Review: The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

Format: E-Bookthehighlander.PNG
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Victorian Rebels, #3
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Hero: Lt. Col. William Grant Ruaridh Mackenzie
Heroine: Philomena St. Vincent
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 02, 2016
Started On: August 17, 2019
Finished On: August 20, 2019

The Highlander, the 3rd book in the Victorian Rebels series turned out to be my first sampling of Kerrigan Byrne’s stories. Discovering a new author that speaks to you on so many levels is rare and so very treasured, and I intend to go through the back-list of her books in its entirety to sample each and every one of her published works over time.

The hero, 40 year old William Grant Ruaridh Mackenzie (Liam), comes from a place of violence. The fact that his childhood had been a difficult one would be an understatement. With an abusive father who had cared naught for the physical and emotional well-being of his children, legal and otherwise, Liam had been the big brother who had taken most of the physical brunt to protect his younger siblings. But that had not been enough to prevent them from witnessing the horrors of a childhood better left in the darker fringes of one’s memories.

The main story begins 20 years later, with the opening chapter focusing on the heroine, Lady Philomena St. Vincent (Mena), Viscountess Benchley, who has been institutionalized by none other than her husband and his family. Mena who grew up with a father who thought the world of his daughter and brought her up to be an intellectual, kind and generous soul, the horrors of her marriage that are revealed in stages to the reader is something that is as old as time itself.

The mental asylum, which was a norm in the past for husbands to commit their wives to just to get rid of them, is the mother load of horrors. Tortured in ways that really leaves a mark on the reader, some may find those particular scenes to be too disturbing for them to continue with the story. However, that particular aspect of the book does not set the tone for the rest of the book as the author brings to readers the stunning and vivid portrayal of a love that was so worth delving into.

When Mena is rescued and her well meaning and newfound friends sends her away to Scotland to evade the clutches of her husband, it is to the keep of Liam she is sent, where the very first moment she lays eyes on the strong, deeply masculine, and beautiful man that he is, something long forgotten stirs to life inside of her. Liam too is shaken by the very physical and visceral reaction he has towards Mena from the onset, but even though both of them might think to avoid each other hoping that the yearning for the other is a fluke on their part, things of course do not work out that way.

Liam’s haunted eyes that bespeaks of horrors and regrets of his life draws Mena to him like a moth to flame. Mena’s gentle strength and wit that had remained unbroken by the violence she had experienced in her adult life speaks to Liam on a level that he cannot comprehend. However, old enemies stirring in the darkness, tempting and beseeching to turn on Liam might prove to be the undoing of what blossoms to life between him and Mena, if her husband’s search for her does not bear fruit first.

I enjoyed my very first novel by the Kerrigan Byrne. Mena was glorious. Beautiful, kind, and soft, with just the right touch of authority to her which made her appealing on so many levels. I rooted for her with every fiber of my being, wanted the best for her because she deserved nothing less.

Liam’s soul is a broken one, even though he does not let it on. Betrayed and widowed, there is a wealth of unspoken pain in his heart. His inability to get through to his own children is a source of continued frustration for him, that is until Mena comes into his life and shows him what that entails. Drawn to each other by the kind of tangible connection that leaves the reader breathless, Byrne does a marvelous job of crafting both characters and bringing them to life.

The sexual tension that is interwoven into the very fabric of the story was just as enticing, and Byrne definitely delivers without leaving the reader hanging. Absolutely loved this gem of a novel and would recommend it for readers who love historical romances with characters that speaks to you. These are two very broken characters who meet and find their way to a happily ever after. Don’t let the barbarity depicted in the first couple of chapters deter you from reading. I believe we have to take the bad with the good to achieve a balanced nuance in order to deliver a story worth sinking into.

The epilogue was super cute and healing in so many ways. Perhaps, Byrne may write a novella depicting two secondary characters who definitely deserve their story to be told somewhere down the line. A reader could always hope!

Final Verdict: There is a rawness to Byrne’s story that speaks to me. A ruthlessness to her heroes that does things to this wanton heart of mine. The Highlander is marvelous in every sense.

Favorite Quotes

Then she saw him.
Her mouth became dry as the desert, and a tremor that had nothing to do with the cold rippled through her.
Though he wore a soiled kilt and loose linen shirt beneath his drenched cloak, he sat astride a black Shire steed with the bearing of a king. Dark waves of hair hung long and heavy with moisture down his back, and menace rolled off the mountains of his shoulders in palpable waves.
Whoever he was, he was their undeniable leader. She saw it in the way they looked to him, in the deference they used when speaking. If not by birth, then by physical laws of nature, surely. As the largest, the strongest, and the most fearsome of them all, he towered above the brawny men as he scowled through the window at her.

