Review: Housebound by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookhousebound
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Noah Grant
Heroine: Anne Kirklan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: 1985
Started On: May 19, 2014
Finished On: May 19, 2014

Housebound by Anne Stuart is one of her earlier novels, first published in the 1980’s. I must’ve been toddler then. The magic about romances that are well written is that they stand the test of time; no amount of development that comes about or technology advances that change the world can diminish the glow that is left behind in the wake of a romance that touches you deep inside.

Housebound starts in off in an ordinary enough manner. Nothing in particular stands out at first. 34 year old Anne Kirkland is the heroine that pours her heart and soul into her home, co-owned with her two siblings, older brother Ashley and younger sister Holly and their father. Though none of the members of her family are enthusiastic about the big heap of a building that practically swallows money as a whole with the humongous amounts needed for its repair and upkeep, Anne remains stoic in her belief that she would be able to save her beloved home, somehow.

When 32 year old Noah Grant comes visiting, as Holly’s companion for the weekend, Anne doesn’t expect everything Holly has said about him to be true. The dreamiest and sexist man alive that Anne has set eyes on, the instant connection that springs forth between them makes it doubly harder for Anne to remember that she is an engaged woman who should not swoon in the face of a beautiful man, but oh what a beautiful man he was to her senses, in more ways than one.

Noah has his own agenda for coming to Anne’s home, and though it makes him feel a trifle bit guilty at first, Noah is willing to do this one last favor for his father in law to exorcise the ghosts of his past. His helpless attraction towards Anne certainly doesn’t help matters along and though Noah continues to lie to himself and anyone else who asks him about his feelings towards Anne, there is no hiding from the fact that she affects him every bit as much as she’s reluctantly affected by him.

Reasons that I fell in love with the story are many. First and foremost, I think this is the most laid back hero by Anne Stuart that I’ve had the fortune of reading. Though Noah hides a secret that could break Anne’s very spirit, he is not hard edged and ruthless like the usual heroes that Anne Stuart pens, all of whom I adore. He even had me thinking to myself that this story would probably not work for me. But then, I should’ve trusted Anne Stuart a bit more that she would never lead her readers on a path that would not be fulfilling.

Though Noah is not the ruthless kind, he is every bit alpha as the Anne Stuart heroes that I have fallen countless times in love with. Noah’s troubles come from a past that he can’t or rather won’t escape from, the need to keep the memory of his wife alive, lest he forget how he failed her. And though Noah is truthful enough with himself that Anne is the first woman to have affected him as such since his wife, Noah remains stubborn in his is attempt to prevent any sort of commitment on his part from happening.

Now Anne, she practically made the story for me. She is so strong, feisty and knows when to give in. In other words Anne knows which battles to pick and fight in her life. Growing up as the middle child whose siblings had all turned out to be prodigies in their selected fields, Anne has a hard time accepting the fact that she is talented in everything that she has set her mind to undertake. Her attachment to her home stems from a deep emotional craving to love something that’d never disappoint her, and when that is taken away from her, well, let’s just say the emotional roller coaster reaches its peak by then.

Housebound is a novel where groveling is done to a fine art by the hero. Realizing his mistake had come when shit had practically hit the roof and I loved Anne for being strong enough to just up and leave when everyone that she’d trusted to do right by her had failed her miserably. Anne Stuart’s acerbic humor always makes any novel of hers a treasure to read. One cannot dwell on sad emotions for long; she has those no nonsense characters embedded into her stories that always gives the hero or heroine that well deserved nudge or if that fails, a slap in the right direction.

Well rounded secondary characters give the story a wholesome edge to it. Ashley turned out to be the most intriguing secondary character in the story. His projected indifference to everything that goes around him hides a far too astute mind that sees altogether too much. Too bad we’d never know what his story is about because I don’t think Anne Stuart has the intention of ever writing a gay romance and as fascinated as I am by his character, I don’t think even he’d move me enough to read one if ever written. But then again, perhaps I am underestimating the effect Anne Stuart novels have on me.

One more aspect of the story that made me treasure it all that more is the fact that the ending of the story really does see Anne and Noah through. Readers deserved that after going through such an emotional upheaval and healing period together with them. Well, readers deserve that in a lot of Anne Stuart novels but then her fans are almost used to the fact that she tends to end her novels a tad abruptly. So it was more than nice to say the least that the way Housebound ended put a warm glow deep in my heart. Now who wouldn’t glow when a story ends like this:

A few hours later Holly sent a telegram to Ashley Kirkland, care of the Sangre de Cristos Monastery in New Mexico.
ANNIE GAVE BIRTH TO BABY GIRL LILLIAN THIS A.M. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER DOING FINE, FATHER STILL RECOVERING. MUCH LOVE, HOLLY.

Needless to say, I was grinning. From ear to ear!

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Beautiful and splendid in all the ways that matter.

