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Two forbidden relationships…one house party to remember! THE OFFICER'S TEMPTATION by Marguerite Kaye Colonel Fergus Kennedy must make a suitable match at the Midsummer Ball. But when this officer encounters sultry acrobat Katerina Vengarov, he finds himself torn between duty…and heart-stopping, irresistible passion! THE DEBUTANTE'S AWAKENING by Bronwyn Scott Kael Gage is tTwo forbidden relationships…one house party to remember! THE OFFICER'S TEMPTATION by Marguerite Kaye Colonel Fergus Kennedy must make a suitable match at the Midsummer Ball. But when this officer encounters sultry acrobat Katerina Vengarov, he finds himself torn between duty…and heart-stopping, irresistible passion! THE DEBUTANTE'S AWAKENING by Bronwyn Scott Kael Gage is the last person at the Midsummer Ball Miss Zara Titus should speak to—and anything more is definitely off-limits! But the notorious rake seems determined to awaken this innocent debutante's every desire…...

Title : Scandal at the Midsummer Ball: The Officer's Temptation\The Debutante's Awakening
Author :
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ISBN : 9780373298846
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Scandal at the Midsummer Ball: The Officer's Temptation\The Debutante's Awakening Reviews

  • Carol *Young at Heart Oldie*
    2018-10-19 17:21

    Marguerite Kaye is one of my favourite authors whose books never disappoint while Bronwyn Scott is a new-to-me author, but I enjoyed her engaging writing style and definitely intend reading more of her books.Both stories are set against the backdrop of the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore’s Midsummer Party. It is well known that this is a matchmaking event where the hosts orchestrate the most illustrious marriages. Guests attending understand the rules and are expected to marry according to the duke’s dictates. The marriages come with powerful sweeteners…The Duke could make a man’s career. He could establish a woman in a life of wealth and comfort, position her to become one of London’s leading hostesses.However, two guests are about to flout the rules.REVIEW OF THE OFFICER’S TEMPTATION BY MARGUERITE KAYEAfter recovering from an injury sustained at the Battle of Waterloo, Colonel Fergus Kennedy is anxious to resume active service. Instead, he finds himself stuck behind a desk at the War Office engaged in boring and tedious administrative duties, with all his requests for a transfer to active service turned down. Wellington’s vague promises that as soon as the right appointment came along it would be Fergus’s have come to nothing. So he is overjoyed when Wellington offers him a prime diplomatic position in Egypt but it comes with a condition. Fergus must be married and Wellington has the perfect bride in mind…the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore’s niece, Lady Verity Fairholme. Although Fergus hates being so manipulated, he hates the boredom of his current job even more. However, discouraged by Lady Verity’s icy demeanour, he finds himself drawn to the fascinating acrobat, Katerina Vengarov, and is less and less inclined to bend to Wellington’s will.The Duke of Brockmore has hired famous Russian brother and sister acrobatic act, The Flying Vengarovs, to entertain his guests. Katerina and her brother, Alexandr, are proud of their heritage and are considered the aristocrats of the acrobatic world, but to polite society they are regarded as little more than gipsies. They lead a lonely, itinerant life and, while her brother is happy to find comfort in the arms of different women along the way, Katerina longs for something more meaningful and lasting. She has avoided men for the past two years after being badly hurt and humiliated by a man she believed loved her. However, when she meets Fergus Kennedy, he seems different to all the other men she has met.Even within the limitations of a novella, I feel that Ms Kaye develops a believable romance between Fergus and Katerina. From the moment they first meet (quite an unusual meeting and I could certainly understand why Fergus was intrigued by her), the way they talk and share confidences seems so natural and I could feel a real affinity between them.There are some lovely moments which create a real sense of intimacy. My favourite is the scene where Fergus discovers Katerina asleep in the centre of the maze which leads to their first kiss.Both have a taste for danger, Fergus as a fighting soldier and Katerina as an acrobat, and I like how Ms Kaye draws a comparison that in each of their worlds……every decision mattered, that every move could mean the difference between life and death. The difference between balancing on the rope and falling.Katerina comes to trust Fergus enough to tell him about her past affaire and I love how he thinks no less of her for what happened. He sees her as a survivor and a brave woman. In turn, Katerina opens Fergus’s eyes to the fact that Wellington needs him more than he needs Wellington, encouraging Fergus to “fly free” and take control of his own destiny. I love how Fergus refuses to back down in his confrontation with Wellington.Getting to his feet, Wellington shook his hand reluctantly. ‘This is madness, Kennedy. What the devil are you going to do without my patronage?’‘Stand on my own two feet,’ Fergus said. ‘You never know, I might even learn to fly.’There are a few moments when a Happy Ending seems in the balance but love will always find a way and I thought the story had a delightful ending.REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARSREVIEW OF THE DEBUTANTE’S AWAKENING BY BRONWYN SCOTTAfter Viscount Haymore breaks off their long-standing betrothal, Zara Titus finds that her ideas of who she is and what she wants from life change. She has survived all the speculation and relishes her new found freedom. Now she is determined to take control of her future and experience some of life’s pleasures. Her mother, Vicountess Aberforth, sees attending the Duke and Duchesse’s Midsummer Ball as essential to prove to society that her daughter was not jilted; that in fact it had been a mutual decision. Perhaps the perfect opportunity to find another husband too, but Zara has very different ideas. So when she notices a man boldly watching her from across the room and the Duke of Brockmore informs her that he is someone no lady should associate with, her interest is immediately piqued.Kael Gage is the impoverished grandson of an earl with no prospects and only his good looks and a small horse breeding farm in Sussex to commend him. Since the age of eighteen, he’s learnt that the fine debutantes of the ton might flirt with a man like him, but they’d never marry him. Living on the fringes of society, he has a reputation for fraternising with, seducing and bedding opera singers, actresses and ladies of the demi-monde. An indiscretion with the wrong lady has forced him to flee London to escape her angry brother, and he has gratefully accepted a friend’s invitation to be his guest at the Midsummer Ball. The ball suddenly becomes more interesting than he anticipated when a striking lady, he has been eyeing across the room, initiates a subtle flirtation with a flick of her fan.Kael is drawn to Zara’s beauty and spirit and can’t resist the lure of awakening her sexually while Zara finds Kael outrageous and exciting but is still held back by the dictates of convention.His touch roused her, the audacity of his words excited her, and yet she could not simply embrace that excitement with abandon. There would be consequences. Was she ready for them?However, she finds it hard to resist Kael’s seductive ways…‘I think such plain speaking excites you. I think I excite you.’ His eyes lingered on the mouth he’d traced, his words a whispered murmured before his mouth covered hers. ‘And you, Zara, excite me.’At first, it a purely physical relationship with some steamy interludes as Kael introduces Zara to the pleasures of the flesh, but gradually it becomes more. I enjoyed watching the relationship grow and change. I love the scene where they go skinny dipping and have a mudslinging match because I feel it is the point at which there are subtle changes in their relationship. They open up to each other and discover that they have much in common. Both have suffered the pain of rejection and both hide their vulnerability behind a façade of confidence.The course of true love never runs smoothly and Kael and Zara have to face various obstacles before they finally find true happiness. I love how Kael is willing risk baring his soul to convince Zara that he loves her and wants to marry her.You make me want to be different, not just a man who loves and leaves, but a man who can invest in a relationship in all ways.’ He hadn’t been that man for a long time, if ever. ‘When I’m with you, I feel like I’m worth something. I want to feel that always, so I’m asking you to marry me, Zara Titus. To be my lady for ever, publicly, not just in the night.’REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARSOVERALL THOUGHTSI enjoyed how the two stories are cleverly intertwined with the same characters appearing in both and the same events being seen from different perspectives. Some of the secondary characters are intriguing enough to deserve their own stories; the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore, obviously still very much in love after so many years despite the heart-break of being childless (I love their Epilogue); the mysterious and flamboyant Sir Timothy Farthingale and Lady Verity Fairholme who hides a kind heart beneath her icy exterior.MY VERDICT: Two well-written, entertaining and romantic stories which are perfect reading for a summer’s evening.**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review.**This review is also posted on my Rakes and Rascals Blog:https://rakesandrascals.wordpress.com...

