Best Selling Romance

Mystery Romance

Coven at Callington by Shereen Vedam

Coven at Callington*

Witch Wars, Intrigue, and Romance in Fantastical Regency England

Fresh from fending off an attack by hellhounds, Guard of the Green Cross–a secret arm of the Anglican Church meant to handle evil forces and entities if they rise from darkness–the Earl of Braden gets new orders from the Archbishop that are directly opposed to a central tenet of the guard’s code: do not interfere in disputes between witches and warlocks. Centuries ago witch hunts blackened the name of guards (then known as knights), so meddling is now forbidden. Braden has been tasked with retrieving the son of a warlock, who was supposedly taken by a demon, as well as destroy the coven in the area. More is happening at Callington than Braden imagined, and he is more than tempted to enlist the aid of the coven protectress, Merryn, to help figure it all out. Merryn believes that the same warlock who killed her younger brother has taken the boy.

Will Braden succeed in rescuing the boy? What exactly is going on between the warlocks and witches in Callington? Will Braden risk his position to follow what he knows is right? Will he fall for the coven protectress?

The author has done a fantastic job of creating a magical version of Regency England. I love how the first scene in Regency times a flame in a streetlight is talking! I literally did a double take to see if I was reading correctly! There are other magical elements as well, some of which are not truly explained until later. I thought the idea of having this secret group of guards under direct orders of the Archbishop of Canterbury was inspired. Braden is a complicated, fascinating hero to watch wrestle with right and wrong, on both personal and professional levels.

With elements of fantasy, the paranormal, intrigue, and romance . . . what’s not to like!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Daring the Detective by Riley Cole

Daring the Detective*

Mismatched Pair Seeks Answers

Zadie, the heroine, is immediately uneasy when she comes to the Restitution League to ask them to take her case. She was expecting to find fellow thieves and other reformed criminals, not a police detective. Not quite sure whether to trust sharing the full story with the Sweets and the detective, she ultimately decides that her aunt’s life is more important than the possibility of arrest. Her aunt has gone missing under suspicious circumstances, and she fears that her business of retrieving stolen objects has led one of her victims to strike. Detective Caleb, the hero, believes he knows her type and suspects she is keeping details from them. The League does take up her case, but will everything change when other law enforcement believe that Zadie is not only involved in her aunt’s disappearance but also in her murder? Will romantic sparks fly between this honorable detective and a tarnished lady?

For those who read the two previous books in the Restitution League series, it will come as a surprise that this book is not about one of the Sweets. After all, Briar still hasn’t met found her mate. The writing in this book is not quite as snarky and humorous as the first two books, but this read about a very mismatched pair who have a hard time trusting each other in the face of danger is a compelling one. Detective Caleb puts his career in jeopardy, and Zadie’s very life may hang in the balance.

The Viscount’s Promise by Joyce Alec

The Viscount's Promise*

Fascinating Hero in This Regency Suspense

What a dramatic beginning for this book! We are placed in a courtroom where a man is being sentenced for murder. On the dock, the accused man proclaims his innocence and asks his friend in the courtroom take care of his sister. After exacting this promise, the accused then drinks from a vial and keels over dead. After a year of mourning has passed, this friend, Lord Sharpe, as well as a kindly marquess and marchioness, come to town to support this sister, Julianna, in a London season. Lord Sharpe has been troubled by the brother’s claim of innocence and is not quite willing to believe that his former friend is guilty. Will Lord Sharpe figure out the correct murderer who framed his friend? Will he fall for Julianna himself or help her to wed another man?

I found the character of Lord Sharpe to be an interesting one. He is not portrayed as the typical Regency romance hero, who can definitely be a little touchy-feely to appeal to modern readers. Instead, he is portrayed as stiff and formal at first, bringing to mind Mr. Darcy (although he is more willing to dance!). He’s one of the reasons I think the book should have been longer. It would have been more appropriate for him to gradually become more comfortable in Julianna’s presence, and a longer book would have been needed for his character to relax. For a novella, this book has some surprising twists and turns. In fact, that’s the second reason why I think the book should have been expanded: to give more insight into thoughts, emotions, and events of the story.

I thought it odd that states that it takes place in “Nineteenth century, England” while the cover states it is a Regency; why not be specific if you are as on-point as Regency? The Regency period is a very narrow timeframe in English history and certainly not nearly as vague as the 19th century!

There are some issues with grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Surprisingly, even a character’s name was misspelled. Sometimes the baron is either referred to as Baron Holland or Baron Hollard. There are some issues with word choice as well, as sometimes the same or similar words were used right next to each other.

