Review: Until You by Judith McNaught

Format: E-bookuntilyou
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Westmoreland Saga, #3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Stephen David Elliott Westmoreland
Heroine: Sheridan Bromleigh
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1995
Started On: January 29, 2016
Finished On: January 31, 2016

Until You by Judith McNaught is one of my favorite books by an author who would always remain as one of those that are unforgettable for me as a romance reader. For myself, authors like Judith McNaught remains as my go to authors when most books of today fails to satisfy me and hit all those spots that need to be petted and stroked when I pick up a romance to read.

Until You is the 3rd book in the Westmoreland saga and tells the story of Stephen David Elliott Westmoreland, Earl of Langford, Baron of Ellingwood, Fifth Viscount Hargrove, Viscount Ashbourne. Well, that was a handful if ever there was one. Stephen is the younger brother of Clayton Westmoreland, the much revered hero of Whitney, My Love, the book that saw Judith McNaught rise to stardom. All the books in the series are 5-star reads for me. However, for some reason, Stephen has always occupied a special spot in my heart, perhaps owing to the fact that he is a hero overlooked by many fans of the author.

Stephen finds himself in a fit of bad luck when an accident makes him responsible for informing the deceased’s fiancée that her intended had met an untimely demise. Unknown to him, Sheridan Bromleigh, the woman who was entrusted by the bride-to-be’s father to safely transport her from America into the hands of her betrothed finds herself in a bit of a fix with the bride having eloped with another man. Sick with fear that she would be imprisoned or worse, not knowing what had happened to the groom in question, Sheridan meets an accident that nearly ends her life, leaving her in the hands and of Stephen himself.

Stephen believes that the woman who has somehow invaded his very thoughts and desires is the fiancée of a dead man, whose death he holds himself responsible for. It doesn’t help matters when Sheridan wakes up with no memories whatsoever of how she got there and what had happened before. Stephen’s reluctant attraction to Sheridan is clouded by the fact that Sheridan is led to believe that Stephen is her intended husband. The fact that she cannot recall any memories of a man as Stephen makes her panicky, but the moments of tenderness that catches Stephen unawares as he unknowingly starts courting the woman he would take as his wife makes her believe in the connection that exists between them.

Truth comes to light at one of those hold your breaths moments and the sheer betrayal that Stephen feels and his ruthless reaction towards it is perhaps the reason why I love Until You so much. It is the way he reacts that gives the book the angst factor, that makes my throat close up, no matter how many times I read this story. Characters from other stories make their appearances, giving a helping hand in a romance that is fraught with tension. Stephen proves to be a hard nut to crack, but then again if he were that easy, I believe I wouldn’t have loved him half as much.

A classic for me, if ever there was one. Recommended!

Final Verdict: Does not disappoint. Ever!

Favorite Quotes

His warm breath in her ear sent shivers up Sheridan’s spine, and she turned her face away from the cause, which brought her lips into instant contact with his. Stephen had intended to kiss her as Burleton might have done, but when her soft lips parted on a shaky breath, his intentions slipped from his mind.
Sheridan knew the moment his arm tightened on her waist and his lips began to move insistently against hers that she couldn’t have been expecting this… not the stormy rush of sensation that made her gasp and cling tighter to him, nor the compulsion to yield her mouth to his searching tongue, nor the frantic beating of her heart when his fingers shoved into the hair at her nape, holding her mouth tighter to his while her body seemed to want to meet and forge into his.

Stephen said abruptly, “Since we’ve ruled out rouge and curtsying, what are you interested in?”
You, Sherry thought. I am interested in you. I am interested in why you seem uneasy right now. I am interested in why there are times when you smile at me as if you see only me and I am all that matters. I am interested in why there are times when I sense that you don’t want to see me at all, even when I’m in front of you. I am interested in anything that matters to you because I want so much to matter to you. I am interested in history. Your history. My history. “History! I like history,” she provided brightly after a pause.

