Review: To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-booktoseduceasinner
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Legend of the Four Soldiers, #2
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Jasper Renshaw
Heroine: Melisande Fleming
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 1, 2008
Started On: August 15, 2016
Finished On: August 18, 2016

It is quite the impossible feat to finish reading To Taste Temptation, the 1st book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers series and not be intrigued by Emeline’s best friend Melisande Fleming. It is also fair to say that pairing Emeline’s best friend with the man she had been engaged to marry before she had met her happily ever after, the man being Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale was another reason that I was so quick in picking this up to read. Melisande’s character intrigued me for the front she puts up, the stoic and reasonable woman behind which I knew lay a heart that wants what most of us do. Someone to love, someone who returns that love tenfold and make you glad and giddy that it is so.

Even though popular with the ladies all over the ton, Vale seems to have run into quite the fix when it comes to acquiring his own bride. After being jilted for the second time, it is Melisande who comes to his rescue and offers her hand in marriage to him, surprising and intriguing him at the same time. While Vale makes it quite clear to Melisande that he is looking for a proper marriage, one where he gets bedding rights with his wife, Melisande agrees to everything and more. After all, she has loved Vale from afar for six long years and he needs not know her reasons for wanting him as her own.

Melisande is described as a plain woman. Someone who pretty much no man, especially one like Vale would notice in his attempts to woo and seduce ladies. It is Vale’s coping mechanism. Being surrounded by people, parties, laughter and joviality while on the inside he is reeling from the effect the tragedy at Spinner’s Falls had left on him. Being responsible for the regiment that had been attacked by Indians, the nightmares never leave him, especially at night when they come home to roost in his subconscious. Vale keeps that fact close to his heart, until Melisande breaks down the barriers he has put up, both physical and mental, until she takes him for everything he is.

Vale’s intrigue when it comes to the woman he married increases by the day. The sharp contrast between the woman who does not show much emotion during the day and fulfills every dirty and wanton need of his at night is a woman that needed to be unraveled. Vale is relentless in his pursuit of the secrets that Melisande hides behind. To find out what makes her tick. To find out what she wants. And most of all, why she offered her hand in marriage to him. A secret that Melisande guards as selfishly as Vale does that of his nightmares.

Along with the seduction and wooing of his wife that he pursuits with a vengeance, Vale continues his quest for the truth behind what happened at Spinner’s Falls. To find out the man that had betrayed his regiment and left them all at the torturous mercy of Indians who had practically annihilated them. Vale’s character is one you grow to love as the story goes on. The man behind the mask that he puts on at social gatherings is a man worthy of everything Melisande has to give and more. The fact that he never acknowledged Melisande’s existence before she had come up to him with the proposition does not deter him from seeing her from then on. Really seeing through to her and finding a woman who completes him in every single way possible. A woman he needs in every single way there is.

The emotional wallop behind the story suckerpunches you square in the gut right after the marriage. The emotions that coursed through me as I witnessed both Melisande and Vale at once fight the losing battle between them towards claiming each other as their own was one that I absolutely loved! The scene where Vale draws out Melisande’s secrets, one kiss at a time, one heady caress at a time was purely hedonistic, and I could not have asked for more!

Beautifully crafted, as always! Kudos to Hoyt, the master of the genre!

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Sinfully hot and just as exquisite! Hoyt’s name resounds all over the genre for a reason!

Favorite Quotes

“Why are you doing this?”
“What?” he asked idly. He brushed the rose against her cheek, the softness of the petals sending a shudder down her spine.
She caught his hand, hard and warm beneath her fingertips. “This. You act as if you’re wooing me.”
“Do I?” He was very still, his lips only inches from hers.
“I’m already your wife. There’s no need to woo me,” she whispered, and couldn’t keep the plea from her voice.
He moved his hand easily, though she still had her fingers wrapped about his. The rose drifted across her parted lips.
“Oh, I think there’s every need,” he said.

“Do you mind?” she asked.
She was gratified that he had to clear his throat. “Not at all.”
She nodded and raised the hem of her chemise to her hips before climbing into the chair. She straddled his lap carefully and let the chemise fall. Then she sat. For a moment, all she could do was savor the heat of his thighs against her bottom. She could feel his body hair tickling her most intimate parts.
Then she smiled and wove her arms about his neck. “Will you kiss me?”
“God, yes,” he growled.

She raised up on her knees and pushed against his cock. She was panting now. He watched her and brought his thumbs and forefingers together, pinching her nipples. She gasped and arched her back, but his cock slid to one side. Frantically, she reached between them to hold his slippery length steady. She ground against him. She could feel her folds, swollen beneath her fingers. She imagined her sex, crimson and wet, flowering against his cock. She rubbed the head of his penis against her clitoris, biting her lips, striving, struggling toward that goal.
Then he leaned forward and sucked a nipple into his hot, humid mouth, and she went over the cliff. Rushing, panting, she shattered in space.

She grabbed his broad shoulders and hung on. Her legs were wide, her breasts jiggling, and her mouth was open against his face, kissing, licking, biting. And all the while, his cock plundered her. Leaping. Demanding. Plunging.
Until all his muscles tightened at once. He shook his head, his teeth clenched, his body rigid, and she felt the hot wash of his seed into her body. He jerked once. Again. Then exhaled as if all the air was leaving his body at once.

