Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Sale!!! Trident Security Series: A Special Collection Volume II by Samantha Cole on sale on Chirp, only $3.99



Trident Security Series: A Special Collection Volume II 
by Samantha Cole is ON SALE for only $3.99!
 
 
**A Special Collection of books in the Trident Security series and its multiple spinoff series.
Not Negotiable (A Novella)

Shelby wants the one man she can't have…
Crushing on a man who deserves more than she can give is a recipe for disaster, so it's best to keep him at arm's length.

Parker prides himself on control— taking what he wants when he wants. And has been craving the perky, petite pixie ever since he laid his eyes on her, but she's turned down his every attempt to make her his.
When Parker discovers Shelby's hiding a devastating secret, he steps in to help… and this time he won't take no for an answer.

Can he convince her he's fallen in love with her, and if they only have this time together, they should make the best of it? 



Release Boost: Fallen (Angels of New York #1) by Quinn Marlowe

Fallen 

by Quinn Marlowe 

Available now at all major retailers.





Blurb:

Duca

It wasn’t an unusual assignment. Go to a party, meet with the head of a family, secure an alliance for the Rossis—and by default, the Brennans. Joseph Rossi had called on me for this sort of thing before. I wasn’t worried, and I sure as hell didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary.

Then I saw a girl with glowing green eyes and an otherworldly beauty so intense that I couldn’t stay away from her. A dance. A brush of her skin. The intoxicating scent of her.

Natasha Angelis isn’t like anyone I’ve ever met before. And neither is her family. They’re too large, too beautiful to be human, and when they pull Natasha away and tell me to find another dance partner, I go exploring, and realize this isn’t just another party.

This is a house where things don’t make sense. People are appearing out of thin air, only they’re not people. In their shadows, I see that they have wings.

And I start to see feathers.

Feathers they don’t want me to see.

My connection with Natasha is real, though, and so hot it’s scalding. Her glow, her beauty, her intelligence, pull me in and make me vulnerable, and though I realize it’s dangerous—potentially stupid, given what I’ve seen—I know I want her.

I need her.

I have to possess her.

Unfortunately, the rest of her family has other plans.

Fallen is the first in the New York Angels series, a mashup of angels and dark mafia, and connects to Quinn Marlowe's New York Rogues: Rossi. This is the first in the Duca and Natasha duo and promises angels and demons, of both the human and non-human variety, along with plenty of spice, intrigue, and mystery! Watch for the next book, Risen, coming in fall of 2024.

#releaseboost #booklaunch #newbooks #fallen #angelsofnewyork #pnr #paranormalromance #mafiaromance #romanticsuspense #angelromance #steamyreads #kissingbooks #romance #books #readers #booknews #bookbuzz




About Quinn:

Quinn Marlowe is the bestselling author of the Rossi and Southern Heroes series and a certified California girl. After studying English and film at UCLA, she decided to pursue storytelling full time. She loves red wine, cheesecake, perfect hash browns, really good punk rock, fast cars, autumn, and cooking, but she is most likely to be found spending time with her horses, snuggling her dogs, or taking orders from her small army of cats. She is a professional eye roller with a penchant for swearing like a sailor, and some of her favorite people (her nephews) are convinced she is a spy. She makes her home in San Diego with her loving husband and her prized collections of books and lipstick, neither of which ever fail to lift her spirits when she's feeling down. 

Follow Quinn Online!
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3qoxxq9
BookBub: https://bit.ly/3x9iX9Y
Facebook: https://bit.ly/3BpUy2g
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3Qvq2s2
Instagram: http://instagram.com/Quinn.Marlowe
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@quinnmarloweauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/quinnmarlowe 

Web: https://quinnmarlowe.com  



Release: Ringer (Vegas Venom #9) by Colleen Charles


Ringer 

by Colleen Charles 

Available now!

FREE with Kindle Unlimited




Blurb:

I’m about to face off in the most important game of my life, and there isn’t an arena in sight.

The stakes are high, and the prize? The guarded heart of Antonia Ricci, a headstrong beauty who's as enchanting as she is elusive.

As the star right winger for the Las Vegas Venom, I'm no stranger to a challenge, but when the team owner ropes us into a publicity stunt, I'm in uncharted territory.

