Re-Read Review: Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookhiddenfires1
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Warner Vision
Hero: Jared Lockett
Heroine: Lauren Holbrook
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 1, 1982
Started On: November15, 2011
Finished On: November 16, 2011

First published on my birth year, Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown is a romance that stands true to the test of time. Trust on Sandra, one of my all time favorite authors to deliver a romance as sizzling as hot coals and a story that is so engrossing that I couldn’t bear to let this one go even for a minute. Even being the second time round that I was reading this, I was completely riveted on the events that took place in the novel, a woman’s hatred and vindictive and controlling behavior that drives the story together with the sensual and beautiful romance Sandra delivers.

The year is 1903 and 20 year old Lauren Holbrook travels to Texas from North Carolina on the invitation of one Ben Lockett who has all well placed intentions regarding the beautiful Lauren. Lauren having lost her mother at the age of 3 and father at the age of 12 had lived since then with Reverend Abel Prather and his wife Sybil. Naive and innocent, Lauren has no idea of the hornets nest she is stepping into when she disembarks from the train to make her way towards Coronardo, Ben’s hometown.

Jared Lockett is a man who is notorious throughout the state for his whoring and drinking. A Harvard graduate and a cowboy, Jared is a character who stirred up my senses even right from the start. A mass of contradictions is what he is; brash, harsh and coldly controlled one minute and tender and teasing the next. His parents marriage being an unhappy one is an understatement and Jared had borne the brunt of their unhappiness with one another that had shaped him up to be the person he is.

When Jared’s mother, the beautiful and vindictive Olivia Lockett schemes to arrange a marriage between Lauren and Jared both find themselves agreeing to the marriage of convenience for a period of two years. Though Jared would have loved to storm out of the discussion and turn his back on his mother’s wishes, her manipulations turn out to be more well placed than Jared could counterattack and thus finds Lauren and Jared being bound by holy matrimony and little does Jared know that Lauren is the woman who would bring him to his very knees before their marriage is through.

Lauren who is an innocent babe in the woods when it comes to carnal desires is misjudged right from the very start by Jared and thus makes her life miserable from the onset of their marriage. But for Jared, Lauren is not as easily dismissed from his mind as he would like as her innocence and beauty keeps creeping up on him at the most unexpected of moments, his personal vow to stay away from Lauren a much harder one to keep than he thought.

Lauren is drawn to Jared right from the very start, the cravings that hits her whenever Jared is around a foreign one to her but one she knows instinctively that only Jared can fulfill. Sandra keeps the sexual tension mounting until all I could do was practically squirm in my chair from wanting the explosive culmination of the desire between Jared and Lauren, something Sandra is very good at delivering on! And I wasn’t disappointed when their relationship progressed to that stage and all but welcomed the beauty of their coming together with open arms.

What I loved most about this novel was Lauren’s character. She is naive and innocent to a fault when she steps on the rugged land of Texas, but having an instinct that guides her to judge people easily saves her from a lot of hurdles. In Olivia, Jared’s mother Lauren finds a woman who is bitter to the very end, who loves people only to gain the upper hand and to further her own goals in whatever notorious scheme or plan that she cooks up. It is Olivia’s doing that separates Lauren and Jared and drives a wedge between them one right after the other, for the fear that Jared might not be as easily controllable if Lauren were to work her healing magic on him.

How Lauren grew throughout the story, her gentleness and giving nature together with that stubborn streak of hers when it comes to those she loves and considers dear to her are her best characteristics. The way she faces and weathers one storm after the other in her relationship with Jared, the man who so effortlessly steals her heart for good and all time to come is one of the reasons I admired her character. She gives as good as she gets, but knows instinctively when its time to let go in order to heal the tortured soul that is Jared’s.

Jared is the type of ruthless alpha hero that I absolutely adore and love. Sandra certainly knows her way with male lead characters and even when they are rakes of the most notorious kind, you can’t help but be drawn towards them like a moth to flame. Jared’s entrance to each and every scene in the book makes it come alive with his sheer magnetism alone and if I were to talk about the effect he had on my senses; I tell you this is going to end up a long, long review!

The one thing that stopped me from giving the 5-stars that this book so very well deserves was what happened towards the latter part of the book. I found that Jared’s “cruelty” towards Lauren to make his mission a more believable one was something that could have been done away with. But somehow it all serves its purpose, the villains get what they truly deserve and Jared and Lauren find a love so worthy of slaying dragons over that I just heaved a huge sigh of pleasure once the book was done!

Sandra’s mastery is such that not even one iota of my emotions remain aloof when reading, my whole being focused on the sensations that courses through me right from the very start. Her ability to paint a picture so vividly with words and make you feel as part of the story that unfolds is how remarkable an author she is and that is one reason why I would continue to buy her books as long as she continues to publish them.

