ARC Review: Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden

Format: E-bookbegformercy
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Cole Williams
Heroine: Megan Flynn
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 2011
Started On: April 26, 2011
Finished On: April 28, 2011

If I were asked to describe this book in one word, Intense is what comes to mind. Beg for Mercy is a title that sums up what romantic suspense is all about from the very beginning till its very last pages.

Beg for Mercy features the very sexy, rough and tough 37 year old Seattle Police Detective Cole Williams and the beautiful 29 year old Megan Flynn who meet one another 3 years prior to the start of the story. Megan is on her way to spinning dreams of happily ever after with her broody and silent Cole when the stuff that nightmares are made of comes true. Megan’s older brother Sean Flynn is arrested for murder by none other than Cole himself and sentenced to death by lethal injection and in the process shatters whatever fragile bond that has been forming between Cole and Megan.

The story continues 3 years later with Megan the only one who is convinced of her brother’s innocence, trying to find even a shred of evidence that might shed light onto her belief that her one and only remaining family in the world, that the brother who had sworn that he would protect her with his life could not have killed someone in cold blood. Megan’s search for the truth catches a break in the most unlikely manner when she gets up close and personal with the work of the Seattle Slasher, a killer who has been brutally slaying women in the Seattle area. What Megan is not prepared for at all is to once again meet Detective Cole Williams, the man whom she fell in love with 3 years ago only to have her heart crushed and her hopes and dreams shattered by the indifferent manner in which Cole killed their budding relationship upon the arrest of her brother.

Cole feels as if he has been sucker-punched real and good when he comes face to face with the woman who has been haunting his dreams ever since he had walked out on the best thing that had ever happened to him. Though it is hatred for what he did to her brother that shines in Megan’s eyes whenever she looks at him, Cole can’t deny that Megan still has the power to bring him to his knees because whatever that had brought them together in the first place all those years back still simmers good and strong between them.

With Sean’s impending execution looming closer, its a race against time for Megan who leaves no stone unturned in her quest to free her brother. What Megan slowly begins to uncover is the work of a killer who is well versed in the art of deception, a killer who is depraved enough to get off on the hurt that he inflicts on the women that he kills, a killer who is closer to Megan than she can even comprehend.

As the race to the finish line draws closer, so snaps the control both Cole and Megan exerts on the desire that binds them together, lending an extra richness to a story that already has enough moments of heart pounding variety packed into it. The scenes of passion between Cole and Megan are borderline erotic and very tastefully done that I couldn’t get enough of the very sexy Cole who had my heart racing doubly hard whenever he entered the picture.

There are so many things that rate Beg for Mercy as a solid 5-star read. For me the pace that Jami Alden sets with the story is the best thing about this romantic suspense. I love it when stories are intense, barely letting me take a breather before the next scene comes plummeting through which makes for very compelling reads. Of course let me not forget the impact the very intriguing Cole Williams who makes the story come alive just by his mere presence in it. He is the broody and silent warrior  type who feels so much deep inside, but shows an impeccable facade to the outside world until his hard earned control shatters around him in the most sinfully delicious way possible. His protectiveness when it comes to Megan is what endeared him most to me and Megan is a heroine who matches Cole in every way possible. I loved Megan for her unwavering faith in her brother when everyone else believed him to be the worst sort of killer possible and for Megan’s undeniable need for everything to do with Cole even when she tries so hard to tell herself otherwise.

Even as I loved so many things about the story that makes this a memorable read for the year, I was still a teeny weeny bit peeved because it was quite easy to figure out who the villain is even before halfway through the story. I like a bit of suspense in novels such as this, for the author to keep me guessing towards the end which makes the game of figuring out who the heinous killer is a lot more fun!

As I said earlier, Beg for Mercy is intense, graphic and details the gruesome bits involving the killings which makes this book that much better. If a fast paced thriller is what the doctor ordered with a healthy dose of romance between a sinfully alluring hero and a delicate yet spunky heroine then you should definitely go buy this one. For fans of Jami Alden, I am sure you would need no further convincing. Now, I can’t wait for book 2 in this series which is to be Sean’s story to come out on November this year entitled Hide from Evil.

I will finish off my review with a glimpse into the heady passion that takes a hold of Megan and Cole whenever they are together, refusing to let go until they both give in.

