Review: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookmeanstreak
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Hayes Bannock
Heroine: Dr. Emory Charbonneau
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 2, 2014
Started On: September 28, 2014
Finished On: September 29, 2014

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown hit the bookshelves just earlier this month. I stumbled across the release of Mean Streak quite by accident. Ever since then, I’ve been biding my time until its release, putting it on my calender so that I could have it in my hands as soon as the book released. It would be an understatement to say that I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Brown. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that she is one of those authors who have compelled me to keep reading romance and also instilled in me a love for the genre. Her books are those that I have read, re-read and then re-read again when I had hit an all time low on reading books that somehow keep falling short of hitting all those vital spots that makes a book stand out in more ways than one.

Mean Streak is a novel that hits all those spots. Dr. Emory Charbonneau is a pediatrician who shares a practice with two other OB-GYNs, a philanthropist, a general do-gooder and a marathon runner. Her three plus year marriage had been going downhill for quite sometime and Emory’s latest planned run in her quest to challenge herself up in the solitude of the mountains couldn’t have come at a better time when she needs to get away and sort things out. However, rather than clearing her head and getting a timeout from her life as Emory planned, she ends up waking up in a strange hut, with a man who frightens her with his size, intensity and the sparkle of something inside of her that she dares not name.

Forced by circumstances, Emory stays with the man who remains secretive about his name and elusive about anything to do with him that might reveal who is. Fearing the worst, Emory would like to believe that she is immune to that gentle touch and the calm and quiet that exudes from a man who should really be menacing rather than making her feel sheltered and protected in a place where there seems to be no one else but just the two of them. And without Emory realizing, she does the worst thing possible under the circumstances; she falls for the man whose name she knows not, but whose merest touch has the power to melt her on the spot.

Sandra Brown’s mastery with storytelling is evident in Mean Streak. For 3/4ths of the story, you never know the name of the man up in the mountains who shelters a woman suffering from a concussion, yet unleashes his ferocity on those who deserves it. Emory who has led a pretty “normal” life on the scale of things up till then can’t decide whether she is attracted to or afraid of the man who makes her feel so many emotions that it becomes difficult for her to identify which one is the strongest.

Hayes Bannock, the hero turns out to be quite the surprising character in the story. Surprising in the sense, you are as stupefied as Emory when it comes to him. The different facets to his character though he reveals nothing of himself is what makes him such a fascinating character. And in the end when Sandra reveals his full character to you, you are left with the feeling of how totally wrong you could be about a person and how easily you could be led to believe a totally different “truth” about a person. And that was unsettling and brilliant in itself. Hayes is the type of hero that has faded away from the genre as authors strive and write heroes of the variety that pleases “feminists” in general. And because of this rarity and because I am a sucker for a ruthless and dangerous man as Hayes, I loved Sandra’s unapologetic portrayal of him as a hero that defies the accepted norm when it comes to creating heroes. A man who asks to make dirty memories with him; well that’s a hero you can’t ever go wrong with.

The explosive attraction between Hayes and Emory was of the shiver worthy kind of the good variety. Hayes is all male; confident, dominant and totally unapologetic in the way he takes, possesses and destroys every single notion that Emory has about sexual attraction and love. Hayes though he doesn’t show much of how he feels, the words of passion exchanged between Emory and himself during long and dark hours of the one night they spend together reveals just how much Emory changes Hayes’ stance and perspective on the life he has been leading up till then. Those flashbacks that Emory has of the time they spent together? Erotic, compelling and definitely ties you up in knots.

The end when it came encompassed everything I could have wanted for the story. Emory’s life that is in danger, which is revealed as the story progresses gives you the most shocking twist of all, and that ladies and gentlemen, is how you write suspense of the variety that keeps the pages turning. I was a bit apprehensive towards the last pages of the book thinking that Sandra wouldn’t deliver the happily ever after for Hayes and Emory as I had been craving. If you have read Lethal by Sandra Brown, you’d know exactly what I am talking about. But thankfully, there was a wonderful ending to Mean Streak that I believe did the story justice in all the ways possible.

