Review: Dangerous by Minerva Spencer

Format: E-bookdangerous.png
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Outcasts, #1
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Adam de Courtney
Heroine: Euphemia Marlington
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 26, 2018
Started On: November 18, 2018
Finished On: November 27, 2018

Dangerous by Minerva Spencer is her debut novel, the first book in The Outcasts series. I read the second book Barbarous first, right after which, I just HAD to get myself a copy of Dangerous to indulge in. And indulge I did, in one of the finest historical romances that I have read this year!

The Duke of Carlisle is desperate in his bid to get his daughter Euphemia Marlington (Mia) married off to avoid further scandal to their family. Mia’s return home had not been the joyous affair most would think would happen when one’s daughter, who was captured by corsairs, and then later taken into the harem of the Sultan for a long time, for whom she had borne a son has returned home after so many years. Now 33 years old, Mia has only one goal in mind. The sooner she is married, the sooner she can return to her son Jibril, something she keeps secret from even her father and own brother.

It is the Duke’s desperation that drives him to extend an invitation to Adam de Courtney, the Marquess of Exley, to a dinner and ball at the Duke’s residence, for the sole purpose of finding Mia a suitable husband. Adam’s two past marriages leaving him a widower had earned him the nickname The Murdering Marquess, and Adam’s reclusive nature from society is what sets the gossip mill stirring, what makes society want to avoid him in return. However, Adam’s interest in details surrounding the return of Mia is piqued enough to turn up, and to his surprise finds himself beguiled by a woman who he did not think would possess such a charm.

Against his better judgement, Adam proposes marriage, and Mia accepts, at first because she believes Adam would be the person who would unknowingly help her further her goals in getting back to her son. Adam’s condition is that she give him an heir, something he had failed at when it came to his past two marriages.

So begins the charming and sensual tale of two people who are drawn to each other in spite of themselves. Mia with her secrets that she hugs close to her, and Adam keeping the scars left behind from his first marriage that had practically ruined him for anyone else. But Mia seduces more than his body, she takes everything he has to give, and Adam finds that he cannot quite get enough of his newly wedded wife

As their relationship progresses, Mia too finds herself drawn towards the enigmatic man she married. A man who tries to put up a cold front, but shows how fiery and deep his passions run when it comes to her. If it had been just Mia alone, she would have been content to stay with Adam and forget the very reason upon which she had based her decision to take Adam as her husband. But when her past comes calling and gives her a very brutal wake up call, Mia must do everything in her power to leave the man she loves behind in order to bring her son back to safety.

I must say that I enjoyed Dangerous far more than I did Barbarous. I loved the intensity of emotions between Mia and Adam. Mia is someone who is passionate by nature, society’s worst nightmare perhaps, because she is someone who speaks her mind. Her captivity at the Sultan’s palace had also meant that she is far more experienced in the arts of sexual pleasure, something that Adam does not begrudge her for and enjoys. Mia is a refreshing character in many ways. I loved her because she is feisty, independent, and is not afraid to speak her mind. All of that and more endeared her to me in ways I cannot explain. Her love for Adam is one that runs deep, a love that is pure on many levels, because he is the first man to move her enough  to give her heart to.

To fall in love with Adam is so easy. He might show the uncaring facade, put up his daughters at his country estate and plan never to bring them into society, and after all, his past two wives ending up dead does earn him the sort of notoriety that is hard to shake off. But deep inside Adam is a man of immense passion, integrity, and honesty, a man who wants to do right by those whom he love and is responsible for. His skills with swords is one that was hot – I cannot explain why, you would just have to read the story to find out.

I loved the ending. It gave glimpses into the lives of Mia and Adam and their happiy ever after that I could have gone on reading more about. But I am hoping that Jibril is going to end up getting his own story somewhere down the line, and that readers like myself who fell in love with Adam and Mia would get to see the couple in action then as well. I would be remiss if I were not to mention how much I enjoyed Adam and Martin’s relationship that developed towards the latter part of the story. I think I read somewhere that it is going to be Martin’s story up next. Can’t wait!

Recommended, because Minerva writes with a style and wit that draws you in, and does scenes of passion so beautifully well that you cannot help but feel the heat.

Final Verdict: Captivating from start to finish, Minerva’s scrumptious debut novel demands the reader to pick up the next in the series right after! Highly recommended.

Favorite Quotes

He went only as deep as his aching head before stopping. A bead of sweat broke from his temple and trickled down his jaw as he stared down into her slitted green eyes. His control strained at its tether like a rabid dog on a leash. Once he began moving, there would be no finesse.
She smiled lazily, tilted her hips, and took him inside her.
“Ah, God.” The words burst from him like a plea for mercy.
Any vestige of control disappeared, and his best intentions with it. He used her with a savagery he knew would shame him later but he was beyond caring.

His vision went black and his body exploded. He crushed her hips in a punishing grip and held her still as he filled her and claimed her.
Mine.
He exhaled raggedly and rolled over, not wanting to crush her. Her legs tangled with his and she turned with him, a girlish giggle breaking from her when they tumbled onto their sides, still connected at the hips, their faces inches from each other.
Adam looked into her flushed, joyous face and his heart beat a deafening tattoo in his ears.

