ARC Review: Fight or Flight by Natalie J. Damschroder

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Tyler Sloane
Heroine: Chelsea Conrad/Regan Miller
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 28, 2011
Started On: March 27, 2011
Finished On: March 27, 2011

Natalie J. Damschroder is a new author for me. Having never heard of her before didn’t stop me from requesting for an ARC of this title on Netgalley, which is to be released on the 28th of this month from Carina Press. The cover was what drew me to the story at first and then the blurb gave the impression that this could be my kind of story. And from the very first chapter itself, Fight or Flight reeled me in and kept me captivated, turning the pages to reach its conclusion, to see how Regan and Sloan fare in the end.

37 year old Regan Miller is a woman who has been on the run, who has continually looked over her shoulder for any danger that may come for the past 19 years. Regan had lost her parents in a home invasion when she had been 12 years old and had become a victim of the foster care system from which she had escaped with the help of an excellent social worker who opened up the opportunity for her to enroll in an elite boarding school in California where she meets Scott Harrison the father of her daughter Kelsey. The news of Regan’s pregnancy had brought immense joy to Scott which had been short lived as Scott ends up giving up his life to save that of his pregnant girlfriend and to warn her to run for her life.

Regan is a woman who would do anything to keep her daughter safe, even if it means working hard at creating a facade of normalcy in their lives. Kelsea had grown up thinking that her mother suffers from psychological problems at worst, living life constantly at the edge waiting for a danger that had never materialized.

But the minute Regan lets her guard down enough to invite even a semblance of normalcy into her life, the danger that she has been waiting for explodes into her life without a care for the wake of destruction and chaos it leaves behind. 18 years of training and words of advice Regan has given kicks in when Kelsey receives the call that brings life as she knows it tumbling down right in front of her.

And thus begins a race against unknown enemies who are willing to cross anything or anyone that stands between them and Kelsey. It is Regan’s sexy next door neighbor of 2 years Tyler Sloane that steps into help at the most unexpected hour, someone who seems to know more about them than he lets on, earning Regan’s continued distrust as danger continues to greet them at every turn. However, even a lifetime habit of being wary around people doesn’t stop Regan from responding to the heat that flares between her and Tyler every time, a fire that burns out of control long before Tyler gains Regan’s full trust.

With surprising twists towards the end, Fight or Flight is a novel that lives up to its very well deserved title. Regan’s race to keep her daughter safe at all costs is one that requires her to be vigilant at all times, ready to fight dirty or to flee and get the hell out when the moment calls for it. The adventure of the nail-biting variety is non-stop which is complemented by the very well done and explosive scenes of passion between Tyler and Regan whose feelings blossom amidst all the chaos that reigns.

I enjoyed my first novel by Natalie immensely which features a kick-ass heroine who would lay down her very life for the daughter she loves. Tyler is a bit of a mystery throughout the story until towards the end when everything about him comes to light. Even then, the story is not told from his point of view at any stage in the story, but his feelings are well portrayed by other means which makes his feelings towards Regan seem more real.

My only peeve with the story is the lack of a proper ending; for me the way the story concluded seemed a  bit rushed. I would have loved to see Regan’s life with Tyler afterwards, a completely different Regan from the woman she has been forced to be for the past 18 years of her life.

I finish off my review with a quote from the story, the scene where Tyler tries to confess his feelings towards a Regan who is not at all ready to hear what he has got to say – lending the moments that follow a more emotional wrangling quality which would have not been possible if otherwise.

