Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Recipe: Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies

Double Whammy Eggnog Cookies

What I Thought:
These are super good and really easy. The best part is that you can make the dough ahead of time. If you freeze it in an airtight container you can make it up to 2 months ahead of time. The frosting is super yummy, but quite sweet. However, the cookies are somewhat bland so paired with the frosting, they are a very good balance and not too overwhelming. But I did the like the cookies plain right out of the oven while they were still hot. Once they cool, they are better with the frosting. The kids and DH ate the heck out of these. DH is not a fan of sweets so for him to eat them, that says a lot.

Changes I Made:
I followed this recipe exactly with the exception of the egg yolks. I cannot stand to waste when I cook, so I use two whole eggs instead of 4 egg yolks.

The eggnog I used was the Safeway brand found in the dairy case.

I think that the next time I make these cookies I will make a double batch and roll them into balls, or scoop them into ice cube trays to freeze prior to sealing them in airtight containers. That way they will be ready to go and all I have to do it pop them in the over with a couple of additional minutes of cooking time.
I was also thinking that due to the mild taste of the cookies without the icing, they would be a good accompaniment to tea. Even setting them out and allowing them to harden a bit so that they could be dipped in the tea. I will give this a try next time around as well.

Yield: 48 Cookies              Units: US | Metric


1-1/3 cups butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons eggnog
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
3 cups all-purpose flour

Frosting Ingredients:

4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 tablespoons eggnog
Additional ground nutmeg


1.       In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, eggnog and extract. Gradually beat in flour. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
  1. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 13-16 minutes or until bottoms are brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the first five frosting ingredients until blended; beat in enough eggnog to reach desired consistency. Spread over cookies; sprinkle with additional nutmeg. Let stand until set.
  3. Store in airtight containers.

Original Link Found At:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Capturing Bliss by Nicole Hurley Moore

       Title: Capturing Bliss
       Author: Nicole Hurley Moore
       Release Date: February 2, 2012
       Publisher: Pink Petal Books
       Category: Historical Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Ms. Moore’s Website

In 12th-century England, love isn't part of the marriage equation. But Lady Blissot de Woodville adores her younger sister too much to see her suffer such a fate. Instead, Bliss recklessly switches places with her sister—and marries a total stranger under false pretenses! Fortunately, she soon discovers she shares a rare passion and genuine love with her new husband, the ardent Lord William Reynard. Yet the happier Bliss becomes, the more her secret weighs heavily on her heart...because one desperate lie could destroy everything she's come to cherish.

