After Mallory's car accident, an angel appeared to lead her to her new celestial home, the only problem was Mallory wasn't ready to go. So when another woman burst through the clouds, leaving behind a dying body, Mallory leapt back to Earth, to a second chance for life.
Duke Varden had had his fill of treacherous women. His lovely wife had killed what little love he'd had, seven long years before. But when she suffered a mishap giving birth, suddenly she was not her usual, vicious self. Now she was laughing, calling herself Mallory, and turning his life upside-down. But Varden refused to be drawn in by some deceptive charms that had fooled him once before.
So now, Mallory was having the time of her life, jogging through the castle, gabling with the guards and gradually gaining the love of the stranger who was her husband. So what if she had to suffer a spiteful mother-in-law, and evil brother-in-law and a husband full of ice condemnation. Wasn't winning the love of a lifetime worth all that?
This is a 19 chapter, 98,103 word historical spanking romance. If you object to heroes who are unaffected by political correctness and unafraid to turn their lady love's bottom-up, then please don't buy this book.
Seattle, Washington, 2001
With absolutely no memory of how she had gotten there, Mallory stared at the ceiling. The tip of her freckled nose was a scant two inches from the fluorescent light fixture, which buzzed and rattled in time with the air conditioner somewhere below. She had to be drunk. It was all she could think of. Either drunk or hung over, in which case this was not unlike waking up after an all night Jack Daniels spree with a wedding ring and a new tattoo. Except that to find oneself suddenly immune to gravity was slightly more unnerving than the words �I love Doug' in a heart on your arm, regardless of whether or not you knew anyone named Doug.
Yes, she must be suffering from the effects of a nasty hangover. That really was the best of all possible explanations.
Too bad Mallory didn't drink.
It was also too bad that--next to vomiting, a headache, and discovering that you've married a total stranger--as far as Mallory knew, involuntary flight was not a known side affect of drinking.
She had to get down from here. What if someone walked in and found her like this? How could she possibly explain without ending up a freak in a circus sideshow?
"How typical," Mallory muttered as she pushed back against the light. "Can't get tattooed like everyone else. No, you up and learn how to fly."
She rolled off the light fixture, onto her back, and looked down. Good Heavens, she was in a morgue!
The fluorescent lights emphasized the stark white walls and white tiled floors. Even the plastic wall clock was framed in white. Cold, slate-gray steel doors and equipment provided the only splash of color, and galvanized refrigeration units lined the north wall at her feet and the south wall a good ten feet from her head. Directly below her, parked in front of unit number twenty-three, refrigeration door �B', was a single, stainless steel cadaver transport. Somehow, Mallory knew the body beneath that white morgue sheet was her own.
This was not right. This had gone beyond not right. Not only was she in a morgue, but she was dead!
Mallory covered her mouth with one hand and her stomach with the other. If only it were a physical one, she'd be sick to it right now.
The heavy steel doors swooped inward as the pathologist in a full-length, blue smock and cap, and a balding, plainclothes detective in a gray suit led Mallory's boss, Jeremy Flynn, into the room. Flynn's eyes darted uncomfortably to the transport and then away. He swiped the back of his hand across his mouth and cleared his throat as the pathologist took his position opposite of Flynn at the head of the cadaver transport.
"Ready?" the pathologist asked.
Flynn cleared his throat again and then nodded. But when the sheet was lifted, he turned away with a grimace of revulsion. "Oh my God!"
Mercifully, the sheet was not peeled back far enough for Mallory to see her own corpse.
The pathologist immediately let the sheet drop back into place while the detective took Flynn a short distance away.
"Why do I have to do this?" Flynn asked. He bent over, his hands braced against his knees as he took several deep breaths.
"Her wallet was stolen before police arrived at the scene. The only thing on her was a book stamped with your bookstore's name and address." The detective opened his notebook, flipped a few pages, and then took a pen from his shirt pocket. "Again, Mister Flynn, I apologize, but any information you can give us would be greatly appreciated."
"She works for me... er, worked, I guess. Her name's Mallory Connally."
"Any family you know of?"
