ARC Review: The Night Blossoms by Leylah Attar

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Untitled Series, #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Rafael Roza
Heroine: Vee Roza
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 28, 2022
Started On: July 14, 2022
Finished On: August 03, 2022

The Night Blossoms by Leylah Attar is a novel that is closely tied to The Paper Swan that was published in 2015. While The Paper Swan was dark, gritty, and breathtaking, The Night Blossoms, like its main male lead is a different ball game altogether, which was spellbinding in a totally different way.

When Vee Roza’s husband Rafael goes missing after a heated argument between the two, never does Vee think that this would in fact be the pivotal event which brings the secrets that she hides to the forefront, test her to her very limits of endurance, and in the end show to the readers the strength of her character.

I went in expecting the kind of immersive experience that was The Paper Swan. Don’t get me wrong; this book was engrossing in the way Ms. Attar unfolded the layers to her characters and revealed all that was simmering underneath. While I would have loved for more darkness in the story, I did enjoy the tumultuous journey that was the Rozas’ before and even after they said their I do’s.

With The Night Blossoms, Ms. Attar shows to readers what resilience really means when it comes to relationships, especially after marriage. Vee and Rafael do not find each other under the most heartwarming circumstances; they both lead equally tough lives, especially during their most formative years. One would think that they would catch a break, but turns out, life wants to test their love to a point where most of us would just probably give up and walk away.

I loved Rafael – his character was one that shone through in many ways. Ms. Attar explores a fascinating trait in Rafael, something which I do not want to particularly reveal in my review. Understanding what it means to live with that sort of “gift” perhaps, is something beyond my capacity as I cannot imagine the impact something like that would have on one’s physical and mental well-being.

Rafael’s smartness is what got me – when he started talking about concepts of physics, I wanted to be sitting in his class, soaking all of it in. We would all be so lucky to have educators who are as enthusiastic as Rafael is when it comes to imparting knowledge that is akin to a gift given for life.

Vee’s character was a tougher nut to crack for various reasons, and I think Ms. Attar wanted it that way. Even when the story is told from Vee’s point of view, there is always a part of herself that she keeps in the shadows, as if penetrating her secrets would threaten her very existence. Her fears and insecurities were all too real and I felt them, which attests to the brilliance that is behind Ms. Attar’s writing.

Recommended for readers who love romantic suspense. You will have to read The Paper Swan first to have an appreciation for the characters, and if you like myself love dark romances, The Paper Swan is definitely a treat!

Final Verdict: The Night Blossoms is tale that captivates the reader on multiple fronts, of love of the kind that prevails and grows in strength through the worst life has to offer.

Favorite Quotes

“Yvette? Did you hear what I s—”
Her kiss was breathless. Clasping her fingers behind his neck, she drew him close. The air expelled from Rafael’s lungs. He angled his mouth to taste her. His lips trailed to her throat, to the pulse under her skin. A wild surge of pleasure gripped him when her hand slipped under his waistband and untucked his shirt.

“Don’t fall in love. Not with me.”
“Why not? You’re smart and strong and determined. You can do anything you set your mind to.” He stroked her hair. “Why do you hate yourself so?”
Slipping out of reach, she gathered the blanket to her chest and sat. “You will too, when I tell you the truth.”
“Fine. Let’s have it.” He grinned.
Bit by bit, she revealed the details.
Bit by bit, Rafael’s world careened out of orbit.
Everything shifted. Everything changed.
By the time Yvette was done, nothing was the same again.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

ARC Review: A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke by Emily Windsor

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Governess Chronicles, #2
Publisher: Sentra Press
Hero: Rhys Cadogan
Heroine: Isabelle Violette de Beaujeu
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 07, 2022
Started On: July 05, 2022
Finished On: July 14, 2022

A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke is the second installment in The Governess Chronicles by Emily Windsor. Even though this is part of a series, the story is perfectly readable as a standalone.

27 year old Isabelle Violette de Beaujeu is a governess with almost a decade of experience under her belt, having earned an impeccable reputation for herself. Her newest charge is the 15 year old niece of the Duke of Aberdare. Even though 34 year old Rhys Cadogan has a reputation for being mean, moody, and mysterious, it does not deter Isabelle from seeking the position, one more milestone towards making headway in her retirement funds.

From the get go, the Duke’s sheer masculinity takes Isabelle’s breathe away, or so it would have she tells herself, if she weren’t made of sterner stuff. Likewise, Rhys is drawn towards the spirit and fire that is evident when Isabelle loses that rigid control she exerts on herself.

However, a governess has no space to dream about frivolous things like love and desire, especially when it involves the likes of a Duke, who for all intents and purposes is on the hunt for a bride. What neither Rhys nor Isabelle realize is that when it comes right down to it, they are both two halves of one soul, drawn towards a shared future, irrespective of the circumstances that brought them together.

From one breathless encounter to heated stolen kisses, Isabelle comes to the realization of the kindness that is inherent in the Duke, the passion that he hides behind the at times aloof facade of his, and the dreams that he harbors for the kind of love that Isabelle herself yearns for but never hopes to find.

I loved this installment in the series and enjoyed both Rhys and Isabelle. Rhys is the kind of hero that is the right mix of tenderness and masculinity that sweeps you off your feet. His keen intelligence and his kindness draws the reader towards him like a moth to flame, and it is not just Isabelle that falls hopelessly in love with him.

Isabelle is the kind of heroine readers root for in every sense. With a past that still haunts her, Isabelle is someone who has lived true to her values and principles and made a name for herself in her profession. Even when the Duke tempts her so, Isabelle tries to tell herself that it is not for the likes of her, but alas, love does have a strange way of seeking one out when you are least looking for it.

The style of writing that Ms. Windsor brings to the genre is evocative, the portrayal of the yearning of both characters in this novel the kind that makes for an immersive reading experience, and the witty nature of the inner monologues and the dialogues which keeps the pages turning. The secondary characters added vibrancy to the story as it unfolded, many of whom I would definitely love to read more about.

Recommended for fans of Ms. Windsor and fans of beautifully spun historical romances!

Final Verdict: Delightful, sensual, and poignant; Ms. Windsor’s writing is powerful in the way it moves the reader!

Favorite Quotes

I wait. I tremble. I yearn,
Yet to me she cometh not.
I lust. I languish. I burn!
Yet to me she cometh not.

His lips brushed.
Back and forth. Beguiling and mellow and supple and sinful.
The angel admonished one last time, prattling on about all those years of flawless reputation, but instead of dissuading Isabelle from this path of desire, it compelled her to be reckless. Yes, she had been all that was placid and perfect for so long, but she was tired. Tired of suppressing her accent, her upbringing, her nature, her temper, her very self.
So, she returned the duke’s kiss.

Abruptly, she was swung around, her spine meeting the panelled wall, and she was unsure why until he pressed his muscled frame as though he required more pressure, could not get close enough to her…
Now the assault came not from just his ravishing lips, or from his hands which grasped her face, securing her for his kiss, but his hips which recklessly thrust.
She knew he was heavily aroused, had read many a novel for knowledge, but even the most prurient tale failed to convey the sheer elation that surged.
Real, indulgent and utterly wicked.

“Beg pardon,” he muttered, hands tidying her bodice and attempting to push curls into their plait – a fruitless endeavour yet she welcomed it, savoured the sensation of being fussed over for once, till he claimed her wrist and kissed the pounding pulse. “Thank you. Thank you for… My mood was sombre tonight and you fetched light into it with your empathy and touch…Miss Beaujeu.”
She nodded. Knew tonight was at an end for Isabelle.
The clock chimed midnight.
“Good night, Your Grace.”
“Good night, Miss Beaujeu.”
He kissed her hand once more and she twisted away on legs that appeared to be filled with English custard.

“Ça alors!”
He shivered. “You know when you speak in French, it causes the most uncontrollable urges within me.”
“Does it?” She brought her lips to his ear. “Je te désire, Monsieur le duc.”
With a grunt, he strode for the bed. “If you keep testing my limits, Miss Beaujeu, you will find yourself nude and splayed before you can take another breath.”
She laughed as he lowered her to the coverlet, followed her, his perfect mate as she arched beneath him.

His entire weight sank upon her, powerful and possessive, and her legs parted of their accord to accommodate.
Now the kiss grew reckless and tempestuous, both their bodies arching into one another.
With a growl, he reared, twisted off the bed and wrenched at the fall of his breeches, shoving them down. By the flame of the candle, Isabelle glimpsed muscled planes and masculine beauty and an arousal that should’ve scared her but that instead spurred her pulse to race.
He sank upon her again, but now with bare, heated skin, his body tight with sinew, blunt with need.

She leaned up as best she could, gasping as it forced him deeper. “Mon amour. Mon coeur…”
“Cariad, don’t–”
“Je t’aime pour l’éternité.”
With that, any pretence they were civilised creatures vanished as Rhys roared and abruptly arched, his hand grasping her hip as he bucked.
Isabelle sought to retain a grip unto sanity but it was a futile endeavour as his mouth devoured her breast, her throat, and his body demanded she yield also to this madness of desire.

“Love waits, still and swithe,
Love lingers, dusk and bright.
Love waits, it waits for thee,
For thee to fill my night.

So come to me, my soul,
Aside the pounding sea.
Come love and make me whole,
And ‘I’ shall become ‘We’.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

Review: A Daughter’s Dilemma by Miranda Lee

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Powers-Slater Studio, #1
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Vaughan Slater
Heroine: Carolyn McKensie
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 21, 1997
Started On: December 21, 2021
Finished On: December 30, 2021021

A Daughter’s Dilemma by Miranda Lee was my last read for the year 2021. It is February 2022, and it is only now I am able to get my last review for the year in place. I am a firm believer of the philosophy better late than never. Perhaps more applicable here than elsewhere in my life because I have a habit of always running behind on my review schedule.

