Review: Cinderman by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookcinderman_as
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: More Than Men, #4
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Daniel Crompton
Heroine: Suzanna Molloy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 01, 1994
Started On: March 02, 2019
Finished On: March 07, 2019

Suzanna Molloy, an investigative journalist, breaks into Beebe Control Systems International to prove a hunch she has regarding the sort of experimentation that is being undertaken by the mega corporation. These are desperate times for a reporter like Suzanna, who has become persona non grata owing to her impertinence in asking too many probing questions about their corporate structure, for which she was being refused interviews. But a reporter like Suzanna is never deterred, which is how she finds herself on that fateful night, breaking into the laboratory of none other than Dr. Daniel Crompton himself.

Daniel is all about science and minimal distractions. Daniel likes living in his own mind, far too intelligent to be taken for a fool, deeming it a waste of his time to get into the politics of the organisation itself. However, when he finds Suzanna inside his lab, just minutes before everything literally blows up, Daniel has little inkling of how both their lives are going to change, so very drastically.

With Daniel and Suzanna on the run for their lives, Daniel harboring a secret which does not stay that way for too long, it is an interesting journey the two takes, where Daniel takes Suzanna to her dream home, nestled in the mountains, far away from prying eyes. Bit by bit, Suzanna discovers that she had been wrong about the man behind the scientist that is Dr. Crompton.

Daniel has never gone for intelligent women. He used to believe that he had no use for that in a woman. But in Suzanna he finds intelligence striking, his libido undergoing a drastic change, perhaps under the influence of the chemicals that had been absorbed into his body – or so he thinks. When Daniel finally gives in, and Suzanna understands that there is no going back, that was beautiful in itself, and the epilogue making me laugh out loud with sheer enjoyment.

I loved both Dr. Crompton and Suzanna. I love heroes or heroines for that matter, whose intelligence levels makes them different from most, and that is what I found most intriguing about Daniel. Daniel with his beautifully built home that seduced Suzanna. Daniel with his classic good looks that made him irresistible to Suzanna. Daniel with his ferocious need for all that is Suzanna that ultimately won her over.

In Suzanna, I found Daniel’s match in every way. A woman who could keep up with the way his brain works, a woman who would understand his wandering mind, a partner who would give him her all, in return for all the love he would shower upon her.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Send me a “pirate” like Dr. Crompton any day, everyday! Loved!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment Suzanna couldn’t move. He stood only a few feet away from her, in the middle of his soulless living room, dressed in a faded pair of jeans that clung to his narrow hips and long legs. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, despite the coolness of the morning air, and Suzanna decided then and there that a scientist shouldn’t have such a chest. He should have been pale and soft and flabby. Not toned and tanned and subtly well-muscled.
He hadn’t bothered to tie back his hair, and it hung around his strong-featured face, making him look like a pirate, not a biochemist with a Ph.D. in physics on the side.

He’d unbuttoned his shirt, and she could see his smooth, sleekly muscled chest beneath the denim shirt. She reached out a hand, to touch his forehead, to see if she could gauge his temperature, when his eyes flew open to meet hers.
“Look but don’t touch,” he said in an unbearably quiet voice.
She was mesmerized, by the darkness in his eyes, by the stillness in his face.
“Why?” she whispered.
“Because if you touch me, I’ll take you. And I don’t think you’re ready for that.”

Her body warmed, softened, flowed against his. She lay curled in his lap, her hands clutching his shoulders, as he kissed her, kissed her until he was ready to go up in smoke, breathless, mindless, crazy with the heat and the need. She was soft and sleepy against him, and her tongue met his, shyly, with a touch of eagerness that just about destroyed him. He broke away, trailing slow, hungry kisses down the slender column of her neck, and she arched against him as his hand closed down over one breast.
It fitted his hand perfectly. Cool through the silky material, it wanned, swelled against him, and he wanted to taste her there, too.

The silence, the heat in the room, was palpable. “I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “Come here, Suzanna.”
The wariness in her body flared into a moment of outright panic. It had been leading to this for a long time. Longer ago than the moment he’d come back to his lab and found her there. It had started with their very first confrontation, at one of Beebe’s unctuous public relations efforts. She’d clashed with him then, and she thought he’d dismissed her with his typical scientific arrogance. She knew otherwise now. He remembered that first clash. He was remembering it now.
“Don’t,” she said, trying to shut it off.
“Come here, Suzanna.”

He leaned down and kissed her then, very gently, a wordless reassurance that it was going to be all right. And she realized that, conscious decision or not, she trusted him. With her life. With her body. With her soul.
With her love.
She opened her mouth beneath his, deliberately inviting him. And then there was no gentle wooing.

His hands cupped her hips, pulling her more tightly against him. His mouth crushed hers, and she heard him, the words, sifting through his mind, love and lust and longing, striving for an end that was only a beginning. She clutched at him, shivering, building, shattering once more as she felt him explode in her arms, a white hot flame of passion that seemed to last an eternity.

He was huge, and hard, and damp for her. He didn’t need to say a word—she knew what he wanted, she could hear his desperate longing in his mind, and it matched her own. She leaned down and put her mouth on him, taking him deep inside, her hands clutching his hips.
He didn’t touch her, and she knew why. If he touched her, he’d take over, and he knew she needed to do this. Needed to take control, to learn him, without fear of the consequences. She needed to do just what she wanted, and she needed him to lie back and let her.