"Uh, no. Nobody. Her father died about a year ago, I think. She lives by herself. I've got her address back at the store, if you want it."
Mallory didn't hear the detective's reply. Suddenly, she was remembering walking to the bus stop. Two days of drizzle had left the roads wet and slick in places. If not for the screech of tires sliding on blacktop as the taxicab slid sideways up onto the curb, Mallory might never have known what hit her at all. The force of the impact had thrown her against the side of the brick Savings and Loan building. She gently touched the back of her head, beginning to shake.
She really was dead!
"Is that it?" Flynn asked as the detective led him from the room. "Do I need to sign anything, or can I go now?"
Their voices trailed away to nothing as the giant swinging doors swooped shut after the pathologist. Mallory stared at her covered corpse. What was she supposed to do now? Where could she go? Back to her crummy two-room apartment down on Riverside? She didn't want to live there when she was alive; she sure wasn't going to haunt the place now!
Two fingers lightly tapped Mallory's shoulder. When she turned her head, a pretty blonde woman was lying next to her on the ceiling. She looked to be somewhere in her thirties. Laugh lines crinkled at the corners of her sparkling blue eyes when she smiled, and dimples dented each side of her mouth. Apparently, gravity didn't affect her either since the full-length white dress she wore hung straight down her body, as if she were standing upright instead of lying upside-down against the ceiling.
"Hello, Mallory," the woman said.
Mallory returned the greeting without thinking. "Hi."
Barbie, she thought. The woman looked exactly like Barbie might have if she were a real woman instead of a ten-inch tall plastic doll. Mallory would have given her eyeteeth to look like that. Instead, she had been cursed with straight black hair, cow-brown eyes, and a half a million ugly brown freckles.
And to add insult to injury, Mallory didn't even get to wear a cool, white dress. She was still in the same blue jeans, black and white Woodland Park Zoo T-shirt and black, holey sneakers she had died in.
"Are you an angel?" Mallory asked. Realizing how ridiculous the question was, she added, "I'm sorry. That was a stupid thing to say."
"It's all right," Barbie said, her smile widening. "It's surprising how often I get asked that. My name is Monica. I'm like you."
"Influenza pandemic. Summer of nineteen-eighteen."
"Oh." Now that she thought about it, Monica's white dress did look like an antique nightgown. "Are you. . .haunting the hospital? I didn't think it was that old."
Monica grinned. "I'm here for you, Mallory. I'm your guide."
"It's time to go."
"Go?" Mallory echoed. "Go where?"
"Home." Monica gave her hand a reassuring pat, then took Mallory's arm and pulled her up through the perfectly solid light fixture, through eight inches of buffer space filled with electrical wires, water pipes, and fiberglass insulation before floating up through the floor of a very busy admitting room.
A television hung from one wall whispering the six o'clock news to a man sitting in a wheelchair. His foot was wrapped in ace bandages and propped out in front of him. Three empty chairs separated him from a woman holding a fussy baby in her arms and a sleeping four-year-old against her left shoulder.
At the reception desk, an oriental woman stood cradling her right arm, while her husband argued in Chinese with the haggard-looking nurse. As he paused to catch his breath, the nurse pointed at the clipboard on the counter between them. "But I need you to fill out these forms," she said, and he started up again.
To the left of the desk, a teenage boy with a black eye and a cut on his forehead was holding a cold pack to his split lip and dropping quarters into a soda machine.
As Monica pulled Mallory up toward the ceiling, a couple came through the automatic sliding glass doors. The ashen-faced man had his right hand wrapped in a blood-soaked cloth. Behind him, his wife carried a plastic sandwich bag filled with ice and two fingertips.
"I told you not to hold it that way," she said, her voice high-pitched and near to panic. "I told you. I told you."
The man stopped just short of the reception desk and turned on her. Very softly and very dangerously he said, "You say that one more time, and not only am going to dust your seat, I'm going make you eat those fingers."
The woman shut her mouth, and Monica pulled Mallory up through the next floor into an empty hospital room with two neatly made beds. The next floor was also a hospital room, with the second bed occupied by an elderly woman on a heart monitor and respirator. She was watching Wheel of Fortune.