My fake romance with Toni should be an easy win—a neat PR goal for the Venom. But Toni's defenses are iron clad, and my usual moves aren’t scoring any points.

Every simmering glance exchanged under the neon lights feels more real than the glitzy casino facades. As our charade begins to feel like something real, I start to question—could she be the one?

I’m going all in, ready to risk it all for a shot at my happily ever after. But this is Vegas, where the stakes are high, and the biggest jackpot of all is falling head over skates for the woman of your dreams.

Can I win Toni’s heart before I run out of time, or will this fiery beauty leave me out in the cold?



About the Author:

Colleen Charles is the USA Today Bestselling author of Perfectly Imperfect Romance for perfectly imperfect readers.

Take a chance and join her... you won't be sorry you did.

Colleen loves to hear from her readers, and she answers all communications personally. You can find her at:

www.colleencharles.com - FREE FULL-LENGTH EXCLUSIVE NOVEL for new subscribers

Facebook: https://geni.us/CCFacebook
Twitter: https://twitter.com/booksbycolleen 


Release: Haven Moon (Crescent Moon Ranch #4) by Tess Thompson

Haven Moon 

by Tess Thompson 

Available now!!

FREE with Kindle Unlimited




Blurb:

He’s a happy bachelor with a simple life on his family’s ranch. She’s a single mother fleeing an abusive husband. Will love become the haven she needs or will her past destroy any chance for happiness.

Sammie

I didn’t mean to kill my husband. All I wanted was to escape his abuse and start a new life with my daughter as far away from him as possible. But in one life altering second I had to decide—run or stay and face his family and a possible murder conviction.

I ran.

What else could I do? I’m all my daughter has in this world. I’ll do anything to make sure she’s safe.

My path led me to a new identity, a job and rented room at the Crescent Moon Ranch. Even though I don’t deserve it, the Moon family welcomes me into their loving world. Especially the youngest son, Thad Moon. He’s everything a woman could want—smart, kind, handsome. If only I could tell him the truth about who I really am. But doing so would expose him and his family to danger and scandal. And the last thing I want to do is hurt another family.

Thad

Sammie Scott has secrets. She’s clearly running from someone dangerous. I’m not even sure of her true identity. Regardless, I’ve fallen for her and her little girl. All I want is to keep them safe and give them the life they deserve. But until I know who she really is and what she’s so afraid of, there’s no hope for an honest, loving relationship.

Tess Thompson returns with the fourth installment of her beloved clean-and-wholesome Crescent Moon Ranch series. In this friends-to-lovers, small-town romance, the youngest Moon brother will do anything to protect the woman he loves, even if it means risking his own life.


About the Author:

Tess Thompson is the USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary and historical Romantic Women’s Fiction with over 50 published titles. Her books are emotional and heartwarming with themes of second chances, redemption and the power love has to change lives and create community.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest in a house on a small lake with her husband and kitties. Her four children are now young adults exploring their own paths and adventures, leaving an empty nest and a lot more time to write. She and her husband enjoy a quiet life, obsessed with birds and the other wildlife on their property, which makes them officially old. On any given day their yard could be visited by deer, bears, coyotes and squirrels.

Most days, she can be found curled up in her favorite chair reading or in her office writing while keeping an eye out for hummingbirds in the feeder outside of her office.


Follow Her Everywhere!



Release: Hometown Echoes (Braeden Creek #1) by Hayleigh Davis



Hometown Echoes 

by Hayleigh Davis 

Now live, and it has a super sweet alternate print cover too!





Blurb:

Ethan Black left our small town before I was old enough to understand love, but I never forgot my brother's best friend. Not even when I was going through hell.

Now he's back, and I'm all grown up. My battles are behind me, but a new struggle is on the horizon.

Keeping Ethan in the friendzone is harder than I expected. Accepting the love I've always yearned for? That's as dangerous and terrifying as my dreadful past.

When our rekindled friendship sparks something deeper between us, I can't ignore it anymore. I'm falling for Ethan, and I want to let him in, but my heart isn't the only thing in danger.