“Och, lass.” Liam beat her to it. “These roses are a jealous flower.” Cupping her hand with his, he pressed a thumb into her palm to secure it before plucking the thorn out quickly, to cause her the least amount of distress.
A tiny drop of blood welled from her fingertip.
Liam had no other handkerchief to offer her, and didn’t want to use the one on the ground, so he did the only other thing he could think of, and slid her finger into his mouth. Closing his lips around the insignificant wound, he watched her reaction with rare pleasure.
She froze, her eyes growing round as two glowing moons.
His body’s reaction was just as astonishing, and just as instantaneous.

Liam sprang toward her, grasping her wrists and pulling her back down to him. He sank his fingers into her luxurious hair, loosening the intricate coiffure there, and pinned her head between his two strong palms as he took her wicked mouth with his own.
It was in the joining of their lips that Liam found what he’d come to the chapel seeking. He kissed Mena with a reverence he’d never felt in the entirety of his life. Driven by a hunger that welled from the darkest, most heretical depths of his soul, he knew he’d finally found something worthy of his worship.

He swallowed her shocked gasp and plundered her with his tongue as though she were a lifelong conquest. Digging his fingers into her ribs to keep from taking what she did not offer him, he deepened the kiss, using his tongue to convey what he could not find the words to say.
She wasn’t the only one who was afraid. Liam was terrified.
Of losing her.
Of loving her.
And at this moment, he was in mortal danger of both.

“Kiss me, Mena,” he moaned against her mouth, his hot, sweet breath fanning over the moisture on her lips. “Touch me. Teach me to keep the demon at bay.”
She could only see the whites of his eyes in the dim light, circling the obsidian of his pupil and iris in such a way that truly seemed demonic.
With trembling fingers, she reached up to softly test the shape of his masculine jaw. Bristle scraped against her fingertips as they explored the raw, hard features that she’d always wanted to study, but didn’t even allow herself to look at for too long, lest she be lost.

Then his hand was there, clever fingers slipping into the wet cleft and touching a place no one had ever before paid attention to. He somehow ignited frenzy into her blood with infuriatingly slow strokes. A curious heat unfolded in her core and quickly caught into a blaze of sensation.
Mena writhed helplessly against him, riding his strong thigh as more heat created more friction, which in turn built the flames even higher. What sort of pagan magic was this? How could hands so rough and raw create such smooth, silken sensations against her most tender skin?

“I can’t,” she cried, feeling her knees melt.
His lips left her with a wet, wicked sound. “Ye will,” he breathed against her most intimate flesh.
“I’m going to fall,” she warned weakly, her hips undulating toward his mouth with mortifying wantonness.
“Fall apart in my arms, lass,” he soothed, his hands caressing around to fill his palms with the flesh of her backside, making a cradle of her hips. “I’ll not let ye go.”

“Can ye take more of me?” he panted.
Mena’s eyes flew open. How could there possibly be more? He withdrew yet again, gazing down at her with dilated eyes as he surged forward. He touched a place inside her she’d not known existed, and Mena tossed her head from one side to the other, letting out a high cry of ecstasy.
“Yes,” he whispered fervently. “I knew ye would take all of me, Mena.” He drove forward again. And again.

When another climax blinded her with pure bliss, she locked her legs around his pistoning hips, pulling him impossibly deeper. Shivering pleasure assaulted her in wave after unrelenting wave.
He roared her name to the sky as her pulsing body gripped and stroked at the swelling length of him. Hot spurts of his release spilled inside her. His great body locked with spasms as he crushed her to him and joined her in that place where right and wrong no longer mattered.

Then they said nothing at all when he pulled her above him and split her legs over his lean, sinuous hips. They’d communicated only in gasps and sighs as she’d ridden him with sensual rolls of her body. He’d palmed her breasts in his warm hands and said wicked things in his people’s native tongue while she pleasured herself upon his sleek and magnificent body. Then, when he could stand it no more, he’d dug his strong fingers into the flesh of her hips and driven upward until he’d bowed with such shocking pleasure, Mena had thought his back would break.

