Review: Return to Christmas by Anne Stuart

Format: E-Bookreturntochristmas_2
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Impeccably Demure Press
Hero: John Larsen
Heroine: Madison Simcoe
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 13, 2019
Started On: December 24, 2019
Finished On: December 26, 2019

Return to Christmas by Anne Stuart released in 2019 had me jumping up and down in excitement at the very idea of the new release. Because Anne Stuart is THAT author for me. Return to Christmas tells the story of 27 year old Madison Simcoe and 29 year old John Larsen, in delivering upon the theme of Christmas miracles and love that stands the test of time itself.

It is the year 2020, and Madison who is feeling a bit desolate, a whole lot of disillusioned and a bit lonely decides to cheer herself up by going to the Macy’s Department Store to engage in a little bit of retail therapy. When she gets to Macy’s Madison gets more than what she bargained for when she finds herself transported to the year 1947, and having to rely on the maddening man she encounters, who sets her senses humming.

John would like nothing better than to ignore Madison’s sudden appearance into his life and the way she gets under his skin. An ex-military man, John is hounded by his own demons that are hard to shake off, and it is his ingenuity as a designer that allows him the freedom and leeway to mostly come and go as he pleases within the store.

With Madison in the picture, John finds himself inexorably drawn to her, even when he tells himself that a woman who keeps concocting far-fetched stories about how she came to be is not worth all the trouble. Interestingly enough, the more Madison tries to leave, the harder it is, as whatever it is that had transported her back in time wasn’t done messing with her fate.

Return to Christmas was not exactly what I envisioned for the story to be, but nevertheless I enjoyed most of it and not so much the rest. It is my theory that anything written by Anne Stuart is 100 times better than the any other book that you may alternatively get your hands on, and this one too proved that in spades.

I liked John and Maddie well enough, but I cannot say that I was enamored by them, nor connected with either of them at a deeper level. Madison spent a lot of her time inside her own thoughts which prevented me from understanding where she was coming from at a deeper level. Yes, she was feeling lonesome and feeling an ache she couldn’t define, but beyond that, it was hard to get a read on her character.

John is mellower than Anne Stuart’s usual hero material, which is fine. One doesn’t need to be ruthless to come off as commanding, sexy, and all of those things that makes you hum with pleasure as you read along. I felt that John was a bit under developed as a character. Why? Because I wanted to know more about his past, his likes and dislikes, what made him tick (apart from Madison of course), and I wanted to read about his stint in the military and the damage it had done to him on the inside. That would have made me relate to him more than I did.

I also found it a tad weird that two adults just lived inside a department store throughout the novel. I quite don’t know how I feel about that. The one thing that I did love though, was the epilogue. That was the ultimate ending if you ask me, classic Anne Stuart, leaving the reader sniffling with happy tears.

Final Verdict: Return to Christmas is a novel that delivers on the premise of Christmas miracles, and hope in a world that has little of that to offer, and how love knows not the bounds of time and reason.

Favorite Quotes

She stirred again, and her breathing changed. She was coming awake, and she was probably going to be ticked off and embarrassed by where she was, and he steeled himself. Her eyes blinked open, still wet with tears, and she tilted her head back, looking up at him out of those sensational eyes, her mouth still tremulous, and he did what any red-blooded American male would do.
He kissed her.

“So let me tell you what we’re going to do,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m going to undress you. Sweetheart,” he added deliberately, punctuating the word with a bump of his hips against her, and arousal spiked through her—she was back in that restless, anxious longing and uncontrolled, confused need. “And I’m going to dump our clothes on the floor and walk all over them if I want. I’m going to touch you, taste you, anywhere I damned please. You can be on top, but you’re going to be beneath me, in front of me, standing, sitting, any position we can think of. I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want to do, but you’re going to want to do everything.” His voice was soft, his words terrifyingly erotic, and she closed her eyes, lost in it, lost in him. “Yes?”
It was a question she couldn’t answer, swept away by the crazy sensations racketing through her body. Danger, Will Robinson! She wanted to run, she wanted…she wanted…
“Yes,” she said.