 He jackknifed up and flipped her beneath him. And then he was looming large and menacing over her, his face dark as he growled, “Do you think me a plaything, my lady?”
She opened her legs wide, planted her feet, and arched her hips off the bed. She rubbed her sex against his length, watching as his eyelids fell in reaction.
“Perhaps I do,” she whispered. “Perhaps your cock is my favorite toy. Perhaps I want my toy in my—”
But he thrust fast and hard, making her lose her words on a gasp of pleasure.
“Wanton,” he gritted. “My wanton.”

“I have watched you,” she panted, “for years. I’ve seen you look at women—vapid, pretty women. I’ve seen you choose which ones you wanted. I’ve seen you stalk them, woo them, and seduce them. And I’ve seen when you grew tired of them, when your eyes would start to wander again.”
He tore at the laces to her bodice, loosening and pulling aside the fabric of her dress and stays until he reached her bare nipple. He palmed one breast and drew the other into his mouth, sucking strongly.
She cried out.
He lifted his head. “Tell me.”

“I watched you for years,” she whispered. The tears were drying on her cheeks, and heat was building within her. If he would just touch her. Touch her there. “I watched you and you never saw me.”
“I see you now,” he said, licking around a nipple. He trailed his tongue across her breast and to the other breast, circling the nipple there. Delicately. Tenderly.
Damn him.
“You didn’t even know my name.”
“I know it now.” He tested her flesh with his teeth.
Pleasure mixed with pain shot through her, straight from her nipple to where his hand still played. She arched, silently begging, and he relented, sucking the nipple strongly into his mouth.
“You . . .” She swallowed, trying to focus her thoughts. “You didn’t know I existed.”
“I do now.”

He stopped suddenly, and she opened her eyes. His head was thrown back, his eyes blind, pleasure convulsing his face.
“Melisande!” he cried.
His head thumped to the pillow beside hers, his lungs sucking air. He was heavy and hard, and her arms were still drawn over her head. It didn’t matter. She’d gladly suffocate here underneath him. She turned her face toward him and licked the ear she’d earlier bloodied, and she finally said it. She gave him what he wanted.
“I love you. I’ve always loved you. That’s why I married you.”

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Great Read!(1)

Requested Review: Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy

Format: E-bookpetalsandthorns.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Roland
Heroine: Amarantha
Sensuality: 5
Date of Publication: July 13, 2010
Started On: May 20, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Petals and Thorns is a novella based on the Beauty and Beast theme interwoven with strong elements of BDSM. Amarantha the heroine finds herself married off to someone known as the Beast, a man too hideous to be seen out in public, who shrouds himself under a cloak, whose voice from the get go has a hypnotic effect on the reluctant Amarantha. All that Amarantha has to do is “suffer” through seven days with the Beast, her husband, and leave with her virginity intact in order for their family to be saved. And while the Beast had agreed to not force her to give up her maidenhood, everything else remains fair game.

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, the Disney version of course. There is a timeless love story if ever there was one and my interest was piqued enough to give this a go because I wanted to see how the author would interweave BDSM elements into the story.

While the flow of the story was pretty much okay, I found that the Amarantha didn’t pretty much have a choice when it came to the Beast and his command over her body. A virgin without any experience whatsoever to guide her, Amarantha was at a disadvantage from the beginning of their marriage and I found the Beast to be a bit cruel at times in his attempts to make her bow to his will.

While I have read novels whose main theme has been BDSM, I have never remained emotionally hollowed out by any of it and yet I guess Petals and Thorns is going to be the first of its kind for me. One thing I think that led to the fact was that the story while its quite short with just 80+ pages to it, didn’t contain any elements from the Beast’s point of view. I guess that in itself leads the reader to draw the conclusion that the Beast’s ministrations on his wife was a tad cruel. Towards the latter part of the story, that tension eased a bit as readers are able to see that the Beast isn’t as much in control of his emotions & reaction towards Amarantha as he’d like her to believe.

I felt that the Beast and Amarantha, though seemed to be well matched in their desire for one another towards the end, seemed mismatched in other ways. While the Beast appeared to be well read with varied interests in other aspects of life as well, Amarantha didn’t seem as in tune with him in this aspect. I guess it was the lack of her exposure to much in life that made her the innocent she was.

Recommended for those that love hardcore BDSM themed romances.

Final Verdict: Jeffe Kennedy brings to readers the beauty and the beast, BDSM style!

Favorite Quotes

She forced herself to look at him. “I must tell you, I don‘t see how I can ever be your wife in truth. I cannot imagine asking you to—“
“To take your maidenhead? To rend you with my cock so that you scream in agonized pleasure?”
The shock drained Amarantha‘s cheeks of color. Even as the image somehow stirred her.
“Sir Beast, you cannot say such things to me.”
“It seems, my bride, that we must stretch your imagination as well. The only thing I may not do is take you by force. Everything else is open to me.”

“Amarantha…”
She heard the warning in his voice and inched up her skirts, just high enough to slip her hand under. He knew she wore no underthings, and she blushed at it. Amarantha dipped a hesitant finger into her private area, finding it slick and swollen. She nearly hummed at the sensation.
“Now show me.”
If possible, she flushed more deeply, that he might have thought she lingered. She held out a trembling hand for him. It gleamed slick in the sun. The Beast bent over. She felt his hot breath whuffing over her hand.
“You move me, Amarantha,” he finally murmured, his voice rough.

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

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Review: Warrior by Kristina Douglas

Format: E-bookwarrrior
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: The Fallen, #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Michael Angelo
Heroine: Victoria Bellona
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 24, 2012
Started On: January 24, 2015
Finished On: February 8, 2015

He wanted her. Needed her.
He wouldn’t take her.