Bliss took a deep breath as her chestnut mare clattered into the courtyard of Lord William Reynard’s holding, Foxwoods Hall. She looked at the strong stone walls and  thought  it  appeared  more  like  a  small  castle  than  a  hall.  She  shivered  a  little  as  the  cool  grey  stone  sat  solidly  before  her    cold,  hard  with  an  air  of  desolation  and  impregnability.  The  late  afternoon  sun  shone  brightly  into  the  courtyard  and  illuminated  the  walls  of  Foxwoods  and  yet  it  shed  no  warmth  or  softness  to  the  surroundings.  Her  uncle’s  men  rode  in  behind  her,  protecting  her  back  or  more  importantly cutting off the only route of escape, she thought with a wince. Until this moment she had been so certain of herself and her actions; so sure that she was doing the right thing.  Now  she  would  have  done  nearly  anything  to  have  Ivetta  standing  next to her side for support. But that could not be, as three nights ago she had stood in the small clearing and bid a tearful farewell to her sister and Adelard. Bliss felt her  heart  beat  faster  and  her  breath  quicken    and  as  she  noticed  the  tall  figure  in  the  distance beginning to descend down the stairs quickly towards her; she felt panic grip  her insides and slowly begin to tighten its hold.
“Just breathe, child,” a low voice whispered beside her. “Just breathe and all will be well.”
Turning  her  head  she  saw  Sir  John  smiling  reassuringly  at  her.  “Surely this is  madness? I convinced myself that this was the right course; and yet now faced with it, I fear my heart is failing.”
“Mayhap it is, but the die is cast and this is the fate you have chosen. And whether  the future be bad or good; always remember that you were strong enough to choose  your  destiny  and  did  not  let  your  snivelling  uncle  do  it  for  you,”  he  answered  as  he  nodded his grey head.
“My thanks Sir John, your counsel gives me strength.” She felt his words wash over her and the panic began to recede. “You are right. I have chosen my future and many a maid cannot say thus.”
“You are your father’s daughter, with his mind and his honour. Blissot, you have made the right decision. You have gifted a life of gladness to Ivetta. May you too be as blessed.”
“Ivetta is safe and with the man who loves her above all things. I daren’t ask for anything else.”
“Ah, but what of your happiness and contentment, Bliss?  Do you not wish for these things? You deserve them as much as Ivetta.”
“Ivetta’s happiness is payment enough,” she answered quietly and watched as the tall man strode forward until he stood before her. He had broad shoulders, slim hips and hair as dark as the night sky.  Yet  it  was  his  face  that  made  her  pause,  he  was handsome with high cheekbones, green eyes and full lips, but his expression seemed as  cold  and  as  unmoving  as  the  walls  of  Foxwoods  Hall.  And for an instant, Bliss wondered if he possessed any warmth within himself, and if so, was it possible to draw it out?  Without  a  word  he  reached  up  and  encircled  her  waist  with  his  large  hands, lifting her from her mount as if she weighed no more than a feather. She placed her hands  instinctively  on  his  broad  shoulders  and  stifled  a  gasp  as  her  body  slid  down against his. Through the thin layers of her dress she felt the hard planes and heat from his body.  Bliss  felt  her  cheeks  flush  but  there  was  also  a  flare  of  excitement  which instantaneously coursed through her being.
“My  Lady  de  Woodville,  I  welcome  you  to  Foxwoods,”  he  said  as  his  hands lingered  a  moment  too  long  around  her  waist.  With a hint of hesitation, he relinquished her and bowed before her. “I trust that your journey was not too taxing.”
Bliss dropped into a low curtsey.  “I am Ivetta and you have my thanks for your concern, Lord William. The journey was uneventful, although a little long.”
“Come Lady,” he commanded as he kissed her  hand.  “I will take you to your chamber before we are wed.”
Bliss  stared  at  Lord  William  expecting  him  to  smile  in  jest,  and  yet  he  did  not. “Today? You wish us to wed today?” she asked with alarm resonating in her voice.
“Aye, everything is prepared and the priest awaits our pleasure as do our guests,” he said simply as he tucked his arm around hers and started to walk towards the hall.
“Forgive  me,  but  I  do  not  understand  the  haste,”  Bliss  answered  as  she  tried  to keep up with William’s pace.
He stopped at the top of the stone stairs and faced her, his fingers gently traced the side of her face and Bliss felt every burning spark from his fingertips. “You are my prize, my beautiful Lady Ivetta and I am done with waiting,” he answered as his green eyes bore into hers.

