Review: This Side of Heaven by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookthissideofheaven
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Matt Mathieson
Heroine: Caroline Wetherby
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 1, 1991
Started On: September 21, 2016
Finished On: September 21, 2016

32 year old Matt Mathieson, is the widowed and single father of two boys, going two years since his wife had died. Determined never to marry again, Matt’s life and that of his small family changes drastically when his wife’s sister turns up on his doorstep, having traveled all the way from England.

22 year old Caroline Wetherby is the beautiful half sister of Matt’s deceased wife. Having being left destitute with the death of their father who had made his life in the gambling halls throughout the city, Caroline travels all the way to America to find refuge with her sister, someone she has not seen in 15 long years. Wary of what would happen, telling herself its a mistake, she nevertheless has no choice, only to turn up and realize that her sister is no more.

Though Matt does not want much to do with Caroline, a small part of him is unable to turn away from Caroline’s need for a place to stay. The practical side of his character tells him that they all need a female presence around them, that his boys need a motherly influence in their lives. Against the wishes of his boys, Matt offers her shelter in return for her services as a female of the household, never knowing truly, how Caroline would prove to him that she is unlike any woman he has known before and would ever come across again.

This Side of Heaven has a trope that I love reading about. The reluctant and widowed hero, who for whatever reason believes that he would never remarry and the woman who turns up and throws his life into complete disarray. That was one of the reasons why I picked up this title, plus the point that I am a fan of Karen Robards, mostly of her earlier works. Though some of her books have failed to deliver on a large scale, the ones that do, do so remarkably well, which is one reason why I keep revisiting her older titles every now and then.

Though I liked the story that unfolded, the slow sizzle of awareness between Matt and Caroline, the story that I envisioned for them failed to materialize in between. On the plus side, Matt was not a hero of the asshole variety, as most heroes tend to be in earlier historical novels. However, their coming together was not the joyous and fireworks filled affair I thought it would be – at first. Nevertheless, Matt & Caroline were characters that grew on me.

Though the ending where Caroline nearly meets her maker at the hand of the villagers who see her for something else other than what she is proved to be sort of anticlimactic, I would still recommend This Side of Heaven because I enjoyed reading this in one sitting.

Final Verdict: Though not Robards’ best, This Side of Heaven delivers a great read!

Favorite Quotes

Matt looked at her for a long moment without answering, his face dark and his eyes restless. Then he laughed, a short, harsh sound that had nothing of amusement in it. “What does that mean, my poppet? Are you sure you want to know? But I’m going to tell you, since you’ve asked, whether you want to hear it or not. It means that you’ve been a raging fever in my blood for months. I can’t think, I can’t work, I lie awake nights going mad with wanting you. Is that enough to send you flying back to the house, or do you want to hear more?”

He kissed her as if he was starving for the taste of her mouth, kissed her as if he’d been hungry for eternity and, now, having been offered the sustenance he sought, was determined to have his fill. This was no gentle wooing, but a hard, needy taking, and Caroline could do nothing but cling to his shoulders and open her mouth to his and yield.

“Trust me, poppet,” he whispered in her ear. Caroline was briefly reminded of Eve and the serpent, who must once have murmured something very similar. But then his long fingers were moving lower yet, sliding down between her legs to touch her there so gently that the fire that ignited inside her as a result was almost shameful, and she no longer entertained any rational thoughts at all. Because surely that undemanding pressure should not in itself be enough to create such an inner burning! It was like liquid fire, a most pleasurable liquid fire that made her breathing quicken until she was almost panting and her body writhe against the hand that caressed her and the hard male body pressed close against her back.

“God in heaven!” he muttered as her lips brushed the whitened ridge and were withdrawn. The grin disappeared entirely in favor of a grimace as his eyes flared and turned dark “Then he was pushing her back down and lowering himself atop her, kissing her as if he would steal her very soul, his hands everywhere, caressing and arousing and possessing, lifting her legs to encircle his waist even as his body staked the most primitive claim of all.

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

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Review: The Senator’s Wife by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookthesenatorswife
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Thomas S. Quinlan
Heroine: Veronica Honneker
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 12, 1998
Started On: August 23, 2016
Finished On: August 24, 2016

Karen Robards is an author I have good memories of even though I don’t read her as often now as I used to. Some of her books like Wild Orchids has been in my favorite shelf since forever, books that I continue to revisit every now and then because of the sheer pleasure they bring to me. The Senator’s Wife is a novel that might not be very well received by readers of the genre. Looking at the ratings on Goodreads, it is fair to say that it is pretty much true. Published in 1998, Karen Robards puts together a heroine who is married, a hero who would rather not mix business with pleasure and gives a combustible story that contains elements of suspense to it that I absolutely reveled in.

