Review: Now You See Her by Linda Howard

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Richard Worth
Heroine: Paris Samille Sweeney (Sweeney)
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 29, 2003
Started On: October 30, 2010
Finished On: October 31, 2010

I needed a book to maintain the high I was riding after finishing up the last book I reviewed which happens to be Naked Edge, the 4th book in the delectable I-Team series. And I am so very glad that I picked this one up knowing that Linda Howard never fails to deliver. This is one book that I seem to have missed when I first started on my Linda Howard fest when I discovered her as an author after reading the emotionally gut wrenching story Sarah’s Child by the author. As always, the hero is to die for, his character described in such a manner that it is impossible not to give a part of yourself to him before the story is through. The heroine is not the type to stand back and just let the hero tread all over her, but rather she gives as good as she gets which made this book the winner it is for me.

The Hero: Richard Worth is a self-made millionaire who is described as a Wall Street whiz which made him the rich man he is. Growing up dirt poor in a farm in West Virginia, Richard’s father had died when he had been 3 years old. Now 39 years old, Richard had grown up with his grandfather and mother, both of whom had worked every day of their lives to provide for themselves. From a very young age Richard’s grandfather had instilled in him the need to work and earn your keep which makes Richard the man he is. Joining the army because he had been unable to afford a college education had made him discover that he had a knack for military life. And when Richard had found that he had knack for the stock market which was more lucrative and since money was all he had wanted to make Richard had never looked back. Its been 15 years since Richard has left the army and life had seemed to be going well when he had married Candra his wife of 10 years. Discovering his wife’s infidelity had broken the luster from his marriage and the final straw had come 9 years into their marriage, an act of ultimate betrayal by Candra which pushes Richard to end their farce of a marriage and apply for a divorce. Richard is a man who draws women to him effortlessly but remains faithful to his wife because Richard has always been the sort of man one can truly depend and rely upon.

The Heroine: Paris Samille Sweeney (Sweeney) or sweetie as Richard calls her is a woman who is so immersed in her work as an artist that she rarely takes notice of the opposite sex. Born in Italy, Sweeney comes from parents who found no time for their children but rather pursued their careers, her mother as an artist and her father as a filmmaker. Sweeney shies away from the opposite sex because her experiences with her promiscuous mother whilst growing up had made her wary of turning out to be exactly like her. Now 31 years old, Sweeney is described to have a trim figure, almost medium in height with blue eyes and curly brown hair which she keeps below shoulder length in an effort to control its unruliness. Sweeney had been living in the small town of Clayton in New York when that fateful day in August she had seen the ghost of 10 year old Samuel Beresford who had died of leukemia a month back. Afraid that people would assume that she has lost it, Sweeney wants to move somewhere that is warmer when Candra Worth, owner of the gallery where Sweeney sells her work convinces her to move to New York. The story continues a year after that fateful day when everything changes for Sweeney, someone who equals sameness and normalness to security.

Storyline: Sweeney’s entire world changes the day she starts seeing ghosts. The experiences leave her with a bone deep cold that refuses to leave her. Her work as an artist also changes from the trademark delicacy of her landscapes and still studies to paintings more boisterous and colorful in nature which leaves Sweeney with a feeling of hopelessness as she tries to prevent the changes from overtaking her life completely. Never one to take bullshit from anyone, the final straw comes when Sweeney is invited to Candra’s gallery to do a portrait for an important client of hers, a client who is a strong political figure that grates on Sweeney’s nerves right from the first moment. And when Sweeney’s body decides to take notice of Richard Worth all of a sudden, Sweeney is decidedly at a loss on how to control the sudden and swift change within her towards a man who was in a bitter contest of finalizing his divorce from Sweeney’s friend and mentor for the past year. Sweeney’s actual capabilities come to light when she sleep paints the murder of a person whom she is overtly fond of, the truth which she finds out only a little bit too late. When Sweeney finds herself face to face with another sleep painting attempt of hers, Sweeney is determined that she would finish the painting before its too late to warn whoever it is of her impending death.

First Encounter: There are references to Sweeney and Richard meeting one another on several occasions, most of which Sweeney doesn’t even remember because she has a tendency to desexualize herself and immerse herself in the wonderful world of vibrant colors that her life is. But the day that Sweeney’s body decides to take notice of and wants to claim Richard Worth as her own is the moment that Richard has been waiting for since he has always found Sweeney attractive.

Time period: This story has a contemporary setting and takes place in New York.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: With the first heady kiss between the two there is no turning back though Sweeney refuses to sleep with Richard till his divorce is final which propels him to use his ruthless determination in obtaining his freedom from the woman who he has come to hate, an action which sets in motion a set of events that leads to Candra’s murder. The bone deep cold that takes hold of Sweeney whenever she sleep paints only seems to go away in Richard’s fiery embrace which definitely makes this one heady read!

The turning point: From the moment Sweeney’s hormones become aware of Richard as a man there is no turning back for either of them. Richard is captivated by Sweeney who is the total opposite of Candra and for the first time Richard finds a woman with whom he can be himself with which is an attraction in itself. Sweeney though she tries her damnedest to return her life back to the dull and lonely version it was before finds herself no match to Richard’s quiet determination to win Sweeney over. With each kiss and embrace between the two the inevitable conclusion of which is a combustive joining of their hearts and souls is exactly what Linda Howard delivers – in spades.

Ending: Though the killer is not really a mystery as the story proceeds, nevertheless its an interesting one which brings to light the tangled web Candra decides to weave in order to dig herself out of the hole she has landed herself in. The ending is a fitting one which brings out the killer once and for all, nervous at the thought of Sweeney completing her portrait to point the homicide detectives in the right direction.

Likes: As always Linda Howard creates the best alpha heroes in her stories. Richard has a quiet unassuming strength about him that  totally captivated me and made me wish all his attention were focused on me. Silly I know, but I tend to get silly and all swoony around heroes like Richard. I also loved Sweeney and how she overcomes the fear of the change that takes place in her, how she finally accepts the fact that she has changed for better or worse and tries to make the best use of her talents to help others. Her less than perfect character perfectly complemented Richard in every way which made this book a winner for me.

Dislikes: I found myself a little bit put off by the fact that the Epilogue was just a couple of lines which sheds some light on why Sweeney is the way she is. I wanted a longer epilogue detailing the changes that had come about in both Richard and Sweeney’s lives a year on and glimpses of the perfectness of the world they had created together.*pouts a little*

Recommended for: Those who like romantic suspense with a tangy bit of paranormal in it.