Dialogue Highlight:
Bliss  raised  her  head  as  the  door  opened  and  William  quietly  slipped  into  the room.  He  gave  her  a small  smile  as  he  walked  over  to the  bed  and  knelt  before  her.
Taking  her  hands  in  his,  he  studied  her  face  for  a  moment  before  speaking  in  a  low and gentle voice. “Are you feeling recovered?”
She could hear the concern in his voice and it touched her. Bliss nodded, “Aye, I just needed a little time to myself.”
“Lady,  we  are  strangers,”  he  continued  and  Bliss  swore  that  he  appeared  to  be  a little uncomfortable, “who have been thrown together to make a future for ourselves. It  is  difficult  as  we  know  nothing  of  each  other,  yet  I  meant  what  I  said,  that  you would never regret taking me as your husband.”
Bliss felt her heart skip a beat at his soft words and she smiled as she replied, “I am sure that I never will.”
His  green  eyes  warmed  as  he  glanced  to  the  large  ring  twinkling  on  her  finger. “Ivetta this is our wedding night and if we had world enough and time I would court you as you deserve – slowly… gently … softly. Yet we have had Brother Terrowin pray over us and our marriage is for naught if it is not consummated. Do you understand what I am saying?”
Bliss felt her face blush and she could not meet his eyes. “I do, William,” she said with a nod of her head.
His hand caught her under the chin and he slowly raised her head until she was looking at his face. “All will be well, I give you my oath,” he whispered as he leaned in and  softly  brushed  his  lips  against  hers.  “I  ask  you  to  trust  me  this  night.  I  promise that I will not hurt you.”
Bliss pulled back a little and met his gaze. “I know,” she answered with conviction.
~* * *~
William stared at her as her simple words washed over him and snared his heart.  He regarded her in silence and searched her face to see if she believed what she said.  Slowly he moved towards her and gently ran his hand down the side of her face. She trusted  him  and  that  simple  fact  made  him  feel    something    he  wasn’t  sure  what exactly but he knew that on some level it pleased him. Her skin was soft as the finest silk and he found himself being drawn in by her beauty. She was his for the taking – by right, by the King’s decree. Yet he had not lied when he had said that given more time he would have wooed her. He vowed that he would kiss and tantalize her until she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
She  had  accepted  him,  kissed  him  and  shown  that  she  trusted  him    something that  no  other  woman  had  ever  done.  He watched as Ivetta’s brown eyes widen in surprise. She parted her lips and William sent up a silent prayer of thanks as he knew that she was not impervious to his touch.

I originally entered to win this book because I enjoyed the blurb I read about it. Never one to pass up a historical romance read, I took a chance … and won! I knew nothing of this author and was taking a chance based solely on the blurb. I can honestly say that I am glad that I went with my instinct. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and hope to be able to experience another of Ms. Moore’s books again in the future.
This story is sort of a snippet of a story surrounding an actual story. It begins with Nerissa, who is visiting Foxwoods Hall in the hopes of fulfilling her dream of painting the famed medieval gardens. As she looks around her surroundings she wonders if the people she views in the portraits were truly happy ~ and so the real story begins.
Blissot and Ivetta live under their Uncle’s rule. He is interested only in how he can further his own position and arranges Ivetta’s marriage. But Ivetta is in love with another and so the women scheme to switch places. While Ivetta’s love spirits her away for their secret marriage, Bliss is be on her way to marry her unknown intended. Bliss is firm in her resolve to carry out the plan, but second guesses herself for walking into a marriage with a man she knows nothing about. But after a few words with William, she knows without a doubt that she can trust him.
Williams was recently a landless knight but because of his brave actions, was gifted with land, a title, and a marriage bargain. He looks forward to beginning his future, but wonders what his intended will think of marrying a formerly landless knight. Ivetta’s beauty is well known, but William wonders what she will be like on the inside with so many praising her appearance. He is immediately taken with her and her gentle spirit, kind words, and firm resolve; ultimately surprised by her lack of narcissism. Before long he realizes just what a treasure he was given in Ivetta. Except that he still does not know that she is truly Bliss. And Bliss struggles each day to tell him the truth, fearful that he will see her trickery as a betrayal. The longer she puts it off, the more she tears herself up inside as she falls deeper in love with William. She fears that finding out both her identity and that he did not marry the beautiful sister will crush any feelings of affection he has for her.
This story was quick and engaging. I did not realize that it was a novella at first and was worried a bit about its integrity with such a page limitation. I was thrilled to discover that this story was well put together with engaging characters and a very enjoyable premise. While the story was fast paced, I did not feel that any crucial moments were left out. Ms. Moore kept it flowing throughout. William is perhaps a bit more understanding than I would have expected him to be given his status as a knight, but he is also portrayed as a hard worker and fair. Ultimately his love for Bliss is what he values above all else. Bliss is a bit more self-conscious than I would have liked her to be, but I found her a generally likeable character. Her willingness to sacrifice all for her sister is commendable and her longing for the same kind of love Ivetta possesses with her husband is endearing.
Following Bliss and William’s story, the reader returns to Nerissa getting lost within the Hall and encountering one of the Reynard relatives. A couple of insinuations are hinted at, allowing the reader to infer what would likely transpire next. Overall, this story was very entertaining. As a lover of historical romance, I found it to be a great read to pass an hour or two. If you are looking for something quick and enjoy HR, then definitely read this one. And if you haven’t read much or any HR, this would be a terrific story to read as a glimpse into the genre. Highly recommended!
(eBook copy won from LibraryThing early reviewers; provided by author/publisher company in exchange for an honest review.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Review: Wilder's Mate by Moira Rogers

