ARC Review: Cold Cruel Kiss by Toni Anderson

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Cold Justice: Crossfire, #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Max Hawthorne
Heroine: Lucy Aston
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 28, 2021
Started On: January 12, 2021
Finished On: January 19, 2021

Cold Cruel Kiss, the 4th installment in the Cold Justice: Crossfire series brings to readers the story of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Max Hawthorne and Lucy Aston, a staff at the US Embassy in Argentina. Story begins when the daughter of the US Ambassador to Argentina is kidnapped in broad daylight on Christmas Eve, and FBI sends Max, one of their best agents in hostage negotiations to find a way to navigate the treacherous waters surrounding the Ambassador’s family in the wake of the kidnapping.

As Max tries to piece together the events that led up to the kidnapping and attempts to make sense of what has unfolded since then, the one person who gets under his skin is Lucy. She stands out, not because she wants to. On the contrary, she tries really hard to fade into the background, to be rendered as unnoticeable as humanly possible. And she has been quite adept at achieving what she had set out to do, that is until the too sexy for his own good FBI agent, with that sexy accent of his, walks through the door.

When Max and Lucy are “forced” to work together in the field owing to circumstances, Max’s interest is piqued beyond the professional lines, and it is not long before the two start developing feelings for each other. Lucy however, carries a secret that could devastate the fragile ties that are coming to life between the two. Her penance for that one mistake in trusting the wrong person had cost her more than she is willing to be let known, and she walks a path sharper than a double-edged sword when it comes to balancing out her duty to her country and what she must do in order to keep her deepest and darkest secret from becoming common knowledge.

However, Max and his sincerity makes it difficult for Lucy to stay unaffected, and before long she is pulled deep into the web of desire and want that wreaks havoc on both their senses. At the same time, the kidnappers reach a point of no return which could mean devastating consequences for the Ambassador’s family, if even the slightest mistake were to be made. With a second operation running in parallel which brings the Kremlin to the forefront, it is a race against time for Max to bring the Ambassador’s daughter safely back home.

Cold Cruel Kiss for the most part was an engaging read for me. I liked the main protagonists fairly well and rooted for their happily ever after. At the same time, the investigation and the secrets lurking in the deep shadows of the world of secret service operatives was one that had me working through nervous tension as the story sped along.

The most intriguing aspect of the novel for me was the setting – how FBI had to balance out investigations into a crime involving an American diplomat in terms of working with the less than reliable local law enforcement and getting the job done.

Recommended for fans of the Cold Justice series.

Final Verdict: Cold Cruel Kiss explores the shades of grey that colors the world of secret service agents and the murky waters that federal agents must navigate through when it comes to crimes committed on foreign soil.

Favorite Quotes

She tilted her hips and took him deeper as he found the rhythm that made them both gasp and groan and cling. Again and again, over and over. She did not want this to end. She would live in this instant for an eternity if she had the choice, poised on the edge, waiting for the crash that they both knew was coming.

He positioned himself at her slick entrance and pushed inside, and it felt so good, so right, she bit her lip to hold back a moan.
She tipped her head back as Max filled her perfectly. She saw the pulse in his neck kick up a notch and then he began pounding into her, all raw power and honed male beauty. They were both wet and slippery, and his grip on her bit into her muscles with a delicious sharpness. It was incredible. It was amazing. Once again, she never wanted it to end.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple Books

Review: Thoroughly Whipped by Tillie Cole

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Henry “Harry” Sinclair III
Heroine: Faith Maria Parisi
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 07, 2020
Started On: June 11, 2020
Finished On: June 12, 2020

Thoroughly Whipped by Tillie Cole is a book that surprised me in many ways, because of how unexpected the story that unfolded was. Featuring 28 year old Henry “Harry” Sinclair III and 25 year old Faith Maria Parisi, who couldn’t be more different from each other had they tried, needless to say when their paths cross for the first time, it ends in disaster, with Faith hoping that they never come across each other again.

Three years later, Faith’s worst nightmare comes true when none other than Harry becomes the new CEO of the magazine at which she works. Having called him an overpriviledged cockface among other things, Faith is however determined to make the best of it, and prove to Harry that she is more than capable of delivering when it comes to her profession.

It is partly her determination to prove to Harry that she would be able to deliver a feature article for the magazine, something which she had been wanting the opportunity to do so for a long while, the timing just seems right when she is invited to an elite and by invitation only sex club known as NOX. Excited by the prospect and having never been apologetic about her sexuality, Faith embarks on a journey that is about to change her life, both professionally and otherwise.

At the club, she is introduced to a character known as Maître Auguste, someone who keeps his identity a secret and teaches her body the greatest pleasures it has ever known. At the same time, Faith also finds herself seeing a different side of Harry from the one she has always thought to be true, the kind of man she could seriously fall for if given half the chance.

One thing leads to another and before she knows it, Faith is involved with two men who sets her senses afire, both of whom are able to take her to new heights when it comes to sexual pleasure. But Faith knows that deep in her heart, it is Harry with whom she is in danger of falling in love with, that is if she is willing see beyond the secret that Harry holds close to himself, a secret that could possibly mean a fatal end to what is blossoming to life between the two.

I enjoyed Thoroughly Whipped more than I thought I would, not that I picked this up expecting it to be a bad read. Though the sparks and antagonism that I wanted to continue and heighten between Harry and Faith didn’t go on as long as I expected it to, I did find myself enamored by the changes that took place in the relationship that budded to life between the two. Coming from diversely different backgrounds, Faith and Harry are complete opposites of one another, which is where half the fun lies.

I loved Faith for being able to see through the armor that surrounds Harry and understanding him for who he is. At the same time, I loved Harry for being the kind, generous, and the oh so sexy lover that he was to Faith, delivering exceptionally well on that simmering sexual tension between the two.

I highly recommend Thoroughly Whipped to those who love spiced up reads, complemented with great emotional depth, and manages to astound you, all in a good way.

Final Verdict: Thoroughly Whipped is a novel that is astonishingly delightful, quirky, and oh so sexy in a way you cannot help but fall in love with!

Favorite Quotes

I cried out when he slipped two fingers inside me, his tongue never letting up. “I’m coming,” I said, the crash of pleasure slapping over me like the hardest of floggers. My body tightened and I collapsed, thankful that the stocks were holding me in place. Maître quickly pulled his tongue away, but before I’d had a chance to recover, he slid inside me with one hard thrust.
I screamed as I clenched around his huge cock. He filled me so much. I gritted my teeth as he started pounding into me like the man had been starved of sex. His hands moved from gripping my hips to pressing against my back. His rhythmic thrusts never faltered once.

Harry stood beside me, as still and as stoic as a marble statue. This close I could smell the addictive scent of his cologne—the mint, the sandalwood, and the musk. It was driving me insane. I clenched my thighs together, trying to stop the pressure from building as high as the penthouse floor we chased. In my peripheral vision, I saw Harry’s chest rise and fall at a heady speed. His hand in mine twitched, his jaw clenched, and when I saw the hardness in his pants, I moaned aloud.
That was all it took. That one rebel sigh from my throat caused Harry to snap. He came barreling toward me, pushing me back against the elevator wall, and he crashed his mouth into mine. In mere seconds, he was everywhere. His scent, his taste, and the press of his hard, warm body smothered my every inch. Gone was the prim and proper Harry Sinclair, and in his place was a man wild and intent on bringing me to my knees.