  • Caz
    2018-10-18 18:29

    I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up.These stories from two of my favourite Harlequin/Mills and Boon Historical authors take place at a house-party renowned as much for the matchmaking and political deals struck under its roof as it is for the excellence of its food and the high quality of the entertainment provided. The stories run concurrently so that we get to take a look at the events of the party at different times, although the stories are not so closely woven together as to give the reader a sense of dejà-vu. It’s an interesting device and one I actually wish had been made a little bit more of, as I’ve enjoyed other stories where the author chooses to present the same events from different viewpoints. The Officer’s Temptation by Marguerite Kaye. Grade: B-The annual midsummer ball held by the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore Is one of the most exclusive events of the year, and invitations are highly sought after. The Duke is a powerful man, and the guest list is chosen carefully and with an eye to creating advantageous alliances, both political and matrimonial.Life for a soldier during peacetime is not an easy one, and Colonel Fergus Kennedy is restless and frustrated at being confined to a desk job. When he is offered the chance of a diplomatic posting to Egypt he is more than eager to accept it, but it comes with a price tag. A diplomat needs a suitable wife, so Fergus is ordered to attend the houseparty by the Duke of Wellington with a view to making an offer for the Duke of Brockmore’s niece. Lady Verity Fairholme, is beautiful and poised, so Fergus is not completely opposed to the prospect of marrying her, in spite of the blackmail – but when she practically refuses to speak to him and is little more than barely civil when she does so, he realises that perhaps she is as unhappy about the situation as he is, and that he might as well say goodbye to his prospects.Low in spirits, he is wandering the grounds when he strays into the secluded area set aside for practice by the acrobatic team of Alexandr and Katerina Vengarov, who have been engaged by the duke and duchess to provide entertainment at the party. Fascinated, he watches Katerina practicing her tightrope act, and the two fall into conversation, with Fergus gradually realising that Katerina attracts him far more than Lady Verity or any of the other young debutantes at the party.Ms Kaye pens a sweet, nicely steamy romance between two people from completely different worlds who would never have met but for a simple accident. Katerina and her brother are outsiders; the equivalent of royalty in their own sphere, but mere servants in the rarefied atmosphere of the English haut-ton, and Fergus is not wealthy or titled, but a man who has worked hard and earned his position through his own merits. The thing I liked most about the story was the way in which Katerina helps Fergus to remember this and to bolster his sense of self-esteem at a time when he most needs it. Yet even then, their path is not clear; neither Fergus nor Katerina is wealthy and will have to work in order to support themselves and it seems impossible that they will be able to do that and be together. The author’s solution to their problems is perhaps a little audacious, but is actually perfect for this unusual, hard-working couple.The Debutante’s Awakening by Bronwyn Scott. Grade: C+Lady Zara Titus was recently jilted when her fiancé realised he loved someone else, and while Zara was not in love with him, she is frustrated at the situation she now finds herself in. She has to find herself a husband quickly in order to counter the gossip that is bound to ensue – after all, it was not the done thing for a gentleman to jilt a lady, so the assumption will be that she must somehow have been at fault. Her mother insists that Zara must behave with the utmost propriety, but Zara has had enough of conforming to the accepted view of what a young lady of good birth and breeding should be, and decides that if she must accept the rather staid gentleman who has been chosen for her, she’s going to have some fun first.Kael Gage may be the grandson of an earl, but his father had more sons than he could provide for, and Kael is possessed of a small property but is otherwise improverished. He’s an all round scoundrel, a known womanizer and had to leave London quickly in order to avoid a scandal – which is perhaps why Zara is initially attracted to him. Or perhaps it’s his dark good looks and the fact that he exudes sex-appeal – and is exactly the sort of man to whom a young lady intending to break the rules would turn for assistance.Kael has little time for well-bred virgins, preferring to take his pleasures with experienced woman, but he can’t deny that Zara’s mix of innocence and untapped sensuality attracts him. He quickly recognizes a kindred spirit in her, someone who doesn’t quite fit the pattern and who carefully masks her vulnerability beneath a veneer of confidence; and decides that he’ll abet her in her desire to take a few risks. But the more time he spends with her, the more he comes to appreciate her for her strength of character and her intelligence; and incredibly he finds himself regretting that he can offer her nothing more than the thrill of the forbidden for the duration of the house party. And for all her determination to live a little, Zara can’t quite shake off the shackles of convention and turn her back on the life she is expected to live.Both stories are very readable, with sets of engaging protagonists and a group of well-drawn secondary characters. I would certainly have liked to know more about the flamboyant and enigmatic Timothy Nightingale, for example, or to have spent more time with the duke and duchess, an older couple who are clearly very much in love – but neither of those things was within the remit of this particular book. The central relationships have to evolve quickly given the time-span during which they take place, but both authors create a convincing emotional connection between their leads, so that the speed at which the romances develop is not too much of a problem.Scandal at the Midsummer Ball isn’t something I’ll be putting on my keeper shelf, but it’s still an enjoyable piece of well-written froth. It lacks the depth normally to be found in novels by these authors, but is certainly something to consider when you’re looking for a quick but emotionally satisfying and sensual read.

