Interview with Cate Lord, Author of Lucky Girl and Giveaway!


 Cate Lord dropped by the virtual offices for a chat about her book Lucky Girl. Check out what she has to say, and then enter for a chance to win a copy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Cate Lord] Wife, mother, slave to two cats, and food addict.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Lucky Girl?

[Cate Lord] It’s a fun, flirty romantic comedy that will make you laugh as well as tug on your heartstrings.  The heroine, twenty-nine-year-old Jessica Devlin, was devastated to discover her fiancé’s infidelity just months before their wedding.  Single and heartbroken, Jess takes an overdue vacation from her job as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine and flies to England to be maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding.

Jess is worried about the trip.  Her beautiful cousin is getting the happily-ever-after Jess wanted so badly.  There’s also the embarrassing episode that happened two years ago after Jess’s grandfather’s funeral; it involved an English pub, too many drinks, an overflowing of grief for her grandfather, and a handsome Brit who held her in his arms and comforted her while she bawled.

Of course, Jess believes there’s zero chance of her running into James Bond gorgeous Nick Mondinello again—but guess who’s at the wedding?  It’s an awkward situation, for sure.  Jess resolves to avoid Nick, since but fate keeps throwing her and Nick together.  She has to wonder: Nick wouldn’t be interested in a Plain Jane gal like her, would he?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Cate Lord] Some books are gifts from the creative muse.  Lucky Girl was one of them.  It’s very loosely based on a year I spent studying in England—the year I met the tall, sexy-voiced, charming Brit who became my husband.  It was one of the most exciting, life-changing years of my life, and being able to channel a few of my own experiences into the character of Jess was a lot of fun and brought back some wonderful memories.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jess?

[Cate Lord] Quirky, sensitive, and adventurous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Jess had a theme song, what would it be?

[Cate Lord] Probably a theme song to one of the James Bond movies.  Jess secretly aspires to be a sexy spy girl.  Readers will meet ruby-lipped Chicky Dee in the book. 🙂

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Nick won’t leave the house without.

[Cate Lord] His cell phone.  He wouldn’t want to miss a call from Jess.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Nick’s bedroom?

[Cate Lord] Crackers.  Not fun when they get in the sheets.
His laptop.  The bedroom isn’t a place for work, only play.
Giraffes.  They belong in a zoo.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Cate Lord] My influences come from all around me: things my daughter says or does; documentaries I watch on TV; magazine articles I stumble upon while waiting in doctor’s offices; exhibitions at museums; conversations with my friends.  Day-to-day life is full of inspiration.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Cate Lord] A cup of good organic coffee (top priority!).  Dagoba organic chocolate.  One of my kitties, curled up in his bed nearby, keeping me company.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Cate Lord] There are too many to pick just one.  I am constantly in awe of the great books available.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Cate Lord] A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I absolutely loved that book when I was a child.  I still have my original, beaten up copy and I plan to keep it forever.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Cate Lord] I love to cook and bake (and my family tells me I’m good at both, which is nice to hear!).  If I have free time, I’ll often make a new recipe that I’ve found in one of my magazines to see how my family likes the dish.  I am always eager to find a “keeper” for my recipe file.  I also enjoy gardening, walking on the local nature trail, watching movies and favorite TV series with my husband and daughter (Once Upon a Time and Monk are what we’re watching right now), cuddling with my kitties, visiting museums and art galleries, shopping at the local farmers’ markets, and spending a day now and again at the mall having lunch and clothes shopping with my daughter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s the first thing that went through your mind when you found out that Lucky Girl was a 2012 Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award winner?

[Cate Lord] At first, I was numb with shock.  Within a few seconds, I was totally, completely thrilled!  There’s nothing more gratifying to me than knowing that readers love my book.  Thank you, readers!  I am still pinching myself about my award, actually.  🙂

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Cate Lord] My website’s at  I also love to connect with readers on Facebook:  Thanks so much to Manga Maniac Café for the interview!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Giveaway time!!

