Review: The Vanity of Roses by Lily White

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Callan Rose
Heroine: Lisbeth Rebel Rose
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 17, 2020
Started On: June 15, 2020
Finished On: June 19, 2020

I have forgotten how I came across The Vanity of Roses by Lily White. Not that it matters, but I like remembering how a book came to my attention. Perhaps it has got something to do with the fact that this book promised to deliver a ruthless hero who in turn would give the story the angst that I so crave in my romance novels. But alas, all of what I was hoping for never did materialize in the story as I wanted it to.

The Vanity of Roses begins at a point where a tragic event takes place at the Rose Estate, home of Lisbeth Rebel Rose. The hero, Callan Rose was a servant boy in the family back then, at the beck and call of none other than Lisbeth who made his life a living hell. Ten years later, the roles are reversed and gives Callan the perfect opportunity to get back at Lisbeth for all the pain and misery that she had put him through.

However, even as Callan is at his most ruthless self, he loses his edge when it comes to delivering that needed lesson to Lisbeth. At the same time, Lisbeth fights back, until at long last, she gives into the push and pull factor between them, what she had perhaps craved all along and never quite accepted at heart. As the story plunges to its end, the stakes have never been higher, especially with both their hearts on the line; the question being, who will fall first into the deep abyss that is love?

While I found Ms. White’s writing style to be one that is highly readable, for the most part, The Vanity of Roses was filled with repetitive inner monologue that was tiresome so much so that I skipped parts of the story to reach those bits where things were actually happening. Lengthy descriptions trying to portray the hero as the badass character that perhaps Ms .White envisioned him to be also proved to be tiresome. Heroes are ruthless by showing to readers what they are capable of through their actions, not by painting a picture of the same without concrete action to back it up with.

The secrets when they were revealed about what took place that fateful day, which served to be the whole premise of the novel, was an overblown one in my opinion. We all get it. The family is dangerous, but to prove that point, to commit a crime so heinous – that to me was totally unrealistic, not to mention the fact that there was a noticeable lack of any mention of an ongoing investigation into the event, which for all intents and purposes remained unsolved.

I am guessing that above all of that, my biggest discontentment about the story arose from how I felt about main protagonists. For one thing, I found the Lisbeth to be quite awful at the beginning and for the most part. The way she thought that a mere apology would suffice for her bullish and cruel behavior was just unacceptable to me. She did nothing to redeem herself in my opinion, and I found her attempts or apologies to be half-hearted at best.

Callan also fell way below my expectations. I went into the story, pretty excited by the blurb and expecting a hero that would blow me away. He was big, brawny, good looking, and scarred in the way that makes for the most exquisitely crafted heroes. But alas, there was nothing about him that showed the growth of his character as the story progressed. At first, his revenge on the heroine or the way he at least tried was interesting, but it was evident from the start that he would not be able to see it through.

All in all, I ended up believing that neither Callan nor Lisbeth deserved the other. Or perhaps they do, because I found them both to be equally disappointing. The saddest part though was the fact that this could have gone in a totally different direction, had the main protagonists not being so unlikable.

Recommended for fans of mafia themed romances. There is a reason I steer clear of them. This one says it all.

Final Verdict: The Vanity of Roses fell short of every expectation I had when I first picked it up. Proved to be disappointing, most of all the main protagonists.

Favorite Quotes

Quickly stuffing towels away, I slowly pushed to my feet as I filled each shelf, my eyes seeking each tiny slit to peek through as I stuffed the last towel in.
I was at my full height when I dared look one more time and found a pair of whiskey eyes pinning mine through the slat. My heart stopped with a painful rattle.
Oh my God…
Callan’s dark stare didn’t waver. His body didn’t stop fucking that woman’s face. And she had no idea I was standing here.
But he did.

“I won’t be gentle,” I warned, my finger pressing down to find her panties were soaked.
She shook again, her mouth seeking the violence of my kiss.
We were balanced on a precipice with the threat of falling over, our eyes locked, our lips brushing, our bodies ready to give and take despite the hate we felt.
When she didn’t answer, the last cord of self-control I had snapped.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
I flicked her panties aside at the same moment my mouth took control of hers, and while my tongue swept in to taste her for the first time, my finger dove deep inside her body.
Victory was the flavor of her first sensual moan.

Breathless, I asked, “Don’t you think this is a bad time to have this discussion?”
I could feel him smile against my skin. “I think this is the best time, actually.”
Notching the tip of his cock at my entrance, he lifted his head to lock eyes with mine.
“Why’s that?”
One long thrust and he filled me completely, his cock so deep that I swore I could taste him in my throat. His hand locked on my thigh to push my legs open wider, his hips so frustratingly still that I thought I might scream.
Leaning down, his mouth brushed mine as he answered, “So that neither of us make the mistake of forgetting what we’ve done to each other and fall in love.”
“I won’t fall in love.”

Our bodies slapped together again, the orgasm I’d been chasing finally igniting inside me until my body shook against his, my mouth opening on a silent scream as pleasure flooded every cell.
Callan’s hand slid from my breast to my throat, his teeth sinking down, the scruff on his jaw so rough on my skin that it competed against the hard planes of his body claiming mine.
He held me there while wave after wave of the orgasm broke me to pieces, the release shattering me, the tremors as violent as him.

I released her throat when panic flooded her body, shoved my pants down with one hand and grabbed her breast with another. And while she coughed to finally have air fill her lungs again, I drove myself inside her, her cunt clutching me, desperate to be filled, greedy.
She surprised me with her raspy words. “Again. Do it again.”
My head snapped up, and I met her sultry stare, my hips going still while my cocked remained sheathed inside her.
I spoke carefully in response.
“You like that edge, don’t you? The one between life and death.”
Lisbeth nodded, insanity behind her eyes.
In that we were the same. I loved it, too. A little too much.

Thrusting inside her with one hard shove, I buried myself to the balls, practically sipping on the scream that tore from her throat, part anger at what I’d said and part lust.
That’s the thing with bitches: they’ll pretend they want to be worshipped when the truth is they want to be stripped of their power and fucked dirty against a wall.

“Ride my tongue, beautiful. Show me how much you want this.”
My body bucked as the tip of his hot tongue flicked the swollen skin, my hips moving as if on their own, directing him, riding his mouth as he licked and nibbled, driving me just to the edge of ecstasy before pulling back.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Format: E-Bookthekissquotient
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Michael Phan
Heroine: Stella Lane
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 05, 2018
Started On: May 25, 2019
Finished On: June 03, 2019

Thirty year old Stella Lane has a tough time identifying with what is normal for most people; stuff like dating, small talk, sex, husbands and boyfriends, to the point where her mother even suggests using Tinder. On the other hand, Stella has a brilliant mind, a sharp focus that is perfectly in line with her fascination for data; how bits of information comes together and fits together creating patterns where none existed before.

Two years younger than Stella, Michael Phan is of mixed Vietnamese and Swedish heritage and an escort with three years of service under his belt and counting. The excitement he used to have for the job has started to wane – however there is a darker need that drives him to do what he does, the need for revenge upon his father.

Stella facing the daunting task of perfecting her skills at having sex does what any rationally thinking individual would do. At least that is what Stella decides to do; she procures the services of Michael hoping that he would be able to show her the ropes and even teach her how to seduce someone and not feel like throwing up at the same time. But far from what she expects, Michael with his fascinating tattoo and alluring body scent throws Stella off course with the ferocity of need and other emotions that he invokes in her.

Michael, contrary to his own self-made rules on being an escort, agrees to give Stella three sessions whereby which he accepts to teach Stella all that she wants to know. But it is under the condition that no emotional entanglements cloud whatever it is that they are doing, Michael believing that he himself is far too jaded for the kind of emotional attachment he has warned Stella about. But then again, the best laid plans always have a way of being derailed all too well.

So begins the sessions leading to the entanglements that Michael was looking to avoid, and what Stella herself never saw coming. There is an ease with which these two mesh, even though at first Michael is clueless as to why Stella is the way she is; upfront and sometimes seeming to be cruel in the way she gives her honest opinion on things.

The way Michael seduces Stella, one scorching kiss at a time was enough to make me melt. There is a ferocity to Michael’s gentleness that works well with Stella (and me!), which is one reason why it was so easy to fall in love with their story.