  • Fiona Marsden
    2018-10-10 19:28

    This duet of novellas is set at a Duke's country estate. The premise is the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore, an older couple, deeply in love but childless, stage a matchmaking event each summer. The matches are carefully thought out, often with political or diplomatic implications.The Officer in question is Colonel Fergus Kennedy, a career soldier who finds himself working in a back office at Whitehall after Waterloo. He has an elite match picked out for him in the Duke's niece, a talented and intelligent young woman who would be ideal should he be picked for a diplomatic post. In fact, a successful match could lead to a post in Egypt.Unfortunately his match isn't being cooperative and Fergus is left hanging and while wandering the grounds he comes across a young woman who interests him far more than any of the débutantes lined up for him.Anya is a circus performer from a long line of circus performers. She and her brother have been hired as entertainment for the midsummer extravaganza. These are two people from very different worlds so the spark between them must be squashed, or at least ignored.This was a sweet, if rather steamy, novella about two people who should never have met and most certainly should never fall in love. Each in their own way is trapped, but together they could fly if they can find a solution.The second novella is about jilted debutante Zara Titus. The long standing arrangement with her fiancé fell through when he decided he loved another so it's important that Zara make a good match and a fast one to convince society she isn't shoddy goods. Zara is frustrated by the whole deal and her self confidence has taken a severe hit. The last thing she needs is the rakish Kael Gage pursuing her.Kael is rather impoverished, living on the fringes of society and has a nasty reputation with the ladies. He is rusticating at the Duke's estate after a scandal involving a lady. Not the kind of hero I usually like.Kael and Zara recognise something in each other that draws them together. She wants to rebel and he wants...her. But Zara is destined for another lord. A staid and wealthy peer who will give her the life she has been told by her mother is necessary.This is another steamy read, with Zara and Kael pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. The ending works well.Overall both stories worked well together against the common background. A quick and enjoyable read.

  • Clare O'Beara
    2018-10-21 15:27

    This excellent duo of romances is tremendous fun. They both occur during a house party in a country home in 1817. The wealthy liked to escape stinking London in midsummer and a Duke and Duchess have invited plenty of guests. This was also a good time to make matches before the next winter season began and a new crop of debutantes would appear at balls. My favourite was Marguerite Kaye's tale of a Scots Colonel who has served the Duke of Wellington faithfully and now sits in the War Office. He has been offered a diplomatic post in Cairo but to take it up he needs to marry suitably, and a young lady has been put in his path for the purpose. I actually like her a lot and admire the way she is dealt with as a person and not just a potential obstacle to happiness. For the Colonel meets a far more interesting person who is the female half of a troupe of entertainers, the Flying Varakovs. This lady will steal your heart at once with her unconventional attire and total unsuitability. Kaye likes to include the Iron Duke in her works; he makes a cameo appearance.Bronwyn Scott has given us a fun, detailed account of the leisure pursuits of the day, from picnics to boating, horse racing and strawberry picking, assignations in the maze and musical recitals in the evening. Her heroine is hoping to make a good match rather quickly, to cover the fact that her fiancé has just found someone he prefers and jilted her. A mere country squire won't suit her purposes, but the squire is good for other things as it turns out, quite scandalously. I noticed a few modern Americanisms in this half of the book, like the lady being 'done with' something. I'd have thought an editor would pick them up, but maybe this editor was also American. Three cheers for a highly entertaining pair of adult Regency romances with a great level of research. I downloaded a copy from Net Galley for an unbiased review.

