Review: A Dance with Danger by Jeannie Lin

Format: E-bookadancewithdanger
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Tang Dynasty, #5
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Bao Yang
Heroine: Jin-mei
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 01, 2015
Started On: February 01, 2016
Finished On: February 04, 2016

First of all, let me just appreciate the beauty that is the cover of this book. I have not come across a prettier cover in recent times and I spent quite a bit of time on gazing at the cover before and even while I was reading the story as it unfolded. Jeannie Lin is an author who has a unique voice amongst the numerous authors who write historical romances. Her books take place in China, in the Tang Dynasty period and I have loved each and every single book of hers that I have read in the series to-date.

A Dance with Danger is the fifth book in the Tang Dynasty series and the second book in the Rebels and Lovers series. Bao Yang, the hero is a wanted man, hunted by the powerful General Wang Shizhen. A thwarted attempt on the General’s life is the reason behind Bao Yang’s visit to the Fujian Province where he goes wanting to meet one of his “associates”, Tan Li Kuo, a magistrate of the province.

Things don’t go exactly according to plan when Bao Yang finds himself discovered by Tan Li Kuo himself while in a compromising position with none other than his daughter Jin-mei. As circumstances would demand it, Bao Yang agrees to marry Jin-mei, only to find the tables reversed on him when he is betrayed in the midst of it all. Bao Yang would have thought that whatever connection that he had momentarily felt with his wife Jin-mei would have no place in his future until Jin-mei surprises him with her courage in pursuing him under the most difficult of circumstances.

While Bao Yang cannot compromise on the quest for revenge that he has embarked upon, he finds himself wavering in his determination because Jin-mei teaches him that there could be a life lived outside of the self-imposed mission that he has set upon. A mission that has followers in large numbers, something that Bao Yang never foresaw or dreamed of in the beginning. Jin-mei’s insightful nature, together with her adventure seeking heart proves to be quite the temptation for someone like Bao Yang, who is every bit reckless and rakish as they come. However, for their love to triumph, Bao Yang has a tough decision to make, and for Jin-mei, it might mean choosing between the two people who matter the most in her life.

A Dance with Danger was a read that fell a tad flat of the expectations I had for it and of Jeannie Lin’s exquisite writing talent, which somehow failed to emerge fully in this story. Jeannie Lin is one of those authors who has the sort of voice that is poetic in its prose, one that makes you feel like you are floating on air, witnessing something that is surreal in its beauty. But somehow, A Dance with Danger, while it had all the elements that would make for a highly readable story, I am sorry to say this, but I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm of the kind I felt while reading all her previous works.

Bao Yang is quite different from the variety of heroes that have featured in Lin’s books in the past. All other heroes that I have come across are reserved and controlled in a way that makes for delicious sexual tension where concerned. Bao Yang is a man who has led a life that is shrouded in shades of grey, and though he is honorable where it counts, Bao Yang doesn’t have a very favorable opinion of himself. The thing that I loved about him was his cheekiness at certain times. The way he would tease his wife, make her tumble into his arms and give her a world of wanton pleasure. Bao Yang stands apart from the rest of the heroes I have come across in Lin’s works because he comes with a ton of sexual experience when compared to the innocent his wife is.

Jin-mei, though no warrior as some heroines of Lin’s previous works, is just as fierce and protective of her man. A life that had been lived with a magistrate as a father had taught her to see everything in black and white. It had also equipped her with a quick wit and mind that can comprehend things quite rapidly. To see things the way her husband sees them is first a challenge for someone like Jin-mei. But I believe that whatever differences that they might have had, they managed to merge seamlessly where and when it mattered.

Though A Dance with Danger was disappointing, I still managed to enjoy the good bits where the remnants of the Jeannie Lin I know and love to bits echoed through the pages. The whole story, the way it was told; all of it just felt vastly different from the caliber that I have become used to when it comes to Lin’s writing.

Recommended for fans of the series and those that love books set in ancient China!

Final Verdict: Ancient China, politics, familial loyalty, treachery & a love that defies it all!