Reading The Kiss Quotient, it does not feel like you are reading a debut novel from the author, but it is as if you have been reading Hoang’s novels all your life. There is a familiarity with the way she eases you in, shows you how challenging it is for someone like Stella regarding stuff we tend to take for granted, and the lust and love that blossoms between two people who for all intents and purposes in all likelihood are never destined to meet.

Michael’s family is one that you fall in love with, especially Quan, Michael’s cousin and sparring partner. His role is prominent in making Michael truly understand where Stella is coming from. Stella being an only child faces the sort of pressure that comes from having parents who are well established, with the kind of mindset that believes they know what is best for their child, under all circumstances.

I loved Stella for having the clarity of mind to know what she wanted. That is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with her from the start. Michael has his hangups to deal with, but none of that made him any less appealing. In fact, it made me fall in love that much harder with him. Whatever hurdles that both Stella and Michael had to go through to reach their happily ever after was worth it because Hoang is amazing in the way she weaves complex human emotions together to give the reader all the feels required to fall in love, forever more.

I was sighing by the time I read the last couple of chapters in the book, my throat clogged up with all the emotion that was seeping through the story. Michael was everything, and I mean everything (literally and figuratively), that a woman could ask for in a man. Stella was just as adorable, just as essential in the way she fearlessly falls for Michael, is yin to Michael’s yang, in every single way that matters.

Wholeheartedly recommended. This is one book you should not miss out on if you are a true romance reader!

Final Verdict: The wondrous nature of Hoang’s writing can only be felt by immersing yourself in Michael and Stella’s story. Beautifully crafted, be it emotions or the scorching sex scenes in the book. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Wet heat stroked over her bottom lip. His tongue. She knew it was his tongue, but closed-mouth kisses made her forget. Another stroke, and shivery sensations cascaded outward. More kisses. In between aching presses of his lips, his tongue caressed her, making her skin tingle.
Soon he was seducing her mouth, stroking her bottom lip, the top lip, teasing the crease. Maybe she parted her lips. Maybe she wanted him to go further. But he didn’t. The closed-mouth kisses she’d liked so much in the beginning were no longer enough. She tried to capture his tongue, to take it into herself, but he evaded her. He brushed at her lips with maddening strokes, dipped inside for the merest second, withdrew, and she kneaded his shoulders in frustration.

He unlooped the bag from his shoulders and let it fall to the ground before he stepped toward her, not stopping until her back was pressed against the open door. He flattened a hand on the door next to her face and leaned down. His gaze dropped from her eyes to her lips. “I’m going to kiss you now.”
“Okay.” He’d shaken her brain into malfunctioning, and apparently that was all she could say now.
He touched his lips to hers, and pleasure jolted to her heart, down her arms, down her legs. Tilting his head, he kissed her deeper. Once. Twice. Again. Until she sighed and leaned into him, tangled her fingers in his cool hair. He claimed her mouth with his tongue in a way that was new and familiar at once. She kissed him back with everything in her, trying to tell him all the things she wasn’t articulate enough to say.

“Let me hold you.”
She inched as close as she could get without actually touching him.
He suppressed a smile. “It might help if you sat on my lap.”
Biting her lip, she crawled onto him and straddled his hips. Fuck, so close. That part of her, opened wide. He went hard in an instant but forced himself to take things slowly. This was about Stella. He expected her to sit stiff as a board until he thought up some kind of sorcery to make her relax, but she immediately settled in close and rested her cheek against his shoulder. When his arms encircled her, she released a ragged sigh and went boneless.

He smoothed his hands up and down her back until her muscles relaxed beneath his palms. That was when he gave in and kissed the underside of one breast. She curled her fingers, and her nails pricked his skin.
Pulling back, he asked, “Are you okay, Stella?”
She cleared her throat twice. “Tell me what you’re planning. Please.”
“I’m going to suck on your pretty nipples and lick them with my tongue.” Her grip tightened on his shoulders.
“That was a bit more graphic than I was expecting.”
“How would you have said it?” He ran his mouth from the underside of her breast up to the place where pale skin gave way to dark areola.
“I don’t know what—”
He covered her nipple with his mouth and sucked hard.

“I still like mine best.” She put a spoonful of mint chocolate chip in her mouth. The complex combination of vanilla and mint exploded on her palate. Bits of chocolate crunched between her teeth. Perfection.
“Let me try it.”
She held her bowl out toward him, but he didn’t put his spoon in it. He trailed his fingers over her jaw as he tipped her head back and sealed his lips over hers. His tongue speared into her mouth, and the salt of him mixed with the flavor of the ice cream. She didn’t know if she was mortified, shocked, aroused, or all three. With a lingering lick on her bottom lip, he pulled away and grinned, his dark eyes intense and hazy.

Somehow, she found her hands tangled in his short hair. Her body was coiling tighter, grasping at his fingers, so wet now she could hear the slippery sounds every time he drove back into her.
“I’ll stop, Stella. Clearly . . .” His tongue rubbed over her fast and hard, and she clenched helplessly around his fingers. “Clearly, you hate this.”
“Michael.” That breathy, needy voice was hers. She didn’t care. She rubbed her hungry flesh against his tongue, nearly sobbing when he took her back into his mouth.
He sucked with perfect pressure, and she came apart with strong, wrenching convulsions.

His face was drawn as if in pain. “I’ve been wanting this too long. It’s too good. You feel . . .” He exhaled. “If I move, I’m going to lose it.”
She couldn’t stop herself from smiling. She wasn’t alone in this. “Move.” She arched her back and rocked against him. The motion pushed him in even deeper, filled her.
A raw groan escaped his throat. “Stella, I’m serious. Give me a moment to cool down. This is our first time. I want fireworks for you.”

She brought their lips together and kissed him like he was oxygen and she was short on air. He ran his hands down her back to her hips, cupped her sweet ass, pulled her into his hardness. She struggled to get closer, threaded her fingers through his hair as she poured herself into the kiss.
So soft, every part of her. But covered by clothes. Michael loved clothes, but they locked Stella away. He’d never felt the urge to tear at buttons like he did now. Breaking the kiss, he captured a hand and loosened the cuff around her elegant wrist.
“Clothes off,” he growled.

He eased his hands down the swan line of her spine and hooked his thumbs in the elastic of her panties, pushed the material down her thighs. They were soaked clear through, and the scent of her arousal pushed him to the edge of his control. He almost spilled into her palm. She might be pleasuring him as part of her sex ed, but she was loving it, too. You couldn’t fake this kind of evidence.
After settling her back onto the bed, he tore her panties off, balled them up, and brought them to his nose to inhale her scent. “I’m keeping these.”

“Stella, do you have any idea how hot your—”
“Michael,” she whined, bending her legs restlessly. “Don’t say it.”
He paused. Her words said no, but her body . . . Her chest heaved on ragged breaths, and she was clenched tight around his fingers.
“I think you like it when I talk dirty to you,” he whispered.

He lowered himself over her and kissed her mouth, her jaw, her neck. Hard flesh prodded at her sex. As he slid into her, their eyes accidentally met and locked. Panic spiked. Too raw, too exposed. She tried to look away until she realized the vulnerability she saw was his. Dark eyes gazed deep, seeing her seeing him.
Their bodies picked up an elemental tempo. Hips surged and retreated, claimed, gave. He searched between their bodies until he could touch her right where she needed it. She burned and wound tighter and tighter. Moans tumbled from her lips as she arched into him. Through it all, their gazes held. He saw it all, heard it all. She would have been embarrassed if it weren’t for his smile, the tender way he brushed the hair from her face before his free hand tangled with hers.

The world stopped. All was silence but for their hearts trying to synchronize their crashing.
-He didn’t know how to describe the way he felt seeing her in his clothes, knowing she’d kept his shirt and had been wearing it to sleep all this time, but it was really good. He’d been feeling like this a lot lately—basically, anytime Stella smiled, demanded a kiss, or crossed the room to be near him, but also when they weren’t together. He’d spent the entire past week in a euphoric high, grinning for no other reason than he was thinking of her. No doubt about it. Michael was stupid in love. He knew this was temporary, knew it wasn’t real, knew it couldn’t possibly end well, but he’d done what no escort should do anyway. He’d fallen for his client.

“Why? Did he do it wrong? Was he a bad kisser?”
“It felt wrong.”
“Because he wasn’t you.” The soft look in her eyes killed him. He would do anything for that look. Anything.
He angled her head back with a hand against her jaw, trying to be gentle despite the violence raging in his veins. “Going to kiss you.” He had to. If he didn’t, he would go crazy.
“Don’t. He’s in my mouth. I can still taste him. I can’t get him out.”
He released a fierce growl. “I need this, Stella.”

