Review: I Do, I Do, I Do by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero(s): Benjamin James Dare, Bernard T. Barret, Thomas John Price
Heroine(s): Juliette March, Clara Kaus, Zoe Wilder
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 31, 2011
Started On: August 23, 2010
Finished On: August 24, 2010

As I mentioned in a previous review of mine, Maggie Osborne certainly doesn’t write your conventional romances. Rather, she takes the story a step further and takes the reader on a ride that he or she would not forget anytime soon.

This story is certainly different from the rest of the books by Ms. Osborne I have read. Featuring 3 heroes and 3 heroines, at first I was in the mind that this story would not work out with the constant juggle between the characters. But I should have trusted Ms. Osborne to use the charm she so effortlessly wields to captivate us on a journey that surely did not give me even a minute to be bored.

Juliette March, a heiress who is quite wealthy on her own right who lives with her Aunt Kibble in the small county of Linda Vista is rescued from impending spinsterhood when she meets, falls in love and marries the debonair seductive smooth talker Jean Jacques Villette. When Jean claims that his money is tied up and he needs some cash in order to purchase a home for Juliette and himself in Oregon, Juliette who has misgivings about setting foot outside of the county where she grew up in, gives a chunk of her inheritance to Jean, who had rode out nine months ago, not to be heard from again. An impeccable lady through and through, Juliette who is pretty much scared of experiencing anything that is beyond her control and anything new, decides to set off on her own to find what happened to her beloved husband.

Clara Kaus is not your typical dainty heroine. Big shouldered, big breasted and big hipped with curves in all the right places, Clara longs to feel a man cherish her and treat her like a delicacy. So she is more than enthralled when Jean who stops over at her inn and claims to have fallen head over heels in love with her and treats her the way she wants to be treated. The next thing she knows, she is married to him, and has given Jean all her savings to buy them a place in Seattle so that they could settle down and start a new life for both of them. Clara was starting to get worried because she hadn’t heard from Jean since he left a couple of months ago. Since the sale of the inn was now final, Clara was determined to travel to Seattle by herself and track down her husband.

It was by chance that on the last day of Clara’s stay at her inn, she encounters Juliette who stops over at the inn in the first leg of the journey she was taking to hunt down her husband. When Juliette eyes the ring on Clara’s finger, a ring identical to the wedding ring that was on her finger, Clara and Juliette both come to realize that they have been had for real by a smooth talker. Though Clara is quick to anger and swears that she would get her money back from the good for nothing man she married, Juliette doesn’t want to believe that what took place between Jean and her could have just been about money. Jealousy is swift to rise between these two women, who are as different from another as night and day. Both wanting to find Jean equally as much, its Clara’s idea that they travel together the rest of the way.

Zoe Wilder comes from the coal mining town of Newcastle. Having grown up with six brothers, constantly struggling for privacy, the the thing that Zoe remembers most about living in Newcastle is the Owner’s Day Parade that takes place annually. Zoe had been five or six when she had realized that the elegantly dressed men and women in the carriage parade looked at the people lining the lanes of Newcastle with a mixture of superiority and contempt. Zoe had sworn that she would drag herself out of Newcastle and find something better for her when she grew up. Now living in Seattle working for an uncle, Zoe reveled in the freedom that her life had brought about. Meeting Jean Jacques Villette, right after she was awarded quite a large sum of money for rescuing the grandson of one of the affluent families in the area, seemed like a godsend. To meet a man who didn’t have a black layer of grime under his fingernails who claimed to fall head over heels in love with her and who effectively seduced her into saying yes to marriage, Zoe was happier than she had ever been. That is until, on her visit to Newcastle, her mom poses disbelief upon hearing that her newly wedded husband had left her to hunt for gold in Yukon, leaving Zoe to fend off for herself. However Zoe refuses to doubt in her husband, though she longs for any sort of news from him.

When Juliette and Clara deduce that Jean was on his way to Yukon to hunt for gold, Clara decides that the best course of action would be to confirm his departure to Yukon by checking whether he bought year long supplies to Yukon. It is inside one of these supply shops that Clara and Juliette encounter Zoe and find out that Zoe too had married Jean Jacques Villette and wore the same type of ring that Clara and Juliette wore. Three women so different from one another, each jealous of the love that Jean had showered on the other two, tempers fly and words are exchanged between the three. Zoe feels so immensely betrayed by the fact that Jean had made her feel ashamed of her roots and family back in Newcastle, swears that she would shoot the good for nothing man they all had married. Each having their own reason to hunt down Jean, the three of them decide to make their way to Yukon, knowing that it was going to be a long and arduous journey.

