Review: Love Bites by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-booklovebites
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Trevor d’Laine
Heroine: Kay Erickson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 27, 2014
Started On: October 24, 2015
Finished On: October 28, 2015

My fascination to do with Maggie Osborne is something that I would never deny. From the moment I picked up her novel Silver Lining, there was no looking back for me. To me, Maggie Osborne is synonymous with novels that takes you to places where authors normally don’t. Her unusual heroines with their inner core of strength, and very real faults; they make for the kind of characters that you root for, from the very bottom of your heart. Every review I have done of a book by Maggie Osborne has always ended with me bemoaning about the fact that she stopped writing. So imagine my delighted surprise when I found that this book was released on Smashwords late September of last year!

Love Bites is Maggie Osborne’s first foray into romance of the paranormal variety if I am not mistaken. Because I have not read her complete set of novels, I might have missed out on other genres that she ventured into way before. That being said, Trevor d‚ÄôLaine is the vampire in this novel, a vampire with his own talk show, delivered at night of course. His advertisement for a live-in assistant, a Renfield to his vampire, is what brings Kay Erickson to his doorstep and into his life.

Trevor is determined that he would never ever fall in love again. Years of loneliness that has passed since the bleakness that is his past makes him wary of taking that step. And there is that secret that he carries around in his heart, of why he became a vampire in the first place that would never make him want to take a step to reverse all of it. But all that changes when Kay begins to get under his skin in a way he didn’t think it was possible, and makes him lose perspective on what he has believed to be true ever since he turned into a vampire.

Kay lives in a bubble of her own making until meeting Trevor changes everything. Every single thing she has believed about life, love and lust takes a hike upon meeting Trevor. And that proves to be a game changer for someone as steady, dependable and perhaps a bit boring like Kay, but someone who yearns for adventure, love and passion of the kind that would blow her mind. In Trevor she finds all those things, but the danger that becomes all too real when it comes to the mission they embark upon makes the situation doubly precarious.

While I liked Love Bites, I can’t say that I fully loved the story or could accept where it eventually led me to. Perhaps it has got something to do with Maggie Osborne’s take on the vampire lifestyle. Vampires are made out to be characters who cannot stay true to what they are, because there are so many drawbacks to their lives, the soul deep loneliness and inability to love for one? I just couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just stay the way they were and still be able to love, feel and whatnot.

The other thing was the gravity of the sacrifice Trevor makes to be with Kay. Obviously with all the “negativity” with which Maggie Osborne paints the life of a vampire, Kay didn’t or wouldn’t have wanted to become one. Why become one when the love that made you want to take that step withers away after centuries of being together? Revealing Trevor’s sacrifice would mean giving away a huge spoiler, but let me just say this – I cannot help but question whether or not Trevor would regret the sacrifice he made somewhere down the line. I just cannot help but sigh a little bit with regret over what could have been if otherwise.

I would say Love Bites has a “happy ending” depending on the way you look at it. Well, it was a happy ending in one sense. But in another, it just seemed an uneven happy ending to me! While Trevor was an absolute darling, I couldn’t bring myself to love Kay wholeheartedly. But Maggie Osborne’s writing? Absolutely magical in places where it mattered.

Recommended for fans of vampire romances. This one definitely has a unique take to it!

Final Verdict: Maggie Osborne’s take on vampirism. Definitely worth a look!

Favorite Quotes

Kay’s heart stopped as she stared up at him. He no longer reminded her of an impish boy wearing plastic teeth. This was a man. An aroused man staring at her throat, listening to her blood accelerate in her veins. His shoulders swelled, and his expression was sexy and dangerous and wildly exciting.
A great thrill of weakness spread through her limbs and she couldn’t catch her breath. As if her body had become heavier, her hips sank in the water and her toes found the bottom of the pool. She stood on shaking legs, breathless and unable to move, and gazed helplessly into his glowing eyes.
The desire she saw there set a match to her trembling body and lit her on fire.

The cool touch of his hands on her burning skin, the feel of his hard full thrust straining the thin material of her swimming suit, the mesmerizing smolder in his flaming eyes, the touch of his hand stroking her breast, all combined to render her frantic and helpless. Dizzy erotic hungers whirled in her mind, scalded her thoughts.
Gasping for breath, blood pounding, all she could think about was the desire that knifed through her like a hot blade. She wanted him to rip aside her swimsuit and plunge inside of her, wanted him to sink his teeth into her bared throat and take from her whatever he needed. She wanted… oh God, she wanted!

He yearned to taste her life, her soul, to drink her into him. He craved the rapture of fulfillment that her blood could give. Swept by passion, he saw only the thin tissue of rosy skin between him and the rich red blood that roared in his ears.
As he approached climax, his mouth opened instinctively and his teeth extended a final distance, a reflex beyond his control. His body shook with an urgent need for release, driven by an almost desperate need to suck and drink.
As his body erupted, Trevor veered away from her bared throat and he buried his teeth in the pillow beside her head. Trembling violently, he collapsed on top of her, pushing the torn pillow aside. Her arms stole around him, and she held him tightly until both of them stopped shaking.

