Review: Completely Smitten by Susan Mallery

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hometown Heartbreakers, Book 8
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Kevin Harmon
Heroine: Haley Foster
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 1, 2003
Started On: March 12, 2011
Finished On: March 13, 2011

My first experience with Susan Mallery certainly turned out to be a delightful one. Completely Smitten has been sitting in my to-be-read pile for ages since I got the title off as a recommendation from one of the discussion threads on Amazon. Coupled with the fact that I was craving for a short and light read that would captivate me from the beginning till end together with the high ratings my friends on Goodreads seem to have given for this title sealed the deal for me and I enjoyed every minute of Haley and Kevin’s journey towards happily-ever-after.

31 year old U.S. Marshal Kevin Harmon is stuck in the middle of Kansas after spending the better part of the day hauling a convicted felon across state lines to a nearby prison. Kevin had grown up never knowing his biological father but nevertheless had grown up in a well rounded family environment with his fraternal twin Nash and their mother and stepfather Howard. Kevin’s tendency to land in the wrong kind of trouble one time too many had in the end landed him in military school which is where Kevin had learned to turn his life around and become a law enforcement professional. The last thing he is looking for when he sits down at a bar in the middle of nowhere looking for nothing more than a beer, food and a bed all in that order is the blond, blue-eyed woman who walks in, who looks completely out of place in the bar with a less than ideal crowd.

25 year old Haley Foster from Western Ohio is the only child of a widowed Baptist Minister. The death of her mother had meant that Haley had 50 or more women looking out for her whilst she was growing up. The expectations of the congregation had been what had mapped out Haley’s life, having always forgone her dreams and wants to go along with what her father and her fiance had wanted for her all her life. The final straw sees Haley driving out on her own to experience life and the wild side of it, when she meets the broodingly handsome Kevin Harmon who rescues her from the imminent trouble she stirs up when she walks into the bar.

From the moment Kevin rescues her from the 3 thugs surrounding her, he starts mumbling to himself “Why me?”. Temptation he has never thought he would feel start edging in as he spends time with Haley and though Kevin tries his damnedest to mind his own business and keep away from the tempting Haley, before the night is through Kevin finds himself helping a very drunk Haley who is hell bent on making a pass at him to her room.

A string of events that follow lands these together on a road trip which would take Kevin back home and Haley on her way to Hawaii, somewhere she has always wanted to visit all her life. Along the way, Kevin and Haley both find in each other what they have both been missing in their lives, as friendship tinged with red-hot desire that edge them towards falling in love for the first time in both their lives.

Completely Smitten is the kind of story that would make you fall head over heels in love with both the hero and heroine. The gruff and tough hero doesn’t stand a chance around our sunny and optimistic heroine who has every intention of experiencing the wild side of life. Even though Kevin tries to resist Haley and the way she so effortlessly charms him into falling for her, Kevin tries so hard to do the “right” thing by Haley and keep his hands off her. I loved how the feelings between Haley and Kevin developed, though their relationship is one tinged with sexual zing right from the very first moment itself.

I liked the premise of the small town girl taking care of the big and experienced U.S. Marshal who doesn’t know what hits him when Haley sashays into his otherwise bleak life and lights it up with her infectious smile and her tendency to embrace each and everything in life with open arms. The way Kevin takes care of Haley’s desires, and makes her feel sexy and wanted and loved at the same time are one of the best moments in the story.

Though I would have loved it if Kevin would have come after Haley even though he lets her go because he loves her and wants what is best for her, I still loved this sweet story that I very much enjoyed. I certainly would be on the lookout for other such swell reads by the author in the future.

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

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Review: Two Alone by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booktwoalone
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Cooper Landry
Heroine: Rusty Carlson
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 1, 1987
Started On: November 30, 2010
Finished On: December 1, 2010

I was going through Sandra Brown’s book list on Goodreads when a bunch of her older titles which I have not managed to read yet caught my eye. This one jumped outright at me from the very first moment with the title alone to make it sound like a story that I would be interested in. Upon reading the book summary, I knew that this book was definitely right up my ally and I didn’t hesitate to get myself a copy and indulge in one of my favorite romance themes ever – where total opposites come together in a romantic suspense novel, the hero as grouchy as can be and the heroine as feminine as  they come creating the best of sexual tension which in the end delivers a romance of the best kind! And this book certainly did not disappoint me on that front.

