Review: In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-booktimeserved
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Time Served, #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Elijah Grant
Heroine: Caitlin Dufresne
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 7, 2015
Started On: May 17, 2016
Finished On: May 19, 2016

One cannot read the first book in the Time Served series and not be intrigued by the “villain” in the novel, aka Caitlin Dufresne, especially when Julianna decided to write Caitlin’s book as the second installment in the series. In Her Defense is an appropriate title for the book, showing Caitlin from various different perspectives, bringing to the readers a side of her we would never have seen or even being bothered to look for otherwise.

Caitlin is riding the high from the recent big win of the famous Fowler case and is focused on reaching the top, where her focus has always been since a very young age. While people see her as the lawyer that would screw over everyone else to get to the top, or even sleep her way to the top, Caitlin is in fact more than that. While her affair with one of the partners of the firm and a married one at that, has left colleagues with a less than stellar impression of her, not to mention the fact that Caitlin’s ambitions does not make her a team player, helps foster and maintain the less than favorable view of her around the firm.

However, Caitlin’s rapid ascent to the top is mired by one fatal mistake – too much work, too little rest and the high of too many Red Bulls consumed, and Caitlin finds herself forced to take leave from work, the very last thing that she wants or needs. Or so she thinks. Which is how Caitlin’s path crosses with that of Elijah Grant, the head of IT at the firm.

Though the first encounter between Caitlin and Eli leaves a lot to be desired, starting from the second coincidental meeting between them, Eli shows Caitlin that when it comes to that particular type of men she usually goes for, with Eli being the antithesis of all those requirements; even then, Eli manages to get her blood humming, her senses singing, with just a well worded command issued from his mouth.

Thus Eli and Caitlin find themselves embarking on an affair that scorches through the sheets, the stairways, the walls and any position they can find. Even though Caitlin’s prior relationships have all being about the physical aspects of more than the emotional, with Eli she finds that he is way too intuitive and in tune with her feelings to be brushed off that easily. However, for both of them to have anything meaningful and long-term between them, both Eli and Caitlin will have to let go of the shackles of their past and own up to what they are to each other, even if it means leaving themselves open and vulnerable to each other in a way they never have before.

Though told only from Caitlin’s perspective in the first person, the one thing that resonated deep within me as I read along was just how hard and fast I fell in love Eli. Before I was even halfway through the story, I realized and accepted the truth that Eli was one hell of a hero and that I would be hard pressed to find anyone else who would live up to the impression he had made on me. The fact that Julianna crafted Eli in a way that she didn’t have to continually talk about his looks, how sexy he was; basically how understated it all was, and yet every time he took the reins in the affair that was ongoing, I was ready to lie down and surrender myself to him spoke volumes. I swear that every time he said “now!” in an authoritative way, I just about lost it. And I thought Dean Barclay was the only man who could wow me in that sense. Dean was intense in a lot of ways, you can’t read his book and not be enslaved. Eli is a whole different sort of intense – you will just have to read it to find it because it is at times a bit hard to describe just how into his character I was from the minute he turned up in the story. 

If ever there is a master at storytelling, it is an author who can make hatred or intense dislike turn into love. Caitlin is a character who invokes a lot of intense feelings of the negative kind in book 1 of the series. All that however changes, the minute you pick this up to read. Trust me on that. At first I was also a bit hesitant to read Caitlin’s story because I guess I truly didn’t understand or believe in the wealth of magic that Julianna holds in her fingertips when it comes to romance writing.

What drew me in when it came to to Caitlin’s character was how Julianna laid out the details of her life; where she comes from, her familial background; all of it putting together the picture of a highly ambitious woman who is not afraid to work hard and play it dirty to get to the very top. Because that’s where she has always told herself that she would be, at the top, even though it might be the loneliest place to be, but nevertheless the top it is for her.

The forced vacation could not have come at a more opportune time however, even though Caitlin might believe otherwise at first. Work had been her life and life had been all about work and nothing else when she had been forced to do so. And in being forced into taking one, she finds it in her to slow down, learn to work as a team member, even if it kills her to do so. Because that’s what Caitlin does. She works at something until she is good at it, until she is the best. 

