Review: Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookangelsblood
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Guild Hunter, #1
Publisher: Berkley Books
Hero: Raphael
Heroine: Elieanora P. Deveraux
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 2009
Started On: November 30, 2015
Finished On: December 12, 2015

Angels’ Blood is the debut book in the Guild Hunter series by the oh-so-talented-author-that-she-literally-takes-your-breathe-away, the one and only Nalini Singh. The praise comes backed by the thousands of fans who adore her books, of which I am definitely one. Her Psy-Changeling series is what got me hooked on her writing, the vivid beauty that is Nalini’s world building and of course the emotions that can go from zero to hundred with just a flick of the right words at the opportune time, which makes her books a treat in all the different ways that matter. Compared to the Psy-Changeling series, I would say the Guild Hunter series is a whole different ballpark. The Guild Hunters is darker, edgier and holds more fascination the part of me that actually wants darker reads of romance. By darker I don’t mean books that go into taboo areas, but by darker I mean books that explore sides of characters that are not generally accepted by the larger population of romance readers these days.

Angels’ Blood tells the story of Vampire Hunter Elieanora P. Deveraux (Elena), who is summoned by Raphael, the archangel of New York himself in the quest to hunt down one of their own, an archangel. Armed with little information to hunt and shut down the archangel who grows into a more formidable enemy by the minute, Elena’s frustrations are doubled by the fact that her response to the beautiful Raphael is far from what she projects it to be. There is an answering need that flares to life and grows stronger by the second, every single time the same desire burns in Raphael’s eyes that makes Elena breathless with wanting. And there is also the teeny tiny fact that Elena herself walks a thin line when it comes to her own life which hangs in a precarious balance given how unpredictable Raphael can be.

I love Nalini’s books for various different reasons, one of them being the fact that she gives each hero the space to be true to themselves. While most of us get pissed off about heroines who turn into doormats, I hate it equally as much when a hero changes the essence of what he is, all just to suite the sensibilities of the heroine. That is just plain wrong in my opinion, as the hero loses out on what makes him stand out, what makes him essentially himself, and I also believe that it is an author’s way of taking the easy way out rather than being true to the character that is crafted. Raphael is a hero of the kind I am talking about. Demanding, ruthless and powerful; Raphael has little choice but to be all that and more. Any sign of weakness and it would be the blood of thousands that would line the streets and he has no intention of letting that happen.

When Elena walks into his life, Raphael responds to her on a level that frightens, even him – if there ever was an instance where an archangel would feel fear, that would have been it. But there is also a beauty to that savagery inside of him. And then there is the loyalty offered to him by his closest, without him demanding any of it. That alone tells a story of the kind of man he is. Elena, while she struggles with giving into her needs when it comes to Raphael, at first refuses to see beyond the obvious. But slowly and surely, Elena starts to see a man who not only would be able to handle ALL of her, but a man worthy of being handled by.

There are so many things I want to know about when it comes to Elena, Raphael and the rest of the cast of characters that makes up the series, which I am 100% certain would have been the case with every reader upon starting this series. I bet that this story just skims the surface on the depth of the characters that Nalini has brought to the table. Raphael and Elena with their pasts mired in blood, Raphael’s more so in a way that made me want to curl into a ball and just weep. The fact that these two survived insurmountable odds to become the warriors they at present are serves as a testament to the strength of their characters.

Nalini’s descriptions of her world settings always comes with the right touch; not too much, and neither too little. I could almost envision the angels, their ethereal beauty as their wings take flight.

Absolutely recommended. If there is one paranormal/urban-fantasy romance author you should be reading, it is undeniably Nalini Singh.

Final Verdict: Ms. Singh’s world building continues to amaze and awe! Beautiful craftsmanship.

Favorite Quotes

The bald way he pointed out his power, and her lack of it, made her fingers itch for a blade.
“You shouldn’t look at me in that fashion, Elena.”
“Why?” she asked, prodded by some heretofore unknown suicidal streak. “Scared?”
He leaned a fraction closer. “My lovers have always been warrior women. Strength intrigues me.”

Lust in her throat, brutal and demanding. “But then, we both know about my self-destructive streak.” Stepping away, she put her back to the wall and faced him, willing her body to stop readying itself for a penetration she’d never allow. “I have no desire to be your chew-toy.”
The lines of his face might’ve been starkly masculine, but at that instant, his lips were pure temptation, soft, bitable, sensual in a way only a man’s mouth could be. “If I were to splay you out on my desk and thrust my fingers into you right now, I think I’d find different.”

His lips touched hers and she moaned. The hands on her hips tightened as he lifted her without apparent effort and began to kiss her in earnest. Fire traveled through the raw eroticism of the openmouthed kiss to curl her toes, coming to pool in the vee between her thighs. “Hot,” she whispered when he let her breathe. “Too hot.”
Ice silvered the air and it was a cool mist that surrounded her, seeping into her pores in a stroke of possession. “Better?” He kissed her again before she could answer, his tongue inside her, his body hard and perfect and—
Nothing else mattered.

He changed his hold to accommodate her. “Why should I kill you when I can wipe your mind?”
“I don’t want to lose my memories.” Even the bad ones, they were what made her who she was. Now, today, she was a different Elena to the one who’d never known what it was to kiss an archangel. “Don’t make me forget.”
“Will you trade your life to keep your memories?” A soft question.
She thought that over. “Yes,” she said quietly. “I would rather die as Elena, than live as a shadow.”

“Is that like a cat marking its territory?”
Raphael followed her gaze, flaring out the affected wing. “Michaela isn’t used to being denied.” Picking up a fancy cloth serviette, he came to her. “Wipe it off.”
The urge to rebel against the command smashed up against her need to rub that bitch’s mark off his wing. Stupid possessiveness won. “Turn around.”
He did so in graceful silence. Standing, she dampened the cloth with water before touching it to his wing. She was very careful not to get any of the sticky stuff on herself, but her caution appeared to have been unnecessary. “It’s coming off easy. Not like the one you dusted me with.” Even now, the light caught on stray flecks embedded in her skin, flecks she was sure Michaela had seen.
“I told you—yours was a special blend.”
Something warm and melty spread through her body. “Marking me, angel boy?”
“I prefer to do that with my cock.”