Favorite Quotes

His hand on the back of her head, he settled her against him once more. His mouth lightly brushed her temple, and over to her eyelid. “After next week, when you get cold, I’ll be able to warm you from inside out.”
Oh, God, he managed it now. Her heart leaped, and her pulse rate jumped to double time.
“You’re doing just fine as it is,” she gasped.
“The way you shake and shudder, I won’t even have to do any work. All I’ll have to do is set you in place, then lie back and enjoy the ride.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Naked Edge by Pamela Clare

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: I-Team, Book 4
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Gabriel Rossiter (Gabe)
Heroine: Katherine James (Kat)
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 2, 2010
Started On: October 28, 2010
Finished On: October 30, 2010

The moment that I have been dreading since I started on the explosive I-Team series has arrived. Yes, I have reached the end of the backlist of the series and now have to wait patiently for the release of the next title in the series, Breaking Point which is to be released on July 2011. There are so many good books that are coming out next year that I am looking forward to, but this would top everything else on my must-have list when it comes out. Naked Edge introduces us to the people of Navajo who also call themselves Din√©, meaning “the people”, of the Southwestern United States who are the second largest Native American tribe of North America to which our heroine Katherine James belongs to.

The Hero: Gabriel Rossiter or Gabe as he is known as is a man who thrives on adrenaline rush. Well versed in rock climbing, skiing and what not, Gabe has always been a man of the outdoors ever since he can remember. Described as being rugged and tall with thick dark hair and deep blue eyes with a body to die for, toned by the years of extreme rock climbing sessions Gabe forces his body to endure, Gabe is a man who is running away from his past even though he doesn’t want to admit it. Gabe had pursued a degree in Biology thinking that he wanted to become a wildlife vet, but in the end when the time had come for him to choose a career, all Gabe had wanted to do was be outdoors. So Gabe had gone through the police academy and trained as a paramedic before landing his well earned position as one of the best mountain rangers in the area. A man who doesn’t do long-term relationships nor thinks of himself capable of being any woman’s knight in shining armor, Gabe is a man who likes his sex straight up, with no complications and with women who knows the score.

The Heroine: Katherine James (Kat) or Kimimila meaning Butterfly as her Grandpa Red Crow calls her had grown up in a two room hogan with 7 half brothers and 3 half sisters who jokingly called her as half-ajo because Kat had been the result of her mother’s indiscretion with a white man who had left her once he had known that she was pregnant with his child. Kat’s mother had always deeply resented Kat’s presence and had never felt happier unless she wasn’t around. Described as having dark brown hair, hazel green eyes and caramel skin, Kat is a woman who has sworn that she wouldn’t put herself in a position vulnerable enough to end up like her mother. Shying away from promiscuous behavior, Kat is a woman who is saving herself for her other half and believes in the happily ever afters that her friends on the I-Team had found with their respective partners. Armed with her degree in journalism from the University of New Mexico, Kat had returned home to work at the Navajo Times. But as always, her mother had refused to see the good that Kat was doing and finally her mother’s resentment with her siblings’ indifference had led her to take the best and toughest decision of her life 3 years back when she had decided to leave her home and pursue her dreams elsewhere. Now working as the I-Team’s environmental reporter, Kat has grown to love her fellow team members and the life she has made for herself. Though she may live and work in the city, at heart she is a Navajo whose heart and spirit belongs to the land on which she was born and raised.

Storyline: Kat is participating in an inipi, a sacred Indian ceremony that was being held by her Grandpa Red Crow as a healing ritual for one of their sisters who was suffering from cancer when the police come out of nowhere and breaks up the ceremony, brutal and deadly in the force that they use. And when a few days later, Grandpa Red Crow ends up dead, his death looking suspiciously like a homicide, Kat knows deep in her heart that there is much more at stake than just stopping a religious ceremony held by the Navajo when countless other such ceremonies had been held with the knowledge of the Mountain Parks Rangers. As Kat continues to dig deeper amidst threats on her life which escalates as she draws nearer to the truth, Kat finds that at the heart of all the havoc wreaked on her family lies greed which even drives the best of people to acts of mayhem &  murder.

First Encounter: Though Kat believes she has found her place within the I-Team doing work that means something and loving the life that she has made for herself, at times she feels the hectic life of the city closing in on her which drives her to go on hiking sessions to the surrounding mountains. It is when a rock slide hits and Kat falls down breaking a leg in the process that¬† Gabe comes to her rescue, Gabe who is surprised and a little taken aback by the admiration that courses through him at Kat’s bravery.

Time period: This story has a contemporary setting and takes place in the state of Colorado.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: Kat and Gabe cannot be more different from one another even if they tried. Kat, an innocent in every way that matters who believes in waiting for the right man who would love her forever and who wants a family and babies of her own is the opposite of Gabe who lives in the moment, who likes his sex without any complications with women who know what they are getting into. When Gabe finds himself asking Kat out on their second encounter, no one is more surprised than Gabe himself because he hasn’t felt the inclination to woo a woman in 3 long years ever since his fiance Jill Chandler had died leaving a man broken by betrayal in her wake. Even when Gabe knows in his heart that Kat is not the type of woman he can love and then leave behind, his body has other ideas with its fascination for Kat. With each tentative kiss between them that burns hotter and fiercer, Kat is as much a slave to her body’s needs, a first for her in her 26 years of life.

The turning point: With Gabe being the Ranger on call on the night that the praying ceremony was so brutally brought to a halt by the police, Gabe is also a witness to the extreme and unnecessary force used by the authorities in question. When Gabe’s helpless fascination with Kat makes him a witness to Grandpa Red Crow’s dead body which from the first glance itself Gabe deduces to be a homicide, needless to say Gabe is as much drawn to the web of danger that surrounds Kat in her quest for the truth and justice for her people. And when Gabe takes up the task of being a full time bodyguard for Kat, a task which his body relishes in at the mere thought of being in constant proximity to the lure that Kat’s body is for Gabe proves to be the ultimate turning point in their relationship. With Gabe constantly trying to push Kat away, danger and threats on both their lives which they barely escape from forces both Kat and Gabe to search deeper into their feelings and face the ultimate truth that they are definitely two halves that make a complete one.