Favorite Quotes

As Jin-mei ducked through the curtain to her sleeping area, she heard her name spoken softly. So low that the sounds resonated against her spine.
‘My warrior woman.’
Yang came from the darkness and his arms circled around her. Suddenly she was pressed tight against him.
Their first embrace should have been awkward, all hands and limbs and not knowing how they should be with one another. But as Yang pulled her close, her body moulded to his. Her lips parted to say something. She didn’t know what, but it didn’t matter because she was caught in a kiss that was hard and urgent and made her knees go soft.

By the time their lips parted, her head was spinning.
‘Hold on to me,’ he said.
Her hands grasped the front of his robe while she stared at him, confused. Her heart was beating hard and every part of her felt flushed.
‘Hold on to me,’ he repeated in a low murmur against her earlobe. He bit into the soft flesh, and heat flooded her veins.
Jin-mei hooked her arms around his neck and held on tight. If she hadn’t, she would have crumbled to the floor.

Yang certainly didn’t believe in slow, gentle introductions. Not while sparring and not in this either. He pleasured her with his mouth, flicking her nipple mercilessly until she wanted to beg. As scandalous as the figures on the mirror were, this was so much worse. So much better. Yang teased her with lips, tongue, then the light scrape of teeth over her flesh that made her sob. She couldn’t stop the sound, even when she bit hard on her lower lip.
Suddenly the pleasure ceased.
‘Not here.’ His voice was rough. ‘Not like this.’

Then gradually, bit by bit, he began to ease himself inside of her. She could feel the resistance of her body, tight around him and giving only slightly with each thrust. Despite what he’d said about not being able to wait, Yang seemed to be endlessly patient, kissing her lips, her neck. Watching her as he finally pushed fully into her and then he had to close his eyes as well. The look in them bordered on pain before he laid his head into the crook of her neck. He murmured her name again, this time rough, guttural.
Her eyes widened as the mystery was finally resolved. This was how men and women came together, with pleasure, with pain.

It was impossible to hold back. He shut his eyes as well, trying to maintain control. But her hands dug into his back insistently. He could hear the pant of her breath and those lovely breasts were pressed against him, her legs lifting to curve about his hips. All the while, down below she was so tight. Wet. A fist around him.
Something tried to intrude at the edge of his awareness, but he pushed it away. Every sense he had was focused on the woman in his arms and the joining of their bodies. His arousal, her surrender.
His release came in a flood, blinding him. Deafening him as the blood rushed through his body like the surging of the tide.

Her eyes widened as he dipped within her womanly cleft, searching the small knot of flesh at her centre. There was pleasure to be found in the petals, but he knew he’d found the bud when her eyes squeezed shut and she shuddered, hips thrusting against his hand.
His next kiss was against her earlobe before he spoke to her. ‘Will you take me inside you? All of me. Here.’

He could have accomplished the deed without removing every bit of clothing, but they had the luxury of time, of seclusion. And he wanted to feed his senses with her. Yang laid himself over Jin-mei and, with the sway of the water beneath them and the bright sun above, pushed his body fully into hers.
Her head fell back and her lips parted in a silent cry. Yet he heard it deep in his bones and in the hard, responding throb of his body. Inside, she was dampness and heat, closing around him like a cruel fist. He tugged off the ribbon tying her braid and dug one hand harshly into her hair to drag her up to him for a kiss. There was no sense to his actions other than that he wanted more.

‘Jin-mei,’ he choked out. It was a plea.
His last control over his body was slipping, and her flesh was relentless, squeezing him tight, slaying him. His finger worked her pearl faster; no longer gentle, but in pure desperation. When he felt the first pulse of her body in response, elation swept through him. He watched her through her release, nothing more than one heartbeat in time, but a long one. Stretched out.
Then his body would not be held back any longer. He lifted his hips and thrust, once, twice, and in three short strokes he lost his essence inside her, releasing all that he was with no strength left within him to hold anything back.

Her body tightened with need as he circled his tongue over her nipple in a wet caress. With a cry of surrender, she bucked against him, riding him hard. Her sex flooded, and Yang must have sensed the increase in her arousal. With a groan, his thrusts became shorter. More forceful.
The sensation built in coils and spirals. Her toes curled tight, and her hands dug into Yang’s shoulders. Her climax came as a low throb this time; not as intense, but more prolonged. Yang joined her in bliss shortly after, every muscle in his body tensing as his hips jerked beneath her. She watched every emotion play over his face while he gave himself over to the pleasure.