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

favorableread

Review: Emerald Rain by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbackemeraldrain
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hero: March Addison
Heroine: Eulalie Pritchard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 5, 1991
Started On: December 30, 2013
Finished On: January 5, 2014

Emerald Rain by Maggie Osborne is one of those romances that reaffirms my belief in the reason why romance would always be my preferred genre to read. I had almost but not quite, forgotten just how good a Maggie Osborne romance could be and why I had actually spent a small fortune in acquiring these out of print titles of hers for my collection. Even those novels that can be considered lackluster when it comes to Maggie Osborne are titles that still gives you a read to remember. This being otherwise I would say made a wonderful start to my reading for the year 2014!

24 year old Eulalie Pritchard (Lalie) makes her way to Brazil to follow her fiance’ to Hiberalta, a journey that would take her through the perilous Amazon jungle and the river that runs through it. Lalie lives by the strict rules of English society, her prim and properness a facet to her character that irritates March Addison from the first moment he lays eyes on her. The son of Earl of Addison, March has carved a name for himself in the Amazon as a renowned businessman in the booming rubber industry in Brazil and Lalie believes that nothing of the gentleman she had encountered 10 years back lives inside of him now.

Lalie expects the rough around the edges March to ferry her up to Hiberalta as quickly as possible and March in return expects fluff of her kind to depart from the country within a week. Both Lalie and March have surprises in store for the other as a trip that takes 3-5 months to complete bares everyone aboard down to their very basics. Living primitively does the one thing that wouldn’t be obvious while living in polite society, and that is to bring to light all the characteristics, good and the bad that drives a person. And that is exactly what happens when March takes Lalie on board despite all the misgivings he has when it comes to the most infuriating, beautiful and enticing woman he has ever come across all his life.

Lalie is determined if nothing else to live, to never be labeled as the woman who never lived a full life. Her infatuation with her fiance is seemingly what drives Lalie to seek the trip on her own but as the days fade into weeks, just like the rules of propriety that Lalie was determined to stick to at the beginning of the trip are stripped away one by one, feelings of the most wanton and unexpected variety seems to fill her heart, body and soul where March is concerned.

As swift as the currents in the Amazon that propels their vessel forward, so does the desire that explodes to surface where March and Lalie are concerned, a desire that is as primitive as the Indians that live amidst the jungle that surrounds the waters. Maggie Osborne always does a remarkable job in creating her heroes and March Addison is another exemplary specimen. One can almost imagine the sinewiness to his musculature, his sensual lips and the totally alpha male vibe that just seems to cling to him. His strength of character is one of the many things that made him an appealing hero and his honor one that made me fall irrevocably in love with him.

Lalie’s character makes me remember a friend of mine whose sheer determination carries her through a lot of hurdles in her life. Lalie who has had a privileged upbringing, is in short, a dreamer. Having seen her fiance through the eyes of infatuation, Lalie had missed out on the crucial aspects of his character to which she is brutally made aware of as the time of reckoning draws closer. While her heart, mind, body and soul yearns for the touch of the man who should be all sorts of wrong for her, Lalie is determined that she keep her word where her fiance is concerned. There were many a times that I literally burst out in laughter due to Lalie’s sometimes innocent and yet honest to God nature that she tries to hide behind all the rules of propriety. Lalie has the sort of hidden sensuality that would drive any red blooded man insane with wanting and that is the kind of wanting that leaves March reeling from the sheer force of it all.

The sexual tension wrought in the novel is top notch, one that made me sigh, squirm and want to prolong the read as much as possible. And one reason I love Osborne novels so much is that she is not afraid to deliver on the said tension when the time comes. And believe me, all that sexual tension Osborne puts the reader through was worth every nail biting moment of it and I was sighing all throughout every beautiful second of it.

Highly recommended!

Final Verdict: Sensuous and a whole lot of adventurous; Maggie Osborne delivers a tale as steamy as the Amazon itself. Not to be missed!

Favorite Quotes

A moaning sound came from her parted lips. Her breasts were thrust against his chest as her head fell backward and her eyes closed. Her fingers dug into his shoulders and her legs wrapped around his, pulling him more tightly against her until his erection throbbed between them, a rigid strength pressing against her soft, yielding body.

“Lalie,” he whispered. He slid one hand to the small of her back and held her pressed against him, his other hand moved slowly to cup her breast, teasing the hard nipple. Her breath was as rapid and choked as his when she met his eyes with a look filled with helpless urgency.