Warrior by Kristina Douglas is the third book in the Fallen series. Warrior tells the story of Michael Angelo, the angel that has honed himself into a lethal fighting machine. It has been two centuries since Michael had last taken a mate and Michael has no intention of taking one until fate brings to his life Victoria Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War.

Victoria doesn’t believe in the fact that she is a goddess of anything, much less a Goddess of War. However, it is undeniable that her childhood up till now had prepared her in the art of fighting and she aims to fight dirty to gain her freedom from the life she has been subjected to, until she finds herself married off to Michael, a man whose very presence makes Victoria forget herself, until she learns that Michael is one of the Fallen and has no intention of ever truly making her his.

Michael fights a losing battle when it comes to Victoria. Michael’s honorable intentions take a hard hit when it comes to her. When Michael is forced to go after Victoria, all bets are off when both Victoria and Michael finally give in to the hunger that courses through them every second that they are together.

With every searing kiss and scorching touch, Michael knows that there would be no turning back for him when it comes to Victoria. But the Fallen’s number one enemy is still eager as ever to break them up, make them all bow down to him and in the process, destroy what they’ve built millenniums ago. Will Victoria make a difference or will she be the one that helps their enemy finally and once and for all bring them down?

Though not as good as the first two books in the series, it is hard to remain detached from a tale spun by Anne Stuart. She brings the variety of wicked humor and nerve tingling passion alive in her books that are hard to forget. Michael and Victoria, though at the surface might seem like they don’t want anything to do with each other, fights an attraction that burns through their blood, a calling that runs through their soul for each to claim the other. Half the fun lay in Michael trying to resist Victoria and the passion that ignited when he finally succumbed to the inevitability of it all.

Recommended.

Final Verdict: A grumpy & reluctant angel finds his match in the brave goddess of war that entices him unlike any other.

Favorite Quotes

He stood at one end, his face cool and impassive. Such an arresting face on the man. Angel. Whatever he was. Exquisitely beautiful. Exquisitely cold.
In the bright sunlight I could see him clearly for the first time. He was wearing white as all the others were, a loose open shirt, though he’d rolled up the sleeves, as if even a so-called wedding required hard work. I looked at his strong forearms, and for the first time I noticed tattoos snaking their way up beneath the white cloth. The shirt was loose at the neck as well, and there were more markings on his chest, his throat, twining around to the back of his head, markings I hadn’t seen before. I halted, momentarily fascinated, and then Allie caught my arm and gently urged me forward.

She must have heard him come in. She rose on one elbow, looking at him, and the sheet fell away, exposing one small, perfect breast. And he needed to suck at it, to slide his hand between her legs and feel the wetness of her desire. He’d tried everything he could to fight this.
For the first time in his limitless existence, he had lost a battle.

“You’re not paying a debt,” he said. “Are you?”
She hesitated. “No,” she said, and leaned back against the pillow. “And you aren’t doing your duty, are you?”
“No.” He knelt on the bed, straddling her carefully. There was barely enough room for the two of them. It didn’t matter. They were going to be so close they wouldn’t need extra space. “No,” he said again, moving between her legs, lifting them. He took her mouth, her sweet, inexperienced mouth, with his, and then simply pushed inside her, hard, knowing she’d be wet and ready for him.

He pulled out almost completely, and she let out a cry of loss. He slid his hand down her stomach to her clitoris, touching her as he suddenly slammed into her, and she shattered, her body clamping around him. She shrieked against his shoulder, in shock, in pleasure, her fingers digging into him so tightly he would have thought she’d draw blood. That was another arousal, and he thrust, again and again, hard, riding her orgasm, prolonging it, and when she finally fell back, limp, he let himself go, releasing his seed into her, filling her, his head dropping to the pillow beside her as his wings unfurled to lock around them, cradling them in softness.

Darkness. Thick, enveloping darkness, with his strong body surrounding me, his hot, wet mouth on mine. All arguments fled. I wanted this. Needed this. Ever since I’d left his bed, a part of me had been missing, and now it was found again. He had come for me. And I was his.
His tongue slid into my mouth, and I felt unaccountably shy even after last night, but it didn’t seem to matter. When I tentatively moved my tongue against his, he let out a low growl of unmistakable approval, and I wanted to get closer. I wanted him inside me again, I wanted to take his cock into my mouth the way they did in the books I’d read. I wanted everything.

So many contrasting emotions were flooding me that I felt dizzy. Lust and irritation went without saying. But . . . he’d come for me. He’d died for me. He had my blood inside him, making him strong. He had me inside him.
And in willingly giving him my blood, my life force, I was afraid I’d given him more than that. I had given him love.

He shook me again, gripping my wrists so tightly that my hands were growing numb. “Had enough?” he demanded furiously.
“Not even close,” I snapped back.
And then we both froze. He looked down at me, bafflement and rage fading from his face. His mouth was bleeding. “Oh, shit,” he said.
He released my wrists. I didn’t know if he was going to try to pull away, but I wasn’t going to give him that chance.
“Oh, shit, indeed,” I said, my eyes daring him.
His mouth on mine was hard and angry, and I could taste his blood. It should have horrified me. It didn’t.