“No. I’ve never taken Michaela up on her offer.”
“Why not? She’s hot—tits and ass are all men ever see.”
“I prefer lips.” He bent and bit down a fraction too hard on her lower lip before raising his head. “And yours are quite succulent.”
Michaela’s, she thought on a crashing wave of pleasure, were nicely shaped but thin. But—“I’m not buying.” She didn’t change her position. “Who the hell cares about lips?”
“If you were on your knees with your lips wrapped around my cock, I would care a great deal.”

“You don’t strike me as the sharing type.” Her voice was raw.
“No. If one went to another man”—he began to pull out with slow deliberation—“there were dozens ready to take her place. It mattered little to me.”
She was almost beyond thought now, her entire being focused on the point where their bodies joined. What reason remained collapsed under the heady, seductive force of his words.
“If you take another lover, Elena”—he thrust back in, making her gasp—“what I do to him will become a nightmare etched in human memory.”

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Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookshieldofwinter
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #13
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Vasic Duvnjak
Heroine: Ivy Jane
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 3, 2014
Started On: May 21, 2015
Finished On: June 06, 2015

Shield of Winter is the 13th book in the Psy-Changeling series. The book that comes after the most explosive title in the series, Heart of Obsidian. Shield of Winter tells the story of one of the most enigmatic characters of the elite group of soldiers of the Psy race, the ones that carry out the covert operations as required.

Vasic Duvnkak is an assassin, a soldier and an Arrow. With the volatile changes that had been happening to the three races living on Earth, the Psy world as Vasic has known it is rapidly changing, bringing along with it regrets of the kind written in blood, a conscience mired by a past that cannot be changed. Vasic is drifting further and further away from the roots that had kept him grounded, and until the inevitable end of his life, Vasic is willing to do whatever it takes to continue protecting his race, albeit minus the allegiance to the corrupt elite.

Ivy Jane is an empath, empaths being the Psy that had been brutally and viciously hunted down when the Psy world was initially established. Ivy becomes part of the group that is rounded up by Kaleb Krychek in order to save the Psy from an illness that has been ravaging the minds of Psy, rendering them mad beyond help. Ivy is helpless in the face of the sickness that seems to be accelerating its way through the NetMind, the bio feedback mechanism that is crucial for the Psy to survive.

Ivy and Vasic are both newbies to the world of sensation that had been forbidden for the Psy for so long. Vasic more so than Ivy because of the conditioning, training and torture that he had been subjected to when he had first been entered into the training academy for the Arrows. When Vasic chooses Ivy as the empath that he would protect till the mission ends, Vasic finds in Ivy, for the very first time in his life, a woman who makes him want. Want something more.

The journey of discovery that these two embark upon is a beautifully sensuous one, one that only an author of Nalini Singh’s caliber can deliver. The bloody turn that Psy’s world takes doesn’t detract from the connection that springs forth between Vasic and Ivy, a love that is beautiful in the way it develops.

Though Shield of Winter doesn’t obviously live up to the splendor that is Heart of Obsidian, it nevertheless gives fans of the series a read worth sinking their teeth into. Vasic is the type of hero that we all would love to cuddle, pet and call our own. Not because he’s the cuddly, warm and fuzzy type. But because he is just the opposite. Reserved, a touch cold and aloof, Vasic is the type of hero that makes women want to claim them as their own. Vasic is downright delicious. Though a virgin, Vasic’s focus on “matters” at hand makes everything doubly more so sensual!

Ivy is just the sort of woman that a man like Vasic needs. A man on the brink of crossing over, not caring much about how or when his end arrives. But in Ivy, Vasic finds the sort of strength he never thought he was capable of, the strength and will to focus on living than the inevitable end of the cycle of life. Vasic’s back story is one that would make even the hardest of hearts thaw. Ivy’s equally horrific, but made a trifle bit better owing to protective parents. Beyond the romance, there is of course always the fascinating world that Nalini has created with this series, that in itself a reason enough  to get lost in these books!

Recommended for fans of the Psy-Changeling series. Nalini writes beautifully. That is one reason why these books are not to missed out on!

Final Verdict: In the fall of Silence, nothing will ever be the same ever again. Great storytelling, as always!

Favorite Quotes

Ivy bit down on her lower lip, released the swollen flesh . . . and tugged the top off over her head. Raising one hand to pull back strands of her hair that had curled over her face, she didn’t attempt to hide herself from him, the plump mounds of her breasts cupped by a confection of ivory satin and lace. “That’s not Psy issue,” he said, fighting every single cell in his body not to push the delicate fabric aside and look his fill.
Ivy’s own breathing was unsteady, her breasts rising and falling as if in invitation. “No,” she admitted in a husky tone. “I’ve always liked certain textures against my skin.” Raising one hand, she pushed off a strap.”

Ivy’s breath was a sob. “Don’t ever give up.” Using her free hand to cup the hand he had around her wrist, she bent her head to press a kiss to his knuckles. “Promise me.”
His entire body in shock at the sweet, hot caress, he nodded. For her, he’d conquer even the dark numbness that had been eating him alive for years. “I promise.” He touched her hair. “Ivy, I was trying to protect you.” He’d never intended this bond to form, never intended to cause her pain. “From the terrible things I’ve done, the destructive choices I’ve made, the broken mess inside me.”
Ivy shook her head, her expression haunted. “It was too late the first day we met. You’re inside me, and I’m inside you. It’s done.”

He squeezed her nape. “Kiss me,” he repeated.
Ivy licked her lips, slid her hands up to his shoulders, and confessed. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Neither do I,” he responded, the glittering silver of his eyes on her mouth. “Arrows learn by repetition and practice until the basic skill is honed, at which point we begin to specialize.”
The words should’ve been dry, but they made her breasts swell, her nipples so plump and tight the lace of her bra became abrasive. Because he was talking about repetition and practice when it came to intimate contact. Kissing. Touching. Sex. Her lips parted and he lowered his head.
“Do it again, Ivy,” he murmured, his breath mingling with her own. “Repetition—”
“And practice,” she completed, and brushed her lips over his.