Her smooth brow furrowed in bewilderment. “I can’t quite remember what sort of injury it was, however.”
“A head injury,” Sherry provided helpfully.
“Yes, that was it.” Her bright blue gaze darted to Sherry’s head for a moment. “It looks as if it has healed.”
Dr. Whitticomb intervened. “The injury has healed,” he reminded her. “But there is still a troublesome aftereffect. Miss Lancaster has not yet recovered her memory.”
Miss Charity’s face fell. “My poor child. Do you know who you are?”
“Yes.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Who am I?”

Stephen felt her hand slide up his chest, felt her press closer to him, and he claimed his victory, plundering her mouth with his, teasing and tormenting her, and she responded instinctively. The fires within her that had fueled her tempestuous rebellion earlier, now burned hot and bright with passion, and Stephen found himself in the midst of a kiss that was wildly erotic—and rapidly getting out of control. His hand was sliding over her breast, cupping it, and she was straining toward him in sweet abandon, offering her mouth to him. He told himself to stop and kissed her deeper instead, making her moan softly, and when she kissed him back, tentatively touching her tongue to his lips, it was the gasp of his own breath that he heard.

Every nerve in his body was screaming for release and still he held himself back, driving deeply into her, while the muscles in his arms strained with the rest of his body, refusing to deprive her of the same pleasure she was going to give him any second now. She was whimpering, eyes closed tightly, desperate for something she didn’t understand, afraid to have it. Afraid not to. Sobbing with desire, needing reassurance. He gave it to her in a hoarse whisper. “… Any second now…”
She went up in flames before he finished the sentence, her body clenching his, and Stephen heard himself groan with the extravagant splendor she was somehow making him feel. And then he gave himself over to it, driving toward it… and then past it, climaxing, his body jerking as he poured himself into her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

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Dear Author Review: Guilty Needs by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookGuilty Needs
Read with: IBOOKS for IPAD
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Series: Standalone
Sensuality: 4.5

Hero: Colby Hutchins
Heroine: Bridgette Lancaster (Bree)
Date of Publication: September 19, 2008
Started On: September 9, 2011
Finished On: September 9, 2011

Guilty Needs by Shiloh Walker is one of my all time favorite books since its release on September of 2008. I wanted to show my appreciation for a story that I love to bits and rather than just do a re-read review of it, I thought to myself I would start up a new type of review for those extra special books that I just love no matter how many times I end up re-reading them.

So ladies and gentlemen, I now present you with my very first “Dear Author” review which features a letter to Shiloh Walker written down in order to at least try and show my gratitude and appreciation towards this story that would continue to hold a very special place in my heart for now and always.

Dear Shiloh Walker,

As you can see, I am writing this letter/review to you because I just can’t help but fall a little bit more in love with your story Guilty Needs every single time I read it. I have now seriously lost count of the number of times I have picked this up from collection of Favorites books on my hard disk drive. If this were a paperback version I guess my copy would have become dog eared and worn out a long time back.

The thing that ALWAYS gets to me when it comes to Guilty Needs is the tons of emotion that practically seeps through every single word in the book, its hold on me a never ending one until I reach its very end. Even afterwards, I find myself unable to let go and spend a long time contemplating on what went on in a story that describes so well how guilt wars with desire when the widowed hero finds himself lusting after his dead wife’s best friend.

Alyssa Hutchins the wife who dies from cancer, who makes appearances into the story as a ghostly being that wants Colby to find love and be happy again, and that also with her best friend Bree who has always loved Colby from the sidelines, all 3 of the characters just makes this story come alive right from the very beginning that makes this book  that much easier to fall in love with over and over again.

The way you bring forth the friendship between Alyssa and Bree and made their bond an unbreakable one and yet managed to let the reader know of Bree’s feelings towards Alyssa’s husband and not sully the age old friendship between two friends continues to astound & amaze me.

One of the things that caught my attention when I first found your books from Amazon.com is the way you bring out the sexual tension between characters that just leaves a reader begging for more. And Guilty Needs is one of the best in delivering sexual tension of the sizzling variety that practically leaps out of the pages and grabs the reader right from the very start. The sensual scenes are so very well done that I could not help but reach out for my non-existent glass of cold water that I should remember the next time to keep by my side.