With tormenting slowness, exercising a patience and tenderness he had not known he possessed, he moved his month and tongue over her throat, teasing upward toward the swollen promise of her lips. His hand slid up her back go cup her small head.
“Oh my god March… March..”
Her words emerged part sob, part plea, and her body tightened around his.

Then she raised her face to his clenched jaw, his hard mouth, and finally defenseless, she surrendered to the dark eyes burning down into hers. Their stared locked and held. Her breast rose and trembled on a dry, scorching breath. A yearning sound almost like a sob caught in her throat.
And she wanted.

Her body moved against his; her hands rose and she buried her fingers in his thick hair as her mouth opened beneath his to receive his plundering tongue. Gasping, almost sobbing with the bliss and relief of finally knowing his kiss, Lalie clung to him, pulled him closer, closer, as if she could absorb him, as if by holding him tightly she could make this feverish moment last forever.

“On those nights when sleep won’t come, I’ll lie in my bed and remember the softness of your breast, the sweet curve of your waist. I’ll remember the lagoon, the sunshine on your eyelids. I’ll remember the taste of your skin and the scent of your hair… and I’ll wonder.”

“I’ll make love to other women, Lalie, but they won’t be you. I’ll feel that loss and wonder. All my life I will remember you and regret that I didn’t have you. All my life I will wonder at the feel and touch and scent of you. I will wonder if you would have cried my name. I will wonder if I would have given you pleasure. I will wonder and mourn my loss.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks

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Review: Lady Reluctant by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperbackladyreluctant
Read with: NA
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: St Martins Press
Hero: Thomas Edward Montmorency
Heroine: Blusette Morgan
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 15, 1990
Started On: March 6, 2013
Finished On: March 9, 2013

18 year old Blusette Morgan is the one and only daughter of the notorious pirate Beau Billy. Having grown up in a pirate’s cove, the only life Blu has known is that of a world where the fittest of all survive. Well versed in the art of self defense, there is not a bit of ladylike mannerism instilled in Blu, something that her father regrets enough to come to the decision that Blu would be sent off to her mother in England so that she could become a lady in the truest sense and perhaps find the sort of life that he would never be able to provide for her on Morgan’s Mound.

When Blu sets her sights on the 29 year old Thomas who comes to Morgan’s Mound, the one and only thought that crosses her mind is that he would be the one upon whom she would bestow upon the honor of divesting her of her state of virginity. And when things go hardly according to the plan she sets and Blu finds herself on Thomas’ ship on the journey that would take her towards the woman who had abandoned her and never looked back, Blu more than butts heads with Thomas, whose appeal though never seems to fade away even when Blu would love nothing better than to turn her back on him and of course prove him wrong on all aspects.

It would seem that when Blu reaches her final destination that Thomas would become nothing but a mere memory of a man who had appealed to her on levels she would never admit. But fate has other plans when their lives cross each others and a love most forbidden blooms between the two of them, a love that seems most impossible against the insurmountable odds that stands in their way. Through a lot of moments of the laugh out loud variety – and I am not kidding on that aspect, and a lot of heart wrenching moments of agonized longing, Maggie Osborne once again proves that she is unbeatable in providing readers with stories that never gets old, especially in a genre where no stone is left unturned by the various authors who try their hand in creating stories that their readers would never forget.

The one aspect of Osborne novels that never changes is that she is always brutally honest in depicting the lives people would lead during the times which she bases her stories on. For instance, if it were any other author, I am almost 100% certain that even though Blu had grown up in a pirate’s cove, she would end up being the one innocent flower amongst all the thorns, refreshing in her ladylike manner for which Thomas would have certainly fallen in lust and love with once he sets sights on her. But Osborne doesn’t make it that easy on either Blu or Thomas. Rather she depicts Blu as a woman who grows up under the circumstances would end up being, femininity a totally foreign concept, something she abhors with everything she is.

When you pick up a Maggie Osborne novel, you always know that you would get your money’s worth as she fashions stories that are made to entertain in the truest sense. The only thing I wished was a bit more of Thomas and Blu, something I craved for especially during the last couple of chapters of the story. Final verdict? I cannot recommend Lady Reluctant highly enough.

Favorite Quotes

Brooding, she turned her dark eyes toward a cluster of sails, picking over the bones of a Spanish wreck just north of the reef. There were days when she was depressingly convinced she would go to her grave a virgin. Her stone would read: “Here lies a woman no one wanted.”

“And to think I wanted that rat dropping to be my first! How right were you, Monsieur! I was spared a disgrace of the first water.” Raging, she paced and turned, paced and turned, her sword banging against the cot, the trunk, and Monsieur’s dodging knees.
“I advise we shift this turn of events to advantage.” Monsieur lowered his head and examined her over the rim of his splintered goggles. “I suggest we employ the next weeks to our profit.”
“We bring the crew over to our side and seize the ship?” Blu inquired hopefully. “We instigate a mutiny?”

