Category Archives: St Martin’s Paperbacks

Review: A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman

Title: A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman
Ruthless Rivals Series Book One
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Meet the Davies and Montgomery families – two households locked in an ancient feud, destined to be on opposing sides forever. Until now…


Madeline Montgomery grew up despising––and secretly loving––the roguish Gryffud “Gryff” Davies. Their families have been bitter rivals for hundreds of years, but even if her feelings once crossed the line between love and hate, she’s certain Gryff never felt the same. Now, she’s too busy saving her family from ruin to think about Gryff and the other “devilish” Davies siblings. Since he’s off being scandalous in London, it’s not like she’ll ever see him again…


As the new Earl of Powys, Gryff Davies planned on spending his post-war life enjoying the pleasures of London. But when an illegal duel forces him to retreat to his family’s Welsh castle, he realizes the only exciting thing in the dull countryside will be seeing the fiery Maddie Montgomery. Thoughts of his nemesis sustained Gryff throughout the war; but the girl he loved to tease has grown into a gorgeous, headstrong woman – who loathes him just as much as she ever did. Will secret tunnels, dangerous smugglers, and meddling from their feuding families be enough to make Maddie and Gryff realize that their animosity is really attraction…and maybe even love?

A Reckless Match is the first in a new regency romance series by Kate Bateman about two feuding families, and reunited childhood enemies whose hatred turns to love.


A Reckless Match by Kate Bateman is a captivating historical romance.

The Davies and the Montgomery’s are neighboring families who have been feuding for hundreds of years. Yet on the spring Equinox, one representative from each family meet on a neutral tract of land to shake hands. This year, the duty falls to twenty-one-year-old Maddie Montgomery and former soldier and current Earl of Powys Gryff Davies. The two have tormented one another throughout their lives so Maddie is not looking forward to meeting the devilishly charming Gryff. She is fervently hoping he is a no-show for more than one reason. Dismayed and confused after the yearly tradition is fulfilled, Maddie and Gryff unexpectedly share dangerous yet exciting adventures and a mutual, sizzling hot attraction.

Maddie is highly intelligent with a curious mind and a fervent interest in archeology. She satisfies this interest in the past by searching for treasure on their property. Maddie is worried about her family’s future and she has a vested interested in solving their unexpected problem. The last thing she needs is her childish crush on Gryff turning into something much deeper than she would like.

Gryff  has always known he would become the next earl but he would rather enjoy his return from war before picking up the mantle of responsibility.  He would never shirk the yearly duty but he is dismayed to discover his fascination with Maddie has not lessened. Gryff seizes every opportunity to spend time with her, but will their unanticipated discovery put them into harm’s way?

A Reckless Match is a delightfully charming historical romance with a fantastic cast of eclectic characters. Maddie is independent, unconventional and a bit strong-willed. Gryff is a little protective, a lot naughty and willing to rush headlong into danger. Their interactions are full of witty, suggestive banter that is also quite amusing. Maddie and Gryff’s long-time acquaintance provides the perfect backdrop for their burgeoning romance. With lots of heat, plenty of sexy dialogue and a hint of danger, Kate Bateman’s Ruthless Rivals series is off to a strong beginning that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.

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Filed under A Ruthless Match, Historical, Kate Bateman, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Ruthless Rivals Series, St Martin's Paperbacks

Review: When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

Title: When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses Series Book Three
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A stunning new Regency from beloved author Olivia Drake, When a Duke Loves a Governess…!

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?


When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake is a sweet yet slightly steamy historical romance. While this newest release is the third installment in the Unlikely Duchesses series, it can be read as a standalone.

Tessa James has made her own way in life following the death of her mother and part of her childhouse in a workhouse. She currently works for a milliner who does not appreciate her flair for hat making. Fed up with her boss, Tessa makes the impetuous decision to quit her job and apply for a governess position.  If she secures the position, she will be able to make more money. But more importantly, Tessa hopes she will be able to search for her nobleman father. With no formal governess experience or references, can Tessa bluff her way into position?