Using touch alone to guide him, Yang ran his hands along her waist and worked her sash loose. ‘I’m going to seduce you, Wife.’
Her chest swelled with emotion. ‘You can’t seduce me any longer. We’re married.’
‘Wrong.’ He pressed a kiss to her throat. Another to her shoulder as he slipped her tunic away. ‘I’ll keep on seducing you for the rest of my life. And you’ll let me.’

Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall | ARe | HQ | BD | iTunes

satisfactoryread.png

ARC Review: Back To You Lauren Dane

Format: E-bookbacktoyou.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Hurley Boys, #3
Publisher: MIRA
Hero: Vaughan Michael Hurley
Heroine: Kelly Hurley
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
Started On: May 16, 2015
Finished On: May 18, 2015

The third book in The Hurley Boys series features the youngest of the boys, Vaughan Michael Hurley, whose divorce from the woman he loves and had done immense wrong to, has gone on for 8 long years. Vaughan thought it better to save his pride than admit to his wrongdoings and seek to reunite. But the news that Kelly is about to marry another and start over anew with Vaughan ‘s two daughters brings about the realization that he must act before its too late.

Kelly has, does and always would love Vaughan. But Kelly is done waiting for someone who refuses to grow up, someone who refuses to come back to her. But then Vaughan surprises her by turning up on her doorstep, wanting to be more of a part of their daughters lives. With little bits of arguments here and small bouts of misunderstandings there, Kelly and Vaughn work through the hurdles to give a story that was just okay.

Every author who has written multiple books tend to have certain “trademark” aspects to their writing. Lauren Dane is someone who I have identified as being able to deliver emotional and intensely sexy reads that has the ability to blow your socks off and then some. While the relationship between Vaughan and Kelly had so much potential, there was little angst, just a bit of acting out on Kelly’s part to show everyone that she was done being the doormat heroine who apologizes for every little thing, even when most of it hadn’t been her fault. While Vaughan is a pretty laid back sort of guy, I still expected him to ooze out the Hurley brand of charm and sexy which sort of failed to materialize.

To be honest, nothing stood out for me in this book. I know that authors and publishers, though they claim to want honest reviews from reviewers, tend to shy away from and can be quite antagonistic towards the “bad” reviews. But as someone who has promised an honest review at the end of the day, I have to say my two piece about what I’ve read.

Back to You was a book that just seemed to be filled with a ton of conversations that were repeated in different forms with different characters in the story. While Vaughn kept apologizing to death and atoning for his behavior, which I believe he did just the right amount of it, I can safely say that none of it put me through the emotional wrangling of the kind that I was expecting. And that proved to be a teensy bit of a disappointment. While most writers shy away from delivering too much angst for the fear of facing wrath from the feminist goddesses, I for one am a total and utter disappointment to the fairer sex because I thrive in it. So to see that there was none of it in a novel that could have had a bit of it to spice things up was disheartening.

The whole crazy bunch of characters in the series have all been nothing short of endearing. But I found myself left with just a general likeness for both Vaughan and Kelly while I expected their characters to invoke deeper emotions in me. It’s not easy writing about characters who are flawed and have made pretty screwed up judgment calls in the past owing to a lot of shared hurt and sense of betrayal and abandonment between them. I guess the problem lies with how much I actually expected the novel to move me, which it didn’t. After a while, you get tired of reading about the other characters, especially Ezra, whose addiction problems were mentioned all throughout the debut book and even this one. I wanted to read about Vaughan and Kelly, not the other Hurley brothers who have already got stories of their own.

Having read just the debut book in the series and skipping the second book to get to this one, I expected blistering and scorching heat of the kind that the Hurley brothers practically exude by their mere existence alone. But even that never truly did materialize with just small scenes of passion thrown in here and there that seemed to cement the deal and aid Kelly in getting over the hurt of a divorce that had left her in pieces. Perhaps the reason I felt such a lackluster reaction to the story was because the characters themselves didn’t seem to react all that passionately to the circumstances and the few curve balls thrown their way. So perhaps, in a way what I missed the most was feeling passionately about a story that seemed just a little short of bland.

