Release Day Review + Excerpt & Giveaway: Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 27th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Sylvia Day comes a hotly anticipated and passionate new love story.

Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.

He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.

And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.

IT’S FINALLY HERE!!! Sylvia Day’s next book post-Crossfire series is finally here. And while I can’t say that I loved it, I am SO happy she has a book out and that this means we have even more to come from this author.

Butterfly in Frost is a good-sized novella, not a full length book. It’s a quick, fast-paced, emotional read with the CRAZIEST twist at the end that I truly didn’t see coming. Teagan is a doctor living in Washington who works with pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. She works with Eva Cross(!) and keeps a quiet, steady life since moving away from Manhattan. Then her new neighbor moves in next door and Garrett Frost is all man, all gorgeousness, and all determined to win her heart.

I liked Garrett and Teagan’s story, but it was way too short and quick of a read. We only get to touch the surface of these characters and their issues, especially Teagan and her depression. Things progress insanely fast, romance-, sex-, and relationship-wise. I really wish we got something full-length for them because I know I would’ve loved it a lot more. The plot twist at the end though was FANTASTIC. I actually loved the twist and the way it changed how I looked at the entire story. Most of the problems I had with this book was explained with this twist, though it still wasn’t enough to make me fully love the book.

Sylvia Day can write, there’s no doubt about it. I’m still very much eagerly awaiting her Blacklist duet and praying it’ll be released soon. In the meantime, if you’ve missed Sylvia Day, I still encourage you to try this novella out.


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from Butterfly in Frost! ❤

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Roxy bounces on her feet with excitement. “Les and Marge sold their house.”

I blink. “I didn’t know they were selling.”

She laughs and heads toward the front door. “That’s the thing. They weren’t.”

“Wait, what?” I hurry after her as she steps outside.

I look to the right at my home, a lovingly restored butterfly-roofed midcentury, then on to the traditional house just beyond it that belongs—belonged—to Les and Marge. Including Roxy’s, all three of our homes have unique lots set between the homes that line the street and the Sound, affording us unhindered views of the water as well as exceptional privacy—all within a twenty-minute drive of the airport.

Roxy shortens the length of her stride to allow me to catch up, then glances over at me. “The day after you flew to New York, a Range Rover pulled into their driveway, and the guy inside offered them cash to close—and move out—in fourteen days.”

My step falters, and Minnie gets momentarily tangled in her leash. The dog shoots me what I would describe as an irritated look, then keeps trotting forward. “That’s crazy.”

“Isn’t it? Les wouldn’t say how much the offer was, but I’m thinking it was huge.”

We march up the inclined driveway, my head tilted back to take in the houses scaling the hillside. Designed with big windows to maximize the view, the homes have a look of wide-eyed wonder. Our little stretch of the Sound used to be a secret, but with the housing boom taking over Seattle and Tacoma, we’ve been discovered. Many residences are undergoing major renovation to suit the tastes of new owners.

Reaching the road, we turn left. To the right is a dead end.

“Well, if they’re happy,” I say, “I’m happy for them.”

“They’re overwhelmed. It was a lot to happen all at once, but I think they’re happy with their decision.” Roxanne stops when Bella does, and we wait as the two dogs mark one of their usual spots on the gravel edging the asphalt. There are no curbs on the streets in our neighborhood and no sidewalks. Just beautiful lawns and a profusion of flowering shrubs.

“We all tried prying information out of them,” she goes on, “but they weren’t sharing anything about the sale.” She gives me a sidelong glance. “But they did share a bit about the buyer.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because Mike and I both think the buyer is someone famous. A film director maybe. Or an artist. Can you imagine? First Emily, a bestselling author. Then you, a reality-TV surgeon. Now this guy! Maybe we’re sitting on the new Malibu—beachside living without wildfires or state income tax!”

The mention of Roxy’s husband, Mike, coaxes an inner smile. A New York transplant like me, he adds a welcome touch of the life I left behind to the reality I’ve since created for myself—a reality that’s just been rocked by the loss of neighbors I like.