“Harry,” I moaned again as he tucked his head in the crook of my neck and increased his speed. He thrust and thrust until I was a body filled with nothing but pleasure. My eyes rolled closed as I held him tighter, starting to feel flickers of the deep orgasm that was building. “Harry,” I cried, biting into his shoulder as my legs began to tremble.
He growled at the bite then lifted his head, his eyes locking on mine. That was all it took for me to break apart, fireworks exploding around me.

Harry’s fingers traced my spine then dipped lower. Kissing my face, he pushed a finger inside me. My forehead fell against his chest as he fingered me from behind, brushing over my sensitive G-spot, which had barely had time to recover before he was back, punishing it with those talented hands.
Harry’s mouth moved to my ear. “I’ve wanted to fuck you for so long,” he said, his deep voice and fingers causing tremors to rack through me. I felt his dick harden at my thigh. I bit my lip, brushing my cheek against his. “I wanked off so many times, imagining you on this bed, in my arms, under me, screaming my name.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: Bad at Love by Karina Halle

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Hero: Lazarus Scott
Heroine: Marina Owens
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 14, 2017
Started On: May 29, 2020
Finished On: June 06, 2020

Bad at Love is my second read from Karina Halle and features the most favorite trope of mine when it comes to romancelandia, i.e. friends to lovers. The story begins four years prior to the time in which the main events take place, depicting that fateful night when Marina Owens meets the sinfully sexy and broody Lazarus Scott. Lazarus being the half brother of one of her closest friends does not stop Marina from being smitten by him that very night. However, nothing comes of it and time passes by, with the two becoming good friends, until the present day, where things are about to change dramatically for the both of them.

Marina at 25 years is the owner of her own business and successful in her own right, making a name for herself in beekeeper circles. Where she feels inadequate emerges when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex in terms of romantic entanglements. When she confides in Lazarus of her most recent debacle, he comes up with the craziest idea that she has heard from him – they date each other for a little while, each to guide the other on where they are going wrong when it comes to relationships.

30 year old Lazarus has a different problem altogether when it comes to the women in his life; let it never be said that he is a man-whore. He is known as the serial monogamist, who just never finds it in himself to carry on with any relationship for more than a couple of months at best. So, with the best of intentions, laying out ground rules to guide them, thus embarks Lazarus and Marina on uncharted waters when it comes to their friendship.

For two people who are so in tune with one another with banked fires of desire between them, it is inevitable that the floodgates would burst open given half the chance. And as things heat up between the two, both of them are forced to make the hard choices; should they risk their friendship and go all in, no holds barred towards something which could end up destroying the very fabric of their existing camaraderie and closeness, or should they take a chance on what could end up being the love of a lifetime?

I loved both Marina and Lazarus to bits! Marina was such a wonderful, wonderful heroine. I love heroines who are true to their characters, who aren’t fussy, who are just honest about where they are coming from, and their emotions. To me, that sounds like a character who is grounded, someone who I can totally get on board with.

The most refreshing aspect of the novel itself for me was how honest Marina was about her feelings; she just puts herself out there and tells it all without resorting to qualms and tactics that would have just prolonged the inevitable. She was ready to face the heartache or come what may even if Lazarus were not meet her half way. She just embraced the fact that she loves Lazarus and loves him like crazy, and is brave enough to understand what her friend Naomi tells her; that Marina’s insight into who Lazarus is and how he loves, is in fact colored by how Marina views the word and love in general.

Lazarus, oh my Lazarus! He is one of those accented, British heroes that we all love to love. Sexy, sinfully good looking, and extraordinary in the sack (and he knows it), there is nothing like a confident hero who can make a girl lose her mind in the bedroom and then some. The dark and edgy bits to him just complements perfectly with who Marina is, and I believe that is one of the reasons why they gel so well together.

I loved how Lazarus was really sweet to Marina where it counted, and understood the pains of his childhood having marked him in a way that makes it difficult for him to see beyond the scars that haunt him. I loved the fact that in Marina, he found someone worthy, someone with whom he can find solace on the darker days and take comfort in the fact that she would have his back, no matter what.

Definitely recommended for all romance lovers who adore the friends to lovers trope. And of course fans of good contemporary romances in general! I loved how heartwarming and endearing this was all around.

Final Verdict: In Bad at Love, Ms. Halle brings together two characters whose timing was never right, whose love when allowed to blossom, shines ever so bright.

Favorite Quotes

His tongue slides into my mouth, slow, almost painfully slow, this teasing drag along the edge of my tongue that makes my skin run hot and tight. A desperate urge rises up from inside me, the steel of his tongue ring cool and sleek.
Fuck.
This is happening.
And it’s still happening.
Like any new dance, it starts off tentative, wary, and then morphs, his mouth growing hungrier, our tongues sliding in and out with building urgency. Laz presses his hips into mine and I can feel how hard he is.
For me. All for me.

I don’t know how long our eyes are locked like this. Our bodies are locked like this. Our hearts are locked like this. An eternity passes where all our unsaid words are passed between us like prayers.
“Sweet girl,” he whispers to me seconds before his mouth crushes mine.
I groan against his lips, his mouth hot and wet and hungry. This is a deep kiss, the kind of kiss you shouldn’t have on a public dance floor. It’s pulled out from a wild and charged place far inside me, a place I’ve always kept the bars on, keeping back my primal instincts like you would predators in a zoo.

“Fuck,” he groans. “Your cunt feels better than it tastes.”
“You have a dirty mouth,” I manage to say.
“You have no idea,” he says roughly, his lips capturing mine in a deliriously slow kiss that matches the deliriously slow way he’s thrusting into me.
Everything feels like bliss, the pain now melting into something that makes me wild and thrilled. I dig my hands into his back, my nails leaving marks and our kiss gets messier, teeth, lips, tongue, mouths completely missing each other.
I’m starving for him, starving for years, going mad.

“Laz,” I moan but it sounds more like a whimper, like he needs to put me out of this sweet sweet misery.
“I want you to come,” he hisses, his fingers razing my clit until I’m almost bursting at the seams. “Open your eyes.”
They fly open and I’m looking up at him in wild awe, stark determination on his brow, a side of Laz I’ve never seen, a side I want to keep seeing forever. I want him undone, I want to render him powerless, I want to see what I can do to him, how much ecstasy I can bring him.

Tears rush to my eyes and I grab onto the tight, sweaty planes of his back as I’m liquefied beneath him. I hold him like I’ll never let him go, I’ll never let go because I’m not sure I’ll exist if I do. I’m just stardust now.
“Fuck, Marina,” he grunts roughly and then his head goes back, his throat exposed, neck muscles corded as he pushes in deeper, deeper. The sounds coming out of his mouth as he shudders into me will be forever burned in my heart. The feel of him, the look of him, feral and somehow tamed now.

“Fuck!” she yelps, “Oh god. Oh god, Laz. Laz.” Her voice trails off into moans that shake me to my core. She’s so fucking beautiful like this, her body trembling beneath me, throbbing against my tongue. She’s becoming undone.
But I’m not done yet.
I’m only getting started.
With borderline desperation, I grab the base of my cock and straighten up, gripping her hips, the covers falling back behind me. Sitting back on my knees, I thrust into her, barely able to control myself.
She feels so good. A silky, tight fist that won’t let go.