“Condom,” she gasped, wanting to grab his hips and pull him in, to fill this terrible emptiness inside her. He hesitated, just for a moment, and then pushed in, so big, so hard that she almost felt choked, drowning in sensation.
He rested for a moment, inside her, around her, and her skin felt like it would burst into flames. “I don’t have one,” he whispered in her ear. “I didn’t want to be tempted. Didn’t work.”

“Don’t,” she gasped, as stray shudders raced through her body, and his frame reacted to each and every one.
His muscles suddenly bunched beneath her hands, his entire body rigid. “Don’t what? Don’t do this without protection?” He no longer sounded coolly amused—at least she’d pushed him past that point, and he started to pull out, the walls of her sex clinging to him, trying to hold him. “Or don’t do it at all?”
“Don’t stop.”
He thrust back into her, and she gasped as sensations racketed around her body, again, and again, and again, each push reaching deeper, filling her, drowning her in nothing but sex, sweet and sinful, again and again, building to another climax.

She didn’t know who was the more shocked when she licked at the solid column of flesh rising from his body, and then she didn’t think at all, letting her mind dissolve as she leaned down and took him into her mouth, sucking him in deep, and it was wonderful, the feel of him surging into her, pulsing as she drew him in deeper. This was hers—she owned him, she owned this, and she wanted more, she wanted to wrap her tongue around him until he exploded inside her, and she wanted to swallow. She wanted to take everything, but he was too big, her mouth too small, and she almost choked in frustration, his hoarse reaction, his hands in her hair, helping guide her, were almost too much as she tried to take more, all of him.

When he lifted her, turned her, she moved easily, up to her knees as he pushed into her from the back, and the sensation was astonishing as he pushed against something that made her entire body shake, and she still needed more, she needed him to drive away her last fears, she needed him to take her so completely that he held nothing back, wiping them both clean.
“Harder,” she whispered. “Please. Harder.”
The last of his control disappeared, and he slammed into her, so hard that she almost fell forward, but she held on, taking him with powerful, almost feline pleasure, just as she wanted, harder, faster, turning into a cloud of sensation and nothing more, pushing, pumping, almost brutal, and when she came he erupted inside her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Format: E-Bookthebridetest
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Diệp Khải
Heroine: Trần Ngọc Mỹ
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 07, 2019
Started On: June 03, 2019
Finished On: June 07, 2019

The Bride Test begins ten years prior to the period in which the story is based, during a funeral. This is where readers are introduced to the hero, Diệp Khải, who is unable to show his grief from having lost his best friend. Everyone around him criticizes him for not grieving in the “right” way – making Khải believe that he is deficient in a way that is irreparable.

Trần Ngọc Mỹ is a single mother, trying to make ends meet in the poorer parts of Hồ Chí Minh, Việt Nam, where she encounters Khải’s mom at her place of work, on the hunt for a bride for her youngest son. Though Mỹ is not exactly what she had in mind when she began the search, something about Mỹ makes her believe that she could be the ideal choice for Khải.

Though Mỹ has her reservations, it is her own mother who convinces her that through this marriage of convenience, Mỹ could provide for a better future for her daughter than the poverty-ridden life that lies ahead of her. Thus convinced, Mỹ makes the journey to America to meet her future husband.

When Khải is confronted with the inevitable, though he tries hard to stay indifferent and out of Mỹ’s way, somehow he ends up getting emotionally attached to Mỹ, without realizing it. Khải being autistic is an aspect of his character that Mỹ has no knowledge of, and Mỹ has her own secret well under her sleeve; the fact that she has a daughter back home for whom she would practically lay down her very life for.

It is an endearing, at times hilarious, and a bit heartbreaking of a journey that these two embark upon to reach their own happily ever after. I believe that The Bride Test did a marvelous job of bringing Khải to life, with his oddities and the ways in which his mind works differently when it comes to what is “normal”.

