Review: Anything For You by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-bookAnything For You
Read with: Amazon Kindle

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #278
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Sam Kirk
Heroine: Delaney Michaels
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 1, 2007
Started On: March 28, 2010
Finished On: March 29, 2010

This is my all time favorite book from Ms. Mayberry and this is my first read as well as the book that got me hooked onto Ms. Mayberry’s style. After reading through all sorts of books by Ms. Mayberry this past week, I just couldn’t help myself but revisit the story of Sam and Delaney which the author has done a really splendid job of creating. Of course it helped a lot since Sam and Delaney are both best of friends who have known each other since childhood. And that history combined with the explosive, combustive chemistry between the two makes this story a memorable one long after you have finished reading the book.

Like I said, Sam and Delaney are best of friends. They grew up together and have their own business together, publishing an extreme sports magazine for the past 8 years. And for 16 years of her life Delaney has been in love with her best friend. But Delaney gets her wake up call that her life is wasting by whilst she moons over Sam and her unrequited love, when she goes off for vacation and spends time with her sister Claire and her kids. Delaney wants it all, a husband and 2.5 kids to come home to at the end of the day. Knowing that while she is part of Sam’s life, no man would even come close to being special enough for her to get married to, Delaney makes plans to effectively remove herself from Sam’s life.

Sam feels like his whole world has turned upside down when Delaney tells him that she wants out of the business. And to top it all, Delaney has had a makeover which is making Sam notice all sorts of sexy things about Delaney which makes him feel ashamed of the fact. Explosive passion that bursts between the two leaves Sam feeling more out of sorts even though he can’t help but want Delaney more than he had ever wanted any woman in his life.

Delaney knows that Sam doesn’t do commitment. Having had to deal with a set of parents who used their kid to wrangle all sorts of bitter arguments when Sam was growing up, Sam doesn’t believe that any relationship could work or was worth working for. His only steady relationship in his life had always been Delaney and that fact alone makes him want to bury his head in the sand rather than face the fact that he was finding Delaney irresistible.

Its a passion filled ride for these two willful characters that Ms. Mayberry has created and I for one loved each and every bit of their story. Most probably would end up re-reading this book again somewhere down the line. For now the satisfaction of the happy ending in this book is enough of a glow for me to last this night through!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: Cruise Control by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: It’s All About Attitude, Book 3
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Marc Lewis
Heroine: Anna Jackson
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 1, 2006
Started On: March 27, 2010
Finished On: March 28, 2010

Unlike Harlequin Super Romance titles, Harlequin Blaze titles are all about fiery passion which inevitably results in love. Sarah Mayberry writes great Blaze romances and this title has all the essential ingredients to make a great story.

Anna is a woman on a mission. A survivor of breast cancer, she has made a list of things she wants to do before she leaves this world. Going through the various stages of cancer had taught her how short that life really was. So quitting her high profile lawyer job and starting up her own limousine driver business was one thing crossed off that list. And she had succeeded in getting herself made over that few of her friends from her days as a lawyer recognized her.

However the thing she wants to do the most is to invite more passion into her life and she has no clue whatsoever how to get that done. Having always been of the studious minded, Anna had never been one  to indulge frivolously in anything. All that changes in a minute when Marc steps into her limo.

A self made millionaire, Marc is on his way to obtaining a divorce from his wife of ten years. Tara cheating on him had left its mark and Marc was in no way inclined to start off another relationship no matter how much the driver of his hired limo seemed to be affecting his libido.

Both Marc and Anna have pretty straightforward views on what they want and do not need right now. But passion has a away of clouding up even the best laid plans and the best of intentions. And after two chance encounters that leave both of them wanting more, it is inevitable that Marc and Anna start off a no strings attached affair, one either of them could bring to a halt if necessary.

However they both find out just how wrong  they are about the way they feel about each other when the little rules that they had both promised to stick together seems all wrong for their relationship. Love eventually bites these two who are trying so hard not to get caught, and Anna freaks out never wanting put Marc through what her father had gone through when her mom had died of breast cancer.

Anna’s stubbornness nearly costs her everything, but finally these two get the happily ever after ending they both deserve. Making  things pretty interesting is the little side story of Anna’s brother Danny and his complicated issues dealing with who he is and his love life.

Great read as always by Ms. Mayberry.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: A Natural Father by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Superromance, #1551
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero:  Dominic Bianco
Heroine: Lucy Basso
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 10, 2009
Started On: March 27, 2010
Finished On: March 27, 2010

I seem to be on a Sarah Mayberry marathon after starting with her latest novel Her Best Friend which I reviewed around two to three days back. Though her novels are short contemporaries there is always something extra that Ms. Mayberry adds to the mixture that makes her books hard to put down and harder to forget once you have finished reading them.