Ending: The events that take place prior to the ending is one of the hardest parts to get through in the story – not because it was boring or anything but because of the ultimate sacrifice that Gabe makes to spare the life of the woman he loves proving that he is a knight in shining armor – for the right woman. The villain at the end was a total surprise for me, and yes I love being surprised and going into a little bit of shock when I read a novel of the RS genre. And of course, the epilogue as always left me sighing away into the night, satisfied in the knowledge that Gabe and Kat had truly found their happily every after together.

Likes: There are several points that made this story a winner for me. I liked the fact that I got to learn about a tribe of people that otherwise I would have never even heard of if it weren’t for this wonderful story. I was fascinated with their customs, beliefs and superstitious nature which serves them well in their lives and Ms. Clare’s efforts to balance out Kat’s character was well received on my end. As always I loved reading about the hero’s reluctant fascination when it comes to the heroine, something that Ms. Clare delivers in spades in this story. Gabe who is reluctant to put his heart and emotions on the line once again nevertheless finds himself doing just that when it comes to sweet and beautiful Kat who works her underlying charm like a soothing balm to heal Gabe’s wounded warrior heart. As always beautifully done which made the fact that I wanted to savor this last novel a bit longer fly out the window every time I picked up my Kindle to read. And oh yes, the elevator smexing, definitely one of the highlights! *wink*

Dislikes: None.

Recommended for: Those who love reading romances and novels of the romantic suspense genre. You are definitely in for a treat with the I-Team series, the best Romantic Suspense series that I have had the fortune of reading to date.

Favorite Quotes

He supposed he ought to be grateful that she was a no-show. It might bruise his ego, but it helped make up for whatever had gone wrong with his brain Saturday night when he’d –
The restaurant door opened, and she walked in, the wind catching her dark hair for one last moment before the door closed behind her.
Gabe felt a little hitch in his chest.

The elevator doors opened with a ding.
Kat stepped inside, Gabe behind her, his hand on the small of her back along her spine. She pressed G for “ground floor” then turned towards Gabe as the doors slid shut. “I don’t know what Tom -”
“Oh, to hell with Tom!” With a groan, Gabe pinned her up against the elevator wall with his body and kissed her hard and deep, one hand clenched in her hair, tilting her head upward, the other grasping her hip.
In a  blink, Kat forgot that she was at work. On deadline. In an elevator. She forgot about the shooting. She forgot everything but him and what he was doing to her, his tongue seeking and subduing her, his lips so hot and smooth against hers, his body pressed hard against hers.

So off I go to find a book that can lift my spirits from the slums it has decided to visit after the very much dreaded conclusion of a most wonderful series – for now.

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

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: I-Team, Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Marc Hunter
Heroine: Sophie Alton
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 1, 2008
Started On: October 27, 2010
Finished On: October 28, 2010

I don’t know how she does it but Ms. Clare rocks my world every time with her delectable characters and engrossing storyline. I’ve never experienced a dull moment nor encountered a scene which I had wished would have gone differently since I started on the I-Team series. Its a testament to Ms. Clare’s creativity and talent that each of these stories have wormed their way into my heart, never to be forgotten, to be revisited sometime in the near future. With only one more book from the I-Team series left for me to read, it’s going to be an unbearable wait till July next year when Breaking Point featuring the mouthwatering Jed Hill on its cover comes out.

The Hero: Marc Hunter or Hunt as he is called by Sophie is a convicted killer serving out his life sentence without eligibility for parole in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Broad shouldered with thick brown hair and deep green eyes, Marc comes from a broken home with a mother who had been a drug addict which had led him to growing up within one foster home or the other. The social service workers had come to take him and his younger half sister Megan away when Marc had just been 10 years old. And to this day, the image of little Megan crying and reluctant to leave her home drives home the guilt that he should have been a better protector for Megan. Marc had managed to clean up his act enough to get a place in the army where he had spent six years of his life becoming a decorated Special Operations sniper and served 18 months in Afghanistan before coming back to Colorado. Seeing that Megan had turned into a drug addict just like their mother cuts Marc up deeper than anything else and he tries to do the right thing by helping her overcome her addiction. With a job at the DEA doing what he can to rid the streets of the drugs that had ruined his family, the life he had created for himself comes crashing down on the afternoon of August 12, 2001. When the walls of the prison closes around him, life becomes undoubtedly that much harder for Marc as the guards hate his guts because he had killed a federal officer whilst the inmates are out for his blood especially those he had helped put behind bars during his time at the DEA. The only thing that keeps him going through the six years in prison is reliving the sweet memory of Sophie or his fairy sprite, the girl who had offered him her virginity on the night he was to leave for the army giving him the most precious and happiest hours of his life.

The Heroine: Sophie Alton had just been 16 years old with a massive crush on Hunt when all her dreams had come true on the night June 9, 1996. Sophie and her brother David had had to move down to Grand Junction, Colorado to live with their maternal grandmother when Sophie’s loving parents had been killed by a drunk driver whilst crossing a road in Denver. With strawberry blond hair, creamy skin and deep blue eyes, Sophie has big dreams of making it as a journalist when Hunt gives her the most unforgettable night of her life beneath the open sky. Though Sophie had dated sparsely throughout the years, every other man pales in comparison to Hunt. 12 years on, Sophie does the prison beat for the Denver Independent’s elite I-team. With her brother David studying to be a horse vet, Sophie saves every penny she can so that she can help David along to achieve his dreams.

Storyline: Sophie had been covering Megan Rawlings, an inmates journey through pregnancy and motherhood for the past couple of months ever since she had covered a piece on the stillbirth of an inmate’s baby which had in turn spurred her on to look more closely into the plight of female prison inmates. Megan had spent 18 hours in labor pains to deliver beautiful baby girl Emily only to give her up to the Social Services. On the day that Megan had earned a 2 hour visit with Emily which Sophie was covering, Megan disappears with Emily in tow leaving a large amount of drugs in her room, a testament to the fact that Megan had once again succumbed back to her addiction which Sophie had been so happy to see that Megan had been overcoming slowly. Since Sophie had grown pretty close to Megan during the months she had spent with her, when Sophie receives an invitation from Megan’s brother in jail, Sophie is more than eager to meet up with him to find out whether he has any information that could lead her to Megan. When Marc walks into the interview room Sophie has no idea of who he is though the very sight of his beautiful Sophie all grown up hits Marc nearly stunning him momentarily. Before Sophie knows it, she is held at gunpoint by Megan’s brother as he flees the four walls of the prison that had been his home for the past 6 years. It is only later on that Megan realizes that Marc Hunter is none other than her Hunt and that Marc had broken out of prison because he feared for Megan and little Emily’s life. It is then Sophie learns of the horrors that Megan had undergone at the Denver Juvenile Detention Centre at the hands of the guards who are sworn to protect the lives of those under them violating the lives of so many women. As Sophie and Marc race against time to find Megan and Emily before the determined and corrupt government officials get their hands on Megan and silence her forever, so does the white hot attraction and feelings between Marc and Sophie escalate which left me breathless -almost all the time! Sigh!