He waited until she’d taken him fully. Waited until she leaned forward, her breasts against his hot chest, her hands sliding up his outstretched arms to cover his hands as they clutched the iron railing. He waited while she moved, awkwardly at first, unsure, and then suddenly she was fluid, light and darkness, heat and desire, taking him, owning him, and he was trembling, shaking apart beneath her, and she was trembling, shaking apart, and then the world exploded. She screamed, unable to stop herself, and she was lost, as he finally began to move, thrusting up into her, taking her, filling her with his heat, his seed, his life.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: A Dark & Stormy Night by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookadarkandstormynight
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: More Than Men, #13
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jamie O’Neal
Heroine: Kathleen Bridget Moira O’Monaghan Flynn
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 24, 1997
Started On: February 20, 2019
Finished On: March 01, 2019

28 year old Kathleen Bridget Moira O’Monaghan Flynn (Katie) is a weather junkie, who prefers singledom because she likes her freedom and solitude too much. Leaving everything familiar behind had been her way of facing an early onset of “mid-life crisis”, in the search for greener pastures to graze on. When she gets caught in a massive storm and nearly plunges to her death, it is the man that rescues her that changes the course of her life so drastically from that point on wards.

When Jamie O’Neal rescues Katie in the midst of a fierce storm, he has little inkling of the fact that Katie would end up turning his life upside down. Jamie is a man who has been denying himself happiness, the guilt that he has nursed all along since the tragic deaths of his family having kept him solidly within a prison of his own making. Jamie has a secret that he tells no one, a secret that he cannot trust anyone with, which ties in with that fateful night he lost his family to the churning waters of stormy seas.

Even though Jamie tries to send Katie on her way, to push her away, to deny himself, fate however has other plans in store, especially with Katie being helped along by forces unseen by Jamie. At the same time, Jamie does not see the threat that exists right under his nose, which made for pretty interesting reading.

I picked A Dark and Stormy Night needing to read a story that would awaken all my senses. I wanted a book that would sweep me off my feet, the reason why I keep Anne Stuart reads to pick up on those days that I need a booster in terms of my romance addiction. Anne Stuart is the perfect antidote to all my woes and this story just proved once again that the woman can basically do no wrong.

I loved A Dark and Stormy Night in so many ways. Jamie was such a wonderful hero, equal doses aloof and tragically beautiful, while at the same time with a vulnerability that spoke to me on so many levels. Katie was just perfect for him; brash and brave in a way that was needed to shake Jamie out of that decade long stupor he had gotten himself into.

Every time I pick up an Anne Stuart to read, it is as if I fall in love with her writing, head over heels, all over again. I found the prose of this book particularly beautiful, perhaps one reason being that my reader soul was starved for words that speaks to me on a whole different level. I actually cried over the beauty of the prose of the book, which made me fall in love, all that much more.

I so loved the epilogue. Couldn’t have asked for anything more!

Final Verdict: What a beautifully magical story Anne Stuart weaves, when she intends to make her fans weep! Loved, loved, loved!

Favorite Quotes

“We’re going to die,” she said, “No.” He was there, touching her, and she started to pull away, when something hit her directly between the shoulder blades, hit her hard, and sent her falling against him, so that he had no choice but to catch her, no choice but to put his arms around her. No choice but to put his mouth against hers.
And she was lost.

He moved his mouth away from hers, just for a moment, and her voice was small and pained.
“Please don’t,” she said. But her hands clung to his shoulders tightly, and she rose on tiptoes and pressed her mouth against his, ignoring her own plea for mercy.
He could have stopped. She wanted him to stop, he wanted to stop, and it would have taken so little to step back, set her away from him, retreat to a corner and await rescue or drowning, he didn’t give a damn which.

“Hold on to me,” he whispered against her ear.
“Hold on tight.”
She put her hands on his shoulders, and she could feel him against her, hot and heavy, pressing, filling her, sliding in a little at a time, and then withdrawing, only to push inside her again, deeper this time.
Her fingernails were digging into his shoulders now, but he didn’t seem to mind. He rocked against her, a slow, leisurely pace that was maddening when she needed more, she needed all of him, not this wicked tease, this promise of something shattering and unattainable.

“Look at me, Katie,” he said in a harsh voice.
She opened her eyes, staring up into his lost, beautiful ones. Her breath and her heart stopped as he thrust deep, breaking past the barrier of her virginity and filling her completely.
The pain was nothing, the joy powerful. She no longer clawed his skin, she slid her arms around his neck and kissed him with pure abandon and love.

She was crying, she realized belatedly. Sobbing, but O’Neal didn’t seem to mind. He rolled to his side, taking her with him, holding her with all the tenderness of a lover.
He was her lover, she thought in amazement, weeping her stupid tears against his chest while he stroked her hair and murmured soft, loving things that made no sense. He was her lover and her love.
And she fell asleep mid-sob.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

Format: E-bookthewarlordwantsforeverkc
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban-Fantasy Romance
Series: Immortals After Dark, #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Nikolai Wroth
Heroine: Myst, the Coveted One
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 22, 2011
Started On: January 15, 2019
Finished On: January 25, 2019

Immortals After Dark (IAD) series by Kresley Cole comes up on any romance reader’s radar, especially if the reader has a penchant for larger than life heroes and stories centered around mystical beings, vampires, shape-shifters etc. I have been meaning to sample this series for a while now, especially given the fact that the second book in the series has come up in recommendation lists I have gone through many times in search for romances featuring ruthless heroes. Anyone who knows my reading tastes well knows that I am a sucker for ruthless heroes.

