Thursday, September 27, 2012

VBT & Review - Love's Debt by Rachel Brimble

Welcome to my stop on Rachel Brimble's Virtual Book Tour for her book, Love's Debt.  Please be sure to leave a comment or question below for Rachel, and fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter her giveaway.  You can follow all of the stops on Rachel's tour here, the more often you comment, the better your odds of winning.


Title: Love's Debt
Author: Rachel Brimble
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 91 pages
Genres: Historical Romance



To keep herself from the depths of poverty, Milly Shepherd needs to be appointed manager of the Red Lion Tavern. The elderly owner is in failing health and has promised her the job permanently if no one more suitable applies. Milly will fight with her entire being to make the job her own.

Joseph Jacobs needs to supplement his income to pay off his father’s creditors and save him from debtor’s prison. Though the job as manager of the local tavern looks promising, Milly is favored by both the owner and customers.  Instead, Joseph swallows his pride and agrees to tend bar.

As they work together, their attraction grows, their goals cross, and both Millie and Joseph find they must face their fears …the question is whether they face them alone or together?


Joseph Jacobs closed the tavern door behind him and paused a moment to take in his surroundings. As a man used to looking over his shoulder and sensing trouble, experience taught him to be aware of others before they became aware of you. He narrowed his gaze. The meager number of patrons at the tables surprised him at an hour when he expected the bar to be fairly busy. He glanced at the clock; maybe it wasn’t time for the workers yet.

He shifted his gaze to the woman standing beneath the clock and his heart kicked. Her green-gold eyes held him where he stood. She stared and Joseph swallowed, willing some words to come forth from his frozen tongue or at least a smile to curve his paralyzed lips.

She lifted her eyebrows and slowly pulled a cloth from her shoulders. Her hair was a mass of fire-tipped curls around her oval face, her skin creamy-white and her parted lips, a soft delicate pink. Joseph cleared his throat and belatedly removed his hat.“Good evening, miss.”

Her smile slipped easily into place. “Good evening to you, sir.” Her voice was smooth, clear and full of confidence. “Are you looking to quench your thirst or just planning on soaking up the atmosphere?”

Joseph inhaled a long breath through flared nostrils as if trying to smell her. Something told him she’d smell of lavender…or maybe musk. Something to throw a man off guard, to lower his defenses.

He stepped forward. “Neither. I am looking for the landlord. Would you happen to know if he’s available?”

Her gaze lingered on his a moment longer before she looked to the four glasses at the table beside her. She grasped them expertly between her fingers and carried them behind the bar without answering his question.

Joseph couldn’t take his gaze from the natural sway of her hips beneath the deep burgundy dress she wore, the bustle a little too prominent for the current fashion showing her lack of money to afford better. Why else would a woman with the features of an artist’s model be working in a tavern unless necessity demanded it?


“No, I take it from here.” His jaw tightened. “I mean it, Milly. I don’t want you in there.”

“Why are we arguing about this? I thought we’d built a trust between us.”

His gaze darted over her face, lingered at her lips. “This has nothing to do with trust.”

“Then what?”

“Pride. If I haven’t got that…if I’ve stooped so low as to put a woman at risk, then there’s no point in going on at all. I won’t do it, Milly. I won’t expose you to whatever is behind that door. If you can’t stay here, then go back to the tavern. I’ll see you there shortly.”

His face was set, his shoulders stiff and Milly’s irritation grew. She poked a finger into his chest. It was like iron. She swallowed. “Have you heard the saying, pride before a fall?” He nodded. “Good, because if people don’t reach out to other people, Joseph Jacobs, they fall further than ever with nobody there to catch them.”


She raised her hand. “Go. Do what you want. I’ve got more important things to worry about that a man full of so much pride, he looks fit to burst.”

Turning, Milly gripped her bag tightly in her hand and strode away. She did not look back, and she didn’t stop walking. Her stupid heart had let her down. Made her get involved in a man’s life and begin to care about him. Well, the buck stopped there. No more. If Joseph Jacobs ever needed her help again, he could take a long walk off the dock.

Blinking against the rare sting of tears, she tilted her chin and retraced her steps across town. Her shift at the tavern started in an hour’s time, but that didn’t matter; there was always plenty to be done and at least there, she was appreciated. Joseph certainly didn’t see what was right in front of his damn face.

Yet each step that took her across town weighed heavier and heavier. She’d seen where he and his father lived. It was little better than a hovel. She’d seen the newspapers stuffed around the window frames in an attempt to keep out the cold, the bare floorboards, and thick layers of soot from the fireplace spilling into the room. The landlady should be seeing to that, all of it. Bitter resentment furled in Milly’s stomach as her past flashed through her mind. She’d pulled her family from the gutter, and the future looked brighter than ever before.

Which didn’t help the nagging feeling that she could do more—wanted to do more to help Joseph. But she couldn’t. It would mean putting a hold on her own plans. All for a man she had hardly known more than two weeks.

She curled her hands into fists. This feeling inside her was new. This sense of wanting to fight for someone outside of her family. How had it gotten like this? To kiss him was bad enough, but to have this…this fear for him? That scared her more than anything.




Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK.  She started writing short stories about eight years ago but once her children were at school, she embarked on her first novel. It was published in 2007. Since then, she’s had several books published with small presses as well as securing her first contract with Harlequin Superromance in May 2012.

Represented by US agent Dawn Dowdle, of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family.  Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England. And in the evening? Well, a well-deserved glass of wine is never, ever refused…

Contact Rachel at:
Twitter - or @rachelbrimble
Facebook -


My Review: 

What would you be willing to do for the man you loved?  In Rachel Brimble's Love's Debt, that is the question the heroine must ask herself - can she let go of the worry and hardships she has endured in order to share some of the money she's been able to save towards her future in order to help the man she loves.
Set in Bristol, England during the 1890's, this is the tale of a working class woman who falls for a man who's down on his luck.  With likable characters, good dialogue and a well paced plot, Ms. Brimble's story made me think about the things I take for granted.

Milly Shepherd is a twenty five year old working class woman working in The Red Lion, a local tavern.  Determined to make a better life for herself, her mother and her younger sister, Milly is hoping to become the manager of the bar - the job's hers as long as no able bodied man comes in and takes it away from her.  With only one hour to go before the decision is made, a young able bodied man comes in to apply for the job.  Milly is determined to fight for the job she considers rightfully hers; she just didn't plan on falling for the man who would end up becoming one of her employees.

Joseph Jacobs is a young man caught between a rock and a hard place.  Broke and desperate for a second job to cover his father's gambling debts, Joseph applies for the managers job at The Red Lion Tavern.  Surprised when he doesn't get the job, he's willing to put his pride aside and work for the woman the owner sees as a member of his family.  He never planned on falling for the fiery redhead or on needing her help with his father.

The scenes between Milly and Joseph are well written and they are both likable characters.  Both of them want to better their situation in life, Milly has always been poor and wants to make sure her mother and sister are able to live a decent life, while Joseph is just trying to keep his father out of the debtor's prison and hopefully be able to scratch out a decent future for himself.  Ms. Brimble did a good job developing these characters and working with their emotional and financial baggage.  They really were well suited for each other.

When Joseph's father gets in more trouble, will Milly be willing to help Joseph obtain his freedom?  And will Joseph be willing to put his personal pride aside and accept Milly's help?  You'll have to read Love's Debt to find out.  I enjoyed this quick, short, historical romance and I think you will too.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Stars 


Don't forget to leave a comment or question below for Rachel or to fill out the Rafflecopter Form to enter her giveaway.  You can follow her book tour here.  

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

VBT - Taming The Outback by Ann B. Harrison

Welcome to my stop on Ann B. Harrison's Taming The Outback Virtual Book Tour.  Ann was kind enough to prepare a guest post for us today.  Please be sure to leave a comment or question for her below and enter her contest using the Rafflecopter Form below.  You can follow Ann's blog tour here


By Ann B. Harrison

With the release of the movie Ruby Sparks, I got to thinking. Dangerous I know. It's the story of a writer and how his character comes to life.

What character would I like to see in real life, either mine or someone else's?

This is where I'm torn between two very alpha males. Did I mention I love a very alpha male?

One of my favorite all time romances would have to be Cross Stitch by Diana Galbaldon. Who could go past Jaime Fraser and did I mention he wears a kilt? Love me a man in a kilt. His rich brogue voice filled my head while I read page after page. I loved this series so much I read it three times. The lengths Jaime went to so that Claire had a dress for her wedding day made my heart melt. Even when he punished her by using his broadsword on her backside I didn't lose any respect for the man. He was teaching her a lesson after all and in those days it was very different to what it is now.

My favorite book this year would have to be A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Who wouldn't fall in love with Matthew, a sensual vampire? He is rich as they all are, handsome and just mysterious enough to pique the interest of Diana Bishop, a historian with a deep secret. The way that Ms Harkness melded their stories with history and legends pulled me in very easily. Matthew is a very strong alpha male, just how I like them.
So, there you have two characters I would like to meet. Who would you choose?


Title: Taming the Outback
Author: Ann B. Harrison
Publisher: Breathless Press
Length: 159 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance


Is Libby prepared to give up her new home for a chance to roll Nathan in the hay when her libido wakes up after five long years?

Nathan Miller rattles Libby's nerves more than she cares to admit. He is the one person that stands between her and the family home that has been left to her.

So why then is he the guy that stirs her up to such an extent that her body pulses with the need to have him? They do nothing but clash and snap at one another and he makes no bones about the fact that she shouldn't be on the station, but back in the city where he thinks she belongs.

Libby fights to learn about her new home while struggling to find a way into Nathans heart. She almost loses it all when a flood hits their tiny town and rips through her farm putting her daughter's life in danger.

Will she be able to convince him that she is not the irresponsible city chick he has dubbed her or will he see her as she truly is, a woman in love with him.