  • Wendy
    2018-10-10 19:20

    These two stories, running concurrently, take place at a house party being hosted by the powerful Duke and Duchess of Brockmore. Marriages, political alliances and business deals are brokered at this annual event; the attendees know why they are privileged enough to gain a coveted invitation and play the game.....almost. I loved this concept and it was interesting to see how these two authors approached it. And also to see the protagonists from each story occasionally appearing in the other. Given that these authors live thousands of miles apart and have never met, it must have been a difficult feat to perform especially as it is seamlessly well done. I am a fan of Marguerite Kaye's work but this was my first time reading Bronwyn Scott.The Officer's Temptation by Marguerite Kaye. 4 starsColonel Fergus Kennedy has been invited to the house-party at the behest of the Duke of Wellington. Fergus who has fought his way to the top under his own steam, is a highly thought of man of honour and integrity, and also one of the Iron Duke's brightest protégés. After a couple of peace-time years vegetating behind a desk, he is eager for a more challenging role, which comes in the form of a possible posting to Egypt. There is only one fly in the ointment; the posting is for a married man and his wife must be capable of becoming a diplomatic hostess. Desperate to return to active service, Fergus is resigned to his fate. If he must marry, then he will and he is prepared to make the pre-ordained match if the lady and he like each other. The lady happens to be the niece of The Duke of Brockmore and she is NOT prepared to be matched with Fergus.Lady Verity Fairholme has other ideas and gives Fergus no encouragement at all, and he quickly comes to realise that he actually doesn't like being treated as though he were the dirt on the bottom of someone's shoe. An encounter with the captivating and talented Russian gymnast, Katerina Vengarov who has been employed, with her brother, to provide the entertainment for this year's Russian themed party, also shows him that making such a cold-blooded match is not within his power. The attraction between this unlikely pair is instant: they recognise it but it seems an impossible scenario - how can the situation possibly be resolved?I loved Fergus's and Katerina's characters, Ms. Kaye crafts strong, independent women and gorgeous, likeable men, and these two are no exception. How the situation is resolved is interesting, as with Katerina's help, Fergus has a light-bulb moment. This author is exceptionally good at showing us the different sides of a situation. The much lauded Wellington WAS a brilliant soldier and he DID inspire his officers and men to follow him - but he was also an egotistical man who manipulated his followers, mostly for his own good. The author has done a great job within the confines of a novella without compromising either the romance or the deeper moral issues she has raised. I'd really like to see the outcome of the enterprise that Katerina and Fergus embark upon - perhaps as another story with Alexandr, Katerina's brother, as the hero.The Debutante's Awakening by Bronwyn Scott. 3.5 starsMiss Zara Titus is a last minute addition to the guest-list. Her long standing betrothal has been broken and her mother is anxious to plaster over the broken engagement and find a replacement husband for her daughter without delay. Zara is quite enjoying her new found freedom and has no intentions of going along with her mother's machinations - but the Viscountess doesn't know that. As the Duke is introducing her to other guests she is aware of the eyes of a handsome, bold young man on her, and feels immediately drawn to him. It is quickly made clear to her by the duke that he is not for her - which of course only makes her more interested.Kael Gage has only managed to gain entry to the party with the help of a friend; and I must add here that I'm not sure if I missed something important but I can't quite see how he did it. If the Duke of Brockmore's invitations are so coveted I can't see that a man such as he could have obtained one, even with the help of a friend. Kael lives on the fringe of polite society; the impoverished grandson of an earl, he has only a small estate which he uses as the stud-farm that provides his income. He is not considered to be a good match; this only serves to make him a more exciting prospect to Zara. The pair embark on a flirtation and Kael begins to teach Zara how to rebel in style. They are physically attracted to each other and although Zara is fairly ripe for seduction, Kael behaves honourably and stops short of ruining her completely even though the rebellious Zara is ready for more.I liked both of Bronwyn Scott's characters but particularly Kael Gage who, although boldly handsome and rakish, also has a vulnerable streak. He's been deeply hurt in the past and has developed his outer roguish persona as a coping mechanism. A charming stud if you like, and useful for only one thing as far as women of the ton are concerned. As a result of this hidden vulnerability he can't help feeling unworthy of the beautiful, wealthy and eminently marriagable, Zara. As the pair begin to feel more than just a physical attraction the story takes a deeper and more serious turn, I liked the way the author developed the sensitive and far more important issues underpinning this apparently light and flirtatious story.All in all, Scandal at the Midsummer Ball is a good, solid read by these two authors. I particularly liked the way they handled the characters of the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore, a couple in their fifties, married for three decades and still very much in love. The fact that they are childless is mentioned more than once and I thought it a nice touch to point out that although this fact has been a great sadness to them it hasn't been the most important issue in their long and happy marriage.

