Review: To Love a Man by Karen Robards

Format: E-booktoloveamankr.jpg
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Sam Eastman
Heroine: Lisa Bennet Collins
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 05, 1988
Started On: September 23, 2016
Finished On: September 24, 2016

39 year old Sam Eastman is a mercenary soldier working within the borders of Rhodesia, amidst the civil war that was taking place. A single father, Sam is determined that no job is too despicable if it were to get him the money he needed to start over.

25 year old Lisa Bennet Collins is the rich socialite heir apparent, who had pretty much had her life handed to her on silver platter. She had believed that happiness was hers for the taking, and simply followed the steps which she thought would bring her that. Getting engaged to the dreamily handsome football-playing son of a state senator had been the natural progression of that life, until it had all come crashing down, bit by bit.

A lifetime later, when Lisa turns up in Rhodesia as part of an assignment that would propel her into a career where she could write stories that actually mattered, she gets into more trouble than she bargained for, and gets rescued by none other than Sam. Their attraction to each other is instantaneous, their coming together as passionate as it gets, giving Lisa pleasure of the kind she has been denied all her life.

What happens next is what makes the story a hard pill to swallow. Misunderstandings, plus the behavior on the part of both Sam and Lisa makes it difficult to identify which character you should be rooting for. Like many readers, I felt that Sam was an asshole of the first order. Given that, I do have to mention the fact that his past, the scars he carries from a marriage that had eviscerated the man he was, his childhood; all of that contributed towards making him react the way he does. Inexcusable, but I understood where all that stemmed from.

Lisa on the other hand, is just as scarred, but in a different way compared to Sam. It is not easy for Lisa to relate to a man of Sam’s caliber, masculinity, and brashness, but in his arms Lisa does find what she has been craving for, what she had not thought possible all her life. Her scars run just as deep, and somewhere along the way, fall she does, and hard, for Sam and his touch that brands her as his right from the start.

The ending was what saved the story from being categorized as one of those reads that most women wouldn’t find pleasure in reading. I believe that the time apart gave Lisa as a character the time to grow, to learn how to stand on her own, which I see as something important if you are to love someone the way she loves Sam. The groveling was done to a fine art on the part of Sam, with him going after Lisa proving to be the saving grace, which otherwise I would have probably thrown my e-reader to the wall.

Recommended for those who can take a hero who is pretty rough around the edges, who will test your patience, and reforms to a point where you can at least think about forgiving him for all  that was said and done.

Final Verdict: In To Love a Man, Robards delivers a hero that might not be for everyone.

Favorite Quotes

He thrust into her with hard urgency, and Lisa gasped with pleasure, thinking she would die of pure bliss. His answering growl inflamed her. She rose and fell with him as he moved in, then out, then in again, in a relentless, driving rhythm. Her head was thrown back, her mouth wide open as he took her, her nails digging mindlessly into his muscled back. There was no room in her head for anything except the wonder of her own need. Then his hands closed over her buttocks, lifting them so that he could thrust more deeply inside her, and his mouth clamped over hers with a harsh groan. Lisa could stand no more. Pleasure that had been denied for years burst gloriously inside her, and she cried out against his mouth. He felt her joy and responded with one final, savage thrust, holding himself inside her, shaking. Then it was over.

“God,” she heard him mutter. The word sounded strangled. Then his hands were tugging at her shorts, his fingers shaking as he fumbled with the knotted rope that served as her belt. She lifted her hips off the ground, aiding him as he dragged her shorts and panties and shoes off together. Then his big body was upon her, his weight crushing her into the ground as his hands thrust her bra out of the way of his marauding mouth.
“Now,” she cried, moaning, her legs opening to him of their own volition. “Oh, now, Sam, please, now!”
He thrust into her urgently, his hardness impaling her soft flesh.

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


Review: This Side of Heaven by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookthissideofheaven
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Matt Mathieson
Heroine: Caroline Wetherby
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 1, 1991
Started On: September 21, 2016
Finished On: September 21, 2016

32 year old Matt Mathieson, is the widowed and single father of two boys, going two years since his wife had died. Determined never to marry again, Matt’s life and that of his small family changes drastically when his wife’s sister turns up on his doorstep, having traveled all the way from England.

22 year old Caroline Wetherby is the beautiful half sister of Matt’s deceased wife. Having being left destitute with the death of their father who had made his life in the gambling halls throughout the city, Caroline travels all the way to America to find refuge with her sister, someone she has not seen in 15 long years. Wary of what would happen, telling herself its a mistake, she nevertheless has no choice, only to turn up and realize that her sister is no more.

Though Matt does not want much to do with Caroline, a small part of him is unable to turn away from Caroline’s need for a place to stay. The practical side of his character tells him that they all need a female presence around them, that his boys need a motherly influence in their lives. Against the wishes of his boys, Matt offers her shelter in return for her services as a female of the household, never knowing truly, how Caroline would prove to him that she is unlike any woman he has known before and would ever come across again.

This Side of Heaven has a trope that I love reading about. The reluctant and widowed hero, who for whatever reason believes that he would never remarry and the woman who turns up and throws his life into complete disarray. That was one of the reasons why I picked up this title, plus the point that I am a fan of Karen Robards, mostly of her earlier works. Though some of her books have failed to deliver on a large scale, the ones that do, do so remarkably well, which is one reason why I keep revisiting her older titles every now and then.

Though I liked the story that unfolded, the slow sizzle of awareness between Matt and Caroline, the story that I envisioned for them failed to materialize in between. On the plus side, Matt was not a hero of the asshole variety, as most heroes tend to be in earlier historical novels. However, their coming together was not the joyous and fireworks filled affair I thought it would be – at first. Nevertheless, Matt & Caroline were characters that grew on me.

Though the ending where Caroline nearly meets her maker at the hand of the villagers who see her for something else other than what she is proved to be sort of anticlimactic, I would still recommend This Side of Heaven because I enjoyed reading this in one sitting.

