Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Michael Angellini Heroine: Salome Twynan Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: March 25, 1994 Started On: December 13, 2021 Finished On: December 17, 2021
A Date with Destiny by Miranda Lee is a category romance that was first published in 1994. The story begins when 24 year old Salome Twynan discovers that her ex-husband had once again added another item to her divorce settlement; a penthouse unit at McMahon’s Point. Salome had married young, at the age of nineteen to a 49 year old man, who had warned her that people would talk, judge, and slander her reputation upon their marriage. Salome had gone into the marriage with her eyes wide open, let her husband mold her into what he wanted, and when the divorce had come out of nowhere, Salome is devastated, and having tried and failed to see her ex-husband to get answers to the questions she has being futile slides her further into a depressive state.
When Salome turns up at the penthouse, she discovers that her neighbor is none other than Michael Angellini (Mike), one of Sydney’s most eligible bachelors, the wealthy owner of an exclusive Italian restaurant that Ralph had taken Salome to on many occasions during the course of their marriage. From the onset of their introduction, Salome and Mike had rubbed each other the wrong way, and the hostility had often meant Mike ignoring her or giving her scathing glances while Salome tried her utmost to be more flirty and appreciative of her husband in his presence.
Needless to say, the knowledge that Mike is going to be right next door is not information that settles well with Salome, especially when she discovers that underneath all her hostility lies recognition of Mike’s vitality as a man and the need he rouses in her. Salome has her hangups about casual sex which drives her up the wall when it comes to admitting to the fact that she indeed finds Mike desirable to the point of distraction.
I found the love that unfolded between Mike and Salome to be an entertaining, sweet, and sexy journey with a bit of angst tossed into the mix. It is apparent from Mike’s behavior that he finds Salome just as desirable, and would like nothing better than for Salome to give in for them to reach the height of their mutual pleasure in each other. But Salome is a stubborn as well as a reluctant heroine (but not to the point where it becomes annoying), and Mike has his work cut out for him in trying to make her see that for him, there is no other.
Recommended for those who love books by Miranda Lee.
Final Verdict: Intense heat and good characterizations renders A Date with Destiny to be a wonderful read!
‘You don’t want me to stop, do you?’ he said hoarsely. ‘No,’ she admitted, her voice shaking. ‘No…’ His raw groan stunned her. Clearly, he wanted her almost as much as she wanted him. Maybe he had always wanted her. No, no, a dim memory refuted. That’s not so. He said that wasn’t so. His next kiss obliterated any further thought, and this time his mouth contained nothing but uncontrollable passion, a taking rather than a tempting. Salome met him halfway, their tongues joining together in a violently sensuous mating that could only be eclipsed in one way.
She could hear his breathing, as heavy and ragged as her own, hear his dark mutterings as he began working on the buttons of her jacket and blouse, then the tie at her neck. Cool air suddenly caressed bare breasts, a rash of goose-bumps temporarily sobering her. For a split second the appalling truth of what she was allowing came home to Salome but, before she could react, Mike’s mouth moved across her breasts and closed over one single, straining nipple. A moan was torn from deep in her throat, the fingers of both her hands curling over to dig into her palms. ‘Oh, God!’ she whimpered. She jammed her fists down beside her on the case, but this only served to give her a lever with which to arch her back further upwards, pushing her flesh deeper and deeper into his mouth. Her head swam with dizzying pleasure, the blood in her veins surging hotly through her body.
‘What is it?’ Mike said sharply. She expelled the breath she had been holding in a trembling gasp. ‘Nothing…nothing…’ ‘Tell me,’ he urged, and drew her to him in a breathtakingly close embrace, his lips pressed feverishly to her forehead. ‘What is it that frightens you so about me? Why didn’t you want to let me finish making love to you earlier on? Why?‘ She shook her head frantically from side to side. ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ she whispered hoarsely. ‘I can’t! It’s all too confusing.’ ‘What’s confusing?’ he insisted, little knowing that the hot, stroking hands on her hair, her neck, her back, were the most confusing of all, because they kept bringing wave after wave of sensation that was slowly obliterating her capacity to reason. Surely she wouldn’t feel like this in any other man’s arms, would she? It didn’t seem possible. Yet…if it was only Michael Angellini who could do this to her, then what was it exactly she felt for him? Sexual infatuation? Obsession? Lust? Salome refused to embrace the word ‘love’. Even if her feelings for Ralph had finally begun to die, her bruised, battered heart wasn’t ready, or capable, of loving another man yet, and certainly not a man who had nothing but contempt for her. Perhaps she was acting this way out of some sort of crazed revenge against the hurt perpetrated by her husband. Perhaps this was a rebound thing. She didn’t know any more. ‘Everything’s confusing,’ she groaned. ‘Me… this…you…’
She moaned her frustration and frantically pushed him away, ‘No, no!’ she cried. He staggered back off the end of the bed, getting to his feet and staring down at her with eyes both wild and incredulous. ‘You must be mad! There’s no stopping now. No changing your mind. Look at me!’ And, with a single savage yank, he stripped off his pyjama-trousers, striking her speechless with the stark evidence of his desire. Salome had never looked quite so blatantly at an aroused man before, certainly not one as well-endowed as Mike. Colour burnt in her cheeks, her heart thudding beneath her breasts. ‘I haven’t changed my mind,’ she burst forth, then hesitated, finding it hard to find the words. ‘I was wanting you. You!’ she cried. ‘Not…anything less…’
Finally he gasped away from her mouth and pressed hot lips to the smooth skin of her shoulder, the pulsating vein at the base of her throat, his hands running up and down the sides of her body. Her own hands were caressing the muscles in his back, but dug sharply inwards when he grabbed her hips, lifting them from the bed and thrusting even more deeply into her. Quite instinctively, her inner muscles squeezed tightly around his throbbing hardness, gripping and releasing him in a relentless rhythm. Any moment now… There was a split second when she seemed to balance on a sharp edge, when her breathing stopped, and every muscle in her body strained to an aching stop. She heard him gasp for breath, felt his hands tightening around her. Then, with one final surge, he set them both free, and their mutual cries of release echoed in the night.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: The Beyond Bondage Series, #1 Publisher: BookBaby Hero: James Hunter Heroine: Charlotte Bell Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: November 30, 2015 Started On: August 10, 2021 Finished On: November 25, 2021
Degrees of Control by Eve Dangerfield is a novel first published in 2015. The story begins with Charlotte Bell attending her friend Sophia’s “low-key” engagement party, where her friends are trying to hook her up with a man who would understand needs of a closeted submissive such as Charlotte and deliver her from the bad breakup that has left a mark on her.
Charlotte is sort of biding her time until she has saved enough to return to Australia where she is from. The decision to follow her ex-boyfriend to America had turned out to be one that was foolhardy in hindsight, with Dale having subjected her to unwarranted jealousy which had only escalated over time for no good reason.
When James Hunter walks into the party, every single cell inside of Charlotte goes on red alert. Even with all her friends warning her that James is the kind of man-whore that she should steer clear from, the need that he rouses in her is all too great to be ignored.
Even though Charlotte knows that James and herself are as ill-matched as can be, the fact that neither of them are looking for anything long-term works at first. James makes reality of every sexual fantasy that she has harbored and makes the submissive in her crave the dominant in him all the more. But when emotions come to the forefront, it is a challenging road that is ahead for both, with Charlotte trying to understand the complexity behind the man that James is, so that they might at least have a shot of making things more longer term.
I loved Degrees of Control and thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics between Charlotte and James. Ms. Dangerfield is a master at delivering scorching hot scenes of passion, while at the same leaving us with tantalizing bits thought provoking elements that makes her books the stellar reads they are.
I fell in love with Charlotte and James from the onset – what is there not to love about a heroine who is kind, gorgeous, and smart, and a hero who is an alpha-hole of the best kind, who I knew would break my heart and patch it all up before all was said and done?
Recommended for those who love psychological depth with their smut! This one certainly delivers!
Final Verdict: With the perfect balance of panty-melting variety of kink and emotional depth with heart, Degrees of Control is a character-driven page-turner!
His thumb brushed over her clit and the whole world tipped sideways, a surge of energy burst at her center and her hips bucked against his stroking fingers. “James!” Another dark chuckle. “Oh honey, you’re gonna feel so good around my cock.” Charlie came then, she couldn’t help it, and as she came, she screamed.
“I love that look on your face,” he said. “All nervous but so fuckin’ eager, like you’re gonna cream your panties the second I lay a hand on you.” He strode toward her and Charlie felt herself shrink beneath his much larger presence. James’ smirk grew wider. He pushed a strand of hair from her eyes, letting his hand linger on her neck. At his touch, she did indeed feel an answering clench in her cunt, sparks flickering deep within her belly. She pressed her thighs together, taking pleasure in the ache. It was worth coming for this, just to know this kind of doomsday lust exists.
“Now the skirt.” Charlie didn’t think she’d ever felt this exposed. Her hands lurched up to her hair, stroking it nervously before she reached for the fastener at the back of her pencil skirt. His hazel eyes bore into hers as he rubbed a palm across the front of his jeans, stroking the bulge that lay below. Charlie let Holly’s skirt pool around her ankles. Her panties were cheap but new. She hadn’t wanted to wear anything for him that she’d ever worn for Dale. James stared at the ornate love heart woven into her pink bikini briefs and she saw something wild flicker in his eyes. “Turn around,” he snarled. She did what she was told, her feet swaying slightly in the pumps. “Bend over.”
“You wanna come, Charlotte?” He ran his thumb over her swollen clit and Charlie almost choked on her tongue. “Yes.” “Go on then, girl, come on me.” That was all she needed. She rubbed her pussy on him, slick and insistent until warm, blessed orgasm surged over her like a tidal wave. She whimpered, welcoming the oblivion, and James seized her hips and sank her down on his length. “James, fuck!” She writhed against his shaft, sunk so deep his pubic hair brushed against her engorged clit. As her inner muscles strained to accommodate him, her orgasm plateaued, igniting the tangled webs of nerves deep inside herself so that she shuddered and moaned. James smirked like a blond Satan. “Feel good, sweetheart? Good as you hoped?” “Y-you tricked me, I wasn’t ready—” He leaned closer, the position a million times more intense with his cock buried inside her. “Darlin’, you’ve been ready since you showed up in those fuck-me heels. Now be a good girl and get on your hands and knees.”