“Regan.”
It was low, almost pleading. The curtain moved slightly. Regan pulled away from the wall and slid it sideways enough to see his face, and the pain and hope there almost undid her.
“Tyler,” she whispered, and then there was no space to say more. He caught her against him, his towel falling to the floor, his mouth capturing hers in a desperate, plunging kiss. One hand braced on the back of her neck and the other just above her hips, he stepped over the edge of the tub and crowded her against the wall.
Regan fell. Not physically, because she held him as tightly as he held her, and neither one was letting go. But she fell just the same, into a swirling maelstrom of desire and fear and need.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Carina Press

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Review: Comanche Eagle by Sara Orwig

Format: Paperbackcomancheeagle
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Comanche, Book 2
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: John Dancer Black Eagle / Travis Black Eagle
Heroine: Crystal Spencer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 1998
Started On: March 25, 2011
Finished On: March 26, 2011

I had a hard time obtaining a copy of this romance, a recommendation I got off of an Amazon discussion thread. Although my copy arrived and has been in my possession since sometime late last year, I have refrained from taking the plunge because there aren’t that many raving reviews about this book. However with the current list of lackluster reads that have been my picks for the last couple of days, I decided what the heck and took the plunge. To my delightful surprise Comanche Eagle turned out to be really good making this a memorable read of the theme of marriages of convenience.

Set in Cheyenne, Wyoming territory in 1871, Comanche Eagle tells the story of Crystal Spencer, the first woman to ever hold the position of the Justice of the Peace in Cheyenne. 26 year old Crystal is known amongst citizens of the county as Judge Spinster and has a prim and proper outlook on life and upholding the law where no shades of gray are ever allowed  to cloud her judgement. Crystal has been rejected by a man once before and she has no intention of ever letting a man close enough to hurt her like that ever again and is quite content with her spinsterish existence with her brother and town doctor Ellery Spencer whose vices include drinking and gambling. Crystal yearns to leave the volatile Cheyenne territory where upholding law and order is a challenge day in and day out and wants nothing more than to leave to California to start life over and live in peace.

Travis Black Eagle, farrier and owner of Cheyenne’s livery stables and a successful rancher in his own right is two years older than Crystal and a half-breed that earns his his share of black looks throughout Cheyenne. Happily married to his very pregnant and beautiful wife Elizabeth, Travis is devastated when Ellery attends her birthing with his senses clouted with drink and Ellery’s incompetence lands Travis a widow and a single parent in one night. Grief, anger and deep abiding sorrow are Travis’s companions until he realizes that his son needs a mother, a female presence in his life for him to grow up.

Crystal is left completely alone as her only living relative in the world is shot dead, leaving her with a mount of debt from Ellery’s gambling ways with nowhere to turn to. Travis storms into her life, demanding that she marry him and help him look after his son for which in return Travis would give her a home and security, something which has been sorely lacking in her life the past couple of months. Though Travis’s promise that he has no interest in her as a woman whatsoever drives away Crystal’s feelings of unease which always leaves her with a prickling sensation in Travis’s vicinity, it also leaves her with a vague sense of discontentment that she would never know a man’s warmth and his loving embrace even in marriage.

The marriage of convenience that Travis and Crystal embark upon with their mutual need of providing Jacob, their son with a loving home becomes a journey of discovery for both of them. For Crystal, Travis presents everything that has been missing from her life until now. Tall, broad shouldered and handsome as sin, Travis makes her senses clamor to reach out and touch him and makes her quiver with longing to be possessed by her fierce warrior of a husband in whose eyes she could be just a sack of potatoes for all the interest he shows in her.

For Travis the journey of discovering Crystal is a slow moving one. With grief and love for his dead wife clouding his sense and judgement, Travis barely recognizes Crystal beyond what she provides for his son and it is a deep abiding respect for the woman who loves Jacob like her own that takes a hold of Travis at first. Awareness about his wife whose beauty she tries so hard to keep hidden comes as a shock to someone who has sworn off caring for any woman and giving up his heart for fear that he would once again be subjected to that gut wrenching grief that had taken him over upon Elizabeth’s death.

Want and need which grows deeper by day war with Travis’s need to keep his hands off Crystal who proves to become more alluring as days pass by until finally Travis concedes and gives into the raging inferno that has kept him hot enough to burn a hole through his bedding for the past couple of months. Crystal who is so much in love with her strong and handsome husband who shows his kindness and gentleness in so many little ways couldn’t be happier when Travis finally succumbs and shows her the wonders of giving herself completely to the man she loves.