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

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Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Format: E-bookeleanorandpark
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: Park
Heroine: Eleanor
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 26, 2013
Started On: September 07, 2016
Finished On: September 08, 2016

Rainbow Rowell is an author who is completely in a league of her own in the way she makes her characters and stories come alive with so much emotion that it practically hurts you – but in a good way. Eleanor and Park is no exception to this rule, and though the ending was a bit hasty for my tastes after the grueling bouts of angst that Rowell puts readers through, this is a story that has stayed with me long after I was done with it.

Eleanor is the new girl, who with a style that does not fit in with the rest, makes Park want to get away from it all. But even then, with all his misgivings about her, he does slide over in the bus and gives Eleanor the seat next to him to sit. Thus Eleanor and Park finds themselves going through the motions of friendship which grows into something tender, stronger and wilder by the turn of each page, all right before your eyes. Their love unfurls in a setting that is as simple and ordinary as they come. At the back of a school bus that ferries them back and forth day in and day out.

While Park has a relatively good life, Eleanor’s is one that is filled with horrors of the kind we would all rather not even think about. The fact that her mother does try to protect her does not mean much in the face of what is as inevitable as night turning to day, and one cannot help but be appalled, scared and wanting to grab Eleanor right out of the pages and provide her with a safe haven.

Like most readers I believe, I loved the bits where Park started to communicate with Eleanor in subtle ways at first, which developed into something that was so wonderful that it made my heart ache. I could not put this down from the minute I started reading, and I would not have had it any other way. Eleanor and Park is a story that is meant to be read in one sitting, a story that is meant to be devoured, if nothing else, just to feel the thousand and one emotions that courses right through you from start to finish.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: A love that leaves you aching and wanting; Eleanor & Park is a novel not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

“I read it again twice last night. You can take it tonight.”
“Yeah? Thanks.”
He was still holding the end of her scarf, rubbing the silk idly between his thumb and fingers. She watched his hand.
If he were to look up at her now, he’d know exactly how stupid she was. She could feel her face go soft and gummy. If Park were to look up at her now, he’d know everything.
He didn’t look up. He wound the scarf around his fingers until her hand was hanging in the space between them.
Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm.
And Eleanor disintegrated.

“I don’t like you, Park,” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. “I…”—her voice nearly disappeared—“think I live for you.”
He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow.
“I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,” she whispered. “Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”

There’s only one of him, she thought, and he’s right here.
He knows I’ll like a song before I’ve heard it. He laughs before I even get to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes me want to let him open doors for me.
There’s only one of him.

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

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Review: Burn For Me by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookburnforme_2
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Secrets & Shadows, #0.5
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Hero: Tate Bell
Heroine: Ali Holmes
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: November 20, 2014
Finished On: November 21, 2014

If you’ve read my review of Break for Me, you’d already know that I bought the rest of the novellas in the Secrets & Shadows series, because I was that much intrigued to read the stories of all the Bell children. Burn for Me is the story of the eldest, Tate Bell, the only boy from the three kids.

The three novellas focus on the main story of their mother’s unsolved case of disappearance and the affect that it had had on all their lives. Tate is haunted by the vivid memories of the night in question and the anger that is deep inside of him is one that is eating away at his soul. It tampers with life in ways that he would rather not acknowledge. It definitely has a dampening effect on his sort of love life with Ali Holmes, the only person with whom he had felt whole with throughout the years.

Ali knows that there is no future to be had with a man like Tate. Three years of a friends-with-benefits relationship finally takes its toll and it is when Ali decides to take the plunge and cut off ties with Tate that sets the ball rolling towards Tate facing his demons and realizing the impact his version of the truth had had on him and his family.

I was pretty excited to read Burn for Me. The scorching hot start definitely was a plus point, but I found that excitement sizzling down till the latter part of the book where the emotional punch of the storyline pretty much kicked me in the gut. I didn’t find myself enamored with the love affair between Tate and Ali. Perhaps because theirs was an affair that had started prior to the story that has the reader missing out on the fun and excitement that goes along with relationships at their beginning. Or because I just found myself at odds with the way Tate calls Ali “Ali-girl”.

What pulled me in towards the end of the story was not the romance between Tate and Ali, but rather the emotional intensity of what takes place between Tate and his father. I was almost moved to tears by the emotions the last couple of pages brought to life. The pain and suffering of not knowing for fifteen odd years has left its mark on each member of the Bell family. And Tate having carried around the sort of anger that can totally annihilate a person and still finding the strength to move past that was one that was moving in itself. For me, Tate’s father made the story. His love for his son is one that touched my heart in all the ways that matter.