He came into her slowly and both of them made low sounds of satisfaction as he filled her. “My God, you feel good,” he whispered, his cheek pressed against hers, his breath hot on her ear. “I need to take you.”
She answered by tilting her hips to take him even deeper and then squeezing the length of him until he moaned.
“That was very naughty,” he gasped, drawing almost all the way out of her and then stroking into her hard and fast. The power of his thrust drove her up the bed and he rode her so hard she barely had the breath to cry out when the first climax overtook her.

As her flush deepened one small hand crept between her thighs and found the place that gave her so much pleasure. Adam didn’t think he’d ever been harder in his entire life as he watched her work herself while riding him.
Her other hand moved to her breast and stroked her erect nipples. Her back arched and her eyes closed and that was enough. He grabbed her hips and drove himself home.
She fixed him with an unfocused gaze as he pounded into her. “Come with me, Adam.”
Her words were the last straw and he convulsed against her with the sheer force of his orgasm, yelling out God-knows-what as he spent himself.

“You’ve reached the end of the road,” he said, backing her up against the ornately carved wood. She bent close, rather than trying to get away, flicking her tongue over one of his nipples.
“Witch,” he hissed, his eyes closing.
Her skilled tongue worked his nipples, alternating painful little nips with soothing sucking while his erection pulsed between them.
“You are so beautiful,” she murmured, her sharp teeth catching him and pulling, the pain exquisite. “Ever since the day you kissed me at my father’s house, I become wet whenever I think of making love to you.”

She laid her hands against his chest, looking up at him in a way that did disconcerting things to his stomach. “Will you bathe with me, my lord?”
He released into his gaze all the hunger and lust he had been controlling since their truncated lovemaking earlier in the day. Her face flushed and her lids lowered as he pushed against her, forcing her to take a step back, and then another as he relentlessly advanced on her, not stopping until he’d pinned her against the hard stone wall of the bathing chamber.
“Unbutton me,” he told her, his voice harsh with need. Her deft hands worked fast to free him.
He pulled up the skirt of her traveling costume, his hand moving to what he knew would be waiting for him. She wore no drawers. He shook with desire as he delved into her curls and found the part of her that transformed her into something that was his alone.

While she was still shuddering with pleasure he grasped her bottom, lifted her against the wall, and slid into her, holding very still once he was seated. He braced himself, his feet spread shoulder-width apart, gaining control of himself. She moved restlessly above him, her hips grinding, wanting more.
He pulled back to look at her. Her eyes were hooded, her mouth slack and willful.
“So greedy.” He snuggled her tighter to his body as he worked himself deeper. “You’ve hardly finished one orgasm and you already want another. You’ll not come again until you’ve earned it,” he whispered, punctuating his words with a quick thrust of his hips.

“Turn around and put your hands on the wall.”
She complied without speaking. He trapped her hands with his and pulled her arms taut, roughly shoving apart her legs before stepping between her thighs. He entered her with a thrust so violent he lifted her off her feet. She moaned and pushed back against him and the last vestiges of his sanity burned away.
“You will never leave me again,” he gritted the words into the back of her fiery head as he filled her. “Do you hear me?” He slammed into her. “You are mine,” he said from between jaws clenched so hard it hurt. She arched against him in answer.

“Unbutton me, Mia.” His voice was husky against her taut bud.
She opened his breeches and grabbed him. Colorful blasts exploded behind his eyelids and rendered him speechless as she took him into her body in one long, hard slide.
He held her hips loosely as she rode him, looking down to where their bodies were joined. She knew what he wanted and pulled all the way off him before lowering herself, allowing him the breathtaking view of his shaft disappearing into her body. He thrust with all his might and she cried out, her hands gripping his shoulders while she convulsed around him.
His orgasm left him blind and he shuddered and pulled her against his heaving chest, stilling her body while his heart pounded so hard he thought it might explode.

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

amazingread

ARC Review: Barbarous by Minerva Spencer

Format: E-bookBarbarous.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Outcasts, #2
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Hugh Redvers
Heroine: Daphne Davenport
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 30, 2018
Started On: September 29, 2018
Finished On: October 02, 2018

Minerva Spencer is a Canadian author, who writes Regency Era romance. With two of her published works out, both in the series entitled The Outcasts, I came across her work when acclaimed historical romance author Elizabeth Hoyt recommended her books in one her tweets. I have loved almost everything that I have read from Hoyt and believe her to be a sensational author. So when she recommends an author whose books have spoken to HER, well, needless to say, I needed no further urging.

I did not read this series in order and read Barbarous first. In doing so, I did not feel like I had missed out on understanding the characters or felt that any of the story line was missing. So it is safe to say that this can be read as a standalone.

Barbarous begins when Hugh Redvers returns from the “dead” fifteen years after he was presumed to be so. A handsome daredevil who had stolen bits and pieces of Lady Daphne Davenport even when she had been an impressionable child when Hugh had been banished by his uncle, the older and mature version of him, scarred as he is, is a sight to behold.

