Review: A Ring to Secure His Heir by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Alexius Kolovos Stavroulakis
Heroine: Rosie Gray
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 18, 2012
Started On: November 04, 2021
Finished On: November 07, 2021

A Ring to Secure His Heir by Lynne Graham, released in 2012, is a story that many readers would find affinity with, especially those who have problems with older Harlequin romances that feature heroines who are a bit more submissive. The story begins when 31 year old Alexius Kolovos Stavroulakis (Alexius) is tasked to find out more about 75 year old Socrates Seferis’s grand daughter, Socrate being the only person whose orders that Alexius is willing to follow, even if this one fills him with misgivings.

23 year old Rosie Gray is a woman who is used to life’s hardships. Having grown up with a flighty mother who would not win any awards for being a good mother, with an absentee father in the mix, Rosie had grown in foster care upon the death of her mother. Rendered nearly homeless just a couple of months back, Rosie is biding her time with a company whose sole business is office cleaning, the job suiting her quite well, until she is able to get her degree in Business Management.

Even though Alexius is at first reluctant to go ahead with what Socrates wants, he is not one to deny what the old man wants, who had been more of a parent to him than anyone else. Believing Rosie to be someone colorless and shapeless, with zero attributes to attract him at any level, Alexius is taken aback when he actually meets her to find out that instead, Rosie has a way of drawing him to her.

Rosie does not know what hits her when she encounters the altogether too good looking for himself Alexius, who makes her senses all go on red alert. Having no prior experience with men when it comes to sex, needless to say, before Alexius is done with his “mission”, they end up doing the missionary themselves.

Alexius, having gone against his own code of ethics and morals when he does the one-night stand with Rosie, berates himself afterwards for giving in and taking advantage of the granddaughter of the one man who is most valuable to him. But then again, somethings are inevitable and thus begins the at times fraught journey that Alexius and Rosie must traverse through for their own happily ever after.

I loved this novel; both Alexius and Rosie are superb characters, not to mention Socrates who was adorable in his way. It was refreshing to see a hero who did not come out with guns blazing, offering marriage just because he ended up taking the heroine’s virginity. I also admired the fact that Rosie stood her ground, even when it came to her grandfather who wanted to see them married to deal with the consequences of their one night of passion, all because she did not want to settle for half measures.

Rosie with the ambition of making something out of herself is one aspect of her character that I fully supported and admired. Alexius meanwhile, has a hard time reconciling with the feelings that Rosie rouses in him; the lust, possessiveness, protectiveness, and a hint of what he does not want to name, and that for me was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the story! It is always hilarious to see the hero struggle so much with what he feels, and when they reluctantly give in, there is so much love that bursts from within the pages, the reason why I love romance novels so much.

While I admired Rosie for all the characteristics, I also loved Alexius because he did not do a 180 degree turn on his convictions, just because he had met a woman who changed him fundamentally. He took his time to come to terms with his burgeoning feelings, and that is what made this book stand out for me.

Loved the epilogue tucked at the end. It is rare for a Harlequin romance to have one, and I enjoyed this one to the hilt!

Recommended for fans of Harlequin romances, fans of Lynne Graham, and fans of romances that totally captivates you on every level.

Final Verdict: Chock-full of taut sexual tension and goodness at every page turn!

Favorite Quotes

She was unlocking the battered front door when, without even realising it, he put his hand on her arm to stay her. She turned back, colliding with those silvery-grey eyes of his, and her heartbeat hammered so fast she was afraid she might somehow choke on the tightness in her throat.
He wound his hand into her hair and bent his imperious dark head—it was a long way down to her level, he discovered as he captured her lush mouth with his. And that single sweet taste of her went straight to his head like the finest brandy and he kissed her with tortured, driving urgency, hauling her slight body up against him. He wanted her at that moment with a sexual ferocity he had never experienced in his life before.

‘I don’t bite unless you ask me to,’ Alexius quipped, enjoying his ability to read her thoughts from her ever-changing expressions while he wondered what might be responsible for her obvious tension at the prospect of sex.
‘I’m not very experienced,’ she warned him defensively. ‘So, don’t be expecting too much.’
‘I know it will be amazing,’ Alexius fielded with a level of assurance that shook her. ‘You’re a passionate woman.’
‘Did you work that out from one kiss?’ she teased, scanning the high cheekbones that lent his face such strong, sexy symmetry along with the deep-set mystery of his stunning silvery-grey eyes.
‘There were many,’ he reminded her. ‘No, I see your passion in the way you look at me.’

Rosie came up on her knees, no longer content to be passive, and removed his tie for him. Her hands lowered and slid beneath his suit jacket to his shoulders and the sheer heat of his hard muscular flesh burned through his shirt. She paused, gazing at him eye to eye for the first time, loving the blaze of intensity she saw there. There was nothing cool about Alex in this particular mood and he couldn’t hide the fact.
He captured her face between his big hands and claimed her mouth with hungry fervour, his innate need to dominate taking over while a low growl of satisfaction vibrated in his throat.

He kissed her, and she gripped his shoulders, needing him to hold on to as his tongue mated with hers and the wild fever kicked off inside her again. It was like nothing she had ever felt, an insane, intoxicating flood of need that left her dizzy and trembling. Her hands sank into the silky luxuriance of his black hair. He might wear his hair short but there was a lot of it.
Alexius was struggling to contain his hunger and slow down. She was tiny and fragile and he didn’t want to hurt her.

Alexius levelled forbidding icy-grey eyes on her flushed and anxious face. ‘You’re a virgin?’
‘Not any more,’ she pointed out helplessly. ‘My choice, my decision.’
Alexius gritted his teeth in annoyance. The deed was done. Her choice, not his and not a position he was used to finding himself in. But it was the work of a moment to let the dam of hunger he had rigorously restrained flow free and he buried himself deep in the silken welcome of her hot little body.
Her inner muscles clenched round him as tiny little tremors of pleasure began to course through Rosie. She had feared he might stop; she hadn’t wanted him to stop. Now he began to move, harder, faster, deeper and the excitement returned with an intensity that took her breath away.

He wrenched up the skirt and fought with her panties to access the warm, welcoming wetness of his fantasies, and he groaned with satisfaction against her swollen mouth as he got there and discovered that she was as ready as he was. His thumb circled her clitoris and set off a chain reaction through her pelvis that she could not control. She writhed, she moaned, made not the smallest attempt to escape, intoxicated as she was by the way he was teasing her overexcited body. She buried her mouth against his strong brown throat, kissing him, drinking in the glorious hot male scent of his flesh like an addict, all of her senses up and away on a magical tour of reacquaintance. With one finger, he slid inside and she ground down her bottom onto the thrust of his arousal, helpless in the grip of the most driving need she had ever experienced, feeling the gathering storm at the heart of her, rising up through her like an unstoppable force of nature.

As Alexius switched on the lights, Rosie whirled round in shock, pale blue silk clinging to her lithe body. ‘You couldn’t sleep either?’
‘No.’ Alexius studied her as she opened the doors of the giant double refrigerator to pull out cold meat, which she ate where she stood. ‘I gather you’re hungry.’
Rosie went red and nodded because her mouth was full. It gave her a most gratuitous opportunity to appraise the full impact of Alexius’s raw sexuality, his lean powerful physique sheathed in a pair of worn tight jeans and nothing else. Bare-chested, all that golden skin and rippling muscle on display, he took her breath away and desire swelled deep down inside her. He was badly in need of a shave, for dark stubble covered his lower jaw, framing his beautifully sensual mouth.

‘Thee mou…you’re so beautiful, moli mou.’
Rosie almost laughed out loud but then she saw his eyes and realised that he meant it, truly believed it at that moment and gratification blossomed inside her. For a long, timeless moment they exchanged a look and her heart began to thump really fast in her chest. A hand closed round her wrist and exerted a gentle tug to draw her closer. Brain, she shouted inside her head, heart rate rocketing like an express train, brain, get back here right this minute. His hands closed around her waist as he lifted her to him and their mouths clashed with the frantic, feverish longing that powered them both. She tasted him and she couldn’t get enough of that taste. You weren’t going to do this, her brain reminded her at that point. Shut up, she told it, fingers delving into luxuriant black hair as she strained against him, her body in an electrifying state of anticipation that she couldn’t quell.

