ARC Review: Shredded by Tracy Wolff

Format: E-bookshredded
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: Extreme Risk, #1
Publisher: Random House Publishing
Hero: Z Michaels
Heroine: Ophelia Richardson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 4, 2014
Started On: February 2, 2014
Finished On: February 5, 2014

Shredded by Tracy Wolff features the too sexy for his own good, 21 year old professional snowboarder Z Michaels who makes you take a double take from the moment he makes his entrance into the story. With a body worth drooling over and then some, tattoos and piercing to show for the bad boy that he is, it is Z’s tortured soul that gets to you as the story proceeds.

Ophelia Richardson has had enough of men who survive on the rush of adrenaline and danger and living for the next high. She has the scars on her body and her heart as a testament to the fact, something that she keeps reminding herself of and often when Z makes his interest in her known. Knowing that Z sleeps his way through girls and discards them like yesterday’s news doesn’t make it any easier for Ophelia to resist his charms, nor does it make her blind to the heartbreakingly vulnerable Z that lies beneath all that attitude and bluster.

Z might think that Ophelia is just another random girl that he would get out of his system once the deed is done, but from the first moment he lays eyes on her beautiful form, Z knows in his heart that Ophelia makes every single woman around him fade away to insignificance. And though both Z and Ophelia come with their own baggage and struggle every single day to move on from the shackles that bind, there is no denying the fact that these two damaged souls call to each other on a level that neither can begin to understand nor comprehend.

Ophelia is not at all ready for a repeat of her past and Z is not ready to face his past demons that drive him to take risks that he otherwise would not. And if Z and Ophelia are to make things work between them, each of them have their own demons to slay and put to rest without which the fiery love that takes a hold of them would crash and burn engulfing them both in the process.

Shredded has all the ingredients that should make a book explosive in your hands. However, I found that unlike the one erotic romance from Tracy Wolff that I read and absolutely loved, Shredded seemed to have a more subtle undertone to it that somehow prevented the story from making that impression it should have. I’m not saying that Shredded turned out to be a bad story, but rather I think it could have turned out better which would have definitely increased the overall impact of the story on the reader.

Z as a hero should have touched my heart from the beginning because lets face it, who doesn’t love a hot and tattooed bad boy hero who is not afraid to live up to his image? But I found myself a bit detached from the whole thing, up till towards the end which is only then when the true story behind Z comes to light. My heart practically leaped to my throat, the emotions that tumbled inside of me made me want to reach into the story and hug the little boy who must’ve been absolutely devastated by the turn of events in his life that had made him the way he is.

Ophelia on the other hand didn’t make that much of an impression on me, to be honest. I felt that her character tended to fade away into the background, though I did love her snazzy comebacks and the fire in her that made her the worthy other half of Z at the end of the story. The moment I fell in love with Ophelia was when she found the courage to go to Z and profess to stick with him no matter what; and I think that takes immense courage for someone who has been through what she had been. I think a point that is worthy of making is that the ending of the story was what sucker punched me and made me pull up its rating.

The one thing that made me happy was that Z and Ophelia got their happily ever after in this book; I was afraid that like most new adult romances featuring first person viewpoints from both characters, this too would turn into one of those trilogies where the hero and heroine continue to have second thoughts about each other or something or the other would keep them apart until the author had milked their story for what its worth; well lets just say I’m just glad that didn’t happen. And I am certainly curious enough to seek out the second book in the series which will be Ash’s story which comes out in April of this year.

Final Verdict: Ophelia and Z makes for a haunting combination, one that delivers a good story!

Favorite Quotes

She doesn’t pull away, though, like I expect her to. She doesn’t slap my face, doesn’t stand up, doesn’t do any of the things I think she will. Instead she sits up and grinds herself, slowly, carefully, determinedly, over my cock. And embarrassing though it is, I swear I almost come at just that touch. Which is crazy, except—in my defense—the girl does one hell of a hip swivel.

This time, when her eyes meet mine, they’re big and mossy green and shimmering with tears. “I want to feel. Something, anything. I’ve spent so long trying to be numb that I think I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be anything but. Please.” She pulls at the blanket, drops kisses on my shoulders, my neck, my chest. Runs her tongue along the unstructured lines of my tattoo. “Please, Z. Make me feel something. Make me feel anything.”

