Review: If Looks Could Chill by Nina Bruhns

Format: E-bookiflookscouldchill
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Passion for Danger, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Marc Boudreaux Lafayette (Marc)
Heroines: Tara Reeves
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: December 1, 2009
Started On: September 21, 2010
Finished On: September 29, 2010

This book has taken me like forever to finish – not because the story was in anyway boring or didn’t measure up to its predecessor. I managed to get distracted by other books that I just HAD to read before I could come back and finish this great book which I left hanging for a while. Once again I just have to point out the fact that I am so VERY glad that I gave this series a chance based on the rave reviews this series has received. These books manage to keep the tempo up and running and I have never encountered a dull moment when I lost myself in the 2 stories of the series that I have managed to read so far.

Its hard to say that this is just the story of Marc Boudreaux Lafayette (Marc) and State Trooper First Class Tara Reeves (Tara)’s story alone – because this is just so much more than just your average romantic suspense story that is focused on one single hero and heroine. Rather equally interesting heroes and heroines come together to make these books one of the hottest and best romantic suspense books I have had the fortune to come across. I have to warn you though, before you proceed that there might be spoilers in my review for readers who have never read these books.

This story kicks off 5 years before the present day at the Dumani Embassy in Istanbul when two STORM (Strategic Technical Operations & Rescue Missions) agents Marc and Bobby Lee Quinn together with then CIA agent Darcy Zimmerman work together on a mission to access and photo digitize documents contained on the well guarded 3rd floor of the Embassy building – papers that contained the identities of the elusive two leaders Jalil Abu Bakr and Abbas Tawhid of the al Sayika terrorist organization. The papers also contained al-Sayika’s plans of a bio-weapon mix of deadly viruses to unleash to fulfill their purposes. This scene opens up the possibility of a very delicious liaison between Darcy and Bobby Lee, an attraction that flares between the two so scorching that  they don’t really have to play the part of being infatuated with one another to provide the diversion needed for Marc to do his thing. However, things go awfully wrong and Marc ends in jail, Darcy gets kicked out of CIA for unsavory conduct and gets hired by Bobby Lee as the newest recruit of STORM in the process as well.

Five years later, the setting is Lower St. Martin Parish, Louisiana where the al Sayika group has pretty much succeeded in creating the bio-weapon mix of the deadly viruses that could wipe out an entire continent. To meet this end, Dr. Gina Cappozia had been kidnapped at the end of book 1, a process that had been seemingly helped along by Captain Gregg van Halen of the Zero Unit of CIA. Kick Jackson (hero from Shoot to Thrill) and his best friend Alex Zane who had undergone 16 months of torture under the hands of al Sayika’s Jalil Abu Bakr, who had been killed by Kick at the end of Shoot to Thrill; had their own ideas about how a mole within the CIA was operating against them. Thus STORM was keeping  the whereabouts of Alex under wraps for the moment and in the process working to identify the mole and stop the terrorists from achieving what they hoped to gain on American soil.

Marc is less than happy when he encounters State Trooper First Class Tara Reeves who investigates the seemingly mysterious deaths of the swamp animals which Marc had been investigating. STORM’s orders that Tara be misled and neutralized using any means possible doesn’t sit well with Marc. Marc is not the type of man who can sit around twiddling his thumbs waiting for the action  to happen and the idea of babysitting the state trooper irked Marc more than he was willing to admit. But with his usual abundance of charm and wit he manages to convince an adamant Tara who wants to investigate what has caused the deaths that he is the best Cajun guide available to  take her along for the ride through the swamp, a ride made more precarious by the fact that Marc desperately wants to end his two year self imposed ban on sex with the delectable Tara who seems all wrong for him, an attraction that seems to be unequivocally returned by Tara herself. Their first encounter together is way off the charts hot, Marc’s Cajun charm lending that sizzling factor that zips through the reader with every scorching kiss and touch.

