Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath

Format: E-bookwhenadukelovesawoman
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Sins for All Seasons, #2
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Antony Coventry
Heroine: Gillian Trewlove
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 21, 2018
Started On: December 13, 2018
Finished On: December 15, 2018

I picked up a Lorraine Heath to read after ages, the last time I read a book of hers I cannot even remember. But what I definitely can recall with vivid clarity is just how emotional her books are, how much angst they carry, and how much I enjoyed them even as I cried over the obstacles between the hero and heroine in achieving their happiness.

It is 1841 and winter in London when Ettie Trewlove receives a bundle on her doorstep, another by-blow left for her to take in, babies born in sin by aristocrats that she has been in the habit of taking in and giving a home to. Even though she can ill afford to take in another, her heart is unable to leave the child to her fates, and so Gillian Trewlove grows up knowing a mother’s love, but never having actually known her own parents, always believing that she was only worthy of being left on a doorstep on a cold wintry night.

It is mid-August in 1871 when Antony Coventry, the ninth Duke of Thornley finds himself having the mother of bad days. With his bride having left him at the altar, Thorne finds himself being set upon by a bunch of ruffians, who would have killed him, if it had not been for the woman who finds him and comes to his rescue.

Gillian is the owner of a tavern in Whitechapel, and while she has a low tolerance for misdeeds in her tavern, she abhors violence of the kind that can do someone grievous harm. So when Gillian rescues a man who is definitely in need of help in the alley next to her tavern, she does not know that it is a Duke she is bringing into her life, nor how much things were going to change in her life from there onwards.

As Gillian slowly nurses Thorne back to health, he comes to the realization that Gillian is unlike any woman he has ever come across before. Thorne had assumed responsibility of the Dukedom when his father had passed away as Thorne had hit 15 years of age. Thorne had never known much affection or love in his life, not even from his mother, embittered by the actions of his father who had never stopped his philandering ways.

With the Dukedom had come responsibilities Thorne’s way, which had included a marriage that had been arranged the minute his bride-to-be had been born. What Thorne or the bride had wanted hadn’t factored in, and Thorne had been determined to do right by what was required of him, even if it means going against what he really wants.

Gillian knows her limitations as a bastard child, who practically has no place in society’s hierarchy. Especially not one that would make her desirable as a bride for anyone, much less a Duke. But the heart has a mind of its own, and it is as Gillian strives to help Thorne find his missing bride that their connection deepens. Each finding aspects about the other that fascinates and lures them closer together.

However, obligations and societal rules do not stop pressing upon one just because the heart yearns for something else. In the end, it is up to Gillian and Thorne to decide whether they want society to dictate their happiness, or chart their own course towards what is waiting for them, if only they are willing to make the sacrifices required.

I was so excited to be reading a Lorraine Heath after so long. I guess it was partly the excitement that made me expect more out of the story than it offered, which perhaps detracted a bit from the enjoyment factor. I was looking for the Lorraine Heath’s voice that I remember even after all this time, the dormant emotions that she is so good at rousing from readers.

I liked the slow build up of the romance between Thorne and Gillian. But I expected more from Thorne in a way, and while I found him sexy enough, I believed he should have stood up for himself more. But then understanding the rigid strictures of society that he had grown up in, it is also understandable where he comes from. Gillian comes off as the stronger character between the two, and because of the fact, it works between them.

I loved Gillian. She is strong, has a big heart, and wants to do right by Thorne, even if it means having her own heart broken along the way. That kind of sacrifice can only come from someone who loves in the truest sense. As I mentioned earlier, Thorne is a bit laid back in his nature, almost beta if you ask me when you consider the kind of hero he is. I guess that is one reason why the story lacked the angst I looked for. But I was glad when all was said and done, that Gillian turned out to be the kind of heroine who was deserving of the kind of gentle love that Thorne bestows upon her.

Recommended for fans of historical romances & fans of Lorraine Heath.

Final Verdict: Thorne and Gillian makes for a wholesome couple, and it is their journey towards happily ever after that I enjoyed much.

Favorite Quotes

Then he was standing before her, and for all her imaginings of this moment—all the times in her mind that she’d been calm, witty, and oh so very clever—the actual reality hit her as a bit disappointing when she heard herself ask, “What are you doing here?”
Both corners of that glorious mouth that had haunted her sleep hitched up. Slowly, ever so slowly he reached into a pocket inside his jacket, withdrew gold-rimmed spectacles, and perched them on that sharp aquiline nose of his. How could he suddenly appear even more masculine than before? “I wanted a better look at you.”