Guy Whitby never expected to become the Duke of Carlin but he takes his new position seriously. He is also caring for his four-year-old daughter Sophy for the first time since her birth. He wrongly assumed his deceased wife’s parents were better able to care for her. Instead, Guy discovers Sophy is extremely spoiled and willful so he is dismayed to keep losing her governesses. Although he has a few reservations about Tessa, he agrees to give her a week to show she is capable of the job. Luckily for Guy, Tessa proves more than able to care for his daughter without breaking her spirited nature.

Tessa and Guy are instantly attracted to each other. But both of them are well-aware of the pitfalls of an affair between them. Tessa wants nothing to ruin her chances of finding her father and opening her own business. Guy’s disastrous marriage is the perfect reason for him to keep his distance from his beautiful employee. But with their attraction becoming too difficult to ignore, will Guy convince her to become his duchess?

When a Duke Loves a Governess is a charming love story with an intriguing storyline. Tessa is smart, talented woman who has no desire to give up her independence. Guy is a decidedly unstuffy  with an interesting backstory. Young Sophy is a handful but she benefits greatly from unconditional love and attention. With a slight element of mystery, Olivia Drake brings this heartfelt historical romance to a joyful conclusion.  Readers are sure to enjoy this latest installment of the  Unlikely Duchesses.

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Filed under Contemporary, Historical, Olivia Drake, Rated B, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks, Unlikely Duchesses Series, When a Duke Loves a Governess

Review: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Title: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor
The Widow Rules Series Book One
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A Duke in Time is the first book in a three-story arc that will have you rooting for leading heroines, searching for lost dowries, and falling for swoon-worthy heroes.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.


Taking place in 1815, A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor is an enjoyable historical romance with a unique premise.

Katherine Vareck is stunned to discover her late husband Meriweather “Meri” Vareck has two other wives. Theirs was a short courtship with a whirlwind marriage and she has not seen Meri since their wedding day. Needless to say, she is not exactly a grieving widow since her biggest concern is getting her dowry back. Katherine is also very concerned that a scandal about Meri’s polygamy would destroy her growing business. Discussing her plight with Meri’s brother, Christian, who is  a duke, Katherine agrees to assist him in a charity he would like to set up for men who have recently returned from war. As they spend more time together, a mutual attraction grows between them. Will the well-respected war hero convince the from the other of the sheets Katherine to give their relationship a chance?

Katherine has a very scandalous past that she would prefer no one uncovers. She is a very intelligent woman with a keen business sense. She has a thriving business that employs several people who need their jobs to survive. Katherine is very well-liked and respected by those around her but she lives in fear of her secrets being discovered. As her relationship with Christian becomes more serious, will Katherine reveal the truth about her past?

Christian finally gave up on Meri several years earlier and he is not exactly pleased with the mess his half-brother left for him to clean up.  Initially, he has no intention of dealing with Meri’s three wives. But after Katherine forces him to listen to her, he cannot walk away from them without helping. Underneath his gruff exterior, Christian is very kind and quite determined to assist the men who gave up everything to protect their country. With Katherine’s input, his goal of setting up his charity business is within his grasp.

A Duke in Time is a delightful historical romance with a strong female lead.  Katherine and Christian are from very different backgrounds but they are surprisingly compatible. Their fledgling romance is fun, flirty and sexy and features some very steamy love scenes. Despite a predictable conflict, Janna MacGregor brings this first installment in The Widow Rules series to a sigh-worthy conclusion.


Filed under A Duke in Time, Historical, Janna MacGregor, Rated B, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks

Review: A Highlander Is Coming to Town by Laura Trentham

Title: A Highlander Is Coming to Town by Laura Trentham
Highland, Georgia Series Book Three
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 290 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The third book in the Highland, Georgia romantic comedy series from Laura Trentham, A Highlander is Coming to Town, full of love, laughs…and highlanders!

You better watch out. . .

Holt Pierson is dreading Christmas. His parents absconded to Florida for the season and left him to handle the family farm which will be his one day—whether he wants it or not. Driven by duty, Holt has always followed the path expected of him. But lately, he’s been questioning what he wants and where he belongs. Will assuming the responsibility of the Pierson farm make him happy or is there something—or someone—else out in the wider world calling to him?