Her lips open under mine like they were meant for me, her tongue stroking along my own as I explore the recesses of her mouth. She tastes so good, like caramel and coffee and sweet, sweet whipped cream. I nibble at her upper lip, suck it between mine. Laugh a little as she gasps and trembles against me. If I could, I’d stay here forever. Right here, at this moment, with my girl in my arms and the nightmares still and silent within me.

And then she’s coming, her slick heat clenching around me in a rhythm that strips away the last tiny bit of control I’ve got. I grab her hips, thrust into her once, twice. Then I’m coming, too, orgasm rolling over me like an avalanche, burying me in pleasure so intense it’s pain. Burying me in satisfaction. Burying me in love, until Ophelia is all I can see or feel or taste. Until she’s inside me as surely as I’m still inside her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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Review: Shotgun Wedding by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbackshotgunwedding
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Jesse John Harden
Heroine: Anne Margaret Malloy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 4, 2003
Started On: March 16, 2012
Finished On: March 17, 2012

The saddest feeling in the world as a reader is to know that an author whose voice beats any other writes no more. Every time I read a book by Maggie Osborne, this is a loss that I feel profoundly to my very soul. Lately I have been very discontent with the books lining my e-book shelves, something that happens to me every now and then. Finally, I decided to dust off my paperback edition of Shotgun Wedding which I bought from Abe Books a couple of months back, and let Maggie Osborne charm her way into my heart and soul and she did exactly just that with a story that kept me turning the pages even into wee hours of the morning.

Jesse John Harden works as the Sheriff of the small town of Marshall in Kansas. A man who prefers to keep to himself, Jesse might show a laid-back front to people but he is a man who gets the job done earning him more than the gratitude of the people of his now hometown.

25 year old Anne Margaret Malloy (Annie) finds herself in a bit of a fix when she discovers that she is pregnant and that she can’t continue to avoid the fact any longer. Annie is someone who has sworn off marriage a long time back, the independence that her parents give her one that she had taken for granted and landed her in the shitload of trouble she finds herself in. Annie likes to think of herself as a New Modern Woman like those who aren’t afraid to move ahead in a man’s world and show the world their worth. But the unexpected pregnancy brings all her dreams crashing down and forces her to face the consequences of the road that she had taken when she had met the father of her child.

Even though Annie’s beau agrees to marry her and do the right thing, she cannot accept the concept of living with a man who robs banks and trains for a living. The mere thought of feeding herself and her children from the profit reaped off by robbing other people of their hard earned wealth leaves a hollow feeling deep inside of her and that is how Annie finds herself the outcast of the town, living with her parents who refuse to let her take the coward’s way out and stay at home wallowing in self-pity.

Through a chain of events, the townsfolk arrive at the conclusion that Jesse is the father of Annie’s unborn child as Annie continues to hide the identity of the man who had fathered her child. Jesse had always had a soft spot for Annie, her unruly red curls a constant source that fires his libido unlike any other. But his plans of gentle days of courting Annie into his world fly out of the window when he reels with the news of Annie’s pregnancy, until he comes up with a plan that would effectively tie Annie’s life to his, all the while convinced that with time he would make Annie fall in love with him.

Shotgun Wedding was a story that was delivered in the classic wit and style that only Maggie Osborne can pull off. She is an author who can continue to juggle a hundred characters in her stories and never make you feel as if you are floundering around trying to pin down who is who. In Shotgun Wedding, Ms. Osborne manages to bring the whole town to life, exploring those little nuances that makes you feel as if you are part of the story that unfolds rather than a guest passing through.

I loved Jesse and clamored for him with everything female inside of me. He is the least “tortured” hero that I have come across by the author and there was a definite charm about his character because of that. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that Jesse won’t make your heart go aflutter because he definitely does that and more. He has that inner strength and formidability etched onto his character that would make your heart beat a tad faster when he enters into the picture. And he is the type of man you can count on to keep the nightmares at bay, to make you feel loved and cherished in those little ways that counts. I loved how Jesse begins to court his pregnant wife and that slow simmering seduction that he begins that just made me hum deep inside and curl my toes in anticipation.