Then, as her knees were about to collapse, his arms were suddenly around her, his body tight and hard against her own.
Because she could not have done otherwise, because she had dreamed of and longed for this moment, she lifted her mouth and gave him her lips. A shock of lightning jolted through her flesh as his mouth claimed hers. Fire erupted in the pit of her belly and flamed through her limbs, scorching flesh and bone and igniting her mind. She wanted him. His tongue penetrated her secrets and she wanted him as a starving man wants food and drink.

Purchase Links: Abe Books

[xrr rating=4.25/5]

Caliber SEAL: AWESOME READ!

Review: The Best Man by Maggie Osborne

Format: Hardcover
Read with: Hardcover
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Dal Frisco
Heroine: Fredrick Roark
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 1, 1998
Started On: March 17, 2012
Finished On: March 18, 2012

The Best Man is a novel that is going to be hard to review, not because it wasn’t a splendid read in all the ways that counts. It is going to be difficult to put into words just how much the story affected me, how the characters that were brought to life in front of my eyes continued to worm their way into my heart and later on etched themselves onto my very soul to stay there for the time to come. As I have said before and I will continue to say this, Maggie Osborne is an author who is one of a kind. She delivers romances that takes you to place you rarely get to go and she gives you a story that you can sink your teeth into and cannot let go!

Joe Roark, owner of the King’s Walk Ranch dies leaving behind 3 daughters and his fourth wife a widow. Each of them grapples with the astounding will that Joe leaves which dictates that his daughters prove their mettle before they are to receive their due inheritance. If that fails to be the case, all the sweat and hard work that Joe had put into building his ranch would be in vain and will be handed over to a wife that he detested more than he did ¬†his daughters.

A man who only wanted sons and got saddled with daughters, Joe refused to let his daughters forget their place in the world. Alexander Roark Mills (Alex), Fredrick Roark (Freddy) and Lester Roark (Les); the 3 daughters whom he had pampered in his way and each of whom had disappointed him in one way or the other suddenly finds themselves tasked with driving a herd of longhorns to the market in Abilene, Kansas. 

Dal Frisco is a man who is looking for a second chance, a chance to turn his life around and achieve his dream of owning his own spread in Montana. To do that, he needs cold hard cash and the news of the infamous will Joe left to his daughters pave the way for him to do exactly just that. What he doesn’t bargain for is to find daughters who look like the high strung type who carry smelling salts in their fringed wrist purses who look and behave as if they have never engaged in an honest day of work in their whole lives. But even then, Freddy with her dark hair and green eyes catch him unawares with the bolt of desire that strikes him upon the very first time their eyes meet.

For Dal, the success of the mission ahead hinges on his ability to prepare the 3 women to face and cope with the challenges of being on the road, to actively take part in delivering the herd in the exact number their father has stipulated in the will. But the number of foes who want nothing more than to see them fail work from within to bring chaos and mayhem to their venture. And through it all, the 3 sisters continue to discover the hard truths about themselves, become better women and go on to form a bond with each other that would remain unshaken till death does them apart.

Labeling The Best Man as the story in which Freddy and Dal discover each other and fall in love would not do justice to a story that is so very much more. The Best Man brings to life the characters of 3 sisters who had grown up trying to compete and outdo each other during their childhood, each resenting the other for one thing or the other. And later when adolescence had hit, the 3 of them had found themselves going their separate ways, never forging a connection befitting that of sisters. Alex elopes while Freddy sets off to embrace her dream of performing in a theater which drives a further wedge between the sisters. Les, the youngest is the one who stays behind, who feels betrayed when her father brings home a wife that disrespects everything they stand for.

For 3 people who have never tried working as a team or have never worked hard a day in their life, the training and the pace that Dal sets serves to be sheer torture. But Dal is the man who forces them to force out their inner strength, to straighten that backbone of steel that each sister has in spades, to embrace the true hidden characteristics within each of them that makes them such appealing characters. Each of them has their own fair share of faults, fears and dreams. And learning about each of them was a journey in itself and I loved every minute of it.

The men who enter into their lives are nor less appealing. Dal plays the most prominent role and he is the stuff that pure alpha men are made out of. He is strong, stubborn, has that inner qualities that makes him a good leader. But he is not without his fair share of faults either. A recovering alcoholic, Dal battles his inner demons day in and day out and the focus shifts from his desire for the drink to his need for a woman that sets his senses afire by merely just existing. Freddy drives him crazy in more ways than one and though Dal might try to tell himself otherwise, Freddy invades his heart and his soul before he is even aware of it happening.

Alex was one of the most complex characters in the story. With a past that portrays her as the most tortured soul in the story, Alex is a character that rouses equal amounts of sympathy and admiration in the reader. At first she comes across as a snob who later transforms into a woman who is able and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that she and her sisters get what is entitled to them. How Alex discovers love, forgiveness and the courage to move on in one of the most unlikely heroes to crop up put a huge lump in my throat and made me ache in ways I cannot explain. If it is only to discover Alex and the magical transformation she undergoes in this story, it is worth getting yourself a copy of The Best Man.

