Review: Avenging Angel by Glenna McReynolds

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Loveswept, #653
Publisher: Loveswept
Hero: Dylan Jones
Heroine: Johanna Lane
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1, 1993
Started On: May 5, 2011
Finished On: May 5, 2011

Winner of 1993 Rita Award for Short Contemporary, Avenging Angel by Glenna McReynolds aka Tara Janzen tells the story of an undercover law enforcement hero who is hellbent on reaching the woman he loves, to save her from the clutches of a man who wants nothing else except her death certificate in his hands. Though the cover is ridiculous, the story inside is a good one with a brooding hero who has a tender core deep inside and a spunky heroine who gives as good as she gets in the run for their lives that is the basis of this novel.

Dylan Jones is a man who has been working undercover for far too long. His life is and the real man inside of him is buried under a ton of lies and fabricated history that Dylan is almost weary and at the point of giving up. Six months back, Dylan had culminated 4 years of undercover work by slipping into Austin Bridgeman’s underground empire as a bodyguard whereupon he meets a bombshell package of brains, legs, virtue and sophistication that is Johanna Lane. Though it has always been Dylan’s rule never to get involved with anyone related to his assignment, he can’t help but be protective of the woman that he wants with every fiber of his being.

The daughter of the most renowned trial lawyer in the state of Illinois, Johanna follows in her father’s footsteps and is an attorney herself who works for Austin as his most private legal counsel. She had left Chicago and her job 4 months back because of what Austin had become in the past couple of years. Privy to information that no one else knows, this is what lands Johanna in danger and it is an injured Dylan that races through thousands of miles to abduct Johanna in order to save her.

It is an enraged Johanna that finds herself a captive of the sexy avenging angel who outsmarts a pack of men who look like they mean business when they storm her apartment. But trust doesn’t come easily and at first Johanna would love nothing more than to escape the clutches of the man who holds her captive even though it may be for her safety. But when Johanna discovers who Dylan truly is, a man she has a shared past with and a man she had desired in spite of every cell in her brain screaming for her not to, Johanna at long last gives in as she starts to fall for the man that she has dreamed about for far too long.

Avenging Angel is short novel, but still manages to pack into it a pretty decent story though there were a couple of things I would have loved to know more about. At the beginning of the story there is a mention of how Dylan had failed the previous 2 times he had broken cover to come to someone’s rescue. But there is no detail of any of it later in the story which would have served to make Dylan’s character a bit more interesting. Though I thought that Johanna would end up annoying the crap out of me, she later turned out to be a pretty good heroine who adamantly refuses to leave Dylan to the wolves when push comes to shove. Dylan makes for a dreamy hero with his tenderness that comes out to play around Johanna and the scenes of passion between the two are pretty well done. Now I am mighty curious to read the Crazy series by Tara Janzen because I know that she can write a mean romantic suspense if she puts her mind to it. Recommended for fans of short contemporary romantic suspense.

Favorite Quotes

The mercury had pushed ninety-two that day, but he was wearing an overcoat, a lined overcoat stained with dirt … or blood. A torn black T-shirt molded his torso, soft black jeans clung to his hips and legs.
He was bruised on one side of his face and cut on the other. He was muscular and lean, hard, stripped down to the basics of strength, He was feral.

Dark eyes opened to the barest slit, his gaze fixed on her mouth, unwavering. He looked like he wanted to eat her for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then start all over again. She felt the heat of his excitement running through his body. His skin was warm, nearly hot to the touch. His breath was uneven, his body pressed against hers in the most carnal of ways.
Her anger, so righteous only seconds before, was having an unbelievably difficult time not getting scorched to cinders by his slow, intense perusal.

Her need for him, to be a part of him, went beyond her power to reason. There was no reason to want him as badly as she did.
She did want him, though, with all her heart. She wanted to soothe him and cherish him. She wanted to kiss him with all the tenderness he was showering on her. She wanted to give him pleasure in being alive.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books


Review: River of Eden by Glenna McReynolds

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Bantam
Hero: William Sanchez Travers
Heroine: Annie Parrish
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 10, 2008
Started On: February 26, 2011
Finished On: March 7, 2011

Jungle-trek themed romances are one of my favorite tropes in the world of romance. I got off this recommendation from my friend Jill on Goodreads who was wonderful enough to give me a huge list of jungle-trek themed romances which we both seem to love. River of Eden is my first novel by Glenna McReynolds and according to FictionDB the last of her published books as well.

River of Eden takes us through the steamy jungles of the Amazon where fact and myth submerge, where evil lurks in every deep and dark shadow that the jungle and its surrounding river harbors. Dr. Annie Parrish aka Amazon Annie had been a world renown botanist until the unfortunate Woolly Monkey incident which had labeled her persona non grata. Originally from Wyoming, Annie had been chased out of Brazil after having being captured and tortured in a Brazil jail until Dr. Gabriela Oliveira had pulled all imaginable strings to rescue her.

Annie returns once again, this time to garner more samples of the incredible orchid that she had found on her last trip, before her run in with the evil Corisco Vargas who has his own evil plans to conquer the wild jungle and its riches for himself once and for all. Corisco has been waiting for Annie, the one who got away from his clutches the 1st time round.

To make the required trip upriver to Santa Maria, Annie hires Dr. William Sanchez Travers, a Harvard trained ethnobotanist, until 3 years ago William had forsaken academia and his fieldwork and disappeared into the Amazon rain forest. Six feet tall, rangy in build with wild sun-streaked hair and a face that had set more than one coed on the path of a botany degree, Will is rumored to have lost it all and become a drunken half of a man who ferries scientists like herself upriver to pass his days.

Every preconceived notion that Annie has of Will flies out the window as she begins to learn more about the complex man who reluctantly agrees to take her on his boat Sucuri without half-knowing the secrets that she holds very close to her soul. Annie who is skittish at best when it comes to men after her horrific up close and personal encounters with Corisco finds herself fascinated with how Will makes her lose sight of herself with their up close and personal encounters.

Annie doesn’t feature into any of Will’s plans, Will who has been biding his time in fulfilling his end of a deal that has bound him to the jungle and its people for the past 3 years. Annie tempts him beyond anything Will has encountered before and when his protective and possessive instincts flare to life around a woman who is a mass of contradictions herself, Will is helplessly drawn into plans fate has in store for them, a plan that lands them right into the center of execution of Corisco’s evil plans.

Though I found myself a little  bit impatient with the pace of the story at the beginning, things began to turn around once the trip aboard Sucuri took underway. Both Annie and Will’s characters are interesting ones, each carrying a whole lot of secrets with them, and each surrounded by the mystiques that cloak the Amazon and its tribes which lend an interesting facet to the story. Let me not forget the romance between Will and Annie, and how it drew me in as Will and Annie seduce more than just their surface emotions, but end up coming together as one and combining their lives together, once and for all.

All in all an entertaining read recommended for those who love a romance between two endearing people in the midst of a jungle adventure which gets its extra richness from the mystique surrounding the whole tale from beginning till end.

I leave you with a little spoiler, the scene which comes after the very erotic hammock smexing scene, where Will realizes that he has fallen completely for his Amazon Annie.

Amazon Annie.
Good God, he thought, a tired grin spreading across his face. They were a long way from a first-class hotel suite with hot towels, clean sheets, and room service, but she was reminding him of all the luxuries he’d been so long without, and of a luxury he’d never had.
Her, with her tough-girl reputation, her Israeli rifles, and the softest mouth he’d ever kissed. He hoped like hell she didn’t hate him in the morning when she realized what had happened, because he was afraid he’d fallen in love in a hammock.

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