But Crystal and Travis’s idyllic existence comes to an abrupt halt when Travis’s past catches up with him, creating a chasm between husband and wife that continues to grow by  the minute as both Crystal and Travis choose the opposite sides on a matter of upholding the law that shatters Crystal apart at the mere thought of being true to what she believes in and losing her Travis in the process. In the end, Travis and Crystal’s happily ever after when it comes is a more rewarding one because of their struggles and I loved each and every moment of the sensual and emotional discovery that took them to their final destination in the end.

I think Travis Black Eagle is the closest I would come to in terms of getting a six foot plus hero who makes my heart go aflutter with his utter masculinity and strong character for my birthday. Travis was worth each emotional upheaval I went through in the story, his strength, kindness and loyalty which just adds  to his already strong appeal. I loved him for the way he couldn’t help but be drawn to the honest beauty that is Crystal and the way he seems to have a fascination for stroking Crystal’s neck just makes shivers of the right kind run up and down my spine. And lordy, did I love those hot kisses exchanged on their rides to and from their ranch into town, where every noble intention Travis has of staying away from Crystal seems to evaporate right in front of him.

Crystal’s character is an endearing one in itself because she stays true to who she is regardless of how torn apart she is when it comes to her views on upholding the law and the shades of grey that her husband tries to make her see that is the inevitable reality of life. Her love for Jacob and her intense responsiveness towards Travis together with her fierce love for the both of them made her a heroine who earned all my earnest approval throughout the story.

Comanche Eagle has whetted my appetite to read the other 2 books in the series, both of which promise to be excellent romances if the blurbs are anything to go by.

Highly recommended for fans of historical romances with an American Indian setting, a brooding hero who just about takes your breath away and a love when it comes sweeps you away on a journey that will hold you enthralled till the very last page.

I finish off my review with the scene from the story where Travis’s hold on his tightly reined in control breaks when Crystal declares that it is because Travis finds her odious that he doesn’t want anything to do with her need to have a baby of her own.

Crossing the room to her with a determined gleam in his eye, he ducked a flying tin cup that struck behind him. As she picked up a plate, his hand banded her wrist tightly. His arm swept around her waist.
“The last thing I find you is odious.” He ground out the words in a husky tone. “My God, Crystal!” His dark eyes held fires as he looked into her eyes. He lowered his head, his mouth coming down over hers as his arm tightened and he pulled her against him.
Stunned, Crystal had one moment of shock before a flooding wave of hot desire burst inside her with the press of his mouth on hers. His lips were warm, tender, yet insistent. His tongue was hot and wet against her mouth. Her anger and argument went up in flames of passion.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: Loving Luke by Jenny Andersen

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Hero: Luke Stone
Heroine: Hannah Bluefield
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 17, 2009
Started On: March 23, 2011
Finished On: March 25, 2011

Romances featuring ex-convict heroes are one of my favorite types to read. I got this title off a discussion thread on Amazon and the promising blurb had me acquiring this book into my to-be-read pile. Eons later I suppose, I finally took the plunge and read Loving Luke, and while there were things that could have made this book a better read all around, I still enjoyed reading about Luke’s journey to happily ever after with Hannah.

The story kicks off with Hannah Bluefield going to visit Luke Stone at Deep Mountain Prison to offer the man she has loved all her life who is up for parole a job at her ranch. Hannah dreads finding a miserable and hopeless Luke and instead finds a bleak and hard version of the Luke who had taken over the reins of his family ranch to skyrocket it from thriving to mega successful in a few years. Sentenced to prison for the murder of his wife Chrissy, Luke had been one of the most successful horse trainers in the country before his arrest.

Luke grabs the lifeline that his childhood friend Hannah throws at him though marriage to any woman or giving up his heart once again to be trampled all over is not on his agenda. Luke is determined to remain celibate throughout their marriage, until he can prove his innocence and walk out of Stone Crossing for good, forever. Hannah dreams of finally achieving her dreams of having Luke in her arms and her life for good when Luke doesn’t even remember what took place between them 12 years back, the night she had given up her virginity to the only man she has ever loved.