Favorite Quotes

Lauren whirled her head around so quickly that the motion hurt her neck. Jared’s hand came up and clamped the hat more firmly over his face. He adjusted his long body to another position, contracting and relaxing muscles that Lauren didn’t know existed. But then, she had never seen a masculine physique like this before. His languid movements were repelling and thrilling at the same time. It was like watching some pagan god who was beautiful even in his decadence.

Jared hadn’t planned it, had never even thought about it, but he couldn’t control taking complete possession of her mouth with a bruising kiss. He wanted to insult her, to further humiliate her, to shatter her damned poise. But her body was so female, her lips so soft, warm, virginal, that what had been hurtful and brutal became tender, seeking, questioning.

Lauren could smell the starch that kept Jared’s shirtfront crisp, which blended intoxicatingly with tobacco and champagne. When he spoke in confidential tones to the silly woman, Lauren could feel the vibration of his voice in his chest. The bank director’s wife moved away, and still Jared retained his possessive hold on her. His hand trembled slightly as his thumb moved upward and lightly stroked the side of her breast. Or did she only imagine it? Lauren thought she would die from the constriction in her chest that pounded up into her throat and sought release in a small moan.
Another guest walked toward them. Slowly, reluctantly, the strong fingers were withdrawn, leaving behind an imprint on Lauren’s skin as scorching as a brand.

Rosa wasn’t far from wrong. In her naked loveliness, she appeared to be an angel.
But Jared was mortal, and he wanted her as he had never wanted a woman before. He carefully lowered his head and kissed the pulse in her throat. Then his lips traveled with a blissful laziness over her breasts, nibbling and licking lightly so she wouldn’t ever know that he had worshiped at this temple of her body. She was forbidden to him. It was a self-imposed denial, but that made it even more binding.

Don’t be afraid of loving this man, Maria had told her. Don’t be afraid. Her slender fingers closed around the warm shaft with its velvet skin stretched smooth. Gently her fingers played over him, curious, wondering fingers, fingers made exultant by their discoveries.
Reflexively Jared arched his back. His head went back in a gesture of exquisite feeling. Then his chin lowered and he was searching her face again. His golden eyes shone bright with emotion. “Touch me, Lauren. Touch me until I die from the pleasure of it. Know all of me.” His voice was breathy and uneven.

Her fingers dug into the flesh of his hips as his own passion peaked. His face was buried in her neck and her skin felt his rapid, moist breath as he chanted her name.
He didn’t leave her. He couldn’t forsake the paradise just yet. Nestled within her body, he raised himself on his elbows and looked down at her. Tenderly he kissed each feature of her face.
“Is this possible?” she breathed, referring to the enormity of her rapture.
“Yes, yes,” he murmured against her lips.
He raised his head and his eyes searched her face once again. His expression was difficult to define, but it closely resembled love.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

fantasticread

Review: Lethal by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booklethal
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Leo Coburn
Heroine: Honor Rosemary Gillette
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 20, 2011
Started On: September 23, 2011
Finished On: September 24, 2011

It feels like its being ages since I have been invested in a story, its characters and its final outcome as much as I did when reading Lethal by Sandra Brown. And it has been quite sometime since I picked up a Sandra Brown, who always manages to keep the reader glued to the pages, whether it be because of the strong elemental connection she manages to make with the reader or because of the suspense element in her later novels that always manages to entice the reader to put everything else on hold and indulge.

Lee Coburn is a federal agent deep undercover going on 13 months when all hell breaks loose and he is forced to flee for his life after being implicated in the mass murder of 7 men which had initiated a nationwide manhunt for him. His destination is one that will either help him make or break the case of a wide ring of smugglers who dabbles in transportation of young girls to drugs to weaponry.

When widow Honor Gillette’s 4 year old daughter Emily discovers the wounded man outside of their home, Honor has no inkling that her whole life is about turn upside down when the dangerous man with menace emanating from his very pores makes her regret the impulse to check on him. But what Lee brings home to light makes Honor question the circumstances surrounding the seemingly innocent death of her husband Eddie two years back and place her trust in Lee to keep Honor and her daughter safe when everything familiar seems so murky in comparison. 

Lee with his ingrained mistrust for everyone tries hard to not be disarmed by a pair of hazel-green eyes that entices and beckons at the same time. With everyone involved in the manhunt with unclear agendas of their own, Lee trudges his way through with the woman and her child in tow, knowing that anything else would mean a swift death for both of them which he just cannot fathom having on his conscience. And all the while, the awareness that singes through both Honor and Lee’s blood grows with every passing minute, practically making the very air between them electrifying.

Sandra Brown takes the reader on a harrowing journey told from multiple viewpoints, the story’s impact a much more profound one because of the fact. The villain when brought to light towards the end proved to be a shocker which is a testament to Ms. Brown’s ability to spin a well effectuated thriller.