"Man of La Mancha," she said in a brittle voice, talking to the television. "�N,' you idiot!"
"Is there an 'R'?" the woman contestant on the television game show asked.
The buzzer signaled no, the audience dutifully oh-ed its disappointment, and the old woman smacked the blankets that covered her with both hands. "Is there an �R' in Man of La Mancha, you brainless ninny?" As Monica and Mallory floated up to the ceiling, she took two shallow, wheezing breathes. "Man, I need a cigarette!"
From there, Mallory found herself on the roof. The sun was preparing to set. The sky was bright blue with clouds like tufts of white cotton, gathering and swelling directly overhead. A gentle tornado funnel formed, extending down from the sky until it touched the rooftop near their feet.
"Time to go," Monica said. "Your family is anxious to see you again."
That was when it hit Mallory. Really hit her. She was dead, and she was leaving. No more two-room apartment in a building that should have been condemned forty years ago. No more struggling from month to month to pay bills that just kept growing. No more bus stops spray-painted with street gang graffiti, or running to catch a cab in the rain, or dodging the prostitutes and drug dealers that hung out on the streets in front of the building she called home. No more bookstore either. Or old Star Trek re-runs. Or hot mocha lattes on cold winter mornings. Or escaping real life, however briefly, between the covers of a good Tom Clancy novel.
Mallory began to panic. What was going to happen to her cat, Charley, who slept with her at night and kept her feet warm in the winter when her dinosaur of a radiator invariably quit working? And who would see to her funeral? With both parents dead and no siblings, would anyone even attend, or visit her grave in the years to come? She was friendly enough with most of the regular clients at the bookstore, but she doubted many would do more than inquire when a new counter clerk suddenly appeared to take Mallory's place. Mallory didn't even have a will ready. The idea of her landlord going through her belongings made her shudder. And then she remembered what she had hidden between her mattress and bedsprings, and she blushed.
"This is not happening," she groaned. "I am not dead and this is not happening."
"Don't be afraid." Monica hooked arms with Mallory as they started toward the funnel. "It's a short trip, relatively speaking."
"Wait!" Mallory dug her incorporeal heels into the hospital's roof. It surprised her when they actually stopped. "I don't want to go!"
"There's nothing to worry about. Think of this as. . .well, as a well-deserved retirement. Your labors are done. Now you get to relax. Go fishing. And travel. Extensive travel."
Mallory pulled back. "But I'm not ready!"
It was a ridiculous statement, and Mallory knew it. How much more �ready' than stone cold dead did one have to be?
Monica sighed. "They rarely are."
"But you don't understand," Mallory said. "There's so much I haven't done. Isn't there a rule someplace? How can I die when I haven't accomplished anything important in life. Like�" Her mind went blank; she floundered. "Like buying kitty litter. Nuts! I knew I was forgetting something."
"Come along." Monica started for the tunnel again.
"But what about Charley? I can't leave my cat. I'm all he has!" It was really the other way around, but Mallory couldn't bring herself to tell this beautiful woman (who'd likely had dozens of family and friends to mourn her) that Mallory's own social life revolved solely around the longhaired, black and grey feline that kept her apartment rodent-free.
"He'll be fine," Monica said. "Your next door neighbor loves the cat. She'll take good care of him."
"No, wait!" Again, Mallory dug in her heels. "What about all the things I haven't done? Like--I--I haven't raced across Saudi Arabia on a camel. Or climbed the Alps. Or protected the rain forest. I haven't even saved a whale! Can you get into Heaven without saving a whale?"
Monica's grip on her arm only tightened. "Earth is for the living and Heaven the dead. Rules are rules. There simply is no place for you down here."
Mallory pulled at her imprisoned hand. She hated whining. She refused to whine. She failed miserably.
"Please," she begged. "I can make one."
"You had your chance," Monica said gently. "Now it's up to the Powers That Be to decide what's to be done with you. Plead your case eloquently enough, and they may find a way to let you come back. We've got plenty of employment opportunities open right now--everything from guides to Harbingers of Doom. We've even got an opening for a guardian angel if you're interested in that field of work."