I shattered, letting out a low, keening wail, and he caught the cry from my mouth, drinking it in. Distantly I heard the clang of his belt buckle and the rasp of his zipper, and then he was inside me, sliding deep, pulling my legs around his narrow hips. I was already wet, aroused, my body accepting, and I clung to him, shocked. I felt like a boat on a stormy ocean, adrift in a tempest of sensation so powerful I could focus only on his body and what it was doing to mine.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | eBookMall | iTunes | ARe
greatread

Review: Without Words by Ellen O’Connell

Format: E-bookwithoutwords
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Breton J. Sterling
Heroine: Hassie Ahearne Petty
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 30, 2014
Started On: November 6, 2014
Finished On: November 7, 2014

The very first note that I made as soon as I started reading Without Words by Ellen O’Connell was, “Reading an Ellen O’Connell after so long. I’m so excited.” That excitement pretty much started as soon as I stumbled upon Ellen’s newest release and held all throughout, since then up till I turned the very last page. Ellen O’Connell is a master unto herself. A force to be reckoned with when it comes to self-published and otherwise authors out there. Her writing style rivals that of one my favorite authors of Western themed romances, i.e. Maggie Osborne. Her heroes never fall short of making you fall head over heels in love with them and her heroines are just the same. And Without Words is definitely not an exception to the said rule.

Breton J. Sterling (Bret) is a bounty hunter, who after confronting his latest convict finds himself saddled with Hassie Ahearne Petty; it was either take her or leave her to fend off for herself which would have ultimately meant that she would starve to death or worse. Hassie has no choice but to do as the icy-eyed bounty hunter orders her to. A childhood accident had rendered Hassie without the ability to speak loudly and coherently enough for people to understand. That had pretty much defined Hassie’s life since then and she had been resigned to living the life that had been hers until Bret storms into her life and her heart, making her a changed woman forever.

Without Words is not just a story. It is a journey of two people who at first seems to have nothing in common, a man and a woman joined together by circumstances. Bret is man who is paying his self imposed dues to his family, and Hassie has no family to speak of. While Bret has no need for a woman, he can’t help but be protective of Hassie, a woman who defies every single hardship that had befallen her and still manages to see the beauty the world has to offer. And before long, Bret finds himself yearning for more of his violet-eyed Hassie, something he had never thought would happen in his lifetime.

Hassie’s awakening towards Bret as a man is one that progresses slowly. She has no experience to put her trust in when it comes to anything good happening between a woman and a man, but Bret makes her want to trust and put her belief in the honor that is practically stamped all over the man himself. The trust that unfurls in Hassie towards Bret grows in leaps and bounds until of course Bret becomes the only man she has ever loved, even though his past warns her of the consequences that this love would wreak on her heart.

Without Words is a story in which practically everything worked and meshed well together to give the sort of read that is so hard to come by in the modern world of romance today. There is a reason why I still yearn for the “classics” that started me on my journey of reading romances. And Without Words brought that back with an effortless ease that made me want to cry because there aren’t enough authors who write today like Ellen O’Connell does.

Like I mentioned earlier in my review, Ellen creates some of very the best heroes and heroines I’ve encountered in romance novels. There’s a voice to Ellen’s work that speaks to you on a level beyond just words strung together that give meaning. These words, they speak to your soul. It invokes emotions in you that you don’t think possible and yet if you are a romance reader like myself, yearn for with every fiber for your being. I cried during moments of sweet angst and smiled so much at times that my face hurt. There’s nothing more beautiful to a reader than a well spun story that they can lose themselves in and Ellen has provided just that with every full length novel that she has published to date.

Bret; I swear I just trembled from want, every single time that icy control of his that shattered under the strength of his passions, be it anger against the wrongs in this world or his desire for the woman who consumes him. Bret is a hero who is uber masculine, one who is unabashedly manly and yet has a core of strength and honor in him that makes a woman fall like a ton of bricks. And fall hard, I did. There is no other way to say this; Bret, you own my heart.

With Hassie, Ellen has once again created her trademark variety of heroine. The fact that Hassie can’t speak was a novelty in itself, her outlook towards life, that sheer joy deep inside of her that reaches out from the pages and practically engulfs you in its hold is a powerful one. Without Words is an apt title for a book that speaks to the reader on so many levels and that too with a heroine who is unable to use her voice to communicate. I loved Hassie for everything she stood for. Her love for Bret hadn’t happened overnight, neither had she thrown herself at him just because she was dependent on her. Their love had been a slow and a fiery one, one that consumes you and leaves you with that wholesome glow of having been loved and loved well.

Ellen explores with her stories the hardship that life was during those times. The imminent threat of starvation, the price women had to pay to make a livelihood for themselves and the harsh reality of women without a man by their side, the rough and at times unforgiving land that could make or break a person; all that is vividly brought to life in every single novel that I have read from her. I’m so glad that I happened across the release of this one and Ellen, you’ve made my whole month by this beautiful story, which if you are a lover of romance novels definitely ought not miss!

The problem with finding a book that moves you enough to render you unable to do anything afterwards is the fact that you never want the story to end, you want the pages to go on, the magic to continue, the feelings that courses through you to never cease. And once you turn that last page, you feel like mourning, you feel like no other book would ever have that impact on you ever again and mostly it turns out to be true, because it is so rare these days to find new books that has everything going for them. So I treasure this diamond in the rough that shines vividly through and hope that someday soon I find yet again the magic that I discovered while reading Without Words, that undeniable magic that makes being a romance reader worthwhile.