This story from Harlequin Superromance is also an enchanting piece of work. The story focuses on two families who live in an Italian community in Melbourne, Australia. Lucy finds herself pregnant and Marcus her long term boyfriend of eight years and the father of the baby had abandoned her and moved onto greener pastures with his yoga instructor. With an unforeseeable future, Lucy is determined to do right by her baby. Her sister Rosie and her husband Andrew together with their mom Sophie tries to help Lucy along.

Lucy’s own business which just barely started off which dealt with delivering fresh groceries to restaurants around the neighborhood brings her into contact everyday with Dom, the son of the owner of her wholesaler. Dom has always had an interest in Lucy but the timing had never seemed to be right for him to show his interest in her. Dom had just recently being divorced and was finally thinking about approaching Lucy when he finds out that she is pregnant.

Problems with Dom’s father on the business front ends up Dom asking to be a partner in Lucy’s business since Lucy seemed to desperately need the capital needed to boost her business. Though Lucy and Dom are both very aware of one another, Lucy doesn’t want the added complication of another man in her life. But Dom and his patience, care and attentiveness all pretty soon convinces Lucy to give him a chance.

However things are far from over when Andrew and Rosie have troubles in their marriage which nearly drives them apart, which in turn causes Dom to pull away thinking that its the best thing he could do for Lucy rendering them both heartbroken. In the end its a happily ever after for all of them which never fails to put a smile on my face.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: Back To You by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hot City Nights Anthalogy
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero:  Cal MacKenzie
Heroine: Becky Taylor
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 8, 2008
Started On: March 26, 2010
Finished On: March 27, 2010

This was a title released in a collection of  short novels bundled up as “Hot City Nights” together with two titles from two of my other favorite Harlequin authors Emilie Rose and Sandra Marton. I haven’t read the other two novels in this collection but am thinking I might give it a go since Sandra Marton and Emilie Rose do write wonderful romances.

Becky Taylor and Cal MacKenzie had the hottest and wildest time of their lives for four weeks when they were at the university together at the tender age of 20. Cal had broken things off with Becky quoting that he wasn’t ready to jump into another serious relationship when he had barely managed to step away from the first serious relationship of his life.

Ten years later, Cal and Becky meet again during a reunion. Becky is at first shocked to find Cal there when he is supposed to be in London with his wife. But unknown to Becky, Cal has been back in Sydney for over a year and is divorced. What happens to  be a chance encounter for Becky isn’t necessarily that for Cal. Cal had come to the reunion wanting to see whether Becky would show up and whether she could still make him feel the same way as he did when they both were 20 years old and going hot and heavy.

Ms. Mayberry has done a splendid job I would say in creating a short story such as this one intense enough so that I as the reader didn’t feel like I had been cheated out of something that could have been better. The intense connection between Becky and Cal burns stronger than ever and before they both know it, they are going hot and heavy with each other once more.

Becky thinking that she and Cal would never get their happily ever after decides to cool things off when she finds out that she is pregnant with Cal’s child. And Cal proves to Becky once and for all that he is committed to loving Becky for the rest of their lives if given half the chance.

A sweet and hot read you wouldn’t want to put down.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Superromance #1626
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero:  Quinn Whitfield
Heroine: Amy Parker
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2010
Started On: March 25, 2010
Finished On: March 25, 2010

Sarah Mayberry has woven her magic once again with this beautiful story of two best friends who after a long period of time find love and happiness with one another. The story of Amy and Quinn centers around three best friends. Amy and Quinn both grew up together as neighbors. Liz moves in to the neighborhood much later and the three of them were inseparable during those years.

Amy has loved Quinn since she was fourteen years old. However, Liz and Quinn seemed to find love in one another long before Amy could do anything about her feelings and one thing leads to another, and before long Liz and Quinn are married and living in Sydney, both high profile attorneys whilst Amy stays behind in her hometown with her dreams of restoring the local theater to what it was before when her great grandfather owned the place.

Six years have gone by since Quinn and Liz got married and moved to Sydney and Amy is just about to have her dream realized. Amy has tried her best to move on and forget about Quinn and the intense feelings that he arouses in her. However a bit of legal problem regarding the sale of the theater ends Amy in calling Quinn up never realizing that during the period that she had tried to distance herself from their lives, Liz and Quinn were proceeding with getting a divorce.

Quinn hasn’t thought of Amy other than as his very best pal since he was fourteen years old and he and Liz had started dating. Now feeling as a failure with his marriage and future uncertain, Quinn feels that he has finally come home when he returns back to his hometown and starts to help restore the theater with Amy.

The close proximity within which these two work together on the restoration project makes them face their intense attraction head on and other feelings that they may have buried deep inside for the sake of their friendship.

To complicate matters, Liz is back, with the intention of winning Quinn and his love back. Its a pretty sweet and happy ending for Amy and Quinn and I enjoyed reading each and every bit of their story, as much as Ms. Mayberry must have enjoyed writing their story.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: Prince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas

Format: Ebook
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Stokehursts, Book 2
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero:  Prince Nikolas Angelovsky
Heroine: Emma Stokenhurst
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 1995
Started On: March 24, 2010
Finished On: March 25, 2010

Though I read this book sometime last year, this story failed to make that great an impression on me back then. But after reading Midnight Angel by Ms. Kleypas where the story of Emma and Nikolas begins, I had the urge to go back and re-read this romance to see what I would make of it now. I have always held the notion that two characters that have a prior history between them always make a better romance and this story too had a deeper impact on me upon re-reading the story with the knowledge of prior acquaintances between Emma and Nikolas in mind.

