Scoundrel In My Dreams by Celeste Bradley

Setting: 1816, Regency


The child is his: Jack, or rather, Lord John Redgrave knows it the instant he glimpses the blue-eyed girl who was abandoned on the steps of his gentleman’s club. Her mother came to his room one dark night more than three years ago—and spurned his proposal the very next day. But when Jack visits Amaryllis Clarke to demand an explanation, he receives the shock of his life. For it wasn’t proud, worldly Amaryllis with whom he spent that soul-stirring night. It was her infatuated younger sister, Laurel.

Laurel was only seventeen when she gave her innocence to Jack—and paid a steep price. She might be overjoyed about her reunion with little Melody, but Laurel won’t surrender to her desires again. Jack, meanwhile, has no wish to give up the daughter he never knew he had. Nor will he part with the sensual woman who makes him feel alive with longing. He intends to use any means possible to convince Laurel to stay. After all, all’s fair in matters of seduction—especially to a scoundrel in love…

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This is book 3 of the Runaway Brides trilogy.

I really loved the first two books in this series and I fell in love with this one too! Melody finally finds her father and we see Jack meet the woman of his dreams in the lovely and sweet Laurel. Celeste writes with her usual flare for hot, funny, tension-filled romance. I was hooked from the first and you will be too!

Jack is a rather unique take on the brooding, dark hero-He starts the novel off half a man, completely shut out from the world and the through the book we watch him start to come to life and healing through his love for Laurel. He does some stupid things, like not realizing how much he loves Laurel but he comes out a better man for it. He was a complex character that I felt was handled with skill. I enjoyed watching him come out of his shell little by little. As for Laurel, I simply loved her! She was such a lovely heroine and the perfect fit for Jack. She’s had her own problems too and I loved how she was willing to stand up for herself. Melody as usual was such a darling little thing and I loved how every scene she was in lit up with her bubbly and cheerful personality. I would really love to read more about her-how about her own love story, Ms Bradley?

The plot was unique in that most of the sexy stuff came in the form of flashbacks from that one night the two shared. And what a night :O Fans of a more erotic romance won’t disappointed in the scenes in this one! I enjoyed how the romance was developed though it was a bit improbable in a way. I would have liked it if the H and H spent more time together-it was more about the flashbacks of the time they spent together before that one night.

I also loved seeing the other heroes and heroines and how they were getting on. A trilogy is not a trilogy without connecting the books in some way! Overall, I felt this was a worthy ending to a brilliant and very original trilogy! Can’t wait to see what else she has in stores for us!

Sensuality Rating: HOT (Very explicit love scenes)

Final Verdict: Great ending to a great trilogy! Recommended!

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley

Setting: 1815, Regency


Sophie Blake’s grandfather willed his fortune to the first of his granddaughters to marry a duke.  Since her cousin, Deirdre, will seal the deal any day now, the quiet, bookish Sophie can sit back and enjoy her time with the only man she truly adores: Graham. No matter that the part charmer, part scoundrel has absolutely no designs on her! Sophie is content to engage Graham in lively conversation, beat him at cards. . .and probe at the darkness hiding behind his rakish smile.

Then Graham unexpectedly gains a title, an estate in near ruins and a mountain of debt.  If there is any chance of survival he must find a rich wife—quickly. As his hunt for a bride begins, Sophie realizes that she isn’t even in the running. Suddenly no longer content to be a wallflower, Sophie gets a stunning make-over and becomes the belle of the ball. Lots of heads are turning…including Graham’s. But this beauty has secrets of her own. Will she be his salvation or seal his fate?

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This is the final book in The Heiress Brides trilogy, and was the best of the three for me. After the first two disappointed me, I was surprised when this one did manage to live up to expectations. Though it wasn’t as good as her  latest, the plot was much more interesting and both hero and heroine were likable and their story was much interesting. There was even a surprising twist at the end.

Sophie Blake isn’t beautiful and this was refreshing. She was strong and independent and easy to relate to. I rooted for her the whole way through.

Graham was also a great hero. He was charming and the playful chatting between the two was sweet and I could really feel a connection between them. Though she does have an eventual makeover and turns into the most beautiful woman, it was nice to see that Graham did feel something for her before. I found them to be a great couple and they really suited each other.