Life is far from idyllic when the one man who pursued the avenue of Luke doing time for murder is now the new mayor of Stone Crossing and is determined to send Luke back to where he rightfully belongs. However in Hannah he finds a worthy opponent, who would do anything to keep the man who is her only from going back to prison, even if it means that he would walk out on her once his name is cleared.

A fresh murder in Stone Crossing, similar in M.O. to Chrissy’s have the local police hounding on Hannah’s doorstep making Luke fear that his freedom is going to be a short lived one. Though Luke starts depending on Hannah and considers her his lifeline, Luke has trouble letting go of his past, how he was duped before into loving a woman more than his last breath and continues to reject all his emotions where Hannah is concerned until the very last minute when the turn of events towards the end makes him realize that what he has yearned for since his prison cell door slammed on him 10 years back is right in front of him.

I liked the premise of the story well enough and Luke is a yummy hero to dream about. The horse training business that serves as the backdrop was an interesting one and proves to be something that both Hannah and Luke have an immense talent for. I liked Hannah well enough and considered her mother-tiger-protecting-the-cub routine when it comes Luke an endearing one. Though she wears her heart on the sleeve and would love nothing more than for Luke to return her feelings, that doesn’t stop her from trying to ease Luke’s pain and make him see that if he wants, they could have a wonderful life together. And I reveled in the simmering tension between Hannah and Luke which was of the toe-curling variety and lent the story the spice it so rightfully deserves.

However, even with all those things that I liked, there were a certain things that didn’t work for me in the story. I wanted glimpses of Hannah and Luke’s past which Hannah seems to think about a lot. I wanted to know how she fell in love with him, and I wanted Luke’s fascination with Hannah which had started when he was 20 years old to come to the spotlight as well. These issues were just skimmed over, the momentous night in which Hannah gave herself up to Luke all but forgotten and his proposal to Chrissy the very next day just mentioned. The emotions both Hannah and Luke had felt would have made this story a much better read with insights into their shared past lending the story what it needs to make this a 5-star read.  But nevertheless, Loving Luke is a good read, recommended for fans of western romances in a contemporary setting.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Wild Rose Press

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Review: The Return by Jan Bowles

Format: E-bookthereturn
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Hero: Robert Tremayne
Heroine: Marielle Stevens
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 2009
Started On: March 22, 2011
Finished On: March 23, 2011

A fan of tortured hero goodness through and through, I picked this book up on a whim because the blurb promised a tortured hero which guarantees a whole lot of emotion wrenching goodness in a story. However, I found myself just a tad disappointed with how the story unfolded, not because it wasn’t an interesting one, but there was something about the character development together with how the story is narrated that just didn’t sit right with me.

The Return is the story of Marielle Stevens whose soul mate Robert Tremayne captured by Islamic Jihadists in Iraq who the British government gave up on returns two years afterwards, a changed man inside and out. Robert who has regretted his trip to war torn Iraq in order to make a name for himself as a journalist comes back home to the devastating news that the woman whose image had pulled him through hell and back in Iraq has gone and married his best friend James.

The story picks up 3 years later when Robert finally returns back home after that fateful night which had literally brought his world crashing down. The news that James had died and left Marielle a widow certainly helps his decision to come back and tie up loose ends back home where memories that are better left alone continue to haunt him upon his return.

The mother of all shocks leaps up when Robert discovers the truth about Marielle’s 3 year old daughter Jemma. The sense of betrayal that he feels on missing out on his daughter’s life for the past couple of years cut deep and Robert is unwilling to forgive and forget what Marielle’s marriage to James had done to their relationship.

But when Robert’s celebrity status brings focus onto Marielle and his daughter Jemma, Robert does what he thinks best to save them from the vicious cycle of their whole life being plastered all over the British tabloids. Robert proposes marriage to Marielle, who professes to have never stopped loving him all throughout the years.

