ARC Review: Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

Format: E-bookherholidayman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Will Broughton
Heroine: Christina Forrester
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 3, 2014
Started On: October 29, 2014
Finished On: October 29, 2014

Will Broughton returns to his hometown, this time for good, after a couple of years away from home. The thought that his mother would be all alone during the coming holidays and even though Will knows she would put up a good front to not let anyone know how alone she was feeling is what makes Will’s decision for him. After the tragic death of his wife and unborn child, Will had found it hard to put up with the sympathy and pity of the people he’d known all his life and he’d taken off.

Christina Forrester has basically lost everything that she has known in her life. Coming from a wealthy family and marrying into even a wealthier one, Christina had never had to worry about where her next meal would come from. That is until financial ruin and scandal leaves Christina the sole caretaker of her son, juggling a job to make ends meet. The minute she meets her kindly neighbor’s son Will, Christina knows that the essence of what makes her a woman had not died along with the ashes to which her entire life as she had known it had burned to crisp right in front of her. Will makes her want thing she would rather not, and ignoring the mounting feelings hardly seem to work when the answering light of desire burns in Will’s eyes.

Will doesn’t want to do serious. Will believes that his heart wouldn’t be able to take being torn apart a second time. But even then, Will does find it hard to stay away from Christina and her adorable son. Feelings Will had thought had died along with his wife comes back in full force and it isn’t long before Will is battling his inner needs with more cold showers than he can count. The holiday spirit explored in the story lends a helping hand along the way to make both Will and Christina take a second chance at love and happily ever after.

I liked Her Holiday Man and the story it had to offer though it didn’t make my heart race and pulse pound. This was a slow moving romance, sometimes brought to mind novels of Betty Neels that I used to read a long time back. Will is the type of hero readers would swoon over. He is gentle, giving and handsome. Christina turned out to be a beautiful woman, inside and out. One would expect someone like Christina to be spoilt due to affluent life she had led but turns out Christina had just gone through the motions of her life and had never known that life could be more rewarding when you are surrounded by people who genuinely care about you.

Recommended for fans of Shannon Stacey and those who love feel good holiday romances.

Final Verdict: Slow and sweet!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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ARC Review: Mine to Have by Cynthia Eden

Format: E-bookminetohave
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Mine, #5
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Saxon Black
Heroine: Elizabeth Ward
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 15, 2014
Started On: October 27, 2014
Finished On: October 28, 2014

The fifth book in the Mine series by Cynthia Eden tells the story of one uber sexy Saxon Black and the altogether too beautiful Elizabeth Ward. Saxon is an undercover FBI agent who is doing his last stint in the business. And that is what gets Saxon balls deep involved with Elizabeth, a woman who at first wants nothing to do with him.

Elizabeth does not know the reason for which she is abducted and held at gunpoint which she knows would soon be followed by her imminent death at the hands of her abductors. And the rough and altogether too dangerous for her peace of mind looking man who crashes into the room as her savior is not someone Elizabeth is willing to trust; until Saxon is the only thing that is standing between her and the bullets flying her way.

With the FBI infiltrated, Saxon and his boss Victor doesn’t know whom to trust, except for the fact that the only other person they can rely on is each other. An easy, by the book case turns into a nightmare of epic proportions with Elizabeth and Saxon having to run for their lives and Victor trying to make sense of the pieces of the puzzle left behind.

Saxon’s attraction to Elizabeth is an immediate one, one that he doesn’t realize could have fatal consequences for his heart as he soon finds out that Elizabeth would not be the only one left with the memories of a night embedded in her heart and soul. Elizabeth is determined that when Saxon leaves her after the whole nightmarish deal is over, he too would always carry her memory in his heart and no woman would ever measure up to her. And as they always say, the best laid plans have a way of laughing right back at you.

The Mine series exploded into the world of romantic suspense with a bang. I say a bang because the first two books in the series had pretty much everything going for it. Strong sexual chemistry and scorching sex scenes, intense action and suspense together with a strong believable emotional connection between the hero and heroine and I was in book heaven. Sad thing is, every book that has been released afterwards has paled in comparison for me.