Sometimes, because you love a story so much, its hard to come up with the bits that stand out, but I still wanted to let you know that the moment that Alyssa asks from Bree the favor that she wants from her, it was a seriously throat-in-the-lump moment from the emotions overload. And the first kiss that Colby and Bree share – it is out of this world hot and the heat these two generate throughout the story can definitely light up my world for eons to come! And oh baby, the porch scene – if anyone has it on their mind to give me a present anytime soon, I’m just saying I wouldn’t mind a Colby or two as my pressies!

Guilty Needs will ALWAYS remain in a special corner of my heart and I believe I would never get tired of the story of how Bree finally gets the man she has loved for more than 15 years of her life, and of course Colby who just personifies sexy and takes it up to a whole new level!

Before I end this, I am just going to share some of those quotes from the story  that even later on would urge me to go seek out this little indulgence from my massive mountain of books.

Favorite Quotes

Patiently, Alyssa repeated the question she’d asked only seconds earlier. “Do you love Colby?”
Some trite lie formed on the tip of her tongue. Of course I love him—he’s your husband and that makes him almost a brother to me. But she couldn’t. It was just too wrong—lying to her dying friend, claiming to feel a fraternal emotion toward a man who inspired anything but fraternal thoughts. In the end, all she could do was just sit there and blink away tears.

Then she rose on her toes and kissed his cheek. If she breathed in the scent of his skin a little deeper than she should, it wasn’t intentional. If she shivered a little and wished she had the right to kiss him differently, it wasn’t because she could help it. She loved him—she always had.

They barely touched, his mouth on hers, his hands cupping her face while hers clutched at his wrists. But that contact was enough to shatter the foundation of her world.
He eased up, lifted his head just a little. An involuntary whimper escaped her and she swayed toward him. He growled low in his throat and reached for her, hauling her against him until they were plastered together.

 

Once again Ms. Walker, splendid is the name of the game when it comes to Guilty Needs & hats off for pulling this one off so brilliantly!

Sincerely Yours,
MBR

Purchase Links: Amazon Jasmine Jade Enterprises

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Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

Format: E-bookakingdomofdreams
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: Westmoreland Dynasty, Book 1
Hero: Royce Westmoreland
Heroine: Jennifer Merrick
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 1989
Started On: August 8, 2011
Finished On: August 10, 2011

Judith McNaught’s historical romances are timeless. Timeless I say because no matter how many times one re-reads her stories, it never gets old and there is always something new about the story that captures your attention and holds it until you have turned the very last page. I think this is my 3rd or 4th time re-reading A Kingdom of Dreams and yet again Royce Westmoreland didn’t fail to invoke numerous sighing sessions as I read along and made me want a fierce warrior like him who loves just as passionately when at last he finally does fall for the woman who claims his heart, body and soul.

29 year old Royce Westmoreland aka The Black Wolf is Scotland’s most hated, and most feared enemy. Military life is all Royce has ever known and Royce’s latest command received from the King Henry himself has him gearing up to face the Merrick’s clan of Scotland, the name itself making vengeance boil deep inside of him.

17 year old Jennifer Merrick is the daughter of Lord Merrick, the head of the Merrick clan. From a tender age, impulsiveness and recklessness combined with a desperate yearning to make her father love her, as he loved his stepsons, were responsible for a lot of grievances in her life. Though as the eldest daughter the leadership of her clan should rightfully pass onto her, Lord Merrick thinks naught of women and their capabilities beyond that of rearing children – a fact that hurts Jennifer more deeply than she ever lets on.

When Jennifer and Brenna are captured by the Black Wolf’s army, Jennifer’s sole focus lies in identifying ways through which she and Brenna can make her escape. Royce doesn’t expect that two women could create so much trouble in his camp and in his life when the fiesty Jennifer and her meek sister are brought along which Royce is hoping would end the battle they are all gearing for without bloodshed.

Jennifer valiantly tries and manages to escape captivity only to be caught yet again and though Jennifer knows that true to Merrick’s nature, the only thing she should feel for Royce with his unusual silver eyes is contempt and loathing at best, she is no match for the yearnings that stir into life in the arms of Royce, her enemy. Neither Jennifer nor Royce is prepared for the desire that each feels for the other and for the headiness of a passion so fierce to obliterate everything else from their minds.

