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THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS Review

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance guaranteed to enchant in The Little Shop of Found Things, the first book in a new continuing series.

An antique shop haunted by a ghost.
A silver treasure with an injustice in its story.
An adventure to the past she’ll never forget.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.

It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. She discovers there is an injustice in its history. The spirit that inhabits her new home confronts her and charges her with saving her daughter’s life, threatening to take Flora’s if she fails.

While Xanthe fights to save the girl amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave. (Synopsis from Amazon)

 

 

The way the chatelaine speaks to Xanthe combined with the hateful ghost and the danger surrounding her and her mother, THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS reminded me a bit of an old TV show based on cursed objects in an antique shop.  If you ever watched the show and decided to read THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS, please let me know if it struck you the same.

My thoughts…..3.5 stars

Xanthe inadvertently becomes a time traveler after purchasing a chatelaine at an estate sale. Things speak to Xanthe and the chatelaine was practically screaming. Once she brings it home, an antique shop with flat above purchased with her mom, the chatelaine teams with a malevolent spirit and a seventeenth century jail in their back garden to compel Xanthe into the past. 

Her mission, if she wishes her mom to remain safe, is to save the life of a young housemaid in 1605.

THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS is about the love between a mother and daughter and the lengths they’re willing to go to for each other. It’s also a time travel tale, strong on history and adventure with a light smattering of romance. 

There was a period when it appeared that current social justice standards would be applied to the past and the housemaid’s plight, fortunately that was short lived. 

Often in time travel there’s the conundrum of change the past/change the future; unless it’s based on changing/preventing a future event. Xanthe’s circumstances don’t allow for such niceties.

THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS centers on a loving relationship between a mother and daughter, the sacrifices we can be called upon to make, and features a resourceful, slightly prickly heroine. Xanthe can’t accomplish her task alone, but any romance takes a backseat making the story stronger and more appealing. 

I can’t help but wonder what Xanthe will get up to next and will she and Samuel ever meet again?

ENSNARED excerpt & giveaway with J.S. Scott

 

Wildlife conservationist Jade Sinclair isn’t used to having money. But when she and her siblings learned they were part of the mega-rich Sinclair dynasty, they became billionaires overnight. Jade doesn’t even know how to act rich, especially when she’s dealing with an arrogant, privileged, unreasonably sexy snob like Eli Stone.

Unlike Jade, Eli grew up rich, and he just keeps getting richer. Eli is always looking for an adventure, and he’s found an inviting one in Jade—as resistant as she is irresistible. His less-than-honorable plan? Get her alone in the wilderness by buying out all the spots in her survival class.

Calling a truce, they strike a bargain: Jade will teach Eli basic survival skills, and he’ll teach her how to navigate the world of the wealthy elite. Jade has only one condition—she will not let herself be seduced by him. But some things are easier said than done . . .

***

I slowed down as I turned off the main highway. 

I pulled onto the rough road to the small cabin on the property. There were enough bunk beds in the rustic structure for everybody, but students had the option of pitching tents or building their own shelters if they chose.

After I parked my Jeep, I unloaded some supplies and checked out the cabin. Although I encouraged foraging and trapping, I always made sure to have enough basic food so students didn’t starve.

I sat on the wooden steps and took a deep breath, relaxing to the sounds of the birds and the feel of a light breeze that caressed my skin.

I opened the book I’d brought along, the latest from my favorite erotic romance writer. The reading material was one of my secret pleasures, maybe because I’d never been overwhelmed by lust for any man, but I loved to read about the possibility.

I was mostly a realist, but I loved the fantasy of some hot guy sweeping me off my feet.

Other than a boyfriend in college who had used me to help him get his degree and then disappeared after graduation without a word, I’d never been in a sexual relationship.

Honestly, my ex hadn’t exactly rocked my world. But I liked to think that love and lust existed.

Brooke had always accused me of being a closet romantic. And maybe she was right. As a scientist, believing in soulmates, love, and unbridled lust didn’t make much sense. But I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to believe it was real anyway.

It had happened for my twin, and Brooke deserved the love she had with Liam. Her capacity to care about other people was endless.

A sigh escaped from my mouth as I started reading the scene I’d left off on the last time I’d picked up the book.

It was hot.

It was sensual.

