Score Sheet Review: When One Night Isn’t Enough by Wendy S. Marcus

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Medical Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Dr. Jared Padget
Heroine: Allison Elizabeth Forshay
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 2011
Started On: November 28, 2011
Finished On: November 30, 2011

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 100 A
The heroine 70 B
Story line 90 A
Emotional Intensity 100 A
Story’s ability to suck me in 100 A
Heat & Sensuality 100 A
Conflicts within the story 85 A
Writing Style 90 A
Quotable Factor 90 A
Satisfaction with the ending 100 A
Overall Grade 92.5 A

Score Sheet Summary

I found this novel quite by chance up on Goodreads. Look beyond the totally bogus cover and you discover a story well worth delving into. Though medical romances aren’t my favorite type of romances to read, I make time for them occasionally and  this is one time I am very glad that I made the exception to read one. I loved When One Night Isn’t Enough, the story has two likable characters, granted I loved the hero more and sometimes wanted to hit the heroine on the head for her innate stubbornness.

Dr. Jared Padget is such a dreamy, charming and sexy hero. Those killer dimples together with his totally drool-inducing body clad in scrubs and more so out of it, and the way he is such a total sweetheart when it comes to Allison was the reason I loved him so wholeheartedly. Beneath the charming exterior that he presents to the rest of the world lies such a tortured mess that I felt like bawling my eyes out for him. No female who had entered his life had shown him a reason to trust them with his heart, but nevertheless with Allison the fact that he was willing to let go and try just made him an all around fantastic hero for me.

Though Allison proved to be a bit too stubborn a time or two during the story, she too served to be someone you can relate to. Her past is not an easy one to escape from either and that is why she has enough reasons to judge Jared as her past has taught her to. So in the end, because Allison came through for Jared I forgave her and came to love her a little as well.

I expected a light-hearted, fluffy read with a little bit of medical procedures tossed into the story when I picked this up, but in the end I was surprised and not unpleasantly I might add, because the story delivers so much more than that. It is light-hearted at moments but deep inside the story deals with a lot of emotional baggage, and a tissue or two might come in handy while you are at it!

Recommended for fans of category romances, ones where hunky doctors and cute nurses get down and dirty with a lot of emotional angst thrown into mix!

Favorite Quotes

He had no desire to talk, or move. So he sat, with her still straddling his lap, in no hurry to leave, enjoying the feel of her in his arms, which he tightened around her, slipping his hands under the bottom of her sweater to warm them. They fit together like two distinct halves purposely manufactured to become one seamless whole, a feeling he wouldn’t soon forget.

And there it was: the brilliant I-care-about-you smile he’d waited months to see directed at him.He knew in that instant that one would never be enough to last him a lifetime, as he’d originally thought. Because in that quiet moment, in her straight white teeth, her curving lips and sincere blue eyes, he’d found serenity.

“I love how you feel in my arms, how you respond to my touch and how your face takes on an expression of pure rapture when we make love. When we’re apart I ache to be with you. There is no doubt in my mind that what I feel for you is the truest, deepest form of love possible.”

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

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Caliber Seal: AMAZING READ!

Requested ARC Review: Edge of Survival by Toni Anderson

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Daniel Fox
Heroine: Dr. Cameran Young
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 21, 2011
Started On: November 23, 2011
Finished On: November 28, 2011

Edge of Survival By Toni Anderson released from Carina Press on the 21st of this month. Due to certain other commitments and stuff that kept cropping up, I took my own sweet time to finish this fantastic contemporary romantic suspense that features a hot British hero who made all my James Bond fantasies come to life.

34 year old Daniel Fox is a former SAS agent whose sole focus after his spotless military career goes haywire in a split moment’s decision becomes flying, drinking and seducing anything that moves. With his indigo blue eyes and charming physical attributes, not to mention that swoon worthy accent of his, women have no complaints whatsoever on being used by Daniel to forget the nightmares that continue to plague him.

Dr. Cameran Young is the lead biologist on the Environment Impact Assessment team for a large mining project in the Canadian bush. Being one who suffers from diabetes, Cameran’s life is not for the faint of heart with her battle for survival that is waged every single second of every day. When Cameran’s work takes her to the remote and at times hostile environment in the Canadian bush, the last thing she expects is to walk in on a murdered woman to kick-start her trip.

When Cameran and Daniel’s paths cross, there is no stopping the fireworks that begins right from the very start. Though Daniel does everything in his power to turn his back on the numerous feelings that bombards the shield of steel that guards his emotions and heart, Cameran’s effect on him is not as easy to ignore as he would like.

Cameran might try telling herself that Daniel is the type of man who would love and leave without even a backward glance and she is so not the type to get tangled up with someone like him. But her heart and baser emotions have a plan of their own; that is to get as up close and personal with Daniel and his uber swoon worthy body that tends to make Cameran feel as if she is on a sugar high all the time.

