Regency romance meets shape-shifters, to great effect.

A WOLF IN DUKE'S CLOTHING

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

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

Regency romance meets shape-shifters, to great effect.

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72823-036-8

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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An intriguing romance debut that centers class struggles along with the love story.

HOW TO SURVIVE A SCANDAL

A woman destined to be a duchess finds herself at the bottom of the ton.

Lady Amelia Crofton, diamond of the ton, is finally getting married, but not to the man she’s been engaged to since childhood. No, rather than becoming Lady Wildeforde, she’s being rushed to the altar with Benedict Asterly, son of a footman and noblewoman—“a mere mister.” Benedict thought he was doing a good deed by rescuing Amelia from her overturned carriage in the middle of a snowstorm, but instead, it appears she has been compromised, and both find themselves trapped in a marriage they do not want, far from London. Benedict does have a grand house, courtesy of his mother, who never recovered from her hasty marriage below her station, so he eschews society in favor of his beloved business building steam engines. Amelia, having been raised to be the wife of a duke, can’t do anything practical, like start a fire or cook. She quickly makes friends with Benedict’s little sister and tries to make herself useful. Indeed, before long, Benedict and Amelia do uncover a shared attraction, bolstered by each discovering the other is more complex and intriguing than they had assumed. And they are each grappling with class tensions: The society Amelia was raised for may no longer want her in their ranks, and the community Benedict tries to support may no longer want him, or any relation of the aristocracy, either. Parish’s cleareyed examination of what life was like outside the Regency beau monde makes this debut romance a welcome addition to the genre, allowing readers the usual glimpse into the fashion and gossip of the time while also exploring how many people worked behind the scenes to make those dinners and hunting parties seem so effortless as well as the combined grievance and gratitude they might feel toward their employers. Amelia and Benedict’s story is a classic marriage-of-convenience tale told well, with a handful of intimate scenes, but the couple's relationship primarily blooms through their growing respect for each other’s abilities. Several charming supporting characters are introduced, and readers will look forward to seeing if Parish is able to use future entries in the series to continue her study of the Regency world across class boundaries.

An intriguing romance debut that centers class struggles along with the love story.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-0448-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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An irresistible story of love and adventure that will delight both newcomers and regular readers of queer romance.

THE QUEER PRINCIPLES OF KIT WEBB

A retired 18th-century highwayman who hates the aristocracy is tempted when a handsome nobleman approaches him for one last job.

Kit Webb’s days as a highwayman are behind him. In his last job, he lost his best friend and permanently injured his leg so that he can barely walk or ride a horse—losses that threaten to overwhelm him with grief. He now spends his time running the coffee shop he owns in London. He’s bored and surly and itching for adventure. Then Edward Percy appears at the coffee shop, dressed to the nines and full of silly chatter and brazen flirtation. Percy wants to hire Kit to hold up his father’s coach, hoping to gain leverage that will force his father to do right by his young second  wife and daughter. Persuading Kit gives Percy the perfect excuse to haunt the coffee shop for weeks, sometimes dressed like a lord in silks and satins, with a powdered wig and a ridiculous heart-shaped beauty patch, and sometimes dressed more anonymously in a commoner’s clothes. Either way, Kit can’t keep his eyes off Percy. The sexual tension is thick in Sebastian’s latest historical romance. Both men are lonely. Both men have learned how harsh the world can be. And both of them are caught by surprise when sexual attraction turns into something more tender. Sebastian’s prose is entertaining and delightful, with many steamy scenes in which the two heroes fight each other with fists, knives, and swords to train for their upcoming robbery attempt. It’s also full of intelligent and thought-provoking political debates, with Kit holding forth on the evils of the English class system and Percy confronting his own privilege and thinking about who, exactly, he wants to be.

An irresistible story of love and adventure that will delight both newcomers and regular readers of queer romance.

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-302621-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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