When Vasic broke contact, his forehead pressed against hers and his breath jagged, she caressed his cheek, kissed the clean-shaven smoothness of his jaw. Never had she felt so alive, so pleasured. But below that was a sexual hunger brutal in its ferocity, hard and dark . . . and then she knew. It wasn’t her desire she was sensing. It was his.
Body melting even further, she kissed his jaw again. “I’m picking up your desire. Do you mind?”
“No.” He kissed her again on the heels of that statement, one hand on her lower back, the other on the side of her neck.
Then he licked his tongue against hers.
Her brain exploded.

“Vasic.” Soft breath, Ivy’s lips on his throat.
Fingers tightening into fists, he stood in place, his head bowed slightly and his arms trapping her. Instead of fighting to escape, she kissed his throat again, licked out with her tongue to taste him. It made every muscle in his body go tight, the tattered vestiges of the psychological brainwashing he’d survived attempting to overlay the pleasure with pain, but he didn’t move.
“Vasic,” she whispered again, her kiss damp this time, the sensation going straight to his rock-hard erection. “My Vasic.”

Turning toward her, he braced himself with his palms on either side of her head, his bare skin inches from her, the heat of him smashing against her hungry skin. And his fury . . . that was a stunning thing, the storm in his eyes molten silver.
“I can’t give you what you want.” It came out ice-cold, but those eyes, those eyes . . . “I thought—” He shook his head. “You can’t change the core of a man, Ivy. You can’t take a man christened in blood and make him into something better.”
Ivy narrowed her eyes, furious at the way he continued to see himself. “I don’t want you to change. Haven’t I made that clear?” Rising on tiptoe, she fisted her hands in his hair. “I want you. All of you. Even the part that infuriates me.”

Chest heaving, Ivy stared at him, the suspicion on her face making something twist deep inside him, the strange emotion at once gentle and fierce. “Wait for me in your bedroom,” he said, taking what he needed because Ivy had said he could have it. Have her.
Ivy had fought for his right to have her.
She never denied him, never punished him by withholding the touch he craved—her touch—and he planned to take terrible advantage. Now and always. “I need to make sure everything is secure before I join you.” The mattress on his bed was hard, would discomfort her. “I want you under me, naked and aroused and mine.”

A lazy, affectionate smile that caught at his heart and refused to let go. “I flaked, huh?”
“You needed rest,” Vasic answered. And then he kissed her.
Ivy responded with the lush generosity that had already made him an addict. Sliding her arms around his neck and bending one leg at the knee to cradle him between her thighs, she surrendered her mouth to his desires. And he took, devoured. He hadn’t understood how starved he was of touch until he met Ivy. Now, she was the only one who could ease the piercing ache of his need.

His fingers curled around her nape. Are you going to be mad at me for this our entire life?
She nodded. You should’ve waited for me.
I never dared dream of you, Ivy. I never thought a man like me deserved such a gift.
Petting his chest, she said, You’re my gift, too, you know. I’m so glad for you every instant of every day. Even when I’m really, really angry with you.

“I need to ask you some highly personal questions.”
Judd reached down to pack the snow into a ball. “I’ve been hoping for a long time that someone else in the squad would get to the point where a discussion like this would be necessary.” Rising, he threw the snowball with a fast arm. “Ask.”
“How do you control your telekinesis while intimate with your mate?”
“I broke a damn lot of furniture at the start, including two beds.” A curious glance. “What are you doing?”
“Traveling around the world.”

“This will likely hurt.” He didn’t like the idea, but it was a biological fact they couldn’t escape.
Ivy wrapped her legs around his hips. “Love me, let me love you.”
He gritted his teeth, guided himself to her, and began to push. She was slick and hot and so tightly stretched around him that he felt he’d rip her open. “Ivy.”
Clutching at his shoulders, she gasped, “So . . . you’re built in proportion, then.”
The unexpected words gave him the breathing room he needed. Kissing her on that sweet, soft, generous mouth, he said, “Unfortunately.”
A sensually feminine smile. “I have a feeling that won’t be the correct description once we begin to do this on a regular basis.”

“Leaving them tangled around her thighs, he squeezed one cheek with a blatantly possessive touch, then dipped his hand between her legs. “You’re liquid.” Crushed rocks and sexual heat, that was his voice.
Ivy’s answer required no thought. “Because it’s you.”
Movement behind her, the back of his hand brushing her buttocks. The sound of a zipper. Fabric being pushed down. And then he was gripping her hips to tilt her farther forward as he pushed into her with relentless focus. Making incoherent sounds of need, she was hardly aware of the world altering between sand and the wall and back over and over. Every cell in her body was focused on Vasic, on feeling the thick intrusion of him stretching her flesh.
This position permitted nothing else.

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ARC Review: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookmontanaactually.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Medicine River, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Josh Stanton
Heroine: Katrina McCade
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: May 19, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Dr. Josh Stanton’s move to Medicine River County, to a town called Bear Paw comes from the need to quickly pay off his student loans. The move from Chicago hadn’t come easy for Josh. The relationship that he has just gotten out of, after being burnt from the brunt of it all doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Josh comes from a family of prestigious surgeons. The fact that he had chosen to specialize in ER medicine and lands in a town which requires he divide his time between the clinic and the ER isn’t an irony lost on him.

Katrina McCade returns to her hometown after eight years of living it up outside of it. What brings her home back to her family is too shameful for her to reveal. The fact that she had been duped by the man she had been in love with, ready to share her life with is something that is proving quite difficult for Katrina to get over from. The last thing she needs is for the entirely too irresistible Dr. Josh to be her new tenant, a man who makes her stir crazy from desire one minute and makes a side of her she is not too comfortable with to rear up the next.

While the attraction between Katrina and Josh is inevitable from the start, what makes the story juicier is that neither of them wants to be in a relationship and thinks of their non-relationship as a sort of “people who can barely stand each other – benefits” sort of agreement. What neither of them bets on is finding things that they both like, respect and eventually come to love about each other. But the scars left behind from previous relationships prove to be not that easy to get rid of. However, it does deliver the sort of deliciousness that proved Montana Actually to be a book that was hard to put down.