Daphne’s first impression of Hugh upon his return is explained in a manner that does justice to what his character brings to the story. “Daphne knew she was gawking, but she couldn’t stop. His sun-bronzed skin and golden hair were an exotic surprise against the pallid gray of the spring sky. But it was the black eye-patch that covered his left eye and the savage scar that disappeared beneath it that were truly arresting. He lacked only a battered tricorn and cutlass between his teeth to be every maiden’s fantasy of a handsome pirate. Was he lost on his way to a masquerade ball?

Daphne’s biggest fear upon Hugh’s sudden return is that he would find out her “deception” and the fact that she had robbed him of his rightful inheritance. Daphne’s marriage to Hugh’s uncle is one that Hugh cannot wrap his head around, and he knows that he no right to be entertaining such wicked thoughts about his “aunt” – spread for him to feast upon, in all her wanton glory.

Daphne knows that she is not the type of woman that would excite a man like Hugh. But the manner in which Hugh slowly seduces her is reason enough to drive her ever slowly out of her mind. Even if she is determined to stay unmoved, there is no helping the fact that her body responds to the proximity and wicked looks that Hugh throws her way. However, for Daphne and Hugh to have their happily ever after, the need to face their past and reconcile with it is a must, before the dangers closing in from all sides could destroy what they have, even before their entwined life could begin.

Before I start gushing about this book, I just have to put this out there. I have the utmost respect for Canadian authors. The few Canadian authors, whose books I read, have wowed me in ways I cannot even comprehend. Some of them are the reason I continue to read the genre even when most tales in the genre today have grown pale in comparison to what my reader tastes are like. In Minerva Spencer, I believe I have found one more author that I will continue to watch out for, because she has a flair for bringing all the elements together that makes a romance work, which makes reading no hardship at all.

Barbarous was amazing in its prose and delivery – no two ways about it. I loved how both Daphne and Hugh’s characters were crafted. Daphne is the ultimate bookworm, a bit lost inside her head, and has a heart that is warmth itself. Her difficult past, the way she had found a sanctuary in being married to her deceased husband, and the twins that had been borne out of horrible circumstances, but whom she would give her very own life for; all this and more define Daphne. The way she responds to Hugh, that innocence of hers, her curiosity, and the way she loves and accepts Hugh wholeheartedly, for all that and more, I loved her character.

When it comes to Hugh, he is a man who strides into the story, giving it a vitality that I am hard pressed to explain. He is like a warm beating heart, pulsating with life, giving energy to the rest of the elements that makes up the story. His kindness above everything else, made me fall like a ton of bricks for him. His wicked, wicked nature when it came to the slow seduction of Daphne made me want to hoot and give out a catcall, especially when he strip teased for her. A hero doing the teasing in that manner is something I have seldom come across in romance novels, especially when it comes to the historical genre. His possessiveness was just the right touch, the balm that soothes the heart and soul of someone like Daphne who considers herself to not have anything much to offer a man like Hugh.

The cast of secondary characters definitely brings added color to the story, with every character multi-faceted in a way that lends credence to the unfolding story. Even the “villain” had his own story to share, which makes one think along the lines of how under similar circumstances, good and bad can thrive and persist, even beyond human comprehension.

If scrumptious love scenes, an interesting cast of characters, and excitement of the kind that would keep you turning the pages is what you want, Minerva Spencer is the author for you. I cannot wait for the next couple of books (which I am hoping the author is working on) to be out!

Final Verdict: In Barbarous, Minerva Spencer delivers a delectable tale of a larger than life hero who returns home to find himself scandalously in lust with his uncle’s widow. To say that sparks fly would be an understatement. Definitely recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Tendrils of her luxuriant hair had come loose as she played. Some spiraled wildly, glinting pale gold in the light, some lay damply against the exposed skin of her throat. Each time Hugh turned a page, he bent lower than necessary, breathing her in, inhaling her. She smelled clean, unper-fumed with anything but the vague scent of soap. Never had Hugh realized just how heady another human’s natural scent could be.
By the time the final notes came to a crashing conclusion, Hugh ached with the effort of holding his body in check. The cavernous music room was silent but felt crowded and small, the atmosphere heavy with a maelstrom of emotions he had no interest in examining.
Her arms trembled with the mere physicality of the past moments and a slight shudder passed through her, as if she’d just come out of a trance. She followed his hand—which rested on the piano—up to his face and blinked, surprised to find she wasn’t alone.
Hugh gazed into her heavily lidded eyes and was astounded by the violence of his need to touch her—embrace her. Instead, he took a small step back, even that much a struggle.
“You are magnificent,” he said, his voice hoarse.

His handsome features were taut and intense, but no longer angry. “Daphne—” He stopped and shook his head. Daphne stared into his emerald eye, mesmerized by the gold shards that glinted in the green, like slivers of sunlight through a forest canopy. His fingers tightened and his disconcerting gaze traveled from her eyes to her mouth and then back.
He gave a low groan of frustration. “Oh, bloody hell,” he muttered, just before his mouth crushed hers.
Daphne closed her eyes.
Finally
. The word echoed so loudly inside her head that, for a moment, she feared she’d spoken out loud.
If she had, Hugh did not appear to notice.