“What are the clues you’re working with?” I ask, deciding to play along. If I’ve learned anything the past year, it’s to accept the things I cannot change. A tough task for a control freak like me.

“Les pointed out to this guy that he hadn’t even seen the inside of the house. The guy said he didn’t need to. He knew already that ‘the light is perfect.’ I mean, who would say that? Gotta be someone who’s in visual arts, right?”

“Maybe,” I agree tentatively, disquieted by the unexpected conversation. The road rises sharply before us, the incline steep enough to put a little burn in my thighs. “Doesn’t mean he’s famous, though.”

“That’s the thing.” Her words carry a note of breathlessness. “Les wouldn’t give numbers, but he did say it was crazy the guy didn’t just buy that huge compound at the end of the street. That house is listed for three and a half million!”

My mind staggers at the thought. Les and Marge have—had—a beautiful home, but it’s not worth anywhere near that much.

“I think I saw the buyer once through that big arched window in the living room,” Roxy goes on. “The blonde with him was a looker. Supermodel skinny with legs for days.”

I’m panting when we reach the top; Roxy, who hits a gym most days of the week, is not.

A quarter mile farther, there’s a street to the right leading to Dash Point. Beyond that and straight ahead, the road slopes back down and around until it’s at water level. Redondo Beach is there, as is Salty’s, a restaurant on stilts in the water with expansive views of Poverty Bay and beyond. I’m about to wax poetic about Salty’s seafood chowder when a runner dashes around the corner at a full sprint. His sudden appearance rattles me. A closer look makes me freeze midstride. My breath locks in my lungs.

There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature.

And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome.

Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.”

about the author button

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Visit the author at www.sylviaday.com.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagramGoodreads

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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

Broken Knight by L.J. Shen
Series: All Saints High #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 20th 2019
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From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a new, standalone romance about first loves, betrayal and loss.

Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Rugged.
Popular.
Liar.
This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.

Buy Links:
EbookPaperbackAudible

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God. I don’t even know how I feel about this book, if I’m being completely honest. Broken Knight is raw, emotional, gutting – every word you can think of that means a hit to the feels, perfectly describes BK. I enjoyed it, but at what emotional cost? The part near the end had me so conflicted, because I don’t know whether I loved it or hated it. And of course LJ Shen would do this to her readers – I love and hate her equally for doing this to us! LOL.

They used the word smitten because batshit crazy wasn’t cute. But everyone knew I was smitten with chicken wings and vintage Tumblr porn, not with Luna. With Luna, I was in fucking everything. Love. Lust. Obsession. Take your pick.

Finding out who Luna would end up with, Knight or Vaughn, has been a question since Pretty Reckless released. Well, maybe even before then. But now that Broken Knight is here, we all know that Luna’s hero is the one and only Knight Cole, her very best friend, protector, and love. Luna and Knight have a very unconventional friends-to-lovers romance. They grew up together, the mute and the popular, charming jock, and have been in love with each other since forever, but don’t want to risk losing their friendship for more. But it’s Knight’s last year of high school and Luna’s first year of college, and Knight doesn’t want to wait anymore. He wants to claim the one woman he knows is meant for him… but Luna doesn’t make it easy. And because Knight gets hurt in the process, he wants to hurt Luna back.

I loved Luna’s character. She goes through a whole transformation throughout BK and I couldn’t help but be so proud of her by the end. Knight makes her go through some pretty awful things – there is a lot of annoying OW/OM drama. It’s immature, over-the-top, angsty… everything you expect from such young characters who are trying to grow up. But I loved Luna and Knight was such a mini-Dean I couldn’t help but slowly grow to love him too.

“There was never any doubt you were a Cole, Knight. You weren’t a choice; you were destiny.”

The main reason why I can’t give this full 5 stars is because I feel like Luna and Knight’s romance was overshadowed by more of the heavier, emotional aspects of this book. Knight goes through substance abuse because he is dealing with his mother’s illness. Because of this, BK felt more like Knight’s story than Luna’s, which was a little disappointing since I loved her character so much. But just because the romance was overshadowed doesn’t mean the story itself was bad. It was well-written, with great character development, and I truly couldn’t put the book down. The good, the bad, the ugly, all of it is beautifully written and I applaud LJ Shen for doing so.