Favorite Quotes

She could tell herself it was the cold that hardened her nipples against the slowly rotating massage of his fingertips, the pad of his thumb brushing wickedly against the peak that shone darkly through the thin material. And she could tell herself it was the cold that made her lean back against his warm, strong body as if to absorb some of his heat.
But it wasn’t the chill that made her push her soft, straining breast up against his teasing hand, it wasn’t the cold that had her pressing her rounded buttocks against the iron-hard arousal directly behind her. And it wasn’t the cold that made her turn readily in his arms at his gentle pressure.

His control was absolute. Ignoring the cost, he began to move, rocking back and forth with a slow, steady rhythm. And each time he filled her it seemed a little deeper and a little fuller. A light film of sweat covered her skin, and shudders began to shake her body beneath his. And still he moved, seemingly intent only on pleasuring her, as he varied the force and the tempo of his thrusts.
The white-hot flames were building now, licking her body, and she clung to him like a boat adrift in a storm-tossed sea. And then suddenly, unexpectedly, it happened, and she was flung out into the sky in a shower of stars, and in that explosion of glory she felt his body stiffen in her arms, heard his strangled cry, and she wept, for the joy of being alone no longer.

His hands still firm on her hips, he began to move, arching up into her, then slowly pulling back, and then again, each time filling her more completely. She could feel her body shivering atop his, feel the rigid control in his arms and legs as he tried to slow the pace, to bring her along with him. But she was far ahead, her body shuddering with spasms of need that were rapidly taking over.
And then abruptly his tenuous control abandoned him, and he arched into her as her body went rigid in his arms. And he followed her, locked together through a mindless eternity, his breath hoarse and rasping in her ear as she sobbed against his damp, heaving chest.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks

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Review: Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

Format: E-bookmotorcycleman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dream Man, #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Kane “Tack” Allen
Heroine: Tyra Sidney Masters
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 22, 2012
Started On: May 18, 2014
Finished On: May 18, 2014

Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley is one of those books that has received rave reviews since it’s publication. Kristen Ashley is an author who definitely knows what she’s doing when she writes romances featuring biker clubs; the rough, tough and macho dudes that ride around in Harley’s that makes you hyperventilate from the effect of it all.

35 year old Tyra Sidney Masters thought that she had met the perfect guy, who managed to rock her world in bed and out of it only to have him ask her to leave right after he gets his fill of her. And to make matters worse, when Tyra shows up at her new place of work, her boss turns out to be Tack and he has one rule; he doesn’t sleep around with the help.

Arrogant, sexy and a über smart, Kane “Tack” Allen has no time for a relationship when Tyra comes into his life. Tack makes no excuses for the way he prefers to live his life. With a crazy ex-wife who refuses to stop giving him hell and worrying about the fate of his two kids living with their mother plus heading a biker club of the scale of Chaos, Tack practically has his hands full when it comes to life. All that changes when Tyra becomes his employee and the one rule he has about his work place becomes a non-rule as both Tyra and Tack finds themselves in a whirlpool of desire, scorching hot sex with a whole lot of familial mess. Throw in the Russian mafia who has a bone to chew with Tack, well, all I can say is that there is never a dull moment to be had.

Like all three novels I have read to date by Kristen Ashely, Motorcycle Man too is written in first person, mainly told from Tyra’s point of view. Though there’s just a teeny bit of Tack thrown in, Kristen weaves the story in such a manner that you don’t miss out on the details of Tack’s involvement, emotional and otherwise in the story. Though I certainly do miss getting inside the head of a sexy as sin hero, I’d say that Motorcycle Man works just the way it is.

These books aren’t easy reads in the sense that there is a different terminology altogether unique to that of biker clubs. Men refer to their women as bitch and women refer to their man as old man etc. So if you are the type to be offended by frank language that might get obscene more than once in a while, you might want to steer clear of these books. Because at the end of the day, reality is that biker clubs operate on their own unique set of rules and that is what Kristen brings to the table with each of these stories.

Now, let’s talk about my favorite topic when it comes to the story. Three guesses? Yep, let’s talk about Tack. The man might be in I his early forties but his body tells a different story. Sexy in ways that I can’t even express, Tack is the sort of man whose mere presence alone sexes up a story. Yes, he is that kind of man. The rough edges to him are never completely tamed. That’s what makes him such an appealing character in my opinion. No one really can change for the other person. If they do and lose a part of their personality in the process, they can never truly be happy. Tack being the way he is has its own reasons, but what impressed me was how he had turned his life around to make something out of it rather than going down the easy road.

Tyra was a character that I fell in love with right from the beginning. She is the type of heroine who doesn’t have her own agenda to prove, but rather has enough of a backbone to know when to pick her battles. Being with an ‘overbearing’ and uber protective man like Tack would be no easy feat for a woman if she lets him walk all over her. What makes Tyra and Tack’s relationship work is the fact that together they bring out the best in each other and that’s what makes the story work. When you read a book, there are certain characters whose inner goodness shines through. And for me, both Tack and Tyra belong in that category.

