October 30, 2014

Naughty Nooner: Seducing The Groom by Cheryl Holt + Giveaway

Series: Stand-alone
Format: PDF
Release Date: October 30, 2014 
Publisher: Book Baby
Source: Publisher
Genre: Historical Novella
Cheryl Holt celebrates her years as “The Queen of Erotic Romance” with this sexy, yummy, and fun tale of a bride’s seductive antics on her wedding night…

Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, is in a bind. His father has cut off his allowance, so he’s had to rein in his decadent habits and split with his beautiful, spoiled mistress whom he can no longer afford. When an American heiress comes to London and dangles her fortune in Stephen’s direction, he sees it as the answer to his prayers. He’ll wed the pretty, delectable heiress, but he won’t let her interfere with his decadent lifestyle. He’s a confirmed bachelor and determined to have a marriage of convenience.

Ellen Foster has traveled to London for the express purpose of buying a titled husband. She’s been husband shopping for months and can’t make up her mind. All the available candidates seem tepid and boring. But when she lays eyes on handsome, dashing Stephen St. John, she knows he’s the one, and with her large fortune as bait, he’s easily snared in her web.

When he suggests a marriage of convenience, she pretends to agree. But she has no intention of living separate lives. She plans to enjoy every delightful, wicked minute that marriage to a rake can provide. With Stephen determined to avoid her, seduction seems the only choice.

Though Stephen doesn’t realize it, Ellen always gets her way, and as she turns their bedchamber into a den of erotic pleasure, poor Stephen doesn’t stand a chance.

I've been sneaking historical romances here and there once in a while hoping to incorporate the genre full to my roster. I need to switch it up once in a while and sometimes the more options the better. Which had me jumping on Cheryl Holt's SEDUCING THE GROOM. It's a 70-paged novella and perfect for my laid back plans for this week. 

It's easy for me to imagine SEDUCING THE GROOM as part of a full-length historical romance novel and a part of me wishes that this was longer so we can witness Ellen and Stephen's love story from beginning to end. CHolt has other and sexier plans though because she jumps right away to their honeymoon. The problem is theirs is an arranged loveless and supposedly sexless marriage, unfortunately Ellen's already fallen for the handsome aristocrat and is intent on consummating their relationship on their wedding night.  

Novellas are tricky and is a usually hit or miss because at times some aspect of the story suffers so it can fit the length. CHolt though made it simple gave SEDUCING THE GROOM a sense of completion. The characters managed to give us a good snapshot of their backstory, the conflict was well rounded and because the plot posed a simple question, to fluck or not to fluck, the resolution was fairly simple as well. Though SEDUCING THE GROOM did not fully satisfy my craving for a great historical romance, it was enough to whet my appetite and plan for more in the nearest future.

London, 1815…

“Well, good night then, Lord Banbury.”
“Good night.”
Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, eventually to be Earl of Stafford if his recalcitrant, impossible father ever dropped dead, glared at the interloper who’d now been his wife for all of ten hours. The silence extended; the farewell grew awkward.
What repartee, precisely, was a man supposed to express at a time such as this? Sleep well? Pleasant dreams? See you in the morning? Or how about more aptly, What was I thinking, marrying a woman I don’t know? Have I gone mad?
Nothing seemed appropriate. Astoundingly, he blushed, his cheeks heating with an embarrassing dose of discomfort.
The wedding guests were gone, the house had been tidied by what was left of his domestic staff, and he’d been about to leave too, when he’d stumbled upon her floating down the stairs. She was scarcely dressed, clad in a diaphanous green negligee and robe that hardly covered anything that ought to be covered. Apparently, as she’d concluded that he was already off to his merrymaking, she’d believed herself to be alone in the massive, drafty domicile. Unable to sleep, she’d descended to fetch a relaxing refreshment.
Her hair was blond, the shade of ripened wheat. It was unbound and hanging down her back to brush her bottom, and he was gravely troubled by the display. She was much too forward and assured, prancing about in her nightwear before an unfamiliar man, yet she didn’t appear perturbed.
Yes, he was her husband, but nevertheless, they were strangers.
Even though he hadn’t meant to, he evaluated her graceful figure. He was only human! He couldn’t be expected to avoid looking at what was flaunted in plain sight.
She was much too shapely, and he squirmed uneasily and inspected the floor, only to be confronted by her feet.
Her toenails were painted red! The splash of bright crimson in the dull salon seemed immoderately sexy, out of place, incongruous and irreconcilable with the individual he pictured her to be.
Ordinarily, he was an urbane, sophisticated fellow, renowned and lauded for his aplomb, his polish and poise and, most particularly, for his way with the ladies. Yet with his new bride, he’d been transformed into a bungling, gauche oaf.
From the moment earlier in the day, when she’d waltzed into the parlor, promptly at eleven, he’d behaved like an ass. Throughout the abbreviated ceremony, then the afternoon of toasting and celebration, and the interminable meal that had wrapped up the festivities, he’d constantly tripped over himself, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, and generally making a fool of himself.
She likely presumed that she’d wed a moronic buffoon.
He was dawdling in the doorway, acting like a simpleton, powerless to depart, but incapable of maintaining any sort of intelligent conversation. 
“Don’t let me keep you,” she obligingly said. Showing him her back, she strolled to the other side of the room, where surprisingly, she helped herself to a stout glass of brandy.
During the excessive, protracted gala, he’d covertly watched her. When his rowdy, wild friends had still been in attendance, she’d had naught to drink. While she’d ceaselessly had a beverage in her hand, he’d never seen her take so much as a sip. So why now?
He was used to consorting with a rather decadent type of lady, so he normally wouldn’t have heeded whether she’d imbibed or not. Usually, he paid no heed to what a female did or didn’t do. But it bothered him to discover that she was so nonplussed by events that she could blithely delight in a nightcap.
“Enjoy your…revelry,” she added. “I’m sure it will be mostentertaining.”
From the beginning, he’d recognized that she had a husky, come-hither voice. When she talked, she always sounded as though she were on the verge of mentioning an indecent proposition. Thus, it was difficult to focus on the content of her speech, because the words kept getting lost in the sensual timbre of any utterance.
Narrowing his gaze, he studied her rounded behind, trying to deduce if she was mocking him with her flip adieu. Was she jesting? Was she serious?
She had to be joking. She had to be!
Though she’d readily and freely yielded to his ultimatum that theirs would be a marriage of convenience, how could she blandly acquiesce to his rushing out to cavort with others on their wedding night? Had she no feelings in the matter? Was she genuinely unconcerned about where he went or what he did? What woman—what wife!—could be so tolerant, so unmoved? What kind of person was she?
There was the crux of his problem. He had no idea.