When she began to lower her panties, he shook his head. He looped one of her legs around his hip as he lifted and pressed her against the tile wall.
She made an impatient sound. “Don’t tease me, Michael. I need you.”
He pulled the crotch of her panties to the side and thrust hard and fast, burying himself inside her. Her breath broke, and she moaned his name. So fucking hot. He stroked his tongue over every inch of her mouth, claiming it as he angled his hips to hit her clit. The tight grip of her body, her sweet mouth, her legs around him, her breaths on his neck—perfection.

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


Review: The Samurai’s Garden by Patricia Kiyono

Format: E-bookthesamuraisgarden.jpeg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Astraea Press
Hero: Hiromasa Tanaka
Heroine: Hanako Shimizu
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 06, 2012
Started On: October 15, 2017
Finished On: December 19, 2017

The Samurai’s Garden by Patricia Kinoyo is a book that I purchased on a whim when I came across the title on Amazon. The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise, set in Japan is one of my favorite movies of all time. Plus, Japan as a country holds a wealth of fascination for me, not the least to do with their discipline, moral code, their love for nature, and their general kindness towards humanity. To read a romance set in Japan, infused deeply with Imperial Japanese culture was something too good for me to pass up.

The Samurai’s Garden is set in the 17th century, a time during when the Samurai were stripped of their powers, leaving a lot of of men lost amidst the changes taking place. In Hokkaido, Hanako Shimizu is a widow struggling to survive the harsh realities of life without her father and her husband. Not that the latter had been of much help when it came to the practicalities of life. But for a woman without the protection of a male in the household, life was a perilous journey, especially considering the unwanted advances of men she would rather not associate with.

When a stranger with two swords hanging at his side comes to her rescue at the market and offers to work at her homestead for a place to stay and warm meals, Hanako wants to refuse. But something about the way Hiromasa Tanaka holds himself makes her trust him enough to invite him into her life.

Justice, Bravery, Benevolence, Politeness, Veracity, Honor, and Loyalty were the seven codes of the Bushido, or “Way of the Warrior”; the code by which Hiro has lived his life up till the point until the new laws had come into place. Rather than head back to Tokyo to be with his family as he should have done, Hiro had gone even further north until he had come to the island of Hokkaido where he meets Hanako, invariably changing both their lives forever.

Working together to make Hanako’s home self sufficient, Hiro proposes marriage to Hanako, an offer that she is reluctant to accept for many reasons. Hanako has always more or less being viewed as a nobody with no special skills to speak of, no family of worth to back her, which means that understanding her own worth is a monumental task for her. Hiro aims to change all that for his Little Flower, as soon as she would agree to do the honors of being his wife.

The Samurai’s Garden was so lovely in so many ways. There is Hiro of course, a man who is as gentle and kind as they come, with a core of steel running through him that makes him oh so very desirable. His dedication towards making their shared home a prosperous and happy one is evident throughout and for those reasons and more I loved him wholeheartedly. There was also the fact that Hiro wanting to allay Hanako’s fears about being done wrong by a worthless husband yet again, does something very uncommon, especially during the time period in which the story is set. That was the icing on the cake for me when it came to Hiro’s character.

Hanako, while she resists Hiro on many levels at first, starts seeing the man of worth Hiro is from day one. However, that does not make it easy for her to trust him with her heart, and the way Hiro wins her over, inch by inch, and how Hanako blooms under his care, love, and attention was so worth it.

In the midst of it all, Hiro prepares the village to face off rogue Samurai, and the final test of their relationship comes when Hiro is called back home to face unfinished business that he had left behind. What the whole story brings together, apart from the way Hideyori Kato’s story ended, a bit anticlimactically if you ask me, everything else was pretty wonderful.

I just adored how Hiro calls Hanako his Little Flower. Made me go awn every single time. The garden Hiro plants and tends to around their property, even with Hanako’s misgivings about its practicality, the flowers that bloom, the beauty, peace, and tranquility of it all which Ms. Kinoyo brings to life so effortlessly with her words was why I adored this book.

Recommended for those who would love to read a romance in a Japanese historical setting.

Final Verdict: The Samurai’s Garden is aptly named in a way that brings a smile to my heart. It reminds me of Hiro and Hanaka, and Hiro’s undying love for a woman who is his equal in every way. Beautifully written!

Favorite Quotes

Hiro stood at the edge of the clearing, swinging an ancient axe in a deadly arc at the trunk of a thick tree. A loud crack preceded the thunderous boom as it crumpled to the earth. The axe continued its work as limbs and branches were separated from the trunk.
Hanako’s mouth went dry at the sight of her handsome guest. He was stripped to the waist, his tanned and muscled arms glistening as they swung rhythmically. She couldn’t resist leaning out of the doorway to get a closer look. Mesmerized, she stared at the rippling muscles on his back. Kenji had never stirred such feelings in her. Of course, Kenji had never subjected himself to hard physical labor. He was an artist and an intellectual.

“Are you certain you are all right?” Hanako asked again.
“I’m fine,” he insisted. “I’m just hungry.”
“Yes, of course. I will prepare your meal,” she said as she scurried toward the cook stove. He noticed her hands shook as she measured the rice, poured water into the pot, and attempted to light the fire. The flame would not start for her, and as she tried again and again, she got more agitated. Finally he got up and stood behind her. He reached around her and put his hand on hers.
“You are too distressed from today’s events. I can do this.”
She dropped the flint and covered her eyes. Great sobs racked her body, and she tried to step away from him, but he gathered her in his arms and rocked her gently.
“You are safe, my little flower. I would not let anyone harm you.”

She let herself dream as his arms and body cradled her. They went through the motions, his right hand and arm directing the improvised weapon, his left hand moving her body. It was amazing how their bodies fit together, how their limbs moved in perfect synchronization. His hands switched as he moved the improvised weapon to her other hand and turned her body so her left side faced the imaginary opponent. Hanako knew the movements had been designed for fighting, but the two of them were engaged in a much different, though equally intense, reality.

He had often imagined her like this, late at night, as he tried to sleep knowing she was only a short walk away. His mind’s eye had constructed the creaminess of her skin, the smooth curve of her body, the warmth of her smile. But the vision before him surpassed all of his dreams. This woman had been created especially for him, and he alone would have the right to cherish her from now to eternity. He would not ever take this right for granted.

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookDepository


Review: The One in My Heart by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-booktheoneinmyheart
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Bennett Oliver Stuart Somerset
Heroine: Evangeline Canterbury
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: April 20, 2015
Started On: August 22, 2015
Finished On: August 28, 2015

“Praise the Lord,” he murmured, slipping off my undies, “for a woman who can bring me to my knees.”

The One in My Heart is Sherry Thomas’ first foray into the world of contemporary romance. Written in the first person, The One in My Heart is a novel that firmly entrenches itself in the reader’s heart as you go deeper into the story. If you have read any of my reviews on Ms. Thomas’ historical romances, you’d know that I always praise her for her ability to write stories in such poetic prose – there is no other way to describe what her words does to you. They just flow through you, become one with you, as if you have been waiting your whole life for those words to come to you.

The One in My Heart starts on a dark stormy night, when Evangeline Canterbury, while walking home, altogether too depressed for words, runs into the enigmatic, charming and handsome Dr. Bennett Oliver Stuart Somerset. What happens in the next couple of hours is a connection of the instantaneous variety, the kind that sears through the walls of reserved indifference on the part of Evangeline.

Months later, Evangeline encounters the good doctor again, only to be persuaded to help him in a scheme to get back into the good graces of his family, a family he had walked away from in the pursuit of the only woman who had owned his heart. Evangeline knows that when it comes to Bennett, that her heart is in serious jeopardy of falling, and falling hard. The one thing Evangeline has always evaded is getting too close to anyone who could hurt her because life had taught her that in abundance.

What follows is as delicious as it is heartbreaking and reaffirming. Ms. Thomas takes you on a journey of the type that is not easy to forget, that just consumes you as a whole. I couldn’t get enough of Evangeline and Bennett once I got into the story, nor would my stomach settle down from the nervous anticipation of the ultimate destruction of their non-relationship relationship when it happened. A good romance is one where all your emotions are involved and there is no holding back. And Ms. Thomas delivered just that with The One in My Heart.