Two Alone was first published in 1987 when Sandra Brown wrote under the pseudonym Erin St. Claire a fact which I found out when I was about to start writing the review, and I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this one since most of the time romances penned in the 80’s tend to be of the wall-banger variety in terms of character development and developing storyline. But Sandra Brown has pulled it off, and I should say she has pulled this one off quite well with Cooper Landry and Rusty Carlson and their explosive mixture of passion and desire for one another.

27 year old Rusty Carlson is a real estate agent who works for her rich father and resides in Beverly Hills, California. With her mother dying when she had been a teenager and her brother Jeff whose sudden death had taken him away just two years back, its just Rusty and her father left in the family. Rusty always feels that she falls short when it comes to her father’s expectations, who always goes out of his way to sing praises for his dead son, and it is because Rusty tries so hard to please her father and rise to meet his unrealistic expectations that she subjects herself to spending time with her father at his favorite hunting grounds. On her way back to civilization, the plane on which Rusty is on crashes hurtling her into a world she is not at all equipped to deal with and puts her in the path of the dangerous and broody Cooper Landry.

Ex-military, having served in the Vietnam war and having ended up as a prisoner of war to later come out fighting with enough scars to last him for a lifetime, the last thing that Cooper needs is to be saddled with a woman who is too beautiful for her own good, a spoilt little heiress who Cooper is sure would end up being a pain in his butt whilst they fight for their survival until they are rescued. Cooper has sworn off women after the last woman he had given his everything had in the end betrayed him in the worst way possible and Cooper was in no hurry to let someone like Rusty ride roughshod on his emotions and his well protected heart.

But what Cooper doesn’t count on is the fact that Rusty though has lived a privileged life, she is no whiner and takes the whole survival of the fittest part about their predicament in the icy mountains with the killer snow storms moving in on them far better than Cooper had been expecting and in the end her gumption is what earns Cooper’s admiration, something he is quite stingy in passing out. And regardless of how much he tries to despise her and keep her away with his taunting and rough behavior, Cooper is helpless in the red hot desire that becomes as much a part of him as breathing when he is around Rusty.

Rusty is bewildered by the amount of hostility that Cooper shows her but she is no match for the desire that he unleashes with one searing glance and it is this strong attraction that they both try to ignore which brings forth all their animosity towards each other until the dangers in the wilderness forces them both to put aside their differences and work together for survival, something which propels them towards their ultimate combustive coming together which I absolutely reveled in reading about.

So.. Stuff I liked:

  1. Cooper Landry. He is broody, tortured enough to warrant my heartfelt love and bring forth all my protective instincts which makes him the perfect alpha hero. His callous behavior towards Rusty at the beginning made me realize that oh boy, when this one falls, he will fall hard and that made me nearly rub my hands together in glee at the mere thought of his fall. And every expectation I had of him as a hero was met. Cooper just sizzles the pages with his smoldering sensuality and the hot, hot kisses that fairly made Rusty not the only one to yearn to possess him. *wistful sigh*
  2. I loved the undeniable hostility between Rusty and Cooper which actually sprang from their mutual attraction towards each other which both refused to give in – or Cooper refused to give in because in his mind, he has nothing left to offer to a woman and because for him trust doesn’t come easily at all. Because of this, the simmering tension and sensuality between the two just took my breath away a time or two and I could barely sit still as anticipation coursed through me as I waited for the moment the inevitable explosion to come! *note to self: should join a Lamaze class ASAP*
  3. I loved the epilogue or rather the ending. It wasn’t abrupt, neither was it drawn out and what made this ending special was because of how their happily ever after was told. When Cooper leaves thinking that Rusty had ultimately betrayed him, it is Rusty who makes her way to the mountains where Cooper lives, and the ending is described months later which effectively conveys what happened that night when a bedraggled Rusty showed up on Cooper’s doorstep and also gives the reader glimpses into their happily ever after. Now why we can never find a man like Cooper, I would never know!!

Now.. Stuff I didn’t like so much:

I know it’s trivial but, what’s with the names of the hero and heroine in this book? Rusty? Who in the world calls their child Rusty? LOL! And Cooper was an okay name but I wanted something more significant, a name that would scream testosterone and ooze sexuality in lethal doses just like the man himself! ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Take off all your clothes. Now!” He shrugged off his flannel shirt and draped it over the nearest bush. With one fluid motion, he crossed his arms at his waist and peeled the turtleneck T-shirt over his head. It made his hair stick up funnily, but Rusty didn’t feel like laughing. Laughter – in fact any sound at all – got trapped inside her closed throat. Her first glimpse of the finest chest she’d ever seen rendered her speechless.