Veronica Honneker (Ronnie) grew up dreaming of a better life. A life where she would not have to worry about money and putting food on the table. She had basically modeled her life to reach that goal. And in becoming a senator’s wife, she basically clinched the deal and shouldn’t have been feeling like an empty shell wondering whether the price she had paid to get where she was had become too high. Someone who has to put up a strong wall of pretense just to get through every single day on the campaign trail to get her husband re-elected is not the life she had in fact envisioned for herself.

Then comes Thomas S. Quinlan to polish up her image, to help get the Senator re-elected. With Tom’s reputation on the line, he can hardly believe it when he starts seeing Ronnie in a light that others seldom see. The way she tempts him to take a walk on the wild side, everything else be damned, is a feeling he certainly does not like or particularly want. But fate has a way of bringing these two together time and yet again, and though Tom might despise himself for lusting after the wife of another man, it is a losing battle that he wages with his inner caveman when it comes to Ronnie.

At first, Ronnie for me was a difficult character to love. She came off as vain, selfish and more interested in materialistic benefits that are to be had in the world. But then, as the story progressed, she started to change, subtly and then more visibly, until I grew to love her as much as I did Tom right from the very start. Tom is a hero who is earthily sexy in a way that few heroes of recent times tend to be. Men depicted as they should be perhaps, what I miss dearly in most romances of today. 

Most readers would definitely not like this story because of the aspects of adultery involved in the novel. But then, I believe that that is life for you. Sometimes your happily ever after starts and evolves from a messy tangle that you think would never sort itself out. It is a hard and treacherous road that one takes. But sometimes, it does give one the happily ever after they would never have had otherwise. Of course, circumstances has to be right for readers to be able to muster up sympathy for the character. I believe that Karen Robards did justice to Ronnie’s character by not painting her in such a light – I liked the story better this way.

Definitely recommended for those that love unconventional stories!

Final Verdict: Unconventional in the emotions it elicits, The Senator’s Wife makes for a compulsive page-turner!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment he just stood there, unmoving, while her hand slid behind his neck and her mouth coaxed his. She watched his reaction from beneath lowered lids. His eyes were open and fixed on her face. When her tongue slid between his closed lips, he stiffened. She could sense resistance in every hard line of his body; she worked her fingers down inside his shirt collar at the back of his neck, caressing his warm skin. At the same time, she drew his lower lip into her mouth and bit down.
Dark color suffused his face. He made an inarticulate sound. Then his lids shut, his mouth opened, and the hand that held hers prisoner between their bodies released its grip to slide around her waist. He took control of the kiss with a thoroughness that dazzled her.

“God, I’ve wanted this,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. Then he was yanking her panties down her legs and rolling on top of her and kissing her with quick, savage movements that told her that he, too, had reached the limits of his control. She wrapped her legs around his waist as he slid between her thighs, so ready for him that she thought she would die if she had to wait another second.
He thrust inside her, huge and hot and hard, driving deep and fast over and over again until she was mindless, crying out at the wonder of it, gouging his back with her nails until at last she came with an intensity that she had never dreamed she was capable of, her preconceived notions of herself and the world shattering into a million pieces as she cried out his name.

Without another word he picked her up and carried her to the bed.
His lovemaking was hard and furious, nothing like the previous times. He demanded and she gave, entering her almost immediately, almost forcing her to a response that was shattering in its intensity. He set the pace, taking what he wanted, manipulating her expertly until she could do nothing but writhe and cling and cry out his name.
The end, when it came, was explosive.
Then he started up again.

She didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. Her hands were urgent, tugging at his snap, pulling down his zipper, reaching inside his boxers until his member was free. He was huge and hot and pulsing and alive, and she took him in her mouth, cupping the vulnerable softness beneath with tender care. She kissed and suckled and nibbled and bit until every breath he took sounded like a groan.
Then his hands clenched in her hair. He pulled her mouth off him, yanked off his jeans, and dropped down on his knees in front of her. He pushed her onto her back in a glowing patch of moonlight, pulling her nightgown up and off as he did so. Lying on top of her, pulling her legs around his waist, he came into her hard.

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

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Review: The Way Home by Dallas Schulze

Format: Paperbackthewayhomeds
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Tyler Douglas McKendrick
Heroine: Meg Harper
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 1994
Started On: November 16, 2013
Finished On: November 18, 2013

Margaret Harper or Meg is the heroine from the wrong side of town. Hailing from the small town of Regret in Iowa, Meg is four or five years old when her path crosses that of 14 year old Tyler McKendrick, his kindness alone during that fateful day earning him a place in her heart forever.