On their journey, Juliette meets quietly intense Benjamin James Dare who lost his wife to illness. Ben wants to feel alive again and thus the journey to Yukon as a prospector to find gold. Strongly drawn towards a woman who puts propriety above everything else, Ben is surprised by the intense emotions that Juliette evokes in him. Juliette in turn is scandalized to feel the hot rush of emotion she feels every time Ben comes to find her. Though Juliette fights everything within her to prevent herself from falling in love with the most wonderful man she had ever met whilst married to another, it is inevitable that love would follow the intense connection between two people so well suited for each other. The first time Ben and Juliette come together is intense, hot and quite a different scene of seduction from the ones you usually come across. I found myself seduced right along with these two and enjoyed every minute of their encounters.

Clara encounters larger than life Bernard T. Barret (Bear) and feels an intense tug towards the broad shouldered massive man who is a gentle giant in Clara’s opinion. Bear is captivated by Clara’s lush figure and loses the arm wrestling competition aboard the ship that sails them towards Yukon. Constantly being ridiculed after the encounter by other shipmates, Bear feels at times exasperated and more aroused than he has ever been with a woman in like forever. Growing up with a mother whose profession was whoring, Bear always felt that no proper woman would want his company once they find out his background. Equally strong personalities make for a real strong connection and in the end their encounter together nearly destroys Bear’s cabin up in the mountains. It was everything and more of what I envisioned for these two.

Zoe meets Thomas John Price (Tom), one of her brother Jake’s best friends from Newcastle. Tom has made a life for himself outside of Newcastle, building his own supply company and was comfortably well off. Zoe is surprised to encounter Tom and find that she is strangely drawn to a man from Newcastle, something she had sworn never to do. Tom had always known that Zoe would grow up to be a beauty, but the woman whom he encounters on the shores of Yukon just takes his breath away. Before long, whether Zoe wants it or likes it or not, Tom is courting her and the tender and beautiful way in these two come together is certainly a moment worth savoring in this book.

What all these three ladies have in common in the new relationships that they forge during the journey is the fact that they refuse to tell anyone that  they are married to the same man and had come to Yukon to hunt down Jean. But in the end, when the truth does come out, the new men in their lives feel so betrayed by the fact that they had been duped into bedding married women, and that they hadn’t been able to trust them ends their relationships effectively. And finding at the last minute that Jean had sailed from Yukon on the same ship that they had traveled into Yukon, Juliette, Clare and Zoe know that its the end of a journey for the three of them who have come to care for one another and consider one another as the best of friends.

The ending seemed a bit trivial for me, when these 3 ladies continue their journey to Jean’s hometown and encounter the fact that Jean had died after succumbing to illness. It was funny to realize that the three of them weren’t alone in being duped by a man who was so skilled at what he did. With three beautiful children and a wife at home, Jean had traveled all over, marrying women and collecting money from them. Letters written to the three of them, each stating individually what had drawn Jean to them, I guess was the ending that a novel of this type deserved, though I would have felt better if Jean had been alive and the three of them had got to give a piece of their minds to a man who had cheated them out of so much.

In the end, its all happily ever afters for the three of them. It was fun, deeply sensual ride with this book and I definitely recommend this book as I do for the other books by Ms. Osborne that I have read so far.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: Sweet Tempest by Helen Bianchin

Format: E-book
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents #744
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jake Stanton
Heroine: Stephanie Matheson
Sensuality: 2.8
Date of Publication: November 1, 1984
Started On: August 24, 2010
Finished On: August 24, 2010

I always come across books by Helen Bianchin though I have never given them a try before today. Having some free time and coming across this quite old Harlequin Presents romance, I wanted to indulge in a book where I wouldn’t have to think much and invest myself in the book. Surprisingly I found myself turning the pages quickly, fascinated in spite of myself in the drama that you can always find in a Harlequin romance.

