Review: Her Best Friend’s Baby by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Format: E-Bookherbestfriendsbaby
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Maitland Maternity, #9
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Morgan Tate
Heroine: Mary Jane Potter
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 23, 2001
Started On: October 21, 2019
Finished On: October 26, 2019

Her Best Friend’s Baby by Vicki Lewis Thompson is a novel that explores the concept of surrogacy, friendships, and crossing lines, which makes this for an emotional read. 22 year old Mary Jane Potter is carrying her best friend Arielle’s baby, the woman who had been a big sister, mother substitute, and her closest friend in the entire world.

When 31 year old Morgan Tate, husband to Arielle arrives on her doorstep late one night and gives her the devastating news of her best friend’s passing, that is the night when lines are crossed bringing these two together. Highly emotional and in need of human warmth and touch at such a time of deep grief, Morgan and Mary give into physical desire, complicating their relationship from then on.

While Morgan is adamant that a repeat of what happened that night is not possible, however as Morgan and Mary spends more time together and discover aspects of each other’s character they are both drawn to, the tug of attraction between them strengthens to a point where it is impossible to ignore. However, both of them do try valiantly for strength for as long as they can, until of course they give in.

It is not easy to accept that you have fallen hard for the husband of your best friend, a woman that you had put on a pedestal for the whole of your life. Morgan’s behavior is impeccable, the strength to his character and discipline evident for all to see, when he tries to do the right thing even at the cost of his own happiness.

There were many things that I loved about the book. Primarily Morgan who was such a sweetheart in every single way that counts. Not to mention Mary Jane, who infuses the story with a vitality that tugs at your very heartstrings. Vicki Lewis Thompson’s take on the concept of surrogacy and identifying the toll it could take on the surrogate mother was superbly done. Especially when it comes to someone like Mary Jane who would make a wonderful mother in her own right.

One thing that drew me to Mary Jane was her total and unabashed honesty which helped Morgan to move forward and accept things as they turned out to be. The fact that both Morgan and Mary Jane acted like mature adults rather than going the road of miscommunication with each other and creating needless problems between them as a result was welcome. Morgan being pulled from an otherwise lackluster life was one of the best bits about the story and the sexual tension and delivery on that front was done just right, totally deserving of what was blossoming to life between him and Mary Jane.

At first, I thought that the story line would not work because Mary Jane and Morgan get together too soon in the story. I was proven wrong because that was an elementally human response to the sudden loss of someone whom they had both loved and held dear in their own way. There was no ickiness factor because of what happened, and for that alone, I would say Vicki is a genius in writing about complex human emotions.

Recommended for fans of Silhouette romances and those who love stories that brim with hope in the best way possible.

Final Verdict: A story that brims with love, heart, and all the good stuff in between. Vicki Lewis Thompson definitely knows how to deliver a deeply and emotionally satisfying story.

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not trying to make you feel better, damn it.” He could tell from her expression she didn’t believe him, and that’s when he finally lost it and kissed her.
Oh, God. She tasted like…the richest hot fudge sundae he’d ever had. He sort of went crazy—kissing her, and kissing her, and kissing her some more. He was afraid he also used his tongue quite liberally as he continued to enjoy her full, sexy, incredibly sweet mouth. His hands found their way to her bottom and pulled her in tight, and boy, oh, boy, did she fit.
She filled his arms in a way they’d never been filled before. He’d never held such energy, such excitement, such heat.

There’s nothing logical about the way I’m feeling right now.”
With a groan he pulled her into his arms. And heaven help her, she let him do it. Worse, she dug her fingers into his hair and coaxed his head down. She wasn’t going to be able to blame any of this insanity on him.
“I’m wild about caramel, too,” he murmured. Then he settled in to prove it.
During their first kiss in her kitchen she’d felt as if someone had pulled the pin on a grenade. This time it was as if someone had detonated a bomb.

He lifted his head. “We should go into your—”
“Stairs are nice.” She finished with his shirt and started on his belt buckle.
“But you need—”
“You.” She unzipped his jeans.
“A bed.”
“Later.” In an inspired move she slipped her hands inside the waistband of his briefs and slid to a sitting position, pulling his jeans and briefs down as she went. The maneuver gave her perfect placement.
“Mary Jane.”
She wrapped both hands around his solid penis. No wonder he’d felt so wonderful deep inside her that first night. She caressed him lovingly, and then she leaned over to kiss the straining tip.

Suspended halfway between sleep and wakefulness, drifting in a sensual haze, she closed her eyes. Lying on the bed limp and relaxed as a rag doll, she allowed Morgan to do as he would with her. He seemed to know exactly what to do with her, and he apparently required no participation from her to achieve his ends. He might even think she was still asleep and her body was automatically responding to his touch.
What a wild sensation, to be coaxed and kissed awake in every sense of the word. He cupped her belly with both hands, caressing her lightly as he continued his assault right where it counted the most. She was in heaven.

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


Review: Forgotten by Maggie Shayne

Format: E-bookforgotten
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Series: Shayne’s Supernaturals, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Ashville Allan Coye
Heroine: Josephine Belinda Bradshaw
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 21, 2012
Started On: August 6, 2015
Finished On: August 8, 2015

I love romances that involve two people who think they are ill suited for one another. I know that that’s not just me. There’s so much fun that happens before they do realize that their ultimate partner lies in one another. Add to that a twist paranormal, as in the heroine being a psychic, well that’s just the icing on the cake for me.

