Review: The Seduction of Samantha Kincade by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbacktheseductionofsamanthakincade.jpg
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Dangerous Men, #1
Publisher: Warner Books
Hero: Trace Harden
Heroine: Samantha Kincade
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 1, 1995
Started On: December 10, 2012
Finished On: March 6, 2013

It might have been ages since I have read a Maggie Osborne but I certainly have not forgotten the magic that she can weave with her stories; which is one reason why I keep purchasing her out of print titles at hideously expensive prices. But I believe its money well spent since each and every one of Maggie Osborne titles I’ve read so far always gives a story worth reading, a story that is so much more than just a romance, and The Seduction of Samantha Kincade is no exception to that rule.

23 year old Samantha (Sam) has pretended to be a boy half her life. A gunslinger and a bounty hunter who is famous for her kills, Sam is someone who hates the idea of being a woman, of being submissive and restricting herself to what society thinks she can and cannot do. More than half of her life has been focused on one goal; killing Hannibal Cotwell, the man who had taken away the center of her very existence. And nothing and no one is going to deter her from getting there.

Trace Harden is on the hunt for Hannibal himself when he is pursued by Sam as a means to the end that she is working for. Although Sam’s hatred for Hannibal and anything to do with him knows no bounds, Sam is forced to re-evaluate her strategy in getting to Hannibal when both Trace and Sam finds themselves on the run from the law with the same ultimate goal in mind. But what Sam doesn’t realize is that in her ambition to see to the promise she has made to herself 12 years ago, she would also find the woman she has lost in her a long time back and love in a place where she wouldn’t have ever expected to find.

With complex and multilayered characters, The Seduction of Samantha Kincade is a seduction unto itself. The slow awakening of Sam as a woman, the side of herself that she has hidden from herself and the rest of the world is one to be savored. Sam might be one of the best bounty hunters out there and adept at fooling the whole world when it comes to who she really is but with Trace she finds that from the first moment that that’s not the case. Trace gets under her skin, makes her want the impossible and awakens strange yearnings in her that Sam knows would lead towards one inevitable conclusion.

The fact that Trace who has seen it and done it all gets seduced in turn by the woman that Sam slowly turns into is one to revel in and I loved the bits where Trace is so darn frustrated from his attraction for a woman who exasperates, infuriates and challenges him at every turn but he can’t help but want her with every fiber of his being. For someone who prefers dainty and feminine women in his life, the fact that he is drawn towards the one woman who doesn’t know the lethal weapon she could become if she were to totally embrace her feminine side was an aspect of the story that I absolutely adored.

Trace has his own demons to fight on the journey he takes towards reaching Hannibal. To avenge the legacy left behind by his dead wife Trace knows he would do what he must, even if it means a vital part of himself would die along with it. Trace and his magnetic presence in the story fires things up, starts a slow burn that reaches its very explosive culmination by the time the reader is about to self combust. The slow build up, the ultimate conclusion to all that heady desire and attraction is one of the best bits about books by Maggie Osborne. Its one of the reasons I mourn the fact that she stopped writing a long time back.

The bit that struck me the most when I was reading The Seduction of Samantha Kincade was how I felt about the villain in the story. Hannibal is a hard to place character, something inside of me wanted redemption for him which I knew would never come. Nevertheless his character is one that made me think deeply, his childhood and what he had undergone something that would continue to haunt me for quite a while. I saw the good bits in him which doesn’t excuse all the heinous crimes he had committed most of his adult life, but that didn’t stop me from weeping for him and all that he could have been as the story reached its conclusion.

It takes tremendous talent for an author to create books of this caliber and each one of my reads has been top notch when it comes to Maggie Osborne. Cannot recommend this enough to readers who love American Western historical romances with unusual heroines and undoubtedly, sinfully alluring heroes in the mix.

Favorite Quotes

Trace watched with smoldering eyes. He could recall hundreds of times when he had become aroused while observing a woman remove her clothing. This was the first time he had become powerfully aroused while watching a woman put clothes on. He would have thought such a thing impossible.
Later, he would remember this unique experience and laugh. Right now, he watched her don a pair of pearl ear drops and practice a smile in the glass. He wanted to throw her on the bed and tear off the undergarments she had so carefully assembled. He wanted to touch her all over, and stroke her, and caress those small swelling perfect breasts, and tease his fingertips along the inside of her strong thighs until she gasped his name and begged him to take her as she burned to do.