Mine to Have definitely did have its moments. There is no author like Cynthia Eden who can turn up the heat from 0 to 100 in just a second and leave you practically spellbound in the aftermath. I guess what I had a problem with was the failure to connect with Elizabeth and Saxon on an emotional level. Saxon and Elizabeth’s pasts are glossed over; there was really no time to figure out who they were, where they were coming from and what made them tick, except for the fact that they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other.

The suspense factor was a bit better than the last novel, Mine to Crave. Cynthia managed to throw in a few curveballs and surprises along the way and I would have to say that definitely did make up for the bits and pieces that didn’t completely live up to my expectations. That being said, I am still interested in reading which looks to be Victor’s story up next.

Recommended for fans of the Mine series.

Final Verdict: Enjoy the wild scorching ride that is Saxon and Elizabeth!

Favorite Quotes

“I’m going to be rough,” Saxon warned her. Because he’d used the last of his control.
Her eyes were on him. Wide. She licked her lips. “I can be rough, too.”
His control shattered. In the next instant, he was on her. One more second, and he was in her. He drove as deep as he could go, shoving his dick into her tight sex and it was—
Too good.

He withdrew, plunged deep, and she opened her mouth to scream because the release was that violent.
“Bite me,” he ordered her. “Now.”
And instead of screaming, she found her cry muffled against his shoulder.
Then she felt him coming inside of her. Hot jets that told her—
“Saxon?” Her head lifted.
His eyes were a burning darkness. So complete and total. “Mine,” he whispered.
He kissed her once more.

He stopped when he was right in front of her. His hand lifted and brushed back the locks of her hair that had slipped over her cheek, then his fingers slid under that soft curtain of her mane as he tilted her head back. “I need a taste…”
Not of wine. Of her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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ARC Review: The V-Spot by Wendy S. Marcus

Format: E-bookthevspot
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin Cosmo
Hero: Brody ‘The Bull’ Bullock
Heroine: Emma Masters
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 8, 2014
Started On: October 26, 2014
Finished On: October 27, 2014

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 80 A
The heroine 60 B
Storyline 60 B
Emotional Intensity 60 B
Suck me in Factor 60 B
Heat & Sensuality 79 B
Conflicts 60 B
Writing Style 80 A
Quotable Factor 60 B
Ending 70 B
Overall Grade 67 B

Score Sheet Summary

Emma Masters is a nurse, known as the pit bull of the pediatric ward. A little bit on the plus size, Emma suffers a lot from body image issues. On Emma’s 25th birthday, her best friend gets into her head to give no holds barred sex of the panty melting variety a go. And that is how Emma finds herself at a voyeur motel called The V-Spot, waiting for a blind date who turns out to be none other than Brody Bullock, a professional wrestler known as The Bull.

Brody is tired of the life that he has been leading, the meaningless hookups that leave him feeling a bit hollow, the women who only look up to him because of who he is. Brody wants someone who would look beyond all that, someone like Emma whom he would have no issues with taking home to see his mother, only if Emma would give him the time of day.

Emma’s insecurities regarding her body is the one constant factor that gets in the way of the seduction that Brody plans for her. Emma was a tough nut to crack, and Brody, well, Brody is a patient man if ever there was one. I had a bit of a hard time with the way Emma lashes out at Brody at the beginning and lets say all throughout the story, for no apparent reason on his part. I couldn’t find any reason why Emma had to be so hard on Brody because if he were to be any sweeter, I would have grabbed him for myself and left Emma alone. But even then, Wendy being the skilled storyteller that she is, managed to give a read worth sinking myself into. I wished the story had been longer, to carve out Emma’s character just a little better so that I would have loved her as I did Brody.

Recommended for those that love stories featuring plus sized heroines and sweet heroes!

Final Verdict: Meet Brody, the hero that redefines sweetness!

Favorite Quotes

Emma lifted her hips.
He stopped. “Damn it, Brody.”
The next thing Emma knew he moved, her legs were back together and her panties were coming down. “Wait.”
Brody stopped again. “Which is it?” he asked. Touch you or wait?”
To hell with feeling self-conscious. Emma needed his touch, needed to come. “Touch me.”

