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Earls Just Want to Have Fun: Covent Garden Cubs #1 by Shana Galen

Welcome to my stop for a new historic romance series from Shana Galen.  Earls Just Want to Have Fun the first in the Covent Garden Cubs Series.Please read on for an excerpt, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win a Sourcebooks Casablanca Historical Romance Bundle including Shana Galen’s EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN.

Book Review:

I love my historic romances that show the clash of class divisions, and all too rarely the upper echelon never deigns to or acknowledges the denizens of the lowest rungs in society’s ladder. While mentions of Whitechapel or the Seven Dials are made as areas ‘too dangerous’ to contemplate, rarely do we see characters that are surviving the various dangers of neighborhoods deemed too deadly and treacherous for any law or order to reach. Shana Galen has brought a taste of the Seven Dials to light in this story.

Marlowe is a member of the Covent Garden Cubs, a group of young thieves, pickpockets and others, struggling to survive in the dangerous world: banding together for safety and security. While not in any way an ideal life, Marlowe has managed to become something of a legend to the others, with her skills and talent.  Far from the life she could imagine, Marlowe claims to know nothing else, but occasionally she remembers moments of a quiet, cared for life when she was always well fed, warm and comfortable.

Brook Derring is a bow street runner, searching out the case of a missing child, the daughter of the Marquess of London.  While wanting to keep tabs on this girl, he also has other cases and issues to attend to. And the life of a Bow Street runner, no matter what his origins, are not exactly perfect for keeping the girl.  So he turns to his elder brother, Maxwell, Lord Dane to ‘reacquaint’ the chit to the finer things in life while he continues to unearth her true origins.

What a fun concept, and an interesting choice of characters. Marlowe is headstrong, independent and utterly self-assured in her current life, but the one being offered her and her trials and errors of navigating society and the affluence that may be in her grasp are wonderfully written.  And Maxwell comes to learn and change his long-held beliefs about the ‘poor’ and the people of the Seven Dials, learning that choice isn’t always afforded everyone in London.

Their chemistry is fairly bouncing off the pages, from Maxwell’s snobbery to Marlowe’s unwillingness to be seen as less than capable or worthy of notice the animosity slowly changes for a grudging admiration that eventually develops into more.  Both are being treated to the slights, prejudices and hastily arrived at opinions of their respective positons in society, and they are both learning to be more open, accepting and aware of difficulties that each group faces.

Pacing and development worked beautifully to bring these characters around and allow them to grow and change as their relationship morphed from animosity to more.  With world-building and descriptions that capture the areas as well as they contrast and then become more “real’ to each character.  A fun, captivating and satisfying read.

Earls Just Want to Have Fun: Covent Garden Cubs #1 by Shana Galen

Title: Earls Just Want to Have Fun
Author: Shana Galen
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 9781402298714
Published on: 3 February, 2015
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 384
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 42 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

His heart may be the last thing she ever steals...

Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London's Seven Dials. It's a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she's alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.

Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

 

 “While I do not usually object to a woman in this position,” Dane said quietly, “I must confess something about the dagger between your lips is less than romantic.” Marlowe reached for the dagger, but he was faster, grasping her hands and pinning them at her side. She lost her balance and settled on top of him, and he pushed her down so that she would fall forward if she tried to swing her legs out from under her. “What, exactly, are you doing?” She couldn’t answer, not with the dagger in her mouth, and she shook her head, shaking her arms to indicate she wanted to be freed from his hold. 

“What’s the matter? Can’t speak with a knife between your lips? Hazard of your profession, I assume.” He began to rise, sliding her along his body, as he did so. Even beneath the layers of bedclothes, she could feel the strength and power of him. His hands, remarkably strong, held hers at her sides. Nothing she did would free them. He was far too strong. It was times like this she hated being a woman. Gideon would have freed himself easily. He was also tall enough that he wouldn’t have needed to climb onto the bed. 

When the swell was sitting, with Marlowe conveniently in his lap, he leaned forward so his face was inches from hers. “Drop the knife.” 

She wanted to tell him it was a dagger, a subtle but important distinction, but she couldn’t speak and hold on to her weapon. And she couldn’t think very well with her body pressed against his. Something about their positions made her skin tingle and her belly flutter. She should want to pull away. Instead, she fought the urge to push closer, to rock against him. What the bloody hell was wrong with her? 

“Drop the knife or I’ll take it.” 

She laughed. Just let him try. 

“Very well.” 

To her surprise, he leaned closer, his lips moving so near to hers she could smell his breath. Like the rest of him, it smelled clean. She was so intent upon smelling his breath, so intent upon the heat of his body pulsing against hers, she forgot to move her head back, and she jolted in shock when his lips touched hers. What was he doing? Kissing her? 

But then his teeth flashed and closed on the dagger’s blade, and she reacted too slowly. He yanked it from her mouth, and she had no choice but to let it go or risk the blade cutting the corners of her sensitive flesh. 

“Bastard!” she yelled. He released her hands then, allowing the dagger to drop into one of his. She swung at him, and her fist collided with a satisfying thunk against his cheek. But her satisfaction was short-lived as he recovered easily and flipped her over. Suddenly, she was beneath him on the bed, and all the warmth from the bedclothes and his body were covering her. She bucked immediately, trying to throw him off, but he was solid and heavy, and when his hands grasped her wrists and pinned them to the pillow, she knew she was trapped. 

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About Shana Galen

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Bookreviews calls her books " lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she's up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

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