Marielle has her work cut out for her to bring back the caring and loving man Robert was before he left to Iraq, glimpses of the man Marielle yearns for which she sees in Robert’s tormented soul. Marielle knows  that although the heady and scorching hot attraction between them runs deeper than ever, without learning to talk about the past and willing to forgive and forget what the past 5 years have meant to both of them, they would not have a chance of making their marriage work.

Before their happily ever after comes calling, Robert has to learn to slay his demons, the emotional scars left behind by the 2 years he spent in Iraq barely making it day after day and listen to what Marielle went through and hear her side of the story to finally begin to thaw the ice around his heart.

Though the storyline is an interesting one set in the UK, I found myself a bit impatient with both Robert and Marielle. I found myself irritated with Marielle because she professes to love Robert more than anything else in the world but hesitates to give Robert the chance he needs to see what they could be together. Robert on the other hand is a tortured soul yes, but I just couldn’t grasp on the fact that he kept on blaming his emotional trauma suffered in Iraq as the sole reason for his coldness and aloofness when it comes to relationships. In my opinion, the betrayal he suffered at the hands of his best friend served as more of a catalyst to make him completely close himself up to any sort of relationship with the opposite sex apart from just getting together for sex. I wished Marielle would grow up a bit and Robert would try and be an adult for once and listen to what Marielle had to say without running off to wallow in his emotional scars.

Jan Bowles is an author who shows promise and I believe her stories will continue to get better. I would certainly not say no to reading another novel by her. However, I do wish that publishers wouldn’t use the same cover on different books which just most of the time turns me off from buying a book. This cover sports the same cover art as that of the novel Just My Type by Erin Nicholas, which might be the reason why this book caught my eye in the first place.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Adam’s Fall by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookadamsfall
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Mason Sisters, Book 2
Publisher: Bantam
Hero: Adam Cavanaugh
Heroine: Lilah Mason
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1, 1988
Started On: March 22, 2011
Finished On: March 22, 2011

I can’t make up my mind as to whether I have read Adam’s Fall prior to this or not. The story that unfolded reminded me of the novel Come Lie With Me by Linda Howard that stems from a similar theme.

Adam’s Fall is book 2 in the Mason sisters series, the first book being Fanta C. Adam’s Fall begins with the news that uber rich hotel entrepreneur Adam Cavanaugh was involved in a mountain climbing accident in Northern Italy, killing two of his companions in the process leaving him with severe spinal injury that has rendered him paralyzed from the waist down.

Lilah Mason is the volatile younger sister of  dainty and feminine Elizabeth Mason now married to Thad Randolph who gets their happily ever after in book 1 of the series. Lilah though she resembles her sister in looks is bold and audacious where Elizabeth is not and Lilah has always gone out of her way to be as different from Elizabeth as she can be. A physiotherapist who is really good at what she does, Lilah is approached by Elizabeth and Thad both beseeching her to take over Adam’s therapy sessions which at first Lilah flat-out refuses. Sparks had flown between the two whenever they had met in the past making Lilah believe that the intense dislike that she feels for Adam and what he stands for is mutually shared between the two of them.

Though reluctant, Lilah finally succumbs to her pregnant sister’s pleadings and takes on the demanding task of making Adam want to walk again. A daunting prospect at best, Lilah is met with exactly what she bargained for when she took the job with a hostile, depressed and sullen Adam who doesn’t believe that he would ever be wholesome again.

It is Lilah’s demanding nature and slap or two on the face that wakes up Adam and makes him motivated enough to want to change his life around for the better. Amidst the constant squabbling and friendly flirting that takes place between Adam and Lilah as the weeks go by, the physical attraction that has always smoldered between them burns out of control giving Lilah her very first taste of being  totally possessed by a man whose entirety is focused on giving and receiving pleasure. But before anything can come out of it, Lilah flees, knowing that her heart would just about shatter to a million pieces if she were to stand around to watch Adam walk away from her once he has no use of her.

Though I did enjoy reading this short contemporary romance by Ms. Brown, this doesn’t get shelved into my favorites shelf because for some reason or the other I kept expecting more out of Adam and Lilah’s relationship. I wanted a bit more passion of the explosive kind to simmer between them for a while longer before it reached its ultimate conclusion.