Stephanie Matheson works as a secretary with her father who holds his own veterinary practice in Bacchus Marsh, south-west Victoria. When the opportunity to attend a conference which is to take place in Los Angeles for a month comes knocking on James Matheson’s door, he is more than excited. And when through an unexpected turn of events, Jake Stanton the son of one his long term friends, who has returned from the states recently agreed to look after the practice for the month whilst he was gone, it was a too good an opportunity for him to turn down. Entrusting the care of Jake to his daughter and making arrangements so that their housekeeper would take residence at their home for the duration, James leaves her daughter Stephanie with a feeling of trepidation ever since the moment she lays eyes on Jake.

Jake with his sardonic drawl and a cynicism that never leaves his eyes invades the thoughts of Stephanie far more than she likes. And when the housekeeper that was supposed to live in with them breaks her leg and has to be hospitalized, Stephanie knows that she would have to bear with Jake and his irritable presence.

When her boyfriend Ian, who lives with his mother and who in turn despised any male or female that might threaten her relationship with her son finds out that Jake is living with Stephanie, all hell breaks loose in their relationship front. Before long, a lifelong friend who turned into something more turns into a stranger who can’t seem to get over his jealousy of Jake and his presence at Stephanie’s home.

Though Stephanie denies that she feels anything for the ruggedly handsome Jake, her body betrays her every time Jake takes her in his arms. When Jake’s beautiful ex-wife Alana comes calling, Jake resorts to using Stephanie as a shield to prevent Alana from getting her claws once again into Jake and his fortune.

Stephanie doesn’t know how she ended up playing the role of a doting fiance to a man she despised. There were times when I wanted to hit Jake on the head for the cruelty he showed to Stephanie. And there were times that I wanted to shake Stephanie so that she would grow a spine or two. But all in all, the book served its purpose and gave me a light and fast read which was what I wanted in the end.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!

Review: The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Warner Books
Hero: Ty Sanders
Heroine: Jenny Jones
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  April 1, 1997
Started On: August 22, 2010
Finished On: August 23, 2010

Maggie Osborne certainly doesn’t write about your conventional heroines. Her books always center around those women who are uneducated and shoulder the responsibilities usually carried out by men for survival’s sake. The story moves on in such a manner that you can see the heroine transform herself into something better because all along, even though the heroine may cuss and drink like the best of men, she always has redeeming qualities that shine in the end.

The Promise of Jenny Jones centers around one such heroine. Jenny Jones is a woman who had had to fend for herself from the tender age of around 8 when her mother had kicked her out of her home. Jenny had never shied away from hard tough work, because it was either that or starve to death. Big boned and reaching a height of around 6 ft, Jenny defies the convention of dainty figured women. Her one encounter with a man had soured her of having any sort of relationship with a man, and in Jenny’s mind, no man in his right mind would look at her twice. But the one remarkable quality of Jenny was that when she gave someone her word, she never went back on it. Jenny figures that being truthful was the only thing she had left in this world.

So it is this quality that lands her in a Mexican jail, sentenced to meet her maker by a firing squad. The stench, filth and the lice that seemed to have taken permanent residence in her long red hair almost made her long for the death that would inevitably arrive come morning. Salvation comes in the form of the hauntingly beautiful Senora Margarita Sanders who was terminally ill. She arrives in Jenny’s prison cell and proposes that she take Jenny’s place in front of the firing squad. In return, Jenny had to promise that she would take Margarita’s young daughter Graciela to her father and Margarita’s husband Robert Sanders in Northern California. Margarita feared for her daughter’s life, that her cousins would attempt to kill Graciela and remove the only obstacle that stood in their way of the family fortune, because Margarita’s father, who had disowned her on her marriage to Robert Sanders was filthy rich.

Jenny who had never had the responsibility of looking after a child before is skeptical at best. But a promise given has to be kept and thus Jenny finds out just how tiresome and irksome a six year old can be. Graciela hates Jenny on sight and keeps on praying to God for her death because according to Graciela her mother was killed because of Jenny. And Graciela wants nothing more than to return to what is familiar, unaware of the danger that her cousins now posed.