‘I’ve waited a long time for this,’ he protested raggedly, running an admiring forefinger down between her breasts to the pale tangle of curls below, brushing her thighs apart while she held her breath, smoothing over the soft skin of her inner thigh to explore the warm wet invitation of her lush opening. ‘And you were definitely worth waiting for, moraki mou.’
Trembling, Rosie rested back, scarcely believing what she was allowing, finally acknowledging that she wanted to be with him so much that she didn’t care about the terms or the absence of promises. He circled the little pearl of nerve endings that controlled her response and reaction jackknifed through her in an unquenchable surge of charged pleasure.

‘You don’t get to come unless I’m inside you,’ Alexius spelt out roughly, eyes bright with intensity, already positioning her for his entrance. ‘And I’m on a knife edge trying to wait.’
The edge of his desperation racked up her arousal even more. He was almost vibrating with eagerness against her, the muscles in his powerful arms bunched with effort, his jaw line hard as a rock.
‘Don’t wait,’ she told him between gritted teeth, her head rolling restively across the pillow, her body keyed to a frustrating high of expectation.
He filled her to the hilt in one swift motion that stole the breath from her lungs in a gasp. Excitement assailed her as she felt herself stretch to accommodate his size.
‘Am I hurting you?’ he husked, throwing his handsome head back, black hair wildly tousled by her fingers as he hitched her legs round his waist.
‘No, that was a wince of pure pleasure,’ she gasped as he sank even deeper into her.

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Review: Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Rafael Cristobal Rodriguez Berganza
Heroine: Georgie
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 01, 1996
Started On: October 18, 2021
Finished On: October 23, 2021

Crime of Passion by Lynne Graham is a novel that was originally published in 1996. The story begins with 23 year old Georgie finding herself in the most untenable of situations; locked up in a prison cell in Bolivia. Georgie travels to Bolivia in anticipation of meeting her best friend María Cristina Reveron, who is almost ready to give birth to her first child. Even though María had extended the invitation for her to visit many a time during the past four years, Georgie had resisted at every turn, mostly because the wounds inflicted by María’s brother, aka Georgie’s first love had been just too fresh to contend with.

28 year old Rafael Cristobal Rodriguez Berganza holds a very low opinion of the woman to whose rescue he is forced to come to. Similar to Georgie who hates Rafael for the way he had treated her all those years back, Rafael believes Georgie to be too loose with her affections, and Rafael had made it quite clear on the day that he had walked out, that she had failed to meet his standards in every single way possible.

With Georgie’s passport lost, Rafael makes the arbitrary decision to take her home with him until it can be replaced. There is no denying the undercurrents taut with sexual tension that is between the two from the get-go, even when Georgie is spitting mad at Rafael and he goading her at every turn. In the midst of it all, the old hurts and resentments come to the forefront, with each giving as good as they get, that is until Rafael encounters the undeniable proof that Georgie had stayed true to him, when he had erroneously being led to believe otherwise.

I thoroughly enjoyed the heady journey that Rafael and Georgie take towards their happily ever after. A lot of readers might dislike Rafael because he does not comply with modern reader tastes. But for me, he he is the kind of hero that I grew up falling in love with in romance books. Arrogant to a fault, that is until they meet their match in every sense. As a result, Rafael and Georgie’s journey is one fraught with misunderstandings, a whole lot of stubbornness on both ends, a dash of old fashioned patriarchal beliefs guiding Rafael (the moment Georgie threw that at his face was hysterical), and the undeniable sexual chemistry between the two which bursts forth at every turn.

Neither Rafael nor Georgie had stood a chance when they first encountered each other, but the period of separation was perhaps needed in order for them to understand what they have with each other, with maturity guiding them through the most turbulent moments of their reunion. Had they gotten married previously, both of them would have driven each other crazy and not in a good way, with Rafael becoming disillusioned with the image he had built of what his perfect bride would be like, and Georgie miserable, trying to live up to his grand expectations.

While Rafael needed to loosen up a bit, Georgie needed to become more grounded and that is what inevitably makes this second chance encounter worth it in every sense.

Recommended for those who love second chance romances, fans of Lynne Graham, and fans of the alpha heroes who stand true to who they are from the get-go!

Final Verdict: Tempestuous passion guaranteed in every sizzling line; there is none who can bring forth the kind of angst in romance as Lynne Graham!

Favorite Quotes

Many very good-looking men missed out on being sexy. But not Rafael. Rafael was a blatantly sexual male animal, flagrantly attuned to the physical. The air around him positively sizzled. So why the heck was this sophisticated, experienced Latin-American lover having so much difficulty buttoning up her coat? Unwarily she collided with glittering golden eyes, and it was like being struck by lightning.
He was so close she could smell a hint of citrusy aftershave, overlying clean, husky male. Her nostrils flared. Her nipples tightened into painful sensitivity, a spiralling ache twisting low in her stomach. Nearby, someone cleared their throat. She tore her gaze from Rafael’s and met the looks of visible fascination emanating from his bodyguards, standing several feet away. She realised that she and Rafael had simply been standing there staring at each other. Devastated by her overpowering physical awareness of him, Georgie turned away, her throat closing over.

‘Do all your lovers turn you on this hard and this fast?’ Rafael lowered his dark head and allowed the tip of his tongue to slide erotically between her lips, just once, in a darting foray that sent heat coursing through her in a debilitating wave.
‘Every one of them!’ she slammed back in a breathless rush.
‘But I’ll be the one you remember long after I’m gone,’ Rafael completed with predatory assurance, quite untouched by her attempt to repel him, a strong hand splaying across her hips to jerk her into even closer contact, and she stopped breathing altogether as he moved fluidly against her, bringing her into unashamed contact with the hard thrust of his arousal.

He lifted her with ease and one of her shoes fell off. She opened startled eyes a split-second before he brought his mouth crashing down on hers. She stopped thinking, she started simply feeling. The effect was that immediate. Her hands bit into his broad shoulders as she strained against the hard heat of his muscular length. Her fingers drifted into his hair and she was lost, controlled by an intolerable need that sent the blood pounding at an insane rate through her veins. Slowly, very slowly, he slid her down the length of his body on to her feet again and lifted his head.
‘You go to pieces when I touch you. I like that…I love that,’ Rafael muttered with a ragged groan of satisfaction. ‘It gives me an incredible sexual high no other woman has ever matched. I saw you lying asleep in that cell and every decent thought, every piece of self-restraint fled instantaneously. I’d have killed to get you out of there and into my bed.’

He stared down at her with a raw, sexual hunger that burned through clear to her bones. Heat flooded her in a blinding surge. A hard thigh sank between hers and she quivered violently, the fevered pulse-point of desire thrumming ever higher inside her.
‘You see…’ Rafael muttered thickly. ‘And I haven’t even begun yet.’
As he buried his mouth in a tiny hollow below her fragile collarbone, he let his thumbs rub expertly across her thrusting pink nipples. She jerked, an involuntary moan torn from her, and he lowered his head to employ his mouth and that wickedly knowing tongue on those unbearably sensitive buds. He drove her crazy. Sensation like white-hot lightning licked at every nerve-ending and she twisted and gasped in helpless excitement. She was in thrall to a dark enchantment of the senses and the most extraordinary pleasure.

Rafael groaned something in his own language and swept her right off her feet with bruisingly impatient hands. She captured his hard cheekbones between her palms and stared up at him with dazed eyes, out of focus with passion. He succumbed to the lure of her swollen mouth again somewhere halfway up the stairs and control seemed to go out of the window at that point, because he braced her against the wall and took her lips with a driving, demanding sexuality which reduced her to mental rubble.
‘Madre de Dios…’ he swore roughly against her throat, struggling for breath, and then he carried her up into the bedroom, tumbled her down on the bed and pinned her there with a wildly exciting lack of cool.

