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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Spotlight: The Cost of Honor by Diana Munoz Stewart


Author: Diana Munoz Stewart
Publiser: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: November 2019

He gave up everything to escape his family
The only male to be adopted into the notorious Parish family, Tony Parish always did right by his vigilante sisters. But when an attempt to protect one of them went horribly wrong, he had to fake his own death to escape his fanatical family. Tony set sail and ended up in Dominica?face to face with the woman of his dreams…
Now he must give up Honor to save her
After the death of her mother, Honor Silva moved to Dominica, where her family could help her heal and move on. But her activist mother left her more than money, she left her proof that could take down one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.
Tony gave up everything he thought he knew when he fled his family. But when a threat too dangerous for Tony and Honor to fight on their own closes in, he has no choice but to go to them for help. Problem is, they’ll demand something in return?something that could cost Tony not just Honor, but also the love that changed him forever.

Black Ops Confidential Series:
I Am Justice (Book 1)
The Price of Grace (Book 2)
The Cost of Honor (Book 3)

Readers are raving about the Black Ops Confidential series:
“A high-octane…satisfying roller-coaster ride. Stewart’s talent shines.”–Publishers Weekly for The Price of Grace

“Electrifying, edgy, and sexy!”–JULIE ANN WALKERNew York Times bestseller, for I Am Justice
“Witty, dangerous, fun, and smoking hot.”–CINDY DEESNew York Times bestseller, for I Am Justice

Purchase Links

About Diana Munoz Stewart


Diana Munoz Stewart is the award-winning, romantic suspense author of the Band of Sisters series, which includes I Am Justice, I Am Grace, and I Am Honor. Visit her at dianamunozstewart.com.

Connect with Diana

Diana Munoz Stewart’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, November 11th: Hallie Reads
Tuesday, November 12th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, November 13th: @thisbibliolife
Thursday, November 14th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, November 15th: @girlandherbooks
Monday, November 18th: The Book Disciple – excerpt
Monday, November 18th: @thebookdisciple
Tuesday, November 19th: Booked on a Feeling
Tuesday, November 19th: Mystery Suspense Reviews – excerpt

Wednesday, November 20th: @barr_bookworms
Thursday, November 21st: Why Girls are Weird
Friday, November 22nd: @_ebl_inc_
Monday, November 25th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, November 26th: Bewitched Bookworms – review & excerpt
Wednesday, November 27th: The Book Diva’s Reads – excerpt
Monday, December 2nd: Living My Best Book Life – excerpt
Monday, December 2nd: @livingmybestbooklife
Tuesday, December 3rd: Becky on Books
Wednesday, December 4th: Stranded in Chaos
Friday, December 6th: Book Nerd


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock



Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Published by: HarperCollins-Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0310332591 (ISBN13: 9780310332596)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Thomas Nelson


One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.


Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.


Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher's daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate's drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.


Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

My thoughts:

Smoke Screen is a very quick Christian contemporary.  It involves Brenna, a single mother struggling with a court battle to keep custody of her children.  It also involves Nate, whose father is out of prison having served time for killing Brenna's father.  I ended up enjoying the romance.  Brenna and Nate's past history really added to their relationship.  It was definitely not a light read as it deals with struggles of faith in God, family and friends.  It also deals with the struggles of alcohol abuse.  So...definite trigger warnings.  I was really rooting for Brenna.  I thought her struggle with drinking came across as realistic.  The story also sends a good message about the crisis of faith and what you can do to let go.  There is a little bit of a mystery because Roy (Nate's dad) swears he is innocent.  I liked how that story line was wrapped up nicely.     I do recommend trying this one out.


Read an excerpt:

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.
An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”
T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”
“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”
“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”
I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”
“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”
It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.
“The family. Were they injured?”
“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”
“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”
“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”
I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.
“I won’t need a month,” I said.
“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”
I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”
“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”
Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.
***
Excerpt taken from Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock. Copyright 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/. All rights reserved.


Terri Blackstock

Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.

Catch Up With Terri Blackstock On:
TerriBlackstock.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Twitter
Facebook


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spotlight & Guest Post My Daughter's Keeper by Mark Winkler



On Tour with iRead Book Tours from Nov 4 to Nov 15, 2019!