The Warlord Wants Forever is the first book in the IAD series, and brings to readers the story of Nikolai Wroth and Myst, an immortal known as the Coveted One. The story begins five years prior to the actual setting, whereby Myst is held under captivity, and it is Wroth who “rescues” her. Wroth is a turned vampire, otherwise known as one of the Forebearers.

While Myst is captivated by Wroth and his fighting skills, she has lived far too long, known too many treacherous males to give in, just because she wants to rub her hands all over the male’s body and kiss his war scars. While vampire adults seek their Brides for all their lives, the Bride who becomes their eternal wife, and when they do find them, a process known as blooding occurs, which renders them alive and giving them a heartbeat, Wroth is misled at first by the fact that his body does not particularly react to Myst, even though he is drawn to her on a level he cannot explain.

Everything is complicated further given the fact that Valkyries, the species to which Myst belongs to, have been at war with the Forebearers for a long, long time. When Wroth finally recognizes Myst for who she is, his Bride for life, there is of course nothing that would stop him from claiming what is his, even if Myst herself were to try and delay the inevitable.

I quite do not know how I felt about the story at particular junctures, even though I enjoyed reading it. At times the story seemed a bit confusing, perhaps given the multiple characters that seemed to come and go at will.

Wroth was definitely one of a kind. There was a gentleness to him even with all the warring that he has seen his entire life, but at the same time there is a ruthless side to him that would not let Myst walk all over him. While Myst puts Wroth through abject misery, she does suffer the same, which was perhaps the saving grace for me when it came to her character. While I dislike heroines who lets a man walk all over them, I dislike a heroine who cannot make up their mind as well. It is after all, a double-edged sword.

Recommended for those that love urban-fantasy romances.

Final Verdict: This warlord can ask for forever, any damn time. Loved Wroth and all that he brought to the story.

Favorite Quotes

My gods. She’d known Wroth was well endowed, but hard, he was like a demon or a Lykae.
He curved her fingers around his thick shaft and slowly thrust against her palm.
In a sensual whisper, she asked, “How does this feel when it swells and distends?” She stroked his length, relieved she’d never have to take his uncomfortable size within her.
“So damned good,” he grated with a shudder,.

Her back arched, pressing her breasts to his gorgeous mouth. To his wicked tongue. When had she begun undulating her hips for him?
“I’ve waited for you,” he rasped against her breast. “So long I’ve waited.”
One hand pinned her wrists above her; the other shot up her skirt and ripped her panties away. His fingers roved between her thighs, hot and slow. “As soon as I saw you, I wanted it to be you.”

She went soft in his grasp. Raising her arms, she locked her hands behind his head.
With a growl of approval, he kicked her feet apart. He thrust violently against her ass. Once, twice . . . He threw back his head and yelled.
Just before he came, he turned to spill his seed on the ground.
Low, guttural sounds erupted from his chest. As he clenched her, his shudders of pleasure went on and on. . . . Each moment reminded her how badly he’d needed this.

Somehow she knew. She raised her head. Silvery eyes riveted to his, she worked her fist on his engorged cock. She pumped it in time with her thrusting fingers—as if she yearned for him to fill her.
That thought sent him over the edge. He cupped her beautiful face when the unbearable pressure exploded. He bellowed, “Myst!” and began to ejaculate. Mindlessly, he bucked his hips, fucking her fist. Anything to lose his seed. Ropes of it arced across his torso.

His palms landed with a slap on her upper thighs, lifting her pelvis. He used his thumbs to spread her folds, then wrenched her down on his thick shaft.
He gave an inhuman yell; she cried out from his size. He’d buried himself deep in her core. She grimaced in pain as it throbbed inside her.
He’d bested her. Myst will want the first man who can defeat her. The Lore had always whispered that about her. She’d challenged Wroth, and he’d won. In her mind, he deserved to claim his prize.
No matter the consequences.

Never slowing, he positioned himself on his knees and maneuvered her to straddle him.
His body was so big compared to hers, making her feel truly vulnerable. As if he’d read her mind, he tightened his arms around her, trapping hers at her sides.
Completely captured. This position allowed no evasion. So she relaxed in the crushing vise of his arms; her breasts swelled against his heaving chest.
He bucked his hips up. And again. Keeping her body immobile, he started to fuck like a piston.

A savage bite made her scream again, her body hurtling into a second release. Her core clenched him, milking his cock.
She was still coming when he released his bite. He threw his head back, cords of muscles in his neck and chest strained. The force of his ejaculation tore a bellow from his lungs.
She felt him shooting hot semen inside her, endless jets. He yelled to the sky as he pumped and pumped his release. . . .
Then after-shudders. He loosened his hold on her, though she didn’t want him to. She didn’t want this to end.

He replaced his thumb with one, then two fingers. Thrusting them, he said, “In my dream, I do fuck you. But I start slowly, feeding my cock into you inch by inch. When you’re dripping wet and ready, I fuck you with all the strength in my body.”
She raised her ass even higher. “What do I do?” she breathed.
“You come again and again from no command, just from pleasure.”