Equally interesting are the developments between Darcy and Bobby Lee, both of whom had been seeing each other on and off when time off from their busy schedules had allowed them to. Darcy and Bobby certainly doesn’t give the reader any reprieve to cool off after the encounters between Tara and Marc; in fact each encounter just keeps getting hotter and better. And of course, the story of Alex who is engaged to be married to Helena Middleton, whilst he yearns for FBI Special Agent Rebel Haywood, his friend and savior when he was been tortured horribly whom he calls his angel continues in this book as well and makes the reader yearn to just put them in a room for 48 hours and throw away the key until these two admit to the fact that they are definitely made for one another.

However things are far from what you expect when Dr. Gina’s ex-fiance Wade Montana comes into the scene and heads the investigation to find what has happened to her, an investigation that Rebel is part of and before long Rebel has done the hot and sweaty deed with Wade, though it is Alex that she yearns for day and night. The ending in this book for Alex and Rebel is not a happy one and I am definitely psyched to reach their happily ever after in the next book which brings back the brooding and mouth watering Gregg whose explosive encounters with Dr. Gina in book 1 knocked me off my feet.

All in all this book takes the reader on the wildest ride ever, never a moment to take a breather and get your heart rate back to its normal rhythm. Because if its not the ultimate bad guys with their hair raising evil plans to commit mass murder, the hot encounters between all equally strong and mouth watering men with women definitely made for them keeps the excitement levels always at a 10. Whilst Darcy and Bobby Lee together with Marc and Tara gets their happy endings in this story, I am definitely looking forward to how Alex and Rebel as well as Gregg and Gina would attain their ever afters with one another.

Definitely very highly recommended for fans of romantic suspense who loves a scorching hot read.

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

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Review: September Moon by Candice Proctor

Format: PaperbackSeptember
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Patrick O’Reilly
Heroine: Amanda Davenport
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 5, 1999
Started On: September 24, 2010
Finished On: September 25, 2010

Like the book Whispers of Heaven which I reviewed earlier, this story too is set in Australia during the 1800’s.

Amanda Davenport finds herself in the raw primitive land of Australia, left with a feeling of hopelessness when her employer dies from a bout of illness leaving her destitute with nowhere to turn to. Amanda, the daughter of a brilliant scholar back in England had been hired by Frances Blake who had been a botanist to act as his secretary, a post that few women were thought capable of handling back then. However, growing up alone with a brilliant scholar because her mother had died when she had been a mere baby, Amanda had ended up more educated than even most men, because that had been Amanda’s way of vying for the attention of a father who was more mindful of his students and the academics than his only daughter. When her father had died 5 years earlier leaving her with little means to look after herself, Amanda had been forced to seek employment and hence her current predicament where Amanda is forced to find a job in order to survive and earn enough money to return back to her beloved England.

Experiencing the fact that the post of a secretary would be hard to attain, Amanda ends up agreeing to be the governess of Patrick O’Reilly’s 3 children. The one fact that deters her is the fact that the O’Reilly’s live so far in the outback that the land was considered primitive and harsh, and for someone like Amanda who misses the gentle surroundings of England, the mere thought of roughing it out in the outback is a daunting thought in itself. But in the end, her hopeless situation has her agreeing to be the governess of Hannah, Liam and Missy aged between 11 and 6 years old for a period of 1 year after which she would have the means to return back to her home.

When Patrick O’Reilly sets eyes on the tightly buttoned up English woman his sister Hetty had once again hired as a governess for his children, all Patrick senses is a woman who forces down her emotions to the extent that she appears to have a perpetual straight line where her lips should be. But even her buttoned up figure dressed in the ugliest garbs Patrick had ever seen does little to hide her dainty figure and her impressive gray eyes which seems to stare down haughtily at him, a sign classic of the English women.

Patrick, the grandson of an Irish ex-convict had learnt the hard way that dainty women such as Miss Amanda rarely survived in the primitive land to which his heart belonged, and that they would leave sooner or later. Patrick’s mother who had been English had abandoned their family and then he had gone ahead and married Katherine, an English woman whose father had made his fortune in India and had come to invest it in Australia. A 19 year old Patrick had been helplessly ensnared with an 18 year old determined Katherine and in the end her pregnancy had ended up in their marriage. Patrick who dreams of nothing more than owning his own land and having his own flock of sheep and cattle one day couldn’t have been more different from Katherine who had wanted to return to England with her husband in tow and live her life there.