My book list for 2021 veered in the direction of picking up older Harlequin romances to read because, at the cost of repeating myself, modern watered down versions of the heroes that I come across in books these days just makes me itch, and not in a good way at all. I feel bereft of the emotions that would otherwise run gamut through me when authors just get it all right, with a hero who is brusque, taciturn, and all those qualities that we hate to love and love to hate.

Miranda Lee in this way, is an author whose books teeter on 50-50 line; I either love them or am meh about them. Luckily, this one too passed muster, and I had an enjoyable time with the journey that was 34 year old Vaughan Slater and 24 year old Carolyn McKensie take to their happily ever after.

The story begins with Carolyn sending off her newly wedded mother on her honeymoon cruise, with a promise to her stepfather that she would do what was needed to ensure that their new home was ready to move into upon their return. However, Carolyn gets the shock of her life when she finds out that the architect hired by her stepfather is none other than Vaughan, who basically destroyed her mother all those years ago.

Carolyn’s mother raises her as a single parent, with her father having died even before she was born. All of that had caught up with her mother when Carolyn was fourteen years old, and since then, Carolyn had acted more as a mother than vice versa. Carolyn being fiercely protective of her mother is not ready to forgive and forget what Vaughan is responsible for; having seduced and discarded a woman who was much older than him.

Carolyn’s helpless reaction to the magnetism that Vaughan exudes is however the nail on the coffin so to speak, and even though she is determined not to give in, it proves too much of a challenge to turn away from the heat, especially with Vaughan feeling the same way. Consequently, the attraction between them gives way to passion of the kind that innocent Carolyn had never known, and before she knows it, her heart too is on the line.

But there looms dark clouds on the horizon, casting gloomy shadows on her newfound happiness that is all too fragile, especially when Carolyn has a hard time reconciling with the version of the events that Vaughan stands by and won’t let her shy away from. With Carolyn torn between the man who makes her senses reel and her heart soar, and her mother for whom she would practically do anything for, it is up to Carolyn to gather her courage and face the music, whatever tune it may be playing when all is said and done.

While I found Carolyn a bit tiresome at certain points, overall, I understood where she was coming from. I too would probably have been a bundle of nerves if I were in her place, believing that I have to choose between the love of my life and my own mother who sacrificed her youth to bring me up. That is a tough place to be in.

I loved Vaughan, for being as determined to make Carolyn stand up for what she wants, for giving her that needed push to step out of her comfort zone, without which she would probably have made the wrong choice and ended up being miserable, bitter, and lonely for the rest of her life.

Recommended for fans of Miranda Lee and fans of Harlequin romances.

Final Verdict: A Daughter’s Dilemma delves into what it is like to be caught between a rock and a hard place; it takes courage of the kind not many of us can muster to make that leap of faith.

Favorite Quotes

For a few seconds longer he stared down at her. ‘Let’s see if I can’t help you make up your mind…’ And his mouth slowly descended.
How long later did it lift again? A minute? Two?
Carolyn had no idea, for instantly those soft sensual lips claimed hers she was catapulted into a world so erotic and exciting that all coherent thought rocketed to a distant planet. She clung to him, her lips parting soundlessly beneath the increasing pressure of his, letting his tongue slide forward into her mouth, letting him arouse her with it to a pitch she would never have believed possible from a kiss. The blood began swimming in her head and wave upon wave of heat flooded up through her body. When her knees threatened to buckle from under her, she slid her arms up tightly around his neck, her small hard breasts pressed flat against his wet chest.

Carolyn bit her bottom lip against the tumultuous pleasure he immediately evoked, her knuckles whitening around the railing as she felt him gradually work his way back down her body. Surely he didn’t mean to…to…
When he passed her navel, every internal muscle she owned contracted and held tightly. Her lips parted, as though ready for protest. But no protest came from her lips when he finally reached his destination. No protest at all. Only a shuddering sigh of sheer ecstasy. ‘Oh, yes,’ she moaned. ‘Yes…’

For a split second Carolyn felt a thrilling moment of peaking, of being suspended. And then she was spun into a wild avalanche of sensation that shattered her completely, the experience impossible to fully capture in words or even memory. Its sharpness caught at her breath, then forced sounds from her lips, soft sensual cries somewhere between sighs and moans. Her head tipped back, her lips panting apart, her back bending like a bow from the bed as she felt her flesh convulsing around Vaughan’s, felt her woman’s pull on his body, urging him to a mutual release.
When it came Carolyn was stunned, thinking the pleasure she’d just experienced was impossible to surpass. But nothing could eclipse the emotional and physical satisfaction of holding Vaughan and feeling him climax deep within her.

‘Tell me you love me too,’ he urged. ‘I want to hear you say it.’
Her heart leapt, but instinct warned her not to admit to such a thing. ‘No,’ she panted. ‘No…’
He muttered something and resumed his slow, steady rhythm, taking her inexorably towards the moment when will-power would cease to exist, when there was nothing but her body and his, teetering on the brink of ecstasy.
At this most crucial moment, Vaughan stopped once again, bringing a cry of sharp need from her gasping lungs. Her nails dug deeply in his back and her body urged him desperately to continue.
‘Tell me you love me, dammit,’ he demanded, holding her still beneath him in an iron grip.
She whipped her head from side to side till he captured her mouth with his own, grinding her head back into the soft pillow with a savage kiss.
‘Say it!’ he gasped when his mouth finally burst from hers. ‘Dear God, just say it this once!’
She was moved, more by the desperate note in his voice than his violent kiss, or the sexual edge on which she was hanging.
‘I love you,’ she cried huskily. ‘I’ve loved you all along.’

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

Review: A Date with Destiny by Miranda Lee

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Michael Angellini
Heroine: Salome Twynan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 25, 1994
Started On: December 13, 2021
Finished On: December 17, 2021

A Date with Destiny by Miranda Lee is a category romance that was first published in 1994. The story begins when 24 year old Salome Twynan discovers that her ex-husband had once again added another item to her divorce settlement; a penthouse unit at McMahon’s Point. Salome had married young, at the age of nineteen to a 49 year old man, who had warned her that people would talk, judge, and slander her reputation upon their marriage. Salome had gone into the marriage with her eyes wide open, let her husband mold her into what he wanted, and when the divorce had come out of nowhere, Salome is devastated, and having tried and failed to see her ex-husband to get answers to the questions she has being futile slides her further into a depressive state.

When Salome turns up at the penthouse, she discovers that her neighbor is none other than Michael Angellini (Mike), one of Sydney’s most eligible bachelors, the wealthy owner of an exclusive Italian restaurant that Ralph had taken Salome to on many occasions during the course of their marriage. From the onset of their introduction, Salome and Mike had rubbed each other the wrong way, and the hostility had often meant Mike ignoring her or giving her scathing glances while Salome tried her utmost to be more flirty and appreciative of her husband in his presence.

Needless to say, the knowledge that Mike is going to be right next door is not information that settles well with Salome, especially when she discovers that underneath all her hostility lies recognition of Mike’s vitality as a man and the need he rouses in her. Salome has her hangups about casual sex which drives her up the wall when it comes to admitting to the fact that she indeed finds Mike desirable to the point of distraction.

I found the love that unfolded between Mike and Salome to be an entertaining, sweet, and sexy journey with a bit of angst tossed into the mix. It is apparent from Mike’s behavior that he finds Salome just as desirable, and would like nothing better than for Salome to give in for them to reach the height of their mutual pleasure in each other. But Salome is a stubborn as well as a reluctant heroine (but not to the point where it becomes annoying), and Mike has his work cut out for him in trying to make her see that for him, there is no other.

Recommended for those who love books by Miranda Lee.

Final Verdict: Intense heat and good characterizations renders A Date with Destiny to be a wonderful read!

Favorite Quotes

‘You don’t want me to stop, do you?’ he said hoarsely.
‘No,’ she admitted, her voice shaking. ‘No…’
His raw groan stunned her. Clearly, he wanted her almost as much as she wanted him. Maybe he had always wanted her. No, no, a dim memory refuted. That’s not so. He said that wasn’t so.
His next kiss obliterated any further thought, and this time his mouth contained nothing but uncontrollable passion, a taking rather than a tempting. Salome met him halfway, their tongues joining together in a violently sensuous mating that could only be eclipsed in one way.

She could hear his breathing, as heavy and ragged as her own, hear his dark mutterings as he began working on the buttons of her jacket and blouse, then the tie at her neck. Cool air suddenly caressed bare breasts, a rash of goose-bumps temporarily sobering her. For a split second the appalling truth of what she was allowing came home to Salome but, before she could react, Mike’s mouth moved across her breasts and closed over one single, straining nipple.
A moan was torn from deep in her throat, the fingers of both her hands curling over to dig into her palms. ‘Oh, God!’ she whimpered. She jammed her fists down beside her on the case, but this only served to give her a lever with which to arch her back further upwards, pushing her flesh deeper and deeper into his mouth. Her head swam with dizzying pleasure, the blood in her veins surging hotly through her body.