So close.
He hit a spot inside her that released a surge of something spectacular. Emma froze, hoping he’d do it again. “Right there.” She panted and prayed, her body tense, waiting. He nailed it again. “Oh God.” And again. “Oh God.” And again.

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

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ARC Review: The Buried by Shelley Coriell

Format: E-booktheburied
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: The Apostles, #2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Theodore “Hatch” Hatcher
Heroine: Grace Courtemanche
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 21, 2014
Started On: October 25, 2014
Finished On: October 26, 2014

The Buried is my first Shelley Coriell and of course my first foray into her The Apostles series. The Apostles is comprised of the very best in law enforcement, skilled at weeding out killers of the most heinous variety. Not having read The Broken, book 1 in the series didn’t affect me in any way when I was readingThe Buried, though I did feel the need to check out the former afterwards so it is quite safe to say that this can be read as a standalone.

Grace Courtemanche is a public prosecutor riding the high of having won one of the toughest cases of her career. Forced to go on vacation by her boss to take some time off, Grace however is plunged into the midst of a murder that is in the process of happening when the first victim aka Lia Grant calls her from a hole in the ground, where she has been buried to face her imminent death. From the minute Grace hears the desperation in Lia’s voice, she knows deep in her heart that life as she knows is never going to be the same again.

Theodore “Hatch” Hatcher is lured back to Cypress Bend by just one phone call. And what makes him stay is more than just the knowledge that he has a 13 year old son that he had never known up till now, but rather the fact that his ex-wife, the only woman that he had ever fallen head over heels in love with was being stalked by a meticulous killer playing a game in which only one can come out as the winner.

Grace is not at all prepared for Hatch to disrupt her life all over once again. But Grace is a woman who knows to play along with those that are on her team, especially given the circumstances. As the game surpasses level 1, the rules change leaving Grace, Hatch and the team scrambling to catch up in this deadly game of burial which somehow keeps coming back to Grace.

For a fan of romantic suspense like me, The Buried certainly did give me a page turner. Grace and Hatch were wonderful characters. Hatch is sexy, confident in his own skin and quite the charmer. The only problem Hatch has is with settling down and though Grace tempts him in ways no woman ever has or will, Hatch has a hard time making up his mind about doing the forever thing once again.

Grace turned out to be a surprisingly lovely heroine. Called the blonde bulldozer or justice seeking missile by those who know her work, Grace is one determined woman if ever there was one. Strong and confident in her abilities, Grace has a softer side to her that complements well with that edge of hers and I fell like a ton of bricks for that woman.

The twist at the end when it came was a definite shocker, one that rendered me into a place where I found it really difficult to see the villain in just black and white. The thought that kept crossing my mind was, if I had been subjected to the same would I have turned out any different. And I guess that is a question that would haunt me for a while yet and I always say this, books that makes you question your feelings and emotions, especially when it comes to villains, those are the ones that makes reading books such as this one worth seeking out!

Recommended.

Final Verdict: Secrets of a buried past that kills at will & keeps the pages turning!

Favorite Quotes

You should have told me.” His mouth and jaw barely moved as he spoke.
She tried to ease away, but he moved with her. “Told you what?”
“Hmmmmm, where should I start?” With his free hand, he jammed a finger in the air. “One, you received threats from a convicted felon. Two, you received nine phone calls from a girl presumably buried alive. And three, as we speak, a forensic team is sifting through dirt in your backyard looking for human bones.”
“It’s none of your business.”
“Oh, Princess. Dear, dear Princess.” He moved closer, a big, graceful, golden cat. He stopped a hairsbreadth from touching her, but the heat of his skin warmed her, nipping at the chill that had set in yesterday with Lia’s phone calls. When he spoke, his breath fanned her face in a low, rumbling half-purr, half-growl. “You have been and always will be my business.”