And even though the male hero was an obnoxious alpha sometimes, I adored the way he wanted to give his woman everything and protect her from anything bad in the world, and how incredibly devoted he was to the woman he loved.

“Hello, Jade,” a smooth baritone said from above me, the deep voice startling me so much I instinctively slammed the book closed.

Even though I loved steamy romance, I didn’t exactly broadcast it, except to my friends who read the same type of books.

Unfortunately, I’d gotten so lost in the hot fairy tale that I obviously hadn’t heard my first student arrive.

I shaded my eyes and looked up, curious because the voice was familiar, but I was pretty sure that since I lusted after Eli Stone, I was hearing that whiskey-smooth baritone voice only in my imagination.

My heart skittered as I focused in on the face belonging to the sexy male voice.

It was Eli Stone, and I gaped at him like an idiot because I couldn’t seem to reconcile him and being out in the middle of nowhere.

I scrambled to my feet, feeling at a disadvantage because I was so far below him. But the position change didn’t help all that much. I was average height, and Eli Stone was all muscle—broad, tall, and pretty damn intimidating, even though he was casually dressed in jeans, a T-shirt that only showed how ripped he was, and a pair of hiking boots.

For just a moment, my eyes were drawn to the dark scrolls and sharp angles of the tribal tattoo that covered his left arm, ending at his wrist. The markings were a stark black against his tanned skin, and the ferociousness of the design left me speechless.

I wasn’t into tats, and I’d seen Eli’s in images many times, but there was something about those markings that made my heart lodge in my throat. They were fierce, but for some reason they only made me feel . . . sadness.

“What are you doing here?” I finally asked hesitantly as my gaze went back to his face.

He folded his muscular arms in front of him as he answered, “You didn’t seem to want to come to me, so I’m coming to you. I’m your student for the next thirty-two hours or so, Jade.”

I might not have been fond of Eli Stone, but his presence was still a little bit overwhelming.

Okay, maybe more than a little bit.

It had been so long since I’d seen Eli in person that I’d started to tell myself that I’d overestimated the tension that had flowed between us in his office.

But I really hadn’t.

My body was taut just from being in close proximity to him, and the hypervigilant awareness I felt when I looked at him was very, very real.

The feelings were so powerful that I couldn’t focus on anything else but him.

I didn’t understand it.

But I was truly experiencing it.

The same awkward, potent attraction I’d fought in his office months ago.

I swallowed hard, my brain working to figure out exactly how I could get rid of Eli Stone before I made a complete and total fool of myself.

***

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J.S. “Jan” Scott is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous contemporary and paranormal romances, including The Sinclairs series. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature, but romance has always been her genre of choice—so she writes what she loves to read: stories that are almost always steamy, generally feature an alpha male, and have a happily ever after, because she just can’t seem to write them any other way! Jan loves to connect with readers. Visit her website at www.authorjsscott.com.

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JUST THIS ONCE & Giveaway with Mira Lynn Kelly

He can’t have her.

So he moves in with her…

What could possibly go wrong?

As heir to a chain of luxury hotels, Sean Wyse III always gets what he wants. So when he sees a freeloading roommate taking advantage of his spunky best friend, Molly Brandt, he doesn’t hesitate to step in. He kicks out the roommate…and moves himself in.

Molly loves quality time with Sean, but spending nights with him one wall away threatens to wake the crush she thought she’d gotten over. A crush Sean knows nothing about, which might be a problem…considering how hard Sean’s been working never to think of Molly that way.

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Sean took a step back and ran his hand through his hair, pausing when he realized the state of disarray Molly’d left it in. “You messed up my hair,” he accused, his grin telling her that he knew how much she’d liked doing it.

She shook her head, unable to play along. “You’re messing up my mind.”

The half smile fell away, and then Sean was stepping closer, his eyes going serious. “If this is about the dancing, Moll—”

“It’s not. It’s about you and me figuring out how to get past this inconvenient attraction and get back to just being friends.”

Sean sighed, looking relieved. “You’re right. I keep hoping whatever’s going on between us will go away on its own. That if we just ignore it, eventually it will stop being an issue.”

Molly nodded, then shook her head and stepped into Sean’s space. “Or maybe… Okay, I know this is going to sound nuts, and it probably is, but I was talking to Jill inside and…” And this sounded so stupid, she couldn’t believe she was even thinking about suggesting it, but then Sean ducked low, putting his face back into her line of sight and giving her that smile that promised she could tell him anything.

