ARC Review: A SEAL’s Kiss by Tawny Weber

Format: E-bookasealskiss
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Uniformly Hot, #4
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Aiden Masters
Heroine: Sage Taylor
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 18, 2014
Started On: March 18, 2014
Finished On: March 18, 2014

A SEAL’s Kiss by Tawny Weber is one of the best Harlequin romances that I have read in a long while. And I believe this to be my very first Tawny Weber as well. I found myself impressed with the way Tawny drew me into the story right from the very beginning, entertaining me with a wit that I found irresistible, a hero that I could have drooled over forever and a heroine that spoke to me at every single level.

Sage Taylor is a free spirit if ever there was one. A single child, Sage has always been confident of her wanderings that it would someday lead her to the contentment and bliss that she has been seeking for her whole life. One by one her friends get hitched and Sage who shivers at the mere thought of tying herself down to one man much less settling down somewhere, finds herself at odds with her matchmaking friend when her friend’s determination to find Sage someone makes her blurt out that she is already engaged, and to none other than her lifelong friend, Chief Petty Officer Aiden Masters.

Aiden is a Navy SEAL to his very core, discipline stamped on every noble piece of his soul. Highly intelligent, Aiden had been Sage’s college professor father’s protege until Aiden’s career choice had meant that he lived long periods of time away from home. A man who seldom finds any logic to emotion, Aiden finds himself continually surprised by just how much Sage has always disturbed him on a level that he would rather not acknowledge. And suddenly with a fake engagement to the woman he has always held at an arm’s length starting to feel more and more real by the minute, Aiden knows that his control being shattered is a foregone conclusion with the fire burning hotter and brighter between him and Sage than he has ever felt it with anyone else.

Two equal opposites finding out that there had always existed between them a fire of the sort that can never ever completely burn out, finds more than they bargained for in a fake engagement that brings forth emotions and feelings all too real that they both cannot just brush aside. Each with their own versions of cold feet and hangups to deal with, Aiden and Sage provides two very well rounded characters that made the story that much more appealing.

I so so loved Aiden. He is broody, a little bit grumpy and a helluva lot sexy that I didn’t know whether to sigh or just start whimpering in agony over the fact that he would never materialize from the book itself and just sweep me off of my feet. Yes, Tawny did a splendid job out of breathing him into life, a character that practically leaped out of the pages and straight into my heart and certain other unmentionable zones of the body too! As you can guess, I just flat-out adored him to pieces.

Sage too turned out to be the exact version of heroines that I tend to love. Giving, courageous and sassy which is a combination that I find hard to resist, Sage was exactly what Aiden needed to snap out of that rigid control of his and take a breather every now and then. Sage might be the one that comes off as flaky with no direction in life, but her courage is an unwavering factor to her character that allows her to take chances that could bring even someone like the big and tough Aiden to his very knees. Without each other, Aiden and Sage makes for two halves that are enticing in their own right, put together they are combustible in every single way that makes them hard to resist.

I loved the sensuality interwoven into the story, not too much but just the right amount, that sizzling sexual vibe between Aiden and Sage kept alive throughout. Though the lack of an epilogue was sorely felt, especially when I loved both Aiden and Sage so much, A SEAL’s Kiss nevertheless turned out to be a beautiful read that put a huge smile on my face. Recommended!

Final Verdict: A little bit of grumpy, a whole lot of hot with just the dash of sweet; Aiden is one sexy SEAL to fall in love with!

Favorite Quotes

Then, before he could push her away or even demand an explanation for the crazy public behavior, she planted that full, usually babbling mouth on his.
And Aiden forgot everything.
His demand for information.
His reasonable argument.
Her tongue slid, hot and tempting, over the seam of his lips.
And he straight-up forgot his own name.

Always willing to give her body what it wanted, she curled her fingers tighter around the back of Aiden’s neck. She slid her tongue along the crease of his lips, tasting.
Testing.
He tasted damned good.
For a second, she thought he was going to just stand there. Stoic and sweet, simply tolerating the move but not rejecting her so as not to hurt her feelings.
Then he gave a low growl.
The sound sent those tingles into high gear. Sage’s heart sped up. His mouth opened over hers.
Hot and swift, his tongue swept in. Took over.

His hand shifted. It only needed to move an inch, and he had her breast beneath his fingers.
God, she felt good.
Full, soft, her nipple beaded and hardened against his palm.
Their kiss exploded.
Hot, wild, it went over the edge, taking Aiden with it.