Both Lee and Honor, who serve as the main protagonists are reason enough to bow down to Ms. Brown’s superior talent when it comes to delivering on heroes and heroines a reader can relate to and characters that you want to open up your heart to.

Lee is the version of a dying breed of heroes that few authors have the gumption to write in the present times. Lethal and dangerous, Lee is a former Marine who had a tough childhood, whose days in the military had honed his skills of killing to the extent that he practically feels nothing until Emily and Honor both pierce through the fog of nothingness that has surrounded him all his adult life. With a delicious barbed wire tattoo on his bicep and a straightforwardness to his manner that is both exhilarating and alluring at the same time, Lee is a hero who raced towards my shelf of favorite heroes before I had the time to blink!

Honor is a worthy heroine for a man like Lee. A second grade school teacher who is a total babe in the woods when it comes to the likes of Lee, Honor nevertheless has a backbone of steel that propels her to make the right decisions even when everything else tells her otherwise. Her attraction when it comes to Lee is a visceral one that has her falling hard and fast before she even has the time to gather her wits around her.

Emily was just plain adorable I say and I think my heart just practically turned over during the first couple of chapters which brought to light her cherubic character. I knew then and there that if nothing else could get through to a hero of Lee’s caliber, Emily could, with her innocent and trusting nature that could heal even the most wounded heart.

When it comes to the suspense aspect of the novel, it is how Ms. Brown manages to keep the reader on tenterhooks about her characters, wondering which one’s the ally and which one the foe that makes this one hard to put down. With the turn of one page, you think you have learnt a bit more about the characters that constantly keeps you on your toes. But then at the turn of the next page you realize that you might not know as much as you think you do, which makes this an instant page-turner!

My one teensy bit of disappointment stems from how the story ended, though there were elements that makes the reader draw the conclusion that there is a happily ever after in store for both Honor and Lee. But then again, I guess it was because of the ending that Lethal would remain in my heart for a long time, the riot of emotions that coursed through me at that very moment being one I wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Final Verdict: A game of cat and mouse timed to perfection & flawless in its execution, Lethal by Sandra Brown is another winner by master storyteller Sandra Brown.

Momentous Scenes:

  • The moment Emily places a kiss on Lee’s cheek. Had me going all Aww! because of how much it affected the stoic Lee Coburn.
  • The moments during which Lee holds Honor in his arms, just wanting the moment to linger on, a first for him. Such a sweet and throat tightening moment.

Favorite Quotes

His entire aspect was menacing, starting with his chilling eyes and the pronounced bone structure of his face. He was tall and lean, but the skin on his arms was stretched over muscles that looked as taut as whipcord. The backs of his hands were bumpy with strong veins. His clothes and hair had snagged natural debris—twigs, sprigs of moss, small leaves. He seemed indifferent to all that, just as he did to the mud caked on his boots and the legs of his jeans. He smelled of the swamp, of sweat, of danger.

Doral asked if Coburn’s neighbors had been interviewed.
“By me personally,” Fred replied. “Everybody in the apartment complex knew him by sight. Women thought he was attractive in that certain kind of way.”
“What certain kind of way?”
“Wished they could fuck him, but considered him bad news.”
“That’s a ‘way’?”
“Of course that’s a ‘way.’ ”

She shook her head slowly. “I don’t believe you. You can’t be a cop.”
“Not a cop.”
“Federal agent?”
“FBI.”
“Even more unlikely.”
“J. Edgar rolls over in his grave every day, but that’s the way it is.”

And then he pressed into her. First his thighs, then his middle, his chest, and finally his mouth. She made a whimpering sound, but its definition was unclear even to her, until she realized that her arms had gone around him instinctually, and that she was clutching his back, his shoulders, her hands restless and greedy for the feel of him.
He kissed her openmouthed, using his tongue, and when she kissed back, she felt the hum that vibrated deep inside his chest. It was the kind of hungry sound she hadn’t heard in a long time. Masculine and carnal, it thrilled and aroused her.

Moving between her thighs, he stretched out above her, then thrust into her. Once. Because, as he did everything, he acted without hesitation or apology to claim her entirely. Her eyes went wide and her breath caught. Holding her gaze, he pressed himself deeper, barely easing back before pressing deep again.

(Coburn)“Honor.”
Gasping, she lowered her arm from over her eyes and looked into his face.
“Put your hands on me. Pretend this means something.”
With a whimper, she wrapped her arms around him and clutched his back, then slid her hands down over his ass and drew him even deeper into her. He groaned, buried his face in the hollow of her neck, and rocked his body against hers. An orgasm burst through her at the same time he came.
She pretended nothing.