If you enjoyed Pretty Reckless, you will most likely enjoy Broken Knight. They are similar in terms of angst and drama. BK can be read as a standalone, but I’d suggest reading Ruckus and Scandalous from the Sinners of Saint series to get a better sense of Luna and Knight’s families. Right now, I can’t wait to get my hands on Vaughn’s book, and I’m crossing my fingers that his heroine is who I hope it will be!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s an excerpt from Broken Knight! ❤

excerpt button

Right now I wanted to just be here in silence with my best friend. And somehow, I don’t know how, but Luna sensed it. So we sat there for what felt like two hours but was probably a lot less, until I opened my eyes again. Her eyes were closed, too. I watched her for a while.

When she opened her eyes, it felt like she took something away from me.

“Let’s jump,” she said.

“I’m quite fond of my limbs, Moonshine.”

“Stop being such a big baby.”

“Big, quarterback baby who just finished a football season in one piece and would like to keep all his body parts intact.”

She crawled out of the treehouse and settled on the branch. It was thick, but I doubted it could carry my muscular ass for more than a few seconds before snapping. I rolled my eyes and settled next to her. She slipped her hand in mine.

“Three, two, one.”

It was a short, sweet way down.

Reading Order: All Saints High series

 

#1 ~ Pretty Reckless: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Broken Knight: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Angry God: Goodreads (2019)

about the author button

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
Series: Bareknuckle Bastards #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 30th 2019
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New York Times Bestselling Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleIndieBound

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I really, really wish I didn’t struggle with this series like I do. Sarah MacLean is one of my favorite historical romance authors (she gave us the Rules of Scoundrels series, which I worship), but the Bareknuckle Bastards series just doesn’t seem to be working for me. It’s not BAD, but it’s not that great either. I found myself bored more than anything with Brazen and the Beast, which was the same issue I had with book one, Wicked and the Wallflower. The plot moved too slowly that I had to skim parts of the book. The only saving grace to this book was Hattie, but even she wasn’t enough to make me love this one.

Henrietta “Hattie” Sedley decides to make her 29th birthday the start of “The Year of Hattie,” in which she claims control of her life in terms of fortune, business, home, and future. I LOVED Hattie in the first half of this book. She was an awesome, head-strong woman who took charge of her life and didn’t look back. Unfortunately, one major bump in the road to The Year of Hattie is Whit, the second half of the Bareknuckle Bastards and co-ruler of the darker side of London. He sees Hattie and wants her, though he thinks he’s not good enough for her. What he will help her out with is her body – he’s determined to show her all the carnal pleasures of life, but nothing more.

The first half of this book went great – I was excited for Hattie, excited to see how she’d manage her new life with the addition of Whit. She is very much an endearing, relatable heroine. The second half of the book however, went a little downhill for me. The plot felt like it stalled – Hattie claiming her father’s business didn’t go anywhere, Whit kept going on and on about not being good enough for Hattie and going hot and cold with her. The only thing that happened was more and more sex – which is great, but I also wanted to see more of The Year of Hattie besides her learning about her body.

So yeah, I struggle with this. I think by the end of the book I was reading it for the secondary characters more than anything. I liked Hattie but didn’t care for Whit. SM tried to make Whit (and his brother) seem dark, dangerous, and broody, and while he is broody, he’s just not the dangerous character she writes him out to be. SM’s writing is great, and I did enjoy seeing little snippets of past characters from the Scandal & Scoundrel series. I’m clinging onto this series for the couple in the third and final book – Grace and Ewan’s story. They have been teased and hyped throughout the series and I am PRAYING that it won’t disappoint!


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from Brazen and the Beast! ❤

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September 1837
Mayfair

In twenty-eight years and three hundred sixty-four days, Lady Henrietta Sedley liked to think that she’d learned a few things.