It’s being a long time since I read and re-read Linda Howard’s Dream Man. Ever since, I’ve always looked out for any other stories that would bring forth as much emotion as that particular tale did for me. Forgotten by Maggie Shayne filled that need somewhat, and for that and more, I enjoyed the story that unfolded, so very much.

Ashville Allan Coye (Ash), is lying on a hospital bed, pretending that an accident he’d met with had resulted in him landing with a bout of amnesia, when Josephine Belinda Bradshaw (Joey) walks into his hospital room and announces that she’s his somewhat newly wedded wife.

Ash had been pursuing the story behind The Syracuse Slasher when the accident happened and when Joey walks in and drops the obviously false news of his marital status, Ash is hard pressed to find out what it is exactly that this woman who drives a Harley and is as far removed from every condition he has jotted down for the future missus to meet is up to.

Joey’s psychic abilities are more of a pain to her than something she rejoices in. For one thing, it gets her labeled as a crackpot or worse. For another, her ability at times is not the most cooperative, especially when she wants to help people who could be in mortal danger. With Ash, Joey is determined to stick by his side and hopefully save him from becoming another victim of The Syracuse Slasher together with a different agenda of her own that involves her own family.

Ash and Joey’s connection to one another stems from the sizzling attraction that flares between them from the get go. Ash who deals with issues stemming from growing up with a drunken whore of a mother, his inability to trust a woman to do right by him makes him question his attraction towards Joey. Joey has her own issues to deal with, her lack of trust when it comes to the opposite sex, given the philandering ways of her father. Or so she believes it to be.

Amidst increasing danger to both their selves, Ash and Joey find in each other, a partner they’d be willing to spend their life with, if only the ramifications of coming clean with the whole charade on both sides would give them a fighting chance at what they have between them. Added to the mix, is a killer whose mad enough to go on a rampage, just to feed the delusion that keeps the hunger for the kills at bay.

Maggie Shayne does a splendid job of bringing to life Ash & Joey, two characters whom you fall in love with & root for from the onset. Ash is the journalist, who sees everything in provable facts and figures. And Joey is the woman who shakes up everything he believes in, even what he had perceived as would be the best fit for him when it comes to a life partner.

With a couple of twists thrown in for good measure, Maggie Shayne delivers a story worth sinking into. Loved it.

Final Verdict: Romance, heat & murder. What more can this twisted mind of mine ask for?

Favorite Quotes

To change the subject, she waved a hand to indicate the room they were in, a sparse area with cement floors and white walls littered with exercise equipment “This is my torture chamber, as you can see. There’s a bathroom through here, and that other door leads to the basement”
His gaze lingered on the weight bench and narrowed. “You pump iron?”
“You disapprove?”
“It’s unfeminine.”
“The results aren’t.”
He looked her over thoroughly, his gaze traveling a deliberately slow path over her. For the first time in her life, Joey felt uncomfortable in skintight pants and a skimpy bustier. “I’ll let you know,” he quipped.”

His tongue swept into her mouth like a loving caress, touching her in a probing search as if he were an explorer, the first to enter there. She felt as if he were tasting her, and liking what he found as his tongue dipped and danced around her mouth. She began to shake.
It shocked her. She tried to analyze it. She wasn’t shivering with cold, or with fear. Her arms curled tighter around his neck. Her body pressed harder against his, and her fingers threaded into his hair. This was good. Whatever this was, it was incredibly good. When he withdrew his tongue, she thrust her own into his mouth. But hers was hungrier, more demanding, and she felt him shudder in response.

He stood utterly still for a moment fighting the demon that drove him to turn her around, to look at her, to touch her. It was a hard battle, harder because it was one he didn’t want to win. But he stiffened his resolve and reached past her for the T-shirt. As she gripped the bed for support, he pulled it over her head, holding it in place while she inserted one arm, then the other. And it really was accidental that the backs of his fingers brushed over her breasts as he pulled the shirt down over her body.
He felt her shudder, though. He lifted her hair out of the shirt’s collar, and then he held it aside and lowered his lips to the back of her neck. He didn’t think about doing it, wasn’t even aware he was going to until his lips brushed over her nape. He heard the breath escape from her in a rush, and he felt something akin to pain squeeze his chest.

“Ah, God, Joey.” It was a whisper, hoarse, as if he were in some kind of pain. His hand drifted downward, over her chin, her throat. His fingertips skimmed her breast, then his palm closed over it.
She closed her eyes and let her head fall back in reaction to his touch. His hand slid over the curve of her waist, around to the small of her back, and he drew her to him. Free hand driving into her hair, he brought her face level again, and then he kissed her.

His head angled. His lips slid over her face, and he nibbled at her jaw, then moved lower, the damp warmth of his mouth bathing her neck and the hollow below her ear. Her heart raced, drowning out the sounds of traffic below. Her senses filled with him, with wanting him, needing him.
He bent her backward and took one breast into his mouth. Her hands on his shoulders tightened, and she felt the shudder that ran through him. He suckled her, making her gasp for breaths that wouldn’t seem to come.