Recommended for fans of Shiloh Walker and those who like short stories that don’t leave you hanging.

Final Verdict: Walker delivers the story of a father’s enduring love that knows no bounds.

Favorite Quotes

Tangling her hands in his hair, she arched and whimpered as he shifted his angle, moving so that the head of his cock stroked the bundled bed of nerves buried deep inside her and that small adjustment had her panting. Heat blistered her and pleasure consumed her.
“Tate!”
He surged against her, harder. Faster.
She climaxed around him, muffling her sob against his shoulder.
His mouth covered hers, swallowing down that ragged, breathless sound.
Then he stiffened, coming inside her.

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

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ARC Review: Break For Me by Shiloh Walker

Format: E-bookbreakforme
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Secrets & Shadows, 0.6
Publisher: St. Martins
Hero: Dean West
Heroine: Jensen Bell
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 22, 2014
Started On: September 9, 2014
Finished On: September 10, 2014

Ladies & gentlemen. The Shiloh Walker that I know and love is back. Back with a bang that completely blew me away. The second novella in the Shadows & Secrets series rocked my world and then some and I was so happy that I literally could’ve stood on the bed and jumped up and down in glee if not for the fact that it was way past midnight and the rest of the world was asleep regardless of the groundbreaking story I had just read.

I requested for this on Netgalley on a whim. It has been quite sometime since a Shiloh Walker novel has worked for me and though I was hesitant to take the chance, the remnants of what I used to love about her books coming across on her novels every now and then made me think what the heck and here I am, way past the review deadline and I could practically kick myself for delaying getting to this one.

The three novellas in the Shadows & Secrets series focuses on three siblings, each having been marked in their own way by the disappearance of their mother years back. I didn’t even know that this series had a continuing storyline when I picked it up and thus I would say that this totally can be read as a standalone. This installment focuses on Jensen Bell, a cop and a woman who wears attitude unlike any other according to the District Attorney Dean West.

The attraction that is between Dean and Jensen is a forcefully banked one by both parties, Jensen because she doesn’t want to make herself vulnerable to anyone and Dean because he is unsure whether his advances in that manner would be welcome. And then on a night that Jensen would like to forget the past, the inevitable happens and Dean finds himself practically eviscerated by the passion that burns between them. *pants a bit upon recalling the scenes*.

I’d say Shiloh Walker has hit jackpot with this series and I don’t say this lightly. There’s a hero that made me want to practically jump his bones every time his name came up in the story and then there’s the lovable heroine that I rooted for, felt for and empathized with in over just 90 plus pages. The mystery aspect was chilling and engrossing at the same time and I couldn’t have asked for more of an explosive culmination to the story in either aspect. And that ladies and gentlemen is why I say the author who won me over with just a single novel i.e. ‘Her Best friend’s Lover’ is back – with a bang.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Made me buy the rest of the novellas in the series. Yep, that good!

Favorite Quotes

His skin was warm against hers, the light stubble scraping against her palms. Because that light touch wasn’t enough, she kept one palm on his face and then drove the other hand into his hair, tangled it in his dreads. The texture was coarse against her hand and she shuddered at the thought of feeling him, all of him.
“I don’t want it to fade,” she whispered as she rose onto her toes and pressed her mouth to his.

Dean groaned as her tongue danced across his lips and then pushed inside, without even waiting to see how he’d react.
Fuck, there was no question of reaction.
He’d only been waiting half a lifetime, it seemed.
Maybe his entire life.
Sliding one hand down to her hip, he yanked her against him. The feel of her, all slight angles and delicate curves, was every bit as perfect as he’d imagined.

Stop,” he muttered. “I can’t…”
He pressed down with his hips and she shuddered as it ground him against her clit, but worse, his cock jerked again and she broke around him, drawing her legs up to clutch him closer.
She couldn’t stop it. It was like everything inside her had been waiting for just this moment. Just this. Just him.

She had no time to breathe, no time to think before his mouth came down on hers and even as her climax started to ebb, another built as he started to ride her, his movements harsh, hungry, all attempt at control gone.
Her name was a ragged snarl on his lips as he came, but she barely noticed.
She was already falling, for the third time.
And his arms were there, locked around her and he plummeted with her.

