Review: Envy by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookenvy
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Hero: Parker Mackensie Evans
Heroine: Maris Matherly-Reed
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 2002
Started On: March 2, 2012
Finished On: March 2, 2012

This is the 2nd book that I have chosen to read because fellow book reviewer Brie seemed to recommend the book so highly. And I have got to believe the girl and take her recommendations to heart because for the world of me, I couldn’t seem to put down this book once I started to read. Envy makes for such a compelling read that I resented every single minute I had to be away from the story that unfolded, bringing home the fact that when it comes to thrillers of the romantic suspense variety, there is none like Sandra Brown who can deliver on every aspect of the story.

Parker Mackensie Evans is a man who has been biding his time, plotting and planning the perfect revenge for his best friend turned foe Noah Reed. Parker has got the bait that would draw Noah’s wife, Maris Matherly-Reed in, and use her in his plot for revenge and vengeance that he has been waiting for for the past 14 years. A man with enough scars on the inside and the outside to last him a lifetime, Parker’s story is one of pain, heartbreak and eventually one full of lessons for anyone willing to read between the lines.

Maris Matherly-Reed is the ultimate heir to Matherly Press, one of the most renowned publishing houses in the country. Maris’s marriage to Noah Reed is going on 22 months and though Maris feels those twinges of unease about her husband and his inattention towards her oft late, she manages to brush it aside and go on with her daily life. Maris adores her father, and rightfully so when Daniel Matherly had brought her up single-handedly, given her all the love and affection in the world, taught her how to be true to herself and all that she believes in. Maris though is the senior vice-president of Matherly Press, she craves for those days when she had been an editor involved in the nitty-gritty process involved in shaping up a good book and delivering it to readers. So when she comes across a manuscript entitled “Envy” that draws her in with the characters and the story that it hints at, Maris trusts her gut instincts and seeks out the author who lives in the remote island of St. Anne.

Little does Maris know that when it comes to Parker, nothing is as it seems and that Maris is merely a means to an end that Parker wants so badly, even if it means that he has to forgo the only chance he would ever have at love and maybe finally peace from all those nightmares that continues to haunt him night and day. Parker’s manuscript with two characters Todd and Roarke that span the years of the 80’s is a story of two best friends whose competitiveness to outdo each other as the first one to land a publishing contract goes horribly wrong when one of the characters involved continue to harbor a darkness deep within his soul, intent in going through any means to achieve fame and fortune which he believes to be rightfully his. It is up to Maris to dig deeper in order to unravel the truth behind the story, to find out whether the story is indeed fiction or a true story which could have dire consequences on her life and those whom she holds near and dear to her if left unheeded.

Envy is one of those stories that I seem to have missed during the days in which I positively devoured every Sandra Brown book that I could get my hands on. And as I mentioned at the beginning of my review, Envy turned out to be a story that I couldn’t get enough of, Parker’s multifaceted character reason enough to dig deeper into the story. Parker is the brooding, cynical, manipulative hero and all rightfully so based on all that he has gone through in life. His careful plotting and planning doesn’t get him far when he encounters Maris in flesh, the woman who in the end turns his life and best laid plans all around. Suddenly things don’t seem to be as clear cut as Parker wants them to be, but the fire of vengeance that burns and taints his soul is one that refuses to be denied, and Parker pays the price of letting go of the one woman who could have brought that much needed light into his otherwise dark and bleak existence.

Maris was a character that I simply adored. She is such a true romantic at heart that it is hard not to fall for her even as the story begins. Maris is a woman who cares, perhaps a bit too much, but a woman who nevertheless defines fairer sex as they should be. She is strong, patient and loving and has that innate kindness inside of her that reaches out to those around her. Her reaction towards Parker is an alien one, one that confounds her and makes her question her vows to a man who seems to have bedazzled her with his charm and wit beneath which lies cruelty and a will to hurt that surpasses anything that Maris has ever encountered before in her life. The one thing Maris learns is that nothing is as it seems and to trust no one but her instincts that have guided her until now.

The twists and turns the plot takes are endless, ones that leaves you reeling from one twist to the next. Sandra Brown is definitely a master at what she does and Envy is a testament to her ability to deliver a good mystery/thriller with elements of romance in the mix, recommended for fans of Sandra Brown and fans of the genre.

Favorite Quotes

[Parker] “We know why I kissed you last night, Maris.”
“To frighten me off.”
He frowned. “That doesn’t even merit an argument. I kissed you because you braved Terry’s and showed up everybody in the place, including me. I kissed you because just looking at you made me ache. I kissed you because I’m a rotten son of a bitch and your mouth looked so goddamn kissable. Simply put, I kissed you because I wanted to. It’s something I admit and you damn well know. But there is one question that’s driving me fucking crazy.”
His eyes focused harder on hers and, by doing so, penetrated. “Why did you kiss me back?” 

He gathered a handful of her hair, then wound it around his fist and drew her closer until their faces were inches apart. He hesitated for several heartbeats, then settled his lips against hers, tested the angle, readjusted. He was moderately controlled until he heard a small whimper from her. He backed off, looked down into her eyes, and recognized a desire that equaled his own.
Control was abandoned. He covered her face with wild, random, artless kisses and she was doing the same to him. Then mouths melded and tongues touched, and they kissed with carnal greed.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Book Depository


Review: Cry No More by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookCry no More
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Piatkus

Hero: James Alejandro Xavier Diaz
Heroine: Milla Edge
Date of Publication: November 4, 2003
Started On: November 9, 2009
Finished On: November 12, 2009

This powerful story by Linda Howard is one of her most outstanding pieces of work. Both Milla and James are two wonderful characters and their story is one I guarantee that no one can really put down without seeing it through.