Patrick had tried so hard to please Katherine and ease her longing to be back home. But in the end, Katherine too had walked out when Missy had just been 6 months old. So it was safe to say that Patrick wants nothing to do with Amanda who sets his senses afire and when he sees an answering fire of need reflected in her eyes, it is not long before these two are forced to acknowledge the intense connection between them, reluctant though each may be to do so due to their own reasons.

Amanda had been burned once and is twice shy of letting her baser emotions take over. What Patrick manages to do to her senses with his wickedly dimpled smile that brings a twinkle to his sky-blue eyes complete with his work hardened sinewy body is incomparable to anything she had ever experienced before. Amanda doesn’t welcome the emotions that are invading her body in Patrick’s presence, feelings she has ruthlessly tamped down on for the past 10 years of her life. Propriety and genteel behavior are the two things she steadfastly holds onto, because she is afraid that she would end up surrendering her heart, body and soul to the devilishly handsome man and the primitive land which he calls home.

What I like most about Ms. Proctor’s novels is the fact that she doesn’t provide magical solutions to each problem that comes up within the story. Amanda doesn’t just one day wake up and realize that she loves her harsh surroundings, nor does Patrick’s 3 children take to her like a newborn babe does to milk. Rather Amanda has to work her way and win their affections, and she comes to love them as her own in time. Patrick, a man who is wary of trusting a woman to do right by him doesn’t blindly trust Amanda to stay with him when he knows just how much she  yearns to be back in England. In the end, a love as fierce and binding as the rough Australian outback is what helps them through the dangers and hurdles they have to cross to embrace their happily ever after.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor

Format: Paperbackwhspers
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Lucas Gallagher
Heroine: Jesmond Corbett (Jessie)
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  July 3, 2001
Started On: September 23, 2010
Finished On: September 24, 2010

This story is set in Tasmania in the Australian continent in the 1800’s, a time during which this picturesque island witnessed the most shudderingly brutal excesses of the British convict system according to the Author’s note at the end of the book. I have read a couple of books set in Australia during this time period some of which I have reviewed previously.

Jesmond Corbett (Jessie) returns to her beloved home known as Corbetts Castle  in Tasmania after spending two years studying Geology at the Ladies Academy of Science in London. Engaged since childhood to marry Harrison Winthrop Tate, childhood friend and the only son of their closest neighbors, Jessie is glad to come home even though the thought that her robust and energetic father who had died 3 weeks after she had left to London and wouldn’t be there to welcome her with open arms saddens her.

Anselm and Beatrice Corbett had had 6 children, 3 girls and 3 boys out of which the youngest of each were the only ones who were alive. Whilst Cecil and Reid Corbett had both died horrific deaths, one at the hands of the merciless sea that surrounds the island and the other at the hands of the rogue Aborigines, the sisters Jane and Catherine Corbett had succumbed to the effects of Scarlet fever. Beatrice who was strictly British and upheld the iron control on her emotions that the British were famous for had always let the fact be known that she had adored the 4 children who had died more than Warrick and Jessie, both of whom had always been a trifle wild and harder to bend to the rules of the society.

Jessie knows that no matter how hard she tries to please her mother by molding herself into something she is not her mother Beatrice would never be completely happy or satisfied with her efforts. And when upon her return she lays eyes on Lucas Gallagher, an Irish convict who sets her pulse racing with the danger and wildness that seems an integral part of him, Jessie instinctively knows that Lucas answers some deep calling within her that yearns to be set free.

Lucas is a man hell bent on escaping the harsh life he had had to endure as a convict up until now. Lucas is a man far too proud to ever accept the fact that he is not his own master and the thought that he would practically die as a slave in the wilderness of Tasmania makes him more determined that he would escape or die trying. But when he lays eyes on the beautiful Jesmond Corbett, a woman who is forbidden to him on so many levels within the society he was forced to live in changes everything.

No matter how hard Jessie or Lucas tries to deny the intense connection between them, they find themselves helpless in the need to be with one another. Lucas tries his damnedest to say no to what his heart clamors for when Jessie looks at him with those beautiful blue eyes of hers, but one forbidden kiss flares every need that he has ruthlessly tamped down til now.