She’d learned, for example, that if a lady could not get away with wearing trousers (an unfortunate reality for the daughter of an earl, even one who had begun life without title or fortune), then she should absolutely ensure that her skirts included pockets. A woman never knew when she might require a bit of rope, or a knife to cut it, after all.

She’d also learned that any decent escape from her Mayfair home required the cover of darkness and a carriage driven by an ally. Coachmen tended to talk a fine game when it came to keeping secrets, but were ultimately beholden to those who paid their salaries. An important addendum to that particular lesson was this: The best of allies was often the best of friends.

And perhaps first on the list of things she had learned in her lifetime was how to tie a Bosun knot. She’d been able to do that for as long as she could remember.

With such an obscure and uncommon collection of knowledge, one might imagine that Henrietta Sedley would have known precisely what to do in the likelihood she discovered a human male bound and unconscious in her carriage.

One would be incorrect.

In point of fact, Henrietta Sedley would never have described such a scenario as a likelihood. After all, she might have been more comfortable on London’s docks than in its ballrooms, but Hattie’s impressive collection of life experience lacked anything close to a criminal element.

And yet, here she was, pockets full, dearest friend at her side, standing in the pitch dark on the night before her twenty-ninth birthday, about to steal away from Mayfair for a night of best-laid plans, and…

Lady Eleanora Madewell whistled, low and unladylike at Hattie’s ear. Daughter of a duke and the Irish actress he loved so much he’d made her a duchess, Nora had the kind of brashness that was allowed in those with impervious titles and scads of money. “There’s a bloke in the gig, Hattie.”

Hattie did not look away from the bloke in question. “Yes, I see that.”

“There wasn’t a bloke in the gig when we hitched the horses.”

“No, there wasn’t.” They’d left the hitched—and most definitely empty—carriage in the dark rear drive of Sedley House not three-quarters of an hour earlier, before hiking upstairs to exchange carriage-hitching dresses for attire more appropriate for their evening plans.

At some point between corset and kohl, someone had left her an extraordinarily unwelcome package.

“Seems we would’ve noticed a bloke in the gig,”

“I should think we would have,” came Hattie’s distracted reply. “This is really just awful timing.”

Nora cut her a look. “Is there a good time for a man to be bound in one’s carriage?”

Hattie imagined there wasn’t, but, “He could have selected a different evening. What a terrible birthday gift.” She squinted into the dark interior of the carriage. “Do you think he’s dead?”

Please, don’t let him be dead.

Silence. Then, a thoughtful, “Does one store dead men in carriages?” Nora reached forward, her coachman’s coat pulling tight over her shoulders, and poked the dead man in question. He did not move. “He’s not moving,” she added. “Could be dead.”

Hattie sighed, removing a glove and leaning into the carriage to place two fingers to the man’s neck. “I’m sure he’s not dead.”

“What are you doing?” Nora whispered, urgently. “If he’s not dead, you’ll wake him!”

“That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” Hattie pointed out. “Then we could ask him to kindly exit our conveyance and we could be on our way.”

“Oh, yes. This brute seems like precisely the kind of man who would immediately do just that and not immediately take his revenge. He’d no doubt doff his cap and wish us a fine good evening.”

“He’s not wearing a cap,” Hattie pointed out, unable to refute any of the rest of the assessment of the mysterious, possibly dead man. He was very broad, and very solid, and even in the darkness she could tell that this wasn’t a man with whom one took a turn about a ballroom.

This was the kind of man who ransacked a ballroom.

“What do you feel?” Nora pressed.

“No pulse.” Though she wasn’t precisely certain of the location one would find a pulse. “But he’s—”

Warm.

Dead men were not warm, and this man was very warm. Like a fire in winter. The kind of warm that made someone realize how cold she might be.

Ignoring the silly thought, Hattie moved her fingers down the column of his neck, to the place where it disappeared beneath the collar of his shirt, where the curve of his shoulder and the slope of…the rest of him… met in a fascinating indentation.

“Anything now?”

“Quiet.” Hattie held her breath. Nothing. She shook her head.

“Christ.” It wasn’t a prayer.