Final Verdict: Though not Robards’ best, This Side of Heaven delivers a great read!

Favorite Quotes

Matt looked at her for a long moment without answering, his face dark and his eyes restless. Then he laughed, a short, harsh sound that had nothing of amusement in it. “What does that mean, my poppet? Are you sure you want to know? But I’m going to tell you, since you’ve asked, whether you want to hear it or not. It means that you’ve been a raging fever in my blood for months. I can’t think, I can’t work, I lie awake nights going mad with wanting you. Is that enough to send you flying back to the house, or do you want to hear more?”

He kissed her as if he was starving for the taste of her mouth, kissed her as if he’d been hungry for eternity and, now, having been offered the sustenance he sought, was determined to have his fill. This was no gentle wooing, but a hard, needy taking, and Caroline could do nothing but cling to his shoulders and open her mouth to his and yield.

“Trust me, poppet,” he whispered in her ear. Caroline was briefly reminded of Eve and the serpent, who must once have murmured something very similar. But then his long fingers were moving lower yet, sliding down between her legs to touch her there so gently that the fire that ignited inside her as a result was almost shameful, and she no longer entertained any rational thoughts at all. Because surely that undemanding pressure should not in itself be enough to create such an inner burning! It was like liquid fire, a most pleasurable liquid fire that made her breathing quicken until she was almost panting and her body writhe against the hand that caressed her and the hard male body pressed close against her back.

“God in heaven!” he muttered as her lips brushed the whitened ridge and were withdrawn. The grin disappeared entirely in favor of a grimace as his eyes flared and turned dark “Then he was pushing her back down and lowering himself atop her, kissing her as if he would steal her very soul, his hands everywhere, caressing and arousing and possessing, lifting her legs to encircle his waist even as his body staked the most primitive claim of all.

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


Review: The Senator’s Wife by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookthesenatorswife
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Thomas S. Quinlan
Heroine: Veronica Honneker
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 12, 1998
Started On: August 23, 2016
Finished On: August 24, 2016

Karen Robards is an author I have good memories of even though I don’t read her as often now as I used to. Some of her books like Wild Orchids has been in my favorite shelf since forever, books that I continue to revisit every now and then because of the sheer pleasure they bring to me. The Senator’s Wife is a novel that might not be very well received by readers of the genre. Looking at the ratings on Goodreads, it is fair to say that it is pretty much true. Published in 1998, Karen Robards puts together a heroine who is married, a hero who would rather not mix business with pleasure and gives a combustible story that contains elements of suspense to it that I absolutely reveled in.

Veronica Honneker (Ronnie) grew up dreaming of a better life. A life where she would not have to worry about money and putting food on the table. She had basically modeled her life to reach that goal. And in becoming a senator’s wife, she basically clinched the deal and shouldn’t have been feeling like an empty shell wondering whether the price she had paid to get where she was had become too high. Someone who has to put up a strong wall of pretense just to get through every single day on the campaign trail to get her husband re-elected is not the life she had in fact envisioned for herself.

Then comes Thomas S. Quinlan to polish up her image, to help get the Senator re-elected. With Tom’s reputation on the line, he can hardly believe it when he starts seeing Ronnie in a light that others seldom see. The way she tempts him to take a walk on the wild side, everything else be damned, is a feeling he certainly does not like or particularly want. But fate has a way of bringing these two together time and yet again, and though Tom might despise himself for lusting after the wife of another man, it is a losing battle that he wages with his inner caveman when it comes to Ronnie.

At first, Ronnie for me was a difficult character to love. She came off as vain, selfish and more interested in materialistic benefits that are to be had in the world. But then, as the story progressed, she started to change, subtly and then more visibly, until I grew to love her as much as I did Tom right from the very start. Tom is a hero who is earthily sexy in a way that few heroes of recent times tend to be. Men depicted as they should be perhaps, what I miss dearly in most romances of today. 

Most readers would definitely not like this story because of the aspects of adultery involved in the novel. But then, I believe that that is life for you. Sometimes your happily ever after starts and evolves from a messy tangle that you think would never sort itself out. It is a hard and treacherous road that one takes. But sometimes, it does give one the happily ever after they would never have had otherwise. Of course, circumstances has to be right for readers to be able to muster up sympathy for the character. I believe that Karen Robards did justice to Ronnie’s character by not painting her in such a light – I liked the story better this way.

Definitely recommended for those that love unconventional stories!

Final Verdict: Unconventional in the emotions it elicits, The Senator’s Wife makes for a compulsive page-turner!

Favorite Quotes

For a moment he just stood there, unmoving, while her hand slid behind his neck and her mouth coaxed his. She watched his reaction from beneath lowered lids. His eyes were open and fixed on her face. When her tongue slid between his closed lips, he stiffened. She could sense resistance in every hard line of his body; she worked her fingers down inside his shirt collar at the back of his neck, caressing his warm skin. At the same time, she drew his lower lip into her mouth and bit down.
Dark color suffused his face. He made an inarticulate sound. Then his lids shut, his mouth opened, and the hand that held hers prisoner between their bodies released its grip to slide around her waist. He took control of the kiss with a thoroughness that dazzled her.

“God, I’ve wanted this,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. Then he was yanking her panties down her legs and rolling on top of her and kissing her with quick, savage movements that told her that he, too, had reached the limits of his control. She wrapped her legs around his waist as he slid between her thighs, so ready for him that she thought she would die if she had to wait another second.
He thrust inside her, huge and hot and hard, driving deep and fast over and over again until she was mindless, crying out at the wonder of it, gouging his back with her nails until at last she came with an intensity that she had never dreamed she was capable of, her preconceived notions of herself and the world shattering into a million pieces as she cried out his name.