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

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Review: Lions And Lace by Meagan McKinney

Format: E-booklionsandlace
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Van Alen Sisters, #1
Publisher: Island Books
Hero: Trevor Byrne Sheridan
Heroine: Alice Diana Van Alen
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1992
Started On: October 5, 2014
Finished On: October 12, 2014

My search for romances that feature ruthless heroes is an endless one. A time consuming one at that too. Some might call these heroes the uber alpha heroes. Or some just call them anti-heroes; you love them and hate them in equal doses. And some call them gamma heroes too because they go beyond the boundaries that define who an alpha hero is.

Authors of today who write such heroes have become far and few in between. Anne Stuart is my go to author for such heroes. Sandra Brown and Linda Howard are authors who have pushed that boundary time and yet again in some of their novels. For  the most part, these type of heroes aren’t well received by almost half of the romance reading population today. With the change of times, with the feminist movement rising above, readers no longer like the heroes who are tad on the wild side, those who don’t conform to their definition of what a hero should constitute of and if you ask me, its such a damn shame.

So a whole lot of boredom and a whole lot of internet searches later, I came across a website that had a list of books that features ruthless heroes. Now mind you, some readers define a hero as ruthless a tad differently to how I tend to define them. Luckily, this reader tended to veer towards my tastes and alas, I found myself with a couple of books I haven’t already read, that feature the heroes of the variety that I deem as ruthless but those with just that hint of redeemable quality that makes me fall like a ton of bricks for them every single time.

Lions and Lace features such a hero. Trevor Byrne Sheridan, the Wall Street wonder who rose to the top with basically nothing to his name, is Irish, and persona non grata where society is concerned. A chip on his shoulder a mountain wide, Trevor remembers the slights, the mockery and the laughter behind his back though he is equally revered by the men for the power and wealth he amasses day in and day out. The tipping point comes when society refuses to turn up at his younger sister Mara’s debut. People say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, well let me tell you, they haven’t had their dose of Trevor just yet.

Alice Diana Van Alen lives under the thumb of her uncle, her finances tied up under his name after the tragic death of her parents. Alice holds the secret of her younger sister close to her heart, a secret she is determined to carry to her grave. Alice lands under Trevor’s radar as one from the society who slighted his sister. His vengeance on her is swift, the revenge he takes on her forcing her hand into marrying him one that should have brought satisfaction to his heart. However, Trevor becomes a victim to his own plan, falling for a woman of the society, something he scorns with his very being.

Lions and Lace is a novel that provides a ton of angst. Trevor is ruthless in his revenge and seemingly doesn’t care much about the pain he causes along the way. I think the fact that the author didn’t provide much in the story from Trevor’s point of view seemed to double the angst factor which I absolutely loved. Instead, the reader has to look for clues of his torment from his actions, the way his facial expressions tended to change and of course the volatile desire that courses through Trevor whenever his wife comes into the picture. He hates the very thing that his wife represents, his bitterness about his past refusing to let him move beyond that and see his wife for who she really is, and yet he can’t help but want to possess her for himself in every single way.

Alice turned out to be a heroine who got on my nerves in the first half of the story and later on redeemed herself through her actions. From the firm grip Alice seemed to have on her emotions and what she wanted for her life, I thought that Alice would prove to be a worthy opponent where Trevor was concerned. But every time Trevor said something cruel, all Alice could seem to do was wring her hands in despair and run off crying. I wanted her to buck up and deal, to make Trevor realize the error of his ways and practically storm through his heart leaving nothing to chance. And eventually, Alice does get there and that is where I decided to forgive her and consider her worthy of the fall that Trevor would take from his pedestal.

There was a thread of a secondary romance inserted in the story, in the middle of nowhere I would have to say, and I didn’t overly care much for it. I wanted Trevor and Alice’s relationship to be the core aspect of the story. Trevor’s control was one I wanted to be shattered so badly that when it did come, it did deliver on the fronts that I wanted it to. And ladies, prepare yourselves for one of the best declarations of love by a hero of this type; it did make tears spring to my eyes and that rarely happens.

If you like your heroes ruthless and I mean really ruthless, Lions and Lace is a story worth digging into. I would recommend it if you can get past the first couple of chapters where the heroine could get on your nerves, but in the end gives in beautifully.

