Thursday, January 18, 2018

Excerpt & Tour: The Sea Devil by Eliza Knight


Celebrate the release of THE SEA DEVIL, the newest installment in USA Today Bestselling Author Eliza Knight’s  swashbuckling series, Pirates of Britannia: Lords of the Sea.

“This series never disappoints, it just gets better, like a good bottle of wine, the more you have, the more you want.”—Goodreads Reviewer

Title: The Sea Devil
Author: Eliza Knight
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Pirates of Britannia (Book Three)
Publisher: Self-published
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisA daring brotherhood, where honor among thieves reigns supreme, and crushing their enemies is a thrilling pastime. These are the Pirates of Britannia.

Thornley “Thor” MacLeod, captain of The Sea Devil and prominent member of the Devils of the Deep is out for one thing and one thing only—revenge against Santiago Fernandez, leader of Los Demonios de Mar. Tormented by the demons of his past, he knows the only relief to his pain will be spilling the blood of his enemy. When he learns that Santiago seeks to find a child he abandoned nearly two decades before, Thor is determined to find the precious treasure first. Which means, Thor may have to sacrifice his honor in order to exact the perfect vengeance.
Orphaned at a young age, Alesia Baird has grown up along the harsh coasts of Scotland, bearing witness to many a nightmare. With the hangman’s noose dangling ever closer to her neck, she has to find a way to escape the only life she’s ever known. When she overhears a pirate mention he seeks the child of Santiago Fernandez, Alesia takes the leap, knowing this could be her only way out.
Alesia must keep up the ruse long enough to escape with her life, and perhaps a sack full of jewels. But when it comes time to jump ship, she finds her destiny may have led her in a different path. Will the hardened Highlander allow a lass into his heart—or is she destined to be alone forever?


“I’m a pirate, lass. What am I supposed to think when I come into my room and a lass has made herself at home, going so far as to take off her boots?”

She pushed against him more, and he did let go slightly, enough that she thought she might be able to draw a better breath, but it didn’t appear that his hold was what kept her from breathing. Struggling to speak without choking, she said, “I came here because I heard ye were looking for the bastard of Santiago Fernandez.”

“And ye claim to be that unfortunate offspring?”

She nodded solemnly. “I do.”

“Prove it,” he growled.

“How?” She wriggled against him. “Put me down first.”

“Say something to me in Spanish.”

He settled her in front of him, but not far enough away that she couldn’t still feel the heat of his body sinking into hers. Thinking quickly on her feet, Alesia frowned up at him. “My mother was Scots, and my father, the legendary Spanish pirate, abandoned me the moment he planted his seed, ye buffoon. Where would I have learned his language?”

“Point taken.” He studied her face, eyes narrowed. “Ye do have the look of him. In a feminine sort of way. Save for that hair. Tempestuous hair.”

Her mouth fell open at the insult. She moved to stomp on his foot but quickly found herself lifted off her feet, arms pinned to her sides by the steely strength of his own.

Fine, he wanted to play dirty. She’d already showed him once she knew how to take down a man. Alesia moved to kick him where she’d had the pleasure of socking him before, but Captain Thor clamped her legs between his thighs of steel.

“Uh-uh, princess,” he mocked.

Though she hated to head-butt anyone for the headache it always gave her, that was her next move. Alesia was fairly certain at this point she wasn’t going to be walking away with the silver, which meant she could at least walk away with her life—and figure out another way to escape the wharf.

Before she had the chance to make good on her decision to crack her head against his, she found herself flattened to the wood-planked floor, and his massive body on top of hers. Every hard plane pressed to the soft curves of her own. She sucked in a ragged breath, prepared to shout at him to leave off, but she found her throat too tight to speak.

“I’d have expected more from Santiago’s daughter, wee sprite.” His finger trailed over her cheek and along her jawline.

Alesia bared her teeth, trying to wriggle free but only managing to feel his body pressed harder to hers. “And I would have expected more from a pirate Captain.”

“Touché.” His grin was inviting. Unnerving. Disarming.

“Get off me,” she growled, trying keep her mind in the right place—the angry place. That was survival. To succumb to his disarmament was to lose.

His gaze shifted to her lips. “Not without a kiss.”

Alesia snorted and shoved at his unmoving shoulders. “I’d not kiss ye if ye were the last man on earth.”

“What if I were the second to last?” he teased.

She let out an exasperated groan. “Not then, either, ye ogre.”

He clucked his tongue. “Shame.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because, lass, if sparring with ye is this fun, kissing would be even better.”