"Do you think they'd let me do that?"
"You're a good person." Monica squeezed her hand. "I think your chances are also good. Trust me, Mallory. There's nothing to be afraid of."
Still Mallory hesitated, but Monica would not be denied. The guide stepped into the mouth of the funnel and pulled Mallory in behind her. With a sensation not unlike riding an elevator, the funnel drew them upward.
The funnel itself was quite lovely. The setting sun painted the clouds in hues of orange and pink. Were there sunsets where she was going, or would this be the last one Mallory ever witnessed? She watched the play of colors changing as the sun moved across the sky, not wanting even to blink lest she miss one nuance of nature's magnificent display.
They had not journeyed far when the funnel ended and the clouds parted to reveal a second, larger tunnel. Rather than trail upward, it ran horizontally left to right like an extra long hallway as far as Mallory could see in either direction.
Stretching up her hand, Mallory strained on tiptoes to touch the cloud ceiling above her. She tried not to sound disappointed. "Gee, I always thought Heaven would be--I don't know--bigger, maybe wider than this."
"This is only the Crossroads," Monica explained. "Everyone comes through here at some point in their journey."
"Oh, I see. The right takes you to Heaven. Left and you're Purgatory bound. You'd think there'd be a sign or something."
"I am the sign," Monica said dryly. "Come along."
They started walking. To the right, Mallory was encouraged to note.
Just then, another hole opened in the sun-colored wall before them. A teenaged boy in a leather jacket and spiked, green hair appeared through the clouds. He had a silver ring in his right nostril and two more through his eyebrow. His guide, a petite brunette with large brown eyes, giggled into her hand as she led him onto the Crossroads. Unlike Mallory, the boy did not appear the slightest bit confused or apprehensive.
"So." He kissed the brunette's hand as she guided him to the right. "Do you, like, have a phone number or something? I don't suppose you want to go out this Friday, huh?"
The brunette giggled again and Mallory watched the duo stroll off together. With a stab of regret, she suddenly realized she had never fallen in love, either. She drew a line in the tunnel floor with the tip of her sneaker. A section of cloud swirled up to twine in ethereal wisps round her ankle and calf, but no hole magically appeared to take her back down to Earth. Her shoulders drooped a little.
"Ready?" Monica asked.
"Do I get to go home, if I say no?" Mallory shook her leg until the wisps dissipated.
"You are going home." Monica took her arm and they continued on.
As they journeyed, periodically the cloud wall parted to allow the passage of other guides and their frightened or confused, joyful or relieved human counterparts onto the Crossroads. Old and young, male and female, people of all sizes, shapes, ethnic origins, and backgrounds began to pass Mallory by. Like lemmings headed for the sea, they all turned to the right and started walking. At one point, she was even passed by four NASA astronauts in spacesuits and helmets. The words �Huguenot 2013' were stitched in black letters an inch tall on their sleeves.
When they had walked perhaps half a mile, Mallory began to notice that new arrivals on the Crossroads now were dressed more like an old photograph Mallory had once seen of her Depression-era grandparents. The changes in dress were minute at first, but, after a mile or so, quickly became more obvious.
And it wasn't merely the change in dress that caught her attention. Mallory started when she heard a woman suddenly cry out behind her. She turned in time to see a young man drop down onto one knee and tug a not-so-willing young lady face down across that makeshift lap. As Mallory watched in shock, the man yanked up her skirts, jerked her panties down to her knees, and raised his hand ominously high above the poor girl's wiggling rump.
When their guide, a pretty young blonde, tapped him hesitantly on the shoulder, he turned his angry glare on her and growled, "Don't try to stop me unless you want to be next, young lady."
The little blonde immediately backed up a step, worrying her bottom lip. Then, from the folds of her gown, she pulled out a long wooden hairbrush and held it out to him.
The man hesitated only a moment before he took it. And as Mallory watched in open-mouthed shock, he laid a barrage of hearty smacks all across the poor girl's bare bottom. She screamed at the very first crack of wood against bare skin, and then began to cry. The entire Crossroads echoed with the steady crack! crack! smack! of the hairbrush, as well as the wails of the girl being so soundly punished.