He seized on a taut rosy crest with his teeth and the explosion of sensation he released made her cry out, her teeth gritting, her throat extending.
‘Perdicion’ he groaned, lifting his arrogant dark head to look down at her as he dealt at speed with the remainder of his clothing. ‘So long…I have waited so long for this.’
So long, yes, she thought intensely, reaching back up for him with the single-minded motivation of a programmed doll. A relentless hunger seized her as he sealed his virile length to hers. Her whole body flushed with consuming heat and she turned to him, driven by something much more powerful than she was, and let her hands travel through the light mat of curling black hair across his muscular chest, glorying in the freedom to touch him at last.

He penetrated her anxiously parted lips with his tongue and she shuddered, electrified by the intense eroticism of his opening assault.
‘Closer,’ he urged, his breath fanning her cheek, smouldering golden eyes burning down into hers as his hands cupped the swell of her buttocks and lifted her into intimate connection with the hard thrust of his arousal. ‘Sí… like that…’
He crushed her mouth under his and she was electrified by the hunger which leapt into response inside her. Keen and fierce as a knife, that voracious hunger cleaved through her flesh. Her breasts swelled and ached and her nipples pinched into painfully sensitive points. She arched her back like a sensuous cat, desperate for more sensation, her head thrown back, her hands wound round his neck.

He coiled a booted foot round the back of her legs and tipped her down on the grass with such fluid ease and speed that she didn’t have a hope of evading the manoeuvre. A second later, he came down on top of her, one hand reaching instantly for the snap of her jeans. ‘We’ll save the Ferrari for some other time…but here, now, on Berganza soil… this is for me!’
Georgie was so shocked that he had her halfway out of her jeans before she made even a partial recovery. ‘Have you gone mad?’ she shrieked.
Her jeans were east aside. He knelt astride her and slid down the zip on his riding breeches. Georgie stared up at him with a dropped jaw. He shed his polo shirt, flexing powerful muscles that rippled smoothly across his hair-roughened chest. She shivered in the heat, her nostrils flaring at the musky male scent of him.
‘Rafael…?’
‘You are mine… like the land.’

‘Ahora… now.’
He lifted himself and plunged inside her in one devastating thrust of possession. Her every sense was screaming for the release that only he could give. Her nails dug into his back and then he was moving on her, inside her, with every powerful stroke of his hips reinforcing his dominance. As the heat of passion spiralled out of control, she cried out in ecstasy as he drove her to a shattering climax.
Still in a satiated daze, Georgie lifted her heavy eyelids. He reminded her of a primitive golden god, surveying a pagan sacrifice spread out before him. An aching vulnerability swept her as she collided with tawny tiger eyes that revealed nothing of his thoughts.
‘Rafael?’ Involuntarily her hand reached up to smooth one hard cheekbone.
‘Enamorada…’ With a curiously harsh laugh, he took her startled, reddened mouth with his own and it began all over again…

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Re-Read Review: The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequi
Hero: Nik Andreakis
Heroine: Leah Andreakis
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1995
Started On: June 02, 2021
Finished On: June 07, 2021

When it comes to The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham, the title itself indicates that this would be a stormy, angst-ridden read in every sense. That is exactly what Ms. Graham delivers, and I enjoyed every single heady sensation that this number brought to the forefront at every turn.

The story begins with Nik Andreakis and Leah’s marriage having reached its five year mark. Leah is the classic definition of the abandoned wife, the lonely years she has spent without any emotional support from her spouse or otherwise leaving its mark on her. Leah agreed to the marriage because of her father, who had basically emotionally blackmailed her into tying the knot with a man she had wanted from the start.

Leah knows that Nik despises her for reasons unknown. But when Leah is just about ready to move on with someone else and gather the courage to ask for separation from Nik, the inevitable happens – Nik comes for her, and states his intention to claim her as his.

I have no memory of having read this title before, but looking up my Goodreads reading history indicates that I have indeed read this in 2010. While my rating was considerably lower back then, reading this once again after 11 years proved to be more eye opening. I was better able to understand the undercurrents in the story and appreciate how Leah stood up for herself even though she had been brought up to be submissive all through her life.

While Nik’s cruelty did not win him points for him at the beginning (but then again where is the fun in the hero who is saccharine sweet), I could understand where he was coming from as well. For someone like Nik who had wanted the freedom to choose his bride, being forced and blackmailed into a marriage had been a pill bitter to swallow. When Leah learns of Nik’s side of the story, she finally understands how Nik could have misunderstood the machinations behind their union and despised her for what had taken place.

However, even though Leah and Nik may want to ignore each other, the passion that flares to life between them (which had in reality drawn them together when they had initially met, which kick-started the chain of events leading to their marriage), is hard to ignore, especially when Nik is determined to claim Leah as his, once and for all.

Insane jealousy, a whole host of arguments which clears up the misunderstandings, crazy heat and intense sex brings Leah and Nik together in a way that makes for combustible reading. Unlike most stories from Ms. Graham, I loved this more so because of Leah – how she basically lays it out for Nik to make him see the despicable manner in which he had destroyed her for the past five years. I felt like bringing out my nonexistent pompoms and doing a cheer dance for Leah, just because.

This novel has the hero groveling, with Leah having the courage to walk away from Nik and making it on her own. She would have been just fine even if Nik had not come after her, but then again, where is the fun in that? Nik had to eat humble pie, understand the worth of the woman that he loves more than life itself, and do a bit of groveling just to experience the bliss of their happily ever after.

Definitely recommended – don’t let the first couple of chapters fool you, this novel surprises you in a way that is heartwarming when all is said and done.

Final Verdict: The Unfaithful Wife is chock-full of goodness – heartbreak, heat, and intense emotions from all ends. If you love angst-ridden romances, this is a must read!

Favorite Quotes

‘Nik…’
His mouth came down on hers with mesmerising expertise and prised her soft lips apart. She stopped breathing. He gathered her closer, sealing her to every abrasively male angle of his taut body. Her back arched without her volition, increasing that contact. His tongue drove into the moist, tender interior she had yielded and explored. A river of fire flowed through her and she quivered, leaning against him, winding her arms sinuously round his neck. Darkness beckoned behind her lowered eyelids, the heat in the pit of her stomach twisting like a hot wire through her trembling length.

Before she could move, Nik caught her up in his powerful arms and dumped her down on the divan behind her. He came down on top of her so fast that she hadn’t a hope of evading him. Waves of shock coursed through her.
‘You’re my wife,’ Nik growled down at her, as if that were sufficient justification.
‘Let go of me…you’re flattening me!’ Leah slung back at him in fury.
‘Maybe you’ll get to like it.’ Nik shifted sinuously above her and meshed one hand into her tumbled hair. He stared down at her for a long, timeless moment. ‘Theos, I am so hungry for you, I ache,’ he muttered raggedly.

He rolled over, carrying her with him, and dispensed with her T-shirt by whipping it over her head. He uttered a savage groan as her unbound breasts rubbed against his hair-roughened chest and a split-second later she was lying flat again, his hands shaping the pouting mounds he had discovered.
She shut her eyes, gasping for breath, all reasoning power wrested from her. He found a distended pink nipple with his mouth and she dug her hips into the mattress, her back arching, a wildness she had never known tearing at her.

‘You are mine,’ Nik grated in a voice so tortured that she didn’t initially realise that he had spoken in English.
She wasn’t listening anyway. He was apart from her. She didn’t like it. She lifted her head and touched his sensual mouth with her lips and then, more daringly, with the tip of her tongue, unconsciously imitating what she had learnt from him. He shuddered and accepted the invitation with a raw passion that consumed her, his arms banding so tightly around her that she could barely breathe.