"That's just it, sweetheart," Nathan exploded, his frustration finally rearing its ugly head as he rounded on her, giving her the brunt of his foul mood. "This is a harsh country, and buts just don't cut it out here. You are cut out for the city life for Christ's sake. You're not a farmer. You don't have the slightest idea of what you're getting yourself into. You proved that by almost losing Tom and your daughter." The look on Holly's face when he had found them was still burned into his mind. The poor kid had been terrified she wasn't going to be able to hold onto Tom against the rush of water. He couldn't bear to think of what would have happened if he hadn't made it in time. How can I be sure Libby won't put her in any more danger now that I have had my heartstrings tugged tight? He stood and looked down on her, trying to keep his face void of emotions but his heart was telling him to take her in his arms and put them both out of their misery. "How many more times are you going to put those kids at risk?"

"Now just you look here," she cried, pushing him back and struggling to get to her feet. "I may be a barmaid, and I know I have a lot to learn, but learn I will. And for your information, I would never knowingly put my kids in danger. Neither would Tom."

"You don't belong here," he ground out. Though aware the words he was saying were hurtful, he couldn't stop himself. They were his only defense. He was trying to will her away from him the only way he knew how, unwilling to risk his heart to a city dweller again. As much as he wanted this woman, he wouldn't let her know it. She had the capacity to break his heart when the going got tough, which was in the cards looking at the state of her farm, and he wasn't sure he would survive another crushed heart. Better to get her out of here now before he caved in. "Get used to the idea and move on back home where you belong."

"Why? So you can take over?" She practically spat at him. "I will not give up what my family has passed down to me. It's mine, and you aren't going to get it."

"There's more than one way to get what I want." Nathan hauled her into his arms.

Libby tried to push him away, but the contact of her breasts on his hard chest knocked the wind out of him, and he held onto her for dear life. He groaned deep in his throat as he pressed his lips against hers, demanding and hungry. The heat rushed through his veins as his hands slid down to cup her denim-clad butt, pulling her against his hips, leaving her in no doubt he wanted her. She wound her arms around his neck as she molded her body closer to his, impatient noises coming from her mouth.


"This is my dance, I think." Nathan shot a cool glance at his rival. The cowboy nodded his head in defeat and walked away. Nathan put his arm around her back and twined his fingers through her right hand, gripping her tightly. He dipped his hand lower to rest on the curve of her back, and he pulled her close. The music and the crowd ceased to exist as he danced with her. Libby couldn't tear her eyes from his as they moved as one, shutting out the rest of the world. When another cowboy tried to cut in, Nathan frowned enough to have him backing away.

The possessive action made Libby's stomach tighten. It was a machismo thing to do, and she loved it. He was jealous, and the thought made her groin clench tight as heat raced through her. When the band stopped for a break, Nathan led her to the door and guided her outside. Couples were spread out around the entrance talking and laughing as he led her over toward the cattle yards. The night was lit up with a full moon and a smattering of stars.

A chill rippled over her skin as he pushed her gently back against the wooden structure. His lips lightly skimmed over her chin before his tongue traced her bottom lip. She swallowed a gasp as he traced a line down one side of her neck with his lips before traveling back up to her mouth. His tongue sought refuge in her mouth, tasting and tempting her like a starving man grasping for food. The thrill went straight to her stomach, and her thighs clenched together to stall the explosion building up inside her.

She lifted her arms around his neck, and he pushed against her, his erection evidentially straining as he cupped her face in his hands.

"Sweetheart, what are you doing to me?" he whispered, his kisses raining over her face.

"I can stop at any time," she panted, her eyes half-closed.

"Bullshit." He grunted, kissing the side of her mouth. He trailed his lips down her throat to kiss the tops of her breasts, making her nipples rub against the soft fabric. He danced his tongue along the neckline as she squirmed against him, willing his mouth to go further. She groaned as he blew gently in the cleavage of her breasts, and her breath caught in her throat.

His hands stilled as a group of giggling teenagers came their way. He pulled away, leaving her suddenly cold without his body against hers. Libby pulled herself from the fence and stood on shaking legs, wishing they were somewhere more private where she could do what she had set out to do. Brushing her hands over her full skirt and checking her breasts were well-contained in her bodice, she spoke to him. "I think it's best if we go in now, don't you?"

He grabbed her by the arm and stopped her. "Give me just a minute."

Libby looked at his erection, still prominent against his jeans. She smiled to herself. The night hadn't yet ended. She would just find another place to seduce Nathan. She waited quietly as he adjusted himself and took a few deep breaths.



Ann swears she was born with a book in her hand and has never put it down. A lifelong love of reading has finally culminated in achieving her dream of writing…and publication.

She lives in the middle of the desert in Australia in a small mining town with her own handsome hero of many years. Ann has always loved the ups and downs of life in small communities and she shares this with readers in her rural romances.

Strong, spunky heroines with a good dose of sass thrown in feature in her stories. Of course these women need an equally strong hero. Bring on the Outback hero and watch the passion ignite.

When not writing, Ann runs a day care centre and looks after young children for working Mums and Dads. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking her very large dog, Hugo, and fighting with her computer.


Please remember to leave a comment or question below for Ann.  You can enter her giveaway using the Rafflecopter Form below.  You can follow her tour here

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