Review: 'Twas the Night After Chrismas by Sabrina Jeffries

Tuesday, October 30

Title: 'Twas the Night After Christmas*
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Hellions of Halstead Hall #6
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: Hardcover
Date/Year:  October 30, 2012
Reviewed by: Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

A heartwarming Christmas romance from a beloved New York Times bestselling author!

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has been estranged from his mother for most of his life. When his mother’s new companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart, writes to tell him that his mother is seriously ill, he goes home. But when he learns that the lovely widow tricked him in order to effect a holiday reconciliation, he refuses to stay—unless she meets his “terms.” Somewhere between trying to seduce the beautiful Camilla and struggling with the cruel memories of his childhood Christmases, Pierce discovers that not only does forgiveness go two ways, but that love can blossom even in the coldest of winters.


My Musings:

I was in the mood for a good historical romance when I saw ‘Twas the Night After Christmas.  I read the blurb, it looked good, so I went for it.  This was my first time reading a book by Sabrina Jeffries and I was impressed.  I was a little worried about reading a book this far along in a series I’m unfamiliar with.  If you have that same fear, don’t worry about it.  I never felt left out because of my lack of history with the characters.  I’ll be picking up the previous books in the series and they’ll be topping my “to read” list.  I really appreciated that there were also no spoilers which will ruin the previous books when I go back and read them.

The shining star of the book is Camilla.  She’s exactly the type of woman I love in a romance book.  She’s smart, strong, nurturing, loving and is made even more endearing because of her flaws.  She brings out the best in those around her.  She sees the pain Lady Devonmont is experiencing over the estrangement with her son and decides to take matters into her own hands.  Camilla sets her meddling sights on Pierce, the son, even though she has no idea what’s at the heart of the estrangement.  It’s a disaster waiting to happen!   Pierce starts off cold, angry, hurt and confused, but Camilla slowly manipulates and not so gently draws him out to the point where even he can’t stop himself from liking her. Camilla and Pierce were perfect for each other. 

Obviously, the romance is the main story here, but the side characters were good too.  Camilla’s high spirited son always brought a smile to my face.  Pierce’s mother drove me crazy but I couldn’t help but feel for her, and Fowler was stuffy and awkward but endearing in his own way.  I was surprised at how well I connected with each of them.

When I say Pierce’s mother drove me nuts, I mean that.  If she had been standing in front of me, I would have had to restrain myself from shaking her.  Her refusal to let her secrets go was infuriating.  Honestly, what secret could be so important that a mother would risk losing her son over it?  Don’t worry, I’m not going to ruin the surprise for you.  All I will say is that it made sense when I finally found out, and that is the only thing that could make all my frustration worthwhile.

‘Twas the Night After Christmas is the perfect holiday read.  It has the comforting, traditional, homey feel I associate with the holiday as well as a good romance.  This book would make a great gift for any historical romance reader.

Ratings:

Overall:  4 stars
Sensuality level:  3

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Monday's Muse

Monday, October 29


Do you feel your age?  I don't....not at all!  And this week when I was looking for a Muse I kept thinking "these men are all too young!" and too...pretty :)   I so detest the media's obsession with youth and what is considered "beautiful".  And sometimes it makes me just a little bit sad when the romances I read involve only "beautiful" people.  There is beauty in uniqueness, and I enjoy love stories where at least one of the characters has what might be considered a beauty "flaw" or imperfection.  Who embrace it because it is who they are.  It's one of the reasons why I really enjoyed Maggie Robinson's new historical romance, Lord Gray's List because the heroine is thirty-two, unconventional, and has a larger than button nose :)  Maggie Robinson often writes heroines with characteristics, or traits that are not typical to your traditional Regency English Miss and I adore that about her stories!

Our Muse this week may not be considered conventionally beautiful....he's much more rugged, and I think so incredibly sexy!  Who do you think is sexy, even though they may not be considered "beautiful"?

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  Review for 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Wednesday:  I hope to have two reviews for you.  I know what they are, but you'll have to come back to find out :)  It will be my treat to you on Halloween....no tricks I promise :)
  • Thursday:  I'll be participating in the Fall in Love Blog Hop hosted by Readers Confession.  I have a confession to make :)   I honestly don't remember signing up for this one...at all, but I guess I did 
  • Friday:  Bronwen Evans will be my guest to share with us her new historical romance, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood.
  • Tempting Trailer: This week's Tempting Trailer is for Jacquelyn Frank's new paranormal romance, Forbidden.  I've not read this series, but I have to say this is one smokin hot book trailer :)  It certainly tempts me despite not being a big paranormal romance reader.


Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Maggie Robinson, Margaret Mallory, Shiloh Walker, Donna Grant, Tiffany Clare, Melissa Mayhue, N.J. Walters, & Sabrina Jeffries.  Congrats!!!