Without another word he picked her up and carried her to the bed.
His lovemaking was hard and furious, nothing like the previous times. He demanded and she gave, entering her almost immediately, almost forcing her to a response that was shattering in its intensity. He set the pace, taking what he wanted, manipulating her expertly until she could do nothing but writhe and cling and cry out his name.
The end, when it came, was explosive.
Then he started up again.

She didn’t stop, couldn’t stop. Her hands were urgent, tugging at his snap, pulling down his zipper, reaching inside his boxers until his member was free. He was huge and hot and pulsing and alive, and she took him in her mouth, cupping the vulnerable softness beneath with tender care. She kissed and suckled and nibbled and bit until every breath he took sounded like a groan.
Then his hands clenched in her hair. He pulled her mouth off him, yanked off his jeans, and dropped down on his knees in front of her. He pushed her onto her back in a glowing patch of moonlight, pulling her nightgown up and off as he did so. Lying on top of her, pulling her legs around his waist, he came into her hard.

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


Review: Desire in the Sun by Karen Robards

Format: Paperbackdesireinthesun
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harper Collins
Hero: Jocelyn San Pietro
Heroine: Delilah Remy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 26, 2006
Started On: April 15, 2012
Finished On: May 5, 2013

Desire in the Sun by Karen Robards is a book that has been sitting in my TBR pile since I bought a paperback copy of it when I was in Malaysia in 2009. I have been putting off reading this for one reason or the other and almost one year after I started reading, I actually managed to finish the story and loved it too!

Delilah Remy (Lilah) is the much pampered and only child of her very rich father who has ensured that she led a very privileged life growing up. Though Lilah dreams of being swept off her feet by some mysterious man who would turn up and make her heart beat faster and make her go all dewy eyed in remembrance, Lilah is of the mind that such things do not happen in real life. That is until Jocelyn San Pietro (Joss) happens into her life who shows her a glimpse of how wonderful it could be and everything goes so horribly awry afterwards.

One minute Joss is his own boss, the commander of his own life who has a feeling that meeting Lilah has changed his life in an inexplicable way and that life would never be the same for him ever again. The next, he faces ultimate betrayal and finds himself taken as a slave, his fierce pride and the anger that flares to life at the injustice nothing short of violent in its desire to be unleashed on those who caused the misfortune to befall on him.

Though it seems unlikely that Lilah and Joss would ever find a way to make things work for them, fate seems to have a different plan in store as they find themselves thrown together time and yet again. When stranded on an island with no one else to act as a buffer to the smouldering passion that is almost always a tangible part of the connection they have with each other, its inevitable that the dam burst open and the passion held on a tight leash find free rein in its abandoned glory.

The trials and tribulations that Joss and Lilah go through in their journey to finally be able to love each other freely and on their own terms was an amazing journey, every minute of which I loved. I loved both Lilah and Joss. I found Joss to be a refreshingly different hero from Jonathan, the hero from Island Flame and Sea Fire who turned out to be the material out of which ass-hole heroes are made of. Joss has this sweetness about him even though he is all alpha when it matters. Lilah seems to be the perfect fit for him and even though there were some gruesome bits to the story, there were those moments of hilarity that occurs between Joss and Lilah that gives the reader no choice but to laugh out loud.

All in all a very enjoyable historical romance by one of my favourite authors in the romance genre, recommended for fans of the genre and fans of Karen Robards.

Favorite Quotes

Lilah gasped as she felt the fiery heat probing against her. Then he was inside the first little bit and his hands on her hips were tugging her down, down until he filled her and she was squirming against the hugeness of him.”Love me,” he muttered again, the words thick. His eyes were glazed, his face flushed with passion.

Lilah cried out as his hands closed over them.
As if that small sound had snapped something inside of him, he groaned and pulled her down to him so that he could take her breasts in his mouth. He suckled with savage hunger, his hands hard and hot on the silken roundness of her bottom as he held her still above him and ground himself upwards into her.

She clasped her arms around his back and lifted her hips to meet him as he thrust wildly inside her.
At last, when he had brought her trembling to the brink and then pushed her over, she got what she wanted. As he convulsed inside her and groaned the words in her ear: “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Over and over, like a litany.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N


Re-Read Review: Wild Orchids by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookwildorchids
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: John Roberts “Max” Maxwell
Heroine: Lora Susan Harding
Published on: March 15, 2001
Started On: August 28, 2011
Finished On: August 28, 2011

Reading Wild Orchids by Karen Robards for the 3rd time doesn’t seem to have diminished my enjoyment factor of the novel by even one iota. Call me crazy but even with the massive amount of books I have on my review pile, I just had to pick this one up and read it in one sitting yet again because the magic that is Max and Lora is an unbeatable one for me.

37 year old John Roberts Maxwell (Max) is a man hardened by the reality of war that had been his way of life when he had been enlisted in the Vietnam war. Leaving a piece of his soul behind due to the decisions he had been forced to make, Max comes home a changed man, a man incapable of giving what his innocent wife had demanded of him. A cynic to the core, Max doesn’t realize that life as he knows it would cease to exist the moment he kidnaps the prim and proper Lora in his attempt to evade the authorities of Mexico.

27 year old Lora Susan Harding is finally a free woman with the right to while away her time as she pleases. Having spent most of her life trying to put others needs first, Lora is ecstatic with the thought of exploring the exotic Mexico, the first vacation she has ever taken in her life. However, from the very start, her vacation refuses to proceed along as she envisoned it and being kidnapped at gun point by a disreputable looking man with an American accent just seems to be the icing on the cake.

At first, Lora is scared out of her wits at the thought of the less than savory acts her captor might try and force on her. A lady through and through, Lora hardly accepts herself to find her captor ridiculously sexy to the extent of ogling him and eating him up with her eyes every chance she gets. No stranger to the world of intimacy, Lora however has no clue that the uninhibited creature that emerges from deep within her that just wants to lick her delectable and broody captor from head to toe is a side of her that exists.

