ARC Review: Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa Kelly

Format: E-booksecretsforseducingaroyalbodyguard
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Renegade Royals, #1
Publisher: Zebra Books
Hero: Aden St. George
Heroine: Lady Vivien Shaw
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 7, 2014
Started On: January 5, 2014
Finished On: January 12, 2014

Secrets of Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa Kelly is her first book in The Renegade Royals series. Having never read a Vanessa Kelly prior to this, I had not idea what to expect when I delved into the 400+ pages of this story. What initially drew me to check this book out of course was the cover. Who can resist a cover such as this one with a hero who looks good enough to eat? And then the synopsis turned out to be one that intrigued me enough to give this a go.

Vanessa Kelly has the sort of writing that definitely makes a story easy to read. Though the first 1/3rd of the book could have picked up in pace a bit, the latter part of the story turned out to be fun and delicious with the ongoing thread of mystery and danger interwoven together.

Aden St. George works for the Secret Service and his newest assignment takes him to the delectable Lady Vivien Shaw, who has a somewhat murky reputation amongst the ton. Having grown up with a father who had resented his very presence in the household, Aden had been a child who had learnt early on in life to hold his emotions in and to never make himself vulnerable. When he finds his heart and emotions being invaded bit by bit by Vivien, Aden tries his darnedest to repair the armors around his heart and soul but to no avail.

Lady Vivien is a woman who stands at the brink of disaster. One wrong move could destroy everyone that she holds dear to her heart not to mention the added danger of being abducted and held against her will until her knight in shining armor had rescued her and made her feel like she had found a safe haven inside the circle of his arms. Once Vivien realizes that the danger to her life is one that wouldn’t cease until Aden and his colleagues can uncover who it is that wants to harm her, Vivien realizes that her work is going to be cut out for her in her determination to do what she must to save her family.

Vivien has had her fair share of suitors, amorous in their intentions and otherwise, but nothing prepares her for the sheer impact of Aden’s continued presence in her life. Each heat laden gaze and touch sends her senses spinning and the stolen kisses that comes later on makes Vivien yearn to be taken by Aden in every single way a man can take and possess a woman. Combine Vivien’s innocence together with that of Aden’s expertise and Vivien’s determined nature to make Aden see the light, well fireworks fly in every direction, not to mention the fact that it makes for some very hilarity ridden scenes too!

I loved Aden as a hero. His tall, dark and silent manner at times made him intriguing and of course the kindness that is deep inside of him which shines through with his thoughts that are in continuous turmoil and his actions made me fall for him that much deeper. I loved Vivien too. The way she seemed to find herself in the most hilarious circumstances made her an enjoyable heroine and the fact that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she wants and believes in and fights till there’s nothing left to fight with earned her my wholehearted admiration. All in all, I would say, a fairly enjoyable debut novel that certainly hints at more to come. Recommended!

Final Verdict: Mirth, sizzle & mystery makes for an unbeatable combo in this delicious debut to series!

Favorite Quotes

“Wha . . . what are you doing?” she stammered.
“I’m answering your question,” he murmured, the dark rumble making her shiver.
Then he moved, tilting her back over his arm as he swooped in to kiss her. His mouth fastened over hers. Not gently, either. He plundered her lips, demanding entrance with a masculine arrogance that swept past her resistance in one skipped heartbeat.

As if she were in a trance, her hand drifted up to touch her lips. They felt hot and swollen. His pupils seemed to dilate, flaring as he tracked her movement. Vivien let her hand drop to his chest, sliding her fingers past the lapels of his coat to clutch the fine linen of his cravat. Beneath her fingertips, his heart thrummed in a rapid, steady beat, his life and heat flowing into her hand.

And then he touched her, right there, right on the tight little bundle of flesh that ached with need. He slicked his fingers and rubbed her until she began to tremble in his arms. Contractions rippled from her womb, finally coalescing in luxurious spasms that pulled from her mouth a startled cry. When she arched back, letting the waves wash over her, Aden pressed a hot kiss to her breastbone, right above her heart.

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

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Review: Comanche Eagle by Sara Orwig

Format: Paperbackcomancheeagle
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Comanche, Book 2
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: John Dancer Black Eagle / Travis Black Eagle
Heroine: Crystal Spencer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 1998
Started On: March 25, 2011
Finished On: March 26, 2011

I had a hard time obtaining a copy of this romance, a recommendation I got off of an Amazon discussion thread. Although my copy arrived and has been in my possession since sometime late last year, I have refrained from taking the plunge because there aren’t that many raving reviews about this book. However with the current list of lackluster reads that have been my picks for the last couple of days, I decided what the heck and took the plunge. To my delightful surprise Comanche Eagle turned out to be really good making this a memorable read of the theme of marriages of convenience.