Combining masterful suspense and heated passion, Sandra delivers one of the best novels of the year. Most definitely recommended! And now I have to contemplate on how to resign myself to books that would fall short in comparison and send me into despair until the next book that would deliver on all fronts, which seems to happen less and less as I read more.

Final Verdict: Oh dear Sandra Brown, thank YOU for this one!

Favorite Quotes

Her attempt to be a femme fatale had ended on an ironic twist: it was she who’d been seduced. She had put on that mortifying display, but when he began caressing her, she stopped playacting. He’d pulled her to him, and she’d felt him hard and insistent against her, and the truth had been undeniable. She’d wanted him.
Every feminine urge had sprung to life, and it wasn’t just the long dormancy that had made her sexual desire so acute. It was him. She wanted to experience him, every rough surface, every gruff word, his outdoorsy scent, the whiskey taste of his breath, the arrogant jut of his penis. She had wanted the totality of him with a reckless disregard for what was right and proper for Dr. Emory Charbonneau.

“The brothers were fighting when I came out to get you. What was that about?”
“Me.”
“You?”
“Will asked me if I was a homo.”
“How crass. What did you say?”
He looked at her for a moment, then removed his hand from the doorknob, placed it around the back of her neck beneath her hair, and pulled her up to receive his kiss—his open-mouthed, exploratory, evocative, and unshy kiss, which started out slow but soon acquired an urgency that was barely contained.
He kissed her like he meant it, like this kiss was going to be the last thing he ever did on earth, and he was going to do it right, thoroughly, and leave nothing wanting.
But she was left wanting, and judging from the rapid rise and fall of his chest and the fever in his eyes when he jerked his head back, he’d been left wanting, too.
Roughly, he said, “I told him no.”

“Last chance.”
She placed her palms on his chest and then slid them up onto his shoulders.
“Okay. I warned you. I told you that if I ever got my hands on you again—”
“You’d put them all over me.”
“That’s not all I said I’d do.”
He covered her lips with his and unleashed the hunger he’d restrained the night before. Nothing was tempered, not the introduction of his tongue, not the need with which her mouth opened to him, not the darkly erotic words that he whispered when he finally broke the kiss and released her, but only so he could hastily undo the buttons of his shirt she wore.

He pushed into her in one, purposeful glide.
“Jesus, Doc,” he groaned, “I promised you it wouldn’t hurt.”
“It won’t.”
“It might.”
Flexing his hips, he seated himself even deeper, then stretched out above her and began moving. Mating. All raw, male power and surety. Unapologetic, dominant and possessive.

He lowered his head to her breasts, sipped at her tight nipples and flicked them with his tongue.
Her orgasm was shattering.
With a snarled obscenity he pulled out barely in time and imprinted her body with his.
Writhing and straining, they wrung out every ounce of pleasure, and when he came, the pulses were strong and intense. Then they seemed to melt into each other, spent.

His voice a sexy rasp, he said, “You’re not gonna go run screaming from me?”
In a sublime state of arousal, she smiled and shook her head no.
“Then make memories for me, Doc.”
“Memories?”
Leaving her breasts tingling, he skimmed his hand down over her belly. He contemplated the architecture of her hipbone as though it was a marvel. Then he brushed the backs of his fingers over the soft hair. “Make memories for me to take out and play with when you’re gone.”
“What kind of memories?”
Her question ended on a surprised inhale when he deftly relocated and moved her thighs far enough apart to accommodate his wide shoulders. She could almost feel the probe of his hot gaze as he slid his hands under her and pulled her closer. She definitely felt the first sweep of his tongue, then his lips moving against her as he whispered. “Dirty ones.”

[Hayes] “Sorry, Doc.”
[Emory] “For what?”
[Hayes]”Keeping you awake.”
[Emory] “I haven’t complained.”
[Hayes]”So, you don’t want me to stop?”
[Emory] “No.”
[Hayes]”Don’t stop this?”
[Emory] “No. God no. Don’t…don’t stop.”
[Hayes]”You’ll have to be the one who says you’ve had enough.”
[Emory] “I’m not there yet.”
[Hayes]”Good. Because I can’t stop.”