Tyler might not even remember the day that he had encountered Meg, but time and yet again their paths cross until for the last time when Tyler is home recuperating from an injury and runs across the altogether too beautiful, now 17 year old Meg.

Meg knows it’s too good to be true to even contemplate thinking that Tyler would be interested in her in the way that she daydreams about him. Her mother warns her of the consequences, but Meg’s heart knows no limits as such when it comes to Tyler and wanting him.

Their friendship was supposed to only last until the summer was over, but then fate had other plans in place when Tyler finds Meg on his doorstep, broken in a way that makes his blood run hot and cold with rage towards the man who dared to do that to her. Consequentially, Tyler finds himself and Meg entering a marriage of convenience which might’ve worked if his young wife wasn’t appealing enough to drive him slowly insane.

One thing leads to another and Meg and Tyler finds themselves traversing through the ups and downs of their marriage, through the good and the bad, making sacrifices along the way which ultimately brings closure to all aspects of the story but one, the secondary romance that takes place between Tyler’s best friend Jack and Meg’s sister Patsy.

The Way Home by Dallas Schulze could’ve turned into a swell read if not for the fact that the story became too bogged down with unnecessary details that made going through certain parts of the story a bit of a challenge. I managed to skim read through the bits that didn’t work for me and I think I still managed to get the gist of the story quite well. In my opinion there were parts of the story that could’ve totally being eliminated and perhaps the story would’ve been much more of a hit then.

Like most romance readers, I’m someone who loves a good marriage of convenience themed romance. I liked the subtle sexual tension that existed between Tyler and the virginal Meg and I think that is one aspect of the story that the author could’ve explored a bit more. Somehow the buildup to it all seemed to be missing in action when the actual deed happened, perhaps owing to Tyler’s super sensitive nature and Meg’s inexperience in the area.

Subtract some of the mundane details, zap the romance with a bit of heat and meanwhile if Meg could grow a spine or two in certain parts of the story, this could’ve turned into a memorable read indeed. The way things ended in the secondary romance that was partly the focus of the story makes me wonder whether Dallas came up with Jack and Patsy’s story. I bet that could prove to be an explosive read if the author manages to get all the elements right.

Recommended for fans of the author & fans of romances of the trope marriages of convenience.

Favorite Quotes

He ignored the voice that warned him he was stepping over the line he himself had drawn. One kids, he told himself. A simple kiss. What possible harm could it do?
Her mouth was just as soft as he’d imagined it to be, soft and yielding and his. He threaded his fingers deeper into her hair, cupping the back of her head to tilt her face up to his, deepening the pressure of his mouth on hers.

He felt the shudder that ran through her as his mouth touched hers. Five years, he thought. Five years and she still tasted of sunshine and mint. And then he stopped thinking at all but only felt. Felt the half-forgotten fire race through his veins, felt the familiar pressure of her body against his as she melted into his embrace.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks

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Review: Against the Wind by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookagainsthewind
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Candlelight Ecstasy Supreme
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Hero: John Thomas Murphy
Heroine: Maddy Lambert
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 28, 1985
Started On: December 24, 2011
Finished On: December 25, 2011

So, I seem to be making my way slowly through the back-list of books published by the one and only Anne Stuart. The one thing that you can always count on with Anne Stuart; she delivers a story that will keep you engrossed, even if it is a book you want to throw against the wall towards the end.

30 year old Maddy Lambert makes her way to the war-torn country of San Pablo to meet her father who had upped and left one day with his idealistic view of the world when Maddy had been just 17 years old. Maddy had been heartbroken and devastated to say the least to lose the one person who had been distant but the only parent who had let her be unlike her mother who had seen each and every thing about Maddy as a way to pick on her. Needless to say, the 17 year old Maddy had been shy and an introvert who finds in the war-hardened soldier turned CIA official John Thomas Murphy a soul that reaches out to her and soothes her woes away. But John too turns his back on her and leaves with her father and Maddy believes herself to be well and cured of her infatuation for a man whose one haunting kiss that had practically reeked of his hunger for her still haunts her.

Maddy arrives after a bone jarring journey only to find that no one believes that she is the daughter of Samuel Eddison Lambert, not even John himself who has turned into a much more dangerous and wilder version of the man she remembers. And Maddy finds that she is as susceptible as ever when it comes to John, even when he does his best to keep her at arm’s length, and even John himself cannot deny the connection that he feels with Maddy, the woman who has been haunting his dreams for the past 14 years.