       Title: Wilder’s Mate
              Bloodhounds 1
       Author: Moira Rogers
       Release Date: March 8, 2012
       Publisher: Samhain Publishing
       Category: Steampunk, Alternate Wild West, Paranormal Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Moira Rogers Website

Think a vampire-hunting bloodhound is dangerous? Try threatening his woman.
Bloodhounds, Book 1
Wilder Harding is a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on America’s frontier. His enhanced abilities come with a high price: on the full moon, he becomes capable of savagery beyond telling, while the new moon brings a sexual hunger that borders on madness.
Rescuing a weapons inventor from undead kidnappers is just another assignment, though one with an added complication—keeping his hands off the man’s pretty young apprentice, who insists on tagging along.
At odds with polite society, Satira’s only constant has been the aging weapons inventor who treats her like a daughter. She isn’t going to trust Wilder with Nathaniel’s life, not when the Guild might decide the old man isn’t worth saving. Besides, if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that brains are more important than brawn.
As the search stretches far longer than Wilder planned, he finds himself fighting against time. If Satira is still at his side when the new moon comes, nothing will stop him from claiming her. Worse, she seems all too willing. If their passion unlocks the beast inside, no one will be safe. Not even the man they’re fighting to save.
Warning: This book contains a crude, gun-slinging, vampire-hunting hero who howls at the full moon and a smart, stubborn heroine who invents mad-scientist weapons. Also included: wild frontier adventures, brothels, danger, betrayal and a good dose of wicked loving in an alternate Wild West.

“If you brought me with you intending to have a warm body during the new moon, I’m not unwilling.”
Wilder’s jaw clenched. She didn’t think much of him, if she thought he’d plan to take that sort of liberty without asking. “Takes a damn sight more than ‘not unwilling’ to heat my blood, girl.” He grinned because he knew it would fluster her. “I like my women enthusiastic.”
Color rose in her cheeks, but her eyes glinted with stubborn challenge. “It’s a wonder you find any, unless you take care not to speak to them first.”
“Funny,” he murmured. “I’ve never had a problem, discussion or no.”
“I was wrong. Thirty pounds of ego, and I pity your poor horse.”
Wilder laughed. “He’s accustomed to my insufferable bullshit.”
“I suppose he would have to be. Do you think we’ll be able to rescue Nathaniel and return before the new moon, then?”
Despite her light tone, she was eyeing him with unmistakable interest. Perhaps her questions about the moon phase had less to do with her low opinion of him and more with her own curiosity. “If not, I’ll make arrangements,” he told her.
“I see.” She rubbed the palm of one hand against her dusty trousers, a nervous gesture that matched the quick way her gaze jumped away from him to her horse’s ear. “I’ve never crossed the border before. Nathaniel took me out to the Deadlands a few times when I was younger…”
“But not after you…blossomed?” It was the most polite way he could think of to refer to her considerable curves.
Satira looked like she wanted to cross her arms over her chest again, but she only shrugged. “He said it wasn’t a good place for a young woman.”
Wilder had seen women traded and sold there, either as whores or meals, and not enough of them had been willing participants in the transactions. “He’s right.”
“I know. I’ll do what I have to do, just like anyone.”
She would have run off, unaccompanied. She’d planned on it. The knowledge made Wilder’s gloved fingers tighten around his horse’s reins. “Remember what you agreed to, honey. What I say, when I say it.”
“I remember.” And she sounded grumpy about it too.
The afternoon sun gilded her pale skin, and a hint of breeze ruffled the golden strands of hair that curled around her face. She’d burn without a hat or bonnet, but something told him she wouldn’t appreciate him pointing it out.
They made it out of town before she spoke again, glancing at him with both eyebrows raised. “The plan isn’t to walk the horses the entire way, is it? I can handle a hard ride.”
Leading words, ones she’d meant to make him think of fucking. Of sweat and bare skin and the delicious, wet grip of an eager cunt around his cock. “Hope to hell that’s true, sweetheart.”
He urged his horse into a gallop without turning or waiting to see if she could keep up. If she wanted to play dirty, so could he.

