Review: The Way Home by Dallas Schulze

Format: Paperbackthewayhomeds
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Tyler Douglas McKendrick
Heroine: Meg Harper
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 1994
Started On: November 16, 2013
Finished On: November 18, 2013

Margaret Harper or Meg is the heroine from the wrong side of town. Hailing from the small town of Regret in Iowa, Meg is four or five years old when her path crosses that of 14 year old Tyler McKendrick, his kindness alone during that fateful day earning him a place in her heart forever.

Tyler might not even remember the day that he had encountered Meg, but time and yet again their paths cross until for the last time when Tyler is home recuperating from an injury and runs across the altogether too beautiful, now 17 year old Meg.

Meg knows it’s too good to be true to even contemplate thinking that Tyler would be interested in her in the way that she daydreams about him. Her mother warns her of the consequences, but Meg’s heart knows no limits as such when it comes to Tyler and wanting him.

Their friendship was supposed to only last until the summer was over, but then fate had other plans in place when Tyler finds Meg on his doorstep, broken in a way that makes his blood run hot and cold with rage towards the man who dared to do that to her. Consequentially, Tyler finds himself and Meg entering a marriage of convenience which might’ve worked if his young wife wasn’t appealing enough to drive him slowly insane.

One thing leads to another and Meg and Tyler finds themselves traversing through the ups and downs of their marriage, through the good and the bad, making sacrifices along the way which ultimately brings closure to all aspects of the story but one, the secondary romance that takes place between Tyler’s best friend Jack and Meg’s sister Patsy.

The Way Home by Dallas Schulze could’ve turned into a swell read if not for the fact that the story became too bogged down with unnecessary details that made going through certain parts of the story a bit of a challenge. I managed to skim read through the bits that didn’t work for me and I think I still managed to get the gist of the story quite well. In my opinion there were parts of the story that could’ve totally being eliminated and perhaps the story would’ve been much more of a hit then.

Like most romance readers, I’m someone who loves a good marriage of convenience themed romance. I liked the subtle sexual tension that existed between Tyler and the virginal Meg and I think that is one aspect of the story that the author could’ve explored a bit more. Somehow the buildup to it all seemed to be missing in action when the actual deed happened, perhaps owing to Tyler’s super sensitive nature and Meg’s inexperience in the area.

Subtract some of the mundane details, zap the romance with a bit of heat and meanwhile if Meg could grow a spine or two in certain parts of the story, this could’ve turned into a memorable read indeed. The way things ended in the secondary romance that was partly the focus of the story makes me wonder whether Dallas came up with Jack and Patsy’s story. I bet that could prove to be an explosive read if the author manages to get all the elements right.

Recommended for fans of the author & fans of romances of the trope marriages of convenience.

Favorite Quotes

He ignored the voice that warned him he was stepping over the line he himself had drawn. One kids, he told himself. A simple kiss. What possible harm could it do?
Her mouth was just as soft as he’d imagined it to be, soft and yielding and his. He threaded his fingers deeper into her hair, cupping the back of her head to tilt her face up to his, deepening the pressure of his mouth on hers.

He felt the shudder that ran through her as his mouth touched hers. Five years, he thought. Five years and she still tasted of sunshine and mint. And then he stopped thinking at all but only felt. Felt the half-forgotten fire race through his veins, felt the familiar pressure of her body against his as she melted into his embrace.

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Review: The Substitute Wife by Dallas Schulze

Format: Paperbackthesubstitutewife
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: MIRA
Hero: Luke Quintain
Heroine: Catherine Willow Rain Skywalker Lang
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2003
Started On: May 6, 2011
Finished On: May 7, 2011

I have been wanting to read The Substitute Wife by Dallas Schulze for a long time. And whilst I enjoyed this book immensely, I had to bring down the rating from 5-stars because I felt that the hero did not really grovel enough to win back the affections of the heroine.

Catherine Willow Rain Skywalker Lang (I know, its a mouthful but it suites her well and good) grows up with a hippie for a mother whose wanderlust nature provided Cat with a very unique sort of childhood. Thus Cat had learnt at a very young age to become an “adult” and a responsible child with her unconventional education that nevertheless grows up to be a beautiful woman inside and out. It had been a gangly 13 year old Cat that had met her beautiful 20 year old sort of step-sister Devon whose father Larry had been the only family that Cat had known through her transformation from a teenager into womanhood.

When Cat finds out that Devon is running away with her first love and breaking off her engagement to Luke Quintain with whom Cat had fallen in love at first sight, Cat’s tender hearted nature refuses to let Luke hear about the broken engagement just mere weeks before the wedding via the post. So it is because Cat wants to deliver the news of the broken engagement in person that she finds herself on the doorstep of the ultra rich real estate tycoon for whom her heart clamors for something fierce.