#releaseblitz #releaseblast #releaseday #bookbirthday #booklaunch #newbooks #hometownechoes #braedencreek #romancenovels #romancebooks #smalltownromance #brothersbestfriend #steamyreads #kissingbooks #books #readers #booklovers #bookish #booknews #bookbuzz




About Hayleigh:
Hayleigh Davis writes sizzling small-town romance with guaranteed happily-ever-afters. She's passionate about creating stories that give readers all the feels and believes romance novels should be as hot as they are heartwarming. She lives in Northeast Florida where she spends too much time serving three very demanding cats, and you're most likely to find her enjoying her very own real-life romance with the handsome hero she calls her husband.

Find Hayleigh Online:
Amazon: 
https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B0CSKGSHV1



Blitz: Seven Days at Mannerley (Love and Lies #1) by Audrey Schuyler Lancho with an excerpt and a giveaway


SEVEN DAYS AT MANNERLEY

by Audrey Schuyler Lancho

GENRE:  Historical Romance

BLURB:

The suitcase she found changed everything. The contents? An elegant dress and an invitation in another girl's name. Twenty-three-year-old Mary would go to the ball, enjoy how the rich lived just for one night, and then quietly slip back into her real life, sorting rubbish as a poor barmaid. No harm done. Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story to tell had it turned out that way.

It's 1870 in rural England, and Mary assumes the identity of the suitcase owner, Agnes. When Mary's one night at Mannerley estate turns into a seven-day, hilarious farce, she quickly makes friends, finds suitors, and keeps fibbing. Not only does Arthur, the heir himself, fall for her, but so, too, does Mr. Singh, his friend visiting from India, making advances in plain sight of the heir. Making matters worse, a former workmate recognizes Mary and extorts her: she must steal a golden watch from the heir for him or have her true identity exposed and risk being thrown in jail, which could mean death--and that would certainly ruin her stolen, er, borrowed ball gown.

The only way Mary can get close enough to Arthur to steal his watch is via sensuality and flirtation. But as Mary scrambles to cover her tracks, her lies and crimes compound, weaving themselves into an impossible tangle. All the while Agnes, the real owner of the fancy ball gown, is making her way ever-closer to Mannerley.



EXCERPT:

The touch of her hand should not have been done, and both of them knew it, being as they were in private and in the dark. But perhaps because of the forbidden nature of the contact, Mary tingled all over, like she never had before, as if a strange force coursed through her, and her face flushed hot beneath the layer of clingy soot. He must have felt the mysterious energy too because he cocked an eyebrow and tilted his head with intrigue.

He spoke again. “I’ll go. Only promise me you will not stop dreaming. And that you won’t rely on a man to make those dreams come true.”

She was sure her soul was intertwining with his as his flesh rested against hers. To her amazement, he brought her hand to his soft mouth, and ever so lightly, kissed the back of it, leaving it cool in the nighttime breeze. She shuddered out a heavy breath. She could never stop dreaming, now.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Audrey has always written stories. Her very first picture book which she wrote in early elementary school was about a mean, grumpy tooth fairy. Her first “novel”, bound using a cardboard cereal box, was written in the fourth grade. By high school, she was writing secret novels of her own, usually naming her characters by her own initials. By her twenties, she knew that writing was her calling––and she’s so glad you’re reading her debut romance! 

Audrey lives in North Carolina with her Spaniard husband and two young sons, is completely bilingual in Spanish, and enjoys church, crochet, jigsaw puzzles, time with friends, yoga, and funny movies. She’s a freelance fiction editor on Upwork, an editor at a literary agency. She also writes contemporary romance under the name Audrey Lancho. Her debut contemporary is due out in May 2025 from Harpeth Road. You can learn more about Audrey by visiting www.audreylancho.com and signing up for her newsletter––she promises not to spam you; she’ll just inform you of big happenings and new releases. Audrey also enjoys connecting with readers and other authors on X/Twitter and Instagram (@audreylancho). 