Fiona Lowe makes it so easy to fall in love with every single aspect of this book. From the reluctant and very sexy Dr. Josh to Katrina to the whole bunch of secondary characters that brings the whole story alive; there is nothing I would change in any of it. The entire setting, how Josh who would like nothing better than for the nightmare he has been saddled with to be over, finds himself slowly settling into the pace of life at Bear Paw and finding it in his heart to accept and be accepted into a tightly knit community was a wondrous thing to watch unfold.

Every single character that appeared in the story was endearing and unique in their own way. The secondary romance included in the story was just the icing on the cake if you ask me. Fiona’s insight and sensitivity in handling a character such as Beau with his speech difficulties reminded me of Ellen O’Connell’s story Without Words. There is an emotional impact when characters such as Beau are delivered in the right manner that just makes a story that much more worth savoring.

The sparks between Josh and Katrina that emerge from the very beginning was a sight to behold and enjoy as well. Josh with his reluctant fascination towards a woman who makes him want to grit his teeth at times and then makes every primal instinct within him come alive at the very next second shakes him up unlike anything else. The pain that Josh holds in his heart from the life and relationship that he’d left behind is very real one, one that nearly broke my heart. But the delicious fun that Josh indulges in with Katrina, all in the name of just sex alone of course, was too fun to watch to dwell on the pain and heartache. And before I knew it, I was in love with Dr. Josh myself.Oh well, who am I kidding. I was in love with him the minute he stepped into the shower – with all his clothes on!

Katrina herself has got a past that rivals Josh’s. The fact that she had come back to her hometown after so long speaks volumes. Her heart had broken into pieces when her last relationship had ended with disillusionment of the kind she never thought possible hurting her soul. Katrina swears off men, especially doctors and the last thing she needs is to have lascivious thoughts about the town’s new physician. But that’s exactly what she ends up doing and more and it was sheer joy to see these two make their way towards their happily ever after.

While the story might seem all light, fluff and laughter, it was hardly that. There is enough emotion in it to practically sucker punch you over and over again. It takes a rare kind of book for me to shed actual tears and Montana Actually turned out to be one of those unique books with the ability to make me bawl my eyes out. Perhaps it was because I was in a pensive mood myself or because Fiona Lowe is that good; I’m going to go with the latter, I had to stop reading at a certain point and take a break because the emotional impact of it all was too overwhelming to continue. I don’t mean to scare any of you into not picking this up; let me reassure you that you would want to continue because there is definitely love and laughter at the end and of course the delicious sneak peak into the second book in the series to contend with!

It is tough to pull off a book with multiple characters and even plot in a secondary romance and make ALL of it work to give such a deliciously beautiful book. I for one am kicking myself for having waited this long to read this. Oh well. Life happens and my reading ambitions definitely have a way veering off track during those times. Last but not the least dear Ms. Lowe, keep em’ coming. For there is nothing more that reaffirms my belief that romance books are what keeps the world turning than a good book that engages all my emotions.

Final Verdict: Fiona Lowe effortlessly charms her way into your heart with Montana Actually. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Josh strode quickly through the door, filling the diner with his height, his breadth and his restless energy.
Light gray eyes—eyes that no longer looked like a red trail map—met hers. A flare of surprise burned in them along with something that made her shiver in a very good way. As fast as it had glowed brightly, it faded away leav- ing her wondering. In its place was the more familiar and slightly detached gaze.
She swallowed hard, determined to sound cool, calm and collected. “Doctor Stanton.”
“Nurse McCade.” He eyed the coffeepot in her hand suspiciously. “I hope you’re more in control of hot coffee than paint.”

One minute there was a safe and healthy distance between them, and then the old sofa cushions caved inward, rolling her sideways. Her shoulders bumped into his arm and then she fell across him. Suddenly, she found herself sprawled half on his lap.
“Sorry,” she spluttered as her body squealed in delight. “This sofa is a disaster.” She tried to move but the sucking cushions pinned her against him—a solid wall of muscle radiating heat. Heat that wove through her, taunting her with delicious quivers that danced and swirled before rushing straight to the apex of her thighs.

He groaned and, tantalizingly slowly, traced the outline of her top lip with the tip of his finger. Like a match to paper, she went up in flames as heat and joyful anticipation rocked her. She opened her mouth under his touch, her tongue licking the tip of his finger before her lips sucked it inside her mouth.
The black pupils of his eyes bled into the silvery gray. “Dear God, you’re killing me.” As he withdrew his finger, his other hand curved around the back of her neck and he kissed her.

The kiss was deliciously restrained and divinely decadent. Honor and lust—a kiss of the ages. A kiss any woman would envy.
A kiss that was driving her wild. She wanted to shake the control and unleash the passion.
Tingling from head to toe and desperate to really taste him, she opened her mouth under his, flicked out her tongue and invited him in. He didn’t hesitate. He branded her with his heat and his need for her, both giving and taking, and her knees buckled. She grabbed onto his shirt and he staggered backward, bringing her with him.

He waited for her to say or do something to tell him exactly what she wanted, but she stayed silent, so he lowered his mouth to hers.
He tasted salt, beer and restraint. He lightly nipped her lower lip.
She moaned, rose on her toes and opened her mouth under his, taking him in.
Thank you.

“If I didn’t think it would give you a swelled head, I’d tell you that the reality of you naked, even fuzzily out of focus, far outshines the fantasy.”
He grinned at her with dimples dancing. “I aim to please.”
“So do I.” She closed her hand around him, loving the hot and silken feel of him in her palm.
“Jesus, Katrina,” he moaned as his hands reached for her. “Too much of that and I won’t be pleasing you for another twenty minutes.”
“Where’s your self-control?” she teased.
“I lost it the moment I met you.”

She wasn’t sure if she crawled up him or if he lifted her or if it was a bit of both, but suddenly her arms and her legs were wrapped tightly around him and her back was pressed up against the tiles.
All of her quivered with unmet need and her body screamed for him. “Fill me up.”
Snowstorm gray eyes gazed into hers, filled with match- ing need. “Now?”
“Yes, please, right now.”
He pushed up. She pressed down and beseeching muscles gripped him tight, so tight it was as if they were scared he might change his mind.