Still holding her, he carefully, as if she were precious treasure, laid her on the edge of the bed.
His eyes met hers.
She was so damned beautiful.
He slid into her wet heat, her body gripping him so tight he almost cried with the intensity of the pleasure.
This, he realized as he plunged, was home.He’d finally come home.

Aiden exploded.
His body. His mind.
His heart.
Every piece of him blew to bits as he lost himself in her body. He lost track of time. Black edged his vision but he never lost sight of her face. Of those eyes.
He loved her. Dammit.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | Harlequin | ARe | iTunes

awesomeread

ARC Review: Driving Her Wild by Meg Maguire

Format: E-bookdrivingherwild
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wilinski’s, #3
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Patrick Doherty
Heroine: Steph Healy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 22, 2013
Started On: October 21, 2013
Finished On: October 22, 2013

She punched the button for the lobby.
And when the door slid open again, there he was.
The exactly wrong sort of man, with that smile that made her feel so damn right.

Meg Maguire is an author who writes the not so your usual variety of romances for tropes that you might have read a time or two. In Driving Her Wild, retired cage fighter Steph Haley makes her way to the Wilinski’s Fight Academy, taking those first steps towards a future that she has already mapped out for herself. It certainly doesn’t include the blue-eyed Patrick Doherty kissing her senseless and making mincemeat out of her well laid plans towards a financially secure future with a sophisticated man who would make her feel like a lady rather than just a casual tumble between the sheets to scratch an itch.

Patrick is good with his hands when it comes to carpentry but not so much when it comes to doing electrical jobs which is what he does to keep his head above water in these economically uncertain times. And when Patrick comes across the sexy Steph with that glint in her eyes from all the bodily harm that comes her way due to Patrick’s clumsiness whenever she’s around, Patrick knows that he has found that essential ingredient that has been missing from his life for over more than a year.

Steph is driven and knows what she wants and denies to herself her need for Patrick’s overly capable hands roaming all over her body, inciting pleasure of the likes she’s never had, all  because she believes in her head that Patrick doesn’t fit the mould that she has clearly made out for what her perfect partner would be like when she nails him. But every man she comes across in her perfectly well ordered dating life doesn’t come close to giving her the zing and the connection that springs forth between the two of them. And without Steph somehow being aware of it, Patrick worms his way into her heart and shows her that sometimes what seems like the the worst fit for you just might end up being the one.

To be honest, I actually didn’t know what to make of Steph’s character. Yes, she is strong, physically and emotionally and knows what she wants. Patrick on the other hand seemed mellow when compared to Steph and perhaps that’s what makes them tick together. However, Patrick has no qualms about being a bit bossy as required in the bedroom which is what Steph seemed to want out of that aspect of their relationship.

Patrick might be what you call a beta hero in the sense he doesn’t go macho all over the place, but rather it is his sweetness and open honesty that wins him the bonus points, not to mention his good looks that earns him a second glance from women. Patrick is open about his feelings as they come, there is not even an ounce of pretense and the fact that he doesn’t resort to the games that people play when they do not know how to navigate the treacherous waters of what we call the beginnings of a relationship. But what Patrick wants, he too goes after, perhaps not with as much tenacity as Steph does, but nevertheless as effective or more so when it comes to winning the affections of the woman who makes him feel alive after so very long.

Steph’s misgivings about Patrick and the lack of security that their joint lives would have stems from her childhood, but somehow there seemed to be another factor which involved a cousin who made her feel insecure throughout her adolescence years. Though that in essence provided the pivotal turn in the relationship between Patrick and Stephy, somehow I failed to see how that contributed to making the story any richer or how it made the developing feelings between the two any more real than it was prior to that. Not a bad read but certain bits and pieces in the story just didn’t work for me while the rest worked very well.

Recommended for fans of Meg Maguire and fans of the series.

Final Verdict: With a bite of sexy, Meg Maguire delivers a beta hero that you’d adore!

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepo | B&N | Kobo | Harlequin

favorableread

ARC Review: Time Out by Jill Shalvis

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze Publisher Series
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Mark Diego
Heroine: Rainey Saunders
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 19, 2012
Started On: February 11, 2012
Finished On: February 17, 2012

I am finding out that whether it be a short length or a full length novel, if it is Jill Shalvis that holds the steering wheel, there is no wrong turn the story can take. Time Out which is set to be released sometime within this month is one wild and enjoyable ride, a romance that just completely reeled me in and I couldn’t have found a better way to drop off to sleep afterwards, dreaming of a Mark that was all my own to do whatever I please with. *sigh*

Rainey Saunders has just turned thirty years old and is single, looking for that special someone. She and her best friend Lena both work at the North District Rec Center in Santa Rey, a small mid-California beach town. Rainey is a bit of a control freak, has the frizzy hair thing going for her and has a heart of gold that shines through right from the very start. She might have a hard time connecting with anyone in her dating life the way she did when she was dumb and crushing so hard on the delectable Mark Diego when she was just 16 years old. But she is way past that crush, or so she tells herself until Mark walks in, more delectable than ever, tempting her to take just a little bite out of him to satisfy all those cravings that practically fall all over themselves trying to get closer to him.