The One in My Heart has a bit of a slow start to it. But 2-3 chapters in, and bam, you are hooked, line & sinker & there’s no turning back. The infamous Sherry Thomas magic was present in spades in this one. Being her first & only contemporary romance to-date, I’d say Ms. Thomas definitely has had zero issues in transitioning from the historical genre to the contemporary. A job well done, I must heartily admit.

One thing that surprised me though, was the first person take of the story. None of her historical romances are told in the first person, & yet Ms. Thomas made this work too. Though I truly wanted to get inside the mind of the charmingly sexy Bennett, Ms. Thomas did an excellent job of making the reader not feel too cheated out on in that aspect.When Bennett laid out his side of the story, when everything clicked so well in that a-ha! moment, that was when I truly felt my heart quake inside my chest.

Bennett totally invaded my heart & soul, ravaged my mind & left it all muddled with all the effortless charm and sexy he brought to the story. If there’s anything that makes a girl salivate over a romance is a hero presented well, a hero that can turn your half-hearted “no” to a complete “Oh my God yes!” in a heartbeat. When Bennett pushed Evangeline against the wall and had his way with her, this just mere hours after their first encounter, well, that was my “you had me at hello” moment when it came to him. With his penchant for older women & tendency to fall in love at first sight, well, lets just say that Bennett can turn up on my doorstep any day with just his trench coat on & nothing else. Well, a girl can always dream, can’t she? A hero who is so beautifully portrayed as you sink deeper into the story, that you can’t help but sigh endlessly over his character. Yes ladies, Bennett is that salivation worthy!

Evangeline was the tough cookie in this novel. But she was just as endearing, especially with her high wall of reinforced steel guarding her vulnerabilities & emotions, adept at playing dodge with the messier aspects of relationships. Evangeline actually prefers her existence the way it is, but then Bennett had to enter into it, entice her into saying yes to being his fake girlfriend and before she knew it, she’d fallen head over heels for the man. The fact that Bennett loved Evangeline too much to not let her hide behind barriers, to shake her out of the contentment she seeks in never showing her true self to anyone, made me love him just more. Evangeline’s attempts to thwart all efforts by Bennett to let him in was heartbreaking to watch, but I think that was exactly the jolt she needed to really face her past, exorcise the ghosts and move on.

Loved the secondary characters, the little tidbits about them that made the story that much better & enticing. I could’ve kept on reading and reading about Bennett & Evangeline, but like everything else that is good and beautiful, the end did come. A beautifully fitting end to an otherwise golf-sized-lumps-in-your throat variety of story. Icing on the cake was the fact that this story is very loosely tied to one of the most emotional historical romances from Ms. Thomas that I’ve read & reviewed to date; Private Arrangements. I continually find myself amazed at Ms. Thomas’ ability to make the unworkable work. Private Arrangements has such a storyline. The One in My Heart has the other woman done to a T, but yet, it doesn’t leave you feeling like the heroine got second helpings when it came to the hero, nor did it paint his first love as a villainous harlot that you absolutely had to hate. Absolute genius is Sherry Thomas!

Ms. Thomas definitely proved to be a quick study when it came to her first contemporary romance. Nothing short of splendid! Absolutely worth your time. Highly recommended.

Final Verdict: Beautiful in its prose & darkly emotional; The One in My Heart will completely & utterly ruin you!

Favorite Quotes

I panted, the sound primal. Animal.
He pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside, revealing a runner’s build: strong shoulders, slim waist, beautifully cut abdomen.
I closed my eyes for a moment, overcome by lust. When I opened them again, it was to the sight of my hand on his upper arm. And then I did something that surprised me: I leaned in and nipped his shoulder.
He grunted. I found myself pressed hard against the wall, his hand between my thighs. For a moment I thought he’d be rough, but he touched me lightly, delicious little caresses at just the right places.
“Yes,” I whimpered. “Yes.”

“You see this?” he asked as he laid me down on the chaise. “When I come back from thirty hours in the hospital, I don’t even bother going up to the bedroom. I just sleep right here. But before I go to sleep I masturbate, and I think about you—under me, over me, and maybe bent over the armrest. Every time, without fail.”
I was unbelievably turned on.
He yanked off my boots. Reaching under my skirt, he peeled away my tights and my underwear. Now he undressed, smoothed on a condom, and pushed my skirt up around my waist. Then, in one motion, he was all the way inside me.

“Do you know why I think of you?” He spoke directly into my ear. “You make me come instantly. I put my hand on myself, picture you naked, and I come like a fourteen-year-old.”
The pleasure of his body was volcanic. The pleasure of his words was a conflagration. I was already on the verge when he said, “I come so fast that sometimes I have to masturbate one more time. And when I do that, I imagine fucking you all night long.”
My orgasm was a bullet to the head, a shocking starburst. His was similarly thorough and ferocious. But he didn’t stop. He kept going, kissing my face, my throat, my breasts, until I was trembling again.
Until together we fell over the edge again.

He pulled the sweater over my head and did the same for the camisole I wore underneath, exposing my bra. And then he pushed down my skirt and tights to reveal a pair of matching underpants. They were both basic black—I hadn’t wanted to look as if I’d planned to be disrobed.
“Praise the Lord,” he murmured, slipping off my undies, “for a woman who can bring me to my knees.”

“Do you know you have the perfect face for a nun—as if you have only prayers on your mind? And then there are those times when it all changes, and you look pornographically turned on.”
He pried open my legs and caressed the places I’d tried to conceal from him. Pleasure flooded me.
“Do I look like that now?” I heard myself ask, my voice raspy.
It was his turn to sound unsteady. “Yes.”
He went down on me. And it felt so good, I had to bite down on my lower lip to not sound as aroused as I felt. But by the time he brought me to my third orgasm, I had given up any and all attempt to be quiet and contained.
Then he was inside me, huge and hard. And just like that, I was again pornographically turned on.

“You. I masturbate to you.”
At this he resumed that wonderful cadence that gave me so much pleasure. “Keep talking.”
“I imagine…” I panted. “I imagine running into you unexpectedly, somewhere out of town.”
“Somewhere like Munich?”
I quaked inside. “Maybe.”
“And then?”
“And then you pull me into your hotel room, lock the door, and fuck me.”
“Do I fuck you all night?” His voice was rough, demanding.
I closed my eyes even tighter. “Yes.”
He rammed into me. “But you never called. And you never texted.”
And I came like an asteroid striking ground.

“You know what I want?” His voice turned raspy. “I want to fuck you before I go to work. And I want to fuck you right after I come back home.”
I might have ripped apart his vest. I definitely heard shirt studs pinging into the headboard. Keep talking. Keep telling me how much you want me.
And don’t ever stop.
“I want to see you naked against a wall again. I want to see the way you look at me. You have such hungry eyes.”

He bit my earlobe. “Do you know what I really want?”
“What?” I gasped.
“I want to fuck you bareback. Every inch of me, feeling every inch of you.”
Damn him. Those words made me peak again—violently. At least he joined me this time, his orgasm equally untrammeled.

He gripped the back of the chaise, his teeth gritted. “God, Eva.”
I braced my hands on his shoulders. “This is what you want, isn’t it? To fuck me bareback?”
For a minute only the sounds of our heavy, ungovernable breaths filled the air as my hips lifted and lowered, merging with him again and again.
Then he wrapped his arms around me and brought me close to him. “Yes, this is what I’ve always wanted, to make love to you with nothing between us.”
And I was lost.
We were both lost.

Unhurriedly he kissed me everywhere. Without any haste he entered me. We kissed, our bodies joined, and went on kissing, until slow-simmering pleasures again more turned needy and frantic.
“I love the taste of your lips,” he whispered in my ear. “I love the texture of your skin. I love the sound of your breaths. “
And then: “I love everything about…about this moment.”
The orgasm that ensued was the most intense one yet.

“In Henry V, King Henry says to Kate, ‘You have witchcraft in your lips,’”
Bennett murmured sleepily. “Do you know where you have witchcraft, Eva?”
“Do tell,” I answered archly, expecting him to heap praise on my private parts.
He pressed a kiss into my shoulder. “In your eyes.”

