Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Blog Tour: The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley; Review + Giveaway



The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress (The Dukes of War #2)
Author: Erica Ridley
Release Date: 2 March 2015
Publisher: Intrepid Reads

Captain Xavier Grey’s body is back amongst the Beau Monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn’t deserve it. Just like he doesn't deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed...

Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four. How hard can it be to learn the language of love?


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Excerpt

When bluestocking Jane Downing confesses she’s only ever been asked to dance twice—and one of those times was with her own brother—Captain Xavier Grey pulls her into his embrace for an impromptu waltz, right in the middle of his snowbound cottage... 

The muscles beneath his coat tightened as he led her in smooth, graceful circles. Jane didn’t need music to feel like she was floating. The soft firelight made the room all the more romantic. She could almost believe herself the belle of a ball.

Except, fairy tales didn’t happen to her. Her fingers grew cold. Xavier was right. Love affairs—even stolen kisses—weren’t as carefree as she’d believed. Once the snow was gone, he would forget her just like everyone else did. And this time, it would break her heart.

“Jane. Look at me.” He slipped a knuckle beneath her chin and raised her gaze to his. “I notice you. I see you. I have you in my arms.”

Her lips parted and her eyes stung. Until he’d spoken the words, she hadn’t realized that she’d been waiting for them her entire life.

With nothing more than a soft murmur, he’d carved open her soul and left a part of himself inside. She would never be the same. Her heart clattered at an alarming rate, but she could not look away. Nor did she wish to.

His gorgeous blue eyes shone from beneath inky lashes. The intensity of his gaze was thrilling and frightening and filled her with wonder. He saw her. Plump, boring Jane. And yet he still wanted her in his arms.

When they completed their circuit about the room, he paused before the fireplace—but did not immediately release her.

She hoped he never would. The evening had been magical. He was magical. She would be happy to stay right here, wrapped in his arms, forever. But all she had was this moment.

He lowered his head to hers. His lips grazed her cheekbone, her earlobe, the pulse point just beneath the line of her jaw. Her heart fluttered. Was he finally giving in to their chemistry? Or was he acting out of pity?

She angled her head, seeking his mouth. She wanted to feel his lips against hers. To have him and taste him, and to know that this time, he wasn’t kissing her because she was bothersome. He’d be kissing her because he wanted her. Because he saw her. Because he liked her.

When his mouth caught hers, gooseflesh rippled along her skin, followed by an infusion of molten desire. She felt like she’d waited for this moment her entire life.

She slid her hands up his strong arms to his neck, where overlong black hair curled against the stark white of his cravat. He might not wish to be a hero, but he certainly looked the part. Even without his smart red regimentals, he was every inch the storybook prince. Tall and dashing, with black hair and startlingly blue eyes.

More than that, however, was who he was on the inside. He noticed her. He saw that she wished to be seen. He made her believe that forever was something she actually deserved. She melted against him. He wouldn’t kiss her unless he felt it, too. Unless he meant it, at least for this moment. No one else looked outside of themselves long enough to wonder what torture others might be going through. No one else reached deep into the furthest crevices of her heart and dared to ask, why not love? Why not her, too?

His lips were firm and teasing. The dance of his tongue against hers, exhilarating. Her heart swelled. When she’d set out on this journey, she’d assumed the lustful nature of men would make it impossible to decline the charms of a willing female. She’d been wrong.

Xavier was every bit as passionate as she might have hoped, but a thousand times more discriminating. He wasn’t holding her simply because she was there. He was holding her because he wished to. Because they both wished to. And oh, did she love his kisses.

Breathless, she arched into his touch—

And screamed as claws raked down her spine.

Xavier sprang backward, panting, his eyes wide with surprise. “Did I hurt you?”

“It’s not you,” she gritted out, wincing at the weight of the cat tangled in her hair and cleaving to her skin. Gingerly, she turned her back toward the firelight.

“God’s teeth. Is that…”

“Yes,” she managed through pain-clenched teeth. “Please remove him from me as quickly and carefully as possible.”

Xavier leapt forward.

Jane closed her eyes and concentrated on breathing. The moment the devil cat was disengaged from her spine, she intended to trap the little demon in his wicker cage for the rest of the night. Or the rest of his life.


Review

Jane Downing has resigned herself to her fate of spinsterhood, although she's actually pretty happy with the freedom she has. But she yearns to feel passion with another, so she sets her sights on a target- the delectable Captain Xavier Grey.

Jane was a delightful heroine. She's practically invisible to society and even her deliberate attempts to shock pass unnoticed. I loved her determination to have her moment of passion, and her 'invisibility' helps her when she decides to make a trip to Xavier's cottage. Jane is intelligent and witty, with a compassionate soul that needs to be noticed by the right man.

Xavier returned from war with a heavy conscience that makes him feel unworthy of the affections of someone as kind as Jane. He prefers the solitude his small cottage can give him- until it's abruptly interrupted by a spirited spinster determined to seduce him. Xavier considers his past actions as completely lacking in honour, but he is a very honourable man and does everything he can to resist Jane's charms.

Jane and Xavier make a lovely couple, and I think Xavier needs someone like Jane to show him that he is still a good man. I loved how Jane was never invisible to Xavier and he immediately thinks she's desirable and he sees the woman she really is.

This is a very sweet romance, with one very determined heroine. It's a light read for most of the book and perfect to just sit and devour in one go. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of this series!

*I received a review copy, for my honest opinion. Thank you!

About the Author


Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up.

Now, Erica is a USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, ziplining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress, you can win an e-copy of the first book in the Dukes of War series- The Earl's Defiant Wallflower. Enter using he rafflecopter form below- good luck!

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