His mouth slid off hers, trailed along her chin, creating a myriad of sensations that heated her to the core. She had this odd need for him to place his mouth elsewhere, on her breasts, her stomach, lower. Dear God, but she felt wanton, yet she seemed incapable of pushing him away as he nibbled along her throat, his tongue lapping at the sensitive skin, before he moved on to the next area. He reached her collarbone and his mouth lingered, suckling gently before journeying back up to her chin and retreating.

Tearing his mouth from hers, he shoved himself down a few inches, plumped up her breast with one hand and offered it to his questing mouth as though it were the finest morsel ever served. As his lips came securely around the turgid nipple, he suckled, and she very nearly came off the bed as pain and pleasure warred for dominance, and pleasure won, sending armies of sensation throughout her. She pressed her honeyed canal against him, tilting up her hips, bowing her back in a way that allowed her to rub her intimate core along the length of his hard shaft.
If the way he jerked was any indication, now he was the one close to coming off the bed.

As the world exploded around her, as she flew apart and came back together, she knew memories would not be enough to sustain her, but they would be all she had and she would cherish and hoard them. She became aware of his frantic pumping, his harsh breathing, his stifling moans—
Then he pushed himself free of her, burying his face between her breasts as he shook with spasms, spilling his seed in his hand in an effort to protect her from anyone ever learning of her sins.

His fingers danced over the outer portion of her thigh, up and down, up and down, until he moved to the tender and sensitive inner edge, his fingers no longer frolicking but slowing to a meander until they reached the haven that was already moist and aching for him. “You’re so wet,” he rasped.
Moving her hand down, she rubbed the swollen length of him. “You’re so hard.”
“Aching with need, actually, need that will go unsatisfied until later. But you, princess, you need not wait.”

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

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Review: Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookallegianceofhonor.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban-Fantasy
Series: Psy-Changeling, #15
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Multiple
Heroine: Multiple
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 14, 2016
Started On: July 30, 2018
Finished On: August 25, 2018

It has been a while since I have read a book in the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I have a couple of books that I need to catch up on, before the release of the 18th book in the series which is set to happen in June of 2019. According to Ms. Singh, Allegiance of Honor is written in order to ease readers into the next chapter of this series, from the Psy-Changeling to what is known as the Psy-Changeling Trinity series.

Allegiance of Honor is a sort of recap of where everyone is, how everyone is doing, and basically how blissfully happy those who found their mates are at this point in time, together with the challenges that lie ahead. The year is 2082, and the changes that had come since the adoption of Silence as a way of life for the Psy are too numerous to count. Barriers came down, traitors were taken care of, and the world perhaps could be considered as a safer place for everyone involved; the Psy, the Changelings, and the humans.

It is to keep the stability going, to outline rules that would oversee the peace that had been achieved that a Trinity Accord is in the making, which requires that everyone be on board. However, old enemies are still lurking behind the scenes, orchestrating moves that are set to destroy the Accord before it can see the light of day.

I believe that Allegiance of Honor, while an installment that might have been necessary in certain aspects, could have been told in lesser number of pages. For faithful followers of the series, there was no point in rehashing every bit about the lives of the packs and the Psy whose lives we have read about in detail before. There was no point in rehashing how fierce the predatory changelings are, how the Alphas would protect their pack, and how ruthless the Psy can be as well. Perhaps a bit more of Hawke and Sienna would have been welcome, because I felt that their story just had too much going on otherwise to fully focus on their bond and story.

Reading about other characters in passing would have been enough (though I still do not see much of a point), and the next book in the series would still have made sense. In conclusion, things have changed, there are uncharted waters that needs to be crossed, navigated with care, lest every progress that had been made become naught.

I found bits and pieces of the story fascinating. The Architect’s character for one is an angle I am interested in. Allegiance of Honor keeps the Architect’s actual identity a secret, the mastermind behind the chaos that certain members want in order to prevent the Trinity Accord from happening.

I also loved seeing the members of the Black Sea, and found myself intrigued with their Alpha, Miane Leveque and Malachai, one of her blood loyal seconds. Is it me, or is there something more to their story? Could an Alpha and sentinel end up together? So many questions, but then again, as readers we would have to wait to see where Ms. Singh steers them towards.

Recommended for those who would like to jump into the series at this point. This book is basically a recap of everything that has been the Psy-Changeling series.

Final Verdict: What could have been done in a novella, Singh brings to readers as a full length novel. Allegiance of Honor’s only saving grace comes from the breadcrumbs that lead to the next chapter of the series.