Daphne shuddered and grabbed onto his body to steady herself as his gentle sucking set off colorful explosions behind her eyelids. The tautly bunched muscles of his upper body were hard and hot beneath the smooth wool of his coat and her hands traveled the broad expanse of his shoulders toward his neck, lightly grazing his cravat before she pushed her fingers into his thick, surprisingly wiry curls.
He growled and inched even closer, releasing her lip and then pushing at the seam of her mouth with his tongue, as if he was trying to . . . enter her.
Daphne inhaled sharply and the room shifted beneath her feet as he took her face in both hands and tilted her, stroking into her . . . tasting her . . . licking her.

He traced the gentle curves with the tip of his tongue, teasing the thin silk barrier that molded to her lithe body. As he’d suspected—a million years ago at the wretched dinner—her nipples were less than an inch below the tissue-thin fabric of her gown.
Daphne shifted and arched as he suckled her through the silk, bringing the tip to tantalizing hardness before moving to the other, working her until the noises coming from deep in her throat were so hungry he had to see her.
He held her at arm’s length, staring into her sleepy eyes. “You are so beautiful,” he said, his hands moving to the damp, stretched fabric that barely covered her.

She lightly dragged the very tip over his lips, as if drawing his features, leaving a searing trail of heat as she kissed and licked and nipped her way up his scar, pulling his head lower and feathering the torn, tender skin with the lightest of kisses. Before Hugh knew what she was doing she’d untied the ends of the strap that held the patch over his eye.
He moved to grab it, but she flung it away and then clutched his face in both hands and pulled him lower.
“I want all of you.”
He hadn’t believed he could become any harder; he’d been wrong.

He circled his hand over her, stroking her pelvis from side to side until her hips pressed against his palm on the next sweep over her sex.
Hugh smiled at the familiar gesture of need and cupped her in his hand before dipping a finger between her swollen lips. She reacted with a convulsive thrust and he probed deeper, working her with a gentle but persistent rhythm, each stroke a little deeper, a little harder. She swelled around him and her hot wetness told him when she could take more. A second finger joined the first and her hips responded eagerly, thrusting in time to the motion of his hand.
“God, you’re so wet. So sweet and tight,” he whispered, the words causing her body to shake.
Hugh felt as though he’d barely begun when she contracted, her hips bucking hard, as if she couldn’t get him deep enough.

Holding her gaze, he withdrew almost all the way and then filled her with a single slick thrust. Her eyelids fluttered and her body tightened around his and a groan tore out of his chest.
“Touch me, Daphne. Stroke me while I stroke you.” Again he pulled all the way out and drove himself home, harder this time. Her hands began to roam his body, exploring his torso, his chest, his buttocks. He moved faster and pumped harder, driving into her with powerful, deep thrusts, holding nothing back.

She met him stroke for brutal stroke, until his body was about to fly apart. He was afraid he could no longer wait when she contracted around him.
“Yes, Daphne, yes. Come for me.” He punctuated his words with one savage thrust after another. She sank her teeth into his chest, her crisis coming fast and hard and triggering his own petite mort.
Hugh threw back his head and yelled something mindless as he drove himself home and spent deep inside her.

The sculpted muscles of his back and shoulders bunched with controlled power as his blond head moved rhythmically, his skilled tongue and fingers working their magic. Daphne gave herself up to pure pleasure and rode the crest of the wave that had been a long time coming. A wave that built and built until it crashed, taking her with it and pummeling her body over and over, until she was weak, breathless, and limp.
“Hugh,” she whispered, her hands slipping from his hair, where they’d somehow become tangled.

“I—I want . . .” Daphne had no recollection of what she’d meant to say.
He laughed wickedly. “You want . . . this?” He entered her in one slick, endless thrust, driving her in to the mattress with the force of his action.
Daphne groaned, her head falling back, her eyes closing. It was . . . too much, too intense, too—
And then he began to pound her with merciless, measured thrusts, each invasion deeper than the last.
“Your body is heaven,” he gasped, halting his savage thrusting and instead pushing slowly into her, inch by inch by inch. “Take all of me, darling.”
She wrapped her legs around him, tilted her pelvis, and tightened.
“My God, Daphne!” He shuddered violently enough to shake the four-poster bed, lifting her higher, his fingers digging into her hips while he drove into her, his body taut and slick with the strength of his need.

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

greatread

ARC Review: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly

Format: E-bookmyfairprincess
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Improper Princesses, #1
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Charles Valentine Penley
Heroine: Gillian Dryden
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 30, 216
Started On: August 11, 2016
Finished On: August 12, 2016

Vanessa Kelly became an author that I liked to look out for whenever possible after reading her Renegade Royals series. Her stories had most of the essential ingredients that makes for a good historical romance. The Improper Princess seems to be a spinoff of the Renegade Royals, bringing to us as the debut book in the series, the story of Griffin Steele’s sister, and an illegitimate one to boot, Gillian Dryden.

Hellbent on seeking revenge, Gillian is on the hunt for the man who killed her stepfather. Her path crosses that of Charles Valentine Penley, the Sixth Duke of Leverton when her grandmother seeks his service in order to mold Gillian into a proper English lady who wouldn’t shock everyone with her improper attitude and brash nature as she is want to do. Charles though reluctant to get into the middle of something he knows would be more trouble than what’s worth, finally gets coerced into taking Gillian on, only to find himself properly intrigued by every facet of her character.