He pushed her, and he pulled her. Played with her as if she were a puppet on a string, driving her to the edge of madness only to let her hang there, begging for fulfillment in the language of her body. She writhed beneath him, longing for it, mindless in her need.
Then he gave her what she craved, quickening his pace, deepening his invasion into her body, driving into her as she felt his need grow to equal her own.
And then she exploded.

She blinked at him, her eyes wide and wonder filled. “I’m so afraid of this,” she whispered.
“Of wanting me?” He slipped his hands beneath her shirt and ran his palms over the warm, smooth curve of her back.
“Of… of needing you.”
He closed his eyes at the impact of her words. “I know.”
“It’s overpowering. It’s getting worse all the time, and I—”
“And I can’t do anything to stop it,” he finished for her. “I’m not sure I want to stop it.”

He picked her up, hands on the backs of her parted thighs, carefully avoiding the bandaged wound. He lowered her over his arousal. Her tightness was like a hand, gripping, squeezing. He held her hips and moved her up and down over him. She clung to him, feeding on his mouth as if she were starved for it. Her breasts, their nipples pebble hard, brushed over his chest, driving him insane.

He kissed her jaw, her throat Her head tipped back as he bit and suckled her neck. He pushed her back still farther, and she arched to give him access to her breasts. Those dark peaks strained toward him, silently begging for attention. He laved them with his tongue, going at one after the other like a man possessed. Her body moved faster, harder, taking him more deeply into her with each thrust. He bit her nipples, tugged at them, sucked them mercilessly, until she was trembling and biting her lip to keep quiet.

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


Review: Special Gifts by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookspecialgifts
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Sam Oliver
Heroine: Elizabeth Hardy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 1990
Started On: May 9, 2014
Finished On: May 16, 2014

I tend to get overly dramatic every time I finish a book from my pile of books to be read by Anne Stuart. Even the romances that she has written way earlier tends to hold a magic that hasn’t died out even today. The depression that I feel because there are a handful of books left in this treasure of mine tends to grow exponentially as well. I came across Special Gifts while browsing through Goodreads or rather stalking through book shelves of readers who share a similar penchant for books by Anne Stuart and I certainly was not disappointed.

29 year old Elizabeth Hardy moves to Colorado for one reason. To lick her wounds in private and resign herself to the fate of a lonesome life for the rest of her days. But one thing that prevents her from not seeking the company of other people, mainly that of Police Detective Phil Grayson is because of her visions, the visions that render her as cold as ice from deep within; visions of horror, evilness and blood red murders. It is one such vision that propels Phil to contact his ex-Army Intelligence buddy Colonel Sam Oliver who turns Elizabeth’s world upside down in more than one way.

A killer known as the Colorado Slasher incites fear in the heart of the people and a coldness inside of Elizabeth the likes of which she has never experienced before. While Oliver with his cynical beliefs about people like her makes her want to scream in frustration, it is the hot fire of attraction that sizzles her nerve endings and warms her from deep within that disturbs her more than anything else.

While the public and law enforcement at large may treat the “Colorado Slasher” as the average serial killer, what propels Phil to contact Oliver is the fear that the killings are related to something way beyond that. Oliver who has had his emotions washed out of him a long time back finds himself in a dilemma when his body doesn’t pay heed to what his mind tells him when it comes to Elizabeth; that tangling with the likes of her is not for hardened and world weary men like him.

Anne Stuart does a swell job out of the attraction and the romance that buds into life between Elizabeth and Oliver. Though certain aspects of the suspense aspect didn’t make much of a sense to me, perhaps because I was more interested in finding out when Elizabeth and Oliver would reach that point of no return; I still loved this book and the story it had to offer. Elizabeth might want to be a recluse but her heart yearns for the impossible; for Oliver to sweep her away true to her visions of the two of them together.

Oliver resists at first, as of course most stubborn headed men do so, and finally give in, oh so deliciously when the time arrives. Oliver has this take charge attitude that is so very sexy and I found myself totally hooked to his character. His reluctant feelings for Elizabeth certainly made this a delicious read to savor. And oh boy, the shared vision of Elizabeth in her red dress with Oliver wearing nothing more than a sexy pair of jeans, taking them both to heights of pleasure unexplored before certainly made for a very enticing picture. And Anne Stuart unlike some authors who leave readers hanging on that aspect definitely delivers on that score!


Final Verdict: Elizabeth, Oliver and danger. Certainly a combination you ought not miss!

Favorite Quotes

His heart was racing when he stormed into the bedroom. In the darkness he could see the huddled bundle of humanity in the middle of his bed, and for a moment he, who didn’t know the meaning of fear, was terrified to move. She was covered with the quilt from head to toe, and he knew that if he pulled that cover aside he’d be looking into her lifeless brown eyes, her cut throat a second red smile beneath her mouth.
He moved slowly, kneeling on the bed, and began to pull at the quilt. She didn’t move, didn’t make a sound, as he uncovered her still, pale, lifeless face. And then her eyes fluttered open, focusing on his face, and she smiled at him.

She made it as far as the door. She’d forgotten he could move so fast. One moment he was lying stretched out on his huge bed, covered with the flowing red material, a few seconds later he’d caught her by the front door. Caught her with his large, strong hands, imprisoning her arms. Caught her with his big body, pressing her smaller, frailer one up against the heavy door. Caught her with his mouth on hers, hot and wet and demanding.