Unlike the last two stories that I read by Kristen Ashely, stories that I didn’t overly adore much, Motorcycle Man throws that for a loop and shows exactly why Kristen is an author revered by many. There’s a charm to the way she creates her bad ass and totally alpha heroes that can practically melt your panties off just by walking into a room. And while I thought Motorcycle Man would offer a predictable story, let me tell you that Kristen proved me deliciously wrong at each turn.

If you are a fan of the big and tough alpha heroes who can lay claim to your heart so that it would never be the same, look no further; Kristen Ashley is definitely the author you should be reading. And though Tate Jackson still remains to be my favorite Kristen Ashley hero, Tack certainly does come darn close to claiming the place specially reserved for Tate in my heart.

Final Verdict: Never a dull moment. Be warned that Tack requires a tall cool glass of water!

Favorite Quotes

His hand at my head moved to curve around my jaw. He pulled my face to his again just as his fingers curled into my bra and yanked the cup down, scraping the nipple, making it go hard. I sucked in breath as my body instinctively melted under his, the inside of my thighs pressing into the sides of his hips, then his thumb swept across my tightened nipple, my lips parted and I gasped.
“There it is,” he muttered, then his lips crushed mine and his tongue slid into my mouth.

“Tyra, get me right now. You are not gonna slip in a movie about love and redemption and cry by my side because, even though you’ve seen it before, it still moves you and then rip that shit away from me. You are not gonna ride my fingers, whisper to me to fuck you and take my cock the way I wanna give it to you, panting for more and then rip that shit away from me too. You are not gonna clash with me, toss your attitude my way when most every other woman shies away when I’m me then rip that away. And you are not gonna expose that soft spot you got that I like and I wanna protect and take that away from me either. Babe, I told you, you didn’t get it and you need to get it.” His fingers pressed deeper into my skin. “You are Chaos now. I am Chaos. You think you got the option but you don’t. There is no goin’ back. I’ve claimed you.”

Tack woke me in the dead of night, hand between my legs, lips to mine and I could feel I was already wet. I knew this because I was totally turned on.
The second my eyes opened, he whispered, “Goin’ with my gut, baby.”
I smiled against his mouth.
Tack kissed the smile from my lips.
Then he fucked me.
Then he let me go back to sleep tucked to his side.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | ARe | BookDepo | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Wild at Heart by Susan Fox

Format: E-bookWildAtHeart
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Kane Langtry
Heroine: Rhea René Cory
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August, 1997
Started On: May 16, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

Would you guys believe it if I were to say that there is this harlequin or mills and boon romance that I read like 12 years back, which is haunting me till today? Wait. I bet that is something most avid readers have faced a time or two in their reading life. This book that I am talking about was one that I read when I first discovered the abundant stash of goodness that was harlequin romances back then. The memory of the intense emotions this book evoked in me I still remember to-date, the barebones of its cover teases the tendrils of my memory and yet I fail to recall the author or the title of the novel.

It was my pathetic cry on twitter to find out the title of this novel that found me purchasing Wild at Heart by Susan Fox, the fact that this had a similar storyline making me hope in my heart that my search for the novel that had eluded me all these years had finally reached its fruitful conclusion. But then to my deepest regret, turned out that this wasn’t the case as I knew within the first chapter or so that this wasn’t the novel that had been haunting me for quite some time now.

23 year old Rhea René Cory (Rory) was brought into the folds of the Langtry family when she had been a frightened 11 year old who had just lost her mother and her drunken mess of a father had become the ridicule and scorn of the town. Rory has worked since then to make a name for herself, to remove the stigma of her family name that has practically defined her and people had never let her forget all throughout the years.

Kane Langtry is the rightful heir and son of Sam Langtry, the owner of B. J. Hastings and Rory’s guardian since that day. Rory’s feelings towards Kane is far from platonic, she has been in love with him for a long while. Though Kane makes his disdain for her clear in more ways than one, Rory knows that as long as Sam is alive that she’d always have a place in her childhood home. But all that changes when Sam dies leaving behind Rory and a confused Kane who doesn’t like the maelstrom of emotions that Rory invokes in him and has been invoking in him for far too long to suite his peace of mind.

There’s a lot of hostility on Kane’s part towards Rory, something he lets loose every now and then towards the woman whose feelings are all but out there for everyone to see. Rory has always been in Kane’s bad books, deemed as the troublemaker in the home especially with his stepmother and her daughter in residence. And when Kane is finally ready to acknowledge his feelings towards Rory, along comes a problem of the variety that neither ever foresaw.