When she lay back, he followed her down and sank into her, pushing until they couldn’t possibly be any closer, then he settled his weight onto her and buried his face in her neck. “You’ll be the ruin of me. But fuck if I can help myself.”
He levered himself up and, eyes focused on hers, began to thrust into her.
And it was incredible, not only because she was so deliciously tight and silky. She was. Not only because she perfectly timed a corresponding motion for each short, quick jab and every long, smooth glide of his cock. She did.
Not only because whenever he all but pulled out, she worked the tip of his penis with seductive belly-dance motions until he couldn’t stand it any longer and had to again sheathe himself completely.
Not only because her hands caressed him with flawless intuition. And not only because, when she climaxed, he felt every convulsive squeeze, but also saw the tears in her eyes that attested to the overflowing emotion behind them.
All that contributed. But what made him come harder, longer, and more meaningfully than he ever had in his life, was that in those moments when he lost himself in her, she closed her arms around his head, and held it close, and said on a sigh, as though it was the dearest word in her vocabulary, “Hayes.”

Tearing his mouth free of hers, he buried his face in the ell of her shoulder and neck, his breath fast and hot against her skin. “Yeah, okay, something has changed. When I’m by myself in the night, I’ll want you.”
He dipped his head and found her nipple through her clothing, moving his mouth across it as he hoarsely whispered broken phrases. “Sleeping between your thighs, finding your breasts in the dark, listening to your breathing, and smelling your hair on my pillow. I’ll want all that, damn you. Damn you, Doc. You won’t be easy to let go.”

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

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ARC Review: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Format: E-bookinyourdreams
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Blue Heron, #4
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jack Holland
Heroine: Emmaline Neal
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 30, 2014
Started On: September 26, 2014
Finished On: September 28, 2014

The fourth book in the Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins tells the story of Jack Holland, the only son in the out of John Holland’s four children. Jack has been a substantial part of the previous novels in the series and I was properly excited to be finally reading about him and his road to the happily ever after.

Jack handles the actual wine making process behind the Blue Heron vineyard, the family’s business. Everyone sees and defines Jack as perfection itself from his family to everyone in town to practically anyone who has ever crossed his path. Graced with good looks of the kind women find it hard to look away from together with a bucketload of charm makes him easy to love. Jack is elevated from his status as perfection itself to the town hero when he rescues three boys from drowning, an act that puts Jack in the limelight like never before.

Emmaline Neal is the deputy police chief of Manningsport, having moved just nine months back after having her heart broken by her fiance who had moved on with another woman. Being invited to their wedding means having to turn up to save face and Emmaline is determined to acquire a date of sorts to go with her as moral support. In the end it is Jack who fills the role and though Emmaline has her reservations about going to a wedding where she would be emotionally vulnerable with a man who renders her speechless most of the time, there is not much she can do about it given the short notice.

In Your Dreams tells the story of two individuals who each have powerful back stories to tell. Emmaline the heroine’s story is one that can move most to tears; the rocky childhood that she had, the way she had found that someone with whom she thought she would spend the rest of her life with by the time she had hit eighth grade, only to have her heart smashed to pieces by the wicked turn of events that takes place. The wedding is the place where she is determined to put her past to rest, but it doesn’t come as easy as it sounds.

Jack the perfect son, the perfect citizen of Manninsport finds himself battling symptoms of PTSD though he’d rather die than admit to the fact. Determined to ignore the debilitating conditions to which his symptoms reduce him to, Jack grasps the wedding which is to be held out of town as a lifeline thrown his way, a chance to get away from everything and just breathe. Put his ex-wife into the mix and Jack is ready to scream (something that totally goes against the perfection that his character is famous for) and while neither Jack nor Emmaline thought that anything would happen between them, something that irrevocably ties them together does.

In Your Dreams while wasn’t as heart wrenching as some of the other novels in the series when it came to the relationship between the hero and heroine nevertheless proved to be a riveting read. I couldn’t for the life of me put down the book even into the wee hours of last night and I just had to finish the 400+ pages of the book before I could sigh in contentment and sleep knowing that all was right in Jack and Emmaline’s world.