The changes that Eli brings to her life are quite significant. But that does not mean that she loses the drive that makes her essentially who she is. She is not afraid to follow her dreams, and hold her head up high in doing so, even when her heart is broken into pieces. I was glad that Julianna didn’t try to shove Caitlin’s character down the acceptable feminist mold where one sees everything as a challenge, where life is a constant battlefield where the heroine refuses to change, remains so stubborn because that is what the mold dictates.Some authors try so hard to project this image of the ultimate free spirit who itches at the very thought of settling down, who breaks out into hives at even the mere whisper of a long term relationship. Women like that for me are quite trying and tiring at times. Which is why I am so very glad that Caitlin turned out to be different. Yes, she is independent, feisty, able to hold her own and charter her own course towards the unknown. But she is also vulnerable, able to feel deeply and falls like a ton of bricks for the man who finally sees her. The real her. Even though they both make mistakes, they do come out as the winning team at the end. The angst was no less heavy in this book than the previous one in the series. But it was just as good, and the ending, just as warmth inducing. 

The sex was off the charts hot. There was a Skype session in the story that would never have me look at the camera on a laptop the same way, ever again. Eli’s confidence and playful nature in bed and out of it makes him such a turn on. I soaked up and reveled in every single aspect of Eli there was to indulge in. Goes to show that heroes don’t have to have a degree in dirty talking and call every heroine they come across every term of endearment there is and constantly use phrases like “pussy” or “cunt” in order to be sexy, sound sexy and do it dirty!

The only downside to the story would have to be the fact that the story is told entirely from Caitlin’s point of view. I would have loved to see Eli’s view of things, even be it towards the end. Nevertheless, Julianna has done a stellar job in creating both Caitlin and Eli and giving readers a story they would not forget for a long while.

Final Verdict: Julianna continues to woo, wow and amaze me with her sexy and feel good romances. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“Want to know what I thought about you?”
“You told me already, remember? Coldhearted bitch? She-devil? And I’m sure you saw my picture on the website.”
A smirk. “I saw your picture on the cover of Chicago’s Finest.”
I seldom blush, but I do now. I’d had copies delivered to everyone on staff. “Whatever.”
“And when I saw you ripping into Todd I thought, Holy shit. She’s the hottest, meanest woman I’ve ever seen.”
I snicker, torn between feeling chastised and flattered. “Well,” I offer, “at least I didn’t fuck your friend.”

I can’t look away from the intensity of his stare. I’m not a wallflower; I’ve been with plenty of men. Nowhere near the hundreds my reputation suggests, but plenty. And Eli’s nothing like the practiced, smooth men I’ve been with. The slightly older, more experienced, more predictable men. He’s not wearing a three-piece suit with a car and driver waiting out front; this isn’t a five-star restaurant with a thousand-dollar bottle of wine resting on the table. This is a man in khakis, in the corner booth of some ancient pub, sitting at a table littered with shot glasses and a melting banana split. I know better than to ask questions I don’t know the answer to, but even though I have no idea what Eli will say or do tonight, tomorrow, or next week, all I know is that right here, right now, I want him. And I like it.

I give a startled, slightly pained cry at the pressure, and Eli lowers his mouth to mine, providing a distraction as he slowly stretches me, stroking somewhere deep inside that makes my stomach muscles flutter. And then I forget all about the fingers and the ache as something builds and builds, though every time I get close to coming he stops what he’s doing and does something else. The darkness and the weight of him is like a cocoon, and everything is swirled into one big, pulsing ball of need. He traces the seam of my mouth with his tongue and bites my bottom lip until I open, then he pushes inside and kisses me, wet and dark and dirty, like few have ever dared.

“Best fuck of my life, Caitlin Dufresne,” he says, reaching down to open the back door.
The streetlights here are brighter, and the muted glow from nearby buildings illuminates everything. I study his face for hidden meaning, but though the words might be crude, there’s nothing but sincerity in his gaze. “Me, too,” I tell him.
“That so?”
I slide into the backseat and look up at him, pressing my index finger to my lips, the universal sign for “Don’t tell anyone.”

“What do you need?” he asks, trailing his tongue along my jaw.
“I need you to fuck me. Don’t hold back.”
“Why?”
“Wha—Why?”
“Yeah. Why?”
“I just do.”
He grunts and pushes up over me so he’s sitting back on his knees for leverage, my legs spread over his. He leans in and presses his hands to the mattress on either side of my waist and watches my face carefully as he shoves in deep and hard.
“Yes,” I breathe, as everything inside spasms around him. “Just like that.”