His lips came down on hers, hard and hot and as possessive and demanding as the hands grabbing her waist. Sam fell against the haystack, her arms going around his neck, and she kissed him back, hard, her lips opening beneath the insistent pressure of his.

 

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Requested Review: Beautiful Bad Man by Ellen O’Connell

Format: E-bookbeautifulbadman
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: American Western Historical
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Caleb Sutton
Heroine: Norah Gifford Hawkins
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 29, 2012
Started On: November 18, 2012
Finished On: November 25, 2012

From one of the best American Western Historical romance authors comes another fantastic installment, this time a book entitled Beautiful Bad Man, a most appropriate title for a book that delivered a story that was beautiful and fascinating as the hero in the story truly was, a book that made me sigh and yearn in all the right places as Ellen once again wove her special brand of magic on me.

Ellen O’Connell writes stories that are gritty and realistic. She is not an author who pulls any punches when she delivers novels that depict the harshness of life as it was back then. But amidst all the violence and chaos, Ellen still manages to give the reader something that turns out to be that much more precious and beautiful because of the fact and Beautiful Bad Man is no exception to this rule.

Norah Hawkins and Caleb Sutton meet under the most unusual and trying circumstances just for a brief moment in time as young adults. Years later, these two happen to meet again by a quirky twist of fate. Though both Norah and Caleb had never actively sought to think about each other as the years had passed on by, both had in fact wished the best for each other, and had somehow envisioned the other living the sort of life that would bring peace to the other’s mind. However, reality couldn’t be further from those dreams as Caleb finds himself facing a disillusioned woman who is ready to collapse from the lack of will to fight for what she wants. For Norah the jolt is a stronger one. Norah being someone who always has a clear cut vision on what is right and wrong finds herself confronting a man whose eyes show nothing but coldness, in it lying the truth of how survival of the fittest always means that you lose something precious and vital inside of you to come out as the winner in the game of survival.

A partnership forged between two people who couldn’t be more different from each other even if they tried would seem to be a venture doomed for failure right from the very start. But that is exactly the opposite of what happens as Norah starts to discover those startling qualities about the man she married, the man that she slowly starts to fall in love with as Caleb unknowingly shows her just what it is like to be married to someone who truly appreciates Norah and all that she can offer in the truest fashion.

Caleb is someone who believes himself not worthy of beauty or kindness that life has to offer, no wonder owing to the harsh brutality that he had suffered during his childhood. But Norah awakens in him something that runs sure and deep into his soul, a yearning to reach out for the impossible and hold on for as long as possible. 

The constant danger that both Norah and Caleb fight together to safeguard what is theirs brings these two closer and seals a relationship that already takes them to new heights in the physical sense. Norah is the type of heroine that I love to read about. The type of heroine that Ellen is so good at creating. And thus its no wonder that I fell in love with Norah right from the very start.

Caleb is a hero that is truly beautiful and bad, both at the same time, somehow making those two words strung together just that much more meaningful. Caleb is a hero in every sense. A bit alpha, a bit headstrong, just a tad stubborn and a total softie when it comes to his wife and their dog Early without even realizing the fact himself. 

If you haven’t read an Ellen O’Connell, its high time you did. She writes characters and stories that you would not forget anytime soon. A must read if you are a fan of American Western historical romances. Highly recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“The times they’d coupled by early morning light or with a lamp still burning, his face stayed a handsome shadow. In bright sunshine she saw every detail — the way the water had made dark spikes of his lashes, the way those lashes were half-lowered over eyes turning liquid with passion. She had not drowned in the shallow creek. She would lose herself forever in his eyes.”