Though this is my first Toni Anderson I was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which she drew me into the story and had me all tied up in knots over each and every single one of her characters. She has a style of writing that has earned her a spot on my authors to look out for in the future. I loved the way she developed all the characters in the story, and I guess will continue to wonder whether she plans to write any more stories with some of the characters that were encountered during Daniel’s tortured journey towards happinesss with Cameran.

As I said before Daniel is the type of hero to bring each of your wickedest Bond fantasies to life. Even when he is making an ass out of himself by sleeping with every woman who crosses paths with him, he has a charm about him that makes it hard to harbor any ill feelings towards him. Needless to say, I loved how Daniel’s character was brought to life, how he grew throughout the story and how his feelings progressed. I loved his tortured soul that just made me want to hug him close and was practically jumping up and down with glee during those moments that he tried so hard to stay away from Cameran and could not!

Cameran’s character is the type of heroine that I love best. With no coyness to her, she is upfront and straightforward with what she wants and how she feels which is how I like my heroines. The way she slowly chips away at the resistance that is so much a part pf Daniel was both fun and heartwarming to read about. I loved those scenes of seduction between Daniel and Cameran which were pretty hot and at the same time loved how the seducer becomes the seduced in most of the scenes.

The villain and the moment where everything clicked together was one of the best aspects of the story which I say signals the fact that this romantic suspense is a well done one. Sensual, different; romance with a bit of angst, just how I like them; Edge of Survival is a romantic suspense not to be missed.

Favorite Quotes

A shimmer of something feral moved over his face—a father’s anguish, raw and defiant, but something else too, rage. “I know to you she’s just another dead prostitute, but she was my baby. Promise me you’ll find her killer so we can put our baby to rest. Promise me, because if you don’t find him, I will.”

He was fully aroused as he moved against her, and she opened her mouth on a shocked gasp. His tongue slipped inside her mouth and explored slowly, thoroughly. Nothing like she anticipated from the whirlwind of sensations that exploded through her body. He hinted at seduction and passion. Subdued. Contained. Controlled.
Perfect.
She sighed.

His grip hurt and he tasted dangerous; there was no other way to describe it. Like fire and sweat and savageness that scared her. He was so much bigger than she was, so much stronger. His kiss was hungry, ravenous.
A starving man…or an addict.

Cam smiled as she grabbed the hem of his jeans and pulled them until his feet hit the floor with a thud. He was naked. She was naked. And he wasn’t looking quite so detached anymore. In fact, he looked panicked. And annoyed. And hot. For her.

He flipped her on her back and she squeaked.
“I want to see you.” And he kissed her, tasting like darkest sin, like double chocolate without insulin, like pure malt whisky injected into her bloodstream.

He turned her in his arms and kissed her. His hands were full of woman as she wrapped herself around his body so tight they were melded together from shoulders to hip. But her kisses…they stole his breath with their hunger for him. 

He tried to stand perfectly still and relinquish control, so she could do whatever she wanted with him, and he just about cried.
She felt so amazing wrapped around him. Strange and yet familiar. Brilliant. Too vibrant and frightening to explore with anything other than his body.

He slid his hands up her back and lifted her until they were eye to eye. She held his gaze, those changeable eyes of hers blue now, reflecting the water and the sky. And finally she let go, unraveled, squeezing him tightly, wrapping herself around him in sensual pleasure. Her cries, amplified by the water and ancient stone, reached out and connected to something so fundamental inside him it felt like his soul. He closed his eyes and cried out as he followed her back into the void.

“I could kiss you until the world stopped turning and it still wouldn’t be long enough.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble |Kobo | Carina Press

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!

ARC Review: Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPhone
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Lucky Harbor, Book 3
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Sawyer Thompson
Heroine: Chloe Traeger
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 22, 2011
Started On: November20, 2011
Finished On: November 22, 2011

Jill Shalvis has done it yet again. With a cast of heartwarming and sometimes quirky characters, she has done a splendid job in bringing to life the story of my two favorite protagonists from the Lucky Harbor series. Jax Cullen and his toolbelt (yep, still talking about that one every chance I get), just might have to move over and make room for the big, brawny and hotter-than-sin-in-uniform, bad-boy turned Sheriff of Lucky Harbor Sawyer Thompson.

If the reaction of fellow readers of the Lucky Harbor series is anything to go by, the story of Chloe Traeger aka the wild one and the youngest of the siblings and the stoic Sawyer is the one story that has been anticipated by fans ever since the publication of the first book in the series. There is nothing like the sparks that fly between two direct opposites, who somehow eventually find that amongst the differences lie similarities between them which bind them together, especially with the hotter than fire sexual tension that ALWAYS seems a constant whenever they are together.