If she’s losing her mind, so am I. I’m no longer myself. Just an animal. I piston myself into her, over and over again, the headboard slamming against the wall. I can see us in the reflection of the painting above the bed, me fucking her raw, deep from behind, my muscles flexing as I push in, fast, hard, our skin blistering from such wild need.
My fingers work her clit, harder, faster, so slick and messy, slipping and sliding against her. Then she’s coming, and her pulse on her throat is racing into my palm. She cries out again, loud, frenzied, like she’s being obliterated in the most perverse way.

Then the kiss deepens, a slow, hard pull that reaches deep inside me, feeding the hunger. Our mouths, lips, and tongues dance like savages with each other, violent and ravenous andwild.
He suddenly grabs my waist and hoists me up a few inches, positioning his cock just so before lowering me. I gasp at the intrusion, my body so fucking ready yet so unprepared that I have to remember to breathe. If it wanted a break after New York, it’s not getting one.
“Fuck me,” he mutters against my neck as he deliberately drives his cock upward and into me, my muscles expanding around him as much as they can. “So fucking good, Marina. You feel so fucking good.”

One of his hands is lost in my hair, tugging on it the way I like, and I let out a breathless gasp from the sweet pain. The other is lifting up the hem of my dress, pulling it up around my waist. I’ve stopped wearing underwear these days and he lets out a deep moan that I feel vibrate through me as he explores me with his fingers.
“No knickers,” he murmurs. “Good girl.” He sticks three of his large, long fingers inside me and I clench around them, begging for more.
“Hurry up and fuck me,” I tell him.
He laughs, low and rich, reaching down to lift me up so my legs are wrapped around his waist.

We are joined as one and the more he thrusts in, deeper, deeper, the warmer he feels, like a fire that can’t be held back much longer. A trickle of sweat rolls down his brow and his eyes pinch shut as he starts to climax, his mouth going for the crook of my neck where he bites and sucks and licks as he pounds me, losing control.
“Fuck, Marina, oh fuck,” he hisses, inhaling sharply. “I’m coming. I’m coming.”
Before I even have a chance to try and catch up, he lets go of my waist and strokes my clit with his free hand.
Boom goes the dynamite.

He gets to his feet, runs his slick hands down my spine and then grips my hips as he positions himself, and with one long, slow push he eases inside me. I’m so wet and ready that he glides right in. But oh, when he pulls back out, that slow drag and piercings hitting just the right spot, somehow, I’m groaning for him all over again.
“Don’t stop,” I hiss as he plunges back inside, deeper this time, coaxing another unrestrained noise out of my throat. “Never stop with me.”
“Fuck,” he swears, gravelly and low. “I’d do this until my dying day if you’d let me, Marina.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: An Unbreakable Bond by Robyn Donald

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Eliot Buchanan
Heroine: Tifaine Brandon
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 1986
Started On: May 29, 2020
Finished On: May 29, 2020

Published in 1986, An Unbreakable Bond by Robyn Donald is not for the fainthearted. Featuring a hero that borders on and ventures into the territory of cruelty, with a heroine who stands her ground, as confused as she is by the tidal wave of desire that clouds everything between them, this is Harlequin as I love their titles.

22 year old Tifaine Brandon (Tiffany) meets Eliot Buchanan not under the best of circumstances, with Eliot thinking her to be the mistress of his uncle. The disdain that Eliot feels for her partly results from how she makes him feel; unhinged in a way that he has never been around any woman in his life.

With a secret that Tiffany holds close to her heart, Eliot has no way of knowing the truth, even as the clash of wills results in scenes a lot of readers would find it hard to accept. At the same time, this rollercoaster ride of emotions and the constant upheaval that is a given when it comes to stories by Ms. Donald makes it hard to put this down. Fact that I finished this in one day is testament to that.

With all the misgivings I had, especially in relation to a particular scene which I will not detail here, I still loved the escape the story provided me with. The ruthless nature of Eliot drew me in as much as the proudly defiant nature of Tiffany’s did. The passion and sizzling attraction between the two is often thick enough to cut through with a knife, and that was as invigorating and heady as the rest of the components of the story as they came together.

In a way, what made Eliot’s cruelty “worthwhile” was the fact that he actually admitted to what had or almost did happen at a certain point in time in the story. He abashedly points out to how out of control Tiffany makes him feel, and the depths to which his emotions go when it comes to her. Somehow I understood where he was going with that; great passion does not allow for placidity when it comes to emotions. If you want peaceful, you go with the person who makes you feel as little as possible.

Recommended for fans of older and vintage Harlequin titles. This is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially in this day and age.

Final Verdict: In An Unbreakable Bond, Robyn Donald gives readers a tale that consumes the whole of you, even as you are reluctant to give it your all.

Favorite Quotes

His eyes blazed into flames as his mouth came down again, forcing her lips apart so that he could explore the depths of her mouth in a kiss so unlike any other she had ever received that she thought she might faint. Indeed, her knees did buckle. He made a noise deep in his throat and shifted one arm so that it supported her. His mouth burned down the stretched arc of her throat.
The weakness in her limbs spread until she was trembling. Deep inside her strange sensations sprang into life; they flamed fiercely, heating her blood so that a flush ran like fire across her skin.

‘No,’ she gasped, using her hand to push at him.
‘Don’t be silly.’ He too was breathing heavily, his expression set as he used her hand to pull her out of the chair and into his arms. He looked—out of control, she thought with a tremor of fear. But Eliot didn’t ever lose control. And she wished that she knew more about men because perhaps then she would understand his actions.
Fear was swept away as he groaned and bent his head to capture her mouth in a kiss so seducingly sweet that she could not resist him.
‘Relax,’ he muttered, his breath warm in her mouth. ‘I swear I’m not going to hurt you. I swear—oh God, you torment me…’

Completely unconscious of what she did, she slid her arms around his shoulders, holding him firmly. A moment ago she had been furious, his black enchantment of her senses only adding to her rage. Now a strange and awkward tenderness filled her. She didn’t know what to do.
‘Oh, God,’ he muttered, his face drawn. He looked exhausted, almost haunted; as she watched his eyes closed and he began to kiss her, tiny little kisses across the high line of her cheeks, tracing out the contours of her face with his mouth.
‘You’re driving me crazy.’ The words were barely understandable, his voice was so thick.

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks

Review: Lovewrecked by Karina Halle

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Tai Wakefield
Heroine: Daisy Lewis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 25, 2020
Started On: May 27, 2020
Finished On: May 28, 2020

Lovewrecked is my very first read from Karina Halle. It seemed to be the perfect fit at that point in time, as the country was slowly emerging from the first and God willing only lock-down that will be imposed owing to the pandemic, and I was feeling a bit antsy, in need of something that would provide the sort of escape I was looking for. Seeing this on Amazon, promising a sizzling enemies to lovers story, I thought to myself, why not, and the rest as they say is history.

Lovewrecked tells the story of how 34 year old Tai Wakefield meets 28 year old Daisy Lewis, when the latter travels to New Zealand for her elder sister’s nuptials. Having lost her job and her boyfriend who was supposed to help her get through the wedding which she wasn’t all that much looking forward to attending, needless to say Daisy is not in the best form when she meets the formidable grump that is Tai.

From the onset, Tai’s grumpy nature makes Daisy want to ruffle his feathers in an attempt to see how far she can go. There is a lightheartedness to her character that I found a bit annoying at times, but then there is a reason behind why she is the way she is, which Ms. Halle unveils as the story moves further along.

As the story moves forward, Tai and Daisy along with her sister and husband find themselves shipwrecked and with no rescue in sight, the group of four are forced to spend time together in a way that no other situation would have imposed upon them. It is then that we see the other side of Daisy, where readers get an insight into where her seemingly frivolous and carefree attitude comes from, and the simmering tension between Daisy and her sister, which all goes back to their childhood.