Set in Cheyenne, Wyoming territory in 1871, Comanche Eagle tells the story of Crystal Spencer, the first woman to ever hold the position of the Justice of the Peace in Cheyenne. 26 year old Crystal is known amongst citizens of the county as Judge Spinster and has a prim and proper outlook on life and upholding the law where no shades of gray are ever allowed  to cloud her judgement. Crystal has been rejected by a man once before and she has no intention of ever letting a man close enough to hurt her like that ever again and is quite content with her spinsterish existence with her brother and town doctor Ellery Spencer whose vices include drinking and gambling. Crystal yearns to leave the volatile Cheyenne territory where upholding law and order is a challenge day in and day out and wants nothing more than to leave to California to start life over and live in peace.

Travis Black Eagle, farrier and owner of Cheyenne’s livery stables and a successful rancher in his own right is two years older than Crystal and a half-breed that earns his his share of black looks throughout Cheyenne. Happily married to his very pregnant and beautiful wife Elizabeth, Travis is devastated when Ellery attends her birthing with his senses clouted with drink and Ellery’s incompetence lands Travis a widow and a single parent in one night. Grief, anger and deep abiding sorrow are Travis’s companions until he realizes that his son needs a mother, a female presence in his life for him to grow up.

Crystal is left completely alone as her only living relative in the world is shot dead, leaving her with a mount of debt from Ellery’s gambling ways with nowhere to turn to. Travis storms into her life, demanding that she marry him and help him look after his son for which in return Travis would give her a home and security, something which has been sorely lacking in her life the past couple of months. Though Travis’s promise that he has no interest in her as a woman whatsoever drives away Crystal’s feelings of unease which always leaves her with a prickling sensation in Travis’s vicinity, it also leaves her with a vague sense of discontentment that she would never know a man’s warmth and his loving embrace even in marriage.

The marriage of convenience that Travis and Crystal embark upon with their mutual need of providing Jacob, their son with a loving home becomes a journey of discovery for both of them. For Crystal, Travis presents everything that has been missing from her life until now. Tall, broad shouldered and handsome as sin, Travis makes her senses clamor to reach out and touch him and makes her quiver with longing to be possessed by her fierce warrior of a husband in whose eyes she could be just a sack of potatoes for all the interest he shows in her.

For Travis the journey of discovering Crystal is a slow moving one. With grief and love for his dead wife clouding his sense and judgement, Travis barely recognizes Crystal beyond what she provides for his son and it is a deep abiding respect for the woman who loves Jacob like her own that takes a hold of Travis at first. Awareness about his wife whose beauty she tries so hard to keep hidden comes as a shock to someone who has sworn off caring for any woman and giving up his heart for fear that he would once again be subjected to that gut wrenching grief that had taken him over upon Elizabeth’s death.

Want and need which grows deeper by day war with Travis’s need to keep his hands off Crystal who proves to become more alluring as days pass by until finally Travis concedes and gives into the raging inferno that has kept him hot enough to burn a hole through his bedding for the past couple of months. Crystal who is so much in love with her strong and handsome husband who shows his kindness and gentleness in so many little ways couldn’t be happier when Travis finally succumbs and shows her the wonders of giving herself completely to the man she loves.

But Crystal and Travis’s idyllic existence comes to an abrupt halt when Travis’s past catches up with him, creating a chasm between husband and wife that continues to grow by  the minute as both Crystal and Travis choose the opposite sides on a matter of upholding the law that shatters Crystal apart at the mere thought of being true to what she believes in and losing her Travis in the process. In the end, Travis and Crystal’s happily ever after when it comes is a more rewarding one because of their struggles and I loved each and every moment of the sensual and emotional discovery that took them to their final destination in the end.

I think Travis Black Eagle is the closest I would come to in terms of getting a six foot plus hero who makes my heart go aflutter with his utter masculinity and strong character for my birthday. Travis was worth each emotional upheaval I went through in the story, his strength, kindness and loyalty which just adds  to his already strong appeal. I loved him for the way he couldn’t help but be drawn to the honest beauty that is Crystal and the way he seems to have a fascination for stroking Crystal’s neck just makes shivers of the right kind run up and down my spine. And lordy, did I love those hot kisses exchanged on their rides to and from their ranch into town, where every noble intention Travis has of staying away from Crystal seems to evaporate right in front of him.

Crystal’s character is an endearing one in itself because she stays true to who she is regardless of how torn apart she is when it comes to her views on upholding the law and the shades of grey that her husband tries to make her see that is the inevitable reality of life. Her love for Jacob and her intense responsiveness towards Travis together with her fierce love for the both of them made her a heroine who earned all my earnest approval throughout the story.

Comanche Eagle has whetted my appetite to read the other 2 books in the series, both of which promise to be excellent romances if the blurbs are anything to go by.