“She expected his weight, the familiar. He turned her on her side to face him, draped her leg over his, and entered her, his eyes locked on hers. She shut her eyes, invaded in some impossible way beyond the physical.
He moved inside her slowly. She moved with him, giving herself to the pleasure. One arm held her close, one hand rubbed a nipple.
“Norah.” His voice was hoarse and deep, his words in the rhythm of their movement. “Look at me. Let me know you know it’s me. You want it to be me.”
“I know. You’re the only one I ever wanted.” She opened her eyes and let him see the truth.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

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Review: The Best Man by Maggie Osborne

Format: Hardcoverthebestman
Read with: Hardcover
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Dal Frisco
Heroine: Fredrick Roark
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 1998
Started On: March 17, 2012
Finished On: March 18, 2012

The Best Man is a novel that is going to be hard to review, not because it wasn’t a splendid read in all the ways that counts. It is going to be difficult to put into words just how much the story affected me, how the characters that were brought to life in front of my eyes continued to worm their way into my heart and later on etched themselves onto my very soul to stay there for the time to come. As I have said before and I will continue to say this, Maggie Osborne is an author who is one of a kind. She delivers romances that takes you to place you rarely get to go and she gives you a story that you can sink your teeth into and cannot let go!

Joe Roark, owner of the King’s Walk Ranch dies leaving behind 3 daughters and his fourth wife a widow. Each of them grapples with the astounding will that Joe leaves which dictates that his daughters prove their mettle before they are to receive their due inheritance. If that fails to be the case, all the sweat and hard work that Joe had put into building his ranch would be in vain and would be handed over to a wife that he detested more than he did  his daughters.

A man who only wanted sons and got saddled with daughters, Joe refused to let his daughters forget their place in the world. Alexander Roark Mills (Alex), Fredrick Roark (Freddy) and Lester Roark (Les); the 3 daughters whom he had pampered in his way and each of whom had disappointed him in one way or the other suddenly finds themselves tasked with driving a herd of longhorns to the market in Abilene, Kansas. 

Dal Frisco is a man who is looking for a second chance, a chance to turn his life around and achieve his dream of owning his own spread in Montana. To do that, he needs cold hard cash and the news of the infamous will Joe left to his daughters pave the way for him to do exactly just that. What he doesn’t bargain for is to find daughters who look like the high strung type who carry smelling salts in their fringed wrist purses who look and behave as if they have never engaged in an honest day of work in their whole lives. But even then, Freddy with her dark hair and green eyes catch him unawares with the bolt of desire that strikes him upon the very first time their eyes meet.

For Dal, the success of the mission ahead hinges on his ability to prepare the 3 women to face and cope with the challenges of being on the road, to actively take part in delivering the herd in the exact number their father has stipulated in the will. But the number of foes who want nothing more than to see them fail work from within to bring chaos and mayhem to their venture. And through it all, the 3 sisters continue to discover the hard truths about themselves, become better women and go on to form a bond with each other that would remain unshaken till death does them apart.

Labeling The Best Man as the story in which Freddy and Dal discover each other and fall in love would not do justice to a story that is so very much more. The Best Man brings to life the characters of 3 sisters who had grown up trying to compete and outdo each other during their childhood, each resenting the other for one thing or the other. And later when adolescence had hit, the 3 of them had found themselves going their separate ways, never forging a connection befitting that of sisters. Alex elopes while Freddy sets off to embrace her dream of performing in a theater which drives a further wedge between the sisters. Les, the youngest is the one who stays behind, who feels betrayed when her father brings home a wife that disrespects everything they stand for.

For 3 people who have never tried working as a team or have never worked hard a day in their life, the training and the pace that Dal sets serves to be sheer torture. But Dal is the man who forces them to force out their inner strength, to straighten that backbone of steel that each sister has in spades, to embrace the true hidden characteristics within each of them that makes them such appealing characters. Each of them has their own fair share of faults, fears and dreams. And learning about each of them was a journey in itself and I loved every minute of it.

The men who enter into their lives are nor less appealing. Dal plays the most prominent role and he is the stuff that pure alpha men are made out of. He is strong, stubborn, has that inner qualities that makes him a good leader. But he is not without his fair share of faults either. A recovering alcoholic, Dal battles his inner demons day in and day out and the focus shifts from his desire for the drink to his need for a woman that sets his senses afire by merely just existing. Freddy drives him crazy in more ways than one and though Dal might try to tell himself otherwise, Freddy invades his heart and his soul before he is even aware of it happening.