Buy Links:


Eliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty sizzling historical, time-travel and contemporary romance novels. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your- heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies. 

Connect with Eliza at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram





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Book Blitz: The Shadow Weave by Annette Marie





The Shadow Weave 
Annette Marie
(Spell Weaver #2)


Publication date:
January 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Clio might be a nymph living in exile among humans. And she might possess the rare ability to mimic any magic she sees. And she might have just seriously ticked off the most powerful family of spell weavers in the Underworld. 
But she is not in love with an incubus.
Lyre is the rebellious black sheep of said weaver family, and he’s the only reason she survived her recent Underworld “vacation.” He’s also the sexiest thing she’s ever seen. Together, they have to track down a catastrophically dangerous magic—a magic he created, she sort of stole, and they both lost—before his family gets their hands on it. And that means fighting alongside him in a desperate attempt to avert complete disaster. 
But she is definitely not in love with him. At least, she’s pretty sure she’s not.
Mostly sure. Maybe sure? …Crap.

EXCERPT:

As though summoned by her thoughts, the sex fiend himself breezed into the room. Hair damp and tousled, the kind of face that made women’s hearts skip, broad shoulders that tapered to a toned torso. His tattered clothes should have ruined the look, but they added an extra edge—dangerous and exotic.

The others in the kitchen noticed his arrival, but they dismissed him just as quickly. Unlike most daemons, incubi were easy to recognize even in glamour. No other caste possessed that stunning combination of golds—white-gold hair, warm golden skin, vibrant irises like a dark patina over rich yellow gold.

Yes, they recognized him as an incubus—and they didn’t bother to hide their curling lips and wrinkling noses. Lyre either didn’t notice or didn’t care as he swept over to her, his expression brightening for the first time in two days.

“Clio,” he purred, voice too low for even keen-eared strangers to hear, “your powers of seduction would put any succubus to shame.”

She blinked at him, the bowl of whisked eggs in her hands and a hot pan sizzling in front of her. His mood was so different from earlier that she couldn’t quite grasp it.

“Huh?” she managed. How articulate.

“This is entirely unfair. I have no power to resist such tactics.” He waited a beat. “Are you planning to do something with those eggs?”

She blinked again, trying to unscramble her brain. Scramble. Right, the eggs. She dumped the mixture into the hot pan. “What are you going on about, Lyre?”

“Bacon,” he sighed dreamily. “Pancakes. Scrambled eggs. You slay me, my love.”

On the words “my love,” her heart screeched to a stop so fast it might have left skid marks on her ribs. It kicked back into gear at three times its previous speed and she concentrated so hard on the spatula that she almost went cross-eyed. “You—you can’t be that excited about my cooking. You don’t even know if it’s any good.”

“I can tell already. It’ll be delicious.”

She shivered. The way he said that word should be illegal. As she hurriedly stirred the eggs with a spatula, he stood so close he was almost touching her, his body angled toward her as though she held his entire attention. But his gaze, sliding coolly from one watching daemon to another, was distinctly unfriendly.

She scraped the eggs off the pan, then rescued the bacon from the oven—triggering a stir among the waiting daemons. With her bottom lip caught between her teeth, she pulled a plate from the cupboard, loaded it with food, and held it out to Lyre. She’d cooked an elaborate late-night breakfast to cheer him up, but now second thoughts were crowding her brain. Too late to change her plan now.

His smile only fueled her blush as he fished a fork out of a nearby drawer, loaded it with eggs, and scooped them into his mouth. She held her breath. The entire room went silent.

His eyes rolled back in ecstasy. “So good,” he moaned.

Bang.

She jerked around. The female daemon had dropped her heavy book on the floor. As everyone looked over at her, pink tinged the woman’s cheeks. She snatched up her book and beat a hasty retreat out of the room.

Clio swallowed hard, envious of the woman’s ability to flee. Lyre’s moan had been so sensual it had been downright scandalous, and if Clio didn’t put space between them soon, she was going to start swooning like a complete fool.

Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat— Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities. 

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Spotlight: Return of the Lycan King by Candace Blackburn


One life, one mate.

That is the rule for Lycans, and after waiting for over a thousand years, Nicholas Konstantine has finally found his.

But Kristen O'Connor doesn't know she is a Lycan. He wants to claim her, but she's scared.

Will they face everything together, or will her fears be stronger than their love?