James’ hazel eyes closed, his hands clasped her hips. “Oh that’s so good, honey, ride me. Ride my dick.” James’ head was thrown back and the line of his jaw was sharp as a blade. He was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, she realized. Powerful and wild as the stallion on his ribs. James groaned, a strangled desperate sound. “Jesus, Charlotte, your pussy’s so goddamn tight, I’m gonna come.” He seized a handful of her hair, driving himself against her. The brutality of his thrusts made her scrape her nails down his chest. “Fuckin’ hell, I’m there. I’m fuckin’ there.” James went rigid, his hands biting into her hips, and he cursed long and loud as his cock pulsed inside her.
“Say something,” she whispered. “Please, say something.” James lowered his mouth to her ear. “Scream my name, slut, scream it while you come on daddy’s dick.” With a gush of slick warmth, her pussy convulsed around him. Her bound hands banged against the floor as she screamed his name so loudly, his ears rang. He slowed his pace, giving her a chance to recover.
Charlotte smiled and kissed his neck, his collarbone, any part of him she could get her mouth on. Gentle kisses that somehow got his motor running again. His balls tightened, the pressure built in his cock, but still he couldn’t get over the edge. James swore softly, plunging deeper and faster into her cunt. Charlotte’s eyes found his. She had a freckle inside her right iris, James realized, like an island floating in a sea of blue. “It’s all right, James.” She sounded so quiet, so sure. “It feels so good, I promise. Come inside me. Come inside me. Let me feel you.” She pressed her lips to his mouth and everything inside him clenched. At long, long last his climax tore through him like a tornado and all the tension in his body drained out of his balls.
Without breaking their eye contact she drew him back into her mouth. This time his shaft was slick and her lips slid down with ease. “Enough.” Charlie pulled back until only her lips were pressed against the head of his cock, like a bizarrely chaste first-date kiss. “God, darlin’, that mouth of yours…” She drove down again, as deep as she could get without choking, gripping the base with one hand and stroking his tight sac with the other. “Fucking hell.”
He ploughed into her with short, sharp thrusts, satisfying himself with her flesh. The warmth between their bodies was oppressive and her orgasm seemed to swell in the pressure, blowing out like an overheated balloon. “Oh God, James, James, James.” “You’re gonna cream, aren’t you, bitch?” Charlie had never been so sure of anything. He could pull out and leave her empty and she’d still come. James chuckled. “Even when I use you like a blow-up doll, you get off. Know why that is, Charlotte?” He whispered the words in her ear like it was a childhood secret, like a prayer. “Because you’re my whore.” Charlie screamed so loud the sound ate up the world. James pumped, once, twice, three times, then went rigid behind her, swearing like a sailor. They shuddered like animals, riding out their climaxes until they were both completely drained.
“Hey there,” he said, smirking like the arrogant prick he was. Didn’t he know he was ruining her with that lazy, insolent smile, with his tight abs and broad chest and his stupid square-jawed face? Who would she want to date after this? Who would ever want to be compared to him? He opened his mouth, possibly to offer another pointless greeting, and Charlie threw herself on him. She kissed him in punishment for making her wait this long, for destroying her chances of being content with some middling nice guy. She kissed the arrogant look right off his face. Soon she forgot everything except the feel of his lips against hers. His hands drew her forward and she eagerly clambered into his lap. They consumed each other, rocking slightly in his office chair until she hoped that by “lunch” James meant “a covet fuck against my desk.”
“If I was you, I’d be coming right now, instead of bored.” His blasé attitude was somewhat undermined by the small wet stain seeping through the front of his briefs. Charlie pulled his underwear halfway down his hard thighs. “We’ll see how boring I am, Mr. Hunter.” She examined him, stroking lightly over his blood-swollen cock, and when his dick pulsed in her hands, she bent forward to trace every last pulsing vein with her tongue. Slowly. “I know what you want, girl, and it’s not happening,” James warned. “What’s not happening?” “I ain’t gonna beg. You can tease me as much as you want and I’m just gonna lie here, silent as the grave.”
“Baby, I’m gonna go off. Come up here and sit on my face.” “Beg.” “Please,” James said with what appeared to be the utmost sincerity. “Please, honey, I need to make you come. Put that pussy down on my face. I’ll stay tied up, I just have to get you off. Please.” Charlie hesitated. “I’ll taste like lube from the condom…” “I don’t give a fuck. I’ll do anything, Charlotte, just…please?” She couldn’t battle her submissive urges any longer, she scrambled up the bed and positioned her legs on either side of his head. “Fuck yeah.” James arched his neck and eagerly drew his tongue through her cunt. The noise he made, like a starving man tasting chocolate, turned her skin white-hot. “That’s it, girl, don’t move a fucking muscle. Lemme take care of you.”
“James!” She threw her head back so far her body was an arch, rutting her hips against his talented mouth. He sucked her harder, urging every last vibration out of her climax. When she finally pulled away, there was no trace of arrogance on James’ face, no cocky sense of achievement. “Get on me. Get on my dick right now.” She climbed down his bound body and drew him inside her tingling, tortured flesh. He was close, she could feel it. She clamped herself around him and the aftershocks from her first climax throbbed to life. “Use me, Charlotte.” James’ voice was harsh. “Ride my fucking cock.”
He’d opened his door on Tuesday night to find Charlotte in a trench coat. She removed it to reveal an outfit that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a pole dancer; black stockings, a tiny, ruffled skirt and a sheer, black corset. The sight of her sweet face contrasted by such slutty underwear completely blindsided him. Before he knew what was happening, Charlotte was on her knees, unbuckling his belt and giving him the slowest, hottest blowjob he could ever remember getting. She’d sucked him lightly, running her tongue down his shaft and over his sac so slow he could feel the come surging up his shaft. In the final throes, she’d wet a fingertip and sunk it in his ass. He’d come so hard sparks had popped behind his eyes.
She walked toward her bedroom with legs that felt like jelly. Rummaging through her lingerie she selected ruffled cream panties and a sheer babydoll negligee that cupped her breasts and flowed down to her hips like the world’s most inappropriate dress. Figuring she’d go all out, she applied lipstick and mascara and slipped on her black Mary Jane shoes. She inspected herself quickly in the mirror. Nothing like a troll doll. Good. When she emerged into the kitchen, James’ mouth flattened into a straight line. He beckoned her closer, eyes cataloguing every detail. As much as Charlie wanted his mouth to fall open, she’d learned that the more potent James’ reaction to her body was, the more it looked like anger. When he’d opened the door to find her in stripper clothes, he looked like he wanted to punch a hole in the wall.
“James, can you hold me down?” “Anything you want. Anything.” He seized her delicate wrists and pulled them over her head, pinning them with one hand. Charlotte’s inner muscles clamped around him, as though she was determined to draw the come up from his balls. “Oh Lord. Tell me you’re close, sweetheart?” Her eyes were wild. Desperate. “I’m so close, please keep going. I need you.” I need you. The words went straight to his dick, filling him with a strange spiraling warmth.
She pushed him onto his back and he let her, kissing her breasts as they went over. He felt her wet heat kiss the top of his dick and moaned. “I swear, we don’t have to do this, baby.” He searched her eyes for reservation. There was none. Pushing aside any last doubts, James flexed his hips and slid himself inside her hot, bare cunt. Oh my fucking God. He wanted to die. He wanted to live and die in Charlotte’s pussy. She was warmer and tighter than anything he’d ever imagined, her wetness enveloping him in ways that felt both physical and not.
“Stay. Finish with me like this.” She moved against him in short sweet strokes, her hair tumbling around her shoulders. The words he couldn’t say before tumbled out. “You’re so fucking beautiful, Charlotte. I love this, I love your body.” Her response was to reach down and kiss him, pressing her entire body along his chest and bathing him in her scent. He sank back into the floor, dissolving into pure sensation. What they were doing was a million miles from fucking. It was that whiskey-warm feeling he’d gotten from taking her under the covers in her bedroom amplified to a thousand-fold. Every pressure point from his jaw to his toes was tingling.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Matthew Connelly Heroine: Jeannie MacPherson Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: November 1985 Started On: November 14, 2021 Finished On: November 20, 2021
Rocky Road by Anne Stuart is a novel that was first published in 1985 from Harlequin. Republished recently on major e-book platforms, from the queen of romance who can seldom do wrong, comes the story of 40 year old Matthew Connelly, head of the detective squad of the Chicago police force and 33 year old Jeannie MacPherson, who is running from her own demons of a totally different variety.
When Jeannie tries the neighborly tactic of trying to welcome Matthew to Muscatoon Island where she has been residing in for the past two years, Jeannie is met with resistance of the kind that speaks of a man wanting to be left alone. Posing as a painter, but recovering from both physical and emotional wounds from the last case that Matthew was working on, he is determined that he would keep to himself through his recovery, even if Jeannie tempts him otherwise.
How these two tangle is quite invigorating at times, but ultimately, the story turned out to be a frustrating one for me. I always felt as if Jeannie was the one who was doing all the chasing and wooing when it comes to Matthew. Matthew is one of the most reluctant heroes I have come across of late and he made me grit my teeth from frustration because of his obstinate nature and with his emotions under control at every turn.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a controlled hero – to a point. A controlled hero is no fun unless the heroine has the effect of unraveling him and smashing through that iron clad will. But Matthew seems to be made of sterner stuff than most, and while I am all for heroines who choose to assert themselves and go after what they want, I found her ploys to get noticed by Matthew, while hilarious, to be a tad desperate at times.
Perhaps I would have been more appeased, had she cut her losses and removed herself from the situation that she found herself in and let Matthew come to her, when all was said and done. If he felt so deeply about her, that is something he could do as well in my opinion. Even the last scene does not really give the reader any sense of happiness if you ask me, because even towards the very end, the push and pull factor is controlled by none other than Matthew. In my opinion, Jeannie just settled for what Matthew was willing throw her way, because she was lost from the minute he limped into her life.
I would also have loved to learn more about Matthew’s past – the last case he worked on seemed to have done a number on him in every sense. I always felt as if Ms. Stuart had a purpose behind including tantalizing bits and pieces of the case, which perhaps could have been part of the larger plot, giving the story an edgier ending.
Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart who are looking to read her older books as refurbished titles.
Final Verdict: Rocky is the road that Jeannie travels when it comes to winning the affections of Matthew; there is no stone that she would leave unturned to win over her beloved!