Amidst half truths, trickery and a whole lot of manipulation that Anne Stuart is so very good at delivering, Maddy and John stumble from one emotionally and sexually charged scene to the next, while at all times danger is just one step away lurking behind the shadows, something that continues to drive them apart until towards the very end of the book.

For the first time ever, I have to say I am disappointed in a book that Anne Stuart has written. I liked the heroine Maddy and her courage when it comes to facing each and everyone who has hurt her and failed her in so many ways. Her vindictive mother whom I would have loved to slap a few times and her father who feels nothing for his only daughter and intends to make use of her to drive across his point even from beyond the grave, and John who in my opinion fails her in the most heartbreaking way.

John might be the least “gamma” hero that I have encountered from all the Anne Stuart books I have read so far. His emotions regarding Maddy comes across a bit more clearly throughout the story, but he is every bit as ruthless when it comes to making use of Maddy even though he keeps her out of harms way and would rather die than have something happen to her. But time and yet again, John puts everything else above Maddy’s happiness, continues to keep leaving her to face his demons and fight the wars that has nothing to do with him but he feels responsible for, and yet expects Maddy to trust him and the way he feels about her.

I wanted Maddy to wake up, grow a backbone and leave John to his life, a life that he makes room for Maddy only when he is good and ready. I am all for ruthlessness, manipulations and even behavior that some readers might not be willing to forgive. But I need to know that when it comes to that vital point of no return, the hero would always choose the heroine no matter what. Sadly, I didn’t feel that with this book.

Recommended for hardcore fans of Anne Stuart like myself who wants to devour her books and cannot get enough of them, no matter how many books by hers you read.

Favorite Quotes

He couldn’t have known. The moonlight wasn’t enough to illuminate the room, and the tears that spilled silently down her cheeks didn’t touch him. But suddenly the kiss softened, the hands gentled on her, the lips coaxed and teased and healed. And without any more thought she was kissing him back, reaching for him with her mouth while her hands were held back, seeking him out with her tongue, calling him to her in the only way she could.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: Heartbreaker by Karen Robards

Format: Paperbackheartbreaker
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Jess Feldman
Heroine: Lynn Nelson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 24, 2011
Started On: May 22, 2011
Finished On: May 22, 2011

With the end of the world stuff circulating around the Internet and the world media, I picked up quite a fitting read for the occasion, and I promise you that it was all by coincidence. Karen Robards is a favorite author of mine and every now and then I pick up something of hers just to get my fix of Ms. Robards who delivers kick-ass romantic suspense with a superb dose of sensuality in almost all of her novels of the genre. Similarly Heartbreaker is a contemporary romantic suspense packed with non-stop action and a race against time as well as the bad guys with a heady mix of humor in it that makes this a great read!

35 year old Lynn Nelson, anchorwoman of WMAQ Chicago is on a vacation from Hell. Lynn had signed up for a 10 day long wilderness vacation just so she can try and work on her relationship with her 14 year old daughter Rory who seems to have a bone to pick with her lately. Lynn is not someone who is at all prepared to “bond” with nature and with her plans to spend more time with Rory backfiring in her face, Lynn is resigned to having a miserable time on the 1st vacation she has taken in 3 years when danger strikes propelling Lynn and her daughter to depend on the last person she would trust for survival.

35 year old Jess Feldman co-owns Adventure Inc. with his elder brother Owen. Jess is handsome, charming and easygoing and has the hots for Lynn from the moment she steps down from the plane to become part of the wilderness vacation which is promoted and carried out by Adventure Inc. And though Lynn makes her disdain for “fake” cowboys clear right from the start, Jess is glutton for punishment as Jess is a man who likes beautiful babes with “balls” as his brother Owen keeps saying.

When a freak accident of nature separates Lynn and Rory from the rest of the group, it is Jess who comes to their rescue, proving that he is the “real” cowboy material time and time again. Surviving the freak accident only to stumble upon one’s worst nightmare, Jess, Rory and Lynn are forced to run for their lives as they are chased through the forest not really knowing what lies in store for them. When a clearer picture emerges from the unfolding events, Jess and Lynn are horrified by the scale to which a mad man who is hell bent on achieving his prophecy of the world coming to an end become true, even if it means taking matters into his own hands, in the most devastating ways possible.

I loved the adventure aspect of this novel. The pace though at the very beginning of the novel tended to be a bit slow for me, once danger comes calling, there is no stopping the chain of events that follows making Heartbreaker a great adventure romance.