AUTHOR LINKS

Website/Newsletter: www.audreylancho.com/connect

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Audrey-Schuyler-Lancho/author/B0CSGN9RVG

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/47903487.Audrey_Schuyler_Lancho 

Upwork (editorial services): https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~016edfde2663d23587

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61550654740294

Twitter: https://twitter.com/audreylancho 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/audreylancho 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY

The author will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f4868/


 Check out these other blogs on this tour:

April 15: Long and Short Reviews
April 16: A Wonderful World of Words
April 17: The Avid Reader
April 18: Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
April 19: Literary Gold
April 22: Aubrey Wynne: Timeless Romance
April 23: Kenyan Poet

April 24: Fabulous and Brunette
April 25: The Key of Love
April 26: Novels Alive review
April 29: Joanne Guidoccio
April 30: Iron Canuck Reviews & More
May 1: Dawn's Reading Nook
May 2: Sandra's Book Club review

May 2: Author C.A.Milson
May 3: Boys' Mom Reads! - review

Monday, April 29, 2024

Release: The Lies About Forever (Impossibly Possible Duet Book One) by Claudia Burgoa


The Lies About Forever

Series: Impossibly Possible Duet

by Claudia Burgoa

Release Date: April 29, 2024

Genre: Contemporary romance, family saga, duet

https://www.amazon.com/Lies-About-Forever-Impossibly-Possible-ebook/dp/B0C3LG5S8N/



Blurb:

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Claudia Burgoa once again hits readers with an inspiring and gut-wrenching love story duet.

Lightning can strike the same place more than once.

The first time, it robbed me of my high school sweetheart.

Shattering our forever.

I was just sixteen.

Too young to understand the medical jargon that meant she was gone.

Too naĆÆve to see that forever was nothing but a fairytale.

Now, years later, I meet Ameline.

I tried not to fall in love, but it was impossible.

She gathered all my broken pieces and put me back together.

I knew the only way to keep myself intact was never to love again.

But I fell for the illusion of forever once more.

At least until I lost her.

Now I'm left questioning everything.

What does forever mean when it's built on a foundation of pain and loss?

How do you move on when lightning keeps targeting your heart?

Why bother believing in forever when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed?

The Lies About Forever is book one of the Impossibly Possible duet that ends on a jarring cliffhanger that will break you into a million pieces.




About the Author:

Claudia is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author.

She writes alluring, thrilling stories about complicated women and the men who take their breaths away. Her books are the perfect blend of steamy and heartfelt, filled with emotional characters and explosive chemistry. Her writing takes readers to new heights, providing a variety of tears, laughs, and shocking moments that leave fans on the edge of their seats.

She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, her youngest two children, and three fluffy dogs.

When Claudia is not writing, you can find her reading, knitting, or just hanging out with her family. At nights, she likes to binge watches shows or movies with her equally geeky husband.



To find more about Claudia follow her:

www.claudiayburgoa.com

➙ Newsletter: https://geni.us/CBNewsletter

➙ Website: http://bit.ly/Claudiasweb

➙ Bookbub: http://bit.ly/CBBookbub

➙ Reading group: http://bit.ly/Chicasgroup

➙ Pinterest: http://bit.ly/ClaudiaPinterest

➙ Instagram: http://bit.ly/ClaudiasIG

➙ TikTok: https://bit.ly/CBstiktok

➙Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/claudia-burgoa

➙Spotify: https://geni.us/spotifyCB



Teaser: Malicious (LA Defiance MC #2) by K.E. Osborn



Malicious by K E Osborn is releasing May 13th! Make sure you preorder the second book in the LA Defiance MC today!


Preorder: https://geni.us/mladevents

Cover Designer: Designs by Dana

Photographer: Reggie Deanching 

Cover Model: Jordan Franklin


šŸ’„Alphahole Hero

❤️‍šŸ”„Angsty

šŸ’„Bad Boy

❤️‍šŸ”„Banter

šŸ’„Emotional Scars

❤️‍šŸ”„Enemies to Lovers

šŸ’„Forbidden

❤️‍šŸ”„Forced Proximity

šŸ’„Heroine in Danger

❤️‍šŸ”„Mechanic

šŸ’„Suspenseful

❤️‍šŸ”„Touch Her & Die

šŸ’„Abused FMC


#TeaserBlast #Malicious #LADefianceSeries #KEOsborn #MCRomance #AlphaholeHero #Angsty #BadBoy #Banter #EmotionalScars #EnemiestoLovers #Forbidden #ForcedProximity #HeroineinDanger #Mechanic #Suspenseful #TouchHerandDie #AbusedFMC #ChaoticCreatives