  • Tima
    2018-10-06 21:23

    The Midsummer Ball is well known among the ton as the place to go for a match. The hosts have carefully chosen their guests for the intent of matching them up with another guest. But sometimes plans don't go as they should. And the hosts and guests will learn that sometimes the heart will change a course of action no matter what anyone tells it.These two stories were fun, romantic, and well written. The two authors worked well together to create two stories that fit seamlessly together. Each author told a story about two guests at the ball. So while the stories were happening at the same time, the reader got a glimpse into the main events from different perspectives. I enjoyed the plots and the setting of a week long ball. Both stories were romantic and fit well in the regency genre that I enjoy.I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Amanda
    2018-10-06 17:21

    I adored both stories so much. The underlying theme of flying woven throughout the romances. Fergus and Katerina's relationship absolutely delightful and 'steamy' among the restrictions of Regency society. Brilliant written Marguerite! Kael and Zara's romance broke pretty much all the boundaries, and for the reader it was a joy to see the envelope pushed open and risks taken. The setting and descriptions seamlessly interwoven together, I found the stories although written by two exceptionally talented authors complimented each other perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed this!

  • AnnMarie
    2018-09-25 21:36

    Scandal at the Midsummer Ball – The Officer's Temptation by Marguerite Kaye, and The Débutante's Awakening by Bronwyn Scott. This book contains two stories by two different authors, but both are written about the same time and the same Midsummer Ball.The ball is held every year by Duke and Duchess of Brockmore. They are a loving older couple that sadly have never been able to have children of their own. Perhaps treating their friends as the children they never had, every year the couple put on a ball where every person there is to be matched with the person that the matchmaking couple believe are perfectly suited for marriage. Love never seems to factor into the equation, the matches are made for the usual other reasons, political, or social. The latter normally meaning that an impoverished titled gentleman needs a wife who brings with her a rather large dowry.In the first story the couple that are meant to be matched are Colonel Fergus Kennedy, and the Duke of Brockmore's niece. Fergus was injured at Waterloo and initially had to take a desk job while he recovered. When he has done just that, for some reason he still finds himself stuck behind a desk rather than being sent abroad where he is needed. The Duke of Brockmore pretty much tells Fergus that if he were to marry his niece, an intelligent woman needing a husband, then he would finally be given his wish and would be sent to Egypt on active duty again. Fergus isn't keen on a forced marriage, but desperation finds him accepting the invitation to the ball, if for no other reason than to see if a match between him and his intended could work out.Unfortunately the woman is question makes it known in no uncertain terms that she isn't interested in him in the slightest. In fact she is quite hateful towards him. Something that he isn't used to because with his status and his looks and charm, women are normally at least friendly with him. Having been given the cut at his first attempt at talking to her, Fergus finds himself walking on his own in the gardens where he comes across Katerina Vengarov. She and her brother are well known acrobats from Russia and they have been hired as the entertainment for the week long house party that will culminate in the ball. When Fergus comes across her she is practising her tight rope walking. Fergus is captivated with her from the moment he sees her, as she is with him.What follows is the story of whether Fergus will follow his head or his heart. If he follows his head he will try to win over the Duke's niece, and hopefully head off to his dream job in Egypt. If he follows his heart he and Katerina can have a passionate relationship, but where can that lead. They are on a different social standing. He may not be titled, but he is still considered higher up the social ladder than Katerina, and a match between them would be frowned upon. Katerina also is dealing with her own demons, having been hurt in a relationship before. She doesn't think she is good enough for Fergus. She also knows that he needs to marry Brockmore's niece. If she's to save herself from more heartbreak she must fight the attraction she feels for him. How does it all end? You will have to read the book to find out!The second story in the book focuses on Zara Titus. She is at the house party in order to be matched with a man to marry as quickly as possible. She has recently been jilted by her long term fiancé who has decided that he is in love with somebody else and can't stay betrothed to her. To save face and prove she wasn't jilted because there was anything wrong with her, she needs to be betrothed to somebody else and fast.The man who ends up matched with her is older than her, a nice enough man, but just not the kind of man she can see herself married to despite his status and wealth. Her mother and of course Brockmore think he is perfect and are pushing for the match. Kael Gage is one man who is adamant that the match never takes place.He is at the house party having run away from a scandal with a woman in London. He's staying low as it were. He hasn't got much, but he's happy with what he does have, though he knows no lady of fine standing would want to settle with somebody like him. That's why he feels such a cad when he finds himself in lust at least with the lovely Zara. Any hope of staying away from her diminishes when the lady herself is drawn to him too. She wants to rebel, she doesn't want normality, and Kael is the very opposite of that. He is gorgeous, a charmer, and of course he has a reputation. But how much of that reputation is false, is it hiding a better man? What will happen if Kael and Zara give in to their attraction? Can they just have a week long fling and then walk away from each other? Could Kael stand back and see her marry the older man she's matched with? If her mother has anything to do with it, he will have to do just that. Does Zara get a say in it, can she stand up to her mother and Lord Brockmore? What if Kael only wants her for that one week. He knows he can't offer her the lifestyle she is accustomed to, so he's not exactly declaring his undying love for her and a wish to marry. Although it seems that is very much what he wants to do. What a convoluted situation he finds himself in, and the confusion doesn't help Zara at all.I loved both of the stories in this book, both were exciting, passionate reads and I always love a good will they, won't they scenario. I love how the stories were set at the same party and having reference made to the joint characters in the stories. It worked really well which is surprising considering the authors live in different time zones and had to get all the details and scenarios correlated between them, mostly by many many emails, in order for the stories to really meld. They did a great job of it, and I hope you will give this book a read to see for yourself how great a job it was. I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Amanda
    2018-10-17 14:34