Royce convinces himself that lust is the only thing that he feels for a woman who infuriates him and humbles him at the same time. And when his need to possess Jennifer makes him claim her virginity, even then Royce is more than happy to label it away as a mere case of lust for his beautiful and defiant captive.

Jennifer’s heart bleeds for the fact that in Royce’s embrace she feels no shame even though she knows that consorting with the enemy would only earn more hatred from her clansmen. When once again Jennifer escapes Royce’s clutches making him the laughingstock of both England and Scotland, Royce is livid with rage and that is the only thing that drives him to accept orders by his king to tie himself to Jennifer in holy matrimony.

Thus begins a battle of wills that dies a slow death as the passion that exists between Royce and Jennifer burns hotter than ever, cementing a connection between two souls who are so meant for each other. But love and a happily ever after is not an easy one for either of them to achieve as treachery and deceit from Jennifer’s family nearly drives them apart for good until Jennifer comes to realize that her destiny lies entwined with that of Royce and that there is no turning back from the love of a man who makes her feel treasured and safe at the same time.

A Kingdom of Dreams is a romance that provokes the reader into indulging in a dream or two of her own as Royce completely sweeps you off your feet and shows you the reason why romance heroes are worth swooning over. Royce is a fierce man, a battle hardened warrior who has seen so much death and destruction throughout his career that he longs for normalcy and a life that he can call his own. His tenderness when it comes to Jennifer and the way he feels stirrings of righteous indignation on Jennifer’s behalf upon hearing how she has been treated by her own clansmen and family made me fall that much harder in love with him. A true romantic would not be able to read this without falling for Royce, a fact that I am reassured of as I manage to fall for him over and over again every single time I read this book.

Jennifer is a heroine who is worthy of someone like Royce. Loyal, loving, kind and generous, Jennifer’s soul yearns for the day that all of whom she loves would love her back, a day that she would be accepted for who she is, impulsiveness and all. Though at times it feels as if Jennifer is being a trifle bit too hard on Royce, she makes up for it so beautifully towards the end that I fell for the sheer charm she brings into the story.

Filled with a lively and riveting bunch of side characters of which Aunt Elinor definitely deserves a mention, A Kingdom of Dreams is a must read if you are a true fan of romance.

Favorite Quotes

Royce flung her arm aside, and Jenny stayed where she stood, paralyzed with remorse and anguish as she gazed at the beautiful animal she’d inadvertently killed. As if in a dream, she watched England’s fiercest warrior kneel on one knee beside his dead horse, slowly stroking the animal’s glossy black coat, and speaking words she could not quite hear in a voice that was raw.

Her head lifted, and Royce froze in surprise and reluctant admiration for the amazing sight he beheld. Standing there like a wild enraged gypsy, her hair tumbling all about her like golden flames and her huge blue eyes alive with hatred and unshed tears, she slowly raised her hand… a hand which was holding a dagger which she’d obviously managed to snatch from his boot as he spanked her.
And in that unlikely moment, as she held his dagger poised high, ready to strike, Royce Westmoreland thought she was the most magnificent creature he’d ever beheld; a wild, beautiful, enraged angel of retribution, her chest rising and falling with fury as she courageously confronted an enemy who towered over her. He’d hurt her and humiliated her, Royce realized, but he hadn’t broken that indomitable spirit of hers.

His wry tone made Jenny burst out laughing, and Royce found himself captivated by the infectious joy, the beauty, of it. He’d never heard the music of her laughter before, nor seen it glowing in her magnificent eyes. Seated on a pile of lush furs, laughing up at him, Jennifer Merrick was unforgettable. He realized it as clearly as he realized that if he walked over and sat down beside her, there was every chance he was going to find her irresistible as well.

As he spoke, his hand curved round her head, pressing inexorably downward, inch by slow inch, until his warm breath was mingling with hers, and then his gaze lifted, locking with hers. Insistent, knowing gray eyes captured frightened, beguiling blue ones, imprisoning them as he brought her lips down against his. A jolt slammed through Jenny’s entire nervous system, her eyes closed, and his lips began to move on hers, thoroughly and possessively exploring each tender curve and trembling contour.