Title: Return of the Lycan King - Nicholas and Kristen
Author: Candace Blackburn
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Adult
SeriesReturn of the Lycan King Trilogy (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisOne life, one mate. Nicholas Konstantine has been waiting over a thousand years for his mate. But when he finds her, she's completely unaware of her Lycan biology, and she's battling her own personal demons. 

Kristen O'Connor is a recovering addict, with some major trust issues. By not letting anyone get close, she won't get hurt. Yet after one meeting with Nicholas, her walls are crumbling, and she wants more with this man. 

But Nicholas reveals his Lycan side, and hers as well. In addition, ghosts from both of their pasts come back to haunt them. Will they face everything together, or will Kristen's fears be stronger than her love?


"No." Repeating the word over and over, as if that would negate the reality, Kristen walked to the bathroom and turned on the lights. The fluorescent bulbs weren't needed to highlight what was there. Her pupils were, indeed, a deep yellow. The color was framed by her thickened eyebrows. She swung her hair around and...dear God. Her hair was at least a foot longer than it had been that very morning. Her fingers shook as she held a thick section of red hair.

All she saw were the claws.

The scream was primal and Kristen sobbed as she sank to the floor. Nicholas was there instantly, wrapping his arms around her.

"What is happening to me?"

He rocked her back and forth, rubbing her back in circular motions. "Your body is going through a change."

"No shit, Nicholas. But why me? God almighty, I'm waving the freak flag high enough as it is. Now I'm part animal?" She held her arms in front of her face. "I've got fucking claws!"

"I know, beautiful. I've seen them."

"Don't!"

"Don't what?"

"Call me beautiful. I'm anything but."

"You're incredibly beautiful. Even now, with all the things that are disturbing you so badly."

"They aren't disturbing to you? You spent the night fucking a Lycan, werewolf, whatever and you're perfectly calm." The sobs slowed as she turned to look at him. "Why is that, Nicholas?"

"Because," he said as he held out his hand. Kristen gasped as claws extended from his finger tips. "I'm a Lycan too."

Copyright © 2018 Return of the Lycan King: Book 1 Nicholas and Kristen by Candace Blackburn


Candace makes her home in North Carolina with her high school sweetheart husband and their two sons.  She's an indie author who has published two previous romances (with a bit of fantasy in each), Tristan's Redemption and Nate's Forgiveness.  Her current works are all paranormal romance (her favorite genre to read!) and are set in her home state.  She loves coffee, cold weather, the Boston Red Sox, the Carolina Panthers, and hearing from fans.

Connect with Candace:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon



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Book Blitz: Total Exposure by J.A. Huss



Total Exposure 
J.A. Huss
(Jordan’s Game #1)

Publication date: January 16th 2018 
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Not everyone needs a master.
Not everyone needs to really live, either.
Some people are content to be a participant in the game of life.
Others want to play for real.
If you want to play for real, come to me, lovely.
I’ll give you that little push you need.
I’ll open your mind, and your world, and soul.
Lay you bare. Let you feel the heat of my stare.
Take you places you’ve never been before.
Your body is my chessboard, sweets.
And if you give in to me, and you play, you might even win.
It’s just… your prize might not be what you went looking for.