    Parties, soiree and ball are one of the many things that attracted us to the Regency Era stories. Depends on the hosts and the time of the year, the setting could ranged from simple evening affairs to extravagant talk-of-the-ton event. It also depends on the location, too. Country house or city manor. Mayfair or somewhere in the middle of the Essex. And the people in attendance, their backgrounds, their social position....so many factor to be put into consideration. And with those factors comes dramas. When they actually spread out between pages and pages, it became the most amazing part in the whole book. Scandal at the Midsummer Ball had exactly what I was talking about. Two of my favourite authors, in the middle of the summer, and one ball held in the country manor. The most exotic part is there is even a acrobat troupe throwing into the mix! Like another author always use in another rather scandalous stories: "Oh, my."The Officer’s Temptation by Marguerite Kaye was the first part of the duet. We have Colonel Fergus Kennedy, the recovered and Duke of of Wellington's most trusted officer. He arrived at the party under his lordship's order to marry to someone who he had never met in his lifetime. And he was fully prepared to do it. Yet fate played a very devious game. He met Katerina Vegarov, half of the Flying Vegarov. Her passion and her personality attracted him (oh yes and the flaming red hair), leading him further and further away from his purpose. Suddenly, what he was here for no longer matter. What was planned for him no longer matter. He wanted to carve his own path, and fly free!My favourite part of this story would be the part when he found Katerina dozing off in the center of the maze. Somehow it gave me one of the classic scene in Disney's Snowwhite. I found I keep going back to those pages and revisiting the scene. As a hopeless romantic, I enjoy small moments such as this.The Debutante’s Awakening by Bronwyn Scott came next. We turned our main focus on entirely different people in the same ball. Zara Titus arrived at the ball in the hope (mostly her mother's) to find a match that is better than the one that jilted her. Having decided she want to make a change and refused to be passive, she picked the one person in the entire room that no one would even go-Kael Gage. As for Mister Gabe, being considered a scoundrel in the eyes of many mothers, he did not expect he would find anyone there (way out of his league, yes, he was very much aware of it). When he saw Zara across the room, he saw something that were a lot like herself. Suddenly, breaking that mode of convention became rather important to both of them.Somehow only when reading the second half of the story, the other pair that was the focal point of the Midsummer Ball, everything began to fall into place. My favourite part of this part wasn't any particular scene, but the question Zara ask Kael when revealing the true reason why she was jilted. That question, I noticed, is what a lot of us still do when our real life relationship falling apart. It somehow stroked a core inside me and I found I can related to what she said on that moment in many level. Scandal at the Midsummer Ball is a fantastic read, suitable for a fine summer evening after supper, with a glass of red wine in hand. It is also suitable for a chilling winter. wrapping tight in a warm wooly blanket by the crackling fire. Everyone enjoy a good love story, and having two in the spam of one book is like that extra glazing on the top of the fine cupcake. Five stars. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Connie Fischer
    2018-10-02 22:31

    "The Officer’s Temptation” - Marguerite KayeBrockmoore Manor House Party - June 1817The Duke and Duchess of Brockmoore are hosting their annual summer house party for some of their friends. This party is primarily meant for making good marriage matches among the highly eligible attendees. One attendee, Colonel Fergus Kennedy of the Ninety Second Regiment of Foot, is finding the weather to be quite warm. Sir Timothy Farthingale introduces himself to Fergus and proceeds to tell him more about the other guests. One lady in particular has caught Fergus’s eye. Lady Verity Fairholme, a lovely young woman, is the niece of the Duke of Brockmoore. As he observes her, Fergus realizes that she would make a great wife should he accept a diplomatic posting to Egypt as requested by Wellington. But when he is introduced to her, he is taken aback at her indifference to him.Adventuring outside for some cool air, Fergus comes upon Miss Katerina Vengarov practicing her tightrope walking. She and her brother, Alexandr, are the Flying Vengarovs from Russia. They have been hired to entertain the guests at the party. After some great conversations, they begin a friendship which soon turns to passion. But how can two people of such different statuses be together?The Duke is pressuring his niece, Verity, to show interest in Fergus and they are both stumped as to why she doesn’t. Finally, Verity honestly tells Fergus that he appears to be a nice man but she absolutely does not want to live in Egypt. Fergus is satisfied and relieved with Verity’s honesty for he has found himself in love with Katerina. They soon find a solution that will allow them to be together. “The Debutante’s Awakening” - Bronwyn ScottBrockmoore Manor House Party - June 1817Miss Zara Titus is attending the house party hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Brockmoore. Her fiance, Viscount Haymore, has just broken off their long standing betrothal. It seems he found someone he truly loves. Since her betrothal to Viscount Haymore had been made by their parents when they were very young, she has not had a chance to get to know many other men. Now, she finds herself as simply a three-season debutante. Zara’s mother, Viscountess Aberforth, is pressuring her to find a husband and soon, but she wants the freedom to just be herself for awhile. She is determined to fight her mother’s demands.Zara soon spies a very handsome man across the room and using her fan, lets him know she would like to meet him.Kael Gage is not a wealthy man. The grandson of an earl, he owns a small horse farm that generates a good income for himself. Not necessarily in the market for a wife, he is still enjoying the house party. When Zara and Kael meet, sparks fly and he thinks to seduce her. But she is determined to not let him best her so she spars with him which leads to some stolen intimate moments.When Zara's mother becomes aware of her attraction to Kael, she is livid and tells Zara some evil things about Kael that make her wonder if it is the truth or not?Can these two overcome the obstacles put in their path to love? These are both cleverly written novellas which includes lots of fun that the attendees have at the party. I only wish I had been invited!Copy provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