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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.

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

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Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookheartofobsidian
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Futuristic Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #12
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Kaleb Krychek
Heroine: Sahara Kyriakus
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 4, 2013
Started On: January 14, 2014
Finished On: January 18, 2014

With Heart of Obsidian, Nalini Singh has outdone every single book in the Psy-Changeling series, giving fans a whole new meaning to the term explosive, which renders this book the best addition to the series so far. One of the reasons that I think the story worked so well was the fact that Nalini decided to take a step back from the Changelings and focus on the intriguing world of Psy for a change. Added to it is the fact that Heart of Obsidian is the book that presents the most pivotal turning point in the series to date, thus it is no wonder that Heart of Obsidian practically turns the pages by itself with the sheer scale of entertainment it has to offer.

Kaleb Krychek, cardinal telekinetic is the man who had risen to power and attained his place in the Council at the young age of 27, the youngest to have secured a position as such. The sheer, raw and unadulterated power that he holds inside of him is one that kept me in awe from beginning till end, the scale of it one that I don’t think I would ever be able to completely wrap my head around. The plans he has for his race, a race that assumed Silence almost 100 years back to keep the madness at bay is one that only he is privy to. And all the while, Kaleb’s search for the woman who is the deepest flaw in his Silence had continued until finally, 7 years on, Sahara Kyriakus is found and returned to her rightful place beside him.

This spellbinding novel is the culmination of so many events that has continued to happen since the beginning of the series, the fact that Silence wasn’t what the Psy had assumed it would turn out to be made altogether more evident by a faction of the race who demands absolute Silence which would allow them ultimate control of the minds of every Psy. For them, it is absolute Silence or nothing else, even if it means the destruction of their whole race altogether.

Kaleb is an enigma, a man who makes your heart race, just because. Brought up as the protege of one the most evil of the Psy, no one knows for certain where Kaleb stands. The darkness that walks right along with him or rather inside of him is one that he had embraced a long time back, knowing that he’d been forged in the darkness, with his hands tainted in blood, his soul leeched dry of whatever emotions that would have made him even remotely hesitant in executing the plan he has in mind to take over the reins of a race that has been left floundering with their leaders in conflict with one another.

Kaleb’s most fascinating aspect turns out to be his “obsession” with Sahara, a term he would not have used to describe his relentless search for the woman for whom he would destroy everything and anyone who stands in his way and paint the world in blood red if required. Sahara when he finally finds her, is merely a shell of the 16 year old Sahara that was snatched away from his world, a woman who holds inside of her the sort of power that is enough make a man an Emperor, a power that in the wrong hands could be exploited for just that.

Kaleb’s plans for Sahara and that of the fate of the world takes an about turn when the Sahara he had known starts to return to him bit by bit, completely undoing his every intention and destroying every notion that he has held about himself when it comes to intimacies of the heart, body, mind and soul. With every searing kiss that is exchanged, Kaleb knows that its only a matter of time before Sahara realizes the darkness that swirls deep inside of him, ready to consume him and the rest of the world, if he were reach out and embrace the totality of it.

The things I loved about the Heart of Obsidian are many, and I am finding this review equally hard to write because I am afraid that I might not be able to do justice to the sheer pleasure reading this novel brought for me. I absolutely adored just how into each other both Kaleb and Sahara were; there were no pretenses to be had, no holding back and it worked beautifully for them with their entwined past making the connection between them that much more real. The heat and fire between Kaleb and Sahara was actually what I wanted for Hawke and Sienna, which unfortunately failed to materialize, the deep abiding connection between them something that I would carry in my heart always.

The telepathic dirty talk between Sahara and Kaleb was one that was enticing and arousing in equal doses, the scenes of passion between them hot enough to flatten down entire buildings with the raw power of it all. Beneath the icy cold exterior that is Kaleb lies the darkest of passions and deepest of desires, centered around just one woman who could bring him down to his very knees, the woman who would always be the game changer when it comes to him. Sahara’s adoration, love and deep seated protectiveness for all that is Kaleb was what made me fall in love with her, totally and irrevocably and I just might have to go ahead and say that I don’t think that I have ever fallen in love with a heroine that hard and fast. I definitely cannot wait to find out what Nalini is planning next for this incredible world that she has created, a world that is as enthralling as the stories that she spins around it.

Most absolutely recommended for everyone who loves romances, dark heroes, passions that run deep and obsessions that brings to light the most abiding of love.

Final Verdict: Stupendous in every single aspect, Heart of Obsidian is nothing short of a spectacular work of art!

Favorite Quotes

She couldn’t look away from him, his skin a sun gold that belied the cool lack of expression on his face. If he’d kept his distance, she might have resisted the temptation that had been riding her since the bedroom . . . but he crossed over to her, didn’t say a word when she ran her fingers over the tensile warmth of him, her nipples tight points against the thin fabric of her sleeveless lilac shirt.
His own hand was big, warm against her cheek as he cupped her jaw. “Don’t be afraid of me, Sahara.” Bending his head, he spoke with his lips against hers, the contact igniting a thousand tiny lightning strikes in her blood. “I’d line the streets with bodies before I’d ever hurt you.”

“I,” he murmured, “can never permit her freedom. She would find a way to harm you.”
Sahara’s eyes were haunted when they met his. “Am I so important to you?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re everything.” The entire reason for his existence.

The caress felt raw, unpracticed, but no less addicting for it. The realization that he’d done this act with no other, that it was as new a pleasure to him as it was to her, was heroin in her bloodstream, a shocking punch of sensation, the world a study in passionate red. Stretching her body upward, her weight balanced on her toes, she kissed him with a wild desperation that lacked any sense of finesse.

Kaleb wasn’t cold now, his skin hot enough to burn, the arm he’d braced over her head trapping her in a prison she had no desire to escape. Thrusting her hands into his hair, she held him to her, sinking her teeth into his lower lip in a feral act of passion that should’ve shocked her.
It didn’t. Not in the madness.