The writing was great and this time I could really appreciate it as I loved the two main characters and rooted for them. There was even a short secondary romance which was sweet and intriguing.

This book really made me remember why I loved Celeste Bradley in the first place and was worth the read. If I had known earlier, I would have skipped the first two books just to read this one.

Sensuality Level: Hot-Explicit, detailed

Verdict: The only one worth reading in the series. Recommended.

Rating: 3 and a half stars out of 5

The Duke Next Door by Celeste Bradley

Setting: 1815, Regency


The dangerously beautiful Deirdre Cantor is determined to inherit her grandfather’s vast fortune. All she needs is to marry a duke…and be the first granddaughter to walk down the aisle. After all, she has always dreamed of becoming a member of the haute ton. So when the proper Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor, is abandoned at the altar, Deirdre makes it her business to become his wife—in spite of the whispers about his past.

Soon Deirdre’s visions of a lavish existence with the handsome Calder are shattered when she learns his shocking secret. Feeling betrayed, Deirdre seeks revenge by playing a perilous and seductive game of cat and mouse with her husband that threatens to drive them both to the heights of passion. She will not surrender to him, no matter how great her desire. But at what cost?  Calder is determined to keep his secret under lock and key—and to make his stunning wife his in every way that matters. Even if it means winning her heart all over again…

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This is the second book in The Heiress Brides series. After being disappointed by the first book in the series, I really hope this one would prove to be much better. It had one thing going for it and that was the hero, who was jilted in the first book, and who I found to be an interesting, complex character with very Darcy-like qualities. I did end up liking the book a lot better than the first one, though it still wasn’t brilliant like her Runaway Brides series.

I think what made this book was Calder, the aloof, brooding hero. I’m a sucker for the distant hero who is eventually won over by the love of the right woman and Calder didn’t disappoint. I loved seeing his icy demeanour break down. At the beginning of the book, the gossips call him the Beast of Brookhaven, after two women leave him and this made me like him even more and made me want to see him end up happily ever after.

I can’t say the same for the heroine though. She was, for me, the major flaw in the book. Deirdre was spoiled, selfish and I just couldn’t warm to her even when her softer side was shown. I didn’t feel she was the right match for Calder who needed someone with more life, a more Elizabeth Bennet type heroine.

Celeste Bradley’s writing as usual was funny and smart even if the plot wasn’t particularly hooking. The tension between the two at the start of the book was electric and it was what kept me reading the book. But after the middle of the book, the story started to drag, and I soon found myself longing for the ending. There were villains in the book which I felt the book could have done without.

The love scenes were admittedly well-written but very explicit-and I could never fully feel the emotional connection between the two.

Despite Celeste’s writing style and the sexy hero, there wasn’t much to like about this book. Read it if you haven’t got anything else to read, or if you love Darcy-ish heroes but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Sensuality Level: Hot (Detailed, explicit and long love scenes)

Verdict: Not recommended.

Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 5

Desperately Seeking a Duke by Celeste Bradley

Setting: 1815, Regency


The only way for vicar’s daughter Phoebe Millbury to inherit a family fortune is to find herself a duke—just as her late grandfather demanded in his will. But Phoebe, who’s still  trying to make good after a romantic scandal, also has her two cousins to contend with. They’re all competing for the same money, maybe even the same men. ..until Phoebe meets her match in the terribly handsome and charming Rafe Marbrook.

When she receives a marriage proposal from the Marquis of Brookhaven, Phoebe is thrilled to learn that Rafe is headed for dukedom…and accepts his offer. There’s only one problem: It’s from Rafe’s older, less captivating brother, Calder. Now Phoebe finds herself on the verge of yet another scandal as she faces a desperate choice: Marry Calder for his money—or follow her own heart? Each way can only lead to trouble…

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Celeste Bradley became one of my must buy authors after I read Devil in My Bed, the first book in her Runaway Bride’s series. After reading the second one and while waiting for the third one to come out, I decided to buy some of her previous work to keep me satisfied till then. I bought this book, anticipating a wonderful read, but I have to say honestly that it didn’t live up to expectations.

