Overall, this was a delightful collection. It wasn’t my favorite collection, but the stories still exceeded expectations. It was a pick and chose; some stories I enjoyed more than others. I enjoyed this collection and was introduced to many new authors
A Headhunter In London by Theresa Fuller
This was quite a unique story. Ruth is a reporter, and Edwin is from a distant land with a mysterious purpose and background. Edwin is shrouded in secrets, and Ruth’s curiosity is piqued. As the couple’s attraction builds, Ruth’s questions multiply. Ruth is determined to help Edwin’s plight. Together they fight to secure Edwin’s future. The couple’s connection builds throughout the story a little slow, but by the end, you can feel the underlying passion even with only a kiss. With a big surprise at the end, this was an enjoyable, entertaining story.
Tropes: reporter, class difference, forbidden love, secret identity, working women
Just A Glimpse by Heidi Wessman Kneale
I fell in love with Charlotte and Spencer. Charlotte is an artist longing to sketch more than is proper. Spencer is a man who comes to the Soho club to be someone else for a few hours. Fate, or rather the proprietress, brings them together. Both characters are genuine and bright. Their personalities sparkled off the page. Their burgeoning attraction is sweet and romantic. I love their innocence and their curiosity in bending the rules. The plot was savvy and original. The development of the plot unfolded perfectly. The story ends abruptly, leaving the reader with a lot of questions. I like more certainty. However, the writing was elegant. This romance was original and heartwarming.
Tropes: secret identity, artist
Hazard’s Daughter by Beverly Oakley
Hazard’s Daughter is a loving re-telling of a Cinderella story. Louisa Stapleton had suffered indignity, disdain, and cruelty from those supposed to love her due to a tragic mistake of the heart when she was seventeen. Felix Evesham has been unlucky in love and has given up on the emotional connection instead looking for a comfortable marriage without passion or love. Felix and Louisa have to tear down their walls of insecurity to have a chance at a meaningful relationship. I love how the best thing can be right in front of you, hiding its beauty. Louisa was a beautifully tragic figure; my heart broke for her. Felix’s world-weary heart had me wanting him to find happiness. This was an entertaining, sweet, romantic read.
Tropes: secret identity, secret occupation, instant attraction, big misunderstanding
Redemption by Joanne Austen Brown
Timothy and Hannah have both suffered horrible, unspeakable trauma in their past. They both are looking for acceptance and healing. This is a story of two lost souls finding redemption and love. Individually they had only known fear and pain; together, they find passion, peace, and joy. This tale of brokenness and happiness resonated with me. I loved how the author bravely faced these delicate, challenging situations realistically and respectfully. I fell in love with the couple and did not want the story to end!
Tropes: dark Past, second chance love
The Case Of The Black Diamond by Clyve Rose
This story was an intriguing, sexy mystery. I loved the plot; it was engaging and fun. Both Xander and Claire were well-developed characters. Their backgrounds and occupations were fascinating. At times, I got lost in the complexity of the plot. There was a unique ending, leaving room for a second story, which I will read. The background characters were vivid and helped support the ingenious plot. This story stood out, being a different, refreshing take on a spy romance.
Tropes: spies, instant attraction, mystery, historical politics
The Making Of A Mistress by Linda Rae Sande
Daisy and Alex are both employed by the home office. A new assignment has Daisy seeking Alex out for assistance in a way he would never have imagined. The unfolding of an insatiable passion occurs throughout this brief period the couple has together. Both characters were vibrant. The spy theme was intriguing. The story’s heart was the blossoming feelings of lust that turn into something more profound that does not have time to grow. This story captivated and entertained me. The focus was on character development, and it turned out brilliantly. The connection between the couple was electric. The story was sexy and fun. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop!
Tropes: secret identity, spies, working women
Mine On Thursday by Fiona M. Marsden
Angelina is stuck in a loveless engagement to protect the man who saved her life. She has nothing for herself. She seeks passion and love. Jasper is a mystery that she wants to unravel. Jasper shows Angelina what she has been missing. Jasper and Angelina are worlds apart; can they overcome the vast space between them? This story was told solely from Angelina’s point of view. I would have enjoyed Jasper’s thoughts as well. Overall this was a charming story.
Tropes:: marriage of convenience, forbidden love, class difference
There’s Something About Miss Mary by Ebony Oaten
Mary is a debutante with passion. “Mr. Smith” wants to explore that passion within her. However, when he eagerly proposes marriage after two encounters, Mary is wary about his background. The writing was good, and I enjoyed reading the book. The plot was clear and concise. There was a mystery to the characters that kept me reading—an attractive, different read.
Tropes: class difference, forbidden love, instant attraction
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.