Favorite Quotes

“God,” she whispered huskily at some point after Riley had stripped off her top and bra to leave her clad only in a pair of shorts. “Wolves have all the moves.”
He chuckled, his pupils surrounded by a ring of wolfish amber when he looked up to meet her gaze before he claimed her lips in a possessive kiss that made her squirm. “I want you inside me,” she said, her hands fisted in his hair.
He grazed the side of her breast with his claws. “Be good, kitty cat.” A nip of her lip. “You’re—”
“Pregnant and in full pounce-on-my-mate mode.”

Stroking her hands down to cradle his face, she spoke to wolf and man both. “Any sign of a problem and I’ll be at the healer’s.” She let him see her sincerity, feel it through their mating bond. “I’m awful at being pregnant, but I want to be a mom so bad, Riley, and I want to see you being a dad. I’m not going to put that at risk, no matter what.”
He took a shaky breath, bending to press his forehead against hers. “I know. I just . . .”
“I know, baby.” Kissing and nuzzling at him until he was no longer trembling, she surrendered when he took control of the kiss. That kind of surrender didn’t come instinctively to either part of her, but if SnowDancer Senior Lieutenant Riley Kincaid could let her see his fear, let her hold him, then DarkRiver Sentinel Mercy Smith had zero problems giving him the control he needed to love her right now.

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

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Review: Fortune’s Mistress by Susan Napier

Format: E-bookfortunesmistress
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Hero: Nicholas Fortune
Heroine: Maggie
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April, 1990
Started On: July 27, 2018
Finished On: July 28, 2018

Susan Napier is one of my go-to authors when it comes to the Harlequin line of romances. Having discovered her books somewhere in 2013, I have delighted in the depth of her characterization and emotion she brings in the scant number of pages that usually makes up a Harlequin romance.

Fortune’s Mistress happened to be my next pick by Susan Napier to sample, and while I enjoyed certain aspects of the story, I realized that there were bits and pieces to it that didn’t quite work for me. The heroine Maggie is married to her best friend Finn when the tale begins. Their marriage is not unusual if you consider most marriages of conveniences. Given how their marriage started, the reasons behind it, an open marriage where they were both free to come and go as they please, while respecting certain boundaries worked for them. That is until Finn announced that he was in love, which meant that their brief sojourn through marriage had to come to an end.

Maggie is more apprehensive about who Finn had fallen in love with than the fact that he had. Although Maggie cannot deny that she feels completely alone for the first time in her life at the thought of the changes that are to come, she cannot help but feel a bit cautious because the love of Finn’s life turns out to be none other than the coveted daughter of Nicholas Fortune.

Known as a ruthless corporate raider who was rumored to have been a boxer at one time, was now considered amongst the societal elites of New Zealand. Maggie, always in her encounters with Nicholas had barely skimmed the surface, preferring to avoid him altogether, without delving too deeply into the reasons as to why she does what she does.

Needless to say, a lot of misunderstandings happen before everything is put to right. It’s not like “my husband is in love with your daughter” is the kind of statement you blurt out with a man as closed off as Nicholas Fortune. Nicholas’s take on Maggie and Finn’s marriage, though he doesn’t have the full facts to form a comprehensive picture, is spot on when it comes to discerning Maggie’s thoughts and deeper feelings, which unnerves her in a way that leaves her altogether not too comfortable. Maggie likes her life the way it is, uncomplicated, even if people might surmise her to be a spoilt rich socialite.

What I found tiresome were the countless conversations that took place between Maggie and Nicholas, without anything really happening. Maggie and Finn’s marriage, having never being consummated, had proper grounds for an annulment. But the fact that there was a family history as to why they had gotten hitched in the first place, prevents them from making a go for it. I wanted more for Nicholas and Maggie than witty dialogue and exchange of sarcastic quips. I wanted the passion between them to materialize and take a hold of my senses. I wanted Nicholas and Maggie together, and it just happened too late for my tastes.

Sometimes, it so happens that an author makes conversation such a huge part of the novel that the rest is left behind. Slow burn is all well and good. But when slow burn becomes an excruciating burn, no reader wishes to go through that and feel like they have been cheated out of the climax that should have been coming. Pun intended.

Recommended for fans of books that are steeped in witty banter and fans of Susan Napier.

Final Verdict: Even though Fortune’s Mistress is not Napier’s finest, her ability to keep the reader engaged is a testament to her talent that lives on through her stories.