Les is the sister who has problems with asserting herself. The one who enters into a relationship with an abusive fiance and believes it to be her due. The sister who has the hardest time in putting one foot in front of the other and taking the next step. The one who continually faces the dilemma of doing the right thing and choosing the easy way out. And hers was a story that I read all the while wanting to infuse her with the strength to move on, to be able to stand up and give as good as she gets. And she does get there eventually, surprising herself more than anyone else by just how far she has come by the time the story ends.

Freddy is the dreamer, the one who envisions life as a stage set for acting and she plays the lead role. One hard bump after the other and the tough lessons day in and day out teaches her to face reality, forces her to come crashing down into the world of living rather than continue to walk the Earth with her head up in the clouds. Her desire for Dal is one that catches her by surprise, her innocence the factor that lures her towards a man who shakes her up and tosses her into a maelstrom of desire that she cant shake lose from. 

With Maggie Osborne, you never get a simple straightforward story. She takes you on a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, traversing through roads that brings joy as much as peril comes seeking you out and later on at the end you emerge victorious from all the hard labor you have toiled in, which in the end transforms your reading experience into something wondrous that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Recommended for fans of Maggie Osborne. If you have never read a Maggie Osborne, you are definitely missing out!

Favorite Quotes

His mouth came down on hers hard and hot and deliberate. His kiss was so unexpected that Freddy went limp in his arms with shock. She didn’t fight or protest, couldn’t move or breathe. No one had ever kissed her like this, selfishly, unemotionally, taking with no thought of giving. This kiss was hungry, domineering, something that seared and scorched physically and left her mind reeling.

He kissed her then, not gently, not tenderly. He didn’t kiss her to comfort her. He took her mouth hungrily, almost savagely, wanting to punish her for having a body that tormented him, for telling him that his last kiss had meant nothing, needed to punish her for letting scum like Jack Caldwell call her honey, and for ever thinking about a man who wasn’t him.

He found her breasts with his hands and dropped his lips to her arching throat, tasting dust and woman sweat and a trace of¬†something¬†that reminded him of apples. She tore his shirt at the throat, ripping it downward, and slipped her hands inside, her¬†fingers¬†like brands of fire across his skin. One minute she was straddling him, the next minute he’d follede on top of her. It was like a dam had burst within them both,¬†releasing¬†a flood tide of desireand urgency. And God help him, he would have taken her right there on the ground with a stampede winding down a hundred yards behind him.

For a long moment they gazed at each other, and Freddy felt her mouth go dry and her heartbeat accelerate. If the evening ended right now, she would still remember this moment for all her days. The music, the perfume of the flower baskets, and the hard look of desire in Dal’s eyes.

“Dal … Dal …” Mindlessly, she whispered his name as his kisses deepened and became possessive and deliberate. But slow. Exploring. Teasing. Never quite enough. Kisses that drank desire from her mouth and left her frantic with wanting, wanting, wanting.

Winding her arms close around his neck, she closed her eyes. To be embraced, safe in a man’s arms when she had never expected it to happen again, this would be enough.
Time sheltered their embrace, enfolding them within a summer scented capsule that felt endless and theirs alone. The fragrance of grass and sunlight and nearby water sweetened each breath. Theirs was the music of birds ans the lazy buzz of insects and the beating of two hearts. Yes, she thought, she didn’t need more. This would be enough.

This time his kiss was full and provocative, summoning sensations she had believed, had hop, were submerged too deeply to be awakened. But his fingers on her face, his mouth, his lips, stirred slumbering emotions and coaxed them to life. His hands moved to cup her head, to spread across her spine, and he crushed her against him as their kisses deepened.

He molded her body to his and another gasp tore at her throat. She had never expected to be held in a man’s arms again. Hadn’t dared to hope that she would ever stand chest to chest, hip to hip with a man who desired her. She had truly believed lovemaking was a pleasure she would never again experience in her lifetime. That was her choice and destiny.
His hands moved from her waist to her face, and he kissed the tears shining on her cheeks and eyelids. “I love you,” he whispered. “I have loved you from the moment I saw you.”

“You are so beautiful,” he breathed. Standing over her, rampant in the moonlight, he gazed down at her body. “You are as lovely and as perfect as I imagined you would be.”
Afraid to believe, afraid to trust, she dared a look at him and felt her heart wrench when she read his expression and understood that she truly was whole and beautiful in his eyes. She was a magnificent to him as he was to her.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Abe Books

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Caliber Seal: AMAZING READ!