Hattie couldn’t have agreed more. But then…

There. A small flutter. She pressed a touch more firmly. The flutter became firm. Slow. Even. “I feel it. She said. “He’s alive.” She repeated herself. “He’s alive.” She exhaled, long and relieved. “He’s not dead.”

“Excellent. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s unconscious in the carriage, and you have somewhere to be.” She paused. “We should leave him and take the curricle.”

Hattie had been planning for this particular excursion on this particular night for a full three months. This was the night that would begin her twenty-ninth year. The year her life would become her own. The year she would become her own. And she had a very specific plan for a very specific location at a very specific hour, for which she had donned a very specific frock. And yet, as she stared at the man in her carriage, specifics seemed not at all important.

What seemed important was seeing his face.

Clinging to the handle at the edge of the door, Hattie collected the lantern from the upper rear corner of the carriage before swinging back out to face Nora, whose gaze flickered immediately to the unlit container.

Nora tilted her head. “Hattie. Leave him. Let’s take the curricle.”

“Just a peek,” Hattie replied.

The tilt became a shake. “If you peek, you’ll regret it.”

“I have to peek,” Hattie insisted, casting about for a decent reason—ignoring the odd fact that she was unable to tell her friend the truth. “I have to untie him.”

“Not necessarily,” Nora pointed out. “Someone thought he was best left tied up, and who are we to disagree?” Hattie was already reaching into the pocket of the carriage door for a flint. “What of your plans?”

There was plenty of time for her plans. “Just a peek,” she repeated, the oil in the lantern catching fire. She closed the door and turned to face the carriage, lifting the light high, casting a lovely golden glow over—

“Oh, my,” she said.

Nora choked back a laugh. “Not such a bad gift after all, perhaps.”

The man had the most beautiful face Hattie had ever seen. The most beautiful face anyone had ever seen, she imagined. She leaned closer, taking in his warm, bronze skin, the high cheekbones, the long, straight nose, the dark slashes of his brows and the impossibly long lashes that lay like feathers against his cheeks.

“What kind of man…” she trailed off. Shook her head.

What kind of man looked like this?

Reading Order: Bareknuckle Bastards series

 

#1 ~ Wicked and the Wallflower: EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Brazen and the Beast: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Daring and the Duke: Goodreads (June 30, 2020)

about the author button

A life-long romance reader, Sarah MacLean wrote her first romance novel on a dare, and never looked back. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical romances and a columnist for The Washington Post, where she writes about the romance genre. She lives in New York City. Visit her at http://www.sarahmaclean.net.

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Spotlight // Guest Post + Excerpt & Giveaway: Million Dollar Marriage by Katy Evans

I’m excited to feature Katy Evans’ newest release, Million Dollar Marriage, today on the blog! We’ve got the lovely author who talks about this series!

Million Dollar Romances with Katy Evans

Meet the Million Dollar series books. Books that are all about passion, romance, and all about what people will do for money—actually, a LOT of money. In book one, Million Dollar Devil, we have a sexy, raw, bad-mannered daredevil willing to pose as a sophisticated rich guy – while skillfully seducing the heroine in the process.

In book two, Million Dollar Marriage, Nell and Luke both agree to become contestants in a reality show that requires—gasp, marriage. Marriage to a complete stranger, which is appalling. But, it’s a fake marriage, right? It doesn’t matter that they are complete opposites. Nell will be the brains, and Luke will be the brawn. For a moment there, they both think they’ve got it covered. But the challenges end up being far more than they anticipated, especially the unexpected challenge of resisting falling in love with each other.

I’d always wanted to write a reality show book. I mean, reality shows are so addictive to watch, but though I’ve loved indulging in binge-watching Survivor or The Amazing Race, I’ve always wanted a little more romance to go with all that adrenaline and excitement. What happens when you’re put under all that pressure, and aside from that, have just met a person who gives your heart wings? Let’s face it. Falling in love is a little scary when you do it privately, so how does the public nature of a relationship hinder or help the romance between two strangers?