First Encounter: Sophie had been a sophomore when her friend Candy had convinced her into going to the graduation party where she sees Hunt, the hottest guy in senior class and the school bad boy who fuels all of Sophie’s dreams. Marc who has always admired Sophie’s beauty and intelligence from afar becomes her ultimate rescuer and the man to whom Sophie offers her virginity giving them both a night neither of them can forget.

Time period: This story has a contemporary setting and starts from the year 1996 and continues 12 years later.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: The memory of their encounter is a one often revisited by both Marc and Sophie, more so by Marc who dreams about Sophie continuously, the memories being the only thing that keeps him sane throughout his imprisonment. Marc knows that as a convicted killer he has nothing to offer for a woman like Sophie who has her whole life ahead of her. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting her for himself, wanting just one more taste, to touch her just once more, the needs that Sophie arouses in him so feral that it is all he can do to keep his hands to himself. Sophie, though she knows in her heart that Marc will only bring her heartache and nothing else cannot explain why she is so reluctant to help the authorities find him. Memories of scorching kisses and a night of passion fuels the dreams and fantasies of an all grown up Sophie, especially when all Sophie wants to do is just kiss every perfect inch of the man in question. The constant hum of awareness between Sophie and Marc is one the best things about this story.

The turning point: Sophie’s investigations into finding out whether Marc’s insinuations are true opens up a whole lot of troubles which lands her in jail with charges of intent to sell and distribute controlled substances. Out on bail, Marc is the only one who understands the emotions that well up within Sophie and the only one who can keep her safe from those intent on silencing her forever. This proves to be the event that turns things around when Marc keeps Sophie holed up with him in his hidey-hole which bursts forth the torrent of feelings and passion that has been simmering between the two since the night Marc takes Sophie hostage.

Ending: With surprising twists at the end of the story, this story ended in the phenomenal I-Team series style with an epilogue that just had me beaming smiles all around. The tangled web of family loyalties and misuse of authority by those in power kept me at the very edge of my seat towards the end, thinking that it was indeed too late for Marc and Sophie. Lovely ending as always.

Likes: There is nothing like a hot hero to keep the pages turning and Marc is just the epitome of perfect hero material. With his scars and sexy tattoos and his oh so perfect body its a wonder I made it through the story without continuously drooling from the sides of my mouth. Yes, he is that hot. The thing that always astonishes me with every story I read from Ms. Clare is the fact that her heroines are equally appealing. Most of the time heroines tend to get on my nerves one way or the other but I guess Ms. Clare knows just the right ingredients to make her heroines as appealing as the heroes. I loved the combustive passion between Marc and Sophie which were of the eyebrow singeing type. Ms. Clare delivers on all fronts especially with a much needed against the wall scene and an against the car scene which just made my day! And as always loved revisiting the characters from the previous stories which always makes the next book a plus point in my opinion.

Dislikes: None at all.

Recommended for: All romance novel lovers and those who love a good romantic suspense.

Favorite Quotes

Sophie had been kissed before, but she’d never been kissed like this.
He brushed his lips over hers again and again, soft butterfly caresses that made her whimper. Then he kissed the corners of her mouth, tasting her lips one at a time. And when she was sure she couldn’t take it another second, he took her mouth in a scorching, full-on kiss.
The heat of it stunned her, stole her breath, made her brain go blank. She heard herself moan, her body turning into hot jelly. She clung to him, instinctively following his lead, opening her mouth to the velvet strokes of his tongue, so new and strange to her.

Hunt lifted the sushi to his lips, curled the lip of his tongue around it, drew it slowly into his mouth, then chewed, his gaze riveted on her.
Heat unfurled in Sophie’s belly, and her pulse tripped, every coherent thought in her brain vanishing. ….
Ken was telling her how he’d felt when he’d learned she’d been taken hostage, but Sophie barely heard him, her gaze drawn back to Hunt – who lifted a pale piece of tuna with his chopsticks, licked its juices with the tip of his tongue, and dropped it into his mouth, a look of bliss on his face.

Twelve years of wanting her. Six years of fantasizing about her, of imagining himself taking her in every way a man could take a woman, of f****ing his own fist just thinking of her. But no fantasy could compare to the mind-blowing sensation of being inside of her.
It was like falling dick first into paradise.
Sophie. His Sophie.

“Well … I kept thinking about what you’d said about always wanting¬† to be a father and how that was your biggest regret. And then I realized that this might be it – your only chance to be a father – and I spit the pills in the sink.”
“So you heard me say I wanted to be a father, and you decided to put your uterus at my disposal. Is that it?” He glanced over his shoulder at her, his gaze cool. “That’s awfully selfless of you, Sophie.”

So onto book 4 I go!

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

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: I-Team, Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Julian Darcangelo
Heroine: Tessa Marie Novak
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 3, 2006
Started On: October 26, 2010
Finished On: October 27, 2010

Another sleepless night, and yep, not even one iota of regret. The I-Series is by far the best Romantic Suspense series that I have had the pleasure of reading and believe me, I have read tons of romantic suspense to-date though I have managed to review only a handful because I started reviewing books only around a year back. Having read Extreme Exposure I didn’t waste any time on starting with the second book in the I-Team series, all the characters of Ms. Clare’s dream team certainly endearing enough that they require a revisit every now and then. So onto my review of Hard Evidence and the dark, edgy and sinfully sexy Julian Darcangelo.