Alex was one of the most complex characters in the story. With a past that portrays her as the most tortured soul in the story, Alex is a character that rouses equal amounts of sympathy and admiration in the reader. At first she comes across as a snob who later transforms into a woman who is able and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that she and her sisters get what is entitled to them. How Alex discovers love, forgiveness and the courage to move on in one of the most unlikely heroes to crop up put a huge lump in my throat and made me ache in ways I cannot explain. If it is only to discover Alex and the magical transformation she undergoes in this story, it is worth getting yourself a copy of The Best Man.

Les is the sister who has problems with asserting herself. The one who enters into a relationship with an abusive fiance and believes it to be her due. The sister who has the hardest time in putting one foot in front of the other and taking the next step. The one who continually faces the dilemma of doing the right thing and choosing the easy way out. And hers was a story that I read all the while wanting to infuse her with the strength to move on, to be able to stand up and give as good as she gets. And she does get there eventually, surprising herself more than anyone else by just how far she has come by the time the story ends.

Freddy is the dreamer, the one who envisions life as a stage set for acting and she plays the lead role. One hard bump after the other and the tough lessons day in and day out teaches her to face reality, forces her to come crashing down into the world of living rather than continue to walk the Earth with her head up in the clouds. Her desire for Dal is one that catches her by surprise, her innocence the factor that lures her towards a man who shakes her up and tosses her into a maelstrom of desire that she cant shake lose from. 

With Maggie Osborne, you never get a simple straightforward story. She takes you on a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, traversing through roads that brings joy as much as peril comes seeking you out and later on at the end you emerge victorious from all the hard labor you have toiled in, which in the end transforms your reading experience into something wondrous that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Recommended for fans of Maggie Osborne. If you have never read a Maggie Osborne, you are definitely missing out!

Favorite Quotes

His mouth came down on hers hard and hot and deliberate. His kiss was so unexpected that Freddy went limp in his arms with shock. She didn’t fight or protest, couldn’t move or breathe. No one had ever kissed her like this, selfishly, unemotionally, taking with no thought of giving. This kiss was hungry, domineering, something that seared and scorched physically and left her mind reeling.

He kissed her then, not gently, not tenderly. He didn’t kiss her to comfort her. He took her mouth hungrily, almost savagely, wanting to punish her for having a body that tormented him, for telling him that his last kiss had meant nothing, needed to punish her for letting scum like Jack Caldwell call her honey, and for ever thinking about a man who wasn’t him.

He found her breasts with his hands and dropped his lips to her arching throat, tasting dust and woman sweat and a trace of something that reminded him of apples. She tore his shirt at the throat, ripping it downward, and slipped her hands inside, her fingers like brands of fire across his skin. One minute she was straddling him, the next minute he’d fallen on top of her. It was like a dam had burst within them both, releasing a flood tide of desire and urgency. And God help him, he would have taken her right there on the ground with a stampede winding down a hundred yards behind him.

For a long moment they gazed at each other, and Freddy felt her mouth go dry and her heartbeat accelerate. If the evening ended right now, she would still remember this moment for all her days. The music, the perfume of the flower baskets, and the hard look of desire in Dal’s eyes.

“Dal … Dal …” Mindlessly, she whispered his name as his kisses deepened and became possessive and deliberate. But slow. Exploring. Teasing. Never quite enough. Kisses that drank desire from her mouth and left her frantic with wanting, wanting, wanting.

Winding her arms close around his neck, she closed her eyes. To be embraced, safe in a man’s arms when she had never expected it to happen again, this would be enough.
Time sheltered their embrace, enfolding them within a summer scented capsule that felt endless and theirs alone. The fragrance of grass and sunlight and nearby water sweetened each breath. Theirs was the music of birds ans the lazy buzz of insects and the beating of two hearts. Yes, she thought, she didn’t need more. This would be enough.

This time his kiss was full and provocative, summoning sensations she had believed, had hop, were submerged too deeply to be awakened. But his fingers on her face, his mouth, his lips, stirred slumbering emotions and coaxed them to life. His hands moved to cup her head, to spread across her spine, and he crushed her against him as their kisses deepened.