I totally fell in love with Emmaline. Having had a tough time while growing up, Emmaline makes for a steadfast, snarky and beautiful person. The way she hurts over the man she fell in love with was one that touched my heart and I could literally feel the pain that coursed through Emmaline as she moved through the different stages of heartache before finally moving on.

Now Jack, I had a teeny weeny problem with because there was nothing but perfection to him. It’s hard to put into words what exactly that I found off in Jack but I think there was a little bit too much emphasis on how perfect a man Jack was. There is no one that perfect, everyone has their flaws and everyone has their quirks that annoys and pisses other people off and endears them to others. Though Jack’s past broke my heart I just felt that he needed to come down from that pedestal a bit and reach the level of us humans. I also felt a bit cheated out on not having seen Jack move on from his battle with PTSD; there was a reference to him getting help but I would have loved to see more of that actually realize in the story after having seen how much of an affect the symptoms seemed to have on his life. I know I would be in the minority when it comes to thinking this way about Jack but that is how I felt when I was reading In Your Dreams.

That being said, Kristan Higgins never ceases to amaze me with the incredible stories that she writes and In Your Dreams is no exception. Recommended for those who love humor of the laugh-out-loud variety (the husband seemed perplexed by my bouts of laughter that he couldn’t find any reason for) and those who love honest to goodness variety of storytelling that would keep you up way past midnight turning the pages. And most of you would literally love Jack to pieces. I loved the way he could seduce the pants off of Emmaline and boy, was he good at it. Grab a copy and indulge. You wouldn’t be sorry you did.

Final Verdict: Delicious with a lot of heart; Higgins delivers an unputdownable tale.

Favorite Quotes

He turned his head to breathe in her smell and felt her shiver. She didn’t pull away.
That skin smelled so sweet. He dropped a kiss on her bare shoulder. Smooth as water.
Emmaline inhaled, her breath shaky.
Another kiss, this one closer to her neck.What are you doing? a small voice asked, but it was faint, drowned out by the hard, deep pulse that was thudding through his body. She tasted as good as she smelled.

He pulled her hands over her head and held them there, still kissing her mouth, her neck, the softness of her breasts against his chest making him drunk. She wasn’t protesting. In fact, little sweet sounds were coming from her throat, and he could swear he felt her skin get hotter under his mouth, because he was kissing his way down her neck, scraping her skin with his teeth, because Emmaline Neal was edibly delicious.

Clearing her throat, she looked down at the rumpled sheets. “Hungry?” she asked.
“Starving.” He reached out and, very slowly, pulled the tie of her robe.
“There’s still some cake,” she whispered.
“I wasn’t talking about cake,” he said, his voice deep and rumbly, and her girl parts gave a hot, sudden throb.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | HQ | iTunes | eBookMall

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ARC Review: Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart

Format: E-booknevermarryaviscount
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scandal at the House of Russell, #3
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Hero: Alexander Montgomery Griffiths
Heroine: Sophia Eulalie Russell
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 23, 2014
Started On: September 23, 2014
Finished On: September 25, 2014

I’ve been an avid fan of the Scandal at the House of Russell series ever since the first book was published in 2013. Well, lets face it. I am an avid fan of Anne Stuart regardless. The House of Russell series follows in the wake of the three girls left orphaned by the death of their father, a death that the girls believe was murder. One by one, they set out on a quest to find the truth and end up finding the love of their lives and then some in each of these deliciously spun stories.

Never Marry a Viscount is the third and final book in the series, the story of the youngest of the three, Sophia Eulalie Russell. Left behind at home while the other two sisters had ventured out, Sophia is determined to have her own adventure and takes a bold step towards finding a place for herself in the home from which she and her sisters were removed upon the death of her father, a property now under the ownership of Viscount Griffiths; Alexander Montgomery Griffiths.

Sophia is determined to find out whether the man with the body of a semi-god that she had been spying on for weeks had anything to do with the death of her father and proceed on her way. Alexander is a man as bored and cynical with his life as most come. Guarded with his heart and emotions, Alexander believes Sophia to be the mistress that he ordered from London while Sophia believes she has been hired on as replacement of the cook that was fired from the household.