Sawyer is a man with a tainted past; a fact for which he has been trying to atone for, for a long time. Curbing the wild side which had gotten him into more trouble than he would rather remember, it is no wonder that Chloe with her free spirited nature clash more than once, with enough sparks flying between the two of them to singe a passerby. Sawyer might not like to admit the fact that when it comes to Chloe, his legendary cool is a distant memory, and for Chloe whose gypsy-style upbringing makes it hard for her to curb the wild streak which forever seems to land her in trouble with the sexy Sheriff, saying no is not even an option.

With her sisters Tara and Maddie, for the very first time ever, Chloe feels the stirrings of belonging and makes her long for the stability that comes with being rooted to one place. But her wild adventures makes her have to work hard to turn the image around, to win the trust of her sisters and in the process falls hard and fast for Sawyer who just makes her panties melt with one well placed scorching glance.

I loved every single thing about the 3rd book in the Lucky Harbor series. It was so much fun to see how Tara and Maddie are faring, especially Maddie who always seems to be caught in one clandestine position or the other with her fiance Jax. The most heartwarming factor of these novels of course is the relationship that seems to develop and foster right in front of your eyes when it comes to the three sisters who would never have come together if it wasn’t for their mother’s will.

Next comes my absolute favorite part of the novel to talk about. And you get 3 lucky guesses, which I am betting with everything I have that it wouldn’t be hard for anyone to guess. The uber sexy Sawyer of course who just manages to melt me on the spot with his gruff and tough nature beneath which lies a heart of gold that just made me fall head over heels in love with him right from the very beginning. And Jill has certainly achieved her goal of giving Gena the big, tough and stoic hero whom she asked for; because I for one loved every big, tough and stoic inch of him to pieces. I am telling you, there were moments in the novel that I thought if Sawyer were to get any more sexier, spontaneous human combustion wouldn’t remain a myth much longer!

Chloe is not one to be missed out on either. She is the type of hero who would just melt your heart because she is this endearing mix of wildness together with a deep yearning in her heart to belong, to be needed and to feel. With Sawyer she finds that she feels much, much more than she has ever felt with anyone, that explosive orgasm in the shower one of the best parts of the novel. How Sawyer and Chloe take care of each other with those little things that mean so darn much; needless to say Jill completely won me over with their story.

Heartwarming, toe-curlingly sexy, endearing and a whole lot of fun in between, Head Over Heels is a must read for any fan of contemporary romances and of course for the fans of Lucky Harbor series.

Favorite Quotes

“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”  – Chloe Traeger

He was in uniform, gun at his hip, expression dialed to Dirty Harry, and just looking at him had something pinging low in Chloe’s belly.

She didn’t understand it, but everything about him reminded her that she was a woman.

“If things don’t seem right, try going left.” – Chloe Traeger

“Why was man created before woman? Because you always need a rough draft before the final copy.” – Chloe Traeger

Heat skittered through her belly, then directly south. “Sawyer.”
In answer, he brought his head up and kissed her. Deep, hungry, tasting her in a purposely slow, thorough manner before pulling back to once again look into her eyes.
Oh, God. “Sawyer, what are we doing?” she whispered.
He shook his head. “No f#cking clue.”

She nodded, her gaze locked on his mouth. He could tell she wanted it on hers, and for once, they were perfectly in sync. Having no idea what he was doing, he kissed her again, another no-holds-barred, tongues tangling, rock-his-fucking-world kiss that left him staggered and her apparently unable to speak as they tore apart for air and waited for the world to right itself.
Didn’t happen.

“Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, someone’ll throw you a shovel.” – Chloe Traeger

“I’ve always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.” – Chloe Traeger

“I don’t want to scare the guests with a big old guard dog,” Tara protested.
“Safety is far more important than worrying about what anyone else thinks,” Sawyer told her.
“You’re right, of course.” Tara looked at her sisters. “We’ll think about both an alarm and a dog.”
“We can borrow Izzy from Jax,” Maddie said.
“Sure,” Tara said. “And she can lick the next bad guy to death.”

Odd how one man could evoke so many emotions within her. Lust? Oh yeah, much of the time. The urge to smack him upside the back of his head? Yep, that was often there, too. Affection? She’d have said no. He didn’t need her affection, everyone admired and loved Sawyer, who was just about the most composed, self-assured, capable man she’d ever met.
But there was something suspiciously close to affection filling her now, which had her shaking her head at herself.

“The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.” – Chloe Traeger

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Score Sheet Review: Don’t Call Her Angel by Cara McKenna

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPhone
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Rasul
Heroine: Emily
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: June 10, 2011
Started On: November19, 2011
Finished On: November 20, 2011

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 100 A
The heroine 70 B
Story line 70 B
Emotional Intensity 85 A
Story’s ability to suck me in 100 A
Heat & Sensuality in the story 80 A
Conflicts within the story 70 B
Writing Style 100 A
Quotable Factor 60 B
Satisfaction with the ending 49 C
Overall Grade 78.4 B

Score Sheet Summary

This is the very first time I have attempted to read a romance that features more than the usual hero and heroine in the mix. And though deep inside I would always be a M/F fan girl for life, there were certain elements within the story; mainly Cara McKenna’s prose and style that just sucked me in from the very beginning and possibly might have changed my mind about reading stories featuring multiple protagonists.     

