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Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Hayes Bannock
Heroine: Dr. Emory Charbonneau
Date of Publication: September 2, 2014
Started On: September 28, 2014
Finished On: September 29, 2014
Mean Streak by Sandra Brown hit the bookshelves just earlier this month. I stumbled across the release of Mean Streak quite by accident. Ever since then, I’ve been biding my time until its release, putting it on my calender so that I could have it in my hands as soon as the book released. It would be an understatement to say that I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Brown. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that she is one of those authors who have compelled me to keep reading romance and also instilled in me a love for the genre. Her books are those that I have read, re-read and then re-read again when I had hit an all time low on reading books that somehow keep falling short of hitting all those vital spots that makes a book stand out in more ways than one.
Mean Streak is a novel that hits all those spots. Dr. Emory Charbonneau is a pediatrician who shares a practice with two other OB-GYNs, a philanthropist, a general do-gooder and a marathon runner. Her three plus year marriage had been going downhill for quite sometime and Emory’s latest planned run in her quest to challenge herself up in the solitude of the mountains couldn’t have come at a better time when she needs to get away and sort things out. However, rather than clearing her head and getting a timeout from her life as Emory planned, she ends up waking up in a strange hut, with a man who frightens her with his size, intensity and the sparkle of something inside of her that she dares not name.
Forced by circumstances, Emory stays with the man who remains secretive about his name and elusive about anything to do with him that might reveal who is. Fearing the worst, Emory would like to believe that she is immune to that gentle touch and the calm and quiet that exudes from a man who should really be menacing rather than making her feel sheltered and protected in a place where there seems to be no one else but just the two of them. And without Emory realizing, she does the worst thing possible under the circumstances; she falls for the man whose name she knows not, but whose merest touch has the power to melt her on the spot.
Sandra Brown’s mastery with storytelling is evident in Mean Streak. For 3/4ths of the story, you never know the name of the man up in the mountains who shelters a woman suffering from a concussion, yet unleashes his ferocity on those who deserves it. Emory who has led a pretty “normal” life on the scale of things up till then can’t decide whether she is attracted to or afraid of the man who makes her feel so many emotions that it becomes difficult for her to identify which one is the strongest.
Hayes Bannock, the hero turns out to be quite the surprising character in the story. Surprising in the sense, you are as stupefied as Emory when it comes to him. The different facets to his character though he reveals nothing of himself is what makes him such a fascinating character. And in the end when Sandra reveals his full character to you, you are left with the feeling of how totally wrong you could be about a person and how easily you could be led to believe a totally different “truth” about a person. And that was unsettling and brilliant in itself. Hayes is the type of hero that has faded away from the genre as authors strive and write heroes of the variety that pleases “feminists” in general. And because of this rarity and because I am a sucker for a ruthless and dangerous man as Hayes, I loved Sandra’s unapologetic portrayal of him as a hero that defies the accepted norm when it comes to creating heroes. A man who asks to make dirty memories with him; well that’s a hero you can’t ever go wrong with.
The explosive attraction between Hayes and Emory was of the shiver worthy kind of the good variety. Hayes is all male; confident, dominant and totally unapologetic in the way he takes, possesses and destroys every single notion that Emory has about sexual attraction and love. Hayes though he doesn’t show much of how he feels, the words of passion exchanged between Emory and himself during long and dark hours of the one night they spend together reveals just how much Emory changes Hayes’ stance and perspective on the life he has been leading up till then. Those flashbacks that Emory has of the time they spent together? Erotic, compelling and definitely ties you up in knots.
The end when it came encompassed everything I could have wanted for the story. Emory’s life that is in danger, which is revealed as the story progresses gives you the most shocking twist of all, and that ladies and gentlemen, is how you write suspense of the variety that keeps the pages turning. I was a bit apprehensive towards the last pages of the book thinking that Sandra wouldn’t deliver the happily ever after for Hayes and Emory as I had been craving. If you have read Lethal by Sandra Brown, you’d know exactly what I am talking about. But thankfully, there was a wonderful ending to Mean Streak that I believe did the story justice in all the ways possible.
Combining masterful suspense and heated passion, Sandra delivers one of the best novels of the year. Most definitely recommended! And now I have to contemplate on how to resign myself to books that would fall short in comparison and send me into despair until the next book that would deliver on all fronts, which seems to happen less and less as I read more.
Final Verdict: Oh dear Sandra Brown, thank YOU for this one!
Her attempt to be a femme fatale had ended on an ironic twist: it was she who’d been seduced. She had put on that mortifying display, but when he began caressing her, she stopped playacting. He’d pulled her to him, and she’d felt him hard and insistent against her, and the truth had been undeniable. She’d wanted him.