Though the initial start to the book was a bit slow, the pace and the trademark Anne Stuart banter between the hero and heroine picked up towards the second half of the book. And I loved every single bit of it. Sophia, the woman who believes herself to be stronger than those that succumb to a pretty face finds herself doing just that every single time Alexander steals a kiss from her, taking away her very breathe and sliding over senses making her falter in her determination to seek the truth.

Not much gets done in the way of finding out whether Alexander had anything to do with the death of their father as Sophia makes up her mind to escape from the clutches of Alexander before its too late for her heart and soul. But then again, where would the fun in that be? Alexander’s passion for Sophia is one that unnerves him, though he would rather die than admit to the fact. Sophia charms his jaded heart, makes him possessive in an almost animalistic manner and makes him conjure up fanciful notions of a life with her that he’d have believed his first marriage had cured him of.

There is this particular bit in the story where Sophia’s thoughts had a profound effect on me. Before she had totally succumbed to the power of the heady physical attraction between her and Alexander; and I just had to go and include that bit in the review itself because I think as women, we have all been cautioned against men who would try and get in our pants just for the sake of it. But no one ever tells us or can really describe to us what it is that makes us abandon every reasoning power that we have and just give in, because sexual attraction and desire is that powerful. And I quote:

“Her sisters hadn’t told her about this. No one had. She’d been advised on the technical details of mating, which was far more warning than most girls received, but she had two older sisters to fill her in, though to her knowledge neither of them had firsthand experience. And they’d talked about love, and shared interests, and companionship, and comfort.
But no one had said anything about a fire in your blood that burns away any common sense you might have once possessed. No one said you could want a man’s touch so much that your body was in an uproar, parts that you didn’t even name seemed to be aching with longing. No one had said you would throw everything away for a man who mocked you and teased you and then spoke to you in clipped tones like you were a servant, and yet all he had to do was touch you . . .”

Anne Stuart has a formula that works beautifully in each of her novels. And it never gets old.  Though Alexander turned out to be quite a milder version of her usual fanfare for bad boy, ruthless heroes, he nevertheless managed to charm the socks off of me and then some. Fans like myself, who read Anne Stuart because of her ruthless heroes might be just a tad disappointed that Alexander didn’t offer some of that. Sophia bears the hallmark characteristics of the usual Stuart heroines. Headstrong, stubborn and determined, Sophia remained resolute against the web of desire that she had been ensnared in until every time Alexander proceeds to take her in his arms and shows her just how good they are together.

Never Marry a Viscount ties up all the loose ends in the trilogy and gives fans the closure they need. Recommended for fans of the series, fans of Anne Stuart and fans of historical romances with heroes who can make you swoon.

Final Verdict: Formulaic Anne Stuart. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Each time he kissed her she seemed to go a little farther on the road to inescapable madness. This one was a little rough, a demand rather than a question, his hands hard on her, but, instead of freezing, her heart leapt in immediate response. She didn’t even want to think about what she was doing—she pulled at her hands that were locked between their bodies, and slid them around his waist, holding on as he ravished her mouth.
It was hypnotizing, it was heartbreaking, it was everything she wanted and nothing she could ever have, and she deserved it.

“You are a beast,” she said in a low, furious voice.
“And as you’ve pointed out to me numerous times, you are a beauty. See how well matched we are.” He put his finger under her stubborn chin, lifting her face to his. “So let’s see how easy you are to train.”
She tried to elbow him in the ribs for that one, and he swallowed his laughter. There were times when he was his own worst enemy, but she was just so delicious. He lowered his mouth to hers, half expecting her to bash him in the head, or at least bite him, but the moment his lips touched hers she stilled, like a startled woodland creature confronted by danger, and all his humor fled.

He lifted his head and looked down at her, bemused. He knew the answer to the question she kept asking, and he was damned if he would tell her. He was marrying her because she made him feel alive, he was marrying her because he’d never wanted a woman so much in his life, he was marrying her because in her arms he felt like he’d finally come home for the first time in his life.

He rubbed again, just enough for another small climax to hit her, and he pulled back. She made a soft cry of need, and a fierce possessiveness washed over him, one he didn’t want to consider or question. Mine roared through his blood, and he pumped his fingers into her, feeling the start of another climax. He wanted more from her, he wanted to make her cry and scream with pleasure, he wanted to give her such pleasure she could never forget it no matter how far she tried to run.