34 year old Mark Diego is the youngest, most popular NHL head coach in the country. With fame and fortune in his hands, Mark doesn’t allow himself to feel those niggling bouts of “emptiness” that hits him once in a while. Mark has always been ambitious, wanting to rise above the poverty in which he had grown up. Wanting to teach two of his players a lesson Mark makes his way towards his hometown, not at all expecting his life to take a totally unforeseen turn when he butts heads with the altogether grown up and too alluring for her own good Rainey who pierces through the rough and tough armor of his to lay siege on his heart.

The story that unfolds is what only Jill Shalvis herself can deliver. Though Rainey keeps reminding herself that she doesn’t want anything to do with Mark, her hormones keep sending the opposite signal, and time and yet again, both Mark and Rainey finds themselves in one clandestine position after the other which serves to be such a feast for the senses. There wasn’t one part of me that wasn’t clamoring to swallow Mark Diego in all his glory in one big gulp or should I say I wanted to savor him in nibbling bites so that the whole feast would last for a lifetime.

The thread of humor that is always a part of a Jill Shalvis book is there in this story as well, and the underlying issues that are much serious in nature also makes their impact on the reader as Jill takes the reader through stories of families hard hit by ravaging forest fires, abusive fathers and all that is brushed under the carpet by people who are mostly at the receiving end of such violent physical and emotional abuse.

The only thing that I was a teeny bit peeved about was the abruptness of the ending of the story. Though Jill managed to deliver that happily ever after I was clamoring for right from the very start, Mark and Rainey’s story ended a bit too hastily for my taste. But apart from that, everything in this story, and I mean everything was top notch, the type of contemporary romance that is too far and few in between these days. 

Delivering a Harlequin Blaze as it should be, Jill certainly packs a punch with Time Out. Intense and sexy as sin with characters of the caliber that only Jill can create, Time Out comes most highly recommended from the sunny side of life!

Favorite Quotes

“It’s good to see you as well,” she said, her mouth against his ear, her lips brushing the lobe.
He went still at the contact, then instead of trying to pull free, merely folded her into his arms, trapping her against him. And damn if her body didn’t burst to life, as if all this time it’d been just waiting for him to come back.
“Yeah, you’re different,” he murmured, doing as she had, pressing his mouth to her ear, giving her a shiver. “The little kitten grew up and got claws.”

At twenty-one, Mark had been long and leanly muscled, not a spare inch on him. Rainey’s gaze ran down his thirty-four-year-old body and she had to admit he was even better now. In fact, the only way to improve on that body would be to dip it into chocolate.

Her hands tightened on him. “I mean it,” she said. “We’re not doing this.”
“Define this.”
“We’re not going to be friends.”
“Deal,” he said.
“We’re not going to even like each other.”
“Obviously.”
She stared into his eyes, hers turbulent and heated. “And no more kissing—”
He swallowed her words with his mouth, delving deeply, groaning at the taste of her. He heard her answering moan, and then her arms wound tight around his neck.
And for the first time since his arrival back in Santa Rey, they were on the same page.

“Mark.” She fisted her hands in his hair and pulled his mouth to hers, her entire world anchored on his finger. When it slid inside her, she thunked her head back against the door and panted. Then his thumb brushed her in a slow circle.
She cried out against his lips, arching into him, yanking his hair. She couldn’t help it. She was going up in flames. He merely pressed her hard to the door, locking her in place. Continuing the torture, he added another finger. She came hard and fast, the power of it sweeping over her like a tidal wave. 

His gaze swept over her, hot and approving, as he lifted her up. “Wrap your legs around me— There. God, yeah, like that—” His voice was a low command, caressing her as much as his hands. “Hold on to me.” Then his mouth crushed her own as he pushed her back against the door.
She threaded her hands into his hair as he thrust deep inside of her. He made a rough sound of sheer male pleasure, his fingers digging into her soft flesh as she rocked into him. Again he thrust, slowly at first, teasing until she was begging. It was glorious torment, hot and demanding, just like the man kissing her.