He stops laughing. “Caitlin. I appreciate having my dick sucked. I appreciate seeing your head in my lap. I appreciate feeling your hair in my fingers and your hands on my balls and hearing the little slurping sounds you make when you swallow me. I appreciated the fuck out of that blow job.”
Well. A little thrill skitters through me. Apparently Eli has no problem talking dirty at work.
“Then what’s the problem?”
“The problem is I don’t like things to be one-sided. I like symmetry. If I come, I want you to come.”

“Are you jerking yourself off?” I ask softly. I cross and recross my legs, but it does nothing to relieve the throbbing pressure between my thighs.
“No,” Eli replies. “That’s your job.” His voice is suddenly controlled, and it amps up my arousal a thousand notches. “Are you wearing a skirt?”
I finger the hem, the fabric soft and smooth. “Yes.”
“Good. Take off your panties and meet me in the stairwell in five minutes.”
My breath catches. “Eli, I can’t—”
His rough laugh stops me. “Caitlin. You can and you will.”
Then he hangs up.”

“You told someone—”
He fixes his pants, and comes forward to smooth a strand of wayward hair behind my ear. “I told him to stop anyone from getting within ten feet of the door,” he says.
“Did he ask why?”
“Of course he did.”
“What did you tell him?”
He presses a kiss to my temple. “I told him I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says softly. “Just that I didn’t want to stop.”

“Think you can come?” he asks, uttering the words right against my clit.
“Yes!”
“Aw. Good. Let me feel it.”
“I’m close.”
“Let me hear it.”
“Eli…”
“Let me taste it.”
And then I lose it.

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

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Requested ARC Review: Office Affair by Jess Dee

Format: E-bookOfficeAffair
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bandicoot Cave Anthology
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd
Hero: Ben Cowley
Heroine: Melissa Sparks
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: May 1, 2012
Started On: April 29, 2012
Finished On: May 2, 2012

Jess Dee is an author who continually surprises me with how good her books turn out to be. Jess’s books always delivers a scorching hot read, and I mean scorching HOT! And together with that she also delivers that unbeatable combination of well developed characters that totally call out to you and mixes it all up with enough emotion to really make the story worth your while. And let me assure you, Office Affair is no exception to that rule!

Office Affair tells the story of the no-nonsense, one hundred percent goal oriented Melissa Sparks who has lusted after her sexy as sin colleague Ben Cowley from afar for far too long. Ben is a changed man, a man who has had his heart destroyed. Ben doesn’t know what else to do but bury himself in his work and ignore the gaping hole in his heart that hasn’t seemed to heal. And then Melissa turns up at his doorstep, offering herself to him, a strictly no-strings attached sex fest which should have been a dream come true for a guy like Ben who likes his relationships short and without any complications. But then, neither Melissa nor Ben takes into account that strange feeling that takes a hold of you and gives you something worth to hold on to and that is exactly what happens to both of them as their affair burns hotter and brighter than the burning sun.

Office Affair revolves around a lot of sex scenes, all of them top notch and over the top hot that I couldn’t get enough of them. That is why I keep repeating like a broken record that Jess certainly knows what she is doing when she delivers readers with erotica that goes straight to your blood! Ben is such a sexy, sexy, sexy man! He turned my insides to mush with his possessive streak, turned me on far more than I can remember being turned on by a book and left me wanting more, which is exactly how I love my heroes. And Melissa turned out to be such an endearing heroine, whose inner vulnerabilities called out to me and made me yearn for her happily ever after as if it were my own.

Beneath all the searingly mind blowing sex scenes lies the story of two characters who are broken in their own ways, both of them finding that healing touch that makes their future one filled with promise and happiness. For those who are squeamish, there is a menage scene tossed into the story which proves to be a pivotal point in Ben and Melissa’s relationship. And as always Jess handled everything so well that even I, who stay away from menages loved what took place when Ben gave Melissa everything she would ever want and more during that one night of unbeatable passion.

If you are a fan of Jess Dee, I don’t think you would require any further urging on my part to read Office Affair. If not, give Office Affair a go. You would not regret it if you love your sex melt-your-panties-off-hot and the story with enough emotional punch to leave you with a huge smile on your face once the ultimate conclusion is reached. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

The next time she caught his cockhead between her pussy lips, he couldn’t hold back. He thrust once, hard, seating himself deep inside her body.
So good.
Fucking amazing.
Tight. Wet. Slippery.
Perfect. So fucking perfect.

