Friday, August 18, 2017

Review & Tour: Once Upon a Lady by Addie Jo Ryleigh

Title: Once Upon a Lady
Author: Addie Jo Ryleigh
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Soul Mate Tree Series (Book Eight)
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Format: ebook via Tasty Tours
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisRespectable Lady Katherine Baxton, striving to meet the requirements of her station, has become the ultimate dutiful daughter. And now, the Duke of Blackthorn’s betrothed. Far from a love match, Kate is nevertheless determined to do as expected and marry.

That all changes the night she panics at her impending future and runs, stumbling upon a private grove, a mysterious tree . . . and a half-naked man.

The youngest son of a viscount widely thought to have purchased his title, Jackson Cooper demonstrates his disdain for the aristocracy by affording himself every luxury available—drinking, wenching, and gambling—while eschewing anything representing the ton. Jackson has little care for his reputation and no desire to marry. His escape from London is all but complete.

Until fate—in the form of a beautiful, mysterious lady—interrupts his plans, enticing him with the very thing he never wanted.

Kate felt his approach before she saw him. Which wasn’t all that surprising since her body had remained mindful of his presence. Fighting the impulse proved fruitless.

When his tall frame blocked the sun and cast her in shadow, she knew besides giving him a direct cut, she had no escape. If only she hadn’t ventured from her sister’s side. At the time, abandoning Helena had been her singular option since their slow stroll through the gathering had traveled too close to the very man standing beside her. She’d been delaying the inevitable.

Kate was now alone, as she tried to keep her attention on the lawn activities before her, hoping no one would witness what was about to happen.

“Aren’t sprites confined to the trees?” His deep voice washed over her.

She didn’t turn to acknowledge him. “How nice to see you properly dressed for once.”

His chuckle warmed her. “Are you following me?”

An unladylike snort refused to be repressed. “Hardly. You are rather difficult to overlook, being the only unknown face here.”

“That’s not true. You’ve seen my face . . . as well as other, more interesting parts.”

Kate wished she’d listened to her sister and worn a bonnet. Anything to mask the heat flaring in her cheeks.

Thankfully he remained at her side and hadn’t a clear view of her face. “We have not been introduced. I can’t be seen speaking to you.”

“Then let us go where we can't be seen.”

Her heart raced at his boldness. Why was this man so tempting? She was spoken for, though still unofficially. Proper ladies didn’t follow strange men to private locations, regardless of their marital status. “Absolutely not.”

“Even if I have something of yours?”

Blast! Her ring. Given her luck lately, she would have lost it in the grove of all places. Her aunt would toss in her grave knowing Kate had misplaced her gift.

“A true gentleman would return it.”

His deep laugh caused her pulse to flutter. “I’m no gentleman. Or haven’t you heard?”

Addie Jo Ryleigh writes historical regency romances that feature rakish heroes and strong feisty heroines. 

Addie Jo has lived in the same cold-winter-hot-summer area of Minnesota her entire life. Sharing in the raising of her three extremely rambunctious boys is her very understanding husband who endured being dubbed “The Duke” by his co-workers. Keeping Addie Jo company while she writes (besides her wonderfully loud children) is her yorkipoo, Bella, who is never far from her side. And recently the newest addition to their family, a black lab named Max.

Addie Jo has always had a love and passion for romance books and became engrossed in historical romance (particularly Regency) soon after graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, she reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.

Addie Jo has a bachelor degree in accounting and is a financial coordinator when not playing chauffeur for her hockey-playing boys, cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.


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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

I think the Soul Mate Tree put me under its spell too!

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Kate isn't sure what to do about her current predicament. She's about to become engaged to a handsome duke who meets almost all of the required traits of a good husband. Except for one. He just doesn't stir passionate feelings inside her when they are together. And she feels as if marrying him is more out of duty than anything. But the Soul Mate Tree has made other plans for her future.

Jackson isn't sure why he is so enamored by Kate the first time he meets her. There is something about the young woman that sets him ablaze and even though he doesn't desire a life of marriage, he can't help but want to get closer to this wood nymph. Yet, the more he does, the clearer it becomes that the plan for his life may change drastically after the legendary tree gets ahold of him.

I loved this story. It was historical romance but with a slight twist of paranormal in the match-making tree bringing our couple together. 

Don't get me wrong, when our pair first meet, I was stunned by how it happened. And because of that situation, I was a little wary of Jackson for a while. I needed him to prove himself to be more than a rake and worthy of Kate's affection. Because Kate really was a great character and she deserved nothing less than forever.

I'm happy to say that both characters impressed me in the end. And they weren't the only ones. Another certain eligible bachelor handled himself with such grace that left me hoping to see him find his own happily ever after. But I won't go into details and give anything away. I will say that if the author decides to write a story with this particular duke, I am all on board!

As for our couple, I enjoyed watching them slowly come to understand their feelings for each other. Kate needed to learn how to stand on her own two feet and Jackson had to discover what was truly worth fighting for. Their chemistry was great and the naughty time left me smiling. I was all-around pleased with this book. 

In closing... 
I will be reading the fifth book of this series in the coming weeks. I hope it's as good as this one but it has some tough competition, that's for sure. Five suns!

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