The intensity of his expression caused her to tentatively ask, “What?”
“I’ve never been a big fan of the missionary position.”
Not quite sure how to respond to that, she said simply, “Oh.”
“I preferred making it any other way.”
“Why?”
“Because it didn’t have anything to do with getting off.”
“What didn’t?”
“Looking into the woman’s face.” He murmured the statement as though puzzled by it.
Her throat grew tight. She reached up and stroked his cheek. “You wanted to look into mine?”

(Honor)“You had told me that if you didn’t return within a few minutes of ten o’clock, I was to drive away and get as far from Tambour as possible. So, for all you knew, that’s what I had done. After nearly dying in that explosion, with a burn on your shoulder, and your hair singed, you could have run in any given direction in order to get away, but you didn’t. When you found me on the railroad tracks, you were racing back to the garage. To me.”
He didn’t say anything, but his jaw tensed.
She smiled and moved closer to him, aligning her body along his. “You don’t have to give me flowers, Coburn. You don’t even have to hold me.” She laid her head on his chest just below his chin. Her hand curved around his neck. “Let me hold you.”

He had to admit: She’d got to him. This demure second-grade schoolteacher, who’d been faithful to her husband, but who had fucked him with the same fervor with which she’d fought him two days ago, had crawled under his mean ol’ hide.

If he turned his hand into her and began stroking her there, she would wake up smiling and drowsy and ready for him again.
They would kiss. Erotically. Her mouth would be so damn enticing, he’d dip into it again and again to gather the taste that was now familiar to him. He would touch his tongue to her nipples, and she’d rub her thumb around the tip of his cock and feel that he was about to burst, and then he’d be inside her, moving.
Or maybe not. Maybe he would do something he’d never done with a woman. Maybe he would just… be. […]
No, maybe this time, he would just savor being joined to another person as tightly as two people could be. He would savor being joined with Honor.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BoB | ReaderStore

outstandingread

Review: Adam’s Fall by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookadamsfall
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Mason Sisters, Book 2
Publisher: Bantam
Hero: Adam Cavanaugh
Heroine: Lilah Mason
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 1, 1988
Started On: March 22, 2011
Finished On: March 22, 2011

I can’t make up my mind as to whether I have read Adam’s Fall prior to this or not. The story that unfolded reminded me of the novel Come Lie With Me by Linda Howard that stems from a similar theme.

Adam’s Fall is book 2 in the Mason sisters series, the first book being Fanta C. Adam’s Fall begins with the news that uber rich hotel entrepreneur Adam Cavanaugh was involved in a mountain climbing accident in Northern Italy, killing two of his companions in the process leaving him with severe spinal injury that has rendered him paralyzed from the waist down.

Lilah Mason is the volatile younger sister of  dainty and feminine Elizabeth Mason now married to Thad Randolph who gets their happily ever after in book 1 of the series. Lilah though she resembles her sister in looks is bold and audacious where Elizabeth is not and Lilah has always gone out of her way to be as different from Elizabeth as she can be. A physiotherapist who is really good at what she does, Lilah is approached by Elizabeth and Thad both beseeching her to take over Adam’s therapy sessions which at first Lilah flat-out refuses. Sparks had flown between the two whenever they had met in the past making Lilah believe that the intense dislike that she feels for Adam and what he stands for is mutually shared between the two of them.

Though reluctant, Lilah finally succumbs to her pregnant sister’s pleadings and takes on the demanding task of making Adam want to walk again. A daunting prospect at best, Lilah is met with exactly what she bargained for when she took the job with a hostile, depressed and sullen Adam who doesn’t believe that he would ever be wholesome again.

It is Lilah’s demanding nature and slap or two on the face that wakes up Adam and makes him motivated enough to want to change his life around for the better. Amidst the constant squabbling and friendly flirting that takes place between Adam and Lilah as the weeks go by, the physical attraction that has always smoldered between them burns out of control giving Lilah her very first taste of being  totally possessed by a man whose entirety is focused on giving and receiving pleasure. But before anything can come out of it, Lilah flees, knowing that her heart would just about shatter to a million pieces if she were to stand around to watch Adam walk away from her once he has no use of her.

Though I did enjoy reading this short contemporary romance by Ms. Brown, this doesn’t get shelved into my favorites shelf because for some reason or the other I kept expecting more out of Adam and Lilah’s relationship. I wanted a bit more passion of the explosive kind to simmer between them for a while longer before it reached its ultimate conclusion.

Recommended for fans of earlier novels by Sandra Brown/Erin St. Claire.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: The Devil’s Own by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookthedevilsown
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hell Raisers, Book 2
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Lincoln O’Neal
Heroine: Kerry Bishop
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: January 1, 1987
Started On: March 17, 2011
Finished On: March 18, 2011

Wow! That was exactly what I was looking for when I chose to re-read this oldie goody from Sandra Brown wrote under her pseudonym Erin St. Claire. Sandra Brown’s earlier books deliver in spades on what I look for when I read romances. She gives me exactly what I need with her larger than life, tortured and hot as sin heroes and delivers on all fronts with the right kind of heroine to bring down the hero to his knees. I just love her older books and get my fix now and then to balance things along in my world of romanceldia.