While I enjoyed The Bride Test, I believe that I felt a lack of emotional connection to Mỹ that detracted from my enjoyment of the novel. I would have liked Mỹ better had she understood Khải, what autism means, and how difficult certain aspects of life could be for someone like him. Instead of trying to understand where Khải was coming from, most of the focus of the novel was on Mỹ and how she becomes empowered enough to stand on her own two feet.

I applaud the fact that Mỹ stood up for herself amidst all odds and made everything work for her. Even at the very end, Mỹ’s strength of character is what stands out in the novel, more so than the love between Mỹ and Khải. On the contrary, The Kiss Quotient worked so well because both Michael and Stella were on the same page at the same time, and there was never ever a doubt in my mind that they belonged together, right from the start. When they made an appearance in this story even, the connection between them is one you feel deep in your heart, and I wanted that for Khải with every fiber of my being.

Mỹ may not have had the sophisticated education that she had to forgo when she got pregnant out of wedlock, but every aspect of her character speaks of intelligence, emotional and otherwise. Which is why, I felt the lack so severely when it came to Mỹ’s lack of interest perhaps, in digging deeper into Khải’s psyche and trying to understand him – what makes him the way he is. Not to mold herself to suit his needs, but rather so that she could meet him on an even footing in accepting him for the way he is.

I understand that Khải’s level of education must have been a huge deterrent when it came to Mỹ and breaking down barriers. However, I wish she had shown more interest in the person who Khải is than what materialized in the story. At least Khải acknowledges to himself that he hadn’t done much to really get to know Mỹ, mostly owing to the fact that he has correlated that caring for someone means losing that someone altogether.

I wish Mỹ had wanted to explore more of Khải’s fascinating mind and the way he views the world. Had she taken that time, she would have realized that Khải was indeed different. The fact that she had been his first should have driven home the point in my opinion. Why else would a man who finds it difficult to socialize and accept physical contact go all the way? This is where I would have liked Mỹ to use her emotional intelligence to pick on the cues and understand the man Khải is, for better or worse.

I think Mỹ finding herself and charting her own course in life (which is all well and good), took away the focus from exploring the depth of feelings between Khải and Mỹ together. Mỹ made it seem as if it was of no consequence to her whether they ended up together or not, while Khải was moved to the point of obsession with her. Somehow I wanted way more for Khải than what Mỹ ended up giving him.

Recommended for fans of Helen Hoang and those who fell in love with The Kiss Quotient. Some of you might end up loving The Bride Test more. But for me, my heart belongs to Michael and Stella all the way.

Final Verdict: The Bride Test explores the everyday struggles of being autistic, making the reader think beyond the scope of the book. I loved Khải for all that he was, just the way he is.

Favorite Quotes

Those tears.
They shattered him. He brushed the saline away with his thumbs.
“I’m okay,” she whispered. “Don’t worry. I—”
He took her mouth, pressing his lips to hers as the feel of her shocked through his system. Soft. Silk. Sweet. Esme. When he realized she’d gone stiff, he started to pull back in horror. What had he been think—
She softened against him, kissing him back, and that was it. His thoughts burned away. Something else rose from the ashes, something he’d kept chained up so long it was all fierceness and animal hunger. He stroked his tongue over her lips, and when she sighed and parted her lips, savage victory swept through him. He claimed her lips, claimed her mouth, claimed the liquid heat inside that tasted of vanilla and strawberries and woman.

“Come here,” she said.
His body obeyed on its own, edging between her knees and covering her, lining them up just right. The lure of her lips was too much, and he kissed her with a touch of desperation. When he rolled his hips, his cock slid over her, and the tip lodged inside of her. Just the tip. He went flame hot everywhere, his back, the base of his skull, his scalp.
This was happening. Him and Esme. Together.
He kissed her deeper as he pushed in slowly. Each inch changed him, broke him down and put him back together again, until he finally seated himself inside her completely, and she threw her head back and moaned.
For a moment, he was too overwhelmed to move. He’d pleased her.