He moved then, swiftly, gracefully, so fast that she couldn’t avoid him. “You forgot to kiss me good-bye,” he said, and pulled her into his arms, his mouth coming down on hers before she had a chance to duck. One of his strong hands held the nape of her neck in a viselike grip, the other arm slid around her waist and pulled her up against him as he kissed her, a long, slow, erotic insult of a kiss. She’d opened her mouth to protest and he’d taken possession of it, with a deliberate, sexual kiss that brought her blood racing to her loins and flames of fury racing to her brain.
For a moment she forgot everything, forgot her doubts, her better judgment, her sense of self-preservation, and she twined her arms around his neck to kiss him back. She was lost in the wonder of his mouth. In the dimness of the rocking cabin there was only the scent of his skin, the feel of his mouth, and the warm, wet, seeking pleasure of the mouth on hers. She wanted to get closer, closer to him; she wanted to climb inside his skin and kiss him from the inside out; she wanted to rip off her clothes and climb on top of him, to blot out the storm and her fears and her doubts and her loneliness that she never admitted existed. She wanted nothing but Matthew Connelly, and the demanding mouth on hers, the strong hands that were threading underneath her sweater to slide up her hot skin told her that he wanted her, too.
“Should I let you go?” His words came out on the breath of a sigh, and he was warm and strong and so very near. “Yes,” she whispered, and raised her mouth to his, no longer able to fight it. He wrapped her in his arms, pulling her into the haven of his body, and she went gladly, mindlessly, sinking against him with a sigh of pure delight. There was no question that this was dangerous and very wrong, no question that she was a fool. And no question that it no longer mattered. She kissed him, reaching up to him, and it was long and slow and deep, and finished the last shreds of common sense left to her. His tongue was hot and rough and wet in her mouth, bold and demanding, allowing her no pretensions. She couldn’t be kissed like that, return a kiss like that, and still pretend they weren’t headed directly for bed.
He was with her, the force of his thrusts pounding her into the bed, and the ancient springs creaked in protest, a protest they both ignored as she reached for him, with her arms, her hips, her heart and soul, dissolving against him in a damp tangle of arms and limbs and love.
“You aren’t going to get warm standing there glaring at me,” he observed. Jeannie counted to ten mentally, then managed a smile as chilly as her icy flesh. “What do you suggest I do about it?” she demanded. “You could come over here and get warm.” She stared at him in amazement. “You think you could warm me Up?” “Oh, I think between the two of us we could manage quite a conflagration,” he said, and the rough silk of his voice began to melt the ice around her heart. “Come here, Jeannie.” Pride and common sense would have kept her rooted to her spot in the sand, but pride and common sense were at the bottom of the ocean.
She clung to him like a piece of rockweed clinging to a rocky shore, wrapping her arms and her body around him like tendril of kelp. Slowly the heat began to penetrate through her wet clothes, her salty skin, into her very bones, and then she was shivering with something other than cold, and he was shivering, too. “I feel as if I’m kissing a mermaid,” he whispered against her ear. She laughed against the solid warmth of his chest, a rusty, shaken sound. “You have been. Actually, I’m a siren, here to drown unsuspecting sailors.”
“But what if you can?” she said in a desperate whisper. “What if you can simply put it all behind you, forget about it?” “That’s what I’ve been trying to do all summer, and so far I haven’t had much success.” “But what if you could?” she persisted. He looked down at her, lying against the pillows, her russet-colored hair black in the moonlight. “Then I’ll find you,” he said softly. “And I’m expected to settle for that? A vague possibility?” Her voice wasn’t angry, only resigned and very, very sad. “It’s all I can offer.”
She arched against him, the warmth in her turning into a fire. Her hands reached up to cradle his face, and she kissed him, long and deep, telling him without words how much she’d missed him, how much she loved him, how much she hated herself for hurting him. He answered her, his tongue a strong, driving force within the receptive warmth of her mouth, telling her he would never leave her again. Slowly, carefully she let her hands slide down his arms, past his ribs, down the hard flatness of his stomach to touch him, hold him. His answering groan was reward enough, as he pressed himself into her willing hands, and she gentled and stroked him. His response was to delve deeper into her mysteries, the warm dampness of her telling him how much she needed him.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Cullen Ayers Heroine: Everly West Sensuality: 4 Date of Publication: October 14, 2021 Started On: November 07, 2021 Finished On: November 12, 2021
Previously published in the Tangled Sheets anthology as Spitfire, Burn for Me is the revised title with added content, released in October of last year. This is a dark romance and is not intended for readers who do not like heroes who push the boundaries beyond the popularly accepted limits in the genre.
32 year old Everly West is looking for a fresh start by seeking a teaching position at the Florence University. What had begun as part of Everly’s internship eight years back, requiring her to write an investigative piece on a local had ended up with a major human trafficking operation being uncovered, with George Ayers being convicted of the crime and sentenced to jail. The case had left its mark on Everly in a way that at times she herself cannot reconcile with.
Everly had spent the next eight years of her career trying to attain the same high to no avail. However, the staid teaching position that she takes up ends up being more than she bargained for, when on her first day of class, in walks 18 year old Cullen Ayers, the 10 year old boy now a grown man, whose life had irrevocably changed with his father being convicted.
Cullen’s hatred towards Everly is a palpable thing when they meet, with Cullen placing the blame on Everly’s shoulders for the shit show that his life had become since. Everly brings out the worst in him, the anger that he harbors is one that seethes, needing an outlet, a living being of sorts that resides in him refusing to be denied.
They say that there is a thin line between hatred and love, and perhaps that applies to the situation all too well. Because beneath all that anger, the attraction that simmers to life between Everly and Cullen is one that is like a live wire; touch it and you risk being burned.
What starts out for Cullen as a way to taunt Everly results in a passion that burns bright and hot between the two, and before Cullen knows it, Everly is in his blood, under his skin, and slowly making her way into his heart. For Everly, the fact that Cullen is her student and fourteen years younger are things that should matter, but she is tired of feeling like a dead woman walking, and with Cullen, she feels alive for the first time in years.
Burn for Me is not an easy read by any means. Cullen is a tough nut to crack, his hostility towards Everly reaching points of high where it almost feels like there is violence in the air that could do Everly physical harm. But Everly is no doormat heroine, and she gives as good as she gets, while seeing through to the belligerence that is part and parcel of who Cullen is.
But any fragile emotional bonds that is forged to life between the two is constantly under threat from the secrets that remain to be uncovered, with Everly ever so determined to get to the bottom of the story behind George Ayers, even if it means raising the ire of Cullen to new heights.
True to Sara Cate’s style, the story delivers a ton of angst, reverse age-gap protagonists, and heat of the kind that scorches your e-reader. I reveled in all of it and more, and applaud Ms. Cate for writing Cullen as he is; unapologetic, circumstances of life having molded him into a man hardened by life’s cruelties, but yearning for the touch of the one woman who drives him to the edge of violence over the possessiveness that takes hold of him.
Everly is a quieter force in the story, but just as potent. Cullen brings an edge to her life which she thrives in, the commanding way in which he treats her in the bedroom something that she has craved for, without even realizing the fact. All of this and more balances out their relationship, each giving the other what they need, which in the end made for a spellbinding read!
Recommended for those who love dark and edgy romances; Cullen is a force to be reckoned with in every single way!
Final Verdict: Cullen and Everly burns through the pages, scorching your fingertips, heart, and soul, leaving at times destruction in their wake, but always followed by love of the kind that is all consuming!
It occurs to me at that moment how much more I want to do with this new burst of energy—sick, twisted things I’ve never really thought about wanting before, and that thought has my cock getting surprisingly hard in my shorts. “You belong to me now, Miss West. And if you even think about calling the police on me or telling Coach or the administration, you might as well slit your own throat because I won’t let you sleep a wink without wishing for death. Do we have an understanding?” I snap, my tone laced with hatred as I grit out each word.
Our eyes meet for a moment, and there is no more smug indignation in her eyes, just fear. Something passes between us. It’s subtle, and maybe I’m seeing something that’s not there, but it looks like fire in her eyes, like maybe I love this and she doesn’t hate it as much as she should. With her tear-soaked eyes still on mine, I force her mouth shut. “Swallow.” She whimpers again and does what she’s told. “Good girl.” Then I wipe her tears with my thumb before shoving her away from me.
His mouth lands harshly on my lips. I’m too stunned to move. My hands are pressed against his chest, but not with enough force to actually push him off of me. In the recesses of my mind, I know if I really want him off, I can get away, but I don’t. I just let him kiss me. His tongue slides between my lips, diving into my mouth like he owns me, and I guess at this point, he does. The metal on his tongue surprises me for a moment as it slides against mine. He lets out a low growl when the hand around my waist squeezes me closer, practically fusing my body with his.
“No, you are not my fucking mother, Everly. Don’t you ever compare yourself to my mother again. You will never be like her. She wasn’t a bitch like you.” I let out a gasp and instantly try to pull away, but he grabs me hard by the back of the neck, squeezing so tightly that pain shoots all the way down my spine. “You’re hurting me,” I say with a whimper. Still, he doesn’t let up. Instead, he grabs my hand off the steering wheel and slams it against his crotch, and I lose the ability to breathe when I feel the rock-hard bulge in his shorts. “Hurting you gets me hard, Everly. You see how fucked up I am?”
“What’s wrong, Everly? You’ve never heard of hate-sex? A revenge fuck. Angsty, depraved, and dirty as sin.” My mouth goes dry, and I can’t respond. “Is that what you want? Because that’s sure as fuck what I want, and that’s why that asshole will not touch you, understand?” When his hands grip a handful of my hair, I shudder. Arousal warms my belly as he yanks my head backward. There was some reason why I shouldn’t do this.
The back of my skirt is lifted up to my ass as Cullen pushes his hips against mine, dry humping me from behind, and making me see stars with the way my arousal slams into me like a truck. God, I want him to unzip his pants and just fuck me right here. I don’t even care that I could be caught, lose my job, and be in the headlines all over again, but for much worse reasons. I don’t care. The feel of his perfect cock entering me with force would be worth it. My body is on fire, flames licking at my belly as he grinds his impressive length against my ass. “Fuck me,” I whisper, shamelessly. So fucking shamelessly. I should be the very definition of ashamed right now, but I’m not. I just don’t care.