After Lora’s multiple attempts to escape which falls flat on her face every single time, Lora comes to the disturbing conclusion that she has a bad case of the Stockholme’s syndrome if judging the way all her emotions go haywire around Max is anything to judge herself by. Through a chain of events, Lora finds herself stranded in the midst of a Mexican jungle, depending on Max for her very survival. As the proximity heightens the already taut live wire of sexual tension between them, both Max and Lora find themselves to be no match for its heady power.

Wild Orchids would always remain by far my most favorite novel by Karen Robards. For some, Max might not be the stuff dreams are made out of. But when push comes to shove, Max is a man who delivers and Lord does he deliver! A man who is leery of commitment and relationships, Max cannot believe himself when he starts lusting after the prim schoolteacher who lands in his life. The harder he tries to shove her thoughts and presence out of his mind, the more tenacious her hold on him becomes and its a match that Max loses, rather ungraciously at first. Vital, sexy and the ultimate dangerous hero is how I would describe Max.

Lora’s character is an endearing mix of innocence and practicality all laced into one with a body that practically drives Max to the brink of insanity. It is the way she reaches far deeper than just his baser emotions that has Max struggling to shove her away with all his might, a man reluctant to share his demons with a woman Max thinks would be just as incapable of handling reality as his ex-wife had seemed to be.

Though towards the end, I definitely want a bit more grovelling from Max every time I read this one, I think the ending itself might be growing on me as I didn’t find it that sorely lacking the third time around. It seemed a fitting ending based on both Max and Lora’s characters and my bet is Lora loves Max too much to even give him enough leeway to do much grovelling even if it were to come to that.

The best thing about this book, hands down is the raw, explosive and primitive passion between two people that just serves as one whole session of sensory overload from start to finish.

Highly recommended!

Favorite Quotes

(Max) He shook his head impatiently. “You’ll be all right. I’ve got to go. Lora…” he hesitated, then with a muttered, “Hell!” swooped over her. Before she knew what was happening, he had her pinned back against the seat and his mouth was on hers, hard and hot and almost brutal in its demand. His hand was rough and warm on her breast. Lora’s senses exploded. She forgot the men outside the car, her anger with Max, everything as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back with a hunger that had been building inside her forever…

“Lora…” Her name was a tormented whisper as he kissed her harder, fiercer than before, as if he was starving for the taste of her mouth. She twisted in his arms, not trying to get away but to work her arms free… She managed to push them up through his crushing hold and lock them around his neck. He groaned deep in his throat, and she groaned too in protest as his mouth suddenly left hers. He was looking down at her, his breathing heavy, a wild glitter in his eyes. Lora lifted one hand from the corded nape of his neck and lightly stroked the rough, wet edges of his hair.

He smiled then, a slow smile that sent the blood racing through her veins. Lora felt the throbbing inside her intensify until she was sure she would not be able to stand it another second as he slowly, oh, so slowly, lowered his head. His target was her left breast. Lora felt his hot mouth close on the straining nipple, felt him tug the crest of her breast into his mouth to rub it with the rough wet surface of his tongue, and cried out in a frenzy of need.
And in that instant he took her.
She climaxed at once as he squeezed inside, enormous and hard and fiery hot and filling her to bursting.

Lora followed his eyes to the subject of their conversation. He was such a masculine man, tall and strong and sure of himself, cocky almost. A male chauvinist to his toenails, she suspected, as incapable of admitting to feeling hurt and lonely and afraid as a pig was of flying. But he was vulnerable too, enormously vulnerable. More than many people who openly asked for it, he needed love. He needed someone to hold him in her arms and convince him that what he had done was not so bad, was not unforgivable, did not put him beyond the pale of normal society. To convince him that he was lovable. And loved. And she meant to be that someone.

Funny, she had always thought that thin, bespectacled, intellectual types like Brian attracted her. Lora had to smile at her own naivete. Who would have guessed that she, Lora Harding, would buckle at the knees over a hunk of male beef?

E-book Purchase Links: ReaderStore | Barnes&Noble | Amazon


Reviewers Note: From time to time, I get a hankering to re-read my favorite novels and sometimes I find myself with the urge revise the review that I had written down previously. Since I feel that revising a review that had been published a long time back is not something that ought to be done, I have resorted to start a new reviewing process aka the Re-Read Review. Books that rate a Re-Read Review would mostly be books that I am quite gushy about and cannot recommend highly enough!

Review: Heartbreaker by Karen Robards

Format: Paperbackheartbreaker
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Jess Feldman
Heroine: Lynn Nelson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 24, 2011
Started On: May 22, 2011
Finished On: May 22, 2011

With the end of the world stuff circulating around the Internet and the world media, I picked up quite a fitting read for the occasion, and I promise you that it was all by coincidence. Karen Robards is a favorite author of mine and every now and then I pick up something of hers just to get my fix of Ms. Robards who delivers kick-ass romantic suspense with a superb dose of sensuality in almost all of her novels of the genre. Similarly Heartbreaker is a contemporary romantic suspense packed with non-stop action and a race against time as well as the bad guys with a heady mix of humor in it that makes this a great read!

35 year old Lynn Nelson, anchorwoman of WMAQ Chicago is on a vacation from Hell. Lynn had signed up for a 10 day long wilderness vacation just so she can try and work on her relationship with her 14 year old daughter Rory who seems to have a bone to pick with her lately. Lynn is not someone who is at all prepared to “bond” with nature and with her plans to spend more time with Rory backfiring in her face, Lynn is resigned to having a miserable time on the 1st vacation she has taken in 3 years when danger strikes propelling Lynn and her daughter to depend on the last person she would trust for survival.