“What is it?”

“Do you ever really wish you could have a doughnut, but you know you shouldn’t? Like you’re trying to cut back on bad carbs or processed sugar, or maybe they were just out of doughnuts when you went to the stand and you figured you’d just wait until you could get one another day, but then all day you think about the doughnut, because you didn’t just have it when you wanted it, so when you finally, finally see a chance to get the doughnut again, you make a really bad decision and buy, like, all the doughnuts they have and eat and eat and eat until you’re sick to your stomach and filled with regret?”

That endearing smile had left Sean’s face, but being Sean, he was taking her question to heart. He rubbed a hand along his jaw and cocked his head to the side. “No. I bust my ass at the gym so I don’t worry about carbs and sugar, and when I want a doughnut, I get one. And I mean, this sounds pretty obnoxious, but if I really want a doughnut and the stand doesn’t have one, I call down to Jerry, and I’ve got one in the next twenty minutes.”

Molly blew out a breath in a silent plea for patience. This guy ran the most successful hotel in the city, could do her taxes in his head, and knew the answer to every Jeopardy question every time they watched the show…and yet he couldn’t see where she was going with this?

“Say it’s a special doughnut and—”

“I’m more of a bagel guy.”

Maybe she should have used an éclair.

You’re the doughnut, Sean!” she snapped, exasperation wearing her thin. “You are the doughnut I’m craving. The one I keep thinking about when I’m supposed to be thinking of other things. You. And all I was saying is that maybe what we need to do is give in just a little. Have a taste to curb the craving… Before we crack and wake up surrounded by shredded Dunkin’ Donut bags and a bed filled with crumbs.”

Sean had stopped moving. Heck, he looked like he might not even be breathing, he was so still. Except for his eyes, which had gone dark and serious as they searched hers.

“Molly, what kind of a taste are you talking about?” he asked, his voice gone gravelly rough.

She swallowed past the anxious knot in her throat. “A kiss. Not more than a doughnut hole.”

His stare dropped to her mouth. “You’re talking about now? Here?”

She angled her head, taking in the setting. The concrete was cracked, and Dumpsters lined one side of the alley, while fire escapes hung overhead. She looked at someone’s discarded McDonald’s bag and nodded. “Yeah, this is probably perfect for our needs.” At Sean’s raised brow, she explained. “It’s not romantic, so I don’t have to worry about you getting caught up in some princess fantasy. We’re only semiprivate out here. While if we were at home, we’d have zero chance of getting interrupted.”

“Plus, the assortment of sexable surfaces on hand back at your place.”

“I know. Don’t get me started. But here, the atmosphere isn’t really conducive to going too far. You know what I mean?”

The muscle in his jaw bounced, and he met her eyes. “You worried about things going too far?”

He wasn’t? “No. But better safe than sorry, right?”

He moved a step closer, his single slow breath seeming to fill out his chest and broaden his shoulders. “Sure.”

She swallowed hard. “Honestly, it’s probably going to be gross when we finally do it.”

Sean nodded, close enough now for his hands to settle on her hips. “If you say so.”

Her hands met his stomach, her fingers briefly catching the fabric of his shirt before coasting up to rest lightly on his shoulders. “Just a taste,” she whispered, her lungs tight as their eyes met.

“Just enough to satisfy the craving,” he corrected, lowering his mouth to hers so slowly, she knew he was giving her this last chance to back out. Maybe she should have, but after all the years of wondering, being this close to knowing what Sean’s kiss tasted like was something she couldn’t back away from.

And then…contact.

MARY BURTON, MELINDA LEIGH, & MARY ELLEN TAYLOR'S MYSTERY QUIZ & GIVEAWAY

 

Fall Into A Romantic Mystery 

With the temperature dropping and leaves turning colors, it’s time to get ready for the cool days of fall. And what better way to prepare for the long nights ahead than to download a great whodunit novel with a dash (or heaping helping) of romance. Below we have crafted a quiz to help you find your next great read, but be warned, the titles all have mysteries that need to be solved and villains that must be brought to justice. So grab a thick blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and answer the following questions to discover which romantic mystery you will want to “fall” into next. 
 