Yet the crown was barely inside her when lightning exploded outside—because she was already coming. “Wroth!” She clawed furrows into the wall. “Now!”
“I am . . .” he groaned, straining his every muscle to enter her slowly, to make this good for her—
His eyes widened when her claws sank into his ass to yank him into her.
“Hard!” she demanded in a throaty voice.
He choked out, “Don’t hurt.” He forced his cock through the squeezing spasms of her climax—as if through a clenched fist.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Between the Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Format: E-bookbetweenthedevilanddesire
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels of St. James, #2
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Jack Dawkins
Heroine: Olivia Stanford
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 06, 2009
Started On: December 31, 2018
Finished On: January 02, 2019

Having finished In Bed with the Devil, the first book in the Scoundrels of St. James series by Lorraine Heath, I was intrigued enough to begin the second title, Between the Devil and Desire. This is the story of none other than Jack Dodger, the infamous best friend of Lucian (Luke), who entices readers on so many levels even as a secondary character.

Jack is a man who has long accepted the fact that he would do anything to get his next coin, to ensure that he would always remain in a place where no one else could have power over him. Jack had been five years old when he had been sold by his mother, something that his young and older self “understands”, because Jack believes that hunger could drive any human to do even the most despicable of things.

Falling in with a notorious den of thieves, Jack had quickly mastered the art of thievery, learnt that practically anything could be stolen, if proper preparations are done in advance. Even though Jack believes himself to be someone who couldn’t care less about another person, meeting Luke, the role Jack plays in Luke’s fate, and how their lives become entwined, places Jack in the role of playing the responsible “adult”.

At the age of nineteen, Jack had come into a lump sum of money through an anonymous benefactor. Jack hadn’t looked twice and asked no questions. He had turned that into his fortune by building and opening his exclusive gentleman’s club. Rich, independent, and revered and disliked in equal doses by polite society, Jack couldn’t care less about ant of it, that is until he is summoned to the reading of the Duke of Lovington’s will by the late Duke’s solicitor.

Olivia Stanford, the Duchess of Lovington, is someone who has always been about duty. Which is why she had married someone 25 years older than her, because her father had arranged the marriage, and that is what respectable women do. Even though Olivia hides a deeply passionate nature inside, she is the modicum of propriety itself, leaving many to believe that Olivia is as cold and haughty as aristocrats come.

When Olivia’s late husband appoints none other than Jack as the guardian and protector of his heir until the child reaches of age or Olivia marries another, that is when true horror dawns on Olivia, leading her to take drastic steps to “save” her son from the clutches of a man who could turn the most respectable of society into the most depraved.

Jack is lured by the promise of a final item that the late Duke dangles in front of him, its value immeasurable according to the solicitor, who remains tight-lipped about what it could be. Even though from the onset, Jack knows that Olivia seethes with anger at the mere thought of sharing anything with him, and even though Jack knows he can charm Olivia if he sets his mind to it, he cannot help himself but irritate Olivia given the chance, all because he likes igniting the slow burning fires deep inside of Olivia which she hides from the rest of the world.

While the Duke’s reasons for leaving Jack as the guardian of his son remains a mystery, and Jack certainly does not like things he cannot add up together, all of that is revealed through the various events that lead up to the culmination of this story. Even though Olivia would rather die than depend on the likes of Jack, as these two are “forced” to spend time together, both of them find in each other aspects of their characters that they are drawn towards. The explosive secrets that come to light towards the end was one of the best parts of the story.

I liked the story. I truly did. Jack was after all, nothing short of fabulous, everything I desired him to be, vulnerable from past atrocities inflicted upon him at a most tender age. His uncaring attitude as most would see it, an image he cultivates with calculated effort, makes him the person every woman would like to blame her husband’s less than savory need to visit his establishment upon.

I had bit of a harder time liking Olivia. Not that she was any less as a character in the story as it unfolded. But because there was a time or two towards the latter part of the story where she was still in doubt over Jack and his intentions. Olivia was also a trifle bit tiresome at the beginning, with her deep distrust of Jack (which was also understandable to a certain level), her inability to really commit to her feelings towards Jack – which at a certain point she finally did make up her mind and did get going.

I also felt that given all the build up of sexual tension between Jack and Olivia, the culmination of it all was just a bit anti-climactic. The way I see it, there is a deep wealth of passion hidden inside of Jack’s projected attitude. Fires banked over what he considers would make him more vulnerable by exposing own needs and weaknesses. I wanted that passion to tumble free, for it to take a hold of both himself and Olivia, who herself dreams of being possessed and dominated by someone as virile and undoubtedly decadent as Jack. Aside from the scene in the garden, which was pretty explosive, the rest of the scenes of passion seemed pretty mundane in comparison.

However, I enjoyed the overall story, the villain and his role in Jack’s life, meeting Feagan who had shaped the live of the main protagonists in the series, and the way Olivia finally accepted the true worth of the man who loves her without hesitation or condition.

Final Verdict: Jack’s smoldering passion meets the reserved and unstoked fires hidden beneath all the propriety that is Olivia. Enjoyed this succulent delight in many ways.

