Review: Falling in Bed With a Duke by Lorraine Heath

falling in bed with a dukeReviewed by Jen

One of the things I enjoy about Lorraine Heath is that she is so good at crafting characters I can care about. In this case, it’s the heroine, Minerva. She is quickly reaching spinster status, but not for lack of offers. She has received plenty of proposals. The problem is that men only want her for her dowry. No one has ever wanted her for herself. She’s never been touched… never even been kissed… and now she is ready to change that, by taking matters into her own hands. [Read more…]

Review: The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath

duke and the lady in redReviewed by Jen

I can’t remember the last time I cried this much reading a book.  It says so much about Lorraine Heath’s ability to craft her characters that she made me care for them so much.  I expected a light story about about a rich rake, falling for a canny con artist.  But what I got was so much more.  Rosalind is a swindler, but that is the tip of the iceberg for her character; and it’s her backstory and its impact on the present that kept me reading, cover to cover, without putting it down once. [Read more…]

Review: Once More, My Darling Rouge by Lorraine Heath

once more my darling rogueReviewed by Jen

Let me tell you a little bit about my reading experience with this book.

Chapter 1: I hate this heroine.

Chapter 2: I really, really hate this heroine.

Chapter 3: Should I keep reading this book?

Chapter 4: Oh crap, am I going to hate the hero too?

Chapter 5: How will this romance have any chance of succeeding?  Will this be like Overboard? That movie had a happy ending, didn’t it? [Read more…]

Review: When the Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath

when the duke was wickedReviewed by Jen

Lady Grace has been in love with the Duke of Lovington since she was a young girl. Nine years older, he was the object of her childish dreams. Then he married and moved on to his happy ever after. Lovington was madly in love with his wife, and the addition of a daughter only painted a happier picture. Until illness took them both and crushed him. Now, years later, he is a shell of the man he once was. He has removed himself from society, choosing instead to live a life of detachment and debauchery. [Read more…]

Review: The Last Wicked Scoundrel by Lorraine Heath

last wicked scoundrelReviewed by Jen

This novella was just what I needed to break me out of my reading slump. It hooked me from the very beginning and I didn’t put it down until it was over. It’s the last story in the Scoundrels of St James series, and even though I didn’t read the earlier installments, I was able to jump right in without feeling the lack.

Winnie, the Duchess of Avendale, is only starting to reclaim her life three years after the death of her husband. [Read more…]

Review: Lord of Wicked Intentions

Reviewed by Jen

I have to say that I have liked all three installments of the Lost Lords of Pembrook.  And while this book wasn’t my favorite of the three, I still enjoyed it.  As with the books featuring his brothers, Rafe’s story delivers on the recurring elements of a tortured hero and a love that helps him find peace and redemption.

Rafe is the youngest Easton brother, the one who was left behind in a workhouse after his uncle killed his father.  His life there –and later, on the streets– has turned him into a very hard man.  He never got over his brothers’ desertion and as a result, he has never allowed himself to care for anyone since.  Add to that a severe aversion to being touched and he’s not exactly a knight in shining armor.

He meets Evelyn when her jerkwad of a half-brother tried to auction her off to be a mistress for a nobleman.  Rafe’s not in the market for a mistress, but he is drawn to Eve and he can’t bear the thought of her belonging to someone else.  So he takes her for his own.

When Eve’s brother set up the party that night, she thought he was trying to find her a husband.  It wasn’t until she was delivered to Rafe’s door that she found out what was intended for her.  And then she had a choice to make: give up her virtue or be turned out on the streets.

Before you get too mad at Rafe, know he never forces himself on her. He’s not a fraction of the monster he thinks he is. Generally, I am all over the tortured hero with an underdeveloped sense of self-worth.  And it wasn’t that I disliked him, it’s just there were times he was little too emo.  On top of that, I wasn’t really satisfied with explanation on the touching thing.  I don’t want to give it away, but his reaction seemed like it was perhaps an issue of a sexual nature.  For what it turned out to be, claustrophobia would have been a more reasonable reaction than an aversion to hugs, sheets, or clothing.

All that being said, I did enjoy watching his losing battle with himself as he fought not to fall in love with Eve. How he lies to himself about his feelings from the very beginning.  It’s easy to see why he connects with Eve.  He empathizes with her plight; he knows what it’s like to be left with only horrible choices to survive. Yet she doesn’t break. In fact, she becomes someone he can lean on. (The sexy times are really good too.)

We’re treated to time spent with the couples from the previous books, which I liked. But this can easily work as a standalone.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Lord of Wicked Intentions
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Avon

Review: Lord of Temptation

Reviewed by Jen

Forced to run from his old life to escape a murderous uncle, Tristan was pushed into a life at sea from the young age of 14. He never had a chance to be the man of nobility he was bred for. Instead, he grew to embrace his destiny on the open water. He shed his old persona and became Crimson Jack. Eventually he became captain of his own ship. And though as an adult, he and his brothers were finally able to reclaim their names and inheritance, he never again felt comfortable in the skin of a Lord.

Anne is a woman in mourning for her dead fiance. He has been gone for years, but to find closure, she feels she must travel to the distant land where he died at war –and make her peace with his memory. She hires Tristan to take her there.