“Cullen, please,” I beg, but he doesn’t give me what I crave. Instead, he teases me. Slipping his fingers through the folds, he slides a finger in roughly, making me cry out. Then, he pulls it out and spreads the moisture all over, pulling his hand out and touching his wet fingers to my lips. “Taste yourself,” he whispers, and I do. It’s erotic and filthy and sends my heart racing, a strange new feeling sprouting in my stomach, like being turned on by something that also makes me feel wrong and dirty. It’s so much better.
“Show me now.” With a hesitant expression on her face, she peels open her robe, giving me a view of her bra and panties before lowering the phone and spreading her knees. Peeling her thong aside, she aims the camera right at her beautiful pink pussy. My breath comes out heavy and loud. “Touch it.” “Cullen, no.” She’s putting up such a weak fight, it makes me laugh. “Do it, Everly. I need to see you touch it.” With the slightest huff, she obeys. Her fingers run through her lips, and I groan. I notice how her mouth opens, her breath hitching, and her eyes darkening in lust.
“Everly,” I whisper her name, the sound of it like satin on my lips. Her heavily-hooded gaze stares back at me as she watches me stroke myself. “I’m going to come soon,” she says in a high-pitched cry, and I bite my lip, loving the way her hand picks up speed and her chest stops moving. “Come for me, baby,” I manage to groan out just as my balls tighten, the head of my cock swelling as my own orgasm rushes to the surface in a hurried chase.
He throws his bag into my trunk and drops into the seat next to me, but he doesn’t hesitate a moment before grabbing my face and pulling me to him for a bruising, violent kiss. Time stops, and I let out a yelp just as he fuses his lips to mine. And he tastes good. Kissing Cullen is like visiting a private place all on your own, where there are no rules or witnesses. I don’t necessarily kiss him back, but when his tongue presses its way into my mouth, I let it. He nips at my lips as he consumes me, and I try to stop time. I don’t want to open my eyes and face his disdain for me anymore. I just want to exist in this kiss.
Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes hooded with lust, like it’s the only thought on her mind—need, want, lust. When we reach the master bathroom, she turns to flip on the shower before spinning back toward me to pull up my shirt. It’s the first time she’s really taken control, letting herself express how much she wants me, and I like it. Everly wants me, and even though it’s not like she’s the first woman to want me, the attention warms a part of me that’s always felt cold and dead before.
While I’m staring at the mirror, she glides her hands along my abs and up to my pecs, skimming her fingers softly over my nipples, toying with the barbell through each one. And even though my skin is still covered in a thin sheen of sweat, she leans forward and kisses my chest. A groan builds softly from the base of my chest, growing louder as her mouth finds my nipple and her teeth bite the piercing there. Fuck, I’m not going to make it.
Spinning her around so her back is against me, I hold her tightly across the chest with one arm as I plunge my fingers in again. Writhing against me, she cries out as I stroke her relentlessly. I want her as close to coming as I can get her. Clutching onto my arm, she hangs from my hold as I zero in on her clit, rubbing it so hard I know she’s teetering somewhere between pain and pleasure. “Cullen,” she gasps in a plea. She’s begging me for more. My dick is pressed against her back, and I squeeze her closer. God, I want to fuck her so badly, but I can’t. I have to keep my head.
I put up a fight, crawling away, but he grabs me by the ankle, jerking me toward him. Letting out a scream laced with laughter, I push away from him, but he’s so much stronger than I am. Plus, I don’t really hate the idea of being at Cullen’s mercy, not anymore. This thing between us has morphed from actual torment to superficial torment, like we’re playing the parts, fulfilling roles. He is my punisher, and I am welcoming my discipline.
He climbs onto the bed, covering my body with his. He wrestles my wrists from my chest and pins them above my head. Looking into his eyes with a dare on my face, I say, “Don’t start something you can’t finish.” He hears the challenge in my voice and smiles wickedly. “I don’t think you deserve to finish,” he growls, abruptly kissing my neck. His lips and teeth are both soft and rough, kissing and nibbling, making me squirm with the too-good and too-painful contradiction, which is really just Cullen in a nutshell, isn’t it? I want all of him and none of him at the same time.
He strokes my hair again. He’s not forcing me, and I know I don’t have to, but I want to. So I lift my head and slowly pull down the elastic waistband of his pants and reach for his cock. I am not hurried or frantic as I slowly wrap my hand around him, watching his face for signs of pleasure when I squeeze. His eyes threaten to close as I stroke him once, then twice. With my gaze on his, I shift closer, so I can run my tongue along his shaft. He moans and presses his fingers subtly against my head. He wants more, and I want to give it to him. I don’t even care that I’m not going to get off. I’ll do it just to watch the way he comes and to hear the sounds he makes as I unravel him piece by piece.
I don’t expect him to do what he does next, so I’m reaching for him when he drops to his knees and buries his face between my legs. The warmth of his wet mouth is intense, so intense, I let out a strangled cry as his tongue punches hard into me. It’s almost too much, but it’s him, and he’s touching me, and I let myself melt into that thought. “Cullen,” I gasp, arching my back and burying my hands in his hair. He moans, pressing his mouth harder against me, his tongue going deeper. Hooking his arms under my thighs, he practically fuses his lips to my body.
“Cullen, please!” He’s on top of me in a heartbeat, devouring my mouth the way he was just devouring my sex, making me taste myself. Making me like it. I feel his thick erection heavy on my belly as he kisses me. My eyes are squeezed shut, tears still streaming when I wrap my legs around him, inviting him in. “You still want to fight me?” he mutters darkly against my mouth. “You still want to pretend you’re not mine?” When I try to shift my hips to meet his cock, he takes a hold of my face under my chin to keep me still. “Fucking open your eyes, Everly.”
Tell me you hate me now,” he grits out as he pulls back and slams in again. His hands clutch me hard, one behind my neck and the other around my waist. “I hate you,” I whisper, as another batch of tears flow out of my eyes. I’m not sad or scared or hurt, but the intensity of the moment forces them out, and I can’t stop them now.
“Relax, Everly.” “I’m not used to relaxing around you.” With my opposite hand, I grab a handful of her hair and pull her upright so my mouth is next to her ear. “Do you think I really want to hurt you?” “Yes.” “You’re wrong. I want you to be my dirty little slut. I want to fuck your brains out and make you come so hard you see stars. Can I do that?” She lets out a sweet little breath and nods. “Yes.”
“Come on, Cullen. You’re angry. Give me your anger. I can take it.” His mouth slams against mine so hard, I’m sure it’ll bruise. It takes me by surprise, as he owns my mouth in a possessive, harsh kiss. Thrusting his tongue into my mouth, I remind my body to give up the fight, and he dominates me. I have to trust that he won’t take it too far. I have absolutely nothing to base that on, but I will do this for him. When he bites my bottom lip, a shock of pain makes me panic, and I let out a whimper.
And he was right. It’s nothing like before. We’re not connecting on a deeper level or savoring the feel of each other. He’s fucking me hard without emotion. No, there is emotion. It’s resentment and rage and dread. He’s fucking me in frustration, and like he said, this is for him, not me. Still, my body responds, purring under the almost violent, overwhelming motion of his thrusts. “Harder,” I gasp before I catch myself. He picks up speed, filling the room with the sounds of our bodies slamming together. I don’t even cry out when sparks ignite every nerve in my body, throwing me into a silent fit of pleasure. I keep quiet, keeping my orgasm to myself.
Her back arches and she cries out. It’s a delicious sensation, but I need more. I need everything with her. Kissing her collarbone, I lick up the water clinging to her skin from her neck to her earlobe. Every moment our bodies are fused makes me feel whole, like she is the piece I was missing. “I want you to come inside me.” She tilts her hips, grinding herself on me. Her arms wrap around my neck, our lips pressed together as our bodies move in one fluid motion. “Fuck, Everly…” I moan.
She pulls away from the kiss for a moment and stares up at me. “Give it to me, Cullen. Give me your pleasure.” She winds her fingers in mine, clasping our hands firmly together as I thrust harder. When I feel myself shuddering and fighting it, she squeezes my hand even tighter. With our mouths pressed together, I cry out, “I’m coming.” The climax spreads through my body, lasting forever as it clamps down and breaks me, shattering every fragment of who I am until there is nothing left. Until I am nothing but hers.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Fisherman #2 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Fisher Mann Heroine: Therese Capshaw Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: October 14, 2021 Started On: November 01, 2021 Finished On: November 03, 2021
The Lost Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann is the second and last book in the Fisherman duet series. There was no way that I was going to be able to focus on any other book having finished the first book in the series, thanking God that the second one was already out – because when I first started reading The Naked Fisherman, I had no idea that it was going to be a cliffhanger ending; I was just too excited to see the most recent release from the author and plunged right in.
The second book in the series takes place five years after Fisher and Reese go their separate ways, each having confessed to the love they have for each other, but agreeing that it was not their time, or perhaps that it would never be. Reese spends time in Thailand, where she finally finds her calling, choosing to become a midwife nurse.
Having graduated from University of Michigan in nursing, Reese is on the lookout for jobs when she receives the news of Fisher being involved in an accident. Dropping everything else, Reese rushes to Fisher’s side, all the while knowing that it was futile to hope for anything to happen between them.
When Fisher wakes up and is diagnosed with amnesia, Reese decides to stay back and see through his recovery, even if it means observing the recovery from a distance. Fisher failing to recognize Reese hurts deep inside, but at the same time, she is willing to become reacquainted with him, even if it may mean her heart breaking all over again as it did five years before.
This novel too, is told mainly from the perspective of Reese, making it difficult to discern where Fisher was coming from. Nevertheless, it was interesting to observe how Fisher gets drawn to Reese, finds himself unable to deny his burgeoning attraction to her, and wants her in a way that he is willing to put his long-standing relationship with his now fiance on the line, just because.
To be honest, I found The Lost Fisherman to be a bit of a letdown, not that the first book was excellent either, but I still had hope that this one would deliver specifically in areas that I found lacking in the first installment. With Fisher having rejected the notion of having sex with Reese in the first novel, all because he wanted to save her virginity for some future bloke who would be her husband (cue in some eye rolling here), when they finally get the deed done five years later, I was expecting a lot of fireworks to herald in the moment. But alas, it was not so!
Furthermore, I always felt as if Reese was the one who did the pursuing when it comes to Fisher. Not even once was there a mention of how Fisher had actually yearned for her, did something out of character to go after her or because he wanted her that badly, and I felt that Reese always gave in just like that because it was the love of her life. There was also no explanation to Fisher’s borderline creepy behavior when they initially met when Fisher was making Reese feel as if at eighteen years, she should be totally fit for modern society, in spite of having been brought up otherwise.