His mouth claimed hers again, hotly and hungrily. It drew breath from her. As he kissed her, his hand moved to the front of her slacks. He fumbled with the button and zipper until they were undone. When his hand slid into the elastic waistband of her panties, Rusty gasped. She had thought there would be a sensual buildup, a flirtatious progression, extended foreplay.
She didn’t regret that there wouldn’t be. His boldness, his impatience, was a powerful aphrodisiac. It set off explosions of desire deep within her. She tilted her hips forward and filled his palm with her softness.
He muttered swearwords that were in themselves arousing because they explicitly expressed the height of his arousal.
Like a Rod Stewart song, they were viscerally sexy, one couldn’t hear them without thinking of a male and a female mating.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Sandra Brown.
  2. Fans of romantic suspense.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: A Baby for Emily by Ginna Gray

Format: E-bookababyforemily
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Special Edition #1466
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Dillon Maguire
Heroine: Emily Collins Maguire
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: May 1, 2002
Started On: November 26, 2010
Finished On: November 26, 2010

I know not the reason why, but when I woke up this morning all of a sudden I started recalling this story that I had read a couple of years back. All I remembered was the fact that I had loved the hero in the book and that the book had been an emotional wrangler and that the heroine’s name was some Emily. Since I couldn’t recall the title or author properly I spent a couple of minutes searching for the book and thank god for the fact that I keep my e-book collection on my hard disk drive I was armed with this book in a couple of minutes, ready to sink myself into the heady world of romance that Ginna Gray has so beautifully created with this novel.

29 year old Emily Collins Maguire is shocked senseless when just hours after she and her husband Dr. Keith Wesley Maguire had learned that the in vitro treatment had been successful and that finally Emily was pregnant after going through every conceivable test on Earth for the past couple of years of their 7 year marriage to learn that her husband had died of smoke asphyxiation wrapped in the arms of his current mistress at their townhouse. Devastation doesn’t begin to cover it when the destitution with which Keith had left her in becomes clear as Keith’s countless affairs, the depth of his lies and betrayal in every aspect of their marriage comes to light. Pregnant, alone, broke and unemployed, Emily has no choice but to trust Dillon in the salvation that he offers her, not that she would take his pity or charity any day.

Dillon Maguire has loved Emily since that fateful day 7 years back when he had met Emily at the hospital where Keith worked as an oncologist. Emily who had grown up with a mother who had rarely been present with her wanderlust nature had showed up, deathly sick and diagnosed with breast cancer. The 21 year old Emily had taken a shine to Keith once he determinedly started his wooing process and before she knew it Emily had been married to a handsome and suave doctor who it seems wanted nothing more than for her to be his dutiful wife.

Dillon had grown up with a mother who fiercely resented his presence in her life, the truth of which comes to light much later in the novel. Keith had always been her favorite and Dillon had received whatever mothering and tender care from his neighbor and friend Jeremy’s mother Gert Shneider. And when Jeremy had been killed serving in the army when he had been nineteen, all of Gert’s mothering had solely become focused on Dillon. Dillon had always known that Keith viewed everything as a competition when it came to him and that he had been a little too late in masking his interest in Emily when he had first met her. All throughout their marriage Dillon had  tried his best to act cold and aloof towards the woman who undoubtedly had his love, an act which he pulls off too well when Emily at first tries to refuse his much needed help and care during the first couple of days after Keith’s death. But the secret that Dillon hides within himself is the one that could destroy everything he works so hard throughout the story to build between himself and Emily.