Ty Sanders had been asked by his brother Robert, upon the death of their father to travel to Mexico and fetch Margarita and his child. Ty unknowingly encounters Jenny and Graciela and Graciela’s two gun toting cousins who are hellbent on removing Graciela from Jenny’s keep. The first encounter itself, though Jenny looks less than flattering with her manly clothes and shortly cropped hair, Ty feels the first stir of awareness and a deep respect for the woman who fiercely guarded her child.

But when Ty finds out later that the woman who had been occupying his thoughts all too frequently since, might have kidnapped Graciela, he swears that he would rescue his niece and return her to her father, regardless of whatever misgivings  he might have about Mexicans.

Thus starts the encounters between these three. Graciela is hardly the docile child you would imagine a woman like Margarita would have reared. But she is spoiled, willful and wants her way or the high way. Graciela reluctantly starts to admire Jenny and Jenny too learns from the girl who slowly starts to creep her way into her heart. And Graciela’s uncle has the most unimaginable effect on Jenny, that she can’t believe that the blue-green eyed, lithe and handsome cowboy was really interested in bedding her, Jenny Jones that no man ever glanced at twice. But when Ty’s smoldering gaze rests on her, Jenny feels beautiful, sexy and all those things that she had never hoped she would feel.

The coming together of Jenny and Ty is explosive amongst the sultry heat of Mexico, amongst a journey that is fraught with danger for the threesome that try to make their way out of Mexico. In the end, Ty gets shot and has to be left behind so that Jenny can keep her promise to the woman who had been brave enough to die for the one person who mattered to her more than anything else.

The epilogue of the story is wonderful, describing the wedding of Graciela and how Ty and Jenny had weathered after marriage. Beautifully done story that kept the pages turning and kept me up into the wee hours of the night, just so I could immerse myself in the beautiful sensuality created by Ms. Osborne.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!

Review: A Stranger’s Wife by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Quinn Westin
Heroine: Lily Dale
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  April 1, 2001
Started On: August 21, 2010
Finished On: August 22, 2010

When you curl up with a novel by Maggie Osborne, you certainly don’t end up reading the usual flavor of romances out there. A Stranger’s Wife certainly fits that category and more and I devoured up the book with the fascination that Ms. Osborne’s books always invoke.

Lily Dale spent the last 5 years of her life at Yuma Women’s Prison. Lily had been sentenced to prison for 10 years for partnering up with her then boyfriend Cy in robbing one of the gambling halls in Tombstone, Cy had convinced Lily with all his talk that he was doing this for Lily and their new born daughter Rose so that they could all start off with a better life somewhere else. But things had gone awfully wrong and Lily had ended up firing the pistol in her hand, which the prosecutors had been convinced that she had done deliberately. Whilst Cy had been hanged to death, Lily had barely escaped with her life and paid for her participation in crime with five years of her life inside the walls of prison where hard labor, torture, beatings and starvation had been part of daily life. The one thing that got Lily through was the hope of reuniting with her daughter Rose in Missouri.

When Lily is released from prison before her sentence is completed, little does she know that it has something to do with the recent visit to the prison by a Mr. Paul Kazinski who had spent a significant amount of time studying and watching her, which had made Lily pretty uncomfortable. And when Lily hears that Paul, who is a Kingmaker wanted to meet with her Lily knows that once again she is going to be coerced into doing something she doesn’t want to do.

When Lily steps inside the coach that Paul asks her to take a ride in with him, the last thing she expected was to come face to face with larger than life Quinn Westin. And when she hears the foolhardy plan that Paul proposes, that she Lily who had never played by the rules of the society pretend to be the wife of the magnificent man who sat in front of her sent shivers of foreboding up and down her spine.

Quinn Westin was a man who thought ahead of his time. With his idealistic views about how society should be shaped up and moved into the future, Quinn was hellbent on being the first governor of the newly created state of Colorado. Quinn was determined that nothing would stay in his path towards being governor. His long term friend and Kingmaker Paul was equally determined that even the disappearance of Miriam, Quinn’s wife wouldn’t cause any glitches in the campaign which had about seven months left.

Thus finding a woman who had an uncanny resemblance to Miriam was disconcerting to say the least. When Quinn lays his eyes on the rough around the edges convict woman who loves a shot of whiskey and smokes and cusses like any man, Quinn is surprised at the immense tug of attraction he feels for Lily. Likewise Lily cannot believe that the smoldering gaze of Quinn could turn everything she had believed in for so long upside down.

