We’ve finished the eighth month of the Unlocking the Past 2022 Reading Challenge: Around the World. This month we traveled to North America, and my choice of story was Love in the Bargain by Lucette Nel Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a book from my prize pile.
*Want more interaction and/or suggestions each month? Join the Facebook Group. Want a bookmark with the monthly themes? Fill out this Google Form. Need a reminder on the details of the challenge? Go to the Unlocking the Past Reading Challenge page.*
Love in the Bargain
by Lucette Nel
This book isn’t actually out until September 30th, but being a member of the author community has its perks. Lucette Nel weaves a unique and engaging marriage of convenience story. Both Micah and Amelia are desperate to have some control over their lives and futures. When Amelia’s grandfather offers an ultimatum of marriage or return to New York, she is determined to have a paper-only marriage with the man of her choosing. Although Micah is an ex-convict, he was once her friend and the only prospect that she can entertain being stuck with for the rest of her life. Besides, it will mutually benefit them as he is struggling to raise his orphaned niece and nephew. But nothing is as simple as it looks on paper. Micah has no intention of living in a loveless marriage, and though he is a patient man, Amelia is determined to keep him at arm’s length. When life-threatening dangers arise, it’s more than their lives at stake. Their marriage and hearts may not survive.
Love in the Bargain is a wonderful story of learning to release control and open oneself up to the vulnerability of loving another. I highly recommend this story for fans of historical romance, marriage of convenience, friends to more, danger-filled romance, and realistically flawed characters.
Genre: Historical Romance, Texas 1889
Driven to rekindle her relationship with her ailing grandfather, Amelia Scott returns to her childhood home. However, her unyielding grandfather is determined to control her future and poses an ultimatum. Marry and inherit the iconic Scott Hotel or return to New York penniless. Amelia is determined to stay, and formulates a plan to ensure proprietorship of her last connection to family. But love is not a part of the deal. She can’t risk another man having control of her.
Ex-convict, now town carpenter, Micah Kelly struggles to raise his deceased sister’s children. When Amelia proposes marriage without love as the answer to both of their problems, he knows better than to say yes. While partnering with his childhood friend may yield an answer to his monetary challenges, he cannot agree to a marriage in name only. His heart is already involved, and that always leads to trouble.
Circumstances put them together, and while they struggle within their new marriage, outside forces are determined to snatch the Scott Hotel from them. Even if it means killing them.
Purchase your copy at Amazon
For your chance to win a print copy from my prize pile (OR an e-copy of Lucette’s book), comment with what book YOU read for this month and you will also be entered into the year-end Grand Prize Reader Basket. Use the Rafflecopter below for extra entries and to mark that you left a comment. Entries end on September 7th at midnight EST, and the winner will be notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter widget.
*Open to all residents of the contiguous USA, legally able to enter, and an e-book format or Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to those outside that range who are legally able to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What did you read for August’s Challenge?
The Christmas Husband
by Lucette Nel
It’s November, which means my Christmas binge of novellas has begun. First up on my TBR pile was this newest release from Lucette Nel. The Christmas Husband is my favorite of her stories so far. For one, Benedict (the hero) is a Brit, and who doesn’t love a swoony Brit? 😉 Bless his soul, this poor man stumbles into a mess and does the merciful thing, even though it is a detriment to him. Naomi is a mother just trying to do the best she can for her daughter. Who knew that one little lie to appease her daughter would end so disastrously?
I adore the interactions between Benedict, Naomi, and Elise. This twist on a marriage of convenience story will have you chuckling, swooning, and hoping for love as you speed through the pages while trying to savor every interaction.
I recommend this story to fans of marriage-of-convenience, misunderstandings, sweet romance, and ready-made families. This story will leave you with all sorts of warm fuzzies and happy sighs.
Genre: Historical Romance, Texas, 1885
It was one little lie told only to protect impoverished Naomi Stuart and her daughter. But when Benedict Ramsay — a man she met fleetingly years before who should be in England — arrives in town, all she’d carefully constructed threatens to crumble.