I loved Jess’s character. He is the furthest thing from being broody and tortured and all that that makes us ladies go weak at the knees. Contrary to that, Jess is charming, sexy as sin and has a way of teasing Lynn that just brings to light the his endearing qualities. Now before you all go on and think that he is a beta hero, let me stop you right there and say that every single inch of Jess is alpha through and through. When push comes to shove, he is the guy to you can depend on to save you and he certainly proves himself much more than able in ALL the areas that matter *wink*. And I damn near broke out into an applause each single time that Jess kept on surprising Lynn with his true character!

Though the romance aspect of the novel is kept at a minimal, that does’t make the impact of the sexual tension that rises between Jess and Lynn any less and of course the scenes of passion any less memorable. And I so loved the humor-filled tone of the whole story that just kept me on the verge of laughing out loud even through the most tension wrecked moments.

Moving onto Lynn, at first I was ready to project myself into the story and bitch slap her a time or two because she kept getting on my nerves with her less than wonderful attitude. But she does a wonderful job of turning herself around and knowing where her ballsy nature comes from helped in settling my emotions down where she was concerned. In the end, she turns out to be a champion as much as Jess and things do finally end on a happy note with her daughter Rory too! All in all, a very well rounded tale that earns 4 solid stars from the sunny side of life!

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

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Review: Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Steve Calhoun
Heroine: Summer McAfee
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 1, 1995
Started On: September 3, 2010
Finished On: September 3, 2010

Walking After Midnight has the features that makes a romantic suspense novel a page turner. With unbeatable romance, a larger than life hero and a heroine who matches him in every way with mean as hell bad guys running after them, this book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Summer McAfee is 36 years old, divorced from Dr. Lemuel C.Rosencrans, a urologist who had left her to get married to his 22 year old nurse. Right after high school, rather than go to college as her parents had wanted her to, she had taken the money her parents had set aside for her college and left to make her way as a lingerie model. She had always thought there would be ample enough time left to study afterwards but life happened and before she knew it, younger models were replacing her and she returned home to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in Smoky Mountains. There she had met and married Lem, who had in reality married the model that she had been and not the woman she really was. Lem had tried hard to mold her into what he wanted her to look like and Summer had let him do that for 5 long miserable years during which she had developed bulimia as a result of starving herself to look good enough for her husband. When Lem had left her with no means to support herself, Summer had done the only thing viable and used the only skill that she had developed as a housewife and started cleaning for other people. And thus her baby Daisy Fresh Janitorial Services had been born.

One of Daisy Fresh Janitorial Service’s most important clients was the Harmon Brothers, a chain of funeral homes which required that the place be cleaned up during the night. Though Summer had hired a cleaning crew of two members who had not turned up for the 2nd time that month, in the end it was Summer who had to see the job through for the night. Being alone in a funeral home was making her skin crawl with her imagination going overdrive. With the toilets scrubbed to her satisfaction, Summer is about to leave when she spies the light that is switched on in the embalming room. Knowing that her client required her to switch off all the lights before leaving the premises, Summer makes her way into the room against her better judgment.  When she sees a second uncovered body in the room with bruises all over, and sees the body move, Summer knows that she wouldn’t be able to put the incident out of her mind until she checks whether the body is dead for real. Before she knows how it happened, the bruised and naked body on the table threatens her with a wicked looking scalpel and kidnaps her from the funeral home.

Steve Calhoun had served as a detective with the Tennessee State Police until scandal had ruined him and his career. Right after high school Steve had joined the Marines and later on majored in Law Enforcement. Steve and his buddy Mitch had always been tight and together since childhood. Whilst Mitch was taller, leaner, handsomer and smoother compared to Steve who no one would describe as handsome but has an impressive body with an enigmatic presence, Mitch had been the hell raiser whilst Steve had been the dependable one of the two. When Mitch got into all sorts of trouble, it had been Steve who had born the brunt of rescuing him from whatever mishap Mitch had gotten into. When Mitch and Steve meet Deedee at a local hangout during high school, Steve is immediately drawn to her but it is with Mitch whom Deedee hopelessly falls in love with and gets married to. Even during marriage, Steve had covered for Mitch when he had cheated on Deedee. Steve had met Elaine after he left the Marines and married her who had borne him his daughter Corey. Though Steve had gone through all his life based on the motto Semper fidelis – always faithful, on a night he was drunk, he had succumbed and had sex with the lonely wife of his best buddy. Two weeks into the affair, Steve had started to feel guilt creeping in on him and had broken things off with Deedee who later committed suicide in his office leaving behind a tape which showed steamy interludes between Steve and Deedee and a note on his computer that she was committing suicide because he had broken up with her to go back to Elaine.