Once Jessie had tasted passion in Lucas’s arms, she knows that there is no going back and that marriage to Harrison who was as rigid in his views on the proper behavior of genteel women in the society as Beatrice would mean a slow death for the passionate and vibrant woman that she is. But then again, there is always a heady price one has to pay for indulging in the forbidden desires of the heart and both Lucas and Jessie would have to love and trust one another beyond anything comparable in order to triumph over all obstacles in their way, to embrace a love as fierce as the wilderness that surrounds them.

A story so beautifully written that you cannot help but be ensnared by the magic it slowly weaves on you, Candice Proctor surely knows her stuff with the beautiful characters she creates. I am just sad that she doesn’t write romances of this kind anymore because she is so good at creating the most beautiful love stories and Night in Eden is a testament to her glaringly obvious talent in this regard.

Favorite Quotes

His hand moved over her breast in a rough, agonizing caress, tanned, scarred fingers against black satin that they watched together. “Do you?” he said, his hand still roving her breast, his face taut. “Do you understand that when I say I want to touch you, I mean I want to touch all of you – all those secret places where you’ve never been touched before, where you’ve probably never even dreamed of being touched. It means I want to lay you down on the grass with your skirts rucked up about your waist and your flesh bare beneath my hands.” His fingers found her nipple through the cloth of her dress, and the pleasure was so piercing, she almost cried out with it. He saw, and his lips curled into a fierce smile. “And when I say I want you, Miss Jesmond Corbett of Castle Corbett, it means I want to bury myself deep inside of you, I want to take you, hard and rough and hungry. Here. Now. Because I am a hard man, and my life is rough, and you have no idea of the hunger that burns inside me.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: Yule Be Mine by Jennifer LaBrecque

Format: E-bookyule
Read with: Adobe Reader & Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Forbidden Fantasies, #11
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Sam Kendrick
Heroine: Giselle Simone Randolph
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: November 22, 2008
Started On: September 22, 2010
Finished On: September 22, 2010

My first book by Jennifer LaBrecque started out pretty good and somehow lost its luster towards the end. The setting of the story is certainly a unique one, quite appropriate in fact for a series entitled as Forbidden Fantasies.

Giselle Randolph meets her younger sister Helene’s husband Sam Kendrick on the Christmas Eve after they both eloped and got married in Las Vegas which was preceded by a courtship of 6 whirlwind weeks upon meeting one another at a resort in the Caymans. In the Randolph family, Helene has always been the beautiful one, the one to whom the male species seemed to be endlessly drawn to whilst Giselle took after her father’s side of the family and had always been the responsible and the studious one.

Sam, a professional photographer now, had grown up as a bastard child with a single mother in public housing and had always had a need a to prove himself by always having the best. When he had encountered beautiful Helene at the resort whilst shooting for a brochure as a favor for a friend, Helene whose beauty had drawn everyone’s eyes around her had made her seem like the ideal wife material for Sam, that is until he walks into a kitchen filled with homely Christmas smells and encounters Giselle with her long brown hair and freckled nose with a bit of flour on her face looking like the hottest mess that Sam had ever encountered.

Giselle cannot believe herself when she responds on such a base level to her younger sister’s husband. The flare of attraction that leaps between the two is undeniable from the start and though both try to ignore the fact somehow Sam cannot help thinking that he ended up marrying the wrong sister just two days after his honeymoon.

The story takes off again, two years later, nearly a week before Christmas Eve with Giselle working for the Life Trendz Magazine and busily preparing for her assignment in Sedona where a new age guru was claiming that on the third day after the winter solstice there was an incredible spike at the energy vortexes in Sedona which helped people fall in love. Giselle had one ulterior motive apart from getting a good story for the magazine; to once and for all get over Sam Kendrick by finding someone else to share her life with the help of the energy vortexes, if that is what it took.

Everyone else thought that Giselle wanted to get over her recent divorce from Barry Treadway, who had been Giselle’s escape route from the intense and forbidden attraction that had played havoc with her hormones and feelings for her sister’s husband. But Sam and Helene’s marriage had lasted only 8 months before Sam had strayed and Helene was now happily married to Danny, a college buddy of Sam’s. The Randolphs were pretty much in line with the opinion that Sam was scum for the way he had treated Helene, though Giselle’s treacherous heart still longed for him.