Likes:

  1. Dillon Maguire. If there is anyone who has read this story and not fallen for him then obviously there is something wrong with them! Dillon is manhood personified not just because of his intense and broody good looks and his multi-millionaire status or because of his tortured soul, those things do help, but it is because of how well he takes care of Emily regardless of the fact whether his love and feelings are welcomed by her or not that clinches the deal with Dillon. He puts each and every need of Emily above his, and I do not say this lightly and because of that very fact, my heart ached each and every time for the position Keith had put him in, even in death trying to cheat him from getting what he wants more than anything else in life.
  2. I loved the roller coaster of emotions that coursed through me when I lost myself in this story. Love and an overwhelming feeling of protectiveness towards Dillon, the need to slap Dillon’s mother senseless a time or two and then some, dislike towards Dillon’s elder sister Charlotte for her holier-than-thou attitude at times and a deep respect for Gert, the only woman in my opinion who truly deserves Dillon’s love and affection in this novel.
  3. The intense sexual tension in the story. Though this book doesn’t contain much of scenes of the bedroom variety, the slow awakening of senses that take place continuously in Emily was in fact much better than any hard and fast sex session could have been, though that wouldn’t have been unwelcome either! ^_^ But this drawn out tension between Dillon and Emily made me dizzy a couple of times and everything in me clamored for them to find joy in each other soon or I would have been the first to undergo self combustion in the Maldives! ^_~
  4. For some reason or the other, I can’t help but love the cover of this one. Just the scene of love, warmth and affection it represents touches something deep inside of me. ^_^

Dislikes:

  1. I don’t know why, maybe certain feminist readers may disagree with this but I thoroughly disliked Emily because of how she treated Dillon at the very end. I understand that what he did was not of the norm but Emily never even stopped to think for a second that it was Dillon, the Dillon who had been taking care of her, bestowing upon her his love for the past year or so and that she had never ever felt happier in her life and never more cherished than the time she had spent with Dillon, but the minute she learns of the dreaded truth regarding the paternity of her child, she is all fire and intense anger and goes as far to leave Dillon without even giving him the time to explain. My heart literally broke in two for the hurt that Emily puts Dillon through and in the end it is Gert who has to step in and knock some sense into Emily to make her suddenly realize that Dillon is not Keith and that he would never hurt her and that he had ACTUALLY been in love with her for the past 7 years. *rolls eyes in frustration* That’s why for me, Emily doesn’t really deserve Dillon’s love and unwavering loyalty and affection, because for me, a man like Dillon deserves more, much more than someone like Emily who can just walk away leaving a devastated man behind.
  2. I have to agree with the other readers who have taken the time to review this book. The ending was a bit abrupt and sort of leaves the reader hanging. I would have loved to see Emily do a bit of groveling on this one for a change!

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Ginna Gray. Her writing style is addictive. You just want to keep on reading and subject yourself to the emotional intensity packed into this story.
  2. Those who loves their romance to play havoc with their emotions. This one certainly does that – in spades!

Favorite Quotes

Dillon’s gaze zeroed in on the distended mound beneath Emily’s blue maternity top.
His nostrils flared slightly as he drew in a bracing breath. He rubbed his palms on the legs of his jeans, then slowly reached out with his right hand. It hovered, not quite steady, the long callused fingers spread. Then, as gentle as thistledown, his hand settled onto Emily’s tummy.
She caught her breath. Tanned by hours in the sun, his skin was a deep bronze against the powder-blue maternity top and so large it practically covered her abdomen. Dillon’s gaze met hers for a second, but as though unable to resist, he looked back at the mound beneath his hand.
Emily closed her eyes and lay rigid as stone. She could barely breathe. Even though her maternity top the imprint of his hand seared her flesh like a branding iron. She could feel each individual finger, the broad palm, the incredible warmth.

Lazily his gaze trailed down her face. For the space of several heartbeats he stared at her lips, parted in surprise, and slowly, as though weighted with lead, his eyelids began to droop and his head tipped to one side.
Emily felt his breath feather across her face and excitement pounded though her. She could barely draw breath. Unconsciously, the tip of her tongue peeked out and swept over her suddenly dry lips. Through slitted lids fringed with sweeping black lashes, Dillon’s eyes glittered like blue diamonds.
Then he pulled her close, gathered her against his chest with both arms and pressed his lips  to hers.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks

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Short & Sweet Review: Mackenzie’s Mission by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookmackenziesmission
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Mackenzies, Book 2
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Colonel Joe Mackenzie
Heroine: Caroline Evans
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 1, 1992
Started On: October 31, 2010
Finished On: October 31, 2010

I have decided to go ahead and treat myself to the rest of the books on Linda Howard’s backlist which I have left unread for some reason or the other during the Linda Howard crazed fest which I found myself in the first time that I discovered Linda Howard as an author. I remember that I started to read this title after completely falling in love with the 1st book in the series, Mackenzie’s Mountain the first time round. I don’t know why but at that time I couldn’t muster up much interest in the story that unfolded, which now after finishing this story has left me completely dumbfounded as to the reason why I couldn’t continue with the story earlier. Oh well, better late than never I guess!