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Didn’t win?  You can order Lucky Girl from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:


Thanks to Viking/Penguin, I have a copy of Philip Pullman’s FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS to give away!! 


About the book:

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Grimm’s fairy tales. To celebrate, Viking is thrilled to publish FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM, a retelling of fifty beloved stories by Philip Pullman, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy.

In 1812, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, two centuries later, fairy tales are once again all the rage with TV shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time dominating ratings and two movie adaptations of “Snow White” out in the same year.  With FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM, Philip Pullman brings these much-loved tales back to the page. 

From stories like “Cinderella” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “The Girl With No Hands,” “The Three Snake Leaves,” and “Godfather Death,” Pullman retells fifty of Grimm’s timeless classics for the modern age in his lively, beguiling prose. He includes all the most familiar characters—Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Frog Prince, and Rapunzel—while also introducing readers to some they might not have met yet.

Pullman has consulted a variety of editions of the work to pull together a seamless version of each story that focuses on engaging readers and demonstrating exactly why these fairy tales have been told over and over again, remaining vibrant since their original publication in the early 19th century. With FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM, Pullman pays homage to the tales of romance and villainy that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.


Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) has sold more than fifteen million copies and been published in more than forty countries.  The first volume, The Golden Compass, was made into a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.  Pullman is at work on a companion His Dark Materials novel The Book of Dust.  He lives in Oxford, England.


Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following! US addresses only, please.

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Feed Your Kindle! Cheap YA Reads!

Here’s a roundup of Regency romances, all priced at under a buck! Click on the cover for the Amazon product page.


The Light Tamer – .99

What would you do if you found out your whole life has been a lie? Jessie Lucente moves from New York to North Carolina the summer before her junior year of high school. Without any warning, she finds out the boy that saved her from drowning one summer is bound to her. He was once gaunt and awkward, now he’s hot, and head over heels for Jessie. With a touch of his hand, he sends electricity through her veins. Can instant love be enough to defeat the people that hide within the shadows?

Secrets are uncovered, the kind that cause Jessie and her new friends to be in over their heads. Find out which deity has escaped the Underworld, and has the Light Tamers on his radar. What does it mean to be a Light Tamer?

This young adult book will awaken the memories of first love and best friends.



The Mayfair Moon -  2.99

After a nightmarish encounter with a werewolf, seventeen-year-old Adria Dawson loses her sister, but gains the love of a mysterious young man and his legendary family.
Strange and tragic things begin to happen in the small town of Hallowell, Maine: residents come down with an unexplainable ‘illness’ and some disappear. In the midst of everything, Isaac Mayfair is adamant about keeping Adria safe, even from her sister whom he has warned her to stay away from.

As unspeakable secrets unfold all around Adria, impossible choices become hers to bear. Ultimately, no matter what path she takes, her life and the lives of those she loves will be in peril. As she learns about the werewolf world she also learns why her place in it will change the destinies of many.



Outsider – .99

Everything is about to change for Sophie Beaumont. Sophie has moved her entire life; never staying in one place too long. She didn’t understand why… until now. Sophie is a shifter. A wolf shifter and she has a lot to learn. About being herself, being a wolf, and being what she needs to be to protect her pack. On top of that, her intense feelings for the pack’s Alpha, Caeden, threatens to ruin everything. Especially if the rival pack, the Grimm’s, find out that Sophie is not the human she claims to be.

(This is a young adult book)



Demon Kissed – .99

The Valefar boy tricked Ivy Taylor into kissing him, but he took much more than a kiss – he stole her soul and left her within inches of death. 

By surviving, Ivy is drawn into the conflict between the Martis and the Valefar. The war between these two immortal forces has raged for millennia without distraction. Until now. Ivy is an anomaly–she is the only person who has ever walked away from a demon kiss alive. Her survival gives her unique and deadly abilities. Too powerful to ignore, Ivy is a threat to both armies. These two ancient enemies will stop at nothing to kill the seventeen-year-old.

