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Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Tall, Dark & Royal" (Vanessa Kelly) ★★★.5 with GIVEAWAY!!!

Tall, Dark & Royal
The Renegade Royals # 2.5
By: Vanessa Kelly
Releasing November 25th, 2015
Zebra / Kensington


He's the man behind the mission to track down the illegitimate children of England's Royal Princes and help them get their due. But his deepest desire is far more personal… Magnificent and stubborn.

Fourteen years apart had not changed Chloe Steele, or Dominic Hunter's love for her. He'd been a street urchin, a boy raised at court, and finally a magistrate, yet he'd never belonged anywhere--except by her side. Now Chloe devoted herself to girls threatened by scandal--like she had been. But she was in danger, and Dominic was determined to help--and hopefully make up for lost time…

Even in childhood, Dominic had made Chloe feel safe. Now she also felt thrillingly flustered by the powerful man he'd become, and by the longing he inspired. Because Dominic meant not only to protect her, but to untangle the lies that had separated them. Yet for Chloe, surrendering to temptation may be easier than risking a future that could ruin them both…


Dominic has whisked Chloe away to his manor house in the countryside to protect her from a crime lord. It is the first time Chloe has been alone with Dominic after many years apart.
Chloe wished they could recapture that closeness. In so many ways, Dominic struck her as terribly alone—almost as alone as he’d been when she’d first met him as a charity case in the royal household, living on the fringes and not truly belonging to anyone.
Resuming her wanderings, she perused the spines of the impressive collection of books that lined the shelves. He had a smaller, well-stocked library in his town house in London, but the depth and breadth of this collection astonished her. She wondered if it had come with the house when he’d purchased it.
She’d just taken down a magnificent copy of Milton’s Paradise Regained when Dominic dismissed his steward and rose from his desk. Her consciousness of him flared out like an invisible cobweb, thrumming with silent vibrations as he came near.
“Looking for a little light reading?” he asked sardonically, after glancing at the book.
She wrinkled her nose. “I suppose it’s rather dull in comparison, but I do prefer it to Paradise Lost. I’m not particularly fond of depictions of sinners and hellfire, no matter how beautifully they’re written.”
“I imagine not.” He took the book and slid it back onto the shelf. She’d had to stretch up to reach it, but he easily slipped it into place, his tall presence towering over her. Chloe was a long Meg, but Dominic topped her by several inches. His dominating presence flustered her in a way she found dangerously attractive.
“I’m impressed with your library,” she said, trying to hide her nerves. “Did it come with the house, or did you acquire it on your own?”
He propped a broad shoulder against the bookcase, apparently relaxed but watching her with a thinly veiled intensity, as if he would peel away the years that had separated them. She didn’t know whether to be alarmed or flattered by his regard, but she feared it had more to do with a misguided sense of responsibility for her than with a genuine interest in the woman she’d become.
“A little of both,” he said. “I bought the house six years ago from a baronet who was consolidating his holdings. The collection was good to begin with, but I’ve been adding to it.” The grooves beside his mouth deepened with a rueful smile. “Books are my true weakness, but I’ve no room in my town house for any major additions of a literary or frivolous nature. The overflow must come down here.”
Chloe slapped a hand to her chest. “Good Lord, Dominic. Frivolous reading? Don’t tell me you’ve resorted to Mrs. Radcliffe, or other novels of a sensational nature.”
A wicked gleam lit up his eyes and sent a warning shiver down her spine. When he opened his mouth to answer, Chloe quickly pressed two fingers against his lips. “Don’t you dare say anything outrageous, Dominic Hunter. You’ll make me blush.”

For a fraught moment, they stared at each other. His lips parted a fraction and she felt a whisper of hot breath against her fingertips. Chloe snatched her hand away, curling it into a fist so he wouldn’t see how it trembled.