Overall, I found the story an okay read, and believe it could have been much much better. There was just too much talking between characters, dialogues that the book could have totally done away with, things that could have been brought to the readers in a different way. There is conversation and lively banter and then there is this. Plucking through all the elongated conversations was exhausting, and Gillian was the sort of heroine that just got on my nerves. Looking through some reviews up on Goodreads, I believe I am not the only one who feels that way about her.

Towards the ending, her behavior moved beyond the point of ridiculous and I just couldn’t muster up enough enthusiasm to be bothered anymore. Cumbersome to plod through at certain points, My Fair Princess made me realize just how exceptionally plotted books by authors such as Elizabeth Hoyt are when it comes to the genre. Vanessa Kelly is not a bad author. My Fair Princess just seems to be a bad egg in place of all the good books that have been published in the author’s name.

Recommended for fans of Vanessa Kelly.

Favorite Quotes

Gillian was now using her grip on his coat to pull herself up. She clamped one hand around the back of his neck to hold him steady as she kissed him back with an enthusiasm that almost sent his eyes rolling to the back of his head.
Good God.
For a girl who’d been tearing a strip off him just moments ago, she’d certainly gotten into the spirit of things, turning his mind to mush in the process. Her sweet lips wandered over him, teasing and tasting with dainty licks that felt like flickers of fire. When Gillian rubbed her gentle curves against him, Charles felt his knees start to buckle. Every point of contact between them heated to unbearable levels.

He was rewarded with the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen. Gillian, half-naked, her shirt pooled up around her shoulders as her body arched in a lithe curve, breasts pushed high, nipples flushed and full. Her eyes were closed, her expression fierce with passion as she approached her climax. She was so sweet, so bloody natural, hiding nothing of herself and ready to give him everything. Just looking at her made something inside him explode like a powder keg, almost knocking him flat. He’d never felt anything like it before.
Because she’s mine.

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

fairread

ARC Review: How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy by Vanessa Kelly

Format: E-bookhowtoplanaweddingforaroyalspy
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense
Series: The Renegade Royals, #3
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Captain William Endicott
Heroine: Evelyn Whitney
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: July 27, 2015
Finished On: August 2, 2015

Book 3 in the Renegade Royals series tells the story of Captain William Endicott (Will), the bastard son of the Duke of York, a military officer and a spy for the government. Returning from the bloody battlefields, Will is more than looking forward to putting up his feet and relaxing and perhaps determine on the course which he wants to steer his future. All that is thwarted however, when he is summoned by none other than his father, requiring him to work on a mission of utmost importance. A mission rendered doubly tricky by the fact that he is to spy on his former childhood sweetheart, Miss Evelyn Whitney (Evie).

Evie is the typical variety of plain Jane heroine if ever there was one. A wallflower and happy to be one, Evie is comfortable with who she is, letting her twin Edie shine in her stead. Working on charity supporting Irish immigrants with her almost fiance’, Evie is looking forward to settling down with the man with whom she shares a lot of similar interests with, a man who wouldn’t crush her dreams and destroy the very ground on which she stands on like Will, her childhood friend and the love of her life had done.

When Will enters into Evie’s life all of a sudden, no one is more dismayed than Evie herself. The fact that she responds to Will’s presence with a ferocity of her being that she can’t help yet want to hide from, Evie finds herself in a dilemma of epic proportions when her mother starts to push her and Will together. A lot of theatrics and misunderstandings determine the fate of this second chance at love Will and Evie gets, amidst a plot of assassination of the Kingdom’s finest that Will bears the responsibility of stopping.

How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy would have to be the story from the series which I found the hardest to get myself into. The plot starts off slowly, the most riveting thing about it being the sparks that fly between the secondary characters, Edie and Will’s best friend and cousin Captain Alasdair Gilbride whose story is up next. When the main couple in question fades to a mere dot in the presence of secondary characters, well there’s a damper on the excitement of the reader if ever there was one.

The story begins to pick up during the latter half, and mostly due to the assassination plot stirring in the midst of all the antics between Will and Evie. Both protagonists have trust issues stemming from different things. Will’s distrust stems from the fact that he doesn’t bring himself to trust his judgement where Evie is concerned, the conflict of interest between doing his job by his country and doing right by the love of his life, the latter being something which he figures out only much later in the story. Evie has a hard time trusting Will for good reason if you ask me. Will had pretty much cut ties with her after her attempt to show Will that she had feelings for him, something that had crushed the soul of someone like Evie to an extent which she’d thought she would never get over from.

Though I didn’t overly fall in love with either Will or Evie, both were likable enough characters. Evie being a softie for anyone, male or female in distress and Will, the handsome war hero whose mere presence alone stirs Evie into doing things she would never think of otherwise. All said and done, I think Will and Evie are the perfect match for each other. Will brings out the passion in Evie, stirs her desires and delivers on them in the most panty melting fashion. Evie brings forth the playful side of Will, a man who has seen too much blood and senselessness on battlefields to last him a lifetime.

Recommended for fans of the series. I can’t wait to wade into Edie and Alasdair’s mess of a story. I am practically rubbing my hands in glee even now! Those two promise a fiery and stormy read and I have been hankering for one, for a long, long while.

