Tears of Heaven was a very moving romance. It made me cry in several scenes. The devotion between Heaven and Sergei really hit home with me. I felt foTears of Heaven was a very moving romance. It made me cry in several scenes. The devotion between Heaven and Sergei really hit home with me. I felt for Heaven, all that she had gone through, and her emotional anguish, and then her fear to open herself up to loving. And Sergei never grew impatient with her, his love steadfast, gentle, and protective--the balm to heal her wounds.
Although this is a short novella, the progression of the love affair between Heaven and Sergei felt right. They started out as respectful strangers, Sergei initially just Heaven’s employer. As Sergei taught Heaven that she could trust him, their relationship became a deep, understanding friendship and bloomed into a profound love. Sergei’s proposal made me cry. It was very romantic! I guess I was really in the mood for a sweet, emotional love story, and this definitely sated my need. I wish that there were more sweet, romantic interracial romances out there like this. If you know some, point me in the right direction. I know that Jewel Adams definitely writes these kinds of stories, so I will be reading more of her. Although the love scenes are hinted at, not described, she managed to capture the passion that was a part of Heaven and Sergei’s relationship excellently, and I didn't feel cheated that there weren't more details. And this is perfect for readers who actively seek out clean romance.
The inspirational aspects of this story are readily apparent, and make this story even richer. Heaven’s relationship with God, and her faith as a member of the LDS Church is a part of her that gives her a lot of strength. It felt realistic and natural that she would pray and let her faith dictate the lifestyle she pursued. Readers who are in the LDS Church will appreciate these elements, but those who don’t share those beliefs can still appreciate this story, as Heaven and Sergei’s faith are well-integrated aspects of their personalities, and the spiritual elements were not presented in a preachy manner.
Heaven’s issues with her abusive ex-boyfriend were well-handled. It was clear that Heaven had her reasons for staying in the relationship as long as she did, but her self-esteem and strong beliefs had give her the strength to leave. She still suffered from fears and anxiety as her ex-boyfriend stalks her, but I liked how Sergei stood by her and protected her, and that she didn’t let those stand in the way of having the relationship of her long-cherished dreams with Sergei.
I could probably go on, but I want the future readers to get to enjoy this book without me revealing too much. Tears of Heaven is a wonderful story. I am thankful to Ms. Jewel Adams for the opportunity to read and enjoy this story. She has made a loyal reader out of me.
I was listening to 'Halo' on the way home, and it fits this book perfectly. ...more
This book turns out to be deliriously romantic by the end. I definitely didn't expect that, although some of my trusted HP Buddies have raved about itThis book turns out to be deliriously romantic by the end. I definitely didn't expect that, although some of my trusted HP Buddies have raved about it, so I should have thought there would be some winning element here. It's ground that has been covered before: the boss and his secretary. In this case, Helen is a single mother who is is also the bread-winner for her small family of a three-year-old daughter and a sister who is just about to go to college. She has no time or inclination for romance, especially after her disastrous marriage to an abusive jerk her sister Tina refers to only as 'Pig.' She wants to keep her head down and have her safe, well-organized life.
When Ross Maclean, the owner's son, takes over the position as the head of the London office of their company, that dream bites the dust. Ross needs a secretary who can work the hours that suit his own needs. At first he plays along, but he's intrigued why she must leave precisely at 5 pm everyday. When she explains her situation, he seems angry. Helen thinks it's because she allows him to think she's an unwed mother. How wrong she is.
The tension in this story builds slowly. There are a few misunderstandings (not annoyingly so, but because both characters aren't anxious to unshield well-guarded hearts). The fact that we don't have much of a hero POV assists in us feeling like Helen, on a precipice, completely unsure about Ross' intentions. What his endgame is. Ross has a cold, calculating demeanor that makes him feel unpredictable. He plays his cards very close to his chest. While I love a demonstrative hero, I think this layout worked well for the book, leading to a beautifully surprisingly conclusion.
At the end, you realize just how desperately in love Ross is, and the reveal is rapturously romantic. Although I do have to say he showed his love in many other ways. I for one, loved how he bonded almost instantly with Tansy. It's because I am a sucker for men who love children. I also liked how he gets along so well with Helen's sister, after she realizes he's not a jerk like her sister's ex.
There is a little bit of "Other Woman" drama, but it's not overdone. Just enough to prick Helen into realizing that she does love Ross and doesn't want to share him or allow his love to go elsewhere.
Overall, this was a lovely surprise for me. A book with some very effective romantic elements, and one that takes the often overused boss/employee relationship theme and creates a distinctive and satisfying romance story. A vulnerable heroine and a tough hero, but done in a way that doesn't seem like gross mismatch, but a meant to be love story. As such, I'd give this one: 4.25/5.0 stars....more
Blood in Electric Blue is a well-written novel, a journey that is steeped in surrealism. This is one of those books where you don't quite know what isBlood in Electric Blue is a well-written novel, a journey that is steeped in surrealism. This is one of those books where you don't quite know what is real and what isn't. Is Dignon really being preyed upon by a siren, or has years of physical and psychological abuse, and a hopeless, lonely adulthood broken his sanity? You don't really know. As I read this story, I came to my own conclusion, and it made me sad. I would like for lost and lonely Dignon and his brother Wilma (who is a transsexual) to have an optimistic future... Alas, it doesn't seem likely.
I thought that the writing was evocative, highly visual, and emotive. I found myself being pulled into the narrative, and cared about Dignon, feeling deeply for him. The sadness that enveloped him in his normal life, also infected me. I felt his sense of disconnection and loneliness deeply. He was like a person looking inside through the glass, trapped outside in the cold. As a cat lover, I appreciated his close bond with Mr. Tibbs, his beloved feline companion.
This struck me as a very sad story. It was also effective as a dark fiction/horror novel, even though the horror elements are somewhat ambiguous. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy dark fiction with horror elements, written in a fashion that feels 'literary.' As a person who dislikes genre snobbery, I rather dislike using that term. However, I do feel that readers who enjoy character-based stories that plumb the depths of speculative fiction and horror would view this book as a more literary-oriented novel. As such, I'd put this forth as a recommendation to reader with these tastes. If you are like me and prefer upbeat stories, you won't find that here. However, it was worth a read for its exploration of the emotional and psychological effects of abuse and isolation on a person. Essentially showcasing characters that are definitely of the walking wounded variety.
Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars
Thanks to Jeannie for loaning me her copy and recommending Greg Gifune as a writer to me....more
One Week as Lovers had the serious tone that I like in historical romance, with a tortured hero, and a heroine with enough depth to make for a satisfyOne Week as Lovers had the serious tone that I like in historical romance, with a tortured hero, and a heroine with enough depth to make for a satisfying read. My favorite aspect of this book, by far, was the hero. I really loved Nick. He was an incredibly sweet, loving guy, and very emotionally strong. I was impressed that he was able to survive such a horrible event in his past, and to become a relatively functional adult. He didn't turn into a hater or user like some men would have, given his background, nor did he become a perpetual victim.
I thought the contrast between Nick and Cynthia was very interesting. Nick should have been the hard, distant, and emotionally unavailable one, but Cynthia was, although what Nick suffered was much worse than what Cynthia endured. At times, Cynthia skirted the unlikeable heroine abyss, and nearly teetered over the edge. I could understand her fierce desire to be in control of her life, but it seemed almost a little selfish and off-putting at times. What redeemed her from being a heroine I did not like was the way she reached out to Nick and accepted his needs and him for who he was, even though what he had gone through might have disgusted some people, although it was not his fault. I liked her pragmatism, although it did come off as abrasive at times. I respected the fact that she wasn't deluded about her shortcomings. I also liked that she came to realize what she had almost turned her back on, and called herself on her actions. If Nick wasn't the steadfast hero that I loved him for being, she might have let a great love walk out of her life for good. Another aspect I appreciated about their relationship was that Nick loved Cynthia for the sometimes grumpy and abrasive person she was. It spoke to me, because that is huge part of loving someone in the real world, accepting them for who they are, good and bad.
I thought that Ms. Dahl did a great job of showing the growing intimacy between Nick and Cynthia, and how their friendship turned into a passionate love. The love scenes are pretty steamy and have an edge because of Nick's emotional issues, but they completely fit this story, and were very well-written.
I was satisfied with Ms. Dahl's ability to convey the Victorian period and to capture the almost gothic, and darker sensibilities of Victorian-set literature. Despite the fact that the cast of characters is very small, and the locations limited, it felt very authentic in the portrayal of Victorian England, and the mores of the characters were realistic.
I think Ms. Dahl is a good writer. I'm not 100% sold on her heroines, if they are all similar to Cynthia. I don't tend to like prickly, abrasive, reckless, and stubborn heroines that much, unless I can get inside their heads and come to understand them. Fortunately, I was able to gain some understanding of Cynthia, and that went a long way towards liking her for me. But I think Victoria Dahl writes a good, readable, emotional romance, so I'd read more of her books. And Nick is definitely a candidate for my favorite heroes list!...more
This is a truly lovely romance story about two scarred people who find each other. There are parts that made me so sad to think about how Gillian wasThis is a truly lovely romance story about two scarred people who find each other. There are parts that made me so sad to think about how Gillian was treated by her family. I was pretty curious to see how Ms. Kurland would handle a blind hero in a medieval romance. Think about it. How difficult that would be for a blinded knight? How could he run his keep, and keep what he earned by blood and sweat, in a world where might means right? I think she did a great job of dealing with the blindness issue. There's a part that is very realistic, although those who dislike heroes who are not 100% physically capable probably won't like it. But it made sense the way things happen.
I thought the emotion and love between Gillian and Christopher was so touching and poignant. The power of it transcended the words on the paper and went right to my heart. There are no love scenes in this book. And to be honest, they are not necessary. Yes, I love a good love scene, but a book that has a powerful love story doesn't need one.
This book was also good for the way you see scared, shy Gillian grow into a strong, beautiful woman. She was described as being unattractive, but part of it was because of her lack of self-esteem and belief that she was unworthy. There is no magical makeover. You see Gillian's inner beauty bloom as she is carefully tended and loved by Christopher. It brought tears to my eyes.
Christopher is a wonderful hero, thoughtful, intelligent, kind, and strong. He's been in a funk because of his loss of vision, but you don't hold that against him. It's perfectly understandable.
The humor was the perfect balance to the often dark subject matter. Colin, who has his own story in From This Moment On, is Christopher's best friend and companion. Christopher always knows when Colin is around because he can smell him. Colin's not too fond of bathing, so he has a characteristic odor. Despite my being a stickler for good personal hygiene, Colin won me over for his kind heart behind a gruff exterior. I loved his back-handed matchmaking for Gillian and Christopher.
This was a great medieval romance. Highly recommended.
I read this out of the On the Prowl anthology. I am so glad that many of my GR friends encouraged me to read this one sooner. Charles is an unforgettaI read this out of the On the Prowl anthology. I am so glad that many of my GR friends encouraged me to read this one sooner. Charles is an unforgettable character. It's hard to put into words how I feel about him. If could clearly elucidate all the traits that I like in a hero, then it's like Ms. Briggs took many of those qualities and created Charles. I am crazy about a quiet, yet deadly hero. That's Charles! He's really sigh-worthy. I know I will have to read this story again, so I can define my reaction to him.
Anna is another one of those characters I like to read about. Not every woman of value is kickass all the time and full of sarcastic, pithy phrases. I think that's an insult to womankind to neglect to tell the story of women who have suffered terribly, often due to things beyond their control. Are they not worthy because they have been victims in life? Absolutely! She's a very observant, intelligent, and deep person. She's a survivor to me. I can't help loving her. She proved that she will be a formidable mate to Charles.
Briggs has really impressed me with her conception of werewolves. I am very picky about them, and she fires well on all cylinders. I wish that female weres could have children, and that's the only thing I don't like about her world-building. But from a physiological standput, I conceded it makes sense. Although I know that Anna and Charles will never have children together, I still think they are going to be a great pair. They just click together in a way that makes sense. I loved Charles's sense of knowing that she was his mate, his possessiveness and protectiveness towards her. And he was so resolute about it, so carefully calm about it. I loved his banked passion for Anna (sigh). He is seriously an alpha guy, but he smashes the perception of alphas as brash brutes full of posturing and throwing their weight around with punches and outrageous and obnoxious shows of strength. He exudes power, and he is powerful. Yes, I love Charles. I still love Adam, but I have room for both of them in my heart.
I got the feeling that this story wasn't long enough. Because I wanted more of Charles and Anna, and more of this world. Fortunately, I have two more books in this series to read. Thanks so much to Patricia Briggs for bringing this series to life....more
This was an odd book. Some aspects struck me as cheesy (listening on audiobook), but man it was intense, and the bad guy is a piece of work. Actually,This was an odd book. Some aspects struck me as cheesy (listening on audiobook), but man it was intense, and the bad guy is a piece of work. Actually, there were other bad guys, which were a complete surprise (and they were complete jack*sses that made me want to jump into the story and do some b****slapping).