Every feminine urge had sprung to life, and it wasn’t just the long dormancy that had made her sexual desire so acute. It was him. She wanted to experience him, every rough surface, every gruff word, his outdoorsy scent, the whiskey taste of his breath, the arrogant jut of his penis. She had wanted the totality of him with a reckless disregard for what was right and proper for Dr. Emory Charbonneau.
“The brothers were fighting when I came out to get you. What was that about?”
“Will asked me if I was a homo.”
“How crass. What did you say?”
He looked at her for a moment, then removed his hand from the doorknob, placed it around the back of her neck beneath her hair, and pulled her up to receive his kiss—his open-mouthed, exploratory, evocative, and unshy kiss, which started out slow but soon acquired an urgency that was barely contained.
He kissed her like he meant it, like this kiss was going to be the last thing he ever did on earth, and he was going to do it right, thoroughly, and leave nothing wanting.
But she was left wanting, and judging from the rapid rise and fall of his chest and the fever in his eyes when he jerked his head back, he’d been left wanting, too.
Roughly, he said, “I told him no.”
She placed her palms on his chest and then slid them up onto his shoulders.
“Okay. I warned you. I told you that if I ever got my hands on you again—”
“You’d put them all over me.”
“That’s not all I said I’d do.”
He covered her lips with his and unleashed the hunger he’d restrained the night before. Nothing was tempered, not the introduction of his tongue, not the need with which her mouth opened to him, not the darkly erotic words that he whispered when he finally broke the kiss and released her, but only so he could hastily undo the buttons of his shirt she wore.
He pushed into her in one, purposeful glide.
“Jesus, Doc,” he groaned, “I promised you it wouldn’t hurt.”
Flexing his hips, he seated himself even deeper, then stretched out above her and began moving. Mating. All raw, male power and surety. Unapologetic, dominant and possessive.
He lowered his head to her breasts, sipped at her tight nipples and flicked them with his tongue.
Her orgasm was shattering.
With a snarled obscenity he pulled out barely in time and imprinted her body with his.
Writhing and straining, they wrung out every ounce of pleasure, and when he came, the pulses were strong and intense. Then they seemed to melt into each other, spent.
His voice a sexy rasp, he said, “You’re not gonna go run screaming from me?”
In a sublime state of arousal, she smiled and shook her head no.
“Then make memories for me, Doc.”
Leaving her breasts tingling, he skimmed his hand down over her belly. He contemplated the architecture of her hipbone as though it was a marvel. Then he brushed the backs of his fingers over the soft hair. “Make memories for me to take out and play with when you’re gone.”
“What kind of memories?”
Her question ended on a surprised inhale when he deftly relocated and moved her thighs far enough apart to accommodate his wide shoulders. She could almost feel the probe of his hot gaze as he slid his hands under her and pulled her closer. She definitely felt the first sweep of his tongue, then his lips moving against her as he whispered. “Dirty ones.”
[Hayes] “Sorry, Doc.”
[Emory] “For what?”
[Hayes]”Keeping you awake.”
[Emory] “I haven’t complained.”
[Hayes]”So, you don’t want me to stop?”
[Hayes]”Don’t stop this?”
[Emory] “No. God no. Don’t…don’t stop.”
[Hayes]”You’ll have to be the one who says you’ve had enough.”
[Emory] “I’m not there yet.”
[Hayes]”Good. Because I can’t stop.”
When she lay back, he followed her down and sank into her, pushing until they couldn’t possibly be any closer, then he settled his weight onto her and buried his face in her neck. “You’ll be the ruin of me. But fuck if I can help myself.”
He levered himself up and, eyes focused on hers, began to thrust into her.
And it was incredible, not only because she was so deliciously tight and silky. She was. Not only because she perfectly timed a corresponding motion for each short, quick jab and every long, smooth glide of his cock. She did.
Not only because whenever he all but pulled out, she worked the tip of his penis with seductive belly-dance motions until he couldn’t stand it any longer and had to again sheathe himself completely.
Not only because her hands caressed him with flawless intuition. And not only because, when she climaxed, he felt every convulsive squeeze, but also saw the tears in her eyes that attested to the overflowing emotion behind them.
All that contributed. But what made him come harder, longer, and more meaningfully than he ever had in his life, was that in those moments when he lost himself in her, she closed her arms around his head, and held it close, and said on a sigh, as though it was the dearest word in her vocabulary, “Hayes.”
Tearing his mouth free of hers, he buried his face in the ell of her shoulder and neck, his breath fast and hot against her skin. “Yeah, okay, something has changed. When I’m by myself in the night, I’ll want you.”
He dipped his head and found her nipple through her clothing, moving his mouth across it as he hoarsely whispered broken phrases. “Sleeping between your thighs, finding your breasts in the dark, listening to your breathing, and smelling your hair on my pillow. I’ll want all that, damn you. Damn you, Doc. You won’t be easy to let go.”
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