The orgasm slammed through him, hauling the breath from his body. He could no more have prevented it than he could have pulled away from her. He came hard. So hard he couldn’t keep his eyes open. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think.
Couldn’t…
Oh, God. Oh, fuck. So good. So fucking good.

Gasping, searching for breath and inhaling only the heady scent of musk and sex, Ben realized one thing. He had just had the most powerful orgasm of his life—with his colleague.

“Ben!” She called his name, begged him.
“Right behind you, sweetness.”
And just like that a pair of hands wrapped around her hips, legs pressed close to hers, and something hard brushed the sensitized lips of her pussy.
Hard. God, so gloriously hard.
It didn’t vibrate. Not even a little bit, but with one clean thrust, that something hard filled her. Filled her, stretched her and delighted her like the toy would never have been able to.
Ben.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Samhain

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Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Format: E-bookattachments
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Hero: Lincoln
Heroine: Beth Fremont
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 9, 2011
Started On: December 10, 2011
Finished On: December 10, 2011

Even as I write my review for Attachments, I can’t stop sighing all over my laptop, remembering those moments that made this book such an easy one to read, one that I wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon. I still remember reading Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern and loving the book because it was different in the way it was presented and because packed into the book is a ton of emotion that just grabs you and holds onto you even long after you are done. And for me, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell turned out to be such a read, a fantastic one at that which I just loved to pieces.

If not for my friend Brie who tweeted about this book and its awesomeness, I would never even have known of its existence. And even though I grumbled a bit about the e-book being a bit too pricey, with such a high rating and recommendation from Brie I caved in and found myself reading, reading and reading some more until my iPad cried out from depleted battery levels. I couldn’t stop myself from reading, the characters and the way the story is presented working its charm and magic over me until I was holding my breathe waiting to see what would happen next.

28 year old Lincoln is an Internet Security Officer at The Courier. His job entails reading through employee e-mails, to find out whether they are using the Internet in the most productive manner. When Lincoln stumbles upon the e-mails exchanged between two friends and co-workers Jennifer Scribner-Snyder and Beth Fremont, Lincoln is drawn towards the warmth and the obvious camaraderie between them right from the start. Though Lincoln doesn’t like the fact that he acts as a spy over other workers and tells himself that he shouldn’t read their e-mail exchanges, he can’t help himself from developing a fascination for Beth even though he doesn’t know her from Eve.

Beth and Jennifer’s characters and their lives are portrayed through the e-mails exchanged between the two friends while Lincoln’s life is told as it happens with blasts from the past that serves to make him a character that is just that more endearing. Lincoln is a man who is trying to find where he fits. He is shy and an introvert, whose first and only girlfriend had dumped him 9 years ago. Though Lincoln knows he ought to do something to change his life, he continues to live with his mother, work at a job that he hates and stays on the sidelines afraid to let himself be known even when his feelings for Beth progresses from fascination to love. Lincoln’s character is just plain adorable, no two ways about it and he says the sweetest things, lines that just brought a huge smile to my face as I read along.

The friendship between Beth and Jennifer is such a heartwarming one. They support each other wholeheartedly, are there for one another when it counts and at times the e-mails between them are laugh-out-loud variety hilarious. I found myself bursting out into laughter several times, earning myself some weird looks and enquiries from my husband which I just shooed away because I was that engrossed in what was happening.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the novel was to see how Lincoln’s character “grew” throughout the story, taking those little steps that turns his life around. It is his innate kindness and the way he loves oh so wholeheartedly that just makes him one fantastic hero. And seeing how Jennifer, Beth and Lincoln’s characters all come together, the “cute guy” that Beth can’t help but talk about in her e-mails turning out to be none other than Lincoln that served as the icing on the cake. The ending when it came was a sweet one, one that I can’t help but sigh over even now.

Some might label this as chic-lit rather than romance, but this is romance genre at its best, heartwarming characters, compelling storytelling and a happily ever after that just felt so real and believable in so many ways. Recommended for everyone and anyone who loves romances; this one’s for you!