He molded her body to his and another gasp tore at her throat. She had never expected to be held in a man’s arms again. Hadn’t dared to hope that she would ever stand chest to chest, hip to hip with a man who desired her. She had truly believed lovemaking was a pleasure she would never again experience in her lifetime. That was her choice and destiny.
His hands moved from her waist to her face, and he kissed the tears shining on her cheeks and eyelids. “I love you,” he whispered. “I have loved you from the moment I saw you.”

“You are so beautiful,” he breathed. Standing over her, rampant in the moonlight, he gazed down at her body. “You are as lovely and as perfect as I imagined you would be.”
Afraid to believe, afraid to trust, she dared a look at him and felt her heart wrench when she read his expression and understood that she truly was whole and beautiful in his eyes. She was a magnificent to him as he was to her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Abe Books

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Review: Shotgun Wedding by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbackshotgunwedding
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Jesse John Harden
Heroine: Anne Margaret Malloy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 4, 2003
Started On: March 16, 2012
Finished On: March 17, 2012

The saddest feeling in the world as a reader is to know that an author whose voice beats any other writes no more. Every time I read a book by Maggie Osborne, this is a loss that I feel profoundly to my very soul. Lately I have been very discontent with the books lining my e-book shelves, something that happens to me every now and then. Finally, I decided to dust off my paperback edition of Shotgun Wedding which I bought from Abe Books a couple of months back, and let Maggie Osborne charm her way into my heart and soul and she did exactly just that with a story that kept me turning the pages even into wee hours of the morning.

Jesse John Harden works as the Sheriff of the small town of Marshall in Kansas. A man who prefers to keep to himself, Jesse might show a laid-back front to people but he is a man who gets the job done earning him more than the gratitude of the people of his now hometown.

25 year old Anne Margaret Malloy (Annie) finds herself in a bit of a fix when she discovers that she is pregnant and that she can’t continue to avoid the fact any longer. Annie is someone who has sworn off marriage a long time back, the independence that her parents give her one that she had taken for granted and landed her in the shitload of trouble she finds herself in. Annie likes to think of herself as a New Modern Woman like those who aren’t afraid to move ahead in a man’s world and show the world their worth. But the unexpected pregnancy brings all her dreams crashing down and forces her to face the consequences of the road that she had taken when she had met the father of her child.

Even though Annie’s beau agrees to marry her and do the right thing, she cannot accept the concept of living with a man who robs banks and trains for a living. The mere thought of feeding herself and her children from the profit reaped off by robbing other people of their hard earned wealth leaves a hollow feeling deep inside of her and that is how Annie finds herself the outcast of the town, living with her parents who refuse to let her take the coward’s way out and stay at home wallowing in self-pity.

Through a chain of events, the townsfolk arrive at the conclusion that Jesse is the father of Annie’s unborn child as Annie continues to hide the identity of the man who had fathered her child. Jesse had always had a soft spot for Annie, her unruly red curls a constant source that fires his libido unlike any other. But his plans of gentle days of courting Annie into his world fly out of the window when he reels with the news of Annie’s pregnancy, until he comes up with a plan that would effectively tie Annie’s life to his, all the while convinced that with time he would make Annie fall in love with him.

Shotgun Wedding was a story that was delivered in the classic wit and style that only Maggie Osborne can pull off. She is an author who can continue to juggle a hundred characters in her stories and never make you feel as if you are floundering around trying to pin down who is who. In Shotgun Wedding, Ms. Osborne manages to bring the whole town to life, exploring those little nuances that makes you feel as if you are part of the story that unfolds rather than a guest passing through.

I loved Jesse and clamored for him with everything female inside of me. He is the least “tortured” hero that I have come across by the author and there was a definite charm about his character because of that. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that Jesse won’t make your heart go aflutter because he definitely does that and more. He has that inner strength and formidability etched onto his character that would make your heart beat a tad faster when he enters into the picture. And he is the type of man you can count on to keep the nightmares at bay, to make you feel loved and cherished in those little ways that counts. I loved how Jesse begins to court his pregnant wife and that slow simmering seduction that he begins that just made me hum deep inside and curl my toes in anticipation.