I would not go as far as to say that I loved Daisy when all was said and done. Even though for the most part, I did find appealing qualities about her towards the end, I was not overly enthusiastic about her because of her annoying habit of skimming everything on the surface as things seemed to happen. I also found it a tad abrupt, the way she came to terms with her past, her wants, and needs towards the end, which just seemed to align with what was burgeoning to life between herself and Tai.

Tai on the other hand, was the kind of grumpy hero that I live for. Gorgeous, and sinfully sexy, Tai is a man with a past that makes him weary of long term commitment, especially when it comes to someone like Daisy who would never feel at peace living the kind of life that Tai has built for himself in a remote corner of the world. Tai makes it his life’s mission to keep emotional entanglements at bay, and yet it is Daisy’s persistence when it comes to him that chips away at the armor around his heart.

Overall, Lovewrecked did provide the kind of read that Karina Halle promises readers at the beginning. It was fun and lighthearted for the most part, with the secondary characters adding value to the story and characterization without deflecting attention from the main protagonists. The epilogue was also cute and served the story well towards leaving the reader with a good feeling overall.

Though promised as an enemies to lovers story, I found very little of that in the romance that buds to life between Tai and Daisy. Perhaps that was one reason why this depraved heart of mine wished for Tai’s character to have given the story more angst than it did, because I did expect the story to take a different turn than it did. But then most books do end up doing that. However, with all that, I still enjoyed Lovewrecked and would definitely look up Ms. Halle’s titles in the future.

Recommended for those who enjoy a feel good contemporary romance with a sexy grump of a hero who who continually has the habit of making your toes curl.

Final Verdict: Pure escapism, with just the needed touch of emotional depth is guaranteed with Karina Halle’s Lovewrecked!

Favorite Quotes

“Fine. Fine, you saw me get off,” I grumble. “You happy now?”
“Very.”
I cock my brow, the words taking a moment to rest on my tongue before I spit them out. “Did it make you hard?”
Yeah. I said it.
A bold look flashes in his eyes, more intense than the darkest coffee. “What do you think?”
I think yes.
“Are you still hard?”
I don’t know where the hell I’m getting the gumption to ask him these questions, but fuck it. It’s only fair now.
The look in his eyes intensifies and I watch his throat as he swallows.
“Why don’t you find out,” he manages to say, his words measured.

Before I even know what’s happening, I lean forward, my body operating on instinct only.
And I kiss him.
I can’t help it.
All these weeks of wanting to do this, wanting to know what his lips feel like against mine, it was inevitable that I’d lose control.
He stiffens at first, hesitating, then I feel the muscles in his back relax as he kisses me back.
And…shit.
I mean…wow.
He’s a good kisser.

“Tai,” I whisper, sticking my finger into the jar.
I stand right in front of him, holding my finger out, the honey dripping on the end.
He blinks at it. “Where did you get that?”
“Open your mouth.”
His eyes meet mine and for a moment I think he’s going to be a real hard-head and refuse.
Then he does as he’s told.
Opens his mouth.
That gorgeous, sensual mouth.
Wraps his lips around my finger, and gives it one, long deep pull that I feel all the way to my toes. His eyes never leave mine, if anything they intensify as his tongue rolls over the sides of my skin.
A moan vibrates through him, and I think it might be the sexiest sound I’ve ever heard.

I can see the fight in his eyes. The want to say no, the urge to say yes.
His urges win.
So do mine.
In a flash he whips me around so I’m pressed up hard against the palm tree, the rough bark digging into the back of my head.
He’s kissing me roughly, with impatience, teeth, lips, tongue all in a frenzy, creating a hurricane that will gladly consume us.

The pressure inside me goes over the threshold.
My skin flushes like I’m on fire and then…
I’m falling.
Sinking against the palm tree.
Falling into his hand.
Letting go.
Coming hard.

“Tai,” she whines, sounding breathless, impatient.
“It’s Captain Wakefield,” I tell her, grinning.
“Captain Wakefield. What are you waiting for?”
Nothing.
I suck in my breath and with one swift, hard thrust I plunge my cock deep inside of her.
“Fuck!” Daisy yelps, and I realize I may have been a bit rough.
I’m about to apologize when she cries out, “Keep going.”
That I can do. I slowly pull out and then spear her again, my cock sinking into the hilt as my fingers make bruises on her hips.

With my finger slipping and sliding all over her swollen clit, I stroke that sensitive bundle of nerves until she’s tense and ready to explode. Then, as she yells out my name and begins to shake and shudder, clenching around my cock, I let go.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I growl, thrusting in harder and deeper, faster, like I’m trying to impale her right into the sand. Everything inside me tenses from my balls to my chest and then I’m being walloped by a tsunami, the orgasm ripping me apart and dragging me out to sea.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

Review: Reasons of the Heart by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Ross Tarrant
Heroine: Francesca Lewis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1988
Started On: May 16, 2020
Finished On: May 21, 2020

Published in 1988, Reasons of the Heart is one of the earlier works of Susan Napier. The story begins with Francesca Lewis turning up at a cabin that was owned by her recently deceased grandfather, the cabin supposed to be a sanctuary of sorts for her to recuperate and get back on her feet. Determined to change the direction and focus of her life afterwards, Francesca however is not at all ready to run into 30 year old Ross Tarrant, her nemesis from the past.

Francesca’s painful memories come tumbling forth when she finds that she has to share the cabin with none other than Ross. Right from the start, these two rub each other the wrong way, the sparks fly, and Francesca in her bid to keep Ross at a distance, judges him by what she knew of him in the past. There is a delicious sizzle in the air whenever these two are in the same room, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of it.

Even though Francesca is determined to keep Ross at arm’s length, with every turn, Ross continues to surprise her, and the insults they exchange on a daily basis quickly become the highlight of her day, exasperating and arousing her in equal doses up till the point where Ross makes her see just how right they are for each other. However, for someone like Francesca who has never known what love is like, what being fully loved and accepted for herself is like, there is much growing up for her to do before she can come to terms with her love for the man who has never stopped making her feel all too much.

I loved Reasons of the Heart. There were so many intriguing aspects to the novel that I felt mesmerized and at times gleeful about the direction in which the story was headed. I do enjoy witty banter between the two main protagonists and Ms. Napier certainly delivers on that front, and is not shy on following up on the heated chemistry that is between the two.

Francesca was a complex female lead and she could be termed as a difficult character at first. Francesca running scared every single time that she felt vulnerable and/or found herself to be lacking should have gotten old real quick. But the way Ms. Napier peeled back the layers of her character, exposed her childhood and what it had meant to grow up with two grandparents who had perhaps never wanted her makes for interesting reading. Where she had paid for her mother’s choices all through her life and never really gotten to understand who she is deep inside; all of that and more made her a riveting character.

I also loved Ross to bits! He is that perfect mix of cocky, sinfully sexy, handsome, and endearing. Ross was also endlessly patient when it came to Francesca and her hangups about love and life in general. At the same time, Francesca does teach Ross a few things while she is at it, and I loved Francesca for being brave enough to face her fears while at the same time bringing Ross to his knees in the very best possible way.

I wished for an epilogue so very much when I finished this story. There was much angst in the story that I reveled in, which should have been followed through by an epilogue that would have given readers a sense of “closure” when all was said and done.

Recommended for fans of complex character driven category romances.