Backed into a corner, Lily reluctantly agrees to the plan and thus starts her journey from a commoner into a refined lady of the society. Paul coaches her in all the ways she needs to change in order to become the woman worthy of being Miriam. But what even Paul can’t tamp down is the sensuality and provocative nature of the woman who is to impersonate a woman who was shy and laid back at best.

From the moment Lily embraces the role of becoming Miriam, Lily craves to find out what actually happened to the woman she is pretending to be. The more she tries to pry information from her enigmatic pretend husband and Paul, the more they shut her out and when she does find out Miriam’s story, Lily at first detests Quinn for being the unfeeling man he shows to be.

But little by little, Lily finds out the truth, the truth of actually what went between Quinn and Miriam and how forces outside who wanted to see Quinn fail in the election had contrived to use Miriam’s vulnerability against Quinn and end his political career once and for all.

The epilogue is certainly different not because it was a letter from Lily addressed to Paul but because of how life shaped out in the end for Lily, Miriam and Quinn. Though many a people may not agree with what takes place in this story, Ms. Osborne makes it work with charm, wit and enough sensuality to knock your socks off.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=4.25/5]

Caliber Seal: AWESOME READ!

Review: Prairie Moon by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: James Cameron
Heroine: Della Ward
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 29, 2002
Started On: August 19, 2010
Finished On: August 21, 2010

Maggie Osborne never fails to invoke a massive torrent of emotions in the reader with her books, and this book is in no way an exception to the rule.

Dell Ward, the widow of Clarence Ward who died during the confederates war, now lived in a rundown farm at the edge of a small Texas town. With the small number of animals she keeps and the garden she cultivates to give her a reason to get up each morning, Della is a mere ghost of the woman who married Clarence at the tender age of 16, with dreams of being the idyllic wife of a war veteran.

Lawman James Cameron has been carrying around Della’s photograph with him for the past 10 years. There was not an inch of the woman in the photograph he wasn’t familiar with, and he has once again come to see her so that she would finally know the truth about how her husband had died.

The woman that greets him stirs everything deep within this strong, silent lawman, whom every outlaw in the West was gunning for. Cameron knows that he ought to tell Della outright that he was the reason that Della was a widow and that she had had to fend for herself for the past 10 years. But once Della receives the letter that Clarence had penned for her and never completed before his death, the guilt that Della had been harboring since her husband’s death comes rushing back. The guilt that the last words that her husband had ever read from her were “I hate you”. Della would give anything in her life to take back those words and prevent Clarence from dying thinking that she had hated him.

No matter how much Cameron wants to come out with the truth, he is a man bent on storing up memories for the long lonely life ahead of him of the one woman who had effectively managed to capture his heart. So Cameron comes up with reasons to delay telling Della  the truth and let Della go on assuming that he had been Clarence’s friend. When Cameron finds out that Della was forced to give up her baby girl Claire to the Wards, Cameron knows that returning Claire to Della would be the last thing he does for her before walking away from her life forever.

Della is at first resistant to the idea of going to find Claire, but a part of her can’t help but jump with joy every time she thinks about seeing her baby girl again. Thus starts the long journey these two take, a journey during which the sensual awareness that has always been there between these two bursts to the surface threatening the little control that Cameron has over his feelings when it comes to Della.

The road to happiness for Della and Cameron is not an easy one. Both Cameron and Della have to face their pasts, learn to forgive themselves and one another before they could embrace their happily ever after.

I absolutely loved Cameron as a hero. He definitely is one sigh worthy hero and makes a girl long for one battle scarred brooding war hero of her own. Della complements this strong silent man in every way and though  the immense betrayal she feels when she finds the truth devastates her, the love that she feels for Cameron triumphed over it which made me admire Della as the heroine.

Wonderful story once again by Ms. Osborne. Its a damn shame that she stopped writing romances. Damn shame indeed!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: The Wives of Bowie Stone by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Bowie Stone
Heroine: Rosie Mary Mulvehey
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 1994
Started On: August 18, 2010
Finished On: August 19, 2010

This book has been on my TBR pile for quite sometime now. It landed on my pile after I came across Sliver Lining by Ms. Osborne and fell in love with her writing style. So after finishing up my last book, I was mulling over which book to start with when I read through a thread on Amazon discussing Maggie Osborne and Pamela Morsi. Readers were discussing which of the books by the two authors they liked and I suddenly had the urge to go through the list of books I have by Ms. Osborne and indulge myself in a wonderful story created by one of the most talented writers in romance.