It was his kisses, she decided. She gave him a disgruntled look, calming down a bit. “Do you put some kind of poison on your lips?”
He raised both eyebrows this time. “I beg your pardon?” “Every time you kiss me, my wits desert me.”
She expected mockery, but after a startled moment he simply smiled. “Well, that’s a start.”

“Let it come,” he whispered. “Scream as loud as you can.” He slid his fingers through her wetness, up to the top, rubbing her, and watched her as everything left her and she did scream, a hoarse, sobbing sound of such wild pleasure that he could have come from watching her.
He pushed her up on the bed, following her and wrapping her in his arms as she shuddered and trembled, errant stray convulsions still rippling through her. She hid her face against him now, suddenly shy, and he smiled when she couldn’t see it. Mine, he thought. He’d claimed her, and he would never let her go. Mine.

He had his hands on her hips, holding her still as he sank into her, and his pace was driving her mad. “Do it,” she said hoarsely. “Now.”
It seemed to break whatever hold he had on himself. He thrust all the way into her, deep and hard, and it felt so good, so necessary, and she exploded once more, her body clamping down around that part that she’d taken into her mouth so lovingly, ripples of reaction shaking her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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ARC Review: Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart

Format: E-booktemptingalibi
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Scott O’Callaghan
Heroine: Michaela Miller
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 19, 2010
Started On: September 21, 2014
Finished On: September 21, 2014

Tempting Alibi by Savannah Stuart is my first book by the author. I requested for this title on Netgalley because of the tattooed hotness gracing the cover of this novella. Nothing more, nothing less. And turned out I made the right choice by judging the book by its cover in this instance. Tempting Alibi delivered a hot mess of a read that I couldn’t get enough of.

Scott O’Callaghan, the hero is as exotic as the name itself. Ex-military, Scott is the owner of O’Callaghan’s Auto Body Shop and Michaela Miller’s neighbor since he returned to town a couple of months back. Michaela can’t help but obsess over the beautiful specimen that her neighbor is and though she’d like to get to know Scott better, the fact that Scott has very little to say where she is concerned makes her steer clear of her neighbor’s path.

Ever since returning to town, Scott has his head full of Michaela. Knowing that someone like him who comes from “bad seed” is not for the likes of Michaela, Scott finds it difficult to string two full sentences together whenever he encounters the woman who keeps him awake at night, wanting her with a fierceness that Scott knows is not just simple desire for someone of the opposite sex.

When Michaela comes to his rescue, all the walls between them come tumbling down and Scott proves his mettle as a lover who knows how to rev the engines of the woman he holds in his arms. Scrumptious and hot, the love scenes in this short story took my breathe away and then some and I loved the emotional impact the scenes brought to the developing relationship between Scott and Michaela.

When an author manages to wow me with the minute number of pages in a novella, it is safe to say that the author has incredible talent in spinning a good tale and that is the reason why I finished Tempting Alibi in one single sitting; with a huge smile on my face and a wistful yearning for my own Scott O’Callaghan.

Recommended for those who love erotic romances that scorch! Plenty of deliciously hot sex scenes with enough emotional sweetness to make it a splendid read. Savannah Stuart has definitely landed on my radar.

Final Verdict: Erotic romance written how it should be!

Favorite Quotes

Sitting up, he repositioned himself at her entrance. Before he could move, she shifted and impaled herself on him. He almost exploded from the shock. Her mouth formed a perfect O as he filled her to the hilt.
Shit. A zap of awareness shot through his entire body. She wrapped around him like satin.

“Let go. Come for me, Michaela.” His command set her off.
She bucked against him and pushed completely off the wall. With a cry, she wrapped her arms around his neck and he kept pummeling into her. Her inner walls spasmed around his cock and her cream rushed over him.
Her orgasm was hot and fast.
Finally he could let go. Surrender to her the way his body demanded.