The Hero: Joe Mackenzie or “Breed” as he is called by his fellow co-workers has always known that he belonged in the sky. Joe had become a legend even before he had graduated from the academy and being the first in his graduating class, Joe had chosen to proceed with fighter jets though his six foot three frame is considered not the ideal height for fighter jet pilots. Like everything else, Joe excels in his chosen field through hard work and his god given talent and at the age of 32 Joe is made lieutenant colonel. When Joe had been young, his father Wolf Mackenzie had served time for a crime that he did not commit, and being a half-breed Joe had suffered a lot at the hands of one of the foster families that had taken him in. Joe thrives on his iron hard control both in and out of the sky and only lets go when he is back at home in Wyoming at his father’s ranch.

The Heroine: Caroline Evans is a 28 year old genius, a bona fide specialist in light amplification and optic targeting together with a PHD in Physics. Caroline had led an unusual childhood being the genius she is. Thirsting for knowledge that leaves her unsatisfied if she cannot get enough, her parents who are both PHD holders themselves had identified Caroline’s gift and nurtured it by providing her the best education possible. That had meant that Caroline had always felt out of place because she had rapidly advanced through the grades to find herself armed with her PHD by the time she turned 21 years old. Having no knowledge whatsoever of men, dating or the etiquette that goes along with the dating scene, Caroline has remained a virgin till now and knows that her best defense against men who come on to her strongly is to act prickly and totally cut them off before anything can happen. And it serves her well, that is until she meets Joe Mackenzie who shatters her very soul just by one piercing look from his light blue eyes.

Storyline: Joe has been assigned the task of ironing out the kinks in a new second generation advanced tactical fighter code named Night Wing which Joe calls as his baby. As the program manager it is Joe’s responsibility to work within the given time frame to push his baby to its limits and to take care of any tactical errors before it could go into full production. When one of the technician’s on Joe’s team suffers a minor heart attack, Caroline is brought in who manages to get under Joe’s skin right from the very beginning. And together with Caroline’s appearance starts a series of attempts to prevent Night Wing from making its deadline to production which needs the vote from the senate to acquire the funding required for its production. Joe who has always put his country first finds himself torn between the woman who sets his senses afire and his sense of duty to his country when all fingers point at Caroline to be the saboteur.

First Encounter: Joe walks in on Caroline whilst she is at the office getting acquainted with her assignment on the day of her arrival to the base. Joe who always walks silently, not because he wants to sneak up on people but because he had been taught that way to walk from the very beginning finds himself face to face with 100% infuriated woman because Joe had scared the wits out of her by letting his presence be known.

Time period: Story has a contemporary setting and takes place at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Awareness between the hero and the heroine: I don’t know how she does it, but Linda Howard always delivers on the simmering and sizzling sexuality between her heroes and heroines. Joe and Caroline are no exception to that rule and from the very first moment these two meet, its a battle of sensual delights that meets its heady culmination delivering everything that I as a reader craved for and more.

The turning point: It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Caroline is more than wary of the intense feelings that Joe so effortlessly invokes in her. Having never tasted the headiness of mind blowing passion or lust, Caroline is helplessly ensnared by the sensuality that is an inherent part of who Joe is. When Joe realizes that Caroline’s skittishness is a result of her naivete when it comes to the opposite sex, Joe offers a wicked plan to thwart all the unwanted attention from the other pilots who seem too keen to move in for the kill. Joe would stake his claim on Caroline so that she could work in peace a condition to which Caroline agrees which irrevocably changes life as Caroline knows it in the arms of her fighter pilot.

Ending: Before the story is through, Joe makes the ultimate mistake of doubting Caroline, a betrayal that leaves Caroline reeling from it. Caroline long since having admitted to herself that she has fallen irrevocably in love with Joe feels doubly betrayed by the fact that the man in whose arms she had found joy unlike anything else she has known before can stare at her so coldly and think the worst thing possible of her. Before the ending is through, the actual saboteurs nearly succeed in eliminating Joe and Caroline as potential witnesses to their activities, the series of events which makes Joe take into account his feelings for Caroline.