Final Verdict: Complex characterization, the right touch of angst, and sensuality of the kind that drives one to distraction is what Ms. Napier delivers to readers with Reasons of the Heart.

Favorite Quotes

‘I can see, Princess, that you’re not going to rest until I’ve made the obligatory attack on your virtue, so…’ He reached over and swept her across the jumbled pile and into his arms.
His mouth was a shock of warmth against hers, his large hands spreading across her shoulder blades to ensure that any resistance on her part merely rubbed their bodies suggestively together.

‘You’re flushed…’ His finger ran down to the pulse in the soft hollow of her throat. ‘…Your skin is damp, your temperature and pulse rate have increased… An invitation doesn’t have to be verbal to be explicit.’ His lids drooped, masking the intention in his eyes. ‘And if you’re so hot…’ he pulled the front of her robe apart with a single, swift movement, his hands crowding in to capture her breasts, encircling the little, stiff peaks that thrust against the soft bodice of her modest nightdress ‘.. .why aren’t these still sweetly soft?’
He bent his head and kissed the objects of his taunt with maddening precision before scooping up his blankets and backing out the door with a final salute of laughter at her furious confusion.
‘Night-night, Princess. Safe dreams…’

He broke the kiss and they stared into each other’s eyes. There was a gleam of male recognition in his that stopped her breath. Then his hands were cupping her face and his mouth fastened over hers again, gentle, teasing, yet deep and satisfying too. When she trembled, his mouth tensed and hardened, gathering her in even further, stunning her with the tremors she felt in his own body, as if it was part of hers.
‘You taste good, Frankie,’ he murmured in thick amazement, his trembling fingers finding and stroking her breasts in a way that made her kiss him back with untutored enthusiasm. He groaned.
‘Touch me, Frankie, the way I’m touching you.’

At what point had the snide insult become an endearment? Fran wondered as she put a hand flat on his chest to stop herself falling forward into the blue void of his eyes. His chest rose quick and hard against her hand, her fingers sliding through the patch of hair revealed by the opened neck of his shirt.
‘I… I can’t…’ absently, concentrating on the vibrations under her fingertips.
‘You can…’ The words formed against her lips, his tongue stroking its velvety roughness against their parted warmth, then plunging inside with a suddenness that made her head reel. The muscles of his arms bulged as his hands clenched convulsively against the wire at the inward sway of her body against the open trap of his.

She pushed a thigh between his, and he caught and held it against the centre of his body, letting her feel the rigid proof of his arousal. Yet still he didn’t put his arms around her. With a hot surge of mingled power and frustration Fran pushed her rounded breasts against his chest, crushing the taut peaks with a shudder of masochistic pleasure, her mouth widening beneath the silken search of his tongue. Both hands were now clinging to his waist, sliding up under the sweatshirt to find the damp, ridging muscles of his back. Suddenly he tore his mouth away. ‘Stay.’

‘You know… what I do up there in the air,’ he murmured in a voice that had the texture of cut velvet, ‘the “high” it gives me, is the next best thing to sex. Perhaps this afternoon was a subconscious attempt to sublimate my real need… to do this…’ He slowly eased over until he was braced above Fran’s supine body, his hips lowering to grind softly against her thighs until they parted to allow him to lie between, the rough denim weave of his jeans catching against the soft wool-blend of her slacks.
‘…and I needed you up there, with me, to share the exhilaration, the agony and the ecstasy of subliminal sex. God, Frankie, how much longer are you going to make us wait? Tell me, tell me you want me to touch you, and taste you, and feed your appetite with mine…’
With a cry of need that echoed his own, Fran arched against him.

Her wide-eyed delight provoked her lover to even greater pleasures and, when at last his strong, gentle fingers lingered, breath-soft on the delicate flesh between her quivering thighs, Fran was stormed by a violent, racking shudder that almost spilled him from his position of dominance. His hand wrapped around her hips, holding her still.
‘No…wait, Francesca…’ He sucked in his breath. ‘…slow down…’
‘I…can’t…’ She twisted helplessly, unable to control her body’s demand as he groaned against her.
‘I don’t think I can either…’ He thrust her legs apart with a possessive strength that sent a stab of pain to the core of her pleasure.

Purchase Links: AbeBooks

Review: The Hawk and the Lamb by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jack Hawkwood
Heroine: Elizabeth Lamb
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 01, 1993
Started On: May 12, 2020
Finished On: May 14, 2020

The Hawk and the Lamb by Susan Napier was first published in 1993 and proves to readers just how exemplary an author Ms. Napier was in the romance publishing industry. I wish with all my heart that she would write again, but alas, I do not think that particular dream of mine will ever come true. I hope Ms. Napier knows the sheer joy her books have brought me during a difficult year, for which I am forever grateful.

The story begins with 25 year old Elizabeth Lamb being “recruited” by her uncles on a mission to do some detective work. What Elizabeth was hoping would be her vacation turns into a bit of a fiasco when she has to travel alone and finds herself in the company of the very man she is supposed to be spying on for her uncles.

Carrying a valuable family heirloom that she is to “return” to the rightful owners, Elizabeth finds all her attempts thwarted by the delicious Jack Hawkwood, who makes her forget why she actually traveled to Nouméa—the Isle of Hawks. Jack is unlike any man that Elizabeth has ever associated with. Given her job as a researcher and assistant to a professor of literature at Auckland University, and her one love affair having ended in disaster had basically affirmed her belief that there was no “right man” out there for every woman.

With every turn, both Elizabeth and Jack finds themselves ensnared in a web of heady desire that brings both to the point of no return. However, the fact that Elizabeth’s secret could have devastating consequences for what is budding to life between them makes Elizabeth hesitant and rightfully so on an intrinsic level, which gave the story the edge it deserved.

The Hawk and the Lamb was such a great read in many ways. I loved Elizabeth and Jack, both together and individually, and they are two people who were just destined to be together from the start. There is no denying the sparks that fly, the interest that sizzles to life on both ends, and the reluctance on the part of Elizabeth that stems from a sense of self preservation.

Elizabeth who is bookish, voluptuous, shy, and a tad clumsy was a heroine I could root for. I loved her to bits and the fact that she is loyal to a fault and tries her best at something she is so obviously terrible at won her points from me. When she starts enjoying herself with the last man on Earth who she should be doing that with, that itself comes with the sort of inner dialogue that had me snorting.

The dialogue was witty, with the heroine being independent minded enough to give the hero a run for his money and upend everything that he thought to be true. The only thing that could have made this read perfect was an epilogue.

When an author can seamlessly bring together scenes of the laugh out loud variety with seductive eroticism that speaks to readers on a whole different level, that is an author you should never stop reading in my opinion. I will always be thankful for having stumbled across Ms. Napier’s books because they certainly have managed to color my life vividly. Absolutely recommended!

Final Verdict: Humor with right touch of sinful sensuality interwoven with two intriguing protagonists is a potent mix; stands testament to why Ms. Napier amazes me time & yet again!

Favorite Quotes

In a last-ditch effort to assert herself Elizabeth reached out and grabbed the neat pony-tail at the back of his head and pulled sharply. The jolt should have brought tears to his eyes but to her horror he didn’t even flinch, the corded muscles of his neck hardly registering the sudden extra tension. Instead he smiled faintly and as she jerked her hand away the thin black band that had held his hair in place came with it. His hair loosened across his braced shoulders, slipping caressingly through her retreating fingers like fine, dark silk. A strand fell forward, teasing her parted lips, the feathered tip adhering just inside the moist corner of her mouth.
Elizabeth froze, her eyes dilating with renewed shock as he delicately reached inside her mouth with his blunt fingers to extract the intimate intrusion, brushing the dampened strands tauntingly across her vividly flushed cheek before tucking them safely behind his ear.
‘Do you like the way I taste, Beth?’