  • Trudy Miner
    2018-09-22 15:36

    Scandal at the Midsummer Ball is a delightful duo of novellas by two authors that I enjoy immensely. Set at the annual house party of the Duke and Duchess of Brockmore where the ton's best marriages are brokered, each novella tells a different story of love found in a most unexpected way. The first story, The Officer's Temptation by Marguerite Kaye, centers around Officer Fergus Kennedy of the Ninety-Second Regiment of Foot who has been cooling his heels since Waterloo at Whitehall while waiting a new assignment. Now he's here with the promise of an ambassadorship to Egypt if he marries well and especially if he marries Lady Verity Fairholme, niece of Lord and Lady Brockmore. Unfortunately, Lady Verity wanted nothing to do with Fergus. However, the Duke hired the famous brother/sister highwire act, The Flying Vengarvos of Russia to entertain the party throughout the week. A chance meeting with Katerina Vengarov when he stepped outside for fresh air led to what began as an unlikely friendship but quickly grew into something more. For a man used to taking orders to a woman who is looked down on by society unless she's performing on the highwire, finding true love is very dangerous indeed. Katerina's enthusiasm for life and her desire to "fly free" infects Fergus and soon he realizes that being tied to a woman, Verity, who doesn't want him if she has to move to Egypt isn't what he wants either; he wants Katerina. The question is, will the Duke and Wellington let him go?In the second novella, The Debutante's Awakening, by Bronwyn Scott, Miss Zara Titus is also at the house party with her mother following the breakup of her engagement and the scandal it caused her when her fiance dumped her. There to find a new fiance/husband, she is nonetheless attracted to Kael Gage, a man who moves on the edge of society and who has no prospects. Kael, for his part, is instantly attracted to Zara too but knows that she's far above him in society and wouldn't be allowed near him. Soon, however, Zara and Kael found a way to be together until her mother learned of their attraction. Despite her mother's arguments, will Zara convince her that Kael is the man for her?In each novella, the "heroine" broke the bounds of the propriety of the day to find her own destiny. Katerina wanted to "fly free" and she ended up doing that with Fergus. Zara determined to be her own woman following the breakup of her engagement and followed her heart with Kael. It was an interesting and effective method in both novellas. I applaud both authors for using this method. I enjoyed both books; they both had unusual plots with effective endings. I was given this book by the author for an honest review and have tried to do that.

  • Alison
    2018-10-08 14:27

    I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I should also point out The Officer's Temptation I give four stars to, while The Debutante's Awakening was a three star read.Firstly, Fergus and Katerina. I always enjoy a soldier character in this period, especially one whom we learn more of their experience on the battlefield and it is not glossed over. Plus, what really makes this story is a fascinating, different heroine. A Russian acrobat no less, who is performing with her brother for the party.We should not forget however, that the ball is purely for matches and Fergus is here to find a wife. A wife that diplomatically could make his career. Neither should really interact, never mind fall in love but these restless souls are better matched than anyone could have imagined as they've both had challenging experiences in life. But it's more fun when life doesn't turn out the way we plan...I was kept guessing to the fate of their romance, and there were some sensual scenes as they got to know one another.Just a couple of small niggles that probably only affected me, when in her room Katerina refers to a casement window (opens outwards) but actually pushes it up (sash window). Also, I found the use of Alexandr and Alexei for her brother confusing though I get now Alexei was a pet name.All in all I really enjoyed it and would love to learn more perhaps about Alexandr or the Duke and Duchess of the house in question they all intrigued me. A great summer read.Now to Kael and Zara. Kael is something of a rogue, and when first introduced to him I rather liked him. As this story between him and Zara continued I did not like them so much.Zara's reputation is only a little better than the impoverished rake Kael's. She has been jilted and needs to marry fast.One rebel that's maybe ready to settle down and one lady that is about to rebel leads to lots of sensual moments and a conclusion that is perhaps unexpected for the hero. A chance to put his heart on the line at last.These stories do cross over and we revisit characters in this story from a different point of view. This was not repetitive however.I did feel that the satisfying conclusion of this story redeemed the characters to me from my first impression and finished the volume satisfactorily.

  • Marsha
    2018-09-29 19:21

    Unlikely attractions and illicit affairs are the naughty spice of so-called nice engagements. What better place to find both than at the Brockmore Manor House Party, an annual event renowned for the brilliant matches calculated by the canny Duke and Duchess of Brockmore?This novel delights with its panoply of various characters, all of them lending their particular flavors to the stories as they try to find suitable mates. There’s a lot more going on here besides men looking to find wives and mothers looking to unload their daughters in proper matches. Wedding the right spouse can mean anything from acquiring wealth, a seat in Parliament to a stunning diplomat career abroad. The dual stories, which revolve around the same event, weave together all the threads of personal matchmaking with public intrigue. Politics, social manners, wealth, privilege, rivalries both male and female are all at play here and make for wonderful storytelling. The lure of forbidden partners—those who are beyond the social pale for whatever reason—may be the central theme but it is wisely padded with the variety of a household brimming with the wants and needs of its many personages.What really thrilled me was in seeing that some people had different layers to them. An autocratic duke is shown to reward audacity rather than punish it. A stiff and prim mother reveals a certain sauciness beneath her prudish exterior. Perhaps the two people who brought the biggest smile to my face were the aforementioned Duke and Duchess of Brockmore. A childless couple, they have devoted their lives to bringing together men and women in fortuitous marriages in their yearly event. They are a cunning pair that orchestrates everything from seating arrangements to the entertainment. But I found myself relishing their machinations and wanting them to succeed. I also finished the novel wanting to know more about them, their past histories, what brought them together, what adversities they might have had to overcome.The two authoresses did very well with each other, collaborating on a romance that is as unusual as it is rewarding. I hope to read more such from the two of them in future.