"Do something!" Mallory cried. Except for a precursory glance here and there, the people around her had already dismissed the scene and started walking again. Not one person seemed inclined to help the woman, whose once pale bottom was now a blazing, sizzling shade of red.
"I have absolutely no desire to be next," Monica said as she took Mallory's arm and led her away. "I doubt you do either."
"But--but can he do that?"
"Well, she did get them both killed, you know." Monica didn't seem the slightest bit sympathetic.
Monica dragged Mallory along behind her, quickly putting distance between them and the spanking taking place. With every step, the hardy smacking sounds grew a little fainter and yet, somehow, seemed to intensify. The girl's wails quickly turned to heart-rending sobs, and finally the spanking stopped all together. Mallory turned around again, but there were too many people for her to see the couple so far behind them. She swallowed hard, a little surprised that she could still walk on legs as shaky as her own had become. Maybe she was headed for Hell after all.
"Don't worry," Monica said. "She'll have to stand with her nose to the wall for a while, but Doug's a good man and he loves her dearly. I'm sure he'll comfort her, too."
The further they went, the stranger the people became. It was like watching a play in which costumes of the ages was the only theme. And Mallory wasn't the only one to give her guide trouble, either. An aged miner stubbornly clung to the reins of a mangy brown mule and refused to move.
Half-buried beneath mounds of animal furs and dirty buckskins, he tugged at the snow-white bush of a beard that all but obscured his weather-wrinkled face. "I ain't budging! If Whiskey cain't come with me, than I ain't a-gonna go! I done told that ornery critter we was gonna strike it rich together and that's just what we're a-gonna do! Ya ain't about to make a liar outta me, are ya, gal?"
Whiskey turned soulful brown eyes to Mallory, as she drew abreast of them. She knew exactly how the miner felt. She patted the mule's flank as she passed, already missing Charley. They continued on in silence for another half mile. Cowboys and Indians gave way to samurai, musketeers, and women in wide pannier skirts. One in particular had a hairstyle a good two feet in height, decorated with a bird's nest halfway up and topped with a small, wooden boat.
"How far does this tunnel go?" Mallory asked.
"As far as it takes to get back to the Beginning."
"The beginning of what?"
"Time and creation," Monica said. "Where else would Heaven be?"
Mallory had not given it much thought. Outer space, she supposed, since people generally aimed their prayers to the sky. Though perhaps outer space was too crowded for God, what with all the UFOs, space aliens, and such.
Booming thunder rolled through the tunnel, and the clouds surrounding them turned midnight black. For one horrible second, Mallory was certain her blasphemous thought had just earned her a one-way ticket to the far left of the tunnel. But then a hole opened in the floor near her feet and a red-haired woman clawed her way onto the Crossroads.
"Free!" she cried, her green eyes wide, though not as much in panic as it seemed in victory. She shoved past Mallory and Monica, hugging her own shoulders as she twirled around in circles, the cloud floor darkening under her feet. "Finally, I am free!"
Her laughter bordered upon hysteria as she ran toward that destination Mallory had yet to reach.
When no guide immediately followed, Monica cautiously peered down into the hole. Her face was grim when she looked up again. She shouted, "Somebody grab her! She's not ready yet!"
"What's going on?" Mallory asked.
"Her body hasn't died," Monica said. "She will have to go back. Wait for me here."
Monica ran after the red-haired woman. For the first time since her own arrival on the Crossroads, Mallory found herself alone. She looked down at her feet, bare inches from the gaping hole. She could see the funnel extending far below her, with a picture of life too distant to clearly make out at the other end.
Mallory squinted. She couldn't be sure, but she thought she saw people moving way down there at the end. Not that it mattered. At least it was a life.
"Shame on you, Mallory," she said. "Don't even think it."
She was dead and that was another woman's body, another woman's life.