The genre of this book seems to vary as I listened. At first, was it adventure? Then it was mystery. Then, horror...but supernatural or human monster variety?
The violent parts come suddenly and are somewhat brutal. Nothing I couldn't handle, but I was gasping in horror and talking to myself as I listened on my commute. I'm working on my language, and I had to restrain myself from cursing at the bad guys.
The characters didn't immediately strike me as memorable. But Mr. Balenger, well he earned my respect. Goodness gracious, what this man has gone through. But I have to say it really prepared him to be the hero in the ordeal that their little urban exploration jaunt into a long-abandoned hotel on the Jersey Shore will bring them to face. At first, he's a man who seems mysteriously knowledgeable and capable in emergency situations for a mere, mild-mannered reporter. And strangely bossy. But then, you know why. He comes through big time, and I definitely wanted to give him a high five. But he's also very human. The everyman sort of hero, kind of like John McClane from Die Hard, in a way. I also liked Amanda and Vinny. I felt bad for a few other characters who had some messed up crap happen to them.
And the main villain. What a sicko lowlife scumbag, for sure! I mean, seriously???
What did I learn from this book?
*Creepers, the nickname for urban explorers, are crazy as heck! *Every experience you go through in your life will come in handy, so pay attention!! *Minutiae and trivial facts might buy time if you can spout them off when you are dealing with bad guy losers who want to end your life. *Stay my butt out of abandoned old buildings. *People can be seriously messed up in the head! *There is a such thing as poetic justice.
I didn't love this book (some parts just seemed cheesy to me), but it was an interesting read on audiobook. At any rate, I was sucked in big time....more
**spoiler alert** Although Forbidden is still my favorite because I loved Frances and Serena as a couple so much (plus Francis is a virgin hero), this**spoiler alert** Although Forbidden is still my favorite because I loved Frances and Serena as a couple so much (plus Francis is a virgin hero), this is an incredibly effective book. There are so many reasons why this story could have gone the wrong way for me: First and foremost, the hero commits the unthinkable for me in a romance, adultery. However, he has reasons that I could not argue with. He has been asked to cozy up to his former mistress who is actually a morally bankrupt spy, and in order to do that, pillow talk is essential. Also, Eleanor and Nicholas do not have an emotional commitment (this alone would not have been enough for me). Eleanor is dealing with the trauma of having been raped, also living in a household with a brother who is a complete libertine, and never feeling safe. She is way too traumatized to be a 'real wife' to Nicholas initially. Then there's the fact that Eleanor was drugged and offered out to be raped from a person she should have been able to trust, her brother. She is raped by Nicholas' titled brother, who is actually gay, but is hiding it. He rapes her to help preserve his reputation as a heterosexual (there are questions). So you would think, okay, this is a romance? But yes, it is. It's a bit different for a romance. And the relationship between Nicholas and Eleanor develops very slowly. There is a sexual enconter between them on their wedding night, but it's fairly passionless. Nicholas felt that they should have this so that in their mind, the child that Eleanor could be carrying could be her husband's. Okay, I had no quarrel with that.
I liked the aspect of seeing this couple come to know each other and build a marriage together on what should have been a very shaky foundation. But somehow, a strong bond develops between them. It is nice to see them in later books as they form a happy family and love each other deeply.
Of course, Eleanor has issues with Nicholas' brother. I can't blame her at all. I think he was a loser and a jerk. In a way, he seemed surprised at how much Eleanor despised him. Hello! Not only did he wrong Eleanor terribly, but then he begged his untitled brother to marry her in case of consequences. I have nothing against him as a closeted gay person. I just thought he could have been a man and owned up to what he did.
Maverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.
Chance Morgan is eagMaverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.
Chance Morgan is eager to continue his carefree bachelor existence and not at all eager to get married. However, meeting Cora Mae Tindale again puts a wrench in those plans. Cora is the daughter of his hated stepmother. When they were kids, she was a boon companion who Chance and his brother enjoyed corrupting. Many times they got the young girl in trouble with her mean, overbearing mother, but she never complained about the abuse that she suffered at her mother's hands.
When Chance and Tucker ran away to join the Confederate Army, they knew that they couldn't take little Cora Mae with them. But Chance promised to return for her. However, when they were able to come back, Cora was gone, and their stepmonster had sold their father's farm. Bitter about women and how marrying them destroyed a man's life, Chance vowed never to get married.
Twenty-one years later, they are reunited when Cora Mae arrives in Wyoming to visit her stepbrothers for a short time. When she arrives, she finds that Chance has become a hard, dangerous stranger who only sees a hated Tindale when he looks at her. Little does she know that he sees a beautiful red-head with bewitching curves that make it very difficult to be resistant to her.
He needn't worry that she wants to trap him into marriage. After a painful and harrowing experience with a man that her mother tries to force her to marry, Cora Mae has sworn never to marry. She just wants to feel a sense of family and home that she felt when she tagged along with Chance and Tucker as a girl.
Maverick Wild was an excellent book. It helped to cement my appreciation for Stacey Kayne as a western writer. It's not a copycat of her first book, Maverick Wild. The heroine and hero are different people with different motivations. Yet the elements that made her first novel appeal to me are there in spades: emotion, vivid descriptions of western life, good storytelling, and likable, appealing characters.
Cora Mae is not a rough and ready cowgirl like Skylar. She's more of a homemaker who is very happy knitting and crocheting, and baking goodies. She is a sturdy, curvaceous woman, who has been made to feel that she is unattractive. Although she is self-conscious after years of being put down by her mother, she has an inner strength and spunk that makes her a worthy opponent for Chance. She also has a sweetness and a kindness that makes everyone around her love her. Chance sees this in her, but is determined to resist the pull she has on him, at times showing a suspicious attitude towards her that is hurtful to Cora Mae.
Chance is definitely a western hero. He's very attractive in a hard, sexy way. He's tough and independent, but clearly loves his family and wants to protect them. Although he fights his attraction for Cora Mae fiercely, when he realizes how dangerous her plight is, he steps up to the plate to take measures to keep her safe, even if it means losing his freedom. Of course, deep down, the real reason is that he wants her to stay.
The chemistry between the characters is just as heady and appealing as it was in Mustang Wild, but there is also a poignancy as Cora Mae heals from her fears of men and opens her heart and mind to being loved by Chance.