35 year old Jess Feldman co-owns Adventure Inc. with his elder brother Owen. Jess is handsome, charming and easygoing and has the hots for Lynn from the moment she steps down from the plane to become part of the wilderness vacation which is promoted and carried out by Adventure Inc. And though Lynn makes her disdain for “fake” cowboys clear right from the start, Jess is glutton for punishment as Jess is a man who likes beautiful babes with “balls” as his brother Owen keeps saying.

When a freak accident of nature separates Lynn and Rory from the rest of the group, it is Jess who comes to their rescue, proving that he is the “real” cowboy material time and time again. Surviving the freak accident only to stumble upon one’s worst nightmare, Jess, Rory and Lynn are forced to run for their lives as they are chased through the forest not really knowing what lies in store for them. When a clearer picture emerges from the unfolding events, Jess and Lynn are horrified by the scale to which a mad man who is hell bent on achieving his prophecy of the world coming to an end become true, even if it means taking matters into his own hands, in the most devastating ways possible.

I loved the adventure aspect of this novel. The pace though at the very beginning of the novel tended to be a bit slow for me, once danger comes calling, there is no stopping the chain of events that follows making Heartbreaker a great adventure romance.

I loved Jess’s character. He is the furthest thing from being broody and tortured and all that that makes us ladies go weak at the knees. Contrary to that, Jess is charming, sexy as sin and has a way of teasing Lynn that just brings to light the his endearing qualities. Now before you all go on and think that he is a beta hero, let me stop you right there and say that every single inch of Jess is alpha through and through. When push comes to shove, he is the guy to you can depend on to save you and he certainly proves himself much more than able in ALL the areas that matter *wink*. And I damn near broke out into an applause each single time that Jess kept on surprising Lynn with his true character!

Though the romance aspect of the novel is kept at a minimal, that does’t make the impact of the sexual tension that rises between Jess and Lynn any less and of course the scenes of passion any less memorable. And I so loved the humor-filled tone of the whole story that just kept me on the verge of laughing out loud even through the most tension wrecked moments.

Moving onto Lynn, at first I was ready to project myself into the story and bitch slap her a time or two because she kept getting on my nerves with her less than wonderful attitude. But she does a wonderful job of turning herself around and knowing where her ballsy nature comes from helped in settling my emotions down where she was concerned. In the end, she turns out to be a champion as much as Jess and things do finally end on a happy note with her daughter Rory too! All in all, a very well rounded tale that earns 4 solid stars from the sunny side of life!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo


Review: Hunter’s Moon by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookhunter
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Will Lyman
Heroine: Molly Ballard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 1, 1996
Started On: September 4, 2010
Finished On: September 4, 2010

Hunter’s Moon was the first book ever that I read from Karen Robards which made me ultimately fall in love with her stories and writing style. Though certain titles from Ms. Robards leaves a lot to be desired, most of her stories continue to enchant me and leave me wishing that there were more authors like Ms. Robards out there.

Hunter’s Moon starts off during the year 1982, when 12 year old Libby Coleman disappears on the night of 15th November never to be seen again. The story then continues 13 years later with Will Lyman from the FBI from Chicago who had worked on big time cases is assigned to chase the pettiest criminals he had the misfortune to come across in his career over in Kentucky. City born and bred, Will felt suffocated with the fresh air that he had to breathe in. Will knew that he landed with the assignment because his boss Dave Hallum was pissed off at him him for the fact that the criminals that he had been chasing on a case had blown up his cabin cruiser. For that alone, he had landed in Kentucky with John Murphy as his partner, who is as laid back as they come. Will who was naturally a quick talking, quick thinking and quick acting kind of guy found himself gritting his teeth with Murphy’s attitude. Will who was 39 years old, has an 18 year old son Kevin, and had been married to Kevin’s mother Debbie who had been killed in car accident two days after their son had turned 3 years old.

Will had been assigned to find out what was happening in the horse racetracks in Kentucky where Senator Paxton who bets on race horses suspected that something fishy was going on when his usual bets had turned up losses recently. Senator Paxton had asked his friend and Hallum’s boss to investigate and in turn the assignment had landed in Will’s hands. Will had found out that in fact, Senator Paxton’s suspicions were true and was laying down a trap to lure in Dan Simpson, the horse trainer of the Wayland farm, one of those suspected in substituting the actual racehorse with others and betting on them to draw in huge amounts of money. A burlap feed bag with 5000 dollars in cash had been placed inside the barn and Will and Murphy were monitoring what was going on when a woman whom neither Will nor Murphy has any clue who she is, finds the bag of cash and leaves with it.

Molly Ballard had quit her job at the Wayland Farm four days ago in a fit of fiery temper when Thorton Wayland, the obnoxious grandson of the stable owner had grabbed her butt. Molly knew that her family could not afford the loss of her job and she was determined that Dan Simpson, her boss would pay her the two week’s pay that he owed her. Knowing Dan and his ego, Molly knew that he might refuse to pay what he owed her. Thus Molly had come in earlier than usual before Dan came in so that she would have no chance of missing him. It is inside the barn that Molly finds the bag of cash and without thinking takes it and goes home.

When Molly realized what she had done, the recriminations of her actions had slowly started to sink in. If she were to go to jail or if someone were to kill her for the money, Molly knows that there would be no one else to look out for her 4 younger siblings. Molly had been a baby when her father had walked out on them. Her mother being a manic depressive had born 4 more kids, each for a different man. Ashely who was 17, Mike 14 and Sam and Susan who were twins were 12 years old. With an unreliable mother, Molly and her siblings had all spent their early childhood in various foster homes until Molly had turned 18. Together with her mother, Molly had brought her siblings home and things had been good for a while until her mother had committed suicide in her newest boyfriend’s apartment. It was Molly who had found her with her slashed wrists and blood everywhere. Molly had never notified the authorities of the fact that her siblings were living with her and thus looked after the 4 of them and she wouldn’t have it any other way even though money was always tight and they barely got by.