While I enjoyed the first couple of chapters in the story, the angst and the sexual tension thick enough to cut through with a knife, I had several problems with how the story proceeded then onwards. I could understand Rory’s need to keep the peace at home when Sam had been ailing and on his way towards a slow decline but I couldn’t understand nor put up with how she let herself be trampled upon over and over by the vicious widowed wife of her guardian, the snubbing on her daughter’s part and the way Kane tended to put her down time and yet again. I want a heroine with a backbone who knows which fights to pick and then fight to win. For me, Rory just wilted every time someone said something at her and then continued on that waning existence towards more than half of the story. It’s hard to respect a heroine of the sort.

And then there’s Kane. I knew that it was his reluctance towards facing his emotions and feelings towards a woman whom he has no respect for, on account of I do not know why, that makes him the grouchy meanie he tended to be. And then suddenly, all of that changed towards one very pivotal event in the story and everything suddenly seemed to be all sunshine and beautiful rainbows in the sky. I couldn’t buy that. People talk about Anne Stuart writing heroes of the irredeemable kind. I say these are the type of heroes that are actually hard to swallow. Rory fleeing at the first sign of trouble was another bit of the story that just made me sigh in resignation towards a book that frustrated me and I didn’t enjoy overly much.

As I stated earlier, the sexual tension in the story was quite thick, and the author managed to keep up the tempo even towards the latter part of the story, though by which time I’d become disengaged from the characters entirely. I found it a bit of a letdown that the author didn’t deliver on all that subtle and the not so subtle sexual tension in the story. I hate it when that happens. It’s like your lover leaving you hanging dry after a furious bout of foreplay.

Even though there were bits I liked & enjoyed, I’d recommend you to read this at your own risk.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Harlequin | iTunes

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Review: Claiming the Duchess by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-bookclaimingtheduchess
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Fitzhugh Trilogy, #0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Mr. Kingston
Heroine: Clarissa Lexington
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 12, 2014
Started On: May 16, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

“Some turn the soil and plant seedlings. We garden with words and nurture affinity.” – JMK to Clarissa

Claiming the Duchess is a very short novella which is part of the Fitzhugh trilogy. It was quite by chance that I encountered the post on Sherry Thomas’s Facebook about the release of this one and being a freebie at that I didn’t hesitate to get myself a copy. Well, let’s face it. Even had it been for 3 dollars, just because it is a novella by Sherry Thomas, I’d consider myself well rewarded for the money spent.

The first thing that hit me when I started reading, just a couple of paragraphs into the book was the strong sense of nostalgia that I had really missed Sherry Thomas’s writing. And knowing that English is her second language impresses me a helluva lot more than her writing had before; her style of writing is sheer poetry on the senses. Every emotion that she pens down the reader feels to the very core and in my opinion that is what outstanding writing is all about. It’s a damn shame that she publishes just one historical romance full length novel per year.

Moving onto the review, Claiming the Duchess is the story of the stepmother of the hero of the first full length novel in the series, Beguiling the Beauty. Clarissa Lexington is married to the Duke of Lexington when she lays eyes upon the silently intense figure of Mr. Kingston who makes an impression on her lonely heart and soul. And though Mr. Kingston in no way shows any interest of the same variety in her, Clarissa’s mind conjures up his image every now and then. The loneliness that is her life is kept at bay by the odd pen friendship that strikes up between her and a Ms. Kirkland until four years later, Clarissa is finally free to pursue her interest for the man who has never been far from her thoughts from that first day of their encounter.

Revealing any further would be to give away the story, though I bet smart readers can already put two and two together and conclude how things would go down. I fell in love with Clarissa from the beginning. It takes a talented author to put the dreams, yearnings and hopes of characters across to the reader in such a few number of pages. And Mr. Kingston. Oh Mr. Kingston. They say still waters run deep and you certainly realize that when all is said and done. My only complain even if it can be called that was the fact that there wasn’t a full fledged love scene included in the novella. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the numerous sensuous scenes of lovemaking included in Sherry Thomas’s novels of late.

Recommended; because if you haven’t been reading Sherry Thomas as a romance reader, you haven’t been reading right.

Final Verdict: Sherry Thomas manages to wrench your heart out & take a piece of it, all in just 20 plus pages.

Favorite Quotes

A movement caught her eye. A rider charged across the expansive grounds, weaving amid copses of chestnut and hazel. He followed the bank of the stream that bisected the large meadow behind the house. And when he whipped off his hat, the wind rushing past him ruffling his thick, glossy hair, she bit her lower lip at the sharp dig in her chest, as if her heart had been dented.
Mr. Kingston, in the flesh.

He settled a hand at her nape. She shivered with the sensation of his bare skin on hers, zigzags of electricity that shot deep into her spine. The searing heat spread. He was now touching the underside of her jaw, the tender skin just beneath her ear, and—
She gasped aloud as he pressed his lips into the shell of her ear.
“Clarissa,” he murmured.