I had a bit of a problem with Annie like most readers. Annie is not without her faults but I expected her to grow out of them and show me the backbone that would make her a worthy partner for Jesse till death does them apart. At first her selfishness in not thinking about the parents who had done nothing but love her and give her everything she had wanted grated on me. But later on, she did learn her lesson and accepted her faults and showed that she was made of better stuff. The one thing that continued to irk me was how Annie tried to shield the activities of the actual father of her child from her husband, putting Jesse inevitably in danger which is only then Annie realizes the blunder she has made. But I guess once again she does learn from her mistake but I found it a bit hard to forgive her and move on like Jesse did.

The one other problem I had with the story was how Jesse didn’t feature in the story as prominently as I wanted. The story was mostly dominated by Annie and the father of her child and though the anger that he harbors towards Jesse for snatching away something that he considers as rightfully his drives the story, I wanted the burgeoning relationship between Jesse and Annie to come into the spotlight and give me a couple of chapters to sigh over long after I was done.

It is the sheer feeling of magic that surrounds me when I start a Maggie Osborne that would always leave me coming back for more. Recommended for fans of Maggie Osborne and fans of marriage of convenience themed romances.

Favorite Quotes

If only. The saddest two words in any language.

Golden shadows shimmered and the musky scent of the candles dizzied every breath. They were on the bed now, an enormous bed with sheets of glowing satin. Clasped in an embrace they rolled together, drinking deep kisses from gasping mouths, hands stroking, teasing, chasing, bodies pressing against each other as if seeking to melt and become one with the other.

He bent his head, bringing his lips near her ear. “Talk of the future confuses you, I know. But I think about it all the time.
His hands moved slowly down her bare arms. “When the time is right, when it’s our time, I want to undress you – slowly – in front of the fire. Slowly, one item at a time. I want to roll down your stockings and unlace your corset. I want to slowly take the pins out of your hair and catch the weight of it in my hands. Then I want to learn the feel of every inch of you.”

[Annie] “I just wondered … is slowly a good thing?”
“Is slowly …” His fingers relaxed and she felt rather than saw his smile. He brushed his fingertips across her lips, then sank back to his pillow. “Oh yes, Annie love. Slowly is a very good thing.”
“Oh, my.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Abe Books

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Review: If You Know Her by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookifyouknowher
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Ash Trilogy #3
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Edward Lawson Reilly
Heroine: Nia Hollister
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 28, 2012
Started On: March 11, 2012
Finished On: March 16, 2012

If You Know Her, the 3rd book in the Ash Trilogy by Shiloh Walker is the conclusion to a series that started out explosively good. It was the need to know the identity of the killer that Shiloh had hidden so well in plain sight that made me come back for more every time. Shiloh Walker is an author who manages to disturb my slumber. This time it was a nightmare that I read the final book in the trilogy and STILL couldn’t figure out who the killer was which had me jerking back to wakefulness.

Nia Hollister is having a tough time out of accepting the brutal death of her cousin Jolene Hollister. Though the killer had been caught or rather had been killed, tying up everything in a neat little package, Nia doesn’t get the closure that she so craves. A photojournalist by profession, Nia had been away on an assignment when her cousin had first gone missing. The sheer amount of rage that unfurls inside of Nia upon seeing the bruised and battered body of the one person who had been like a sister to her leaves her reeling and at the same time gives her that determination to dig deeper, to find out whether Jolene’s killer had well and truly being caught.

34 year old Edward Lawson Reilly (Law) lives in the small town of Ash in Kentucky. Law is a writer by profession and has that brooding thing down to a fine art. 5 months or so later to the day that Nia Hollister had practically exploded into his life, Law encounters her once again, this time seemingly with her mind set on staying. Law knows deep inside that with that unrelenting glint in her eyes, Nia could stir up a shitload of trouble but that doesn’t stop him from craving for her with every breathe he takes.

What Nia does with her pricking and prodding is to stir up a killer who is more than happy to lay dormant for a while until the dust settles. But as it is usual with methodical serial killers, he too makes his fair share of mistakes and that is how eventually Nia ends up being the one who is able to unravel him, the one who is able to once again set on fire that burning need to hurt, kill and do a hell lot more, only if Nia were the type of person who would not cause a fuss if she went missing from the scene.