When Giselle lets Dareen, her friend and photographer at the magazine know about her feelings for Sam during a moment of drunken oblivion, Darren contrives to bring these two together and backs out of the assignment to Sedona which Giselle and himself were to go together. Instead the object of every erotic fantasy Giselle has had for the past two years is to accompany her on the trip, a trip which she had started out with the very intention of forgetting the man who was to be her companion.

Sam wants a chance to test whether the connection that he was sure that they both had felt two years ago was worth something looking into. The flare of reluctant desire in Giselle’s eyes proves to him that she is not as immune to Sam as she would like to be, though the shady truth about how his marriage to Helene ended keeps Giselle at a distance that Sam would like to eradicate once and for all.

With a little magic in a place filled with all the right kinds of energy, Sam and Giselle finally give into the red hot desire that they had felt for one another right from the start. An amulet which tunes Sam into Giselle’s every erotic fantasy certainly helps him along in his intention to be Giselle’s love slave for the trip. And suddenly both Sam and Giselle know that they both want more than just three days together, but rather a lifetime of happiness with one another, but Giselle has to overcome her insecurities and fears about her relationship with Helene’s ex-husband before that is possible.

As I said earlier, this book did start out with a bang and in the end, the heat and steam just wasn’t enough for me. I expected more fireworks from two people who have had a longing and desire for one another for such a long time, and forbidden desires at that. With a little more heat between the two, this could have been a great read. So in the end, it was a disappointed me who finished the story, but all in all not a bad read.

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

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Review: Amidst a Crowd of Stars by Megan Hart

Format: E-book
Read with: Mobipocket Reader & Amazon Kindle
Length: Short Novel
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Hero: Keane Delacore
Heroine: Marrin Levy
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: January 1, 2005
Started On: September 21, 2010
Finished On: September 21, 2010

I have always come across rave reviews of books by Megan Hart and I think I did start out with one of her books sometime back which I never got round to reading more than a couple of pages. But after reading this book, I have the mind to hunt down the book I left hanging because Megan Hart writes a poignant story that really touches something deep inside of the reader.

Amidst a Crowd of Stars is a futuristic romance set on a planet called as Lujawed, a planet where the sun always shines relentlessly. The planet is harsh desert all around, the water hidden so deep within it that bringing forth water on such a dry land was a back breaking task in itself. Marrin Levy and her husband Seth with their two young girls make their way to Lujawed with her husband’s idealistic and unrealistic dreams to change their lives for the better. Lujawed had been one of those rare planets which had been settled without war. The native Lujawedians weren’t really forward minded people and didn’t give much thought to changing their lives for the better with irrigation, sanitation, roads, medical care and other such services Earthlings had come to depend on as the necessities in life.

When Seth had contracted a virus and died, leaving her with two girls and one more on the way with a mountain of debt in his wake, Marrin had been devastated to say the least. Many a time she had nearly given up and she would have returned back to Earth if they had had any money left, and nearly after 3 years of struggling in poverty, hunger and backbreaking labor had forced Marrin to send for what the Homesteaders called a “field-husband” with whom she had to enter into a contract which gives the husband conjugal rights in exchange for his labor.

When Keane Delacone steps onto Lujawed and smiles upon Marrin and her three daughters Aliya, Sarai and Hadassah and wins over the affections of the elder two right away, Marrin is taken aback even though she knows that Seveerans who didn’t reproduce where science had replaced childbirth, procreated solely via artificially inseminated and cultivated embryos, do not age like those from Earth. Technology had advanced so much for Seveerans that they had obliterated the aging process and their lifespans were limited only by accident or choice. Even then, Keane who had been 40 Earth years old when he had stepped onto Lujawed had looked younger than Marrin who had been 26 Earth years old then. But even then, Marrin had been taken in by the beauty that shone on the surface as well as deep within him, which she had come to acknowledge and love as one full rotation had passed with them living together, but never coming together as husband and wife.