To Claire Smythe, the Scottish lead singer of a touring band, Highland, Georgia, is the perfect place to hide . . .until a very handsome and deeply curious Holt begins to ask all the questions Claire doesn’t want to answer. As Holt draws Claire out from under and into the fabric of small-town life, can Claire put the past behind her and embrace the unexpected gifts of the season—including the new and lasting love?


A Highlander Is Coming to Town by Laura Trentham is a light-hearted, fun romance. Although this newest release is the third novel in the Highland, Georgia series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

Claire Smythe left her band after they appeared at Highland’s summer festival. She has been avoiding her family and upcoming business responsibilities in Scotland for years.  But with her fast approaching birthday, Claire will have to return to take on the duties awaiting her.  She is currently working as a live-in companion for the tough but kind-hearted Ms. Meadows.  Claire has worked hard to fly under the radar since she does not want to answer any questions about herself. But after meeting Ms. Meadows’ sexy and flirtatious neighbor, Holt Pierson, Claire finds it difficult to stay away from him.

Holt is quite intrigued by Claire but he respects her wishes not to talk about herself. He cannot help but try to lend her a hand since she seems to keep running into transportation issues. He must first get past the formidable (to him) Ms. Meadows, but she soon warms up to him.  Holt is surprised by how interested he is in Claire, but he knows there is no future for them since she plans on leaving town.

Holt and Claire are a wonderful couple who are a surprisingly good fit. Claire is reserved and remains tight-lipped about herself. Holt is laid-back and understanding of her need for privacy. Once their attraction burns too bright to resist, they originally agree  to a casual fling.  And even if they do fall in love, Claire cannot remain in Highland. Can she?

A Highlander Is Coming to Town is a very charming romance with marvelous characters and an interesting storyline. Holt and Claire are an appealing couple and their scenes together are sweet and a little steamy. Ms. Meadows is a wonderful woman who does not realize how much she needs Claire in her life. With a minor conflict jeopardizing Claire and Holt’s future together, Laura Trentham brings this heartwarming romance to a heartfelt and uplifting conclusion. An outstanding addition to the Highland, Georgia series that old and new fans are going to love.

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Filed under A Highlander Is Coming to Town, Contemporary, Highland Georgia Series, Laura Trentham, Rated B+, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks

Review: A Highlander in a Pickup by Laura Trentham

Title: A Highlander in a Pickup by Laura Trentham
Highland, Georgia Series Book Two
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 313 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A Highlander in a Pickup is the second book in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s romantic comedy Highland Georgia series, full of love, laughs…and highlanders!

When a gorgeous new man—in a kilt—comes to town, life in Highland, Georgia will never be the same…

Iain Connors is the poster boy for the strong and silent type. Growing up a loner at Cairndow Castle in Scotland with only the cliffs and moors for company, it’s understood Iain will assume the mantle of Cairndow groundskeeper when his father is ready to relinquish it. But his stint in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces has opened up a whole new world—and now, rather than settle down, he accepts an invitation to travel to the States to take charge of the Highland Games. After all, he’s led men into battle, how hard can planning a party be?

Anna Maitland is ready to step up for her best friend Isabel Blackmoor, who can’t run the Games in their hometown this year. Surely Anna, a dance instructor with boundless energy, spirit, and charm, is up for the challenge? What she doesn’t anticipate is a man in a kilt who turns up claiming he’s the one in charge. What’s worse about this Iain? He’s so infuriatingly handsome that she can’t help but fantasize about him whispering sweet-nothings in her ear in his rumbly, sexy brogue. . .


A Highlander in a Pickup by Laura Trentham is a delightfully charming romance. Although this latest release is the second novel in the Highland, Georgia  series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

Dance teacher Anna Maitland is in charge of organizing this year’s Highland Games. She does not  want or need the assistance of Iain Connors but she eventually grudgingly accepts his help. Anna also tries to ignore her growing fascination of and attraction to Iain. But will she be able to continue to resist the kilt-wearing, reserved Scotsman?