When he started to move his hips as he caressed her with his fingers, she couldn’t stop the sounds escaping her throat. Stroked inside and out, treasured, loved. She wrapped her arms around him, holding him in every way she could as their bodies found a rhythm.
He was here. He was hers. He wasn’t going anywhere.
Kisses everywhere, on her lips, on her throat, her shoulder. Temple to temple, heavy intimate breaths, whispers in her ear, answers.
Like this?
Like this and this and this.
Her hips rose sharply off the floor, pressing as close to him as possible, high, higher, higher. Head thrown back. Too much, too good, so good. A trembling moan. Strong convulsions, over and over and over.

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


Review: Phantom Lover by Susan Napier

Format: E-bookphantomlover_susannapier
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Adam Blake
Heroine: Honor Sheldon
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 01, 1994
Started On: September 19, 2016
Finished On: September 20, 2016

25 year old Honor Sheldon finds herself in a bit of a pickle when she is picked up by a police car for skulking around Adam Blake’s house. Being the plain sister, the one that every guy considers as their buddy without their girlfriends or wives getting jealous over her, Honor is intrigued and ultimately seduced by the letters she exchanges with a mysterious man. To find out later that the letters had in fact being written for her beautiful sister Helen is the “icing” on the cake which the rather aggravating Adam delivers altogether too scornfully.

A turn of events however finds Honor as the house guest of a very reluctant Adam, battling with feelings of fierce longing that he rouses in her, even when he is being rather obvious about his despise for everything that she is. Adam finds himself at loose ends when it comes to Honor, the way she knows things about him that he would rather not have anyone know – his very intimate thoughts that Honor was privy to which makes him itch on the inside.

Adam and Honor’s journey to their happily ever after is one fraught with several bouts of arguments with one another, which means engaging in clever dialogue, and one where secondary characters seemed to get more than their share of the story. Although overall I did like the story, this is definitely not one of the best by Napier. However, when it comes to great authors like herself, they make even their “not so best” books somehow work for the readers. This was one of them for me.

The ending was one that I loved. Especially the pictures that Adam sent to Honor towards the end, plus the letter.

Final Verdict: Though not Napier’s best, delivers an altogether funny & charming read!

Favorite Quotes

His hand moved down and suddenly he was weighing her in his large palm, his fingers curving under her breast to her ribs while his thumb rode the upper swell. ‘Look how perfectly you fill my hand…’
Honor bit her lip to stop herself moaning at his throaty murmur of gratified discovery of her size. His thumb moved experimentally against the thinly sheathed peak and this time the sound escaped her control, along with an explicit shiver that arced along her nerves, transmitting an unmistakable message to the man who held her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo



Review: Eye of the Beholder by Emma Jay

Format: E-bookeyeofthebeholder
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Historical Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Grayson Adams
Heroine: Sarah Dusenberry
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 07, 2011
Started On: January 08, 2016
Finished On: January 08, 2016

Eye of the Beholder is an erotic romance written in a historical setting. Sarah Dusenberry is 21, and her mother is desperate that she find someone suitable to be married off to. Sarah’s average looks and her strong willed nature makes her a less an ideal candidate for the gents of the ton when it comes to choosing a bride, which is the reason why Sarah spends her time at the balls glued to the wall, as if on the outside, looking in.

Grayson Adams, the youngest son of the Baron of Cricksham, is a man who leads a double life. A man who has made a fortune in painting and selling erotic art, Grayson has been feeling out of sorts of late, as if in need of a new muse that would get his creative juices flowing. A well placed advertisement gets Sarah on his doorstep, a woman who has intrigued him even before she turns up willing to be the model that he is looking for.