For me, it was the killer that Shiloh brought to life in book one that made this whole series. He was scary enough to give me the shivers every single time he came into the picture and my mind was frantically trying to piece together all the evidence to find out who it is that could be the killer. As most readers who have reviewed this already have stated that they had their fair share of suspicion on who could be the killer, I too had them but then Shiloh managed to throw us all off a bit with book 2 in which we didn’t get to see much from the guy.

Nia Hollister is a force to be reckoned with. She is totally bad-ass, drives a Harley and lives from one assignment to the next. But with Law in the picture, Nia starts picturing a life that could mean settling down a bit and dreams of that elusive thing called a happily-ever-after that few people ever seem to find in real life. 

Law is the type of hero that you envision in your mind with that five o’clock shadow darkening his jawline, a pensive faraway look hiding what he thinks and eyes that could drive a woman nuts because when he does focus on you, it would take a mighty force of the nature to pull your gaze away from his. As all the heroes we met through the trilogy, Law too is protectiveness personified. Even when Nia gives him a lot of trouble, Law sticks adamantly to his schedule of keeping his woman safe, even if it means that he is the one who has to carry the nightmares to bed with him.

The passion between Nia and Law was of the toe-curling variety with some scorching scenes tossed in between and I loved every minute of it. The one thing that I felt was missing from the story was the insight into the killer’s life once he was revealed. I wanted to know details about him that would have shed some light on why he had turned out that way. The killer was a mass of contradictions if ever there was one. The fact that he managed to lead a life that resembled normalcy, didn’t isolate himself from the rest of the town and goes about his daily life as a normal person would were bits and pieces that fascinated me. I wanted to know what makes him tick, what kickstarts and unravels that ball of need inside of him that gives him that creepy edge.

While everyone got their happily ever afters, I wanted an epilogue or just an extra chapter to see how they were all doing, how they were all dealing with the aftermath of a killer who had not just touched their lives for brief moments in time, but left a deep impact on all of them which would only heal with time.

Recommended for fans of Shiloh Walker and fans of the Ash Trilogy. 

Favorite Quotes

Swearing, he fisted a hand in her short hair, yanked her head back and slanted his mouth over hers. She opened for him, humming with delight and Law was cursing himself even as he gorged on her taste. Fuck, she was sweet—hot, sweet, and perfect.

Tipping her head, she stared into his tawny, hazel eyes, so intense, so burning-hot and all-consuming. Had she ever had a man look at her like that? Like she was all? Like she was everything? The center of his universe? Hell, screw the center … Law was looking at her like she was his universe.

Then he curled his tongue around her clit and Nia could have sworn she saw lights exploding. Her breath caught in her lungs, the muscles in her body went rigid. Nothing, absolutely nothing seemed to exist except for the way that man was teasing her closer and closer to climax, using his tongue in a way that was nothing short of diabolical.

Her breathing ragged, her body went lax under his. “We’re not done,” he rasped, fisting a hand in her dark, short hair. Law greedily took her mouth as he started to ride her again—deep, hard. So damned hungry, so damned hungry …
If she’d had the breath, she might have told him to give her a minute.
But even if she had had the breath? He would have stolen it away again.

When she reached the button of his jeans, his hips jerked and he squeezed his eyes closed, hoped he wouldn’t make a fool of himself and lose it the second she touched him. He hadn’t done anything like that in ages, not since high school, but Nia shattered his control like nothing else.
Nia shattered him.

He’d had a need to be gentle, had wanted this to be slow and lazy, as though something sweet and easy could take away the misery of the day. It wasn’t quite the sweet and tender seduction he’d hoped for, but as the climax rushed up on them, claiming them both hard and demanding, as she rested her forehead to his, their gazes locked, her mouth seeking out his … everything else fell away.
In those moments, nothing else existed but each other. 