She couldn’t tell whether his lips were soft as rose petals or rough as sandpaper. She couldn’t seem to feel anything but this fire that scorched any and all nerve endings, as if she had grazed the corona of the sun.
She moaned. Her hands plunged into his hair. She returned the kiss roughly—if he was made of flames then let her be a fire-eater. Lips, teeth, tongue, she wanted everything.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Smashwords

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Review: Special Gifts by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookspecialgifts
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Sam Oliver
Heroine: Elizabeth Hardy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 1990
Started On: May 9, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

I tend to get overly dramatic every time I finish a book from my pile of books to be read by Anne Stuart. Even the romances that she has written way earlier tends to hold a magic that hasn’t died out even today. The depression that I feel because there are a handful of books left in this treasure of mine tends to grow exponentially as well. I came across Special Gifts while browsing through Goodreads or rather stalking through book shelves of readers who share a similar penchant for books by Anne Stuart and I certainly was not disappointed.

29 year old Elizabeth Hardy moves to Colorado for one reason. To lick her wounds in private and resign herself to the fate of a lonesome life for the rest of her days. But one thing that prevents her from not seeking the company of other people, mainly that of Police Detective Phil Grayson is because of her visions, the visions that render her as cold as ice from deep within; visions of horror, evilness and blood red murders. It is one such vision that propels Phil to contact his ex-Army Intelligence buddy Colonel Sam Oliver who turns Elizabeth’s world upside down in more than one way.

A killer known as the Colorado Slasher incites fear in the heart of the people and a coldness inside of Elizabeth the likes of which she has never experienced before. While Oliver with his cynical beliefs about people like her makes her want to scream in frustration, it is the hot fire of attraction that sizzles her nerve endings and warms her from deep within that disturbs her more than anything else.

While the public and law enforcement at large may treat the “Colorado Slasher” as the average serial killer, what propels Phil to contact Oliver is the fear that the killings are related to something way beyond that. Oliver who has had his emotions washed out of him a long time back finds himself in a dilemma when his body doesn’t pay heed to what his mind tells him when it comes to Elizabeth; that tangling with the likes of her is not for hardened and world weary men like him.

Anne Stuart does a swell job out of the attraction and the romance that buds into life between Elizabeth and Oliver. Though certain aspects of the suspense aspect didn’t make much of a sense to me, perhaps because I was more interested in finding out when Elizabeth and Oliver would reach that point of no return; I still loved this book and the story it had to offer. Elizabeth might want to be a recluse but her heart yearns for the impossible; for Oliver to sweep her away true to her visions of the two of them together.

Oliver resists at first, as of course most stubborn headed men do so, and finally give in, oh so deliciously when the time arrives. Oliver has this take charge attitude that is so very sexy and I found myself totally hooked to his character. His reluctant feelings for Elizabeth certainly made this a delicious read to savor. And oh boy, the shared vision of Elizabeth in her red dress with Oliver wearing nothing more than a sexy pair of jeans, taking them both to heights of pleasure unexplored before certainly made for a very enticing picture. And Anne Stuart unlike some authors who leave readers hanging on that aspect definitely delivers on that score!

Recommended.

Final Verdict: Elizabeth, Oliver and danger. Certainly a combination you ought not miss!

Favorite Quotes

His heart was racing when he stormed into the bedroom. In the darkness he could see the huddled bundle of humanity in the middle of his bed, and for a moment he, who didn’t know the meaning of fear, was terrified to move. She was covered with the quilt from head to toe, and he knew that if he pulled that cover aside he’d be looking into her lifeless brown eyes, her cut throat a second red smile beneath her mouth.
He moved slowly, kneeling on the bed, and began to pull at the quilt. She didn’t move, didn’t make a sound, as he uncovered her still, pale, lifeless face. And then her eyes fluttered open, focusing on his face, and she smiled at him.

She made it as far as the door. She’d forgotten he could move so fast. One moment he was lying stretched out on his huge bed, covered with the flowing red material, a few seconds later he’d caught her by the front door. Caught her with his large, strong hands, imprisoning her arms. Caught her with his big body, pressing her smaller, frailer one up against the heavy door. Caught her with his mouth on hers, hot and wet and demanding.

She brought her hands up between them to push him away, but once again her fingers touched his bare skin, his smoothly muscled chest, and she was lost. She tipped her head to one side, to give him better access, and let him kiss her.
He lifted his head and stared down at her in the darkness of the hallway, his eyes glittering and strangely savage. “Kiss me back, damn it,” he said harshly, setting his mouth back on hers. And she did, opening her mouth to his, sliding her arms up and around his neck, pulling him down to her.