Benedict arrives a stranger in Noelle, hoping to confront the father who’d abandoned him. What he did not expect was to discover he was a married man … to a woman he didn’t even remember meeting. And against his will, Benedict warms to the idea of a ready-made family.
What I loved: This is an adorable story. I loved all the feels it gave me, but I especially loved the dynamics between Naomi, Elise, and Benedict. That man was my poor bumbling hero.
Favorite Character and Why: I struggle between Benedict and Elise. Elise is just so innocent and sweet, but Benedict is just as adorable with his sweet, bumbling ways. I will be reading him over and over again.
Rating and Why: Five Stars. This was one of those quick, feel-good stories that leave you on cloud nine. I will be rereading this one every Christmas.
The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain by Lucette Nel
The Bounty Hunter’s Bargain is part of a wider series written by multiple authors which are all read as stand-alone novels. As is par for the course with Lucette Nel, her book is filled with laughter, tough relationships, redemption, and a hint of danger. The characters have individual problems that contribute to a wider picture and draw them closer to one another as they learn forgiveness of each other and the past. The romance is sweet and humorous, and there is a twist I didn’t see coming. I fell in love with the unique characters, from the boarders and Emily to Annabelle and Jack. I need Annabelle to come to my house when she is stressed though. I am not a stress cleaner and that woman can really make a place shine. 😉 You’ll just have to read it to find out what I mean.
This quick read would be great for anyone who loves stories of redemption, second chance love, and western settings.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1868
Can love withstand new betrayals and old hurts?
Jack Sullivan has a runaway wife to return and a bounty to collect. A gunshot lands him at the feet of Annabelle Lawson and jeopardizes a promise he can’t afford to break. Can he set aside his heart and focus on what he came to do?
Annabelle Lawson had finally picked up the fragments of her heart. Why did Jack have to crash back into her world? She may have to care for the injured bounty hunter, but she refuses to help him cash in on his professed ‘easy money’. Nor will there be a second chance at claiming her heart.
What I loved: I really enjoyed the relationship and tension between Annabelle and Jack. They knew each other well, yet still managed to misread each other as any real couple does. The struggle between moving forward and clinging to past hurts permeated multiple relationships.
Favorite Character and Why: I love ALL the characters, but I really loved Annabelle. She was a mix of strong woman and vulnerability. I could see quite a bit of myself in her because she always did what needed to be done while trying to shield her heart and failing miserably.
Rating and Why: Four and a half stars. The story was well-developed and well-written. There were a couple of things I would have loved to see more of, but everything was completely satisfactory.
The Widow’s Captive by Lucette Nel
Alright, so this is a “Christmas” novella and I am reviewing it in March. Despite the fact I think Christmas should be celebrated year-round, this book is not so wholly centered around Christmas as to be a Christmas season only read.
The Widow’s Captive is the story of a mother doing anything to survive being pursued by a dangerous man while being mere weeks away from childbirth and caring for her other two children. Help comes at the unlikeliest of times, during a blizzard, from a sheriff bearing gifts for the town drunkard.
This novella is a quick read with a focus on romance and an element of danger. Readers who enjoy stories with children, humor, and innocent love will enjoy this novella. The sheriff does get some time being a traditional hero, but most of the time he is a hero through the sweet acts of kindness and protection of this vulnerable family.
I recommend this story no matter the time of year. The warm cozy feeling you feel as you read it never goes out of season.
Purchase your own copy at:
“On the run with two small children and a third due within weeks, Adeline Spencer fears the approaching blizzard will seal their fate. An abandoned cabin is an answer to her prayers. She hopes it will shield them from both the storm and the enraged brother-in-law hot on her tail. But when a stranger knocks at the door, she is convinced they have been found by one of Ward’s lackeys.Blamed for the death of his friend, Sheriff Jonah Hale is determined to prove himself worthy of his badge, even if it means riding into a blizzard to check on a crazy miner. When Jonah reaches the cabin, he’s caught off guard by a pretty and very pregnant young woman wielding a skillet. Bound to a chair while the storm rages, and as Christmas settles in around them, he must find a way to earn Adeline’s trust…and perhaps her heart.”
– Blurb from Amazon