Dialogue Highlight:
Satira braced her hands on her hips and managed to look prim. “My mother always told me there’s nothing flattering about a man’s desire, since he possesses an unlimited supply.”
“That we do, sweetheart.” Better if she didn’t take his admiration too personally.
She looked like she couldn’t tell whether to be relieved or disappointed. She brushed her fingers over her skirts in a self-conscious gesture and looked away from him. “We’ll be renting a carriage, I hope?”
“You can’t sit a horse in that getup.” She didn’t look like a prostitute anyway. She looked like… “What’s the story you cooked up? You’re on the make for a bloodsucker? A consort?”
Color darkened her cheeks. “Polly thought it best. I doubt I’m a gifted actress, but she thought I could pretend not to speak much English. Or any, really. I don’t—I’ve never been skilled at lying.”
“Well, I’m damn good at it. You just stand there and look pretty, and I’ll do the talking.”
Juliet circled the bar and looked Satira up and down. “You’ll do, child. Wilder, I’ll have the groom fetch your bags and transfer your belongings into something more fitting for a wealthy lady. He can bring them down to the coach station while you secure passage.”
“Thanks, Juliet.”
“I owed you this one. Run along, the pair of you.”
Wilder held out his arm to Satira. “Ma’am?”
She hesitated before curling her fingers around his arm, clearly uncertain. “No one will expect me to act a proper lady, will they?”
“Honey, they won’t know what to expect.” He patted her hand and tried to explain. “For all they know, you could have gotten rich last week and not have a damn clue how to act, or you could be goddamn European royalty and just not care. Either way, you’ll be fine, even if you fuck up.”
Satira nodded and let him lead her out onto the creaking steps. “I feel foolish,” she admitted under her breath as soon as the door swung shut behind them. “I look foolish.”
It was the last word that came to mind as he stared at her. In fact, words didn’t really come to mind at all. “You’re fine. Stop fretting.”
Her mouth twisted into a wry little smile. “These aren’t the assets I planned to utilize in my daring rescue.”
Wilder flashed her a lascivious grin and glanced at her cleavage. “If you ask me, you should use those bountiful assets more often.”
Her eyes rolled skyward, though she seemed to have gotten past the urge to blush. “Let us hope the men we wish to distract prove to be as taken with them as you are.”
“Not a man, alive or dead, who won’t be, Satira. I can promise you that.”
A team and buggy clattered by, kicking dust into the air as Wilder led her away from the brothel. The stagecoach station sat at the end of the street, a sleek building with two squat, odd-looking steam-powered coaches lined up next to it.
Satira perked up as they drew close, fingers tightening on his arm in her excitement. “The one on the right is the new model. You can tell because of the wider wheels. They help accommodate the shock absorbers.”
“If you say so, honey.” Wilder nodded to the coachman and helped Satira climb the carpeted steps. “All I know is these things are supposed to make for a mighty smooth ride.”
“How do you manage to make everything sound obsce—oh.”
The outside was ugly and plain, but inside was ostentatious luxury. Deep, thickly cushioned benches lined each side, so long that Satira could have stretched out on one. Everything was polished and gilded far past the bounds of good taste, and Satira seemed at a loss for words. “This is—”
A laugh bubbled up, but she dug her teeth into her lower lip. “I suppose I’m to wait here while you secure passage?”
“It’ll only take a minute.” Wilder leaned against the edge of the doorway and blew a silk tassel away from his face. “Got a name you want me to give ’em? Something impressive?”
She plopped onto one of the seats and shook her head. “Make something up. You’d know what would work, I’d wager.”
“I’ve got an idea.” Something that would limit questions, but generate plenty of gossip to precede them.
“I’ll trust your good judgment then. In this.” Her gaze dropped to her dress. “Which might indicate that my judgment has been rendered questionable.”
Only one thing would put her back on comfortable footing—clear and sincere irritation. “Who needs good judgment when you’ve got tits like that?” Then, whistling, he headed for the coach station.