Surviving is nothing new for headstrong Ivy, but her survival has never depended on another person before. This time it does. And if she misplaces her trust, she’s dead. To her horror, she starts falling in love at the worst possible time–with the enemy. He appears to be protecting her. But she can’t be certain if he is trying to help her, or help himself to her power.

For Ivy, trusting the right person is the difference between love and survival, or a deadly demon kiss.
92,327 Words, 3rd Edition. Young Adult Paranormal Romance.


Melt Down – .99

In upstate Idaho, Ness Hook is run out of his mom’s house by his bullying brother Shawn. In Redding, California, Tristan Carter is graduating college, but with no job and no prospects, she’ll have to move back in with her parents.

Then the world ends.
After Ness discovers his best friend dead of disease, Shawn takes their family to the mountains to wait out the plague. As Tristan’s parents fall sick, she’s left to care for her younger brother Alden. Both sets of siblings dig in for the long haul. Humanity is reduced to splinters. And then the creatures who sent the virus appear in the sky.
Flushed from the mountains, Shawn and Ness join a tribe at a nuclear power plant, where they plan to launch a guerrilla war against the invaders. In California, Tristan and Alden are taken prisoner. Separated from her brother, Tristan crosses the ruins of America to track him down. She will stop at nothing to get Alden back–but her fellow survivors prove even more dangerous than the monsters who broke the world.

This Week’s New and Notable YA Releases

I am looking forward to both Greta and the Goblin King and Undeadly.  What’s on your wish list?

Click the cover for the Amazon product page.

Darwen Arkwright and the Insidious Bleck by A. J. Hartley and Emily Osborne (Nov 21, 2012)

Elemental by Antony John (Nov 21, 2012)

Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1) by Tammara Webber (Nov 20, 2012)

Flawed by Kate Avelynn (Nov 20, 201

Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs (Nov 20, 2012)

Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky (Nov 20, 2012)

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer (Nov 20, 2012)

Undeadly (Harlequin Teen) by Michele Vail (Nov 20, 2012)

Where You Are (Between the Lines #2) by Tammara Webber


The Girl in the Wall by  Daphne Benedis-Grab (Nov 18, 2012)

Tempestuous (Twisted Lit) by Kim Askew

What’s on your shopping list?

Interview with Melissa McClone, Author of His Larkville Cinderella


Please welcome Melissa McClone to the virtual offices today!  Melissa is the author of many romances, and  I invited her to stop by and chat about her entry in the Larkville Legacy series. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Melissa McClone]  Former engineer turned Harlequin Romance writer, loves reading & writing, Star Wars fangirl, mom to three kids, too many cats and a dog.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about His Larkville Cinderella?

[Melissa McClone] His Larkville Cinderella is Book #5 in Harlequin Romance’s The Larkville Legacy continuity series. The eight books center around two families—one from Texas, the other from New York—who discover a secret that draws them together.

My story features Megan, the youngest daughter of the Calhoun family from Larkville, Texas. She’s an inspiring costume designer who recently graduated college and is doing an internship in Hollywood. She’s excited to have finally escaped the confines of Larkville and her family, neither of which she feels understand her at all. But she misses her long time best friend, who she thinks is the man of her dreams. That is, until she meets movie star Adam Noble.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The small-town girl with big dreams has finally reached Hollywood! For years, costume designer Megan Calhoun has longed to be seen for who she is, not who she isn’t. But under the gaze of A-list heartthrob Adam Noble, this Cinderella begins to step out of the shadows….

Adam hides from his painful past behind every role he plays. But something in Megan is threatening to smash apart this carefully constructed facade. Will he finally take his biggest risk…throw away the script and open his heart

[Manga Maniac Cafe] His Larkville Cinderella is part of the Larkville Legacy series. Can you share how you and the other authors worked together write these books?