Perched upon that log, Royce thought she looked incredibly desirable—a charming wood nymph with long curly hair, clad in a boy’s tunic and hose. A wood nymph? Next she would have him composing sonnets to her beauty—and wouldn’t that delight her sire, not to mention enliven the gossip at court in two countries! “Was that question too difficult for you?” he said, his voice sharp with self-annoyance. “Shall I try to frame an easier one?”

Jennifer’s eyes lit with fondness. “Brenna will always find something good to say about me, no matter how shocking my mistakes or outrageous my conduct. She said I ‘sparkled like the sun and moon and stars.’ ” A bubble of laughter escaped Jenny and she regarded Royce with eyes aglow with merriment. “Which of course I did—sparkle, I mean.”
His voice harsh with feelings he could neither understand nor contain, Royce looked at her and said tightly, “Some women need no jewels to make them sparkle. You are one of them.”

Failing to catch sight of the giant, Tom quickly turned his gaze back for a longer study of the entire, famous man, and this time he took in the entire picture before him—a picture that made his mouth drop open in shock and disbelief: The Black Wolf, the most fierce warrior in all England—in the world—was sitting atop his mighty warhorse, with a girl cradled in his arms—holding her as tenderly as a babe!

Lifting his head, Royce stared down into her slumberous blue eyes, and Jenny saw the look of pure satisfaction mingled with puzzlement on his face—”Why is it when you yield, I feel like the one who has been conquered?”
“Why is it,” Royce murmured, gazing into her intoxicating eyes, “that every time you surrender willingly, like this, you make me feel like a king who has conquered. Yet when I conquer you against your will, you make me feel like a defeated beggar?”

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Book Depository

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Review: Against the Wall by Rhyannon Byrd

Format: E-bookagainstthewall
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Series: Standalone
Hero: Ryan McCall
Heroine: Shea Dresden
Sensuality: 4.5
Date of Publication: December 3, 2004
Started On: July 29, 2011
Finished On: July 29, 2011

Against the Wall is the novel that first introduced me to what Rhyannon Byrd can deliver in the erotic contemperory romance category. Filled with blistering scenes of raw and explicit passion between an aggressively alpha hero who is reluctant to get involved, with a plucky and innocent heroine who is more than willing to fight for the man she wants, Against the Wall is an erotic romance that truly lives up to its name delivering more than one against-the-wall-smexing scene before half way through the story.

35 year old Ryan McCall is an ATF agent who spends his days chasing gutter scum and his nights  seeking mindless pleasure from women who knows the score before getting down and dirty with him – that Ryan doesn’t do commitment at all. But all that changes from the moment he meets his neighbor, the sweetly innocent Shea Dresden who might just be the one to make commitment free sex a thing of his past, if he were to allow Shea to get past the walls of defence around his heart.

27 year old Shea is determined that her sexy as sin neighbor Ryan would take notice of her and deliver her from the sheer sexual frustration that seems to be a part of her ever since it stood up and took notice of the lethal sex god that Ryan seems to be. But what Shea wants from the sexy ATF agent is much more than sex, a fact that Shea knows would drive Ryan away instead of bringing them closer, a fact driven home by the 3 months during which Ryan has ignored all her attempts at making him sit up and take notice that she is very much interested in getting down and dirty with him.

Ryan can barely control himself when he lets his mind think about the sexy, impish creature that is his neighbor, if his possessive streak a mile wide when it comes to her is anything to go by. When Shea gets assaulted by a drunken lout driving Ryan into a rage that refuses to be tamped down, all the sizzling sexual energy that seems to simmer between them bursts forth, refusing to be held back letting Ryan know that just one single taste of Shea would never ever be enough where he is concerned.

Thus starts a week of sex-fest during which Ryan stakes his claim on the woman who has the ability to bring him to his very knees with a single look, a fact that seems to terrify and exhilirate him at the same time. But the question of the hour remains; will Ryan ever be able to let go of his past long enough to take the plunge into the future with the woman who is his match made in heaven?