So Satira is a young woman who is knowledgeable in many things. Part because she is wicked intelligent and has been working as an apprentice under an inventor for The Guild. This is not generally acceptable because Satira is a woman but because of her ties to a Bloodhound, she is given the opportunity to learn, knowing nothing more can come of it. She has known intimacy, but craves a connection she has yet to experience. Ever attracted to the “bad boy” or in this case, Bloodhound, she knows exactly what she wants with her first glimpse of Wilder. But he resists in an effort to keep the distraction to a minimum during their rescue mission. Unfortunately, his resistance triggers an old insecurity with Satira, causing her to question her ability to elicit desire within a Bloodhound ~ or a man for that matter.
A couple of questions you may have. What is The Guild and what is a Bloodhound? The best way I can describe The Guild is that they are a type of society that are enemies of vampires. They act only in their best interests and take whatever steps necessary to eradicate the vampire population. Enter the Bloodhounds. Once men, now werewolves  of sorts. These powerful beings typically work for The Guild as vampire hunters. I say werewolves, but they are not actually a werewolf per say. More like a man with superhuman strength. With a full moon he can transform into what could be called a werewolf, but with the new moon his sexual appetite peaks, making him insatiable and in need of someone who can handle his lusty needs.
Wilder is a Bloodhound. Satira knows a lot about Bloodhounds because her mother used to be the mate of one. Having lived under the same roof as one, she understands and accepts more than the average person would. Wilder knows Satira is not a typical female, but neither does he understand the power her acceptance will wield over him. Not one to think about permanency in any way, Satira soon has his world well and truly rocked with Wilder more than protective over her. But beyond the feral need each holds for one another lurks a powerful vampire threatening to destroy all. Satira and Wilder must come away victorious if they are to have any hope of saving Nathaniel (Satira’s mentor) from the bloodsucker’s evil clutches.
While I have described the gist of this book, I don’t feel that I have adequately covered everything that is encompassed within. I was enthralled throughout the entire story. It is a novella so is a fairly quick read, but really packs a punch. It starts off with a bang and ends with another, never faltering in between. The world built by Moira Rogers grasps the reader from the beginning and continues to suck you in. Many aspects were familiar to me such as vampires and the old west, but this world is nothing if not a very different version of everything I thought I knew. For example, ghouls and Bloodhounds, paired with an “alternate” western setting. I truly enjoyed the different take this author had on both the familiar and the unversed. My only problem was that there was so much information that I felt I could have used a bit more explanation. The Guild, for example, I really do not have a clear grasp on. Exactly who they are, where they came from, and so on. And the ghouls ~ are they zombies or something different and how did they come to be? This story could have easily been a full length novel had everything been drawn out and explained a bit more thoroughly.
That said, Satira and Wilder were a lot of fun getting to know. Their relationship begins with almost playful banter that quickly evolves into double entendres that leave no doubt as to the meaning behind the words. Satira is both witty and brutally honest in expressing what she wants while Wilder is gruff and crude, with a protective streak and caring side hidden just below the dangerous exterior. And oh my goodness! The sex was crazy hot! Like CRAZY hot! For those of you who like your stories somewhat familiar as far as components, but outside the box as far as imagination, Moira Rogers is an author you will want to check out. This was my first book by this talented author and it will definitely NOT be the last!
(eBook copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Once Upon A Winter's Eve by Tessa Dare

       Title: Once Upon A Winter’s Eve
              A Spindle Cove Novella
       Author: Tessa Dare
       Release Date: November 15, 2011
       Publisher: Samhain Publishing
       Category: Historical Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Ms. Dare’s Website