Fact that Sarah is a virgin makes it difficult for Grayson to act on his desires where she is concerned. But Sarah has no such qualms when it comes to the man whose touch sets of such wanton and wicked desires in her. As these two become entangled with want for each other which is strengthened by other feelings which none of them wants to put a name to, Grayson’s deception could end up being the obstacle that could break the two apart even before they can get started.

Eye of the Beholder has an interesting premise, which could have been really good if it had been a full length novel. I wish that Emma Jay would write full length novels like Two-Step Temptation which I loved so. I have always said in my reviews of her books that Emma Jay has the ability to draw a lot of emotions from the reader apart from the excellent portrayal of eroticism she strives for in her stories.

While the overall story worked for me, Eye of the Beholder had certain elements that didn’t, because it seemed a tad unrealistic for Sarah, a virgin brought up in a society that shuns wicked behavior of the sort to give up all her inhibitions, just like that, even though she had been seeking adventure for a long time. It was hard for me to understand where she was coming from because for someone who has never been exposed to pleasures of the flesh, she certainly was ready to give up all that societal indoctrination for the man who sends her senses humming. In a contemporary setting, yes, it might have worked, but with a virgin heroine in a historical setting, I just remained a bit unnerved by that.

All that aside, Eye of the Beholder provided me with the kind of read that I wanted when I picked it up. Something short that would wet my appetite for more!

Recommended for those that love erotic romances in a historical setting.

Final Verdict: Short and succulent enough to sink your teeth into.

Favorite Quotes

“Is your curiosity quite satisfied?” he asked, managing not to sound breathless after his orgasm, tucking away his cock as she wiped herself clean.
She lifted those dark eyes to him. “More curious than ever, I’m afraid. I can cancel my plans for tomorrow, return and you can show me more.”
“I can show you no more,” he said sharply. “You are a virgin, which is how you will leave me, each and every time.”
“But I want to know.”
“Then find a husband.” He tossed his own cloth aside and strode toward the door.

She didn’t have a chance to respond before he cupped his hand around the back of her head and covered her mouth with his. His lips were dry and warm before his tongue swept over her lower lip, sending sparks all along her body. He angled her head and his tongue probed her mouth for a moment before he straightened, his thumb still caressing her jaw. His ragged breathing dusted across her skin and for a moment she feared he’d walk away, but then his mouth was on hers again, harder, demanding, and his hands were on her skin, bringing her body closer so that the tips of her breasts rasped against the rough linen of his shirt.

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


Review: His Christmas Gift by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-bookhischristmasgift
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Montana Born Christmas
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Hero: Sawyer Gallagher
Heroine: Jenna Macintosh
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 2, 2015
Started On: November 13, 2015
Finished On: November 14, 2015

I stumbled across this little number of Sarah Mayberry’s on Amazon. His Christmas Gift is a book loosely tied to the title Three Nights before Christmas by Kat Latham. Any romance written by Sarah Mayberry is a must-read for an avid fan like myself and thus His Christmas Gift landed in my ever growing pile of e-books. One of the best things about Sarah Mayberry writing novellas is the fact that her novellas end up the length of a Harlequin romance or such, the fact that she puts in as many words to give readers a wholesome experience is one of the reasons I love her and her books.

Jenna Macintosh is Sawyer Gallagher’s sister’s lawyer, the lawyer who gets his sister out of prison. Sawyer is a man who doesn’t have time for the pretty niceties of life. Determined to keep their family business going, Sawyer hasn’t been inclined to or has had the time to date since his last girlfriend had left him in the lurch. When Sawyer meets Jenna, his less than favorable reaction towards her leaves Jenna thinking that for some reason Sawyer finds her distasteful. But nothing could be further from the truth as both Jenna and Sawyer keeps thinking about the other until fate throws them together.

Though I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite Mayberry book thus far, it had its enjoyable elements to it. Like Sawyer when once he decided to rejoin civilization and shave off that beard of his reveals a man as sexy as they come, a man that makes Jenna want him all for herself. Sawyer can be termed as a gentle and tender hero, a hero that made me sigh and want in all the ways that matter. Jenna fights her own demons, in the form of a past she has never been able to reconcile with and move on from, which serves as the point of contention when it comes to her and Sawyer.