As I mentioned before, Against the Wall is erotica in its most explicit form, delivering blisteringly raw and hot passion between two individuals that some might find to be a bit too much. But, being a book of the erotica genre, for me, I found the raw energy that practically pulsates between Ryan and Shea to be just what I needed as I ventured out to re-read this book, the scene at the bookstore that has always been on my mind prodding me along.

Ryan is a total alpha through and through, a bit aggressive and a bit of an ass at times when his raw emotions come to the surface. But I totally loved him for who he is and who he becomes as the story progresses along and nearly devoured him to pieces by the time I reached the epilogue. Shea is a wonderful heroine whose head over heels plunge into falling for the stubborn Ryan doesn’t stop her from going all the way to get what she wants, even with her vulnerable emotions so close to the surface where Ryan is concerned. The way she gives as good as she gets and lets her tender side heal Ryan is what made me fall for Shea all the way.

True, there isn’t much story telling apart from the sex fest that continues throughout which Rhyannon does so well. I would have loved to know more about both Ryan and Shea and the story would have been more fulfilling if they had been allowed to grow as a couple outside their sex hazed environment. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this one even the second time round and would recommend this to fans of erotica who don’t mind one electrifying sex scene after the other in their erotica.

As I finished this off the charts hot little number, there was one question ringing incessantly in my mind; is Rhyannon ever going to write the story of Ryan’s sexy partner Detective Derek Kiely and Shea’s best friend Hannah who seem to make a pretty darn explosive couple of their own? Oh well!

Favorite Quotes

And not just any man, honey, her incessantly complaining libido chimed in, but Ryan McCall, the sexiest damn thing we’ve ever set eyes on!
She looked up at him from beneath her long lashes and suddenly her lips curled  into a wicked smile full of carnal possibilities, feral and hungry and God-it’s-about-time! Then with trembling fingers, she pushed the silky dress right off her shoulders. It fell to the floor in a quiet swoosh of fabric, and she was standing before him wearing nothing but a minuscule black lace thong and her sandals.

Ryan felt his stomach drop to his feet and his heart lodge in his throat. Oh, hell. The last of his control shot to pieces as the raging hunger she always ignited in him blazed to life.“I just need to kiss you,” he murmured softly…roughly, his face already lowering to hers, big hands pressing against the slender line of her back, pulling her into his wide, tall frame while he pushed her harder against the book-lined wall. “I just need the touch of your lips…your taste in my mouth,” he rasped, voice thick with wonder. “I don’t know how you fucking do this to me, but I’m dying for it like some junked out addict.”

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

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Review: Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookindecentdeception
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #1740
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Blaze Kenyon
Heroine: Christabel Hamilton
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1995
Started On: June 14, 2011
Finished On: June 14, 2011

This I think must be the third time that I am reading Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham. And that alone should be enough to tell everyone who wants to know that this is a favorite re-read of mine from the Harlequin line.

Christable (Chrissy) Hamilton is just twenty years of age and shoulders the responsibility of caring singlelhandedly for her half sister Rosie who is about two and a half years old. Barely making ends meet, Chrissy is fired from her only job that is responsible for keeping a roof over her and Rosie’s head; all because she lets her pride and anger at Blaze Kenyon’s sheer arrogance take the best of her.

Blaze is a man who has no intention of ever settling down and one whose sensational life as the rich playboy keeps the tabloids in a tailspin. Surprisingly it is Blaze who offers Chrissy a job which she grabs with both hands never knowing the twisted web she would weave in the coming days.

When her sister Elaine turns up claiming that she wants to get back together with Blaze, Chrissy does the stupidest thing she has ever done in her life which ends up with Blaze and herself walking down the aisle. However, once the truth comes out, Chrissy has hell to pay, making her fear that her burgoening love for a man who has become so vibrantly important in her life would never be reciprocated by the man in question, who only feels loathing for her misleading lies.

I just flat-out adore this story which is proven by the number of times I have read it to-date. And I love Blaze Kenyon for everything he is from his sardonic humor to the blazingly sexual side of him that just makes my heart go predictably aflutter each and every single time. Chrissy was a tough one to like because of the deceiving role that she plays in the novel, no matter how martyr-like she wanted her actions to be. For me, its Blaze who makes this novel come alive, who makes this book worth a revisit time and time again.