As soon as I started reading this book the first thing that struck me was the odd title. Then I realized that the hero in question must have more than one wife in this book and it was as I expected. Bowie Stone is an ex-cavalry officer, wrongly convicted for murder when he had only killed in self defense. Dishonorably discharged from the cavalry for going against his superior’s orders which had entailed that he lead his officers and shoot down defenseless women and children in an Indian village whilst their men were out hunting, Bowie Stone had resigned himself to the death that awaited him.

In Gulliver County, Kansas, there was an ordinance that stated that men who were sentenced to death would escape their fate if one of the women in the county chooses the convict as her husband. This was due to the scarcity of available men in the county after the war had started. Desperate times called for desperate measures and this is how Bowie Stone escapes his unjust punishment when Rosie Mulvehey picks him up as her husband.

Bowie cannot believe his eyes at first when he lays his eyes on the woman who stands in front of him who looked and acted more like a man than a woman, reeking to the high heavens of whiskey, smoking and cussing all the way. All that Rosie needs from a man is someone to work on her derelict farm to harvest the crop that would serve as the revenge she has been seeking on her stepfather ever since his untimely death.

Rosie doesn’t expect things to change much just because she has taken on a husband. Going into town, getting drunk and raising a ruckus bad enough to land her in jail is a weekly occurrence for Rosie. Rosie lived with John Hawkins an ex-Indian and Lodisha an ex-slave to whom she was loyal to a fault and vice versa. Rosie relied on the steady intake of whiskey at night to keep her nightmares at bay, the nightmares of the sexual and mental abuse that she underwent when her mother died, leaving her stepfather in charge of her affairs. John and Lodisha had tried to help her, but the threat by her stepfather that he would have them killed if they so much as whispered what was going on in his household to the county effectively bought their silence. Thus Rosie hid from the world her femininity and strutted around like a man, wanting nothing more than to yield a profit from the harvest reaped from the harsh landscape that is her stepfather’s home, just so she could best him in the one thing he had failed during his life.

Bowie doesn’t realize that there are complex layers to the woman he has got himself married to. Though Bowie has obligations back home, like a wife and a son, he knows that he owes Rosie and vows to stay on to repay his debt to her for the one harvest season. So it comes more than a surprise to Bowie when he first lays eyes on his wife, minus the dirt and grime that continuously cling to her skin and the unflattering clothes she prefers and feels a tug of desire unlike anything he has experienced before. And when Bowie finds the truth about the abuse she underwent with her stepfather, a clearer picture starts to form of the woman who donates so charitably towards those more needful than her but never gets acknowledged for it, a woman who was fiercely loyal to those whom she considered hers and a woman who craved the bottle so that she would feel less and forget her dark past.

Unwillingly, Bowie falls in love with Rosie, knowing that his duty lay with his wife Susan and son Nate back at home. Bowie had taken Susan as his wife when his brother had died after a freak accident, eliciting the promise from Bowie that he would take care of his pregnant girlfriend. So Bowie had married Susan out of a sense of duty and left her in the care of his father, Senator Stone. Knowing that they would be well cared for, until Bowie can make his way back to them is the only consolation he has whilst he works the harsh fields trying to give Rosie the one thing she desires above anything else.

It was beautiful the way Rosie slowly comes to trust and admire the man she marries and how this vulnerable woman opens up to the possibility of love and fiery passion with a man who seems to understand her every desire. Little by little, Rosie changes her ways, earns the respect of members of her county and finally ceases to be the drunk she is, just so she could be the wife who is worthy of the man she married.

This story moves along side by side with the story of Susan, Bowie’s actual wife and son Nate. Susan is basically thrown out into the streets as per the will of Senator Stone, who blames Susan for all that had befallen his son. Susan who had always relied on a man to make the tough decisions in life, a woman who had never had to lift a finger in all her life suddenly finds herself ladled with the daunting task of faring for herself for the first time in her life.