Across the room, Nia said with a smirk, “Look at Tinkerbell going all mama-bear.”
Hope snapped, “Oh, shove the Tinkerbell crap up your ass.”
For about two seconds, Nia just stared at her. Then she started to laugh.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB | Book Depository

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Review: If You See Her by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookifyouseeher
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: The Ash Trilogy #2
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Remington Jennings
Heroine: Hope Carson
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 31, 2012
Started On: March 9, 2012
Finished On: March 10, 2012

If You See Her by Shiloh Walker is book 2 in her Ash Trilogy, book 1 of which entitled If You Hear Her crept the bejesus out of me and introduced a whole lot of characters that certainly piqued my interest on more levels than one. 

The small town of Ash, Kentucky with a population of 8,312 is rocked by the series of vicious murders happening in their own backyard. The whole town is shocked to say the least and the last round of violence in which Hope Carson is suspected to have beaten up her best friend Law Reilly and then nearly gone on to kill herself which shocks the District Attorney Remington Jennings  (Remy) more than he lets on.

From the moment Remy had laid eyes on Hope and her beautiful eyes filled with a fear and pain that pains him and makes every protective instinct within him want to embrace her and keep her safe, Remy knows that he wouldn’t have an easy time out of prosecuting the one woman who rouses the very primal instincts deep inside of him.

Hope is a woman who has been on the run for the past 2 years from her ex-husband. Scared and jittery as she might be, the one thing Hope vows is to never return to her ex-husband because living in the darkness that had been their marriage with no way out of it is not an experience that Hope wants to repeat. Hope doesn’t want or need a man in her life, and the merest thought of even getting close to someone of the opposite sex leaves her with a bad taste in her mouth. But Remy, the man who nearly arrests her for a crime she is innocent of is the one man to whom she has a difficulty showing her indifferent side to.

If You See Her is an installment in the series that contains very little of the elements of suspense that made book 1 such a hit towards the end. I missed the presence of the creepy killer and craved to know more about him because Shiloh has certainly done a swell job of creating his character, leaving the readers practically tied up in knots trying to guess as to who the killer could be. So needless to say, when the killer didn’t make much of an appearance in the story I felt cheated out just a bit.

Rather than focusing on the suspense element, the novel delves deeper into the growing relationship between Hope and Remy and continues to reveal the different facets of the multitude of characters that bring this trilogy to life. There are family problems, there are problems between friends, and then there is the budding romance between Remy and Hope where Remy forces himself to tread very carefully in order to win a woman who has seen more than her fair share of violence and depravity.

The moment I fell in love with Remy was a bizarre one. It was the moment that Remy let Hope take the lead role in emerging as an independent woman, a person who is more than capable of starting out on her own even if fear continues to walk right along with her on her quest to assert herself. It was how Remy went against his instincts and let Hope do her thing, let her be herself and let her come out of the shell she had hidden herself in to emerge as a woman who is breathtaking as she revels in the freedom that being with Remy brings her that I knew Remy was definitely the man for Hope.

It is always a must to appreciate how Shiloh brings the passion between her characters to life, and I reveled in every minute of how Remy and Hope finds that special someone in each other and forges that deep connection with each other that made me just a teeny bit envious even as I rejoiced in their love.

If the suspense element had been more, if the pace of the story had been just a tad faster, I would have definitely enjoyed this a lot lot more. But having said that, If You See Her is still a decent addition to a trilogy of which the last book I have already started on in my quest to get acquainted with the killer and finally find out who Shiloh has so masterfully created and hidden in plain sight so very well.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Shiloh Walker.

Favorite Quotes

This was the absolute last woman on earth he should want—she was trouble, in so many ways. She was troubled, and that was just one of the reasons he didn’t need this.
This was the absolute last woman on earth he wanted to want—she just plain and simple was trouble—he could feel that in his bones.
And yet, as he stared into those big, green eyes, he did want.
Hell, did he want.

One kiss, he told himself.
Just one easy, quick kiss.
He had plenty of control.
He could control his temper, his hunger, his …
Her mouth opened under his and she met his kiss with shy, sweet hesitation.
Remy felt like the very ground had crumbled under his feet.
Oh, hell.

He pushed up onto his heels and then pulled her up against him, one hand cradling the nape of her neck, the other splayed wide over her back. His mouth came down on hers and right before he kissed her, he muttered, “Fuck, you’re going to drive me insane, I know it.”
Then his mouth crushed down onto hers. His taste was different—darker.
Her, she realized. He tasted of her.