She brought her hands up between them to push him away, but once again her fingers touched his bare skin, his smoothly muscled chest, and she was lost. She tipped her head to one side, to give him better access, and let him kiss her.
He lifted his head and stared down at her in the darkness of the hallway, his eyes glittering and strangely savage. “Kiss me back, damn it,” he said harshly, setting his mouth back on hers. And she did, opening her mouth to his, sliding her arms up and around his neck, pulling him down to her.

This was no gentle wooing. This was demand, pure and simple. And to his mingled surprise and satisfaction it was a demand she answered, sliding her arms around his waist and softening her mouth for his searing kiss.
She was all soft and shivery in his arms. The more he kissed her, the more he wanted. He wanted to drown in her mouth; he wanted to devour her; he wanted everything to disappear but the wet, hungry texture of his mouth and hers.

He didn’t know where to start. He didn’t know if he could touch her without terrifying her; he didn’t know if he could take that white cotton nightgown with its row of tiny buttons off her without tearing it from her. He didn’t know if he could stroke her, arouse her, bring her pleasure, before the raging demands of his own body overwhelmed him and he buried himself in her. For the first time in his life, his woman’s pleasure mattered more than his. He just wasn’t sure if his body realized it.

The skirt was up to her hips, and his fullness pressed against her, ready to explode.
“Wait,” he groaned against her mouth. “You’re not…”
“Yes,” she said, pulling him against the cradle of her thighs, until he rested against her, throbbing, waiting. “Yes, I am,” she whispered.
With a muffled moan he slid into her, hard and full and deep, and for a moment he thought he might explode with the wonder of it.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Abe Books | B&N


Review: Bound by Marriage by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookboundbymarriage
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Silhouette Desire
Hero: Gabriel Dumont
Heroine: Jess Randall
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1, 2005
Started On: August 7, 2013
Finished On: August 9, 2013

I have been so engrossed with reading the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh that I have never even wondered whether Nalini has strayed into writing any other genres in the world of romance. So while I was doing some random searching on the Internet, imagine my surprise when this little number came up, and that too with the uber interesting marriage of convenience trope that can really make for superb reads!

Bound by Marriage takes place in New Zealand and is told from both the hero and heroine’s point of views in the third person. While wealthy rancher Gabriel Dumont and Jess Randall enter into a marriage of convenience knowing fully well what they both are getting into, neither of them factors in the searing passion that lights up the sheets between them and of course plays havoc with the general order of things or how they both perceive their joint lives would turn out to be.

Jess never thought that her heart would be capable of loving anyone else, much less a man like Gabriel who is so withdrawn that he opens up to her only when they are in bed together, him drawing out responses from her that she would never have thought possible. But even then the times that Gabriel does let her see that tender side of his, although it is very rarely with the situations that continue to develop and put further strains on their already fragile bond, Jess finds herself inexorably drawn towards the man she calls as her husband.

I seriously thought that I would have a hard time liking Gabriel by the time the book was half way through. Yes, he is that stubborn and set in his ways that if it weren’t for his emotions that are as much in turmoil as that of Jess’s I wouldn’t have thought that he felt anything for the woman he had married. But lo and behold, I should have trusted Nalini a bit more and waited for the bombshell when it hit and yes, I was blown away with the compassion and love that filled my heart for the little boy Gabriel had been when he had lost vital pieces of his heart in a way that they would never be regained.

For some readers, Jess might seem to be putting up with much more than they would have liked. But I think Gabriel needed someone just as equally stubborn as him, willing to give until those impenetrable shields of his that he wears around himself like an armor were all but shattered around him. I loved the ending, the glimpse into the man Gabriel later turns into, not completely tamed, no never that, but a man who is at least a little bit at peace with his past and smiling in the arms of the woman who loves him like there is no tomorrow.

Final Verdict: Sensual & heart wrenching; Silhouette Desire at its best!

Favorite Quotes

Gabriel’s hand was rough against her skin, the hand of a man who worked the land. But on her neck, his lips were almost velvet soft—a seductive contrast. She lost her breath as he closed his teeth over a pulse point, then released with exquisite deliberation, scraping those same strong teeth along the sensitive flesh.

“I’m damn glad you’re a rider, Jess,” he almost growled as he filled her, going so deep that she could feel his heartbeat in her body.
Not aware enough to understand what he was referring to, she squeezed intimate muscles around him in a reaction as old as time itself. Throwing back his head, he tightened his hold on her and began to move. His rhythm was fast, his strokes deep. She screamed and screamed as he pushed her over the edge in a tempest of hot breaths and powerful thrusts.
And when she fell, it was as a marked woman. Gabriel Dumont’s woman.

And then she heard the zipper being lowered.
Even that warning wasn’t enough. She screamed as he pushed into her. Hard. Fast. Deep. Her body accepted him, welcomed his driving thrusts, but he was merciless in the intensity of what he asked of her, pushing her so far that she lost all traces of civilization and surrendered to her most primal heart.

“So I did,” he murmured, reclaiming her lips even as his hand pushed aside the gusset of her panties to thrust two fingers deep into a body more than primed by the slow seduction. Pleasure erupted inside her almost instantaneously. Pulling away from the ravaging fury of his mouth, she threw back her head and rode his fingers, feeling herself clench and unclench with vicious strength.