The glimpse of their lives after the story ended was just lovely and left me with a smile on my face.

Final Verdict: For fans of Ms. Mayberry, this little number warms the heart!

Favorite Quotes

Stroking his tongue with hers, she took his left hand and dragged it onto her breast, too turned on to be embarrassed by her own urgency. She needed him to touch her almost more than she needed air. His big hand closed around the curve of her breast, learning the shape of it, then his thumb swept across her nipple and she groaned because – again – it felt so damned good. Everything did with him.
“Jesus, Jenna,” Sawyer muttered.
He stroked her nipple again, bringing it to aching hardness, then he squeezed it gently between thumb and forefinger. She dug her fingers into his arm, deepening their kiss. She wanted more. More of his hardness. More of the taste of him. More of the feel of him pressed against her.

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


Review: Mistress of the Night by Charlotte Featherstone

Format: E-bookmistressofthenight
Read with: Adobe Reader for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Hero: Blaine Ashbourne
Heroine: Madeline Brydges
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 1, 2005
Started On: November 11, 2015
Finished On: November 12, 2015

Charlotte Featherstone is an author who got on my radar with her book Sinful. Her decision to not take the easy way out when she crafted the hero in the story won my wholehearted approval. Even though the books that I have read from her since then haven’t lived up to the mark, Mistress of the Night caught my eye because there was just something about the description of the story that got to me. The reclusive hero described? Yes. The heroine who wants him and no other? Oh, hell yes!

Blaine Ashbourne, even though he is part of the elite ton, is someone who keeps himself far removed from everything that goes on in those circles. He keeps close to himself a secret that he would rather die than get out, knowing that it would be one not at all well received. It is his bid to look out for his niece that lands himself in this ball and that, directly in the sight of Madeline Brydges, the woman he observes without being obvious about it, or so he thinks, his hunger for her something that shocks even himself.

Madeline has no choice but to snare herself the husband that her father insists that she find. But the only man whom she is going to get herself married to is none other than the Earl of Ashbourne, a man who is seemingly as reticent as they come. But with every encounter that proves otherwise, Blaine and Madeline seduces and get seduced by each other, while Blaine believes that a blissfully wedded future with anyone, much less Madeline is not for the likes of him.

Mistress of the Night is a story that had such potential. Charlotte’s flair for the dirty talking hero and sex scenes that practically melt you on the insides were all present in the story. But it fell short of delivering on what it could have been. I felt a tad disappointed and a wee cheated by the time I finished reading the book, though it is a testament to the writing that I finished the book in just one sitting. Perhaps my problem was with the huge differences between how the book was described in the blurb and how it actually materialized later on.

Blaine is someone who has had fear instilled in his heart by his father. A father who had been devastated that the only son he had ever had turned out to be less than perfect. Blaine’s tortured soul heals under the touch of Madeline, but he refuses to let her in too deep, for the fear that she might discover the secret that he keeps from almost everyone. Madeline’s actions towards the latter part of the novel also might be one of the reasons why I couldn’t really say I loved what happened, though I did understand that desperate times called for desperate measures. Nonetheless, Mistress of the Night turned out to be an enjoyable read, recommended for those that love this author.

Final Verdict: Delivers scrumptious scenes of passion, true to Charlotte Featherstone style!

Favorite Quotes

“I wanted that dance to be with you, Maddy. The whole time I was dancing with her I thought only of you, wishing we were the only two people in the room so that I might do this to you.”
Her pulse leapt and surged as he continued to caress her neck, his fingers, light and teasing trailed down her throat, stopping at the peak of her breast, only to travel back up the column of her throat.
“Tell me,” he said, bringing her back tight against his chest, his tongue, hot and teasing flicked along her bounding pulse. “What is it you desire?”