Man, she loved the way Remy smelled. Male … warm. Expensive. Idly, she noticed the same scent was on her, now. It was the soap he used. She’d discovered that in the shower when she lathered up with it. The smell was borderline intoxicating on him, not so much on her. Absently, she stroked her hands up and down his sides.
“Hope, you’re making it very hard for me to have a conversation here.”
“Hmmm?” Tipping her head back, she glanced at him through her lashes, saw that he had a look on his face that was rapidly growing familiar.
That lovely blue was heated, his lashes low over his eyes. And she found herself wanting to push up on her toes and tug his head down close enough to kiss him.

Then he kissed her again. When he licked her through the silk, she moaned. Catching the fabric, he tugged it aside and licked her again. “Hot … fuck, yeah, you’re hot.”
Hope shuddered and fisted her hands in his hair again. But this time, she tugged him closer, gasping out his name.
He smiled against her and then proceeded to do to her what she’d been doing to him from the first time he’d laid eyes on her—driving him out of his fucking mind.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB | Book Depository

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ARC Review: If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookifyouhearher
Read with: Bluefire Reader & Stanza for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Ash Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Ezra King
Heroine: Lena Riddle
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 25, 2011
Started On: October 14, 2011
Finished On: October 16, 2011

The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood—she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard—and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can’t escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her—to be touched by her—but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close? When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman’s screams, his instincts tell him that Lena’s life is also at risk—and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.

Certainly different from the various other published works by the author, book 1 of the Ash Trilogy signifies the growth of Shiloh Walker as an author towards excellence and beyond. Even from the very start, ever since I stumbled upon Ms. Walker’s Her Best friend’s Lover, I have been drawn towards the effortless ease with which she draws the reader into the story that makes a book hard to put down and of course the way she delivers scorching hot scenes of passion that one cannot help but absolutely revel in. If You Hear Her delivers on all of the above and takes it just a step further with a bone-chillingly maniacal and yet methodical villain together with a lot of multi-faceted and appealing characters that just makes this book one of her best stories yet!

Laying the groundwork for the rest of the titles in the trilogy, Ms. Walker introduces the reader to characters whose stories are just begging to be told, the next book of which I am just practically itching to get my hands on. Though at first I was of the mind that there wasn’t enough focus on Ezra and Lena to do them justice, I did a complete turnaround once I realized where the story was heading. The story especially picks up pace after the first couple of chapters, leaving the reader with no doubt that the ride ahead would turn out to be an edge-of-the-seat one at that.

Ezra King with his unusual name turned out to be such a compelling hero. There is no doubt that he is tortured, sweet, sexy, determined & dangerous all rolled into one. Ezra’s past keeps on tormenting him, making him question his abilities in judging people which is more than a requirement when it comes to being a cop. Ezra never expects to find anything more than the peace of his mind when he moves to Ash, Kentucky, and he certainly does not expect to find himself falling for a woman who makes his senses reel and heart beat faster just with her presence alone.

Lena Riddle’s entrance into the story surprised me big time. Ms. Walker has done such a swell job with her character that its hard not to “see” her in your mind’s eye as you read along. She is strong, confident, sassy and beautiful inside out, her keen sense of hearing one of the reasons why the nefarious killer’s less than stellar activities comes to light. Even though Lena faces ridicule from the one law enforcement official who made me grind my teeth out of sheer frustration, it is Lena’s determination that she would not give up until someone believes her well enough to at least try and find out the reality behind the gut chilling screams that jump starts the series of events which just seems to accelerate in intensity as time passes on.

While the passion between Lena and Ezra burns hotter than wildfire with each encounter, with it comes forth the more tender emotions which neither of them counted on, but inevitably embrace with the danger escalating to proportions neither foresaw coming. I loved each and every passionate encounter between Lena and Ezra and I have to yet again bow down to Ms. Walker’s superb ability when it comes to delivering on just the right amount of passion, suspense and character development to make a story that much harder to part with.