Rasul was a hero I loved from beginning to end. Unusual as they come, he hails from Jerusalem and is the broody, silent warrior type who still suffers from the emotional scars left behind from his childhood. A man who  shoots dirty talk in Arabic, I loved the fact that for Rasul there was no other woman but Emily and the fact that he was willing to do practically anything for Emily’s happiness, even if it meant inviting another man to take part in their physical relationship.    

For me, Emily was the deal breaker. I could understand the fact that she is totally different from what she seems to be on the outside, the one who actually controls the relationship between husband and wife contrary to popular belief. The fact that she wanted another man made me feel that she wasn’t totally satisfied with Rasul who knows every inch of her deepest and darkest fantasies and accepts her for the way she is. In the end, the encounter with a second man in their bedroom, hot as it was, for me it served no real purpose for their relationship which is why I wasn’t so satisfied with the ending.   

But the personal revelation that this book brought; if tastefully done, I would be able to enjoy erotic romances featuring m/f/m as well as the next erotica lover was worth the guts it took for me to venture into the story! And for that I bow down to Cara McKenna’s mastery with the words!   

Favorite Quotes

He pumped her roughly, filling the room with the sounds of their breathing and the smell of their sin. She felt drunk, this man’s harsh energy as intoxicating as ten bottles of wine. She stroked his chest and dug her fingernails into his shoulders. Spurs, telling him to make it rougher.

After a moment’s hesitation, he (Jeremy) asked, “Would you ever ask her to do this for you? Bring another woman in…” He stopped speaking as Rasul grasped him once again by the shoulder, thumb pressed uncomfortably close to his throat.
Rasul blinked and stared past Jeremy’s face, seeming thoughtful for several seconds before speaking. His words were slow and cold. “I would sooner die than allow my wife to wonder for a single moment if another woman could stir in me any fraction of the desire she does.”

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

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: On Thin Ice by Anne Stuart

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Ice, Book 6
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Finn MacGowan
Heroine: Elizabeth Pennington
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 15, 2011
Started On: November18, 2011
Finished On: November 18, 2011

Anne Stuart announced about the release of the On Thin Ice, the 6th book in the ICE series when I had long given up hope that there would ever be another book in the 5-star series that I had enjoyed immensely from the minute I picked up Black Ice. For me, Anne Stuart is one of a kind; an author who manages to deliver heroes in a league of their own, passion that absolutely scorches through the pages and a love when it comes, binds the hero and heroine for all time to come. And On Thin Ice turned out to be exactly what I hoped and envisioned it to be as I finished this in almost one sitting, just taking breaks for those essential stuff in between.

36 year old Finn MacGowan is an agent of the infamous Committee, taken captive by the members of the Guiding Light that operates in Callivera, a small war-torn country in South America. Having been held captive for three long years, Finn is looking forward to the night he would make his third and final attempt at escape; the reason that he has been kept alive for as long as he has which still remains a mystery even to him.

31 year old Elizabeth Pennington, the sole heiress to the Pennington Pharmaceutical dynasty arrives in Callivera seven months back and works with the Catholic Charities of Callivera until one brutal day when everyone she holds dear is killed ruthlessly and Beth is taken captive. 

Beth’s savior comes in the form of the Irish man Finn who makes no secret of the fact that he would willingly leave her behind if it would mean an easier escape for him. But from the very first moment these two opposites are pitted together, Finn has a hard time acting the part of his usual cold and ruthless self around Beth who stirs his senses and literally sets him afire. Blaming his intense attraction towards the skittish and almost virginal Beth as an effect of his 3 year dry spell placates him somewhat but deep down inside, Finn knows that Beth is far more dangerous to his heart and mind than any other woman he has ever known.

A trek through the jungle, with the vicious members of the Guiding Light at their heels hell bent on vengeance and revenge, not to mention the nefarious plans of a member of the CIA tracking their progress all throughout in his own personal vendetta, the adventure aspect of the novel is as hair raising as they come and I fully enjoyed every nail biting minute of it.

The attraction between Finn and Beth is a strong and visceral one that just about took my breathe away with the sexual tension that fairly leaps out of evey single one of their encounters. Finn is the type of hero I love to allow into my dreams. Ruthless and dangerous enough to kill for those whom he loves, with an inner core of tenderness towards that one woman who rocks his world in all the ways, I would love myself a Finn any fine day! I think Finn might come a very close second in my favorite hero list from the ICE series and that is saying a lot when all of the heroes in the ICE series are unbeatable and one of a kind in their own unique way.