‘What is it?’ Mike said sharply.
She expelled the breath she had been holding in a trembling gasp. ‘Nothing…nothing…’
‘Tell me,’ he urged, and drew her to him in a breathtakingly close embrace, his lips pressed feverishly to her forehead. ‘What is it that frightens you so about me? Why didn’t you want to let me finish making love to you earlier on? Why?‘
She shook her head frantically from side to side. ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ she whispered hoarsely. ‘I can’t! It’s all too confusing.’
‘What’s confusing?’ he insisted, little knowing that the hot, stroking hands on her hair, her neck, her back, were the most confusing of all, because they kept bringing wave after wave of sensation that was slowly obliterating her capacity to reason. Surely she wouldn’t feel like this in any other man’s arms, would she? It didn’t seem possible. Yet…if it was only Michael Angellini who could do this to her, then what was it exactly she felt for him? Sexual infatuation? Obsession? Lust?
Salome refused to embrace the word ‘love’. Even if her feelings for Ralph had finally begun to die, her bruised, battered heart wasn’t ready, or capable, of loving another man yet, and certainly not a man who had nothing but contempt for her. Perhaps she was acting this way out of some sort of crazed revenge against the hurt perpetrated by her husband. Perhaps this was a rebound thing. She didn’t know any more.
‘Everything’s confusing,’ she groaned. ‘Me… this…you…’

She moaned her frustration and frantically pushed him away, ‘No, no!’ she cried.
He staggered back off the end of the bed, getting to his feet and staring down at her with eyes both wild and incredulous. ‘You must be mad! There’s no stopping now. No changing your mind. Look at me!’ And, with a single savage yank, he stripped off his pyjama-trousers, striking her speechless with the stark evidence of his desire.
Salome had never looked quite so blatantly at an aroused man before, certainly not one as well-endowed as Mike. Colour burnt in her cheeks, her heart thudding beneath her breasts. ‘I haven’t changed my mind,’ she burst forth, then hesitated, finding it hard to find the words. ‘I was wanting you. You!’ she cried. ‘Not…anything less…’

Finally he gasped away from her mouth and pressed hot lips to the smooth skin of her shoulder, the pulsating vein at the base of her throat, his hands running up and down the sides of her body. Her own hands were caressing the muscles in his back, but dug sharply inwards when he grabbed her hips, lifting them from the bed and thrusting even more deeply into her. Quite instinctively, her inner muscles squeezed tightly around his throbbing hardness, gripping and releasing him in a relentless rhythm. Any moment now…
There was a split second when she seemed to balance on a sharp edge, when her breathing stopped, and every muscle in her body strained to an aching stop. She heard him gasp for breath, felt his hands tightening around her. Then, with one final surge, he set them both free, and their mutual cries of release echoed in the night.

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

Review: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bellinger Sisters, #1
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Brendan Taggart
Heroine: Piper Bellinger
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 13, 2021
Started On: November 28, 2021
Finished On: December 14, 2021

It Happened One Summer, the debut book in the Bellinger Sisters series by Tessa Bailey features two main protagonists who are the complete opposite of each other, the journey they travel towards finding their other half in one another making for an enjoyable read.

The story begins with 28 year old Piper Bellinger being dumped by her current boyfriend in the midst of a party, a nightmare for someone like Piper who lives for the likes and comments on social media profiles. Piper considers her career to be partying and being seen in the right places. Her stepfather being loaded enough for her to afford the lifestyle she leads means that Piper had never really grown up, nor had she ever felt the need to.

Her delayed reaction to the breakup however turns out to be the last straw for her stepfather, and with the need to teach her a lesson driving him, Piper is “exiled” to her father’s hometown in Westport for three months. While everyone (including herself) expects her to fail to live up the requirements of her stay in Westport, Piper has no other avenues to turn to and it is thus she and her sister Hannah find themselves in the town where their deceased father is a revered hero of sorts, the last man of the Westport crew to die while hunting the almighty king crab on the Bering Sea.

From the instance that Piper walks into the bar which her her father owns the deed to, she clashes with Brendan Taggart, a man who seems to engulf her every sense from the get go. As a seaman and captain of Della Ray, the wheel of which he had taken over from his father-in-law, Brendan is a man who is a stickler for routine, never straying from his tight schedules and the regimented lifestyle which keeps him grounded. But all of that is shaken up by none other than Piper, who for the first time in seven long years makes him want to move on from his revered status as a widower.

While Brendan is a bit grumpy and gives Piper attitude at first, all of that changes with the realization of the extensive nature of his burgeoning feelings towards Piper. The lady herself, who has never really even considered putting down roots in a place other than a vibrant city with a nightlife to beckon her, finds herself swayed by the quaint charm that is small town life, where without even realizing, she makes herself an integral part of the small community.

But then again, the past has a way of rearing its ugly head when its least wanted, and that is exactly what happens, giving the story a healthy dose of angst to make things more well rounded towards the final stretch.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Piper and Brendan, each being unique and refreshing in a way that made them easily earn their rightful place in my heart. Queen of Smut, aka Ms. Bailey definitely delivers on THAT front, leaving readers with their scorched e-readers to contend with when all is said and done. Watching Piper embrace the wholesome version of herself was an added bonus which I loved!

I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in the series which is set to hit the book stands on the first of next month. No time like the present to get your hands on this one!

Final Verdict: With It Happened One Summer, Ms. Tessa Bailey weaves a complex character-driven story full of heart and the best kind of smut, rendering this unputdownnable!

Favorite Quotes

One second he was holding the toolbox, the next it was on the ground and he was turning. Piper’s momentum brought her up against Brendan’s body, hard, and his boat captain forearm wrapped around her lower back, lifting her just enough that her toes brushed the concrete. And then he bowed her backward on that steel arm, stamping his mouth down onto hers in an epic kiss. It was like a movie poster, with the male lead curling his big, hunky body over the swooning, feminine lady and taking his fill.
What?
What was she thinking? Her brain was clearly compromised—and it was no wonder. The mouth that found hers was tender and hungry, all at once. Worshipful, but restraining an appetite like she’d never encountered. As soon as their lips connected and held, her fingers curled into the neck of his T-shirt, and that arm at the small of her back levered her upright, flattening the fronts of their bodies, and oh God, he just devoured her.

That big body swayed closer, lines of strain appearing around his mouth. “Please . . .”
“You don’t have to beg,” Piper said, bringing the champagne flute to her breasts, tipping the glass and letting the champagne trickle out over one nipple, then the next, and Brendan started to pant. “Not for something we both want. Touch me, Brendan. Taste me. Please?”
“Christ, I have to.” He traced his mouth to her left nipple, pressed his bared teeth against it, before rubbing his tongue against the stiff bud, yanking her hips forward, the move arching her back so she had to use his hair for balance, taking two big handfuls. Her mouth was in an O, watching him savor her, manhandle her body. No games. Just need.

He stared hard at her juncture, the grip on her knees flexing, a curse issuing unsteadily from his mouth. “Yeah, I have to be an idiot leaving you without my attention for two weeks.”
She panted. “Are you calling me high maintenance?”
“Are you denying it?” He tugged aside the strip of material shielding her core, which thankfully she’d waxed clean as a whistle right before leaving LA. “Fuck me. You can be as high maintenance as you want, honey. But I’m the only one who does the maintenance.” He ran his thumb down the seam of her sex. “Understood?”
Piper nodded, as if in a trance.

His lips ghosted up her inner thigh, blunt fingers hooking in the sides of her panties. “Lift up,” he rumbled, nipping at her sensitive skin with his teeth. “Want them off.”
Oh great. His voice could get even deeper? It resonated all the way up to her clit, and she fell back on her elbows, inching her hips up enough for Brendan to peel the thong down her legs. She watched this man, who grew more exciting by the moment, expecting him to drop the underwear on the floor. He wrapped the thin black material around his shaft instead, pressing his mouth and nose up against her wetness, groaning as he choked himself up and down in a tight fist.
“Holy . . .” Piper breathed, momentarily blacking out.
“See this, baby?” He rubbed his mouth side to side, parting the damp folds of her femininity, that hand jerking roughly between his thighs. “You’re still getting me off, too.”

He all but fell on her, his face landing in the crook of her neck, his fist positioning his stiffness between her thighs, right over that uber-sensitive flesh. “One day soon, Piper, I’m going to fuck you so goddamn hard.” He alternated between dragging his swollen tip through her saturated folds and stroking himself. “Going to fuck the word ‘friend’ right out of your beautiful mouth. You’ll forget how to say anything but my name. Real quick, honey.”
Her clit hummed again, unbelievably, and that buzz of connection, of more promised pleasure had to be the reason she turned her head slightly, whispering in his ear, “Promise?”
With a strangled growl of her name, he hit his peak, shooting moisture onto her belly, his hand moving in a blur, his teeth bared against the side of her throat. “Piper. Piper.”

The moment their mouths collided, Brendan knew he’d made a mistake. He should have waited to kiss her until they were home in his bed, because the uncertainty of the last eleven days reared back and punched him. It did the same to Piper—he could feel it.
She gave a broken moan and opened her sweet mouth for him, her breath coming in short pants almost immediately, just like his. He’d barely slid his tongue between her lips when she gripped his shoulders, drew herself high against his chest, and slung her legs around his waist. And Jesus, he’d already been halfway to hard, but his cock surged against his fly now, swelling like a motherfucker when she settled the warm give of her sex on top of him, the drag of friction making him curse. Making him wish they were anywhere but a hospital hallway, half an hour from his house.

Lips seeking and wet, their kiss escalated to the point of no return again. They both wrestled with the waistband of her yoga pants, shoving them down past her hips, lower until she could kick them away. And then she was back to climbing him, her lithe thighs skimming up to his waist, his hips punching forward to get his cock up against her softness, pinning her to the wall in the process.
“Noticed we didn’t have to get any panties off,” he said in between kisses, finding her incredible ass with both hands and kneading her buns almost angrily, because Jesus, this thing drove him fucking crazy. “You drive here in my truck with a bare pussy, Piper?”
She bit his bottom lip, tugged. “Slept in your bed with it, too.”