This was no gentle wooing. This was demand, pure and simple. And to his mingled surprise and satisfaction it was a demand she answered, sliding her arms around his waist and softening her mouth for his searing kiss.
She was all soft and shivery in his arms. The more he kissed her, the more he wanted. He wanted to drown in her mouth; he wanted to devour her; he wanted everything to disappear but the wet, hungry texture of his mouth and hers.

He didn’t know where to start. He didn’t know if he could touch her without terrifying her; he didn’t know if he could take that white cotton nightgown with its row of tiny buttons off her without tearing it from her. He didn’t know if he could stroke her, arouse her, bring her pleasure, before the raging demands of his own body overwhelmed him and he buried himself in her. For the first time in his life, his woman’s pleasure mattered more than his. He just wasn’t sure if his body realized it.

The skirt was up to her hips, and his fullness pressed against her, ready to explode.
“Wait,” he groaned against her mouth. “You’re not…”
“Yes,” she said, pulling him against the cradle of her thighs, until he rested against her, throbbing, waiting. “Yes, I am,” she whispered.
With a muffled moan he slid into her, hard and full and deep, and for a moment he thought he might explode with the wonder of it.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Abe Books | B&N

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Review: House of Glass by Michelle Reid

Format: E-bookhouseofglass
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Hero: Dane Norfolk
Heroine: Lily Norfolk
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 11, 1993
Started On: April 26, 2014
Finished On: April 27, 2014

Every now and then, I like to revisit the classic harlequins that practically kick started my love for romances. There are few authors whose books I painstakingly go through to find one I might’ve missed out on and Michelle Reid’s House of Glass turned up on my book shelves just like that.

Lily Norfolk and her brother in law Dane Norfolk has always had a tumultuous relationship at best. When her husband Daniel dies after a horrific accident, it is Dane that comes striding into her life, the all powerful male who has the ability to render her into a quivering mess every time their eyes clash with one another’s.

Dane doesn’t trust Lily all that much. He perceives her to be a liar, the woman who continued to cuckold his brother by living in sin with another man right under his brother’s nose. Dane only sees the version of truth that he is ready to accept, the convenient perception of the truth which should make it easier for him to turn his back on the need that practically eviscerates him whenever he is in Lily’s company.

All the hate, derision and the need that Dane tries to deny comes to a brutal end with the death of his brother, the self disgust that he feels which runs rampant every time he gives into the hot flare of wanton need that consumes them both every single time one that cuts him to his very knees.

House of Glass brings forth a hero that might not sit well with some. But I understood him and accepted the continuous struggle he underwent with his desire for his brother’s wife and the self recriminations that must’ve made his life a living hell. The fact that Lily seemed to respond to his advances and couldn’t help but give into his caresses seems to fuel the anger as well as the passion between them but for both of them to have even a possibility of a future together, Dane would have to come face to face with the actual truth and make peace with everything.

Lily tended to wilt every now and then, understandable I suppose under the sheer pressure that she must’ve been under with the continued barrage of contrasting emotions that she must’ve been undergoing. But I liked the fact that she had enough strength within her to put the distance that was required between herself and Dane, and her ability to stay away until Dane took that first step towards her.

I think the ending makes up for the ass that Dane pretty much made himself out to be through the first half of the book. It suffices to show the change love has wrought in him. I fell in love with the terse fax massage that Dane sent Lily’s way. Even though it wasn’t an undying declaration of love or a grand gesture of the likes of showing up on her doorstep, for a man like Dane it was a monumental step in my opinion and that made this book worthy of the four stars that it earned.

The sexual tension in the novel is thick enough to cut with a knife; there’s sensuality that an author can bring into a story without going all out and explicit and that’s what makes authors like Michelle Reid and Susan Napier such a treasure in my opinion. Recommended for fans of Michelle Reid and fans of old school harlequin romances.

Final Verdict: Intense & ruthless on the emotions, just the way I like em’.

Favorite Quotes

He dragged in a strangled breath as his heart began to thunder out a command older than time itself. One of his hands lay along her silken thigh, his chest, heaving against the pressure building inside his lungs, could feel the twin thrust of her aroused breasts pressing into him. The T-shirt had ridden up around her waist—a waist so slender and firm that he was almost choking on the desire to span it with his hands, caress her warm skin, feel her respond—respond to him as she had never responded to any man.

They were both shaking, the air around them throbbing with a high tensile stress which matched the tensile throb of his heart. He clenched his teeth together, stared angrily into her beautiful eyes, then down at her inviting mouth. Then with a raking grasp at his self-control he rolled away from her. And left the room.

And he took her mouth again, smothering it as he grasped one of her restless hands and dragged it down his body until he’d placed it where he wanted it most to be. She gasped, shocked to her very roots by the sweet, pulsing intimacy. But before she could even think of pulling away his own hand had slid along her thighs and she became lost in more sensation— the kind that made her cry out his name, arch, then go tensely still as tiny coloured explosions began hurling themselves at the backs of her eyes.