Beth is the type of heroine that Anne Stuart does so well. Though in her thirties and richer than the average woman could ever hope of being, Beth is calm and serenity itself and believes herself to be one of those women who would never enjoy the act of sexual relations and steers clear of anything and everything that might lead to it. Her awakening is a slow one, the senses that stir into life and makes her yearn for those things that she cannot for the life of her seem to be able to voice one of the most invigorating aspects of the novel. The way Finn seduces her, not with poetry and flowers but his brand of loving that is hard and branding in its own right just about melted me on the very spot!

I loved how characters from previous ICE books came together in this novel and learning tidbits of their lives at present just warmed me up from the inside. I especially loved the last chapter that serves as a sort of epilogue which I nearly jumped up and down after reading because lets face it, Anne Stuart is famous for leaving the reader begging for more with her books.

Everything about this novel spells perfection right from the very start though there were certain editing errors here and there which I didn’t mind overly much. The only drawback; there is a feeling of finalty with how the novel ended which I think signals the end of the ICE series. I am practically a pretzel at the moment from crossing all my limbs together in the hope that I be proven wrong in the near future.

Recommended for fans of the ICE series, fans of Anne Stuart and fans of ruthless and dangerous heroes that no other hero can ever hope to compete with!

Favorite Quotes

(Beth) “You can’t leave me behind!”
“I can and I will, if I have to break your neck to keep you from following me.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
“No, you wouldn’t.” His voice was flat, unemotional, but even in the darkness she could see the faint flicker in his eyes. She looked behind her, at the crumpled body of the pot smoking soldier, his head at an odd angle, his eyes open and staring.
“Oh, God,” she whispered, horrified. What had seemed a strange kind of nightmare was suddenly, terribly real. “Did you kill him?”
“No, the tooth fairy came along and took care of him.” 

(Finn) “You’re sure you’re not a sister?” he tossed back at her, his voice little more than a growl on the night air.
She was closer than he thought, making decent enough headway on the steep hill. “I’m an only child.”
Stupid, he thought. “I’m asking if you’re a holy nun.”
“I told you, I’m not a nun, holy or otherwise.”
Okay, she met the criteria for fuckable. 

He halted abruptly, and this time she did slam into him, but at least it was his back absorbing the blow of her soft body. He could pretend to ignore it. “What have you got on your feet?” he growled.
“Shoes.”
He looked down, his eyes accustomed to the inky black. Light-weight sneakers, already soaking wet from the damp undergrowth. “Christ, woman,” he muttered.
“I didn’t exactly get a chance to choose my wardrobe when they kidnapped me,” she said.
Damned if he didn’t like her. 

The vibration of laughter increased, and for some reason it did even more to warm her than the heat from his big, strong body. “You know, Sister Beth, you’re a dangerous woman.”
“You said that before, and I assume you’re being sarcastic.” She was too sleepy to come up with a real argument, too warm and safe for the first time in days to bestir herself. “I can’t imagine anyone more pathetically weak than I am. What could I possibly do to you?”
“Sweetheart, you could make me fall in love, and that’s fatal.”

He moved around the wide counter, silent as always. She was sitting on the floor, her arms wrapped around her knees, her fist in her mouth to try to quiet her sobs, and he realized he hadn’t actually seen her cry before. [..]
She must have felt his eyes on her, for she suddenly swallowed her sob on a choked gasp and looked up at him, her huge, sorrow-filled eyes a sharper pain than the knife slash.
He moved slow enough, so as not to spook her, to give her plenty of time to move, but she stayed where she was, her huge eyes looking into his, and she fucking broke his heart, if he still possessed such a useless organ. 

Without his shirt she could see just how bony he was, probably twenty or thirty pounds under his fighting weight from his years in captivity. He loomed over her, and she finally understood her ambivalence. He had protected her, killed for her, led her to safety. He was safety.
But he was also big and raw and so elementally male that it made her teeth sweat. She’d spent most of her life blissfully above the calls of the flesh and the dark, desperate couplings that subsumed others. She didn’t like sex, didn’t want sex. Body parts were simply that. She looked at MacGowan and thought about sex.

There were times when she was honestly afraid of him. He could kill, had killed for her on a number of occasions, seemingly without a moment’s hesitation or an ounce of regret. He was mercenary, brutal, charming, devious, and yes, any other woman would think he was sexy as hell. Not her.
Not her. Oh hell, yes, her. The way he moved, as if he understood his body better than any man had a right to and knew just how to use it for a woman’s maximum pleasure. The way his gray eyes slid over her, coolly caressing. It meant nothing, it was part of his stock in trade, and yet she felt it slide over her skin like a physical touch.

He caught up with her outside her doorway, when she almost gave up. He said nothing, simply pulled her into his arms, against his strong, hard body, and his hand slid beneath her hair, tilting her face up to his. “No more running away?” His voice was rough.
His eyes glittered down into hers, and if she wanted tenderness it wasn’t there. Simply a dark, naked heat sparking between them.
“No more running away,” she said.

