Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hero: Sam Oliver
Heroine: Elizabeth Hardy
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!
Final Verdict: Elizabeth, Oliver and danger. Certainly a combination you ought not miss!
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.