Author: Cassandra Dean

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The Diamond Series Boxed Set by Cassandra Dean

September 11, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Diamond Series Boxed Set by Cassandra DeanRough Diamond by Cassandra Dean
Series: Diamond #1
Published by Decadent Publishing Company LLC on June 30, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 133
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Goodreads
four-stars
Stop on by the Diamond Saloon, where devious Englishmen blithely charm sceptical saloon owners and where voluptuous singers archly tease the strong, silent type. Enjoy these two sexy tales from Freewill, Wyoming.

ROUGH DIAMOND
Owner of the Diamond Saloon and Theater, Alice Reynolds is astounded when a fancy Englishman offers to buy her saloon. She won’t be selling her saloon to anyone, let alone a man with a pretty, empty-headed grin…but then, she reckons that grin just might be a lie, and a man of intelligence and cunning resides beneath.

Rupert Llewellyn has another purpose for offering to buy the pretty widow’s saloon—the coal buried deep in land she owns. However, he never banked on her knowing eyes making him weak at the knees, or how his deception would burn upon his soul.

Each determined to outwit the other, they tantalize and tease until passion explodes. But can their desire bridge the lies told and trust broken?

FOOL’S GOLD
Christmas Eve, the Diamond Saloon is empty of its people, and Pearl la Monte has a hankering to retire early. A pounding at the Diamond’s door rids her of such a fool notion. Her irritation rises when she sees the prissy, polite-like Garrett standing outside.

Ethan Garrett has a powerful need to gain succor. When the saloon’s voluptuous redheaded singer scowls at him from the threshold of the Diamond, he doesn’t stop to think on how his ire at her has disappeared. Or how he just wants to spend some time in her company.

When a blizzard storms in, trapping them, will they spend their time arguing or find their irritation for each other disguises something more?

Two books in one!  This boxed set features ROUGH DIAMOND (the Diamond series #1) and FOOL’S GOLD (the Diamond series #2).

Part 1 – ROUGH DIAMOND

Alice Reynolds has lived in Freewill, Wyoming long enough to know that you don’t trust any stranger that comes into town.  Especially one sporting a mustard yellow waistcoat, speaking in an outrageous English accent, and offering to buy your precious saloon.  What Alice doesn’t realize at first is that Rupert Llewellyn doesn’t actually want her saloon, but the massive coal deposit buried underneath it.  As each tries to figure out the other, attraction takes hold and soon Alice and Rupert find themselves in a place neither anticipated!

Wonderful pacing and use of dramatic tension – another winner from Cassandra Dean!  Anticipation and tension build through this short novella culminating in not only the Diamond saloon’s monthly Spectacular show, but also Alice and Rupert’s surrender to their mutual attraction.  Rather than centering around the violent or rugged sterotypical plots of western novels, this plot is instead a romance in the truest sense of the word focusing on the romantic build-up between Alice and Rupert using the western setting as a backdrop instead of an external force acting upon the characters.

Alice is guarded around Rupert; she knows he is hiding something, but is intrigued by the handsome stranger.  She is also a happily independent businesswoman who does not appreciate the men around her attempting to quash her freedom and ability to make her own decisions.

At first, I didn’t like Rupert.  I thought he was an over-the-top dandy who spoke in an overly-affected English sterotype.  Thankfully, it was made clear very quickly that this was an intention choice made by Rupert to hide who he really was from the people of Freewill, not his actual character.  The real Rupert is a tough Welshman with a keen intellect and sharp attention to detail.  He is surprised by his growing feelings towards Alice, but must balance his genuine interest in her against the contract he signed with his employers.

Part 2 – FOOL’S GOLD

A feel-good Christmas novella, FOOL’S GOLD pairs the fiery Pearl la Monte (from the previous book) with rough-n-tumble Ethan Garrett.  The two have never seen eye-to-eye, but when a freak storm traps them inside the Diamond saloon overnight they soon realize that the passion they channel into their heated arguments is much better channeled into release between the sheets.

This novella was a cute peek into the lives of Pearl and Garrett and shows the story of how these two tempestuous people get together.  They are constantly sniping at each other (Pearl moreso than Garrett), but secretly they genuinely enjoy the banter and excitement the other provides.

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Silk & Scars by Casandra Dean

June 5, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Silk & Scars by Casandra DeanSilk & Scars by Cassandra Dean
Series: The Silk Series #3
Published by Decadent Publishing Company LLC on June 2, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 102
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Goodreads
four-half-stars
For over a year, Miss Gwendolyn Parkes and the Duke of Sowrith have corresponded. At first an error, the letters quickly became something much more—a friendship forged on like minds and perhaps the hope of something more….

When Gwen is compelled by her employer to attend the duke at his Dartmoor estate, she is devastated to find her beloved friend cold and imperious, even if he is the most handsome man she’s ever seen—despite his scars.

Edward, Duke of Sowrith, has longed to meet Gwen. After arranging her passage to his estate, he is tongue-tied when confronted with her quiet beauty. All too aware of the twisted ruin of his face, he allows fear to hold him silent…until Gwen’s safety is threatened.

Finally together, they grow closer until it seems they can never again be apart. But can a commoner and a duke find a happily ever after?