Final Verdict: Trevor Byrne Sheridan; slow down my galloping heart.

Favorite Quotes

In the years to come she would always remember her first sight of Trevor Byrne Sheridan. He stood in silhouette. She was not privy to the details of his face, but he left a deep and lasting impression on her. He held a walking stick, an unusual accoutrement for such a tall, muscular form. His straight, formal figure was pleasing, yet his stance left her feeling as if a frigid wind had just passed through her heart. He crossed his arms and tipped his head back to look down at her as she almost knelt on the wet marble stairway, and in the shadows he looked every bit as cold, dark, and forbidding as the night that mercilessly pelted her with rain. And she knew then, with a truth that pierced her very soul, that the devil before her now was sure to be worse than the one who had just left her behind.

“I am human,” she whispered. “If you just looked close enough.”
“I want to.” His breath feathered against her forehead. “I swear I want to.”
His mouth found hers in the moment she realized she’d yet to let go of his arm. He kissed her, offering damnation and salvation in one eloquent motion. She wanted to pull back, but something stronger—his arm, she thought— pushed her farther into his embrace until she was wrapped in his warmth and strength.

He lifted his head, and his mouth again captured hers, creating more heat between her thighs. The pleasure he gave her was like a band of rubber being pulled until it snapped and she fell, twisting in the air until he caught her, his hand beneath her hips to hold her closer, to make her pleasure complete.
“Trevor,” she moaned, chanting his name in surrender.
It drove him over the edge. He seized her and bit out the word, “Jeysus,” then fell against her, sated.

His tongue, hot and strong, thrust again and again into her needful mouth, a wild accompaniment to the thrum of the shower. Demandingly, he cupped her breast, his palm brushing the steam droplets that clung to her nipples like diamonds. He flicked open the buttons to his trousers.
She was hardly aware of what he did next. Her only sensation seemed to be his mouth on hers and the overriding instinct that he wanted her, ferociously.

She shook her head and said again to that unyielding back, “Do you love me?”
“I’ve never been in love before. I don’t know what being in love is like.”
“I’m asking you. Do you love me?” Her voice caught with unshed tears.
He paused as if thinking through each word. “I’ve nothing to compare it to, but if love is obsession, if love can be so powerful it overtakes a man’s reason and his will, if love is the feeling that one would rather die than live only to grieve its loss—” He turned, and she could see the desolation on his face. In one sweet rough whisper, he said, “Then yes, I love you, Alana. I’m doomed to love you. I’ll always love you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Make-Believe Wedding Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-bookmakebelievewedding
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Montana Born Brides
Publisher: Tule Publishing Group
Hero: Heath Adam McGregor
Heroine: Andie Eloise Bennett
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 28, 2014
Started On: October 4, 2014
Finished On: October 5, 2014

Did I tell you that I am a sucker for a good friends-to-lovers romance? Well, I am. And Sarah Mayberry happens to be one of those authors who has rocked my world with a couple of romances she has written that fits this trope. Once again, with Make-Believe Wedding, Sarah Mayberry delights her fans with another wonderful romance of the friends-to-lovers variety which I adored right from the very start.

Andie Eloise Bennett has lived a long time with the secret of her love for her brother’s best friend, Heath Adam McGregor, who happens to be her very close friend and boss as well. Andie’s love for Heath wasn’t one of those random things that had happened just one fine day; she’d just known ever since puberty had hit that Heath was the one and that there would be no other. Living with that secret close to her heart for thirteen years had left its mark on her and watching Heath get tangled up with one woman right after the other doesn’t make a difference in her yearning to be with the man she has loved forever.

A lot more drinks than Andie usually entertains together with the grieving thought that Heath would never ever see her in the same light as she does him has Andie filling up an application form for The Great Wedding Giveaway, never knowing that life as she and Heath had known it was irrevocably going to change. When the application goes through by accident and “forces” Heath and Andie to fake an engagement, Heath finds the ground beneath him shift as he starts seeing the girl he’d known practically all his life in an entirely new way.