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ARC Review: The Professional by Kresley Cole

Format: E-booktheprofessional
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: The Game Maker, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Hero: Roman Aleksandr Sevastyan
Heroine: Natalie Marie Porter
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: May 6, 2014
Started On: May 3, 2014
Finished On: May 8, 2014

Natalie Marie Porter has been searching for her birth parents for the past six years. Determined and not ready to give up describes her best. Natalie is studious, hardworking and studying her way to acquire her PhD in History. Fixated on her end goal, Natalie lets little get in her way, and she especially does not have time for the the usual run of the mill variety of men that either bores her to death or sparks no interest in her whatsoever.

All that changes the night Aleksandr Sevastyan walks into the bar Natalie and her friends are at, sparking a heat deep inside of her that surprises and shocks Natalie a bit, but not enough to prevent herself from giving into the goading of her friends to make a pass at the man who holds her enthralled. But then a bizarre set of events finds Natalie whisked away to Russia, Sevastyan being the man who had been assigned by her father to protect her at any cost.

Written in the first person from Natalie’s perspective, The Professional is wrought with sexual tension right from the very beginning. Natalie feels as if the very ground she had been standing on had tilted on its own axis taking her along for a wild ride that sets the tone for the whole experience. Though Natalie might be a mere babe in the woods when it comes to the actual reality of hot, wicked and wanton sex, she understands enough to grasp the fact that she and Sevastyan shares the kind of attraction that doesn’t happen often.

Meeting her beloved father and then once again being taken away by Sevastyan to protect her from the danger that surrounds her, Natalie finds herself dependent on Sevastyan for more than just her well being. Sevastyan has the ability to play her like a well strung guitar, the ability to turn her world upside down with just one searing glance from those golden eyes. Sevastyan tries keeping her at arm’s length, to protect her from the darkness that stalks the depths of his soul, that fights and rages to break free from the control her exerts on himself.

It was only after I finished reading this and looked the book up on Goodreads that I realized that The Professional had actually been published before as a set of three short novels. Bearing similarities to 5o Shades of Grey in certain aspects of the story, The Professional certainly dwells into darker aspects of BDSM than 50 Shades which I would say barely skimmed through the subject. Sevastyan is dark. He is the sort of dark that is brusque, uncommunicative and emotionally distant and has a past that he is ashamed of. He is the sort of man who would best be described as sex on a stick. The tattoos, that body and the fighter stance of his all sums up to just that. I can’t even pronounce his name properly but I am woman enough to realize the kind of havoc that a man like him could cause a woman.

I love dark heroes. Anyone who reads my reviews would know that I have a thing for them. The darker the better. And Sevastyan while he did have the essential ingredients that makes a dark hero unforgettable, I don’t think he touched the very heart of me without which my soul refuses to engage when it comes to characters and even people for that matter. Sevastyan is all about control in the bedroom and even out of it, but he does it all because he wants to see to the pleasure of his woman. I think what made it a bit difficult for me to get on board wholeheartedly when it came to Sevastyan was the fact that he plays a dangerous game with Natalie and her feelings; though he certainly rocks her world sexually and then some, he refuses to let her in, perhaps fearful of the fact that she might not find it in herself to be with him if it ever came to that. I find it tiresome when female characters do the constant advance and retreat dance and I felt Sevastyan was doing that more than one half of the story.

Perhaps one reason that I found it hard to get involved with Sevastyan’s character on a level that would have made me fall head over heels in love with him was the lack of his point of view in the story. I dislike reading stories written in first person for that very reason. I feel that the reader is put at a disadvantage when a story is written from just one single character’s point of view and multiple characters points of views can have the opposite effect. I wanted to get inside Sevastyan’s mind, perhaps that was what Kresley intended when she wrote the story this way; to drive her readers crazy with the need to know Sevastyan. But I felt shortchanged in a way in never knowing what he actually was thinking and feeling, especially during crucial moments to the story. All the reader has to guide her through are Natalie’s perception of Sevastyan’s feelings and that I felt played a role in making Sevastyan seem more detached than he should have been.

While Natalie had enough spunk to weather through the absolute storm that is Sevastyan, there were times I found her to be a bit of a handful too. But nevertheless it all worked out in the end for both of them, quite wonderfully so I must say. It has been a long while since I actually read a novel featuring hardcore BDSM aspects. And I have to say that I have never thought that BDSM actually requires a lot from both partners physically and mentally. Kresley actually managed to enlighten me on a subject that is fascinating and yet at the same time I know is not for me. A romance every now and then featuring BDSM to a certain extent is all I can manage of the lifestyle, and even then certain aspects somehow do not sit well with me. Perhaps it is the feminist in me that balks at the thought of being collared for pleasure. But that in no way diminished the impact that Kresley sought for and achieved with the countless scorching scenes of sex included in the story.