The kiss ignited like a rocket flash. Not that this surprised her. Everything pertaining to Mark seemed to burn hot and fast. Frustration, lust…
His mouth was rough, hot and hungry on hers as he pulled her closer, taking control. She heard herself moan, kissing him with helpless desperation. If dessert was her usual drug of choice, it’d just been replaced because she couldn’t seem to get enough of him.

With a smug smirk, he kissed her again, then slid into her. Pleasure flooded her, so intense it arched her back and had her crying out, clutching at him. The teasing and fun vanished in a blink, replaced by something so intense she could hardly breathe. Mark’s eyes were dark and sultry, and she reared up to press her mouth to his. He took control of the kiss, making her melt into him all the more as he buried himself in her over and over, deeper, harder, faster, the entire time holding her gaze with his, letting her see everything she did to him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Harlequin

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!

Review: Witness Seduction by Elle Kennedy

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Harlequin Blaze
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Caleb Ford
Heroine: Marley Kincaid
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 23, 2011
Started On: December 8, 2011
Finished On: December 8, 2011

Witness Seduction by Elle Kennedy is a sexy and sweet title from the Harlequin Blaze line that released on August of this year. Seeing a fantastically done review of this little number up on Goodreads certainly whetted my appetite for more and here I am finally, 2 months afterwards writing my review for a book that proved to be quick, entertaining and sexy read that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. And a point worthy of mentioning is the fact that it was with the review of an Elle Kennedy book that I started this blog, that being her novella Heat of the Storm.

31 year old Caleb Ford has been a DEA agent for the past 10 years. His current mission is one that is personal to him, spying on the ex-fiance of a man called Patrick who is the reason for Caleb’s best pal’s death. Though he would like nothing more than to be detached from the woman he is spying on like every other mission he has been involved in to-date, something about the woman calls to him on a much deeper level.

27 year old Marley Kincaid wants to forget. Forget the fact that she had been duped so well by a man she had lived with for five long months and being none the wiser, forget that she had such poor judgement when it came to falling in love and giving up her heart. So she hides behind her job as a nurse and for the rest of the time works on renovating her house, not altogether amused by her best friend Gwen’s attempts at making her jump back into the dating world.

When Caleb and Marley’s worlds collide, she can’t help but be drawn towards the altogether too sexy and beautiful for words man who just seems to ignite a fire that burns hot and deep inside of her. Though Caleb feels not altogether too comfortable about making personal contact with the witness, he has no choice in the matter and he tells himself that he goes back to Marley in the name of the mission.

Before long Marley and Caleb together generates a fire that burns out of control, both unable to step back and away when it comes the burning sexual fire that has been between them right from the start. However, Patrick lies in wait, closer than either of them ever thought, biding his time until he can claim the one woman he is insane about, the one woman whose betrayal would bring the cards tumbling down.

Though a short story, Elle Kennedy has got a way with creating characters that are endearing and generate a passion between them that is scorching hot that reader cannot get enough of. Caleb’s character is not the type to ooze charm, which one would expect of him considering his movie star good looks and body. But he is taciturn at best, one who doesn’t find it easy to open up to other people. He likes his woman the way he likes his cars, fast and forgettable and Marley is definitely not that.

Marley’s character is such a sweetly endearing one. She is beautiful, cares about other people and has a way of drawing the inner person that lurks inside of Caleb that makes her such a great heroine. Caleb does betray her by lying about who he really is, and that hurts Marley more than she is willing to admit. And even then, she is intuitive enough to know, understand and believe that not everything that had conspired between them is a lie and is woman enough to forgive and accept Caleb back in her life, a man that completes her in every way.

I know that the term sweetheart is one that is used by heroes in a lot of books, but when it comes out of Caleb there is just something innately sweet and endearing about the term. And I found myself melting each and every single time he lets the term slip. With a cute little epilogue tucked at the end, I loved Witness Seduction and am hankering to find out whether Ms. Kennedy has any plans to write stories for some of the other colorful characters that we meet along the way.

Recommended for fans of Harlequin Blaze titles, fans of Elle Kennedy and for those that love a lil bit of mystery and action tied with passion of the toe curling variety.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Harlequin

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Caliber Seal: AMAZING READ!