With Keane by her side, life had prospered all around them. As love had  blossomed between the two, a love that had grown stronger with time, so had come about the realization of Seth’s dreams. The harsh desert landscape now yielded them with flowers and grass all year round, and Ashco their company had been borne, which currently was the largest supplier of fresh udeji melons in the entire county.

On a planet that rotated twice as fast around the sun as Earth does, the years had doubled for Merrin, but not her lifespan though her beloved husband does not look a day older than when he had first stepped onto Lujawed. I don’t think I can adequately describe the emotions that flitted through me whilst I was lost in the magic of the love between Merrin and Keane, a man so gentle and kind, the kind of man who knows what his partner wants and needs even when she doesn’t know how to voice her wants and desires. A man who is so patient as to wait for her to fulfill all that she wants in life and then some, to stand beside her in her victories and share every little thing in life that is important to her. Now, why can’t men like Keane exist in real life I wonder? *Huge sighing session begins*

The ending left me undoubtedly with tears in my eyes, made all the better with the unusual style in which the story is represented. Starting from the present day, Megan Hart takes us back through the years or rotations as they are called, beginning with a Merrin who was in her last days on the verge of death with an unwavering Keane by her side mistaken by the nurses at the hospital as Merrin’s grandson. Megan Hart then takes us on the journey of their life together which spans around 120 plus rotations during which her three children get married, start their own lives, Merrin retires on the request of her husband who has never asked for anything from her till then so they could spend whatever little time Merrin had left together. The ending which was bittersweet couldn’t have been more perfect than what it was and I am so very glad I read this short yet meaningful novel. My only wish as always is that this could have been longer.

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

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Review: Personal Research by Cari Quinn

Format: E-bookpersonalresearch.jpg
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Nunizo McGinty
Heroine: Elena Thomas
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: September 17, 2010
Started On: September 20, 2010
Finished On: September 20, 2010

I just had to go and buy this book after reading a review posted on Goodreads by Sparklybearsy which made me smile all over and tingle in anticipation about reading this story which seems to have hit every craving spot on when one indulges in a bit of erotica now and then!

Elena Thomas, 25 years of age, works as a secretary at the McGinty, Haylor & Smith law firm. By day, she writes legal briefs, but at night and sometimes at work, she writes down scenes of her heroes and heroines indulging in wall banging, off the charts hot sex, as an erotic romance author. With two parents who are both college professors, Elena had grown up in an environment that had taught her to suppress all her emotions one way or the other. Being someone who suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, the one place where Elena lets go of the tight rein on her emotions and sensual nature is when her fingers fly over the keyboard, creating situations between her characters hot enough to make a girl salivate.

Nunizo McGinty is the nephew of Mike McGinty, one of Elena’s bosses. Half-Italian and half-Irish with amazing eyes, rock-cut cheekbones a firm jaw and distractingly full lips, I wish there was an IT guy or two around my workplace like him *wink*. Nunizo comes to America to visit his Irish side of the family and to obtain his Masters degree in English language. Dabbling in IT had been a side hobby of his and helping out his uncle at his law firm just gave him the excuse to hang around and salivate over the gorgeous and buttoned up red headed beauty who in his mind he called Bella, because it means beautiful, absolutely magnificent. *Swoons!*

Elena knows that she has a hankering for the new IT guy who seems to be popping around a lot the last two weeks. His smoldering gaze alone was enough to pin her down in her chair and one day, whilst Nunizo is servicing the printer that seems to be in direct sight of Elena’s workstation, her ogling session results in her accidentally sending pages of her newest novel to print.

Nunizo is surprised and more than pleased when he finds out just how wicked an imagination his Bella has and is determined that he would be the one who would make all her wild bottled up fantasies into a reality. Somehow a relationship that starts off based on physical need alone develops into something more, and changes Elena’s views on life and how she sees herself.