I had a bit of a problem with Annie like most readers. Annie is not without her faults but I expected her to grow out of them and show me the backbone that would make her a worthy partner for Jesse till death does them apart. At first her selfishness in not thinking about the parents who had done nothing but love her and give her everything she had wanted grated on me. But later on, she did learn her lesson and accepted her faults and showed that she was made of better stuff. The one thing that continued to irk me was how Annie tried to shield the activities of the actual father of her child from her husband, putting Jesse inevitably in danger which is only then Annie realizes the blunder she has made. But I guess once again she does learn from her mistake but I found it a bit hard to forgive her and move on like Jesse did.

The one other problem I had with the story was how Jesse didn’t feature in the story as prominently as I wanted. The story was mostly dominated by Annie and the father of her child and though the anger that he harbors towards Jesse for snatching away something that he considers as rightfully his drives the story, I wanted the burgeoning relationship between Jesse and Annie to come into the spotlight and give me a couple of chapters to sigh over long after I was done.

It is the sheer feeling of magic that surrounds me when I start a Maggie Osborne that would always leave me coming back for more. Recommended for fans of Maggie Osborne and fans of marriage of convenience themed romances.

Favorite Quotes

If only. The saddest two words in any language.

Golden shadows shimmered and the musky scent of the candles dizzied every breath. They were on the bed now, an enormous bed with sheets of glowing satin. Clasped in an embrace they rolled together, drinking deep kisses from gasping mouths, hands stroking, teasing, chasing, bodies pressing against each other as if seeking to melt and become one with the other.

He bent his head, bringing his lips near her ear. “Talk of the future confuses you, I know. But I think about it all the time.
His hands moved slowly down her bare arms. “When the time is right, when it’s our time, I want to undress you – slowly – in front of the fire. Slowly, one item at a time. I want to roll down your stockings and unlace your corset. I want to slowly take the pins out of your hair and catch the weight of it in my hands. Then I want to learn the feel of every inch of you.”

[Annie] “I just wondered … is slowly a good thing?”
“Is slowly …” His fingers relaxed and she felt rather than saw his smile. He brushed his fingertips across her lips, then sank back to his pillow. “Oh yes, Annie love. Slowly is a very good thing.”
“Oh, my.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Abe Books

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Review: In the Marshal’s Arms by Emma Jay

Format: E-bookinthemarshalsarms
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Historical Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Rhys Burgess
Heroine: Maddy Colby
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: December 15, 2011
Started On: February 6, 2012
Finished On: February 6, 2012

US Marshal Rhys Burgess is on the hunt to bring bank robber Edward Colby to justice. His search brings him to the somewhat derelict home of Maddy Colby, mistress to the brothers who had wreaked havoc with their penchant for stealing and being one of the most ambitious bank robbers of the past decade.

When Rhys meets Maddy, she is unlike the woman he has envisioned in his head. Maddy intrigues him with her intelligent mind, the way her hair seems to shimmer and shine with the most contrasting vividness and the way his senses start humming whenever Maddy is around.

For Maddy, Rhys is a temptation that is hard to deny. A woman who is completely comfortable in her sexuality, Maddy has no qualms about seducing and being seduced by Rhys who makes her feel desirable, cossetted and loved all at the same time. But then reality is not too far away and intrudes right at the moment where Maddy is willing to put her faith, trust and love in the one man who has broken down her barriers, the one man she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

In the Marshal’s Arms was a short and hot read that features a most refreshing heroine. Emma Jay has a way of writing her heroines bold, sexy and comfortable with who they are and Maddy is no different. Rhys is a bit shy and uncertain when it comes to expressing his desire for a woman who he has no intention of getting involved with at first. But the heart has an agenda of its own and that is how Rhys finds himself in the best kind of trouble he has ever gotten into in his life.

I loved the ending, the way Rhys wins over Maddy’s affections. In the Marshal’s Arms is a good read, recommended for those who love historical erotic romances. Emma Jay has a way with her heroes that just makes you want to sigh over & over again once you are done.

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Requested Review: This Heart for Hire by Elysa Hendricks

Format: E-bookthisheartforhire
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher:Self-Published
Hero: Jacob Gallagher
Heroine: Christina Goodwin
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 12, 2011
Started On: December 11, 2011
Finished On: January 21, 2012

This Heart for Hire by Elysa Hendricks takes place in Texas in 1870 and brings together the tough gunslinger Jake Gallagher together with the innocent and convent reared Christina Goodwin amidst the violence and harsh beauty that was life in the wild west.