Some wallflowers bloom at night...
A Spindle Cove Novella
Violet Winterbottom is a quiet girl. She speaks six languages, but seldom raises her voice. She endured bitter heartbreak in perfect silence. The gentlemen aren't beating down her door.
Until the night of the Spindle Cove Christmas ball, when a mysterious stranger crashes into the ballroom and collapses at Violet's feet. His coarse attire and near-criminal good looks would put any sensible young lady on her guard. He's wet, chilled, bleeding, and speaking in an unfamiliar tongue.
Only Violet understands him. And she knows he's not what he seems.
She has one night to draw forth the secrets of this dangerously handsome rogue. Is he a smuggler? A fugitive? An enemy spy? She needs answers by sunrise, but her captive would rather seduce than confess. To learn his secrets, Violet must reveal hers—and open herself to adventure, passion, and the unthinkable... Love.
Warning: The heroine packs a pistol, the hero curses in multiple languages, and together they steam up a cold winter’s night.

What Violet noticed was a shriek. The startled cry pierced the crowded ballroom, freezing them all in place.
“Dear Lord,” she muttered. “What was that?”
“What is that?” Kate asked.
The other guests pressed to the edges of the ballroom, revealing what Violet could not see. A set of doors that opened onto the garden had been flung open.
A figure stood silhouetted in the entry. Tall. Dark. Menacing.
The militiamen reached for the sabers slung at their sides. Violet would have felt more reassured if she didn’t know they were ornamental blades, better suited for slicing soft cheese than running an intruder through.
As the host, lord, and commanding officer, Lord Rycliff stepped forward. “Who are you?” he demanded. “What do you want?”
No answer.
But one thing was obvious, immediately. The man was not from Spindle Cove. This was a small village, and all the residents knew one another—by sight, if not by name. This intruder was a stranger to them all.
He was also large. Streaked with grime. Dripping wet.
And moving. Staggering, stumbling…directly toward her alcove.
The men drew those sabers now, and some of them rushed forward. Corporal Thorne looked fully prepared to skewer the man—dull blade notwithstanding.
But the intruder did not pose a threat for long. Before any of the militiamen could reach him, he collapsed.
Right at Violet’s feet.
“Oh, goodness.”
As he slid to the floor, he clutched at her skirts, tangling with them. By the time the man’s head met parquet with a heavy thud, a long streak of blood marred her watered silk.
Violet sank to her knees. She hadn’t much choice. She pressed her gloved hand to the intruder’s neck, searching for his pulse. Her satin-sheathed fingertips came away bright red. And trembling.
Kate and Sally crouched beside her.
“Dear heaven,” Kate breathed. “He’s just covered in blood.”
“And dirt,” Sally said. “But cor, he’s gorgeous anyhow.”
“Sally, only you could think of such a thing at a time like this.”
“You can’t tell me you didn’t notice. Just look at those cheekbones. That strong jaw. Pity about the nose, but those lips are made for sin. He’s like a fallen angel, isn’t he?”
“He’s fallen,” Kate said. “So much is certain.”
Violet removed her soiled glove and pressed her bare hand to the man’s chilled, dirt-streaked face. He moaned and tightened his grip on her skirts.
Sally gave her a sly look. “Whoever he is, he seems to be rather taken with Miss Winterbottom.”

Dialogue Highlight:
He stared at her for several moments. When he spoke, he voice was even. “I do understand, and I believe you. I have a great deal I’d like to say to you, but I’d rather not say it at gunpoint. If I give my word I’ll not touch you, will you lower the pistol?”
She shook her head.
“Violet.” His voice took on a darker edge. “I could disarm you if I chose. But I might injure you in the process, and I’d rather not hurt you again.”
She exhaled slowly. Then lowered the pistol to her lap. That was as much as she’d give him.
“I’m listening.”
He inched closer. “The way I treated you was inexcusable. I deserve your scorn. I can see how you’ve changed, and it makes me so proud. You’re braver and stronger and more lovely than ever. I want you to know I’ve changed too, in our time apart. If not for the lovelier.” Slowly reaching out, he lifted her free hand to his face and traced her fingertip down the rugged slope of his nose. “Feel this?”
“It’s been broken.”
He nodded. “Twice. Purposely. Part of my training. I had to practice being in pain, you see. So that I would respond only in Breton, never in English.” He made her hand into a fist and bashed it playfully across his nose. “Corentin Morvan eo ma anv. My name is Corentin Morvan.” He sliced her finger across the scar on his throat. “Me a zo un tamm peizant. I am a humble farmhand.” He put her two fingers to his heart like a pistol. “N’ouzon netra. I know nothing. I swear on the Virgin this is the truth.”
“It sounds like torture.”
“It was, but it was necessary. For my own safety, and to guard the safety of others.” He kissed her hand and kept it in both of his. “They thrashed that carefree, callow duke’s son straight out of me and left a lowly farmhand in his place. But they never beat you out of my heart.” He stared deeply into her eyes. “I love you.”
Her heart slammed against her ribs.
“I love you, Violet. I loved you then. I love you now. I don’t expect to ever stop.”
His words overwhelmed her to the point of mute paralysis. Oh, how she wanted to believe him. But it made no rational sense.
Finally, she managed a tiny shake of her head. “It can’t be true.”