She sank to a crouch, placing her hands lightly on either side of his thigh for balance as she bent forward and pressed her mouth gently against the site of his injury. Her hair, caught by the breeze, blew in a soft dark froth across his hard abdomen. His skin was hot and faintly salty and her lips parted in inadvertent curiosity over the jagged scar that bisected his outer thigh.
For a stunned second he didn’t react. Then, beneath her fingertips, the muscles in his thigh bunched violently and his hand fisted in her hair, wrenching her head back.
‘What in the hell do you think you’re doing?’ he demanded hoarsely, the shock flaring in his silver eyes as he looked down at her.

Her palm felt the scrape of a stiffened nipple surrounded by the luxurious softness of his body hair and lingered there, exploring the contrast in textures. She leaned further into his kiss, instinctively teasing the tips of her breasts against his silky-hot skin, the astonishing pleasure of it all going straight to her head and making her mouth as aggressive as his.
A deep groan vibrated in his chest, making her tingle all over. His teeth softly savaged her swollen lips. The hips that had been crowding lightly against the juncture of her thighs suddenly ground harder, deeper and Elizabeth became devastatingly aware of the extent of his arousal.

His eyes glowed with a strange yellow colour, like sun trying to break through summer storm clouds. ‘So I don’t scare you?’
If her chin tipped any higher she was going to fall over backwards, but she had to do something to counteract his overwhelming physical impact. ‘Not a bit!’ she defied him.
The sun broke through, but his smile was a twist of irony and his voice disturbingly quiet.
‘Then it’s purely one-sided. Because, ma chère, you scare the hell out of me.’

The voluptuous tingling spread from her scalp to the rest of her body, further weakening her feeble resistance. She was going to bite him if he dared kiss her mouth, Elizabeth told herself dizzily, but he didn’t give her the chance to satisfy her hunger. His mouth disappointingly bypassed hers, the hands in her hair tightening to pull her head back so that he could nuzzle at her throat, the warm, moist caress finally settling against the hot pulse just under her left jaw. His tongue was wet and rough as it sanded the betraying leap of blood in her veins. She gasped, clutching his waist as he sucked gently and then bent her head the other way so that he could pay equal homage to the opposite pulse.
Only then when he had tasted her thoroughly did he seek out her mouth, murmuring thickly with satisfaction as she carried out her mental threat and sank her white teeth sighingly into the satiny curve of his lower lip. The masculine flavour of him exploded through her senses and Elizabeth didn’t realise how rough and uncontrolled she had become until she tasted the salt in her mouth and realised what she had done.

She stilled, a wild warmth flushing her body as she registered the hardness nestling against her heels that was not his thigh. Her toes curled involuntarily, scrunching the dark fabric covering his inner thigh as she realised that he was not the cool, controlled tormentor of her frightened imagination, that he was as aroused by the game she had instigated as she had been…perhaps more so.
Suddenly her misplaced confidence came rushing back. If she was trapped then so was he—far more obviously so. Why, he was practically seducing himself. This was going to be like taking candy from a baby!

He didn’t taste any different, only better, the flavour of him melting over her tongue, the first sip only exacerbating the hunger that drove her to wind both arms around his neck and twist her mouth under his, needing the co-operation that was strangely lacking. Oh, God, was her desperate eagerness turning him off? She tensed as the old feeling of shame impinged on her consciousness.
As if her wavering doubt communicated itself to him Jack suddenly threw off his passiveness and took full command of the intimate embrace, his hand cupping her jaw as he plunged his tongue into her mouth, biting and sucking at the soft innermost recesses with a gentle savagery that utterly shattered her former notions of what a kiss could be.

‘Oh, don’t-‘ she begged, as his marvellous hands moved away again and hovered, as if he was wondering what part of her to torture with pleasure next. She put her hands on his shoulders, feeling them thicken and bunch as she unconsciously guided him.
‘Don’t what? Do this?’ This time his finger hooked into the indiscreet slit in the centre of her bodice and created a wicked tension as he pulled, lifting her towards him. He bent and inhaled the fragrant heat that rose from between her breasts. Her eyes closed, her head fell back and his murmur was like tearing silk in her ears. ‘Tell me… tell me everything you like, Eliza-Beth, every wish, every fantasy and I’ll give it to you… all of it… anything, everything you want…’

‘I don’t… I want—’ Her mind struggled to reassert its ascendancy over the tumultuous revolution of her body, capable only of dealing in the simplest of one-syllable concepts. ‘Time…’
His breath was exquisitely damp and hot on her swollen nipple.
‘Time?’
The temptation to deny her brief return to sanity was almost overwhelming. The need for that moist, intimate caress was excruciatingly intense. ‘I.. .yes.’
‘Time for what?’
‘I—I don’t remember…’ Opening her eyes had been a mistake. He filled her vision, rearing over her—big, powerful, starkly aroused, his face raw with disbelief and a smouldering sexual anger. He was wild for her, she realised achingly, tenderly, and in a way that Ryan had never been. She would never compare the two men again.

As his fingers wrenched at the concealed zip in the side of her dress, Jack forced her to meet his hotly arrogant gaze.
‘Yes?’
She blazed her answer at him. Even to ask was an unendurable delay. ‘Yes, oh, yes…’
She raged like a storm in his arms, one that he rode in a triumphant frenzy of desire, tearing off their clothes as his body melted into hers, his groans and wild, erotic urgings spurring her further, faster, deeper towards the heart of the whirlwind that had turbulently engulfed them both. The first convulsive paroxysm of pleasure barely checked his extravagant pace as he pursued her from peak to peak until she cried out in an ecstasy of exhaustion.

‘No one’s ever seen me wearing it,’ she said, instinctively defending herself against the threat of that silky murmur. ‘I always wear something high-necked if I put it on…’
‘But it’s still there around your neck. Still being worn.’ He lifted his head suddenly, his eyes catching the light, and she shivered at the predatory satisfaction that was starkly revealed there, as if he were a hawk brooding over a fresh kill.
‘I want to see it,’ he demanded.
Her fist clenched over her chest. ‘You can’t have it, not here. I’ll have to unzip my dress to get it off—’
‘I don’t want you to take it off. I want to see you wearing it.’

‘Show me,’ he commanded, and stood, legs planted astride, hands hanging loosely at his sides, the picture of a relaxed man prepared to explode into violent motion at a moment’s notice.
Automatically Elizabeth turned away from the powerful image of daunting male arrogance and her eyes took in what her mind had subconsciously registered even before the light had been switched on.
Not her bedroom. His. He had brought her to his room, his territory… his rules.

Elizabeth had naively thought she knew him as a lover. Now he showed her that she was wrong, that she didn’t know him at all. He curbed and channelled her eagerness with a ruthless strength and a single-minded purpose that heightened her arousal until just the touch of his mouth brushing across her skin was an unbelievable delight, moving languidly on her, over her, in her, until she couldn’t contain the building sensation any longer and exploded in an agony of pleasure, rising and falling feverishly beneath him until he grasped her by the hips and pinned her deep into the soft mattress in a powerful, bucking spasm that arched him like a bow and released him into soaring flight with a savage shout of victory.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: No Reprieve by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jake Jackson
Heroine: Seven Selkirkik
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 24, 1991
Started On: May 11, 2020
Finished On: May 12, 2020

Published in 1991 from Harlequin, No Reprieve by Susan Napier is a delightful and quirky read for the most part. With a psychic heroine who is a librarian, and a cynic of a hero who is a journalist specializing in exposés, needless to say the fireworks are a given when these two clash.