Review: Shotgun Wedding by Maggie Osborne

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Jesse John Harden
Heroine: Anne Margaret Malloy
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 4, 2003
Started On: March 16, 2012
Finished On: March 17, 2012

The saddest feeling in the world as a reader is to know that an author whose voice beats any other writes no more. Every time I read a book by Maggie Osborne, this is a loss that I feel profoundly to my very soul. Lately I have been very discontent with the books lining my e-book shelves, something that happens to me every now and then. Finally, I decided to dust off my paperback edition of Shotgun Wedding which I bought from Abe Books a couple of months back, and let Maggie Osborne charm her way into my heart and soul and she did exactly just that with a story that kept me turning the pages even into wee hours of the morning.

Jesse John Harden works as the Sheriff of the small town of Marshall in Kansas. A man who prefers to keep to himself, Jesse might show a laid-back front to people but he is a man who gets the job done earning him more than the gratitude of the people of his now hometown.

25 year old Anne Margaret Malloy (Annie) finds herself in a bit of a fix when she discovers that she is pregnant and that she can’t continue to avoid the fact any longer. Annie is someone who has sworn off marriage a long time back, the independence that her parents give her one that she had taken for granted and landed her in the shitload of trouble she finds herself in. Annie likes to think of herself as a New Modern Woman like those who aren’t afraid to move ahead in a man’s world and show the world their worth. But the unexpected pregnancy brings all her dreams crashing down and forces her to face the consequences of the road that she had taken when she had met the father of her child.

Even though Annie’s beau agrees to marry her and do the right thing, she cannot accept the concept of living with a man who robs banks and trains for a living. The mere thought of feeding herself and her children from the profit reaped off by robbing other people of their hard earned wealth leaves a hollow feeling deep inside of her and that is how Annie finds herself the outcast of the town, living with her parents who refuse to let her take the coward’s way out and stay at home wallowing in self-pity.

Through a chain of events, the townsfolk arrive at the conclusion that Jesse is the father of Annie’s unborn child as Annie continues to hide the identity of the man who had fathered her child. Jesse had always had a soft spot for Annie, her unruly red curls a constant source that fires his libido unlike any other. But his plans of gentle days of courting Annie into his world fly out of the window when he reels with the news of Annie’s pregnancy, until he comes up with a plan that would effectively tie Annie’s life to his, all the while convinced that with time he would make Annie fall in love with him.

Shotgun Wedding was a story that was delivered in the classic wit and style that only Maggie Osborne can pull off. She is an author who can continue to juggle a hundred characters in her stories and never make you feel as if you are floundering around trying to pin down who is who. In Shotgun Wedding, Ms. Osborne manages to bring the whole town to life, exploring those little nuances that makes you feel as if you are part of the story that unfolds rather than a guest passing through.

I loved Jesse and clamored for him with everything female inside of me. He is the least “tortured” hero that I have come across by the author and there was a definite charm about his character because of that. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that Jesse won’t make your heart go aflutter because he definitely does that and more. He has that inner strength and formidability¬†etched¬†onto his character that would make your heart beat a tad faster when he enters into the picture. And he is the type of man you can count on to keep the nightmares at bay, to make you feel loved and cherished in those little ways that counts. I loved how Jesse begins to court his pregnant wife and that slow simmering seduction that he begins that just made me hum deep inside and curl my toes in anticipation.

I had a bit of a problem with Annie like most readers. Annie is not without her faults but I expected her to grow out of them and show me the backbone that would make her a worthy partner for Jesse till death does them apart. At first her selfishness in not thinking about the parents who had done nothing but love her and give her everything she had wanted grated on me. But later on, she did learn her lesson and accepted her faults and showed that she was made of better stuff. The one thing that continued to irk me was how Annie tried to shield the activities of the actual father of her child from her husband, putting Jesse inevitably in danger which is only then Annie realizes the blunder she has made. But I guess once again she does learn from her mistake but I found it a bit hard to forgive her and move on like Jesse did.

The one other problem I had with the story was how Jesse didn’t feature in the story as prominently as I wanted. The story was mostly dominated by Annie and the father of her child and though the anger that he harbors towards Jesse for snatching away something that he considers as rightfully his drives the story, I wanted the burgeoning relationship between Jesse and Annie to come into the spotlight and give me a couple of chapters to sigh over long after I was done.

It is the sheer feeling of magic that surrounds me when I start a Maggie Osborne that would always leave me coming back for more. Recommended for fans of Maggie Osborne and fans of marriage of convenience themed romances.

Favorite Quotes

If only. The saddest two words in any language.

Golden shadows shimmered and the musky scent of the candles dizzied every breath. They were on the bed now, an enormous bed with sheets of glowing satin. Clasped in an embrace they rolled together, drinking deep kisses from gasping mouths, hands stroking, teasing, chasing, bodies pressing against each other as if seeking to melt and become one with the other.