[Melissa McClone] We (the authors) were provided with a "Bible" by the editors that described the overall story for the continuity, the basics of each of the eight books (characters, setting and storyline) and what threads or information from the other stories needed to be included in what books. We also received a timeline of the stories (including backstory plot points) and a character spreadsheet listing the characters, their descriptions and other info about them from each of the eight books.

We set up a yahoo groups loop so we could discuss details of Larkville (places and people not listed in the Bible that we all could use to provide continuity between the books) and sort out what other things needed to be in what books in addition to what we were given by the editors.

As questions came up as we were writing our manuscripts, we would go to the loop to make sure what we were thinking of doing worked. Working out all these little things is my favorite part of doing a continuity. It’s fun to get to know other authors and bounce ideas off each other.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Megan?

[Melissa McClone] Hardworking, creative, misunderstood

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Adam would never have in his bedroom?

[Melissa McClone]  Me though I’d love it if I could be there. LOL! This is fun question.

I think I’ll have to go with the following:  Any gossip or tabloid magazine because he hates gossip, a cup of decaffeinated coffee because he only drinks the real stuff, and a video recorder because his fans wouldn’t like it if he were caught in a sex tape scandal.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are Adam’s must have accessories for a night on the town?

[Melissa McClone] A limousine, a beautiful date to show off, and a bodyguard to keep the rabid fans away.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Megan had a theme song, what would it be?

[Melissa McClone] Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years.  The song really fits Megan.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Melissa McClone] Interesting question. I’ve never thought of this before. Let’s see…

Authors: I’ve always been a big fan of books by Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber. They were my first auto-buys when I started reading and then later trying to write category romance.

    Photos: I’m very visual so use pictures and images to inspire my characters and settings, but these change with each story. In this case, Chris Hemsworth acted as the perfect muse and kept the creativity flowing! 

    Music: Again, this changes with each manuscript, but every book has a soundtrack with music that I associate to the story. Listening to the songs makes it easy to get into the right frame of mind and just start writing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Melissa McClone]  My MacBook Pro, my cats sleeping next to me, and a glass of iced tea

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Melissa McClone]  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the one that really sticks in my mind. I couldn’t put the book down!  (My kids had been on me to read the entire trilogy for a long time so I finally did.) Lately I’ve been reading a lot more YA than Romance due to my fourteen year old daughter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Melissa McClone]  I’d say Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong.  Loved it! Couldn’t wait to read the next Pern book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Melissa McClone]  Sleep!  Seriously though, I enjoy spending time with my family. Whether it’s hanging out at home doing a puzzle or playing a game or heading outdoors for geo-caching or skiing, the more time we can be doing something together the better. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Melissa McClone] I have a website at I’m also on Facebook at and on Twitter at

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can purchase His Larkville Cinderella from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.

Here is a list of the entire Larkville Legacy series, in order by release month.

The Cowboy Comes  Home by Patricia Thayer – JULY

Slow Dance with the Sheriff by Nikki Logan – AUGUST

Taming the Brooding Cattleman by Marion Lennox – SEPTEMBER

The Rancher’s Unexpected Family by Myrna Mackenzie – OCTOBER

His Larkville Cinderella by Melissa McClone – NOVEMBER

The Secret that Changed Everything by Lucy Gordon – DECEMBER

The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Soraya Lane – JANUARY

The Billionaire’s Baby SOS by Susan Meier – FEBRUARY

Here are all of the covers –

Lark Ville Legacy

Cheap Reads for Your Kindle!

Here’s a roundup of Regency romances, all priced at under a buck! Click on the cover for the Amazon product page.


The Duke Takes a Bride – .99

Who said being bad wasn’t oh so good?

Benedict Devlyn, Duke of Banbury, has one thing on his mind and it isn’t mar-riage. But things take a turn for the worse when his menacing and aunt throws a hitch in his plans to remain the most sinful and talked about man in the ton. After all, a man cannot keep the reputation of being The Devil Duke when he is leg-shackled to some simpering spinster.