"Tall, Dark and Royal" by Vanessa Kelly - this is a novella of the Renegade Royals Series.  It's the story of Chloe and Dominic.  I did not read the first two books and felt I was missing much of the back story.  Although the author does offer some history, I had a bit of trouble connecting with the characters, which was probably due to not knowing their pasts.  Despite that, the story was a fairly good one.  Dominic is a magistrate that tends to get a bit flabbergasted by Chloe's actions.   He's strong and powerful, yet kind and gentle too.  I had a harder time with Chloe.  Although she did admirable work, her thoughts and feelings on her choices annoyed me a bit and then when she decided she'd had enough and would finally face threats, I found it a bit foolish of her.  I did really enjoy Dominic's pursuit of her, she just frustrated me a bit.  I plan to read the previous two books to learn the background stories.  I enjoyed the style of writing by the author and did like the characters of Griffin and Justine so I look forward to reading about them.  (Received copy for honest review)


Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.  Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller.  Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court" (Kim Iverson Headlee) with GIVEAWAY!!

TITLE – King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Science Fiction/Fantasy Time-Travel Romance
– 1 November 2014 (ebook, illustrated)
– February 2015 (audiobook, performed by Caprisha Page)
– November 2015 (hardcover, featuring more than 100 illustrations)
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – (350 pages/70K words)
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Jennifer Doneske
ILLUSTRATORS – Jennifer “The Royal Portraitist” Doneske and Tom “The Creature King” Doneske

Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball...and the human heart. 








CLARICE HELPED ME pack my clothing and accessories for the relocation to London: just what I would need for the first brace of weeks, which amounted to eight large traveling cases, one of which was devoted to my hair accoutrements and cosmetics. Not long after arriving in this century, Clarice had introduced me to these wonderful products, which allowed me to create the same visual effect as I had done for decades with the aid of magic; now you sit privy to the secret of how I could cast ever so many enchantments for President Malory and remain looking as glorious as ever.

While I was yet sorting through my garments deciding which to bring and which to leave, my thoughts turned toward a leaving of another sort. I must have appeared sorrowful, for of a sudden Clarice asked if aught ailed me.

“I shall miss you, Clarice, when I get to London.” Since that answer represented only half the truth, I hurried on with: “And yet I know that you shall perform your duties in continuing to oversee my office here in Washington to the utmost of your considerable abilities.”

That made her smile, and she thanked me for the compliment, but her look turned shrewd. “I imagine you’ll miss President Hinton, too.”

“Of course I shall. She has become as a sister to me.”

I resumed examination of the dress I had been holding, a sexy little black thing that I would have loved to have worn only for Accolon…

“Please tell me about him,” said Clarice.

“I beg your pardon?”

The shrewd look was back. Mayhap it had never left. “Sir Accolon. Queen Morgan, you have not—um, partnered with any man of this century more often than once to my certain knowledge, since I manage your schedule. I suspect that you have not yet found anyone you like, let alone love, as well as he. No one of this era could make you go all moony-eyed while looking at a dress; therefore, you must be thinking about Accolon. So, please tell me about him.”

Ha. I knew I had chosen her as my trusted adviser for good reason, and I rewarded her accordingly. As the memories swirled about in my mind, making me yearn even more acutely for Accolon’s company, I said:

“He was a knight with very few peers during his lifetime, excepting only Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine. And my brother—those three were the only knights who ever bested him in single combat. So naturally, he was big—in all parts and portions—and muscular, and very strong, yet as a lover he was no brute, but as tender as any virgin maid could ever wish for. His intellect was nearly as keen as mine, as was his eagerness to assist me in righting the wrongs inflicted upon me by my brother. He had hair as glossy black as a raven’s wing, which he kept short-cropped in the old Roman style; he once said it was more comfortable under the helmet than having masses of hair stuffed up under and making the head sweat overmuch. It had a fine curl to it that I found most endearing. His eyes were an unforgettable shade of blue, and he had a strong chin that he kept clean-shaven…Lord God in heaven! Who on earth is that?”

While I had been discoursing on Accolon’s virtues, Clarice had activated her screen, which was now displaying the image of a man who could have been my dead lover’s twin.

Clarice grinned. “You said the other day that you wanted to find another general manager for the Knights. This man is Alexander Leroy ‘Sandy’ Carter, former WBF second baseman and 2073 Tournament MVP for the Connecticut Yankees. Since his retirement as a player, he has served in various capacities for several teams, including as a GM. He is a renowned expert in all matters baseball.”