The story starts with Milla married to Dr. David Boone, a surgeon who with a group of other doctors opens up a free clinic in Mexico for a year. Milla gives birth to their son Justin whilst in Mexico, who is snatched away from Milla whilst she is left bleeding to death from the attack. In the midst of it all, Milla however manages to leave her mark on one of her attackers, finding the man with the scar becoming her life goal once she recovers enough to look for her son.

Ten years on, divorced from David, Milla runs an organization known as Finders that deploy volunteers who help in missing children/adult cases.Through all that time, Milla has never once given up hope that one day she would find her son and her resolve to do this finally leads her to James Diaz, whom at first Milla thinks to be involved with the kidnapping of Justin.

To Milla’s surprise, James turns out to be the only one who can find the answers to all the questions Milla has been asking all those years. What Milla doesn’t know is that it is those that she is closest to who have ulterior motives, who do not want her to find out the truth related to the disappearance of her son. And once Milla does find Justin, the sheer act of bravery that she performs would forever be etched onto my heart because I do not know of anyone who could have done what she did for her son.

Cry No More is a book that has found a permanent place on my favorites and keepers shelf. Whenever I need myself a Linda Howard fix, which is often, I find myself craving some James Diaz for some reason and I always end up either skimming through the delicious parts or just re-reading the whole thing all over again. Cry No More is a book that deals with a heartbreaking issue, the raw pain that Milla goes through towards the end just reaches something deep inside of you until you are ready to howl from the sheer agony of it all.

And through the stormy days that follows, James proves his unwavering love for a woman whom he considers his in every way. The way he completely takes care of Milla’s every single need makes you want to lay yourself down somewhere and offer yourself to James to do as he pleases. He is the strong, silent and lethal warrior type of hero who would have zero qualms about killing when it comes to protecting the ones he loves. His utter focus and the dangerous vibe that always surrounds him is what draws me to his character every.single.time. that I read this book. And I am sure I would keep coming back for more of him in the near & foreseeable future!

If I could give this book more than 5-stars, I definitely would. Because Cry No More is a jewel of a novel, that indeed deserves high praise for  the masterpiece that Linda Howard seems to have spun with this one. Very highly recommended!

Memorable Quotes

He unsnapped her jeans and said, “I want you just like this.” Then he kissed her.
There was nothing romantic about Diaz, no murmured sweet things, no gallant gestures, just this kiss that went on and on, deep and voracious. She’d never been kissed like this before, with an intensity that stripped everything down to the simplest components: male, female. He held her with his hand burrowed into her hair, her skull gripped in his palm, her head tilted back while he fed from her mouth. That was what it felt like, a taking. And yet he gave, too. He gave pleasure. She burned with it, the flames fueled by nothing more than his mouth and tongue.

Milla put her hands on his ribs, holding on as he braced his weight on one arm while with his other hand he guided his penis to her and in the same rough motion pushed deep inside.
He froze in place, his breath panting between his parted lips as they stared at each other. She couldn’t move; the feel of him inside her was too sharp, almost painful in its intensity. Their gazes met in the mellow lamplight, and she was mesmerized by the tension in his face, the way his steely muscles were locked as if he didn’t dare move. It built and built, that clawing need, and yet she remained poised on the razor’s edge of something she knew she couldn’t control. His chest suddenly heaved on a convulsive breath, and he moved in a long, deep stroke that took him all the way to the hilt.
By morning, she was raw and sore, and knew walking would be an effort. By morning, she could barely remember what it had been like to not know his body, not to have felt him inside her and held him in her arms and absorbed the power of his thrusts as he came.
By morning, she was his.

He whirled her against the refrigerator, his hands hard on her waist. Startled, she dropped her purse and keys to the floor and looked up at his set face and narrowed savage eyes. “Don’t ever do that to me again,” he said with clenched teeth.
She didn’t have to ask what he meant. Those moments when Pavón’s pistol had been trained directly at her head had been long and terrifying.
“I stayed in the—” she began, but he cut her off with a kiss that was wild and hungry and deep. He lifted her onto her toes and pressed in hard against her, grinding his erection into the softness of her mound.
She yielded immediately to that outraged male aggression, wrapping her arms around him and transforming it into sheer lust.

Milla was always aware, on the dimmest edge of her consciousness that Diaz constantly watched her.
She also knew that he was a man who never gave up, who never lost sight of his goal. Exactly what his goal was wasn’t always clear to her, but she had no doubt he was perfectly clear in his own mind what he wanted.
He wanted her. She knew it, and yet she couldn’t imagine how they could ever be together again. The rift between them, to her, was final and absolute. He’d betrayed her in the most wounding way possible, and forgiveness evidently wasn’t her strong suit. She had found that grudges weren’t heavy at all; she could carry them for a very long time.
Diaz wasn’t taking care of her out of the goodness of his heart. He was taking care of her the way a wolf cared for its wounded mate.

She felt both relaxed and protected with him, at least from outside forces. Nothing, it seemed, could protect her from him, and tonight she wasn’t even certain she wanted to be. Claimed, and mated. She was his, but was he hers? And if he was, what in hell did they do about it?
“I don’t even know what you want,” she said fretfully, beginning to lose herself in rising sensation.
“This,” he muttered in a dark, rough tone. “You.
Just as he’d done to her, she slowly moved up and down, caressing him with her body, drawing out his response. He ground his teeth together, fighting not to come when she was just as determined he would.
Frustrated, she wondered why he was holding back—until she heard herself moan, and realized the friction was working on her, too.
The battle there in the shower was in close-combat conditions. With the clinging grip of her body she tried to wring a climax from him, locking her legs around him and pumping hard. He slowed her down with that one arm around her hips, grinding her against him and sending her response rocketing.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=5/5]