Book Details:

Book Title My Daughter's Keeper by Mark Winkler
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction, 140 pages
Genre Memoir
Publisher Journey Press
Release date:   June, 2019
Tour dates: Nov 4 to Nov 15, 2019
Content Rating: PG + M (R
ated PG+M for mature themes, but there is no bad language.)

Book Description:

My Daughter’s Keeper is the compelling story of a father’s journey to strive against mounting odds to be present in his daughter’s life. The story reveals the complexities of parenting as the author wrestles with his past to face self-imposed challenges in order to transition from a man given to selfish leanings to an open-hearted and dutiful father.

My Daughter’s Keeper tugs on the heartstrings of any parent who has endured the pain and challenges of co-parenting, custody disputes, or separated families. Written with accountability and compassion, this book has been crafted to challenge readers to consider the ways our circumstances, including the painful ones, set us up to develop into better versions of ourselves.
 


GUEST POST
Answer Question: How can someone recognize when they are in a toxic relationship?
Sometimes, we can find ourselves in a toxic relationship and not realize we are there. If you find yourself in a toxic relationship, please seek support from trusted friends or family members and if necessary, professional counseling. Four ways a person can recognize if they are in a toxic relationship:
1.       They are always arguing.
2.       They do not feel emotionally, mentally, financially and/or spiritually supported by their significant other
3.       Their significant other constantly berates and diminishes them.

4.       They find themselves isolated from their normal support base to please their significant other’s jealous or insecure tendencies. 

Meet the Author:

Over the years, Mark Winkler has continuously moved towards his goal of helping create a better world by motivating others. His passionate advocacy for families and children eventually led to the co-founding of Manhood Camp, which was established to provide life-skills programs and community engagement opportunities for young men in the Los Angeles area. Recently, Manhood Camp started working directly with fathers via its monthly support group, Fatherhood Circle. Winkler holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and has been working in the community advocacy field for more than a decade. His organization's event, Choose Peace: A Community Celebration and Information Fair, brought together over twenty-six community organizations and received a special appearance and congratulatory speech by the Los Angeles city council president, Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Connect with the author:    website ~ facebook ~twitter ~ instagram ~ November Media

Tour Schedule:

Nov 4 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 5 – Character Madness and Musings – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 6 - Over Coffee Conversations – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 6 - b for bookreview – book spotlight / author interview
Nov 7 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 7 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 8 – On My Bookshelf – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 8 – The Clipped Nightingale – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 11 - Hall Ways Blog – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 12 - From the TBR Pile – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 12 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 13 - Bookmark and fork – book spotlight / author interview
Nov 15 – The Book Tower – book spotlight


Enter the Giveaway:
 
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Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Old Bones by Douglas Preston & Lincold Child

Authors: Douglas Preston & Lincold Child
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 2019

Nora Kelly, a young but successful curator with a series of important excavations already under her belt, is approached by the handsome Historian, Clive Benton, to lead an expedition unlike any other. Clive tells his story--one involving the ill-fated Donner Party, who became permanently lodged in the American consciousness in the winter of 1847, when the first skeletonized survivors of the party stumbled out of the California mountains, replete with tales of courage, resourcefulness, bad luck, murder, barbarism--and, finally, starvation and cannibalism.

Captivated by the Donner Party, Nora agrees and they venture into the Sierra Nevada in search of the camp. Quickly, they learn that the discovery of the missing starvation camp is just the tip of the iceberg--and that the real truth behind those long-dead pioneers is not only far more complex and surprising than they could have imagined...but it is one that puts them both in mortal danger from a very real, present-day threat in which the search for the lost party, and its fabled fortune in gold, are merely means to a horrifying end.


Old Bones is the first in a new spin-off series featuring archaeologist Nora Kelly.  Nora Kelly first appears in Thunderhead, which is a stand alone, and also appears in Cabinet of Curiosities, Book 3 in the Pendergast series. It's been a while since I read either of those books, but I remember I really enjoyed them.  In this first book, Nora is convinced to lead an expedition of find the lost camp of the Donner Party.  Rumor has it that there is buried treasure.  Once they get out into the wilderness, things quickly begin to go wrong.

I have always been fascinated by the Donner Party tragedy.  I thought this was a good take on the story.  The mystery was engaging and kept me guessing.  I was expecting more of a supernatural element, but it really isn't there.  I think if you go into this knowing that, you will enjoy it more.  I liked Nora as a main character.  She is definitely someone that  I would want to read about again in the future.  I do hope that she teams up with FBI agent Corrie Swanson again.  I liked how they played off of each other. 