Needless to say, Steve had lost his job, his wife had left him and divorced him and requested for sole custody of their daughter. Steve had agreed to it all believing that he deserved it all as the punishment that befit him for what he had done. Steve had nearly lost himself in being a drunk, but the knowledge that his own daughter hated his guts had served as a splash of cold water on his face and he had  been sober ever since. Niggling doubts had arisen with his sobriety about how Deedee had died and following up on the investigation that he had been conducting when life had gone all shitty on him had ended up in him being beaten within an inch of his life and waiting to be embalmed on the table of a funeral home.

Thinking at first Summer to be in cahoots with the thugs who were after him, Steve pretty much makes Summer’s life miserable and forces her to ride along with him whilst he tries to escape the goons who were pretty much after his head. Stealing a van with two dead bodies inside it and riding off into the night with helicopters chasing after them, Summer has no choice but to go along for the ride unless she wanted to be killed. When Summer learns who Steve is and knows deep in her gut that he wouldn’t harm a hair on her head and gets more than fed up of being on the run, being the naive woman she is decides to cut her losses and go home. Though Steve warns her that the goons who were after him would probably know her identity Summer doesn’t listen and in the end they both barely manage to escape with their lives intact with the help of her mother’s dog Muffy.

Thus begins Steve and Summer’s journey for survival through the rough terrain that forms the Smoky Mountains with the whole country on the look out for them for double homicide. Things start getting interesting when despite everything that has happened, both Summer and Steve starts to feel the first stirrings of attraction between them which blazes out of control within no time. Steve who doesn’t want the hassle of a relationship finds himself more occupied with thoughts of Summer and her effect on him than clearing up his name and delving into the heart of the matter that had landed him in this precarious situation. When Summer realizes that she had fallen head over heels in love with her Frankenstein, all bets are off and she doesn’t stop until Steve too admits that what is happening between them is special.

Their plans to clear up their names go awry when the goons in question kidnap Steve’s daughter and ex-wife and hold them hostage. All along, it is the van that Steve and Summer stole in order to make their escape from the funeral home that the goons were after and the final showdown does reveal in the end the story of crooked cops and politicians who were benefiting from drug trading within the country.

Both Steve and Summer are two broken people who finds in one another the will to heal and love again. The dialogues between the two are witty and made me smile all the way through. The adventure was good enough to keep me on the edge and the romance and passion hot enough to curl my toes. Though I didn’t care much for the paranormal aspect in the book, this is an adventure worth sinking into with a few surprises in store to make it all worth towards the end.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: One Summer by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookone summer
Read with: Amazon Kindle & Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Johnny Wayne Harris
Heroine: Rachel Grant
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 1993
Started On: September 2, 2010
Finished On: September 2, 2010

This was a title I read sometime back when I first discovered Karen Robards as an author. I have always remembered this book to be one that I had immensely liked and thus I decided to revisit this story and see what had intrigued me so much back then.

Rachel Grant lives in the sleepy town of Tylerville. Coming from a rich affluent family Rachel now past thirty years of age was resigned to the fact that she would most probably spend her life in Tylerville as a high school English teacher. With her sister Becky married to Michael Hennessey, the one man who had managed to fire up her dreams and living elsewhere with her husband and three girls, Rachel knew that she would not be able to leave her mother Elisabeth and her father Stan Grant behind when her beloved father was suffering from Alzheimer disease and taking its toll on all those who loved him.

Johnny Wayne Harris is the boy from the wrong side of town. Rachel had been Johnny’s English teacher and it was only she that had seen beneath the tough as nails exterior that Johnny puts up in front of everyone else. The Harris family was considered to be white trash within Tylerville and everyone always figured that Johnny would in the end turn out to be just like his father, when in fact he had turned out to be worse when he was convicted of the vicious murder of Marybeth Edwards who had been seeing Johnny back then on the sly. Though Rachel believed that Johnny hadn’t committed the murder, the state decided that he in fact did and had sent him to jail.

Now Johnny was back, having to work off his parole and Rachel wanting to give him a second chance though she knew Tylerville would be in an uproar for the fact, offers him a job at her family’s hardware store. From the moment that Johnny steps off the bus Rachel knows that he is not the boy that she had envisioned in mind. The sullen even then handsome boy had filled up and in front of her stood a lean, hard and tough man who had matured into a dangerous looking man.

Johnny had always had the “hots” for his then teacher Rachel and had always fantasized about her during his teen years. But even then Johnny had known that apart from the age barrier that had seemed vaster back then, they would never be of the same social standing within the society and any relationship that they could have would be doomed right from the start. But Johnny was tired of dreaming and never having and all of a sudden he craves Rachel with the burning desire of a grown man.

