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Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can’t mask the darkness that lies deep within a killer…

On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.
 
That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

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MY REVIEW

A Madness of Sunshine is a book that I kept seeing everywhere. Not only does it have a stunning cover, but it’s also author Nalini Singh’s first dabble into Contemporary Suspense. I am a big fan of her Paranormal Romances, so I just knew I had to grab this book and check it out.

A Madness of Sunshine follows the story of Anahera. After the passing of her cheating husband, Anahera returns to the one place she never thought she’d go back to. Anahera hopes that her return home will give her some perspective on life and heal her wounds. However, soon after Anahera returns home, a young woman disappears without a trace. The disappearance rocks Anahera’s small town and brings forward secrets that are better left unsaid….

A Madness of Sunshine had me instantly intrigued. The characters had an air of mystery about them and I was intrigued by the small town Anahera called home. Everyone seemed to have a secret, some darker than others. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn’t wait to see how the story would come together. The disappearance of a local girl brought unexpected truths to the surface. I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery of this story. I figured some things out right away, but there were still some twists that took me by surprise.

A Madness of Sunshine is an exciting thriller that is filled with mystery, intrigue, betrayal and lots of twists and turns. There are some glimpses of romance to take the edge off of the intensity, but this story is definitely not romance driven. I think the author did a great job with her first dabble into this genre and I hope that she’ll write more thrillers in the future.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Renegade (Knights of Fury #2) by Chantal Fernando

New York Times bestselling author of the Knights of Fury MC series Chantal Fernando is back with trouble in the form of a renegade .

Good girl Isabella wouldn’t miss the birth of her sister’s baby for the world. So when her car breaks down and one of the bikers next door offers her a ride to Vegas, it’s too tempting to pass up. Besides, she can think of worse travel conditions than wrapping her arms around Renny, otherwise known as Renegade.

Tall, dark and handsome, the man is pure sex on a Harley.

Between wild parties and rumbling motorcycles, living next to the Knights of Fury MC has always left Isabella curious, but after a night in Vegas, she gets a firsthand taste. Drinks in the club surrounded by burly bikers soon turns into a series of daring decisions, which don’t seem so bad until she wakes up the next morning. Married. To Renny.

Could she be more of a cliché?

Nothing complicates an annulment like lingering temptation, especially when Isabella and Renny give in to their need, putting their marriage where their mouths are. But as Isabella learns what outlaw life is really like, she’ll have to decide if she’s in love with a biker—or in over her head.

MY REVIEW

“Our story isn’t starting off in the traditional sense…But no true love story ever is.”

When it comes to family, there’s nothing Isabella won’t do to for them. So, when her sister goes into labor, she’s headed for Vegas without another thought. However, getting to Vegas proves to be a problem. When Isabella’s car won’t start, she gets an offer from a biker that she can’t refuse. Isabella was only supposed to help her sister while in Vegas, not get tangled up with the sexy Renny. But, when Renny offers to show Isabella a good time in Vegas, she can’t bring herself to turn him down. What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas…that is unless you find yourself married to a sexy biker! Isabella’s world is about to be turned upside down in more ways than one….

Renegade was a fun and sexy read. It wasn’t as crazy and intense as some of the other biker books I’ve read and I actually really enjoyed it. Yes, it had some craziness and drama, but as far as biker books go, this one was pretty tame. And like I said, I enjoyed it. It was a breath of fresh air. I loved seeing the softer side of the MC life and really getting that family feel and devotion.

As far as Renny & Isabella go, I loved the two of them together. They couldn’t be more opposite, but it totally worked for them. Isabella was hardworking and devoted to those important in her life. However, she could totally hang with bikers. She was tough and held her own and that made her a perfect match for Renny. Speaking of Renny, Renny was hotter than sin and a total biker bada**. He would do anything for his brothers. And when he set his sites on Isabella, all bets were off. Renny proved that you could be a bada** biker, yet have a heart of gold. He was totally smitten with Isabella and would stop at nothing to prove just how right for each other they were.

Renegade was well written and entertaining. The characters are likable and took me by surprise in the best way. This book might be tame compared to most biker books, but it still gave me what I was looking for without going over the top. When it was all said and done, I had a great time getting to know Renny & Isabella and The Knights of Fury MC. I’m really excited to see where this series is going to take us next!