 
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Giveaway: Sinners on Tour...A Little Warm Up to Double Time by Olivia Cunning

Wednesday, October 24

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a groupie for your favorite music singer or band?  Who hasn't at some point, right?  You hear all of these crazy stories about life on the road, and it's so much more adventurous and exhilarating than your average everyday life.  I wouldn't want to be the one in the lime light, but I often wonder what it's really like behind the scenes, both the good and the bad.   For instance you don't often consider the endless hours on the road, the failed relationships because of being gone all of the time, not to mention the other groupies, being homesick, or the warped view of what being a celebrity does to you.  However there is no denying that sex, love and rock 'n' roll is a match made in heaven.  After all I bet more than half of the songs written are about some kind of love...whether it be a new love, and old love, a lost love, yearning for love.

Which is why I happen to be such a big fan of Olivia Cunnings Sinners on Tour stories, erotic romances featuring a rock band called the "Sinners", which consists of "5 hot young musicians touring the country and basking in their fame and all the glory--and sex--that goes with it...and one by one, falling in love." What can be better than that?  

         


In the first book Backstage Pass the hero writes lyrics on her naked skin, after making passionate love.  He finds his muse while making love to his heroine...that is hot!  And then it got even hotter (and I mean really hot) in Rock Hard featuring a lead singer that lives up to every woman's sexual rock star fantasies...though he's not so good with the relationship aspect...until the end :)  Next month the newest book in this series, Double Time, releases and it features Trey's story.  Woot!!  And it appears that Ms. Cunning might have outdone herself this time because Trey gets not one, but two love interests.  Double Woot!!! Check it out:

"Olivia Cunning delivers the perfect blend of steamy sex, heartwarming romance, and a wicked sense of humor in this menage story featuring the hottest guy in the Sinners band. Trey Mills, the notoriously sexy Sinners rhythm guitarist, gives up his bisexual lifestyle and is swept into a hot, heady romance with Reagan Elliot, a female rock star sensation. But when Trey encounters Reagan’s sexy bisexual roommate, Ethan Conner, he can no longer deny who he is or what he wants. Reagan heartily agrees to a solution that opens up a hot new world of sexual experience—and love—with the two men she wants the most."

 Ahem, like I was saying, this book promises to be off the charts scorchin' hotness and I can't wait!!!  But if you haven't read Backstage Pass, and Rock Hard don't worry, I've got just the ticket for you :)  Sourcebooks Casablanca has offered to giveaway TWO Olivia Cunning prize packs to get you ready for Double Time, that's right my friends two Musings followers will receive a copy of both Backstage Pass AND Rock Hard!  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below (US & Canada only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


p.s. and if you haven't visited Olivia Cunning's website you should.  She has some great extras for the Sinners!  Pictures, song lyrics, freebies and so much more.  It's almost as if they were real :)


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Review: Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

Tuesday, October 23

Title: Reflected in You*
Author: Sylvia Day
Series: Crossfire #2
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Trade paperback & E-book
Date/Year:  October 2012
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was purchased by the reviewer for her own reading enjoyment

Summary from the publisher:

Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine.

My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession...


My Musings:

***This review contains spoilers for Bared to You. If you have not read Bared to You, please stop here!***

As eagerly as I was anticipating this book after my intense enjoyment of Bared to You, I was also wondering what Sylvia Day could possible do to provide a satisfying follow-up. Would it show real plot development and character growth, or would it just be more of the same “push me - pull you” dance between Gideon and Eva, interspersed with incredible sex scenes?

I’m happy to report that Reflected in You has everything I’d hoped to find in a sequel. It has more of the same intense emotional and sexual angst that made Bared to You such a satisfying read, so you don’t have to worry on that account. But there is also real emotional growth by both characters, however slight it may seem in some places, and it made me all the more anxious to read the next book in the series to find out what on earth could possibly happen next.

The story picks up the next morning from the last night at the end of Bared to You, which threw me at first because it had been so many months past in real time since I’d read the previous book. Gideon is still dark and dangerous and moody as hell, and Eva is still trying to move on from a traumatic past without letting Gideon take over every aspect of her current life. As the story progresses, it’s clear that Eva’s past won’t stay buried, and as various aspects of it reappear to threaten their future, both she and Gideon react in ways that may or may not be the best choices to help them stay together.

Gideon still can’t seem to trust Eva with his secrets. Eva still can’t seem to trust Gideon with her happiness. Any rational person would say they are too dysfunctional to stay together. But by the time I reached the end of this second Crossfire book, I had a much better appreciation of their motivations and reasoning, I also had more confidence that they could survive as a couple if they just kept working hard to trust each other and not to betray that trust. Now I just have to wait until May 2013 (!) to find out if I’m right when Entwined in You is released for publication.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 4 stars
(super steamy, but nothing especially kinky)
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Review: Rapture by J.R. Ward

Title:  Rapture*
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Fallen Angels #4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher:  NAL
Format:  Hardcover & E-Book
Date/Year:  September 2012
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was borrowed from the reviewer's local library

Summary from the publisher:

Mels Carmichael, reporter for the Caldwell Courier Journal, gets the shock of her life when a man stumbles in front of her car outside the local cemetery. After the accident, his amnesia is just the kind of mystery she likes to solve, but she soon discovers they're over their heads with his past. Over their heads with passion, too ...As shadows walk the line between reality and another realm, and her lover's memory begins to come back, the two of them learn that nothing is truly dead and buried. Especially when you're trapped in a no-holds-barred war between angels and demons. With a soul on the line, and Mels's heart at risk, what in heaven - or in hell - will it take to save them both?