“I can’t be around you without getting a fucking erection, Jensen, and it’s only gotten worse since I slept with you.”
His hands cupped her face and she braced herself, her breath catching.
But there was no breath-stealing kiss.
It was gentle, sweet … and her heart ached when he lifted his head.
“You undo me,” he whispered. “You completely undo me.”

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Review: Emerald Rain by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbackemeraldrain
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: March Addison
Heroine: Eulalie Pritchard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 5, 1991
Started On: December 30, 2013
Finished On: January 5, 2014

Emerald Rain by Maggie Osborne is one of those romances that reaffirms my belief in the reason why romance would always be my preferred genre to read. I had almost but not quite, forgotten just how good a Maggie Osborne romance could be and why I had actually spent a small fortune in acquiring these out of print titles of hers for my collection. Even those novels that can be considered lackluster when it comes to Maggie Osborne are titles that still gives you a read to remember. This being otherwise I would say made a wonderful start to my reading for the year 2014!

24 year old Eulalie Pritchard (Lalie) makes her way to Brazil to follow her fiance’ to Hiberalta, a journey that would take her through the perilous Amazon jungle and the river that runs through it. Lalie lives by the strict rules of English society, her prim and properness a facet to her character that irritates March Addison from the first moment he lays eyes on her. The son of Earl of Addison, March has carved a name for himself in the Amazon as a renowned businessman in the booming rubber industry in Brazil and Lalie believes that nothing of the gentleman she had encountered 10 years back lives inside of him now.

Lalie expects the rough around the edges March to ferry her up to Hiberalta as quickly as possible and March in return expects fluff of her kind to depart from the country within a week. Both Lalie and March have surprises in store for the other as a trip that takes 3-5 months to complete bares everyone aboard down to their very basics. Living primitively does the one thing that wouldn’t be obvious while living in polite society, and that is to bring to light all the characteristics, good and the bad that drives a person. And that is exactly what happens when March takes Lalie on board despite all the misgivings he has when it comes to the most infuriating, beautiful and enticing woman he has ever come across all his life.

Lalie is determined if nothing else to live, to never be labeled as the woman who never lived a full life. Her infatuation with her fiance is seemingly what drives Lalie to seek the trip on her own but as the days fade into weeks, just like the rules of propriety that Lalie was determined to stick to at the beginning of the trip are stripped away one by one, feelings of the most wanton and unexpected variety seems to fill her heart, body and soul where March is concerned.

As swift as the currents in the Amazon that propels their vessel forward, so does the desire that explodes to surface where March and Lalie are concerned, a desire that is as primitive as the Indians that live amidst the jungle that surrounds the waters. Maggie Osborne always does a remarkable job in creating her heroes and March Addison is another exemplary specimen. One can almost imagine the sinewiness to his musculature, his sensual lips and the totally alpha male vibe that just seems to cling to him. His strength of character is one of the many things that made him an appealing hero and his honor one that made me fall irrevocably in love with him.

Lalie’s character makes me remember a friend of mine whose sheer determination carries her through a lot of hurdles in her life. Lalie who has had a privileged upbringing, is in short, a dreamer. Having seen her fiance through the eyes of infatuation, Lalie had missed out on the crucial aspects of his character to which she is brutally made aware of as the time of reckoning draws closer. While her heart, mind, body and soul yearns for the touch of the man who should be all sorts of wrong for her, Lalie is determined that she keep her word where her fiance is concerned. There were many a times that I literally burst out in laughter due to Lalie’s sometimes innocent and yet honest to God nature that she tries to hide behind all the rules of propriety. Lalie has the sort of hidden sensuality that would drive any red blooded man insane with wanting and that is the kind of wanting that leaves March reeling from the sheer force of it all.

The sexual tension wrought in the novel is top notch, one that made me sigh, squirm and want to prolong the read as much as possible. And one reason I love Osborne novels so much is that she is not afraid to deliver on the said tension when the time comes. And believe me, all that sexual tension Osborne puts the reader through was worth every nail biting moment of it and I was sighing all throughout every beautiful second of it.

Highly recommended!

Final Verdict: Sensuous and a whole lot of adventurous; Maggie Osborne delivers a tale as steamy as the Amazon itself. Not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

A moaning sound came from her parted lips. Her breasts were thrust against his chest as her head fell backward and her eyes closed. Her fingers dug into his shoulders and her legs wrapped around his, pulling him more tightly against her until his erection throbbed between them, a rigid strength pressing against her soft, yielding body.