He bent his head the last few inches, tasted her soft gasp as his mouth covered hers.
Ah, sweet, so goddamn sweet. Even that slight pressure sent heat surging through him. One taste, one brush of her lips and he was as hard as a spike.
His hips rolled under her, pure reflex as he sought to get closer. He wove his fingers into her hair, angling her face to kiss her deeper, harder.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Requested Review: Lost Wages of Sin by Rosalie Stanton

Format: E-booklostwagesofsin
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Sinners and Saints, Book 1
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Hero: Dante
Heroine: Avaritia
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 11, 2011
Started On: April 25, 2011
Finished On: April 26, 2011

Lost Wages of Sin is book 1 in an exciting new series entitled Sinners and Saints that hit the stores this April. Rosalie Stanton is an author who knows exactly what she wants to convey to her readers and does it with style, humor and red hot passion that leaves the reader wanting more of where her stories come from. Having loved two contemporary romances by the author before, I knew that Rosalie Stanton wouldn’t disappoint me even if this is the very first paranormal/fantasy romance by hers that I have tried out.

Lost Wages of Sin is centered around Avaritia (Ava) who signifies “greed” in the seven Sins that Lucifer himself controls in order to tempt mankind into succumbing to the throes of Hell fire. Six thousand years old, Ava herself has never succumbed to what she is, though she has remained a faithful servant of Lucifer until she meets an angel who turns her life upside down and makes her yearn for something that has always been out of reach until now.

Before Ava knows it, she has been betrayed in the worst way possible and is on the run for her life from everything that is familiar and she holds dear. When she encounters Dante, sin incarnate and her friend for the past seven hundred years, Ava knows that she is not strong enough to say no to the heated looks that Dante keeps sending her way, making her want to give all of herself to a vampire who signifies everything that a woman ought to need in this life.

Dante who has been in love with Ava ever since she stumbled across him in his hour of need knows that he is willing to take whatever it is that Ava would give to him. When an unexpected kiss between the two opens up the flood gates of desire that both Ava and Dante have been keeping in check for centuries, Dante knows that there would be no turning back, not for him anyway. With a unique take on Christianity that lends the story an extra interesting facet, Lost Wages of Sin is a book not to be missed for fans of fantasy/paranormal romances.

What grabbed me most about this novel is of course Dante whose utter devotion and love for Ava shines through each and every single one of his actions. Though when compared to Ava in strength and physical abilities Dante falls short, nevertheless he never hesitates to put himself on the line for the love of his life and each and every single time he confesses his love for Ava to hear nothing of that nature in return just made me bleed for him a little. Let me not forget the banter between Dante and Ava that serves to be as much of a turn on as the actual scenes of intense hotness that Rosalie has down to a pat, the scene in the alley being my favorite!

As one reviewer has already pointed out, its hard to identify who the bad guys are, and I found myself just as fascinated with Lucifer’s character as I was with Dante’s towards the end. The hardest part is going to be waiting for each of the books in this series to come out, and maybe finally, reach a happily ever after for Lucifer himself? Well, a gal can always hope!

I finish off my review with a glimpse into the explosive scene that takes place between Ava and Dante that serves to be one of the hottest scenes in the story.

In a flash, she disappeared into the space between the buildings. The next thing Dante knew, his back was against a boarded wall and her lips were on his. She bit, she hissed, she licked the inside of his mouth and whimpered when he moaned into her. In a furious, heated stroke, she’d managed to wiggle free of one pant leg, her fingers fumbling at the button of his jeans before jerking down his fly. It happened fast–god, so fast.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Liquid Silver

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Review: The Reluctant Nude by Meg Maguire

Format: E-bookthereluctantnude
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Maxence Luc Èmery
Heroine: Fallon Frost
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 5, 2011
Started On: April 5, 2011
Finished On: April 24, 2011

Meg Maguire is a totally new author for me and though I added this to my wish-list way back in February/March when this title’s blurb and release date became available under the “coming soon” section in Samhain, what really propelled me to get a copy was the rave reviews this book received right from the very day of its release. Though my reading progress has been slow with this one, it had nothing to do with the book but rather my busy schedule which prevented me from reading and reviewing this book as soon as I would have liked to.

The Reluctant Nude is the story of 33 year old sculptor Maxence Luc Èmery (Max) and 29 year old Fallon Frost who reluctantly comes to seek Max’s services to fulfill her part of a bargain she makes with the devil himself. Most of the story takes place in Nova Scotia, Canada where Max has made a home for himself after his shot to fame when he was a mere 12 years old. An only child, Max though a world renowned sculptor prefers to live his life in seclusion, taking in clients as he sees fit.