Kelly and her struggles with the scars left behind by her mother who’d done a number on her self esteem issues was perhaps the only aspect of the story that truly stood out for me. It was evident that her struggle was real, that it was a continued struggle that she’d won inch by inch because of the person she is. Strong, determined and definitely not a pushover once the story began. Not many would have handled the whole Hurley situation with as much grace as Kelly and that was one plus point in all of the mundaneness of the rest of the novel.

Recommended for fans of Lauren Dane and fans of the Hurley Boys.

Final Verdict: A story that flows smoothly enough, yet doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Favorite Quotes

She’d ached for this. For years and years after she lost it. At times Kelly had wondered if that ability had died along with her marriage. And it was right here, all along.
Tipping her face up, she let herself be kissed.
She’d expected something slow and gentle. But what she got seared her. Stunned her as the raw, sexual heat of his mouth, his tongue and teeth destroyed every last bit of her remaining defenses against him.

He leaned his forehead to hers, breathing hard. “Give me a minute or two.” He took her hand and put it against his cock, through his jeans.
Kelly squeezed a few times. “You’re going to need a lot more than a minute so don’t get cocky.”
“Are you trying to kill me?”
“No. I plan to ride you until you sweat,” she whispered before she nipped his earlobe.

Her nails dug into his back after she’d yanked his shirt off.
He let out a string of curses as he shoved his pants down to free his cock and then yanked her shorts and panties to the side, sliding into her hard and fast.
And naked. She gasped at the feel of him and then at the expression he wore as he held her still, his hands at her hips squeezing just shy of pain.

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

satisfactoryread

Review: Wild at Heart by Susan Fox

Format: E-bookWildAtHeart
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Kane Langtry
Heroine: Rhea René Cory
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August, 1997
Started On: May 16, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

Would you guys believe it if I were to say that there is this harlequin or mills and boon romance that I read like 12 years back, which is haunting me till today? Wait. I bet that is something most avid readers have faced a time or two in their reading life. This book that I am talking about was one that I read when I first discovered the abundant stash of goodness that was harlequin romances back then. The memory of the intense emotions this book evoked in me I still remember to-date, the barebones of its cover teases the tendrils of my memory and yet I fail to recall the author or the title of the novel.

It was my pathetic cry on twitter to find out the title of this novel that found me purchasing Wild at Heart by Susan Fox, the fact that this had a similar storyline making me hope in my heart that my search for the novel that had eluded me all these years had finally reached its fruitful conclusion. But then to my deepest regret, turned out that this wasn’t the case as I knew within the first chapter or so that this wasn’t the novel that had been haunting me for quite some time now.

23 year old Rhea René Cory (Rory) was brought into the folds of the Langtry family when she had been a frightened 11 year old who had just lost her mother and her drunken mess of a father had become the ridicule and scorn of the town. Rory has worked since then to make a name for herself, to remove the stigma of her family name that has practically defined her and people had never let her forget all throughout the years.

Kane Langtry is the rightful heir and son of Sam Langtry, the owner of B. J. Hastings and Rory’s guardian since that day. Rory’s feelings towards Kane is far from platonic, she has been in love with him for a long while. Though Kane makes his disdain for her clear in more ways than one, Rory knows that as long as Sam is alive that she’d always have a place in her childhood home. But all that changes when Sam dies leaving behind Rory and a confused Kane who doesn’t like the maelstrom of emotions that Rory invokes in him and has been invoking in him for far too long to suite his peace of mind.

There’s a lot of hostility on Kane’s part towards Rory, something he lets loose every now and then towards the woman whose feelings are all but out there for everyone to see. Rory has always been in Kane’s bad books, deemed as the troublemaker in the home especially with his stepmother and her daughter in residence. And when Kane is finally ready to acknowledge his feelings towards Rory, along comes a problem of the variety that neither ever foresaw.

While I enjoyed the first couple of chapters in the story, the angst and the sexual tension thick enough to cut through with a knife, I had several problems with how the story proceeded then onwards. I could understand Rory’s need to keep the peace at home when Sam had been ailing and on his way towards a slow decline but I couldn’t understand nor put up with how she let herself be trampled upon over and over by the vicious widowed wife of her guardian, the snubbing on her daughter’s part and the way Kane tended to put her down time and yet again. I want a heroine with a backbone who knows which fights to pick and then fight to win. For me, Rory just wilted every time someone said something at her and then continued on that waning existence towards more than half of the story. It’s hard to respect a heroine of the sort.