“God, how I want this,” he said thickly, stroking his thumb along her nipple, making it pebble hard. “And this.” he slid his hand down her bodice to the flat plane of her belly where he kneaded the small mound. “And this,” his voice was a low rumble in her ear as his fingers traced the curls of her sex through her thin gown. “I want this so much. So much so that I cannot sleep. So much that I am constantly thinking of you, of your lips, your flame red hair, the way your skin feels. So much that I lie awake, hard and aroused, torturing myself with thoughts of how you will feel beneath my hands, my lips, my body. I dream of how you will taste, Madeline. I dream of the taste of your sex, the feel of you on my tongue. Tell me, would you let me taste the desire I create within you?” A whimper caught in her throat and he tightened his hold on her while he kissed her shoulder. “Tell me what you want, Maddy.”

“Make love to me, Maddy. Show me what it is like.”
She didn’t know what he wanted, but he showed her. He sat in the chair and brought her down atop him. Cupping her bottom he showed her how to ride him and when she had the right of it, she caught his hands in hers and clutched them tight. She captured his gaze, holding it as she loved him, and she thought she saw his eyes fill with more than desire. She thought she saw love shining back at her, but then he blinked it away and reached for her and slid himself out of her body, emptying his seed on to his own belly. He clutched her to him and he held on to her like a drowning man holds on to a lifeline.
“Mine,” he whispered into her hair and she knew then that she was his lifeline in a sense. Something profound had happened.

“It’s very warm, isn’t it?” Madeline asked, fanning her bosom with her hand.
Blaine couldn’t help but watch that delicate hand as it whispered slowly back and forth and over the exposed mounds of her breasts, of which, the bodice of her French gown did little to hide. “Wouldn’t you agree, my lord?”
“Huh?” The word was a strangled huff, torn from his throat when one of her fingers traced the length of him through his trousers. Thank God the table was shielding them and thank God no one but Madeline could see the reaction her boldness was having on him.
“Are you warm, too?” she asked, looking up at him through her veil of copper lashes.
Warm? Sweet Jesus, he was on fire.

“Tell me,” she whispered again, “tell me where you want to come. My belly?”
She licked him and swirled the tip of her around the head of his cock. “My breasts,” his gaze lowered to her rounded breasts that were swinging with her movements and he captured them in his hands and let go of them with a small, gentle slap, watching as they swayed faster. She purred as he repeated the motion, this time a little faster, a little harder, and his cock swelled further in her hand. “My throat?” she asked, her hot breath caressing his shaft, forcing his gaze away from her breasts only to see her tongue curl around the rimmed cap of his cock. “My mouth,” she teased in a deep, wanton whisper.
He closed his eyes and wrapped his hand in her hair. “Yes,” he said, filling her mouth with his cock. “Your pretty mouth.”

“Look at me.” She did, her beautiful eyes glazed with passion and need. “Watch.”
And then he sunk himself to the hilt inside her tight, wet sheath in one powerful stroke. Her eyes widened and her lips parted on a silent moan. “So damn beautiful, and you’re mine,” he whispered, holding her gaze, watching the tremors of pleasure flicker along her face with every one of his thrusts. “You’re all mine, aren’t you, Maddy? Just mine.”
“Yes,” she breathed against his neck, her pants matching the rhythm of his
“Forever, Madeline?” he asked, mindless with need, careless with his words as he forced himself inside her. “Because it has to be forever.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N


Review: Just Kiss Me by Kathleen O’Reilly

Format: E-bookjustkissme
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Joseph Matthias Barrington
Heroine: Amanda Sedgewick
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 1, 2002
Started On: October 29, 2015
Finished On: October 29, 2015

Kathleen O’Reilly landed on my reading radar with her novel Sex, Straight Up, which I just adored. The story was just so much more than what you would usually expect from a Harlequin Blaze novel and it blew my mind enough for me to always remember that read with fond memories. I have forgotten how I stumbled upon this earlier publication from the author. But something made me hit the one-click purchase button and there I was, burning the midnight oil.