A pause before he shifted to face her, one of his hands lightly cupping the side of her jaw, his eyes a black inferno. “I want more.”
Caught off guard at the realization that his arousal hadn’t been tempered by the interruption, Sahara’s lips parted in a gasp. Kaleb took the silent invitation, his mouth on hers as he pressed her back to the glass, his erection pushing into her abdomen in hard demand. Moaning, she sucked on his tongue as his hand came up to cover her breast . . . and the world turned to shards of glass, the windows exploding in a glittering shower of deadly snow.

Gripping her jaw in silent answer, he braced himself with his free arm beside her head, and then he branded her mouth with his own. You are mine. It was a statement telepathed along the private pathway that had formed years ago. Mine to touch. Mine to look at. Mine.

Sliding a hand from under her back, he gripped one breast with a firmness that felt like a brand and lowered his mouth to her flesh again. Her mind went red, her back arching as if to thrust her breast farther into his mouth. Kaleb, I need—
Tell me. Another scrape of teeth that scattered her neurons, her nails clawing the earth, crushed grass under her palms.
Touch me, please. I can’t—
Here? He cupped her between the thighs in a raw intimacy, pushing up with the heel of his hand.
And the world splintered.

“Teach me what feels good on your body.” She ached to kiss and pet him as he was doing her, burned to see those cardinal eyes drenched in the same storm that had sucked her under.
Watching you orgasm gives me extreme pleasure, was Kaleb’s unvarnished answer as his lips sought hers once more. Feeling you sticky and damp against my tongue, my fingers, your body soft under mine, your aroused nipples rubbing against my chest, that’s what feels good.

Sahara screamed, her body clenching around Kaleb’s in an orgasm that felt as if it would tear her to pieces . . . and that was when Kaleb’s control snapped. There was nothing practiced about the way he pounded deep into her over and over again, nothing restrained about the way he wrenched her head to the side to kiss and suck at her throat, nothing calculated about the way he bent her thigh upward then pushed it wide to facilitate a deeper taking.
It was primitive; it was rough; it was spectacular.

Kaleb came in violent silence, his breath harsh against her ear and his body rigid. The hot wet of his possession as his semen pulsed inside her made her erotically abused muscles spasm again, clenching tight around him. Jerking, he raised his head, eyes of obsidian holding her own as he drew back one final time, then thrust deep past her clenching muscles.
“Mine. You are mine.”
They were the last words Sahara heard before Kaleb’s kiss tore her apart, his body locked with her own as they fell.

“Make me yours, Kaleb.”
The throaty request, falling from lips plump and wet, snapped the ring of black ice. Slipping his hand under her thigh after repositioning his own, he spread her further and, tearing away her panties with a negligible use of his Tk, pushed inside her. She was tight. He was slow, deliberate. Moaning, Sahara dug her nails into his nape, her breasts flushed, her nipples lush beads he wanted to roll against his tongue.

“Kaleb!” Sahara convulsed around his erection, her entire body shaking with the strength of her orgasm.
Kaleb had intended to continue the slow pace that was an exercise in erotic control, but his brain short-circuited at the possessive clenching of Sahara’s intimate muscles. Pushing her onto her front, her face turned sideways on the pillow, he fisted one hand tightly in her hair and slammed into her in a brutally deep and fast rhythm, her body tight and slick and of the woman who was and had always been his. It felt like madness, creeping red on the horizon.

Punching her fist on the pillow, Sahara undulated her lower body toward him. Move!
The feminine demand was the only thing he needed to hear. Pounding into her, he saw her fingers clench tight on the sheets, her lips part on a breathless cry, and then she was coming around him once more, the pulses harder, more viciously possessive. Caught in the vise of her pleasure, his back arched as white lightning tore through his spine.
The bed slammed back to the ground.
Hard.
So did every other item in the room.

Sahara’s fingers tightened on his arm. “You’re mine.” Simple, quiet words that were a punch to the chest. “I will fight for you, today, tomorrow, and all the tomorrows to come.”

“You do not let that monster destroy the life we are going to have together. You are mine, not his. You have always been mine.”
The claiming was so absolute, it dared him to fight. Kaleb had no intention of doing so. Shuddering, he crushed her to him. “Yes,” he said, battling the rage because if he gave in to it, he would lose Sahara. “I’m yours. I will always be yours.”
Her lips on his jaw, on his cheek, her love fierce. “Remember that. Each action, every action you take, it has my name on it.”

“Kaleb.”
He flipped her onto her back on that breathless moan, making sure she never touched the wood. Her legs locked around his hips, her arms around his neck, her passion as wild as the rain that had turned hard, pounding against his back. Taking her mouth, tasting her with his tongue, he broke the kiss to thrust in and out of her in a driving rhythm, the water dripping off his lashes to hit her cheeks.
“Everything, Kaleb,” she gasped, her nails the sweetest pain on his shoulders, “give me everything.”

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

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Review: Tangle Of Need by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookTangleOfNeed
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #11
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Riaz Delgado
Heroine: Adria Morgan
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 29, 2012
Started On: December 16, 2013
Finished On: December 22, 2013

Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh is the 11th book in the Psy-Changeling series, the book that follows the story of the much awaited coming together of Hawke and Sienna. By the 10th book in the series which happens to be Hawke and Sienna’s story, a lot has happened and the stories move towards the ultimate demise of the Silence that the Psy species had assumed a long time back rendering them emotionless, cold and calculative. A movement known as Pure Psy seems to have stemmed from within the Psy race, hellbent on achieving state of ultimate and pure silence that would “protect” them from all sorts of emotions that according to them happens to be the demise of their race. And all the while, the politics that governs the Psy race seems to be splintering into fragments, lending the series the edge it deserves.

Tangle of Need is the story of Riaz Delgado, a lieutenant of the SnowDancer wolf pack and Adria Morgan, one of the senior soldiers of the pack. Riaz is a lone wolf, who has come back home to lick his wounds and bask in the love and togetherness of the pack to piece together the jagged pieces of his broken heart and soul. Adria herself is broken from a relationship that had practically splintered pieces of her heart, soul and self esteem, something she battles with continuously ever since having walked out from a life that had stopped working for her a long time ago.