Christina is on the run for her life with her brother Christopher in tow when Christopher is killed at the hands of bandits who seemingly wants to have their way with her. Rescue comes in the form of Jake Gallagher who to Christina looks to be the lesser of the two evils. When Jake gets injured on the run and it is on Christina he depends on, it is on sheer guts alone that she survives the next couple of hours.

When Jake recovers from his injuries, he has no recollection of who he is or any memories of the past 2 years of his life. All that he knows for sure is that he would lay down his very life for his angel, the woman who draws him to her unlike any other. It is Christina’s gentle innocence and her natural curiosity when it comes to the desires of the flesh that keeps drawing Jake to her like a moth towards flame. And to Christina, Jake epitomizes everything that has been forbidden to her during her 12 years in the convent. And when love enters the equation, there is no stopping her from claiming Jake as hers, even with Jake doing all that he can to keep her at arm’s length.

This Heart for Hire is not a light fluffy read. Elysa Hendricks does a splendid job of bringing her characters to life and paints a vivid picture of the harsh realities of life in the wild west. But that doesn’t mean that this story is all filled with dark moments. Contrary to that, the story contains beautiful moments as well as moments taut with the sizzling sexual tension that flares up between Christina and Jake from the very beginning. And then comes the harrowing couple of last chapters where reality intrudes and Christina experiences the violent reality of bandits who towards the end have an agenda of their own when it comes to her.

Christina might be the gentle innocent in the story. But even then, she is a woman who has a depth of courage that we begin to see when push comes to shove, her determination to escape and take revenge on the men who so callously violates everything she has been taught till now the burning fire that keeps her going. Her need and love for Jake shines through when he is around, but the way he pushes her away, one time too many makes her stand up for herself.

Jake is tormented throughout the story by the lack of his memories which aren’t as forthcoming as he would like them to be. With a void in his past and the possibility that he might be a wanted man by the law makes him push Christina away time and yet again. Jake continues to deny his need and love for the woman who invaded his heart much earlier than he would care to remember until Christina is nearly snatched away from his life for good.

I loved how the story came together and brought along with it its fair share of surprises along the way. There were moments where I was like “Heck, I didn’t see that one coming”, which is always a good thing when you are reading any sort of book. And I loved how elements of both Jake and Christina’s pasts entwines them together, fating them to be the better halves of one another for the rest of their lives. The one thing that could have made this book that much better was the end to Christina’s attempts to reach her uncle which was unresolved even when the story ended. I would have loved a bit of a lengthier end to the story, maybe an epilogue at that, which could have shown the happily ever after that Jake and Christina fully deserves.

Recommended for fans of American Western historical romances. Elysa Hendricks spins a tale that is hard to put down.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Smashwords

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I-Review: Saints & Sinners by Tatiana March

Format: E-booksaintsandsinners
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Series: Lone Gulch Series, Book 1
Hero: Eliza Hangreaves
Heroine: Joaquin Pereira
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 31, 2011
Started On: August 25, 2011
Finished On: August 25, 2011

Visitor: What made you pick up Saints and Sinners by Tatiana March?

MBR: I received Saints and Sinners from Tatiana March as a gift. Tatiana March landed on my list of authors to look out for after reading and reviewing her contemporary romance Home for a Soldier which I loved immensely. I am so glad that I received this little goodie from Tatiana because I believe she can do amazing things with this genre if this novella is anything to judge her talents in the American Western historical romance arena by.

Visitor: Tell me a little bit about the hero Joaquin Pereira.

MBR: Joaquin comes from a well to do Mexican family and finds himself living the life of a gun slinger and that of a gambler after believing that he let his childhood friend down in a way that can never be atoned for. Joaquin is the sexy, broody and dangerous type of hero that we all love to read and swoon over and he certainly delivers that sizzle to the story that kept me turning the pages to get more of him!

Visitor: Now tell me a little bit about the heroine Eliza Hargreaves.