Wonderfully warm and relaxed, Leah gave a sinuous little wriggle and the hard heat of the body next to hers tautened. Her lashes lifted. She looked up into smouldering black eyes, fringed by ebony lashes. The impact of those eyes was mesmerising. Her blood leapt in her veins and her heat raced. She felt dizzy, breathless and utterly dispossessed of all rational thought.
A fingertip stroked along the lush ripeness of her lower lip. ‘Open your mouth for me. I want to taste you,’ Nik urged huskily.
Held fast by his searing gaze, she instinctively obeyed and with a stifled groan of satisfaction he crushed her slender form to him, his hands sweeping over her hips and her back as his hard, demanding mouth took hers with savage intensity.

Leah felt her body stretch to accommodate his raw invasion, the sensation still new enough to shock, and then he moved inside her, creating an insatiable need that burned through her entire body. Unconsciously her fingers dug into his smooth, muscular back, her breath sobbing in her throat with every urgent thrust. Ecstatic sensation took over as he possessed her so thoroughly that she was driven out of her mind with sheer, splintering pleasure. And when release came it consumed her utterly for long, timeless moments and then dropped her down gently into sweet, drowning languor.
‘Heaven is said to come to he who waits,’ Nik murmured silkily, curving her confidently into the damp, hot heat of him. ‘But I was always a speculator…and patience is not one of my virtues.’

And she did forget, the same instant that he brought his mouth swooping down into explosive connection with hers. The smooth control she was accustomed to was absent. Nik unleashed a passion that devastated her. It was no slow, gentle seduction of the senses but an erotic assault in which clothes were thrust aside rather than removed. Excitement took over, blanking out everything but her body’s insanely instinctive need for him.
She gasped and threw her head back as he drove into her, rejoiced in his answering groan of satisfaction and from that point on there was nothing but wild sensation, rising to ecstatic heights she had never touched before and finally throwing her over the edge into a shattering release.

‘Yes,’ she moaned, arching her back in sudden delicious torment as he skimmed his knuckles down over her taut stomach and then spread his hand, holding her where she most needed to be touched but denying what every skin cell longed for.
‘I don’t know where to begin,’ he muttered thickly against her swollen mouth, and she could feel him, hard and hotly aroused against her thigh. ‘I want…I want everything you have to give.’

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Review: The Reluctant Husband by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Santino Vitale
Heroine: Frankie Vitale
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 24, 1998
Started On: May 17, 2021
Finished On: May 17, 2021

The Reluctant Husband by Lynne Graham, first published in 1998 is one of those books that I have seem to have missed out on when I initially discovered Ms. Graham’s books. The story is one you have to read taking into consideration how the heroine’s most formative years were disrupted because of the volatile relationship between her parents. I cannot even fathom going through half of what she did and come out “normal” in any sense. With that disclaimer, I move onto my review.

When the story begins, the heroine, 21 year old Frankie Vitale is “forced” to travel to Sardinia for work purposes, which is the last place on Earth she wants to be at. While her colleague thinks the visit would be therapeutic for Frankie, she believes otherwise, and with good reason. The reason being, 29 year old Santino Vitale, the man she married, the one who broke her heart years ago.

From the start, it is evident that Frankie’s mother does not hold much affection for her, but to discover the extent of her lack of care towards her only child as you read along is nothing short of astounding. Frankie does not have a normal childhood by any standards as I mentioned earlier, at eleven years having been forced to move to Sardinia with her father, who had thrust her into the care of his parents and left.

The kind of trauma that any child would go through being forced to endure a world that is unfamiliar, lives by different values to what she has been brought up, where no one speaks English; well I can only imagine. The only ray of hope that shone for her then was none other than Santino, and it is only natural that Frankie holds onto him, only to have her heart shattered after a marriage that is forced upon them.

Santino had plans for his future which did not include a naive wife coming along for the ride. While Frankie learnt that lesson the hard way, she had been returned to her mother like the unwanted baggage she was, and she had never intended to return to the place that still haunted her, if she were to be honest with herself.

Coming face to face with Santino, who proclaims that their marriage was never annulled, and that he now intended to bed his wife, the wife that he has invested in all through the years, of course it comes as a shock to Frankie, who resists him at every turn. But the intensity of the desire that awakens to life between them is not something easily denied as Frankie finds out the hard way, and succumb she does, as does Santino.

I quite enjoyed The Reluctant Husband as the story unfolded. I am of the opinion that I may not have enjoyed this story half as much if I had read this when I was younger, and perhaps unable to empathize as much with the plight of Frankie and understand where she was coming from.

Santino is the classic Graham hero – all out alpha in a way that makes for a swoon-worthy hero. It is also evident that Santino feels much more for his lawfully wedded wife than he lets on, especially when he proclaims of how much he had actually desired his very young bride and resisted the urge to act on it at every turn. It is also unrealistic to expect that he would not have taken other lovers along the way; it would have been more realistic had Frankie too taken on a lover since then, but Ms. Graham does love her virgin heroines, who tend to serve their purpose.

Like most novels by Ms. Graham, this too delivers taut sexual tension and scenes of passion that explodes from the pages. There are few authors who can do this kind of tension between characters AND deliver on it in a way that leaves the reader satisfied on all counts.

Ultimately, the story won me over because for all the angst and heartache, the main protagonists manage to have conversations with one another which sheds light on their shared past which helps them reconcile their differences and move onto a happier future together.

Recommended for fans of Lynne Graham and those who love category romances featuring married couples, who initially lose their way and find their way back to one another.

Final Verdict: Littered with misunderstandings, angst, and heightened sexual tension means The Reluctant Husband delivers the kind of stellar read that Ms. Graham is famous for!

Favorite Quotes

‘Francesca…’
‘Nobody calls me that any more,’ Frankie muttered waspishly, striving to rise above an ever-increasing sense of crawling mortification.
This encounter was a nightmare, she conceded, stricken. At sixteen, she had been so agonisingly, desperately in love with Santino. She had thrown herself at his head and done and said things that no woman in her right mind would want to recall once she reached the age of maturity! She must have seemed pathetic in his eyes, forever swearing undying love and resisting his every move to sidestep the intimacy which she had craved and which he had never wanted. It hadn’t been Frankie who had locked her bedroom door at night… it had been Santino who’d locked his. That particular recollection made her feel seriously unwell.

‘You will experience only pleasure in my arms. I promise you that. In fact it is a matter of honour that you should relish sharing a bed with me.’ Playing the tip of his tongue erotically across the excruciatingly tender skin of her throat, Santino sent her pulses leaping into sensual disarray. ‘Open your mouth,’ he urged, glittering eyes like scorching shards of pure gold.
Frankie trembled, unyielding as marble, but he brushed her mouth with his and then somehow—and later she genuinely couldn’t understand how—her lips softly parted. And without the slightest warning at all Santino was kissing her with slow, deep, shattering intimacy.

He was so close she could smell the hot, sun-warmed scent of him, intrinsically male and powerfully familiar. Her nostrils flared, her breath catching in her throat as she raised an involuntary hand and let her fingers rest on one broad shoulder to steady herself, her gaze welded to the shimmering gold of his. She shivered as he eased her forward and bent his dark head. A warm, drugging anticipation trapped her in submissive stillness.
He kissed her very gently, his tenderness a soothing balm to her smarting sensitivities. And it made her want him even more. In fact it made her want to cling. He tasted her lips in tiny hungry forays that sent her arms snaking round him in desperation to pull him closer. Her whole body felt as if it was reaching up and out, craving what only he could give. An explosive charge of hunger burned up inside her, and when his tongue penetrated between her readily parted lips her heart lurched so violently she could barely breathe in the seething excitement that controlled her.

His hands were slightly rough against her softer skin, the knowing exploration of his fingers over her achingly tender breasts a tormenting pleasure as she strained helplessly up to him, her whole body awash with response and reaction to his every tiny move and caress. She felt dominated and confined and she liked it, and she laced her seeking fingers ecstatically into his thick black hair, holding him tightly to her.
He dragged himself free, shone an innately ruthless smile of satisfaction over her confused face. Her treacherous heart contracted in response.
He looked so dangerous, his slashing confidence unhidden. ‘I’m not going anywhere, cara…your hunger is the one true gift you have to give me and the only thing you cannot lie about or control. The completeness of your surrender will be my triumph.’