Final Verdict: Spies, scandalous sex & a second chance at love. Makes for good storytelling!

Favorite Quotes

In the soft light, he did look rather like a wolf. His hair was a rough gold and his high cheekbones and rugged jaw lent a hard, almost fierce, cast to his features. As he prowled across the room, she had to resist the temptation to press a hand over her pounding heart. There was no reason for Will to make her nervous, and she needed to start believing that right now.
When he stopped just a few inches from where she’d plastered herself against the bookshelves, the slow, devastatingly attractive smile that curled up his oh-so-masculine mouth sent her pulse racing like a runaway horse. He stretched out an arm, resting a big hand on the mahogany shelf next to her head. It effectively caged her in.
“Why, Evie,” he said in a voice that made her shiver, “I’ve come to see if you need help.”

“Do you really want this? Want me?” she whispered, afraid to hope. She wanted so much for that to be true.
His eyelids lifted, and Evie’s heart skipped a beat at the passion that lit his eyes with a blue fire. “I want you, Evie— in my arms, in my bed, in my life.”
Those were the words she’d longed to hear. The walls she’d built against him, year after painful year, were crumbling into dust.
He pressed a searing kiss to her mouth, robbing her of breath and making her restless for more.
“I want you naked beneath me,” he said when he released her lips. “And I want you on top of me, my cock driving up into you while I play. I want you, Evie. Mine, forever.”

Evie was about to register a half-hearted objection when his mouth came down on hers again. Her protests were an- nihilated by the hot, slick glide of his tongue and the strength of his arms holding her snugly against him. For several minutes he simply held her on his lap, gently ravish- ing her with his lips and tongue, giving her the time to sink into a shimmering haze of boneless pleasure. With every kiss she felt the imprint of him on her mind and body and knew there was no going back. There was no one else who could draw forth the yearnings of her heart, nor would there ever be again.

Will clamped both hands on her bottom and surged one last time, high and hard, his strong thighs lifting her as he groaned out his release. His eyes were closed, his features pulled tight with passion. She clung to him, her own eyes filling with tears of gratitude and emotion as his powerful body shook under her hands.
As he finally came to rest beneath her, his eyelids rose and a slow, sensual smile curled his lips. With trembling hands, Evie brushed her fingers through his dishevelled golden hair.
“My Wolf,” she whispered, and then collapsed in his arms.

“Don’t bother on my account,” she said in a sarcastic voice as he retreated into what she assumed was his bedroom. “I’ve seen it before, as you no doubt recall.”
He whipped around to stare at her, his blue eyes heating with what she thought was irritation, but she couldn’t be entirely certain. The look on his face set her heart to thumping all over again.
“You haven’t seen anything yet, I assure you,” he said, growling like the lion he resembled.
“Don’t brag, Will,” she retorted. “It’s immodest.”
He braced his hands high on the doorframe, giving her an excellent view of the spectacular muscles in his chest and arms. “You are going to drive me completely insane, do you know that?”

“So pretty, Evie. Everything about you is so pretty.” His voice was a husky rumble that knifed through her.
“Will,” she whispered, her voice breaking with need.
His hot glance flicked up to hers, then he swooped in and fastened his mouth tightly on her sex. He sucked her into his mouth and Evie came apart in a sudden, explosive climax. She let out a high-pitched wail and curled up to grab his shoulders, clutching at him with shaking hands.
A moment later, Will surged up her body, bringing her hands up and clamping them over her head. He pushed into her, spinning her climax to impossible heights.

Evie could feel her eyes start to sting. “Wolf,” she whispered, her voice fracturing with emotion.
“Yes, love,” he said, in a tight voice. “I’m right here with you.”
She gripped his shoulders, staring into his gaze. She felt like her heart was splitting wide open.
“I love you,” she said.
He closed his eyes and came down on her, surging into her one last time before letting himself go, shaking in her arms as he found his release.

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

goodread

ARC Review: Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Format: E-booknotquiteawife
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Lost Lords, #6
Publisher: Zebra Books
Hero: James, Lord Kirkland
Heroine: Laurel Herbert
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1, 2014
Started On: December 24, 2014
Finished On: December 28, 2014

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney is my first read from the author. Book 6 in The Lost Lords series, Not Quite a Wife’s title reminded me of Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas and I expected something similar to that when I requested for the title on Netgalley. And though the story didn’t deliver the exact sort of tale that I was expecting and I found myself a tad bit disappointed in the story, there were aspects to it that worked for me that kept the pages turning.

James, Lord Kirkland is a spymaster and quite a wealthy one at that. Ten years back, James had fallen in love with the Laurel Herbert and married her quite soon after they’d met for the first time. But their love had been a short lived one, or rather a love that had been tested by the other side of his life, a life steeped in violence when required. The fact that Laurel had told him that she never wanted to see him again is the reason James stays away, though his heart bleeds from the loneliness of their separation.

Laurel is the co-founder of a shelter for the abused along with her brother. The life that she had carved out for herself after she had turned away from James is one that she is content with, though the thought that she would never be able to have any children of her own with divorce being a non-option from her estranged husband leaves her feeling bleak. That is until James lands in her life yet again and a sequence of events finds her pregnant with his child.