He wanted her hands on him, he wanted her mouth on him, he wanted to take her from behind, leaning over the bunk, he wanted her to go down on him, he wanted everything he could possibly think of and more. He wanted it hard and nasty, gentle and sweet. But most of all he wanted it now.

She could feel the hot tears pouring down her face, and she pressed it against the stone. MacGowan, you stupid bastard, she thought. Why did you have to go and get yourself killed? I care about you.
Care about you. Stupid phrase. She knew the truth, and right then the least she could do for the man who’d died protecting her was to admit it. She was stupidly, idiotically in love with him. He didn’t deserve it, she was smart enough to know better, but all the rationalization in the world didn’t help. It simply was.

Purchase Links: Amazon

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Requested Review: Hot Text by Cari Quinn

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPhone
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Jeffrey Maddox
Heroine: Karyn Colette Allison
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: November 2, 2011
Started On: November17, 2011
Finished On: November 17, 2011

With Hot Text, Cari Quinn once again proves to me the reason why she is my go to author when it comes to quality erotica that delivers on all fronts. For some Hot Text might be “offensive” in the sense that sexual relations takes place between a married woman who is on the verge of divorce and the hero. But hey, lets face it; in real life things do not exactly go according to our well laid plans. If it did we would all be married to men who wouldn’t let us out of our bedrooms because they cannot get enough of giving us multiple orgasms. And yes, I digress but I just love the fact that Cari is bold enough and is daring enough to write about scenarios that might not be sometimes well received by 100% of the romance reading population but nevertheless for fans like us who want and crave something different, Cari ALWAYS hits the spot with plots of the said nature.

Jeffery Maddox is the two time divorced older brother of Daisy Maddox whose current beau is the married Lonny James who just rubs Jeff the wrong way. Wanting to do something about Lonny before he can break Daisy’s heart, Jeff takes an opportunity that presents itself and meets up with Lonny’s soon to be ex-wife with the intention of asking her to take Lonny back and work things out.

But from the moment Jeff and Karyn lay eyes on each other, the sparks that fly between them are evident. For Karyn who is a pre-school teacher who defines herself as an average person, who has had 10 years of marriage which had failed miserably when her husband had asked for a divorce is not prepared for her almost forgotten body parts to come alive at the sight of the very fine Jeff whose gruff nature just calls to something deep inside of her. 

A night of unforgettable and decadent sex follows, a night during which every misconception that Karyn has ever had regarding herself and her sexuality is put to bed by Jeff who focuses on her with an intensity that just drives her crazy with wanting. For Jeff, its not just a night of sex and he falls hard and fast only to face the harsh and brutal face of reality come morning when none other than Lonny strolls in.

In my opinion, Cari has done what very few authors manage to do in a novel of this length. She has taken two characters who have no inkling of the other’s existence until the night that changes their lives forever, showed sides of them that both endears and makes them unforgettable to the reader and together with that Cari has pitted them in a situation that you don’t find in the average romance novel. And that’s what made this book a winner for me and of course the out of this world scorching heat that Jeff and Karyn generates right from the very start is worthy of mentioning. 

I loved Jeff’s character right from the very minute he said “Not a screamer, huh? Gonna prove you wrong.” Now, who in the world can fault the man behind that logic is just beyond me. Jeff is someone who is wary of marriage and rightfully so when his previous two marriages hadn’t worked out very well. He is the gruff and taciturn type and not much of a people’s person, but yet in my eyes, Jeff communicates just damn fine when he wants to. I loved his intensity, the way he just takes hold of Karyn and plunges his way into a world of sensuality with her that leaves both of them hungering for more of where that came from. His take charge attitude, the way he solely focuses on giving Karyn a night she would not forget anytime soon and of course the way he can find humor in those little things just made him a favorite hero of mine.

Karyn doesn’t expect her world to turn upside down when she answers the text message she receives from her husband’s mobile phone. And when Jeff turns out to be the man who proves to her in just one night how wrong she has been in neglecting herself, her wants, needs and desires the past couple of years, Karyn knows its time to take charge of her life and let go of the past and fight for all those things that she has accepted as her due. Divorce is hard and messy on anybody and doubly so for Karyn when she cannot make up her mind, when she still cannot fully comprehend the fact that 10 years of her life had just meant nothing to the man she had shared it with when he had asked for a divorce. It is her encounter with Jeff that bursts through the bubble she has wrapped herself in and it is then Karyn realizes that has a lot of “growing up” to do before she can proceed with whatever it is between Jeff and herself.

I loved the concept, the hero and the heroine and of course the neat little epilogue that Cari tucked in at the end. If you like myself are a fan of tastefully done erotic romances that deliver on the not-your-average tropes and a hero to definitely drool over; Hot Text is the novella for you! For fans of Cari Quinn, this is another little goody which would have to tide us fans over until she can publish another decadently sinful novel for us to enjoy!