Gabe’s arm came around her waist and his teeth scraped lightly over the sensitive skin of her neck. “Now, Jess. Now!”
She fractured under the command, everything female in her glorying in the wildness of that harsh masculine voice. At the last second, their eyes met in the mirror and Jess knew they’d crossed a line. The question was, what lay on the other side?

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


Score Sheet Review: Uncaged by Lucy Gordon

Format: Paperbackuncaged.jpg
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Desire, #864
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Detective Inspector Daniel Keller
Heroine: Megan Elizabeth Anderson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 28, 1994
Started On: April 4, 2012
Finished On: April 6, 2012

The hero 80 A
The heroine 75 B
Story line 80 A
Emotional Intensity 70 B
Suck me in Factor 70 B
Heat & Sensuality  75 B
Conflicts 80 A
Writing Style 75 B
Quotable Factor 60 B
Ending 75 B
Overall Grade 74 B

Score Sheet Summary

Uncaged by Lucy Gordon is a novel that has a promising and different premise that sucked me right in. Rather than the hero who has been wronged, it is the heroine Megan Elizabeth Anderson who finds herself accused of a murder that she did not commit and jailed for a period of 3 years until a technicality overlooked during the investigation sets her free. During the time that she had lost from her life, it had been the thoughts of her son Tommy and her burning hatred for the man who had been relentless in his belief that she was the murderess and set about to proving it without any thought or feeling that had been the focal point of her thoughts and dreams.

What makes Uncaged different is that it is the hero Detective Inspector Daniel Keller who makes the biggest mistake in his career when he wrongfully convicts and sends an innocent woman to jail. Daniel’s life had been far from perfect when the case had come to his attention and he had heeded advice from well meaning friends to take a break and grieve as he deserved to before trying to bury himself in work.

Thus circumstances, guilt and a whole lot of other conflicting emotions brings Daniel to Megan’s door, Megan who wants nothing more than to make Daniel as miserable as she is feeling. But as mistrust and other hostile feelings give away from both ends, there comes to light a desire for each other that surpasses any other emotion that they both have known, a desire that blinds them both into accepting the reprieve and emotional high that only they both can give each other.

Daniel is a hero who awakens so many emotions deep inside of you. You feel for his suffering, his anguish and empathize with what he was going through when he had made the worst mistake of his life. His guilt is an almost tangible one, that never ending grief in his eyes one that reaches out to you from the very start. Megan is quite the heroine who belongs in my list of unusual heroines. She is bold, vivacious and has a temper that fires up quite easily and she is a beauty that drove and continues to drive men crazy. Both Megan and Daniel have suffered so much in the past and the way they are able to see beyond their own suffering to empathize with the other was what made this book unforgettable.

Though the execution of the story could have been better, nevertheless I enjoyed the story and would recommend this read to those who love romances based around female convicts.

Favorite Quotes

With a low growl from his very depths, he pulled her against him and smothered her mouth with his own. There was madness in the passion that swept over him, engulfing him in its pounding urgency. Everything about this situation was insane. He knew that, but he was helpless in the grasp of sensstions that he’d never experienced before.

Through the roaring of her senses she managed to murmur, “Daniel…”
“Yes,” he said hoarsely.
“We shouldn’t do this…I know we shouldn’t….”
“Then tell me to stop.” She looked up at him helplessly, and with a groan he covered her mouth again. “Tell me to stop,” he repeated in a voice that was half command, half plea.
“I can’t…you know I can’t…”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks


Review: Rafferty’s Angel by Caroline Cross

Format: Paperbackraffertysangel
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Desire, #851
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Chase Rafferty
Heroine: Margaret Rose McKenna
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 1, 1994
Started On: January 4, 2012
Finished On: January 4, 2012

Reading wise, the year 2012 didn’t start off so great for me. I picked up 2 books which have received rave and glowing reviews from several reviewers & readers, but somehow I found myself not really getting into the story that was developing. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind or lets face it, I may very well be the odd one out when it comes to the said books. That being said, Caroline Cross’s Rafferty’s Angel was a recommendation I got off of a giveaway I held here on my blog and I have been awaiting this one’s arrival ever since I ordered a used copy from Abe Books. So  last evening I found myself engrossed in the story that unfolded, a book that delivered exactly what I was craving for which made me a very happy and satisfied reader all around.

Former DEA Agent Chase Rafferty is a man who is haunted by what took place 2 years ago. The fact that the widow of the man whom he had killed had come forward to provide the testimony that had freed him in the eyes of the law continues to haunt and taunt him. Chase had grown up without ever knowing an ounce of kindness from his military bred father and his life as a DEA agent later on makes him a cynical man, one who is befuddled and confused by the way Maggie comes forth to the rescue of the one man whom she should hate with every fiber of her being.

2 years pass on by and Maggie lives in her hometown of Mission in Eastern Oregon with her two children. Once again, Maggie finds herself playing the rescuer, this time to a Chase that seems to have lost all hope, a man whose tormented soul beckons Maggie to bestow upon him her soothing touch, a man she undeniably has a strong connection towards no matter how much she may try to think otherwise.