The only thing that has him agreeing to take Donald Forrester on as a client is the large sum of money that he agrees to pay Max upon completion of Fallon’s sculptor, an agreement that Max starts to regret as he chips away the resistance that Fallon hides behind so very well to reveal the passionate woman who Max comes to fall in love with.

One of the things I appreciated most about the story is the fact that Max and Fallon’s relationship wasn’t about being in lust at first sight. Rather, the story developed at a pace that was believable, lending the sexual tension that practically brought the pages alive a quality which it otherwise would have lacked. Though Max might not be an alpha hero through and through, nevertheless Max proves to be a dreamy and albeit a bit of an unusual hero who managed to squeeze a lot of emotion from me as the story progressed along.

Max’s playful nature when it comes to Fallon with whom he feels comfortable with enough to let go of his celibacy for the past 8 years is an enjoyable facet in a story where the heroine is the more serious of the two, an aftereffect of the foster care system through which Fallon  had grown up.

Both Max and Fallon are broken in their own way and come together to create scenes of lovemaking so beautiful and vivid that it just about took my breathe away and picked up my pulse damn near every single time. As I said before, its the pace that the author sets with the story and the beautiful way in which she brings to life the tormented soul of Max as well as that of Fallon’s that makes this story a contemporary romance that all lovers of this genre must read.

Though I found Fallon to be lacking in some way which I can’t really describe, I still loved the story that unfolded and absolutely adored Max right from the very beginning. The epilogue left a huge smile on my face, a fitting ending to a story that held me enthralled all throughout.

I finish off the review with a scene of seduction in the story where Max and Fallon lose themselves in a world of magic that they both can create only when they are together.

He tipped his hat to the back of his head and kissed her. His eyes shut before hers did, and his mouth burned hot and wet and tasted of the very, very fine wine. She felt his thumbs pressing into her cheeks, his rough fingertips cradling her jaw, and she parted her lips to invite a deeper exploration. He angled his mouth as his tongue slid to dance with hers, stroking the fire. His possessive hands held her head, making it seem as though he were consuming her, and each time they came up for air she wanted more.

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

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Review: The Price of a Bride by Michelle Reid

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #2033
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Alexander Doumas
Heroine: Mia Frazier
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1, 1999
Started On: April 11, 2011
Finished On: April 13, 2011

Its being so long since I have been able to put up a review that I am afraid I may have forgotten how to write one. Stuff at work is seriously cutting into my reading time which in turn brings down my reviewing time – which is all a vicious cycle I tell you. Since I have been so very busy, I decided to go with a lighter read, a Harlequin romance that has been in my to-be-read pile for quite sometime now and see whether I would be able to finish it up before the turn of the next century.

Michelle Reid being one of my favorite Harlequin authors, at least of her older books, I had high expectations when I started out with The Price of a Bride. The one thing that older titles of Harlequin have going for them is the fact that the good books tend to deliver a lot on the emotional wrangling content which makes them very memorable reads in the end.

The story starts out when Jack Frazier, 25 year old Mia Frazier’s father forces 34 year old wealthy and ultra rich Greek tycoon Alexander Doumas into agreeing to marry his daughter. For reasons that Mia refuses to reveal, she hides behind the lie that the reason that she is agreeing to the unholy alliance is only because she has a lot to gain on the monetary side from her father.

Though Alex has been after Mia ever since he had laid eyes upon her and though Mia had tried her damnedest to thwart his attempts at wooing her into his bed, it is a very angry and resentful Alex that agrees to the marriage that takes place between them. Since neither is able to deny or walk away from the combustive passion that lights up the pages from the beginning, their relationship begins as a purely sexual one from which Mia is supposed to provide her father with a heir to his vast business empire, which then only would ensure that Mia gets what she wants out of the deal.

The feelings that crop up in Mia’s heart for her husband though unwanted foster into love and wanting before she knows it and is in danger for the first time in her life of being vulnerable towards a man that has a strong hold on her emotions. Mia’s father Jack is a piece of work that deserves nothing better than being fed to the dogs and though certain aspects of the story were predictable from the beginning, I loved the emotional wallop that this one packed which touched all the right places in the end.