After reporter Mels Carmichael hits a disheveled man with her car outside the local cemetery, she pays a visit to the stranger in the hospital. The only thing he remembers of his past is seeing a name written on a headstone: that of Jim Heron—a fallen angel charged with rescuing souls from the seven deadly sins. Now, as Mels struggles to help this mysterious stranger rediscover himself, Heron himself returns to prepare for a battle between good and evil.


My Musings:

I was so excited to finally get my hands on Rapture... and then I started reading. 

I’m usually obsessed with J.R. Ward’s books and will forgo food, sleep, and interacting with my family in favor of reading.  That so wasn’t the case with this one!  Rapture is 500 very long pages and I had to force myself to keep plugging away at it.  I found it boring and monotonous.

The approach to this book was different that the others in the series.  Normally the focus is on the angels (Jim, Eddie, Adrian), the demon (Devina), and whichever lost soul they’re fighting over.  Rapture was centered around Mels and Matthias (this book’s lost soul), who only had occasional contact with the angels and Devina.

Mels is an ambitious young reporter at the Caldwell newspaper.  She’s smart, tenacious, courageous and strong willed.  I loved that she never sacrificed her morals to advance her career.  I really liked her.  She is the love interest and #1 supporter of Matthias.  Yes, the same Matthias Jim lost in the last book.  I didn’t have strong feeling for Matthias one way or the other after that last book, but he really grew on me through this one.  The romance between Mels and Matthias was a huge part of the story, and probably my favorite aspect of the entire book.  I’ve never read a romance like theirs.  Mels is a young, beautiful woman and Matthias is a broken, disfigured, impotent man.  That put a completely different spin on everything, which I enjoyed.

Have you noticed I’m talking about romance and not action?  That’s because there isn’t that much action in this one.  Jim is off doing his own thing most of the time, which would be obsessing over Sissy.  You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes as I write that because I’m so over the whole Sissy thing.  Devina is depressed and is still attending counseling sessions with her psychiatrist.  Because of that, she doesn’t put much effort into winning Matthias this time.  Then there is Adrian, my absolute favorite character in the entire series.  I normally adore Adrian, but I felt like I lost him in this book.  He’s so depressed over Eddie’s death that he’s almost unrecognizable.  It was like Jim, Adrian and Devina were going through the motions but they’ve all lost their passion. 

I think my biggest problem was the overwhelming lack of camaraderie between the characters.  It was impossible to keep their lack of interest from affecting and influencing me. They did eventually get themselves together and the battle did pick up at the end.  That’s when I finally got the action I had been expecting all along.  I just had to get through 400 pages of depression and romance to get there and then the book ends with a game changing cliffhanger.  I’m still shaking my head over that one. 

Overall it was a decent book and it’s still a must-read for fans of the series.  It simply wasn’t equal to the previous books and I was left disappointed. If the next book is as lackluster as this one, I’ll be done with The Fallen Angels.

Ratings:

Overall: 3 stars
Sensuality level: 3

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Monday's Muse

Monday, October 22

Hello my lovelies!  How are you?  Did you have a good weekend?

Somehow my Saturday plans got derailed, and I spent most of my Sunday cleaning and doing laundry.  Not my most favorite thing to do.  I wish I had a magic wand and could just wave it all done.  If you could magic wand your most hated household task what would it be?  And if you've found a cleaning time saver, that not only saves time but works better...you must share!

And if I had a magic wand, I might use it to get a Muse like this...in a tub like that to just....enjoy :) (but not to clean)

This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  I'll have some reviews for you, and behind the scenes I'll be selecting and emailing the winners from some recent giveaways on the blog.  And mailing out a few packages myself.  If you are due something don't fret, it's not lost in the mail....since it hasn't even made it's way to the post office yet :)
  • Wednesday:  I'll have a special giveaway of books 1 & 2 in Olivia Cunning's Sinners on Tour series....so if you haven't read them yet, then this is perfect timing so that you will be ready for book three, Double Time, when it comes out in just a few weeks!
  • Thursday & Friday:  Will be more reviews.  Don't know which ones yet, it will depend on how much time I can find to write them/post them.
  • Tempting Trailer:  Since this seems to be the week for Christmas romances I thought it only fitting to have a Tempting Trailer for a book with this theme, so I choose the trailer for Sabrina Jeffries upcoming hardcover book 'Twas the Night After Christmas.  Even though I am a sad that this book is in hardcover I love Sabrina Jeffries' historical romances, especially her holiday stories to make a gift of it to myself :)



Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Mia Marlowe, Lori Foster, Jane Feather, & Gena Showalter!!!!



 


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Guest Author & Giveaway: Samantha Kane featuring The Devil's Thief

Friday, October 19

I've been reading a lot of contemporary romances recently, and now I'm craving a really good historical romance.  It's finally Friday and I'm sooo ready for the weekend.  All I want to do is curl up with a good book and unwind a bit.  Historical Romances are my comfort read.  Which is why I wish Samantha Kane's The Devil's Thief was already out :(  Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until November.