Final Verdict: Without Words is a beautifully crafted masterpiece that touched every single piece of my soul. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve done this too often to count, and I’ll be back before you know it, but you need to be ready to move out fast then.”
Her hand rested on his cheek, fingers soft by his temple, palm warm even through the growth of several days’ beard. Her body pressed close. She hugged him and was gone.
The cool wind blew in vain as he rode toward the town. The memory of her touch warmed him every step of the way.

She anticipated the kiss, expected hard pressure on her mouth and an invading tongue. Instead his lips brushed hers as lightly as butterfly wings before settling more firmly. Her arms tightened. So did his.
Her body molded to his, chest to chest, belly to belly. Her quickened breath matched the rhythm of his. His mouth caressed hers, played against hers. His teeth tugged gently on her bottom lip, and she opened for him, not invaded at all but joined. His tongue teased until she tried to imitate. From the sound he made deep in his throat, she succeeded.

The mattress moved under his weight. His lips feathered across hers. Her breath caught. A small moan escaped, and she tried to stifle it.
“Don’t,” he whispered against her lips, “Don’t keep anything inside. If you feel like talking that Greek at me, do it.”
She laughed, felt him inhale her laughter.
“You have the most beautiful laugh. It runs up and down my spine, shivers over my skin, and makes me want to grab hold of you like a mad man. You have no idea….” His mouth closed over hers again, his tongue tracing her upper lip, lower, along the seam.

The fever rose again, and soft sounds of desire escaped with each breath. She pulled at his shoulders again to bring him over her, and this time he gave what she wanted, settled between her thighs, slid into her hot, wet core, stretching her past what she had known. Her muscles spasmed, and he groaned.
She did it again, deliberately this time.
“Hassie.” Her plain name sounded like it belonged to someone else, someone beautiful and desirable and loved.

His heat enveloped her or maybe only merged with hers until the room lost its chill. Sweat prickled along her spine, and the tiny knot of reservation inside her dissolved in the flood of pleasure. She moaned softly, her teeth in her lower lip. Mine, she thought. Her hands fisted in his hair. Mine.

“Is that how you think of it?” she signed.
“I was being poetic, but yes, it got harder every year. I’m glad to be done with it. My only regret is I’ll never again see the look of wonder on your face when you see something like the Missouri River for the first time.”
“There will be other things to wonder at.”
“Without mountains and rivers what will there be?”
She fought the temptation to tell him of the greatest thing they would wonder over.
“There will be Christmas trees.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: Lions And Lace by Meagan McKinney

Format: E-booklionsandlace
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Van Alen Sisters, #1
Publisher: Island Books
Hero: Trevor Byrne Sheridan
Heroine: Alice Diana Van Alen
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1992
Started On: October 5, 2014
Finished On: October 12, 2014

My search for romances that feature ruthless heroes is an endless one. A time consuming one at that too. Some might call these heroes the uber alpha heroes. Or some just call them anti-heroes; you love them and hate them in equal doses. And some call them gamma heroes too because they go beyond the boundaries that define who an alpha hero is.

Authors of today who write such heroes have become far and few in between. Anne Stuart is my go to author for such heroes. Sandra Brown and Linda Howard are authors who have pushed that boundary time and yet again in some of their novels. For  the most part, these type of heroes aren’t well received by almost half of the romance reading population today. With the change of times, with the feminist movement rising above, readers no longer like the heroes who are tad on the wild side, those who don’t conform to their definition of what a hero should constitute of and if you ask me, its such a damn shame.

So a whole lot of boredom and a whole lot of internet searches later, I came across a website that had a list of books that features ruthless heroes. Now mind you, some readers define a hero as ruthless a tad differently to how I tend to define them. Luckily, this reader tended to veer towards my tastes and alas, I found myself with a couple of books I haven’t already read, that feature the heroes of the variety that I deem as ruthless but those with just that hint of redeemable quality that makes me fall like a ton of bricks for them every single time.

Lions and Lace features such a hero. Trevor Byrne Sheridan, the Wall Street wonder who rose to the top with basically nothing to his name, is Irish, and persona non grata where society is concerned. A chip on his shoulder a mountain wide, Trevor remembers the slights, the mockery and the laughter behind his back though he is equally revered by the men for the power and wealth he amasses day in and day out. The tipping point comes when society refuses to turn up at his younger sister Mara’s debut. People say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, well let me tell you, they haven’t had their dose of Trevor just yet.

Alice Diana Van Alen lives under the thumb of her uncle, her finances tied up under his name after the tragic death of her parents. Alice holds the secret of her younger sister close to her heart, a secret she is determined to carry to her grave. Alice lands under Trevor’s radar as one from the society who slighted his sister. His vengeance on her is swift, the revenge he takes on her forcing her hand into marrying him one that should have brought satisfaction to his heart. However, Trevor becomes a victim to his own plan, falling for a woman of the society, something he scorns with his very being.

Lions and Lace is a novel that provides a ton of angst. Trevor is ruthless in his revenge and seemingly doesn’t care much about the pain he causes along the way. I think the fact that the author didn’t provide much in the story from Trevor’s point of view seemed to double the angst factor which I absolutely loved. Instead, the reader has to look for clues of his torment from his actions, the way his facial expressions tended to change and of course the volatile desire that courses through Trevor whenever his wife comes into the picture. He hates the very thing that his wife represents, his bitterness about his past refusing to let him move beyond that and see his wife for who she really is, and yet he can’t help but want to possess her for himself in every single way.