Review: By the Book by Nancy Warren

Format: E-book
Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #85
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Luke Lawson
Heroine: Shari Wilson
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 1, 2003
Started On: February 6, 2011
Finished On: February 9, 2011

I just had to get this book after reading its blurb on Amazon. Nancy Warren shot into the list of authors to be definitely checked out time and time again after I read and reviewed her book My Fake Fiancee which was my first Nancy Warren and an unforgettable one at that. So taken away by the blurb, I found myself with the book loaded onto my Kindle, ready to indulge in a story many have reviewed to be hot, hot, hot and then some more hot and this title definitely lived up to my expectations in that area.

28 year old Luke Lawson is a journalist who works from home and the only son from his parents 4 children. His father’s lifestyle isn’t one conducive of a committed man and he is about to get married for the 5th time when the story begins. The combination of Luke’s charming smile, tall, rangy body and the twinkle in his green eyes with a hint of devilry in them makes Luke a definite hit with the ladies and he is quite comfortable with his happy and carefree lifestyle as the cynic inside of him believes that he is just like his father and would never have the potential to be in a committed relationship of any sort.

Shari Lawson is an English teacher for high school kids and lives above her totally hot neighbor Luke Lawson whom she has been eying for quite some time now. A dyslexic postal worker who keeps mixing up their mails lends both Luke and Shari the opportunity to drop in and see the other and all the while the sexual zing between them is hard to ignore for both of them. The night Shari decides to take matters into her own hands so to speak, she encounters Luke with a how-to-guide on sex, i.e. Sex for Total Morons – A How to Guide written by a Lance Flagstaff which makes Shari do a total 180 degree turn on acting upon her attraction towards Luke.

Luke doesn’t know whether to fall at a heap at his feet in embarrassment about being caught with a book that he has authored and he has no clue as to why he doesn’t own up to the fact that when it comes to women and hitting the sheets, he is quite the ladies man. Luke who has been hankering for Shari for quite sometime decides to hit 2 birds with one stone and make use of the opportunity to test out whether his philosophy published in the book works in real life and get Shari into his bed, and thus strikes up a deal with Shari to help him along from Chapter 1 – 4 in the book in return for his presence at the wedding ceremony of her ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend; all the while never owning up to the fact that the how-to-guide was authored by Luke himself.

What follows is funny, endearing and so very hot that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, sigh over every now and then and find myself unbearably flushed from one moment to the next as the story progressed. Both Shari and Luke who are reluctant to look for anything more with the other than just their attraction towards each other finds more than each of them bargained for as things heat up between them. Shari takes it upon herself to tutor the shy Luke in the art of pleasing a woman and finds herself totally overwhelmed when Luke hits all the right spots, in and out of bed. And the extremely commitment phobic Luke finds himself slowly and irrevocably falling in love with the wonderful woman he finds in Shari who changes his views about love, life and commitment once and for all.

I liked the gradual build in Shari and Luke’s relationship and the fact that they didn’t just straightaway jump into bed, but rather built up the sexual tension in a believable manner which does great things for the reader as well. I found myself totally caught up with Shari and her best friend Therese’s conversations – because they were so funny and I couldn’t help but laugh on Therese’s logic when it comes to men and their prowess in the bedroom. The side characters were wonderfully done for a novel such as this one and the sensuality just rocked at all levels and went  totally off the charts when both Luke and Shari try to seduce the other. Totally dig the love scenes in this one. And I won’t read a “Chapter 7” after this without getting a little hot around the collar after this one! *grin*

Though I loved so many things about this story, I found myself a bit disappointed in the abrupt manner it ended. Everyone knows that I am always a sucker for a good epilogue and I just know that an epilogue would have done wonders for this one. Would have loved to see Luke and Shari and their happily ever after sometime after the last chapter in the story ended.

I also didn’t get to see how Luke resolved his issues with being commitment phobic as a result of his father’s carefree nature when it comes to relationships, marriage and women. I would have loved to see Luke interact with his father and maybe see Luke’s father through his eyes, maybe at his father’s wedding so that I would have felt better about Luke’s total turnabout towards the end of the novel.

Favorite Quotes

“Haven’t you ever gone home with a really great-looking guy and all he talks about is himself?” (Therese says)
Shari nodded. Oh, yeah.
“Then they get in bed and it’s still all about them. One time I said to this guy, ‘I have a clitoris you know,’ and he asked if it was contagious.”

Before she finished her thought, she felt him whirl her body round and slap his lips on hers, hot and demanding. Her pulse jumped and her heart started to race. His mouth soothed and demanded, offered and possessed, so she felt dizzy with conflicting sensations. She sighed softly and leaned into him. As she’d guessed, he tasted like cold  beer, but there were hints of hot male there too. Instinctively she responded, until he pulled away, leaving her aroused and unsatisfied.