Phoebe and Rafe meet one night at a ball when he rescues from making a fool of herself. They have one short conversation and voila! They are already madly in love. The rest of the book then ends up about Phoebe and Rafe fighting to be together. Honestly, I just could not believe the ‘love at first sight’ thing. I never felt any connection between the characters that would indicate any stronger interest than perhaps a crush. Now I don’t particularly mind if there is such a device used though I prefer books that show the characters falling in love slowly. But if love at first sight does happen, it should at least be done with some credibility.

The hero, Rafe, I will admit was charming, but then again, what rake isn’t? But apart from that, he didn’t appear to have much personality. He was ‘I love Phoebe and will die for her’ throughout the book, and yet he never bothered to let his brother know about how he felt about her. Phoebe on the other hand, was bland, to put it simply and she annoyed me. When she discovers she made a mistake by accepting Rafe’s brother’s hand instead of his, she doesn’t speak up about it and allow the misunderstanding to continue. We are told that she did not want to disappoint her father again but I didn’t see this as a good reason. She should have stood up for herself a little more. I also could not understand why Rafe fell for her. She wasn’t particularly outstanding in anyway.

As for the writing, at least here Celeste Bradley’s signature wit and humor are still maintained (I admit I laughed more than once during the course of the book), though it could not make up for a weak plot full of cliches. The love scenes were quite explicit and long and honestly seemed bland because I could not seem to care about them or their so called ‘relationship.’

In the end, I found myself dying to finish the book and ended up caring more for the brother who would eventually be jilted than the hero himself. I near to rooted for the brother which was not supposed to happen. There were too many cliches in the book and I could guess what was going to happen pages before it did.

I love Celeste Bradley normally  but give this one a miss.

Sensuality Level: Pretty warm (Explicit and long in length)

Verdict: Save yourself some money and skip this one.

Rating: One star out of 5

Rogue in My Arms by Celeste Bradley

Setting: Regency


Laconic Sir Colin Lambert isn’t at all worried about the prospect of fatherhood–not if it brings the lovely actress Chantal back into his life! She refused him once, but now with little Melody to tempt her, perhaps she will return to him and be his wife at last!

The only problem is, Chantal has disappeared!

Prudence Filby isn’t as lowborn as she seems, but no one would hire a lady as a stage seamstress. Now that the obnoxious Chantal has fled without paying Pru, she doesn’t even have that income and her little brother Evan is getting hungrier by the moment! When the lovesick Mr. Lambert offers to pay her to help him find Chantal–and help him mind little Melody on the journey–Pru has no choice but to take him up on it!

Colin wants to fly to Chantal’s side, but with Miss Filby and the little ones in tow, he finds his way hampered by mishap after mishap. Along the way he realizes that the woman he wants is not the one he’s chasing!

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After reading the first book in the series (Devil In My Bed), I was already anticipating reading this one months before it came out. Sir Colin was introduced as a scholar and a man who’s funny and outgoing, a direct contrast with his friend/enemy, Aidan. When I read the premise for this book, I knew it would be good. A man searching for one woman while slowly and unexpectedly falling for another? I knew it would make for some juicy awkward moments and a great payoff.

Sir Colin was a great hero, not a rogue at all! He never tried to take advantage of Prudence, our heroine and always apologized when he couldn’t stop himself from committing well, a indiscretion. 😉 Sometimes it’s great to have a good hero amidst all the tortured ones out there. It’s a nice change. There’s something to be said for a nice, honorable hero 🙂

Prudence Filby was an awesome character as well and I loved how layered she was and how Sir Colin managed to find the lady under her coarse exterior. I laughed when I watched them bicker and sighed when it seemed they couldn’t be together (even though we all know they would eventually:p). They had tension to spare! I don’t think I disliked anything in this book, except maybe for Colin taking a longer time than he should have admitting he felt something for Prudence.

The whole idea of this book which is based around a three year girl is highly original and makes for some entertaining, true to life scenes 🙂 Little Melody is still as adorable as ever, and plays another role in bringing Colin and Prudence together. Be sure to pick this one up as you won’t be disappointed.

Sensuality Level: HOT 😉

Verdict-Hilarious, touching, sexy, romantic-This book had it all! There was even a touch of mystery in it as well. BUY IT, JUST BUY IT

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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