And then there’s Kane. I knew that it was his reluctance towards facing his emotions and feelings towards a woman whom he has no respect for, on account of I do not know why, that makes him the grouchy meanie he tended to be. And then suddenly, all of that changed towards one very pivotal event in the story and everything suddenly seemed to be all sunshine and beautiful rainbows in the sky. I couldn’t buy that. People talk about Anne Stuart writing heroes of the irredeemable kind. I say these are the type of heroes that are actually hard to swallow. Rory fleeing at the first sign of trouble was another bit of the story that just made me sigh in resignation towards a book that frustrated me and I didn’t enjoy overly much.

As I stated earlier, the sexual tension in the story was quite thick, and the author managed to keep up the tempo even towards the latter part of the story, though by which time I’d become disengaged from the characters entirely. I found it a bit of a letdown that the author didn’t deliver on all that subtle and the not so subtle sexual tension in the story. I hate it when that happens. It’s like your lover leaving you hanging dry after a furious bout of foreplay.

Even though there were bits I liked & enjoyed, I’d recommend you to read this at your own risk.

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

satisfactoryread

ARC Review: Breathe Again by Bonnie R. Paulson

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Standalone
Hero: Brodan Steele
Heroine: Maggie Lachlan
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: August 22, 2011
Started On: August 16, 2011
Finished On: August 16, 2011

Breathe Again by Bonnie R. Paulson is a contemporary romance set to release on the 22nd of this month from Carina Press. This is a story that deals with a lot of grief, a widow who hasn’t allowed herself time to properly grieve for a loss that has her questioning each and every relationship in her life, making her reject overtures made by her friends and loved ones because pity is intolerable in the face of what she has experienced. Told in the first person from Maggie’s point of view, Breathe Again describes how Maggie finds friendship and ultimately the strength to move on from her past and embrace a love that blossoms in the the most unlikely circumstances. Maggie has been struggling with the death of her husband Dean for the past ten months. A radiologist who immerses herself in her work to keep the dark memories at bay, Maggie suddenly finds herself taking a forced vacation of two weeks from work making her wonder whether she would be able to handle all that time alone by herself. Rescue comes from an unlikely friendship that is forged between Maggie and the charming, fun and easygoing Ryan Stewart and his taciturn older brother Brodan Steele who seems to rub her emotions in a wrong way. This unlikely threesome somehow cross all the hurdles and form a close knitted group even with Brodan trying to keep Maggie at arm’s length, trying his damndest to ignore the spark that continues to dance between them.It is this relationship that acts as a starting point for healing that begins the torturous process of letting go of Maggie’s painful past amidst facing the truth about Ryan and the toll his waning health takes on his older brother who refuses to step away from his side. 

For me, there are a couple of things worthy of being mentioned about the story. I found the grieving aspect of the story to be a unique one which held my undivided attention as Maggie undergoes a lot of pain and feelings of insecurity as to why her husband had opted to leave her the way he had. It certainly would not be easy for anyone to get over a death like Dean’s, especially given the fact that Maggie never allows herself to grieve properly for a loss that continues to haunt and taunt her even ten months on.

Ryan’s attitude towards life, even when his life was filled with so much uncertainty was an aspect of the story that  made me think about all the things in life that one ought to be thankful for. Its a fact that we humans rarely take the time to do that, much less appreciate each given day as it comes. 

Now for the things that didn’t work for me in the story. The sexual tension that was built up right from the very start between Brodan and Maggie never fully materialized even towards the end of the story. I felt as if I had been cheated out of a vital aspect of their relationship and that a door had been slammed shut in my face even before I fully knew what it was that I wanted when it came to their reluctant relationship. I could definitely understand Brodan’s reasoning when it came to avoiding any sort of realtionship with Maggie apart from being friends because of Ryan. But to be able to say no to what Brodan and Maggie both obviously wanted from each other just didn’t sit that well with me.

Because the story was told only from Maggie’s point of view, I felt cheated out of ever getting to experience how it is Brodan feels throughout the story. The sexual tension aspect of a novel works brilliantly if and when the hero’s tortured thoughts are also included as part of the developing relationship between the hero and heroine which this one lacked. Though overall I did like Maggie’s thoughts and at times her self depreciating humor, I would have loved it if Brodan’s thoughts and feelings and his point of view had been included in the story.