I loved the fact that this story was told from only Mia’s point of view which gave me the chance to gauge Alex’s burgeoning feelings towards his wife from his reactions that were described throughout the story. It always tends to get on my nerves in any type of romance when the heroine tends to play hard to get and tends to blame the hero because she becomes dynamite in his arms. It was good to see that Mia was no such heroine and that she embraced her sensual nature when it comes to Alex and plays no coy games to get on the nerves of the reader. The only aspect of the novel that didn’t feel right for me was the ending from which I expected just a tad more though I am hard put to say what it is exactly that I am looking for. All in all, a very enjoyable Harlequin romance that is highly recommended for fans of Harlequin romances, forced marriages of convenience and fans of Michelle Reid.

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

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Review: Sweet Revenge by Nina Bruhns

Format: E-booksweetrevenge
Read with: Kindle for iPhone
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: New Orleans, Book 2
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Auri “Creole” Levalois
Heroine: Grace Summerville
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 1, 2002
Started On: April 2, 2011
Finished On: April 4, 2011

Nina Bruhns is an author who caught my eye when I first stumbled across her Passion for Danger series which I just devoured upon discovery. I found Nina Bruhns to write a well balanced romantic suspense whilst juggling a lot of characters, delivering edge of the seat suspense together with enough heat to make  her books the kind you can count on to keep you entertained throughout.

Sweet Revenge is the 2nd book in the New Orleans trilogy featuring the very hot Cajun hero, New Orleans Police Detective Auri “Creole” Levalois. Creole is a man who has survived the harshest and cruelest existence in life suffering at the hands of those who are bound to protect him. A victim of the mostly brutal foster care system, Creole’s only close friend is his foster brother Luke for whom Creole would lay down his very life for. Luke’s death at the hands of the notorious crime leader James Davies comes as a shock to Creole who vows revenge on the man who is responsible for his foster brother’s death. Creole’s only lead is to follow the trail of Gary Fox in the hopes that he would lead Creole right onto Davies’s doorstep.

Psychologist Grace Summerville travels to New Orleans to find out why her twin sister Muse Summerville has disappeared all of a sudden. Grace and Muse are as different from one another as night and day with Grace being the sensible and responsible one with Muse living up to her well earned reputation of being the wild one. Grace is pretending to be her sister Muse when her path crosses that of the sexy French Cajun detective who stirs up all her senses and makes her clamor for his attention each and every time they come across one another.

Creole is a man who is well versed in the art of female deception. That along with all the women in his life who has betrayed him till now makes Creole a man who is wary of feeling too much for anyone of the fairer sex. But even his well guarded heart is not immune from how all his senses go on red alert when he comes across the alluring Grace Summerville who he is keeping under surveillance thinking Grace to be Muse.

Grace who has sworn that she would never let herself fall for a wild and undependable man like her father finds herself nevertheless a helpless victim of desire when it comes to the wildly dangerous Creole who sets off all kinds of reactions of the right variety deep within her as they team up to find out what happened to Muse and to draw in Luke’s killer.

The mystery potion of the story is quite small with the main focus of the novel being on how the relationship devlops between Creole and Grace. Creole is a hero of the yummiest kind who whispers all the right erotic stuff in sexy Cajun which makes my knees go wobbly each and every time. He is a tortured hero who doesn’t come across as a brute, but rather is a man who has so many endearing qualities to him that I couldn’t help but fall hard and fast for him. Though his history is not overly much detailed, the reader is able to piece together a painful past which makes Creole a man who is doubly protective of his heart and trust.

Grace had grown up with a father who had upped and left when the going had gone tough. Past relationships had shown Grace that she doesn’t have the best taste in men, always ending up with someone who wants to live for the moment. So when Grace comes across Creole to whom her reaction is volatile at best, Grace does the next best thing and denies anything she feels for the man who kisses her senseless and makes her forget each and every sensible thought ever to cross her mind.

However, even when Grace witnesses firsthand the type of honorable man Creole is, even when he shows her over and over again how hard it is for him to trust people and nevertheless wins over his trust, even then Grace never fully understood Creole enough not to walk away from him towards the end. This fact rankled a bit for me with this story, made me feel at times that Grace didn’t deserve someone like Creole who has a broken soul which heals under the Grace’s tender ministrations. However, thankfully things did work out in the end, and I ended up with a huge grin on my face after reading the epilogue which shows my Creole all happy with the kind of love and family he has never had before.