The passion that ignites between Riaz and Adria is smoldering hot, one filled with resentment and anger on Riaz’s part and apprehension on Adria’s end. The fact that Adria proved to be strong enough to walk away from Riaz knowing she deserved better made me respect her a helluva lot, not that I didn’t understand where Riaz was coming from. The visceral hurt that seemed to be eating Riaz alive made me want to reach out to him and pet him until the pain his wolf was suffering was laid to rest, and I fell in love with Adria for being woman enough to accept and love Riaz as he is.

My contention with the story stems from the fact that I believe juggling so many aspects of the story made it lose focus on the main protagonists of the novel. There was Riaz and Adria and then there was Hawke and Sienna. Hawke and Sienna get as much time in the story as Riaz and Adria, probably to make up for the lack in their own story. I had a huge problem with how Hawke and Sienna’s story panned out, my main problem again being the fact that Hawke and Sienna as a couple didn’t get much time in the story due to everything else that was taking place. Don’t get me wrong, these books are quite entertaining and I still wouldn’t pass reading them up for anything, but I think when the focus is lost from the main couple in the story, therein lies a problem.

The way things ended with Adria and Riaz made me wonder for a second or two on whether Adria had been shortchanged by the man she adores and loves with her heart, body and soul. And though I felt that Riaz does return her love and does a good job of convincing her of just that, I still felt a teensy bit disappointed by how things ended for them. But deep in my heart I know and believe that their love is one that will survive because they are both equally strong and determined people who would fight to death for each other.

Tangle of Need ends on a sort of a cliff hanger ending in the sense that it leaves one practically on tenterhooks wanting to know how the next chapter would pan out. As one of the reviewers on Goodreads pointed out, the background storyline was focused on preparing the reader for the next book, Heart of Obsidian which I hear is filled with explosive and ground shaking moments. Can’t wait to begin reading!

Recommended for fans of the series. Read the series in order. Otherwise you’ll miss out on the great stuff that binds the stories together.

Favorite Quotes

Growling deep in his chest, he pulled her head back to take her mouth again. He wasn’t the least bit gentle, but she didn’t want gentle, her claws digging into his shoulders as her body moved with raw impatience against him. Taking his hand off her breast, he tore the button off her jeans, tugged down the zipper.

“Why are you doing this?” she whispered, her voice stripped bare.
Riaz’s answer sounded torn out of him. “I can’t stop myself.” He shifted her closer, the move so unexpected, she didn’t resist—and found herself plastered to the hard strength of him. His arousal pushed into her abdomen, the hot male scent of him seeping into her veins until she could taste the dark forests and biting citrus of him against her tongue.

“Oh God!” Arching into the firm, confident touch, she tore at his T-shirt until it was in pieces around them, his big, muscled body rising over her own, his mouth busy on her lips, her jaw, her neck.
His skin was a shade of burnished brown, warm and beautiful, her pleasure at touching him—at last—almost painful.

A single hard thrust and he was seated deep inside her, the thickness of him a pulsing brand.
She froze for a minute, her body stunned at the almost violent possession. Long unused muscles ached, but below all that was need. Such naked, raw need.

Even as she came with a scream, he pounded into her with such wild fury, the feel of him reverberated through her very bones. A brutal word in a masculine voice so harsh, it was almost unrecognizable. Her internal muscles spasming in erotic response. His hand clenching on her breast. The primal heat of him spilling into her.

He broke the kiss, gasped in a jagged breath. Two long, hard thrusts and he felt his spine lock. Gritting his teeth, he tilted her so that his pubic bone would press against her clitoris, and then he thrust again.
Tiny muscles spasming anew around his cock, a molten fist.
His mind went black.

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

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Review: The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-booktheluckiestladyinlondon
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Felix Rivendale
Heroine: Louisa Cantwell
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 5, 2013
Started On: November 19, 2013
Finished On: November 21, 2013

His eyes met hers again. “Let me give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of.”

I believe the above is something every woman dreams of hearing from the man she has the most avid crush on say to her. Or one would think unless it comes from the mouth of Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth known as The Ideal Gentleman, who is determined not to ever fall in love or give any woman the chance to make him vulnerable like he’d been all throughout his childhood.

Louisa Cantwell is equally determined that she’d get a marriage proposal from a man who’d be able to give her exactly what she wants. The daughter of a fortune hunter with no dowry of her own and no ravishing looks to boast of either, Louisa knows exactly what she has to offer to a husband of her choosing. With her sights set on two men she thinks she can ‘handle’, it comes as a shock to her system when sheer unadulterated lust uncoils inside of her when she lays eyes on the most gorgeous of men, Felix Rivendale.

A passing glance is what a marriage seeking innocent like Louisa would’ve warranted from Felix if not for the intrigue that she stirs inside of him. Felix knows that Louisa is hardly what she presents herself to be to the rest of the ton, just like himself, who has managed to and continues to fool everyone on what he is.

Intrigue turns into lust, and Felix tells himself that it is both combined that makes Louisa the worthy adversary that she is, who occupies a lot of his mind, too much perhaps for his liking. The layer of suspicion that always underlies her gaze whenever she sets her sights on Felix together with just how much she resists the pull between them makes him feel more wicked and the rush that it gives something decadent, to be savored for a man who thinks nothing can move him.

Felix continues to be able to fool himself until his wedding night which leaves him stark ‘naked’ without that ruthless control of his which comes tumbling down after the weeks and weeks of foreplay that had readied both of them to its culminating event. Though Louisa knows that falling in love with the one man she shouldn’t fall for is the pits, her unforgettable wedding night gives her that little ray of hope that Felix ruthlessly and effectively crushes right in front of her.

What followed turned out to be so so good in so many different ways. Let me rephrase that, the whole book turned out to be absolutely fantastic in so many ways. I wholeheartedly adored Felix; what’s there not to be adored in a man who is absolutely clueless when it comes to the yearning of his heart, a man who learns the errors of his ways and goes  about doing absolutely everything in his power to make it right even if it might mean victory may not be in sight ever?