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


Review: Housebound by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookhousebound
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Noah Grant
Heroine: Anne Kirklan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: 1985
Started On: May 19, 2014
Finished On: May 19, 2014

Housebound by Anne Stuart is one of her earlier novels, first published in the 1980’s. I must’ve been toddler then. The magic about romances that are well written is that they stand the test of time; no amount of development that comes about or technology advances that change the world can diminish the glow that is left behind in the wake of a romance that touches you deep inside.

Housebound starts in off in an ordinary enough manner. Nothing in particular stands out at first. 34 year old Anne Kirkland is the heroine that pours her heart and soul into her home, co-owned with her two siblings, older brother Ashley and younger sister Holly and their father. Though none of the members of her family are enthusiastic about the big heap of a building that practically swallows money as a whole with the humongous amounts needed for its repair and upkeep, Anne remains stoic in her belief that she would be able to save her beloved home, somehow.

When 32 year old Noah Grant comes visiting, as Holly’s companion for the weekend, Anne doesn’t expect everything Holly has said about him to be true. The dreamiest and sexist man alive that Anne has set eyes on, the instant connection that springs forth between them makes it doubly harder for Anne to remember that she is an engaged woman who should not swoon in the face of a beautiful man, but oh what a beautiful man he was to her senses, in more ways than one.

Noah has his own agenda for coming to Anne’s home, and though it makes him feel a trifle bit guilty at first, Noah is willing to do this one last favor for his father in law to exorcise the ghosts of his past. His helpless attraction towards Anne certainly doesn’t help matters along and though Noah continues to lie to himself and anyone else who asks him about his feelings towards Anne, there is no hiding from the fact that she affects him every bit as much as she’s reluctantly affected by him.

Reasons that I fell in love with the story are many. First and foremost, I think this is the most laid back hero by Anne Stuart that I’ve had the fortune of reading. Though Noah hides a secret that could break Anne’s very spirit, he is not hard edged and ruthless like the usual heroes that Anne Stuart pens, all of whom I adore. He even had me thinking to myself that this story would probably not work for me. But then, I should’ve trusted Anne Stuart a bit more that she would never lead her readers on a path that would not be fulfilling.

Though Noah is not the ruthless kind, he is every bit alpha as the Anne Stuart heroes that I have fallen countless times in love with. Noah’s troubles come from a past that he can’t or rather won’t escape from, the need to keep the memory of his wife alive, lest he forget how he failed her. And though Noah is truthful enough with himself that Anne is the first woman to have affected him as such since his wife, Noah remains stubborn in his is attempt to prevent any sort of commitment on his part from happening.

Now Anne, she practically made the story for me. She is so strong, feisty and knows when to give in. In other words Anne knows which battles to pick and fight in her life. Growing up as the middle child whose siblings had all turned out to be prodigies in their selected fields, Anne has a hard time accepting the fact that she is talented in everything that she has set her mind to undertake. Her attachment to her home stems from a deep emotional craving to love something that’d never disappoint her, and when that is taken away from her, well, let’s just say the emotional roller coaster reaches its peak by then.

Housebound is a novel where groveling is done to a fine art by the hero. Realizing his mistake had come when shit had practically hit the roof and I loved Anne for being strong enough to just up and leave when everyone that she’d trusted to do right by her had failed her miserably. Anne Stuart’s acerbic humor always makes any novel of hers a treasure to read. One cannot dwell on sad emotions for long; she has those no nonsense characters embedded into her stories that always gives the hero or heroine that well deserved nudge or if that fails, a slap in the right direction.

Well rounded secondary characters give the story a wholesome edge to it. Ashley turned out to be the most intriguing secondary character in the story. His projected indifference to everything that goes around him hides a far too astute mind that sees altogether too much. Too bad we’d never know what his story is about because I don’t think Anne Stuart has the intention of ever writing a gay romance and as fascinated as I am by his character, I don’t think even he’d move me enough to read one if ever written. But then again, perhaps I am underestimating the effect Anne Stuart novels have on me.

One more aspect of the story that made me treasure it all that more is the fact that the ending of the story really does see Anne and Noah through. Readers deserved that after going through such an emotional upheaval and healing period together with them. Well, readers deserve that in a lot of Anne Stuart novels but then her fans are almost used to the fact that she tends to end her novels a tad abruptly. So it was more than nice to say the least that the way Housebound ended put a warm glow deep in my heart. Now who wouldn’t glow when a story ends like this:

A few hours later Holly sent a telegram to Ashley Kirkland, care of the Sangre de Cristos Monastery in New Mexico.

Needless to say, I was grinning. From ear to ear!


Final Verdict: Beautiful and splendid in all the ways that matter.

Favorite Quotes

She could tell herself it was the cold that hardened her nipples against the slowly rotating massage of his fingertips, the pad of his thumb brushing wickedly against the peak that shone darkly through the thin material. And she could tell herself it was the cold that made her lean back against his warm, strong body as if to absorb some of his heat.
But it wasn’t the chill that made her push her soft, straining breast up against his teasing hand, it wasn’t the cold that had her pressing her rounded buttocks against the iron-hard arousal directly behind her. And it wasn’t the cold that made her turn readily in his arms at his gentle pressure.

His control was absolute. Ignoring the cost, he began to move, rocking back and forth with a slow, steady rhythm. And each time he filled her it seemed a little deeper and a little fuller. A light film of sweat covered her skin, and shudders began to shake her body beneath his. And still he moved, seemingly intent only on pleasuring her, as he varied the force and the tempo of his thrusts.
The white-hot flames were building now, licking her body, and she clung to him like a boat adrift in a storm-tossed sea. And then suddenly, unexpectedly, it happened, and she was flung out into the sky in a shower of stars, and in that explosion of glory she felt his body stiffen in her arms, heard his strangled cry, and she wept, for the joy of being alone no longer.

His hands still firm on her hips, he began to move, arching up into her, then slowly pulling back, and then again, each time filling her more completely. She could feel her body shivering atop his, feel the rigid control in his arms and legs as he tried to slow the pace, to bring her along with him. But she was far ahead, her body shuddering with spasms of need that were rapidly taking over.
And then abruptly his tenuous control abandoned him, and he arched into her as her body went rigid in his arms. And he followed her, locked together through a mindless eternity, his breath hoarse and rasping in her ear as she sobbed against his damp, heaving chest.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks


Review: Claiming the Duchess by Sherry Thomas

Format: E-bookclaimingtheduchess
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Fitzhugh Trilogy, #0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Mr. Kingston
Heroine: Clarissa Lexington
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 12, 2014
Started On: May 16, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

“Some turn the soil and plant seedlings. We garden with words and nurture affinity.” – JMK to Clarissa

Claiming the Duchess is a very short novella which is part of the Fitzhugh trilogy. It was quite by chance that I encountered the post on Sherry Thomas’s Facebook about the release of this one and being a freebie at that I didn’t hesitate to get myself a copy. Well, let’s face it. Even had it been for 3 dollars, just because it is a novella by Sherry Thomas, I’d consider myself well rewarded for the money spent.

The first thing that hit me when I started reading, just a couple of paragraphs into the book was the strong sense of nostalgia that I had really missed Sherry Thomas’s writing. And knowing that English is her second language impresses me a helluva lot more than her writing had before; her style of writing is sheer poetry on the senses. Every emotion that she pens down the reader feels to the very core and in my opinion that is what outstanding writing is all about. It’s a damn shame that she publishes just one historical romance full length novel per year.

Moving onto the review, Claiming the Duchess is the story of the stepmother of the hero of the first full length novel in the series, Beguiling the Beauty. Clarissa Lexington is married to the Duke of Lexington when she lays eyes upon the silently intense figure of Mr. Kingston who makes an impression on her lonely heart and soul. And though Mr. Kingston in no way shows any interest of the same variety in her, Clarissa’s mind conjures up his image every now and then. The loneliness that is her life is kept at bay by the odd pen friendship that strikes up between her and a Ms. Kirkland until four years later, Clarissa is finally free to pursue her interest for the man who has never been far from her thoughts from that first day of their encounter.

Revealing any further would be to give away the story, though I bet smart readers can already put two and two together and conclude how things would go down. I fell in love with Clarissa from the beginning. It takes a talented author to put the dreams, yearnings and hopes of characters across to the reader in such a few number of pages. And Mr. Kingston. Oh Mr. Kingston. They say still waters run deep and you certainly realize that when all is said and done. My only complain even if it can be called that was the fact that there wasn’t a full fledged love scene included in the novella. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the numerous sensuous scenes of lovemaking included in Sherry Thomas’s novels of late.

