Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Two Dukes and a Scandal Book Tour: Review + Excerpt + Giveaway!

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Welcome to my post for the Two Dukes and a Scandal book tour! This tour features It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden, How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke, and Redemption of the Duke by Gayle Callen. I have a review of It Takes a Scandal coming up, as well as excerpts and a giveaway for 3 gift packs from Avon Romance. But, before we get to all that, allow me to introduce the books:

It Takes a Scandal (Scandals, #2)
Release date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
Series: Scandals #2

Sometimes It Takes a Scandal...

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she'll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets—except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after...

To Reveal Your Heart's Desire

...Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn't—wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days (An American Heiress in London, #2)Release date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
Series: An American Heiress in London #2

From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience...and the chance for love to last a lifetime.

They had a deal...

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she's delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken...

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family's enormous debts, and Edie's terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it's time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

Redemption of the Duke (Brides of Redemption, #3)
Release date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
Series: Brides of Redemption #3

A duke who needs to be tamed . . . a lady who refuses to be rescued.

Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him . . . until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he's done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn't want his help at all.

It's not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady's companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again—certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with passion simmering between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?

My Rating for It Takes a Scandal: 4.5 Roses

A very sweet, lovely, and enjoyable read, It Takes a Scandal was a wonderful historical romance. I really liked this book. From the sweet romance, to the surprising secrets, this book was delightful. Loved it!

Abigail was a lovely heroine. She was strong, clever, and willing to fight for what she wanted. I liked that she stood by Sebastian, refusing to listen to unfounded rumors and determined to defend him against those who did. I really liked her. She was a wonderful character.

Sebastian was absolutely amazing. He had a lot of darkness in this past, with his father's madness, loss of his estate, and the rumors of theft and murder that ruined his good name. But, he was still an imminently good man at heart. Though he had resigned himself to his fate after failing to clear his name and take back his estate, he was very determined once he had a reason to fight again. He was very sweet and utterly adorable. I thought he was a perfectly flawed hero.

The romance was lovely. Abigail and Sebastian were great together. I liked that, other than a few moments of self-doubt, they were determined to fight for each other, whether it was Sebastian competing with Ben or Abigail working to find out the truth. The chemistry between them was there from the moment the met and it led to a sprinkle of steaminess. I thought they were a perfect couple.

The plot was well paced and I was hooked the entire way through. The mystery of Sebastian's past was intriguing and I never suspected the truth. My only issue with the book was that, though the mystery was talked about throughout the book, the characters didn't actually start investigating until the last few chapters. The result was what felt like a rushed inclusion and resolution of that whole subplot. But, I still enjoyed the story and the ending was very sweet.

It Takes a Scandal was a wonderful historical romance. I really liked this book and I really enjoyed reading it. It was a sweet, lovely, delight of a read. Romance lovers, this is a book you won't want to miss.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

It Takes a Scandal Excerpt:

This time he stopped so suddenly, she ran into him. Instinctively she clutched at his shoulder, and his arm went around her waist to catch her. Abigail’s eyes grew wide as she stared up at him. His eyes were no longer hard and angry, but dark with raw longing. “As if I want you?” he asked, not making any effort to release her. “I do. I came into the woods today because I wanted to see you, even though I said I wouldn’t—even though I know I shouldn’t. I want you in every wicked way a man can want a woman. And if I had you, I could show you many, many more than fifty ways to sin.”

Her eyes had grown wide at his first words, but she froze in shock at the last bit.

“What?” she squeaked.

“You know what I mean,” he murmured. His hand moved up her back, his fingers spread wide to hold her to him. “The pamphlet you bought in Mrs. Driscoll’s shop.”

“You read it?”

He nodded.

Abigail made a silent vow to murder her sister for this. She’d known it would land her in trouble somehow. “But—but—why did you buy it?” She really wished she could look away, but her wits—and her will—seemed to have gone missing.

“Because you bewitched me, and I wanted to know you, even if just what you read.” He wound a stray wisp of hair around his finger before smoothing it back from her temple. “Why did you buy it?”