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment WeeklyMy Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

MY REVIEW

When we first meet up with Tate and Sam, their romance is sweet and innocent. Everything your first love should be. Tate and Sam found love and friendship without having to look hard for it, only for the deepest betrayal to happen. But, when it comes to Tate and Sam’s story, it’s not a malicious as it seems. There’s more to their story than meets the eyes, and it will be fourteen years before these former lovers are reunited and the truth finally sees the light….

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. So, let’s start with the things that worked. I really liked the beginning of the story. I loved the way that Sam and Tate met. They just hit it off and couldn’t help the pull they felt for one another. I think for Tate, it was a breath of fresh air to be around someone she liked, but that didn’t know her. She found it easy to confide in Sam and just be who Tate wanted to be. Sam and Tate’s beginning was filled with lots of stolen and sweet moments and those moments left me with butterflies in my stomach from all of the cuteness. The betrayal was a great twist. I wasn’t expecting it and definitely didn’t see it coming. I liked the overall plot of the story. I thought it was a unique take on a first love/second chance romance.

Sadly, this book was not a 100% hit for me. So, lets touch on what did not work. First thing being first. There is a huge gap of time between when we last see Tate and Sam. Now, usually that isn’t a huge deal, but for this story, that gap left me with a lot of questions. For me, I wanted to see what happened to both Sam and Tate after their separation. I wanted to see Tate rise up and also see what led her to her new career. I think if we had gotten to experience those moments instead of a blip of a mention of them, I feel like I would have connected to the “new” Tate better. Same can be said for Sam. His life changed in many ways and I would have liked to see how he got there and those moments that led to his reunion with Tate. This is definitely a time where I feel that dual point of view could have really helped with character growth and connection. My other issue was the ending. While I really liked it, it felt a bit rushed to me, like we hit our climax and that’s it, show’s over. After everything these characters went through, I would have liked to gotten more of their reunion and their future instead of just tiny blips of it.

So, my final thoughts. This book was an ok read. For me, it had a totally different feel from what we normal get from this duo. It was much lighter, less angst, less steamy moments. Don’t get me wrong, there was still drama and some steam. But, it just didn’t have that spark or signature humor that I’m used to from Christina Lauren. There were some parts that worked and some that just didn’t. I think this book will be one of those that some will love and some will hate. And while this isn’t my favorite book by this duo, I’m still glad that I checked it out and gave it a chance.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

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MY REVIEW

The Grace Year is a title that I have been impatiently waiting to get my hands on. From the synopsis alone, I just knew this book was going to be special and that it would be thrilling. I mean, it sounded like all of my favorite dystoptian novels were wrapped into one. So, if you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale or even Lord of the Flies, you are in for a real treat with The Grace Year.

The Grace Year follows the story of Tierney James. Tierney has always dreamed for a better life than the one she knows. She lives in a society where dreams are forbidden and where women are seen as the weaker sex. When a girl reaches her sixteenth birthday, she enters what is called her grace year, a time that no one dares to talk about. Rumor has it that women are filled with magical power that they must accept and eradicate in order to return home pure and ready for their husbands. But, what they don’t tell you is that you will be pitted against one another, that your friends are not who you thought they were, and that there is more to fear than just poachers in the woods….

As a huge fan of YA Dystopian novels, I couldn’t wait to see what The Grace Year would bring to the table. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint. This story is filled with mystery and intrigue. The plot is totally unique, yet has similar elements to some beloved dystopian novels. This story is gritty and intense at times and it will certainly keep you on your toes. This is a story of survival in the worst of circumstances, yet there is also hope for a better life and future. The Grace Year does have some romantic tones, but the romance does not drive the book, the plot does. The Grace Year is filled with lots of fantastic twists and turns and at times will have you questioning what you have gotten yourself into.

Overall, I found The Grace Year to be a very enjoyable read. I thought it was very unique and written well. I found myself glued to the pages and unable to put this book down. I know this is a YA book, but do not let that fool you. This book packs a punch and keeps you guessing the entire time.  If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, I definitely would recommend giving The Grace Year a try.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Archangel’s War (Guild Hunter #12) by Nalini Singh

Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . .

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . .

This war could end them all.

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MY REVIEW

“Sometimes, I convince myself I’ve imagined how magnificent you are, then you walk into a room and boom, there I fall all over again.”