Miss Gwendolyn Parkes is a scribe working at the law offices of Lord Beecham.  She corresponds with many aristocrats, but when she accidentally mails personal correspondence to Edward, Duke of Sowrith, that happy accident sparks a year-long pen-pal exchange between the two.  Gwen writes of her family and hopes of the future while Edward tells her of his terrible disfigurement and desire to stay hidden away at his Devon estate.  But then fate intervenes and Gwen’s employer compels her to attend the Duke at his home.  When Gwen arrives expecting the amiable friend she has come to know through their letter exchange, she is shocked to find her friend is cold, aloof, and nothing like what she expected.  Edward, in turn, is merely tongue-tied at the prospect of meeting this beautiful young lady and fears she will come to reject him the moment she sees his ruined face.

Like the rest of the SILK series, I wish this was longer!!  Ms. Dean’s ability to craft a scene make it seem as if I’m really there watching everything transpire.  Gwen is wickedly intelligent, but must hide her intelligence since society frowns on a well-educated woman.  She is kind and compassionate and a perfect partner for Edward.  Edward reminded me a bit of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice – imperious and aloof, but hiding a deep well of emotion and feeling behind the strictures placed upon him by society and his title.  Together, they make an excellent couple – Edward encourages Gwen’s expression of her intelligence and love of the law and Gwen gives Edward the confidence to see beyond the scars on his face and embrace social outings once more.

A very sweet & romantic Victorian tale.  Highly recommended!

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Silk & Scorn by Cassandra Dean

May 29, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Silk & Scorn by Cassandra DeanSilk & Scorn by Cassandra Dean
Series: The Silk Series #2
Published by Decadent Publishing Company LLC on February 16, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 67
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Goodreads
three-half-stars
No matter how much their mothers wanted Sarah and Arthur to wed, Sarah had loathed him. However, circumstance and her late husband’s father conspire against her, and she is forced to turn to Arthur for help. Perhaps she needs his legal expertise, but she refuses to acknowledge how handsome her oldest foe has become…or her reaction to him.

His childhood nemesis is the last person Arthur Davenport expected to require his services. When a spurious claim against her late husband’s estate brings Sarah Wetherall to his door, he can’t refuse the pretty widow, no matter how much he wants to.

Thrown together by fate, will they discover there is a fine line between scorn and passion?

Fate has a way of making things happen, even when the two people involved want nothing to do with each other!  For years, Sarah Wetherall and Arthur Davenport were forced by their families to write each letters in the hopes they would one day fall in love.  Then Sarah escapes into a marriage to another man.  But a decade later, Sarah’s husband is dead and his family is disputing Sarah’s rights to his estate.  She turns to the only person who can help her – Arthur Davenport, now a respectable solicitor.

This is a sweet novella about putting side childish memories of who someone once was and seeing through the person they have become.  Sarah and Arthur spent years sniping, snapping, and otherwise barking insults at each other – to watch these two go at it again after so many years was both funny and frustrating.  But through this childhood enmity grows a kernel of love and sacrifice.  We learn why Sarah ran off to marry someone else and, like Arthur, begin to realize the reasons and motive behind her seemingly rash decision actually came from a place of deep affection and loyalty.

I loved Sarah and Arthur’s constant battle-of-wills in this enemies-to-lovers romance.  They both have strong personalities and this makes their bickering all the more realistic and entertaining.  A great story packed into a small novella-sized space.

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Silk & Scandal by Cassandra Dean

May 22, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 1 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Silk & Scandal by Cassandra DeanSilk & Scandal by Cassandra Dean
Series: The Silk Series #1
Published by Decadent Publishing Company LLC on May 3, 2013
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 54
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Eight years ago…
Thomas Cartwright and Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons were friends. Over the wall separating their homes, Thomas and Nicola talked of all things – his studies to become a barrister, her frustrations with a lady’s limitations.


All things end.
When her diplomat father gains a post in Hong Kong, Nicola must follow. Bored and alone, she falls into scandal. Mired in his studies of the law and aware of the need for circumspection, Thomas feels forced to sever their ties.

But now Lady Nicola is back…and she won’t let him ignore her...

Lady Nicola Fitzgibbons is the audacious daughter of an Earl who travels the world with her diplomat father and trails waves of scandal wherever she goes.  For a time, these scandalous stories amuse her childhood friend and penpal, Thomas Cartwright.  But now that he is a Barrister with his eye set on a prestigious seat in Parliament, Tom decides he must distance himself from Nic and he stops writing to her.  But now Nic is back in London and she won’t put up with any of Tom’s ridiculous notions of propriety.

This was a very sweet, but humorous novella.  The writing is sharp and doesn’t spend superfluous time describing things that don’t add to the narrative.  Nicola is bombastic and flighty, but possesses a keen intelligence and understanding that belies her antics within society.  Thomas is a bit uptight and perhaps even cold in the way he treats his once-good friend, but this juxtaposition just serves to highlight how well Nic and Tom’s relationship makes perfect sense.  Nic brings excitement and opportunity to Tom’s otherwise dreary and stuffy life whereas Tom’s calming, sensible influence brings balance to the relationship.

As with all good novellas, I wish it was longer!  The characters are likeable and the plot interesting.  I look forward to reading the rest of the Silk series.

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