From the moment he sees her, Tristan is taken by Anne. He only agrees to bring her to her destination for the payment of a kiss.  He figures he’ll seduce her and get her out of his system during the voyage.  After all, he believes she has a real, live fiance waiting for her on the other side of the journey.  He’s wrong on all counts.

I enjoyed watching Anne and Tristan push each other’s buttons.  The sexual tension between them is good and though we had to wait a while for that kiss, once the ball got rolling between these two, it was impossible to keep them apart.  The sex is great and the emotional aspects of the relationship are solid.

The biggest hurdle between them is Tristan’s inability to embrace love and a stable future.  Anne wants a marriage and family, but Tristan makes no secret of the fact that his life is at sea… Or is it?  The story starts going round and round in the second half with these two together, then pushing each other away. I can’t tell you how many times they had their “last time together.”  It’s very apparent to the reader how these two feel about each other, even if they can’t see it themselves. So I did find myself growing a little impatient waiting for Tristan to have his big revelation.

Overall, though, I really did like the story.  Our hero and heroine are honest with each other and their feelings are genuine and true.  The secondary character were fleshed out and interesting too.  I’m really a fan of the whole premise of this series. (And I liked the book about Tristan’s twin, though this book works well as a standalone.) These poor brothers have been through so much!   I can’t wait for Rafe’s story.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Lord of Temptation
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: She Tempts the Duke

Reviewed by Jen

When his father died, 14 year-old Sebastian was next in line to become the Duke of Keswick. But his power-hungry uncle locked him and his brothers away in the tower, with plans to kill them. He would have succeeded, if young Mary had not overheard his plans and set her young friends free. The boys ran for their lives. Now, more than a decade later, they are back –and ready to reclaim the birthright their uncle thought to steal.
Sebastian spent much of his time away as a soldier and is now horribly scarred. But when they meet again, Mary sees past that. Unfortunately, she is now betrothed to another man, which becomes problematic as she and Sebastian become drawn to each other. It’s not the only problem, though. Sebastian’s issues extend beyond physical scars. He believes himself a monster and has a hard time letting anyone in. Beyond that, he is so single-mindedly focused on reclaiming his estate, that he is blinded to the other things in life that could give him happiness.

I always enjoy a scarred/ tortured hero. Sebastian’s physical and emotional damage makes him so vulnerable, while he presents such a detached and powerful exterior. Mary is loyal and true, fiery and brave. She is a worthy heroine to help him heal and to find joy again. I really enjoyed the love scenes and the way the author dealt with the scars. But I wish that it had not taken Sebastian quite so long to see his own feelings for Mary… feelings obvious to the reader from the very beginning of the story.

It was a little predictable. But between the love story and the danger brought on by the threat of Sebastian’s displaced uncle… I still enjoyed the ride. Lorraine Heath also does a great job teasing us with the backstories on Sebastian’s brothers, who will have books of their own as she continues the trilogy. Mmmm. More tortured heroes to come. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
She Tempts the Duke
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: Waking Up With the Duke

Reviewed by Jen

As much as I love Regency Romance novels, most of them have two things in common that I could really live without: A young innocent, virginal heroine… and a long, long wait for a sexual payoff. The first, I find unrelatable and get somewhat irritated that an insipid 19 year-old is the “woman” I’m supposed to rooting for. The second generally makes me impatient and frustrated.

It would be easy to say I was crazy about this book because it features a grown woman with a sexual history –and because we get to the action quickly. But it wouldn’t do the book justice. There was even more to fall in love with.

Jayne is a loyal and loving wife to Walfort. Three years ago, her husband was in a carriage accident that left him paralyzed. She’s been taking care of him ever since. In addition to the obvious hardship of his care, she also lost the baby she was carrying due to the stress of his near-death experience. And she has no chance to have another, since the accident robbed him of the ability to make love.

Walfort decides his wife deserves a baby, and he gets it in his head to ask his best friend Ainsley to get the job done. Ainsley is notorious rake and he still feels guilty that he escaped the carriage accident unscathed, when Walfort was so badly injured.  Jayne is appalled by the idea. Not only is she a woman utterly devoted to her husband, but she blames Ainsley for the accident and hates his guts. But Ainsley uses his exceptional charms to change her mind –and soon she is at his county estate for a month of, er, family planning.

Jayne is a really great lead. She is a good woman, who is struggling to deal with the terrible hand life has dealt her. And we see her slowly come alive under Ainsley’s care. The romance is both sexy and quite lovely. The first half of the book flies by.

It’s not hard to figure out there is only one way for our characters to have a happy ending. And as the inevitable happens, the book does lose a little bit of steam. It takes Jayne a little too long to come around. Yes, her misgivings are well-within character, but by this point, I’m ready to get back to all the romance and sex that was so great at the beginning. And, of course, we do get there.
At no time did I ever find fault with Jayne for falling in love with Ainsley. If anything, as the book progressed, I find her husband to be more and more of a slimy toad, unworthy of his wife. There’s a lot of heartache and heartbreak on these pages, but it makes a happy ending so much sweeter when we get there.

This was a good one. 4 1/2 stars.

Waking Up With the Duke
by Lorraine Health
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Avon