“If death is our destiny, Archangel, she thought, then I’ll see you on the other side.”

To me, there is no better sign that you’re reading a good book, then when you stay up late to finish it. And I stayed up way too late finishing this one, but man was it worth the lack of sleep!

I don’t know about you guys, but after the way Archangel’s Prophecy left off, I have been dying to see what would happen next. And I’ve got to tell you, Author Nalini Singh does not disappoint. She pulls out all of the stops with Archangel’s War. Archangel’s War picks up right where the last book left off and just hits the ground running. If you had questions, I promise, your questions will get answered. This book exceeded my expectations and took me on one thrilling and entertaining ride.

One of the things I’ve come to love about this series is the authors creativity and the way that she contiues to build on to the world we’ve come to know and love. The plot is intricate and keeps you guessing. There is a lot going on, but in the best way possible. The action and danger keeps you on your toes and will keep your eyes glued to the pages!!

And then we have our dynamic duo: Raphael and Elena. I fell in love with these two when there were first introduced to The Guild Hunter Series and with each story, I have fallen harder for them. Their relationship is inspiring. They are partners in all things and only become stronger as time goes on. There is nothing these two can’t do or overcome. They are passion filled, unstoppable team, that will just leave you begging for more.

Archangel’s War was everything I was hoping for and then some. With a world in chaos and a looming war, Archangel’s War is destined to keep your eyes glued to the pages. There was action and intensity, war and suspense, romance and steam. I had a ton of questions and couldn’t wait to have them all answered. I loved seeing this story unravel and come together.

Archangel’s War is a thrilling and exciting ride. It ties up all of the loose ends and I couldn’t be happier with how things ended. I’m not sure if there is going to more to this series or not. I’m happy with how things ended, but at the same time, I’m hopeful that this won’t be the last that we see of these character or the Guild Hunter World…..

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Excerpt From Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh

“We watch,” the Primary said. “We protect.”

But things were altering in front of them, a faint glow emanating from where the aeclari had been before the filaments obscured both Raphael’s body and Elena’s chrysalis.

Beyond the balcony doors now partially covered with the snow silk of the filaments, the Bluebell turned. His eyes widened at seeing the ocean of filaments, the glow. But before he could open the closed doors, a familiar voice entered all their minds.

Leave now. It was an order from an archangel. Clear the skies above. Empty the land around. GO.

The Legion were moving even as the last word echoed in their minds. They were Raphael’s Legion, Elena’s Legion, and they had been given an order. The Bluebell wasn’t Legion. He was one of the Seven. Unique. With his own mind.

Torment wrenched his features, but he inclined his head, and the Primary saw him form the word, “Sire.”

All of them moved.

The Bluebell dropped to the grass, then ran inside the house.

The Legion broke into four parts and swept the area. Winged beings were already flying toward the river at high speed, their faces stark and their jaws determined. The Legion dropped down in front of cars moving on the nearest road. The cars were not so close to the aeclari’s home, but the archangel hadn’t said how far to clear.

When the first two cars halted with a screech that caused a burning scent to rise to their nostrils, the Legion wrenched the doors open and hauled the startled vampires out. A group of the Legion rose into the air, two to a vampire. Another group found four humans in a third car, a vampire’s cattle heading home. The scared cattle whimpered at being taken by the Legion but didn’t struggle. Neither did the vampires after they saw the angels racing from the Enclave to the water.

Golden light poured out from the windows of the aeclari’s home.

Many of the angels streaming over the water held vampires or humans in their arms, getting their households out of danger. The Bluebell was one of the last to fly out of the Enclave, and though the Legion did not speak to many outside of the aeclari, they spoke to him: Are the aeclari’s people safe? This was important. The Legion knew. The aeclari had bonds to those who lived in the house.

Yes, I got them out. The Bluebell, who could fly faster than the Primary and sometimes raced with the cars of the Blade and the Viper, fell off the cliff with his wings licked by a golden light so bright that it was difficult to face. In one hand, he held a large rectangular thing, in his other items they recognized.

Several of the Legion flew to him, and took the things. They did not understand things, but these were linked to the aeclari in their mind. We will fly them to the Tower.

Most of the angels kept on flying toward Manhattan, and those of the Legion that carried vampires or mortals kept on going, too. But the Primary turned once he was over the center of the river, as did those of his brethren who flew only their own bodies.