Alice turned out to be a heroine who got on my nerves in the first half of the story and later on redeemed herself through her actions. From the firm grip Alice seemed to have on her emotions and what she wanted for her life, I thought that Alice would prove to be a worthy opponent where Trevor was concerned. But every time Trevor said something cruel, all Alice could seem to do was wring her hands in despair and run off crying. I wanted her to buck up and deal, to make Trevor realize the error of his ways and practically storm through his heart leaving nothing to chance. And eventually, Alice does get there and that is where I decided to forgive her and consider her worthy of the fall that Trevor would take from his pedestal.

There was a thread of a secondary romance inserted in the story, in the middle of nowhere I would have to say, and I didn’t overly care much for it. I wanted Trevor and Alice’s relationship to be the core aspect of the story. Trevor’s control was one I wanted to be shattered so badly that when it did come, it did deliver on the fronts that I wanted it to. And ladies, prepare yourselves for one of the best declarations of love by a hero of this type; it did make tears spring to my eyes and that rarely happens.

If you like your heroes ruthless and I mean really ruthless, Lions and Lace is a story worth digging into. I would recommend it if you can get past the first couple of chapters where the heroine could get on your nerves, but in the end gives in beautifully.

Final Verdict: Trevor Byrne Sheridan; slow down my galloping heart.

Favorite Quotes

In the years to come she would always remember her first sight of Trevor Byrne Sheridan. He stood in silhouette. She was not privy to the details of his face, but he left a deep and lasting impression on her. He held a walking stick, an unusual accoutrement for such a tall, muscular form. His straight, formal figure was pleasing, yet his stance left her feeling as if a frigid wind had just passed through her heart. He crossed his arms and tipped his head back to look down at her as she almost knelt on the wet marble stairway, and in the shadows he looked every bit as cold, dark, and forbidding as the night that mercilessly pelted her with rain. And she knew then, with a truth that pierced her very soul, that the devil before her now was sure to be worse than the one who had just left her behind.

“I am human,” she whispered. “If you just looked close enough.”
“I want to.” His breath feathered against her forehead. “I swear I want to.”
His mouth found hers in the moment she realized she’d yet to let go of his arm. He kissed her, offering damnation and salvation in one eloquent motion. She wanted to pull back, but something stronger—his arm, she thought— pushed her farther into his embrace until she was wrapped in his warmth and strength.

He lifted his head, and his mouth again captured hers, creating more heat between her thighs. The pleasure he gave her was like a band of rubber being pulled until it snapped and she fell, twisting in the air until he caught her, his hand beneath her hips to hold her closer, to make her pleasure complete.
“Trevor,” she moaned, chanting his name in surrender.
It drove him over the edge. He seized her and bit out the word, “Jeysus,” then fell against her, sated.

His tongue, hot and strong, thrust again and again into her needful mouth, a wild accompaniment to the thrum of the shower. Demandingly, he cupped her breast, his palm brushing the steam droplets that clung to her nipples like diamonds. He flicked open the buttons to his trousers.
She was hardly aware of what he did next. Her only sensation seemed to be his mouth on hers and the overriding instinct that he wanted her, ferociously.

She shook her head and said again to that unyielding back, “Do you love me?”
“I’ve never been in love before. I don’t know what being in love is like.”
“I’m asking you. Do you love me?” Her voice caught with unshed tears.
He paused as if thinking through each word. “I’ve nothing to compare it to, but if love is obsession, if love can be so powerful it overtakes a man’s reason and his will, if love is the feeling that one would rather die than live only to grieve its loss—” He turned, and she could see the desolation on his face. In one sweet rough whisper, he said, “Then yes, I love you, Alana. I’m doomed to love you. I’ll always love you.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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ARC Review: Should’ve Been Home Yesterday by Inez Kelley

Format: E-bookshouldvebeenhomeyesterday
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Country Roads, #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Webb Hawkins
Heroine: Molly McCreedy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 21, 2014
Started On: July 18, 2014
Finished On: July 30, 2014

Ever since I started reading Inez Kelley’s Country Roads series, I’ve been hankering to read the story of the enigmatic Webb Hawkins, CEO of Hawkins Hardwood. The hint of a past entanglement between himself and Molly McCreedy, the owner of McCreedy’s Diner suggested a story that could prove to be explosive at best. And though Should’ve Been Home Yesterday didn’t live up to all my expectations, it nevertheless managed to give me a story well worth my while.

Should’ve Been Home Yesterday starts twenty years prior to the present day and highlights the relationship that exists between Webb and Molly. Webb and Molly’s older brother Clay had been inseparable during their childhood. Webb being ten years older than Molly never sees her as anything more than a sister even though Molly considers Webb hers even at the tender age of ten. People might call her love for Webb a childhood crush or a fascination that would fade away as she would grow older, but for Molly, in the depths of her heart she had known even then that there would none but Webb for her.

Present day finds Molly pregnant with Webb’s baby and Webb wanting to do the right thing by marrying her. Webb might want to keep his distance where Molly is concerned, and he had been doing a swell job out of it until imbibing in too much alcohol had shattered his ironclad control and the inevitable had happened. Though Molly has her misgivings, she is the optimistic sort who would like to believe that Webb feels something more for her than he lets on and that it could grow into something wonderful and beautiful, like the love that blooms in her heart for him. And that is why, Molly finds herself entering into a marriage with the love of her life by shoving aside any apprehension about the union that she might have.