Likes: Joe Mackenzie from his delectable head to foot. I felt tingles running up and down my spine every single time he seduced Caroline and he seduced me right along with her – Darn the man! I liked the fact that Caroline doesn’t let Joe walk all over her in his attempt to fulfill the role of being the alpha male that he is. And loved revisiting Wolf Mackenzie’s mountain once again, a story that still brings a warm smile to my face.

Dislikes: None.

Recommended for: Fans of Linda Howard, fans of romance stories with a little bit of suspense in the mix.

Favorite Quotes

“Hold out your hand,” he commanded softly, and she obeyed.
His hard, warm hand enclosed her fingers, and he pulled her closer even as he bent. His mouth lightly touched hers, lifted, settled again. He turned his head slightly to adjust the pressure, and somehow the motion parted her own lips, so that they yielded to the molding of his. …
She felt enticed rather than coerced, and his taste was filling her senses. Warm pleasure shuddered up from her depths; with a little whimper she opened her mouth, and slowly he took her.

She had chosen to wear a halter top sundress with a full skirt, deciding that it no longer mattered if he could slide his hand under it, since she had given him permission to do much more than that, but she nearly had heart failure when that warm, hard hand slipped up under the material and squeezed her bare thigh.
All thoughts of food fled her mind. She stared at him, hunger of another sort building, her need revealed in her suddenly darkened eyes and quickened breath. Joe lightly stroked her inner thigh with his fingertips, then forced himself to withdraw his hand.

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

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Review: Bluebird Winter by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookbluebirdwinter
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Spencer-Nyle Company Series, Book 3
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Derek Taliferro
Heroine: Kathleen Fields
Sensuality: 2
Date of Publication: November 1987
Started On: June 17, 2010
Finished On: June 17, 2010

This is a short story by the author, a story that once I started to read I had the inkling that I had read it previously. Anyhow this book is good for a quick read where not much thinking on the reader’s part is required.

The story starts off when Kathleen goes into labor prematurely during a snow storm. Kathleen lives in a remote ranch where the nearest clinic is around fifteen miles away which in the rough weather that breaks out seems like an impossible task to reach. However for the sake of her unborn child, Kathleen tries to drive through the ferocious weather only to land in a ditch whilst the contractions get worse by the minute.

Derek Tallifero is a doctor specialized in neonatal care who is on  his way back to the city after visiting his mother for Christmas. Derek is also caught up in the storm and barely makes out the truck  Kathleen is in and it is he that rescues her, assist her in the birthing process and fall in love with her all in the same night.

Derek knows that the woman he had so hopelessly fallen in love with has to be wooed and courted so that she would lose that haunted look  in her eyes. The only solution that he could come up with was to propose marriage to Kathleen in the name of taking care of the baby. Kathleen though she doesn’t know it, is seduced into loving the warm and vibrant man that Derek is and slight misunderstandings on Kathleen’s part which is quickly resolved give this little family the happy ending they deserve.

Sarah and Rome, two of my favorite characters from one of my most favorite Linda Howard’s novels Sarah’s Child appear in this story which made it more endearing to me. My only problem with the book was it being too short to enjoy for a bit longer.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Wed by Deception by Emilie Rose

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle & MS Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Payback Affairs, Book 3
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Lucas Daniel Stone
Heroine: Nadia Kincaid
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 9, 2008
Started On: May 20, 2010
Finished On: May 21, 2010

This is the third book in the payback affairs series by Ms. Rose and features Everett Kincaid’s third child and only daughter Nadia Kincaid and her believed to be dead husband for eleven years Lucas Daniel Stone.

Everett Kincaid is a man who has wronged all three of his children in one way or the other. And Everett has laid out his will in such a way that all three of his children had to fulfill certain “tests” that he had set aside before they all could be secure in the vast inheritance that Everett has left for them.

Nadia’s task was to live in Dallas on a limited budget, without holding a job and with none to look after her. Learning to survive on her own is supposed to be Nadia’s challenge and she is in for the shock of her life when her neighboring tenant returns home and Nadia finds him to be none other than Lucas, the husband she thought had died right along with her son in the accident that had left Nadia scarred for life.

Though nothing can bring back Nadia’s ability to have children, her life had resumed with some sort of normalcy until the shock of what Nadia’s dad had really done behind their backs to keep them apart comes to haunt her.