If you are looking for a contemporary romance featuring a hot Cajun hero, a romance that features a bit of suspense to make things interesting, grab yourself a copy and read this one. Though I expected Creole to be a bit different from the hero he turned out to be, nevertheless he makes for a hero who induces all the right kinds of feelings making this a well rounded story in the end.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

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Review: The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-bookthesweetestthing
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor Series, Book 2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Ford Walker
Heroine: Tara Daniels
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 28, 2011
Started On: April 1, 2011
Finished On: April 2, 2011

I have been waiting eagerly for the release of the 2nd installment of The Lucky Harbor series, book 1 of which I enjoyed immensely. The Lucky Harbor series centers around 3 sisters, the death of whose mother Phoebe Traeger brings them together. The 3 sisters Maddie known as the Mouse, Tara as the Steel Magnolia and Chloe as the Wild One definitely make the stories come alive with the unique characteristics that each of them lend to the story.

Book 2 is the story of how the Steel Magnolia aka Tara Daniels gets a second chance with her first love Ford Walker whom she left behind 17 years back in Lucky Harbor. It had been when both of them were 17 years old that Tara had been sent to Lucky Harbor to spend summer with her mother, a relationship on tenuous grounds at best. Both Ford and Tara who come from broken families find something in each other that they are irresistibly drawn towards, making Tara give her heart, body and soul to the deliciously sinful and sexy as hell Ford. Their affair ends tragically when Tara finds out that she is not at all ready to deal with the consequences of a grown up relationship and sacrifices a big chunk of her heart by leaving Ford and giving up a vital piece of her to go back to life as she knew it.

17 years later, Tara comes back because of Phoebe’s will and stays far longer than she ever expected to when she finds herself making up one excuse after another to stay back. Ford, now a world class sailing expert who co-owns The Love Shack, the local bar with his best friend Jax seems to be as alluring as ever, a more lethal combination of charm that he so effortlessly wields together with his good looks that has women all over town fawning over him. Ford might be laid back and take the easy way out in life but that doesn’t mean that he is not affected when the woman who has haunted his dreams for far longer than he cares to count comes back to Lucky Harbor and starts stirring up feelings that Ford has long since thought dormant in him.

The one thing that has rankled Tara who is as uptight and anal retentive as they come is the fact that Ford had never deemed her important enough to stop her from walking away or to come after her when she had left him all those years ago. But even Tara’s backbone of steel is not enough to make her say no to the way Ford plays havoc with all her emotions – all in a deliciously good way. Things get interesting when Tara’s ex-husband comes back, looking for a second chance and to win back Tara’s affections making Ford seethe with the utter feelings of possessiveness that storms through him.

The Sweetest Thing, though it did not wow me as much as Simply Irresistible did, I still loved it to pieces. Ford Walker is the type of hero I can happily dream about for eons with his wickedly sinful nature that comes out to play and ruffle the feathers of the tightly buttoned up Tara. Ford is exactly what Tara needs in her life to loosen up, to find herself once again and take a second chance on falling in love and being loved. The wickedly sensual positions these two constantly find themselves in adds to the magic that Ms. Shalvis weaves with her stories in the Lucky Harbor series making this a well rounded addition to the series.

Jill Shalvis has a remarkable talent for writing stories that one minute has me laughing until my sides hurt and the next making me feel as if someone has sucker punched me quite well. The constant roller coaster of emotions that I have come to identify and revel in when it comes to this series was present in this story as well making it an utter delight to sink into the characters that make up the Lucky Harbor series. Ms. Shalvis has a way of making my toes curl completely inward and hum in delight a time or two with the very well done love scenes in the book.

Now I am completely focused on reading the 3rd book in the series, Head Over Heels which is to come out in December 2011. I think Chloe and Sawyer may yet come to be my favorite couple in the series with their totally opposite natures which is going to make for a very explosive addition to the series – hopefully!

I finish off my review with a glimpse into the sizzling hot attraction between Ford and Tara that just makes the pages come alive every single time!

And then she realized something else. She wasn’t breathing.
He wasn’t either.
Of their own accord, her hands slid up his chest, wrapped around his neck, and then … oh God, and then.
Ford said her name on a rough exhale. Holding her against the hard planes of his body, his eyes filled with a quiet intensity, he lowered his head.
“Stop me if you’re going to,” he said in quiet demand, all humor gone.
Tara sucked in some air, but didn’t stop him. Not when his lips came down on hers, and not when he kissed her until she couldn’t remember her own name.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: A Fine Specimen by Lisa Marie Rice

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Lieutenant Alejandro Cruz
Heroine: Caitlin Summers
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 25, 2009
Started On: March 30, 2011
Finished On: April 1, 2011

Apart from the cover of this book which I just loathe, I loved every single thing about this very hot and well done novel by Lisa Marie Rice. Previously released and entitled as “Taming Nick”, A Fine Specimen tells the story of how Alex, the lieutenant at Baylorville PD falls like a ton of bricks for the sweet, sexy and beautiful Caitlin Summers.