The Devil’s Own is book 2 in the Hell Raisers series book 1 of which is Led Astray which I re-read and reviewed earlier last year. 35 year old Lincoln O’Neal, one of the most renowned and prolific photojournalists of the world is celebrating his departure from the war torn Montenegro when he is waylaid by the woman who walks into the cantina and promises him a good time. Linc has earned his reputation as a photojournalist during the evacuation of Vietnam and has recorded 35 mm of film every war and catastrophe since then. On top of how much he has had to drink combined with the red hot desire that flashes through him when the wickedly sensual woman proposes to him, Linc who wants nothing more than to escape the war torn hell he has been living in for the past six weeks finds himself at the mercy of do-gooder Kerry Bishop who wants his help in rescuing 9 orphans from war ridden country to give them a better life in the US.

Kerry Bishop is the coveted daughter of rich parents who has led a sheltered life with her diplomat of a father until scandal had rocked her entire world leaving her with a bitter taste of reality. Wanting to make amends for her father’s atrocities, Kerry has been living in Montenegro for the past 9 months or so, teaching the 9 orphans enlisted in her care, getting them ready for their new lives  back in the US. However knowing that she alone would not be able to fulfill the task of getting the children safely to the point where they are supposed to take-off, Kerry does the next best thing and scouts the local cantina for the most disreputable mercenary soldier she can find.

What she finds is Lincoln, who has always looked out for his hide when push comes to shove, and what she mistakes for his weapons turns out to be his coveted camera equipment. However knowing that she is running out of time, Kerry forces him to work with her, knowing that resentment and anger would rule Linc’s utmost emotions throughout the 3 day trek through the jungle. However that doesn’t stop her from wanting what his blatantly sensual touch and kisses evoke and doesn’t stop her from craving Linc with every fiber of her being. Respite from making a fool of herself comes when Linc mistakes her for a nun which puts an additional strain on Linc to keep his hands off of the woman who heats up his blood in a way that has never happened before.

I just flat-out loved everything about this novel. Linc turns out to be one of those heroes you cannot forget because he demands nothing less when he steps into the picture. Handsome, cynical and lethally attractive, Linc doesn’t know what hits him when he starts coveting Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes who lands him in trouble in the first place. Knowing that she is a woman he can never have doesn’t stop him from craving her and neither does it stop the sexual tension that lingers between them that can be cut through with a knife. One of the best parts of the book for me was the explosive tension between the two which comes to its heady conclusion delivering fireworks of all kinds towards the end! *Sigh!!*

The romance and heady attraction between the two doesn’t detract from the adventure aspect of the novel. The danger that surrounds them in a country that has been stripped bare by the civil war that has raged in it continues to hound them through their trek to reach safety. The last moments right before they board the plane are edge-of-the-seat variety moments that makes this story a well-balanced romantic suspense on all aspects.

It was an additional plus point to revisit Cage and Jenny from Led Astray and experience their happily ever after in this novel. A tale of opposites attract with Linc being the proverbial bad boy hero who was brought up by a drunken lout of a father and never had any sort of formal education after high school meets his match in the society school bred Kerry and gives them both a love that leaves the reader breathless on all accounts.

A very highly satisfying romantic suspense, which makes me wonder why authors today do not write classics such as this one where heroes do not turn into wimpy puddles just because the woman of their dreams walks into the picture.

Recommended for fans of Sandra Brown and fans of romantic suspense that delivers on all counts.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Two Alone by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booktwoalone
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Cooper Landry
Heroine: Rusty Carlson
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 1, 1987
Started On: November 30, 2010
Finished On: December 1, 2010

I was going through Sandra Brown’s book list on Goodreads when a bunch of her older titles which I have not managed to read yet caught my eye. This one jumped outright at me from the very first moment with the title alone to make it sound like a story that I would be interested in. Upon reading the book summary, I knew that this book was definitely right up my ally and I didn’t hesitate to get myself a copy and indulge in one of my favorite romance themes ever – where total opposites come together in a romantic suspense novel, the hero as grouchy as can be and the heroine as feminine as  they come creating the best of sexual tension which in the end delivers a romance of the best kind! And this book certainly did not disappoint me on that front.

Two Alone was first published in 1987 when Sandra Brown wrote under the pseudonym Erin St. Claire a fact which I found out when I was about to start writing the review, and I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this one since most of the time romances penned in the 80’s tend to be of the wall-banger variety in terms of character development and developing storyline. But Sandra Brown has pulled it off, and I should say she has pulled this one off quite well with Cooper Landry and Rusty Carlson and their explosive mixture of passion and desire for one another.