26 year old Seven Selkirkik is confronted by the indomitable 36 year old Jake Jackson in her home, when he turns up to warn her off on pretending to be able to help grieving families and fleecing them for what they are worth, plying them with false hopes. In a case of mistaken identity which Seven takes advantage of, she lets Jake believe what he may, until she is drawn into finding Jake’s long lost daughter.

Jake does not know what to do with Seven and how she makes him feel. Its exasperation, desire, and a sense of discomposure that he feels, even when all the facets of her character continues to draw him to her. Jake is a skeptic through and through, wary of the charlatans and false messiahs of the world who take advantage of the emotionally vulnerable. The question remains then, how will these ever reconcile their differences long enough to understand what their love is worth?

I loved the two main protagonists and the secondary characters. Seven, who strives and craves for normalcy when she is far from being average and normal, having chosen the staid profession of being a librarian just so she could remain sequestered in her little corner of the world. She craves stability, never having had that in her childhood up to a point.

While Jake is driven and dynamic in a way that is the complete antithesis of Seven, the fire that is between them is too strong to deny. Jake who should rightfully be turning away from a woman like Seven finds himself inexorably drawn towards her until they reach a point of no return.

No Reprieve reminded me of one my favorite books from Linda Howard, Cry No More, a book that I re-read from time to time. No Reprieve presents the main events in a sort of reverse manner, where it is the hero this time around that loses a child and has to come to terms with what he should do when the time comes to take that painful decision.

I loved the ending and the fact that Jake went after Seven when all was said and done. I loved how the reluctant psychic manages to chip away at the brittle walls surrounding the heart of the cynical and jaded hero, who believes love and loving only makes one vulnerable to loss. I also loved the epilogue and I delighted in seeing the changes in both Seven and Jake, with the family getting along marvelously.

Recommended for those who love a good category romance you can sink your teeth into. Ms. Napier certain delivers!

Final Verdict: Combining emotionally gripping scenes with the sensually tender, No Reprieve is a story meant to draw the reader in for an unforgettable ride!

Favorite Quotes

His mouth shifted and clung, opening her more completely, his hand cupping her face as a flickering tongue of fire darted inside her, stroking her, consuming and feeding her response until it matched his own. The hand that held hers moved behind her, pinning her wrist to the small of her back, arching her against his aggressive heat. He was hard and full, unashamed of his arousal, moving his hips in slow, thrusting circles that lifted her on to her toes as she tried to ease the ache that the relentless, grinding rhythm created inside her. When he released her captured arm it curled naturally around his clenched shoulders, her fingers spreading out across the tensed muscles, unconsciously kneading his flesh. He made a dark, harsh sound of satisfaction as he felt the sweet sting of her short, curved nails, and tasted the searing pleasure of her surrender.

‘You are sensitive…’ he murmured with greedy satisfaction, his eyes on the quivering promise of her lower lip. ‘Exquisitely so… I’ll be more gentle, I promise…’
She shook her head again and his lids narrowed. ‘Too much…’ she gasped. ‘It’s too…like, like…falling…I felt… I felt…’
His slitted eyes were as black as sin as he guided her faltering courage back on to its predetermined path. ‘What you’re supposed to feel. I was falling too, mouse, only faster… When it gets too much you don’t pull back.. .you jump!’

He held back as long as was humanly possible, his body straining savagely against its self-imposed bonds, but he wasn’t proof against the blatant seduction of her innocence, against the shocked expression of wide-eyed wonder and gasps of bliss that greeted each bold new venture. And the moment his hardness slipped between her satiny thighs, teasing at the soft, feathery cradle that rocked the heart of her, was his last moment of even near-coherent thought. No longer gentle teacher and ardent pupil, no longer strong leading weak, masculine invading feminine, they merged as equals, not falling but rising, ever faster, higher, harder, until the primitive power that propelled them exploded in a final, violent burst of glory.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: Secret Seduction by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Ryan Liam Flint
Heroine: Nina Joan Dowling
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 2000
Started On: May 07, 2020
Finished On: May 11, 2020

Originally published in the year 2000 from Harlequin Presents, Secret Seduction by Susan Napier is another hit for me when it comes to stories by the indomitable Ms. Napier. This being one of her later titles, probably a couple of years prior to the publication of her last book, Secret Seduction stands testament to how category romances can often be hidden gems that sweeps you off your feet when it comes to the world of romance.

The story begins with a ferocious thunderstorm rolling into Shearwater Island, where 26 year old Nina Joan Dowling resides. A painter by vocation, Nina has no recollection of her past and rather likes the solitude she finds amongst like-minded loners like herself who guards the privacy afforded by residing on the island on a permanent basis. The quiet and solitude that she had been enjoying is however short-lived when the storm brings a stranger to her life, a man whom she rescues from the storm.

33 year old Ryan Liam Flint comes to the island seeking answers. Finding out that the task ahead of him was not going to go exactly as he planned, Ryan plays it by the ear, pretending that he has been struck by a temporary bout of amnesia. Nina being the suspicious soul that she is, especially given the sense of unease that she feels when Ryan is around, coupled with how he invokes from her emotions that she had not felt in a long while, needless to say, it is choppy waters that these two travel through for the most part.

Nina is stubborn to a fault, and I would have to say off putting at first or rather through most of the book up till the point more details emerge as to what had taken place, how she had suffered through a tragic loss and couldn’t seem to recover properly. The past that Nina has no memory of is everything to Ryan, what keeps him determined when it comes to winning and wooing back the love of his life.

I was fascinated by how Ms. Napier brought the story around, and was caught utterly by surprise when it came to the flashbacks of the past delivering a tale I could not have predicted at all. I yearned to read more details on their shared past, the heat and energy between two people who were such complete opposites of one another, drawn to the other in a way that makes denying the connection an impossibility.

I loved the angst, the heartache, and Ryan who served to be the kind of patient, sexy, endearing, and yet alpha in the best possible of ways hero, who complements Nina in a way that no one else ever would. Getting Nina on the same page however, is another matter altogether and when the memories come tumbling forth, it was gut wrenching not to say the least.

I loved the last chapter that served sort of as an epilogue. It gives that sense of closure to readers who made it through the emotional read that this proved to be, leaving behind that soft glow of happiness when all is said and done.

Definitely recommended for those who love emotional and beautifully rendered category romances. Ms. Napier is definitely one of a kind in the genre.

Final Verdict: Secret Seduction delivers a story that is raw and powerful in many ways, of a hero who would do anything to prove to the love of his life, the beauty that is the love they have for one another.

Favorite Quotes

‘Nina?’ he muttered. He inhaled deeply and his frown was replaced by a sensuous smile of sleepy satisfaction as he identified the unique personal fragrance that spilled across the pillow. ‘Nina…’
Eyes still closed, his head dipped and his mouth homed unerringly in on hers, parting her lips in a leisurely kiss that caused a delicious chaos in her startled senses. He made a soft sound of lazy enjoyment as his open mouth moved enticingly back and forth over the succulent plumpness of her lower lip, taking tiny, nibbling bites along the ripe curve before sucking it into his mouth, creating an erotic, rhythmic tugging that made her toes curl inside her socks.