Its a slow and a moving journey that Maggie and Chase takes together towards the discovery that in each other lies their better halves and their entwined future, if only Chase is willing to let go of the demons that continue to hound him every step of the way. The sizzling sexual tension that is so much a part of Maggie and Chase’s relationship proved to be an oh! so delicious one, one that had all my nerves rejoicing in the way that Chase loses his control when it comes to Maggie.

Maggie is one of the most endearing heroines I have come across. She has this soothing quality that is hard to explain, heck she even worked her charm over me throughout the story. I was lulled into this place where the world was a beautiful riot of colors, one where loneliness and pain is a foreign concept. That doesn’t mean that this story is all fluff, candies and rainbows. Hardly that, but Caroline Cross’s writing came across to me as a thing of beauty, one that I fell hopelessly in love with and won’t be forgetting anytime soon!

For fans of tortured and cynical heroes, Chase Rafferty is the man for you! He is sexy as sin and has a way about him that would draw you into his character and make you want to shoo away all those nightmares that seems to linger on even after such a long time. 

Highly recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Yet as bad as she felt, it was nothing compared to the stark despair she saw in Rafferty’s eyes. It was so total, and went so deep, that it made her forget her own hurt to see it. It was the look of a man who’d given up deep inside where it mattered most, and for Maggie, who was a survivor to her very toes, it was profoundly disturbing.

Maggie lifted her head.
Chase lowered his.
Like the inevitable meeting of sea with shore, their mouths came together.

And then those dusky lashes fluttered up, revealing a lambent gleam of jungle green.
His hands circled her waist and she slowly flexed his hips, a wholly male sound of satisfaction escaping him when her eyes fluttered shut and she gasped.
And then a small, secret, feminine smile appeared on her lips and Chase’s control snapped like a power line in a high wind.
Wrapping her in his arms, he began to pump into her in a slow, relentless rhythm that was both too much and not enough.

“Oh, baby, I can’t wait….”
“Don’t. I want you, Chase….” She slid her fingers up the strong channel of his spine to lock in the soft heavy gold of his hair and urged him down until his mouth, hot and wet, latched hungrily on one distended nipple. He hooked his fingers in the fragile lace barrier of her panties and tore them away, then yanked at the fastening of his jeans.
This time there was no slow slide of discovery. There was one endless agonizing second of delay as he made use of one of the packets she’d purchased, and then he was gripping her hips and plunging inside her, the pair of them bowing together as the ache of anticipation became a white-hot pulse of pleasure.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books


Review: Cullen’s Bride by Fiona Brand

Format: E-bookcullensbride
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments, #914
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Cullen Logan
Heroine: Rachel Sinclair
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 1, 1999
Started On: December 20, 2011
Finished On: December 21, 2011

Fiona Brand is an author whose name gets associated with that of Linda Howard. I have always heard that she has a similar writing style to that of one of my favorite authors of the romance genre and that is one reason why I picked up Cullen’s Bride to sample her writing. And of course a lot of raving reviews of the book by my Goodreads friends had me buying my very first Fiona Brand and indulging in it as soon as I could.

27 year old Rachel Sinclair returns back to the small town of Riverbend after a divorce that had completely shattered with plans to turn her life around. Now the owner of a hair salon, Rachel doesn’t expect much trouble from her sleepy hometown until she experiences otherwise. To her rescue comes 33 year old Cullen Logan, Riverbend’s one time bad boy and outlaw turned military man and still an outcast in his hometown.

The attraction that flares up between Rachel and Cullen is an immediate and a strong one at that, one that Fiona weaves so cleverly throughout the story. Rachel might have grown up with 4 overprotective half brothers who had tried to shield her from the reality that is life. But Rachel is a grown up woman, a woman who is determined in her efforts to live her own life on her own terms. Even when all her survival instincts tells her to flee in the opposite direction whenever she is around Cullen, her heart and other emotions that would like nothing better than to be claimed by the big, tough and a little bit rough around the edges former bad boy wants nothing more than to embrace him heart, body and soul.

Cullen is haunted by the very thought of sullying up the beautiful and dainty Rachel with his touch, his distrust for himself something he has lived with for a long time. But the need that takes a hold of him whenever he runs into Rachel is one that grows in its intensity from one encounter to the next until its very explosive against-the-wall culmination that changes both Cullen and Rachel’s lives forever.

I love it when a book is filled with sexual tension that just grows exponentially until I can barely remember to breathe while reading. And Cullen’s Bride turned out to be a book that delivered extremely well on that aspect from the very sexy Cullen Logan who just seems to fill up the pages with his mere presence. He is what you would call a tortured and tormented hero whose childhood had been nothing but disappointment and his rebellious attitude as a teenager that had stemmed from his frustration with just how meaningless his life had been. The military had been the one place where Cullen had fit in and it had molded him into a more dangerous version of the man he had been, one that is more alluring because even with that iron-clad control of his, nothing can change the fact that underneath all that civilized demeanor lies a man who is wild in his passions for the right woman.

I loved Rachel from the very start. From the way she pets and strokes the huge bear of a man who sends all her emotions into a tailspin to the way she stands up for what she wants and believes in and because Rachel knows when to advance and retreat in her mission to win the love of the one man who is reluctant to do just that made me fall for her big time! She matches Cullen in every way and is exactly what he wants and needs, even protecting him from the unjust voices in her hometown from making him feel unwelcome.