Favorite Quotes

He didn’t reply but by then she’d found something else to occupy her attention. His eyes.
Though she’d expected them to be as serviceable as the rest of him, they were a smoky blue-gray fringed in dark lashes. Pretty eyes. Even when he stared her down like a cop might a perp. And not just any perp. One who was heavily armed and an imminent flight risk.

She expected an easy kiss. Good, perhaps, but not intense. He seemed like a low-key, moderately passionate person. As she’d been, without the right stimulation.
Without this.
What she got was a glancing blow of lips that soon turned to a furious meshing of mouths and teeth. It wasn’t elegant. It was messy and rough and God help her, bordered on dirty.

Even when she’d fantasized, what she’d come up with hadn’t ever matched this reality. She’d never envisioned a sexy, borderline grouchy guy with a glint in his eye and an erection this tempting. 

He inched in, slid out. Pumped deeper, pulled away. Just as her frustration swelled to a f#ckingly epic level, he hauled her hips up, dragging her higher before he sank all the way in, filling her so completely she gasped.
Her flesh stretched, unaccustomed to a man after so long. Each thrust stirred her unspeakably. More than just her p#ssy linked with him when he slid into her. A little part of her heart did as well. 

Karyn reached out to graze his jaw with her thumb, savoring the beginnings of stubble. She’d never seen her ex with stubble. Or with his mouth as deliciously soft and used as Jeff’s.
“How’d we end up here?” she asked softly, not expecting an answer.
“Luck,” he said, turning his head to kiss her palm. “Blind f#cking luck.”

Soft strokes and tender words of praise might’ve made her suspicious but his rough manner helped her to trust him. What she saw was what she got with Jeff Maddox. And what she saw, she liked. A lot.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Jasmine Jade

[xrr rating=5/5] 

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Reviewer’s Note: I just had to mention this as part of this review. I was listening to Give Me Everything by Pitbull feat Nayer, Ne-Yo while reading this  and somehow, that song ended up being one that was perfectly in sync with the events that took place in the story.

I loved the following part of the lyrics:

Tonight I will love love you tonight
Give me everything tonight
For all we know we might not get tomorrow
Let’s do it tonight
I will love love you tonight
Give me everything tonight
For all we know we might not get tomorrow
Lets do it tonight
[…]
Grab somebody sexy tell ‘em hey
Give me everything tonight
Give me everything tonight

Re-Read Review: Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Warner Vision
Hero: Jared Lockett
Heroine: Lauren Holbrook
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 1, 1982
Started On: November15, 2011
Finished On: November 16, 2011

First published on my birth year, Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown is a romance that stands true to the test of time. Trust on Sandra, one of my all time favorite authors to deliver a romance as sizzling as hot coals and a story that is so engrossing that I couldn’t bear to let this one go even for a minute. Even being the second time round that I was reading this, I was completely riveted on the events that took place in the novel, a woman’s hatred and vindictive and controlling behavior that drives the story together with the sensual and beautiful romance Sandra delivers.

The year is 1903 and 20 year old Lauren Holbrook travels to Texas from North Carolina on the invitation of one Ben Lockett who has all well placed intentions regarding the beautiful Lauren. Lauren having lost her mother at the age of 3 and father at the age of 12 had lived since then with Reverend Abel Prather and his wife Sybil. Naive and innocent, Lauren has no idea of the hornets nest she is stepping into when she disembarks from the train to make her way towards Coronardo, Ben’s hometown.

Jared Lockett is a man who is notorious throughout the state for his whoring and drinking. A Harvard graduate and a cowboy, Jared is a character who stirred up my senses even right from the start. A mass of contradictions is what he is; brash, harsh and coldly controlled one minute and tender and teasing the next. His parents marriage being an unhappy one is an understatement and Jared had borne the brunt of their unhappiness with one another that had shaped him up to be the person he is.

When Jared’s mother, the beautiful and vindictive Olivia Lockett schemes to arrange a marriage between Lauren and Jared both find themselves agreeing to the marriage of convenience for a period of two years. Though Jared would have loved to storm out of the discussion and turn his back on his mother’s wishes, her manipulations turn out to be more well placed than Jared could counterattack and thus finds Lauren and Jared being bound by holy matrimony and little does Jared know that Lauren is the woman who would bring him to his very knees before their marriage is through.

Lauren who is an innocent babe in the woods when it comes to carnal desires is misjudged right from the very start by Jared and thus makes her life miserable from the onset of their marriage. But for Jared, Lauren is not as easily dismissed from his mind as he would like as her innocence and beauty keeps creeping up on him at the most unexpected of moments, his personal vow to stay away from Lauren a much harder one to keep than he thought.

Lauren is drawn to Jared right from the very start, the cravings that hits her whenever Jared is around a foreign one to her but one she knows instinctively that only Jared can fulfill. Sandra keeps the sexual tension mounting until all I could do was practically squirm in my chair from wanting the explosive culmination of the desire between Jared and Lauren, something Sandra is very good at delivering on! And I wasn’t disappointed when their relationship progressed to that stage and all but welcomed the beauty of their coming together with open arms.