Favorite Quotes

“I’ve warned you not to forbid me,” he growled.
Before her next heartbeat, he’d slid his hand around her neck, holding her still, as he slashed his mouth across hers. He was not gentle or polite. He was almost savage with his desire to deliver what she’d requested. She relaxed into him, offered up no objections when his tongue urged her lips to part and slid smoothly into her mouth. Heat spiraled through her, melting her bones as though they were little more than tallow. He touched her with nothing except that one hand and his mouth, yet it seemed as though he caressed her everywhere, inside and out, shallow and deep. How could a kiss be this powerful, elicit such yearnings?

Suddenly changing the angle of his mouth, he deepened the kiss, his tongue leisurely exploring, enticing her to do the same. As he drew her nearer, held her close, she was not hampered by layers of petticoats or skirts. Quite frankly, there was little more than a few pieces of fabric separating her skin from his. His body responded with a fierceness that she needed no imagination to envision. She knew exactly what he looked like, images of him in the dressing room bombarding her, igniting a fire low in her belly.
She heard a harsh plea and feared it came from her.
Breathing heavily, he tore his mouth from hers. Only then did she realize she’d fairly wound herself around him. She immediately dropped her arms, stepped back.
“You do bewitch me,” he rasped. “Fair warning, Duchess, I fear this is the last time I can settle for only a kiss.”

They walked to the library without touching. As soon as the footman closed the door in their wake, Jack had her in his arms, holding her close, as his mouth swooped down to claim hers. She wanted to laugh from the joy of his eagerness. She’d never felt desired, and with him, it was as though he was hungry, hungry for her alone.
His mouth blazed a trail along her throat. “I was going mad sitting at that table making pleasant—and utterly boring—conversation, when all I could think about was how much I wanted to taste you instead of the chicken.”

“I’m not quite sure how to do this,” she said quietly. “I’m not sure how to go about seducing you.”
“Seducing me?” He released a bark of laughter, saw the hurt flash over her features, and closed the distance separating them in four long strides. He took her soft face between his roughened hands. “Livy, you’ve been seducing me since that first night.”
He kissed her forehead. “I find your defiance exciting.”
He kissed her temple. “I find your temper thrilling.”
He kissed her cheek. “I find your love for Henry humbling.”
He pressed his lips to the tip of her nose. “I find your laughter enchanting.”
He kissed the corner of her mouth. “Your eyes mesmerize me and your kisses have the power to bring me to my knees.”

She felt his mouth brushing over her shoulders and only then did she remember that he had a pickpocket’s fingers and light touch. He’d worked her buttons free from throat to stomach and she’d not even noticed. And now the gown was sliding off her shoulders, gliding to the floor.
She had a second to consider that she should feel a need to cover herself and then she was considering nothing at all except for the wondrous sensations of his mouth playing over her breasts: tasting, licking, suckling. All the while, he murmured that she was “beautiful. So beautiful.”

She gasped as the pleasure spiked.
He lifted his head, studying her. He glided his finger over her, eliciting another cry, her legs squeezing together as though to hold him there or perhaps to urge him on.
“I want to watch you, Livy,” he whispered roughly. “I want to see what the darkness of the garden kept from me. Let go, Livy. Let go.”

Then she felt him pushing into her, inch by delicious inch, the fullness of him stretching her further, increasing the pleasure tightening low in her belly. When she thought she could take no more, he lifted her hips slightly, shifted his weight, and buried himself completely into her, bowing her back with the exquisite sensation of feeling his weight pressing against her.
“Oh, God,” she whispered.
Threading his fingers through hers, he moved her hands so they rested on either side of her head while he rode her unmercifully, mercifully. Her body sang to his tune, pleasures rippling through her, increasing in intensity as his powerful thrusts moved not only her, but the bed.

He rode her hard, the motion of the train whispering at the back of his mind, giving him a cadence that he matched. For some reason, he thought of the people in the open railway car. He covered Livy’s mouth, absorbing her scream as her body tightened, pulsed, and throbbed around him. It was all he needed. His body bucked, the pleasure intense, almost painful. It was always more with her, more than he’d ever had, ever known.
Everything with her was different. Everything was better.

“I want to hear you,” he rasped.
And hear her, she was certain he did. Writhing beneath him, she heard her cries echo low and breathless, hardly aware they were coming from her. She held him close, dancing at the edge of intense pleasure. He knew when to stroke, when to suckle, when to pause, when to thrust with his tongue. He tempted and teased. He of the nimble fingers had a more nimble mouth. It stole her strength, her resistance.
Then she was screaming out his name and before the last of the shudders had wracked her body he was buried deep within her, his gaze holding hers as he rocked his hips against hers, his powerful thrusts causing the sensations to begin building again. She skimmed her hands down his back, cupped them around his buttocks, urging him on.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath

Format: E-bookinbedwiththedevil
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels of St. James, #1
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Lucian Oliver Langdon
Heroine: Catherine Mabry
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 2008
Started On: December 29, 2018
Finished On: December 30, 2018

In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath is the debut novel in her Scoundrels of St. James series. Lorraine Heath is an author who writes evocative tales of romance, that basically punches you in the gut with the depth of emotions they invoke from the reader. In Bed with the Devil seems to be a favorite amongst readers, which is why I picked this number up to read, after having read When a Duke Loves a Woman and the book having failed to deliver on all those things I expected from a Lorraine Heath.