He bent his head, bringing his lips near her ear. “Talk of the future confuses you, I know. But I think about it all the time.
His hands moved slowly down her bare arms. “When the time is right, when it’s our time, I want to undress you – slowly – in front of the fire. Slowly, one item at a time. I want to roll down your stockings and unlace your corset. I want to slowly take the pins out of your hair and catch the weight of it in my hands. Then I want to learn the feel of every inch of you.”

[Annie] “I just wondered … is slowly a good thing?”
“Is slowly …” His fingers relaxed and she felt rather than saw his smile. He brushed his fingertips across her lips, then sank back to his pillow. “Oh yes, Annie love. Slowly is a very good thing.”
“Oh, my.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Abe Books

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: The Brides of Prairie Gold by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Warner Books Inc
Hero: Cody Snow
Heroine: Perrin Waverly
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 1, 1996
Started On: August 28, 2010
Finished On: August 29, 2010

The Brides of Prairie Gold center around the twelve woman who travel to Clampet Falls, Oregon from Missouri as mail-order brides. Wagon master Cody Snow has no idea how he ended up with agreeing to take these brides to their destination. This being the last trip that Cody was going to take, he was also carrying a stash of weapons and whiskey unknown to the brides on board to sell. A journey that was to take a period of around 6 months of their lives through rough terrain and weather, Cody doesn’t know how he is going to survive the incessant problems that seems to crop up amongst his travelers. Accompanying him as his scout is¬† the enigmatic half-Indian Webb Coate who makes for a pretty interesting character as well.

When Cody lays his eyes on the beautiful Perrin Waverly, the red-hot attraction that flares between them is instantaneous and unwelcome at best. Cody whose dead wife Ellen had betrayed him and got pregnant with another man’s child and died giving birth had left a bitter taste in Cody’s mouth where women are concerned. Cody had vowed that no woman would ever have that kind of power over him and his heart and he had resigned himself to settling down on his own. Perrin was a woman who had made a lot of mistakes in the past. Perrin viewed men as users of women, who always took and never gave anything back. Widowed quite unexpectedly from her jealous husband Gavin Waverly who had left her no means to fend for herself, Perrin had been at the end of her wits as to what to do when Joseph Boyd, Chastity’s wealthy banker had befriended her. In the end, Perrin had offered herself to him as his mistress, an act that had tainted her forever in the eyes of the citizens of Chastity. This journey towards a new life and a new husband was supposed to be her second chance. But life and its unexpected twists had thrown Augusta Boyd, Joseph’s proud daughter who doesn’t want anything to do with the woman who in her opinion had ruined her father which in the end had prompted him to commit suicide.

Needless to say, the journey doesn’t start off well for Perrin or Augusta. Augusta is a character that brings out all sorts of emotions from the reader. She is spoiled to the core, demanding and pretty much thinks of herself to be above everyone else who was performing the journey along with her. Augusta hires Cora to do her bidding, and whilst Cody had ordered that everyone who was traveling with him had to do their share of work, Augusta refuses to lift a finger to do work she deems to¬† be beneath her. With only 40 dollars to see her through the journey since her father had been completely ruined financially, a fact Augusta had managed to keep a lid on till now, Augusta is scared of not making it through the journey.

Cody as the wagon master has always opted that his travelers select a representative from their group to bring their problems to, so that Cody can only attend to those problems that are deemed unsolvable by the representative. When Perrin draws the paper marked X which effectively makes her the group’s representative, none of the group members are enthusiastic about the fact. They all know of Perrin’s reputation and were doing their hardest to ignore Perrin and not associate with a woman who had fallen from grace.

Cody curses and thanks the fact that being the womenfolk’s representative undeniably put Cody and Perrin into a situation where they could no longer avoid each other. Sparks fly and the atmosphere pretty much crackles with tension whenever Cody and Perrin are together. Though they try to deny the combustive attraction between them, it is inevitable as the rising sun that these two would come together in an explosive manner that pretty much obliterates everything else. When Perrin realizes that Cody has no intention of ever marrying again, but wants to continue their relationship, Perrin knows that she won’t ruin her second chance at respectability even if it means saying no to the man who had effectively captured her heart forever.

I don’t think I can effectively describe what goes through during this tough journey that these brides take to reach their futures and their husbands. The rough and tough journey inevitably toughens them up. There are losses, deaths, squabbles and disease that occur during the space of the journey. Making the journey doubly dangerous is a long term enemy of Cody, who is hell bent on killing Cody and stealing the arms and whiskey that Cody was transporting. And amongst the women is a bride who has an unhealthy obsession with Cody, who thinks that she is the bride meant for Cody who in the end nearly kills the woman Cody loves with everything in his being.

This book is a pretty great read which enriches the reader with the perils of traveling during the 1800’s. Life was tough and hard and people had to toughen up and face life head on if they wanted to survive. The most remarkable change comes out in Augusta, who finally gets what she deserves and a bit more, and in the end this makes her into a better woman, who but in the end loses the man she loves, because she was too proud to think that a half Indian was beneath her.