Well, in Nell and Luke’s case, being exposed to the cameras all day, every day, was more of a hindrance. And yet without those cameras, would they have given each other the time of day to begin with? 🙂

I would totally write another reality TV show romance. It’s been one of the funnest, most uniques writes I’ve ever written to date.

Katy Evans
New York Times Bestselling author

Million Dollar Marriage by Katy Evans
Series: Million Dollar #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 23rd 2019

From New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans comes a hot romance about two strangers and their race to fall in love.

If someone had bet Nell a million dollars that she would be saying “I do” to a complete stranger on national television, she’d have called them crazy, but with her crushing student loan payments sending her deep into the red, she’s out of options. This should be nothing more than a business transaction—until she sets eyes on her groom, and everything changes.

The game is on the instant Luke spots Penelope “Nell” Carpenter. He’s out for the money, yes, but getting a little dirty with Nell doesn’t sound too bad either. Everyone knows he’s not the marrying kind, so it’s a good thing it’s just for show. God knows he’s the worst guy his pretty wife should pick for real.

They have nothing in common, but if they want the grand prize, they’ll have to beat out eight other couples. Proving that total opposites attract should be easy enough…as long as they don’t fall in love in the process.

Buy Links:
EbookPaperback

Now here’s an excerpt from Million Dollar Marriage! ❤

excerpt button

Will Wang says, “Teams, you have the choice to participate in the next challenge. If you decide to, you’ll receive a minimum of seventy thousand dollars! All you have to do is say YES!”

I shrug and call out, “YES!”

Will laughs. “Hold on, buckaroo. There’s a catch you might want to know about. And that brings us to the main premise of the show. John Phillips, are you out there? Please, join me on the podium.”

A man in a suit stands up, and the crowd parts to let him through. He jogs up to the podium, shakes Will’s hand, and stands beside him.

“John is here for a very special reason. A very special ceremony, if you will.”

The cameras are focused on our faces, and I know something is up.

“Yes, in fact, John happens to be a justice of the peace.”

The crowd gasps. Next to me, Penny’s body stiffens.

“Yes. In order to participate in the next challenge and any challenges going forward, you and your partner must be man and wife!”

Louder gasp. The screens overhead focus in on the shock of the contestants. Penny’s trembling. Ivy looks pissed. Ace is hurling out f-bombs into the air. The Indian girl has sunk to the ground and is covering her face in her palms. It’s chaos.

Me? I’m calm as can be.

It’s called Million Dollar Marriage. Did they think marriage wouldn’t factor in?

I’m in.

“You will need to spend the rest of the time living with your partner as a unit. You’ll do everything together for the duration of the contest. There will be challenges that test your endurance, your strength, and your ability to work together as a couple. If you win, you’ll each get two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the opportunity to have the marriage annulled, should you choose. BUT, if you decide to stay together as lawfully married, you’ll together receive the grand prize of ONE MILLION DOLLARS and an all-expenses-paid honeymoon package!”

I look around. All the couples are yin and yang. It’s like they ran our personality tests through a machine and picked out the person we’d be least compatible with.

“Now, we understand this is a big commitment on your part, so we’ll give you and your partner five minutes to talk things out and decide what you’d like to do. Please note that once your decision is made, it is final, and you will be married here, on the spot, before you board a flight to where the real competition will begin.” He winks at the losers’ wall. “If you drop out now, you’ll go home with fifty thousand dollars, but if you decide to continue on, you’ll earn seventy thousand and the chance to compete for even more! Time starts . . . now!”

I turn to Penny. She’s hugging herself and won’t look at me. “Hey. I’m in.”

She doesn’t say anything.

I wave a hand in front of her face.

“Are you crazy?” she finally says, staring at me. “I’d never marry you.”

Reading Order: Million Dollar series

#1 ~ Million Dollar Devil: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Million Dollar Marriage: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (July 23, 2019)

about the author button

Katy Evans loves family, books, life, and love. She’s married with two children and a dog, and she spends her time baking healthy snacks, taking long walks, and taking care of her family. To learn more about her books in progress, check out http://www.katyevans.net and sign up for her newsletter. You can also find her on Twitter @authorkatyevans and on Facebook at AuthorKatyEvans.