If you would like to read a western that reinforces the joy of hearth and home, and features characters who are struggling to get over painful pasts to find a happy future, you will love this book. ...more
If you enjoy an old school western romance, this is a book you will like. The Tender Texan has both a hero and heroine who are survivors. They both haIf you enjoy an old school western romance, this is a book you will like. The Tender Texan has both a hero and heroine who are survivors. They both have suffered tragedy and turmoil in their short lives. I absolutely adored Chance. He is a true, tough, fierce Texan, but he was also so loving and caring towards Anna. Jodi Thomas knows how to write absolutely scrumptious heroes--both incredibly loving and tender, but also formidable western heroes who know how to handle themselves and to take care of their women.
Chance has moved up near the top of my list. He's probably #3 now, #1 being Carter from The Texan's Wager, and #2 being Winter McQuillen from Two Texas Hearts. Chance lost his family in a renegade Indian attack, all except for his infant sister. His goal has been to make enough money to pay for the care of his sister. When Anna Meyer approaches his cattle campsite and asks for a man who is willing to marry her for a year, he offers himself, even though he's only nineteen years old. That's the kind of man Chance is. He might be young in years, but he's a fully grown man who knows how to handle himself and take care of his own, and he does that and more for Anna. Chance falls hard and soon for Anna, despite the fact that he's spent more time around cattle than women. He dreams of making love with his wife, making her his first and only woman, but he has to get past the wall around her heart first.
Anna frustrated me terribly at times. I did understand her issues, having been raped by her husband, and taken advantage and mentally/verbally abused by her mother. Yet, she wasn't able or willing to give Chance the opportunity to prove that he would be a good husband that she could love. The frustration I felt towards her couldn't be a mere fraction of what Chance felt. She craved his closeness, and was attracted to him, but her past had showed that a man couldn't give her anything but pain and humiliation, and that she was foolish to trust anyone or learn to depend on them. It was sad to read, because they both deserved better. Although Chance was the kind of man no one took for granted, because he was more than able to take care of himself; he had nothing on Anna. She is incredibly stubborn. I think that's a good thing. She couldn't have survived the tribulations she went through otherwise. Anna's not going to be a meek wife. She'll keep Chance on his toes. But, it's more than clear that he wants no other woman than her.
Although there isn't quite as much action in this story as some of Jodi Thomas' books, the depictions of the harsh journey that the German immigrants (including Anna) have to take from the Gulf Coast to their lands in New Braunfels are full of dangers--mainly from sickness and disease. I was actually glad that there wasn't a lot of Settler-Indian conflict in this book--that just breaks my heart. I liked that Ms. Thomas made it clear that not all Indians were violent towards the settlers. Chance has an issue with an Indian that killed his family, but he's not out to kill them all--he's actually friendly with various groups.
I like how Jodi Thomas shows humanity in all its forms. Her down-to-earth way of writing characters really speaks to me. I like her humor, a welcome counterpoint to the inherent danger and sadness of a life on the frontier.
It was good to immerse myself back into another fantastic romance by a dependably wonderful writer in the western romance genre. Definitely recommended. ...more
Okay Richard Armitage is so Sebastian Reyne in this book. I am like Hope. Sebastian is giving me the shivers. He is dark and brooding, and totally yumOkay Richard Armitage is so Sebastian Reyne in this book. I am like Hope. Sebastian is giving me the shivers. He is dark and brooding, and totally yummalicious. Why are so many of my favorite heroes named Sebastian? What a coinkidink!
This was a touching book. There are multiple scenes that made me tear up, and I don't typically do that while I'm reading. I just loved Sebastian. He was this big, brawny guy who was as soft as a marshmallow inside. His heart is so full of love, but he felt that he was condemned to loneliness because of the tragedy in his past. Hope was absolutely the right woman for him. She is full of light and joy, yet at the same time, she knew about the darker side of life, from the horrible abuse she endured from her evil, cruel grandfather. Although she is wary of large, powerful men, she instantly feels a connection to Sebastian and is unable to be afraid of him. Sebastian sees Hope and feels like he has seen his heart's desire. But he knows that he had to seek a wife who can be a good mother to his sister, and he thinks he's found her in older, plain, and practical Lady Elinore.
There is a social consciousness aspect of this book that I enjoyed. Sebastian in a mill-owner, but a conscientious one, since he had to work in the mills as a child to support his family. The book touches on child labor and abuse in the Regency England times, as well as the plight of orphaned children. But it is not done on a heavy-handed manner. Instead it is an integral part of the storyline, as Sebastian seeks a peaceful home for his sisters, and thus a wife, and we learn of their pasts as orphans. The woman he is courting, Lady Elinore, is a child crusader, so it plays heavily into the plot of the book.
It was nice to revisit the Merridew sisters and to see how life has progressed since Prudence's story The Perfect Rake. We also get to meet Sebastian's troubled younger sisters Cassie and Dorie, who have vivid and unique personalities of their own. My heart goes out to Sebastian and his sisters at the situation they faced, and Sebastian's anguish at his perceived inability to reach and to help his sisters. It's great that Hope is able to help them to grow closer together and to heal from their pasts. I really enjoyed the unlikely secondary romance between Lady Elinore, and Sebastian's outgoing, carefree friend Giles. I was rooting for them to end up together.
Once again, Anne Gracie has captivated me and touched me with another of her emotional, deeply-layered romances.