In any era, when something—or someone—sounds too good to be true, it—or he—usually is. I asked, “If he is so valuable, then why does he not stay with one team?”

A look of chagrin crossed her countenance. “Sandy Carter is what we call a ‘loose cannon.’ He can be temperamental and wild, and he gets into fights with players and coaches and…sometimes even with his bosses. And not just verbal fights, either. Usually his points are quite valid, but his means of expressing them don’t earn him any friends.”

In a word, then, passionate. Passionate men I understood and could work with. It had been thus with Accolon at the start of our association, and look at all I had been able to accomplish with him. Everything I had ever desired, except King Arthur’s throne.

Wit I well that lying and gullibility were two facets of human nature that had not changed in the last fifteen centuries and shall not change in the next fifteen, either. I had learned this while trying to evaluate potential new Knights for the team. Everyone speaks glowingly of his accomplishments and accolades; no one ever mentions his flaws or mistakes or regrets unless a wise employer chooses to ask specific questions of this ilk. Yet Clarice had offered the bad along with the good of this man. Still, I would be forced as a point of honor to relinquish my coveted title of The Wise if I accepted her words at face value; upon turning the thought-receptors toward me, I soon verified everything she had told me about this volatile man.

I asked, “Is Sandy Carter available now?”

Clarice’s grin returned. “For the right price, Queen Morgan, anyone is.”

It took only one call, and Sandy Carter expressed exceeding pleasure and eagerness to accompany me to London as general manager of the Knights. The fact that I had worn the sexy black number during the call saved the team quite a sum with regard to Carter’s agreed-upon salary.

Neither as queen nor as ball club owner do I ever make idle promises.

Please tells us a little bit about the main characters of your book:

ALL CALL ME Queen. For my unparalleled skills in leechcraft, most call me “The Wise.” No man dares call me “le Fay,” lest he die.
I hight Morgan.
That is to say, my name is Morgan, so chosen by my mother, Duchess Igraine, to honor the Great Queen of the Old Religion, Mór Rigan, goddess of war. My mother never knew how prophetic her choice would prove to be.
I am the daughter of Duke Gorlois, the sister of Queen Margawse and Queen Elaine, the wife of King Uriens of Gore, and the mother of Sir Uwaine of the Table Round. Blessed good fortune made me all of these things.
By the capricious hand of ill fortune, King Arthur became my younger half brother, spawned upon my most virtuous and blameless mother by that demon in man’s raiment, Uther Pendragon.
I am the only personage, kind reader, with whose biographical information you should concern yourself.
What? You wish to learn more about some of the other minions—that is to say, individuals with whom I cross paths during my sojourn in your century? Fine. Being The Wise does not always make me The Magnanimous, but you caught me in an agreeable mood today, and so I shall make an exception for you.
The first person (of any consequence) I met after my time-travel spell went awry by 300 miles and 200 years was Clarice Centralia, a bright and talented young woman whom it pleased me to later name as my assistant in all matters political and magical.
Clarice introduced me to the woman who would become my greatest ally in this era to which I did not belong, American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and President Malory’s husband, ex-Senator Ambrose Josiah Hinton. The less that is said about Ambrose, the better; I shall leave you to discover how he and I danced.
Clarice also introduced me to the magnificent man who would become the love of my life—two lives, if you account for my shift in time—Alexander “Sandy” Leroy Carter. Sandy could have been the twin of my sixth-century lover, Sir Accolon, but he proved to be ever so much more, in ever so many ways. A renowned expert in all matters baseball, and a world-class player himself once upon a time, Sandy hired on as general manager of my team, the London Knights. In the course of helping me forge a team worthy to take on the formidable American juggernaut, the Connecticut Yankees, he not only taught me about baseball, but he taught me to look into my own heart. Our association was not all wine and roses, and I leave those details for you to discover too, but I must state unequivocally that Sandy Carter was, is, and ever shall be my Once and Future Love.

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins -- the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century -- seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from "the other Washington") and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim's novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband's ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon's Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym "Kimberly Iverson."



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