“Lalie,” he whispered. He slid one hand to the small of her back and held her pressed against him, his other hand moved slowly to cup her breast, teasing the hard nipple. Her breath was as rapid and choked as his when she met his eyes with a look filled with helpless urgency.

With tormenting slowness, exercising a patience and tenderness he had not known he possessed, he moved his month and tongue over her throat, teasing upward toward the swollen promise of her lips. His hand slid up her back go cup her small head.
“Oh my god March… March..”
Her words emerged part sob, part plea, and her body tightened around his.

Then she raised her face to his clenched jaw, his hard mouth, and finally defenseless, she surrendered to the dark eyes burning down into hers. Their stared locked and held. Her breast rose and trembled on a dry, scorching breath. A yearning sound almost like a sob caught in her throat.
And she wanted.

Her body moved against his; her hands rose and she buried her fingers in his thick hair as her mouth opened beneath his to receive his plundering tongue. Gasping, almost sobbing with the bliss and relief of finally knowing his kiss, Lalie clung to him, pulled him closer, closer, as if she could absorb him, as if by holding him tightly she could make this feverish moment last forever.

“On those nights when sleep won’t come, I’ll lie in my bed and remember the softness of your breast, the sweet curve of your waist. I’ll remember the lagoon, the sunshine on your eyelids. I’ll remember the taste of your skin and the scent of your hair… and I’ll wonder.”

“I’ll make love to other women, Lalie, but they won’t be you. I’ll feel that loss and wonder. All my life I will remember you and regret that I didn’t have you. All my life I will wonder at the feel and touch and scent of you. I will wonder if you would have cried my name. I will wonder if I would have given you pleasure. I will wonder and mourn my loss.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks

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Review: Lady Reluctant by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbackladyreluctant
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St Martins Press
Hero: Thomas Edward Montmorency
Heroine: Blusette Morgan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 15, 1990
Started On: March 6, 2013
Finished On: March 9, 2013

18 year old Blusette Morgan is the one and only daughter of the notorious pirate Beau Billy. Having grown up in a pirate’s cove, the only life Blu has known is that of a world where the fittest of all survive. Well versed in the art of self defense, there is not a bit of ladylike mannerism instilled in Blu, something that her father regrets enough to come to the decision that Blu would be sent off to her mother in England so that she could become a lady in the truest sense and perhaps find the sort of life that he would never be able to provide for her on Morgan’s Mound.

When Blu sets her sights on the 29 year old Thomas who comes to Morgan’s Mound, the one and only thought that crosses her mind is that he would be the one upon whom she would bestow upon the honor of divesting her of her state of virginity. And when things go hardly according to the plan she sets and Blu finds herself on Thomas’ ship on the journey that would take her towards the woman who had abandoned her and never looked back, Blu more than butts heads with Thomas, whose appeal though never seems to fade away even when Blu would love nothing better than to turn her back on him and of course prove him wrong on all aspects.

It would seem that when Blu reaches her final destination that Thomas would become nothing but a mere memory of a man who had appealed to her on levels she would never admit. But fate has other plans when their lives cross each others and a love most forbidden blooms between the two of them, a love that seems most impossible against the insurmountable odds that stands in their way. Through a lot of moments of the laugh out loud variety – and I am not kidding on that aspect, and a lot of heart wrenching moments of agonized longing, Maggie Osborne once again proves that she is unbeatable in providing readers with stories that never gets old, especially in a genre where no stone is left unturned by the various authors who try their hand in creating stories that their readers would never forget.

The one aspect of Osborne novels that never changes is that she is always brutally honest in depicting the lives people would lead during the times which she bases her stories on. For instance, if it were any other author, I am almost 100% certain that even though Blu had grown up in a pirate’s cove, she would end up being the one innocent flower amongst all the thorns, refreshing in her ladylike manner for which Thomas would have certainly fallen in lust and love with once he sets sights on her. But Osborne doesn’t make it that easy on either Blu or Thomas. Rather she depicts Blu as a woman who grows up under the circumstances would end up being, femininity a totally foreign concept, something she abhors with everything she is.

When you pick up a Maggie Osborne novel, you always know that you would get your money’s worth as she fashions stories that are made to entertain in the truest sense. The only thing I wished was a bit more of Thomas and Blu, something I craved for especially during the last couple of chapters of the story. Final verdict? I cannot recommend Lady Reluctant highly enough.