Nikolas, a prince from Russia has been exiled from his country for treason. Having made his home in London for the past seven years or so, Nikolas has been biding his time for Emma to grow into womanhood so that he can claim her as his wife. Though Nikolas doesn’t really believe in love he can’t resist the pull that has him waiting for Emma all this time.

The Stokenhurst family has never fully forgiven Nikolas for what he put Tasia (the heroine from Midnight Angel, distant cousin to Nikolas) through. Tolerated at best at Emma’s home, though Tasia seems to have forgotten and forgiven Nikolas, Emma has had only brief episodes of contact with Nikolas until he actively starts to seek her out. Unknown to Emma, Nikolas chases off Adam, the only man in the eyes of Emma who has wanted her, a woman well on her way to becoming a spinster by the look of how things were going. Though Luke, Emma’s father doesn’t agree to a match between Adam and Emma, and Luke doesn’t have anything to do with Adam’s abrupt departure from Emma’s life, Emma blames Luke which drives a wedge between father and daughter for the first time in their lives.

Reading about Adam’s engagement to another woman is the final straw for Emma and Nikolas swoops in during this vulnerable moment of her life to play the knight in shining armor and win her hand in marriage. Though Luke vehemently opposes the match, Emma’s resolve to marry Nikolas is strengthened by this fact.

Though Nikolas acknowledges the burning need he has for his wife, he refuses to let her into his life in any other way. Scared to the pits of other dangerous emotions Emma seem to evoke in him, Nikolas decides to drive Emma away by being his most cruel self and goes as far as to sleep with another woman just to drive the wedge between them deeper.

However, with a twist of fate, Nikolas travels back in time to find that he was once capable of loving someone and learns that with Emma he has found his love once again. However proving that he was a different and changed man proves to be rather difficult after everything he has put Emma through.

Thoroughly enjoyed this romance the second time round. If any of you are planning on reading this novel, I recommend that you start with the first book of the series before moving onto this one. Makes the story more meaningful.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas

Format: Ebook
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Stokehursts, Book 1
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero:  Lord Luke Stokehurst
Heroine: Lady Anastasia Ivanovna Kaptereva
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 1995
Started On: March 23, 2010
Finished On: March 24, 2020

Another winner by Ms. Kleypas, this romance focuses on a heroine from Russia, a princess nevertheless that reminded me of the cartoon Anastasia that I adore so much. Princess Anastasia is on the run for her life, after being framed for the murder of her fiance’, a happenstance that Tasia has no recollection of whatsoever.

From childhood Tasia has been labelled as a witch because she could foresee certain elements of the future of people who were close to her. Now a woman of great beauty with a mysterious aura surrounding her, Tasia flees to England after escaping the death penalty by faking her own death.

Fate lands her eventually as the governess of Emma Stokenhurst, Lord Luke Stokenhurst’s daughter from his first marriage. Emma is an awkward girl in her teens, badly in need of female companionship and understanding of the subtle and the  not so subtle changes taking place within her as she moves onto womanhood.

From the start, Emma takes a strong liking towards Tasia towards which Luke has mixed feelings. Knowing that he wouldn’t allow Tasia to stay for more than a month in his household doesn’t make him any less immune to the tug of attraction that flares unwillingly between the two.

Luke has no room in his life for a wife. Having lost his childhood sweetheart and the only woman he has ever loved to a tragic death, and having his own scars from the tragedy to deal with, Luke is quite content with his mistress on one side and his daughter on the other front until Tasia comes along and knocks everything haywire in his life.

Its no surprise that ultimately these  two succumb to their attraction and Luke proposes to marry Tasia knowing the story of how Tasia might be a murderess. However that doesn’t stop Luke from professing to protect her from Prince Nikolas, brother of Tasia’s murdered fiance who has vowed to find Tasia and bring her to justice no matter what.

Ultimately Nikolas does find Tasia and takes her back to Russia where she is kept captive at his residence until the date on which she is to be hanged. Nikolas forces Tasia to remember what took place on the night of the murder and this unblocks Tasia’s memory so that she is no longer ridden with guilt over the murder knowing well enough who is responsible.

Luke follows Tasia and Nikolas to Russia and claims his wife once again. Through all this Ms. Kleypas keeps the romance and sensual encounters between Tasia and Luke going which makes this romance more worthwhile. Finishing this novel has made me want to read the Prince of Dreams, the story of Nikolas and Emma once again. Since their story begins in this novel, I think I might like their story better the second time round.

Most probably will post a review for that story pretty soon.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

Caliber Seal: GOOD READ!