Towards the end, I just felt that there was too much grief and very little happiness in this story. For someone who likes happy endings, the somber mood of the story throughout with very little lightness somehow detracted a bit from my enjoyment factor. Though there is a happily ever after in the making for Brodan and Maggie, I just never felt that glow that comes from being satisfied when the hero and heroine finally seal their life together towards the end.

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

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!

Review: The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Constantine Voulos
Heroine: Rosalie Waring
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 28, 1997
Started On: June 16, 2011
Finished On: June 17, 2011

The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham is a novel that I seemed to have missed out on previously. It tells the story of how Rosalie Waring’s world collides by a twist of fate with that of the ultra rich Greek tycoon Constantine Voulos brought about by the conditions set aside on the will of Anton Estrada, adoptive father of Constantine.

Rosie is stunned when after a period of blissful happiness of 4 months with Anton, he dies suddenly leaving her bereft and alone once again. When Constantine jumps to the worst of conclusions about her relationship with Anton, Rosie’s bitterness towards Constantine who has had a lifetime of moments with her own father lets her keep the explanations under wraps until Anton’s will forces Constantine to ask for her hand in marriage.

It is a blazingly resentful Constantine who calls Rosie a gold digger and much worse that turns up for the wedding along with our prickly as a hedgehog heroine whose instinctive reactions of self protection is the tendency to lash out and give as good as she gets, an aftereffect of being in state ward care since the tender age of nine, that makes the joining of holy matrimony of these two a volatile one at best.

Though Rosie tries to come clean with who she is, Constantine is not one to believe a word that comes out of her mouth and this charade continues throughout the book, each of them insulting one another blinded by the fury at the inconvenient desire that they feel for each other.

For me, The Secret Wife didn’t make for such a great read. The premise of the story which promised to deliver an angsty read failed to do that when Constantine refused to listen to whatever Rosie had to say and Rosie refused to try and make Constantine see the light afted his initial rejection. For me, I would gladly take Rosie’s side because Constantine just grated on my nerves with his inability to see beyond what he wants to see, and even when eventually the truth does come out, he is quick to lay the blame at Rosie’s feet rather than accept his own doing in complicating matters.

This story is told from Rosie’s viewpoint and I for the world of me cannot understand how it is that Constantine falls in love with Rosie. For someone who loves finding the hero’s feelings via his reactions towards the heroine; I just didn’t feel the love in this one.

Recommended for those who love the marriage of convenience theme and fans of Lynne Graham.

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

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!

ARC Review: Soldier on Her Doorstep by Soraya Lane

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Heroes Come Home, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Alex Dane
Heroine: Lisa Kennedy
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: July 12, 2011
Started On: May 1, 2011
Finished On: May 2, 2011

Soldier on Her Doorstep tells the story of the journey taken by a soldier who suffers from survivor’s guilt, and how a man who has been a loner for most of his life suddenly finds himself feeling a wealth of emotions towards the widow of the man who took a bullet for him and died in his place. And how in the end he finds love, peace and happiness in the most unlikely of places.

When Alex Dane drives up to Brownswood Alaska, his only intention is to deliver a message to Lisa from her deceased husband and get the hell out. But when Alex feasts his eyes on the beautiful Lisa Kennedy and her 6 year old daughter Lilly Kennedy who hasn’t spoken a word to anyone apart from her mother since being informed of the death of her father, something that has stayed long dormant inside of Alex till now stirs to life.

Lisa can’t help but be drawn towards the silent and broody soldier that shows up on her doorstep looking as if its the last place he wants to be in. However, it is Lilly’s instant connection with Alex that astonishes and pleases Lisa  the most where Lilly and Alex form a strange bond right from the beginning which turns around Lilly’s healing process from the trauma of losing her father.

The instant attraction between Lisa and Alex doesn’t come without complications. Though Lisa in her mind is ready to accept that she feels something for Alex, her emotions wage an internal battle on whether it is the right thing for her to move on so quickly. And Alex would rather cut off an arm than give into his attraction towards the widow of the man who gave his life for him. Nevertheless, their attraction proves to be a more powerful drug than either of them could hope to resist and though they do give in to it, it is Alex’s  tormented soul that needs to heal before Alex and Lisa can have any real shot at happiness.