27 year old Rusty Carlson is a real estate agent who works for her rich father and resides in Beverly Hills, California. With her mother dying when she had been a teenager and her brother Jeff whose sudden death had taken him away just two years back, its just Rusty and her father left in the family. Rusty always feels that she falls short when it comes to her father’s expectations, who always goes out of his way to sing praises for his dead son, and it is because Rusty tries so hard to please her father and rise to meet his unrealistic expectations that she subjects herself to spending time with her father at his favorite hunting grounds. On her way back to civilization, the plane on which Rusty is on crashes hurtling her into a world she is not at all equipped to deal with and puts her in the path of the dangerous and broody Cooper Landry.

Ex-military, having served in the Vietnam war and having ended up as a prisoner of war to later come out fighting with enough scars to last him for a lifetime, the last thing that Cooper needs is to be saddled with a woman who is too beautiful for her own good, a spoilt little heiress who Cooper is sure would end up being a pain in his butt whilst they fight for their survival until they are rescued. Cooper has sworn off women after the last woman he had given his everything had in the end betrayed him in the worst way possible and Cooper was in no hurry to let someone like Rusty ride roughshod on his emotions and his well protected heart.

But what Cooper doesn’t count on is the fact that Rusty though has lived a privileged life, she is no whiner and takes the whole survival of the fittest part about their predicament in the icy mountains with the killer snow storms moving in on them far better than Cooper had been expecting and in the end her gumption is what earns Cooper’s admiration, something he is quite stingy in passing out. And regardless of how much he tries to despise her and keep her away with his taunting and rough behavior, Cooper is helpless in the red hot desire that becomes as much a part of him as breathing when he is around Rusty.

Rusty is bewildered by the amount of hostility that Cooper shows her but she is no match for the desire that he unleashes with one searing glance and it is this strong attraction that they both try to ignore which brings forth all their animosity towards each other until the dangers in the wilderness forces them both to put aside their differences and work together for survival, something which propels them towards their ultimate combustive coming together which I absolutely reveled in reading about.

So.. Stuff I liked:

  1. Cooper Landry. He is broody, tortured enough to warrant my heartfelt love and bring forth all my protective instincts which makes him the perfect alpha hero. His callous behavior towards Rusty at the beginning made me realize that oh boy, when this one falls, he will fall hard and that made me nearly rub my hands together in glee at the mere thought of his fall. And every expectation I had of him as a hero was met. Cooper just sizzles the pages with his smoldering sensuality and the hot, hot kisses that fairly made Rusty not the only one to yearn to possess him. *wistful sigh*
  2. I loved the undeniable hostility between Rusty and Cooper which actually sprang from their mutual attraction towards each other which both refused to give in – or Cooper refused to give in because in his mind, he has nothing left to offer to a woman and because for him trust doesn’t come easily at all. Because of this, the simmering tension and sensuality between the two just took my breath away a time or two and I could barely sit still as anticipation coursed through me as I waited for the moment the inevitable explosion to come! *note to self: should join a Lamaze class ASAP*
  3. I loved the epilogue or rather the ending. It wasn’t abrupt, neither was it drawn out and what made this ending special was because of how their happily ever after was told. When Cooper leaves thinking that Rusty had ultimately betrayed him, it is Rusty who makes her way to the mountains where Cooper lives, and the ending is described months later which effectively conveys what happened that night when a bedraggled Rusty showed up on Cooper’s doorstep and also gives the reader glimpses into their happily ever after. Now why we can never find a man like Cooper, I would never know!!

Now.. Stuff I didn’t like so much:

I know it’s trivial but, what’s with the names of the hero and heroine in this book? Rusty? Who in the world calls their child Rusty? LOL! And Cooper was an okay name but I wanted something more significant, a name that would scream testosterone and ooze sexuality in lethal doses just like the man himself! ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Take off all your clothes. Now!” He shrugged off his flannel shirt and draped it over the nearest bush. With one fluid motion, he crossed his arms at his waist and peeled the turtleneck T-shirt over his head. It made his hair stick up funnily, but Rusty didn’t feel like laughing. Laughter – in fact any sound at all – got trapped inside her closed throat. Her first glimpse of the finest chest she’d ever seen rendered her speechless.