The Hero: From the moment I first encountered Julian Darcangelo’s name itself I envisioned a brooding, scarred and dark hero who could fuel any woman’s wildest fantasies. And Julian’s character represents that and much more. Six feet tall with long hair that he ties up in a ponytail and a rough stubble on his jaw from time to time *swoons*, Julian or Dark Angel as he is known in certain circles is working deep undercover to catch the worst type of scum on Earth. Julian’s childhood is a nightmare to read about. Julian had grown up thinking that its the norm to wake up in the morning to find half naked whores passed out next to his father on the couch. His mother who had been Irish, had divorced his father when Julian had just been two years old. Julian’s good for nothing father had fled across the border with little Julian in tow and had become the worst sort of pimp. Julian’s first love had been a Mexican prostitute his father had paid to screw him when he had just been fifteen years old. All illusions of love and romance had fled once he had walked into find her in bed with his father. Having had no love, nor tenderness in his life, Julian takes to the streets of Mexico to land in jail for 30 years for manslaughter for accidentally killing a man during a fistfight when he had been 17 years old. It had been Ed Dyson from the FBI who had saved him by making him an offer of a lifetime – put his fluent Spanish and Mexican street smarts to use for them or rot in prison. Julian had taken the offer and never looked back. Well-versed in Aikido and armed with his gun which is as much part of his attire as the shirt on his back, Julian is a force to be reckoned with. With the FBI, Julian had gone deep undercover to search out the worst type of trash there is – those responsible for human trafficking, child pornography and use of underage children in prostitution. Nothing about the dark side of human nature when it comes to sex shocks Julian anymore. And though he sometimes dreams and yearns for a normal life with a wife, kids and the whole white picket fence, Julian knows that he is too world weary and cynical to offer a woman what she deserves. Julian has made it his lifelong mission to hunt down and bring the leader of the gang to justice – a man who eluded him in a raid 3 years ago, the reason for which Julian had quit the FBI and started working solo. Constantly blaming himself for each life that his enemy takes down, Julian had been working for the past 4 months serving as the FBI liaison to Denver Police Department’s vice unit when all hell literally breaks loose and brings him in direct contact with Tessa, the woman who changes everything.

The Heroine: Tessa Marie Novak, a coffee addict with long curly blond hair (which earns her the nickname Goldilocks from Julian) and big blue eyes, Tessa is the cop reporter for Denver Independent’s elite I-Team. Tessa had grown up in Rosebud Texas with her mother who had born her when she had just been 14 years old and her drunken lout of a grandfather. Having never known her father, Tessa grows up amidst gossip and insinuations that her mother is actually her sister as well. Right after high school graduation, Tessa leaves her old life behind and totally makes a new life and name for herself. Ashamed of her roots, Tessa never talks about her past and hasn’t spoken to her mother in 10 years. Though Tessa yearns for the happily ever after that Kara had found with Senator Reece (in Book 1, Extreme Exposure), Tessa knows that she is not one to trust a man easily enough to find the love and companionship that she so sorely misses in her life. Having had only one brief affair during her senior year at college which had been 7 years ago, Tessa decides to concentrate all her energies on finding a good story as everything seems to have hit a stalemate for the past couple of¬† months.

Storyline: It is Tessa’s craving for a cup of coffee that lands her in the midst of a shooting spree that kills a young teenage girl who comes in sobbing and screaming for help from the bad guys who were trying to kill her. Momentarily taken aback, Tessa is a helpless witness to a brutal slaying which changes her perspective on murder and her role as a reporter in investigative journalism. Vowing that the girl who had never had a chance wouldn’t be just a mere statistic, Tessa starts her own investigation into gang-related crimes which puts her in contact with the delectable Julian who sets all her senses afire. Tessa with her reports on the incident stirs the interest of a sadistic crime lord who takes perversive pleasure in hurting women and Julian can’t help his protective instincts that comes forth when it comes to Tessa who makes him defy everything he has believed of himself till now. As the danger escalates around them, so does the fiery passion that burns out of control whenever Julian and Tessa are in each others vicinity. Feelings that each had never thought they would feel come into play and make a situation fraught with danger and red hot passion that much more complicated – a complexity that I as a reader reveled in all throughout!

First Encounter: Tessa first sights Julian after the shocking murder that she witnesses. Tessa mistakenly thinks Julian to be the killer and later finds out she couldn’t be further from the truth. Their first encounter takes place within a cleaning closet at the hospital in which the other witness to the murder had been admitted. Still not knowing who Julian actually is, Tessa’s instincts to flee kick in which doesn’t do her much good when face to face with Julian’s rock hard masculinity pressed to her body from head to foot.

Time period: This story is set in the state of Colorado as well and has a contemporary setting to it.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: Julian at first thinks Tessa to be just another one of those reporters who is after a juicy piece of news that would make her career which makes him at times insulting which raises Tessa’s ire to no end. However Julian’s self-formed opinion doesn’t change his helpless fascination with Tessa. A kiss which Julian intends to silence Tessa backfires on him when he feels the tentative brush of Tessa’s tongue on his which breaks his ironclad control around women. Though both Julian and Tessa are as wary of one another as only two people with broken childhoods can be, the strong connection between them is just too enticing to ignore and even when they are apart from one another, the continuous foray of images of their encounters leave both of them wanting more, much much more!

The turning point: Though Julian knows that he is not the white picket fence kind of guy, Tessa proves to be far much more alluring than he can resist. Each time they nearly make it to the point of no return only to be brought back to reality by something or the other hardens Julian’s resolve to keep his hands to himself, that is until the next time he sees Tessa. When Tessa’s investigative reports nearly earn her an express ticket to the grave, Julian takes her into his lair whereby the constant proximity between them finally proves to be their undoing.

Ending: Before the story is through, Tessa is drawn into a web of deceit by people who are too close to comfort to Julian which in return forces Julian to accept the depth of his feelings for the woman who had torn apart the walls of steel around his heart. The bad guys get what they rightfully deserve, the whole operation of which is brought down during the next couple of days made me go “Yay!!” towards the end. And Julian and Tessa gets their much deserved happily ever after – white picket fences and all during the beautiful epilogue at the very end.

Likes: Dark Angel or Julian is of course the most favorite aspect of the novel from a reader who continually drools over heroes such as him in books. With emotional scars that runs deep within him, Julian is totally the type to bring a girl to her knees. I just want to run my hands all over him! *Winks*
I loved Tessa as the woman who shines light into Julian’s otherwise dark and murky world. Tessa whose world comes crashing down with boob grabbing stalkers after her, changes into the type of courageous yet vulnerable heroine who any reader can relate to. I loved the relationship dynamics in the story and absolutely approve of the fact that Ms. Clare doesn’t let the suspense nor the romance take the lead in the story, but rather keep the two going at the same pace which makes this book a winner on all fronts! And yes, I heart the cover of this one as well! Reminds me of the bathroom scene in the book! *Wicked grin*

Dislikes: Absolutely none!