38 year old Alejandro Cruz (Alex) lives and breathes police procedure. Alex had grown up in one of the poorest ares of Baylorville with an alcoholic for a  mother and a drug addict for a father. Alex had been on his way to becoming one of the most notorious punks in the area when his mentor and chief of the police department Ray Avery had seen something inside of Alex that had taken Alex years to see. The qualities that had made him a top notch badass had been trained and honed into making a perfectly lethal law enforcement officer, who had steadily climbed the ranks until Alex is to be the one to replace Ray upon his retirement the coming month. But Alex’s dedication had come at a price by turning him into a man who exists for his job alone, a man who has nothing else to look forward to in his life.

28 year old Caitlin Summers is a mix of adorable klutziness with an IQ that would amaze a lot of people. Caitlin had grown up with two parents who had loved and adored one another. Her father had died when Caitlin was quite young and it had been Caitlin’s utter determination and drive that had kept and seen her through school and university to become a double masters holder in behavioral psychology and sociology. Her latest research which relates to “Dominance Displays in Law Enforcement” brings her to Alex’s territory for a week, to observe the dynamics of police personnel and their behavior.

Caitlin is shell shocked to say the least when she meets the very formidable lieutenant to whom Ray has sent her to. From the first moment, her awareness of Alex runs deep which is returned in full force by the man who hasn’t cracked a smile in years. Alex is at first alarmed and a trifle bit impatient when the dainty and beautiful Caitlin shows up in the midst of one of the most important missions that Baylorville PD has embarked upon to-date. With great reluctance, Alex agrees to Caitlin’s request and what follows is a journey of sensual discovery by two people who are irresistibly drawn towards one another as moths towards a flame.

Alex’s fascination for anything to do with Caitlin slowly chips away at the formidable walls he has built up around his emotions and heart for 38 long years. A man who is practical to the core, Alex is the complete opposite of Caitlin who brings a kaleidoscope of colors into Alex’s world of black and white. Bit by bit, the amazing woman that Caitlin is slowly turns him around, making Alex yearn for things he leaves unsaid for far too long – until fate nearly wrenches from him the very best thing that has happened to him in his life.

A Fine Specimen is a tad different from the novels that I have read by Lisa Marie Rice to-date, a fact which I reveled in as I read along. I loved the fact that this story wasn’t focused on a sinfully sexy alpha hero who is hell bent on protecting the dainty and beautiful heroine from bad guys at all costs. Rather this story focuses on the relationship that develops between Alex and Caitlin, taking the reader on a journey that shows how Caitlin’s sunny and klutzy nature perfectly complements the tough as nails nature of Alex.

The love scenes are of the erotic variety but done tastefully, which is always a big plus point when it comes to novels by Ms. Rice. Her ability to paint with words – yes I would call it that, leaves me breathless at times, making me feel as if I am a vital living being in the story that unfolds. Alex is a sinful addition to my alpha male hottie list, a man who knows how to  take care of his woman in all the right ways. A Fine Specimen is certainly a delightful surprise if you can find it in yourself to go beyond the guy on the cover, who looks too full of himself if I may say so, which serves as a complete turn off when it comes to books. But beyond that is a story that is a delight to indulge in, a hero who surpassed all my expectations and managed to raise the yowzastic factor of the novel quite a bit with his inherently focused nature. Though I felt that the ending seemed a bit rushed, I would still give this 4 stars because I just absolutely love what Lisa Marie Rice can do with her rough and tough heroes and her beautiful and dainty heroines.

I finish off the review with peek into one of the many times during the story that Alex loses the internal battle he wages with himself when it comes to Caitlin, a loss that they both enjoy to the max and delights the reader in so many little ways.

Her mouth tasted as luscious as it looked, without the syrupy sensation of lipstick he now realized he hated. She was so delicious he didn’t even do what he usually did – make it a delicate, tentative kiss until he got signs from the woman that his advance was welcome.
No, sir. He dove in, licking, sucking, biting, as if she were a cream puff and he were a starving man.
It was like plunging into a sea of warm, fragrant flowers that caressed him back.

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

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