I nearly whimpered in agony when the story was over, leaving the reader with no choice but to pray that the publication date of the next book rolls in before you die out of sheer curiosity. Most of the time when it comes to suspense novels, its almost always pretty darn easy to identify who the killer is, but in this case I have a feeling that Ms. Walker is going to be keeping the reader guessing until towards the very end, which would mean a job well done for the author and continued ravage of my fingernails in the foreseeable future.

For die-hard fans of Shiloh Walker like myself, this is an absolute must-read. For fans of romantic suspense, I dare you to pick this up, just to find out whether you can pin-point who the killer could be. And for fans of character-driven romances with a strong element of suspense, this one’s just what the doctor ordered for the day.

Favorite Quotes

He had the sexiest damn voice, Lena thought. Sexiest voice . . .  and he was still staring at her, too.
She could tell, all but feel the warmth of his gaze. Feel it, almost like a ray of light traveling over her body, leaving seductive warmth in its wake.

[Lena] “You’re asking me on a date?”
From the corner of his eye, he could see the bartender listening and not pretending not to. The kid barely looked old enough to be out of college— hell, high school.
Tuning the kid out of his mind, he focused on Lena. “Yeah, I’m asking you on a date. At least, I’m trying to. It’s been awhile since I’ve asked a woman on a date, so maybe I’m doing it wrong.”
“Well, it’s been awhile since a guy asked me on a date, so maybe I’ve just forgotten how to recognize the clues.” That pretty, wide mouth curled up in a slow smile.

She was easy to talk to, easy to look at it . . .  and when she smiled at him . . .  well, he  couldn’t call that easy. It hit him in the chest, in the weirdest damn way.
Swallowing, she licked her lips and then she could have whimpered, begged for mercy, because she could taste him. Taste him, and it made her want to throw herself against him and kiss him. Again, and again .

[Lena] “This is crazy, you know. How can you know me well enough to love me?”
“Lena.” He pressed a kiss to her temple. “I know what I need to know. I know that your laugh makes me want to smile, and I know that when you’re sad, it bothers me. I know I love to watch you, I know you blush when you realize I’ve been staring at you, even though it makes you smile, too.”
He combed a hand through her hair, angled her head, and brushed her mouth with his. “I may not know everything there is to know about you, Lena, but I do know I’d like to spend my life learning the things I don’t know.”

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Review: Prairie Moon by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-bookpraire
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: James Cameron
Heroine: Della Ward
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 29, 2002
Started On: August 19, 2010
Finished On: August 21, 2010

Maggie Osborne never fails to invoke a massive torrent of emotions in the reader with her books, and this book is in no way an exception to the rule.

Dell Ward, the widow of Clarence Ward who died during the confederates war, now lived in a rundown farm at the edge of a small Texas town. With the small number of animals she keeps and the garden she cultivates to give her a reason to get up each morning, Della is a mere ghost of the woman who married Clarence at the tender age of 16, with dreams of being the idyllic wife of a war veteran.

Lawman James Cameron has been carrying around Della’s photograph with him for the past 10 years. There was not an inch of the woman in the photograph he wasn’t familiar with, and he has once again come to see her so that she would finally know the truth about how her husband had died.

The woman that greets him stirs everything deep within this strong, silent lawman, whom every outlaw in the West was gunning for. Cameron knows that he ought to tell Della outright that he was the reason that Della was a widow and that she had had to fend for herself for the past 10 years. But once Della receives the letter that Clarence had penned for her and never completed before his death, the guilt that Della had been harboring since her husband’s death comes rushing back. The guilt that the last words that her husband had ever read from her were “I hate you”. Della would give anything in her life to take back those words and prevent Clarence from dying thinking that she had hated him.

No matter how much Cameron wants to come out with the truth, he is a man bent on storing up memories for the long lonely life ahead of him of the one woman who had effectively managed to capture his heart. So Cameron comes up with reasons to delay telling Della  the truth and let Della go on assuming that he had been Clarence’s friend. When Cameron finds out that Della was forced to give up her baby girl Claire to the Wards, Cameron knows that returning Claire to Della would be the last thing he does for her before walking away from her life forever.

Della is at first resistant to the idea of going to find Claire, but a part of her can’t help but jump with joy every time she thinks about seeing her baby girl again. Thus starts the long journey these two take, a journey during which the sensual awareness that has always been there between these two bursts to the surface threatening the little control that Cameron has over his feelings when it comes to Della.