Recommended; because if you haven’t been reading Sherry Thomas as a romance reader, you haven’t been reading right.

Final Verdict: Sherry Thomas manages to wrench your heart out & take a piece of it, all in just 20 plus pages.

Favorite Quotes

A movement caught her eye. A rider charged across the expansive grounds, weaving amid copses of chestnut and hazel. He followed the bank of the stream that bisected the large meadow behind the house. And when he whipped off his hat, the wind rushing past him ruffling his thick, glossy hair, she bit her lower lip at the sharp dig in her chest, as if her heart had been dented.
Mr. Kingston, in the flesh.

He settled a hand at her nape. She shivered with the sensation of his bare skin on hers, zigzags of electricity that shot deep into her spine. The searing heat spread. He was now touching the underside of her jaw, the tender skin just beneath her ear, and—
She gasped aloud as he pressed his lips into the shell of her ear.
“Clarissa,” he murmured.

She couldn’t tell whether his lips were soft as rose petals or rough as sandpaper. She couldn’t seem to feel anything but this fire that scorched any and all nerve endings, as if she had grazed the corona of the sun.
She moaned. Her hands plunged into his hair. She returned the kiss roughly—if he was made of flames then let her be a fire-eater. Lips, teeth, tongue, she wanted everything.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Smashwords


Review: Reckless by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookReckless
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The House of Rohan, #2
Publisher: Mira
Hero: Adrian Alistair de Giverney Rohan
Heroine: Charlotte Spenser
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 1, 2010
Started On: February 26, 2014
Finished On: March 2, 2014

Reckless by Anne Stuart is book number two in the delectable House of Rohan series. Just like the ICE series that grabbed me hook, line and sinker, the House of Rohan series too has wormed its way into my heart and its characters practically embedded themselves deep into my soul. There is no escaping the mastery that Anne Stuart weaves with every single story she writes, and even her lackluster ones continue to enthrall me in a way few authors have the power to.

Reckless tells the story of the son of Francis and Elinor from the first book Ruthless. While Viscount Rohan i.e. Adrian is known for his indulging ways and debauchery, I would say he is not in the league of the likes of his father when all is said and done. Adrian is a rebel, one who refuses to do what is required of him and settle down like his mother wants him to. Adrian hardly believes that the sort of love that his father and mother share could be found for the likes of him. However, that doesn’t stop him from pursuing the delight Miss Charlotte Spenser, the 30 year old spinster presents to his senses, even when it makes him act in ways that is totally foreign to someone like him.

Charlotte knows what little she has to offer to any man, much less a man of Adrian’s caliber and pedigree. But that doesn’t stop her from wanting him, wanting his kisses on her mouth, his hands on her body and his reckless abandonment to match hers whenever they are together. Charlotte keeps telling herself that a man like Viscount Rohan could never find a plain thing like her interesting on any level, but his relentless pursuit of her to seek a pleasure too powerful to deny sends all her senses reeling and turns her safe and staid world upside down.

I would say Reckless features a story that could actually be interpreted as quite sweet compared to the rest of the novels in the series. More than the darkness that prevails the soul of Adrian, it is the evil that surrounds him that puts the edge of your seat factor to this novel, the fact that one of those closest to Adrian is actually the one who wants to take away his life and destroy the very things that he holds dear to his heart.

Accompanying the story of the fiery and sensual love affair that develops between the highly experienced Adrian and the virginal Charlotte, is the secondary romance of Evangelina, dowager countess of Whitmore, and the fascination that she develops for a Reverend Simon Pagett. Elinor’s character is one that proved to be completely riveting. Her ‘role’ in pushing Charlotte into Adrian’s arms when she had wanted just the exact opposite to happen, her past that mires her disdain towards the opposite sex and how hard she tries to prove to people otherwise, and the oh so delicious temptation to her heart, body and soul that Simon presents was an edge to Reckless that made it all that much more powerful to me. I was equally enamored by the two stories that unfolded, both entwining along the way, lending a deliciousness and depth to Reckless that makes it my favorite novel from the series up till now.

Reckless is a story that flows smoothly, the banter between both characters in the leading and secondary romances highlighting just how much the sarcastic wit that is included into Anne Stuart novels speaks to my heart. And in fact it does, sarcasm when rightly done, it speaks to my soul like poetry and at times reveals a lot more than the character thinks themselves to be revealing. And I couldn’t have asked for more in that regard in this novel. The only thing that disappointed me, just a teeny bit, was the culmination of Elinor and Simon’s love story; I would have loved to see just a tad more of their attainment of happily ever after towards the end.

I would say Reckless is a romance for everyone who loves historical romances. Even if you haven’t read book 1, there is no need to worry. This one would read like a charm as a standalone. But, the tidbits about Adrian’s parents that are intermingled into the story along the way certainly put a smile on my face and is one you would miss out on if you weren’t to read book 1. And yes, prepare yourselves for a deluge of quotes with this one. I just couldn’t help myself.

Delightfully recommended.

Final Verdict: Reckless and decadent abandonment guaranteed with at the turn of each page!

Favorite Quotes

He lifted his head again. “Open your mouth for me.”
Her eyes flew open again. “Why?”
It was the first word she’d spoken in quite a while, but her voice was husky and raw as if she’d been screaming.
“Because I want to kiss you that way.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You need to let me—”
He covered her mouth again before she could say the fateful words, and he pushed his tongue into her mouth so he could taste her fully.

And he wanted more. He’d told himself that acceptance was enough, but he’d been wrong. He wanted, needed participation.
“Kiss me back,” he whispered, his own voice hoarse.
She started to shake her head, but he caught her chin in one strong hand, holding her still. “Kiss me back,” he repeated in a rough voice.
Her eyes were huge. In the darkness her rich red hair looked black, and she looked up at him beseechingly. Don’t ask me to let you go, he thought.
“I don’t…know how.”

He stretched, slowly, luxuriantly, like a sleepy cat. A tall, beautiful, elegant, sleepy cat. “You really have no idea what you’re turning down. I’m accounted to be one of the most accomplished lovers in society. No woman has ever left my bed unsatisfied, no woman has ever refused to return for more.”
“Then why don’t you get one of them in here?”
“Because I want you.”
That silenced her. The four simple words were devastating, both to body and soul.

No, she didn’t love him. She didn’t even know him, and his reputation was disreputable. But for some reason, sane, sensible, practical Charlotte Spenser had dreamed about the lost and beautiful viscount and his elegant hands, his bewitching mouth. And he was offering her all that beauty, and the lost soul that hid behind it.
Even in the darkness she could see his smile widen, the glitter of satisfaction in his bright, brilliant eyes. “Come to bed, Charlotte Spenser,” he said softly, his voice a soft, impossible invitation.
And she did.

Sanity was overrated, his cousin had said. She had to agree, because this was madness, and she wanted it. For a brief moment in time Adrian Rohan belonged to her, and nothing could ever take that away from her.
“Open your eyes, Charlotte.” His voice was rough, and she did so, expecting to see smug satisfaction on his face.
Instead he looked dark, tortured, his blue eyes black in the shadows.

“What are you doing?” she gasped as she clutched his shoulders, the white linen loose in her fingers.
“You want the pretty words, or the truth?” he whispered, leaning forward to brush his mouth against hers. “You’re being tupped, shagged, screwed—made love to.” Each phrase was punctuated with a thrust, and he was as breathless as she was. “In fact, Charlotte, you’re being fucked. It’s about this—” he thrust hard “—and this.” Another thrust and she could feel her nipples harden in the warm night air, feel the strange heat in the pit of her stomach begin to build and burn.

He reached down, caught his erect penis in his hand and guided it to her, then thrust, a little too hard, a little too fast, but she took it with only a faint cry. She was wet and sleek and welcoming, and he moved his head, dropping it down on her shoulder as he tried to control his breathing, his fierce need. He wanted to slam into her until he spewed, he was famished, greedy, ready to explode.

She was lost, defeated. Everything ached. Not that he’d been too rough. They’d made love gently, fiercely, with tenderness and with anger. She was bruised from his hard grip, he was raked by her nails, but the only thing he’d been brutal with was her heart.