Recommended for fans of the Harlequin Blaze line stories, fans of Nancy Warren and anyone who loves a light contemporary romance that can make you tingle all in the right places!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: Below The Belt by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze #404
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Cooper Fitzgerald
Heroine: Jamie Sawyer
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 2008
Started On: December 26, 2010
Finished On: December 28, 2010

Though I have enjoyed reading a couple of sports themed romances (they have been far and few in between) this is the first of its kind for me. Even being not much of a sports buff in reality this book turned out to be delightfully good, no doubt a testament to Sarah Mayberry’s extremely talented writing abilities.

34 years old Cooper “The Fist” Fitzgerald is a heavyweight boxer who has held the position of being the best in the world of heavyweight boxing for 4 straight years before he had been forced to retire owing to a detached retina in his left eye which had occurred during his last fight. Doctors had given him a choice, either continue to fight and lose his eyesight or retire. Being the smart and driven man that Cooper is he had opted to go with the latter and open up his own fighter’s gym and take on fighters to train. Cooper’s childhood had been far from idyllic as he had grown up in a destitute household with a heroine addict for a mother and her constant string of abusive boyfriends who had taken to beating the shit out of Cooper whenever possible until he had left home opting to live homeless rather than subject himself to the constant abuse. At the age of sixteen Cooper had been discovered by the man who had trained and turned him into what he is today and he has never looked back since.

27  year old Jamie Sawyer is the daughter of the infamous Jack Sawyer who had held the title of the heavyweight fighting championship for five years before retiring only to make an ill fated comeback to be charged with fraud for throwing a fight. Jamie who had always worshiped the very ground her father had walked on, in whose eyes he could do no wrong had been devastated by the shock and betrayal that had run its course through her. Jamie had watched as her grandfather who had been a legend himself in the boxing world be shunned by those he considered his friends and died a little inside as she watched the toll it had taken on him. The final straw had come when her father had committed suicide leaving Jamie clutching at straws to make ends meet. And when her grandfather had had a heart attack following his son’s suicide, Jamie had promised her grandfather that she would erase the shame her father had brought on the Sawyer name if its the last thing she did. So Jamie had given up her training in naturopathy, dropped out of Tae Kwon Do club she was so good at and started training in the boxing ring. Sharing a ratty apartment with her grandfather and working long hours as a maid in one of the big hotels in the city, Jamie is a determined and feisty woman who sets her heart on obtaining Cooper as her trainer.

Cooper comes across Jamie at his friend Ray Marshall’s place when he approaches Ray to join his fighter’s gym. At first mistaking her for a housemaid, Cooper is nevertheless struck by instant lust at the sight of Jamie’s hard, fit and toned body in front of him. When Cooper finds out that the reason Jamie is there is to lure him into taking her on as fighter in his gym Cooper flat-out refuses to take her on, not because he is a male chauvinist but because he doesn’t believe that Jamie is serious about fighting and that she has what it takes. And even then, it doesn’t stop him from going to see Jamie fight, identifying the beauty of her moves and finally giving in and taking her on, not understanding the need that drives Jamie.

What takes both Jamie and Cooper unawares is the red hot lust that seizes them and clutches both of them in its throes refusing to let go. Being the commitment phobic logical thinking female Jamie is, she proposes that she and Cooper give in to the undeniable attraction between them so that they can both get each other out of their systems. Wary of even the slightest sign of anything other than just a physical connection, Jamie is not at all prepared for it when Cooper starts falling for her and even lets Cooper walk out of her life as her trainer only to be forced by the events that follow to finally acknowledge that Cooper had invaded into her heart without her knowledge. But even then, Jamie’s driving need to succeed for all the wrong reasons in the fighting world nearly drives these two halves of one soul apart making this a very satisfying read on all fronts.

Likes:

1- Jamie Sawyer. She is one of the most different heroines that I have come across in the romance world and because of that I loved her to bits. She is strong, feisty, stubborn, determined to win at all costs, loyal to a fault and on top of all that she is so very vulnerable at the very core. But she hides her vulnerability from the rest of the world with the tough facade that she puts up, and it works most of the time that is until Cooper comes into the picture and all that just crashes down at her feet leaving her with no choice but to surrender her heart, body and soul to the one man who would never betray her trust. I liked the fact that Jamie didn’t just become a sweetly submissive woman overnight shedding her tortured soul to become a woman with a sunny personality and smiles all around. Rather she took her time getting there and even then stayed true to her self which is what eventually makes me her biggest fan all around.