On a happier note, Samantha Kane is my guest today to share a bit about The Devil's Thief and how Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet plays a part in her book.  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Welcome to Seductive Musings Samantha! For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story and what makes writing historical romances so compellingly seductive to your muse?

I think a romance novel becomes a great love story when the love relationship fundamentally and positively changes something about the hero or heroine, be it their situation, their life view, their self-image. But it has to be something major, and it has to be the result of loving or being loved by that one person. Not just moving across country because of a job change, but moving across country to be with that person in spite of agoraphobia, or abandoning a successful career to help the other person pursue their dream.  I’m a firm believer in the HEA. I think it’s the underlying sense of hope and possibility in romance that appeals to me so much.

Why historical romance? It’s just the way my muse rolls, I guess. The idea of creating a passionate, tempestuous romance within the confines of a strict historical setting is a challenge. It’s sexy, to feel like we know something about the prim and proper characters that no one else does.  I love to write scenes where the sensuality simmers just below the surface, at a ball or a dinner party, where the characters are forced by circumstances to convey that passion through subtle conversation or heated looks. And then when they finally get together, BAM! That passion explodes. Gives me shivers.

Your newest novel, THE DEVIL’S THIEF is the first book in your new The Saints Devils series. Can you tell us a little bit about the books in this series, how many there might be, and how they are all connected?

The Saint’s Devils is the nickname given by society to a group of rakes who have been friends since their school days. Their unofficial leader is Sir Hilary St. John, hence the nickname. Sir Hilary is a hedonistic Sherlock Holmes character, and in each book he will help the hero solve a mystery centered on their heroine. There will be three books in the series—The Devil’s Thief (Nov. 12), Tempting a Devil (July 2013) and The Damsel and The Devil (working title, no release date yet)—and I’m planning for at least two more after that.

Tell us about your hero, Alasdair Sharpe.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Julianna, fall in love with him despite her desperate bargain? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in THE DEVIL’S THIEF?

I think Alasdair’s vulnerability will appeal to readers. The heroine, Julianna, and her act of stealing his priceless pearl force him to re-evaluate his life and who he wants to be. It’s a struggle for him because he thought he knew already, but as he falls in love with her in spite of his misgivings he realizes he’s not the man he thought he was at all. He has a moment where he tells her with great sincerity that she’s made him want to be a better man for her. The unexpected twist to it all is that Julianna is the one who’s done something wrong: she stole his pearl. But she did it with good intentions. Whereas Alasdair lied when he made the bargain—one night in his bed and he’d give Julianna the pearl—for selfish reasons.

And, of course, readers will appreciate that he’s wicked good in bed.*smile*

Most authors have a synopsis, outline or idea of what the story they are about to write will be.  However, sometimes during the writing process your “Muse” might speak to you and lead you in a different or unplanned direction.  What surprised or changed the most from your original intent of THE DEVIL’S THIEF?

The Devil’s Thief was originally written as an erotic romance. But after a few people read the first draft they all said it needed to be rewritten as a mainstream historical romance. The characters and plot, according to those readers, would appeal to a much broader audience. And once I began the rewrite the book became so much better. Eliminating the erotic storyline opened up the rest of the plot beautifully and the book is much richer for it, I think. I’ve said many times before, you can’t simply add sex to a romance and call it erotic. So this was a major rewrite that worked really well.

The secondary character of Wiley, a teenage boy who’s a notorious thief and gang leader in St. Giles, changed dramatically as well. I love his character. When I first introduced him he was only in two or three scenes, more as a sort of comic relief and plot device. But I really enjoyed writing him and I think it showed. My beta readers responded so favorably to him that I expanded his role a great deal. He’s now one of the future heroes in the series.

What's your favorite scene or moment from THE DEVIL’S THIEF, and why? Can you describe it (or provide a short excerpt) for us without giving too much away?

I loved writing the scene where Alasdair finally finds Julianna. It was so fun to describe that scene, played out at small evening party amid social pleasantries where neither Alasdair nor Julianna dare accuse the other one openly. They have to pretend they’ve never met, and each word they say has a double meaning.

Julianna was frantic. She’d managed to maneuver her father and stepmother into the far corner of the room early on in the evening. It had been quite a feat to get in unnoticed. When she had seen Alasdair standing off to the side as she and her parents waited to greet their host and hostess, she’d made a hasty excuse and fled to the retiring room. When she emerged her parents had already greeted Sir Hilary and Alasdair, who had been busy talking with new guests, and she’d slipped into the drawing room and worked her way over here. She’d thought she was safe. Over the years she had developed the ability to blend into the background when necessary. Most people overlooked her ordinary appearance and she tended to listen rather than speak.

What was Alasdair doing here? She’d noticed Sir Hilary at his reception the other night, but there had been a great many people there. She’d had no idea the two were such bosom beaus.

As she hid in her corner and hungrily watched Alasdair--half wishing he’d find her and half terrified he would--she noticed something awful, something horrifying. All the young ladies here looked like her. And Sir Hilary and Alasdair were making a point of speaking to each one. He was looking for her. And he was going to find her. There was no way to escape without alerting her father and stepmother.