Soldier on Her Doorstep is a novel that has real good potential. I liked Alex and Lisa and Lilly as well, the 3 of them served to be endearing characters who lend the story a charm of their own making. I loved Lisa because she is someone whose character is strong enough to heal the very tortured soul of Alex who needs all the love and TLC in the world for him really put his demons to rest. Lilly makes for a very adorable character as well and I loved the descriptions that brought to life the connection between Alex and Lilly that serves as the healing point for Lilly’s trauma.

However there were a couple of things that could have made this story better. The constant retelling and rehashing of what William (Lisa’s husband) means to the budding relationship between Lisa and Alex gets a bit old after sometime. I would have loved to see more interactions between Alex and Lisa to witness firsthand how Alex heals from Lisa’s love and care.

Recommended for fans of Harlequin romances.

Favorite Quotes

She leaned across the counter toward him. Too close. He fought the urge to lean back, to literally fall off the stool to get away from her. Lisa’s eyes danced over his. The connection between them scared him rigid.
He sucked air through his nostrils and tried to stop his hands from becoming clammy.

Lisa saw him as her friends would. Big, strong man, with shoulders almost as wide as Lilly was long. Muscled forearms tensing as he cast the line back and forward.
He bent over to correct Lilly’s grip and almost ended up wearing a piece of bait in his eye. She started laughing. It took a moment, but Alex started too. They both stood there, this giant and his fairy, giggling.

She (Lilly) sighed and let her head rest against his arm. “But I don’t want to talk to anyone else.”
“You talk to me.” He whispered the words, conscious that maybe she hadn’t actually thought much about the fact that she spoke to him.
“Something’s different about you,” she whispered back.
Alex wished her therapist could hear all this. Maybe to a professional it would make more sense. “Why? What’s different about me?”
“You make me think of Daddy.”

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

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!

ARC Review: Protective Custody by Wynter Daniels

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Will McCoy
Heroine: Megan Jackson
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: May 9, 2011
Started On: May 1, 2011
Finished On: May 1, 2011

I seem to be on a role these days trying out authors that I have never ever read before. I always give new authors a go because that’s the only way that you discover authors who are worth looking out for and along the way you discover reads that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

I picked out Protective Custody from Netgalley because the blurb promises a good romantic suspense of the erotica variety. The story that unfolds is not a complicated one as it is told from the viewpoints of the hero, heroine and the villain as well who finds help from one of the most unexpected sources in the story.

The hero Will McCoy and heroine Megan Jackson have a shared past as in they were head over heels in love with each other until Megan had ended their relationship 6 months back. Will comes from a rich family whose mother is quite snobbish whilst Megan comes from mixed parentage of a white father and black mother. It is Megan’s grandmother that sacrifices a lot to bring Megan up and see her through college and Megan is forever grateful and wishes no sadness whatsoever upon her grandma.

Six months after Megan and Will’s breakup, Megan witnesses the horrific murder of a woman from the confines of her office on Halloween night which the police do not seem to believe for the lack of evidence that any such crime took place. The first person that Megan thinks of when she is found in this predicament knowing that the killer is out looking for her is her ex-boyfriend Will who comes to her side after just one phone call.

Even though Will knows that he has no self control over his emotions when it comes to the one woman that he loves to the point of obsession, he can’t say no to her plea of help and that is how Megan and Will once again find themselves embroiled in the heady passion that had been so much a part of their relationship. Megan constantly reminds herself that what they start up once again cannot be permanent whilst Will doesn’t want to give up hope that this time round they can work things out. And as the killer ups the stakes and continues to stalk Megan having the uncanny ability to find out their hideouts, Will knows that this is the one time in life he should not fail the woman who is counting on him.

To be honest I wasn’t that wowed with the story that took place. I found both Megan and Will lacking as characters, where Megan grated on my nerves by constantly going back and forth between what she feels for Will and what she feels it is that she must do. Will though serves to be a sexy and protective hero didn’t make the cut because he didn’t man up and make Megan confront the real issues that were standing between them. Although I didn’t overly like Will and Megan I still found this short romantic suspense to be a good read, a book for fans of erotic contemporary romantic suspense.

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

[xrr rating=3/5]

Caliber Seal: SATISFACTORY READ!