Make-Believe Wedding constitutes of two protagonists both equally appealing to the heart. Heath is one of those sweet heroes that you’d fall for from the minute you meet him. Though I must admit that of late, I have missed the brooding type of heroes that Sarah tends to create every now and then, Heath definitely ended up being a favorite of the sweet hero variety. Andie is the girl that most of us have been or even are right this very moment. Not extraordinarily beautiful, definitely not equipped with the type of body that men go gaga over and yet hopelessly in love with someone who is definitely above her paygrade. The reason I loved her surpasses all those reasons. She is the type of independent and yet vulnerable heroine that Sarah is legendary for creating and Andie definitely fits the mold.

The story that evolves is one that sizzles with sexual tension as Heath discovers a facet to Andie that has his head reeling from the passion she invokes in him. And well, for Andie, Heath is definitely her dream come true. The angst factor provided by Angie’s brother and of course Andie’s insecurities when it comes to believing something too good to be true provided that extra fodder to the story that made it the entertaining read Make-Believe Wedding turned out to be.

The one thing I am looking forward to now is Beau (Andie’s brother) and Lily (Andie’s friend)’s story. There was a tension that was simmering between them that sets the reader on the edge even in this one and I believe Sarah is going to deliver a hero of the type I’ve mentioned that I miss in her books with Beau. Cannot wait!

Recommended for fans of Sarah Mayberry & fans of friends-to-lovers romances.

Final Verdict: Heartwarmingly good!

Favorite Quotes

He pulled at her t-shirt, not breaking their kiss until the last possible moment as he whipped it over her head, and then his gaze was raking her breasts, his eyes glittering with desire.
“Andie,” he groaned, reaching for her with his big hands.
She arched her back, pushing herself into his palms, swallowing a sob as he pinched her nipples and then soothed them with his thumbs. Her sex felt swollen and achy with desire, and all she could think about was having him inside her, stretching her.

The first touch of his fingers on her swollen center nearly made her levitate. When he stroked her and plunged a single finger inside her she dropped her head back and started to pant.
How could anything feel this good? How could this be legal? How could she have lived twenty-six years and not experienced so much need and want and desperation?
“Andie, Andie.” Heath’s voice was ragged and broken, unrecognizable. “How did you get so fucking sweet?”

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-bookMyBeautifulEnemey
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Heart of Blade Duology, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Leighton Atwood
Heroine: Bai Ying-hua
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 5, 2014
Started On: October 2, 2014
Finished On: October 4, 2014

My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas follows closely on the heels of The Hidden Blade. I would say this once again, this time having finished the 2nd book that signals the end of this duology; you have to read The Hidden Blade first in order to really get into the characters Leighton Atwood and Bai Ying-Hua (Catherine Blade), whose tragic and moving pasts entwine both of them in a way that’d not be felt if you just end up reading My Beautiful Enemy as a standalone.

My Beautiful Enemy tells the story of Catherine Blade aka Bai Ying-hua, who is tracking the three jade tablets for the treasure it might unearth based on the legend of the monks that had been a part of Catherine’s life when she had been growing up. She seeks the tablets on behalf of her stepfather Da-ren, the closest thing she has left as family, to win his approval and perhaps be considered worthy of all that he had done for her.

Catherine is well versed in the art of fighting, she is like a lethal blade honed to perfection. But her life had not come without making a formidable enemy in its wake. The man who searches for her seeks vengeance of the kind that needs Catherine to be in her best form, something she has been hard pressed to achieve ever since the last encounter between them. Her journey takes her to London, the stories of a city that teems with life according to her childhood friend that fails to live up to her expectations. And then it happens; she crosses paths with that of her lover, the lover that she had poisoned trying to kill him, the man she’d searched for in vain after, the man who still has the ability to bring her to her knees, the only man she has ever loved.

Leighton hasn’t forgotten the young woman who had slayed his heart in the Chinese Turkestan 8 years back. His love for her had been swift, but it had been a relationship based on half-truths at best, which hadn’t served well for either of them when the time had come. Seeing a different version of the woman he has tried to forget all these years throws him for a loop, and Leighton is hard pressed to act normally and not let his fiance think anything untoward about his aloofness around Catherine.