‘You’re so ready for me,’ Santino groaned.
His lean, strong features harsh and intent in passion, he rose over her, lifting her trembling thighs back and settling himself fluidly between them. As she felt him, hot and urgent and alarmingly male against her tender entrance, Frankie gasped and tensed, and yet with every contrary fibre of her being she would have died of frustration had he stopped. Then he moved, and pleasure splintered into shocking pain as he thrust deep and a startled cry was wrenched from her.
For an instant Santino fell still. He surveyed her with lancing golden eyes that scorched like flames over her hectically flushed and shaken face. ‘If ever anyone got the punishment they deserved for lying…’ he breathed, unexpectedly deepening his invasion with a powerful twist of bis hips. ‘I would have been slow and gentle if I had known the truth.’

‘Sexual hunger is never simple because we are not animals, mating without thought or feeling at nature’s behest… how innocent you are in spite of your avarice. You can’t even admit your own ignorance. But the higher you climb on that ladder of self-deception, the harder you will fall.’
His thumb grazed the comer of her full, tremulous lips and then almost lazily slid to probe within. Involuntarily her languorous eyes slid shut, her lips converging hungrily on that intrusive digit, the lancing bitter-sweet pain of that hunger shrilling through her slender frame, making every muscle fiercely taut with anticipation.
‘And with the smallest encouragement… such a natural-born temptress,’ Santino completed, his accent thickening as he closed one impatient hand over her hip to yank her closer.

He succumbed to the apparent temptation and encouragement of that one little glance by closing his arms round her so tightly she could barely breathe, crushing her to him and kissing her until her head swam. The merest persistence might well have persuaded her that there was nothing remotely wrong with making love in a corridor.
But he jerked back from her then with a growling sound of frustration. ‘Only this morning you were a virgin. I should be making allowances for that…I’m not.’
She met burning golden eyes and knew she was utterly enslaved.
‘I want you so much I am in agony,’ Santino gritted unevenly.

Impatiently dispensing with the silky panties which still clung to her slender hips, Santino wasted no time in rediscovering the unbearably hot, moist welcome awaiting him. With an exultant growl, he pushed back her thighs and came over her like a conqueror to thrust with urgent, forceful hunger into the heart of her yielding body.
Frankie cried out, her spine arching on a relentless surge of excitement. He was wild for her and she was hopelessly out of control. For tormenting minutes of terrifyingly intense pleasure, he drove her ruthlessly to satisfaction. The explosive, blinding shock waves of climax hurtled through every fibre of her being and totally wiped her out.

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Review: Angel of Darkness by Lynne Graham

Format: E-Bookangelofdarkness
Read with: Paperback/Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Angelo Cesare Rossetti
Heroine: Kelda Wyatt
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 24, 1999
Started On: February 14, 2020
Finished On: February 16, 2020

Angel of Darkness is Lynne Graham at her best. It has everything going for it; lust of the kind that sets the pages sizzling and your senses humming, a hero who is equal shades ruthless and possessive that you cannot help but want him, a heroine who is tempestuous and headstrong just enough to drive the hero a tad crazy, and a love so worthwhile that it reaffirms the belief that long-term romance readers like myself hold true to our hearts – that there is no other genre worth reading except romance when it comes right down to it.

Top model Kelda Wyatt is shell-shocked to hear that her mother Daisy is getting back with Tomaso, her step father; whose marriage to Daisy had been short-lived. What sort of terrifies Kelda out of the icy coldness that is her signature mark is the thought of coming face to face with her step brother Angelo Cesare Rossetti, in whose arms she had faced every single vulnerability an eighteen year old girl could have at the cusp of womanhood.

Years later, with Daisy’s marriage looming overhead, Kelda is looking forward to a photo shoot in Tuscany only to find out that it had been Angelo who had engineered the whole setup, just so that she wouldn’t be around to interfere with their parents’ relationship a second time around. Angelo also has a secondary goal; seduce Kelda and walk away from it as he does countless of other women.

What starts out with Kelda in a rage over being forced into Angelo’s company ends with her going up in smoke in his arms. Their attraction to one another demands nothing less but total submission where Angelo and Kelda are both concerned, and their scorching passion heats up, takes things to a level that neither was expecting of their coming together.

A series of misunderstandings lending that healthy dose of angst to the story, prolongs the eventual coming together of Angelo and Kelda, which was the best part of the story. Angelo’s qualms about being tied to a woman who is so possessive, someone who rouses the same desire in him is something he needs to take a step back from – his childhood had made him wary of women whom he thinks to be an unfaithful breed.

Kelda is not equipped to handle nor understand a man like Angelo at his fiercest. But try she does, and her helpless surrender in his arms brings the two closer than either of them would give credit for.

In the end, it was this heady sense of passion that explodes into everlasting love. I somehow have a feeling that their happily ever after would be just as scandalous, just as consuming as the story was in its entirety.

Recommended for everyone who loves a wholly passionate love story, for those who may want to start on a Lynne Graham novel, and fans of Harlequin category romances!

PS: I also love the original cover of the book than its current one. The former shows a scene from the book, and you can practically smell the sunshine warming the leaves upon which the couple lies, while lost in their unrelenting desire for each other.

Final Verdict: Full of tempestuous passion and blazing desire; Angel of Darkness is a delight in the way it overtakes your senses.

Favorite Quotes

‘I told you to shut up.’ His brown fingers moved caressingly over her taut cheekbone and then he leant down, deftly winding his other hand into her hair and let the tip of his tongue slowly and smoothly trace the tremulous line of her lower lip.
Her breath escaped with a tiny gasp and her heart thudded like that of a wild bird in a cage. She wanted his mouth so badly she burned, every sense pitched to an unbearable high as he toyed expertly with the sensitive fullness he had discovered. Her eyes slid shut, her long throat arching as she bent back her head instinctively.
Angelo set her back from him and fired the engine of the car. Her lashes swept up on glazed green eyes, her whole body throbbing with an intensity that was pure pain.
A blunt forefinger raked down the slender length of her thigh. ‘I know,’ Angelo breathed thickly.

‘Let go, Angelo,’ she said breathlessly.
‘I think I will.’ His stunning eyes skimmed with hungry sensuality over her and then he drew her close with con¬trolled power and took her mouth with slow, drugging intensity.
She was a good strong swimmer but she drowned in Angelo’s arms. Six years melted away and she was back, back where her body told her she belonged, back where the world contracted into the crazy thunder of her heart and the mad race of the hot blood in her veins.

He pulled her hands away and lifted his mouth from hers and then he just looked at her, a feverish flush of colour accentuating his striking cheekbones, his breathing pattern audibly fractured.
Her breasts were small, high and perfectly formed. Her nipples were shamelessly distended rose-pink buds. Angelo released his breath in a long, sighing groan as though he was afraid to touch her. She knelt there in front of him, quivering all over, every heated inch of her flesh ready to take fire.
The silence was electric. A voracious hunger vibrated like a physical aura between them. ‘If I touch you… do you vanish?’ Angelo whispered unsteadily.
‘Do you?’

‘You are mine,’
Angelo told her, lowering her into the grass with raw determination. ‘Tell me that, before I bury myself in that exquisite body…’
Her lashes lifted. She focused on blazing golden eyes and melted to the consistency of honey all in one go. ‘Yours,’ she framed in a whisper of sound torn from the
very depths of her.
‘Always,’ Angelo attached with savage emphasis.

He kicked her bedroom door wide, kicked it shut again and dropped her down on the bed. ‘Angelo’
‘Shut up.’ He came down on top of her in one lithe movement, pinning her flat with his superior weight. She was in the act of struggling to raise a punitive knee when he brought his mouth down hard on hers.
Still in a fury, she dug her hands like claws into his luxuriant hair and then the passion flooded her in a roaring tidal wave. It came out of nowhere, attacked and took her prisoner. A passion so instantaneous it wiped out everything that had gone before it. Electrified by the raw, devouring heat of his mouth, she was possessed by an excitement so intense that she felt dizzy and disorientated.