1. Where is your perfect romantic mystery set? 
 
a) In “small town USA”. The everyday setting makes the violent crimes all the more shocking. 
 
b) The rolling hills of Texas where there are lots of places to hide.
 
c) In a historic mansion near the choppy waters of Virginia, giving the story a Gothic feel.
 
2. I want to read about a heroine who is … 
 
a) …one hundred percent devoted to her family yet balanced enough to find success in her chosen career. 
 
b) … intelligent and diligent, with a pressing drive to help others. 
 
c) … currently in mourning after losing a loved one, but strong enough to take on any challenge.
 
3. Is your heroine in peril? 
 
a) She may face down a bad guy (or two), but thankfully her significant other is always there to guard her with his life. 
 
b) In my fictional world nobody is safe. NOBODY! 
 
c) The heroine doesn’t face physical danger, but her emotions take a severe beating as she learns terrible secrets from the past. 
 
4. When your heroine needs backup, who is she going to call? 
 
a) Her BF who just happens to be a private investigator that solves crimes for a living. 
 
b) A steely-eyed Texas Ranger who is known for delivering justice.
 
c) The town leader who is a successful businessman and pillar of the community. 
 
5. My ideal hero is….
 
a) …totally and completely devoted to supporting his woman. 
 
b) …dependable and incredibly strong, however, he has suffered a loss and every once in a while his vulnerability shows through. 
 
c) …steadfast, principled, and dedicated to his community. 
 
6. When sitting down to read a mystery, the crimes should be… 
 
a) … studied in a clinical, professional manner.
 
b) … frequent and terrifying! I want something that keeps me up at night. 
 
c) … in the past. I like trying to figure out who the bad guy is instead of focusing on violence. 
 
7. When the last page of the book is read, I want to feel… 

a) … that second chances are not only real, but they can be incredibly joyous.
 
b) … a sense of deep satisfaction that justice has been found and order restored. 
 
c) … tremendous hope and optimism for the future. 
 
***
 
If you choose mostly As … then get ready to follow dedicated defense attorney Morgan Dane as she takes on her next case in Melinda Leigh’s What I’ve Done. 
 
Morgan has been hired to defend Haley Powell after the young woman wakes up in a pool of the victim’s blood. And while Haley has no memory of the night and no alibi, Morgan is sure that there is more to this crime than a simple case of murder. With the help of her private investigator boyfriend Lance Kruger, Morgan inches towards answers all the while dodging threats meant to keep her silent. 
 
Purchase What I’ve Done by Melinda Leigh Here >> 
 
***
 
If you choose mostly Bs … then the lightning fast twists and turns of Mary Burton’s romantic suspense novel Cut and Run is just right for you. 
 
Medical examiner Faith McIntyre is used to investigating grizzly crime scenes, yet she is totally unprepared when faced with a barely-alive victim that looks EXACTLY like her. With no answers and nowhere else to turn, Faith teams up with her colleague-with-benefits Texas Ranger Mitchell Hayden. Together they discover decades old crime scenes, as well as new victims of a serial killer. 
 
Preorder Cut and Run by Mary Burton Here >> 
 
***
 
If you choose mostly Cs … then get ready to be transported to the windswept beaches where Mary Ellen Taylor sets her next release Winter Cottage. 
 
When heroine Lucy Kincaid loses her mother, she receives an unexpected inheritance—a lonely old estate big enough to hold the secrets of Lucy’s family. Why did her mother never mention the mansion or the sea swept town of Cape Hudson? Who is Lucy’s father? And why is there a (literal) skeleton on Lucy’s property? With more questions than answers, Lucy turns to handsome local Hank Garrison only to find he has a motive for wanting the Winter Cottage all to himself…
 
Preorder Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor Here >> 

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Kianna Alexander's COULDN'T ASK FOR MORE Excerpt & Giveaway

Fake engagements are a dangerous business.

Bryan James’s job is on thin ice unless he can secure a contract with a popular design house. He knows his best friend’s sister can help—but her terms are more than he bargained for.

Alexis Devers’s debut fashion line is a hit. But when Alexis’s publicist tells buyers that it landed her a wealthy, gorgeous fiancé, Alexis needs to come up with one—fast. Bryan’s offer to strike a deal is perfectly timed. She’s more than willing—on one condition…

It’s the perfect plan…until feelings start getting in the way. Suddenly, the dangers of mixing business and pleasure become much more real than either of them expected.

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Alexis and Bryan meet for coffee and she wears her attraction on her sleeve.