The Bluebell halted in front of them, the silvery blue of his wings spread and his face awash in the burning golden light that had turned the river to gold.

And the light, it grew, and grew, and grew.

Until at last, the light was so bright that it became fire and even the Primary couldn’t bear it and threw up his arm in front of his eyes. The last thing he saw was an intense white brightness.

© Copyright 2019 by Nalini Singh

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue (Central Park Pact #2) by Lauren Layne

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor. 

There’s never a bad time to fall in love in the city, right? Wrong. According to the recently-widowed Claire Hayes, it’s very, verywrong. In fact, after finding out her late husband was a liar and a cheat, Claire’s convinced there’s never a good time for romantic notions. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her philandering husband, Claire sets out to redesign her entire Upper East Side brownstone and make it her own. But when she meets gruff and often-cantankerous contractor Scott Turner and realizes not all men are scumbags, Claire must decide if she’s ready to risk her heart again.

Scott needs a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and bluntly makes it clear to Claire that he only took on her house for that reason, adding that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess on his job site. But when long work days soon turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…? Scott knows he’s not one to settle down, but then why can’t he bring himself to put the finishing touches on Claire’s house and move on to the next job?

Filled with laugh-out-loud scenes that blend perfectly with the touching friendships Layne brings to life on the page, this “hugely entertaining” (USA TODAY) novel is perfect for fans of Lauren Weisberger.

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MY REVIEW

Love on Lexington Avenue is the second book in the Central Park Pact Series and it follows the story of Claire and Scott. Now, if you remember from the first book, Claire is actually the widow of Brayden and it was Brayden’s death that brought this whole story into motion. When Brayden passed away, Claire might have lost her husband, but she gained two amazing friends and has discovered the woman she lost along the way.

When we meet up with Claire in Love on Lexington Aveune, Claire is ready for the next phase of her life. She’s tired of the status quo and is ready to make some colorful changes with her life. And what better way to start this change, then a home renovation. What Claire didn’t plan on was Scott…..Scott is looking for a change of pace from corporate renovation and despite his reservations, working with Claire might just be what the doctor ordered…..

Overall, I found this book to be a really fun and enjoyable read. I loved getting to know Claire and see how things with Brayden truley effected her. I loved that despite everything she had been through, she came out stronger than ever and formed an unbreakable friendship with two women that she should hate. I feel like Claire’s character came a long way since we first met her. She wasn’t just this meek and fraigle thing. She was strong and ready to take on the next phase of her life. She might not have been looking for love, but you know how the saying goes, it hits you when you least expect it.

Speaking of love, I really enjoyed Scott and Claire together. Of course they butted heads in the beginning, but the tension and chemsitry was there. Both Scott and Claire had their own baggage and weren’t ready to put their hearts on the line. Their romance had a nice slow burn to it. I enjoyed watching them try to figure things out and fight for their happily ever after.

Love on Lexington Avenue was a terrific read from beginning to end. I loved getting to catch up with Claire and the girls. I enjoyed getting swept up in all that was Scott and Claire. Claire’s story wasn’t just a romance, but it was also a journey of self discovery and letting go. This story has real, strong characters. It is sweet, yet swoon-worthy all at the same time and has just the right balance of steam and angst. In the end, Love on Lexington Avenue will leave you with a smile on your face and butterflies in your belly. This is the pefect book to spend your summer afternoon getting lost in. And I for one, can not wait to see what lies ahead for us with the next book in this series!

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.

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MY REVIEW

“Your heart will learn to beat again. Until that happens, I’ll protect you. I promise.”

“Alexandra Lane. A confounding dichotomy of iniquity and innocence.”

“I’m more of a monster than any scars or scandals I claim.”

I’ve finally found a historical romance that I LOVE!!! If you’ve been following my reviews for a while, then you know that historical romance is a genre that I really struggle with. That being said, I’ve just been trucking along, hoping that eventually I would find one that would make me forget that I was reading a historical romance and just get swept away in the story. I am over the moon to have finally found an author who has made me do just that.