Favorite Quotes

(Sam) ‘Didn’t you ever wonder what it would be like to be with someone else?’ And you’ll say …Lincoln, what will you say?”
“I’ll say, ‘No.’”
“That’s not very romantic.”
“It’s none of their business.”
“Tell me, then,” she said, unbuckling her seat belt and putting her arm around his waist. “Tell me now, won’t you ever wonder what it would have been like to be with someone else?”
“First, buckle up,” he said. She did. “I won’t wonder that because I already know what it would be like to be with someone else.”
“How do you know?” she said.
“I just do.”
“Then, what would it be like?”
“It would be less,” he said.

“No,” he said. “No, I’ll never wonder what it would be like to have sex with someone else for the same reason I don’t want to kiss anyone else. You’re the only girl I’ve ever touched. And I feel like it was supposed to be that way. I touch you and my whole body …rings. Like a bell or something. And I could touch other girls, and maybe there would be something, you know, like maybe there would be noise. But not like with you. And what would happen if I kept touching and touching them, and then …and then, I tried to touch you again? I might not be able to hear us anymore. I might not ring true.”

“Why are they doing that?” his mother said, frowning at her grandsons. The boys were sorting the casserole into piles on their plates.
“Doing what?” Eve asked.
“Why aren’t they eating their food?”
“They don’t like it when things touch,” Eve said.
“What things?” his mother asked.
“Their food. They don’t like it when different foods touch or mix together.”
“How do you serve dinner, in ice cube trays?”

“I’d know you in the dark,” he said. “From a thousand miles away. There’s nothing you could become that I haven’t already fallen in love with.”

“Lincoln?” she (Beth) asked.
“Yes?”
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
He made himself look at her face, at her wide-open eyes and earnest forehead. At her unbearably sweet mouth.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Do you believe in love before that?”
Her breath caught in her throat like a sore hiccup.
And then it was too much to keep trying not to kiss her.

“I pictured a girl who made every moment, everything she touched, and everyone around her feel lighter and sweeter.
“I pictured you,” he said. “I just didn’t know what you looked like.
“And then, when I did know what you looked like, you looked like the girl who was all those things. You looked like the girl I loved.”

Requested Review: Provoke Me by Cari Quinn

Format: E-bookprovokeme
Read with: Kindle for I-Pad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Unveiled, Book 2
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Hero: Spencer Galvin
Heroine: Kelly Crossman
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: June 22, 2011
Started On: June 24, 2011
Finished On: June 24, 2011

Provoke Me is a title that lives up to its name. It draws the reader in, refuses to let go and provokes all sorts of emotions from the reader and I absolutely loved it. Cari Quinn can certainly do no wrong with her sensational novels, and yes I say sensational because she pens a novel that is nothing less than perfection and Provoke Me is no exception to this rule.

The second book in the series Unveiled, Provoke Me tells the story of how the utterly controlled and focused Spencer Galvin finds in Kelly Crossman a reason worth letting go of his hard earned control in more ways than one. 35 year old Spencer has already learnt the bitter lesson of mixing business with pleasure and he is determined that he would stay true to his vow no matter how much Kelly tempts him to do otherwise.

A decade younger than Spencer, Kelly is caught between a rock and a hard place when even after 3 years of working for Spencer hasn’t dimmed her desire for him even one teensy bit. If anything, she yearns for him more than ever, and if not for the fact that she loves her job at The Book Nook, she would have given in and jumped his bones a long time back.

When Kelly encounters her hands-off boss at Kink the sex club, all bets are off as Kelly finally manages to get under Spencer’s skin to make him let go even for the few minutes during which he gives her the best orgasm of her life up against the club’s wall before all the shields are back again in full force.

Thinking that a few encounters with the whiskey-eyed Kelly with her killer legs would cure him of his fascination for her was Spencer’s first mistake. All his attempts to push her away with the moments in between that show glimpses into a core of sensitivity that few get to see, Kelly knows that for her its Spencer and him alone until Spencer does the one thing that is guaranteed to drive away the best thing that has ever happened to him in his life.

Filled to the brim with erotic sensual material that just about emptied out my salivary glands, one would think that Provoke Me is all about good sex with nothing much else going for it. But that’s where you are wrong as Provoke Me tells the story of two very real individuals who find themselves in the grip of red-hot passion that undermines everything else, giving them both a reason to hide from what it is that they really feel for the other.

Provoke Me definitely tested my boundaries as an erotic romance reader and though I wouldn’t say that I am a convert into the overly erotic material, Cari’s style in introducing me to the world of kinkier behaviour certainly sat well with me.