It was astonishing. It was full-mouthed, seething with lust and abandon, and for a moment she froze. She’d been kissed like that before, and she knew all the tricks of a measured response. But those clever tricks evaporated, and she closed her eyes, sinking, sinking. He kissed her with a fierce hunger that shook her to her bones, a deep, carnal kiss that was more sexual than anything she’d done in her entire life.

He lifted his mouth for a brief moment, and in the darkness of the unlit carriage she could see the glitter of his eyes. “Open your mouth for me, Charlotte,” he whispered. “I’ve been waiting hours to kiss you and I’m running out of patience.”
Her shock was enough that she did as he told her, and his kiss was full and deep, a possessive hunger she felt vibrating through her body.

And she’d said yes. He didn’t bother to hide his astonishment. Though he could…ahem…rise to the occasion. “I beg your pardon? Was that agreement I hear? How delightfully refreshing. I thought you decided to regrow your hymen and be the same prissy, starched-up female you were before I put my wicked hands on you.”

“You’re quite surprisingly resilient, Miss Spenser. I would have expected you to go into a languishing decline after my rough treatment of you.”
“Was that rough?” she asked innocently. “It perhaps lacked a bit of finesse, but you managed well enough.”
He wanted to laugh, he wanted to kiss her. “I didn’t really consider you deserved my best effort, since you had absolutely no idea what you were doing.”
“Indeed. I would hope that wasn’t your best effort. I would be sadly disappointed if society considered that to be masterful.”

“Turn around, Charlotte.”
“Because I want to unlace your dress.”
“Is that strictly necessary?”
He laughed against her throat. “Yes, it’s strictly necessary. I want to see you naked. I want to lick every inch of your body. Turn around.”

He moved forward, took the hem of the chemise and whipped it over her head with one smooth movement. And a second later, the drawstring to her drawers was loosened, and they fell to her feet, and she was wearing nothing at all but her stockings.
“Oh, God,” he said, a curse, a supplication, a prayer. He pushed her up against the door, just behind her, lifted her by her legs and thrust inside her, hard.

It seemed to last forever, his rigid outpouring that seemed to scald her very heart, her shivering, clenching, mindless release, and all she could think was more, more, more, and then suddenly it was enough, and they collapsed together onto the narrow, dusty bed.

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


ARC Review: The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins

Format: E-booktheperfectmatch
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Blue Heron, #2
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Thomas Jude Barlow
Heroine: Honor Grace Holland
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 29, 2013
Started On: October 28, 2013
Finished On: October 29, 2013

A Kristan Higgins book is like that favorite dogeared pillow that you hug yourself to sleep with, it is just like having that cup of coffee you have been craving for all day long; yes a Kristan Higgins definitely raises your spirits, gives you a ton of stuff to laugh about and also leaves you with that glow of being satisfied from a well spun romance that few authors manage to deliver time and yet again.

The Perfect Match is the second book in the Blue Heron series, the first one which I seemed to have missed out on. Honor Grace Holland is 35 year old, celebrating her birthday with a pap smear when her doctor has “the talk” with her which propels her to take action to save her dying eggs which would definitely mean the end of the road on her dream of having her own family someday. A botched up marriage proposal and a cat fight later, Honor is very much determined to get back on track for she is a woman who gets things done if nothing else.

Thomas Jude Barlow (Tom Barlow) is from Britain, has a wicked and wild accent that drives the ladies crazy and a professor of mechanical engineering. Tom is desperate for a way to stay in the US when a twisted sequence of events brings Honor and him together. A very hot and memorable night of sex together, Honor proposes a way out for him which would tie them both together in a marriage of convenience. Although neither Honor nor Tom believes that they are on the right track, both of them agree to a relationship that seems more difficult to make into a reality than it should have been.

Honor has her reservations about letting her heart get away from her a second time round. Having her heart crushed by the man whom she had loved and yearned for for the past 17 years is a bit too much and Honor knows deep down where it matters that Tom with his wicked smile, those deep gray eyes and panty melting accent of his not to mention the smokin’ hot body which makes her melt practically anywhere is hazardous to her heart. And of course there is the way that Tom doggedly keeps trying to win the affections of the one person who turns him away time and yet again, the reason he is marrying Honor for which practically makes falling for him that much easier.

Tom reserves a huge part of himself from the world, has a part of his heart sealed off which would never see the light of day if he has anything to say about it. Though Honor tugs at certain places in the left region of his chest which seems to have been left hollow for far too long, Tom knows that he has nothing in reality to offer to a woman like Honor who deserves so much more than a jail sentence for helping him out in time of his need. But every kiss they exchange tends to break down a little bit of the walls that Tom has built around his heart, Honor’s honest, and giving nature crumbles his resistance away until Tom has no choice left but to run away from himself when it all gets to be too much.

The Perfect Match was right about just perfect in every way. I loved the fact that this was told in third person and included both Honor and Tom’s points of view, something you usually miss out on when you read a Kristan Higgins because she mostly tends to write in the first person, mainly from the heroines point of view. I loved Honor’s larger than life family, each and every character in the story lending a rich vividness to the story that kept me turning the pages. It wasn’t just Honor and Tom’s story that kept me glued to my e-reader every spare minute I could find, but rather the whole brood that comes together that created a magic that totally washed over me and kept me enthralled till I turned the very last page.

Honor is one of the most swell heroines. You have to read the book to understand what I mean. Best way to describe her is to say that she is the one that keeps everything firmly glued together in her family and the whole story, the one who continues to give in that gentle way of hers, a woman who stands up that much quicker than she falls down; because life certainly does punch her in the face a time or two, hard enough to really knock her flat on her face. Enter Tom who is all kinds of sexy and appealing that half of his students tends to be women who just wants a piece of him, a man with whom she clicks right from the very start turning the sensible Honor into a woman of sensual cravings that is so unlike her.

I loved the fact that Kristan included more romance in this novel than any other novel I’ve read from her to-date. In most of her stories, the heroes and heroines tend to spend a lot of time apart before they do come together eventually. But The Perfect Match I think struck just the right balance and gave just enough amount of steam and romance to keep me all warm, happy and aglow with the wonderfulness of it all.

Along with the laughter, Kristan certainly knows how to deliver the gut wrenching emotional aspect that practically gobsmacked me with all those tears my eyes refused to shed and the throat tightening which went on for quite a while. Wait, I think I’m still suffering from some of that. Sigh, which practically means that I had one hell of a time reading The Perfect Match and so would you. So just find yourself a copy and take a peek. If nothing else you’d get a couple of unforgettable laughs and a happy jiggle in parts of your body better left unsaid here, just from the sheer experience that is Tom Barlow.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Laugh out loud funny, sexy and full of heart. Kristan Higgins is an incomparable force in the genre.

Favorite Quotes

She didn’t realize she’d launched herself at him until she was kissing him, and hell, it’d been what, almost two minutes, possibly more, since he’d last kissed her, and she missed it. He landed on his back with an ooph, but she didn’t really care.
“Hallo, what have we here?” he murmured, and she kissed him again, sliding her tongue against his, dying to kiss him, taste him, feel him.

She tugged his shirt from his waistband and slid her hands up his back, feeling thick muscle and hot skin, and pulled his shirt over his head. Something metal brushed against her—a medallion, dangling from a silver chain around his neck.
He pulled back a bit, looking down at her. His own breath was ragged, and though his face had been gentle earlier, he now looked somewhat…fearsome. Down Under clenched at the word.

He tossed down the scrunchy and kissed her. Hard. “You fucking terrified me,” he muttered, and kissed her again, this time more gently.
She was alive. She was safe. She was wet and naked and warm.
Then, before he took her right here in the shower, he left, streaming water, sopping wet.
Because the last thing he wanted was to feel all this.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo | iTunes | Harlequin


Review: Play of Passion by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookplayofpassion.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #9
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Andrew Liam Kincaid
Heroine: Indigo Riviere
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 2, 2010
Started On: October 10, 2013
Finished On: October 13, 2013

Play of Passion by Nalini Singh is the 9th book in the Psy-Changeling series, the book that changes the focus that has been mainly on the DarkRiver Changeling pack to the SnowDancer, the wolf Changeling pack in the San Francisco area. Once again a dominant female comes into play, this time with a hero whose hierarchy in the pack is ambiguous at best which poses its own problem when it comes to winning the heroine over.