The road to happiness for Della and Cameron is not an easy one. Both Cameron and Della have to face their pasts, learn to forgive themselves and one another before they could embrace their happily ever after.

I absolutely loved Cameron as a hero. He definitely is one sigh worthy hero and makes a girl long for one battle scarred brooding war hero of her own. Della complements this strong silent man in every way and though  the immense betrayal she feels when she finds the truth devastates her, the love that she feels for Cameron triumphed over it which made me admire Della as the heroine.

Wonderful story once again by Ms. Osborne. Its a damn shame that she stopped writing romances. Damn shame indeed!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Midnight Confessions by Candice Proctor

Format: E-bookmidconf
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Marshal Zachary Xavier Cooper
Heroine: Emmanuelle de Beauvais
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  June 2002
Started On: August 1, 2010
Finished On: August 2, 2010

Emmanuelle, the widow of Philippe de Beauvais who died no longer than 3 months ago is devastated when her friend and mentor Henri Santerre is murdered right in front of her with a crossbow bolt tipped with silver alloy, the kind that Emmanuelle’s dead husband Philippe had used for recreational hunting. Emmanuelle is more than shocked by the events that take place that night and she can’t help but think that the bolt had actually been meant for her.

The Yankee Marshal Zachary X. Cooper embodies everything that Emmanuelle has come to detest in the confederates war that was ongoing. When Zachary hears about the unusual murder that took place in a cemetery and that also with the most unusual of weapons, he is more than intrigued to find out who is responsible for the murder. The beautifully exotic French woman who is the only witness to the crime and possibly looking as the best viable suspect for the murder stirs something deep within the soldier’s soul right from the very beginning.

Zachary is determined to uncover the secrets that shrouds this woman he is tempted beyond reason to make his, even when the fact that he is a Yankee soldier clearly irks the woman he wants. Emmanuelle is not your typical romance novel heroine. A woman who has a deep passion for practicing medicine during a time when all doors leading to the profession were closed off for her gender,  Emmanuelle continues to serve at the Hospital de Santerre, a hospital that had been opened up by the joint efforts of her father, her husband and Henri Santerre, who had all been doctors. Though heavily mortgaged Emmanuelle refuses to give up and close down the hospital, even after the death of Henri which meant that the only doctor certified to treat patients at the hospital was Dr. Charles Yardley who himself meets an untimely demise later on.

One by one, the people who play vital roles in Emmanuelle’s life are killed off and Emmanuelle herself barely escapes death at the hands of a hired Irishman before being rescued. Though Emmanuelle refuses to give into the fear that threatens to consume her of what would happen to her son Dominic if she were to be killed, Emmanuelle refuses to truthfully tell Zachary anything about her life which might provide vital clues in solving the senseless murders that seemed to be taking place.

Although Emmanuelle would like nothing better than to bury her head in the sand and refuse to face the truth about the intensity of her feelings towards the Yankee soldier who had somehow managed to find a niche for himself in her life, it is with explosive passion that these two finally come together. Zachary is determined to uncover the truth hidden in the layers of half truths that is fed to him one way or the other, and he is more than driven to save the woman he loves more than anything else in this life from the death that awaits her with certainty if the killer is not caught.

This is a splendid story set in the steamy New Orleans, a place where explosive passion, murder and half truths take the center stage. As the truth is uncovered, one painful inch at a time, I continually found myself surprised and at times ready to take Emmanuelle by the shoulders and give her a good shake so that she would tell the complete truth, just the one time. Touching highly provocative subjects, this book is not just a romance, but an intrinsically woven tale of family drama, murder and the destructive power of lies. Highly recommended for those who love a story that would intrigue you and make you ponder about what you have read long after the book is over.

I especially loved the unusual epilogue in the book, told in the viewpoint of a grandchild of Zachary and Emmanuelle, long after they are dead to a great granddaughter of theirs named Emmanuelle. All the characters in this book would definitely weave their magic on the reader that would continue to linger long afterwards. And this is one of those romances where the hero is younger than the heroine; Zachary being five years younger than Emmanuelle.

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