Abigail’s heart was beating a tocsin against her breastbone. It was tempting to blame it on her sister, but she’d found that issue so arousing …

“Curiosity,” she finally whispered.

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days Excerpt:

As he spoke, Edie realized that it wasn’t just about missing Joanna or her need to watch over her sister that lay at the heart of her reluctance to send her away. It was also the idea of being alone here at Highclyffe that had always made it so hard. Joanna’s absence would have brought home to her the loneliness of her life. The loneliness of being an independent woman who ran charities and built gardens to keep herself busy, who knew that unless she constantly entertained guests, she would have to eat her meals in the ducal dining room alone and picnic at the Wash by herself. Everything was different now, of course. Regardless of what happened in the next five days, she would never live alone at Highclyffe. She might be living alone elsewhere, but not here. “I don’t know if I want her to go to Willowbank. I don’t…I don’t know where I’ll be living, and I want to be near her. Until things are settled with us, I don’t think I should commit her to a particular school.” He was silent for a moment, then he nodded and gave a little cough. “Yes, of course. Still, Willowbank’s in Kent, so…it’s easy to reach from…from London. Europe, too, if you…chose to live there.” He spoke slowly, his frequent pauses making it seem as if he had difficulty with getting the words out. He looked away. “If you were to go back to New York,” he said, his voice a tight whisper, “that might be different. It’s so far away.”

Redemption of the Duke Excerpt:

(Setup: The duke manipulated Faith Cooper into being his aunt’s companion, intending to help her, since he feels guilty about the death of her brother. Now they’re living in the same house.)

Faith moved forward as if in a dream, inhaling the rich scent of damp earth, then the sweet scents of exotic flowers. When she stepped across the threshold, the air grew moist and warm, and trees rose up above her as if to touch the sky through the panes of glass in their cast-iron frames. Gas-lamp globes seemed to hover in line along curving gravel pathways. Ferns swayed as they passed. Straight ahead rose a fountain that gently splashed like music, its basin a tiled pool with golden carp swimming amid conch shells.

As they stood there in peaceful silence, she felt strange being shoulder-to-shoulder with such a man, a duke. Yet he never made her feel inferior to him. She wondered if this, too, had to do with his military service, his grief at his mistakes, or if perhaps as a younger son, he’d never acquired the “airs of an heir.” Thinking that almost made her laugh, and he glanced at her from beneath his light brown wavy hair, which seemed burnished in the low light.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Nothing, really, it’s just…I would not have imagined myself like this just a few short weeks ago.”

“Like what? Nothing much has changed for you. You still insist upon working, when I could—” He broke off.

“I assume you realized how that sounded and stopped yourself,” she said coolly.

“Yes, though I did not mean as my mistress.”

The word seemed to hover between them. She knew he thought her an innocent; and she shivered to wonder how he might treat her if he knew all her secrets.
Up for grabs are 3 Avon Romance prize packs, including custom jewelry and a book from each author. Ends May 9.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Caroline Linden:

Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at

About Laura Lee Guhrke:

Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website:
About Gayle Callen:

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than eighteen historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion and the Laurel Wreath Award.

Gayle lives in Central New York with her three children, her dog, Apollo, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero.

Visit her website at


  1. Thanks for spotlighting our books!

  2. Thank you for hosting today!

  3. I just realized, Gayle, that you are the one, almost 100% of the tour, who opens each stop with a "Thanks for spotlighting our books!" Sounds like you agreed to do this for Caroline and Laura ... because of their schedules? In any case, I appreciate your diligence on each post. What a pal you are for your threesome! :-)

  4. Ha, nope, no agreement! I just really appreciate that websites take the time to share our stories with their readers. Maybe I like the word "spotlight" too much! ;)

  5. Janice HouglandMay 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    No, "spotlight" is a good word for what some reviewers and blogs do for books. I was just curious. I still like that you appreciate the blog websites and reviewers. A little humility and thanksgiving never hurt anyone. :-)

  6. Oh, I love the bad boy on the historical books. I love when a scandal happens because I usually cheer for the different than most. ;0) Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. i love dukes stries i find the entertaining and i have always loved reading romance stories with dukes in them denise smith