But the redhead obviously didn't want it, and Mallory really did. At her feet lay the perfect opportunity, a second chance to have all those things she'd missed the first time around. Mallory had always taken for granted that she would live to a ripe old age. But now, as she thought back on her mere twenty-two years, it all seemed. . .well, wasted. How could she go to Heaven, look into her father's eyes, and tell him that she'd wasted her life. Especially when cancer had robbed him of his. She wouldn't be at all surprised if her father borrowed the hairbrush from that man several miles back, and then the Crossroads would echo with the sound of her sobs as a measure of regret was paddled into her behind. That he had never spanked her before didn't matter. For something like this, there was always a first time.
Mallory stared down the length of the dark funnel. It was wrong to consider this, and she knew it. But what guarantee did she have that the Powers That Be would send her back? What if they made her stay here? Forever.
Mallory glanced over her shoulder. Monica and the other guides had already caught up with the redhead and, though she struggled fiercely and it took three to hold her, they were slowly dragging her back.
The urge to shake some sense into the woman was almost as strong as Mallory's urge to fall to her knees and beg to be allowed to take her place.
Mallory did neither, however. She bit her bottom lip instead and looked back down at the hole. Perhaps the Powers That Be had arranged for this to happen. The excuse was nothing more than a convenient conscience salve. In all likelihood, this blackened hole at her feet was Mallory's last chance to live. And this time, to live the way she should have done the first time. No missed opportunities, and no regrets.
As if sensing something amiss, Monica looked up and her gaze locked with Mallory's. Monica's eyes widened. She knew. Her face creased with disappointment. "Oh no, Mallory. Don't!"
Mallory dove head first into the hole. Thunder exploded through the clouds. The funnel that had been so gentle before was now an angry tornado, spinning, churning, battering her with its fury and pulling her rapidly back to Earth. Down to that new life that waited so far below.
The last thing Mallory heard was the red-haired woman's triumphant laughter as flame-hot agony tore her body in two.
A very good read
Malory took some of her future way back to the past. Doing so she managed to convince Varden for a fresh start
But like any 20th century woman she is a handful and willful keeping her knight firmly on his toes.
Great story really enjoyed it ....
This is a wonderful story. Definitely long enough, would enjoy more about them, and their friends. Wish there would have been an epilogue. Everything that happened was believable. Hope they live to a ripe old age with many tales to tell.
This is one of the first Maren Smith book I read and I really enjoyed it, specially the HEA where Varden finally believes Mallory and her tall tales...
I adore this story. I have read it more times than I can count. First, it is long, which I love, because it allows you to really connect with the characters and become part of their story. It is a story about Mallory, a twenty first century woman who dies, only to escape back in time, into a dying woman's body, taking her place. But Mallory has no idea what she has gotten herself into. Claire was a terrible person, and her husband may never forgive her. Living in Claire's body, Mallory is suffering for Claire's past. That and a mischievous, disobedient nature land her over Varden's knees plenty of times. This is a wonderful story that will have you cheering for the heroine and wondering why the hero can't see the truth. The ending will more than satisfy you, leaving you truly in love with both characters, at least I know I was.
Varden's Lady is everything I hope for when I read a book. This far exceeded any expectations I ever have for a spanking novel. I hope to have fun, intrigue, sizzling moments, hope for well developed characters & storyline. This novel made me forget I was reading a spanking novel. Don't get me wrong, there were spankings, but they were so well fitted into a novel that I would be thrilled to share with any friend or family member who shares my love for truly good books! I was immersed in the story from minute one living it out as if I were Mallory herself. The characters were alive. The story was as intriguing as it gets. Varden's reactions were so believable up until that last scene. Perfect scene! I hope I discover many more books by Maren Smith like this! If you are a sucker like I am for a good historical with supernatural elements & spanking added in you will love this one!
It took me a little while to warm to the plot. But once Mallory was thouroughly entrenched in Varden's life I enjiyed it.
Wot can I add to the other reviews, this is one of the best stories I've read it had me laughing out loud and nearly crying in places. I could have smacked Varden for locking Mallory up but the scene where he chases her is hilarious an absolute must have. Please write more like this maren
This may honestly be the best spanking romance I have ever read in my life. Now don't get me wrong, Varden is an idiot, but then again, who of us if told our spouse was now someone else in the same body, how likely would we be to notice right away? Well, hopefully a LOT sooner than he did, but still, it was a great way to keep this story going. A full length novel full of love and intrigue, if not a bit weird in how Mallory got to the castle in the first place. I found maid to be just as great a part of the story, and the doctor as well. My absolute favorite story to date.