  • Anna Swedenmom
    2018-10-12 16:21

    A well written collaboration between two great authors! I enjoyed these two stories. They involve not only the aristocrats but the everyday type of people. The stories flowed together wonderfully and made it an easy transition from one story to another. You can tell the authors have a good way of working together when you are reading both of the stories. Now for the review of the stories themselves. They are light reading and easy to read in one sitting for me. I like the romance the passion and the humor. I enjoyed the suspense and surprises as well as the setting for the stories. Each story has a good deal to offer but I must say my favorite was The Officers Temptation! I enjoyed both...! The writers are able to give you the ability to lose yourself in the pages smiling at times and at others cheering them on with your heart. I like the types of stories that touch you on different levels and this is one of them. So it is a buy from me! I was given this ARC in return for an honest review. Anna Swedenmom

  • Mary Hart
    2018-10-23 22:21

    I really enjoyed these two stories. I enjoy Marguerite Kaye's style of writing and the story of Fergus Kennedy is richly descriptive, I especially enjoyed the way she explains Fergus's thoughts. It's good to see historical romance stories using interesting non aristrocratic characters rather than the usual lords and ladies. The passion between Katerina and Fergus builds up nicely through the story and the outcome is well thought out and reasoned. There are interesting side characters, though I did feel curious on all the other house guests and wondered if there were more stories to come. Bronwyn Scott's story is very nice too, though I did perfer Fergus's. Her Heroine, like Fergus is battling with expected behaviour in comparison to her natural inclinations. Kael is a lovely hero and it was great to see their HEA. I would heartily recommend these two stories, both authors are great exponents of their craft. I was sent an advance copy of the book for a honest review

  • Louisa Heaton
    2018-10-15 19:14

    The Officer's Temptation by Marguerite Kaye is a fabulous regency tale. From the first page you are swept away to regency England and the Duke of Brockmore's Midsummer Party, where marriages and potential suitors are made. Colonel Fergus Kennedy is not there because he wants to be. His hand has been forced by the Duke of Wellington.Katerina Vengarov is there to perform and she knows her place. She is not aristocracy and neither is she a servant. An entertainer, she is seen as a courtesan.Katerina and Fergus are both in situations in life in which they are not truly happy, something they sense in the other and are drawn to each other. Their love story develops quickly, but genuinely and they sense a deep passion between them.This was a very enjoyable story and I love how Miss Kaye can draw you into a world that you can so easily imagine.

  • Laura J.
    2018-10-04 19:13

    4 stars for Kaye's story and barely 2 for Scott's.The first story is a sweet romance between a military man with ambitions and a hire wire artist. The second story's main characters is about a beautiful, young woman who was recently jilted by a fiancee picked out by her parents. She picks out the bad boy in the party as a means of rebelling against her mother and society. I didn't care for either characters and didn't finished the story. I was also annoyed by the language ("resistance is futile" and "politically correct") which is too contemporary (were the Borg invited to the party?).

  • Harlequin Books
    2018-10-04 18:31

    "Kaye and Scott have created a charming duet set at a midsummer’s ball where the goal is matchmaking and mayhem is expected. Each tale is quick-paced, surprising, sensual and highly romantic. This fun, light read is just what readers need to lift their spirits" (RT Book Reviews).I enjoyed this one. Matchmaking is the theme of this party and all members know that is the purpose of the events. They also know that they really have no choice if they want the future support of very influential personages. ~ Kim

  • GONZA
    2018-09-26 17:40

    Two short stories with place and people in common, couples that are not supposed to be find a way to be togther and everybody has their happily ever after. For a couple of nice hours of entertaining.Due storie brevi che hanno la location e alcune persone in comune. Coppie che non potrebbero essere, ma che invece trovano il modo per avere il loro "...e vissero per sempre felici e contenti". Per un paio d'ora di facile divertimento.THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND HARLEQUIN (US. & CANADA) FOR THE PREVIEW!

  • Cecilia Rodriguez
    2018-10-12 18:11

    The two connected stories are set in the same time and place; 1817 at Brockmore Manor.The first story is by Marguerite Kaye and titled: The Officer's Temptation.Colonel Fergus Kennedy is searching for what to do after leaving the army, when he sees Katerina Vengarov, a Russian acrobat.The second story by Browyn Scott is titled: The Debutante's Awakening. Scott's plot does not have the same development as the first.

  • Nancy Reynolds
    2018-10-21 18:21

    What fun!!!! Two completely separate stories, all woven around the same characters and events. Both tales were a delight to read!!! I can only imagine how difficult it was for the two authors to work together to keep the "facts straight" and yet have total control of their own story. My hat is off to them. They pulled it off with great flair!!!!

  • JoAnne
    2018-09-28 14:22

    Read my review on RomanceJunkies.com by clicking on the link below:http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com/...I rated it 4.5 but rounded up for Goodreads.

  • Sandra R
    2018-10-21 20:21

    Both 4 star reads for me. Very well written and engaging stories.

  • Deirdre
    2018-10-07 17:24

    Two romances, preferred the first. Both set during a midsummer ball