This book was an enjoyable read. I must admit that Kieran's determination to debauch himself into the grave was a bit annoying at times. He had some sThis book was an enjoyable read. I must admit that Kieran's determination to debauch himself into the grave was a bit annoying at times. He had some serious guilt over an infraction he committed against his brother many years ago, and was horribly abused by his uncle guardian. Fundamentally, he has a lot of self-hatred which drives his cycle of drinking, carousing, and not taking care of himself. One thing I liked is that although it appears that he is saving Camille, she is actually saving him. He never even rethought his lifestyle until she came into his life and gave him something to live for. He carries on the act (minus the carousing) into the marriage, but Camille's backbone and determination are the factors which help him to turn his life around. Carlyle is an exquisite writer. I do enjoy reading her books. Her love scenes are pretty hot but tasteful. I didn't like the first love scene because it felt tawdry, but then maybe that was the point. This is rather early on into their relationship, and Kieran hasn't faced that his feelings for Camille are deeper than sexual. The other love scenes have more of the emotions that were missing from the first one. It was nice to see Kemble in this one. He's a fixture in the Carlyle books. This is actually the third in the trio after Never Decieve a Duke and Never Lie to a Lady, so we meet the two prior couples after the fact. However this doesn't spoil the book. This works well as a standalone, although you will probably be tempted to go back and read the other books, as you will probably find the supporting characters interesting and engaging enough to read more of their stories. I would say that this book shines because of its heroine. She is strong and a survivor. She's very intelligent and pragmatic. She's not a whiny, insipid, stupid heroine that makes you want to throw the book down out of frustration. In fact, her balanced, mature personality is a saving grace for Kieran, and ultimately it is why I did like this book so much. She's had a rough life, but she is determined to succeed in having a better future. Her grit is irresistible. I also like that she is so very French, but not in a stereotypical way (at least not to me). I also liked that Carlyle uses the slavery culture of Barbados as a major plot point, as Kieran grew up there. It plays a role in shaping why Kieran has the issues he does, and becomes part of his mission for the future once he turns his life around. While this was not my favorite book by Carlyle, it was engaging and a keeper. I have an issue with prolonged self-pity (everyone is allowed five minutes and then you need to move on), so I think that is why this wasn't five stars....more
This book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much LeThis book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Lesser narrative. Otherwise I love it! It is full of passages that wrench at your heart as you read Zsadist's sad but ultimately triumphant story. You really root for Zsadist to accept the unconditional love that Bella has for him, as you see him give all of himself to her because he cannot help but love her, even believing he is far from good enough for her. And the relationship is not one-sided as Zsadist helps Bella to heal from her captivity with the Lesser. He is the only one that can help her through this ordeal. But long before she was kidnapped, she was drawn to Zsadist. You see the seeds of their connection start in Lover Eternal, and to be honest, that's what made me keep reading Lover Eternal. I was so fascinated by the interaction between essentially The Beauty and the Beast played out in this sophistocated, urban vampire universe. I knew that their relationship would be explosive and captivating, and I was right. The scenes of Bella and Zsadist during her needing are enthralling and sexual, but also tender and poignant. I don't think any man could love a woman more than Zsadist loves Bella. The ending will make the sternest, most cold-hearted person tear up as Zsadist very clearly shows just how much Bella means to him. And the gift that Bella gives Zsadist is just the icing on the cake. This is a wonderful love story....more
I can definitively say I have never read a romance novel quite like this. Ms. McCarver really accomplished something with this wonderful story. SaudaI can definitively say I have never read a romance novel quite like this. Ms. McCarver really accomplished something with this wonderful story. Sauda is a heroine that you will come to admire, will laugh with, and will cry with. Her journey is unforgettable. Ethan is a hero that will steal your heart away. What I really loved about this story was how three-dimensional Sauda and Ethan are. Their love is tangible and poignant. It reaches off the page and into your mind and heart. It doesn't matter that Ethan shouldn't fall in love with a Blackamoor assassin who is clearly not a suitable wife. It doesn't matter that Sauda is a foreigner whose freedom is not her own, and thus shouldn't even consider falling for the golden, beautiful lord. It happens anyway. And the development of this affair is incredible to read. At times, I felt like I would be overwhelmed with despair, knowing in my heart that this couldn't end well, but hoping that Ms. McCarver would manage to pull off the happy ending I craved. Well, we do get our happy ending, but you should read it to see how it unfolds.
Prejudice is an ugly thing. This story shows how a worthy, incredible individual can be judged and maligned for the simple characteristics of being of another faith, dark skin color, and having hair that is curly instead of straight, despite traits that show her to be an excellent person. Her good heart and her sense of honor mean nothing when someone cannot look past what is so different. The great thing about this story is that from the first moment, Ethan looks at the outside and the inside and has a moment of clarity that this is the woman that he loves. His heart had been broken by the loss of his young wife in childbirth and his subsequent slavery in a Turkish prison, in which unspeakable things were done to him. Life means little to him, other than the freedom of sailing the seas, although he knows he will have to eventually marry to ensure his family's earldom secure. When he sees Sauda, it's like he comes alive again. From that point on, he is very focused on having her, in any way he can.
Sauda sees the beautiful Englishman and knows he's not for her. Her life has been nothing but death and discipline. She is a very skilled assassin who has had to seduce men to get close enough to kill. Her heart is merely an organ that pumps blood through her body. Love does not enter into the equation for her life. But love finds her, and a passion that she had never known.
This is a very raw and earthy romance, but at the same time, sublimely beautiful. Set during the Elizabethan period, you are privy to the very raunchy natures of Elizabethans, and not spared some of the less pleasanter aspects of living in the 16th century, but it works very well. It felt so authentic, and Ms. McCarver does a great job with the language and the terminology for this period. It is more than clear that she has done careful research and has a love for this period. As a lifelong reader of historical romances and a woman of color, It was great to see a heroine of color living and finding love within this time period. I was drawn into this story and I felt like I was right there in the late 1500s during Queen Elizabeth's reign.
The love scenes were tender yet vivid and very raw. The powerful chemistry between Sauda and Ethan really blazes in their private moments. There is an element of time slipping away from the starcrossed lovers as Ethan will have to marry soon and Sauda must leave to stay one step ahead of the hunters who want to take her back to her owner. I hated that aspect, but it brought dramatic tension and poignancy to the storyline. I wanted them to run away into the sunset together, but I could see how that would be a selfish thing and not feasible for either of them.
Sauda is very convincing as a formidable female warrior and assassin. She shows the discipline and skill of a woman who was heartlessly trained from the young age of eight to kill and to kill effortlessly. She has no moments that cause a lapse in her credibility as a warrior woman. Yet at the same time, she shows a humanity and a capacity for love that gives her the depth that I want to see in a romance heroine. She is definitely a great heroine for those readers who like to see a woman who can handle herself.
Although Ethan's friend Lucian annoyed me with his narrow-mindedness for some time in this story, I began to see why he was so fixated on his view of what was good for Ethan (and thinking that Sauda wasn't it). He got my attention and make me anxious to read his story and see him conquered by love in the most unlikely of packages. I also enjoyed seeing the interactions with Thomas, Ethan's younger brother, as well as Sir Nichols, and Mary, Ethan's former nursemaid.
This book took me away and seduced my senses. It kept me guessing, as I truly didn't know how things would end. There was a complexity to this plot that really did challenge my thought processes to see where things would go. The action scenes were well done, mixing swordfighting and martial arts. I loved that you did get to see Sauda show her abilities. Yet you also see that Ethan is a warrior in his own right. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to see this beautiful love story unfold between two people that are so very different, yet are soulmates in every way. Bravo, Ms. McCarver. ...more
What a great read. I found Emma to be a wonderful heroine. She saved the hero numerous times, survived harrowing situations, and fought to be strong wWhat a great read. I found Emma to be a wonderful heroine. She saved the hero numerous times, survived harrowing situations, and fought to be strong when she was bred and raised to be weak by a bully of a father. I liked Jake, but this book stands out because of Emma. Jake was a little too preoccupied about being trapped into marriage for my tastes. I was like, "get over it." Otherwise he was a great hero, who knew how to live off the land, and could get himself and Emma out of a tight fix.