2- Cooper. He is hot, sinfully handsome, wickedly intense and oh my lordy when he is turned on he is sex personified. Cooper’s most endearing quality is his ability to love Jamie for who she is, the way he cherishes her and stands beside her in everything she wants to achieve in this world. Though it hurts something fierce in him to watch Jamie get battered up in the ring, he understands the fire driving Jamie to succeed and win big and at the same time he loves her enough not to give up when Jamie is being too stubborn for her own good. I totally and irrevocably heart Cooper  to bits.

3- The true Blaze style sensuality in the story. This book packs a punch in the sensuality department and gives the reader all the right kind of tingles in all the right places in the style that I have come to recognize that is just uniquely Sarah Mayberry. From the first blazing hot smexing session that nearly knocked my breathe out to the slow paced actual act itself had me sighing, fanning myself and mooning all over Cooper and his well honed muscles. *gulp*

4- Mmm.. I totally love the cover. Just wanna run my hands all over that slick, hot body of Cooper’s. *wink*

5- And I absolutely loved the fact that this story kept me entertained, willing me to turn the pages that didn’t bog me down with unnecessary details of the fighting and kickboxing world and yet still managed to teach me a thing or two about it. As I said at the beginning of the review, Sarah Mayberry is so very talented and this story too is a testament to the fact. Makes me wonder why I kept this in my TBR pile for as long as I did now. *scratches head*

Dislikes: None.

Favorite Quotes

He didn’t want to want her. She didn’t want to want him. But he did, and she did. And if Dean didn’t do the trick tonight, Jamie honestly had no idea how to handle the situation. Human desire was a powerful thing. It had ruined marriages, brought down governments, destroyed dynasties. How in the hell was she supposed to stay strong when she saw the man every day? When he touched her time after time in the course of their work? When –
She caught movement out of the corners of her eyes and nearly groaned with frustration. He was peeling his tank top off, leaving his chest bare.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
She forgot to breathe for a moment as he balled his top in his hand and mopped his sweaty chest with it. He was beautiful. Great pecs, amazing abs, those big shoulders. Lucky she was already panting. As it was, she could barely keep her eyes off him.

“I’m not starting my training career by screwing one of my fighters,” he said.
Frustration and need welled up inside her. She knew he wanted her as much as she wanted him. She was so sure that this was what they needed – the release of it, the freedom of it.
She took a last step forward, so close that she could feel the heat coming off his body, so close that her nipples brushed his chest.
“You’re really going to let this go to waste?” she asked, holding his eyes as she slid a hand onto the long, thick ridge straining against the fabric of his shorts.
He felt so big and hard in her hand she almost purred with anticipation.
His jaw tightened as she gripped him through his shorts and rubbed her hand up and down his shaft, once, twice, maintaining eye contact all the while.
He swore and reached for her, hauling her against him and angling her head as he took her mouth in a fierce, no-holds-barred kiss.

“I want to make sure you’re not lying to me,” he said.
She stopped resisting and he slid both hands up to cup her face. He used the pads of his thumbs to survey her features with infinite tenderness, assessing her swollen lip, tracing the cut on her nose, mapping the puffiness around her eye.
“Sweetheart,” he said his voice deep with regret. “Sweet Jamie.”
His touch was so gentle, his concern for her so evident. Wet heat burned at the back of her eyes. The first tear slid hotly onto her cheek and splashed onto his chest.
“Jamie,” he said softly again, then he tugged her closer so that he could kiss her.
It was her undoing, before she knew it, tears were shuddering out of her and he’d pulled her down beside him on the bed to hold her tight.

Recommended for:

1- Fans of sports-themed romances.
2- Fans of Sarah Mayberry.
3- Fans of the Harlequin Blaze line.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo 

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: A Man for All Seasons by Heather MacAllister

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #583
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Tyler Burton
Heroine: Marlene Walters
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1,  2010
Started On: December 19, 2010
Finished On: December 21, 2010

The question utmost on my mind after finishing up this delectable, spicy and funny holiday romance is “Where on Earth has Heather MacAllister been all my reading life?”. I mean seriously! This book tickled all my funny bones unlike any story I have read of late and the funny bones weren’t the only ones that Ty tickled with his wickedly inappropriate thoughts about his friend Marlie who all of a sudden turns into a sexy siren that calls to his libido to carry her off into his cave and have his wicked way with her.