Andrew Liam Kincaid or Drew as he is most commonly known as is the tracker of the SnowDancer pack. His job is a difficult one in the sense not because of the abilities required of him but rather because of the decisions he may have to take when the inevitable moment arrives. Drew hunts those who go rogue from the pack and because of that he is not considered as a lieutenant though he reports directly to Hawke, the Alpha. The charm that practically oozes out of him hides behind a keen and sharp mind brimming with intelligence and at heart a wolf who wants to play with the mate he has chosen for himself though she might not be aware of his intentions.

Indigo Riviere is one of the dominant females in her pack and a lieutenant at that which makes submitting to any male almost an impossibility for her. Indigo had grown up seeing how destructive a relationship can be where the dominant female is not given the freedom to be who she is and she is determined to never let it happen to her, even if it means Drew charms her in ways that is completely alien to her and reaches out to the very heart of her that she has hidden behind so many walls that even she doesn’t realize just how much she has protected her heart from ever finding itself in a vulnerable position.

But Drew and his determination is no match for the stubbornness that streaks through Indigo and before she knows it Drew is kissing her time and yet again into yielding to his brand of strength and dominance, all the while giving back in spades, which makes it an impossibility for Indigo to turn her back and walk away.

Play of Passion is one the most angst-ridden book in the series because Indigo almost goes to that point of no return where she and Drew are concerned, trying to turn away from the passion that catches her heart, body and soul afire where Drew is concerned. Unlike most stories where you want to hit the hero on the head for being so stubborn, this time around I felt like admonishing the heroine because her stubbornness nearly proves to be Drew’s undoing. So many factors makes her wary of giving in, the thought of Drew trampling all over her and trying to make her into something she would never be the one fear that is constant until Drew shows her that he actually can be the sort of man who would actually be her equal rather than try to get into a pissing contest with her to find out who is more dominant than the other.

Their relationship is not one that comes into being without mistakes on both parts, but that is what makes the end result so heartwarming and well cemented in the end. There is no way on Earth any woman can remain unmoved by Drew and his charm and that unwavering faith of his that things would work out in the end. There were moments where you can’t help but laugh out loud where Drew and his courtship of Indigo is concerned, the factor that makes it impossible for Indigo to walk away from all that Drew is and what he offers.

In the meantime, Play of Passion brings forth the final steps towards the imminent war between the Psy and the Changelings that much closer, the Psy and their methods underhanded and sneaky, their plan for a pure Psy world where all Psy would submit to the will of the Councillors one that is chilly and unnerving to say the least. The fact that Changelings have proved that they are adaptive, agile and protective as hell when it comes to their own makes them one of the most worthy adversaries to battle with and win, and given the splits deep inside the Council, the war that is to happen is inevitable and bound to cause a wake of destruction unlike any other.

The end of this book brought me to the edge of the precipice that I’ve been wanting to reach ever since I started on the journey through the wondrous series that is the Psy-Changeling. The fact that Hawke’s book is the very next book made it impossible for me to read anything else but that afterwards, my rule of reading something else in between shot to smithereens by the fact that Hawke and Sienna makes their own appearances throughout the book, all showing glimpses of Hawke’s legendary control under fire where Sienna is concerned.

One of the most beautiful aspects of Play of Passion turned out to be how Drew makes someone like Indigo want to play and play they do with many a scorching scene of passion between them the testament to the fact.

Recommended for the fans of this series and fans of Paranormal/Fantasy romances. Read the series in order, because that is the only way to get the full impact of the whole cast of characters, each of them with multiple facets to them that makes this series the stupendous one that it is.

Final Verdict: Fantastically penned, as always.

Favorite Quotes

And then the damn male did that thing he did—he kissed her. As if he had every right to just take her mouth with the wild heat of his, to cup the back of her head, to bite down on her lower lip and suck her upper one into his mouth.
Her toes curled, the rage in her bloodstream translating into pure wild heat as the touch-hungry wolf took control. She hadn’t even realized she’d unfolded her arms until her palms met the hard wall of his chest. Hot. Strong. Beautiful.

But though he nudged at her with the blunt head of his erection, the shaft pushing eagerly at the entrance to her body, he stopped long enough to give her a wet, openmouthed kiss that was all licks and little bites, tender and affectionate and sexy all at once.
And then, as her body arched up, he thrust into her in a single hard push.
Her scream fell into his mouth, her fingers clenching on his biceps.

He closed his teeth over her lower lip in playful reprimand. “You’re not lying still.” One hand cupped her breast, fingers tugging at the taut peak of her nipple.
Inhaling a gasping breath, she opened her eyes to fire a retort . . . and saw the wolf looking down at her. “Hello,” she whispered.
His answer was to kiss her, his tongue pushing inside her mouth in audacious demand, his body strong and beautiful above her as he drove her stroke by slow stroke to another shimmering peak. This time, she held him as he shattered, his body going taut above her.

Crying out, Indigo gripped the edges of the bath, her breasts damp and gleaming above him as their bodies danced slick and hot beneath the water. The joining was a little rough, all raw. And then he closed his teeth over the delicate flesh of her breast and her body went taut in an explosion of pleasure, her muscles squeezing him tight as he crushed her to him and came with a hard, explosive grunt.

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


ARC Review: Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-bookherfavoriterival
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Mathews Sisters
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Zachary Black
Heroine: Audrey Mathews
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
Started On: August 31, 2013
Finished On: August 31, 2013

Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry, though not up to par with the most recent releases from her still managed to be a romance that captivated me from start to finish. Some books require an effort to trudge through them, page after page, because its just difficult to give up when you have invested so much of your time in reading that book. But Mayberry’s books stand apart from this crowd as her books always manages to provide all those elements that makes a romance work on so many levels.

Her Favorite Rival is the story of work rivals Audrey Mathews and Zachary (Zach) Black. Audrey is the one who has made her way through the different levels through sheer grit and determination with a whole lot of experience at her back to support her. But Zach who joined just six months back seems to have what she doesn’t; the weight of college earned degrees that speaks volumes. Audrey knows that Zach is the only contender that she should be worried about regarding the upcoming promotion and she is ready to pull all stops into impressing the new management when an assignment pushes both Audrey and Zach together which forms the basis of their relationship.

Mayberry does quite an impressive job of bringing to the readers the pressures of trying to perform in an organization which really drives a hard bargain with its employees. Audrey and Zach are both ambitious and career-driven people, both for different reasons, but similar in the aspect that it is the demons of the past that drives them and has scarred them on levels that they are not even prepared to acknowledge when the relationship between them fosters into being.

Audrey makes the huge mistake of judging Zach based on his good looks and the charm he exudes, but she couldn’t have been more wrong even if she had tried. Mayberry brings to the table the “other side” of what its like to grow up with a drug addict as a parent, the pain of seeing the one person you love continue to go back and feed an addiction that never seems to cease. The shame that clings onto a person for not being able to stop loving that person no matter how destructive a force the person’s continued addiction becomes. Not an easy subject, but I think Mayberry did a splendid job in that aspect of the story.

Her Favorite Rival seemed to begin with a bang and waned a little towards the middle and then picked up again towards the latter part of the book. Even then, a Mayberry book is always worth the investment in time and money and if you love contemporary romances with deeper and in depth stories, this one’s definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Mayberry delivers a great romance amidst the grit and realities that is life.

Favorite Quotes

“I tell you who won’t be going, though—Zach. Fifty bucks he gets a promotion out of all of this.”
Audrey reached for the fries. “He’s not that good.”
“Sorry, sweetie, but he is. He’s smart, he’s good at what he does and he could charm a snake out of its skin.”
Audrey rolled her eyes. “You’re only saying that because you have a soft spot for him.”
“Yeah, it’s called a vagina.”

He was already hard, his arousal a hot pressure against her belly. The ache between her thighs demanded that she rub against him, that she slide a hand around his waist and grip his backside and haul him closer still.
He muttered something urgent against her mouth, then his hands were on her breasts, cupping and squeezing them through the thin cotton of her shirt. She gave a small, inar- ticulate moan when his thumb grazed her nipple, and when he caught it between thumb and forefinger and squeezed she almost dissolved on the spot.

He was reaching for her before she could process his words. One second she stood on the doorstep of his house, the next she was inside, her back against the wall, his mouth and body against hers. He tasted of heat, his tongue stroking hers with demanding greed, his body large and powerful as it pressed into hers. Her hands found his bare shoulders, closing over warm, hard muscle, even as his thigh slid between hers, forcing the heart of her into intimate contact with his leg.

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