I like the way Emma stood toe to toe with him and had just as valid a reason not to want marriage. She kept him guessing and made him have to reevaluate his perceptions about womankind, and didn't demand his love. In fact, he fell in love with her because of the incredible woman she was. I loved how she moved on to find a life for herself and he found his way to her, because he couldn't live without her.
This story is vivid with scenes of surviving the elements as Emma and Jake crossed the frontier. There are moments that make you hold your breath and wonder whether they will persevere in the situations they end up with. It's why I enjoy westerns and frontier reads. Each time I felt more admiration for Emma's strength. If you like romances full of adventure and facing the elements, living in the wild, with character who persevere together and to find a great love in the process, you'll love this book....more
Once again, Nalini Singh worked her magic on me. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Hira was so mercurial, frigid ice princess one moment, vulneraOnce again, Nalini Singh worked her magic on me. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Hira was so mercurial, frigid ice princess one moment, vulnerable, exotic girl-child another, saying hurtful things to Marc. I was thinking I would be disappointed with this story. However, I began to see that Hira was protecting her heart from more damage like what had been inflicted over many years by a father who was a real misogynist, who treated her mother terribly, and restricted Hira's life severely, despite maintaining the appearance of being a loving husband and father. She had been treated like she had nothing to offer besides her beautiful looks and gorgeously-curved body. Her father used her as a business pawn, forcing Marc to marry her if he wanted to court her. Of course, she didn’t know that Marc wanted a real relationship with her. She thought he just wanted a sexy trophy wife.
As the book unfolded, I could see why she kept Marc at such a distance, and was so icy to him, although I hurt as Marc did. By the end of the story, I loved Hira, and I admired her for the strong woman that she was.
As for Marc, I loved him pretty much from the beginning. In fact, I wanted to take him and give him a long, fierce hug. He has a lot of the traits I just adore in a hero. He was a fierce, strong man, a real survivor, but with a gentle loving heart that hid behind steely, cold armor. He'd been abused really badly by his lousy alcoholic parents, who sold him to a thief. He lived on the streets, and was wounded grievously more than once, which was why he had scars on his face and body. I adored this man. Like Hira, his scars were badges of honor to me. This man worked his way up from nothing. Truly, he did have a chip on his shoulder against beautiful women. A stupid rich girl played a cruel joke on him, teaching him he wasn’t good enough without his money and power. Since then, he kept his heart protected. He felt inadequate because of his scars and his ignoble Bayou origins. But, like Hira, being a man who pulls himself up by his bootstraps and makes something of himself, being a strong, powerfully magnetic man spoke highly to me. She called him her fierce desert chieftain, and I felt this was a fair assessment from her viewpoint of admirable men (unlike her father). Also he is very possessive. Another plus in a hero. It gives me tingles! Golden boys born with silver spoons in their mouths don’t resonate with me the same way. If you like Lisa Kleypas's self-made heroes, you would probably like Marc. He definitely gave me that vibe, which always have the power to turn me into a melted pile of hormonal goo. Marc really was the perfect package for a hero to this reader.
Initially, this seemed a little melodramatic, (which ain't necessarily a bad thing since I like drama), but I wasn't sure what to make of it. Hira's innocence and unwordliness seemed too over the top. I had to readjust my worldview and consider how truly inexperienced and sheltered Hira was. Once I got my vantage point straight, I was all in. The intense, honest emotions and the heart-wrenching angst of Marc and Hira's pasts, and how they reach out to orphaned children to give them love (I cried on those scenes and the ones about Marc’s tortured past), and the fiery passion between them (which had me fanning myself as I read), well this was an irresistible package that won me over!
I can't say that all people would enjoy this book. Even those who are fans of Nalini Singh’s newer works, the Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter books, might not necessarily love this book. However, I believe that the elements that make her a favorite, auto-buy author to me are very apparent in this lovely romance morsel. I’m very glad I got the chance to read this one. It’s going on my keeper shelf with my other Nalini Singh books.
I'd probably give this one 4.5 stars. I thought it really was an excellent book, but the whole confict between the Native Americans and the settlers iI'd probably give this one 4.5 stars. I thought it really was an excellent book, but the whole confict between the Native Americans and the settlers is just heartwrenching. I think the characters in this book were driven to their brink in many ways. It was so well-written and I loved it, but because the tragic elements hit so close to home, and this affected my enjoyment factor, it's hard to give it five stars.
There are incidents that occur in this book that I found downright disturbing. Maybe I'm too sensitive, or I read it on a week where my life stress level was too high, but I found it hard to get past some of that.
I take the whole Native American situation deeply personal, partly because that is part of my heritage, but also because I hate persecution and unfairness. I can totally see what drove the Natives to fight back so hard against the settlers, but I can never condone the murder of innocent people on either side. History is brutal and tragic, and it shows that humanity does not have the best motivations. Again and again we see nations and civilizations conquered by cultures that are more powerful in an integral way that allows them to decimate the so-called "weaker culture." It is something that I do not like facing, but unescapable. It's one of the reasons I love historical romance, but at times it is hard to deal with in the scope of a book about a romantic relationship between a couple.
I do love that Clare always presented a balanced perspective. She didn't make the Natives always the good guy and she didn't make the settlers always the bad guys. There were atrocities committed on both sides, as she is unflinching in describing some of those acts in this book.
I found Nicholas and Bethie both to be characters I liked, admired, and wished well for. They were both strong survivors who had gone through hell and back. What they suffered in their lives was almost too much to deal with at times. I love angst, so don't get me wrong, but probably I just read this during the wrong few days where my angst tolerance level was lower. Nicholas was just a delicious hero. I couldn't get enough of him, but I like that he wasn't a perfect, plaster saint. He didn't always do the right thing, although he was deeply principled in his own way. Survival had motivated him for so long, but when it came down to it, his moral compass did not forsake him.
I am curious about Nicholas' parents and his young uncle Jamie, so I hope to read Sweet Release and Carnal Gift soon. Clare definitely is an author that I want to read more of.