Lucas doesn’t want to feel small and helpless, the way he had felt eleven years ago when he  thought his wife had wanting nothing to do with him anymore. During his weakest moment he had grabbed what Nadia’s father had offered and built himself an empire that rivals the Kincaid’s. On a personal vendetta of his own to rub Kincaid’s face in his success by literally buying out every piece of business the Kincaid’s own, Lucas never thought what happened eleven years ago was by no means any fault of Nadia, the only woman who had ever made him succumb to love.

Nadia and Lucas both have to learn to trust one another amongst all the lies they have been made to believe for the past decade and give in to the intense passion that has always been within them before they are able to find ever lasting happiness with one another.

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

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Review: MacKenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookmackenziesmountain
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Mackenzie Family, Book 1
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Wolf MacKenzie
Heroine: Mary Elizabeth Potter
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1989
Started On: April 23, 2010
Finished On: April 24, 2010

This is the first book of The MacKenzies series and the only book of the series that I liked. Though I didn’t try the 3rd and 4th book of the series, I did start to read the 2nd book in the series, i.e. Joe MacKenzie’s story & it never did make the impact this story made on me for the very first time which is why I ended up re-reading this story all over again after reading through a discussion thread on Amazon’s romance discussion forum.

Wolf MacKenzie is a half breed, half Comanche and half Indian. For that alone he had led a pretty solitary life in the small town Ruth where he and his son Joe resided. And add to that a rape charge for which he did time and later was found not guilty of when the real culprit was found, Wolf & Joe had been paying the price of that unjustness of it all ever since.

Mary moves to the small town as a teacher, and finds out to her dismay that Joe who was the highest scorer in all the classes had dropped out of school. Mary vows to right the matter and in fact makes the trip to where the twosome lived up on the MacKenzie mountain. On the way Mary’s car breaks down and comes face to face with larger than life Wolf MacKenzie who manages to kiss her senseless and sets her senses whirling like never before.

Wolf doesn’t need the added complication of Mary in his life. However, he can’t help but feel a need for her deep within him that cannot be ignored. Meanwhile, Mary starts giving Joe private lessons so that he could catch up with the other students and fulfill his dream of being a fighter jet pilot, a dream which Mary helps him fulfill within no time.

However, forces within the small town who do not want Wolf and Joe to become a part of the town work towards framing Wolf for rape again, a fact Mary is convinced of, which leave the women of the small town agitated and scared out of their wits.

This book is heartwarming in so many ways. The way that Mary sides with the black sheep in town and makes the townsfolk regret the way they had snubbed them for so long, the undeniable passion between Mary and Wolf which makes the book a continuous sensual delight and how in the end Mary draws out the rapist with her wit and courage and of course the lovely ending of the book which makes me want to read the book once more.

The person who suggested this book as her absolute favorite romance book of all time has surely hit a winner with this one. This is one book that any romance reader who loves contemporary romance should read!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Just Friends? By Allison Leigh

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Men of the Double-C Ranch, Book 7
Publisher: Silhouette
Sensuality: 3
Hero: Evan Taggart
Heroine:  Leandra Clay
Date of Publication: February 1, 2007
Started On: January 19, 2010
Finished On: January 21, 2010

I guess I have been reading a bit too much within the last few days and sort of just hit a phase where reading anything didn’t appeal to me that much. So for a change from my usual reading activities I watched a little bit of TV and caught up on watching those television series I always collect but rarely sit down and watch. So anyhow, this was a book I found on one of my usual forays into finding books where best friends find love with one another.

It wasn’t surprising to say the least that this book is the 7th in a series when I kind of had that intuition all along when details of the main characters’ huge family kept cropping up now and again. Though it is confusing to make sense of who comes from where with such a large family and as close knit as they are portrayed to be, this book can be read as a standalone.

So to continue on with the review, Evan Taggart is the only veterinarian in town and has been in love with his childhood friend Leandra ever since he can remember. However, on one of his college breaks he had brought along Jake his best friend and Jake and Leandra had fallen in love and tied the knot and left to live elsewhere. And now, Leandra divorced from Jake for a couple of years, is back in their hometown and filming Evan for a series that she is developing for the television station she works in. Evan although hates the intrusion into his life can’t help but want Leandra all over again although he tries to convince himself that his best friend’s ex-wife should be off limits for him.

To complicate matters further, Leandra is hurting from the loss of her child, whose death had led to Leandra closing herself off from all those who love her. Blaming herself for the death of her child, Leandra doesn’t handle being around kids very well. However, Evan looks after his autistic niece Hannah, with whom Leandra’s first instinct is to flee and never look back.