As most of the readers of this novella have pointed out, the opening line itself made me smile because it certainly was an attention grabber to say the least. The scenes between Nunizo and Elena are hot, hot, hot and made me want an Italian whispering sweet nothings in my ears (if you know what I mean!) *bawdy wink*

Great read for a novella, with a yummy hero and equally great heroine and enough smexing to last me until the next book? And I totally loved the comedic feel at times, Elena’s thoughts definitely made me laugh out loud a time or two. Elena as the chastised sexy bunny and Nunizo as Mr. Tall, Dark and Sinful! And don’t you just love the expression on the face of the guy on the cover! Sigh!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Jasmine Jade

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Review: Shoot to Thrill by Nina Bruhns

Format: E-bookshoot
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Passion for Danger, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Hero: Kyle Jackson (Kick)
Heroine: Lorraine Martin (Rainie)
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 4, 2009
Started On: September 19, 2010
Finished On: September 20, 2010

My first Nina Bruhns is one that I certainly would not forget anytime soon. I am so very glad that the hot cover art that caught my eye had me searching up on the book and in the end succumbed enough to keep my TBR pile as it is before sinking into this adrenaline packed story. This is the first book in the series Passion for Danger, and boy am I glad that the next two books in the series have already been published, cos I don’t think I would have found it in me to be patient for a period of time to find out what will happen to the rest of the interesting stories that had cropped out of this one.

Kyle Jackson (Kick) had formerly worked for the CIA NOC-Ops (Non Official Cover) Unit, which is a top secret and highly covert branch of the CIA. Kick had been 17 when he had joined the Marines, and even back then he had been damaged goods. Throughout the story, his childhood is hinted to have been a difficult one, though not much light is shed on his former life apart from the fact he had escaped from home when he had been only 14 years old. All the rage inside of him had driven him to be the most lethal kind of Marine and had led to the CIA recruiting him to their Zero Unit, which had sent him off to war torn countries like Afghanistan and Sudan on suicide missions. One gets the feeling from reading between the lines that Zero Unit is not something one escapes from, as Kick is relentlessly hunted down 16 months after he had nearly ended up been blown to pieces by a land mine in Afghanistan and watched his best friend Christopher Alexander Zane die.

The months of therapy that had followed had made Kick more determined that he would not return to his old life ever. Dodging the teams sent out to bring him back seems to be all Kick has been doing lately. And when the last attempt to take him back tells him that they mean business, Kick manages to escape knowing that with his current addiction to oxycontin, a severely addictive painkiller which his doctor had stopped prescribing but Kick had found a means to get  from a dealer. Knowing that the time has come to get detoxed from the drug, Kick walks in on a speed dating event held for the medical staff of Bellevue Hospital impersonating his friend Dr. Nathan Daneby who works for Doctors for Peace in godforsaken countries.

Lorraine Martin (Rainie) a nurse practitioner is dragged to the speed dating event by her best friend Dr. Gina Cappozia a medical doctor and a tenured professor who headed a genetics research project at Colombia University and did a stint of pediatrics at Bellevue every week against Rainie’s better judgment. Working in the ER and dealing day in and day out with blood, drugs, violence and senseless deaths left no time or inclination on Rainie’s part to be interested in dating. Having witnessed the brutal murder of her parents by a carjacker when she had been a mere twelve years old, Rainie battles with fear of random violence and hates chaos, disorder and situations that she is unable to control. Rainie has never used any means of transportation since her parents murder though she yearns to be able to be bold enough to experience the wild adventures that Dr. Nathan Daneby must face in his day-to-day life, someone Rainie has always admired throughout the years.

Gina and her tendency to date younger men who are willing to show her a good time with none of the macho Neanderthal stuff that she abhorred, had been practically salivating over the feast of young studs before her eyes with a bored and restless Rainie by her side. That is until Rainie eyes the dark and dangerous looking man who meets her eyes across the room, sending a frisson of awareness through her unlike anything she had ever experienced before starting to move through the roomful of people towards her.

Kick had gatecrashed the party wanting two things. A woman who was needy enough to let him use sex as a means to stay with her for a couple of days until he is able to deal with his addiction better, so that he wouldn’t be as weak as a newborn babe out of the woods when he had to face his old unit. But his plans go so delightfully wrong when Rainie arouses him beyond compare, and in a moment of sheer panic when his old life had flashed in front of his eyes, Kick accidentally blows the cover he had been using and kidnaps Rainie at gunpoint.