“This bed isn’t strong enough to survive what I’m going to do to you,” Brendan growled against her mouth, capturing her lips again in a kiss fraught with male sexual frustration. It let her know in no uncertain terms that she was the source and he’d be exacting revenge.
Take it. Take it.
Without breaking contact with her mouth, Brendan’s hand wedged down between them and wrestled his zipper down, the desperation of his jerky movements exciting her like nothing else, dampening the folds between her legs. “Hurry,” she begged, biting at his lips. “Hurry.”
“Goddammit, Piper, you make me so fucking hard.”

“Tell me you’re wet. Tell me to put it in.”
“I’m so wet,” she moaned, lifting her hips, running the insides of her knees up and down his heaving rib cage. “I’m ready. I need you. Rough as you can.”
That full, smooth dome pressed up against her entrance, and she braced, one hand flying to his shoulder, the other to the wooden bunk rail. And still she wasn’t prepared for the savagery of that first thrust. With a hoarse roar, his hips drove Piper up the narrow bed, his thickness invading all available space within her, and without allowing her time to acclimate, he was already pumping feverishly, rocking the bed with staccato squeaks.

“Brendan,” she gasped. Then louder, “Brendan. You’re so good. It’s so good.”
“I’ll never lie in this bed again without having to jerk off.” His hand came up to frame her jaw, applying just enough pressure while looking her square in the eye that another rush of wetness coated her sex, aiding him in his destruction of her senses. “You love knowing that, don’t you? You love making me fucking crazy.”
She bit her lip and nodded. “Sure you want to be my boyfriend?”
“Yes,” he growled, and slammed into her, holding still, deep, his pained face dropping into the crook of her neck. “And don’t call me that right now or I’m going to come.”
Oh. Jesus. That confession sent a contracting ripple through Piper’s core, and she let out a strangled sob, her hands flying to Brendan’s ass inside his loosened jeans, fingernails sinking in and yanking him, scraping pathways into his flesh. “Oh my God. N-now. Now.”

She was panting as he rose, dropped his chest down onto her back and pushed his cock inside of her still-contracting pussy. “Mine,” he gritted, the tightness of her cinching his balls up painfully, firing every ounce of his blood with possessiveness. “I’m taking what’s mine now.”
A movement ahead of them on the bed reminded Brendan of the mirrored headboard, and he almost came, caught off guard by the erotic sight of her slack jaw and tits that bounced along with every pump of his hips. His body loomed behind her, damn near twice her size, his lips peeled back from his teeth like he might very well devour her whole.

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

Review: Rocky Road by Anne Stuart

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Matthew Connelly
Heroine: Jeannie MacPherson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1985
Started On: November 14, 2021
Finished On: November 20, 2021

Rocky Road by Anne Stuart is a novel that was first published in 1985 from Harlequin. Republished recently on major e-book platforms, from the queen of romance who can seldom do wrong, comes the story of 40 year old Matthew Connelly, head of the detective squad of the Chicago police force and 33 year old Jeannie MacPherson, who is running from her own demons of a totally different variety.

When Jeannie tries the neighborly tactic of trying to welcome Matthew to Muscatoon Island where she has been residing in for the past two years, Jeannie is met with resistance of the kind that speaks of a man wanting to be left alone. Posing as a painter, but recovering from both physical and emotional wounds from the last case that Matthew was working on, he is determined that he would keep to himself through his recovery, even if Jeannie tempts him otherwise.

How these two tangle is quite invigorating at times, but ultimately, the story turned out to be a frustrating one for me. I always felt as if Jeannie was the one who was doing all the chasing and wooing when it comes to Matthew. Matthew is one of the most reluctant heroes I have come across of late and he made me grit my teeth from frustration because of his obstinate nature and with his emotions under control at every turn.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a controlled hero – to a point. A controlled hero is no fun unless the heroine has the effect of unraveling him and smashing through that iron clad will. But Matthew seems to be made of sterner stuff than most, and while I am all for heroines who choose to assert themselves and go after what they want, I found her ploys to get noticed by Matthew, while hilarious, to be a tad desperate at times.

Perhaps I would have been more appeased, had she cut her losses and removed herself from the situation that she found herself in and let Matthew come to her, when all was said and done. If he felt so deeply about her, that is something he could do as well in my opinion. Even the last scene does not really give the reader any sense of happiness if you ask me, because even towards the very end, the push and pull factor is controlled by none other than Matthew. In my opinion, Jeannie just settled for what Matthew was willing throw her way, because she was lost from the minute he limped into her life.

I would also have loved to learn more about Matthew’s past – the last case he worked on seemed to have done a number on him in every sense. I always felt as if Ms. Stuart had a purpose behind including tantalizing bits and pieces of the case, which perhaps could have been part of the larger plot, giving the story an edgier ending.

Recommended for fans of Anne Stuart who are looking to read her older books as refurbished titles.

Final Verdict: Rocky is the road that Jeannie travels when it comes to winning the affections of Matthew; there is no stone that she would leave unturned to win over her beloved!

Favorite Quotes

He moved then, swiftly, gracefully, so fast that she couldn’t avoid him. “You forgot to kiss me good-bye,” he said, and pulled her into his arms, his mouth coming down on hers before she had a chance to duck.
One of his strong hands held the nape of her neck in a viselike grip, the other arm slid around her waist and pulled her up against him as he kissed her, a long, slow, erotic insult of a kiss. She’d opened her mouth to protest and he’d taken possession of it, with a deliberate, sexual kiss that brought her blood racing to her loins and flames of fury racing to her brain.

For a moment she forgot everything, forgot her doubts, her better judgment, her sense of self-preservation, and she twined her arms around his neck to kiss him back.
She was lost in the wonder of his mouth. In the dimness of the rocking cabin there was only the scent of his skin, the feel of his mouth, and the warm, wet, seeking pleasure of the mouth on hers. She wanted to get closer, closer to him; she wanted to climb inside his skin and kiss him from the inside out; she wanted to rip off her clothes and climb on top of him, to blot out the storm and her fears and her doubts and her loneliness that she never admitted existed. She wanted nothing but Matthew Connelly, and the demanding mouth on hers, the strong hands that were threading underneath her sweater to slide up her hot skin told her that he wanted her, too.

“Should I let you go?” His words came out on the breath of a sigh, and he was warm and strong and so very near.
“Yes,” she whispered, and raised her mouth to his, no longer able to fight it.
He wrapped her in his arms, pulling her into the haven of his body, and she went gladly, mindlessly, sinking against him with a sigh of pure delight. There was no question that this was dangerous and very wrong, no question that she was a fool. And no question that it no longer mattered. She kissed him, reaching up to him, and it was long and slow and deep, and finished the last shreds of common sense left to her. His tongue was hot and rough and wet in her mouth, bold and demanding, allowing her no pretensions. She couldn’t be kissed like that, return a kiss like that, and still pretend they weren’t headed directly for bed.

He was with her, the force of his thrusts pounding her into the bed, and the ancient springs creaked in protest, a protest they both ignored as she reached for him, with her arms, her hips, her heart and soul, dissolving against him in a damp tangle of arms and limbs and love.

“You aren’t going to get warm standing there glaring at me,” he observed.
Jeannie counted to ten mentally, then managed a smile as chilly as her icy flesh. “What do you suggest I do about it?” she demanded.
“You could come over here and get warm.”
She stared at him in amazement. “You think you could warm me Up?”
“Oh, I think between the two of us we could manage quite a conflagration,” he said, and the rough silk of his voice began to melt the ice around her heart. “Come here, Jeannie.”
Pride and common sense would have kept her rooted to her spot in the sand, but pride and common sense were at the bottom of the ocean.

She clung to him like a piece of rockweed clinging to a rocky shore, wrapping her arms and her body around him like tendril of kelp. Slowly the heat began to penetrate through her wet clothes, her salty skin, into her very bones, and then she was shivering with something other than cold, and he was shivering, too.
“I feel as if I’m kissing a mermaid,” he whispered against her ear.
She laughed against the solid warmth of his chest, a rusty, shaken sound. “You have been. Actually, I’m a siren, here to drown unsuspecting sailors.”

“But what if you can?” she said in a desperate whisper. “What if you can simply put it all behind you, forget about it?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to do all summer, and so far I haven’t had much success.”
“But what if you could?” she persisted.
He looked down at her, lying against the pillows, her russet-colored hair black in the moonlight. “Then I’ll find you,” he said softly.
“And I’m expected to settle for that? A vague possibility?” Her voice wasn’t angry, only resigned and very, very sad.
“It’s all I can offer.”

She arched against him, the warmth in her turning into a fire. Her hands reached up to cradle his face, and she kissed him, long and deep, telling him without words how much she’d missed him, how much she loved him, how much she hated herself for hurting him. He answered her, his tongue a strong, driving force within the receptive warmth of her mouth, telling her he would never leave her again.
Slowly, carefully she let her hands slide down his arms, past his ribs, down the hard flatness of his stomach to touch him, hold him. His answering groan was reward enough, as he pressed himself into her willing hands, and she gentled and stroked him. His response was to delve deeper into her mysteries, the warm dampness of her telling him how much she needed him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

Review: A Ring to Secure His Heir by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Alexius Kolovos Stavroulakis
Heroine: Rosie Gray
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 18, 2012
Started On: November 04, 2021
Finished On: November 07, 2021

A Ring to Secure His Heir by Lynne Graham, released in 2012, is a story that many readers would find affinity with, especially those who have problems with older Harlequin romances that feature heroines who are a bit more submissive. The story begins when 31 year old Alexius Kolovos Stavroulakis (Alexius) is tasked to find out more about 75 year old Socrates Seferis’s grand daughter, Socrate being the only person whose orders that Alexius is willing to follow, even if this one fills him with misgivings.