Tying up this story of need, red-hot desire with a reluctant hero and a determined heroine is a tad of suspense that just makes it a well rounded tale of romance very hard to put down. The one thing that the Kindle version of this book could have used though was a good editor; seriously some out of this world editing errors throughout the book that kept hindering with my enjoyment of the story.

If you love a hot, tortured hero who just makes your toes curl, Cullen’s Bride is the book for you. I seriously dare you not to dream that you are Rachel the minute the heat is on! 

Favorite Quotes

She pushed the hair away, then began uncoiling and recoiling the silky mass with an unconscious, natural grace. Against the crude background of the alley, she was startlingly feminine and delicate, and with every movement of her arms and hair, her scent wove around Cullen—flowers and freshness and the subtle earthy warmth of woman It sank into him and hardened him with a primitive fierceness he hadn’t experienced since his early teens.

“I’m no Prince Charming,” he admitted flatly. “I’m big and hard, and so hungry it feels like I haven’t had a woman in years. I wouldn’t court you, Rachel, I’d just take you.”

She’d braced herself for a hard, plundering, ravaging assault, but the sweetness of his caress was butterfly-soft, and so beguiling that she ached for him to deepen the pressure. Her hands lifted and settled on the incredible warmth of his chest as she parted her lips and tilted her head to grant him easier access. She was as guilty of misjudging Cullen as everyone else was—he looked every inch an outlaw, but he was kissing her like an angel. A fallen, dangerously beautiful angel.

The passionate fury in every line of her body made Cullen go still. The sudden vision of Rachel locked beneath him, her legs wrapped around his waist, that wild gaze linked passionately with his as he pushed himself inside her, flooded his loins with a throbbing, painful heat. A groan rolled through him, and he broke out in a sweat. Sweet hell
He wanted her. Here. Now.
And God help them both, but she wanted him, too.

Rachel arched, deliberately parting herself more widely over him, inviting him deeper into her body. She heard his intake of air, felt the raw tremor that shook him. Sweat sprang out on his skin, making him glow copper in the half-light. His lips drew back, baring his teeth as he fought for the control she was intent on denying him; then, with a rough sound somewhere between a groan and a purr, his hips jackhammered, and he thrust himself all the way in.
Time stopped. Rachel registered the wild dilation in Cullen’s eyes, her own sense of unreality. She was backed up against a wall, her arms and legs wrapped around Cullen, and he was so deep inside her that her muscles quivered in reaction to his alien heat and hardness.

Rachel’s kiss reached inside him and twined around what passed for his soul. and when she took her mouth from his, she had it all. He knew he loved her with everything he was. Everything that he could be. There would never be another woman for him.
And he could never tell her.

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


Review: Now You See Him… by Anne Stuart

Format: E-booknowyouseehim
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments, #429
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: James Mackintosh Bond
Heroine: Frances Neeley
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1992
Started On: June 29, 2011
Finished On: June 29, 2011

Its being quite some time since I immersed myself in the magic that Anne Stuart alone can create with her ruthlessly determined and controlled heroes. Now You See Him is one of her much earlier books and a Harlequin romance at that but nevertheless still managed to pack a wealth of emotion into the 200+ pages of the story.

Now You See Him kicks off in quite an unusual way with the heroine Frances Neeley waiting for her to-be lover Patrick Dugan to come home after attending some demonstration in his cause for freedom for Ireland. However, the night does not end amidst a bed of roses but rather in a severe bloodbath as Patrick turns out to be a murderer, a liar and a terrorist for whom Francey had just been a means to an end.

Francey retires to the tiny island of St. Anne’s in the Carribbean to lick her wounds in private and to let the sun, sea and the beach work its magic on her raw, open wounds. When her cousin Daniel Traverse who owns the villa Belle Reste in which Francey is recuperating sends along seemingly harmless Michael Dowde recovering from a near fatal auto accident, Francey almost lets her guard down in thinking that no harm would come to her from Michael even when her instincts scream at her otherwise.

Michael’s mission while he gets back his strength is a simple one. Find out whether Francey is as innocent as she claims to be or eliminate her if else. But what he doesn’t count on is for someone as unremarkable as Francey with her brown hair, brown eyes and heart shaped face to get under his skin right from the initial onset.

When danger comes calling from the terrorist cell which Michael has been trying to hunt down for so long, he does the only thing that the 37 years of his life of living on the edge has taught him; protect Francey with everything he is even though he knows that the threat on his heart from the woman he is on the run with is a very likely possibility. For the first time in his life, Michael who weaves a web of deceit so great to protect Francey and his cover finds himself itching to possess the purity that is Francey, make her his and starts thinking foolish thoughts of a shared future which he has no right thinking.

Francey doesn’t fare any better when she is drawn towards the enigmatic Michael with his erotic looking hands, who fires up her desires unlike anything she has ever experienced. Though her heart warns her to stay away from a man whom she knows is not telling her the truth, Francey knows she would lay down her very life for this man with the many facets, who turns up at the most unexpected moments and who haunts her every waking thought and dreams when he is not around.

Now You See Him though a short novel doesn’t pull any punches nor takes any short cut in the adventure or the romance aspect of the story. Michael who goes by so many names is a man with a dangerous past, who knows that Francey would be far better off without him in the picture. However, he is as much a slave to the desire that unfolds between these two polar opposites, the strength of the growing feelings pulling them together regardless of danger or the consequences.