The one thing that I loved most about Provoke Me is Spencer whose hard and driven nature along with his superb control and focus made him a total hottie and earns him a very well earned notch in my favorite alpha male list. And I loved Kelly because her quirky, strong and yet vulnerable nature was what Spencer needed though he takes a long time to reach that conclusion himself.

Recommended for fans of Cari Quinn and for those who love emotion and depth in their erotica. The fact that I read this in one sitting whilst sick and in need of much required rest should tell its own story.

Favorite Quotes

Their tongues coiled in a sensual glide and their bodies lined up perfectly, her breasts mashing against his chest, the vee of her thighs cradling his growing erection. She kissed him the way he felt—as if she were drowning and his air fed the last breath she’d take.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Ellora’s Cave

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Review: Take a Chance on Me by Kate Davies

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Tom Cameron
Heroine: Jessica Martin
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 22, 2011
Started On: February 26, 2011
Finished On: February 26, 2011

Take a Chance on Me is my first Kate Davies and it definitely is not going to be my last if Ms. Davies can spin a tale such as this one which contains all the right elements that makes a romance so worth your time. The setting in this romance is a unique one. I say this because I don’t remember reading an adult romance that takes place in a high school, unless it involves high school students. This title took me into unchartered waters and delivered a very well written romance that would stay with me for a long time even afterwards.

Tom Cameron is the head of security at Summit High and prefers his lone wolf lifestyle which serves him pretty well. Four years back Tom had served as a cop until a domestic violence call which had come in a few hours before the end of his shift one night had gone horribly wrong spiraling Tom’s life out of control. Combined with media frenzy and the blame game which had pointed fingers towards him, Tom had lost his job and his marriage had dissolved soon afterwards leaving behind a man who guards his heart in steel barricaded armor and keeps his emotions close to him.

Jessica Martin is the newest recruit at Summit High brought in as a substitute teacher for the remainder of the year. Being a teacher has always been what Jessica has wanted and dreamed about regardless of how much her parents had tried to sway her mind. And irrespective of the fact that her parents are extremely disappointed with Jessica for choosing to do what she loves, Jessica is thrilled at the prospect of being hired even as a substitute teacher and has high hopes and every intention of becoming a full time teacher at Summit High if she plays her cards right. Klutzy and a bit messy in an adorable way, Jessica is a the exact opposite of Tom who keeps his life ordered and without any sort of clutter in it, which is just the way he likes it – or so he thinks.

When Ms. Klutzy and adorable meets Mr. Remoteness himself, sparks fly even from the first encounter itself. Tom who has never had a problem before in brushing aside any of the attempts by fellow staff members to befriend him finds himself tempted something fierce when he locks eyes with the beautiful and green eyed Jessica who makes his heart tumble inside out. Both Jessica and Tom’s intentions to avoid each other at all costs go awry in the most delicious possible ways when both of them find themselves in each other’s arms, heating things up to unbearable levels – something I just loved about this story. It takes a while but these two work through the hurdles and problems in their path to find a love that is long lasting, leaving me grinning from ear to ear at the end.

One of the highlights of the story was both Jessica and Tom. I’m always very much intrigued with heroes who want to isolate themselves and go out of their way to create their lone wolf lifestyle. And when their match turns out to be the exact opposite of themselves, in this case the adorable Jessica who has so much heart and has the ability to draw the man trapped inside of Tom to come out and play, needless to say I love these kinds of stories. And Ms. Davies has done a fine job in creating both their characters and giving them both just the right touch to make me fall in love with both of them. And lord, Tom is a man who certainly knows the art of kissing making my toes curl inward each and every time he decides to kiss his woman into a helpless puddle.

All in all a very satisfying read which has definitely made me curious to seek out the books in her back list and give them a go. Recommended for those who love a good contemporary romance featuring a couple you would root for right from the very beginning.

Favorite Quotes

Then, before she could talk herself out of it, Jessica wrapped one hand around his neck, pulled his head down to hers and kissed him.
Oh, God.
What was she doing?
Horrified by her impetuous move – and by his stunned lack of response – Jessica tried to pull back. Really, she’d only been reacting to the fright of being in a dark, unfamiliar place, wanting to thank him for being so understanding about her silly fear. But the minute her lips touched his, she’d known it was a terrible mistake.
Because she wanted more.
And he wasn’t kissing her back.
Squeezing her eyes shut, which made about as much sense in the pitch black theater as kissing a man she barely knew, she pulled away. “I’m so sor-”
But before she could finish the sentence, he’d hauled her close again and claimed her mouth in a searing kiss.