‘I’m hurting you,’ he whispered, not quite steadily. The pain had gone as quickly as it had come but her untried body had yet to adjust to that most intimate invasion. ‘No.’ The denial was jerky, swift. ‘You’re so small,’ he breathed, sinking his hands be-neath her slender hips, lithely shifting between her thighs with a stifled groan of pleasure and splintering control.
She felt possessed then, utterly and completely. He moved on her, slowly, deliberately until all she could focus on was the extraordinary response of her own body.
All control was gone.

Angelo reached for her in one powerful movement. Deftly angling his body to one side so that he would not hurt her, he took her mouth in a devouring kiss that she felt right down to her toes and back up again. She reacted like a woman possessed. With one hand she hit out at him in blind rage, but the other hand inexplicably dived into the springy depths of his hair, holding him to her. He kissed her breathless. Great rolling waves of excitement overwhelmed her. The hand that had balled into a fist uncurled and slid under his sweater instead and exulted in the satin-smooth skin of his back before sliding across his taut flat stomach to rake into the furrow of silky hair that disappeared beneath his belt.

He followed the sweet trail of the champagne down over her quivering stomach and she made a sudden grab at his hair. ‘No!’
But his hands were on her thighs and he had already discovered just how weak she really was. She was tender and damp.
‘Evidently I wasn’t the only one seething with silent lust over dinner,’ Angelo murmured huskily, letting the tip of his tongue track the clenched muscles on her inner thigh until she trembled and shook and completely forgot that she was supposed to be fighting him off.

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Review: The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham

thesecretwife

Format: E-book
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Constantine Voulos
Heroine: Rosalie Waring
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 28, 1997
Started On: June 16, 2011
Finished On: June 17, 2011

The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham is a novel that I seemed to have missed out on previously. It tells the story of how Rosalie Waring’s world collides by a twist of fate with that of the ultra rich Greek tycoon Constantine Voulos brought about by the conditions set aside on the will of Anton Estrada, adoptive father of Constantine.

Rosie is stunned when after a period of blissful happiness of 4 months with Anton, he dies suddenly leaving her bereft and alone once again. When Constantine jumps to the worst of conclusions about her relationship with Anton, Rosie’s bitterness towards Constantine who has had a lifetime of moments with her own father lets her keep the explanations under wraps until Anton’s will forces Constantine to ask for her hand in marriage.

It is a blazingly resentful Constantine who calls Rosie a gold digger and much worse that turns up for the wedding along with our prickly as a hedgehog heroine whose instinctive reactions of self protection is the tendency to lash out and give as good as she gets, an aftereffect of being in state ward care since the tender age of nine, that makes the joining of holy matrimony of these two a volatile one at best.

Though Rosie tries to come clean with who she is, Constantine is not one to believe a word that comes out of her mouth and this charade continues throughout the book, each of them insulting one another blinded by the fury at the inconvenient desire that they feel for each other.

For me, The Secret Wife didn’t make for such a great read. The premise of the story which promised to deliver an angsty read failed to do that when Constantine refused to listen to whatever Rosie had to say and Rosie refused to try and make Constantine see the light afted his initial rejection. For me, I would gladly take Rosie’s side because Constantine just grated on my nerves with his inability to see beyond what he wants to see, and even when eventually the truth does come out, he is quick to lay the blame at Rosie’s feet rather than accept his own doing in complicating matters.

This story is told from Rosie’s viewpoint and I for the world of me cannot understand how it is that Constantine falls in love with Rosie. For someone who loves finding the hero’s feelings via his reactions towards the heroine; I just didn’t feel the love in this one.

Recommended for those who love the marriage of convenience theme and fans of Lynne Graham.

Final Verdict: Blazing sexual heat, jealousy, angst, and a motherlord of misunderstandings signifies this story making it memorable!

Favorite Quotes

‘Let go of me, you caveman!’ Rosie splintered breathlessly.
Constantine gazed down at her, blazing golden eyes intent, and splayed hard fingers to the curve of her hip and forced her up against him. That close to that lean, muscular male frame, Rosie froze, bright eyes bewildered as the heat and the scent of him washed over her in a heady, disorientatingly pleasurable tide. A tiny little muscle deep down in her stomach jerked, making her legs feel oddly weak and hollow. Her heart started slamming suffocatingly fast against her ribcage.
‘You were trying to flirt with me,’ Constantine murmured with a slight frown, his deep, dark drawl sending the most peculiar little shivers travelling down her taut spinal cord.

‘Your mouth is bigger than you are,’ Constantine growled, his deep voice thickening in a manner that sent Rosie’s self-preserving instincts shooting to full power. ‘Why not kiss me instead?’
‘Because I don’t want to kiss you!’
‘No?’
‘Do I look that dumb?’ Rosie spat.
But then Constantine blocked out the light with the hot, hungry heat of his mouth, and the world spun so violently, she gasped and clutched at him. Electrifying heat engulfed her… or maybe it was him. He seemed to be burning up too. Her fingers framed his hard cheekbones and her head went back as he knotted one hand tightly into her hair and kissed her with bruising, demanding thoroughness until she thought she would pass out from lack of oxygen but didn’t care because nothing had ever felt so good.

A lean hand jerked at the tie on the towelling robe and then closed over one small, pouting breast. The sensation of pleasure was so intense, Rosie almost had a cardiac arrest.
Lifting his dark, tousled head, Constantine smiled sexily down into her shaken face. ‘You like that?’
Rosie didn’t have words to tell him how much. She was lost in another world, a wholly physical place where only sensation ruled. He sent his tongue skimming over a swollen pink nipple and her back arched, her teeth clenching, her nails clawing into the bedspread beneath her. All she knew was that she wanted more, more of that stunning, heart-racing pleasure, and only he could give it.

‘It won’t work… I’m naturally argumentative’ Rosie asserted even more tautly.
Golden fire in his molten appraisal, Constantine swept her up into his arms to carry her into the bedroom. ‘Christos… of course it will work. And once we have made love, once you have lain in my arms and tasted the pleasure we can share, you will never mention the throwback again. I may not be perfect but I’m way beyond him in the reliability stakes.’
Rosie looked up at him, her heart racing so fast, it thundered in her ears. ‘We c-can’t do this,’ she stammered.
‘We can…let me show you how,’ Constantine groaned achingly against the corner of her mouth, his breath fanning her cheek. A hunger she couldn’t fight shot through her with the shattering shock effect of a lightning bolt and, reacting on pure instinct to the almost pleading quality of that deep, dark drawl, she turned her mouth under his… and burned.

Constantine smiled. Rosie’s heart flipped. He withdrew his finger, dropped his dark head and traced the fullness of her lower lip with the teasing tip of his tongue. She wanted him to kiss her. It was an instantaneous need and she shifted beneath him, all of a quiver with helpless impatience, her body taut with sudden screaming tension. Her hands flew up of their own volition and her fingers sank into his black hair to try and drag him down to her by force.
With a husky laugh, Constantine resisted her urging and instead let his tongue dip between her readily parted lips. ‘Foreplay,’ he whispered provocatively.

‘Cool down?’ Rosie echoed breathlessly as if he were talking in a foreign language, the throbbing tips of her breasts grazed by the rough black curls on his chest, making her eyes slide shut again on a silent shiver of utterly boneless pleasure. She moved so that she could rub herself against him again and moaned.
A thick flood of Greek was wrenched from Constantine, his long, hard frame shuddering beneath hers in enforced response. Hard hands closed round her hips and dragged her up his extended length, parting her thighs so that she straddled him. ‘I need to cool down…no, I need—’ And he closed his mouth hungrily over a rosy nipple, jolting her with such a shock of intense sensation that she cried out, her head falling back.