Hosted by Chaotic Creatives 

Review Tour: Sea Glass and Fireflies by Kate Ellington with an excerpt, a giveaway, and my review



Sea Glass And Fireflies

by Kate Ellington

GENRE:   Romance

BLURB:

Elsie Hayward moves into her uncle's seaside estate on what should have been her wedding day. All she wants is peace and quiet, and to escape the guilt that's haunted her since her betrothed was lost at sea. Any hope of tranquility is dashed, however, when Charles Rockingham arrives in town. A lifetime ago they'd been best friends and almost more. If there's one person she can't hide her feelings from, it's him. Charles hasn't received a letter from Elsie in over a year. He returns home hoping to recapture the deep bond they once shared, but shadows of the past stand between them. One last secret must be revealed before they can find their way back to each other.



EXCERPT:

Invigorated by the stirring wind, Elsie ran through the garden to the beach. It was her favorite kind of weather.

When her feet touched the sand she let out a happy sigh. After walking for a few minutes, she reached a driftwood log as big as a tree, its roots and branches removed or washed away years ago. With the tide as high as it was now, the log was close to the shoreline. She sat down in the sand and rested her back against the cold wood, facing the sea. The full moon reflected on the dark, undulating waves.

In the distance, the foghorn sounded. It was mournful yet held the sound of safety for those ships out on the water. She closed her eyes and listened to the gathering wind. Soon there came a new sound: rocks crunching under light steps. She didn’t have to turn to know it was Charles.

He sat on the log, his knee almost touching her shoulder. “What are you doing out here, Elsie? A storm is coming.”

“This has always been my favorite time on the beach,” she said, craning her neck to look up at him.

“I know, and I’ve told you since we were children it isn’t safe.”

“We’ll go in before the storm really hits.” She turned her face into the wind.

“Are you ready to talk now about why you ran away?” Charles sounded like he was awaiting a confession.

She traced patterns in the sand with her fingers. “I wasn’t running away.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kate Ellington grew up in a woodsy New England town where summer days at the lake seemed to last forever. She read her first historical romance at age eleven when a teacher challenged her to find a book in the library written by an author she’d never heard of. Thus began a life-long love of love stories.

After graduating from college with an art degree she settled in the Pacific Northwest, where she currently resides with her family.

Kate wrote her first romance when she was sixteen, then set her pen down for years until another story floated into her head out of the clear blue sky. She jotted it down, just for fun, but soon it took on a life of its own.


https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Glass-Fireflies-Kate-Ellington/dp/1509248803/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sea-glass-and-fireflies-kate-ellington/1143071596

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/29720924.Kate_Ellington

https://www.kateellington.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kateellingtonauthor

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY:

Kate Ellington will award a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f4853/





My Review - 4 of 5 stars - 

This was a good read. Elsie lost her fiance, found a quiet place to grieve, and ran into her oldest best friend, Charles. Her emotions were up and down, guilt over some of her feelings regarding Gabriel, and realizing that she had always loved Charles. Misunderstandings and secrets pulled them apart before things were revealed. I appreciated Elsie's mourning, doubts, and love, and was glad that she came to her senses. Charles was so protective and caring, and then hurt when he thought that Elsie was pulling away from him. They belonged together, and I enjoyed their journey.



 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Book Review: The Stranger I Wed (The Doves of New York #1) by Harper St. George

 

Blurb

New to wealth and to London high society, American heiress Cora Dove discovers that with the right man, marriage might not be such an inconvenience after all. . . .

Cora Dove and her sisters’ questionable legitimacy has been the lifelong subject of New York’s gossipmongers and a continual stain on their father’s reputation. So when the girls each receive a generous, guilt-induced dowry from their dying grandmother, the sly Mr. Hathaway vows to release their funds only if Cora and her sisters can procure suitable husbands—far from New York. For Cora, England is a fresh start. She has no delusions of love, but a husband who will respect her independence? That’s an earl worth fighting for.

Enter: Leopold Brendon, Earl of Devonworth, a no-nonsense member of Parliament whose plan to pass a Public Health bill that would provide clean water to the working class requires the backing of a wealthy wife.  He just never expected to crave Cora’s touch or yearn to hear her thoughts on his campaign—or to discover that his seemingly perfect bride protects so many secrets...

But secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface, and Devonworth has a few of his own. With their pasts laid bare and Cora’s budding passion for women’s rights taking a dangerous turn, they’ll learn the true cost of losing their heart to a stranger—and that love is worth any price.

Amazon: Amazon.com: The Stranger I Wed (The Doves of New York Book 1) eBook : St. George, Harper: Kindle Store

B&N: The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George | eBook | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Kobo: The Stranger I Wed eBook by Harper St. George - EPUB Book | Rakuten Kobo United States

Google: The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George - Books on Google Play

Bookbub: The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George - BookBub

Goodreads: The Stranger I Wed (The Doves of New York, #1) by Harper St. George | Goodreads





My Review - 5 of 5 stars - 

This was an interesting story. I enjoyed the idea of the American heiresses, and this family had more secrets than nobility would like. Cora had her list, and Leo met all but one item. Friendship developed before love. They accepted and supported each other, with a couple misunderstandings cleared up with the truth not dragged out. The story was full of historical information and a little more description of everything than I like, but well worth the read.

I received an ARC through Netgalley, and this is my unsolicited. review.



Release: The Stranger I Wed (The Doves of New York #1) by Harper St. George with an excerpt and my review



The Stranger I Wed


by Harper St. George


Release: April 23, 2024


Genre: Historical romance, Gilded Age, Victorian


Blurb:


New to wealth and to London high society, American heiress Cora Dove discovers that with the right man, marriage might not be such an inconvenience after all. . . .

Cora Dove and her sisters’ questionable legitimacy has been the lifelong subject of New York’s gossipmongers and a continual stain on their father’s reputation. So when the girls each receive a generous, guilt-induced dowry from their dying grandmother, the sly Mr. Hathaway vows to release their funds only if Cora and her sisters can procure suitable husbands—far from New York. For Cora, England is a fresh start. She has no delusions of love, but a husband who will respect her independence? That’s an Earl worth fighting for.

     Enter: Leopold Brendon, Earl of Devonworth, a no-nonsense member of Parliament whose plan to pass a Public Health bill that would provide clean water to the working class requires the backing of a wealthy wife.  He just never expected to crave Cora’s touch or yearn to hear her thoughts on his campaign—or to discover that his seemingly perfect bride protects so many secrets. . . .

     But secrets have a way of bubbling to the surface, and Devonworth has a few of his own. With their pasts laid bare and Cora’s budding passion for women’s rights taking a dangerous turn, they’ll learn the true cost of losing their heart to a stranger—and that love is worth any price.


Excerpt:


Oxfordshire, England


Spring 1878


Title-hunting was not for the faint of heart. The occupation required a great deal of analysis, focus, and attention to detail, three qualities Cora Dove had no choice but to perfect. One had to be strategic when choosing the ideal candidate for a husband. Everyone knew that the perfect groom for a title hunter was a fortune hunter. However, it simply wasn't that easy. Too impoverished and the wealth gained from the marriage would drain away like water through a sieve.


Cora was determined that the man she married not be a gambler, at least not to excess. The likelihood of finding an aristocrat who did not gamble at all would be akin to finding a fish that did not swim. There were other considerations, too. In fact, she had made a list. Too young and he'd likely be brash and unruly. Too old and he could hold outdated ideas about a wife's role. Too temperamental or too wicked in his pursuits and he would be difficult to manage. Too attractive and heartache would inevitably ensue-this one had been the last to go on the list. Cora quite liked good-looking men and wouldn't have minded marrying one. Her sister Jenny, however, who knew more than she about the qualities of handsome men, had been insistent, so the condition had gone on the list. Only a fool would aim for the highest title and leave it at that when there were so many other considerations.


Cora was no fool. Not anymore. She had stepped off the steamer ship from New York with her mother and Eliza last week with her mission at the forefront of her mind. Find a titled husband and marry him by summer. Thankfully, she would not face the task alone. Camille, Dowager Duchess of Hereford, had agreed to act as a sort of agent to help the sisters find titled husbands.


"Camille, pardon my disbelief, but there can't possibly be suitors here," Eliza, Cora's youngest sister, remarked, her brow furrowed in distinct displeasure.