23 year old Rosie Gray is a woman who is used to life’s hardships. Having grown up with a flighty mother who would not win any awards for being a good mother, with an absentee father in the mix, Rosie had grown in foster care upon the death of her mother. Rendered nearly homeless just a couple of months back, Rosie is biding her time with a company whose sole business is office cleaning, the job suiting her quite well, until she is able to get her degree in Business Management.

Even though Alexius is at first reluctant to go ahead with what Socrates wants, he is not one to deny what the old man wants, who had been more of a parent to him than anyone else. Believing Rosie to be someone colorless and shapeless, with zero attributes to attract him at any level, Alexius is taken aback when he actually meets her to find out that instead, Rosie has a way of drawing him to her.

Rosie does not know what hits her when she encounters the altogether too good looking for himself Alexius, who makes her senses all go on red alert. Having no prior experience with men when it comes to sex, needless to say, before Alexius is done with his “mission”, they end up doing the missionary themselves.

Alexius, having gone against his own code of ethics and morals when he does the one-night stand with Rosie, berates himself afterwards for giving in and taking advantage of the granddaughter of the one man who is most valuable to him. But then again, somethings are inevitable and thus begins the at times fraught journey that Alexius and Rosie must traverse through for their own happily ever after.

I loved this novel; both Alexius and Rosie are superb characters, not to mention Socrates who was adorable in his way. It was refreshing to see a hero who did not come out with guns blazing, offering marriage just because he ended up taking the heroine’s virginity. I also admired the fact that Rosie stood her ground, even when it came to her grandfather who wanted to see them married to deal with the consequences of their one night of passion, all because she did not want to settle for half measures.

Rosie with the ambition of making something out of herself is one aspect of her character that I fully supported and admired. Alexius meanwhile, has a hard time reconciling with the feelings that Rosie rouses in him; the lust, possessiveness, protectiveness, and a hint of what he does not want to name, and that for me was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story! It is always hilarious to see the hero struggle so much with what he feels, and when they reluctantly give in, there is so much love that bursts from within the pages, the reason why I love romance novels so much.

While I admired Rosie for all the characteristics, I also loved Alexius because he did not do a 180 degree turn on his convictions, just because he had met a woman who changed him fundamentally. He took his time to come to terms with his burgeoning feelings, and that is what made this book stand out for me.

Loved the epilogue tucked at the end. It is rare for a Harlequin romance to have one, and I enjoyed this one to the hilt!

Recommended for fans of Harlequin romances, fans of Lynne Graham, and fans of romances that totally captivates you on every level.

Final Verdict: Chock-full of taut sexual tension and goodness at every page turn!

Favorite Quotes

She was unlocking the battered front door when, without even realising it, he put his hand on her arm to stay her. She turned back, colliding with those silvery-grey eyes of his, and her heartbeat hammered so fast she was afraid she might somehow choke on the tightness in her throat.
He wound his hand into her hair and bent his imperious dark head—it was a long way down to her level, he discovered as he captured her lush mouth with his. And that single sweet taste of her went straight to his head like the finest brandy and he kissed her with tortured, driving urgency, hauling her slight body up against him. He wanted her at that moment with a sexual ferocity he had never experienced in his life before.

‘I don’t bite unless you ask me to,’ Alexius quipped, enjoying his ability to read her thoughts from her ever-changing expressions while he wondered what might be responsible for her obvious tension at the prospect of sex.
‘I’m not very experienced,’ she warned him defensively. ‘So, don’t be expecting too much.’
‘I know it will be amazing,’ Alexius fielded with a level of assurance that shook her. ‘You’re a passionate woman.’
‘Did you work that out from one kiss?’ she teased, scanning the high cheekbones that lent his face such strong, sexy symmetry along with the deep-set mystery of his stunning silvery-grey eyes.
‘There were many,’ he reminded her. ‘No, I see your passion in the way you look at me.’

Rosie came up on her knees, no longer content to be passive, and removed his tie for him. Her hands lowered and slid beneath his suit jacket to his shoulders and the sheer heat of his hard muscular flesh burned through his shirt. She paused, gazing at him eye to eye for the first time, loving the blaze of intensity she saw there. There was nothing cool about Alex in this particular mood and he couldn’t hide the fact.
He captured her face between his big hands and claimed her mouth with hungry fervour, his innate need to dominate taking over while a low growl of satisfaction vibrated in his throat.

He kissed her, and she gripped his shoulders, needing him to hold on to as his tongue mated with hers and the wild fever kicked off inside her again. It was like nothing she had ever felt, an insane, intoxicating flood of need that left her dizzy and trembling. Her hands sank into the silky luxuriance of his black hair. He might wear his hair short but there was a lot of it.
Alexius was struggling to contain his hunger and slow down. She was tiny and fragile and he didn’t want to hurt her.

Alexius levelled forbidding icy-grey eyes on her flushed and anxious face. ‘You’re a virgin?’
‘Not any more,’ she pointed out helplessly. ‘My choice, my decision.’
Alexius gritted his teeth in annoyance. The deed was done. Her choice, not his and not a position he was used to finding himself in. But it was the work of a moment to let the dam of hunger he had rigorously restrained flow free and he buried himself deep in the silken welcome of her hot little body.
Her inner muscles clenched round him as tiny little tremors of pleasure began to course through Rosie. She had feared he might stop; she hadn’t wanted him to stop. Now he began to move, harder, faster, deeper and the excitement returned with an intensity that took her breath away.

He wrenched up the skirt and fought with her panties to access the warm, welcoming wetness of his fantasies, and he groaned with satisfaction against her swollen mouth as he got there and discovered that she was as ready as he was. His thumb circled her clitoris and set off a chain reaction through her pelvis that she could not control. She writhed, she moaned, made not the smallest attempt to escape, intoxicated as she was by the way he was teasing her overexcited body. She buried her mouth against his strong brown throat, kissing him, drinking in the glorious hot male scent of his flesh like an addict, all of her senses up and away on a magical tour of reacquaintance. With one finger, he slid inside and she ground down her bottom onto the thrust of his arousal, helpless in the grip of the most driving need she had ever experienced, feeling the gathering storm at the heart of her, rising up through her like an unstoppable force of nature.

As Alexius switched on the lights, Rosie whirled round in shock, pale blue silk clinging to her lithe body. ‘You couldn’t sleep either?’
‘No.’ Alexius studied her as she opened the doors of the giant double refrigerator to pull out cold meat, which she ate where she stood. ‘I gather you’re hungry.’
Rosie went red and nodded because her mouth was full. It gave her a most gratuitous opportunity to appraise the full impact of Alexius’s raw sexuality, his lean powerful physique sheathed in a pair of worn tight jeans and nothing else. Bare-chested, all that golden skin and rippling muscle on display, he took her breath away and desire swelled deep down inside her. He was badly in need of a shave, for dark stubble covered his lower jaw, framing his beautifully sensual mouth.

‘Thee mou…you’re so beautiful, moli mou.’
Rosie almost laughed out loud but then she saw his eyes and realised that he meant it, truly believed it at that moment and gratification blossomed inside her. For a long, timeless moment they exchanged a look and her heart began to thump really fast in her chest. A hand closed round her wrist and exerted a gentle tug to draw her closer. Brain, she shouted inside her head, heart rate rocketing like an express train, brain, get back here right this minute. His hands closed around her waist as he lifted her to him and their mouths clashed with the frantic, feverish longing that powered them both. She tasted him and she couldn’t get enough of that taste. You weren’t going to do this, her brain reminded her at that point. Shut up, she told it, fingers delving into luxuriant black hair as she strained against him, her body in an electrifying state of anticipation that she couldn’t quell.

‘I’ve waited a long time for this,’ he protested raggedly, running an admiring forefinger down between her breasts to the pale tangle of curls below, brushing her thighs apart while she held her breath, smoothing over the soft skin of her inner thigh to explore the warm wet invitation of her lush opening. ‘And you were definitely worth waiting for, moraki mou.’
Trembling, Rosie rested back, scarcely believing what she was allowing, finally acknowledging that she wanted to be with him so much that she didn’t care about the terms or the absence of promises. He circled the little pearl of nerve endings that controlled her response and reaction jackknifed through her in an unquenchable surge of charged pleasure.

‘You don’t get to come unless I’m inside you,’ Alexius spelt out roughly, eyes bright with intensity, already positioning her for his entrance. ‘And I’m on a knife edge trying to wait.’
The edge of his desperation racked up her arousal even more. He was almost vibrating with eagerness against her, the muscles in his powerful arms bunched with effort, his jaw line hard as a rock.
‘Don’t wait,’ she told him between gritted teeth, her head rolling restively across the pillow, her body keyed to a frustrating high of expectation.
He filled her to the hilt in one swift motion that stole the breath from her lungs in a gasp. Excitement assailed her as she felt herself stretch to accommodate his size.
‘Am I hurting you?’ he husked, throwing his handsome head back, black hair wildly tousled by her fingers as he hitched her legs round his waist.
‘No, that was a wince of pure pleasure,’ she gasped as he sank even deeper into her.