I am thinking that Sevastyan’s very interesting brothers might have stories of their own coming out soon. The Professional has definitely intrigued me enough to want to read about them, especially the younger unforgiving one whom I am thinking would make for a forbidding hero at best. Recommended for those who love scorching hot BDSM novels the likes of 50 Shades of Grey. But then again, this is darker and edgier, so consider yourself duly warned.

Final Verdict: Taut & intense; The Professional definitely leaves its mark on you!

Favorite Quotes

“His type,” she continued blithely, “usually make up for any shortcomings with their mouths. True story.”
I told her, “And you better be careful, Jessebel, or else you’ll collect another admirer who clings like lichen.”
“I can’t help it that this is the Bermuda Triangle”—she pointed at her crotch—“when guys venture there, they tend to stay.”
I tapped my chin. “Oh, I thought you called it that because it’s sucked in lots of semen.”

His spellbinding eyes were the color of amber, irises ringed with black.
As I noted additional details—scarred knuckles, tattoos on his fingers under those rings, chiseled jawline clean-shaven—I perceived the heat coming off his big body. Then I got my first mind-numbing hit of his scent.
Crisp, masculine, intoxicating.
Blindsiding.

I felt cold air between my legs, just as I saw that my robe had come open at the belted waist. Everything below was exposed. My pale skin glowed in the moonlight, the trimmed thatch of red curls stark in comparison.
I was too stunned to react, pinned by his gaze. His lids grew heavy, his nostrils flaring. His broad chest seemed to struggle for breath. I was naked from the waist down but had no way to cover myself. I twisted my arms to free my wrists—until I saw that look of his.
Dark, hungry, molten. Dangerous.

Shaking, I watched as he straightened his ringed thumb from my hip until it reached my mons. He brushed the tip of his finger along the edge of my curls. It was so slow and unexpected, so tender, I couldn’t bite back a moan.
He touched me as if with . . . reverence.
I no longer saw signs of that iron control; instead he looked lost.
Like I probably looked in that moment.

I’d never been more confused in my life. “Are you . . . are you going to kiss me?”
With his accent thicker than I’d heard it, he rasped, “Would you want a man like me to take your mouth?” His thumb ring glinted when he gave another slow stroke.
Good question. I answered myself when words spilled from my lips: “Try it and see.”
“You think I’d stop with a kiss?”
“You assume I’d want you to?”

Inner shake. “I picked you because you were a mystery. I can read men with ease, but not you. That made me curious.”
He rested his hand on the wall above my head, surrounding me with his heat. “When a woman singles me out”—he leaned down to murmur at my ear—“it’s because she wants to get fucked. She looks at the scars and tattoos and knows she’ll get fucked hard.”
I gasped, melting for him.
“Is that what you wanted of me, Natalya?”

“If you tease me again, pet, you will not enjoy the consequences.” He left me, shutting the door behind him.
Note to self: Tease Sevastyan at earliest opportunity, investigate “consequences.”
In that closet, still warmed—and wet—from his attentions, I decided two things:
Aleksandr Sevastyan had to be my first lover. And I’d let him think he made the rules.

Blazing in his gaze was that bone-deep yearning, the one that called to mine. “What do you want from me, Natalie?”
How to articulate it? I want to kiss you until you forget your pain for a time, want to hold you tight against me because I can’t seem to get my body close enough to yours. In other words . . . “I want you to make love to me.”
Before, I hadn’t slept with him because of the future and con- sequences. I wasn’t sure I would live long enough to enjoy the former, so I couldn’t be bothered with the latter.
At my admission, his brows drew tight; he looked like he was unraveling.
I asked him, “What do you want from me?”
I gasped when he fisted the collar of my dampened shirt. “I want what’s mine.” He tore the material from me with one rip, stripping me.

Then his hand trailed down to cup me. He slipped his middle finger inside my spread lips, making me moan, “Yes, yes . . .”
When he felt how slick I was, a defeated sound broke from his chest and a second finger joined the first to open me.
Then he withdrew those fingers to his mouth, his lids sliding closed as he sucked clean my cream. Another dip, another suck. As if he was drinking me one drop at a time.

He strode toward the bed with a predator’s gait, big hands unbuckling his belt—as menacing a gesture as I’d ever seen.
I steeled myself as he reached for me.
He snatched at my hips, flipping me over on my stomach, then shoved his pants to his thighs. Like an animal, he impaled me with one brutish thrust, mounting me.
His cock had to fight against my clamping walls because I was already coming, his rough invasion triggering my release. “Oh, my God!”

Even as he tore my blouse from me like it was tissue paper, he was giving me his mind-numbing, toe-curling lover’s kiss—as if he couldn’t help himself.
As if his mind was saying Discipline her, while his heart was saying Kiss her.
Though my mind screamed Resist him, my heart told me . . . Surrender.

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