The hero Lucian Langdon, the Earl of Claybourne (also known as the Devil Earl) is a man who believes himself to be a fraud owing to his childhood, having escaped a life of being part of a gang of ruffians in the London streets. Having no recollection of the events that preceded his life to a certain point, Luke might have grown up by all appearances to become an aristocrat, but beneath the surface, he has remained a scoundrel at heart.

Lady Catherine Mabry seeks Luke’s services for an act that would be considered nefarious by society’s standards. But Catherine is a courageous woman who has single-handedly being taking care of her bedridden father in the absence of her brother who had left and never returned. For Catherine to watch her friend live a life of abuse is something she cannot take anymore, the reason behind her seeking the services of a man who had tempted her senses since she had been an impressionable seventeen year five years past. She cannot explain what it is that had beseeched her to invite him to events since then, invitations that Luke had never acknowledged, and five years later, Catherine finds herself at the doorstep of the man himself, propriety of society be damned.

To find Catherine in his home is the last thing Luke would have expected, especially having returned home after another night of delaying the inevitable; asking Frannie Darling for her hand in marriage, something Luke believes to be his destiny given how their pasts entwine so deeply. Catherine seems to invoke in Luke a torrent of feelings that Frannie does not, but Luke is determined to stay true to his course, even if his heart might say otherwise.

Through the events that takes place in the story, a bond forges between the two, something Luke tries to allude to the fact that they spend so much time together. Catherine’s strength of character is immense throughout the story, the one defining factor in the novel that made me fall so completely in love.

I so adore a heroine who is not constantly trying to prove herself in the story, someone who is comfortable in her place, and shows bravery and courage where it matters. Catherine was that sort of heroine for me. She has no qualms about who she is, what she wants, she has no artifice when it comes to the opposite sex.

Even though Catherine knows that her reaction towards Luke has always been out of the norm, that does not stop her from seeking him when there is a need for it, and even when Catherine knows that her heart is in danger, that doesn’t stop her from giving all the love she has in her heart to Luke, all the while knowing that Luke has a different destiny in mind for himself.

Luke himself was admirable in so many aspects as well. Simply put, I loved him. There was a vulnerability beneath that cool demeanor of his, a soul that needed to belong under that facade of indifference. When the truth comes to light in the final couple of chapters in the book, this is where once again Catherine’s remarkable character shines through.

I so did love the ending, seeing Heath’s evocative and gut wrenching writing emerge.

Final Verdict: Realistic, evocative, and beautiful in prose; In Bed With the Devil was just wonderful.

Favorite Quotes

“Catherine?”  
A warm hand cradled her cheek, turned her head. She gazed into eyes so silver, so filled with concern. “Think about something else,” Claybourne ordered.  
She shook her head, trying. To her mortification, she flinched and released a tiny squeak when she felt something sharp being jabbed into her flesh.  
Claybourne leaned near and then his mouth was blanketing hers, skillfully plying her lips apart. Oh, the fool, did he not fear that she might bite down—
He tasted of the whiskey that he’d ordered her to drink, and she wondered if he’d needed some to fortify himself for what she was about to endure.

He’d covered her mouth with a blistering kiss before he’d thought it through. He could tell himself that he was bored with the dinner, bored with the conversation, but the reality was that it was driving him mad to watch her sip wine, to gaze at her slender throat and shoulders, to see her smiling at Bill when Luke wanted her to smile at him.
As he swept his tongue through her mouth, he knew it was wrong, but he wanted her, wanted her in a way he’d never desired Frannie. He wanted Catherine rough, he wanted her tenderly. He never thought of taking Frannie to his bed. He thought of marrying her, he thought of having her as his wife, but carnal images of them together never filled his mind. With Catherine, he saw a kaleidoscope of their contorted naked bodies.

A fine sheen of sweat coated his throat. Sweat belonged to laborers, not gentlemen, but she kissed his throat anyway, felt his pulse jump beneath her lips. Felt her own pulse leap when he buried his fingers in her hair and blanketed her mouth with his own.
She didn’t know what she’d expected. Something quick, painful, but still somehow exquisite. But this was more than she’d ever imagined. Beautiful in its intensity, frightening because she didn’t know how she’d live without it when it went away.

“Does it hurt?” she asked.  
“God, no.”
She slid down, enveloping him in her silky wetness. He almost spilled his seed then and there. Instead he clenched his jaw, fought for control. He ran his hands up her slender back, slid them back around to her breasts, and began to knead her soft flesh.
Dropping her head back, she moaned. Then she began to ride him as though her life depended on it.

But his body wouldn’t be held back. He bucked beneath her, his deep feral groan nearly drowning out her cry of satisfaction, her back arched, her face carved in an expression of awe and wonder. Shudders wracked his body as the pleasure coursed through her.
She went limp, falling to his chest, spent. He wasn’t sure where he found the strength to wrap his arms around her, but he wanted to hold her close too much not to find the energy. He thought he could lie there forever. If he died this moment, he’d die content.

“Why do you have to be so damned courageous?” he asked as he kissed her neck, her ear, her throat, her chin.   She wondered if he’d want her if she weren’t, but she wasn’t brave enough to ask, so perhaps she wasn’t as courageous after all.  
“Don’t talk,” she murmured as she kissed his temples.
He took her slowly, as though he realized this would be the last time, savoring each thrust, creating memories with each touch. There was nothing frenzied about their joining. Rather it was simply an appreciation that they’d escaped the fire, a celebration of survival, and perhaps in a way, a farewell.