EXCERPT:
“What the fuck are you wearing?” Jordan says, eyeing my leathers.
“What every goddamned biker wears,” I snap. He’s wearing a goddamned suit that looks like it costs as much as that car I left back at Rachel’s sister’s house.
“You rode your bike down here?”
“Long. Story.” I close my eyes to signal that I’m not in the mood to tell said story, and he takes the hint. Because he knows me just as well as I know him. “Why the hell am I here?”
He stares at me. Looks me up and down. A whole scenario flashes in my mind in the time it takes him to reach down to pick something up off his desk, where he says, I found her. Or, She found me. Or, You wanna go to dinner with us? Because we’ve got reservations at the Grant. And he means her and him, as in the whole thing about us that made us an us in the first place.
But of course, he doesn’t say anything like that. He says, “Here’s the job,” waving a large yellow envelope, handing it to me. “Everything’s in there. Just…” He sighs and pinches the space between his eyes—stupid fucking Jordan gesture—like I’m the one on his last nerve, and not the other way around. “Just do it, OK? And be super fucking discreet. This is all anonymous. You do not show your face. You do not make any sort of contact. It’s strictly surveillance. Got it?”
I rip the envelope open and take a peek. Two keys, two bound stacks of hundred-dollar bills, which should be twenty thousand dollars, and some paperwork. “Is it legal?” I ask, taking out the stack of papers.
It’s a dossier—female. Mid-twenties. Dark hair and gray eyes—for one Evangeline Rolaine.
“Of course it’s legal. Why does everybody always ask me that? I’m a goddamned lawyer, everything I do is legal.”
“Yeah.” I laugh, reading the woman’s short bio on the top page. “You’re a goddamned lawyer, all right. Why does this name sound familiar?”
Jordan eyes me, waiting to see if I’ll take that first comment any further, and decides I won’t—and he’s right. Because after the morning I’ve had, I can’t think of a single reason I need to rehash the past too. “She was famous once upon a time.”
“Child prodigy,” I say slowly, reading her bio at the same time. “Yeah, I remember this chick. She was all over the TV when she was a kid.”
“Right. And then she wasn’t. It’s your job to watch her. That’s it. Just watch her. You got it?”
“Watch her do what?” I ask, flipping through the pictures.
“Just… everything. Nothing specific.”
Why am I watching her? Someone after her or something?”
“You don’t need to know why. You just need to take that money, buy the fucking equipment, go to that address, put up the fucking cameras, and then when she gets there, you watch her.”
“So I’m spying on her and she doesn’t know it?” My laugh is loud. Because… “That’s some creepy shit, dude.”
Jordan sucks in a breath of air. It’s cautious, that inhale. It’s long too. And it’s filled with all the things that we left unsaid between us after college. “She knows,” Jordan finally says. Carefully. Like he’s picking his way through a minefield. “Just… just fucking do what I tell you. You’ve got a week to get set up and then a few weeks of surveillance, tops. Then I’ll pay you.”
“I don’t need the money, asshole. You know that’s not why I’m here.”
I hear the unasked question. He hears it too. Then why are you here?
But he knows why.


Author Bio:
JA Huss is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending. 
You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her blog, New Adult Addiction (www.jahuss.com). 
If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox. 

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: My Scot, My Surrender by Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan

Title: My Scot, My Surrender
Author: Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Lords of Essex (Book Four)
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Format: ebook via NetGalley
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisSCOTLAND, 1819.

Brandt Montgomery Pierce is a bastard—and proud of it. Raised by the Duke of Bradburne, Brandt enjoys an uncommon life of privilege. Despite the mystery surrounding his birth, he has wealth and opportunity, and wants nothing more. Especially not a wife. 

Lady Sorcha Maclaren, the fiery and scarred daughter of Laird Maclaren, the Duke of Dunrannoch, is desperate to avoid marriage to a loathsome marquess at any cost...even if it means risking a kiss with a handsome stranger at a Scottish border festival. 

But after an innocent kiss turns into a scandalously public embrace, Sorcha and Brandt get more than they bargained for—a swift trip to the altar. When danger chases them into the Highlands, and deceit threatens to tear them apart, their only hope will be to surrender...to each other.


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

Even the best laid plans go...insane.

Image result for this is crazy gif

Sorcha knew exactly what she was doing when she pulled a complete stranger in for a kiss in public. She wanted to cause a scandal that would end her dreaded betrothal to a monster. She'd rather be ruined than married to that cruel man. However, the kiss with her handsome savior gets a little out of hand and soon she finds herself being forced to marry the man. Luckily enough, he might be the only person in the world who does not flinch at her facial scars.

Brandt doesn't see a beast when he looks at Sorcha, despite the name she's earned. He just sees a fearless woman who is much stronger and braver than she knows. Deciding to marry her was easier than he thought it would be and they both agree the marriage will only be in name, soon annulled. But when Sorcha's jilted betrothed comes looking for revenge, the pair must flee for their lives.

Cross the countryside, they run and try their best to escape the evil marquess and his men. Even with help from Sorcha's brothers, there are only so many places they can hide. When Brandt learns of a place they might possibly find protection, he doesn't waste time in heading west. However, this mysterious clan just may have deadly threats of their own lying in wait.

It's like someone rounded up all of the most stubborn characters and threw them into my reading this week. No lie, every book I've read lately has featured at least one (but usually two) incredibly headstrong characters and this book was no different. I wonder if this is the universe's way of telling me something. Who knows.

This book was a little different, I think, from the last two I've read in this series. For starters, we have a male lead who isn't actually a titled gentleman. That didn't bother me because I read all sorts of historical romance, but I did wonder how he would fit into our series which even has 'lord' in the title. I was curious to see how it would unfold.