Rachel is appalled when she feels the first inklings of red hot desire when she sees what a superb specimen of the male species that Johnny is. And with him enticing her every step of the way and slowly seducing her into his arms, Rachel who had always cared about Johnny more than she had let on suddenly finds herself out of her depths in the strong feelings that Johnny invokes in her. Its not long before the flames of desire that keeps burning finally burst out of control and Johnny is a man who definitely knows how to keep his woman happy.

Meanwhile, the actual killer who committed the heinous crime twelve years back is still on the loose and swearing to finish what had been started all those years back. When Johnny’s close friend and on and off lover Glenda Watkins is also stabbed to death in the same manner as Marybeth was, the town is in an uproar over arresting Johnny and sending him to the electric chair. The only thing that saves him is Rachel and her testimony that Johnny couldn’t have killed Glenda.

Johnny deduces that the only thing that the killer wants is to kill women who were in his life as his lovers. And Johnny knows deep in his gut that Rachel with whom he had fallen in love with and would lay down his life for was in danger of being murdered by the maniac on the loose.

This story is a wonderful read. The total bad boy image that Ms. Robards has effectively created for Johnny would infuse any woman’s dreams. And the man that he grows into is one worth salivating over. Rachel is more than his match with her unwavering faith in him and the love that burns deep within her heart for the man whom the society deems as unacceptable. With glimpses into Rachel’s family life, the town that abhors Johnny’s existence and the ramblings of the mind of a killer vicious enough that gave me the creeps, I couldn’t put this book down once I started. Highly recommended for those who are fans of Ms. Robards as well as those who love romantic thrillers with a good dosage of sensuality in the mix.

Favorite Quotes

Sometimes, in prison, when he’d been lying awake at night staring at the bunk over his head, Johnny had thought that he missed Wolf most of all.
Wasn’t that a damned sad commentary on his life?
The dog whined again. Knowing he was being ridiculous, that he was liable to lose the hand at the wrist when the animal charged, Johnny nonetheless took a step forward,holding out his fingers for sniffing.
“Wolf? Come here, boy.”
Incredibly, the huge animal sank to its belly and slunk forward, behaving as if it wanted to believe but feared a cruel trick. Johnny dropped to his knees to greet it, his hands reaching out, burrowing in the coarse hide, stroking and scratching as the dog whined and licked and pawed him and butted him with its head.
“Ah, Wolf,” he said as he accepted the truth at last, that this one thing that he had loved had been spared in order to greet him. Then, as the big head snuggled into his lap, he wrapped his arms around the dog’s thick neck and buried his face against the animal’s side.
For the first time in eleven years, he wept.

Thoroughly ruffled, Rachel turned her back on the source of her annoyance and started for the door. She could feel his gaze on her, and the notion that he was watching her made her suddenly self-conscious. In her teetering heels, she could not help but sway.
Just as she reached the door, he made an odd sound that caused her to glance back at him, startled.
“Rachel,” he said in what was scarcely more than a husky whisper, while his eyes drilled into hers, “don’t sleep with him. Sleep with me instead.”
Her breath caught for a moment as the words coiled around her like a seductive snake. Only by forcing herself to keep walking was she able to escape.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: The Marriage Bed by Stephanie Mittman

Format: E-bookmbed
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Spencer Williamson
Heroine: Olivia Williamson
Sensuality: 2.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 1996
Started On: July 31, 2010
Finished On: August 1, 2010

The Marriage Bed is a story that is a bit more complex than your average romance. Filled with details of family life with characters who are less  than perfect, this is a story that was totally different from what I expected when I started on the book.

Olivia and Spencer were neighbors when they were growing up. Spencer had been best of friends with Olivia’s brother Remy and Olivia doesn’t remember a time when she has not loved Spencer. When Spencer married Kirsten, Olivia had been devastated and vowed that she would never love another man. Kirsten had borne him two children Peter and Margaret, and an epidemic of diphtheria had taken away all those whom he had held close to his heart. From the moment he had buried those who were more precious to him than life itself, Spencer had promised himself that he would never love again.

However life and its practicalities demanded that he take a wife and Remy convinces Spencer that Olivia would make him a most suitable wife. Olivia may run his household like a well oiled machine and cater for his every need but Spencer vows that Olivia would never hold a candle to what Kirsten and his children meant to him. Though Olivia knows that Spencer had closed off his heart when his family died, the hope that with time Spencer would come around and learn to love her is what keeps Olivia going. And the one thing that Olivia craves more than anything else is to carry Spencer’s children in her womb and bring them into this world so that the pain that lingers in Spencer’s eyes may ease just a little.