Favorite Quotes

She decided that flippancy was the only defense. ‘Are you trying to appeal to my sense of decency?’ she mocked in turn, and she was relieved to see that trace of compassion vanish like smoke from the grey-blue eyes.
‘Do you have any?’ he grated.
‘What do you think?’ she asked archly.
‘I think .. .’ Whatever he had been going to say, he changed his mind. His voice dipped roughly.

‘I think you’ve been spoilt to hell and back, and it’s a bloody waste.’
There was real anger in the growl, and a regret that whipped under Maggie’s defences. Her eyes widened and they stared at each other for a moment; she saw the hungry male curiosity stir and the regret took on a far more personal flavor.

When their mouths touched there was an explosion of heat, a sweet eruption that quaked through Maggie and left her weak and shaking. No other man had kissed her, touched her. .. only Nick. His mouth was bold and intoxicating, like rich red wine that lingered on the palate. His tongue moved in her mouth, tasting the tart sweetness of her surrender, curling around her tongue and enticing it into an uninhibited exploration of its own, drawing her skillfully into his possession so that he might suckle her with a slow, erotic rhythm that shocked her un-tutored senses. He didn’t touch her with anything but his mouth, and Maggie didn’t dare unfold her fists clenched at her side for fear that if she touched him she would never let him go … But for the pleasure he gave her they might have been naked on a bed, locked in each other’s arms.
When the kiss broke, something in Maggie did, too.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Review: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

Format: E-bookthesilentwife.jpeg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Penguin Books
Hero: Todd Gilbert
Heroine: Jodi Brett
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: June 25, 2013
Started On: December 12, 2016
Finished On: December 15, 2016

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison is one of those novels that has a deep impact on you in the way the story unfolds, and yet, when all is said and done it fails to deliver on many fronts. I picked this up on a whim, a friend of mine finished reading the book before I even began, and my interest got piqued by the bits and pieces that were shared about the book as the read progressed.

When I picked this up to read, I quite didn’t know what to expect, except for the fact that my interest was roused to a point where I just had to read it. The Silent Wife brings forth three main characters, Jodi Brett a psychotherapist, Todd Gilbert her partner of over 25 years, and Natasha Kovac, the woman who brings the house of cards tumbling down.

Jodi is well versed in the art of failed relationships, or perhaps relationships on the verge of failing. Patients who seek her help are in a major way looking for answers that surrounds broken relationships, or in certain cases, people happier with what is far from the accepted norm. There is the gay lawyer who feels remorse over hurting his wife and kid, who in fact wants to be “cured” of his gayness, and at the other end of the spectrum, the cheating suburban housewife who believes that her husband has no room to complain, and that the cheating actually add value to the marriage.

What struck me the most from the onset was how Jodi had this need for a life that was under her control in many ways. Even though she is a psychotherapist who should in fact know better, her mind is a  constructed  fortress within which she lives, the facade of perfection which in reality is what she holds onto more than anything else.

While Todd had always wanted kids, Jodi had refused over the years, and that too had driven a rift between the two which Jodi doesn’t clearly see for what it is. Todd’s actions are hardly commendable either. Having grown comfortable in the way Jodi sees to all his needs and makes a home for him, his dalliances had never been tested until Natasha becomes his newest conquest.

Natasha is a line crossed in more ways than one. And when the inevitable happens, Todd is willing to give up the life he had had with Jodi for more than 20 years in order to try his hand at a life he thinks he wants above everything else. In the end it is Jodi’s actions that keeps the story twisting and turning in directions that leaves the reader wanting to know more, her past one that was never properly shed light on, but left behind hints of abuse that could have explained in a major way where she was coming from.

In the end, after all the edge of the seat variety moments, towards the latter half of the book, the story got bogged down in so much unnecessary detail that I kept skim reading to reach the bits and pieces that I wanted to read. The end when it came, delivered what something that totally ruined an otherwise what could have been a great read.

Final Verdict: Bogged down in unnecessary detail, and yet The Silent’s Wife’s saving grace lies in the fact that it is somehow unputdownable.

Favorite Quotes

People live their lives, express themselves, and pursue fulfillment in their own ways and in their own time. They are going to make mistakes, exercise poor judgment and bad timing, take wrong turns, develop hurtful habits, and go off on tangents. If she learned anything in school she learned this, courtesy of Albert Ellis, father of the cognitive-behavioral paradigm shift in psychotherapy. Other people are not here to fulfill our needs or meet our expectations, nor will they always treat us well. Failure to accept this will generate feelings of anger and resentment. Peace of mind comes with taking people as they are and emphasizing the positive.

Love after all is indivisible. Loving one more doesn’t mean loving another less. Faith is not a construct but something you carry inside you.

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

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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

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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

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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

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