“We shouldn’t do this,” she murmured, even as her free hand gripped the collar of his jacket.
“It’s a really, really bad idea,” he agreed, dragging his lips across her cheek, her jaw, until finally his mouth descended upon hers. Lips touched, then parted, then touched again, and suddenly her arms snaked around his neck, his fingers tangled in her hair, and the rest of the world faded in a kaleidoscope of  taste and touch and sound.
She bit back a groan as he nipped gently at her lower lip. Her mouth opened slightly as she gasped and his tongue slid between her parted lips.

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

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Review: The Boss’s Valentine by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookthebosssvalentine
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Santino Aragone
Heroine: Poppy Hyacinth Bishop
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 15, 2008
Started On: November 19, 2010
Finished On: November 20, 2010

I stumbled upon this title whilst trolling for books on Goodreads. I have always been a fan of Lynne Graham as she is one of the authors who instilled in me the love for Harlequin romances, no matter how predictable most of them are. I have always loved heroes in Ms. Graham’s titles in the 90’s and always check out her new books to see whether she would deliver one of those angst-filled romances that used to be the highlight of my day back when I first started foraying into the world of Harlequin romances.

Santino Aragone, Italian and a hugely successful enterpreneur is the head of Aragone Systems where 21 year old Poppy Hyacinth Bishop lands her first job as a marketing assistant. Santino had been surprised when his late father had hired Poppy six months back against the advise of HR personnel just because he had felt sorry for her. Poppy with her explosive Titan corkscrew curls and her comical penchant for floral prints and insane diets with her shy and sunny smiles couldn’t be anymore different from Santino with his spectacular sleek Italian looks and never ending string of gorgeous women in his life. However that doesn’t stop the enthusiastic and bubbly Poppy from giving her heart to the one man she knows is far above her league and not even in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that Santino was even aware that she existed.

The Valentine’s day when it comes has never been a favorite time of celebration for Santino. And when he receives an outrageous Valentine’s day card with pink flowers on its cover with an elusive jasmine scent wafting from it, Santino knows that none other than Poppy could have sent it to him. A man who is used to being the one to bestow expensive gifts on his women is surprisingly touched deep inside his cynical heart by her loving gesture though Santino has no intention of following up on her gift because it has never been his style to mix business with pleasure.

But all these rigid rules come tumbling down when during a moment of weakness Santino finds himself at the receiving end of Poppy’s loving nature and before the night is through Santino has earth moving sex with a woman who has been saving herself for the right man to come along and sweep her off her feet.

A string of misunderstandings, mostly on Poppy’s part because she doesn’t feel deserving of Santino’s affections when her own parents found her rather lacking ends up in a period of separation during which Poppy finds out she is pregnant and gives birth to a beautiful baby daughter. When Santino comes across Poppy and his daughter, it is up to him to convince his beautiful blue eyed Poppy to give their relationship a chance as Santino knows deep inside that Poppy is his happily ever after.

Likes:

  1. I liked Santino Aragone. Of course who wouldn’t love a sleek good looking Italian who is not afraid to show his emotions unlike lots of heroes in Harlequin romances. I loved how a man who is so used to his black and white world suddenly finds himself arguing with his marketing manager on using pink of all colors in their sales charts and what not. Cracked me up a lot, this hero.
  2. Poppy. Her sunny nature makes it hard not to love her. I always love it when heroines bubbly and sunny in their nature manage to get under the skin of rigid multimillionaires or playboys who love their women fast and without external baggage along for the ride. I certainly felt for Poppy with her family issues when she had been growing up and rooted for her all the way.
  3. Thank God this didn’t turn out to be one of those romances where the heroine takes it into her mind to keep the consequences of their one night together to herself so that she can feel victimized in the end. I seriously do not like those kinds of romances because no matter what, the father deserves to know that he has fathered a child, unless of course he is of the serial killer/molester variety.
  4. Loved the humorous style of this story. Reminded me of my favorite Graham book, The Spanish Groom which cracks me up whenever I think about it.

Dislikes: None.