Marlene Walters or Marlie as she is known as is two years younger than Tyler Burton (Ty). Marlie and Ty’s parents are really close friends and so when they had been young Ty had ended up being Marlie’s reluctant playmate on several joint family vacations. Ty had always felt that he had got the worse end of the deal when he had always ended up babysitting Marlie and watching out for her when he would rather have hung out with kids his own age and as he grew older and his interest in the female populace had skyrocketed he would rather have spent his time wooing the girl who he fancied at the moment.

Years later, Marlie is all grown up, works from her home as a computer geek and is paying off her mortgage on her home, the mortgage a present from her ex-fiance who had just upped and left quoting that he just couldn’t handle it anymore. And when Ty whose house is under construction needs a place to stay, Marlie is more than happy to share and rent her home to live together. A year and a half of living together, Marlie discovers that certain things haven’t changed even with time and distance; her fascination with Ty, her friend who views her as nothing more than a pesky being who inhabited his childhood.

But things take an interesting turn when Ty in the guise of impressing his then girlfriend Axelle ends up buying Marlie twelve dates thinking that keeping Marlie busy dating them would get Marlie out of the house long enough for him to cozy up with Axelle. But what happens is the farthest thing from Ty’s mind when with a little makeover Marlie knocks his socks off, literally squeezing the very air out of him by making him realize that what he had been searching for all his commitment phobic life had been right under his nose all this time.

Likes:

1- The uniqueness of this friends to lovers story. What makes this tale so unique is the way the story is told. Never does a moment go by that doesn’t make you want to grin from ear to ear or makes you want to laugh out loud in merriment. Witty dialogue alone is not what makes this book special, the story is mostly told from Ty’s point of view which certainly makes for an interesting read when his emotions and libido goes on full red alert and starts noticing Marlie for the delectable woman she is, the woman who is the ONE for him. And Ms. MacAllister certainly pulls no punches in delivering enough emotion to make you giddy once you are done! A delectable read indeed is this one. ^_^

2- Marlie Walters. She is far from being perfect and at the beginning she is as sloppy as anyone can get which made me relate to her on a whole new level. I understood where she was coming from and that made this book the instant winner it was for me. I loved Marlie’s thoughts and her bubbly nature which fully complements Ty’s more serious and orderly nature.

3- Ty! *Sigh* The guy just makes me go weak at my knees with all those wicked thoughts that races through his mind  each and every time that he tries to deny what he feels for Marlie. And when Ty does come to realize that it is Marlie with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life with, I found the way he tried to go about convincing Marlie of his intentions so cute and endearing.

4- The sizzling sexual zing in the story. Though this book doesn’t pack a bunch of sex scenes of the explicit nature, I had a lot of fun reading and feeling the chemistry between Marlie and Ty skyrocket to unbearable levels with every encounter. That makes this book a Blaze worth indulging in!

Dislikes: None! Though I would have loved me an epilogue! Would have lent this story the perfectness it deserves.

Favorite Quotes

He was barely aware of Axelle slipping away and reappearing on the other side of the table to murmur in Paul’s ear. To do so, she had to stand right next to Marlie and Ty unwillingly compared the two women.
Axelle was tall and thin and darkly exotic. His type.
Marlie was creamy and lush. And jiggled. Not his type.
Right then Marlie’s gaze connected with his and his blood began to simmer.
Why? Why is she
not your type?
He couldn’t remember.

Ty took the brakes off his desire and it raced through him.
Angry Marlie-on-the-kitchen-floor was completely unaware of the cataclysmic shift in their relationship.
She looked up, and then straightened. “Is that all you plan to do? Stare down my dress? Or are you going to help me fi-”
Ty planted his hands on either side of her face and kissed her.
He hadn’t planned to kiss her, hadn’t even thought about kissing her. He hadn’t allowed himself. He’d just acknowledged a general desire that he had no intention of acting on, and refused to dwell on specifics.
Except while his mind had been keeping things fuzzy, his body had been very clear about what it wanted and who it wanted it with.
Marlie.

Recommended for:

1- Fans of Harlequin Blaze titles.
2- Fans of holiday romances.
3- Fans of contemporary romances with enough humor and sexual zing to warm your insides through a cold wintry night. I loved this one to bits! ^_^

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Harlequin

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Scale: GREAT READ!

Format: E-bookheartoffire.JPG
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: None
Hero: Ben Lewis
Heroine: Jillian Sherwood
Sensuality: 3.5
First Published on: July 1993
Started On: 18th December 2010
Finished On: 18th December 2010