This story is more about family life, getting over one’s past and moving on than focusing on the romance aspect of the two characters. I have mixed feelings about this novel. There were times when I felt like giving Leandra a big good shake just to make her see what was right in front of her if she gives her life half the chance. Anyhow, the read wasn’t half bad I suppose.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks

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Review: Just a Taste by Bronwyn Jameson

Format: E-bookjust
Opens with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Silhouette
Series: Dynasties: The Ashtons, Book 4
Hero: Seth Benndict
Heroine: Jillian Ashton
Date of Publication: April 1, 2005
Started On: November 26, 2009
Finished On: November 28, 2009

This is the next book in line in The Ashtons series. The story of Jillian and Seth, and the background story of the deceptions of Spencer Ashton, and how his children from different mothers come together and find love and acceptance with one another, something Spencer Ashton has been too selfish and self-centered to provide for any of his children.

Jillian and Seth has been in-laws in the past, til Jillian’s husband Jason Benndict and Seth’s wife Karen, both died in a car crash, leaving Seth with his young daughter Rachel and the secret that he has kept from Jillian till now, the fact that Karen and Jason had been having an affair with one another when death came calling.

This whole series focuses on the wine making business that The Ashtons family is in and Jillian too involved in the wine tasting aspect of the business, hires Seth to remodel their wine tasting cellar, despite the misgivings she has on the intense feelings that Seth has always been able to arouse in her. Seth, wanting a  taste of Jillian ever since the day he met her as Jason’s wife, never acts on this impulse knowing that just a taste would never be enough to satisfy the hunger and craving he has to be with Jillian.

In the end, they get together, the secret is out, and yes Jillian finally meets the father who abandoned them as children, and finds out for herself, just how much of a cold and unfeeling person Spencer Ashton is. I believe that this story would have been much better if snippets from Seth’s and Jillian’s past had been included in the story, so that the simmering tension between the couple would have been a bit more believable. And I sometimes felt that some areas of the story was dragged on, when more exciting stuff could have been happening *winks*.

Anyhow, the story wasn’t half bad and a gal has always gotta love a happy ending!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Society-Page Seduction by Maureen Child

Format: E-booksociert
Read with: Stanza
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Dynasties: The Ashtons, Book 3
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Simon Pearce
Heroine: Megan Ashton
Date of Publication: March 1, 2005
Started On: November 23, 2009
Finished On: November 26, 2009

After reading the last book that I reviewed, Condition of Marriage by Emilie Rose I found myself interested in knowing more about the Ashton family which according to the series tag line says “The Ashtons — A family built on lies…brought together by dark, passionate secrets.”

Condition of Marriage  being the first book of this series that I read was actually the 9th book in this 12 book series. The story of Simon Pearce and Megan Ashton is the 3rd book in the series, and this was the book in which all the ugly secrets of Spencer Ashton, the father whose cruelty, lies and deception which is the underlying theme of this series, all start to unravel.

Spencer is married to Megan’s mother which as I mentioned in my previous review, turns out not to be a valid marriage since Spencer never really divorced his first wife. All these secrets and more start to come out of the closet in Megan and Simon’s story.

All her life, all Megan had wanted was her father’s approval, though he never had a word of encouragement or praise for either of his children. Megan works as a wedding planner and this is how she meets Simon Pearce, whilst planning his wedding to a bride who jilts him on the day of their wedding. Simon who was marrying for practical purposes, no mushy emotions involved thank-you very much, quickly proposes that Megan goes through the marriage with him, for a period of one year in order for him to expand his business with those whom seem to think that an unmarried man is not one to be trusted in the business world.

Megan, having her own reasons, which includes the fact her father is readying to marry her off to the Senator’s son, so that he would gain more power over government channels when running his business, decides to marry him on the spur and thus begins Megan’s and Simon’s story. Although this story wasn’t as sweet and beautiful as Jared and Mercede’s story, there was enough depth to the characters and plot line to make this an interesting read.

I guess most probably I would end up reading the stories in The Ashton’s series with the most interesting plot lines. Right now I am dead set on reading Name Your Price By Barbara McCauley and Just a Taste by Brownyn Jameson. And who knows, I might just end up reading the whole 12 books in the series, to quench my curiosity on who was ballsy enough  to kill Spencer Ashton!

Purchase Links: Amazon 

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