Favorite Quotes

Brooding, she turned her dark eyes toward a cluster of sails, picking over the bones of a Spanish wreck just north of the reef. There were days when she was depressingly convinced she would go to her grave a virgin. Her stone would read: “Here lies a woman no one wanted.”
“And to think I wanted that rat dropping to be my first! How right were you, Monsieur! I was spared a disgrace of the first water.” Raging, she paced and turned, paced and turned, her sword banging against the cot, the trunk, and Monsieur’s dodging knees.
“I advise we shift this turn of events to advantage.” Monsieur lowered his head and examined her over the rim of his splintered goggles. “I suggest we employ the next weeks to our profit.”
“We bring the crew over to our side and seize the ship?” Blu inquired hopefully. “We instigate a mutiny?”

Then, as her knees were about to collapse, his arms were suddenly around her, his body tight and hard against her own.
Because she could not have done otherwise, because she had dreamed of and longed for this moment, she lifted her mouth and gave him her lips. A shock of lightning jolted through her flesh as his mouth claimed hers. Fire erupted in the pit of her belly and flamed through her limbs, scorching flesh and bone and igniting her mind. She wanted him. His tongue penetrated her secrets and she wanted him as a starving man wants food and drink.

Purchase Links: Abe Books

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Short & Sweet Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: Calvin Morrisey
Heroine: Minerva Dobbs
Sensuality: 2.5
Date of Publication: April 1, 2007
Started On: April 7, 2010
Finished On: April 11, 2010

Storyline: Calvin (Cal) just got out of an intense relationship where the woman wanted more than he could give. What he just wants for now is some peace and quiet in his life. He doesn’t think its too much to ask for and one night he finds himself and his friends Roger and Tony in the company of David who just broke up with Minerva (Min) that very night at the bar. David knowing that Cal is a man who bets to win, bets Cal 10,000 dollars to get frumpy and overweight Min to sleep with him within a month’s time. Though Cal doesn’t agree to this bet, Min overhears David betting Cal and thinks Cal has agreed to the bet. Since Min desperately needs a date for her sister’s wedding in three weeks time, Min decides that she would play along so that Cal would be her date for the wedding.

The first meet: Cal and Min first meet at the bar that they all hang out after work. Cal the almost sinfully handsome hero and Min who needs a crash course in building self confidence and attitude due her mom constantly harping on about her being over weight, these two seems to be the opposites in every way.

Time period: No specific time line given in the story, just that the story takes place in the present day.

Awareness between the two characters: The zing of electricity between the two characters is built up right from the first. Though neither Min nor Cal wants a relationship at the moment, nor do they want to get involved in any other way with each other, they keep bumping into each other and through these chance and not so chance encounters, Miss Crusie keeps the sexual tension and awareness between the two at an all time high which makes the book quite enjoyable.

The turning point: The turning point in the relationship of Cal and Min comes gradually. Since they both do not want to be with each other, but do end up spending time with one another, they do find out that first impressions do not really tell the whole story about a person and that there were layers to each of them that inexorably drew them to one another. With their quirky group of friends and dysfunctional families they are a couple who have got all the odds against them, but somehow, fate tends to work in mysterious ways to bind these two together and before they know it, they are half way in love with one another.

How the relationship grows: Cal and Min’s relationship grows in no ordinary fashion. With David and Cal’s ex-girlfriend Cynthia (a relationship psychologist) who has an axe to grind and wants him back plotting against these two who are reluctant to be with one another in the first place, there doesn’t seem to be much room for their relationship to grow. However, a few well placed bets here and there and a few chance encounters and not so chance encounters somehow bind the lives of these two together and in the process both Cal and Min find stuff about one another that draws them closer to one another. The continuous heat and attraction between the two makes things interesting whilst this goes on.

Ending: Cal and Min’s happily ever after doesn’t come that easily. Both of them have issues to work out, and some grovelling to do and a bet to win or lose before they could both assume the roles of their happily ever after. Wonderful ending though! Loved the stories of all the side characters in the book who made this novel a much more fun and a wonderful read. Reading how their lives turned out in the end made the book a solid hit with me!

Likes: All the cast members in this book were wonderful. The whole time I was reading this book, I was imagining it as a movie which would generate some serious laughter from the audience. Ms Crusie never ever fails to amuse!

Dislikes: None for me with this book!

Recommended for: Those who love romantic comedies, those who would love a story where the chubby girl meets the hot hunk and they fall in love, and for those who love novels by Ms Crusie. You cannot go wrong with this one!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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