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

Review: The Lost Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fisherman #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Fisher Mann
Heroine: Therese Capshaw
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 14, 2021
Started On: November 01, 2021
Finished On: November 03, 2021

The Lost Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann is the second and last book in the Fisherman duet series. There was no way that I was going to be able to focus on any other book having finished the first book in the series, thanking God that the second one was already out – because when I first started reading The Naked Fisherman, I had no idea that it was going to be a cliffhanger ending; I was just too excited to see the most recent release from the author and plunged right in.

The second book in the series takes place five years after Fisher and Reese go their separate ways, each having confessed to the love they have for each other, but agreeing that it was not their time, or perhaps that it would never be. Reese spends time in Thailand, where she finally finds her calling, choosing to become a midwife nurse.

Having graduated from University of Michigan in nursing, Reese is on the lookout for jobs when she receives the news of Fisher being involved in an accident. Dropping everything else, Reese rushes to Fisher’s side, all the while knowing that it was futile to hope for anything to happen between them.

When Fisher wakes up and is diagnosed with amnesia, Reese decides to stay back and see through his recovery, even if it means observing the recovery from a distance. Fisher failing to recognize Reese hurts deep inside, but at the same time, she is willing to become reacquainted with him, even if it may mean her heart breaking all over again as it did five years before.

This novel too, is told mainly from the perspective of Reese, making it difficult to discern where Fisher was coming from. Nevertheless, it was interesting to observe how Fisher gets drawn to Reese, finds himself unable to deny his burgeoning attraction to her, and wants her in a way that he is willing to put his long-standing relationship with his now fiance on the line, just because.

To be honest, I found The Lost Fisherman to be a bit of a letdown, not that the first book was excellent either, but I still had hope that this one would deliver specifically in areas that I found lacking in the first installment. With Fisher having rejected the notion of having sex with Reese in the first novel, all because he wanted to save her virginity for some future bloke who would be her husband (cue in some eye rolling here), when they finally get the deed done five years later, I was expecting a lot of fireworks to herald in the moment. But alas, it was not so!

Furthermore, I always felt as if Reese was the one who did the pursuing when it comes to Fisher. Not even once was there a mention of how Fisher had actually yearned for her, did something out of character to go after her or because he wanted her that badly, and I felt that Reese always gave in just like that because it was the love of her life. There was also no explanation to Fisher’s borderline creepy behavior when they initially met when Fisher was making Reese feel as if at eighteen years, she should be totally fit for modern society, in spite of having been brought up otherwise.

In fact, if I were to be honest, there was nothing that really proved how much he loved her (that is if he loved her at all). It is only through the epilogue that there is a brief respite from all these misgivings – which I believe is a cop out when all is said and done. The reader is pretty much privy to all the internal monologues, misgivings, and rationalizing that Reese does, and the agony she goes through when Fisher is all about taking his time, but there is nothing whatsoever that shows to the reader, either by action, involuntary reaction, or even a spasm of emotion that passes through Fisher’s expressions, just how much Reese means to her which was hugely disappointing.

Recommended for fans of Jewel E. Ann.

Final Verdict: The Lost Fisherman failed to live up to my expectations in a grand way, but then again, Jewel E. Ann is too remarkable a writer to make the reader experience anything but memorable!

Favorite Quotes

I pulled him to me, lifting onto my toes as my lips brushed back and forth over his. “Yeah,” I whispered before giving his mouth a slow kiss. My right hand reached for his left hand, and I guided it under the hem of my shirt.
Up.
Up.
Up.
“This is the chapter where the lost fisherman makes it to second base.”
Fisher grinned before I kissed him again. His hand cupped my breast, and his thumb slid under the fabric and grazed my nipple.
We knew it wouldn’t go past that. So we took our time kissing, like sipping coffee on a lazy Sunday morning.

His good hand tangled in my hair, deepening the kiss, and I softly moaned. I loved our bubble, but I hated the fate of it, like the fate of every bubble. Eventually, all bubbles popped.
Pulling back, I released his mouth but kept my hold on his neck so he kept his lips close to mine as I whispered, “I’m in. I’m in as long as you want me to be in your life. Even on the days it hurts like hell. I’m in.”
He rested his forehead on mine and blew out a slow breath. “Can I tell you something truly terrible?”
I grinned, lifting my chin and brushing my lips against his as I giggled. “Tell me.”
Fisher dragged his mouth along my cheek, depositing small kisses on his way to my ear. “The only memories of my past I want to get back … are the ones of you.”

That slow kiss took us all the way to the bed. I wasn’t the nervous girl anymore. And knowing he wasn’t getting my virginity didn’t make it feel any less special.
I wasn’t a used sanitary napkin.
I was the woman who put myself first, who loved myself first. I was the girl who left the love of her life to find a life.
There were mistakes.
Lessons to learn.
Tears to cry.
Intimate moments with other people.
Risks to take.
And I did it all.
I did it not because I thought it would lead me back to Fisher; I did it for me. The only gift I cared to give my future husband was the most confident version of myself. A full heart and a humbled soul.

I sat up just enough to let him push into me the whole way. Drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t move. I just wanted to stay in that exact position forever. I’d imagined that feeling so many times, and despite the other men I’d been with, there was no comparing them or anything I’d done with them to Fisher being inside of me.
Him sitting up and kissing me.
Him rolling us again and again.
Arms and legs tangling together with the sheets woven every which way.
The look in his eyes when he moved inside of me—so intense. His strong hands all over my body, laced with my fingers, and tangled in my hair as he kissed me.
The whispered promise of never forgetting that moment—so heartbreaking.

“I love you today,” he said.
That was his reply. The perfect reply.
I nodded toward him. “Thought you were going to shower.”
“After I drive you home.”
I grinned, taking two steps to him then taking his hand and pulling him toward the front door. “You’re one, Fisher.”
“One in what?”
I opened the door, and he closed it behind us.
“Not in anything. Not one in eighty thousand. Not one in a billion times infinity. You’re just one. The one.”

I let Fisher undress me and do all the things. He kissed me in places only he could kiss me and make it feel sexy, make me feel beautiful and desired. When he touched me, it didn’t feel like my body. It felt like an extension of him, and I just got to experience him giving me a thorough tour of it.
Every touch was a silent whisper, all the things he said to me by showing me.
This is how I make you moan.
This is how I steal your breath.
This is how I make you beg.
This is where you make me feel like a god.
Because I don’t remember you, but I know you.
I. Know. You.
Nestled between two open sleeping bags, we made love, we made noise …. and we made new memories.

I reached across the island to grab an apple from his big bowl of them. “You know what I mean. Official.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oof …” I sucked in a sharp breath when he pinned me to the counter, my chest stretched over it with a shiny green apple in one hand.
“I don’t know what you mean, because I heard nothing after you bent over my counter.” His fingers teased my outer thighs. “And I discoered you’re not wearing anything under my sweatshirt.”
“Fisher …” I gulped. It was a compromising position I hadn’t been in before. He restrained me using his body and the counter instead of zip ties, but the effect was the same.
“You can’t be in this position…” he hiked the hoodie up, completely exposing my bare butt “…with callipygian tattooed on your very sexy and shapely ass…” his knee nudged my legs apart a little wider “…and not expect me to fuck you.”

“A hand job in front of my friends? Who are you?” Fisher pressed my hands to the wall and yanked my sweatpants down to my ankles followed by my panties.
“I hope … I’m yours,” I said in a shaky breath, rattled by what he was doing to me and how much it thrilled me.
He chuckled. “You’re mine alright.” I liked his fast hands. He was impatient boot-shopping Fisher with his cock out as he thrust into me in a matter of seconds.
“Fishe—” I wasn’t prepared for that quick of an invasion.
He silenced me with his hand over my mouth and a harsh “shh” in my ear. Fisher moved with intention with one hand giving attention to my clit while his other hand snaked up my shirt and used my breast like a handle.
It was quick and dirty … and I liked it.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: The Naked Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Fisherman #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Fisher Mann
Heroine: Therese Capshaw
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 30, 2021
Started On: October 30, 2021
Finished On: November 01, 2021

The Naked Fisherman by Jewel E. Ann is the first book in the Fisherman duet series. The story begins with 18 year old Therese Capshaw (Reese) travels to see her mom for the first time in five years. Having been incarcerated for growing marijuana, Reese’s mom spends five years in a women’s correctional facility, while her dies three three years into her mom’s jail term, which means Reese had gone under the care of her paternal grandparents, who had ensured that she grow up with the right Christian values by sending her to a private Christian academy in Texas.

When she arrives, Reese finds out that her mom is leaving her in the care of her landlord for just a month’s time, the landlord who turns out to be none other than 28 year old Fisher Mann. From the get-go, Fisher teases her, all because she is easy game with her naivety born out spending her most formative teenage years at the Christian academy.

Reese is enthralled, shocked, aroused, and at the same time uncomfortable by what Fisher makes her feel. The way he treats her as a child who knows nothing one minute, and the next turns on his charms with a gusto makes her feel scorched and leaves her helpless in her response to him.

Given that this is a two book series, The Naked Fisherman ends on a cliffhanger and unless you already gave up on reading this one halfway through, you would definitely want to know how all of it ends. Which is what happened to me.

Jewel E. Ann has a way of writing her stories that draws the reader in, regardless of the trope she takes on. With an age gap of ten years between the hero and heroine, Fisher is a man who is a bit of a commitment-phobe, enjoying his life to the fullest. It is a tad difficult to gauge his feelings (developing or otherwise), when it comes to Reese because the story is told solely from Reese’s point of view in the first person.