Recommended for fans of earlier novels by Sandra Brown/Erin St. Claire.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Crimson Shadows by Trisha Baker

Format: E-bookcrimsonshadows
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Horror
Series: Crimson, Book 3
Publisher: Pinnacle
Hero/Villain: Lord Simon Baldevar
Heroine: Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 1, 2003
Started On: March 20, 2011
Finished On: March 21, 2011

Its with a feeling of bittersweet melancholy coursing through me that I write this review and bid farewell to one of the most enthralling paranormal/horror romances that I have read to date. I bid farewell to my most favorite villainous hero Simon Baldevar with a heavy heart and I don’t think any hero that I come across afterwards would ever be able to completely surpass what he has made me feel throughout the trilogy.

Crimson Night, book 2 of the Crimson trilogy ended on a bittersweet note with Simon and Meghann going  their separate ways, torn apart by the one thing that was supposed to bring them closer to each other. Vampire pregnancies being rare caused much upheaval on Meghann and nearly destroyed her life before she bore Simon twins, Elizabeth their mortal daughter and Mikal their immortal son. Knowing that Simon’s enemies would never give them a moments peace if it were to come to light that an immortal vampire offspring walks the Earth, Simon does the most unselfish thing he has ever done in his life and subjects himself to separation from Meghann, the woman who holds his heart for eternity and their beautiful daughter to bring up their son who from the very beginning show signs of depravity unlike anything encountered before in the story.

Meghann brings up their beautiful daughter together with the help of her immortal friend and confidante Dr. Charles Tarleton and his life partner Dr. Lee Winslow who adopts Elizabeth as his own child and forgoes transformation to look after Elizabeth during daylight hours. 17 years pass by without any sort of connection between Simon and Meghann apart from the letters they exchange with one another. Elizabeth grows up knowing love and affection from 3 people who dote on her by her side whilst her twin brother Mikal with his unholy appetites and psychotic behavior grows up with his father on a remote Scottish island.

After 17 long years, Simon finally comes seeking his beloved daughter and Meghann whom he has missed more than he would ever let on. Their reunion though a happy one ends on a devastating note when Meghann realizes what her son Mikal is truly capable of with the utter force of destruction that he brings down on her loved ones with a cunningness that stuns them all.

Mikal’s need for vengeance and destruction goes beyond anything rational and before the day is through, both Simon and Meghann are forced to call on reserves of strength and summon friends and foes alike to fight a battle with their mutual enemy; their own son to save their most prized possession of all, their daughter Elizabeth from the clutches of a mad man who makes Simon seem puny in size when compared to the evil that seeps out of him.

Crimson Shadows is a fitting end to a love that has weathered many a storm between Meghann and her centuries old vampire husband Simon. Both Meghann and Simon do a lot of growing up to become worthy of each other’s love, the unabated desire between them strong as ever upon their reunion after 17 long years of celibacy and waiting for each other. However there is a vague sense of incompleteness as to how the story ended because I would have loved to see how the surprising love that stems and grows between Elizabeth and Simon’s hated enemy i.e. Meghann’s ex-lover Jimmy Delcroix fared in the end. And there were a couple of pages towards the end that I felt appalled at Simon’s instinctive lashing out towards Meghann because she dared protect Elizabeth and Jimmy from Simon’s wrath upon his discovery of their coming together that made me wonder whether Simon would ever learn to curb his inner demons and become someone who would never hurt the woman he loves. But I guess if that were to happen, Simon wouldn’t be true to his character and such a total turnabout would be in total antithesis to what we have come to expect from Simon.

Simon is a character that would continue to haunt me for a long time I suppose because even the most “evil” gamma heroes I have come across holds nothing when compared to Simon’s character which compels the reader to hate and love him in equal doses, love triumphing towards the end. The way how Simon’s character changes over time is what captivated me the most because this didn’t happen overnight but rather over a span of 70 years starting from 1944, the year Meghann was turned into a vampire beholden to her Master Simon Baldevar.