Recommended for: Fans of romantic suspense and all romance lovers in general.

Favorite Quotes

Tessa heard the door open behind her, felt the hot shock of his lips on hers, and in dazed disbelief realized what he was doing. He was trying to shush her, trying to control her. It was nothing less than assault, and it both stunned and enraged her. She pushed against his chest to no avail, tried to scream, but when she opened her mouth, hsis tongue invaded, turning her scream into a stifled squeak.
A bolt of heat, unexpected and unwanted, shot through her, and her insides seemed to melt as he attacked her senses, his tongue teasing hers with stolen strokes, his lips pressing hot and unyielding against her.

In one move, he had her up against the wall, her wrists shackled by his hands, her arms stretched out on either side of her head. “You’re right. That wasn’t a kiss, but this is.”
“Wh-what the – ?”
“Shut up.” He ducked down, brushed his lips down the curve of her cheek, ran the tip of his tongue over the whorl of her ear. She smelled good enough to eat, her perfume subtle and sexy and so female. Hungry for her, he sucked her earlobe into his mouth, pearl earring and all.
He heard her quick intake of breath, felt her body tense.
“You…are…sooo…arrogant!”
“I said shut up.” He released her right wrist, cupped her chin, tilted her head upward.
Then he kissed her deep and hard.
And she melted.

She hopped off the bed, cut him off at the door, her hand pressed against his chest to stop him. “Don’t try to push me away! It’s my time¬† to waste.”
“Tessa!” One word, her name – a low growl of warning.
A muscle clenched in his jaw, his heart pounding against her palm.
She held her ground.¬† “There’s nothing inside you that scares me, Julian.”
She saw in his eyes the moment his control snapped. In a heartbeat, she found herself pinned beneath him on the floor her arms stretched over her head, her wrists cuffed by one big hand. He glared down at her, an almost feral look on his face, his thighs forcing hers apart. “You really want to know what’s inside me?”
Then his mouth closed over hers in a brutal, punishing kiss.

Onto book 3, and hello another sleepless night!

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

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: I-Team, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Reece Sheridan
Heroine: Kara McMillan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 2, 2005
Started On: October 25, 2010
Finished On: October 26, 2010

It’s been sometime since I have been so captivated by a novel that I even resented the need to catch some shut eye if I were to keep the migraines that have been rushing in to make my day at bay since the start of this week. Having read only two historical romances by Ms. Clare prior to this, I didn’t know what to expect from a contemporary romance of hers though I knew that with the amazing reviews her books have received, it would be of the unputdownable kind – and I am so hooked to this series right now that I foresee myself going at the rest of the published novels in the series with a gusto that I knew that I had in me when I first started reading the Night Huntress series a couple of months back. This book had everything and I mean absolutely everything that I crave for when I pick up a romance novel. Loveable characters, enough steam to make me cross-eyed through the hot interludes and a good suspense plot that kept the pages turning even after 1 am on a work night. So onto the review of this riveting book which I hope I can do justice trying to convey what the book actually meant to me.

The Hero: State Senator Reece Sheridan, who was elected to the seat two years back is as sinfully good-looking as they come. Having been a high school social studies teacher and a youth soccer coach prior to running for his seat, Reece had chosen his political career in order to show his students that a person can jump into the corrupt and greedy world of politics and still remain true to his integrity and work towards the betterment of the society without losing who he is. But his true passion always lies within teaching and he hopes to return to doing what he loves when the public no longer wants his services at the Senate. Reece is a staunch environmentalist and an alternative energy bill which he had presented to the Senate had been passed recently. The eldest of four kids, Reece had grown up with his father whilst his mother had whisked away the younger siblings, one brother and two sisters after his parents had split up when Reece had been 9 years old. Currently single, Reece had had a hot and heavy affair with lobbyist Alexis Ryan when he had first been elected until he had wizened up to her tricks and is later framed for her murder.

The Heroine: Kara McMillan is a single mother who works as an investigative reporter at the Denver Independent. Kara’s father had walked out on them when she had just been a baby, a father whom she had never heard from or even met afterwards. With a free spirited mother who adores her daughter and grandson, Kara doesn’t do relationships or men since Galen Prentice had walked out on her when he had found out she was pregnant with his child. With Connor now four years old, Kara was feeling the need for male companionship and craving the high that only a giving male body can show her though Kara knows she is not the type to just jump into bed with anybody. Kara has made a reputation for being ruthless when she goes after the truth, exposing corrupt government officials misusing the taxpayers dollars for their own benefits. With Tom Trent, her cranky and ruthless editor giving her a hard time because she refuses to forget that Connor is an integral part of her life, Kara continually juggles her career and her family life always feeling that she falls short when it comes to giving Connor what he needs.

Storyline: Kara receives a tip from a whistleblower who wished to remain anonymous that the company that he was working for was committing a lot of illegal activities when it comes to getting rid of its toxic waste products. Armed with material from her source which shows neglect on many levels from government officials who are liable to investigate and take action against the many severe offenses committed against the environment by the company in question, Kara ruffles the feathers of men who refuse to part with the millions of dollars of profit they rake in every year. Kara’s relationship with Senator Reece¬† takes off right alongside of this investigation regardless of how much Kara tries to deny the need that she feels for Reece’s magical touch. The investigation takes a nasty turn when Kara’s life is threatened and she is nearly killed in her home, driving Reece to protect what he considers as his and in the process finding out just how deep within the government was the stronghold of corruption.

First Encounter: Kara and Reece meet each other for the first time at a bar to which Kara is taken by her friend Holly to find someone for Kara who would break the dry spell of five long years. In a drunken stupor, the conversation that takes place between Kara and Reece is something to be savored though the simmering attraction that flares between the two is hard to ignore even then.

Time period: This story takes place in the state of Colorado and has a contemporary setting.