Then Sir Hilary spotted her father and made his way over to them and she thought her heart would jump right through her throat.

Why? Why now? She had the money. She hadn’t been able to slip away and meet with the solicitor yet. But Alasdair wouldn’t want the money. He’d want the pearl. As soon as he spotted her, he would denounce her. Her father would be ruined. She’d be treated as a common thief. The children would be turned out of the foundling home, and sent to some overcrowded orphanage or worse.

Blood pounding in her ears, she shrank back into the shadows of the corner, nearly slipping behind the curtains of a nearby window. Every instinct she had was telling her to run. But she was rooted to the spot, watching her doom approach on impossibly long, muscular legs, his wonderful blond curls artfully mussed, his eyes narrowed dangerously as he scanned the room. He was magnificent. He was awful. He was going to kill her.

Suddenly Alasdair and Sir Hilary were standing before them and Julianna could feel Sir Hilary’s gaze burning into her. She stood as still as a statue, trying as hard as she could not to be noticed. And Alasdair didn’t notice her. He wasn’t even aware of her presence. Relief coursed through her as he exchanged empty pleasantries with her stepmother. But that relief was short-lived, quickly replaced by anger. How could he fail to notice her? How could he not see through this silly wallflower disguise of hers to his Juliet underneath? She berated her own foolishness. It was best this way. He must surely hate her now. Why would she wish to lose her anonymity now, when it could cost her so dearly?

She was a fool, fool, fool. Because she would give anything for one smile from him.

“It seems one is always running into the same people wherever one goes, doesn’t it, Julianna?” her stepmother asked as she turned in her direction.

Julianna wanted to scream in frustration. What on earth was she doing? Why couldn’t Lady Linville just let her fade into the wallpaper? She nodded and mumbled her agreement, desperately hoping the conversation would move on, and take Sir Hilary and Alasdair with it.

Her father gave her a sharp look, concern etched on his features. “Are you all right, my dear? You do not sound well.”

Alasdair was turning around. As he’d been talking with her father and stepmother Julianna had been trying to slide away into the shadows behind him. But he was turning around at her father’s comment. Oh, God, what should she do? Sir Hilary was still staring at her intently, a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes. He knew. How? She glared at him, glad to have an outlet for her anger. He looked surprised for an instant and then darkly amused.

Fine then, she would play his game. She would play this scene out and see where it led. She’d been in a receiver’s lair in Tottenham Court, for heaven’s sake. She could handle one well-bred Englishman in a drawing room.

“Yes, Lady Linville,” she answered clearly and calmly. “One is always running into a previous acquaintance here in London. It can be quite inconvenient.”

She knew the exact instant Alasdair recognized her voice. He froze, his back still half-turned to her. She watched as he began moving again, very slowly turning to face her.

“Inconvenient? What an odd thing to say!” her stepmother exclaimed. “I find it quite comforting. London is so large that it can sometimes be quite daunting, don’t you agree, Sir Hilary? To find an acquaintance when one least expects it is vastly pleasing.”

“Yes, indeed, Lady Linville. Vastly pleasing,” Sir Hilary replied, but Julianna barely heard him. Alasdair’s eyes were on her now. Angry, disbelieving, accusing, there was no welcome there. No joy, no relief--just a dark, accusatory stare.

“Julianna, you remember Sir Hilary and Mr. Sharp? Gentlemen, my daughter,” Mr. Harte said, “Miss Harte. I believe you met the other evening.”

Alasdair smiled grimly. “Yes, I believe we did.” He took her hand in his, and even through their gloves she could feel his heat warming her cold fingers. He bowed over her hand and Julianna saw a picture of him the other night, the moonlight shining in his hair as he kissed his way down her stomach and then put his mouth on her sex. Her fingers clutched his hand and he looked up, his obvious anger dousing her unwanted desire at once.

“How do you do, Mr. Sharp,” she said, and she was proud of how strong and unaffected she sounded.

“How do you do, Miss Harte,” he said, with unnecessary emphasis on her name.

“Quite well, thank you.” She couldn’t resist the challenge of showing him how supremely unconcerned she was by his presence. He need never know that she feared she might be ill at any moment or that she wanted to weep with remorse over what she’d done to him and the fact that she’d clearly lost him forever. If she’d ever had him, that was.

“How delightful,” he bit out. Oh, he did think the worst of her. And why shouldn’t he? When he let go of her hand she had to force herself not to grip his tightly in protest.

What are five fun facts about this story that readers would love to know?
  1. It started as an erotic romance.
  2. Sir Hilary St. John’s character was inspired by Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes.
  3. The idea of a young, naïve girl who steals a valuable gem from a rake was originally intended for a series co-written with another erotic romance writer. That series was scrapped.
  4. I had to do a lot of research about pearls for the story. Not many people know that pearls used to be farmed from the River Tay in Scotland, the origin of Alasdair’s family pearl.
  5. I quoted extensively from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in the book. Julianna lies to Alasdair on their first meeting and tells him her name is Juliet.
For readers that are familiar with your Historical Erotic Romance, Brothers in Arms series, what should they expect from your sensual historical romances?