--------------------- If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group here on Goodreads! ...more
This book will never leave my keeper shelf. It had so much poignancy. Kelly is severely abused by her fundamental zealot of a father. She finds some oThis book will never leave my keeper shelf. It had so much poignancy. Kelly is severely abused by her fundamental zealot of a father. She finds some of her mom's old sixties clothes and makes herself up to go out for a night on New Years Eve, and meets Dan. Dan takes her home and has sex with her in a drunken haze. Kelly gets absolutely nothing out of it except an unwanted pregnancy. You can't really hate Dan, because of what he's lost and how he's suffered. He was badly injured and stranded after a plane accident. When he returns, his pregnant fiance has married his best friend. So he loses his fiance and his child in one blow. He's feeling sorry for himself and drinking when he picks up Kelly. She looks older than her eighteen years all made up, so he doesn't realize she is a very innocent virgin. He passes out and wakes up the next morning alone. Weeks later, a scruffy looking teen who looks like she's been beaten up comes to his auto shop and claims she's pregnant and he's the father and asks for money for an abortion. Yes, he probably should have been more responsible and wore a condom. But you will see that he is a man who lives up to his responsibilities. At the same time, you can't judge Kelly for choosing to have an abortion, considering the horrible life she has with zero chances of it improving in any way. It is a scary life to bring a child into.
He won't give the money to her, because he could not fathom losing another child. And this could be his chance to be a father after all. Instead he makes a bargain with her to take care of her until she has the baby. Thankfully, Dan saves Kelly from her abusive father, who really goes off the rails when he realizes his daughter has gotten pregnant out of marriage (aka sinned against God).
This was such a good book. It made me cry for how sad Kelly's life is. And how Dan comes to open his heart again to love after what he lost. He doesn't want to fall in love or feel anything deep for Kelly, but ends up falling deeply for her. He is so kind and loving to her, and she doesn't really know how to accept his care, because of how strict and cruel her father is. There is a twelve year age difference between them, but it didn't bother me because Kelly is very mature for her age because of what she suffered, and Dan is not too old to be a good husband to her.
This is one of my all time favorite contemporary romances, series or otherwise. It has the heart and the soul that I really look for in a good romance. Dan is the lost fiance of the heroine of The Vow (if you want to read that story first).
Oh my goodness, I just loved Cory. He is my dream of a cowboy. He's a really good guy and a knight in shining armor. He's good-looking but very down tOh my goodness, I just loved Cory. He is my dream of a cowboy. He's a really good guy and a knight in shining armor. He's good-looking but very down to earth. He thinks he's no good with women, for all the things. If he was real, I'd be chasing him down. He takes in a woman and her child who are obviously running from someone, and his heart recognizes his true love in her. He also falls in love with her young child. Race doesn't even factor in. I just love how Shara Azod manages to write a very steamy read but doesn't leave the romance and the true love story by the wayside. I wish that more modern cowboy books had this feel to it, and that more cowboys were like Cory in real life. Cory is a sexy cowboy, but he's not a womanizer who takes advantage of his rodeo skills to bed saddle bunnies. I really like that about him. I guess my pet peeve is that too many romance novel heroes are portrayed as womanizers who'll sleep with any woman who's willing. That's really not sexy to me.
I liked Stephanie, also. She's the vulnerable type, having come from a bad home and having low self esteem, but found the strength to leave behind the really bad guy who was using her and hurting her, and to get her child away from him. She knew a good thing when she found Cory, and didn't let her baggage cause her to walk away from the man who is the love of her life. Some of the things her ex-boyfriend did to her were just horrible. Her ex was a lowlife, and Cory didn't hesitate to give him what was coming to him. I didn't feel any sympathy for the man considering how lowdown he was.
This is a short read, but everything's there that would make a romance novel fan happy. I am so glad that I took a chance and downloaded this gem of an ebook....more
I'm not sure how to write this review without excessive gushing. Gushing hurts my credibility as a reader. Well, I think it's clear that I'm not aboveI'm not sure how to write this review without excessive gushing. Gushing hurts my credibility as a reader. Well, I think it's clear that I'm not above a little gushing if I love a book. But I do try to be objective. However, sometimes a good book deserves gushing, and lots of it. Such is the case with Cry Wolf. My tastes are somewhat simple when it comes to a book. I want to be involved and entertained. When I read a book that takes me to that next level of pure emotional enjoyment, catching me where I live and feel deeply as a human, I wish I could rate it higher than five stars.
Patricia Briggs is an author that I was not expecting to come into my life and rock my perception of what I consider good urban fantasy. Now, the standard is much higher. She has found a way to make the werewolf tale that much more enjoyable to this lover of the genre. She writes characters that convince me that there must be werewolves out there, and that they aren't all ravening beasts. That there is an entire spectrum. That they are lonely, in need of love, always fighting a battle of control against their animal natures, or that some have completely given into their animal side. That they form bonds of family and love that wrap around them, and when those bonds are taken away, it has the power to destroy them. Conversely, the bonds of love and pack, can heal a long-broken heart.
The characters in this story show that spectrum of wolves very well. By the end of the story, they felt like people I knew. Oh, and there were some characters that I crossed myself in hopes that I never encountered their likes. Mariposa, oh, how she gave me the shudders. Oh, and Bran.... Could I love him more now? Even though he has some really scary aspects to his personality? Although that just increased his appeal to me. What control this man has. How tortured he truly is. Ms. Briggs, do write a separate story for Bran, I humbly ask.
Charles and Anna: More continued goodies with their nuanced, layered relationship. It's a symbiotic relationship, almost. It would seem that Anna is the weak one, and Charles is the strong one. Not so. Anna's presence brings strength and calmness to Charles. She saves his life numerous times in this story, in fact. And Charles gives Anna that reason and that purpose she had not found before. She loves him so much it scares her. He heals the broken places deep inside of her with his love and devotion. And, he brings her to a home where she had been lost before. I love that not only does this couple come together, but Anna comes to form deep, important relationships with other wolves in this story, who are in need of the peace that she can give them as an Omega wolf.
There were scenes that clutched at my emotions and wouldn't let go. When Anna sings to Asil and Bran, and they fall with their heads in her lap. These troubled wolves finding the peace that an evil adversary had denied them. It was just wonderful to watch.
There are dark and scary moments in this story, as Charles, Anna, and Walter, a wolf they encounter, face a very malevolent entity from the old wolf, Asil's past. Oh, there was plenty of horror in this story. Of the more subtle, not in your face, but very unnerving variety. And the power of this person, powerful enough to take over a character who is known for his absolute strength and control. Shuddering thinking about it.
Yes, I'm gushing. I waited a few days to write this review, trying to get my thoughts in order. For me, this is urban fantasy at its best. Cry Wolf truly is an exemplary werewolf story to me (and that's saying a lot from me). It's the kind of book that you don't want to put down for anything. Ms. Briggs with her misleadingly simple way of telling a story, will have likely a profound effect on you, if you appreciate really good storytelling. Watch out if you haven't read her yet. In the end, I can't speak for other readers. I won't even try. I can only speak for myself. This was a fantastic story. I hope that others who read this enjoy it as much as I did....more
I felt as though I traveled back to medieval Ireland when I read this book, which is definitely a plus for this history buff. Ireland in the Norman coI felt as though I traveled back to medieval Ireland when I read this book, which is definitely a plus for this history buff. Ireland in the Norman conquest is an under-utilized setting. I felt as though I learned some things about the ancient Irish, which is always good, especially when the lesson comes in an enjoyable story.