Her lawyer upon her desolate cry advises her to head west and that is how Susan finds herself answering the ad placed by Gresham Harte from Wyoming for a wife. Appearing with her son in tow, garbed in mourning attire doesn’t win Gresham over, and when he finds out that Susan had never had to work a day in her life, Gresham regretfully turns Susan away, though her beauty captivates the man inside of him.

It was riveting to read of how Susan overcomes the obstacles in her life, with the support and help of the community in Wyoming. Through hard found courage, Susan manages to attain the teacher’s position and from there onwards, life becomes more meaningful for a woman who had had nothing more major to do most days than to pick out the menu for the day. Inch by inch, Susan manages to overcome her fears and in the process fall in love with Gresham who reluctantly feels a responsibility towards her and finally succumbs to falling in love with her as well. However tragedy strikes when Nate is killed in a boating accident on the July fourth activities which devastates Susan more than anything else that had happened in her life.

So it is the promise that Bowie made to Nate that has him walking away from the one woman whom he holds dear to his heart more than anything else in this world and trudging onwards towards a future which looked bleak at best.

The Wives of Bowie Stone is a wonderful story, made more so by the fact that this tale depicts the lives of two equally brave women and the men who irrevocably falls in love with them. I loved the way Bowie slowly erased whatever fears that lurked within Rosie, how he slowly seduces her to fall in love with him and ultimately surrender to be the passionate woman she is meant to be.

Susan’s story too is beautiful in its own way, and made me admire her for the reserves of courage she finds within herself to face the harsh realities of life and overcome them to become a woman much stronger and more desirable for the fact.

Needless to say, I loved this novel and am looking forward to reading more from Ms. Osborne.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Maggie Osborne

Review: Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Night Huntress World. Book 2
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Hero: Mencheres / Menkaure
Heroine: Kira Graceling
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 1, 2010
Started On: August 16, 2010
Finished On: August 17, 2010

Jeaniene Frost has penned another winner with the second book in the Night Huntress World Books series. Before starting out on reading this book, I did skim through reviews written to get a feel on what to expect in this book. But I should have known even then that when it comes to Jeaniene Frost and her tales, you never know what to expect and each page just keeps you riveted with the surprises that come along your way. Needless to say I completely fell in love with Mencheres, I mean who wouldn’t? So here is my take on this wonderful story, which had me glued to every single word, right from the very beginning.

Mencheres whose the grandsire of Bones from the Night Huntress series, is a very old vampire. So old in fact he was born in 2553 B.C. and was a pharaoh when he became a vampire. Mencheres is one of the most powerful or should I say the most powerful vampire we have yet come across in the Night Huntress series. His power is such that he can move a lot of things simultaneously, fly at speeds that amazed me and could foresee the future before he assisted Bones in killing his wife Patra.

Marriage to Patra and the knowledge that he shared with her about the ways of the dark magic has continued to be one of the biggest regrets of his life. Patra’s thirst for power and worldly riches had ultimately ended in her demise, and Mencheres had been shouldering the blame for all the havoc and disaster that she brought about, nearly destroying everything and everyone that Mencheres had held dear to him.

Radje or Radjedef is an uncle of Mencheres, and a Law Guardian of the vampire race. Being a Law Guardian meant that he was a member of the vampire ruling council, and being the power hungry and corrupt vampire he was, Radje had been after Mencheres for eons, claiming that the power Mencheres’s sire had shared with him upon turning him into a vampire, rightfully belonged to Radje.

With the cease of his visions, Mencheres feels adrift, and knowing that the centuries old feud between him and Radje would just eventually hurt those who belonged to him, and the fact that he kept seeing total darkness whenever he tried to look into the future made Mencheres come to the decision that death was all that awaited him now. Mencheres knows that as the co-ruler of his line, Bones would be able to handle whatever that could come their way, and Mencheres was determined that a personal feud between him and Radje wouldn’t harm those that belonged to him. So it is with this in mind that Mencheres decides not to wait for the sure death and eternal darkness that awaits him, but rather commit the vampire form of suicide and embrace death before its too late.