Purchase Links: Amazon | EC | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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ARC Review: Taken with You by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookEMBARGO
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Kowalski Family, #8
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Matt Charles Barnett
Heroine: Hailey Genest
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 25, 2014
Started On: September 18, 2014
Finished On: September 21, 2014

Taken With You, the 8th book in the Kowalski series by Shannon Stacey offers a humorous, slow moving romance that fans of the series would undoubtedly adore. Hailey Genest, the town librarian is looking for a man to settle down with, a man with a regular hours keeping job, with whom she has shared common interests with.

Going camping with her friend Tori Burns was a way for them to “celebrate” being single, a bad move for someone like Hailey who is not that outdoorsy to begin with. When Hailey and Tori gets lost, it is Matt Barnett who comes to their rescue, looking like a hermit who had just crawled out of his cave. Hailey can’t help but be a little bit repulsed by the unkempt look and Matt though finds Hailey altogether too beautiful for his peace of mind, reminds himself that women like Hailey aren’t for men like him.

Thus begins the tale of opposites attract between the town librarian and its new game warden, an attraction that both try and fight to no avail. Hailey shows a side of herself that Matt finds himself inexplicably drawn towards and Hailey can’t help but moon over her neighbor even though she knows that she shouldn’t crave for someone who is the total opposite of what she is looking for.

Shannon Stacey is one of those few authors who writes contemporary romances like they should be written. Though Taken with You was a tad slow moving for my tastes, it nevertheless delivered a story that was heartwarming. The best bit about the story was the angst that Shannon delivered towards the end, angst of the type that is hard to come by in romances these days with the hero and heroine solving every little problem between them halfway through the book.

Angst is an important factor in any sort of romance; it is one of the reasons why I put myself through reading romances, because nothing can compare with the emotions that a good bout of angst can conjure up.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of contemporary romances. This can definitely be read as a standalone!

Final Verdict: Slow moving & angsty read with bouts of snort worthy laughter.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Carina | iTunes | ARe | eBookMall

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ARC Review: I’ll Find You by Nancy Bush

Format: E-bookillfindyou
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Kensington
Hero: West Laughlin
Heroine: Callie Cantrell
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 2014
Started On: September 10, 2014
Finished On: September 17, 2014

I’ll Find You by Nancy Bush is my very first novel by the author. Combining a little bit of romance with a whole lot of suspense, the one thing that had me going was the way Nancy writes. There is that quality to her writing that draws in the reader and compels one to keep on reading. And that held true for me for the first half of the book while the latter half turned out to be a bit draggy and a trifle bit confusing for me to enjoy it as much as I did for the first half of the story.

Callie Cantrell returns to Martinique as a step towards moving on with her life after the death of her son and husband in a horrible accident from which she had woken up to find that her beloved son was no more. Deciding on a date to return back to the chaos that she has to sort out once she heads back to normal life is made doubly harder by the little boy she befriends during the trip, the boy proving to be a valuable part of the journey Callie takes towards finding herself again.

West Laughlin is on a mission. The black sheep of the Laughlin family is summoned to hunt down its apparent heir and West is determined that he would pull no punches where this particular mission is concerned. When he comes down on Callie, West is surprised by the thread of desire that courses through him even when the very thought of all that she has done sends revulsion running up and down his frame.

When Callie encounters West under less than favorable circumstances, Callie is determined to do whatever it takes to protect the boy that West is after. Having had no desire to move on with the opposite sex after the shame of her short-lived marriage, Callie is taken aback by the frissons of awakening that pulls her out of the state of mere existence that she has been living through for the past year. And as Callie and West join forces to determine the exact truth behind so many half truths and hidden agendas, so do the unknown faces behind the curtain move towards the final showdown from which no one might make it out safe.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll Find You starts off on a fascinating thread. A cult, a mad man hellbent on getting what he considers rightfully his and the unknown force behind an equally evil and nefarious plot that might unravel the whole thing before things reach their ultimate conclusion seemed like just the ingredients for an explosive story. Though I liked Nancy’s writing well enough, towards the end, the story didn’t wow me as much as I had initially thought it would.

Callie and West, both were characters that I liked well enough at the beginning. But somehow, I think, because the focus of the story was more on the villain rather than the main protagonists towards the latter part of the book, the shine to their characters tended to fade away for me. Nevertheless I rooted for them until the very end.