Recommended for fans of Lynne Graham and fans of Harlequin romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

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Review: The Devil’s Own by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookthedevilsown
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hell Raisers, Book 2
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Lincoln O’Neal
Heroine: Kerry Bishop
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 1, 1987
Started On: March 17, 2011
Finished On: March 18, 2011

Wow! That was exactly what I was looking for when I chose to re-read this oldie goody from Sandra Brown wrote under her pseudonym Erin St. Claire. Sandra Brown’s earlier books deliver in spades on what I look for when I read romances. She gives me exactly what I need with her larger than life, tortured and hot as sin heroes and delivers on all fronts with the right kind of heroine to bring down the hero to his knees. I just love her older books and get my fix now and then to balance things along in my world of romanceldia.

The Devil’s Own is book 2 in the Hell Raisers series book 1 of which is Led Astray which I re-read and reviewed earlier last year. 35 year old Lincoln O’Neal, one of the most renowned and prolific photojournalists of the world is celebrating his departure from the war torn Montenegro when he is waylaid by the woman who walks into the cantina and promises him a good time. Linc has earned his reputation as a photojournalist during the evacuation of Vietnam and has recorded 35 mm of film every war and catastrophe since then. On top of how much he has had to drink combined with the red hot desire that flashes through him when the wickedly sensual woman proposes to him, Linc who wants nothing more than to escape the war torn hell he has been living in for the past six weeks finds himself at the mercy of do-gooder Kerry Bishop who wants his help in rescuing 9 orphans from war ridden country to give them a better life in the US.

Kerry Bishop is the coveted daughter of rich parents who has led a sheltered life with her diplomat of a father until scandal had rocked her entire world leaving her with a bitter taste of reality. Wanting to make amends for her father’s atrocities, Kerry has been living in Montenegro for the past 9 months or so, teaching the 9 orphans enlisted in her care, getting them ready for their new lives  back in the US. However knowing that she alone would not be able to fulfill the task of getting the children safely to the point where they are supposed to take-off, Kerry does the next best thing and scouts the local cantina for the most disreputable mercenary soldier she can find.

What she finds is Lincoln, who has always looked out for his hide when push comes to shove, and what she mistakes for his weapons turns out to be his coveted camera equipment. However knowing that she is running out of time, Kerry forces him to work with her, knowing that resentment and anger would rule Linc’s utmost emotions throughout the 3 day trek through the jungle. However that doesn’t stop her from wanting what his blatantly sensual touch and kisses evoke and doesn’t stop her from craving Linc with every fiber of her being. Respite from making a fool of herself comes when Linc mistakes her for a nun which puts an additional strain on Linc to keep his hands off of the woman who heats up his blood in a way that has never happened before.

I just flat-out loved everything about this novel. Linc turns out to be one of those heroes you cannot forget because he demands nothing less when he steps into the picture. Handsome, cynical and lethally attractive, Linc doesn’t know what hits him when he starts coveting Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes who lands him in trouble in the first place. Knowing that she is a woman he can never have doesn’t stop him from craving her and neither does it stop the sexual tension that lingers between them that can be cut through with a knife. One of the best parts of the book for me was the explosive tension between the two which comes to its heady conclusion delivering fireworks of all kinds towards the end! *Sigh!!*

The romance and heady attraction between the two doesn’t detract from the adventure aspect of the novel. The danger that surrounds them in a country that has been stripped bare by the civil war that has raged in it continues to hound them through their trek to reach safety. The last moments right before they board the plane are edge-of-the-seat variety moments that makes this story a well-balanced romantic suspense on all aspects.

It was an additional plus point to revisit Cage and Jenny from Led Astray and experience their happily ever after in this novel. A tale of opposites attract with Linc being the proverbial bad boy hero who was brought up by a drunken lout of a father and never had any sort of formal education after high school meets his match in the society school bred Kerry and gives them both a love that leaves the reader breathless on all accounts.

A very highly satisfying romantic suspense, which makes me wonder why authors today do not write classics such as this one where heroes do not turn into wimpy puddles just because the woman of their dreams walks into the picture.