Despite all that, this is a relatively well written short Regency suspense.

Rejecting the Rogue by Riley Cole

Rejecting the Rogue*

Delicious Victorian Romantic Suspense

We’re in a slightly fantastical Victorian England. The heroine, Philomena Sweet, has done numerous despicable deeds with her cousins at the insistence of her father. She is now determined to make restitution, one case at a time. Renowned for her safe-cracking skills, she now uses them for good and not for evil.

A client comes to the group, asking for help to retrieve a journal that contains many secrets that could be damaging and is now being held for potential future use as blackmail. This is precisely the type of work that the Restitution League does.

Unbeknownst to the group, another one of London’s underbelly is being asked to steal this journal. None other than Spencer Crane, master jewel thief and Philomena’s former betrothed whom she caught in flagrante delicto, has also been charged to retrieve this by a former associate who threatens both Philomena and Spencer’s sister if he refuses to do the job.

What happens when these two cross paths? Will sparks other than those caused by anger result? Will Philomena and her group be able to help the client?

This book was well written. While there is more than one narrator, I love the section from Philomena’s perspective. She comes across as a lady with a jaded but hopeful, slightly snarky attitude, and it is delicious to read. The book has an edgy yet humorous, not-quite-real vibe to it.

Free Mystery Romance Dec 15

Here are some free mystery and suspense romance novels I found today! Witness protection, district attorneys, Russian mafia…

Remember, free books may only be free for a few days! Grab them when you see them!

Click on the book cover to be taken to its page at Amazon.

 

Book Mini Blurb
The witness protection program has given me the fresh start I’ve always dreamed of. A new home. A new name. A new life. For the first time in ten years, it feels like I can breathe again. But the cost of freedom is more than I bargained for. And the only other person who cares if I live or die is a masked stranger. So I’m putting my life in the vigilante’s hands. And maybe a piece of my heart along with it. Even though I’m worried that he’s just as dangerous as the man I sent to prison.
For Jonathan Liam Delacroix Lemaitre II, everything revolved around the love of his life: Raven Shaw. But they were too young and too destructive. Raven thought they would always be friends, yet Liam knew different. The son to a vast legacy, he is shipped off to Paris at a tender age, leaving Raven to fend for herself, full of questions and doubts. Now, he has returned to town and determined to get back in her good graces. Gone is the clumsy, fat boy he once was. In his place stands a man ready to take on the world, with the woman he wants at his side. Raven, on the other hand, can see the new man but still searches for echoes of her friend. Who is this handsome guy that has swept into her life? He was Liam, but he wasn’t HER Liam…. And she wasn’t sure if he ever could be.
Jada McLean is about to get married in nine days when she walks in on her fiancé in a little more than a compromising position. Days later, she’s on a trip that she intends to be relaxing and a prelude to her fresh start when she runs into the rude, obnoxious, but gorgeous Jonathan Kole. Jonathan Kole is San Francisco’s newest District Attorney. When he finds himself deeply attracted to a stunning beauty, he has no idea that she’s about to become in BIG trouble with the law- and he’ll be the one presiding over her trial…
The cards are dealt, the bets are placed, and the game of the century begins. Emilia Fox seems to have misfortune dogging her every step. In the dead of night, she is kidnapped from her front door by Russia’s most powerful mafia crime boss, a man who is known only as Korol – the King. He is the phantom of the criminal underworld, and Emilia is subjected to his brand of torture for over a year before Fate intervenes in the unlikeliest of ways. Viktor Orlov has lost everything. He has given up his prestige, his family, his honor, all for a woman that haunts his every waking moment… and fuels his darkest desires. She is his queen, his captain, and the moment he helped Korol abduct her from her home, she became his obsession…
From Champion Jockey at 22 to down-and-out at 27, Eddie Malloy is bitter and desolate, reduced to living in an ancient caravan working for a tyrannical horse dealer. Estranged from his family and the sport he loves, Eddie cannot forget or forgive the racing authorities for believing false allegations of horse doping against him which robbed him of his riding licence. With another miserable Christmas looming, Eddie’s discovery of murder victim Danny Gordon in the racing capital of Newmarket offers him a perilous path to the resurrection of his career.
When a mysterious woman offers her a chance to punish her boyfriend for cheating, eighteen-year-old Heather doesn’t hesitate to say yes. She will have four days to realize her vengeance fantasies and teach Daniel a lesson he will never forget.
How far will she go? And will she let him live? Heather doesn’t know that yet. One thing is for sure–neither one of them will be the same after this.

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Disclosure

The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I’ve purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

All Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a tiny percentage if you decide to buy one of the books.

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