The last and final book in the series is definitely not for the faint of heart as once again Trisha Baker pulls no punches in delivering exactly what I have come to expect from her novels. Mikal’s character knows no boundaries when it comes to manifesting pure and unadulterated evil which just makes him a very worthy opponent for the invincible Simon. There were moments towards the end where my poor nails bore the brunt of my utter panic as there seemed to be no end to the cruelty that Mikal was capable of dishing out until the very end.

I recommend all 3 books to those who would love a twisted dark hero to seduce them completely and make you fall for him, however reluctant you may be to do so. I loved every single minute of this trilogy and am saddened by the fact that there are no novels published by the author afterwards.

I leave my review with a glimpse of the explosive reunion between Simon and Meghann after a 17 year period of separation that has done naught to bring down the combustive desire between them, a desire that has made both Simon and Meghann a slave to each other all throughout the years.

Simon hadn’t forgotten any of her secrets. Rapidly, he found her center and an orgasm rushed through her. She collapsed against the shiny surface of the car, mewling her pleasure while Simon brought her legs around his waist and drove into her.
Meghann climaxed again when he penetrated her, emitting a short, sharp cry of delight when she felt her body throb around the hard, swollen flesh encased within her.
“My Meghann,” Simon husked and put his mouth back on hers before she could reply, tell him yes, she was always and forever his Meghann, belonging only to him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: Crimson Night by Trisha Baker

Format: E-bookcrimsonnight
Read with: Microsoft Reader & Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Horror
Series: Crimson, Book 2
Publisher: Pinnacle
Hero/Villain: Lord Simon Baldevar
Heroine: Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2002
Started On: March 17, 2011
Finished On: March 20, 2011

Crimson Night picks up where Crimson Kiss, the first book in the Crimson trilogy left off. Fascinated as I was to continue with the tempestuous love between Lord Simon Baldevar, a 400 year old vampire and his at times reluctant and fiery consort Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill, I had to take a breather and read a bit of good old romance before rushing headlong into this one.

When I picked up the 2nd book in this trilogy, I was prepared to face more of the same variety of horror and macabre scenes that I encountered in book 1. However I was pleasantly surprised to find out this book tended to be a bit mellow compared to the first book and it delivered more on the development of the relationship and the feelings between Simon and Meghann.

This story kicks off with Meghann realizing that her last encounter with Simon has rendered her pregnant and Meghann continues to grow weaker as days pass by because of her body’s inability to hold in whatever blood that she tries to consume, something that is vital for her survival. What Meghann does not know is the fact that that very night Simon forged an unbreakable link between them that ties them together which would let Simon know the minute his Meghann needs his help, something which Simon is betting on to happen since he knows just what the rare happenstance of a pregnancy between a vampire couple means on the mother.

Frantic with worry and not knowing what else to do, Dr. Charles Tarleton, Meghann’s faithful companion and best friend in the whole world seeks out Dr. Lee Winslow, a brilliant gynecologist who also is an ex-lover. Though Lee is far from happy to hear from the man who broke his heart 10 years ago, there is a shared history between Lee and Meghann that makes Lee swear to do everything he can to help Meghann survive what looks to be a very risky pregnancy.

With an abortion totally ruled out because of Meghann’s weak condition, Lee barely manages to understand the complexity behind Meghann’s rejection of her natural instinct to drink blood and it is only Simon’s timely appearance that saves Meghann from wasting away until death comes calling. Once again, Meghann becomes dependent on Simon for nourishment which sickens her to the extreme but with no other viable option in front of her, Meghann concedes to Simon’s wishes for the moment in return for Simon’s acceptance in allowing Meghann to take care of her mortal ex-lover Jimmy who has been rendered insane by Simon’s cruelty when turning him into an immortal as a means of revenge on Meghann.

As any mortal pregnant woman, Meghann too is susceptible to mood swings and emotional upheavals from which she finds solace only in Simon, her Master’s arms, something that makes Meghann continually question herself on the reason as to why she feels such conflicting emotions when it comes to Simon.