Damon Suede recently told me that I write intimate stories, focused closely on my main characters. I think that holds true for both The Saint’s Devils and Brothers in Arms. The center of the story is very much the romance between my main characters rather than the forces trying to keep them apart. And the HEA relies on personal revelations and epiphanies far more than vanquishing a villain. By the end of one of my books you know the hero(es) and heroine as well as you know your best friends. I’ve also created the same sort of male camaraderie in The Saint’s Devils that you see in Brothers in Arms, but without the m/m romance element, of course.

However, in The Devil’s Thief and subsequent stories in The Saint’s Devils series there is a bit more external conflict in the form of villains at work to keep the lovers apart. There is also more humor in these stories simply because they don’t involve heroes struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?

Love and War: The Beginning, is a very short Brothers in Arms story that will be released next month, a prequel to the first book in the series, The Courage to Love. It was originally written as a free story for my newsletter subscribers, but I understand that not every reader wants to subscribe. After sending it out for two months to new subscribers I’m now going to make it available to others. I’m hoping to release a Brothers in Arms novella before the end of the year as well, a prologue to Daniel’s book, Love Betrayed, which will be out next year.

Tempting a Devil, the second book in The Saint’s Devils series, will be released in July, 2013. Tempting is about Roger Templeton, one of the Devils who helps Alasdair in The Devil’s Thief. I’m currently working on the third book in the series, The Damsel and The Devil, Sir Hilary St. John’s story, but no release date on that book yet.

Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make it count!



In Samantha Kane’s sensual tale of wicked passion, a desperate woman must resort to burglary—but the beautiful thief ends up stealing the heart of a rogue.

The daughter of a reformed jewel thief, Julianna Harte knows a thing or two about stealth. When the foundling home she provides for finds itself in dire financial straits, Julianna is forced to do the unthinkable. In a bit of misguided Robin Hood derring-do, she slips through the window of a wealthy rake to search for a treasure she knows is there: an invaluable pearl. But when the towering and very naked occupant of the moonlit bedroom ambushes her with a bargain—a night in his bed in exchange for the pearl—Julianna doesn’t know if it’s masculine heat or sheer desperation that makes his terms so tempting.

Alasdair Sharpe had no intention of keeping his end of the bargain. Planning to offer his little cat burglar carte blanche instead, he promptly loses himself in the delights of unexpected pleasure. But when he awakes the next morning to find his family heirloom gone, fury quickly replaces sensual languor. Of course, Alasdair is more than willing to use seduction to reclaim his stolen pearl—and find the key to Julianna’s heart.

Enjoy Chapters 1 & 2 below:

 

Congrats! Samantha and thanks for being my guest today and for sharing The Devil's Thief with us. It sounds like Juliana gives Alasdair a run for his money, or in this case...pearl :)

If you'd like to learn more about Samantha Kane and the books she writes you can find her at her website, her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Devil's Thief (Nov 12, 2012), the first book in her Saints Devils series, Samantha would like to giveaway a digital ARC via Netgalley to one very lucky Musings follower!  Just think you could read the book before it's even released!  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Jennifer Probst featuring The Marriage Trap

Thursday, October 18

Jennifer Probst is not new to romance, but she gained popularity with the first book in her Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Bargain which was originally released by Entangled Publishing earlier this year as an ebook, but was then picked up by Gallery Books and is now available in both print and e-book.  That book made her a NYT & USA Today bestselling author.

Jennifer is my guest today to share with us a bit about her newest book in her Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Trap with a special excerpt to tempt you even more :)  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

A big thank you to Seductive Musings for having me here today to celebrate my release week for The Marriage Trap!

As a voracious reader of romance, I never gave thought to a theme in a novel. My main mission is to get swept away in the story, engage with the characters, sigh over the sexual tension, and smile at my happy ending.

But as a writer, I learned that theme in a novel can bring all the pieces together for a more satisfying reader experience. Theme works beneath the structure where a reader may not even realize there is a theme. But a good writer can make it work to pump up the story and solidify all those jagged edges to a smooth circle.

In my newest novel in the Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Trap, my heroine Maggie Ryan has many jagged edges. She has deep emotional scars and issues revealed slowly throughout the book, and faces off my with my sexy, dominating hero the Count. Their encounters are explosive, and they each believe the other is exactly wrong. Michael wants to settle down with a traditional, sweet,  Italian wife, well versed in all things domestic. Maggie is the snarky, independent male underwear photographer who wants nothing to do with such a lifestyle.

Sounds like they cannot possibly be right for each. Right?

Ah, but there is a theme throughout the story that pulses beneath all that yummy conflict.

Home.

Maggie subconsciously craves a safe place to call home. It pushes all of her actions and defenses throughout the book.

Michael reveres home in all aspects, yet his heart is a wonderer who craves to find a soul-mate that fits him.

The journey these two characters take to be whole is a boulder strewn path and the goal is home.

I introduce my readers to a warm, vivacious, dramatic Italian family in the heart of Bergamo, which reiterate the theme so when the reader reaches the end, pure satisfaction shimmers in the core.