Michael is a hero who made my heart go aflutter, who made my senses go alive and who made me yearn and crave for his happily ever after. And I loved Francey because she identified with the real man behind all the facades to find Michael a man worthy of her trust and affections. Though many a reader may not like Michael as a hero and the story that unfolded, for me, Now You See Him is just the perfect sort of read to indulge and immerse myself in to escape reality.

Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart’s ICE series and for those who like their heroes a bit ruthless with an edge.

Favorite Quotes

Her tan had faded, she’d lost weight, and the bruises marked her body in the dim light. Stripping off his own clothes, he lay down next to her, drawing her unresisting body into his arms. “I don’t even know what they did to you,” he whispered against her skin, kissing the bruise on her shoulder. “I can see the marks where they hurt you, but I don’t know how badly. I don’t know if you’re ready for this.” He looked down at her, pushing her hair out of her face. “I only know I can’t wait…”

And then it wasn’t slow at all. It was fast and hard and furious, the bed pounding beneath them, her hands clawing at his back, her mouth full of anguished entreaties, and he wanted to give her more, more, give her everything she asked, everything she didn’t ask. He wanted to give her his life, his soul, to pour everything into her and exist only in that moment.

Purchase Links: Amazon


Review: Sweet Revenge by Nina Bruhns

Format: E-booksweetrevenge
Read with: Kindle for iPhone
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: New Orleans, Book 2
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Auri “Creole” Levalois
Heroine: Grace Summerville
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 1, 2002
Started On: April 2, 2011
Finished On: April 4, 2011

Nina Bruhns is an author who caught my eye when I first stumbled across her Passion for Danger series which I just devoured upon discovery. I found Nina Bruhns to write a well balanced romantic suspense whilst juggling a lot of characters, delivering edge of the seat suspense together with enough heat to make  her books the kind you can count on to keep you entertained throughout.

Sweet Revenge is the 2nd book in the New Orleans trilogy featuring the very hot Cajun hero, New Orleans Police Detective Auri “Creole” Levalois. Creole is a man who has survived the harshest and cruelest existence in life suffering at the hands of those who are bound to protect him. A victim of the mostly brutal foster care system, Creole’s only close friend is his foster brother Luke for whom Creole would lay down his very life for. Luke’s death at the hands of the notorious crime leader James Davies comes as a shock to Creole who vows revenge on the man who is responsible for his foster brother’s death. Creole’s only lead is to follow the trail of Gary Fox in the hopes that he would lead Creole right onto Davies’s doorstep.

Psychologist Grace Summerville travels to New Orleans to find out why her twin sister Muse Summerville has disappeared all of a sudden. Grace and Muse are as different from one another as night and day with Grace being the sensible and responsible one with Muse living up to her well earned reputation of being the wild one. Grace is pretending to be her sister Muse when her path crosses that of the sexy French Cajun detective who stirs up all her senses and makes her clamor for his attention each and every time they come across one another.

Creole is a man who is well versed in the art of female deception. That along with all the women in his life who has betrayed him till now makes Creole a man who is wary of feeling too much for anyone of the fairer sex. But even his well guarded heart is not immune from how all his senses go on red alert when he comes across the alluring Grace Summerville who he is keeping under surveillance thinking Grace to be Muse.

Grace who has sworn that she would never let herself fall for a wild and undependable man like her father finds herself nevertheless a helpless victim of desire when it comes to the wildly dangerous Creole who sets off all kinds of reactions of the right variety deep within her as they team up to find out what happened to Muse and to draw in Luke’s killer.

The mystery potion of the story is quite small with the main focus of the novel being on how the relationship devlops between Creole and Grace. Creole is a hero of the yummiest kind who whispers all the right erotic stuff in sexy Cajun which makes my knees go wobbly each and every time. He is a tortured hero who doesn’t come across as a brute, but rather is a man who has so many endearing qualities to him that I couldn’t help but fall hard and fast for him. Though his history is not overly much detailed, the reader is able to piece together a painful past which makes Creole a man who is doubly protective of his heart and trust.

Grace had grown up with a father who had upped and left when the going had gone tough. Past relationships had shown Grace that she doesn’t have the best taste in men, always ending up with someone who wants to live for the moment. So when Grace comes across Creole to whom her reaction is volatile at best, Grace does the next best thing and denies anything she feels for the man who kisses her senseless and makes her forget each and every sensible thought ever to cross her mind.

However, even when Grace witnesses firsthand the type of honorable man Creole is, even when he shows her over and over again how hard it is for him to trust people and nevertheless wins over his trust, even then Grace never fully understood Creole enough not to walk away from him towards the end. This fact rankled a bit for me with this story, made me feel at times that Grace didn’t deserve someone like Creole who has a broken soul which heals under the Grace’s tender ministrations. However, thankfully things did work out in the end, and I ended up with a huge grin on my face after reading the epilogue which shows my Creole all happy with the kind of love and family he has never had before.

If you are looking for a contemporary romance featuring a hot Cajun hero, a romance that features a bit of suspense to make things interesting, grab yourself a copy and read this one. Though I expected Creole to be a bit different from the hero he turned out to be, nevertheless he makes for a hero who induces all the right kinds of feelings making this a well rounded story in the end.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo


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