Reading this book reminded me of how much I love this writing duo.  I really want to go back and read all of the Pendergast books.  There are a lot, so it will take some time to catch up.   For now, I do recommend this mystery.  I know fans of these authors will love this book. 


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Dirty Letters by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Authors: Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: November 5, 2019

She had yet to meet him but had never forgotten the British boy who’d warmed her heart.

As childhood pen pals, Griffin Quinn and Luca Vinetti couldn’t have been more different. Over the years, through hundreds of letters, they became best friends, sharing their deepest, darkest secrets.

Until one day it ended.

Griffin never understood why Luca disappeared. She was special. She knew the real him like no one else. He writes her a drunken letter, an angry one, never expecting her to write back.

Before they know it, they’re right where they left off. This time with heat.

But as playing catch-up goes from fun to flirty to downright dirty, Luca wants more. She wants Griffin in the flesh. That’s where it gets risky. Because when they meet, the mystery will be over. And once they really get to know each other, there’ll be no going back.


I literally read this book in one sitting. I'm not sure that the title "Dirty Letters" does it justice.  I thought the book was going to be more about two people writing dirty letters to each other.  Instead I got a book that is so much more.  In Dirty letters, Luca and Griffin rekindle their pen pal friendship after years of being out of touch. They realize that they have a chance at so much more, but Luca's debilitating anxiety could stand in the way.

I enjoyed my time with this couple.  Their friendship really enhanced their relationship.  I also loved how they were able to communicate.  That was refreshing.  There wasn't a lot of "not talking" and  that made for little miscommunication angst.  I loved this couple.  I loved the way Griffin was so patient with Luca and her anxiety.  Which brings me to her anxiety.  I really think the authors did a good job at portraying what someone would go through while suffering from anxiety and PTSD.  One of the best things about this book is the letters between the Griffin and Luca.  I have always been a fan of writing letters.  I firmly believe they allow you to share arts of yourself that you may not feel comfortable saying in public.

I highly recommend this sweet romance.  I look forward to reading more from this team.


Enjoy this excerpt:
The small dining room table had a pile of mail. I’d had Dad’s mail forwarded to my house, so mostly it was just catalogs and junk. Once a month, Mrs. Cascio sent me everything that arrived, even though I’d told her it wasn’t necessary. I mindlessly fingered through the pile, not expecting to see anything worth keeping. But I stopped at an envelope addressed to me—well, not me, but Luca Ryan. That was a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. In second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ryan, started a pen pal writing program with a small town in England. We weren’t allowed to use our real last names for safety reasons, so the entire class used her last name—hence I was Luca Ryan. I checked out the return address for the sender’s name.
G. Quinn
Wow, really? It couldn’t be.
I squinted at the postmark. It was from a PO box in California, not England, but I didn’t know any other Quinn other than Griffin. And the handwriting did look pretty familiar. But it had been close to eight years since we’d exchanged letters. Why would he write now? Curious, I ripped it open and scanned right to the bottom of the letter for the name. Sure enough, it was from Griffin. I started at the beginning.

Dear Luca,

Do you like scotch? I remember you said you didn’t like the taste of beer. But we never did get around to comparing our taste in hard liquor. Why is that, you might ask? Let me remind you—because you stopped answering my letters eight damn years ago. I wanted to let you know, I’m still pissed off about that. My mum used to say I hold grudges. But I prefer to think of it as I remember the facts. And the fact of the matter is, you suck. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been holding that shit in for a long time. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not obsessive or anything. I don’t sit in my house thinking about you all day long. In fact, there have been months that go by when thoughts of you don’t even enter my brain. But then some random thing will pop into my head out of the blue. Like I’ll see some kid in a pram eating black licorice, and I’ll think of you. Side note—I’ve tried it again as an adult, and I still think it tastes like the bottom of my shoe, so perhaps it’s that you just have no taste. You probably don’t even like scotch. Anyway, I’m sure this letter won’t find its way to you. Or if by some miracle it does, you won’t answer. But if you’re reading this, you should know two things.
1. The Macallan 1926 is worth the extra cash. Goes down smooth.
2. You SUCK.

Later, traitor, Griffin

What in the hell?