Simon is a man who is biding his time, who has learnt from his past mistakes with Meghann, who swears that he would never hurt her again, and continues to charm her and woo her back into his life with his tender side, something that only Meghann is witness to.

Before long, Meghann has to face the true nature of her unchanging feelings towards Simon which proves to be the best thing that ever happens to her as Simon loves, cherishes and takes care of her in a way that totally melted all my antagonistic feelings towards Simon, which were at an all time high during the initial stages of the story.

What I loved most about the 2nd book was finding about Simon’s past from his point of view, which takes the reader along with Meghann on a journey of discovery as to why Simon is the way he is. Though there are no excuses whatsoever for his penchant for debauchery and despicable behavior, you can’t help but empathize with Simon and nod along in something close to understanding as to why Simon turned out the way he is. Simon’s take on his past life opens up the doors to a side of Alcuin, Meghann’s savior in book 1 that I always suspected of, but in the end I was surprised when Alcuin did not turn out  to be a true villain in the end.

It is the relationship that fosters and grows between Simon and Meghann that captivated me throughout the better half of the book as I reveled in the care and attention that Simon languished on the mother of his children. Though Meghann continually swings back and forth between her decision to stay with Simon and completely give herself to him at first, Meghann learns to accept the fact  that some part of her would always wholeheartedly love Simon no matter what cruelties lie beneath his beauty and charm. And it was quite refreshing to see Lee and especially Charles’s view on Simon take a turn for the better as he realizes that the immortal whom everyone keeps saying has no heart finally begins to show signs that he indeed has one, and is vulnerable towards the only woman he has ever loved.

This book invoked so many emotions from deep within me as I read along. Loathing and contempt towards Simon were one of the first strong feelings that took root inside of me during the first couple of chapters as I saw nothing in Simon that was worthy of my treacherous heart’s yearning to see at least one redeemable quality in my villainous hero. However as I read along, Trisha Baker managed to make my emotions do a total 180 degree turn as I was seduced right along with Meghann to fall bit by bit in love with a vampire who would cross no bounds whatsoever in his attempt to keep Meghann by his side. And towards the end, it was deep and utter sadness and a feeling of melancholy that spread through me as I realized that a happily ever after was not possible for Meghann and Simon, as the one thing that was supposed to bring them closer than ever ends up being the catalyst that drives them apart – for now.

I recommend this series for  those who are interested in reading a tale of love between vampires that is a tad different from what you normally encounter. But mind you, these stories are not for the faint of heart because you encounter many vicious and heartbreaking things before you get to the bittersweetness of it all towards the end.

I picked out some quotes from this book as well, scenes that just have to be shared in my review, which otherwise would be incomplete in my opinion.

God, she was exhausted—she had no energy anymore; she used it all up in trying to keep Lord Baldevar from reading her thoughts. Meghann shuddered—wondering what would happen if he knew of her constant, gnawing worry that he’d kill her after she gave birth and then her poor baby would be all alone with the monster.
“Yaahhh!” Meghann started at the icy touch to her cheek and looked up to see Lord Baldevar sitting beside her, holding out a dripping cloth.
“Little one,” he whispered tenderly before she could say anything, “if you don’t stop weeping, you’ll break the heart you insist I don’t have.”

“I don’t know” Charles started to say but Lord Baldevar’s putting one large hand over Meghann’s and gently pulling it from her hair caught his attention. He grasped her hands and Charles would never know what he said to her but the nervous expression left Meghann’s eyes and she smiled again. What did Lord Baldevar do to reassure her?
He reached into his tuxedo jacket and handed Meghann a valet ticket, and she reached up to kiss him good-bye no polite, social gesture but a full, lingering kiss that made Lord Baldevar wrap one long, tuxedo-clad arm about her waist and pull her against him before releasing her with a small groan that reached Charles’s keen ears.
The vampire gazed down at Meghan, and Charles felt the air between them nearly smolder. Good God, he’d never felt such an undercurrent of passion and sensuality as he did right now, observing Meghann with her lover.

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