Website • Twitter • FacebookGoodreads

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$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Million Dollar Marriage

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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 23rd 2019
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Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny’s dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There’s only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe’s brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, intuitive, passionate…and halfway to melting Drew’s cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleIndieBound

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One of my 2019 reading goals is to read more debut/new-to-me authors, and I’m so glad I’ve found another author to add to this list! This was my first book from Lenora Bell, who has been on my TBR for ages, and it definitely won’t be my last. I adored the heroine, Mina, the hero, Drew, and their story. Though this is the third book in the School for Dukes series, it can be read entirely as a standalone, which was what I did, and didn’t feel lost at all.

Mina is headstrong young woman who wants the freedom and adventure she never had growing up under her overprotective uncle. And being the crafty, clever woman that she is, she also wants to become a spy for the crown like her uncle. In order to prove to her uncle she has what it takes, she plans to marry Rafe, a rake and secret spy working for Mina’s uncle. Unfortunately for her plans, she is more drawn to Rafe’s brother Drew than Rafe himself.

Drew suffers from PTSD from when he was kidnapped and held for ransom as a boy, so he lives in seclusion in the country. He arrives in London with the sole purpose of finding a suitable, ladylike, quiet bride who won’t bother him too much so he can head straight back to the country. But the fiery, disrespectful, unladylike Mina Penny is what catches his attention.

“You want danger. You want excitement and adventure,” he whispered. “I’ll be your adventure. Explore me, Mina.”

Mina and Drew couldn’t want more different things in life, but somehow, these two just click together. I fell hard for these characters and the way they brought out the best and most out of each other. One Fine Duke is sweet, sexy, hilarious at times (Mina gets trapped in a sex chair!) and overall a fun historical romance everyone should read. I’m off to read more of Lenora Bell’s books now!


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from One Fine Duke! ❤

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“There he is, Wilhelmina,” Grizzy whispered, staring reverently across the crowded ballroom. “The Duke of Thorndon.”

Holy hell he’s handsome, thought Mina.

Jaw-dropping-on-the-floor handsome. Drool-on-your-lace-fichu handsome.

Distract her from her plan with his brother, handsome.

Her uncle had been right. Thorndon was a fine figure of a man. Objectively speaking, the finest she’d ever beheld.

Tall as a doorframe, with a face hewn from the same granite as the rugged Cornish coastline.

A face rendered seductive by contrasts: sharp cheekbones and curved, sensuous lips. Gleaming ebony hair brushed his collar. His eyes were a light, gold-tinged brown—the only warm thing about him.

He owned this ballroom. Literally. And he owned everyone in it by dint of his oversized presence and the cold, unsmiling arrogance scrawled across his face.

He didn’t even follow the dictates of fashion, preferring plain black attire to the white pantaloons and gaily-colored waistcoats of the other gentlemen.

Why should he follow the dictates of fashion? Everyone should follow him.

“When you’re introduced to Thorndon, pray speak as seldom as possible,” Grizzy whispered. “Attempt to appear biddable and do try to recall my decorum lessons. Remember, no one in London knows anything about you, thank the Lord.”

Mina had seen several polished, elegant young ladies staring at her, nudging each other and whispering. She was an outsider, a usurper, her proper place in the social hierarchy not yet established.

They needn’t worry. She had no designs upon their prize duke. And she was about as unpolished as a debutante could be—as rough as an un-sanded plank. If anyone touched her they might get splinters.

She longed to shed her country skin swiftly and emerge as the sophisticated social butterfly her mother had been. But she knew that it would take time, observation, and experimentation.

Her first flirtatious conversation, first kiss, first taste of brandy, first adventure…it was all ahead of her.

She couldn’t wait to taste it all.

Reading Order: School for Dukes series

 

#1 ~ What a Difference a Duke Makes: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ For the Duke’s Eyes Only: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ One Fine Duke: Ebook • HardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

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Lenora Bell is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances with Avon Books. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves to hear from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways!

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads


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