‘For goodness’ sake, it’s ridiculous!’ she said hotly. ‘What makes you think he’ll be any good at doing repairs? I doubt if he even knows which end of a hammer is which.’
Ryan’s head tilted, his hair gleaming blue-black in the sun. ‘What makes you say that?’
She spun around and grabbed up his hands, turning them over to display the palms. ‘Well, look! You’re obviously not used to manual labour. No-one who works with tools has hands this soft,’ she jeered, drawing her fingers across his smooth skin. ‘And your fingernails have been manicured.’
He looked down at her, standing between his splayed—knees, a willing captive to her strong artist’s grip. ‘I thought women liked a man to have nice hands,’ he murmured smokily. ‘You have such silken skin yourselves it seems a shame to risk damaging it with rough handling.’

He didn’t even look around the tiny flat as he took off his jacket and loosened his silk tie, his eyes moving over her flushed face and primly attired figure, lingering on the crisply concealing blouse and the lush curve of her hips encased in the tight skirt that ended halfway up her thighs. His nostrils flared as he eased his collar open and saw her gaze follow the movement, her lips parting at the glimpse of the bronzed hollow of his throat.
‘Do you have anything to drink?’
His blunt demand cloaked the crackling sexual tension with a thin veneer of sociability. Nina’s fingers tracked the side seams of her skirt, smoothing it over her hips in an unconsciously seductive gesture.

‘Did you know you never close your eyes when you have an orgasm, Nina? Not until you’ve seen me climax, too. Are you remembering how incredibly arousing it is to watch each other in the throes of an orgasm? And when we made love in front of the fire, you always wanted it to be slow and easy so that it would last a long, long time.
Sometimes we even used to have fires in the middle of summer just for the sake of pleasuring ourselves with prolonged bouts of hot, sweaty sex interspersed with refreshing romps in the pool.

The only warning she had was a faint fan of cool air across her back, and then a big body crowded into the stall behind her, joining her under the wide stream of water, a thick arm snaking around her waist and pulling her back against a nude, hairy male body, already powerfully aroused. Sharp teeth sank into her wet shoulder and a strong hand came around to knead her breasts as his thick shaft settled along the cleft in her bottom. She wriggled her hips and the hand on her breast contracted.
‘I knew you’d come,’ she whispered.
‘We’re both going to come, babe.

‘Open your legs,’ he whispered roughly into her mouth, his hands circling around her soapy navel, massaging ever lower, pressings down over the inside of her thighs until they parted for him, allowing his soap-slick fingers to crowd into the steamy space and play over the secret folds in her skin, exploring her readiness and finding the sweet kernel of budded desire.
Her fingers clawed into his flanks at the drenching burst of pleasure that pulsed hotly against his fingers. ‘Oh, Ryan…’
‘Yeah, babe, I know.

She uttered a tiny choking cry as she approached a pinnacle of sensation only to have the prize snatched from her grasp when Ryan suddenly withdrew and spun her around so that it was now her spine flat to the wall, her thighs urged up around his waist by his rough hands as he bluntly surged back into her welcoming body, grunting in triumph at the slick parting of her folds, shuddering as she instantly contracted around his pulsing hardness.
‘I love to see you watching me when you come apart. I want to watch you, too….’

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Review: Winter of Dreams by Susan Napier

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jordan Pendragon
Heroine: Olivia Marlow
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1993
Started On: May 04, 2020
Finished On: May 06, 2020

Winter of Dreams is another hit from the backlist of novels written by Susan Napier, most of which I went through during lock down and the period that followed. While a few of the titles from her backlist were misses, even then, I enjoyed reading them for the unique stories that I can always count on Ms. Napier to deliver.

26 year old Olivia Marlow is an artist who has lost her creative flow, having received a scathing review from an anonymous art critic who had earned a reputation for doing just that. Having taken ill following the scandal that ensued, Olivia is not at all ready to get back into the game and face the world. A bout of illness bringing her spirits further down, it is not until her sister forces her hand to come out and face the world again that she makes the attempt required.

When Olivia meets the 37 year old Jordan Pendragon, she wrongfully assumes that what her sister had told her about Jordan to be true. That proves to be the point which provided a lot of mirth filled scenes to the story as it developed, that is up till the point that Jordan puts those assumptions to rest by kissing her senseless.

While Olivia tries to hide from how she feels about Jordan, there is also the fact that Jordan himself holds a secret that could devastate Olivia all over again and destroy what is blossoming to life between two people who are so obviously meant for one another.

I found Winter of Dreams to be delightful in so many ways. Sexy and sinfully sensual (which is classic Ms. Napier), with a larger than life hero and a heroine who is gun-shy, who is helplessly ensnared by the web of heady desire that encapsulates them both from the onset.

Though at first the story started out a tad slow, it took off just like that and I found myself soaking in the heady sensations that coursed through me as the story progressed. I liked how Jordan and Olivia took their time to get to know each other and how that was actually reflected in the story. I loved the changes that came over Olivia as time went by, how she blossomed and bloomed into realizing her own potential and the strengths of her own character.

I have to admit however, that I loved Jordan perhaps a tad more in comparison to Olivia. I found him to be a contrasting mix of kindness, gentleness, and firmness that went well with the setting and proved to be exactly what Olivia needed in the end.

Recommended for fans of category romances, Susan Napier, and romances that stand the test of time.

Final Verdict: In Winter of Dreams, Ms. Napier brings to life a hero whose beauty lies in the remarkable facets to his character; the happily ever after that followed was a foregone conclusion.

Favorite Quotes

Olivia let the rush of fire in her blood consume the last vestige of reason. Her mouth opened helplessly under his and he consolidated his victory, roughly staking his claim inside her as one big, calloused hand splayed across the base of her spine, lifting her forward into the broad saddle of his hips. He stepped back and turned, backing her against the smooth wall, widening his stance so that he could fit her between his powerful thighs, holding her there until she was vividly aware of his heavy arousal.

His restraint became unbearably erotic as he moved rhythmically and persistently against her until she began to arch and blindly move in an echoing rhythm. He shuddered and moaned his thick approval against her swollen mouth, his rigid body suddenly quivering with a new and dangerous tension. Dazedly Olivia realised what was happening. He was making love to her through her clothes. He wasn’t just teasing now, and he wasn’t going to stop. Though they were both fully dressed, he was driving them relentlessly towards sexual fulfillment.

He straddled her completely, supporting his weight on his braced arms so that he didn’t crush her, grinding his hips softly into hers, enticing her with his erotic actions and whispered words of reckless invitation. He ravished her body with his hot, slow kisses as he ravished her mind with his wicked encouragement.
‘Come on, baby, that’s right, let go…’ he murmured as he felt her go under, dragged out of her depth by the swift cross-currents of desire, floundering briefly until she finally stopped fighting and began to flow with the inevitable tide. ‘Touch me… feel me… let me see all that passion you keep hidden inside…’

He said other things, graphically erotic things that made her blush in the dark as he stripped off the only impediments to their merging flesh, calling her ‘baby’ in a thick, harsh, voice that was almost a snarl. She didn’t care if he was using the appellation because he couldn’t remember who she was-she hardly recognised herself, and he made her feel anything but babyish. She had never realised a man could be so violently aroused that he trembled, pleaded, surrendered to a woman as if she were the stronger sex. She discovered she liked him savage and greedy and a little out of control.

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