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author of over thirty-five novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance” as well as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans.

Follow Cheryl
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | @theCherylHolt


  1. I adore the title of this meme. :P

    Thanks so much for sharing the excerpt with us. Glad this was an enjoyable read. :)

  2. Sounds pretty good, Braine. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Novellas are hit and miss for me as well. I don't like to be left wanting. ;) I have a few recommendations for historicals if you're interested. It's a genre I love but haven't read much in the last year. Let me know. Great review, lady!!

    1. I will take you up on that. I'm slowly working my way in, I think Edwardian and Regency are my preferred for now. I reserve Victorian for my Steampunk LOL

  3. I would love to add these to my book case!!

    1. This is so short you can fit it in without a hitch

  4. That's great that this novella had a full-length feel to it even though it didn't quite satisfy your need for Historical Romance, hopefully your wish will be granted, and the author will publish this couple's backstory sometime in the near future. Look at all of that man-candy action going on in the Rafflecopter widget. Hehe!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

    1. Oh yeah, I did a bit of research on Holt and WHEW! She knows her sizzlers that's for sure

  5. I'm posting on behalf of Cheryl Holt:

    "Hi everyone. Thank you for posting comments. I was interested in everyone's thoughts about novellas--and how they're too darn short! I've only written two novellas in my life, and that was because my publishers asked me to write them, and it's hard to say "no" to a request like that. But when an author writes a novella, she has to go thru the same amount of prep work (such as picking character names and devising character's back stories) that has to be done for a full length novel As I was writing both novellas, I felt that I'd "wasted" a perfectly good hero, heroine, and plot that could have been used in a full-length novel. So I don't write novellas. Plus, I think I'm a much better writer when I write very long books, and I like to read very long books, too. So this is probably the one and only novella you guys will ever see from me!

    In January, I'll be doing a "launch" for my next historical romance trilogy, and it will be three very long, very yummy historical romances."

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Dayna! I love yummy on anything, looking forward to more sexy from her :)

  6. Novellas are tricky, but yes to more historical flings!

  7. This sounds like a lot of fun. After reading the first chapter, I'd love to read about the time leading up to that night and the wedding. It definitely sounds like it could be a great full novel. I'll try this and hopefully enjoy the condensed version. ;)

    1. Oh gosh the girl can seduce, I learned a few tricks from her

  8. Oh I'm with ya on that. Novellas can be so darn hard! I've been wanting to give hers a try. I can't for the life of me remember the name--would have to go look through the shelves--but picked one up last time I was at the bookstore. Glad it gave you a little push into trying some more out :)

  9. I'm picky with novellas, if the story and plot feel complete I'm happy. It's hit of miss though like you said. Sometimes it feels too rushed. Great review :)

  10. I know what you mean about the shorties. They are a gamble. The blurb makes this one sound like a novel in its romance scope, but I suppose if the beginning point is right at the honeymoon then it might be enough. I guess its a matter of knowing what to expect. I've never read this author so I'll have to check out her other stuff too.

    1. She managed to work in the backstory real well where we can understand why and how the couple got to where they are. I hope you get to try her work one of these days :)

  11. Replying for Cheryl Holt:

    "For those of you who like full-length historical romances, I’d like to suggest that you try my Lord Trent trilogy books. The three titles are LOVE’S PROMISE, LOVE’S PRICE, and LOVE’S PERIL. They were released in summer, 2013, and are my biggest selling books and my fans’ favorite books out of all the ones I’ve written. The second one, LOVE’S PRICE, was nominated for a National Booksellers Best Award, and the third one, LOVE’S PERIL, was nominated for a National Readers Choice Award. I think the three novels are my “best” example of the kind of books I like to write.

    I’m giving away an autographed print copy of the trilogy through this Rafflecopter giveaway. And since you posted a comment today, you’re entered in the drawing. But if you don’t win, you can order the trilogy through Amazon either as a print book or an e-book. If you’re an e-reader, they’re only 99-cents a piece, so you can read a great trilogy for three dollars! They are the most yummy, dramatic, and emotional books I’ve ever written, and I think the hero in Book 3, LOVE’S PERIL, is the most macho, alpha hero I ever created. I hope my novella, SEDUCING THE GROOM, has whetted your appetite for my writing, but you can get the true flavor of my work from the Lord Trent books."

  12. This series looks and sounds like a lot of fun :) thank you so much for sharing!

  13. I have added these books to my book wishlist. I will purchase them on my next book shopping spree.

    jmesparza821 at gmail dot com

  14. You're right, Novellas are tricky, it's always a little difficult with them because it's really short. I didn't know this one though. Thanks for introducing it to me.

    1. There's so few that managed to satisfy. It's the motion of the ocean!!

  15. I would probably pick this up just got the title! I love novellas and HR. This might be a good fit for m!

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