Thus a pact is made; all that James asks of her is to give him a chance, give them a chance to find out whether they can make their relationship work, for the sake of their unborn child. I loved the premise of the story. It is rare to read historical romances where the lead heroine ventures into issues such as taking care of the abused and the less fortunate in the society. Laurel’s heart is a pure one, and James sees nothing but good in her. She is the light that brightens up his otherwise dark soul and when she took leave, that light had been extinguished from his life for ten long years until James is given the chance to make things work again.

And yet, the violence that is part of James’s life is one that comes to light yet again, driving Laurel to seek a way to move past that particular factor that repels her very core. Though I understood that Laurel’s upbringing hadn’t really prepared her for violence of the sort that James is familiar with, I found myself liking her a little bit less because of her attitude towards James, a man who had been nothing but kind, loving and ardent when it comes to her. I found that for someone like Laurel who is smart and has seen the dark side that life has to offer in the eyes of the abused that comes seeking shelter with her, yet she cannot seem to see past the violence that shrouds James’s life.

I loved James. For me, he was the only reason the story worked to the level it did. He is kind, loving, strong, sweet, loyal and yet lethal as well. The lack left behind by Laurel in my opinion was partly taken care of by James, whose character I absolutely adored. The one unique aspect to the story that I liked was the music that James and Laurel makes together. That opened a doorway to reconciling a lot of issues that existed between James and Laurel.

Recommended for fans of Mary Jo Putney.

Final Verdict: Not Quite a Wife; a story  that explores a second chance at love & marriage.

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

favorableread

ARC Review: Beauty’s Beast by Amanda Ashley

Format: E-bookbeautysbeast
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: Erik Trevayne
Heroine: Kristine Arrington
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 2, 2014
Started On: September 4, 2014
Finished On: September 6, 2014

Erik Trevayne, seventh lord of Hawksbridge Castle is a man cursed with a spell that slowly and painfully transforms him into the form of a beast, a beast that would be haunted and taunted by the memories of what its like to be human. Having made a promise to his father on  his deathbed, Erik has no choice but to sire a heir while he is still able to and thus picks Kristine Arrington to be the mother of his child.

Kristine is rescued from the death gallows by the man rumored to have killed his first wife, a man said to be so beastly that few hardly have even seen him. Kristine wishes for one thing when she is asked to wed Erik; that she be blessed with a husband who would make her happy. However, Kristine soon discovers that the ways of her enigmatic husband is not conducive to the stuff that happy marriages are made of. Though Erik beds her every night, he always comes to her in the deep shadows of the night, hiding a part of himself and refusing her touch on his body. And though Kristine should hate her husband for bedding her as such, she can’t help but be enamored by the care that he bestows on her night after night.

Erik didn’t sign up for a wife when he handpicked Kristine to bear him a heir. But that is what he gets when Kristine is determined to be a wife to him, to learn his secrets and the wealth of pain that he hides in his heart, mind, body and soul. With many a twist in between, the author leads the reader to a happy ending, an ending that Erik deserved more than anyone else.

Though the plot and certain elements within the story worked for me, I didn’t feel enamored enough with the lead characters, namely Kristine. I found her to be a bit of a pushover whenever Erik tended to push her away. I wanted Kristine to stand strong and firmly in her love and affection for Erik and not sway in the determined front that Erik presented to keep those whom he cared for at bay. I just think there lacked that something in Kristine’s character that made it tough for me to love her as I should have.

Erik was a tortured soul through and through. With no fault of his own, Erik finds himself cursed in a manner that there is no escape from. His pain practically seeps through the pages, and my heart literally broke into pieces during some of his encounters with Kristine. We all have read those stories about heroes who are terribly disfigured that society had deemed as monsters and such, but in this case, Erik truly is turning into the beast that he is accursed to be, painful inch by inch. And that was what in essence made this story stand out for me.

Recommended for those who like a little bit of paranormal with their historical romances.

Final Verdict: A historical romance with a twist of the different.

Favorite Quotes

For a moment, he collapsed on top of her. She felt the silk of his hair against her cheek, the warm whisper of his breath across her bare breast.
And then, as if he had never been there, he was gone, and she was alone in the bed.

As always, she longed to touch him, to explore his body, to know his body as intimately as he knew hers.
As always, he refused to let her touch him.
As always, he saw to her pleasure first. His climax followed quickly.
Lying there, their bodies still pressed intimately together, she closed her eyes. Listening to the sound of thunder and her husband’s ragged breathing, she felt a tear slip down her cheek, and knew that it was his.

She moved beneath him, hips lifting in silent invitation. He made love to her slowly this time, savoring each sensation, holding back until she was clinging to him, her fevered body trembling. Together, they plunged over the abyss into ecstasy.
“Kristine!” Her name was a sob, a prayer. And then he whispered the words he had held back for so long.
“Kristine, my Kristine. You will never know how much I love you.”