Louisa was just as adorable, a woman who matches, understands and loves Felix for who he is, and that in my opinion made her the most worthy of Felix’s absolute love, adoration  and trust. The Luckiest Lady in London has got the humor, the class and the wit that makes it one of the best historical romances of this year. Sherry Thomas certainly knows what she’s doing and it shows in every single historical romance of hers that I’ve read to date.

This romance has so much heat to it that I felt my whole body warm up from the inside out every single time Louisa and Felix entered the scene. Sherry Thomas has a definite knack for creating sexual tension unlike any other, and dear sweet lord, does she deliver on so many occasions throughout the story, not explicit in nature, but still tantalizing and delicious enough to make me sigh in utmost satisfaction and make my toes curl inward and out every single time.

The only thing that I had even the slightest contention with was the ending. Being the masochist that I am, I guess I wanted just a bit more angst. And perhaps the ending was quite fitting and in line with the story that unfolded if I were to think about it from a different perspective. Needless to say, Sherry Thomas held me completely enthralled and in the story’s grip throughout which is no mean feat if you ask me. And I’m certainly looking forward to see whether Sherry Thomas is going to gives us the story of Lady Tremaine, who happened to be one of Felix’s mistresses, a most intriguing woman whom I say has definitely got a tale to tell.

Most definitely recommended for fans of sensuous historical romances and of course fans of Sherry Thomas. This is a must not miss!

Final Verdict: Off the charts sexual tension, sensuality & prose that only Sherry Thomas can pull off. A definite winner!

Favorite Quotes

All at once she lifted her gaze—she might as well get it over with. She was presented with a head of thick black hair and an aristocratic profile. Then, as if sensing her attention, he turned to her.
A pox on everyone who had ever told her that The Ideal Gentleman was handsome. He was not handsome—he was extravagantly gorgeous. One look into his serene yet hypnotic green eyes, and all the romantic yearnings she had never before experienced struck her at once, like a bullet to the heart.

“A shame,” he replied softly. “I know the earl’s sons very well. We’d have met much sooner had you been acquainted with them.”
She was staring down into her plate, but at his tone, which made her feel strange things, she could not help turning her face, looking into his eyes for the first time since she saw him across the drawing room, before the start of dinner.
Instantly a fierce heat swept over her. Had she thought that there was nothing erotic in the attention he directed her way? That must have been a different lifetime altogether. For this gaze of his made her think of . . . skin. Flesh. And, God help her, unnatural acts.

“Have you missed me?”
He didn’t ask such questions. Or at least, he didn’t ask such questions when the answers mattered.
Her left hand closed into a fist. “Of course I have missed you.”
The floor stopped wobbling. He breathed again.

He could see it, too, now. Except he saw it even more perversely. His guests would not be in the house, but on the grounds for the bonfire party that always marked the last night of his summertime hospitality. Most would remain near the manor, but some would venture farther afield and almost stumble upon them, hidden in the shadows, still fully clothed, but with her skirts pushed up above her waist, and him hilt-deep inside her.

His lips never leaving hers, he touched her in that secret place. She moaned; she writhed; she kissed him with a desperate fervor. Then suddenly she was crying out, her body tensing.
A heartbeat later he was deep inside her, filling her with his essence, convulsing with a pleasure that turned him inside out.

“Tell me to stop and I will.” His voice was hoarse, nothing like how he usually sounded.
And his eyes were tightly shut. Dimly he remembered that he’d meant to look his fill of her as he brought her to one trembling peak after another. But the sensations of her person were all he could handle; the sight of it would undo him altogether.
“I never want you to stop,” she whispered, kissing his ear as she spoke, jolting him with another surge of lust. “Never.”

The pleasure of her—he was mindless with it. He invaded her again and again, her whimpers of pleasure a fire in his blood. Her name escaped his throat; he could not stop telling her how exquisite she was and how much he craved her.
When her body tightened voluptuously around his cock, he lost any and all control he might have still possessed. And gave himself up to the most explosive pleasure he had ever known.

She wrapped her legs around his waist. “You make me willing to do anything with you—and for you.”
Her flattery did not go to waste. The next second he was inside her again, hot and huge. She pulled him in for a kiss, and did not let him go until her pleasure was winding tighter and tighter and she was struggling to breathe.
It was like the sky falling.
Beyond, the stars.

He had no recollection of either shoving aside her skirts or freeing himself from the encumbrance of his trousers. The next thing he knew was a desperate upward plunge as he entered her—and the gasps that echoed between them.
The ferocity of her lips, the avarice of her hands, the sheer, agonizing scorch of her person. He didn’t know how he remembered to clamp a palm over her mouth—perhaps only when he heard someone calling, from no more than fifteen feet away, “Quick. The fireworks are about to start.”
Their own fireworks ignited first. He barely protested before surrendering to the demonic pleasures of her body clenching and shuddering about his.

But she did not want to lose control alone—that path led directly back to the pit of despair. “Come in deeper. Are you in me as deep as you want to be?”
Now they were tumbling off the edge together; now his control was as shattered as hers. And now she finally closed her eyes and let herself be swept away by the surge of pleasure.
And by his harshly uttered words in her ear, as he gripped her close: “I can never be in you deep enough. Never.”

She undid his trousers. Her lips followed her hands, her tongue swirling about him in scalding, indecent ways. His hips flexed involuntarily, even as despair swamped him. She took him deep into her mouth; his grunt of pleasure echoed against the walls.
“I love the size of you,” she declared, “the texture of you, the taste of you.”
And the rest of me?
He shut his eyes tight against the pleasure, against the pain, against the possibility of betraying all the yearning in his soul.

The next second, her skirts were shoved up, her bustle knocked aside, her drawers pushed down not only without ceremony, but with hardly even any acknowledgment that they were ever there.
And then he was inside her, hard and thick.
It was the most incredible, most delicious sensation, like being pounded by a runaway train. The force of his thrusts flattened her. It nearly lifted her off the floor. With one hand on her abdomen, he pulled her toward him, so that he came in farther, deeper, harder.

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