From the moment I picked up How To Love A Duke in Ten Days, I was hooked. The story started off with a bang and kept me glued to the pages. This story was well written and captivating. The characters were intriguing and left me begging for more. I loved the encounters between Piers and Alexandra. To some, Piers may seem like a beast of a man. I mean, he totally comes off as harsh and demanding, but when it comes to Alexandra, there is just something that makes him want to be gentle. Is he perfect? No. He makes some pretty awful assumptions about things. However, once he learns the truth, he is so sweet and so devoted to Alexandra. He will protect her at all costs and will worship her beyond her wildest dreams.

How To Love A Duke in Ten Days took my by surprise in the best possible way. I loved getting lost in Alexandra and Piers story. Their story is filled with romance, danger, secrets & lies, surprising twists & turns and of course some good angst. I loved that this story was sexy, yet not overly so. I will warn you that this story does touch on some sensitive subject matter, but the author did a brilliant job handling it.

All in all, this book was a fabulous read from beginning to end. This is my first book by author Kerrigan Byrne and it most certainly won’t be my last. She has made me a fan of historical romance and I can not wait to check out more from this author in the future.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via St. Martin’s Press & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Maynemouth, Devonshire, 1890 Ten years later

Alexander,

Accept the invitation to Castle Redmayne. I’m in danger. I need you.

—Frank

Alexandra Lane had spent the entire train ride from Lon- don to Devonshire meticulously pondering those fourteen words for two separate reasons.

The first, she had been unable to stop fretting for Fran- cesca, who tended to give more than the appropriate amount of context. The terse, vague note Alexandra now held was more of a warning than the message contained therein.

The second, she could no longer afford a first-class, pri- vate railcar, and had, for the last several tense hours, been forced to share her vestibule face-to-face with a rough- featured, stocky man with shoulders made for labor.

Alone.

He’d attempted polite conversation at first, which she’d rebuffed with equal civility by feigning interest in her cor- respondence. By now, however, they were both painfully aware she needn’t take four stops to read two letters.

It was terribly rude, she knew. Her carpetbag remained clutched in her fist the entire time, except when her hand would wander into its depths to palm the tiny pistol she always carried. The sounds of the other passengers in ad- joining vestibules didn’t make her feel safer, per se.

But she knew they would hear her scream, and that pro- vided some relief.

For a woman who’d spent a great deal of the last ten years in the company of men, she’d thought these painful moments would have relented by now.

Alas, she’d become a mistress of manipulating a situa- tion so, even if she had to endure the company of men without a female companion, there would be more than one man. In the circles she tended to frequent, people be- haved when in company.

It had worked thus far.

Alexandra braced herself against the slowing of the train, breathing a silent prayer of relief that they’d finally arrived. She’d been terrified that if she’d glanced up once, she’d be forced into conversation with her unwanted com- panion.

Rain wept against the coach window, and the shadows of the tears painted macabre little serpents on the conflict- ing documents in her hands. One, a wedding invitation. The other, Francesca’s alarming note.

A month past, she’d have wagered her entire inheritance against Francesca Cavendish’s being the first of the Red Rogues to capitulate to the bonds of matrimony.

A month past, she’d assumed she’d had an inheritance to wager.

Their little society had seemed destined to live up to the promise they’d once made as young, disenchanted girls to never marry.

Until the invitation to an engagement masquerade— given by the Duke of Redmayne—had arrived the same day of her friend’s cryptic and startling note.

The invitation had been equally as ambiguous, stating that the future duchess of Redmayne would be unveiled, as it were, at the ball. Included in Alexandra’s particular envelope was a request for her to attend as a bridesmaid.

The subsequent plea for help from Francesca—Frank— had arrived in a tiny envelope with the Red Rogue seal they’d commissioned some years prior.

Alexandra hadn’t even known Francesca had returned from her romps about the Continent. Last she’d heard, the countess had been in Morocco, doing reconnaissance of some sort. Nothing in her letters had mentioned a suitor. Not a serious one, in any case. Certainly not a duke.

Francesca had a talent for mischief and a tendency to interpret danger as mere adventure.

So, what could possibly frighten her fearless friend?

Marriage, obviously, Alexandra thought with a smirk.

A risky venture, to be sure.

From How to Love a Duke in Ten Days. Copyright © 2019 by Kerrigan Byrne and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days Q&A

Q: What inspired you to write How to Love a Duke in Ten Days?