I felt quite conflicted for the most part of the story – perhaps that is by design. Rather than feeling the sexual tension, I felt like Fisher was being inappropriate because he was taking advantage of Reese’s innocence in a way. The fact that Reese feels uncomfortable about it is telling. It is not Reese’s fault that she ended up with a conservative set of grandparents, who molded her to their way of thinking. I also felt like this book looks down on religion as a concept, making it sound as if being conservative and/or religious is the bane of everyone’s existence.

I have seen some reader reviews taking on quite the judgmental tone when it comes to Reese and her understanding and viewpoints at first towards LGBTQ. Religious values for the most part guide us towards what is right and wrong. As society has evolved and moved away from religion, the ethics and legal framework that rules society has taken cues from the evolving expectations of humans, which of course has meant the acceptance of LGBTQ and the worldwide campaign to inculcate everyone with these values.

What I find funny is that while the same groups of people talk about acceptance and advocates against judging the other for their chosen paths, the same comes out with their guns blazing to condemn anyone who holds different values close to their heart. Live and let live is only a phrase that is applicable for those who are on the path of the majority accepted norms now, and anyone who believes otherwise, either because of their religion or any other philosophies that guides their lives, are considered to be rigid, judgemental, and not fit for modern society.

Fisher certainly leads Reese on, turning hot and cold when it suites him, giving not just Reese a whiplash before all is said and done. The whole deal with not taking Reese’s virginity, and Fisher acting “noble” by stating that Reese’s husband would thank him for it was kind of off putting as well. If Fisher did not want to be responsible for taking Reese’s virginity, all well and good. But entire scenes focused on this aspect got a bit tiresome for me.

Reese’s inner conflict when it comes to being with Fisher is something I could identify with. You do not lose sight of how you are brought up, the values instilled in you, just because you meet the kind of man that takes your breath away. Your conscience would still speak up, and it is up to that person to decide how they want to move forward from that point onward. Calling Reese dumb, pathetic, or worse because of that just shows how judgmental society has become in a bid to accept the popular norms.

For those who are fans of Jewel E. Ann, the reviews are mixed, so I recommend to read this at your own risk.

Final Verdict: The Naked Fisherman is a story that invoked a lot of mixed feelings in me, from religious conservatism to being less than comfortable with the Fisher’s attitudes and actions towards Reese at certain points!

Favorite Quotes

“Why are you running from me?” He was right at my back.
I forced myself to turn toward him, and it took superhero strength. He stepped toward me.
I stepped back.
We did this dance until a wall stopped my retreat.
He pressed his hands to the wall above my head, and my heart rate spiked a thousand percent. The air exchange in my lungs sounded like that of someone finishing a marathon.
Was I reading him wrong?
It wouldn’t have been the first time I got it wrong and felt like a fool. But that moment felt different.
The look in his eyes wasn’t the same.
The part of his lips.
The increased intensity of his own chest rising and falling.

“A-are you g-going to kiss me?”
His lips pulled into a hint of amusement. “I was thinking about it.” Fisher’s patience killed me, completely slayed me. It was as if he had to solve the world’s problems in his head before he kissed me.
But I didn’t want to be a problem of the world. I wanted to be the girl—the woman—he kissed on a Monday night for no good reason. Not everything in life needed an explanation. Couldn’t we steal a few seconds, a kiss, without accountability?
“Will you be done thinking about it anytime soo—”
Fisher kissed me.

“Did you get a lot of work done today?” He gripped my waist, and my hands flew to his shoulders because I wasn’t sure what he was doing. Then he lifted me onto the counter and stepped into the space between my spread legs.
Just like the previous night, everything in my body kicked into overdrive. “I …” Swallowing hard, I gave him a nervous smile. “I sorted and filed today.”
“That’s good.” He brushed my hair away from my shoulders and dipped his face into my neck.
I stiffened feeling the warmth of his breath spread along my skin. My hands slid from his shoulders to his hair, searching for control. If I didn’t want him to kiss my neck, I could have yanked him away.
But I did.

A sharp, audible gasp left my parted lips just as he sucked my earlobe into his mouth and released it a second later by dragging his teeth along it. All the weird things happened at once.
Heat in my cheeks worked its way down to everywhere.
Pressure built between my legs.
I swear it felt like I’d peed a little, but I knew better.
Heaviness in my breasts.
Even my nipples felt different—sensitive as they pressed against the fabric of my bra.
Copious amounts of saliva required constant swallowing to keep from drooling. I was afraid to be touched anymore yet needed to be touched. It was so foreign and impossible to articulate even to myself.

“Come here.”
After a few seconds of hesitation, I crawled onto the bed close to him.
“Straddle my legs.”
Biting my quivering lower lip, I straddled his jean-clad legs. The level of intimacy made it nearly impossible to breathe.
“Higher.”
I scooted higher.
He sat up, shrugging off his shirt, and I jumped as his hands found my hips, his fingers grazing my butt. Our noses nearly touched.
“I’m going to kiss you. And touch you.” His voice was just a whisper, a warm breath over my lips. “And you’re going to do whatever you need to do to feel … good. And if you get scared, I want you to close your eyes and know that I’ve got you. You’re not too young or too anything. You are you. And I just think that you’re … beautiful.”

We kissed, unhurried, almost lazily.
My hands navigated his chest and back, every muscle, every bend in the terrain of his body. Fisher feathered his calloused hands over my bare skin, sending goose bumps spreading across it.
Our kiss deepened, a soft moan breaking the silence. It took me a few seconds to realize it was me, not him. Fisher’s fingers slid up my inner thighs. I stiffened, eyes wide. He blinked a few times and slowly kissed me again. When I closed my eyes, I let go … finding trust in the man who “had me.” His fingers teased the leg of my panties. My right hand found his hair as my left hand clawed his back.

“Fisher … m-move …”
“Move what?” he asked with so much control I thought I might die of my own impatience.
“E-everything. Just … move.”
His strong hands claimed my hips again, only this time, they gripped me a little harder, and he moved me over him.
He did it for me, and it felt so addictive I couldn’t formulate a coherent thought.
He did it for him, and his breaths grew more labored, his kisses more desperate.
I wanted nothing more than to know what it would feel like for him to be inside of me. “Fisher … I … I think I want you to take off your jeans.”
He reclined back onto my pillow and grinned as I leaned forward, resting my hands on his chest, my hair falling around my face and his.
“You don’t … not yet.” His eyelids grew heavy as his pelvis lifted from the bed.

“I’m going to kill Rory for leaving you with me.” He took a step forward and grabbed the back of my hair, clenching it in his hand and forcing my head to the side as he sucked and licked my neck.
“F-Fisher …” I clawed his biceps to steady myself. He wasn’t kissing my red lips and smearing my lipstick. I gave him a little credit for that, but he still seemed to be teetering on the verge of control as his other hand slid up the front of my shirt.
I gasped when his rough hand palmed my bare breast. He groaned, his thumb circling my nipple.
“Oh my God—gosh …” I stumbled over using the Lord’s name in vain.

Fisher grabbed my face and kissed me, our tongues mingling as my nipples brushed his chest. And I needed more. My fingers teased his abs just above the waist of his jeans, and he moaned into the kiss. Then my brave and completely inexperienced fingers moved lower, tracing the outline of his erection, and his hips thrust forward into my touch as he moaned a little louder … kissed me a little harder … and lifted me onto the edge of the pool table.
It was wrong. I thought. I maybe even knew. But I didn’t want to take responsibility … not yet. The feeling … the drug he became … was too strong.

“So … you won’t take my virginity.” It felt weird having that conversation because he’d said something so eerily similar to me. “What will you take from me?”
With a contemplative expression that seemed to border on the painful side, he whispered, “Let’s start with your clothes.”
I wondered … I wondered so hard when he made the decision to draw a line. He knew as well as I did that Rory wouldn’t be okay with anything we had done together. It wasn’t just me pushing lines and bending rules to serve my own needs and desires; Fisher did it too.
I just didn’t know why. He could have had Angie or Teagan or a million other women meeting his sexual needs.
Why me?

“I’m going to fucking devour you,” he said just before his mouth covered my bare flesh.
Just before his tongue parted me.
Just before he hummed.
I was …
Terrified to have his mouth there.
Elated because it felt so good. Too good. Sinfully good.

My hands ghosted down his back. His hands gripped my butt.
Thrust.
Thrust.
Thrust.
I spread my legs wider, allowing him to push into me a fraction more.
Thrust.
Thrust.
Thrust.
Each move a little harder.
Each breath a little more ragged, just like his next words.
“I.” Thrust.
“Want.” Thrust.
“Inside of you.” Thrust. Thrust. Thrust.
“So fucking bad.”

With a smug expression, he eyed me like he used to do, but I didn’t fall for it. “It’s almost too easy.”
“What’s too—”
He kissed me. Hard. Harder than he had ever kissed me. And I fought him, but I lost because I did want him to kiss me. It’s all I wanted. But it didn’t mean I was going to give myself to him. No matter how much I wanted his kiss, it didn’t change what had happened between us.
My hand dropping the empty bottle to the floor so my fingers could dive into his hair didn’t change anything either.
His hands grabbed my ass and lifted me off my feet. Fisher kissed me and carried me up the stairs like a drunk man on a mission.
Through the door.
Down the hallway.
Onto his bed.