I think the too many threads in the suspense plot turned out a tad confusing in the end, but then again it did deliver some surprising twists to the story that had been hard to predict at first.

Recommended for those who love their romantic suspense low on the romance and high on the suspense factor.

Final Verdict: Delivered a read with some surprising twists towards the end.

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ARC Review: Break For Me by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookbreakforme
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Secrets & Shadows, 0.6
Publisher: St. Martins
Hero: Dean West
Heroine: Jensen Bell
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 22, 2014
Started On: September 9, 2014
Finished On: September 10, 2014

Ladies & gentlemen. The Shiloh Walker that I know and love is back. Back with a bang that completely blew me away. The second novella in the Shadows & Secrets series rocked my world and then some and I was so happy that I literally could’ve stood on the bed and jumped up and down in glee if not for the fact that it was way past midnight and the rest of the world was asleep regardless of the groundbreaking story I had just read.

I requested for this on Netgalley on a whim. It has been quite sometime since a Shiloh Walker novel has worked for me and though I was hesitant to take the chance, the remnants of what I used to love about her books coming across on her novels every now and then made me think what the heck and here I am, way past the review deadline and I could practically kick myself for delaying getting to this one.

The three novellas in the Shadows & Secrets series focuses on three siblings, each having been marked in their own way by the disappearance of their mother years back. I didn’t even know that this series had a continuing storyline when I picked it up and thus I would say that this totally can be read as a standalone. This installment focuses on Jensen Bell, a cop and a woman who wears attitude unlike any other according to the District Attorney Dean West.

The attraction that is between Dean and Jensen is a forcefully banked one by both parties, Jensen because she doesn’t want to make herself vulnerable to anyone and Dean because he is unsure whether his advances in that manner would be welcome. And then on a night that Jensen would like to forget the past, the inevitable happens and Dean finds himself practically eviscerated by the passion that burns between them. *pants a bit upon recalling the scenes*.

I’d say Shiloh Walker has hit jackpot with this series and I don’t say this lightly. There’s a hero that made me want to practically jump his bones every time his name came up in the story and then there’s the lovable heroine that I rooted for, felt for and empathized with in over just 90 plus pages. The mystery aspect was chilling and engrossing at the same time and I couldn’t have asked for more of an explosive culmination to the story in either aspect. And that ladies and gentlemen is why I say the author who won me over with just a single novel i.e. ‘Her Best friend’s Lover’ is back – with a bang.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Made me buy the rest of the novellas in the series. Yep, that good!

Favorite Quotes

His skin was warm against hers, the light stubble scraping against her palms. Because that light touch wasn’t enough, she kept one palm on his face and then drove the other hand into his hair, tangled it in his dreads. The texture was coarse against her hand and she shuddered at the thought of feeling him, all of him.
“I don’t want it to fade,” she whispered as she rose onto her toes and pressed her mouth to his.

Dean groaned as her tongue danced across his lips and then pushed inside, without even waiting to see how he’d react.
Fuck, there was no question of reaction.
He’d only been waiting half a lifetime, it seemed.
Maybe his entire life.
Sliding one hand down to her hip, he yanked her against him. The feel of her, all slight angles and delicate curves, was every bit as perfect as he’d imagined.

Stop,” he muttered. “I can’t…”
He pressed down with his hips and she shuddered as it ground him against her clit, but worse, his cock jerked again and she broke around him, drawing her legs up to clutch him closer.
She couldn’t stop it. It was like everything inside her had been waiting for just this moment. Just this. Just him.

She had no time to breathe, no time to think before his mouth came down on hers and even as her climax started to ebb, another built as he started to ride her, his movements harsh, hungry, all attempt at control gone.
Her name was a ragged snarl on his lips as he came, but she barely noticed.
She was already falling, for the third time.
And his arms were there, locked around her and he plummeted with her.

“I can’t be around you without getting a fucking erection, Jensen, and it’s only gotten worse since I slept with you.”
His hands cupped her face and she braced herself, her breath catching.
But there was no breath-stealing kiss.
It was gentle, sweet … and her heart ached when he lifted his head.
“You undo me,” he whispered. “You completely undo me.”

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