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

favorableread

ARC Review: Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom by Vanessa Kelly

Format: E-bookconfessionsofaroyalbridegroom
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Renegade Royals, #2
Publisher: Zebra Books
Hero: Griffin Steele
Heroine: Justine Brightmore
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014
Started On: July 2, 2014
Finished On: July 3, 2014

If you have read the first book in The Renegade Royals series, you’d have met the utterly mysterious and alluring Griffin Steele whom your heart would have clamored for even then. Good thing that Vanessa Kelly delivered on his story with the second installment in the series because Griffin is a hero definitely worth drooling over and then some.

Griffin Steele is a man who made a name for himself practically out of nothing. The bastard son of a Prince who till today remains unacknowledged by his father, Griffin bears the emotional scars of being abandoned as a child, though he would rather carve out a piece of himself than admit to the fact. Griffin is in the midst of tying up all loose ends that ties him down, planning on leaving England in search of what his soul craves, a sense of completion that he desires but is unable to voice out for. And then turns up a baby accompanied with a mysterious note and a signet ring on his doorstep which throws all his best laid plans awry, leaving Griffin scrambling to make sense of the total chaos that his life becomes from that point onwards.

24 year old Justine Brightmore craves peace and solitude above everything else. Having had enough dramatics in her life to last her a lifetime. The only thing that propels Justine to leave the comfort of the life that she has carved out for herself is being summoned by her godfather Dominic Hunter. Dominic thrusts Justine into the house of one of the most notorious men in London, a man equally loathed and revered amongst society though anyone would hardly go on to acknowledge the likes of someone like Griffin.

From the moment Griffin and Justine lay eyes on each other, it is dislike at first sight with a healthy dose of awareness for everything to do with each other. Griffin though he loathes the position of playing guardian to Justine is helpless in his need to know everything about the woman who drives him crazy with her stubbornness and attitude. Justine might want to bury her head in the sand where Griffin and the feelings that he rouses in her are concerned, but even her stoic determination is no match for the gravitational pull that Griffin has on her senses.

When a turn of events puts Justine’s honor in a precarious position, there is nothing left to do but tie the knot, something Justine views akin to a noose around her neck. However, as both Justine and Griffin learn more about one another, Griffin providing details of his past with sheer reluctance, both of them find that where their emotions are concerned, the aloofness that each had strived for at the begining is no longer even a possibility.

Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom started on a high note with the delicious Griffin taking your very breathe away. The fascinating tattoo that coils over the left side of his upper torso alone was enough to increase the hyperventilating factor when it came to him. His sardonic wit was another reason to go crazy over his character, not to mention the deep well of tenderness that lives inside of a man rumored to be one of the most ruthless and notorious in the city.

Though I liked Justine just fine, I couldn’t find it in myself to fall for her the way I did with Griffin. For one thing, I found her focus on the mysterious baby to be a tad too much, or perhaps the focus of the story as it progressed was on the baby more than the burgeoning relationship between Griffin and Justine. Perhaps it was the balance between the mystery, romance and sensuality that I craved which somehow seemed to be at odds with one another which brought down the rating where I was concerned.

However, that doesn’t mean that this story isn’t an enjoyable one, far from that. Even with that misgiving inside of me, the fact that I was drawn into the tale and enjoyed the back and forth between Griffin and Justine and of course their happily ever after tells the tale of romance that was enjoyed from start to finish. Worthy of a mention are the two scenes of passion in the story, highly sensual that took my breathe away.

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of alluring heroes who seduce you rather effortlessly from page 1!

Final Verdict: Sizzle, mystery and a bit of mayhem gives an enjoyable read!

Favorite Quotes

“You couldn’t possibly want to marry me,” she whispered, even as something overpowering, something more real than anything she had ever felt in her life, stretched up and loomed over her, blotting out the light from the lamps and the roaring fire in the grate. She could see nothing but Griffin.
To her astonishment, a gleam of amusement sparked to life in his gaze.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said in a musing tone. “Any woman who, by her own admission, is capable of shooting a man in cold blood is likely the perfect wife for me.”

Never had she felt such delicious warmth, or imagined that a kiss could cast such a transfixing spell over her body. Though her mind reeled in astonishment, she wanted to stand there forever, greedily drawing in his heat and strength. Drawing in the heady taste of him—something wild and masculine and utterly tempting.

“Why do you even care?” she whispered.
His eyes half closed and he leaned toward her, as if trying to capture some elusive scent. “For some reason I’m unable to fathom, I want to know everything about you. I want to know what your favorite toy was when you were a child, what was your most treasured possession. Who comforted you when you cried, or if you ever climbed a tree. I want to know what you like to eat and what makes you curl up your sweet little nose. I want to know when you first wished to kiss a boy. I especially want to know about that,” he finished with a wicked purr.

Unable to stop herself, Justine moved against him, spreading her legs even wider and rubbing against his thick erection. Sensation rose up through her in a heady spiral, every rational thought in her head blasted away by the sensual storm he evoked in her as he suckled and played with her breasts. They felt full and aching. Indeed, her entire body ached with a need only he could fulfill.

He groaned and dipped his head, his long hair coming loose from its leather tie, his chest rising and falling with quick breaths. She pulled the strip of material from his hair and flung it away, then tunneled her fingers through his thick, long locks, smoothing them down over his back. Justine felt like she was drowning in a world of sensation and emotion, and she willingly went under.
“My God, Justine,” he gasped before planting a searing kiss on her mouth.

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

greatread