Regency romance meets shape-shifters, to great effect.

A WOLF IN DUKE'S CLOTHING

A duke who’s a real alpha finds his true love.

The Honorable Felicity Templeton has one goal, and it’s an unusual goal during the season of 1817: to remain single until she's 25 in order to inherit a fortune. She’s only weeks away from achieving this when, tucked into the wallflower corner at a ball, she runs into a “Cravat of Perfection” and soon after is kidnapped by Alfred Blakesley, Duke of Lowell. The duke is so insistent because, after he senses her across the ballroom, he knows she is his “vera amoris” and he must have her. This isn’t typical toxic masculinity; Alfred is a wolf Shifter, and, what’s more, he’s the alpha of an unusual pack and anxious to secure his one true love in order to stabilize their community. Of course, this knowledge is too much for a first date, particularly when that date is in the carriage of one’s kidnapper, so his staff agrees to wait to reveal their true natures. Felicity is quickly won over by the duke’s marvelous house, and as she slowly gets to know the duke, she begins to accept him, even if his unfamiliarity with human courting rituals proves a hurdle. Though she senses something odd about her new household, her own eccentricities and natural inclination for animals keep her from being too suspicious, and when the truth finally outs, she is oddly accommodating, with tension coming from other places. Combining equal parts Regency and shifter romance, Allen ably integrates elements from each subgenre in this first volume of her Shapeshifters of the Beau Monde series. Realistic period detail is complemented by shifter concepts like “dominatum” and “sentio” and accompanied by sparkling dialogue and steamy chemistry, so that even as the plot grows darker, the story is leavened by an inherent lightness that perhaps only a shifter romance set on Regency pages can provide. Though lovers of traditional Regencies may find the story strays too far beyond the boundaries of the ton, many will enjoy this new approach to well-known tropes—a book that respects both subgenres and, in doing so, may well create a new one.

Regency romance meets shape-shifters, to great effect.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72823-036-8

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Love is a battlefield in this engaging wartime tale.

HIGHLAND WARRIOR

From the Sons of Sinclair series , Vol. 2

A warrior gives up everything for love in McCollum’s latest historical romance.

This second installment of the Sons of Sinclair series picks up with the story of Joshua Sinclair, the brutal Horseman of War who was last seen heading for foreign lands to polish up his mercenary skills. After a bloody battle at South Ronaldsay, Joshua travels to Orkney Isle to train Lord Robert Stuart’s soldiers in defensive maneuvers, though Joshua is far less interested in making war than he used to be. He’s ready to head back to his home when he’s waylaid by fierce fighter Kára. She’s desperate to help her people defend themselves from Lord Robert and his men, who, Joshua learns, hunted, raped, killed, and imprisoned many of them in the past. Joshua quickly falls for Kára, but he’s hesitant to join in her fight, as he’s seen the terrible cost of combat and knows that the Orkney inhabitants don’t stand a chance against the men he helped to train. But Kára’s persistence and her people’s desperate plight convinces him to help; he lobbies for a way to avoid to all-out war, but a murder and a kidnapping alter his plans. McCollum’s lengthy novel wastes no time jumping into a romance. Joshua and Kára kick their relationship off with a steamy sex scene early on, and the story’s pace never slows down. Joshua is a very attractive Scottish warrior, complete with bulging muscles and a soft side (he’s great with kids), but he’s also rather complicated. It’s a nice twist to see the Horseman of War seek out alternatives to violence, and it’s always lovely to see a swordswoman who’s fully capable of extracting herself from danger. A clever trick and other unexpected events precede the ending, which ties things up nicely.

Love is a battlefield in this engaging wartime tale.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68281-570-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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Slow yet satisfying.

HOW TO CATCH A DUKE

From the Rogues to Riches series , Vol. 6

A woman inquiry agent seeks assistance from a ducal heir and winds up falling in love.

Formidable and imposing Abigail Abbott is in danger after a marquess requested she hand over some letters and she refused. She turns to clever Lord Stephen Wentworth, heir to the Duke of Walden, requesting he help fake her death so she can escape harm’s way. Stephen instead proposes a courtship of convenience. Because of his title, she would be protected with him as an ally. As they spend time together to ensure her safety, they reveal truths about their pasts, explore their physical desires for each other, and uncover more mysteries regarding the letters and the people interested in them. This installment in the Rogues to Riches series features familiar faces and Burrowes’ superb writing. Despite Abigail’s circumstances, the story has little conflict until some late twists amp up the drama. The pace is mostly unhurried, sometimes overly so. Abigail and Stephen genuinely like each other throughout the book, so the romance itself feels quite low stakes, even with their differences in station and morals—Abigail is an anti-violence lapsed Quaker while Stephen designs guns. Stephen uses canes to walk due to an injury in his youth, and this disability is deftly handled. Additionally, his candor regarding past trysts, with both women and men, is refreshing. Secrets and mysteries add some intrigue, but it’s the strength of the adept and captivating leads that carries the story.

Slow yet satisfying.

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-5383-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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