Old habits die hard and before Leighton knows it, he is swept into his old role of taking care of Catherine, looking after her well being because Leighton would rather die himself than see any harm come to Catherine. My Beautiful Enemy consists of a lot of flashbacks into the entwined pasts of Leighton and Catherine, how they meet and how the beautiful man that Leighton is wins the prickly Catherine over with his gentleness, charm and the fact that when it comes to Catherine, his heart had never stood a chance.

For the most part, Catherine comes across as someone who is straightforward and assumes a no nonsense lifestyle. Though well versed in the etiquettes of what is deemed as proper behavior for a lady, beneath the facade that she presents to the rest of the world lies a heart filled with loneliness, an aching soul that yearns for nothing else but love. Her past had taught her to be wary, but when it comes to Leighton there is little fight left in her when she had already succumbed to his touch years ago. I didn’t like the flashbacks all so much. I felt that one reason why I failed to connect to both Leighton and Catherine as the story progressed was because all that had indeed connected them happens through flashbacks in the story.

My Beautiful Enemy is certainly different from the books that I have read from Sherry Thomas to-date. This tale doesn’t focus mainly on the element of romance between Catherine and Leighton. Rather I would say this duology focuses on the fated connection between Catherine and Leighton that spanned continents all those years back, the near miss of a meeting that should have happened between them and how years later, finally, Catherine and Leighton find their way towards each other.

I felt a trifle bit disappointed with the steam factor of My Beautiful Enemy, perhaps the reason why I felt that Catherine and Leighton’s connection didn’t touch me in the way it really should have. Especially, after having read the scrumptious scenes of passion that Ms. Thomas can weave in her romances; The Luckiest Lady in London will attest to this fact, needless to say I felt My Beautiful Enemy was a bit of a letdown in that sense. Point; I just didn’t fall as hard and fast in love with either Leighton or Catherine as I should have.

Entertainment wise, My Beautiful Enemy hits the spots. Emotional wise, thought I felt a bit disconnected from Catherine and Leighton, I was still swept away by the sheer magic that is Sherry Thomas’ writing.

And oh yes, this bit in the novel that describes my country, the Maldives, blew me away!

“There is a chain of tropical coral islands not far from the southern tip of India. And all around them the water is the exact color of the sky, and so clear you can see the fish swim. I want to take you there.”

I’d say Sherry Thomas has done a perfect job in describing a country renown for its beauty.

Recommended for those who love historical fiction and romance. Sherry Thomas is an author you ought not miss in this genre.

Final Verdict: A connection that defies time and distance; a love that knows not the span of continents.

Favorite Quotes

When he returned, one window of his room was wide open, the curtain whipping in the draft.
Someone with her skills could have easily closed the window behind herself, if she wanted to.
Instead, she had chosen to acknowledge her presence. Her invasion of his privacy.
And in doing so, reaffirmed the desire on her part that had set him on fire, like a city already ransacked.

Slowly she lowered the dagger, but the pulse at her throat grew ever more agitated. Her gaze landed on his lips. He held his breath, his heartbeat wild. He remembered the taste of her skin, the texture of her hair, the lithe shape of her body pressed into his. He remembered the whimpers of pleasure that escaped her, the glazed look in her eyes, the way she writhed and clung and took him ever deeper inside herself.
The parlor echoed with the sounds of their breaths.
She pivoted and walked out.
Behind her, the bead curtain shook and swayed, as restless as the desires of his heart.

She felt her lips tremble, her throat constrict. He’d gone back twice? “You must not have realized that I caused your occasional disability.”
“I have known it for years. The poison in your salve was extraordinarily powerful.”
She could scarcely believe it. The backs of her eyes prickled. “And still you looked for me?”
He exhaled. “And still I looked for you.”
Something hot and wet rolled down her cheek. “I left Chinese Turkestan in the winter of eighty-three. I never went back.”
He closed his eyes for a moment and let go of her. “I guess some things are not meant to be.”
Neither of them said anything more. And then the silence became that of his absence, a silence that she had come to know all too well.

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