But his aunt, bless her heart, thinks she’s dying, and believes her nephew’s be-havior is the only thing standing in the way between her entrance to heaven or hell. So she very lovingly and selflessly sets him up. With his childhood nemesis.

A young woman who, though she claims it was an accident, has nearly killed him thrice through her lack of grace and manners. It matters not that the minute he sets eyes on her at the Christmas ball, his blood boils with lust. He refuses to al-low himself to fall prey to his aunt’s ministrations.

That is, until he is compromised and stuck in an engagement to a girl who claims she’d rather jump from a moving carriage than marry him. Funny thing that, for the very minute she says no, he finds his heart very much wants to say yes. When she doesn’t leap at the chance to marry him, he sets about to not only prove that he’s worthy of her favor, but also worthy of her heart.



Two Turtledoves – .99

Baldwyn Sinclair, the Duke of Paisley, returns to London in the dead of winter at the request of his over-bearing grandmother to find she has forged a betrothal contract on his behalf… without his knowledge. Now he is to be married to none other than the girl who used to throw mud at him in order to gain his attention.

He is not happy about the prospect, but he is nothing if not devoted to duty.

Anastasia Trent has been in love with the Duke of Paisley since she was seven years old and has spent her life pining for him, fantasizing about the moment they would see each other again. But when he makes it clear that her imaginings are in vain, her disappointment drives her into the arms of a dangerous man.

It is up to Baldwyn to rescue her once again, to save her from herself, and to find perhaps, along the way, exactly what his own heart was searching for.



Redeeming the Deception of Grace– .99

Lady Grace Hashiver has perfected the art of hiding behind a sarcastic wit when it comes to dealing with the rakish Ewan Emmett Duke of Greys, her childhood tormentor. Her wit protects her from betraying the attraction and desire she feels whenever she is around him.

Ewan Emmett, Duke of Greys is perfectly thrilled to torment Grace at every opportunity, until an old acquaintance begins an honest suit for Grace’s hand. When Ewan begins to feel the pangs of jealousy causing him to question his reasons for his constant teasing of Grace, he discovers a depth of emotion he didn’t know he harbored towards the golden haired beauty. Suddenly he is no longer the tease, but on the receiving end of the torment as he wonders if he‘s to late too fight for her love.



Scandal on Half Moon Street – .99

All the Honorable Anne Kirkhoven wants is to be wrapped in the arms of the man she loves, Frederick Shaw, Esquire, barrister, solicitor, writer of the best Gothic romance novels in England, and surely a future Member of Parliament. But despite Frederick’s many perfections, Anne’s mama has forbidden her to speak with him, much less marry him, and until Anne attains her majority, all they can do is wait.

But now the most notorious duke in the ton, Ernst Anton Oldenburg, the First Duke of Cumberland (and some say a foreign prince), is making a public point of assessing her… attributes, sending shivers to portions of her anatomy she’d rather not name. Who’s the right man? And will her reputation survive the Duke’s assault long enough for her to find out?


The Partridge and the Peartree – .99

Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf. Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate. But, a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams.

Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. She is much too busy. In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission – ed-ucating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.

This Week’s New and Notable Releases

Ten Reasons Not To Date a Cop looks promising!  What titles are you looking forward to?

Click on the cover for the Amazon product page.

The Devil’s Diadem by Sara Douglass (Nov 20, 2012)

Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance) by Larissa Ione (Nov 20, 2012)

Spirit’s End (An Eli Monpress Novel) by Rachel Bach (Nov 20, 2012)

Start With A Happy Ending by Risa Motoyama (Nov 20, 2012)

Caden’s Vow (Hqn) by Sarah McCarty (Nov 20, 2012)

Fire in the Blood by Robyn Bachar (Nov 20, 2012)

Getting Hotter by Elle Kennedy (Nov 20, 2012)

Guardian by Loribelle Hunt (Nov 20, 2012)