His mouth claimed hers again, hotly and hungrily. It drew breath from her. As he kissed her, his hand moved to the front of her slacks. He fumbled with the button and zipper until they were undone. When his hand slid into the elastic waistband of her panties, Rusty gasped. She had thought there would be a sensual buildup, a flirtatious progression, extended foreplay.
She didn’t regret that there wouldn’t be. His boldness, his impatience, was a powerful aphrodisiac. It set off explosions of desire deep within her. She tilted her hips forward and filled his palm with her softness.
He muttered swearwords that were in themselves arousing because they explicitly expressed the height of his arousal.
Like a Rod Stewart song, they were viscerally sexy, one couldn’t hear them without thinking of a male and a female mating.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Sandra Brown.
  2. Fans of romantic suspense.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: Rainwater by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookrainwater
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: David Rainwater
Heroine: Ella Barron
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 3, 2009
Started On: August 13, 2010
Finished On: August 14, 2010

Sandra Brown has taken a leap and written a story that is so different from her usual books and this story has touched me so deeply that I can’t help but think about it every few seconds. I found myself unable to sleep long after I finished the book, a bittersweet pain that clutched at my heart and refused to let go.

The year is 1934, the period of a great drought together with economic depression that has hit the Americans hard. Ella Barron runs her boardinghouse in Texas and makes sure that life runs smoothly, as smoothly as it can under the circumstances. With an autistic son in tow, life is hard for Ella, during a time period when autism and its symptoms weren’t widely known. With a husband who had run out on them long time back, Ella makes do with what she earns from renting her home to boarders.

When the town’s doctor comes calling one day with a distant cousin of his in tow, Ella can hardly refuse to accept him into her home. And when she finds out that David Rainwater is terminally ill from cancer and is just biding away his time until death comes calling, she can’t help but look out for him. From the very beginning David shows an uncanny interest in Solly, Ella’s son and makes quite a progress with him, something Ella hadn’t been able to do which makes her at first jealous and then later thankful.

Things are hardly idyllic during a period of drought and economic depression. With hooligans ruling the town and employing scaring tactics to keep a stronghold on its residents, it is Mr. Rainwater who steps up and stands up to the group who intimidates and at last resort to murder. Meanwhile, no matter how hard Ella tries to keep Mr. Rainwater at a distance, nothing can prevent the deep awareness that crops up between the two, and the connection that these two establish during a few chance encounters after the rest of the household has gone to bed.

Throughout the book I kept praying for a miracle that would take away David’s cancer, and kept hoping that Solly would come to be a remarkable man with his uncanny aptitude for numbers. But the bittersweet ending in which David gives up his life for Solly when Ella and David had just professed to love one another kept the tears coming.

Reading the epilogue requires a healthy amount of tissues I have to tell you. Life after the death of Mr. Rainwater who leaves all his property to Ella who makes a name for herself in the business world, and Solly who dies at the age of 32 having never reached his full potential but having had a life as best as he could. And to find out that the antique store owner is none other than Mr. Rainwater’s son sealed the deal for me.

I realize after reading this why I am not so much of a fan of bittersweet endings, one of the reasons why I tend to stay away from books written by Nicholas Sparks. But I wouldn’t change even one sentence of this wonderful book, because this is a story that makes you think, makes you fall irrevocably in love and in the end cry for all the things that could have been. Highly recommended for all types of fiction readers. This is not just a romance, but a story about life, its hardships and its bittersweet offerings.

Until next time! *Sniff*

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Demon Rumm by Sandra Brown

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Loveswept, #197
Publisher: Bantam
Sensuality: 3
Hero: Rylan North
Heroine: Kirsten Rumm
Date of Publication:  May 1, 1987
Started On: January 17, 2010
Finished On: January 17, 2010

This is the only book of romance genre that I have read to date that tells the story solely from the hero’s point of view. Though this proved to be a refreshing change, this story didn’t hold its usual Sandra Brown charm to it.

Rylan a hot shot movie star is the leading male star in the movie Demon Rumm. This movie is about the daring stunt pilot Charlie Rumm, nicknamed as Demon Rumm, who died during one of his stunts, whose death is shrouded in a cloud of  mystery as to whether he committed suicide or whether his death was an accident.

The story Demon Rumm was being authored by his widowed wife, Kirsten Rumm, who wants to exorcise all the ghosts of her marriage  to Charlie and start afresh away from the public eye and glory which she was continually subjected to during her marriage to Charlie.

Rylan, being the perfectionist he is, worms his way into staying at the Rumm’s residence to reenact the last few days of Charlie’s life, and to really get a feel of what family life was like for the handsome as the devil pilot who seemed to have everything in life.

Rylan finds himself intrigued with Kirsten and tries to woo her into  his life, although this proves to be easier said than done with all the hang ups and reservations that Kirsten seems to have about starting a new relationship and falling in love again.

An OK read, but a bit disappointing to those who love the usual style depicted in Sandra Brown’s novels.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks | Half.com

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Review: Led Astray by Sandra Brown

Format: E-bookledastray.jpg
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hell Raisers, Book 1
Publisher: Mira
Hero: Cage Hendren
Heroine: Jenny Fletcher
Date of Publication: March 1, 2005
Started On: December 29, 2009
Finished On: January 1, 2010

This was a book written by the author under one of her pseudonyms Erin St. Claire during the 1980’s. This is a re-read for me, as it happens mostly with me cos every now and then I always remember this story and how much I loved the book when I first read it.