Recommended for fans of Sandra Brown and fans of romantic suspense that delivers on all counts.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Heart of Fire by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookheartoffire
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Pocket
Hero: Ben Lewis
Heroine: Jillian Sherwood
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 1, 1997
Started On: December 18, 2010
Finished On: December 18, 2010

Jillian Sherwood, daughter of the archaeologist known as Cyrus “Crackpot” Sherwood grows up with the love for archaeology and lost civilizations instilled into her long back when she had been just a young child fascinated by the stories of long-lost civilizations she had learnt of whilst sitting in the warm security of her father’s arms. When her father had died when Jillian had been 14 years old in the Amazon jungle on the expedition which would have proved once and for all that Cyrus didn’t have his head up in the clouds as all his colleagues and the rest of the archaeological community believed him to be, Jillian follows in his footsteps to become an archaeologist herself, something which becomes twice as hard for her because her father’s reputation lingers even long after his death.

The final straw comes when Jillian is overlooked as a possible candidate for the Ouosalla dig in East Africa, the biggest new archaeological find in decades funded by her employer Frost Archaeological Foundation. Even though Jillian is more than qualified to attend, she is not even considered because of her father’s reputation, which brings forth the burning desire in Jillian to actually delve into her father’s fascination with the Anzar theory of the Amazon being named for a band of warrior women who had lived deep within the jungle, this fascination of his which had played the main role in Cyrus being labeled as a “misguided” fool.

When Jillian’s half brother Rick Sherwood learns of the probable treasure, the “Empress of the Heart”, a big fat red diamond that supposedly exists in the lost city of Anzar civilization, its not long before Rick teams up with the unsavory Steven Kates who agrees to fund their expedition to find the city of Anzar. Because only Jillian knows the secret of the coded message left in her father’s books, they have no choice but to take Jillian along. It is in Brazil that Jillian first comes across the six foot tall, potentially lethal Ben Lewis who is to be their guide in the rough trek through the Amazon jungle and its river for the next two months or so.

From the moment Jillian lays eyes on the rough around the edges Ben, she instinctively goes on the protective mode knowing that here was a man who would be lethal to her heart, body and soul if she were even to give in an inch. Ben is more than surprised and a little bit aggravated as well to find his unexplainable fascination with a woman who does not even remotely fit in with the usual type of women he carouses around with. And though Ben tries to tell his wayward libido otherwise, his body clamors to possess Jillian as his own and brand her his. His practiced seduction techniques certainly do not seem to work on the cool and collected Jillian, who makes it her self appointed mission to not give into Ben’s caresses which leaves her senses begging for more of where that came from.

I liked:

  1. Ben Lewis. Its tough not to like a man who oozes sexuality from just his mere presence in the story. *fans self*
  2. Jillian Sherwood. Linda Howard knows exactly what we want from her characters and she certainly doesn’t disappoint us with Jillian. Independent to a fault, vulnerable and loyal and a stubbornness that makes Ben grit his teeth every now and then, Jillian and her acrid sense of humor certainly makes for an enjoyable heroine.
  3. The witty banter between Jillian and Ben. My God, I laughed out loud several times during the story, especially the parts where things never seem to go as Ben plans them with Jillian. She constantly manages to surprise and infuriate him with the lack of interest she shows towards his advances, a fact that just continues to aggravate and arouse Ben more and more throughout the story.
  4. The explosive passion between Ben and Jillian. One reason why Ms. Howard’s books always rate a re-read is the fact that she delivers in spades in the romance, adventure as well as the sensuality department in her stories. The scene where Ben claims Jillian in the middle of a thunderstorm amidst the downpour in the jungle made my senses all go on red alert! *mmmm..*

Dislikes: Umm.. nothing much but I felt that I didn’t get to learn more about Ben and his past which I yearned for throughout the story. Though the lack of his past didn’t in anyway diminish the full force of his personality, I would have loved knowing more about him than just his hyperactive libido which makes its presence known right from the very beginning. *wink*

Recommended for: Fans of Linda Howard and fans of jungle trek themed romances.

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

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