating: 4.5
Heat rating: Mild 
Reviewer: AprilR 
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THE HIGHLANDER’S WARRIOR BRIDE ~~ELIZA KNIGHT~~#Excerpt & #Review

 

 

Their greatest opponent won’t be battled with a sword…

But with their hearts…

Ronan Sutherland is a fierce warrior. Swearing off all else, he thrives on his powerful position within William Wallace’s army. Freedom for the Scots is his mission—until he meets fair Julianna. She captivates him, intoxicates him…makes him want more out of life than what harsh dangers he’s accustomed to.

Lady Julianna is no meek maiden. She’s trained in the art of war, sister to one of Scotland’s most powerful men, and tasked with keeping the future king safe. Until she’s kidnapped by a rivaling clan. Now her only hope is for the one man she trusts—and desires—to save her.

Together, they’ll have to face down one of Scotland’s most treacherous foes… And keep from falling victim to the one thing they’ve both eluded thus far—love. 

The tent was dark. Cold. If Lady Julianna had a candle, she’d surely see her breath upon the night air. Puffs of white spilling from her mouth in angry bursts.
Damn the Ross and his ill-fated decisions. Damn the English and their desire to crush the Scots.
If she could go back a few days prior, she would do everything the same way—save maybe tucking more weapons on her person.
At least she wasn’t shackled. Although having free reign of a prison cell made of fabric and surrounded by guards wasn’t really any better. Her numerous attempts at escape had been quickly thwarted. She rubbed her arms furiously against the winter chill. Her cloak was thick and well made, but after a while, layers did not keep a body warm. Oh, what she wouldn’t do for a nice, blazing fire and a dram of Cook’s spiced whisky.
Three days ago, she’d been intent on speaking with Lady Myra at Eilean Donan Castle—an act that landed her here within the camp of her enemy.
Even still, she wouldn’t change a thing. It wasn’t Myra’s fault they were kidnapped. She and Myra had gotten off on the wrong foot, and Julianna wanted to make up for it by helping her escape. Although she wasn’t sure why Myra would want to leave when she obviously loved Laird Murray, but who was Julianna to judge?
She shrugged in the darkness. Truly, she had no right to pass judgment on anyone. Hadn’t she eschewed her own feelings of desire, of passion—of dare she say it—something emotionally deeper? Not that it mattered. Julianna couldn’t marry until her brother deemed it so, and for the foreseeable future, that didn’t seem to be the case.
She was glad. Marriage would only bind her. Wrap her up in a neat little package and put her on the shelf. That was not the life Julianna wanted. She was a warrior.
Trained in the arts of war. Trained to protect the King of Scotland. Little good that did her now, seeing as how she sat prisoner in this Godforsaken tent, by the devil Laird Ross.
“Humph.” She crossed her arms over her chest. Still, she’d not change a thing.
When she slipped into the passageway leading to Myra’s room and saw her being carried away—gagged and trussed up—she had to save her. That’s what she was trained to do. She had no other choice. Myra had traveled a long way, risked death, all to give Robert the Bruce a message. A message that saved his life.
Following the brutes who dared harm a lady, Julianna thought little of her own safety, only of saving Myra. No one else witnessed her being abducted. As a warrior, Julianna felt it was her duty to see to everyone’s safety.
She’d jumped in front of the men, stopping them in their path and demanded they unhand Myra. They’d laughed at her. Right in her face, their breath foul, spittle flying. Julianna ignored their laughter and offered to take Myra’s place. That made them laugh harder. And harder. They knew who she was, and she recognized them too. Colin and Alisdair. Two relatively new retainers in Robert the Bruce’s army. They knew Julianna was important. But she was sure they didn’t know how significant. She was a kitchen servant, or at least that’s what they thought her to be. It did not go unnoticed that she had the ear of Robert. No one, however, knew just what her role was. They’d kept that a secret. They’d had to. It was the only way to protect themselves.

After all, theirs was an illusion created to distract, to confuse.

 

 

 

Eliza Knight is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of sizzling historical romance and time-travel erotic romance. Under the name E. Knight, she pens riveting historical fiction. She runs the award-winning blog, History Undressed. When not reading, writing and researching, she likes to cuddle up in front of a warm fire with her own knight in shining armor. Connect with her at http://www.elizaknight.com or http://www.historyundressed.com. You can sign up for her newsletter at  http://eepurl.com/CSFFD. Follow her on social media at:

 

 

Monday, June 5
Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More
Book featured at Books, Dreams, LifeTuesday, June 6
Book featured at Nicole’s Book Musings
Book featured at A Book Lover

Wednesday, June 7
Book featured at A Title Wave
Book featured at I’m Shelf-ish

Thursday, June 8
Book featured at Warrior Woman Winmill
Book reviewed at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, June 9
Book featured at Mello and June
Book reviewed at Celtic Lady Book Reviews
Book featured at Eskie Mama Reads and Dragon Lady Reads

 

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My thoughts:

The Highlander’s Warrior Bride by Eliza Knight is a nail biting Medieval Scottish Romance. While, #4, it can be read as a stand alone.

Ronan Sutherland is the younger brother of the Sutherland Clan, he’s a fierce warrior and holds an important position with William Wallace. Lady Julianna is a warrior, she’s trained all her life to protect Robert Bruce and she has secrets few people know, which places her in grave danger. Together, these two make a fierce,  tantalizing and impressive couple.  I enjoyed how Julianna and Ronan worked together, fought their attraction, learned to trust each other and found love amongst the turmoil and ugliness that war brings. But, will Robert Bruce, wish to lose his fierce protector? Will he deny what two hearts long to have, their HEA?

“The Highlander’s Warrior” is a quick read, fast paced with nail biting danger and filled with turns and turns. I thoroughly enjoyed Julianna and Ronan’s story. I was captivated from the beginning and held breathlessly to the end.

Ms. Knight is a remarkable storyteller, who draws readers into her stories with her vivid details, her unpredictable but charming and engaging characters and her tantalizing plot.

If you enjoy action packed, danger filled with intriguing characters, brawn Highland warriors, fierce lasses and masterfully written stories,  then “The Highlander’s Warrior Bride” is a perfect story for you to read.  Fantastic Medieval Scottish Romance!

I received a complimentary copy.  All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4.5

Heat rating: Mild

Reviewed by: AprilR

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