Webb has always found his solace in his work. Building up his business had taken his mind off of the terrible mistake he had made in his past, thinking that he could have a chance with Molly when she’d suddenly surprised him by growing up. The Molly that he is married to stirs up feelings that he would like to turn his back on. With the Eco-terrorist who had managed to make his life a living hell the past couple of months still continuing to haunt and taunt him, Webb believes that his attention needs to be focused on where it is important; on his business and the people who work for him rather than his newly wedded wife who moves him to distraction.

Molly understands only a trifle bit too late that Webb had never intended for their marriage to get real. But she certainly doesn’t make it easy on Webb to just ignore her and be, but rather Molly’s understanding of who Webb is thaws that control of his that Webb clings onto and makes him realize that with Molly, there is no detachment to be had when it comes to him. And what Webb doesn’t realize is that unbeknown to him or Molly, the danger that surrounds him has been closing in on the most important person in his life and that he might lose her before he can even declare just how much of a fool he has been trying to keep her at arms length all this while.

Should’ve Been Home Yesterday follows the pattern that has been set for the previous books in this series. Every chapter begins with an interesting fact or tidbit that is related to the setting and the story which I have absolutely enjoyed in each of these books. Molly and Webb’s relationship certainly had its moments. Webb’s deep reluctance to open himself up emotionally lent the story the right amount of angst, and of course the groveling that he had to do to win back the affections of his wife later on served to be the healing balm that their relationship required. Inez makes the story doubly interesting by working in tidbits of Molly and Webb’s shared past into the unfolding events which gives the reader just enough of a background to connect with Molly and Webb.

As I finished reading Should’ve Been Home Yesterday, I couldn’t help but want to read the stories of Finn, Bob and Zane Miner. They all show promise as characters well worth being given their own stories and I would definitely love it if at all there is a possibility of that happening. Dear Inez, please take that as a hint and write them happily ever afters? The one thing that continues to draw me when it comes to Inez is that her stories always provide beautiful quotes for my collection and Should’ve Been Home Yesterday was no exception to the rule. And though my favorite in the series by far has been Jonah and Zury’s story, Should’ve Been Home Yesterday is full of the good bits that makes it a great read! Recommended.

Final Verdict: Inez’s Country Roads series continues to deliver beautiful stories, well worth your reading time!

Favorite Quotes

“Molly.”
The hesitation in his tone speared through her and she spun, rising to her knees to face him. His hands stayed still, sliding in the soap film around her waist. Bared to the navel, with nothing hiding the rest of her but a thin layer of floating bubbles, she locked eyes with his. One wide black pupil nearly obliterated the brown iris, his real eye reacting to the desire he held back. His glass eye stared at her with sightless fixation. Beneath the collar of his shirt, thick cords stood out in his neck.

Molly reached up and circled his neck, stepping closer than she had when they danced, and brushed her lips against the corner of his mouth. The touch of lips on lips was like a summer lightning strike, all-powerful and shocking. His hands rose, settling on her hips, the sun-warmed skin smooth beneath his calluses. He forgot everything except Molly. He dipped his head and kissed her.
She melted. There was no other word he could think of.

Molly bucked as the crest of his cock’s head grazed her clit. “Holy shit.”
She added a wiggle to her swing and his control slipped. Holy shit was right. He’d never been so turned on and he wasn’t even inside her. Tongues swirling, lips sealed, their hips moved together. Friction had never been so intense, so hot and drugging. The muscles in groin grew tight as climax approached but he gripped her ass and rocked harder, driving against her clit faster, needing her to go with him. She whimpered as a quake bloomed. She drove down hard, grinding on his cock as she exploded.

A low groan rumbled in his chest, taking their kiss to high heat. He delved his tongue deep, sweeping along her lips, then plunging inside. He tasted of mint, a cool underlying accent to the intensity of his kiss. Beneath her knees, the plush couch was soft but her focus was on the firm thighs between hers. His hands slid up her legs, hooked around her ass and tugged her forward.
It was every Christmas, every birthday, every Valentine’s gift wrapped into one when he wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. This was her dream, Webb sober, loving her openly, their lives entwined.

Molly had no breath to answer. She was trapped in a cycle of pleasure, of taking him over and over, wanting him deeper and never wanting to let him go. The rhythmic squeeze she kept around him drove her closer but she needed him to peak with her, to trip over that edge. She didn’t want to go alone. Together. She needed them to go together.
Yanking one hand from the cushion, she raked his back with her nails. Webb arched hard, driving so deep into her she shattered with a cry.

Her fingers tightened, pulling his hair but he ignored the pain, needing to taste her climax. Lightly, quickly, he fluttered his tongue across the hood then curled low and speared the pulse beneath. Easing his hands under her ass, he kneaded each globe and urged her knees further apart with his shoulders. Spread beneath his mouth, Molly was his for the taking and he took, without mercy, hungrily, and without relenting. He wished he could claim her heart as easily, was worthy enough to claim it.

Her hand turned, skating up his chest, delving through his chest hair. Every instinct he had begged him to drive home hard, to take her fast and deep, but he swallowed them. He needed this, this slow connection, this reconnection. He wanted to draw it out, gorge on it, grow drunk on nothing more than his wife. Teeth gritted for restraint, he pressed into her slow and steady until he could go no farther. A twitch bloomed along his cheek as he soaked in her velvet grip.
Molly’s fingers bit into his chest as her mouth fell open with a low exhale. “Oh God, I love how you feel inside me.”