Rocky Mountain Angel by Vivian Arend (Nov 20, 2012)


Surrender (Hqn) by Brenda Joyce (Nov 20, 2012)

Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop by Amie Louellen (Nov 20, 2012)

Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight) by Cara Elliott (Nov 20, 2012)

Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires) by Laurel McKee (Nov 20, 2012)

What an Earl Wants (Hqn) by Kasey Michaels (Nov 20, 2012)

How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren (Nov 19, 2012)

Jacked Up (Fast Track) by Erin McCarthy and Emily Durante (Nov 19, 2012)

Review: An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser



Title:  An Infamous Marriage

Author: Susanna Fraser

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he’s back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife’s love may be the greatest battle he’s faced yet.


I enjoyed An Infamous Marriage quite a bit, due to the strength of the protagonists.  The first quarter of the book was wonderful, and the couple wasn’t even on the same continent!  With the emphasis on the war against Bonaparte at the end of the story, I thought that the book covered new ground, too.  I liked that we were given a first hand account of both Jack and Elizabeth’s wartime experience, fretting with them both as they struggled to maintain a sense of calm amidst the chaos surrounding them.  Elizabeth had an especially difficult time, as she waited for word from the front that Jack was kept from harm’s way.  Their parting before he rode into battle was heartbreaking; having caught her husband in a dreadful lie, Elizabeth’s hurt frothed to the surface, making her unable to see him off with anything but bitterness.  While his behavior was unbecoming of the man of honor he claimed to be, it was Elizabeth who suffered most from their harsh parting.  I felt so bad for her, too.  Jack really had behaved like a cad, and his window of opportunity to confess his crimes had long closed.

After her husband of a week falls tragically and terminally ill, he forces a promise from his best friend to marry Elizabeth and keep her safe.  Unable to refuse his deathbed request, both Elizabeth and Jack find themselves married shortly after Giles’ funeral.  Their neighbors are aghast, but Jack has to return to Canada, where he serves in the army, so there is no time for mourning.  He’s gone for five long years, and at first, Elizabeth finds herself falling for the man she married.  His letters are a delight to her, and she cherishes each piece of Jack that he shares through his missives.  Then a meddlesome neighbor shares some gossip from Canada with her; Jack has made quite a reputation for himself, and it’s not a good one.  He’s a rake and, despite being newly wed, he is engaging in one affair after another, without even bothering to be discrete about his activities.  Elizabeth’s world is shattered.  How could he be so cruel, and humiliate her without even a shred of remorse?

Jack does behave like an idiot.  I don’t know why he thought word of his indiscretions would never reach his wife.  It’s not like he was in Canada all by himself, and there was nobody around to notice him flaunting his mistresses about.  When Elizabeth confronts his behavior when he returns home after a five year absence, she is angry that he’s caused her so much grief.  She gives him the opportunity to come clean and confess all of his sins.  When he insists that he’s a man of his word and he isn’t a liar, he only cleans half of the slate.  Keeping one secret from her, one that embarrasses him, he leaves the door open for  future heartbreak for both of them.  I could not believe that an army man, a man who had faced death on the battlefield, would chicken out when given the opportunity to clear the air between himself and his wife.  Elizabeth would have been furious, rightfully so, but she also would have forgiven him, in time.  By lying to her – oh, dear, I knew that wasn’t going to end well.

Even though I wanted to dislike Jack, I couldn’t.  He sincerely felt awful about what he did, and he lacked the courage to confess.  I was in an agony of suspense as I wondered how Elizabeth would find out what a cad he had been.  The pacing of this story is leisurely, as both Jack and Elizabeth’s point of view is explored.  I enjoyed glimpses of both of their lives, both in peacetime and war.  At the start of the book, I was unsure if I would buy into their HEA, but by the time I reached the last page, I was convinced that, while both characters had  flaws and lapses of common sense (epically, on Jack’s part), they believed enough in each other and their future together to put those painful memories in the past.

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by author