What I loved most about this novel was Lauren’s character. She is naive and innocent to a fault when she steps on the rugged land of Texas, but having an instinct that guides her to judge people easily saves her from a lot of hurdles. In Olivia, Jared’s mother Lauren finds a woman who is bitter to the very end, who loves people only to gain the upper hand and to further her own goals in whatever notorious scheme or plan that she cooks up. It is Olivia’s doing that separates Lauren and Jared and drives a wedge between them one right after the other, for the fear that Jared might not be as easily controllable if Lauren were to work her healing magic on him.

How Lauren grew throughout the story, her gentleness and giving nature together with that stubborn streak of hers when it comes to those she loves and considers dear to her are her best characteristics. The way she faces and weathers one storm after the other in her relationship with Jared, the man who so effortlessly steals her heart for good and all time to come is one of the reasons I admired her character. She gives as good as she gets, but knows instinctively when its time to let go in order to heal the tortured soul that is Jared’s.

Jared is the type of ruthless alpha hero that I absolutely adore and love. Sandra certainly knows her way with male lead characters and even when they are rakes of the most notorious kind, you can’t help but be drawn towards them like a moth to flame. Jared’s entrance to each and every scene in the book makes it come alive with his sheer magnetism alone and if I were to talk about the effect he had on my senses; I tell you this is going to end up a long, long review!

The one thing that stopped me from giving the 5-stars that this book so very well deserves was what happened towards the latter part of the book. I found that Jared’s “cruelty” towards Lauren to make his mission a more believable one was something that could have been done away with. But somehow it all serves its purpose, the villains get what they truly deserve and Jared and Lauren find a love so worthy of slaying dragons over that I just heaved a huge sigh of pleasure once the book was done!

Sandra’s mastery is such that not even one iota of my emotions remain aloof when reading, my whole being focused on the sensations that courses through me right from the very start. Her ability to paint a picture so vividly with words and make you feel as part of the story that unfolds is how remarkable an author she is and that is one reason why I would continue to buy her books as long as she continues to publish them.

Favorite Quotes

Lauren whirled her head around so quickly that the motion hurt her neck. Jared’s hand came up and clamped the hat more firmly over his face. He adjusted his long body to another position, contracting and relaxing muscles that Lauren didn’t know existed. But then, she had never seen a masculine physique like this before. His languid movements were repelling and thrilling at the same time. It was like watching some pagan god who was beautiful even in his decadence.

Jared hadn’t planned it, had never even thought about it, but he couldn’t control taking complete possession of her mouth with a bruising kiss. He wanted to insult her, to further humiliate her, to shatter her damned poise. But her body was so female, her lips so soft, warm, virginal, that what had been hurtful and brutal became tender, seeking, questioning.

Lauren could smell the starch that kept Jared’s shirtfront crisp, which blended intoxicatingly with tobacco and champagne. When he spoke in confidential tones to the silly woman, Lauren could feel the vibration of his voice in his chest. The bank director’s wife moved away, and still Jared retained his possessive hold on her. His hand trembled slightly as his thumb moved upward and lightly stroked the side of her breast. Or did she only imagine it? Lauren thought she would die from the constriction in her chest that pounded up into her throat and sought release in a small moan.
Another guest walked toward them. Slowly, reluctantly, the strong fingers were withdrawn, leaving behind an imprint on Lauren’s skin as scorching as a brand.

Rosa wasn’t far from wrong. In her naked loveliness, she appeared to be an angel.
But Jared was mortal, and he wanted her as he had never wanted a woman before. He carefully lowered his head and kissed the pulse in her throat. Then his lips traveled with a blissful laziness over her breasts, nibbling and licking lightly so she wouldn’t ever know that he had worshiped at this temple of her body. She was forbidden to him. It was a self-imposed denial, but that made it even more binding.

Don’t be afraid of loving this man, Maria had told her. Don’t be afraid. Her slender fingers closed around the warm shaft with its velvet skin stretched smooth. Gently her fingers played over him, curious, wondering fingers, fingers made exultant by their discoveries.
Reflexively Jared arched his back. His head went back in a gesture of exquisite feeling. Then his chin lowered and he was searching her face again. His golden eyes shone bright with emotion. “Touch me, Lauren. Touch me until I die from the pleasure of it. Know all of me.” His voice was breathy and uneven.

Her fingers dug into the flesh of his hips as his own passion peaked. His face was buried in her neck and her skin felt his rapid, moist breath as he chanted her name.
He didn’t leave her. He couldn’t forsake the paradise just yet. Nestled within her body, he raised himself on his elbows and looked down at her. Tenderly he kissed each feature of her face.
“Is this possible?” she breathed, referring to the enormity of her rapture.
“Yes, yes,” he murmured against her lips.
He raised his head and his eyes searched her face once again. His expression was difficult to define, but it closely resembled love.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!