MBR: Eighteen year old Eliza is a woman who grows up with her physically and emotionally abusive father who has a thing for fraudulent behavior to aide his lazy and deceitful lifestyle. Eliza is a woman who is scared of the future, who has no idea what the next day would bring in her life. Cowering behind the voluminous clothes that she wears, Eliza tries hard to fade into the background and not draw attention to herself. The only time she allows herself to dream is when she thinks about Joaquin whose flashing smiles contradicts the wealth of pain in his eyes.

Visitor: How does Eliza and Joaquin meet for the first time?

MBR: There is no mention in the novella of how Eliza and Joaquin meets for the first time. Rather, Eliza waits for the moments on Sundays that she catches glimpses of Joaquin right after church, though she would be mortified if Joaquin were ever to find out just how aware she is of his existence.

Visitor: What was it that drew you into the story with Saints and Sinners?

MBR: Saints and Sinners is the first book in the Lone Gulch series and it is the way that Tatiana brings her characters to life and hints at a lot of interesting secondary characters that I would love future stories to be based on that drew me into the story. Both Eliza and Joaquin’s characters and their histories are the types that reel you in and holds your undivided attention until you see them through to their happily ever after.

Visitor: What was it that you liked about Saints and Sinners?

Saints and Sinners in my opinion is a fine introduction into what I foresee is going to be a well thought out western historical romance series which I am definitely going to be keeping an eye on in the time to come.

From both Eliza and Joaquin’s characters that I adored to the secondary characters that lend this novella the extra characterization that makes it a well balanced one, I felt my interest in the town of Luch Gulch grow and my anticipation for the next couple of stories in the series become that more acute as I read along.

One of the things I loved about Saints and Sinners is how Joaquin and Eliza are brought together and the red-hot sexual tension that rages like wildfire between them right from the very start. The way that Joaquin is helplessly drawn towards Eliza and in turn the way Eliza trusts Joaquin enough to guide her through her first foray into physical intimacy held me enthralled and I loved how they both made each other feel.

And I loved how Joaquin was insightful enough to know exactly what Eliza wants and needs in order for her to let go of the fears that rules her life and embrace the world of living with arms wide open. 

Visitor: Is there anything you would want done differently in Saints and Sinners?

MBR: Apart from wanting the story to be lengthier than it is, which always happens if I love what a novella delivers with the story, I have no complaints.

Visitor: Any memorable quotes/scenes from the story you would like to share?

MBR: Definitely!! The bathtub smexing scene is certainly a memorable one and so is the first kiss that Eliza and Joaquin share. *an endless sighing session ensues*. 

Favorite Quotes

Slowly, Joaquin leaned in, drawn closer to her against his will. Pursing his lips, he breathed warm air across her cheeks, like animals do when they learn each other’s scent, learn to trust. “Easy now,” he whispered in between the soft puffs of air. “Let go of the fear.”
“I can’t,” she said, in a little broken voice that clenched at his heart.
“Yes you can.” Joaquin let his lips touch her skin, the merest hint of a contact. She made a tiny sound of alarm, a cross between a sob and a cry. He brushed his mouth against hers. A shudder shook her body, but she pressed into him, seeking his shelter. Keeping his hands braced to the timber, he deepened the kiss. His mouth slanted over hers, bolder now.
Her hands rose between them and fisted into his shirt.

How in hell had a casual embrace turned into an all-consuming kiss?
Edgy and rattled, Joaquin stalked back to his cantina, The Watering Hole. Reluctantly, he accepted it had been one of those moments his mother used to call earthquake moments—they were not significant events, but deep down you knew that the repercussions could alter the course of your life.

Nudging her legs apart with one knee, he poised himself above her. “Do you want it fierce and powerful?” he asked in a husky tone.
She nodded.
He pushed inside her in one swift thrust and waited for her to react, to welcome him. Her legs rose to coil around his hips. She clung to his shoulders. Her body tightened, holding him in, wanting him.

Visitor: Who would you recommend Saints and Sinners to?

MBRDefinitely to fans of American-Western historical romances and fans of Tatiana March. This is a novella well worth your time of you have around an hour to spare. 

Purchase Links: Amazon | AllRomanceEbooks | Smashwords

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