Amanda Sedgewick has been in a predicament for more than half her life, and one that has proven difficult to shake off at every turn. That is Joseph Matthias Barrington (Joe)’s brother’s affections. No matter how many times Amanda has tried telling him that she wasn’t the one for him, Dr. Avery Barrington, III wouldn’t hear of it. So desperate times calling for desperate measures, Amanda seeks the help of the rougher around the edges than Avery, the blue-collar variety brother of his to engage with her in an affair that would keep Avery away from her – for good.

Joe knows a bad idea when he hears of one and sees one. But the desperation in Amanda’s eyes makes him say yes – to playing pretend boyfriend until the very first night they get together, Amanda completely blows his mind. From that moment on, Joe, who has given up trying to measure up to the brilliance that is his brother, turns over a new leaf. For him, becoming the sort of man that “deserves” a woman like Amanda is the goal that he hopes to attain.

For some reason, this story made confusing  turns that made it difficult for me to follow. One minute, Amanda was willing to indulge in the hottest affair of her life with Joe, the next she was busy trying to prove her worth in her career. Joe was the only one who made any kind of sense to me. And boy, was he deliciousness itself!

The simmering tension between Joe and Amanda is pretty low key until wham, with just one scene Kathleen O’Reilly literally blew my mind to smithereens! You’ve got to read this book, if only to experience the heat that that particular scene alone generated. Whew! Let me just say this. Joe was decadent!

Recommended, if you are up for a confusing story line, but one that nevertheless made me burn the midnight oil.

Final Verdict: Joe’s decadent nature makes this book worth a look!

Favorite Quotes

“We don’t have to pretend, Joe.”
“Yes. We do.”
She flashed him a gentle, comforting smile. “No. We don’t.”
“Yes. We do.”
Amanda moved in closer. “We could do torrid, you know.”
“Hot.” She licked her lips, getting into this femme fatale persona. The courtroom had never been this exciting.
“No.” The denial sounded a little strained.
“I could make you forget your name.”
“You’re Avery’s girl. That’s all I need to remember.”

Amanda held his arm. “Stay, just a little bit longer.”
“Can’t. Look, I’ve got a few hours off on Saturday. I’ll call you and we’ll do something then.”
“Have sex?”
Just for that, he kissed her again. “Amanda. I’m shocked.” He tried to keep his tone light, but if he sounded like he was completely turned-on, well, there it was.
Her cool blue eyes flashed at him. Damn, she looked good when she was angry. “I don’t want you shocked, I want you aroused.”
Like lightning, he had her pressed against the wall. Locked together from breasts to thighs, he made sure she felt every tortured inch of him. “You don’t think I want you? You think I’ve been killing myself to keep from touching you—” he laughed “—God, I can’t even do that right.”

He cradled her body with his own, grazing his lips over her neck. She rubbed against him, and gentleman that he was, he locked his hands on her hips and pushed against her. His erection was hard and insistent, and she licked her lips, her eyes drifting shut.
Her legs started to shake, threatening collapse, but he held her tight. There was something incredible about the way he smelled. All musky and male. Each time she moved, he answered. Each time he moved, she moaned.

He kissed her neck, whispering in her ear, in slow, exquisite detail exactly what he was going to do to her. What he wanted to do with her right here. Right under the watchful eyes of everyone around them.
She chewed on her lip, ready to scream. When his thumb brushed against her, she felt her muscles shake and spasm. He covered her mouth with his own. That was all she could take. She closed her eyes, and watched the world shatter.
And he kissed away her cries.

One. Two. He was back. “I can’t wait,” he said, taking her lips in a quick kiss.
She fumbled with his briefs. “Now.”
He sheathed himself with shaking fingers. “I wanted this to be slow,” he said, lifting her.
She wrapped her legs around his waist, needing to feel him inside her. “Later.”
He took one step forward, braced her against the door, she locked her hands around his nape.

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