Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hero: Noah Grant
Heroine: Anne Kirklan
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!
Final Verdict: Beautiful and splendid in all the ways that matter.
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.