Favorite Quotes

“You’re good at this.” Poppy muttered, trembling with the most wicked amount of anticipation.
“Ought to be …” Santino treated her to a slashing irreverent grin that acknowledged his own experience and her eyes clung to his lean powerful face, her heart hammering. “But I’ve never got this close to a woman in the office before.”
“No?”
“Feels forbidden and .. fantastic.” Santino growled in a throaty purr of hunger.
Poppy quivered, every skin cell leaping, and when he brought his mouth down on hers, when he hauled her close, fantastic was in her opinion a serious understatement. She fell into that explosive kiss as though she had been waiting all her life for it.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Lynne Graham.
  2. Fans of Harlequin romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon 

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Requested Review: Visiting Paradise by Jess Dee

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Aspen Mountain Press
Hero: Joseph Bastion
Heroine: Beth Brown
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: October 4, 2010
Started On: November 19, 2010
Finished On:  November 19, 2010

Originally published as part of the Boys Down Under Anthology, Visiting Paradise is a delightful read, one that I am glad that I got the opportunity to read and review. This has definitely whetted my appetite for more from Jess Dee as it did when I read her novel Photo Opportunity and I need to bump up her titles in my to-be-read pile to get more of her delightful stories.

The Hero: 33 year old Joseph Bastion (Joe) is a family lawyer and works at his own law firm which he shares partnership with his friend and foster brother Simon Sieves. Joe hides a wealth of hurt and loneliness behind his otherwise sunny nature, something which he keeps well hidden until it comes to his current legal secretary who has been driving him nuts with desire to possess and be possessed.

The Heroine: 28 year old Beth Brown has had her heart trampled upon once by the one man who had wooed her into a heady affair only to find out 2 months later that he was married. The result of the affair had been Gemma, her now 3 year old daughter who means everything to Beth.

Storyline: When Beth lands a job working for the handsome and utterly charming Joseph Bastion as his legal secretary, the relationship that develops between them is always fraught with desire and longings that neither of them has voiced till the trip that Joe engineers to bring them both to the shores of paradise and beyond. Beth knows that spending a week aboard the company yacht with only Joe to keep her company is inviting trouble in more ways than one.

The First Encounter: Joe and Beth’s first encounter takes place when Beth first starts working for Joe as his legal secretary.

Time Period: This story has a contemporary setting and takes place aboard a yacht that sails around the Whitsunday Islands of Australia.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: From the first moment that Beth steps into his life, Joe knows that she is his happily ever after. The simmering attraction that flares between them right from the very first moment scares Beth more than she is willing to let on because she doesn’t want to end up getting hurt and vulnerable once again. Aboard the yacht, for the first time in 4 years, Beth lets go of the tight rein on her emotions and gives into the heady attraction that fairly sizzles whenever Beth and Joe are in the same room.

The turning point: The walls that Beth has erected between herself and Joe as she realizes her feelings are escalating beyond that of the professional kind comes crumbling down with the first sensational kiss between the two. As Beth says yes to what only Joe can offer her, so closes the distance that Beth had put between them to keep herself from giving into an attraction that has been keeping her awake more nights than she is ready to admit. With the first kiss that takes place, there is no turning back for two people who are definitely two halves of one whole.

Likes:

  1. Visiting Paradise is a very short novella. What surprised and delighted me most was the depth of character development that Ms. Dee brought into the story which made it so much more appealing to read. If it had just been about kinky sex and a rushed happily ever after, I would not have felt for the characters and cheered for the happy ending as I did when I finished reading this beautiful novella.
  2. Joseph Bastion. He can steer my ship towards paradise any day! *winks*
  3. Loved the delightfully sensuous scenes that unfolded within the story. Tastefully done erotica is always a major turn-on for me. *wicked grin*

Dislikes: None!

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of contemporary erotica romances.
  2. Those who love their erotica with a story that is worth sinking into, as it is the case with this yummylicious read!

Favorite Quotes

“Joe,” she gasped again, just before their lips met, and it did him in. She said his name in the same breathless, fuck-me voice she’d used the night before. He molded his lips to hers and slid his tongue into the hot, wet cavern of her mouth, taking full advantage of her open-mouthed astonishment.
The shockwave of awareness that jolted between them almost bloody electrocuted him. The instant his tongue touched hers, she melted. Collapsed against him. Tiny purring sounds escaped her as her body relaxed. Her lips softened and she responded to his kiss with a hungry acceptance of inevitability.
This was where their relationship had been heading from day one.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Aspen Mountain Press

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