★Blog Tour★ Review & Excerpt of This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman
Bow Street Bachelors #1
Published 29 October 2019 by St Martin’s Paperbacks

Introducing the Bow Street Bachelors—men who work undercover for London’s first official police force—and the women they serve to protect. . .and wed?
Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person. Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?
Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him—and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?

Where to start...Oh, right. I'm reviewing This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman as a part of a blog tour put together by the amazing folks at St. Martin's Press and SMP Romance. The FTC requires this disclaimer even though every person who has ever met me knows that I am way too opinionated for a free book to sway my opinion. Let's get to this before the coffee runs out!
I was hooked into this book right from the start. The opening scene was all the sketchy a girl could ask for, a cloaked figure, nocturnal sneaking, mystery and intrigue (those are different!), and, marriage for reasons that don't involve love. Georgiana "Georgie" Caversteed is being 'hunted' by her creep-o cousin who wants to marry her for her money and he's not being subtle about it. Her plan is to marry a man sentenced to be hanged and live her life as the woefully ignored wife of an always travelling husband. Girl, yes! Georgie is kind of next-level if you ask me, in a time where 'proper' women basically had to be married, she had her plan all figured out on how to be her own woman. Marry a man sentenced to death, boom! instant secret widow and freedom to do as she pleases! And her husband of (in)convenience? Not actually a ne'er-do-well convict bound for Tasmania in the morning. He's a war hero, a member of the ton, -coowner of a gambling hell, and an undercover Bow Street Runner. Benedict "Ben" Hyde is given two options from the prison warden, marry mystery lady or die right there. Ben's Not Happy about this situation and completely dumbstruck when he finds out the identity of his new bride, the wealthiest woman in London. And I am telling you the book, huh? Just slap my name on this book, I love it!
The dynamics between Ben and Georgie are stellar. Ben gives Georgie the ability to be herself, enjoy herself, and have adventures (because adventures should be shared). And, Georgie gives Ben a better sense of self-worth little by little, she shows him how to feel, and she helps him out with his case! Reading this, you can feel the sparks between Ben and Georgie from the start, not the instantaneous 'love them, gotta have them, be with them forever' deal, but that warm butterfly feeling that kind of makes you want to vomit but also makes you want to skip everywhere and it quickly gets out of control and OHMIGOSH I LURV THEM! These two understand each other wonderfully and, even when they have a misunderstanding, they don't flounce off for an eternity and a half or break things off, they talk. They're magical unicorns.
Character Time! My favourite character aside from our leads has to be either Georgiana's younger sister, Juliet, or Benedict's little street urchin friend, Jem. Juliet acts like an airhead, but she's pretty on the ball. She's not as fierce as Georgie, but she has no use for the puff-shirts and one of my favourite conversations in this story is between Georgie and Juliet where they ridicule a man, who's after the Caversteed fortune of course, who has sworn to slay dragons for Juliet. And she's head-over-heels for a preacher's kid from their hometown and subtly sticks it to her matchmaking, title-hunting mother every chance she gets it seems. And Jem is just, well, you have to meet Jem to understand. I love that kid. I like Pieter, the right-hand man Georgie inherited from her father, he's overprotective but also knows Georgie can take care of herself. We love a man who gets that zen balance. I like the teasing camaraderie between Ben and his co-owner friends (and fellow runners), Alex and Seb. My dork babies. My least favourite characters? Georgiana and Juliet's mother and their cousin, Josiah. Josiah is a drunk, a gambling addict, and so many other creeper things that involve me digging out my taser.
I flat-out snorted at Starbucks while reading one passage. The only thing I'll say is, Georgie and Ben actually have the same sense of humour. Poor Mother Caversteed, she never stood a chance. There are some things I didn't see coming in This Earl of Mine and I do love a book that keeps me on my toes. I liked that we had consistent historical accuracy in our content, I'm a trifling little chit about this, I will full-stop on a hist-rom that doesn't give me accuracy for days. I'm at peace with this aspect of my personality, don't judge me.
I just really hated Josiah. His entire whole character was human trash. I also learned that reading the word "coitus" just ruins a love scene for me. It's right up there with "moist", y'all. I also wish there had been some friendship out there for Georgie. That girl needs a friend. I'm giving This Earl of Mine four stars and three flames. I enjoyed this book and it was a great series opener and I cannot wait to read the next book! I think I've covered everything in my notes, it sure seems like it, so this is the end of my review! But, keep reading for an excerpt!

Chapter 1.