Highly recommended for fans of historical romances with an American Indian setting, a brooding hero who just about takes your breath away and a love when it comes sweeps you away on a journey that will hold you enthralled till the very last page.

I finish off my review with the scene from the story where Travis’s hold on his tightly reined in control breaks when Crystal declares that it is because Travis finds her odious that he doesn’t want anything to do with her need to have a baby of her own.

Crossing the room to her with a determined gleam in his eye, he ducked a flying tin cup that struck behind him. As she picked up a plate, his hand banded her wrist tightly. His arm swept around her waist.
“The last thing I find you is odious.” He ground out the words in a husky tone. “My God, Crystal!” His dark eyes held fires as he looked into her eyes. He lowered his head, his mouth coming down over hers as his arm tightened and he pulled her against him.
Stunned, Crystal had one moment of shock before a flooding wave of hot desire burst inside her with the press of his mouth on hers. His lips were warm, tender, yet insistent. His tongue was hot and wet against her mouth. Her anger and argument went up in flames of passion.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: Loving Mercy by Teresa Bodwell

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Book 1, Untitled Series
Publisher: Zebra Books
Hero: Thaddeus Buchanan
Heroine: Mercy Clarke
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 2005
Started On: January 24, 2011
Finished On: January 25, 2011

Hanging out at bookstores is one of my favorite ways of passing the time. Take me to a mall, show me a huge bookstore with loads of books to salivate over and I promise you wouldn’t find anyone else happier than myself at that very moment. Since Maldives is such a drag for book lovers like myself, coming to India where bookstores are as frequent as their chai (tea) stalls, needless to say I am in book heaven at the moment. So when I stumbled across this book cover at a used bookstore, I picked it up on a whim, based on its cover alone and because the back synopsis promised this book to deliver a good American-Western romance.

27 year old Mercy Clarke is one of those determined heroines who love their independence, who has had a bad marriage with her now deceased husband Nate and wishes to remain single and shoulder all the responsibilities of her family’s cattle ranching business in Colorado. Six feet tall Mercy always feels as if she were a giraffe in a menagerie and refuses to open up her heart to the possibility of love. Mercy still sports her wedding ring two years on after her husband’s death and is still haunted by the memory of how things ended up with him before his death. With a father who has been disabled from the accident that killed her husband and a younger sister to take care of, Mercy is a woman who takes her responsibilities very seriously and is determined that she would keep the family ranch no matter how much it costs her to do so.

23 year old Thaddeus Buchanan (Thad) is an ex-veteran who served in the civil war, who had his whole family taken from him in a war that has made little sense to him always. His only living relative is his sister Clarisse who lives up in Colorado and Thad is determined to reach her and make a home for himself up in the Colorado mountains. Easy going and charming, Thad is more than 6 feel tall, broad shouldered, blond haired with azure eyes and has a killer dimple in his right cheek when he smiles.

It is Thad’s determination that he reach Colorado that ends him up in the company of the prickly as a thorn Mercy Clarke in the town of Albiene where Mercy travels to auction off her cattle to pay off the debt on her ranch. From the first encounter between Thad and Mercy, Thad is totally captivated by Mercy and her independent nature. Though Mercy would rather cut off an arm than admit that the handsome and charming Thad gets to her more than any man ever had in her life, Mercy is determined that nothing come out of her inconvenient attraction to a man who seems too easygoing to her. But things take a turn when Mercy realizes that Thad is in reality her best friend Clarisse’s younger brother and that alone makes her enter into an agreement to take Thad along for the ride.

It is during this journey that these two make to Colorado that feelings Mercy had thought that she would never ever feel again crop to the surface and makes her give in to the heady desire she feels for a man that she knows is totally not for her. Thad who wants marriage and a family of his own knows that Mercy doesn’t want that role in her life nevertheless finds himself at the mercy of his feelings for her. Amidst danger from men who are after the money that Mercy had made in the auction, these two discover within one another their better halves but a lot of internal battles are waged within themselves to finally conclude that their lives would not be complete without the other.

I am someone who always loves a good American-Western romance. However, I felt that this one didn’t deliver what I was looking for. Thad was a hero I could have liked, hell I could have loved him to bits if he were a bit more assertive and if he could have just stood up for what he felt half the time. I love an independent heroine as much as the next girl but Mercy tended to get on my nerves a bit during the first half of the story and later on redeemed herself by following up on what she felt for Thad. I loved the fact that this was a romance between an older heroine and a younger hero but that didn’t factor into much of the story. This could have been a really great story if it had hit all those spots which you crave to be petted and stroked as a reader. All in all not a bad read though I wouldn’t recommend anyone to sit and read through this book except if you like myself want to discover whether the underlying does justice to a drool-worthy cover.

Favorite Quotes

As sure as roses will have thorns, love will bring you pain.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Abe Books

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