The three of them descended the steps of the train depot, umbrellas in hand to combat the spring drizzle. The train stretched out behind them on the track, belching steam into the cool air. They were in a small village-Cora had already forgotten the name-not far from Camille's country estate in Oxfordshire. The town was little more than a stop along the railroad, but it was quaint and picturesque, as Cora was finding most English villages to be. They possessed a charm lent to them by virtue of age that many of the industrial mill towns that had sprung up back home didn't have. The buildings, made of either stone or wattle and daub, had been standing for centuries longer than their brownstone back in New York. There was a security in that permanence that she found comforting.


"I quite like it," Cora said.


"As do I," Camille voiced her agreement.


Cora and her sisters had met Camille many years ago when Mr. Hathaway and Fanny were still an item, though their relationship had been in its death throes. Camille's father and Mr. Hathaway had finished some sort of business deal together, and they had been invited to spend a week with the Bridwells at their summer home. It had been an awkward week, and Cora now realized it was because Mrs. Bridwell hadn't approved of their presence there, even though Mr. Bridwell hadn't been above putting his company's profits ahead of what was socially acceptable. Cora and Camille had spent most of the time together outdoors swimming and playing on the rope swings. Thankfully, Camille remembered her and had been a wonderful source of support when Cora had contacted her with the marriage plan.


The duchess wasn't a proponent of the cash-for-class marriages that were becoming so popular between American heiresses and impoverished noblemen. Her own parents had all but auctioned her off to the highest title, and the marriage had been deeply unhappy until the much older duke had died and set her free. Now she was with Jacob Thorne, a man she loved. It had taken several letters and a few telegrams before Cora had convinced Camille that this marriage was what she wanted and that she was not being coerced by her mother. It was her negligent sire who had made this sort of marriage necessary, but Cora preferred not to dwell on that.


Instead, she devoted every waking moment to finding the perfect husband. She had a journal specifically for the task that she had diligently filled with notes about each man Camille proposed to her. She knew their ages, their immediate family members, and how they spent their days. Perhaps more importantly, she knew how their family had lost their own fortunes. That crucial bit of information could be the difference between a comfortable future and one spent scraping pennies.


Unlike the other American heiresses who came from new money families with industrial interests that kept their pockets deep, Cora and her sisters were illegitimate. They weren't marrying for mere social status, though that would be a boon; they were marrying for the very survival of their small family.


"Then you can marry any gentleman who might reside here. I'll choose one who lives in London." Eliza nodded her head in finality and Cora hid her grin. If only it were that easy of a choice.


"I understand the conditions are not ideal," Camille said, leading them around the muck and mud of the road to the higher-packed earth along the edge. They didn't seem to be heading toward the center of town but in the other direction along a narrow lane that followed the tracks before turning away. "But being able to observe these men outside of normal social conditions will give you rare insight. Since they don't know you yet and don't know that you're watching, they'll be more inclined to be themselves. Once at the house party, they'll all be on their best behavior, and you'll only see what they allow you to see."


That was certainly true. Of the ten men Camille had invited to the upcoming house party at Stonebridge Cottage, they had been able to observe five without them being aware. First, they had gone to the Lakes, where they had discreetly assessed two of their suitors who were participating in an angler tournament. They were two of the most boring individuals Cora had ever encountered. Since boredom hadn't made it onto her list, they had passed the test. Then, they had gone to a lecture at the British Museum to locate a third who had been a bit argumentative with the lecturer. She had drawn a line through his name. She wouldn't countenance a rude husband. From there, they had quietly observed two others at Hyde Park. Both were a bit snobbish in their bearing, so Cora had put a question mark by their names. Today was their last jaunt before the house party began early next week. They were here to watch a football game.



Excerpted from The Stranger I Wed by Harper St. George Copyright © 2024 by Harper St. George. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.





About the Author

Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. These were settings filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel, which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since. She lives in the Atlanta area with her family and loves to hear from readers. 


Photo credit: Harper St. George





My Review - 5 of 5 stars - 

This was an interesting story. I enjoyed the idea of the American heiresses, and this family had more secrets than nobility would like. Cora had her list, and Leo met all but one item. Friendship developed before love. They accepted and supported each other, with a couple misunderstandings cleared up with the truth not dragged out. The story was full of historical information and a little more description of everything than I like, but well worth the read.



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