Theos…’ Constantine rasped, black eyes expressively awash with guilty, angry bewilderment as he snatched in a ragged breath. ‘I’m sorry… you excited me so much, I lost control.’
Incredibly touched by the look of bemusement in those magnetic dark eyes, Rosie’s tension gave. ‘I—’
His dark, tousled head swooped down, the tender, seductive caress of his mouth feathering against hers in silken persuasion of the cruellest kind. ‘But you feel like heaven on earth,’ he confided with a sinuous, slow and infinitesimal shift of his hips that sent a rise of reawakened pleasure travelling through her startled body. ‘Trust me, pethi mou…’
Rosie melted like frost in sunlight, heat surging back in a stabbing little surge of excitement.

‘You told Anton that you were pregnant,’ Constantine contended in a ragged, dark growl as he drew inexorably closer. ‘It was a cheap trick but that is why he demanded that I marry you.’
‘I don’t play cheap tricks,’ Rosie told him breathlessly, struggling to hang on to her wits as her skin heated and her breasts swelled into throbbing sensitivity. She pressed a betraying hand to the pulse flickering a crazy beat at her collarbone.
‘Christos … you play me like a witch casting a spell!’ Constantine countered with sudden glancing rawness. ‘I want you even more now than I wanted you last night—’
‘Tough,’ Rosie said with tremulous bite, a quiver of deep overpowering longing sheeting over her with the efficacy of a mind-blowing drug, leaving her more dizzy and disorientated than ever.

In response, Constantine reached out, curved his fingers firmly over her stiff shoulders and pulled her across the floor into his arms. And since that was where every inch of her wanted to be she couldn’t fight. He crushed her to him in a shatteringly sexual embrace, a powerful hand pressing her into intimate contact with the bold, hard thrust of his arousal. Rosie shivered violently, her legs turning hollow. He took her mouth with hot, hard hunger and the heat of desire blanked out every. thought. She clutched at his broad shoulders, knit frantic fingers into his thick black hair and feverishly kissed him back.
He sank down into his swivel chair with her on top of him, lean hands roving beneath her loose T-shirt, skimming over the smooth, taut skin of her ribcage in search of the pouting mounds above.

‘You are driving me off the edge, pethi mou,’ Constantine confided with ragged bite. ‘Possibly a working honeymoon was not one of my brighter ideas.’ Suddenly he stood up, both arms anchored around her, and set her down on the edge of the desk, sending papers flying with a decisive sweep of one arrogant brown hand. ‘But then if I want to make love to my wife in the middle of the day that is my business.’
Rosie’s lashes fluttered. ‘I’m not your …’ she began, yet her voice trailed away again, wiped out by the change she’d discovered within herself, the sea change that had crept up on her without her noticing. His wife, she savoured in a sudden stark surge of possessiveness that shook her.

With an urgent groan, Constantine sank his hands to her hips and hauled her under him. Then he hesitated. ‘I don’t want to hurt you again.’
‘You don’t argue with me in my fantasies…you don’t stop…you don’t make me wait!’ Rosie sobbed in explosive frustration.
The silence thundered. She closed her eyes in horror. Oh, no, I didn’t say that … did I? she asked herself.
‘What do I do?’ he murmured.
‘What I want,’ Rosie mumbled.
Constantine vented a ragged laugh of appreciation. The velvet-hard thrust of him surged teasingly against her, gently probing the slick, damp welcome awaiting him.

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Review: Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookindecentdeception
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #1740
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Blaze Kenyon
Heroine: Christabel Hamilton
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1995
Started On: June 14, 2011
Finished On: June 14, 2011

This I think must be the third time that I am reading Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham. And that alone should be enough to tell everyone who wants to know that this is a favorite re-read of mine from the Harlequin line.

Christable (Chrissy) Hamilton is just twenty years of age and shoulders the responsibility of caring singlelhandedly for her half sister Rosie who is about two and a half years old. Barely making ends meet, Chrissy is fired from her only job that is responsible for keeping a roof over her and Rosie’s head; all because she lets her pride and anger at Blaze Kenyon’s sheer arrogance take the best of her.

Blaze is a man who has no intention of ever settling down and one whose sensational life as the rich playboy keeps the tabloids in a tailspin. Surprisingly it is Blaze who offers Chrissy a job which she grabs with both hands never knowing the twisted web she would weave in the coming days.

When her sister Elaine turns up claiming that she wants to get back together with Blaze, Chrissy does the stupidest thing she has ever done in her life which ends up with Blaze and herself walking down the aisle. However, once the truth comes out, Chrissy has hell to pay, making her fear that her burgoening love for a man who has become so vibrantly important in her life would never be reciprocated by the man in question, who only feels loathing for her misleading lies.

I just flat-out adore this story which is proven by the number of times I have read it to-date. And I love Blaze Kenyon for everything he is from his sardonic humor to the blazingly sexual side of him that just makes my heart go predictably aflutter each and every single time. Chrissy was a tough one to like because of the deceiving role that she plays in the novel, no matter how martyr-like she wanted her actions to be. For me, its Blaze who makes this novel come alive, who makes this book worth a revisit time and time again.

Recommended for fans of Lynne Graham and fans of Harlequin romances.

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Review: The Boss’s Valentine by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookthebosssvalentine
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Santino Aragone
Heroine: Poppy Hyacinth Bishop
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 15, 2008
Started On: November 19, 2010
Finished On: November 20, 2010

I stumbled upon this title whilst trolling for books on Goodreads. I have always been a fan of Lynne Graham as she is one of the authors who instilled in me the love for Harlequin romances, no matter how predictable most of them are. I have always loved heroes in Ms. Graham’s titles in the 90’s and always check out her new books to see whether she would deliver one of those angst-filled romances that used to be the highlight of my day back when I first started foraying into the world of Harlequin romances.

Santino Aragone, Italian and a hugely successful enterpreneur is the head of Aragone Systems where 21 year old Poppy Hyacinth Bishop lands her first job as a marketing assistant. Santino had been surprised when his late father had hired Poppy six months back against the advise of HR personnel just because he had felt sorry for her. Poppy with her explosive Titan corkscrew curls and her comical penchant for floral prints and insane diets with her shy and sunny smiles couldn’t be anymore different from Santino with his spectacular sleek Italian looks and never ending string of gorgeous women in his life. However that doesn’t stop the enthusiastic and bubbly Poppy from giving her heart to the one man she knows is far above her league and not even in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that Santino was even aware that she existed.

The Valentine’s day when it comes has never been a favorite time of celebration for Santino. And when he receives an outrageous Valentine’s day card with pink flowers on its cover with an elusive jasmine scent wafting from it, Santino knows that none other than Poppy could have sent it to him. A man who is used to being the one to bestow expensive gifts on his women is surprisingly touched deep inside his cynical heart by her loving gesture though Santino has no intention of following up on her gift because it has never been his style to mix business with pleasure.

But all these rigid rules come tumbling down when during a moment of weakness Santino finds himself at the receiving end of Poppy’s loving nature and before the night is through Santino has earth moving sex with a woman who has been saving herself for the right man to come along and sweep her off her feet.

A string of misunderstandings, mostly on Poppy’s part because she doesn’t feel deserving of Santino’s affections when her own parents found her rather lacking ends up in a period of separation during which Poppy finds out she is pregnant and gives birth to a beautiful baby daughter. When Santino comes across Poppy and his daughter, it is up to him to convince his beautiful blue eyed Poppy to give their relationship a chance as Santino knows deep inside that Poppy is his happily ever after.