In fact, if I were to be honest, there was nothing that really proved how much he loved her (that is if he loved her at all). It is only through the epilogue that there is a brief respite from all these misgivings – which I believe is a cop out when all is said and done. The reader is pretty much privy to all the internal monologues, misgivings, and rationalizing that Reese does, and the agony she goes through when Fisher is all about taking his time, but there is nothing whatsoever that shows to the reader, either by action, involuntary reaction, or even a spasm of emotion that passes through Fisher’s expressions, just how much Reese means to her which was hugely disappointing.
Recommended for fans of Jewel E. Ann.
Final Verdict: The Lost Fisherman failed to live up to my expectations in a grand way, but then again, Jewel E. Ann is too remarkable a writer to make the reader experience anything but memorable!
I pulled him to me, lifting onto my toes as my lips brushed back and forth over his. “Yeah,” I whispered before giving his mouth a slow kiss. My right hand reached for his left hand, and I guided it under the hem of my shirt. Up. Up. Up. “This is the chapter where the lost fisherman makes it to second base.” Fisher grinned before I kissed him again. His hand cupped my breast, and his thumb slid under the fabric and grazed my nipple. We knew it wouldn’t go past that. So we took our time kissing, like sipping coffee on a lazy Sunday morning.
His good hand tangled in my hair, deepening the kiss, and I softly moaned. I loved our bubble, but I hated the fate of it, like the fate of every bubble. Eventually, all bubbles popped. Pulling back, I released his mouth but kept my hold on his neck so he kept his lips close to mine as I whispered, “I’m in. I’m in as long as you want me to be in your life. Even on the days it hurts like hell. I’m in.” He rested his forehead on mine and blew out a slow breath. “Can I tell you something truly terrible?” I grinned, lifting my chin and brushing my lips against his as I giggled. “Tell me.” Fisher dragged his mouth along my cheek, depositing small kisses on his way to my ear. “The only memories of my past I want to get back … are the ones of you.”
That slow kiss took us all the way to the bed. I wasn’t the nervous girl anymore. And knowing he wasn’t getting my virginity didn’t make it feel any less special. I wasn’t a used sanitary napkin. I was the woman who put myself first, who loved myself first. I was the girl who left the love of her life to find a life. There were mistakes. Lessons to learn. Tears to cry. Intimate moments with other people. Risks to take. And I did it all. I did it not because I thought it would lead me back to Fisher; I did it for me. The only gift I cared to give my future husband was the most confident version of myself. A full heart and a humbled soul.
I sat up just enough to let him push into me the whole way. Drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t move. I just wanted to stay in that exact position forever. I’d imagined that feeling so many times, and despite the other men I’d been with, there was no comparing them or anything I’d done with them to Fisher being inside of me. Him sitting up and kissing me. Him rolling us again and again. Arms and legs tangling together with the sheets woven every which way. The look in his eyes when he moved inside of me—so intense. His strong hands all over my body, laced with my fingers, and tangled in my hair as he kissed me. The whispered promise of never forgetting that moment—so heartbreaking.
“I love you today,” he said. That was his reply. The perfect reply. I nodded toward him. “Thought you were going to shower.” “After I drive you home.” I grinned, taking two steps to him then taking his hand and pulling him toward the front door. “You’re one, Fisher.” “One in what?” I opened the door, and he closed it behind us. “Not in anything. Not one in eighty thousand. Not one in a billion times infinity. You’re just one. The one.”
I let Fisher undress me and do all the things. He kissed me in places only he could kiss me and make it feel sexy, make me feel beautiful and desired. When he touched me, it didn’t feel like my body. It felt like an extension of him, and I just got to experience him giving me a thorough tour of it. Every touch was a silent whisper, all the things he said to me by showing me. This is how I make you moan. This is how I steal your breath. This is how I make you beg. This is where you make me feel like a god. Because I don’t remember you, but I know you. I. Know. You. Nestled between two open sleeping bags, we made love, we made noise …. and we made new memories.
I reached across the island to grab an apple from his big bowl of them. “You know what I mean. Official.” “I don’t know what you mean.” “Oof …” I sucked in a sharp breath when he pinned me to the counter, my chest stretched over it with a shiny green apple in one hand. “I don’t know what you mean, because I heard nothing after you bent over my counter.” His fingers teased my outer thighs. “And I discoered you’re not wearing anything under my sweatshirt.” “Fisher …” I gulped. It was a compromising position I hadn’t been in before. He restrained me using his body and the counter instead of zip ties, but the effect was the same. “You can’t be in this position…” he hiked the hoodie up, completely exposing my bare butt “…with callipygian tattooed on your very sexy and shapely ass…” his knee nudged my legs apart a little wider “…and not expect me to fuck you.”
“A hand job in front of my friends? Who are you?” Fisher pressed my hands to the wall and yanked my sweatpants down to my ankles followed by my panties. “I hope … I’m yours,” I said in a shaky breath, rattled by what he was doing to me and how much it thrilled me. He chuckled. “You’re mine alright.” I liked his fast hands. He was impatient boot-shopping Fisher with his cock out as he thrust into me in a matter of seconds. “Fishe—” I wasn’t prepared for that quick of an invasion. He silenced me with his hand over my mouth and a harsh “shh” in my ear. Fisher moved with intention with one hand giving attention to my clit while his other hand snaked up my shirt and used my breast like a handle. It was quick and dirty … and I liked it.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Fisherman #1 Publisher: Self-Published Hero: Fisher Mann Heroine: Therese Capshaw Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: September 30, 2021 Started On: October 30, 2021 Finished On: November 01, 2021
The Naked Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann is the first book in the Fisherman duet series. The story begins with 18 year old Therese Capshaw (Reese) travels to see her mom for the first time in five years. Having been incarcerated for growing marijuana, Reese’s mom spends five years in a women’s correctional facility, while her dies three three years into her mom’s jail term, which means Reese had gone under the care of her paternal grandparents, who had ensured that she grow up with the right Christian values by sending her to a private Christian academy in Texas.
When she arrives, Reese finds out that her mom is leaving her in the care of her landlord for just a month’s time, the landlord who turns out to be none other than 28 year old Fisher Mann. From the get-go, Fisher teases her, all because she is easy game with her naivety born out spending her most formative teenage years at the Christian academy.
Reese is enthralled, shocked, aroused, and at the same time uncomfortable by what Fisher makes her feel. The way he treats her as a child who knows nothing one minute, and the next turns on his charms with a gusto makes her feel scorched and leaves her helpless in her response to him.
Given that this is a two book series, The Naked Fisherman ends on a cliffhanger and unless you already gave up on reading this one halfway through, you would definitely want to know how all of it ends. Which is what happened to me.
Jewel E. Ann has a way of writing her stories that draws the reader in, regardless of the trope she takes on. With an age gap of ten years between the hero and heroine, Fisher is a man who is a bit of a commitment-phobe, enjoying his life to the fullest. It is a tad difficult to gauge his feelings (developing or otherwise), when it comes to Reese because the story is told solely from Reese’s point of view in the first person.
I felt quite conflicted for the most part of the story – perhaps that is by design. Rather than feeling the sexual tension, I felt like Fisher was being inappropriate because he was taking advantage of Reese’s innocence in a way. The fact that Reese feels uncomfortable about it is telling. It is not Reese’s fault that she ended up with a conservative set of grandparents, who molded her to their way of thinking. I also felt like this book looks down on religion as a concept, making it sound as if being conservative and/or religious is the bane of everyone’s existence.
I have seen some reader reviews taking on quite the judgmental tone when it comes to Reese and her understanding and viewpoints at first towards LGBTQ. Religious values for the most part guide us towards what is right and wrong. As society has evolved and moved away from religion, the ethics and legal framework that rules society has taken cues from the evolving expectations of humans, which of course has meant the acceptance of LGBTQ and the worldwide campaign to inculcate everyone with these values.
What I find funny is that while the same groups of people talk about acceptance and advocates against judging the other for their chosen paths, the same comes out with their guns blazing to condemn anyone who holds different values close to their heart. Live and let live is only a phrase that is applicable for those who are on the path of the majority accepted norms now, and anyone who believes otherwise, either because of their religion or any other philosophies that guides their lives, are considered to be rigid, judgemental, and not fit for modern society.
Fisher certainly leads Reese on, turning hot and cold when it suites him, giving not just Reese a whiplash before all is said and done. The whole deal with not taking Reese’s virginity, and Fisher acting “noble” by stating that Reese’s husband would thank him for it was kind of off putting as well. If Fisher did not want to be responsible for taking Reese’s virginity, all well and good. But entire scenes focused on this aspect got a bit tiresome for me.
Reese’s inner conflict when it comes to being with Fisher is something I could identify with. You do not lose sight of how you are brought up, the values instilled in you, just because you meet the kind of man that takes your breath away. Your conscience would still speak up, and it is up to that person to decide how they want to move forward from that point onward. Calling Reese dumb, pathetic, or worse because of that just shows how judgmental society has become in a bid to accept the popular norms.
For those who are fans of Jewel E. Ann, the reviews are mixed, so I recommend to read this at your own risk.
Final Verdict: The Naked Fisherman is a story that invoked a lot of mixed feelings in me, from religious conservatism to being less than comfortable with the Fisher’s attitudes and actions towards Reese at certain points!
“Why are you running from me?” He was right at my back. I forced myself to turn toward him, and it took superhero strength. He stepped toward me. I stepped back. We did this dance until a wall stopped my retreat. He pressed his hands to the wall above my head, and my heart rate spiked a thousand percent. The air exchange in my lungs sounded like that of someone finishing a marathon. Was I reading him wrong? It wouldn’t have been the first time I got it wrong and felt like a fool. But that moment felt different. The look in his eyes wasn’t the same. The part of his lips. The increased intensity of his own chest rising and falling.
“A-are you g-going to kiss me?” His lips pulled into a hint of amusement. “I was thinking about it.” Fisher’s patience killed me, completely slayed me. It was as if he had to solve the world’s problems in his head before he kissed me. But I didn’t want to be a problem of the world. I wanted to be the girl—the woman—he kissed on a Monday night for no good reason. Not everything in life needed an explanation. Couldn’t we steal a few seconds, a kiss, without accountability? “Will you be done thinking about it anytime soo—” Fisher kissed me.