Anna is fiercely independent and does not trust easily. She has a complicated relationship with her mother who raised her on her own after her father abandoned them. Anna is devoted to her students and she is increasingly concerned about one of her young dancers. She has also had a string of bad luck with the men has dated, so Anna has no plans to act on her growing desire for Iain.

After leaving the military, Iain returned to Cairndow Castle where he is expected to take over as caretaker when his father retires. But he becomes increasingly restless and uncertain of his future the more time he spends at the castle. Feeling a bit trapped by parental expectation, Iain readily agreed to travel to Highland to help Anna with the Highland Games.  Although eager to lend assistance, Iain is a bit of a loner and lacks confidence with dating. He is immediately taken with Anna and his admiration for the sassy dance instructor continues to grow.

With Iain’s departure date looming, he and Anna are finding it more and more difficult not to give in to their mutual attraction. Finally throwing caution to the wind, they eagerly embark on a passionate fling. But what neither of them is willing to admit is their feelings for each other run much deeper than desire.  But what chance do they have for a future together when Anna’s destiny is firmly in Highland and Iain is obligated to return to Scotland?

A Highlander in a Pickup is a heartwarming romance with an enchanting small town setting and marvelous cast of characters. Anna and Iain are beautifully drawn, vibrant characters that are immensely appealing. The storyline is engaging and fast-paced. The romance between Anna and Iain is sweet yet steamy.  Laura Trentham brings this marvelous romance to a heartfelt and uplifting conclusion.  The touching epilogue will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the marvelous Highland, Georgia  series.

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Filed under A Highlander in a Pickup, Contemporary, Highland Georgia Series, Laura Trentham, Rated B+, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks

Review: Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake

Title: Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses Series Book Two
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Forever My Duke is the second novel in a brand new Regency romance series from Olivia Drake about rakish dukes and the governesses who steal their hearts.

“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince Regent

Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.

But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?


Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake is a charming historical romance. This newest addition to the Unlikely Duchesses  series can be read as a standalone.

Natalie Fanshawe is an independent, intelligent and lively young woman. An American, she disdains the British aristocracy having been raised to believe all people are equal. So when she travels to England to fulfill her best friend Audrey’s last wish, Natalie is not overly impressed by the Duke of Clayton Hadrian Ames’ rank.  Her only concern is ensuing six year old Leo Bellingham is in good hands when she brings him to his grandfather’s estate. Natalie is right to be concerned since Audrey and her father were estranged for many years before her untimely death. Fiercely protective of Leo, Natalie wants to keep  her promise but she is very uneasy about leaving her delightful young charge in the care of his grandfather.

In a fortuitous coincidence, Hadrian is also traveling to the same estate.  He is a bit stuffy and a stick in the mud who puts duty above all else.  Finally ready to settle down, Hadrian is planning to marry Audrey’s much younger half-sister. He is quite charmed by the refreshingly forthright Natalie, but he is well aware she not the right woman for him.  Hadrian is quite reserved and holds his emotions in check but after meeting Natalie and Leo, he becomes a bit more lively.

Natalie is a strong, vibrant  woman who knows her own mind. She refuses to compromise her beliefs and she challenges Hadrian right from their first meeting. Natalie fights her attraction to Hadrian but she genuinely enjoys his company so she finds it difficult to keep her distance from him. She is very concerned about Leo but she feels like she has to honor Audrey’s last wish.

Forever My Duke is a breezy, entertaining romance. Despite a few predictable plot elements, the storyline is engaging with delightful banter.  Natalie is a marvelous character who is impossible not to like. Hadrian is aloof but likable and he struggles with communication and deep emotions.  Leo is an adorable little boy who easily steals every scene he appears in. Natalie and Hadrian’s relationship is fun to watch unfold and both characters grow and evolve over the course of the story.  Olivia Drake brings this heartwarming romance to a sigh worthy conclusion. Old and new fans of the Unlikely Duchesses  series are sure to enjoy this latest installment.

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Filed under Forever My Duke, Historical, Olivia Drake, Rated B, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks, Unlikely Duchesses Series