The story of how Mem, a 28 year old spinster and Webb Coate find each other was pretty interesting as well. Webb who at first smolders at the mere thought of touching the hauntingly beautiful Augusta Boyd, finally finds everything he had been searching for and more in the arms of Mem, the woman who completes him in every way.

I recommend Maggie Osborne novels for those romance readers who require something more than just a man and woman getting together and falling in love. If you want a romance with a bite of adventure, a little bit of mystery and enough passion to knock your socks off, this is a must read.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: The Bride of Willow Creek by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Sam Holland
Heroine: Angie Bartoli
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 2, 2001
Started On: August 27, 2010
Finished On: August 28, 2010

This is certainly an unusual story, as are most of the novels by Ms. Osborne. This was the book that I chose to read right after falling in love with Ms. Osborne’s writing style after reading Silver Lining. However, for some reason I read a couple of pages and found my interest straying towards some other book and I had all but forgotten about it until my pile of to-be read Ms. Osborne novels have shrunk into 1 or 2 books. And finally after reading this book, I for the world of me cannot understand why I put this book away because yes, this book is really good.

Ten years have passed since Angie Bartolli then sixteen years old had married Sam Holland. Angie with a formidable father had not been ready to defy him and leave with her then husband for whom her father felt nothing but loathing saying right to his face that Sam would never be able to make anything for himself. Both Sam and Angie had been young, both expecting things from the other that they had not been mature enough to understand or give. Thus Angie had stayed behind, a married innocent, whilst her husband Sam made his way to the West swearing that he would make something of himself by prospecting for gold and silver.

Now Angie’s parents have passed away and left her broke with nothing to live on. Angie wants her life to start and yearns to actually live as a married woman. Practically designated the position of a wallflower after being deserted by her husband, Angie had always been on the outside looking in, until Peter De Groot shows an interest in her and wants to start a life with her. Wanting the divorce that she should have obtained long back, without any funds to achieve what she wanted, Angie makes her way to Sam hoping that he would pay all the expenses for the year long period that she would have to wait for the divorce to come through.

The Sam that she encounters is a grown up, more vital and more handsome version of the man that she fell so swiftly in love with. Old resentments that they both thought they had buried long ago come rising to the surface, both blaming the other for a marriage that never in reality began. When Sam realizes that Angie has nowhere else to go and that he is in no financial situation to pay for the divorce that the both of them wants, the only solution is for Angie to take residence at his small place.

At Sam’s place Angie encounters Lucy and Daisy, the adorable daughters of Sam, which shock Angie more than anything else. The immense feeling of betrayal she feels when she hears that Sam had been living with Laura, the mother of his daughters until she had died of pneumonia, Angie doesn’t know whether to start crying or to start screaming. The one thing Sam regrets more than anything else is the fact that he was never able to offer his name and respectability to Laura, a fact that he, Laura and her parents only knew. But the arrival of his wife, which Sam resents with everything he is, definitely stirs up the story which makes Sam’s resentment to the forced arrangement grow.

Upon meeting Daisy, the youngest of the two girls, Angie realizes why Sam has other priorities at the moment. Born with club foot, the surgery required to correct the defect cost the earth and Sam was determined that this time as soon as he got enough money Daisy would be his number 1 priority. And with the courts having sentenced Sam that if during the 1 year period he is unable to get the surgery done on Daisy he would have to give up both his daughters to their grandparents, who loathe Sam for “seducing” their daughter into an immoral life with him.

Angie who doesn’t know squat about caring for children, slowly learns what it is like to lose your heart to two beautiful girls who could try your patience until you no longer have any left. With Lucy fighting Angie and her affections every step of the way, life is a constant battle for Angie. And feelings she had never come across before start to haunt and taunt her with her alluring husband so close by. Intimacies that develop over living in a small space contribute towards the raging inferno that is ignited inside Angie, and suddenly every waking thought and dream she has is full of Sam and the way he could make her lose herself in desire she had no right feeling now.

Sam thought that anything he had felt for Angie 10 years back had long since being buried. But the woman that Angie has grown into is more alluring than he can resist. With her fiery spirit and courage, and her affection towards his two girls Sam slowly starts to fall in love with Angie all over again.

However, trust and belief in the other that has always been the problem between the two nearly breaks them apart once again. This was a heartwarming read on how Angie comes to care for the two girls who adorable and equally headstrong, how Angie tries to save and scrape whatever Sam earns so that Daisy could have the surgery she needs before custody would be awarded to their grandparents. I definitely loved Angie as the heroine and needless to say I wouldn’t mind a Sam Holland of my own! *winks*

Beautifully done, this is a marvelous read any true romantic would love.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!