Monty & Me, by Louisa Bennet place a wee-mail above Legless’s ancient message. No need to sign it because every dog has a unique aroma. It’s the same wee-mail I’ve left whenever I’ve had the chance to pee. It conveys my shame. I ask one question: who killed Professor Patrick Salt? I hang my head and tuck in my tail as I plod after Rose. She’s investigating his murder, but little does she know, so am I. I failed Paddy in life and I have vowed I will not fail him in his death.

Monty the dog has just arrived at his new home. His new owner, Rose, is very caring, and Duckdown Cottage seems a nice place to live. But Monty can’t be happy here until he finds out who killed his former owner, Professor Salt. Monty was there when it happened and, even though he was injured trying to protect his owner, he still feels responsible for not doing more. He’s going to track down the killer.

Rose, meanwhile, wants to find the killer, too. She is a trainee detective, involved with the police investigation into Salt’s murder. But she has accidentally mucked up another investigation and now she’s in trouble at work. Perhaps if she can solve the Salt case, she can redeem her reputation.

Monty and Me is a mystery story with a difference: the narrator is a dog. Monty can’t speak to Rose (or other humans) but he can understand them, and read, too, and he finds ways to get his message across to Rose. He is helped by a rat, a magpie, and a lady beetle, among other animal accomplices, as well as by Rose, who comes to realise that Monty is pretty special.

Although a story from the dog’s perspective may sound like a children’s book, and the cover will certainly appeal to young readers, Monty and Me is intended for adult readers, and will most appeal to those who can suspend disbelief and enjoy the novelty.

Monty and Me, by Louisa Bennet
Avon, Harper Collins, 2015
ISBN 9780008124045

Tempt the Devil, by Anna Campbell

Late afternoon sun flooded her in soft gold and played across her loosely bound tumble of tawny hair. In the clear light, her vivid red dress was like a sudden flame. The effect was worthy of the Theatre Royal
Even he, familiar to ennui with courtesans’ tricks, had felt his breath catch at first sight of her. One glance and the blood in his veins hummed a deep, dark song of desire, and his skin prickled with the compulsion to make her his.

Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith, is in the market for a new mistress. Since his beloved wife’s death he has been determined never to love again, instead taking a string of mistresses to his bed. But when he sees Olivia Raines for the first time, he finds he is not as unaffected as he expects to be. He must have her, whatever the cost. Olivia, too, is affected by her meeting with Erith. In spite of her outward calm, she is drawn to the man in ways she can’t explain – especially when she has vowed to hate all men.

Soon, Olivia is living in the house Erith provides, and their relationship begins – but it doesn’t follow the path either has planned. Olivia is surprised to discover Erith is smarter and more considerate than other men she has met, and Erith discovers Olivia has scars hidden beneath her cultivated exterior. And for both, this relationship is unlike any other each has had before – and impossible to walk away from. But the stakes of continuing their relationship are high, possibly too high.

Tempt The Devil is a steamy regency romance from one of Australia’s finest romance authors, Anna Campbell. Campbell takes us into and behind the scenes of London society of the time, developing relationships and exploring the realities of life in the times – including the unjust impact society’s rules can have on individuals. In the end, though, this is first and foremost a sensuous romance with two likeable characters working against the odds to cement their relationship.

A sizzling read.

Tempt the Devil

Tempt the devil, by Anna Campbell
Avon Books, 2009

This book is available online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereveiws.

Where the Heart Leads, by Stephanie Laurens

Penelope raised her eyes and locked them on Barnaby Adair’s face. And tried her damndest not to see. When she’d determined to call on him, she hadn’t imagined he – his appearance – would have the slightest effect on her. Why would she? No man had ever made her feel breathless, so why should he? It was distinctly annoying.

Penelope Ashforth is not a typical ton miss. Although she lives a life of privilege, she is determined to work hard and to make a difference for those less fortunate than herself. She runs an institution which looks after orphans, preparing them for successful lives. She has no time for men, and certainly no intention of every marrying. But when five of her intended charges mysteriously disappear, she has to turn to a man – Barnaby Adair.

Adair is a man of the ton, and similarly determined to make a difference. His contribution is to solve crimes as an investigator. He, too, is not keen on the idea of marriage – though he is not without an interest in women. When the pair meet, neither expects their mutual desire to find the missing boys will be matched by another mutual desire – one which consumes their every waking moment.

Where the Heart Leads is a sensuous regency romance novel. Against the backdrop of the mystery of the disappearing boys, and a murder, the complicated relationship between the two main characters develops, with passionate scenes aplenty. For fans of author Stephanie Laurens there are some familiar names and characters, with Adair having featured in Laurens’ earlier books about the Cynster clan, and Penelope the younger sister of Portia Cynster. But those who have not read the earlier books will not be at a loss – this is a stand alone title and also marks the first in a new series, From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair.

Where the Heart Leads: From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair

Where the Heart Leads, by Stephanie Laurens
Avon Books, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Edge of Desire, by Stephanie Laurens

Watching him stroll, ineffably graceful, across the room toward her – allowing herself to – had been a mistake. All that harnessed power condensed into one male – a male no one with functioning eyes would rate as anything less than dangerous – was a phenomenon guaranteed to distract any living, breathing woman. Her most of all. Yet today she needed to reach past the glamour and deal with the man.

Twelve years ago Christian Allardyce, Marquess of Dearne, went away to war, leaving behind the woman he loved, who promised to wait. Now he is back in London, but his love – Lady Letitia Randall – is married to another man, and they no longer speak. Until the day Letitia comes to him for help. Her husband has been murdered and her brother stands accused of the crime. Letitia needs Christian’s help to prove Justin’s innocence and to find the true murderer.

Whilst Christian fights the desire for revenge against the woman who scorned him, Letitia fights her own battle. She believes Christian abandoned her, and has turned to him now only in desperation. But as they work together to solve the crime and prove Justin’s innocence, their relationship is rekindled. Can they manage to overcome their past?

The Edge of Desire is a regency romance with a strong element of mystery. Whilst the relationship between the two protagonists is central, the mystery is also important, with many twists and turns, and there is also a strong cast of supporting characters for readers to engage with. An absorbing read.

Author Stephanie Laurens, who hails from Melbourne, has written numerous Regency Numerous and the last twenty two have been bestsellers in the USA.

The Edge of Desire

The Edge of Desire, by Stephanie Laurens
Avon Books, 2008

This book can be purchased from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Untouched, by Anna Campbell

‘Sir, would you kindly restrain your language?’ she whispered against his throat. Her breath on his skin set his blood leaping with awareness and it took him a second to realise what she’d said.
He gave a disbelieving snort of laughter. For God’s sake, she had more important things to worry about than his manners. But his hold was careful as he gathered her up and carried her through to the salon.

Grace Paget is in a bad way. Disowned by her family because of a bad marriage, then newly widowed and penniless, she thinks things can get no worse. But then she is kidnapped and made prisoner in a remote country manor, where she is told she must grant the resident lord his every wish, or lose her life. But Grace is not prepared for the feelings that she has for this stranger. He, too, is a captive here and she soon realises he is not the cruel man he would have her believe.

Untouched is a beautiful historical romance, with a bewitching blend of passion, damaged heroes, and a couple working against seemingly insurmountable odds. From new romance sensation Anna Campbell, this second novel cements Campbell’s status as a romance maestro. Those new to the author’s work will find themselves going back to read her first, Claiming the Courtesan, whilst fans of that title will be equally delighted with this one.



Untouched, by Anna Campbell
Avon Books, 2008

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.