“Did you get a lot of work done today?” He gripped my waist, and my hands flew to his shoulders because I wasn’t sure what he was doing. Then he lifted me onto the counter and stepped into the space between my spread legs. Just like the previous night, everything in my body kicked into overdrive. “I …” Swallowing hard, I gave him a nervous smile. “I sorted and filed today.” “That’s good.” He brushed my hair away from my shoulders and dipped his face into my neck. I stiffened feeling the warmth of his breath spread along my skin. My hands slid from his shoulders to his hair, searching for control. If I didn’t want him to kiss my neck, I could have yanked him away. But I did.
A sharp, audible gasp left my parted lips just as he sucked my earlobe into his mouth and released it a second later by dragging his teeth along it. All the weird things happened at once. Heat in my cheeks worked its way down to everywhere. Pressure built between my legs. I swear it felt like I’d peed a little, but I knew better. Heaviness in my breasts. Even my nipples felt different—sensitive as they pressed against the fabric of my bra. Copious amounts of saliva required constant swallowing to keep from drooling. I was afraid to be touched anymore yet needed to be touched. It was so foreign and impossible to articulate even to myself.
“Come here.” After a few seconds of hesitation, I crawled onto the bed close to him. “Straddle my legs.” Biting my quivering lower lip, I straddled his jean-clad legs. The level of intimacy made it nearly impossible to breathe. “Higher.” I scooted higher. He sat up, shrugging off his shirt, and I jumped as his hands found my hips, his fingers grazing my butt. Our noses nearly touched. “I’m going to kiss you. And touch you.” His voice was just a whisper, a warm breath over my lips. “And you’re going to do whatever you need to do to feel … good. And if you get scared, I want you to close your eyes and know that I’ve got you. You’re not too young or too anything. You are you. And I just think that you’re … beautiful.”
We kissed, unhurried, almost lazily. My hands navigated his chest and back, every muscle, every bend in the terrain of his body. Fisher feathered his calloused hands over my bare skin, sending goose bumps spreading across it. Our kiss deepened, a soft moan breaking the silence. It took me a few seconds to realize it was me, not him. Fisher’s fingers slid up my inner thighs. I stiffened, eyes wide. He blinked a few times and slowly kissed me again. When I closed my eyes, I let go … finding trust in the man who “had me.” His fingers teased the leg of my panties. My right hand found his hair as my left hand clawed his back.
“Fisher … m-move …” “Move what?” he asked with so much control I thought I might die of my own impatience. “E-everything. Just … move.” His strong hands claimed my hips again, only this time, they gripped me a little harder, and he moved me over him. He did it for me, and it felt so addictive I couldn’t formulate a coherent thought. He did it for him, and his breaths grew more labored, his kisses more desperate. I wanted nothing more than to know what it would feel like for him to be inside of me. “Fisher … I … I think I want you to take off your jeans.” He reclined back onto my pillow and grinned as I leaned forward, resting my hands on his chest, my hair falling around my face and his. “You don’t … not yet.” His eyelids grew heavy as his pelvis lifted from the bed.
“I’m going to kill Rory for leaving you with me.” He took a step forward and grabbed the back of my hair, clenching it in his hand and forcing my head to the side as he sucked and licked my neck. “F-Fisher …” I clawed his biceps to steady myself. He wasn’t kissing my red lips and smearing my lipstick. I gave him a little credit for that, but he still seemed to be teetering on the verge of control as his other hand slid up the front of my shirt. I gasped when his rough hand palmed my bare breast. He groaned, his thumb circling my nipple. “Oh my God—gosh …” I stumbled over using the Lord’s name in vain.
Fisher grabbed my face and kissed me, our tongues mingling as my nipples brushed his chest. And I needed more. My fingers teased his abs just above the waist of his jeans, and he moaned into the kiss. Then my brave and completely inexperienced fingers moved lower, tracing the outline of his erection, and his hips thrust forward into my touch as he moaned a little louder … kissed me a little harder … and lifted me onto the edge of the pool table. It was wrong. I thought. I maybe even knew. But I didn’t want to take responsibility … not yet. The feeling … the drug he became … was too strong.
“So … you won’t take my virginity.” It felt weird having that conversation because he’d said something so eerily similar to me. “What will you take from me?” With a contemplative expression that seemed to border on the painful side, he whispered, “Let’s start with your clothes.” I wondered … I wondered so hard when he made the decision to draw a line. He knew as well as I did that Rory wouldn’t be okay with anything we had done together. It wasn’t just me pushing lines and bending rules to serve my own needs and desires; Fisher did it too. I just didn’t know why. He could have had Angie or Teagan or a million other women meeting his sexual needs. Why me?
“I’m going to fucking devour you,” he said just before his mouth covered my bare flesh. Just before his tongue parted me. Just before he hummed. I was … Terrified to have his mouth there. Elated because it felt so good. Too good. Sinfully good.
My hands ghosted down his back. His hands gripped my butt. Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. I spread my legs wider, allowing him to push into me a fraction more. Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. Each move a little harder. Each breath a little more ragged, just like his next words. “I.” Thrust. “Want.” Thrust. “Inside of you.” Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. “So fucking bad.”
With a smug expression, he eyed me like he used to do, but I didn’t fall for it. “It’s almost too easy.” “What’s too—” He kissed me. Hard. Harder than he had ever kissed me. And I fought him, but I lost because I did want him to kiss me. It’s all I wanted. But it didn’t mean I was going to give myself to him. No matter how much I wanted his kiss, it didn’t change what had happened between us. My hand dropping the empty bottle to the floor so my fingers could dive into his hair didn’t change anything either. His hands grabbed my ass and lifted me off my feet. Fisher kissed me and carried me up the stairs like a drunk man on a mission. Through the door. Down the hallway. Onto his bed.
He grabbed my face and kissed me a little softer than just seconds earlier. Dragging his lips across my face, dotting it with kisses, he whispered in my ear, “Your husband can thank me.” Those words stopped my heart. The warm blood in my veins ran cold, sending an icy jolt along my spine. Fisher lifted my hips and positioned me over him, pushing into me an inch, maybe not even. Tears filled my eyes as I stilled, not letting him move my hips any farther. And I saw it in his eyes. The pain. The love. The conflict. More than anything, I saw all the reasons I fell for Fisher Mann. He knew we weren’t at the right place to make us work, but he was willing to give me the one thing I thought I wanted. He wanted to give me all he had to give, even though he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Rafael Cristobal Rodriguez Berganza Heroine: Georgie Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: April 01, 1996 Started On: October 18, 2021 Finished On: October 23, 2021
Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham is a novel that was originally published in 1996. The story begins with 23 year old Georgie finding herself in the most untenable of situations; locked up in a prison cell in Bolivia. Georgie travels to Bolivia in anticipation of meeting her best friend María Cristina Reveron, who is almost ready to give birth to her first child. Even though María had extended the invitation for her to visit many a time during the past four years, Georgie had resisted at every turn, mostly because the wounds inflicted by María’s brother, aka Georgie’s first love had been just too fresh to contend with.
28 year old Rafael Cristobal Rodriguez Berganza holds a very low opinion of the woman to whose rescue he is forced to come to. Similar to Georgie who hates Rafael for the way he had treated her all those years back, Rafael believes Georgie to be too loose with her affections, and Rafael had made it quite clear on the day that he had walked out, that she had failed to meet his standards in every single way possible.
With Georgie’s passport lost, Rafael makes the arbitrary decision to take her home with him until it can be replaced. There is no denying the undercurrents taut with sexual tension that is between the two from the get-go, even when Georgie is spitting mad at Rafael and he goading her at every turn. In the midst of it all, the old hurts and resentments come to the forefront, with each giving as good as they get, that is until Rafael encounters the undeniable proof that Georgie had stayed true to him, when he had erroneously being led to believe otherwise.
I thoroughly enjoyed the heady journey that Rafael and Georgie take towards their happily ever after. A lot of readers might dislike Rafael because he does not comply with modern reader tastes. But for me, he he is the kind of hero that I grew up falling in love with in romance books. Arrogant to a fault, that is until they meet their match in every sense. As a result, Rafael and Georgie’s journey is one fraught with misunderstandings, a whole lot of stubbornness on both ends, a dash of old fashioned patriarchal beliefs guiding Rafael (the moment Georgie threw that at his face was hysterical), and the undeniable sexual chemistry between the two which bursts forth at every turn.
Neither Rafael nor Georgie had stood a chance when they first encountered each other, but the period of separation was perhaps needed in order for them to understand what they have with each other, with maturity guiding them through the most turbulent moments of their reunion. Had they gotten married previously, both of them would have driven each other crazy and not in a good way, with Rafael becoming disillusioned with the image he had built of what his perfect bride would be like, and Georgie miserable, trying to live up to his grand expectations.
While Rafael needed to loosen up a bit, Georgie needed to become more grounded and that is what inevitably makes this second chance encounter worth it in every sense.
Recommended for those who love second chance romances, fans of Lynne Graham, and fans of the alpha heroes who stand true to who they are from the get-go!
Final Verdict: Tempestuous passion guaranteed in every sizzling line; there is none who can bring forth the kind of angst in romance as Lynne Graham!
Many very good-looking men missed out on being sexy. But not Rafael. Rafael was a blatantly sexual male animal, flagrantly attuned to the physical. The air around him positively sizzled. So why the heck was this sophisticated, experienced Latin-American lover having so much difficulty buttoning up her coat? Unwarily she collided with glittering golden eyes, and it was like being struck by lightning. He was so close she could smell a hint of citrusy aftershave, overlying clean, husky male. Her nostrils flared. Her nipples tightened into painful sensitivity, a spiralling ache twisting low in her stomach. Nearby, someone cleared their throat. She tore her gaze from Rafael’s and met the looks of visible fascination emanating from his bodyguards, standing several feet away. She realised that she and Rafael had simply been standing there staring at each other. Devastated by her overpowering physical awareness of him, Georgie turned away, her throat closing over.
‘Do all your lovers turn you on this hard and this fast?’ Rafael lowered his dark head and allowed the tip of his tongue to slide erotically between her lips, just once, in a darting foray that sent heat coursing through her in a debilitating wave. ‘Every one of them!’ she slammed back in a breathless rush. ‘But I’ll be the one you remember long after I’m gone,’ Rafael completed with predatory assurance, quite untouched by her attempt to repel him, a strong hand splaying across her hips to jerk her into even closer contact, and she stopped breathing altogether as he moved fluidly against her, bringing her into unashamed contact with the hard thrust of his arousal.