Kira works as a private investigator and has two half siblings Tina who was terminally ill of whom she was really protective of and Rick, who was a drug addict, always trying to leech off money from Kira on the pretext of turning over a new leaf and getting his act together. Kira is well versed in the art of self defense, having trained to become a cop. Kira’s ex-husband had definitely left his mark on Kira with the physical and emotional abuse that he had heaped on Kira during their marriage. Kira’s salvation had come in the form of an old cop friend of her ex-husband, Mack Davis whose motto in life had been to save one life, an advice that always runs through Kira’s mind.

So when during her walk home from work Kira hears a man in agony, she can’t turn her back on whoever it was that was in so much pain. Mencheres had walked in on the ghouls who were effectively butchering him up in order to put his plan of getting killed/committing suicide into action, when a beautiful human woman walks in, commanding his torturers to give it up. To say the least, someone who had presumed to have seen everything life has to offer is more than surprised when a woman who doesn’t even know him, walks into the danger that surrounded him willing to give up her life. And when the ghouls attack the woman, Mencheres knows that he has to save the woman and stall his plans for now.

Knowing that the one thing that all Law Guardians held in contempt was flaunting the fact that vampires existed to the human race, Mencheres knows that all he has to do is erase Kira’s memory and send her on her way. But her fatal injuries end in Mencheres feeding her his blood, and right from the get go, Mencheres is unable to read Kira’s mind or effectively manipulate her with his green-eyed gaze. Thus Kira becomes a captive, a captive that Mencheres treats well, earning Kira’s respect amidst the other feelings that Mencheres’s deep black eyes and his perfect bronze body evokes in her.

Mencheres yearns for the beautiful courageous woman Kira is. Emotions that he had controlled ruthlessly and tamped down on for more than 900 years suddenly burst into the surface, urging him to let go and succumb to the feelings that Kira roused in him. Mencheres, a vampire who has always been coveted by others for what he could provide for them, whether it be from his wealth or his undeniable powers as a vampire, has never been really wanted for the man he is. And it is this cynical viewpoint that prevents Mencheres from laying a hand on Kira no matter how much he comes to desire her within the week that she resides at his home.

But the time comes for Mencheres to let Kira go, when he knows that he would never be able to manipulate Kira’s mind like he can for most of the human race, and when Kira’s sister Tina is hospitalized, Mencheres knows that the time has come to let her go. Kira thinks that Mencheres would help save her sister’s life only in exchange for her captivity to him for life, and she is more than surprised and a little lost when Mencheres releases her and sets her free. Though she is freed, Kira’s undeniable feelings for Mencheres makes her seek him out and it is then that Radje puts his evil plan into effect to draw out Mencheres to finally get the power that he wants.

In the end, Radje’s harsh sentence ends Kira’s life as she knows it and Mencheres changes her into a vampire, refusing to let the one woman who stirred his senses after centuries die away. Someone reviewed that there wasn’t enough heat between Mencheres and Kira and it was all about control with Mencheres. Maybe that particular reviewer and I didn’t read the same book, cos I definitely felt the heat and seductive lure of the power Mencheres yields so effectively to make Kira his. And I wouldn’t say when you have ceiling banging encounters with the woman you love, you are in control. Definitely not!

With Kira in his life, Mencheres suddenly yearns to live and doesn’t want his vision of eternal darkness to come true. And Mencheres knows that he has to pull all the stops and use every bit of knowledge and power he has to beat Radje at his game and save Kira from his clutches before its too late for either of them.

Mencheres definitely made me sigh all over and Kira is definitely the woman for him. I absolutely fell in love with Mencheres’s sleek good looks, the way he tamps down his power and cares for those around him and who belong to him. Its not that Mencheres is a vampire who hasn’t made mistakes or is one without flaws. But the fact that with absolute power in his hands, Mencheres still manages to be the man he is definitely makes him a vampire to sigh over!

Needless to say, the longest review I have ever written so far is due to the fact that I loved this story so much and wanted to capture its essence in my review. This book is definitely very highly recommended for Frost fans as well as those who have never read anything from Frost before. Try it out. It might just be your cup of tea! And for fans of the Night Huntress series, its always a treat to see our favorite couple Cat and Bones from another hero or heroines’ viewpoint. Always good to revisit them.

My only peeve with the book was its cover art. Definitely doesn’t match the Mencheres that I envision in my mind.

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[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!