Rainie can’t believe that a moment ago she had been letting the man with the wicked looking gun trained at her kiss her senseless and feels immensely betrayed by her body when it still yearns for his touch. Before the night is through, Rainie gives in the urge to touch and to feel with the man who sets her senses on fire, before learning that Kick was an addict looking for help to deal with the withdrawal stage. And when Kick’s former unit comes in blazing with their guns and takes both Kick and Rainie, Rainie is given no choice but to tag along.

Kick is summoned by his previous commander Colonel Frank Blair, to kill Jalil Abu Bakr, the person who was the most notorious of the two leaders of al Sayika terrorist organization which was hellbent on bombing the US embassy in Khartoum, the British, the French and the UN diplomatic mission. Kick knows that he would not be able to turn his back on getting his revenge on the man who had killed his best friend and thus amidst the withdrawal symptoms that racks his body, agrees to the mission in Sudan. Meanwhile Rainie is coerced into monitoring a rapid detox procedure which was still in its experimental stages which takes nearly 72 hours to rid the body of the effects of a drug.

With the unit operating on a tight time schedule, Rainie who has never flown anywhere in her entire 30 years of life finds herself forced to accompany Kick to Egypt from where he would be transferred to Sudan, the place of his mission. And with the withdrawal symptoms still attacking Kick’s body, Rainie forcefully accompanies them on the FedEx plane that is to airlift them to Sudan from where she would say her goodbyes to the man who had lit up her world in fireworks.

But things go awfully wrong when Rainie and Kick barely escape with their lives intact when their plane is blown into pieces over the Sudanese desert. From there, its a game of cat and mouse to evade the terrorists who had been tipped off somehow, and it is Kick’s vow that he would protect Rainie from the horrors and dangers of being captured by a vile organization such as the al Sayika.

It is on this mission that the reader is introduced to STORM Corps (Strategic Technical Operations & Rescue Missions) and Marc Lafayette who belongs to this elite organization who barely escapes with severe injuries from the blast. The three of the survivors make their way to the medical camp set up by Doctors for Peace and seeing Dr. Nathan Daneby, Kick’s long term friend and the one who evidence points towards as been the traitor nearly makes Kick seethe with anger enough to kill his friend with his bare hands.

Somehow, with Marc injured, Rainie is the only one left to accompany him on his dangerous mission and against all the misgivings that Kick has, he lets the woman he loves tag along with him. It is at the camp that Kick finds out that his best friend had not been killed, but might as well have been when he comes face to face with the shrunken skeleton of the man Alex had been, with filth and pus oozing scabs and evidence of severe beatings covering his whole body with no memory of who he is with his eyesight nearly gone.

Alex’s story is an intriguing one, one which had me more intrigued than the actual story at times. Alex dreams of a red haired woman, who comes to him in his dreams, tempts him beyond anything he has known and keeps him sane throughout the 16 months of torture he endures. When the story finally ends, Alex finds out that he is engaged to be married to a woman who he does not recognize whilst the one who walks in with her supposedly fiance, his FBI friend according to her, is the woman who had been haunting his dreams all throughout! Man, Nina Bruhns certainly knows how to keep a reader guessing till the very end and keep them begging for more, much more!

Whilst all this is happening, back in the states, Gina is relentless in her attempts to find out what had happened to her best friend. Finally her attempts yield fruit when she comes face to face with the mouth wateringly handsome and larger than life and older than herself Captain Gregg van Halen. Gregg made me go weak at my knees a time or two, with his rough and tough loving that Gina craves and ultimately struggles to give into. In the end, Gregg betrays her and leaves her at the mercy of God knows what before the story ends. Talk about leaving us hanging! But the good thing is the 3rd book in the series is Gregg and Gina’s story, and boy I can’t wait to sink into that one! And that supposedly contains Alex and his mysterious lady Rebel’s story as well. *Drools!*

Fast paced, filled with enough heat to keep you warm through the coldest night, this is one book that fans of romantic suspense should NOT forgo! Kick and Rainie gets their happily ever after with both of them learning a thing or two about themselves and rising above all the hurdles to embrace the fierce love that they have for one another. Highly recommended; if you haven’t already read this series, keep your TBR pile as it is and start on this one ASAP! Yes, it is that good!

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