Have you ever thought of theme in a romance novel? What type of themes do you like to read about?

Come share with me and one lucky commenter will win a free copy of my brand new release, The Marriage Trap!

 

 Book 2 of the Marriage to a Billionaire series

The most enticing trap of all…

To satisfy his late father’s wishes, hot and single billionaire Michael Conte must find a bride—someone who will fit into his traditional family back home in Italy—and fast, so his engaged sister will be allowed to wed. With no intention of being tied down, Michael “proposes” to fiery, free-spirited photographer Maggie Ryan: if she will play the part of his fiancée during her trip to Milan for a photo shoot, he will keep away from her married best friend, Alexa, and stop making Maggie nuts with their too-close-for- comfort flirtations.

But once in Italy, sexual tension sparks the hottest no-strings- attached arrangement on any continent. Could marriage be the most enticing trap of all?

Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite!



Congrats Jennifer & thanks for being my guest today!  *Sigh*, if only handsome billionaires were as common in real life as they are in books these days :)  I could totally handle living in Italy, LOL.

If you'd like to learn more about Jennifer and the books she writes you can find her at her website http://jenniferprobst.com , blog, Twitter, Facebook & Goodreads.

To celebrate the release of he second book in her Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Trap, Jennifer's publisher Gallery Books, would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to on lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below (US only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Jessica Scott featuring Until There Was You

Wednesday, October 17

I have the utmost respect and admiration for the men and women who serve our Country.  They sacrifice so much, and endure more than most of us can even imagine.  And while I love romances that feature military heroes you don't find many stories where the hero is still in active duty...to get a glimpse of their life and the struggles they go through, let alone find a romance where the heroine is also in the military!  That is practically unheard of.

Which is why I was so intrigued by Jessica Scott's newest book in her Coming Home series, Until There Was You.  Jessica is my guest today to share a bit on how being in the Army has shaped her as a person, as a romance author, and her own heroes and heroines in the love stories she writes.  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Photo by Buzz Covington
Thanks so much for having me today at Seductive Musings!  When casting about for a topic, it was suggested I write about how my life as a military woman has impacted my writing, my heroines and my heroes, which I think is a fantastic topic.

I’ve been in the Army since I was 18 years old. I joined right out of high school so it has very much shaped my world view and in many many ways, shaped me as a person. I think that has absolutely impacted my writing because the military influences every decision I make, simply by virtue of me being a service member. In those same ways, I think my characters are impacted by the military in their decisions.

In UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, we have two captains, Evan Loehr and Claire Montoya who are both career officers but both have been shaped differently by their experiences. Evan has always been an officer, whereas Claire - like me - was enlisted first. The army is a very different place for enlisted folks compared to life as an officer and when you read UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, hopefully, the differences show in the way that Evan & Claire tackle their problems. It’s not meant as a romanticizing of being former enlisted but I do find that I look at problems a little differently than some of my peers who have always been officers. 

Below is an excerpt where Evan & Claire argue about how to best solve a problem involving training soldiers for their upcoming mission:

or read it in a Google document here.

I loved writing Evan & Claire’s story. It kicked my tail in an epic an unforgettable way but in the end, I’m really happy with how the book turned out. I hope readers will want to know more about Evan & Claire and the way that the military impacts them as characters!



He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them.

A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.

Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .

Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye. He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.


Thanks Jessica for being my guest today and congrats on the release of Until There Was You!  That excerpt certainly has me wondering what Claire lied about, and how Evan is going to get her to realize that she can trust and rely on him :)

If you'd like to learn more about Jessica Scott and the books she writes you can find her at her website www.jessicascott.net, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To celebrate the release of Until There Was You, the second book in her Coming Home series, Jessica would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one very lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below. (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Guest Author & Giveaway: Jessica Clare featuring The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male

Tuesday, October 16

I was out in the rain on Saturday, for much longer than I would have cared to be.  And let me tell you it was a cold rain.  Matter of fact I am still cold....and now I've got a cold :) 

Unfortunately, my situation, nor the outcome, was anything like the heroine, Beth Ann's, in Jessica Clare's latest Bluebonnet series, The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male.  Although if I have to look for a silver lining at least I wasn't wearing Christian Louboutin shoes hiking through the mud for hours....then again at the end she got the hot Alpha hero.