When Will shows up on her doorstep, Molly fears that everything in her life is about to come crashing down. Mortified more than anything that she had indeed stolen the money and with Will having videotaped evidence of the fact, she is more than relieved when Will believes her version of what happened. But when the informant that Will and Murphy had been relying upon commits suicide, Will needs to work out another plan to make his case work. Thus Will approaches Molly again, this time offering her the 5000 dollars if she would help him nab those he was after. With Will holding all the cards, Molly knows that she has no choice but to do as Will has asked and she agrees to pose as Will’s girlfriend for the duration of the assignment.

Unwittingly, Will who has always maintained perfect control on his emotions and had never mixed his professional life with his personal one suddenly finds himself yearning to do just that with the delectable Molly. At first, Will had felt sorry for the hand life had dealt Molly and her family, but then the stirrings of attraction and awareness begins unlike any he has ever felt before. Will knows he is too old for a 24 year old woman who looks like a teenager at the best of times. Molly who has never had a lack of male companions and had always had the upper hand with the men she dated finds herself out of her depth with the intense emotions she feels for Will. Molly knows that if she is not careful, she would end up falling for a man who would leave them all when the case was over. Nevertheless, the careful control Will yields on his emotions breaks apart and both Molly and Will decide to give in to what they feel for each other.

When Molly falls in love with Will though she tries so hard to deny it and walk away from it, in the end it is Will who walks away when unknowingly Molly stumbles upon the evidence that supports Will’s case. After a final showdown in which both Will and Molly say things that they regret to each other, Will goes back to Chicago and life continues though the pain Molly feels is unlike anything she has ever known. And then 3 weeks later, on the 15th of November, tragedy strikes when a bunch of violent horse mutilations on various nights throughout October culminate in Susan being kidnapped whilst in bed asleep and it is this turn of events that brings Will running back to Molly. Will has to face the fact that what he feels for Molly and her package deal is the forever kind of emotions before its too late for all of them as the maniac killer who had laid dormant for the past 13 years is back with a vengeance and in a frenzy to kill.

Will is an intense hero who makes me melt all over and Molly and her family bring a heartwarming glow to this wonderful romantic suspense novel. The witty banter between Will and Molly always brought a smile to my face and the intense attraction that simmers between the two is always something to be savored. My favorite scene from the book is when Will loses his legendary control with Molly because he is so infuriated with her and they have sex on top of his car, right before he walks out of Molly’s life. That scene was HOT!

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Review: Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Steve Calhoun
Heroine: Summer McAfee
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 1, 1995
Started On: September 3, 2010
Finished On: September 3, 2010

Walking After Midnight has the features that makes a romantic suspense novel a page turner. With unbeatable romance, a larger than life hero and a heroine who matches him in every way with mean as hell bad guys running after them, this book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Summer McAfee is 36 years old, divorced from Dr. Lemuel C.Rosencrans, a urologist who had left her to get married to his 22 year old nurse. Right after high school, rather than go to college as her parents had wanted her to, she had taken the money her parents had set aside for her college and left to make her way as a lingerie model. She had always thought there would be ample enough time left to study afterwards but life happened and before she knew it, younger models were replacing her and she returned home to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in Smoky Mountains. There she had met and married Lem, who had in reality married the model that she had been and not the woman she really was. Lem had tried hard to mold her into what he wanted her to look like and Summer had let him do that for 5 long miserable years during which she had developed bulimia as a result of starving herself to look good enough for her husband. When Lem had left her with no means to support herself, Summer had done the only thing viable and used the only skill that she had developed as a housewife and started cleaning for other people. And thus her baby Daisy Fresh Janitorial Services had been born.

One of Daisy Fresh Janitorial Service’s most important clients was the Harmon Brothers, a chain of funeral homes which required that the place be cleaned up during the night. Though Summer had hired a cleaning crew of two members who had not turned up for the 2nd time that month, in the end it was Summer who had to see the job through for the night. Being alone in a funeral home was making her skin crawl with her imagination going overdrive. With the toilets scrubbed to her satisfaction, Summer is about to leave when she spies the light that is switched on in the embalming room. Knowing that her client required her to switch off all the lights before leaving the premises, Summer makes her way into the room against her better judgment.  When she sees a second uncovered body in the room with bruises all over, and sees the body move, Summer knows that she wouldn’t be able to put the incident out of her mind until she checks whether the body is dead for real. Before she knows how it happened, the bruised and naked body on the table threatens her with a wicked looking scalpel and kidnaps her from the funeral home.

Steve Calhoun had served as a detective with the Tennessee State Police until scandal had ruined him and his career. Right after high school Steve had joined the Marines and later on majored in Law Enforcement. Steve and his buddy Mitch had always been tight and together since childhood. Whilst Mitch was taller, leaner, handsomer and smoother compared to Steve who no one would describe as handsome but has an impressive body with an enigmatic presence, Mitch had been the hell raiser whilst Steve had been the dependable one of the two. When Mitch got into all sorts of trouble, it had been Steve who had born the brunt of rescuing him from whatever mishap Mitch had gotten into. When Mitch and Steve meet Deedee at a local hangout during high school, Steve is immediately drawn to her but it is with Mitch whom Deedee hopelessly falls in love with and gets married to. Even during marriage, Steve had covered for Mitch when he had cheated on Deedee. Steve had met Elaine after he left the Marines and married her who had borne him his daughter Corey. Though Steve had gone through all his life based on the motto Semper fidelis – always faithful, on a night he was drunk, he had succumbed and had sex with the lonely wife of his best buddy. Two weeks into the affair, Steve had started to feel guilt creeping in on him and had broken things off with Deedee who later committed suicide in his office leaving behind a tape which showed steamy interludes between Steve and Deedee and a note on his computer that she was committing suicide because he had broken up with her to go back to Elaine.