Cage Hendren is the second son of Reverend Bob Hendren and his wife Sarah, both of whom have never disguised the fact that they find Cage and his wild ways despicable. Hal their first born had always been the one who has had their affection and love as he was the one who was following the footsteps of his father. Jenny Fletcher is brought into the Hendren family when her parents and only sister were killed in a fire at their home. Having nowhere to go, the Hendrens had taken her in and brought her up as one of their own.

Hal and Jenny were expected to get married, and Jenny never one to want to create disharmony amongst the people who had loved her like their own has gone along with the plans and convinced herself that being Hal’s wife is what she wants in life. Meanwhile, Cage has always loved Jenny from afar though Hal and Jenny are practically engaged to be married.

When Hal goes off on a mission to rescue some refugees from a war torn country and gets killed in the process, Jenny finds herself depending on Cage and finds out that Cage is not the wild and crazy person that everyone portrays him to be. In the process of falling in love with Cage, Jenny finds the strength within herself and help from Cage to become the woman she needs to be.

Lovely story with two strong characters and interesting plot to keep things going.

Till next time!

And a wonderful new year to everyone!

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Barnes&Noble | Half.com

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Review: Texas! Sage by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booktexassage
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Texas!, Book 3
Publisher: Bantam
Hero: Harlan Boyd
Heroine: Sage Tyler
Date of Publication: February 1, 1992
Started On: December 27, 2009
Finished On: December 29, 2009

The 3rd and final book in the Tyler family’s series, this is the story of the youngest and the only daughter Sage Tyler. Sage who just finished her Masters Degree from the University of Texas and is engaged to be married to Travis from a moneyed background, who is on his way to become a dentist, suddenly finds herself without a fiancé when Travis breaks up with her on Christmas Eve.

Harlan Boyd who has been sent by her family because Chase’s wife Marcie is in labor witnesses the breakup and Sage finds herself meeting with the new hired help of their company Tyler Drilling. No man has infuriated her or been able to invoke feelings as savage in her as Harlan does.

Harlan who is a drifter who never stays in one place long enough to settle down finds that he is unable to stay away from Sage no matter what the consequences of a relationship with her might be.

Although this story is not as wonderful as Chase’s story, it was pretty good, though I felt the story line could have been better with a more believable explanation for Harlan’s behavior at the end.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks | Half.com

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Review: Texas! Chase by Sandra Brown

Format: E-booktexaschase
Read with: Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Texas!, Book 2
Publisher: Bantam
Hero: Chase Tyler
Heroine: Marcie Jones
Date of Publication: August 1, 1991
Started On: December 26, 2009
Finished On: December 27, 2009

This book is Sandra Brown at her best.

The Texas! series features the Tyler family. The first book focuses on Lucky, the second book being this one and third book is the story of their younger sister Sage Tyler. All three books provide unforgettable romance with searing passion. I read this book quite sometime back and remembered it to be my favorite. I always tend to love a romance which has a previous history linking the hero and heroine in some manner whether it be romantic or otherwise.

Marcie Jones nicknamed Goosey for being nerdy during the years of high school which she shared with Chase and had a major crush on him, is now a successful real estate agent having amassed quite a fortune with her work. She meets Tanya, Chase’s beloved wife, when they seek to buy a house for themselves before their baby comes along. On the way back from viewing the house Marcie was sure would make a lovely home for Tanya and Chase, a senseless accident kills the pregnant Tanya and leaves Marcie with serious but not life threatening injuries. Chase’s world is shattered when in a day’s time he loses his beloved wife and their child who had not even had the chance to breathe into this world.

Two years later, Marcie encounters Chase at a rodeo where he nearly gets himself killed on the arena. Marcie stays with him during his brief time at the hospital and finally brings Chase back home since the accident. Whilst Chase has been away immersing himself in alcohol and whoring, their family business Tyler Drilling had gone under and things look really bad for them until Marcie proposes that Chase marry her in order for her to help bail out their business. The idea seems ridiculous to Chase at first but soon he makes up his mind to go along with the marriage even though Chase’s family doesn’t feel too comfortable about the decision.

Marcie has her work cut out for her in a marriage where she has to fight with Chase every step of the way to gain his trust, affection and love. Chase determined not to betray the memory of his loving wife doesn’t want to acknowledge the intense feelings that Marcie is able to invoke in him and this ultimate battle of wills proves to be a scorching read. Loved every minute of the sexual tension between the two characters hot enough to scorch the memory chips of my laptop.

Loved every bit of the novel. Highly recommended to anyone who loves a good dose of romance packed with a brooding hero who I guarantee you would make your hearts go aflutter.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | AbeBooks | Half.com

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