His mouth was hot, desperate, eager. She was more than ready for him when he drove himself into her, like a man possessed, a man running from his past, a man unable to see his future. He pumped fast and furious. She met his eagerness with her own, digging her fingers into his firm buttocks, riding him as he rode her.
His powerful thrusts had the headboard knocking the wall, the pleasure rippling through her in undulating waves. There was madness here, and she didn’t care. She cared only about him losing himself in her, and her losing herself in him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Raid by Kristen Ashley

Format: E-bookraid_ka.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Unfinished Hero, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Raiden Ulysses Miller
Heroine: Hanna Boudreaux
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: February 25, 2013
Started On: December 27, 2018
Finished On: December 28, 2018

It has been a while since I read a Kristen Ashley novel, Dream Man being my introduction to her work, a book that has remained on my favorite shelf since then. Raid is the third book in the series entitled Unfinished Heroes. I skipped the first two books and jumped straight into this one, mainly for one reason. I was looking for an angst-filled read of the variety where the heroine has been in love with hero, without him even acknowledging her existence. I found this title on a recommendation thread somewhere, and knowing that Kristen Ashley’s series’ usually allows a reader to skip a couple of books and wade right in, I went ahead and did just that.

Raiden Ulysses Miller (Raid) is ex-military, having moved back to Willow, Colorado, after returning from war a scarred man, a man who keeps his dark secrets hidden well. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the heroine Hanna Boudreaux (Hanna) has been in love with Raid for a long, long time. She has watched him and admired him from afar as he went from being the most popular boy in school to the young adult who had taken on the responsibility of his family after his father had left, and how he had joined the Marines afterwards. His return as a war hero had been a big deal for the town, and all the while, Hanna had watched from the sidelines, hoping that someday, he would notice him.

However, there comes a point where Hanna realizes that her dreams are nothing but castles built in the air. Things take a radical turn when Hanna, determined to get over the funk in her life makes some changes which brings her in contact with new people, and ultimately becomes the focus of Raid, the man who Hanna never ever thought would even glance her way.

From the onset, the chemistry between Raid and Hanna are off the charts steamy, and while at the beginning there seemed to be an awkwardness on the part of Hanna where Raid was concerned, that quickly dissipated in the face of the truth Hanna has to face when it comes to what exactly had brought Raid into her life.

There is a continuing story that ties the books in the series together, which plays a pivotal role in determining the direction of Hanna and Raid’s story as well. While I enjoyed the magic that Kristen Ashley undeniably weaves in her stories, this one being no exception, there were certain elements in the story that I found to be a bit difficult to take in.

For instance, how Raid completely loses it and does something that I thought no hero would dare to do in a story written in an era which is so politically correct as ours. But then again, I understood the aspect from which that scene came up, how PTSD could realistically contribute to something of the nature. I believe the saving grace under the circumstance was how Hanna reacted, taking back control of the relationship when it mattered, and where it mattered.

There was one another aspect to the story that kept nagging at me; having read two Kristen Ashley books prior to this, I cannot help but feel that all her characters have the same “voice” to them. The heroes, of course, are all very hot – sexy, brooding, take your breathe away kinda hot – but when they start talking, it is as if you are reading about the same character, different name, different context.

However, this does not mean that I am not going to continue picking up a Kristen Ashley every now and then to immerse myself in. It is because of the fact that even with all that did not work for me in the book, Kristen does manage to tell a helluva story, which is why I can safely say that her books are an enjoyable form of escape, every time.

Final Verdict: Raid is explosive in a way that leaves you gasping for breathe, wanting more. Always wanting more.

Favorite Quotes

I lifted my hand, wrapped my fingers around his bicep, leaned in and went up on my toes.
I pressed my lips to his.
They felt great.
So great, I couldn’t take more. That was all I was could do. That took all the courage
I had left. I didn’t want to know how good it could be and never have it again, even if it was fake.
So that was it.
But Raiden…
He was good at faking.
The master.

Whatever it was, it was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Nothing I even knew existed.
And something I wanted never to end.
It was huge. Consuming. The world melted away and there was just Raiden, his arms, his big, hard body, his mouth and his tongue.
I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t give enough.
And Raiden felt exactly the same.
I knew this when he arched me into the car, pressing close, hips, chest, lips.
I knew it more when his hands slid down over my bottom and he jerked me up.

I didn’t notice this mostly because we left town behind in a blink, and we no sooner did that when his hand wrapped around the back of my neck and he roughly yanked me his way. Shoving my face in his neck, his other hand quickly captured my wrist and pulled it to him, then smoothed my hand over his hard crotch.
It was so hot, so forbidden, so dangerous; it felt like fireworks exploded in the car, their sparks landing everywhere, all over me, dazzling me at the same time making me burn.

I twisted back just as Raiden’s hand slid between my legs.
That felt so good, all my concentration centered on that feeling. I dropped the condom and my back left the bed as my lips parted on a silent moan.
“Thank fuck, soaked,” Raiden growled. I forced myself to right my head and look at him. “Spread, baby.”
I didn’t hesitate.
I spread.