Needless to say, Steve had lost his job, his wife had left him and divorced him and requested for sole custody of their daughter. Steve had agreed to it all believing that he deserved it all as the punishment that befit him for what he had done. Steve had nearly lost himself in being a drunk, but the knowledge that his own daughter hated his guts had served as a splash of cold water on his face and he had  been sober ever since. Niggling doubts had arisen with his sobriety about how Deedee had died and following up on the investigation that he had been conducting when life had gone all shitty on him had ended up in him being beaten within an inch of his life and waiting to be embalmed on the table of a funeral home.

Thinking at first Summer to be in cahoots with the thugs who were after him, Steve pretty much makes Summer’s life miserable and forces her to ride along with him whilst he tries to escape the goons who were pretty much after his head. Stealing a van with two dead bodies inside it and riding off into the night with helicopters chasing after them, Summer has no choice but to go along for the ride unless she wanted to be killed. When Summer learns who Steve is and knows deep in her gut that he wouldn’t harm a hair on her head and gets more than fed up of being on the run, being the naive woman she is decides to cut her losses and go home. Though Steve warns her that the goons who were after him would probably know her identity Summer doesn’t listen and in the end they both barely manage to escape with their lives intact with the help of her mother’s dog Muffy.

Thus begins Steve and Summer’s journey for survival through the rough terrain that forms the Smoky Mountains with the whole country on the look out for them for double homicide. Things start getting interesting when despite everything that has happened, both Summer and Steve starts to feel the first stirrings of attraction between them which blazes out of control within no time. Steve who doesn’t want the hassle of a relationship finds himself more occupied with thoughts of Summer and her effect on him than clearing up his name and delving into the heart of the matter that had landed him in this precarious situation. When Summer realizes that she had fallen head over heels in love with her Frankenstein, all bets are off and she doesn’t stop until Steve too admits that what is happening between them is special.

Their plans to clear up their names go awry when the goons in question kidnap Steve’s daughter and ex-wife and hold them hostage. All along, it is the van that Steve and Summer stole in order to make their escape from the funeral home that the goons were after and the final showdown does reveal in the end the story of crooked cops and politicians who were benefiting from drug trading within the country.

Both Steve and Summer are two broken people who finds in one another the will to heal and love again. The dialogues between the two are witty and made me smile all the way through. The adventure was good enough to keep me on the edge and the romance and passion hot enough to curl my toes. Though I didn’t care much for the paranormal aspect in the book, this is an adventure worth sinking into with a few surprises in store to make it all worth towards the end.

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Review: One Summer by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookone summer
Read with: Amazon Kindle & Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Johnny Wayne Harris
Heroine: Rachel Grant
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 1993
Started On: September 2, 2010
Finished On: September 2, 2010

This was a title I read sometime back when I first discovered Karen Robards as an author. I have always remembered this book to be one that I had immensely liked and thus I decided to revisit this story and see what had intrigued me so much back then.

Rachel Grant lives in the sleepy town of Tylerville. Coming from a rich affluent family Rachel now past thirty years of age was resigned to the fact that she would most probably spend her life in Tylerville as a high school English teacher. With her sister Becky married to Michael Hennessey, the one man who had managed to fire up her dreams and living elsewhere with her husband and three girls, Rachel knew that she would not be able to leave her mother Elisabeth and her father Stan Grant behind when her beloved father was suffering from Alzheimer disease and taking its toll on all those who loved him.

Johnny Wayne Harris is the boy from the wrong side of town. Rachel had been Johnny’s English teacher and it was only she that had seen beneath the tough as nails exterior that Johnny puts up in front of everyone else. The Harris family was considered to be white trash within Tylerville and everyone always figured that Johnny would in the end turn out to be just like his father, when in fact he had turned out to be worse when he was convicted of the vicious murder of Marybeth Edwards who had been seeing Johnny back then on the sly. Though Rachel believed that Johnny hadn’t committed the murder, the state decided that he in fact did and had sent him to jail.

Now Johnny was back, having to work off his parole and Rachel wanting to give him a second chance though she knew Tylerville would be in an uproar for the fact, offers him a job at her family’s hardware store. From the moment that Johnny steps off the bus Rachel knows that he is not the boy that she had envisioned in mind. The sullen even then handsome boy had filled up and in front of her stood a lean, hard and tough man who had matured into a dangerous looking man.

Johnny had always had the “hots” for his then teacher Rachel and had always fantasized about her during his teen years. But even then Johnny had known that apart from the age barrier that had seemed vaster back then, they would never be of the same social standing within the society and any relationship that they could have would be doomed right from the start. But Johnny was tired of dreaming and never having and all of a sudden he craves Rachel with the burning desire of a grown man.

Rachel is appalled when she feels the first inklings of red hot desire when she sees what a superb specimen of the male species that Johnny is. And with him enticing her every step of the way and slowly seducing her into his arms, Rachel who had always cared about Johnny more than she had let on suddenly finds herself out of her depths in the strong feelings that Johnny invokes in her. Its not long before the flames of desire that keeps burning finally burst out of control and Johnny is a man who definitely knows how to keep his woman happy.

Meanwhile, the actual killer who committed the heinous crime twelve years back is still on the loose and swearing to finish what had been started all those years back. When Johnny’s close friend and on and off lover Glenda Watkins is also stabbed to death in the same manner as Marybeth was, the town is in an uproar over arresting Johnny and sending him to the electric chair. The only thing that saves him is Rachel and her testimony that Johnny couldn’t have killed Glenda.

Johnny deduces that the only thing that the killer wants is to kill women who were in his life as his lovers. And Johnny knows deep in his gut that Rachel with whom he had fallen in love with and would lay down his life for was in danger of being murdered by the maniac on the loose.