Wow! Ms. Tessa Dare has a new fan. Of that, I am certain. I find it difficult to believe that, prior to this book, I had not yet read Ms. Dare. I absolutely adore historical over all other romance genres and generally seek historical authors out to see if they are a good fit for me. Well, I only wish I had found her before now. I can’t imagine what I have been missing out on. Plus, this book is published by Samhain so I should have known. I have had crazy good luck with finding authors I really enjoy with this publishing company.
Violet is what you would describe as a wallflower. She literally seeks out the corners of a ball room and firmly plants herself there for the ball’s entirety. Due to her ruination a year or two ago she has taken refuge at Spindle Cove; or as others call it, Spinster Cove. After freely giving her virginity to the supposed love of her life, him walking away from her without so much as a backward glance, and fearing the possibility of a child, Spindle Cove seemed the only feasible option. But Violet and Spindle Cover ate not exactly what they seem. This Wallflower is anything buy a shrinking Violet and Spindle Cove has taught her invaluable lessons both in life and about herself. On this eve, she is bidding farewell, having been summoned home the following morning. But the appearance of a mysterious man with hauntingly uncanny similarities to her former lover tilt her world off balance and throw her head long into the middle of a sticky situation.
Like Violet, Christian is not exactly what he seems. The man from Violet’s past has been harboring several secrets of his own. Circumstances forced him to leave her the way that he did. He has been gone a long time and has this single opportunity to see her. With time quickly expiring, the question is what will he divulge and will she even be receptive to allowing him another chance. Living an altogether different life has changed Christian in many ways, but his love for Violet has never wavered. This night he has to lay everything out on the table or risk losing her forever; if he isn’t already fighting a losing battle.
I adore this couple! First of all, how can you not automatically root for the Wallflower? Seriously. I absolutely love seeing someone like Violet find her HEA! Violet and Christian have a special connection both physically and intellectually. Their attraction, at least on Christian’s side, took a long time to bloom but once it did the sparks flew and their souls were forever bonded. At first I was skeptical of Christian and his motives and was not quite convinced that he was the same man Violet loved. But before too long, I was on his side and hoping that he succeed in convincing her of his devotion to her. And Christian is no fool. He realizes too that he is asking a lot of Violet. Not wanting to entertain the possibility of rejection, his fear of losing her completely continues to niggle in the back of his head – and his heart.
The thing I love about Wallflowers is that they are almost never the shy, simpering misses that people take them for. Such is the case with Violet. Unsure of her feelings initially, once she commits, there is no stopping her. A force to be reckoned with, even Christian is surprised by her actions. Intrigue, espionage, mystery, longing, and passion all run heavily within this novella from the very beginning. Never a dull moment, the reader is sure to be hooked immediately; well and truly sucked into the life of these fascinating characters. If you haven’t read the Spindle Cover series before, this would be a great way to whet the appetite. You are guaranteed to want to read more once given a taste provided by this little gem. Historical romance lovers, if you haven’t read Ms. Dare, you are missing out. And if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about. *nods*
(eBook copy won in a Twitter contest courtesy of author Courtney Milan. This review is my honest opinion of the story.)