Awareness between the two characters: Senator Reece is the stuff dreams are made of. A man who is as comfortable in the kitchen as in his office, Reece awakens something that had long since slumbered inside of Kara. An inherent sensuality that had laid dormant for the past 5 years suddenly takes hold of Kara and she can barely keep her hands off of Reece much less not think about him and his wicked hands 24/7. Reece is as much taken with Kara and what follows are all combustive and explosive encounters between the two which left me totally breathless at all times. Sigh!!

The turning point: Kara and Reece’s relationship grows right alongside with the danger that grows out of control as the investigation Kara starts continues to mount evidence that could bring down the company in question to its knees. Kara who is not used to being protected and cosseted finds it a strange yet endearing trait when Reece shows her with just more than his words and his touch how much Kara means to him. Though Kara tries to drive Reece away from time to time, mostly they are halfhearted attempts. Their explosive attraction coupled together with Reece’s generous and giving nature slowly crumbles the walls around Kara’s heart without her knowing and when danger and scandal threatens to tear them apart from one another for good both Kara and Reece face the fact that they love each other and would give up everything just to be able to hold each other for one last time.

Ending: I don’t think I could have been more satisfied with the ending even if I had tried. All the bad guys except for one or two get what they deserve, Kara and Reece get their happily ever after and the epilogue shows the happy couple’s life a couple of months later. As I always say in my reviews, a good epilogue goes a long way in making for a great story.

Likes: Mmmm… where shall I start? Basically I loved everything about this book from its wonderfully heady cover to office desk smexing to its wonderful ending. I absolutely loved Kara, Reece and Connor and the character development that goes on in the story. Reece is one of those yummy alpha heroes that you can’t help but sigh and moon over and over. Kara is a heroine who is beautiful on the inside and the outside for her relentless desire for justice and the reserves of courage and her deep abiding love for Connor and of course Reece. Now who wouldn’t love a man like Reece? I absolutely savored the mystery that unfolded which kept me right at the edge of my seat so to say. Superb storytelling as always by Ms. Clare.

Dislikes: Absolutely none!

Recommended for: All fans of romantic suspense and romance book lovers in general.

Favorite Quotes

“Just a kiss, Kara. Nothing more. Don’t tell me the woman who brought city hall to its knees is afraid of a kiss.”
Even in the dark he could see the flash of fire in her eyes. “Of course I’m not afraid of a kiss! But you’re assuming I want to be kissed.”
He leaned across the seat and brushed his lips with his. “Don’t you?”
He heard her quick intake of breath, saw the heat in her eyes, and he knew he had his answer.
He pulled her closer, tasted first her upper lip, then lower, forcing himself to go slowly. He wanted to get past her reserved exterior, to awaken that part of her she tried to hide, to force her to admit, at least to herself, that she felt some attraction to him. He wasn’t trying to seduce her. Not tonight.
But then her lips parted, and her tongue flocked his, one timid touch.
With a groan, he fisted his hands in the dark silk of her hair, crushed her against him, and kissed her the way he’d wanted all evening – deep and hot and hard.

But it was her scent that just about killed him. Clean skin. Woman. And something more – something that made him feel like dispensing with five thousand years of civilization, dragging her off to a cave somewhere, and filling her with babies.

She spun about to face him before he’d had time to step back, her breasts grazing her ribs, her pupils dark, a look of surprise on her face. And he smelled it again – that scent. It rose off her skin like body heat, like pheromone, like lust. Faint but intoxicating, it grabbed him by the gonads.
Caves. Neanderthal sex. Babies. That’s what he wanted.

She had just pulled her dress coat from her hanger when Conner came bouncing out of her bedroom and down the hallway with something in his hand.
“Mommy, what’s this jiggle stick?”
She looked to see her son standing not two feet away from Reece with her purple jelly vibrator in his hand. And he was shaking it making it waggle back and forth.
“Oh, my God! Connor!” Blood rushed to her face, and she grabbed her son’s hand. “Give me that!”

Off to start on Book 2!

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

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Short & Sweet Review: Ride of Her Life by Anne Rainey

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Ellora’s Cave Quickies
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Kyle Wolff
Heroine: Lily Justice
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 26, 2010
Started On: October 25, 2010
Finished On: October 25, 2010

Reading a Quickie in between novels is always a good way take a break off from reading a lengthy novel. A Quickie though short can play with your emotions and make you feel so heated at times that you feel as if you need to gulp in a fresh load of air every now and then. I say thank the Lord that at least they are short – otherwise there would be a whole lot of other problems to write back home about. Enough rambling I guess, so on to my review.

Storyline: This story focuses on divorcee Lily Justice who had been married for the past seven years finally gets rid of her good-for-nothing husband when he cheats on her. Divorced for nearly a year and 36 years old, she has no right to lust after the much younger and sexy as sin owner of Wolff’s Body Shop, Kyle Wolff. When her car needs a bit of body work Lily decides to take matters into her own hands so to say and kill two birds with one stone and make Kyle work on her body as well. But unbeknown to her, Kyle too has been lusting after the classy and pretty Lily and had been biding his time to make his move. What follows is an affair that is hot enough to singe one’s eyebrows off with a man who definitely knows a trick or two in making his woman reach out for the stars in bed.

First Encounter: There is no indication of when Kyle and Lily first see one another but they both talk to each other for the first time when Lily brings in her car for a much needed body work to Kyle’s workshop.

Time period: This story is set in Miller Siding, Ohio and has a contemporary setting to it.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: Though Lily nor Kyle had sought the other out earlier, they had both been aware of the other and wanted to experience the fireworks they knew they would both set off together in bed and out of it. Lily and Kyle both had fantasized about being together and with the first light brush of Kyle’s lips on Lily’s there is¬† no turning back – for either of them.

How the relationship grows: From the first kiss itself, though the passion that rages between Kyle and Lily is red hot, they both know that they want so much more from the other. Though Lily is skittish at the thought of marriage and kids, she doesn’t mind having exclusive rights over Kyle who seems to want the same thing in return from her. Since the story is extremely short, there is not much room to discover how their relationship grows apart from the mind-numbing encounters between the two. But the short and sweet epilogue at the end of the story shows that their relationship proceeds on to the next stage within a span of two weeks.

The turning point: There is no turning back once Lily walks into Wolff’s Body Shop and Kyle takes her on the ride of her life. From the first tender kiss between the two, everything changes for the better between two people who are made for one another.