With Olivia’s naivete on what goes on in the bedroom, it is easy for Spencer to continue deceiving Olivia without actually performing the act which could bear him sons and daughters. Two years on, Olivia is devastated by the fact that she is barren and that she would never be able to give Spencer the children Olivia is sure he needs. Little does she know that Spencer had been keeping the most vital part of their marriage a shame.

Desperate for a family, Olivia badgers Spencer until he agrees to open up his home for the children of Olivia’s sister who had died recently. Olivia is overjoyed by the thought of having young ones around her for whom she would bestow upon all the love she holds in her heart. But things hardly go according to plan when the children arrive. Neil is the only one who is taken with the idea of living with her Aunt Olivia and Uncle Spencer whilst Louisa who is the eldest and looks after the little one Josephina resents the living arrangements with every fiber of her being.

However the less than perfect family somehow strive on and it is when Olivia comes to know just how much Spencer has been withholding from her in their marriage that things turn around. Right about then, an accident that nearly takes away the woman Spencer had unwittingly fallen in love with though he had tried unsuccessfully not to, makes Spencer want to turn their lives around and love and worship the ground his beautiful wife walks on.

But the sense of betrayal that Olivia feels is too strong for her to just forgive, forget and move on. Olivia takes the kids and moves into her brother’s home and tries to live without Spencer who is continually underfoot now professing his love and adoration for her. Spencer has his work cut out for him to convince Olivia that he had wronged her immensely and that he would do everything within his power to have Olivia and the kids back in his life, and that he would continue to show it to her every day of his life.

Whereas romances always feature a hero women would love to dream about and sigh upon, Spencer is far from the idyllic hero. Going bald at his head and with his less than perfect body, Spencer is not the type of hero romance books are made out of. But what makes it all better is the story of how this less than average hero fights everything within him at first to keep Olivia as far away from his as possible making both of them miserable in the process and later how he devotes himself to winning the love of his life back into his arms and into his life once again.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Nobody’s Angel by Karen Robards

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Ian Connelly
Heroine: Susannah Redmon
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 1992
Started On: June 9, 2010
Finished On: June 12, 2010

Susannah Redmon is the plain, eldest and spinsterish daughter of the preacher in Carolina Colony. Ever since her mother died after giving birth whilst Susannah was at the tender age of around 13 or so, she has looked after her family and congregation, and never been courted by a man in all her 26 years. Resigned to living with her father and sisters, Susannah runs their family farm, and is well respected throughout the community for her healing touch.

With too much work on the farm than Susannah and her sisters could handle, Susannah purchases a convict whose sentence is to serve their family for a period of seven years. Susannah never dreamed that under the defiant and proud man who stood in front of her, who looked ravaged and more like a savage with filth on every inch of him could turn out to be a wealthy aristocrat from London, i.e. the Marquis of Derne.

Betrayed by his family and branded a convict, Ian had paid to be alive and has plans to flee the Colony as soon as he gets his strength back. However the prim and proper woman who has bought him intrigues him on more levels than one and Ian bides his time at the farm trying to court Susannah, though she doesn’t seem to be aware of her beauty and how charmed Ian really is with her.

Susannah never thought that under all that filth that covered Ian, he could turn out to be a handsome devil who tempted her on so many levels. Before she knows it, Susannah is captivated by Ian’s searing kisses and enticing touch and head over heels in love for the first time in her life.

Before long, Susannah makes her way to London with Ian where she discovers just how unsuited she is for the life she would have to lead as the wife of a Marquess. In the end it is up to Ian to convince this proud beautiful woman who doesn’t understand her worth that she belongs in his arms and in his life for now and always.

This book bears some resemblance to the storyline of Dark Torment by the same author, but I liked this story better.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo

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Review: Sea Fire By Karen Robards

Format: Paperbacksea
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Pirate, Book 2
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Jonathan Hale
Heroine: Lady Catherine Aldley
Published on: November 10, 1998
Started On: August 2009
Finished On: September 26, 2009

Being a long time since I have been able to read a book and write its review. Life happened & I had to give up reading for a little while that kept me from  finishing this book and writing a review about it.

I think that with this book, I would have to agree with the rest of reviewers who read this book. It would have been better if the author had never attempted to write this book, or rather just included whatever she had written in this book in the first book of the series.

The characters in the book never seemed to learn from their mistakes, never seemed to grow up or move on from past grievances and there was too much violence between the hero and the heroine to make me believe that they really loved one another.

Anyhow, I did finish this book agonizing page by page. I guess that says something for the book, or maybe it was just me that wouldn’t put down a book I had spent such a lot on to buy in the first place.

I do not know what I will be reading next. But I will be sure to post a review of it as soon as I am done!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Kobo | eBookMall | iTunes

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