I felt it building. My hand dipped under his tee, my head jerked up. It was going to be so huge it was going destroy me.
“Raiden,” I gasped, my voice harsh with passion and edged with fear.
“Give in, baby,” he grunted, still driving me down as he thrust up.
“Sweetheart, it’s—”
His mouth came to mine. “Give into it, honey.”
I gave in. I had no choice. And when I did, my fingernails dug into his back, scoring up; his hips ground deep into mine as his back arched. A hot, amazing groan rolled up his throat and he came with me.

“I’m gonna guide you on me then you’re gonna take over, and when you do, you’re gonna fuck me slow.”
I held his eyes and my voice trembled when I told him, “I don’t know if I can do slow, Raid.”
When I said his name, his eyes flashed, but his lips said, “Slow, Hanna.”
“I—”
“Trust me.”

“Fuck, but my girl is fucking magnificent,” he rumbled. “Harder, baby, fuck me.”
I fucked him harder, gasping, whimpering, moaning. One of my hands slid into his hair and just like his at mine, it fisted. Hard.
“That’s it, baby, ride me,” he grunted as I moved. “Fuck. Magnificent. You gonna give it to me?”
“Yes,” I whispered, and his hand left my breast, traveled down and shot between my legs.
“Then give it to me,” he ordered.
His thumb tweaked my clit and that was all I needed.
I drove down and grinded in. My head flew back, my back arched and I cried out as
I flew apart.

No sooner was I in place then his cock slammed into me.
My head flew back and I came.
I wasn’t close to finishing when he pulled out, turned and lifted me and impaled me on his cock. Then I was back to the bed, taking him until he thrust to the root, grinding, and he came for me, his face in my neck, his teeth sinking sharp into my skin.

Then get my tee off and position for me. Your choice, baby, show me how you wanna take me.”
I instantly pulled his tee off and threw it to the side. I got on my back, opened my legs and he was there, slamming into me.
I rounded him completely with my limbs, lifted up my hips, glided my nails up his back and pleaded, “Harder, Raid.”
“Fuck. Wild. Wet. Mine,” he groaned, his face in my neck.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Love in the Valley by Susan Napier

Format: E-bookloveinthevalley_susannapier
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Marlow Family, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Hugh Walton
Heroine: Julia Fry
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1985
Started On: December 26, 2018
Finished On: December 27, 2018

Love in the Valley by Susan Napier, published in 1985 is a novel I picked up after encountering a list of lackluster reads and wanting something that would overtake all my emotions. Susan Napier is one of my favorite Harlequin authors that I love to read. Some of her titles have been absolutely riveting, while others have been tedious in a way that only authors who want to project “strong” heroines can make a book tiresome.

Love in the Valley is a book that fits neither category I suppose. It is a book that stands out in some ways and had me wishing that the author had explored the possibilities in her characters, especially the hero who was crafted so well in so many aspects.

Qualified Cordon Bleu chef Julia Fry meets top New Zealand lawyer Hugh Walton when she takes on the job of being the personal chef for the Marlows at their holiday home on the Coromandel Peninsula. Having never met Hugh before, Julia is stunned by the emotions that he invokes in her from the very first encounter itself, whereby she understands that when it comes to their temperaments, they are both different from each other as night and day.

Julia and Hugh’s “relationship” develops through a lot of mishaps that follows their encounters, with Hugh bringing the classic deflection tactic into play that serves as the much needed angst in the story. While Hugh turns out to be cold, distant, aloof, and controlled in the way he carries himself, the passion that I knew lurked beneath the surface remained untapped. But that aspect of his character remained largely unexplored. Of course, there was humor in the story, the kind of snarky-natured humor that Susan Napier is famous for in her stories.

Julia turned out to be an okay heroine for me. I didn’t hate nor did I love her. I guess partly because her character also seemed to lose focus along the way, to regain it towards the latter part of the story. Given Hugh’s past, I understood his nature, why he keeps to himself, and why he in most likelihood would never have gone after Julia in the end. But had the author taken on development of Hugh’s character differently, tapped into the deep hidden reservoir of passion in him, I bet this could have ended up being the kind of story that romance lovers like myself would have adored over and over.

Recommended for those who love Harlequin romances.

Final Verdict: Love in the Valley though enjoyable, is a story that had so much untapped potential.

Favorite Quotes

Julia put her hands on his shoulders, feeling the shifting strength, the smooth, slick wetness of curving muscle. His lips and teeth and tongue were excitingly active, tugging gently at the soft inner skin of her mouth, exciting her taste-buds, drawing her own small tongue into the depths of his dark mouth with gentle sucking motions that were incredibly erotic.  All sensation was centred on her face, but she was gradually becoming aware of his hand splayed on her spine, the hard stomach pressing against the ridge of her hip.

‘What are you going to do?’ she asked breathlessly, with conscious challenge, knowing already what he was going to do, and wanting him to do it.
‘Something I shouldn’t,’ he muttered, lowering her against his mouth, sending sparkling streaks of exhilaration through her body as his limber tongue invaded her mouth, punishing with pleasure. He held her easily, as if she weighed nothing, as he kissed her, tilting and turning her small body with his hands so that he could explore her mouth from different angles. Julia’s hands left the rigid tendons of his wrists and clutched at the solid warmth of his neck as she felt him move, carrying her backwards, hard thighs bumping between her dangling legs.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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