He lifted her with ease and one of her shoes fell off. She opened startled eyes a split-second before he brought his mouth crashing down on hers. She stopped thinking, she started simply feeling. The effect was that immediate. Her hands bit into his broad shoulders as she strained against the hard heat of his muscular length. Her fingers drifted into his hair and she was lost, controlled by an intolerable need that sent the blood pounding at an insane rate through her veins. Slowly, very slowly, he slid her down the length of his body on to her feet again and lifted his head. ‘You go to pieces when I touch you. I like that…I love that,’ Rafael muttered with a ragged groan of satisfaction. ‘It gives me an incredible sexual high no other woman has ever matched. I saw you lying asleep in that cell and every decent thought, every piece of self-restraint fled instantaneously. I’d have killed to get you out of there and into my bed.’
He stared down at her with a raw, sexual hunger that burned through clear to her bones. Heat flooded her in a blinding surge. A hard thigh sank between hers and she quivered violently, the fevered pulse-point of desire thrumming ever higher inside her. ‘You see…’ Rafael muttered thickly. ‘And I haven’t even begun yet.’ As he buried his mouth in a tiny hollow below her fragile collarbone, he let his thumbs rub expertly across her thrusting pink nipples. She jerked, an involuntary moan torn from her, and he lowered his head to employ his mouth and that wickedly knowing tongue on those unbearably sensitive buds. He drove her crazy. Sensation like white-hot lightning licked at every nerve-ending and she twisted and gasped in helpless excitement. She was in thrall to a dark enchantment of the senses and the most extraordinary pleasure.
Rafael groaned something in his own language and swept her right off her feet with bruisingly impatient hands. She captured his hard cheekbones between her palms and stared up at him with dazed eyes, out of focus with passion. He succumbed to the lure of her swollen mouth again somewhere halfway up the stairs and control seemed to go out of the window at that point, because he braced her against the wall and took her lips with a driving, demanding sexuality which reduced her to mental rubble. ‘Madre de Dios…’ he swore roughly against her throat, struggling for breath, and then he carried her up into the bedroom, tumbled her down on the bed and pinned her there with a wildly exciting lack of cool.
He seized on a taut rosy crest with his teeth and the explosion of sensation he released made her cry out, her teeth gritting, her throat extending. ‘Perdicion’ he groaned, lifting his arrogant dark head to look down at her as he dealt at speed with the remainder of his clothing. ‘So long…I have waited so long for this.’ So long, yes, she thought intensely, reaching back up for him with the single-minded motivation of a programmed doll. A relentless hunger seized her as he sealed his virile length to hers. Her whole body flushed with consuming heat and she turned to him, driven by something much more powerful than she was, and let her hands travel through the light mat of curling black hair across his muscular chest, glorying in the freedom to touch him at last.
He penetrated her anxiously parted lips with his tongue and she shuddered, electrified by the intense eroticism of his opening assault. ‘Closer,’ he urged, his breath fanning her cheek, smouldering golden eyes burning down into hers as his hands cupped the swell of her buttocks and lifted her into intimate connection with the hard thrust of his arousal. ‘Sí… like that…’ He crushed her mouth under his and she was electrified by the hunger which leapt into response inside her. Keen and fierce as a knife, that voracious hunger cleaved through her flesh. Her breasts swelled and ached and her nipples pinched into painfully sensitive points. She arched her back like a sensuous cat, desperate for more sensation, her head thrown back, her hands wound round his neck.
He coiled a booted foot round the back of her legs and tipped her down on the grass with such fluid ease and speed that she didn’t have a hope of evading the manoeuvre. A second later, he came down on top of her, one hand reaching instantly for the snap of her jeans. ‘We’ll save the Ferrari for some other time…but here, now, on Berganza soil… this is for me!’ Georgie was so shocked that he had her halfway out of her jeans before she made even a partial recovery. ‘Have you gone mad?’ she shrieked. Her jeans were east aside. He knelt astride her and slid down the zip on his riding breeches. Georgie stared up at him with a dropped jaw. He shed his polo shirt, flexing powerful muscles that rippled smoothly across his hair-roughened chest. She shivered in the heat, her nostrils flaring at the musky male scent of him. ‘Rafael…?’ ‘You are mine… like the land.’
‘Ahora… now.’ He lifted himself and plunged inside her in one devastating thrust of possession. Her every sense was screaming for the release that only he could give. Her nails dug into his back and then he was moving on her, inside her, with every powerful stroke of his hips reinforcing his dominance. As the heat of passion spiralled out of control, she cried out in ecstasy as he drove her to a shattering climax. Still in a satiated daze, Georgie lifted her heavy eyelids. He reminded her of a primitive golden god, surveying a pagan sacrifice spread out before him. An aching vulnerability swept her as she collided with tawny tiger eyes that revealed nothing of his thoughts. ‘Rafael?’ Involuntarily her hand reached up to smooth one hard cheekbone. ‘Enamorada…’ With a curiously harsh laugh, he took her startled, reddened mouth with his own and it began all over again…
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Alex Rossini Heroine: Sara Dalton Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: December 06, 1996 Started On: October 09, 2021 Finished On: October 16, 2021
The Trophy Husband by Lynne Graham, originally published in 1996 is a story that delivered on the angst, heat, and love of the kind that is all consuming. The story begins with 23 year old Sara Dalton, having been anonymously tipped off to the fact, walks in on her fiance Brian and cousin Antonia in bed together.
Devastated beyond words, solace comes in the form of her boss, 34 year old Alex Rossini who miraculously makes an appearance at the right moment to help her pick up the pieces. One thing leads to another and before Sara knows it, she has lost her virginity to Alex in the most passionate encounter of her life.
What Alex wants out of her is more than a one night stand, and he pursues her relentlessly until Sara gives in. While Sara has many misgivings when it comes to a marriage of convenience, the need to escape from the stifling impact of Brian and Antonia’s presence that looms in front of her and is inescapable is one added incentive that pushes her to say yes.
Needless to say, Alex and Sara’s marriage turns out to be as tumultuous as it is passionate. I had such fun watching these two navigate their way to their happily ever after. Alex, who for all intents and purposes accelerated the process by which Sara tumbled into his arms, and battled with jealousy and possessiveness of the kind that drives him crazy was one of the highlights of the story as it developed.
It was quite entertaining to see Sara slowly wake up to the fact that she hit jackpot when it comes to Alex and the way he loves her – though at times Alex makes it really hard for anyone to reconcile with the fact. Sara has her work cut out for her in convincing her husband that the love she feels is all for him and no one else.
There was a lot of angst in this story. I could understand and empathize with both Alex and Sara and their inability at first to communicate freely with each other, especially when it comes to their feelings. Alex who did not have the most loving of childhoods, has a tough time talking about his emotions, and Sara who grew up with her aunt and uncle who gave her a home upon the untimely demise of her own mother, leaving her feeling like that she was always an intruder in their home.
I thoroughly enjoyed how Alex gave as good as he got at times, making Sara see the error of her ways, while at the same time, Sara certainly knows how to keep Alex on his toes, leading him to do things so out of character that one can only determine that it is the love bug that has bitten him so.
Recommended for those who love a story that is driven by a hero who is possessive and would go out of his way to ensure the heroine is only his for the taking!
Final Verdict: For the hilarity, the undeniable passion, and love that is of the soul-binding variety; The Trophy Husband is a story that stands the test of time!
He wound his forefinger into a silky strand of her hair and slowly lowered his dark head, almost as if he expected her to shout, No! at the last possible moment, but Sara was wholly entranced. Bella… beautiful, she was savouring dreamily. And then she found out what his mouth felt like on hers and she froze when his tongue probed between her parted lips. She had never liked that… but his sensual mouth became more insistent, more demanding and she trembled, pulses suddenly racing, heart accelerating madly, and she discovered that she had no resistance, no urge to pull back from that intoxicating pleasure.
She heard a voice moaning, didn’t recognise it as her own, her fingers tightly gripping the hot, sleek smoothness of his shoulders as her back arched. Pleasure she had never dreamt of was shooting through her in agonising waves and there was hardly a pause between one peak and the next. She twisted beneath him, couldn’t stay still, wanting, needing, her thighs trembling, tightening on the ache building inside her. He said something caressing in Italian, and the last thought that she would afterwards recall was that Italian was definitely the language of love in that incredibly rich, deep voice of his, and then he skimmed a hand through the damp curls at the base of her taut stomach and the world became a delirious, multicoloured shower of lights behind her lowered eyelids as he discovered the moist heat at the very heart of her.
‘Alex…’ she gasped tautly, her entire quivering body reaching up to his in helpless need, reacting with liquidhoney-enticement to the tantalising, hot, hard probe of his flesh against hers. The surge of pain caught her on the crest of tortured anticipation. She gasped in shock, eyes flying wide to meet similar shock in his startled gaze. ‘Cristo cara…’ he said in hoarse disbelief, but the momentary frown etched between his ebony brows was swiftly wiped away and the dark eyes glittered more golden than ever. And then he moved again lithely, powerfully deepening his penetration, and a truly stunning wave of breathtaking sensation swept her back into that wild oblivion where only the demands of her own hungry body held sway.
Alex reached for her clenched fingers where they rested on the seat. Momentarily she attempted to draw back from the contact and then, for a reason she could not begin to comprehend, her fingers stayed where they were, curled within his larger hand. She trembled; she didn’t know what was happening to her. She had a sudden, terrifying urge to throw herself on Alex and sob her heart out. In all her life she had never felt more confused. He drew her relentlessly closer. ‘Alex…no…’ she whispered pleadingly. But Alex didn’t listen. He twined lean fingers into her fall of hair, tugging her round to face him. Her eyes burned as she met his shimmering gold enquiry and every tiny muscle tensed. Her pulsebeat thumped at the foot of her throat, a terrible excitement rising inside her no matter how hard she fought to suppress it.