Somehow Luke finds himself at the receiving end of the news of a broken engagement and Cat somehow leaves with a ring on her finger after proposing that she take Devon’s place instead. Luke agrees because he can’t help his reaction to the tall and red-haired beauty with the green eyes who calls to his baser instincts in a way that has never happened before. Though its a marriage of convenience to which Luke agrees to with a tight prenuptial to neatly tie things up, their marriage from the first moment itself becomes something much more than Luke bargained for.

Though Cat enters a marriage that has its divorce date already decided upon, her heart cannot help but yearn for Luke and his love to be hers till death does them apart. Trouble comes calling when Devon returns and Cat finds herself carrying Luke’s baby, something that wasn’t included in Luke’s agreement with his delectable wife whom he can’t seem to get enough of.

Luke who is definitely scarred on the inside from the trauma of witnessing the roller coaster of a marriage between his parents is a man who knows he is not the right material for a happily ever after. And with the earth shattering news about his imminent fatherhood, Luke does the unforgivable and finally manages to drive Cat and her love out of his life, taking him back to the bleak existence his life was before Cat lit it up with her love and her giving nature.

I loved so many things about this book right from the very first page itself. There is so much humor packed into this story that I swear that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud several times. Luke’s grouchy grandfather Nick who forces Luke’s hand in getting married is an interesting character who lends the story a charm of its own kind. Cat is such a wonderful, wonderful heroine that I absolutely fell head over heels in love with. I know, weird right? But you would have to read this one to understand what I am talking about. Cat has so many endearing qualities that you can’t help but be drawn towards her character. She is so comfortable with who she is that she continues to astound Luke, Nick and everyone who doesn’t know her that well and continually surprised me with her quirky comebacks and teasing nature. She is so very vulnerable when it comes to Luke who hurts her in the worst way possible, but still she manages to stand up for herself and work things out. And let me not forget Cat’s best friend Jack whose relationship with Luke’s best friend was an interesting facet of the novel as well.

And alas, I come to the part where my rating for this novel had to be brought down from a solid 5-stars to the 4-star rating it received. Mainly because I don’t think Luke really did enough towards the end to make up for what he did to Cat. I wanted him to grovel a bit more, and with more sincerity than that he showed. And Cat being the wonderful woman she is and because she loves Luke to distraction, she takes him back upon his one attempt at groveling and apologizing to her for what he did. Totally didn’t sit well with me. But, nevertheless Luke still makes for a sexy hero whose reluctant reactions towards Cat was one that I savored to the max.

Recommended for fans of contemporary romances with the marriage of convenience setting.

Favorite Quotes

“So, give it to me straight.” Luke turned to look at her, long fingers cradling the snifter. “I take it Devon’s absence is permanent?”
Cat nodded reluctantly. He didn’t look like a man whose heart was breaking. He looked irritated and maybe a little relieved. Or was that just wishful thinking on her part?
“She’s decided to become a nun? Having a sex change operation? Run off to join the circus?”
“A dairy farm,” Cat said, and Luke’s brows rose.
“She’s joined a diary farm? I didn’t know you could do that.”
“Not joined one so much as …well, actually she’s sort of marrying one.”
“Marrying a diary farm?” One corner of his mouth curved up. “She’s going to need a pretty big church, isn’t she?” (Totally had me cracking up!)

This was no gentle, exploratory first kiss. He took her mouth like a conquering warrior, not asking for a response but demanding it. Cat’s hands tightened on his arms, as if to push him away, and then she was melting into him, her mouth opening to his, her body curving against his. Luke felt a surge of triumph race through him, and he slid one arm around her waist, pulling her closer, deepening the kiss, his tongue slicking over hers.
The kiss was hungry and carnal, a kiss meant for lovers. She whimpered, a low sound in the back of her throat. It wasn’t a protest. It was a plea. She rose on her tiptoe, her fingers curling into his dark hair as her mouth opened to his, inviting him to take more, to take her.

Cat tilted her head back, looking up at him. The rest lamp leeched the color from everything it touched, painting her in shades of dark and light. Dark hair, pale skin, her eyes deep mysterious pools, the almost-bruised darkness of her mouth. She didn’t say anything, didn’t pull back as he lifted his free hand and slid his fingers into the soft knot of her hair, searching out the pins that held it and pulling them loose, letting them scatter on the pavement. Her hair tumbled around her shoulders, and Luke curled his hand into it, letting it slide through his fingers. He felt a nearly painful surge of need. Hunger. Anger that he wanted her so much, that he had so little control where she was concerned.

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