Storyline: Bevan is a man who lost much of what he loved in his life. His beloved daughter dead from fever, and his wife burned to death in a Norman raid. And his land appropriated by some of the Norman invaders. He is determined to take his keep and lands back, and that’s how he meets Genevieve. Genevieve is on the run from her betrothed, a man who beats and abuses her physically. She has smuggled missives back to her father in England, but she can’t wait any longer to be rescued, sure that Hugh will kill her or rape her soon. She begs the rough-looking Irish warrior she encounters to save her, but he walks away (he is afraid he will endanger his mission and his men). Later on, he breaks into the keep (having determined he will help the woman), and is captured. Genevieve helps to free him, and gets a beating from her betrothed for her trouble, which Bevan reacts to by beating up Sir Hugh. Her only choice is to flee with the Irish warrior.
Bevan has no desire for another woman, even one as beautiful and as brave as Genevieve, although she is one of the hated Normans. He buried his heart with his beloved wife Fiona, and he is determined to remain true to her. But he cannot stand to see a woman be beaten. Bevan asserts that no honorable Irishman would lay a hand on a woman, and it’s just another reason to despise the Normans. He offers her safe passage back to England to her parents, although Genevieve fears that Bevan will fight against her father and his men, for the keep that is now her dowry.
Bevan is the brother of one of the kings of Ireland. There is a high king and smaller kings (probably what would be considered a duke or lesser peer in England). His brother, King Patrick, has determined to make a marriage alliance with Genevieve’s family. Bevan ends up between a rock and a hard place, especially when England’s King Henry and the High King of Ireland agree to the match. Either that or the evil Sir Hugh will gain his lands and Genevieve as his wife, and will surely kill her with his brutality. Genevieve agrees to the marriage, even knowing that Bevan cannot love her the way she wishes, and does not want a real marriage with her, only the alliance. However, Bevan cannot keep her heart closed to the loving, courageous woman he married.
My thoughts on this story: I had mixed feelings about Bevan. He was a very honorable man, capable of loving very deeply. I truly respected his faithfulness to his wife. You don’t see that many heroes who remain devoted to their departed spouses the way he does. However, I wish he hadn’t taken so long to open his heart to Genevieve. It’s clear that she is a really good woman for him, and his younger brother Ewan actually thinks she’s more devoted and loves him more than Fiona ever did. This is one of those books where the character has this false perfect image of their past spouse that the hero or heroine has to break past. It made me sad how Bevan hurt Genevieve again and again by pushing her away. Initially, Genevieve is afraid of men after how Hugh beat her and hurt her, but Bevan is kind and takes care of her so well, that he works his way into her heart. Now Genevieve has to break down the walls around Bevan’s heart, and show him that he can love again.
This was a good book. I found myself sucked in from the beginning. Genevieve and Bevan had excellent chemistry. I found Hugh to be a despicable villain, and I wanted him to get his just deserts, after seeing him beating and hurting Genevieve the way he did. I was afraid that her father would take Hugh’s side, but fortunately, he didn’t, standing by his daughter and believing her when she said Hugh was abusing her. I can’t imagine a father who would willingly let his daughter get abused by a man, so I was glad Genevieve’s father wasn’t like that.
I enjoyed this book. I liked reading about medieval Ireland, which had some customs and ways of looking at things that were distinct from England at this time. I liked both of the characters. The romance between Genevieve and Bevan was engaging, and I felt their emotional struggles and anguish. It was good to see Bevan grow to acknowledge his feelings for Genevieve and make those gestures she badly needed. He had to learn that his love for Fiona didn’t have to close his heart to loving again. I’m looking forward to reading about the other MacEgan brothers, particularly Ewan. I have a feeling he’s going to grow up to be quite a warrior. It should be interesting to see the woman he ends up with. ...more
I put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was boI put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was bored with his inactivity and seclusion while his broken leg was healing, and he needed a distraction. I started it once, because it's about the sister of the heroine from The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride (Surrender to the Sheikh), a book I loved. But I put it down because I wasn't in the mood for that kind of hero. As I embarked on my Weekend Harlequin Presents Marathon, a tradition I have that I truly enjoy, I picked it up and started reading it again. I am glad I finally did read this book.
How could I have doubted you, Annie West? You know how to write a great, intense romance. The process of showing the courtship and the seduction of Arik by Rosalie (note I didn't say the opposite) was so beautifully executed by you. Arik thought he knew all the moves, had women figured out, and knew how to get his pleasure out of a woman and move on. He saw Rosalie and wanted her body. But when he spent time with her, saw the mix of vulnerability and beauty that was her, not just her body, he wanted more from her. I have trouble with playboy heroes that think all women are the same, just warm bodies for pleasure. So I was predisposed to dislike Arik. He had to work very hard for me to like him. But he succeeded. He succeeded by showing he was a sensitive man. The way he gave Rosalie time, and let her come to him, made allowances for her skittishness, and didn't force the issue, that really helped me to like him. Also how he became obsessed with her, completely drawn in, so that by the time they were actually lovers, it was more than just that. For the short time period that this happened in, I have to give Ms. West some credit. I've read books where the couples have a love affair that spans much longer time periods, and the love aspect, the connection was missing. Not with this book.
Like the other books that I've read by Annie West, the intensity that turns a HP from an enjoyable read to a real pleasure and a favorite, was there in spades with this book. I liked how the struggle within Rosalie to claim back her life, to open her heart to love and a physical relationship with man after she was raped was shown. Even though Arik didn't know she was raped until near the end, he was very caring and considerate to her, and that helped Rosalie get past her fears and her issues. And Arik went from being kind of shallow, a rich playboy (even if he did have a heart for his people and worked hard, his attitude towards women was very shallow) to a deep, caring, loving man who fell truly in love, completely captivated by a woman before my eyes. I think this was done so well.
This was a great book. I'm a big fan of sheikh romances, but I liked that this was one was more intimate. There were hints about Arik's wealthy and powerful identity, but that was in the background. The focus was on the relationship between Rosalie and Arik. How a wary heart found a once shallow man and turned him into a man who was so lovestruck, he wanted nothing more than the one woman he had initially decided to seduce out of boredom. That's the most awesome kind of book that takes a story you're kind of 'meh' about, and completely draws you in.