A:  I’ve always been one of those women who have enjoyed fierce female friendships. I think that soulmates, even for heterosexual women, can be just as necessary with other women as with men, and a real hero must not just love and respect you, but also your tribe. I wanted to write a series where historical heroines could truly have it all, education, dreams, businesses, wealth, genius, revenge, hot sex, AND true love. Where the sacrifices were made on their behalf instead by them, and where their heroes learn to lift them up in all ways, heal their pains, calm their fears, become their best friends, and protect them with what I hope is a great balance between alpha hotness and progressive sensitivity.

Q: Is there one thing you would like readers to take away from this story?

A: That’s tough because I packed a lot in there! I would say the one thing from this book, specifically, is that happiness is attainable against the odds, even when overcoming the worst that people can do to one another. Even though I’m a grown up and a cynic, I still like to write books that remind me that true love conquers all, because that love can come from so many people.

Q: Can you describe your typical day writing this book?

A: This book was especially difficult for me to write, so I spent a great deal of time in my bathrobe. I would get up, my fantastic husband would make me coffee, I’d call my critique partner and we’d do a bit of brainstorming, and I’d write and rewrite for hours, stress, cry, throw things, walk the dog, eat, snack, eat some more, facebook way too much, and then finish under word count, binge a tv show or a book until I stared at the ceiling into the wee hours. Oh, and there was drinking in there at regular intervals.

Glamorous, I know!

Q: Describe the hero and heroine of How to Love a Duke in Ten Days in three words each.

A: The Duke of Redmayne:          Wary. Wounded. Wicked.

Lady Alexandra Lane:                        Brave. Brilliant. Beautiful.

Q: What is the one thing that the heroine, Alexandra, can’t live without?

A: She cannot live without her two dearest friends in the entire world, Miss Cecelia Teague, and Lady Francesca Cavendish. They literally buried a body for her, and would defend her to the death.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write in How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Your favorite?

A: As with many (most) of my novels, the prologues are the hardest to write, and read, I suspect. Usually I take the characters to the very edge of their breaking point, often times pushing them over so they have what seems like insurmountable conflicts to overcome both internally and externally. So, for this book, Alexandra’s assault was the most difficult thing to get through, and boy did I enjoy being able to help Piers put her back together, because he was just the perfect hero for her. Tender, empathetic, a good sense of humor, and a large dose of protective alphaness.

Q: Why do you write historical romance? 

A:  I’ve always romanticized the past. I can’t help it. I love the pace and the aesthetic, the gowns and the suits and the manners and the manors. I love to do historical research and it’s so fun to see how much we are influenced by the past and how, even though so much has changed through the centuries, people really haven’t. Also, it’s fun to play with language, mystery, and sex in a time when a scandal was still possible. *wink.

Q: Is there another particular author that inspires you or that you enjoy reading? 

A: There is a LIST! I would say in historical romance, though, it’s always always Lisa Kleypas. She has a grasp on the characterization of historical folks that I can never hope to attain. I’m just in awe of her every word.

Q: Where do you go or what resources do you use to make sure your novels are historically correct? 

A: I love to find books about a time period at B&N or my local bookshops. I go to Harper’s Bazaar for fashion, and a slew of Victorian references for the time period. I do read blogs and sometimes consult with historians and experts.

Q: Did you learn anything surprising while researching for this novel?

A: Many things! I learned how truly difficult it was to attain an education as a woman as little as a hundred years ago. It’s really incredible how far we’ve come in a century.

Q: What do you do when faced with writer’s block, if you ever are? 

A: Oh man. I often am. I usually try to shake it loose with a brainstorming conversation with a few friends I have who always seem to be able to unstick me. I rely heavily on the creativity of others as well as my own.

Q: How did you feel the first time you realized one of your books was a big success? 

A: I didn’t believe it. It seems surreal every time I truly realize that a story I wrote entertained another human. Let alone more than one. I’m like… they paid to read it? WHAT?

Q: What’s next for the Devil You Know series?

A: I’m especially excited for the next book ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED because it’s about Alexandra’s best friend the curvy vicar’s daughter, Cecelia Teague. She inherits London’s most infamous and successful brothel, and one imposing, surly Scottish enemy along with it. She and Lord Ramsay, the Lord Chief Justice with an axe to grind against her establishment, can’t be in a room together without the sparks flying. I can’t think about this book without smiling.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: I hope you enjoy this trio of roguish redheads as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Author Bio:

Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, USA Today bestseller Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.