The first half of this book flew by for me. I ate up our couple and the strangely awesome way they came together. Even when they were fighting their attraction, I was smiling at the playful banter between them and just waiting for the moment when they would finally give in to the temptation. Don't get me wrong, it took a while. But there was a heavy enough plot to keep me turning the pages in the meantime.

I usually complain about the length of the books in this series. I won't about this one. Even in the slower parts, there was a level of suspense woven in that kept me glued to the screen. Our villain really was a man I could hate. I did notice around the 60% mark that the story began to change and I had a feeling where it might go. I was pretty happy when it did move there. I won't give anything away, but the last quarter of the book was one great scene after another. Lots of action and more of that suspense. And we finally got a good dose of naughty time too.

In closing...
The last book of the series went out with a bang. 4.5 suns!



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Review & Tour: Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling


Title: Three Lessons in Seduction
Author: Sofie Darling
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Format: ebook via Goddess Fish Promotions
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisParis, September 1824 

Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago. 

Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost? 

When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent. 

Even if the thought makes his blood boil. 

Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping . . . 

Can she trust the spy who broke her heart? 

Mariana spent the last decade forgetting Nick. Now she has the chance to best him at his own game, an opportunity she can’t resist, even as her view of him begins to shift. Increasingly, she wants nothing more than to seduce her own husband . . . 

It’s only a matter of time before mad passion ignites, a passion never convincingly extinguished. A passion that insists on surrendering to the yearning of the flesh and, quite possibly, of the heart. 



“A girl like you is a girl one could marry,” he murmured. They were heedless and dangerous words that fell from his lips, and he couldn’t understand why he spoke them.

“A girl like me?”

“You.”

“One could marry?”

“I.”

“Careful,” she whispered into the space between their lips. It was the only space that mattered in the universe. “I might hold you to such words.”

“I might hope you do.”

Again, words fell from his mouth of their own accord, and he’d proposed to her. There had been no biting it back.

And he hadn’t wanted to.

At least, not for another five seconds.

He’d proposed to Lady Mariana Montfort, a girl he didn’t know.

That wasn’t precisely true.

In the ways that mattered, he knew her.



Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.

WEBSITE:
www.sofiedarling.com

BUY LINK:
https://www.amazon.com/Three-Lessons-Seduction-Sofie-Darling-ebook/dp/B074WGWGMK/

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sofiedarlingauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sofie_darling
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sofiedarlingluv/


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

When you don't know someone as well as you'd thought...


Image result for who are you gif

Mariana isn't sure what her estranged husband has been up to since she only sees him on holidays when he visits their children. The rest of the year, he lives in France and leads a separate life. So when she receives a letter stating her husband is missing and presumed dead, she isn't sure what to think. Only that she needs to get to France. Either to find him or to recover his body.

Nick isn't dead. But he has been in hiding since suspicious things have happened recently. It's just part of his job as a spy and his current mission is a big one. So when his wife shows up in Paris, he knows he can't avoid her forever. And when he realizes she might be an asset to his assignment, he recruits her.

Her mission is to get close to a man Nick suspects is involved in an assassination plot. And she needs to gain information by any means necessary. While Nick gives Mariana lessons in how to seduce the target, he silently struggles with the idea of his wife with another man. And as the couple get deeper into the assignment, they realize it might be time to give their marriage another chance. If it's not too late.

This was a pretty good read and I found it hard to put down at times. It had some mystery with the spy plot and a few mysterious characters. The lessons in seduction were pretty entertaining, especially the poker scene. It also had a lot of sexual tension, which is always a nice addition to a romance book.
For a while, I wasn't sure if I liked Nick. From the first mention of the opera singer, I was sure there was more to the story. Yet, I hated the way Nick had so easily chosen his life of espionage over his family. He wasn't being forced to do it. He just decided to give up the woman of his dreams. It was hard to swallow that fact, especially since I liked Mariana so much.

And boy was Mariana a great character. She was no weak-willed woman. She had the guts to go chasing after her supposedly dead husband and even more courage to go along with his terrible scheme. She didn't bow down to him in any capacity and she went head-to-head with him at every turn. I really admired her tenacity and intelligence.

At some point, things started to turn in Nick's favor for me. I think it was even before he revealed the truth about the opera singer. I began to see him in a different light and hoped he would come to his senses and see the amazing woman that was right in front of him. I tell you what, if this had happened to me, that man would have had to beg on his knees for me to forgive him. Mariana was a stronger woman than I.

In closing... 
Spies, assassins, and strip poker. Sounds like a good way to spend an evening. Four suns!