He grabbed my face and kissed me a little softer than just seconds earlier. Dragging his lips across my face, dotting it with kisses, he whispered in my ear, “Your husband can thank me.”
Those words stopped my heart. The warm blood in my veins ran cold, sending an icy jolt along my spine.
Fisher lifted my hips and positioned me over him, pushing into me an inch, maybe not even.
Tears filled my eyes as I stilled, not letting him move my hips any farther. And I saw it in his eyes.
The pain.
The love.
The conflict.
More than anything, I saw all the reasons I fell for Fisher Mann. He knew we weren’t at the right place to make us work, but he was willing to give me the one thing I thought I wanted. He wanted to give me all he had to give, even though he knew it wouldn’t be enough.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo

Review: Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Rafael Cristobal Rodriguez Berganza
Heroine: Georgie
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 01, 1996
Started On: October 18, 2021
Finished On: October 23, 2021

Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham is a novel that was originally published in 1996. The story begins with 23 year old Georgie finding herself in the most untenable of situations; locked up in a prison cell in Bolivia. Georgie travels to Bolivia in anticipation of meeting her best friend María Cristina Reveron, who is almost ready to give birth to her first child. Even though María had extended the invitation for her to visit many a time during the past four years, Georgie had resisted at every turn, mostly because the wounds inflicted by María’s brother, aka Georgie’s first love had been just too fresh to contend with.

28 year old Rafael Cristobal Rodriguez Berganza holds a very low opinion of the woman to whose rescue he is forced to come to. Similar to Georgie who hates Rafael for the way he had treated her all those years back, Rafael believes Georgie to be too loose with her affections, and Rafael had made it quite clear on the day that he had walked out, that she had failed to meet his standards in every single way possible.

With Georgie’s passport lost, Rafael makes the arbitrary decision to take her home with him until it can be replaced. There is no denying the undercurrents taut with sexual tension that is between the two from the get-go, even when Georgie is spitting mad at Rafael and he goading her at every turn. In the midst of it all, the old hurts and resentments come to the forefront, with each giving as good as they get, that is until Rafael encounters the undeniable proof that Georgie had stayed true to him, when he had erroneously being led to believe otherwise.

I thoroughly enjoyed the heady journey that Rafael and Georgie take towards their happily ever after. A lot of readers might dislike Rafael because he does not comply with modern reader tastes. But for me, he he is the kind of hero that I grew up falling in love with in romance books. Arrogant to a fault, that is until they meet their match in every sense. As a result, Rafael and Georgie’s journey is one fraught with misunderstandings, a whole lot of stubbornness on both ends, a dash of old fashioned patriarchal beliefs guiding Rafael (the moment Georgie threw that at his face was hysterical), and the undeniable sexual chemistry between the two which bursts forth at every turn.

Neither Rafael nor Georgie had stood a chance when they first encountered each other, but the period of separation was perhaps needed in order for them to understand what they have with each other, with maturity guiding them through the most turbulent moments of their reunion. Had they gotten married previously, both of them would have driven each other crazy and not in a good way, with Rafael becoming disillusioned with the image he had built of what his perfect bride would be like, and Georgie miserable, trying to live up to his grand expectations.

While Rafael needed to loosen up a bit, Georgie needed to become more grounded and that is what inevitably makes this second chance encounter worth it in every sense.

Recommended for those who love second chance romances, fans of Lynne Graham, and fans of the alpha heroes who stand true to who they are from the get-go!

Final Verdict: Tempestuous passion guaranteed in every sizzling line; there is none who can bring forth the kind of angst in romance as Lynne Graham!

Favorite Quotes

Many very good-looking men missed out on being sexy. But not Rafael. Rafael was a blatantly sexual male animal, flagrantly attuned to the physical. The air around him positively sizzled. So why the heck was this sophisticated, experienced Latin-American lover having so much difficulty buttoning up her coat? Unwarily she collided with glittering golden eyes, and it was like being struck by lightning.
He was so close she could smell a hint of citrusy aftershave, overlying clean, husky male. Her nostrils flared. Her nipples tightened into painful sensitivity, a spiralling ache twisting low in her stomach. Nearby, someone cleared their throat. She tore her gaze from Rafael’s and met the looks of visible fascination emanating from his bodyguards, standing several feet away. She realised that she and Rafael had simply been standing there staring at each other. Devastated by her overpowering physical awareness of him, Georgie turned away, her throat closing over.

‘Do all your lovers turn you on this hard and this fast?’ Rafael lowered his dark head and allowed the tip of his tongue to slide erotically between her lips, just once, in a darting foray that sent heat coursing through her in a debilitating wave.
‘Every one of them!’ she slammed back in a breathless rush.
‘But I’ll be the one you remember long after I’m gone,’ Rafael completed with predatory assurance, quite untouched by her attempt to repel him, a strong hand splaying across her hips to jerk her into even closer contact, and she stopped breathing altogether as he moved fluidly against her, bringing her into unashamed contact with the hard thrust of his arousal.

He lifted her with ease and one of her shoes fell off. She opened startled eyes a split-second before he brought his mouth crashing down on hers. She stopped thinking, she started simply feeling. The effect was that immediate. Her hands bit into his broad shoulders as she strained against the hard heat of his muscular length. Her fingers drifted into his hair and she was lost, controlled by an intolerable need that sent the blood pounding at an insane rate through her veins. Slowly, very slowly, he slid her down the length of his body on to her feet again and lifted his head.
‘You go to pieces when I touch you. I like that…I love that,’ Rafael muttered with a ragged groan of satisfaction. ‘It gives me an incredible sexual high no other woman has ever matched. I saw you lying asleep in that cell and every decent thought, every piece of self-restraint fled instantaneously. I’d have killed to get you out of there and into my bed.’

He stared down at her with a raw, sexual hunger that burned through clear to her bones. Heat flooded her in a blinding surge. A hard thigh sank between hers and she quivered violently, the fevered pulse-point of desire thrumming ever higher inside her.
‘You see…’ Rafael muttered thickly. ‘And I haven’t even begun yet.’
As he buried his mouth in a tiny hollow below her fragile collarbone, he let his thumbs rub expertly across her thrusting pink nipples. She jerked, an involuntary moan torn from her, and he lowered his head to employ his mouth and that wickedly knowing tongue on those unbearably sensitive buds. He drove her crazy. Sensation like white-hot lightning licked at every nerve-ending and she twisted and gasped in helpless excitement. She was in thrall to a dark enchantment of the senses and the most extraordinary pleasure.

Rafael groaned something in his own language and swept her right off her feet with bruisingly impatient hands. She captured his hard cheekbones between her palms and stared up at him with dazed eyes, out of focus with passion. He succumbed to the lure of her swollen mouth again somewhere halfway up the stairs and control seemed to go out of the window at that point, because he braced her against the wall and took her lips with a driving, demanding sexuality which reduced her to mental rubble.
‘Madre de Dios…’ he swore roughly against her throat, struggling for breath, and then he carried her up into the bedroom, tumbled her down on the bed and pinned her there with a wildly exciting lack of cool.

He seized on a taut rosy crest with his teeth and the explosion of sensation he released made her cry out, her teeth gritting, her throat extending.
‘Perdicion’ he groaned, lifting his arrogant dark head to look down at her as he dealt at speed with the remainder of his clothing. ‘So long…I have waited so long for this.’
So long, yes, she thought intensely, reaching back up for him with the single-minded motivation of a programmed doll. A relentless hunger seized her as he sealed his virile length to hers. Her whole body flushed with consuming heat and she turned to him, driven by something much more powerful than she was, and let her hands travel through the light mat of curling black hair across his muscular chest, glorying in the freedom to touch him at last.

He penetrated her anxiously parted lips with his tongue and she shuddered, electrified by the intense eroticism of his opening assault.
‘Closer,’ he urged, his breath fanning her cheek, smouldering golden eyes burning down into hers as his hands cupped the swell of her buttocks and lifted her into intimate connection with the hard thrust of his arousal. ‘Sí… like that…’
He crushed her mouth under his and she was electrified by the hunger which leapt into response inside her. Keen and fierce as a knife, that voracious hunger cleaved through her flesh. Her breasts swelled and ached and her nipples pinched into painfully sensitive points. She arched her back like a sensuous cat, desperate for more sensation, her head thrown back, her hands wound round his neck.

He coiled a booted foot round the back of her legs and tipped her down on the grass with such fluid ease and speed that she didn’t have a hope of evading the manoeuvre. A second later, he came down on top of her, one hand reaching instantly for the snap of her jeans. ‘We’ll save the Ferrari for some other time…but here, now, on Berganza soil… this is for me!’
Georgie was so shocked that he had her halfway out of her jeans before she made even a partial recovery. ‘Have you gone mad?’ she shrieked.
Her jeans were east aside. He knelt astride her and slid down the zip on his riding breeches. Georgie stared up at him with a dropped jaw. He shed his polo shirt, flexing powerful muscles that rippled smoothly across his hair-roughened chest. She shivered in the heat, her nostrils flaring at the musky male scent of him.
‘Rafael…?’
‘You are mine… like the land.’

‘Ahora… now.’
He lifted himself and plunged inside her in one devastating thrust of possession. Her every sense was screaming for the release that only he could give. Her nails dug into his back and then he was moving on her, inside her, with every powerful stroke of his hips reinforcing his dominance. As the heat of passion spiralled out of control, she cried out in ecstasy as he drove her to a shattering climax.
Still in a satiated daze, Georgie lifted her heavy eyelids. He reminded her of a primitive golden god, surveying a pagan sacrifice spread out before him. An aching vulnerability swept her as she collided with tawny tiger eyes that revealed nothing of his thoughts.
‘Rafael?’ Involuntarily her hand reached up to smooth one hard cheekbone.
‘Enamorada…’ With a curiously harsh laugh, he took her startled, reddened mouth with his own and it began all over again…

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