Alex lowered his dark head and took her mouth with hungry urgency. Fire in the hold, she thought wildly, madly, feeling the instantaneous charge of her own helpless response. She wanted to grip him, hold him, mesh with every hard, muscular angle of his lean, virile length. The scent of him, the touch of him inflamed her senses with a drowning passion that was utterly self-absorbed. Tiny little sounds escaped her throat. Hot, electrifying pleasure engulfed her with every thrust of his tongue. Her fingers slid with shameless hunger beneath his silk shirt, skimming luxuriantly over skin as smooth as velvet, feeling the taut contraction of his sleek muscles as he jerked and groaned beneath her exploration. He swept her up and pulled her down on top of him, expert hands gliding up the quivering stretch of her thighs, hitching up her confining skirt and then bringing her down again, sealing her into raw contact with the hard, throbbing length straining against his zip.
He lowered his head and let the tip of his tongue graze a rose-pink bud, skimming a hand up over the tautness of her quivering ribcage, discovering the thunder of her racing heartbeat as her whole body leapt in response to that tiny caress. ‘Alex…’ she gasped. ‘Feeling like this is special, bella mia,’ he muttered raggedly. ‘Dio… you are so beautiful.’
Now…’ Alex groaned when she was on the brink of an intolerable excitement. Her gaze collided blindly with his and then he pulled her up to receive him and drove into her hard and fast and her head fell back and she cried out with the hot, torturous pleasure of that penetration, her body yielding to the forceful possession of his. He moved again with sinuous eroticism and the pleasure increased to such unbearable limits that she lost herself entirely. With every tormenting stroke he took her higher and her nails raked down his smooth back as her spine arched and the sunburst heat in her loins suddenly expanded, every muscle clenching in response as she went flying over the edge into a release that convulsed her in violent waves.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Standalone Publisher: Harlequin Hero: Nicholas Challoner Heroine: Alannah Finderne Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: July 25, 1983 Started On: August 22, 2021 Finished On: September 01, 2021
The Guarded Heart by Robyn Donald is certainly a fitting title for a book that features a widowed hero who is determined that he would exact his revenge by forcing the woman responsible for the untimely death of his wife and unborn child into a marriage with him.
Only in her wildest dreams or nightmares rather, would 19 year old Alannah Finderne have ever thought that she would end up tying the knot with Nicholas Challoner, the man whose mere gaze chills her to her very core. But forced into a marriage with him because of the circumstances, Alannah nevertheless has a stark choice before her; make herself miserable by denying what Nicholas invokes in her, or surrender.
Both Alannah and Nicholas are intensely proud characters, stubborn to a fault, and as a result drives each other crazy – mostly not in a good way. But I found the story as it developed to be an interesting one nevertheless, realistic too if you ask me. How would I react if I were forced to marry a man, the demise of the love of whose life I was responsible for? Not to mention the age gap, the fact that the man loathes my very existence and marries me just so that he could have children with me, and making suffer would be an added bonus while at it? I guess I too would come out with my guns blazing, if I were not a heroine of the doormat variety.
The Guarded Heart is the first novel that I can recall, where the hero actually slaps the heroine – usually it is the other way around because the hero is being an ass; and I guess if we apply the same principles here, the heroine was also being rather cruel at that point. Makes me question as to why I accept it at face value when the heroine slaps the hero but I have a tough time reconciling with the fact when the heroine is on the receiving end. Goes to show that we all carry our prejudices that spills over every now and then.
Nicholas proves to be an interesting character, whose emotions we have to gauge through the observations that the heroine makes along the way. I would have liked it a bit better if I saw a bit more of those tightly guarded emotions from Nicholas that would have made the story more heartwarming when all was said and done.
Given that this story was first published when I was just over a year old, reading this almost 38 years later did not detract from the enjoyment factor – I am after all a masochist in my reading preferences; the more pain a story makes me go through, the better I like it.
Recommended for fans of old Harlequin romances and fans of Robyn Donald.
Final Verdict: The Guarded Heart often makes you want to just shake the main protagonists, but underneath all that stubbornness lies hearts that are brimming with love, the unfolding of which I enjoyed!
Shivers racked her. Blindly, sensually, she ran her hands from his waist to his shoulders, felt with bitter delight the sudden tensing of his muscles and explored further, the tips of her fingers delicately stroking the muscles on his arms, the smooth heated skin across his back. He groaned her name, his mouth hot against the turgid peak of her breast, and she sighed raggedly and began to move beneath him, undulating in a way that instinct told her would further inflame him.
His hands slid to her hips; when they paused she opened tortured eyes and saw reflected in his face the agony and need that had her in its grip. And with the first hard thrust of his body the world exploded, sensation piled on sensation so that beneath her eyelids there was a sunburst of colour and she was falling, falling into its vortex, sobbing, gasping, her body racked by an ecstasy so far beyond her hidden fantasies that she thought she might die.
Very slowly she reached out a finger and touched the jewel, then pushed it to one side as she got up from the bed. When Andrew was tucked in beneath the mosquito netting she came back, and picked the beautiful thing up. Nicholas watched her through heavy-lidded eyes, his mouth compressed and grim. ‘Put it on me,’ she said huskily, and turned her back to him, brushing her curls forward to leave the vulnerable nape of her neck bare. His fingers barely touched her skin, but she shivered as she faced him. ‘How does it look?’ she asked. Anger glittered in his glance and there was a pallor around his mouth that warned her she was pushing him very close to the edge. He didn’t so much as glance at the necklace; from beneath a frown his gaze was fixed on her as though he would like to hurt her. She knew a moment’s fear before he said slowly, thickly, ‘Like you. Beautiful, making no concessions, setting its own standards.’
‘Tell me you love me,’ he demanded, moving so that he loomed over her, his lips only a fraction away from hers. ‘I love you—I love you with everything I am. Nick—please—’ ‘And that you want me.’ He was merciless, his expression so ferociously controlled that for a moment she was afraid. ‘You know—’ ‘Tell me!’ ‘Oh, God, I want you.’ Tears glazed her eyes. She was hypnotised by her own sensuality. Twisting, writhing beneath him, she slid her hands to his hips, pulling him down to her. ‘I love you so much I could die for you,’ she groaned.
Format: E-Book Read with: Kindle Paperwhite Length: Novel Genre: Romantic Comedy Series: Writer Friends, #4 Publisher: Avon Hero: Zachary James Zemaitis Heroine: Adele Harris Sensuality: 3 Date of Publication: May 27, 2008 Started On: August 20, 2021 Finished On: August 21, 2021
Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson is a second-chance themed romance set in Texas. 25 year old Adele Harris believes herself to be cursed when it comes to love, and with good reason; she has not had a good date or decent sex in years. Having been in love twice in her life, the last time being three years back, it is however her first love that she still recalls with clarity because of the intensity that it had been.
14 years since they briefly dated, Adele once again comes across Zachary James Zemaitis, the man who broke her heart all those years ago. Widowed and a single father now, Zach coaches high-school ball and is determined that he would do right when it comes to his daughter Tiffany, as his career as an NFL quarterback had meant missing out on a lot for the first ten years of her life.
When circumstances force Adele to move back to Cedar Creek for a couple of months, she is more than shocked to find out of the untimely demise of Zach’s wife, for whom Zach had walked away from Adele all those years ago. Once bitten, twice as shy, Adele is determined that she would keep Zach at arm’s distance, but then again, the lazy charm that Zach had won her over with back then, not to mention the blistering sexual heat that is between them which seems to be more pronounced than even before, is a tough mix to walk away from.
Not Another Bad Date is a story that while I enjoyed, I believe could have been better. Perhaps it is because the story did not turn out as I exactly thought it would be, with the ghost of Zach’s wife being the catalyst that kick-starts the current chain of events, that particularly did not work for me. I believe Zach and Adele would have gotten there even without the dead wife being part of the picture. While Zach has his own baggage from how he was forced to get married, the disillusionment that had caught up with him a couple of years later; all that and more makes Zach reluctant to start something that could lead to a permanent situation.
Enjoyable in its way, Not Another Bad Date is recommended for fans of Rachel Gibson and for those who love second-chance romances!
Final Verdict: When fate intervenes, resistance is futile – that is what Zachary and Adele finds out as these two find their way back to each other!
As if she hadn’t spoken, he pushed her hair to one side. “Would you drive me insane like you used to?” He lowered his face, and his breath warmed the side of her neck. “And honey, you drove me out of my mind.” He slid one big hand around her side to her flat stomach and pulled her back against his hard chest. “I was the first man to make love to you. I haven’t forgotten that.” “It was a long time ago.” “You haven’t forgotten, either.” His lips brushed her heated skin, and those hot little tingles she’d worried about spread warmth all over her body.
“I need you.” “No. You want me.” “Same thing.” “No. Oxygen is something you need.” Her back hit the wall next to the last bathroom stall. “Just be still,” he said, and placed his hands on her shoulders. “And stop running from me.” “Stop coming after me.” He shook his head as his brown gaze stared into hers. “I’m beginning to think I need you like I need oxygen.”
“I think you’re going to like this.” She straddled his hips, positioned herself, then slowly sat. He was big and extremely hard, and she took her time, feeling every bulge and ridge through the thin latex until the head of his penis bumped her cervix. His breath hissed from his lungs as his hands slid up her thighs and hips to her waist. “You look good up there. I like it already.” “It gets better.” Slowly she raised herself, rocking her hips and sliding back down. She teased him with her body, clenching her muscles around him, drawing his flesh deeper, using him to build and stroke the sexual fire burning through her. “You’ve learned a few things,” he said, his grip on her waist tightening. She rolled and rotated her hips, feeding his need and hers, and looked into his drugged eyes as he watched her. She bent forward to kiss the side of his neck. Her breasts pressed into his chest, and she whispered into his ear, “You feel good. Hard. Huge.” He rolled with them until she was on her back looking up into his face. His fingers curled with hers, and his mouth came down hard.
She rolled the condom down his shaft and pushed his shoulders until he sat submerged in bubbles halfway up the defined muscles of his chest. She straddled his hips, placed her palms on the sides of his face, and kissed him. The tips of her breasts brushed his warm skin, and she ran her fingers through his hair. She kissed his neck and his throat, and her hands ran all over him, touching as much of him as she could reach. It wasn’t just sex now. There was more involved than just body parts, and when she took him deep into her body, her hands returned to the sides of his face and she stared into his eyes. His labored breath brushed her cheek as she moved and rocked her hips. “Zach,” she whispered, her voice heavy with desire and emotion. Within minutes an orgasm rushed across her skin and gripped her heart. Her vaginal walls tightened around him, and his fingers dug into her behind. As he came into her body, she kissed his mouth, filling the kiss with the new and conflicted feelings she felt in her heart.