This title is exceptional!! I am in love with Varden and Mallory. The story is set back in medieval times and the detail is amazingly accurate. I am so hoping maybe for a continuance for Kenton the butler. This title is nothing short of amazing, there is suspense, humor, romance and of course spanking. The writing style is great, Maren literally pulls you into the story...12/10 for this fic.
This was a fun time-travel story. It's also a full length story! Mallory is a 21st century lady thrown into the past and trying to adapt to a past world. Varden was a man of his times, trying to overcome a sad and tragic past. It's a cute story development and you get to really know the characters throughout the book.
Maren Smith has proven to be one to watch. She has written another winner. She aptly pens a story of love at the hands of a firm disciplinarian.
My new favorite book! Such a touching romance. Wonderfully developed characters and the story line was fabulous! I laughed and cried, not to mentioned held my breath during the entire last chapter. Only thing I'd change is to make the leading lady enjoy the spankings a bit more, and be a bit more submissive, but that's just my personal preference. Maren Smith, THANK YOU! This should be a movie
Oh my gosh! This was the best story ever!!! I was enthralled from beginning to end. Even though it was a long story I want more, so much more. Read this, you won't be sorry.
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! Wow. It has a weird beginning, don't get me wrong, but if you can get past that, wow. This book was wonderful. Steamy without being too much, great detail on how the characters were thinking and feeling, and you got right into the story. The son seems to be less and less in the story as it goes, but you have to love Mallory and her spunk despite Varden's high handedness. I also loved that this was a full length novel and gave us lots of good action, fights and spankings. Every character was expressive, and very well written. I could not put this book down, and the two times I had to because of real life, all I could think about was getting back to this story. And a good ending to boot.
I very much enjoyed reading this story. It was different and fun to read, although, I have to admit wanting to hit Duke Varden on the back of his head for being so stubborn about believing Mallory.
Very interesting tale of a young lady fighting to live and ending up in a time and place where the woman she replaced is hated. But she now has a chance to make a difference and hopefully find a better life.
Great story. The length was perfect for those that like a good novel . Varden was a great character I loved how he showed true caring despite all the wrong that was done to him. From finding his wife in bed with his brother to the last revelation of her betrayal, I was moved by his capacity to love again. The spanking scenes were funny and really good. Would recommend to everyone,
Fantastic - one of the best I've ever read - good story line, lots of humour and lots of spanking too!
I loved this book, the plot is original and Mallory is really fun. A wonderful read.
I am a fan of Maren and although normally not a big fan of 'medieval' romances I loved the characters and this story a lot! The mercurial French chef and the chalk line had me laughing for quite a while. Mallory is a fun character and I like how she keeps her personality while not in her own body or life. Another fun time travel/sci-fi-ish story from Maren that I recommend.
I too loved this book. Have already read it twice, and will read again. I always like time travel books, and having Mallory time travel into someone else's life was a really good story element. I liked how she didn't give up on Varden, even when he was at his worst, and seemed to understand how bad things had been for him and make allowances.
This was a fun story with all the antics of Mallory living in a different era than she was used to. Great characters and fun theme. I would like to have more scenes with Varden and Mallory or even Mallory and Varden' mother and less of Varden's problems outside the relationship.
My one real complaint is how Mallory would get so upset when Varden didn't understand she wasn't Claire. I felt this was too repetitive in the story line and distracted from their relationship.
All in all a good read!
This book is just fantastic! I can not say again how much I love a book that has some length and this one takes the cake. It has a well defined plot with great characters and some real depth to the story. I laughed out loud at Mallory! So worth the time to read and enjoy as I have read it myself more than once!
Outstanding is a tame word to describe this laugh out loud time travel.
Varden and Mallory are wonderful characters. Lots of spanking, loads of laughter. These are characters you'll remember years after you've read this story. Definitely a keeper, 10 all the way. I was very fortunate to purchase this book in paperback years ago and have cherished ever since.