Likes:

  1. I liked Santino Aragone. Of course who wouldn’t love a sleek good looking Italian who is not afraid to show his emotions unlike lots of heroes in Harlequin romances. I loved how a man who is so used to his black and white world suddenly finds himself arguing with his marketing manager on using pink of all colors in their sales charts and what not. Cracked me up a lot, this hero.
  2. Poppy. Her sunny nature makes it hard not to love her. I always love it when heroines bubbly and sunny in their nature manage to get under the skin of rigid multimillionaires or playboys who love their women fast and without external baggage along for the ride. I certainly felt for Poppy with her family issues when she had been growing up and rooted for her all the way.
  3. Thank God this didn’t turn out to be one of those romances where the heroine takes it into her mind to keep the consequences of their one night together to herself so that she can feel victimized in the end. I seriously do not like those kinds of romances because no matter what, the father deserves to know that he has fathered a child, unless of course he is of the serial killer/molester variety.
  4. Loved the humorous style of this story. Reminded me of my favorite Graham book, The Spanish Groom which cracks me up whenever I think about it.

Dislikes: None.

Favorite Quotes

“You’re good at this.” Poppy muttered, trembling with the most wicked amount of anticipation.
“Ought to be …” Santino treated her to a slashing irreverent grin that acknowledged his own experience and her eyes clung to his lean powerful face, her heart hammering. “But I’ve never got this close to a woman in the office before.”
“No?”
“Feels forbidden and .. fantastic.” Santino growled in a throaty purr of hunger.
Poppy quivered, every skin cell leaping, and when he brought his mouth down on hers, when he hauled her close, fantastic was in her opinion a serious understatement. She fell into that explosive kiss as though she had been waiting all her life for it.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Lynne Graham.
  2. Fans of Harlequin romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon 

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Review: Bond of Hatred by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book~Cover01
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents #1758
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Alexis Terzakis
Heroine: Sarah Hartwell
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 1, 1995
Started On: September 18, 2010
Finished On: September 18, 2010

It is rare to come across a Harlequin romance that has received 5 star rating for the story it presents, mostly because the stories almost always revolve around the same theme, and the character development and story just doesn’t seem to make the cut. But this story from Lynne Graham, one of my favorite Harlequin authors I have to add, has surprisingly made the mark and received 5 star rating, and I just had to get myself a copy and find out whether this book could deliver that “high” that I usually get with a good Harlequin romance.

The story kicks off when Sarah Hartwell is grieving the death of her younger sister Carrie who had died of a massive coronary. Since Sarah’s parents had been killed in a car crash when Sarah had been seventeen and Callie had just been eleven years old, Sarah had assumed responsibility for her younger sister and given up the hope of ever attaining any further education and focused all her energies in providing Callie with a stable and loving home. Callie had been a beautiful girl with the natural golden looks of a Californian blond, and had seemed to thrive under the nurturing care that Sarah worked through double jobs at a time to provide for her. Callie had made her way through Alevels and had started university to study languages when she had met Damon Terzakis and then on everything had changed.

Sarah had been quite apprehensive of the fact when Callie who had never really been in a serious relationship had started gushing about the new Greek guy who she was seeing. And when Sarah had met Damon and understood that they planned on getting married, Sarah had been dismayed to think that Callie would give up her education and everything Sarah had worked for to give her a better life. And when Damon had stated rather nervously that marriage would have to wait until he manages to convince his elder brother Alexis Terzakis of his intention to make Carrie his wife, Sarah had been a little relieved and then a trifle bit alarmed to think that such barbarity existed in this age and time.

And then Callie had turned up pregnant, refused to return to classes and Damon had returned to Greece on a business trip from which he had returned quite shaken and stated that his brother had been immovable about his decision to marry Callie. Things had gone downhill from there onwards when Damon had abruptly returned back to Greece, and a fortnight later, Callie had been served an eviction notice from Damon’s apartment in Oxford where she had been living. Sarah had been furious at the turn of events that had taken place, and the final straw had been when she and Callie had gone to meet Alex, to convince him that Callie deserved to be married to his brother Damon, only to be met with derisive hostility on his part as he had been convinced that Callie was just a gold digger and Sarah was helping her along.

Alex had realized that Callie had in fact been pregnant with Damon’s child when she had requested that Sarah call Damon upon her deathbed. Sarah is furious to say the least with the Terzakis family and is appalled that Alex approaches her to claim that his nephew Nikos belonged with them rather than with Sarah. Clouded in her grief, pain and anger, Sarah had flat out refused to let Alex claim Nikos and had been seething with anger when Alex had tried to buy Nikos from her for any price she had been willing to name. Ultimately, Sarah had thrown the challenge at Alex’s face that she would be willing to share Nikos with Alex if he would marry her and make her his wife.

Sarah’s only intention had been to shock Alex and drive him away, which she is happy that she has done so when she doesn’t hear from Alex for a week afterwards. But then, Alex returns and in a whirlwind of activities that follow, marries her and makes her his legally wedded wife whilst Sarah is still reeling from the shock of it all. Somehow, through the course of events that come about, Sarah’s perception of Alex changes and she realizes that she hasn’t entirely been fair in judging Alex and his actions.

A bond which was forged between two opposites on nothing more than hatred and resentment suddenly changes into something else the minute Alex takes Sarah in his arms and shows her what she has been missing in her life until now. It is a reluctant Alex that seeks out his wife, as he is determined that the marriage he has been forced into would only play out on his  terms.

The verbal sparring matches between Sarah and Alex are invigorating to read, and the undeniable passion that is unleashed from the moment Alex and Sarah sets eyes on one another obliterates everything else. This story is as good as a Harlequin romance can get with two forceful characters who in the end find their happily ever afters with each other.

Recommended for all Harlequin romance lovers and those who love books by Lynne Graham. This book is a treat from start to finish, one not be missed.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

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Review: The Spanish Groom by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book
Read with: Mobipocket Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #2037
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Cesar Valverde
Heroine: Dixie Robinson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 5, 1999
Started On: June 30, 2010
Finished On: June 30, 2010

This book is a testament to why Lynne Graham remains a favorite Harlequin romance author of mine though her recent works leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. After starting off with the book I realized that I had actually read this book sometime back and reading it the second time round didn’t diminish the effects of the roller coaster ride this book seemed to take me on.

My interest was piqued enough to read this book while I was browsing through a discussion thread on Amazon about Harlequin romances that readers actually liked. One reader had pretty much summed up the story which portrays Cesar, a man who keeps a tight rein on his emotions, but who dotes on his god father Jasper, the only person in his life who had ever shown him unconditional love. Dixie is the total opposite of Cesar in every way. Emotional where he is not, talkative and friendly to a fault, Dixie doesn’t know why the Jasper’s godson had taken such an intense dislike to her and seemed to be finding fault in everything she did around the office. It certainly doesn’t help matters when the routine financial checks done on employees turn up the information that Dixie is knee deep in debt, a condition her step sister Petra has left her in and run off to New York to find work as an actress.

Cesar doesn’t want to believe a word that comes out of Dixie’s mouth. Forever suspicious of people and their intentions, Cesar can’t fathom why Jasper seemed to like Dixie so intensely. The financial check that reveals Dixie’s spending habits give Cesar the chance he has been waiting for. But because of the news that his godfather has not been feeling well because of problems with his heart, Cesar decides that the one thing he could do for the single ray of sunshine in his life was to make his last days on Earth happy ones and decides to do that by entering into a charade where he would present Dixie as his fiance’ to Jasper.

It is Cesar’s intention to transform Dixie into a woman of polished veneer. It was quite amusing to see Dixie forced into a diet and rigorous workout sessions because Cesar thinks Dixie is overweight from over indulgence in food. It was riveting to read how Cesar realizes that beneath all the frumpy layer of clothes Dixie hides a body to die for, and unwillingly Cesar becomes slave to the undeniable fizz between the two.

Before long, Cesar and Dixie are on their way to Spain, and Jasper walks in on them in moments of heated passion which turns the tables around so fast that it leaves Dixie’s head whirling. Dixie finds herself married to Cesar in just a week’s time and finally admits to herself that she has fallen in love with the cold and aloof man that her husband portrays himself to be. It was heartwarming, endearing and at moments heart thumping when Cesar and Dixie try to make a relationship out of their circumstances and in the end find true love with one another.

I loved every bit of this novel and would highly recommend this to lovers of Harlequin romances and fans of Lynne Graham.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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