The moment she stepped inside, the rich aroma of roasting coffee beans filled her nostrils, replacing the scent of the copious evidence of plant reproduction she’d dealt with outside. She inhaled, a smile stretching her lips. The shop wasn’t too crowded, but she could see there were a good ten or so people inside, seated at tables, on benches, or in the fluffy armchairs. She eased her way to the counter, reading the chalkboard that displayed the day’s special concoctions.

Bryan strode in.

The moment he entered the space, she felt his presence. It was as if her senses awakened whenever he was near. She looked toward the door, letting her gaze sweep over him. He wore a pair of navy slacks and a light-blue button-down shirt. He’d forgone a tie, and the top two buttons of his shirt were undone. His black dress shoes gleamed in the overhead light. A pair of dark sunglasses obscured his eyes but could not hide the smile that brightened his handsome face when he saw her.

He removed the sunglasses, tucking them into the hip pocket on his slacks. Their gazes met as he crossed the space.

Her heart pounded in her ears. What was it about him and his killer smile that made her feel like an overzealous fangirl in the front row of a concert? Even now, she could feel the rise in her body temperature, and she could tell it had nothing to do with the climatic conditions of the coffee shop.

No. This man was hot, plain and simple.

Standing abreast of her, he spoke. “Have you been waiting long?”

“No. I was a little early, but I haven’t been here that long.” She blinked, hoping to break the spell he seemed to be casting over her. “Do you want to order something?”

“I’m gonna grab a mocha. You look nice, by the way.” He let his gaze travel over her body.

She glanced down at her simple outfit of a long gray tunic, black leggings, and metallic silver ballet flats. “Thanks.” She hadn’t changed clothes after leaving work. As a designer and as a consumer, she held firm to the belief that comfort should coexist with looking put-together.

The young woman working behind the counter asked, “What can I get you, ma’am?”

Alexis turned toward the menu again but found it hard to decide. Nothing there looked quite as delicious as the tall drink of man standing behind her. In the end, she went with her usual. “Can I have a medium French roast with cream and a caramel drizzle, please?”

“No problem, ma’am. Anything else?”

“No.” She occasionally ordered a muffin or some other pastry to accompany her dark roast, but the butterflies in her stomach left little room—or desire—for food. She reached into her black shoulder bag for her wallet, but she heard Bryan speak as she rifled around inside her purse.

“I’ll be paying for the lady’s drink. And I’d like a medium mocha, please.”

She snapped her head up in time to see him hand the barista his credit card.

As if he sensed her wide-eyed stare, he turned her way. “What is it?”

“I was intending to pay for my drink.”

“Nonsense. It’s the least I can do for my beautiful fiancée.” He winked.

Her mouth watered, and she swallowed. Was it from the heady scent of coffee and baked goods arousing her taste buds? Or from the way he looked at her, which aroused her in an entirely different way?

“Did you already pick somewhere to sit?”

His question drew her back to reality. She shook her head. “Like I said, I haven’t been here that long.”

He gestured to a table for two, situated in the far back corner of the coffee shop, to the left of the counter. “That looks nice and private.”

She couldn’t help noticing the way he seemed to emphasize the word private. She swallowed again. “Sounds good.” Based on what they were about to discuss, it made sense for them to seek a table away from the other patrons.

Once the barista handed them their steaming ceramic mugs, he started toward the table he’d chosen. She fell into step behind him, and her traitorous eyes dipped to his hips. He had a glorious backside that nicely filled his slacks. It looked tight enough to bounce the proverbial quarter off. Chastising herself for the direction of her thoughts, she jerked her gaze upward as they reached the table.

And found him watching her, an amused grin on his face.

Her hands began to tremble beneath his scrutiny.

He set his mug down, then grabbed hers and put it down as well. “You okay?”

She nodded, slipping into her seat. “Yes. I’m fine.”

He sat in the chair across from her. “I know where you were looking.”

Her eyes widened, and she slid her cup to the side so she could rest her forehead on the cool surface of the tabletop. She certainly hadn’t intended to be so obvious in her ogling. She remembered that she’d caught him doing the same thing when he’d first visited her office. His inability to hide his behavior had amused her, yet here she was, doing the very same thing.

He chuckled. “Don’t be embarrassed. The fact that we’re attracted to each other will only add to the realism of this little game we’re playing.”

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