This story is a wonderful read. The total bad boy image that Ms. Robards has effectively created for Johnny would infuse any woman’s dreams. And the man that he grows into is one worth salivating over. Rachel is more than his match with her unwavering faith in him and the love that burns deep within her heart for the man whom the society deems as unacceptable. With glimpses into Rachel’s family life, the town that abhors Johnny’s existence and the ramblings of the mind of a killer vicious enough that gave me the creeps, I couldn’t put this book down once I started. Highly recommended for those who are fans of Ms. Robards as well as those who love romantic thrillers with a good dosage of sensuality in the mix.

Favorite Quotes

Sometimes, in prison, when he’d been lying awake at night staring at the bunk over his head, Johnny had thought that he missed Wolf most of all.
Wasn’t that a damned sad commentary on his life?
The dog whined again. Knowing he was being ridiculous, that he was liable to lose the hand at the wrist when the animal charged, Johnny nonetheless took a step forward,holding out his fingers for sniffing.
“Wolf? Come here, boy.”
Incredibly, the huge animal sank to its belly and slunk forward, behaving as if it wanted to believe but feared a cruel trick. Johnny dropped to his knees to greet it, his hands reaching out, burrowing in the coarse hide, stroking and scratching as the dog whined and licked and pawed him and butted him with its head.
“Ah, Wolf,” he said as he accepted the truth at last, that this one thing that he had loved had been spared in order to greet him. Then, as the big head snuggled into his lap, he wrapped his arms around the dog’s thick neck and buried his face against the animal’s side.
For the first time in eleven years, he wept.

Thoroughly ruffled, Rachel turned her back on the source of her annoyance and started for the door. She could feel his gaze on her, and the notion that he was watching her made her suddenly self-conscious. In her teetering heels, she could not help but sway.
Just as she reached the door, he made an odd sound that caused her to glance back at him, startled.
“Rachel,” he said in what was scarcely more than a husky whisper, while his eyes drilled into hers, “don’t sleep with him. Sleep with me instead.”
Her breath caught for a moment as the words coiled around her like a seductive snake. Only by forcing herself to keep walking was she able to escape.

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Review: Night Magic by Karen Robards

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Jack McClain
Heroine: Clara Winston
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication:  October 1987
Started On: July 11, 2010
Finished On: July 12, 2010

I have always loved a good smashing adventure with a high dose of sensuality and romance in the mix. This is a testament as to why Wild Orchids by the same author remains a favorite of mine. Adventures where a hero and heroine who are as different from one another as night and day gets thrown in together to survive against tough as nails bad guys and the unforgiving conditions of the wilderness of nature that surrounds them. From the moment I found out about this novel on a discussion forum on Amazon I knew that this would be one of those romances that I wouldn’t be able to put down. And boy was I glad when I was proven right!

CIA Agent Jack McClain is as tough as they come. Having fought in the Vietnam war and then later working deep undercover in remote areas of the world and finally being the catalyst that brought everything to a disastrous conclusion earning him a stint in a psych facility and later a desk job at the agency, Jack never thought that he would be lucky enough to land a job within the intelligence community that would boost his career once again. Tim Hammersmith, Jack’s boss in many a deep cover missions sticks out his neck for Jack once again and assigns him with the task of getting Yuprov, a Russian KGB spy to spill his guts about a mole who was working deep within the highest ranks of the American intelligence.

Jack never thought that before he was through with the assignment that he and Yuprov would  be captured and tortured, and Jack barely escapes the fate of death at the hand of his captors by jumping ship into the murky churning waters of the ocean. Jack barely survives drowning and his rescue by two fishermen out at sea and his subsequent transfer to the hospital for treatment once again sets the Russian KGB goons after him from which he barely escapes only to be labeled as the raving lunatic who carried out a massacre at the hospital. Now its not only the KGB that is after his ass but the whole country who is on the lookout before the day is through.

Clara Winston, a romance author who just turned thirty, lives with her old gray Persian cat Puff and two cream and gray Siamese cats Amy and Iris. Clara has always been coached the ways of a proper lady through and through and though Clara yearns to settle down, start a family of her own, she has never been tempted by any of the men who have shared her life albeit for brief moments in time. Clara has always envisioned that she would find a noble and uncomplicated knight in shining armor and settle down and have normal uncomplicated kids someday. She has no inkling of the fact that her dedication in her latest novel to the “Magic Dragon” would land her in a whole different load of trouble and that before the night is through, her home would be invaded by Russian KGB agents and that she would barely escape with her life intact.

Clara first encounters Jack whilst running through the tobacco fields that surrounds her home trying to escape the Russian goons that invaded her home, and though at first Jack thinks that Clara is in cahoots with the KGB, to Clara’s surprise Jack finds the whole story of her book dedication a source of mirth and merriment and a dumbfounded Clara is advised by the roughneck who stands in front of her to take a vacation and get the hell out of the country.

Though Clara runs to the town Sheriff and complains, no one really thinks that her home invasion is more than just a burglary gone wrong. And Clara finds herself captured with her cat Puff and once again in the company of the man who was wreaking so much havoc in her life. These two barely escape and runs for their life for all its worth. The immediate dislike that these two have for one another makes for the best of simmering tension that explodes with no bounds before halfway through the novel. The unbelievable flare of red hot passion Clara feels for Jack, someone she doesn’t even like makes her wary at best, but that doesn’t stop her from succumbing to the raw sexuality that Jack effortlessly wields around her.

Before the story is through, Jack and Clara are captured once again, Clara tortured and Jack shot in the chest during their last escape from the Russian goons. My heart was pounding through most of the novel and I couldn’t for the world of me put it down and go to sleep without finding out how the story ends. And like Wild Orchids, I found myself unhappy with the way things ended, as Clara was the one who goes after Jack and yes, Jack welcomes her with open arms but doesn’t Clara deserve a bit of wooing other than a rough trek through the jungles dodging bullets and running for her life just because she unknowingly used Jack’s undercover code name as a dedication in her book? But then again, the story has me sighing all over the rough and tough Jack and wistfully yearning for a Jack of my own.

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