London, March 1816.
There were worse places to find a husband than Newgate Prison.
Of course there were.
It was just that, at present, Georgie couldn’t think of any.
“Georgiana Caversteed, this is a terrible idea.” Georgie frowned at her burly companion, Pieter Smit, as the nondescript carriage he’d summoned to convey them to London’s most notorious jail rocked to a halt on the cobbled street. The salt-weathered Dutchman always used her full name whenever he disapproved of some- thing she was doing. Which was often.
“Your father would turn in his watery grave if he knew what you were about.”
That was undoubtedly true. Until three days ago, en- listing a husband from amongst the ranks of London’s most dangerous criminals had not featured prominently on her list of life goals. But desperate times called for desperate measures. Or, in this case, for a desperate felon about to be hanged. A felon she would marry before the night was through.
Georgie peered out into the rain-drizzled street, then up, up the near-windowless walls. They rose into the mist, five stories high, a vast expanse of brickwork, bleak and unpromising. A church bell tolled somewhere in the darkness, a forlorn clang like a death knell. Her stomach knotted with a grim sense of foreboding.
Was she really going to go through with this? It had seemed a good plan, in the safety of Grosvenor Square. The perfect way to thwart Cousin Josiah once and for all. She stepped from the carriage, ducked her head against the rain, and followed Pieter under a vast arched gate. Her heart hammered at the audacity of what she planned. They’d taken the same route as condemned prisoners on the way to Tyburn tree, only in reverse. West to east, from the rarefied social strata of Mayfair through gradually rougher and bleaker neighborhoods, Holborn and St. Giles, to this miserable place where the dregs of humanity had been incarcerated. Georgie felt as if she were nearing her own execution.
She shook off the pervasive aura of doom and straightened her spine. This was her choice. However unpalat- able the next few minutes might be, the alternative was far worse. Better a temporary marriage to a murderous, unwashed criminal than a lifetime of misery with Josiah. They crossed the deserted outer courtyard, and Georgie cleared her throat, trying not to inhale the foul-smelling air that seeped from the very pores of the building. “You have it all arranged? They are expecting us?”
Pieter nodded. “Aye. I’ve greased the wheels with yer blunt, my girl. The proctor and the ordinary are both bent as copper shillings. Used to having their palms greased, those two, the greedy bastards.”
Her father’s right-hand man had never minced words in front of her, and Georgie appreciated his bluntness. So few people in the ton ever said what they really meant. Pieter’s honesty was refreshing. He’d been her father’s man for twenty years before she’d even been born. A case of mumps had prevented him from accompanying William Caversteed on his last, fateful voyage, and Georgie had often thought that if Pieter had been with her father, maybe he’d still be alive. Little things like squalls, ship- wrecks, and attacks from Barbary pirates would be mere inconveniences to a man like Pieter Smit.
In the five years since Papa’s death, Pieter’s steadfast loyalty had been dedicated to William’s daughters, and Georgie loved the gruff, hulking manservant like a second father. He would see her through this madcap scheme— even if he disapproved.
She tugged the hood of her cloak down to stave off the drizzle. This place was filled with murderers, highway- men, forgers, and thieves. Poor wretches slated to die, or those “lucky” few whose sentences had been commuted to transportation. Yet in her own way, she was equally desperate.
“You are sure that this man is to be hanged tomorrow?” Pieter nodded grimly as he rapped on a wooden door.
“I am. A low sort he is, by all accounts.”
She shouldn’t ask, didn’t want to know too much about the man whose name she was purchasing. A man whose death would spell her own freedom. She would be wed and widowed within twenty-four hours.

From This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

Kate Bateman, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of historical romances, including her RITA® nominated Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, and the novels in the Secrets & Spies series To Steal a Heart, A Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart. When not writing novels that feature feisty, intelligent heroines and sexy, snarky heroes you want to both strangle and kiss, Kate works as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several popular TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.

You can interact with her online here::

This week has been fun. The bar next to my complex's dog park got a new sign with rapidly flashing blue, green, and white lights. I saw them then I hit the ground, the doctor at the Emergency Care annex to my Medial Centre thinks I had some type of seizure. I got scheduled with my neuro (she's going to love this so much) and I can't wait for whatever new tests I'm going to be put through. I also upped my Aimovig to double the dosage and, while I love the Aimovig for taking away the constant migraine hellscape, the side effects are also doubled, so I keep randomly falling asleep. Oh, and my air conditioner caught fire. Everybody's okay, nobody's hurt, just not something I needed at 3AM, y'know? FUN WEEKEND ALL AROUND.
Anyways, my brain is fried. I'm back-dating this (at least I'm honest) for Saturday like it was supposed to be posted but guess who forgot to do the scheduling and went to the Emergency Care? Yep. And then I pretty much slept until MONDAY thinking it was already published. I'm hoping that was a final October kick and not November hating on me. I hope y'all have a less-cursed life and, until next time, have a happily ever after!

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