Author Jessica Clare is my guest today to share a bit about The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male, and what you might want to consider carrying with you in case you find yourself stranded in the woods (pouring rain optional).  Enjoy!

~~~***~~~

Hi there!

My Bluebonnet contemporaries are focused around a Survival Training business and the men that work there. Book two features Colt Waggoner, a hot, hard-headed marine who has the hots for the town’s beautician, Beth Ann. Too bad they can’t stand each other.

Of course, Beth Ann finds herself lost in the woods in the middle of a downpour, and Colt comes to her rescue. Kind of. Beth Ann views herself as an independent woman, so she’s not keen on his help. She’s sure she could find her way out on her own.

And maybe that’s true! But Beth Ann’s problem was that she was out in the woods without any sort of gear. And maybe you’ll find yourself in the same scenario someday – lost and alone in the wilderness. To be ready for this sort of scenario, I’ve made a brief list of things to consider bringing with you.
  1. Protection – Just kidding! But some sort of protection from the elements would be good.
  2. REAL Protection – Condoms – What? They make good canteens for carrying water. Just don’t get the lubricated ones. Yick.
  3. Rope – Good for tying things up. Mind out of the gutter, now. Mind out of the gutter.
  4. A thong – You know. Just in case you forgot your rope.
  5. A sexy hunk of a man with some survival skills. T-shirt optional.  So very, very optional. *fans self*
So that’s it! Now that you’ve got a sexy man and you’re alone together, it’s good that you’re prepared for anything. And I do mean anything!


Beth Ann needed a hero… 

Beth Ann Williamson has finally had it with her on-and-off fiancé of nine years. The problem? No one in town seems to believe her when she says it’s really over. Now Beth Ann is determined to show the small town of Bluebonnet, Texas, that she can take care of herself.  That means opening her own salon and not taking the help that her ex-fiancé seems determined to offer.

Of course, even the best laid plans go awry when she’s stranded in the woods in the middle of a downpour. Some independent woman she is. She can’t even find her way out of the woods without the help of a handsome but scowling Marine.

She got more than she bargained for…

A die-hard survivalist, Colt Waggoner’s none too pleased when he’s sent to find the town’s pampered princess. He’s even more annoyed when Beth Ann isn’t grateful for the rescue. Fine, then. He’ll just have to teach the sexy blonde a lesson – a weekend of roughing it out in the wild. Just the two of them, alone, in muddy, wet clothing that needs to come off…
But Beth Ann isn’t the spoiled princess he thought. And when she propositions him for a one night stand, he knows he should turn it down. Because this alpha male might need more than just one night in her bed to satisfy him…


Thanks Jessica for being my guest today!  I have to admit I am NOT one for camping or for survivalist skills.  My idea of camping is much more along the lines of glamping (glamorous camping).  Never heard of it?  I hadn't until recently, but it's something I could totally be on board with...especially if I had my an Alpha Male like Beth Ann's to join me *big grin*...and the T-shirt would not be optional, LOL!

If you'd like to learn more about Jessica Clare and the books she writes under this name and Jill Myles you can find her at her website www.jillmyles.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To celebrate the release of The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male by Jessica Clare, the second book in her Bluebonnet series, her publisher Berkley Heat would like to giveaway a print copy to one very lucky Musings follower.  Enter to win in the Rafflecopter form below.  (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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Monday's Muse

Monday, October 15

How are ya?  I have absolutely nothing new to share. Nada. Zip.  Zilch.  So why don't we just get to what you came for shall we, LOL.

This week's Muse.  Enjoy!


This week at Seductive Musings:
  • Tuesday:  Jessica Clare will be here to tell us more about The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male.  I plan to take copious notes, LOL.
  • Wednesday:  Author Jessica Scott will be my guest to share her new Contemporary romance, Until There Was You.  Military Heroes, yum!
  • Thursday:  Jennifer Probst will be visiting Seductive Musings to celebrate her new book The Marriage Trap.  The first book in this series, The Marriage Bargain was  HUGE success!
  • Friday:  Author Samantha Kane is going to share her new Historical Romance The Devil's Thief with us.  I was aware that Samantha Kane wrote erotic historical romances, so I am curious to see what her Loveswept historical will be like.
  • Tempting Trailer: This week's Tempting Trailer is for Delilah Marvelle's upcoming novel, Forever a Lord.  I posted the sneak peek trailer on Facebook over the weekend and thought I would share it here as well in case you missed it.  I can't wait for this book, and the book trailer!!!  I read the first book Forever and a Day, and really enjoyed it.  One of the things I loved the most was that it was was set in New York at about the same time as one of my new favorite TV shows Copper on BBCAmerica.  Do you watch it.  Did you watch the trailer below because I'm practically giddy to see the full length trailer not to mention read the book!


Finally, I'd like to congratulate all of the authors with new releases this week, especially Musings authors Shiloh Walker & Victoria Alexander!  Congrats!!!



 
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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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My FREE Kindle Quest

I've wanted a Kindle for what seems like forever, but haven't been able to afford it (and that's saying something since I can justify the cost of just about ANYTHING that I really want). I've tried winning one in one of the many giveaways that have taken place over the couple of years, but with no luck :( So I've decided to take matters in hand so to speak :) I've now decided that I am going to accumulate enough Swagbucks from my Swabucks searches to buy one...so in essence my new Kindle will be FREE...funded entirely by my internet searches done on Swagbucks. I'll keep you informed of the Great Kindle Quest below (in case you're interested....if not feel free to just skip over this part, but really who wouldn't be interested in a FREE Kindle?)
Goal: $119
Current Swagbucks Amazon Gift Card balance: $90.00
If you'd like to learn how you can earn Swagbucks and earn your own Amazon Gift Cards to buy books, a Kindle or other merchandise sold at Amazon contact me and I would be more than happy to tell you how I plan to go about it. (just so you know you can earn both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca gift cards on this rewards site)
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