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

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ARC Review: Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom by Vanessa Kelly

Format: E-bookconfessionsofaroyalbridegroom
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Renegade Royals, #2
Publisher: Zebra Books
Hero: Griffin Steele
Heroine: Justine Brightmore
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: July 2, 2014
Finished On: July 3, 2014

If you have read the first book in The Renegade Royals series, you’d have met the utterly mysterious and alluring Griffin Steele whom your heart would have clamored for even then. Good thing that Vanessa Kelly delivered on his story with the second installment in the series because Griffin is a hero definitely worth drooling over and then some.

Griffin Steele is a man who made a name for himself practically out of nothing. The bastard son of a Prince who till today remains unacknowledged by his father, Griffin bears the emotional scars of being abandoned as a child, though he would rather carve out a piece of himself than admit to the fact. Griffin is in the midst of tying up all loose ends that ties him down, planning on leaving England in search of what his soul craves, a sense of completion that he desires but is unable to voice out for. And then turns up a baby accompanied with a mysterious note and a signet ring on his doorstep which throws all his best laid plans awry, leaving Griffin scrambling to make sense of the total chaos that his life becomes from that point onwards.

24 year old Justine Brightmore craves peace and solitude above everything else. Having had enough dramatics in her life to last her a lifetime. The only thing that propels Justine to leave the comfort of the life that she has carved out for herself is being summoned by her godfather Dominic Hunter. Dominic thrusts Justine into the house of one of the most notorious men in London, a man equally loathed and revered amongst society though anyone would hardly go on to acknowledge the likes of someone like Griffin.

From the moment Griffin and Justine lay eyes on each other, it is dislike at first sight with a healthy dose of awareness for everything to do with each other. Griffin though he loathes the position of playing guardian to Justine is helpless in his need to know everything about the woman who drives him crazy with her stubbornness and attitude. Justine might want to bury her head in the sand where Griffin and the feelings that he rouses in her are concerned, but even her stoic determination is no match for the gravitational pull that Griffin has on her senses.

When a turn of events puts Justine’s honor in a precarious position, there is nothing left to do but tie the knot, something Justine views akin to a noose around her neck. However, as both Justine and Griffin learn more about one another, Griffin providing details of his past with sheer reluctance, both of them find that where their emotions are concerned, the aloofness that each had strived for at the begining is no longer even a possibility.

Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom started on a high note with the delicious Griffin taking your very breathe away. The fascinating tattoo that coils over the left side of his upper torso alone was enough to increase the hyperventilating factor when it came to him. His sardonic wit was another reason to go crazy over his character, not to mention the deep well of tenderness that lives inside of a man rumored to be one of the most ruthless and notorious in the city.

Though I liked Justine just fine, I couldn’t find it in myself to fall for her the way I did with Griffin. For one thing, I found her focus on the mysterious baby to be a tad too much, or perhaps the focus of the story as it progressed was on the baby more than the burgeoning relationship between Griffin and Justine. Perhaps it was the balance between the mystery, romance and sensuality that I craved which somehow seemed to be at odds with one another which brought down the rating where I was concerned.

However, that doesn’t mean that this story isn’t an enjoyable one, far from that. Even with that misgiving inside of me, the fact that I was drawn into the tale and enjoyed the back and forth between Griffin and Justine and of course their happily ever after tells the tale of romance that was enjoyed from start to finish. Worthy of a mention are the two scenes of passion in the story, highly sensual that took my breathe away.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of alluring heroes who seduce you rather effortlessly from page 1!

Final Verdict: Sizzle, mystery and a bit of mayhem gives an enjoyable read!

Favorite Quotes

“You couldn’t possibly want to marry me,” she whispered, even as something overpowering, something more real than anything she had ever felt in her life, stretched up and loomed over her, blotting out the light from the lamps and the roaring fire in the grate. She could see nothing but Griffin.
To her astonishment, a gleam of amusement sparked to life in his gaze.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said in a musing tone. “Any woman who, by her own admission, is capable of shooting a man in cold blood is likely the perfect wife for me.”

Never had she felt such delicious warmth, or imagined that a kiss could cast such a transfixing spell over her body. Though her mind reeled in astonishment, she wanted to stand there forever, greedily drawing in his heat and strength. Drawing in the heady taste of him—something wild and masculine and utterly tempting.

“Why do you even care?” she whispered.
His eyes half closed and he leaned toward her, as if trying to capture some elusive scent. “For some reason I’m unable to fathom, I want to know everything about you. I want to know what your favorite toy was when you were a child, what was your most treasured possession. Who comforted you when you cried, or if you ever climbed a tree. I want to know what you like to eat and what makes you curl up your sweet little nose. I want to know when you first wished to kiss a boy. I especially want to know about that,” he finished with a wicked purr.

Unable to stop herself, Justine moved against him, spreading her legs even wider and rubbing against his thick erection. Sensation rose up through her in a heady spiral, every rational thought in her head blasted away by the sensual storm he evoked in her as he suckled and played with her breasts. They felt full and aching. Indeed, her entire body ached with a need only he could fulfill.

He groaned and dipped his head, his long hair coming loose from its leather tie, his chest rising and falling with quick breaths. She pulled the strip of material from his hair and flung it away, then tunneled her fingers through his thick, long locks, smoothing them down over his back. Justine felt like she was drowning in a world of sensation and emotion, and she willingly went under.
“My God, Justine,” he gasped before planting a searing kiss on her mouth.

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

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