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Author Biographies


Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared on more than one hundred bestseller lists and are currently translated into twenty-six languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children, where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than twenty novels. A former television news anchor, Penelope has sold more than two million books and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list twenty-one times. She resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

Together, Vi and Penelope are the authors of Dirty Letters, Hate Notes, and the Rush Series. For more information about them, visit wwwvikeeland.com and www.penelopewardauthor.com.

Social Media Links

Vi Keeland Website: https://www.vikeeland.com
Vi Keeland Twitter: https://twitter.com/vikeeland 

Penelope Ward Website: https://penelopewardauthor.com

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Review: Twelve Nights at Rotter Hosue by J. W. Ocker

Author: J. W. Ocker
Publisher: Turner
Publication Date: November 2019

Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a keen eye for the paranormal, and he's carved out a unique, if only slightly lucrative, niche for himself in nonfiction; he writes travelogues of the country's most haunted places, after haunting them himself.

When he convinces the owner of the infamous Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay on the premises for 13 nights, he believes he's finally found the location that will bring him a bestseller. As with his other gigs, he sets rules for himself: no leaving the house for any reason, refrain from outside contact, and sleep during the day.

When Thomas Ruth, Felix's oldest friend and fellow horror film obsessive, joins him on the project, the two dance around a recent and unspeakably painful rough-patch in their friendship, but eventually fall into their old rhythms of dark humor and movie trivia. That's when things start going wrong: screams from upstairs, figures in the thresholds, and more than what should be in any basement. Felix realizes the book he's writing, and his very state of mind, is tilting from nonfiction into all out horror, and the shocking climax answers a question that's been staring these men in the face all along: In Rotter House, who's haunting who?


Twelve Nights at Rotter House was a random library pick.  IT also turn out to be one of the creepiest horror books that I have read in a long time.  In the story, Felix is a not so successful travel writer who likes to investigate and write about creepy places in the world.  He is not a believer, but is open to having his mind changed.  He is hoping Rotter House will give him the comeback book that he needs to make money.

This would make a great horror movie.  The twist ending was a genuine surprise.  I thought the story was going in one direction and I was completely wrong.  The author did a great job of building tension and setting a perfect spooky atmosphere.  The characters were interesting, that includes that house.  It takes on a personality of it own. This is definitely not a book to read when you are at home alone.   I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good haunted house book.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Blog Tour: Review of Twist of Fate by Jill Shalvis

Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
Publication date: November 2019

When the one you want …

Daisy doesn’t believe love is ever-lasting, so it’s ironic as hell that she parlayed a business degree into a wedding planning business. More ironic still is her latest job bringing her back into contact with the man who’d taught her that love can’t last.

Is the one you can’t have…

To say Diego has been taught the hard way to bury emotions is an understatement. But when he’s called home to help the brother he hasn’t seen or spoken to in years, that’s one thing. It’s another entirely to also come face to face with the first woman he ever loved. First and only…

Can love conquer all?

Daisy’s learned to depend only on herself, and Diego is and always has been an island of one. And yet when they’re together, even when they’re bickering, still wary and haunted by memories of what was … it’s magic. The question is, how to find their way back to each other…?


My thoughts:

Twist of Fate is set in the Heartbreaker Bay world as well as being a part of the 1001 Dark Nights series.  It's Diego and Daisy's story.  But it is also, in a sense, Diego and Rocco's (Diego's brother) story.  It's about second chances, healing old hurts, and moving forward to a new future.  I really liked this short novella.  I only wish it was longer.  I wanted more of these characters.  If you are looking for a quick cute yet sexy second chance romance, I highly recommend this one.  

Add TWIST OF FATE to your Goodreads TBR here!

Purchase your copy of TWIST OF FATE today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU



About JILL SHALVIS:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.  
Connect With Her:Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Bookbub | Instagram

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Author: Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: July 2019

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen's new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.


I wish I could say that I loved Lock Every Door.  But I really can't.  I'm getting a bit tired of buying into the hype of a book, only to be let down when I actually read it.  This book has received rave reviews, but I don't see it. The only other book that I have read by this author was Final Girls and I liked that one OK. I kind of feel the same way about this book.  It was just kind of meh.  

The most disappointing part of the book was the ending.  It was such a far-fetched twist and at the same time kind of a cop out.  Up until that reveal, I was actually almost on board with the way I thought the book was headed.   I think it would have made for a more satisfying story in the end.  The main character was frustrating and had a lot of TSTL moments.  In the end, this was not a "thriller".  I'd call it an OK mystery.  Not one I would necessarily recommend unless you didn't have much else to read on hand.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Blog Tour: Excerpt of This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman


Author: Kate Bateman
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: October 2019
Book-buy link

Introducing the Bow Street Bachelors—men who work undercover for London’s first official police
force—and the women they serve to protect. . .and wed?

Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person.
Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force
Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap
scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?

Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him—and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself
courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?

Enjoy this excerpt:

Chapter 1.

London, March 1816.

There were worse places to find a husband than Newgate Prison.
Of course there were.
It was just that, at present, Georgie couldn’t think of any.

“Georgiana Caversteed, this is a terrible idea.” Georgie frowned at her burly companion, Pieter Smit,
as the nondescript carriage he’d summoned to convey them to London’s most notorious jail rocked to a halt on the cobbled street. The salt-weathered Dutchman always used her full name whenever he disapproved of some- thing she was doing. Which was often.

“Your father would turn in his watery grave if he knew what you were about.”


That was undoubtedly true. Until three days ago, en- listing a husband from amongst the ranks of London’s most dangerous criminals had not featured prominently on her list of life goals. But desperate times called for des- perate measures. Or, in this case, for a desperate felon about to be hanged. A felon she would marry before the night was through.

Georgie peered out into the rain-drizzled street, then up, up the near-windowless walls. They rose into the mist, five stories high, a vast expanse of brickwork, bleak and unpromising. A church bell tolled somewhere in the darkness, a forlorn clang like a death knell. Her stomach knotted with a grim sense of foreboding.

Was she really going to go through with this? It had seemed a good plan, in the safety of Grosvenor Square. The perfect way to thwart Cousin Josiah once and for all. She stepped from the carriage, ducked her head against the rain, and followed Pieter under a vast arched gate. Her heart hammered at the audacity of what she planned. They’d taken the same route as condemned prisoners  on the way to Tyburn tree, only in reverse. West to east, from the rarefied social strata of Mayfair through gradu- ally rougher and bleaker neighborhoods, Holborn and St. Giles, to this miserable place where the dregs of humanity had been incarcerated. Georgie felt as if she were nearing her own execution.

She shook off the pervasive aura of doom and straight- ened her spine. This was her choice. However unpalat- able the next few minutes might be, the alternative was far worse. Better a temporary marriage to a murderous, unwashed criminal than a lifetime of misery with Josiah. They crossed the deserted outer courtyard, and Georgie cleared her throat, trying not to inhale the foul-smelling air that seeped from the very pores of the building. “You have it all arranged? They are expecting us?”

Pieter nodded. “Aye. I’ve greased the wheels with yer blunt, my girl. The proctor and the ordinary are both bent as copper shillings. Used to having their palms greased, those two, the greedy bastards.”

Her father’s right-hand man had never minced words in front of her, and Georgie appreciated his bluntness. So few people in the ton ever said what they really meant. Pieter’s honesty was refreshing. He’d been her father’s man for twenty years before she’d even been born. A case of mumps had prevented him from accompanying Wil- liam Caversteed on his last, fateful voyage, and Georgie had often thought that if Pieter had been with her father, maybe he’d still be alive. Little things like squalls, ship- wrecks, and attacks from Barbary pirates would be mere inconveniences to a man like Pieter Smit. 

In the five years since Papa’s death, Pieter’s steadfast loyalty had been dedicated to William’s daughters, and Georgie loved the gruff, hulking manservant like a second father. He would see her through this madcap scheme— even if he disapproved.

She tugged the hood of her cloak down to stave off the drizzle. This place was filled with murderers, highway- men, forgers, and thieves. Poor wretches slated to die, or those “lucky” few whose sentences had been commuted to transportation. Yet in her own way, she was equally desperate.

“You are sure that this man is to be hanged tomorrow?” Pieter nodded grimly as he rapped on a wooden door.

“I am. A low sort he is, by all accounts.”
She shouldn’t ask, didn’t want to know too much about the man whose name she was purchasing. A man whose death would spell her own freedom. She would be wed and widowed within twenty-four hours.

From This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.


Author Bio:

Kate Bateman, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of historical romances,
including her RITA® nominated Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, and the novels in the Secrets & Spies series To Steal a Heart, A Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart. When not writing novels that feature feisty, intelligent heroines and sexy, snarky heroes you want to both strangle and kiss, Kate works as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several popular TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.