Likes: Love the cover of the book. Wish the title wasn’t covering up much of the hunky Kyle’s sinfully good-looking body. I liked the fact that the age difference didn’t turn out to be an issue. Most probably if the story had been a lengthier one, that would have been the number 1 issue in the story.

Dislikes: None.

Favorite Quotes

Kyle popped the button on his jeans then slid the zipper down. His heated gaze never wavered from the slow progress her nightgown made up her body. Once she pulled it over her head and tossed it onto the end of the bed, his expression changed. Intense, edgy and ready to pounce, if Lily didn’t miss her guess.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Ellora’s Cave

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!

Short & Sweet Review: Strangers When We Meet by Rebecca Winters

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Superromance #737
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Nicholas Marchant Armstrong
Heroine: Rosie Gardner Armstrong
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: March 1, 1997
Started On: October 25, 2010
Finished On: October 25, 2010

Harlequin Super Romance always delivers heartwarming stories of love and family life interwoven together. My first experience with this series came when one of my favorite authors Sarah Mayberry wrote for this series. Even then I usually refrain from Harlequin books these days, unless I actually know the author well enough like I do for Ms. Mayberry. I picked up this novel from a discussion thread on Amazon opened up for book suggestions on the theme where military heroes who are presumed dead by their wives suddenly return back from the dead leading to the dynamics that make up a great story. This story played with all my emotions; I felt heartache, happiness, anger and betrayal at times and I say that a romance author has done his/her job well when you provoke all sorts of emotions be it good or bad from your readers. So on with my review.

Storyline: Rosie Gardner Armstrong had married her high school sweetheart Nicholas Marchant Armstrong and never looked back. They had been happy as two people who are as tuned into one another as they are can be. It is when Nick gos off to Iraq during the war to be presumed dead for the past six and half years return from the dead to find that his wife Rosie had met Zachery Wilde and had gotten engaged less than 24 hours ago to the man the story starts. The only thing that had kept Nick going during the long hours of torture during his captivity had been thoughts of his beloved Rosie and son Cody who had now grown into a sixteen year old boy. Even though Nick’s doting parents nor his son shows any hint of knowing about the new man in his wife’s life, the moment Nick holds Rosie in his arms and kisses her, he knows that Rosie had changed and that her soul no longer belonged to him. What follows is a story seeped in heartache and misery for Rosie with all the guilt that surfaces whilst she tries to come to terms with her feelings for the two wonderful men in her life, and the inevitable choice she has to make, either way hurting a man she loves.

The First Meet: Rosie and Nick had first meet one another during a high school sponsored carnival in a pie throwing contest. Nick had been paired with Rosie and from the moment that he sees Rosie amidst all the pie stuffing, peeking out with her green eyes, Nick’s young heart leaps right out and offers itself with undying love for her.

Time period: This romance has a contemporary setting.

Awareness between the two characters: Though there are no steamy interludes between Nick and Rosie, one can’t help but be drawn into the web of awareness between these two characters. It is gut wrenching to read about the confusion and guilt that Rosie goes through because she is engaged to one man whilst married to a man who starts divorce proceedings because he wants her to be happy. Through flashbacks into what their life together had been like, Ms. Winters shows the deep connection between Nick and Rosie, a connection that refuses to go away even with distance and time.

How the relationship grows: Nothing that happens within this story is easy to read about – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. When Nick returns from the dead, Rosie who ends up in a state of shock doesn’t know to whom her loyalties lie with. It is Zach who is the ultimate hero in my opinion because he refuses to put Rosie through so much pain and heartbreak and gives her the choice to work things out with her husband who thinks the best thing he can do for Rosie is to let her go completely from his life so that she can start anew with Zach as her husband.
It is to Zach that Rosie runs back to when she realizes that her husband is serious about obtaining the divorce, and it is because Zach who has already lost so much in his life loves her more than his next breathe that he takes her back and resumes their courtship though Rosie is unable to let go of Nick and their shared memories together.
Nick on the other hand tries to smooth out the way for the couple to be because he believes that it is what Rosie wants and needs. Amidst all this however, the connection between Nick and Rosie grow, because both of them still love and yearn for each other as much or more so than ever since the first time each had known the other. There is a lot of drama and angst involved whilst Nick’s parents consider Rosie’s love for Zach a betrayal, whilst Cody tries to adjust to accepting Zach as a permanent part of his mother’s life.

The turning point: There is no sudden revelation that happens within the story to guide Rosie on who to choose in the end. The decision comes to her gradually as she realizes that her feelings wouldn’t change and that it would be wrong of her to choose Zach whilst she was still in love with her husband.

Likes: I liked the fact that this romance doesn’t cut any corners on the emotional upheaval the reader has to go through to reach the happily-ever-after. The character who was most endearing to me through the whole story was Zachary Wilde who really understood the woman he loved, and loved her enough to set her free not once but twice so that she would be able to choose who she wants to spend the rest of her life loving. It just flat-out broke my heart for Zach at the end. *sobs quietly* But I felt a little better once I saw that Ms. Winters didn’t leave Zach hanging high and dry for long as his story was soon published with his own happily-ever-after.

Dislikes: I really didn’t like the way how guilt-ridden everyone made Rosie feel throughout the story. Her in-laws, her son as well as Nick made Rosie feel as if she had betrayed all of them by trying to move on with her life and trying to find happiness with another man. At times, I felt like screaming in frustration at her in-laws because they were so devoted to their only child that for even a moment they never consider just how much of an emotional impact Nick’s sudden return back into her life must be on her. And Rosie refused to stand up for herself, because she felt too guilty at all times because she had believed her husband to be dead and tried to move on, whilst her in-laws and son hadn’t. Totally didn’t sit well with me!

Recommended for: Fans of Harlequin Super Romance publisher series and those who love a story with a love triangle that guarantees to play havoc on all your emotions.

Favorite Quotes

Just then Nick raised his head, and a pair of black lashed, flame-blue eyes no length of time could ever change sought hers over Cody’s shoulder. The secret smile he’d always reserved for her alone shone from his face.
His remembered smile conjured up a myriad of emotions from their frozen prison, and now they nearly overwhelmed her.
“Nick…” she cried, reaching blindly for him.
He met her halfway, clutching her to him so hard she could feel his ribs through his uniform – graphic evidence of the inhumane treatment he’d received in captivity.
His body quaked. “If you hadn’t been here waiting for me, I would have died before my feet touched the tarmac.”

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

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!