I'm so glad that some of my discerning buddies on the Harlequin Presents Reader group raved about this book. It was an excellent short and sexy romancI'm so glad that some of my discerning buddies on the Harlequin Presents Reader group raved about this book. It was an excellent short and sexy romance to read before the end of the year. At first, I was thrown by the writing style, very descriptive and emotive to the degree that it was hard to get a feel for the tone initially. But it didn't take long before I was soaking this book up like a sponge. Parker taps into my need for an intense, escapist, passionate romance book. It definitely gave me my angsty/dramatic romance fix.
Thane is all that and a bag of chips! Intense, honorable, grumpy, dedicated to his one and only woman (that alone made me swoon over him), and sexy as all get out. I could totally see why Luciana found him irresistible. He touches on all my hero qualities that I love. Luciana is a great heroine. Her motives are sound and her heart was good. She's strong in the best ways. Even though I did want her to cave and fall in with Thane's plans head first ('cause he was just so very...), I could understand her misgivings and her pain and anguish because of what she'd seen in her parents' marriage and scars from her own childhood. She made the best decision she could have at the time, even though she did deny Thane four years of his child's life. She regretted that she had cost him that and understood how wrong she was about him. While I don't care much for secret baby romance, this was well done. Scenes of Thane bonding with his son made me all cartoon starry eyed.
This is the kind of Romeo and Juliet tale I love. Honestly, I didn't care much for the original play, but Parker has given die hard romantics the version of that tale of young lovers and feuding families that they will love.
The sexual chemistry and tension was off the charts, but what made it so powerful was the delirious and intense love that Thane and Luciana found together and never got over. You could tell it was a once and a lifetime connection and you wanted them to get their happy ending.
Parker has convinced me that she's an author to watch for in the Harlequin Presents line. If she has more heroes in the vein of Thane (no rhyming intended), I'm sold!
Definitely recommend this book. Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars....more
This was a wonderful book. Initially, I enjoyed the effortless chemistry between the leads and found it a pleasant read. But by the end, I was holdingThis was a wonderful book. Initially, I enjoyed the effortless chemistry between the leads and found it a pleasant read. But by the end, I was holding my breath at how well Enoch sustains the tension of their situation. Definitely recommended to fans of Scottish historical romance.
I am on the fence about this book because I didn't like the way the hero treats the heroine for most of the book. He's very mean to her and judgmentalI am on the fence about this book because I didn't like the way the hero treats the heroine for most of the book. He's very mean to her and judgmental and dismissive of her. Mostly because he didn't want to be attracted and drawn to her. He hates her for making him feel vulnerable and that she is the one woman he really ever loved that way. He's self-righteous in that he hasn't lived a very moral life, but wants to give the pretense about it without putting in the effort. It's all about how he appears to the world. While I understand his angst in what happened with his ex, when was that ever Lauren's fault? But he seems to want to make her the scapegoat in the situation. He comes off as a largely selfish hero. On the other hand, I did like Lauren quite a bit. I really wish she wasn't in love with Paulo. I wish she could have fallen for a good guy who loved her and respected her equally. It's almost kind of a scenario where the decent girl gets caught between two rakes and ends up falling for one who isn't really that much more moral than the other. At the end of the day, Paulo and Ryan are both sexual predators, using women as part of their competition and for sexual-gratification, with very little sense of personal honor. I really have a hard time with those kinds of heroes, and Paulo doesn't make me feel any better about it. I think one thing that Paolo is complicit in is hard to forgive. He knew that Lauren's husband was unfaithful to her, and he never called him on it, even if he wouldn't admit it to Lauren. Even their moral failing at Lauren's wedding was arguably more his cause than hers, and his expectation at that time was ridiculous.
The more I think about this, the more I can't say I really liked this book as much as I would have liked to. It has lots of intensity and sort of the ongoing, enduring love theme, but I can't really believe in that love from Paolo's perspective. His resolution at the end was a bit too little too late for my taste.
I feel this book deserves more than 3 stars, but not 4. So I'll go with 3.5 stars. For me, a hero who doesn't seem worthy of the heroine is more or less a deal breaker for me....more
It is an incredible coincidence that I read two Lynne Graham books within days of each other, and each has a hero named Vito and a heroine who is a reIt is an incredible coincidence that I read two Lynne Graham books within days of each other, and each has a hero named Vito and a heroine who is a redhead and who has a strangely similar family history (with a few differences). Honest to goodness, I didn't do that deliberately. It was just one of those serendipity things.
I know some readers might be annoyed by the fact that the plot is slightly recycled. I wasn't. I think that in a long writing career, that's bound to happen to a prolific writer. I know that in my own writing I work out issues I see in life and that affect me on a deep level. So I'm not dismayed to see this in writers I follow.
Ava doesn't have an abrasive personality, and she probably would be entitled to it, considering her past. She carries a burden of guilt that has stripped that away from her, if she ever had it. It's heartbreaking what she suffered, and when it's revealed what truly happened, it makes it even worse. I think that Vito could have been a more sympathetic hero. I didn't love him, although neither did I hate him. He was kind of 'meh' for me. He was a bit too cold and unemotional (detached) to me. I felt that he loved Ava by the end of the book, but I didn't feel like he deeply needed her the way I like to feel from a hero. I think his attitude about sexuality was a turnoff. He was too much of a womanizer for my tastes. I think that his actions were initially motivated by a desire to get Ava in bed, even if he didn't want to acknowledge it on a deeper level. I'm not saying he didn't grow in his feelings for her, but I don't like when the heroes' feelings start merely as sexual (and his felt a bit lecherous to me).
Also, Vito didn't seem to want to believe the best of Ava. All along, he was willing to think she was everything that the past seemed to dictate, but he didn't consider how much his brother Olly loved and respected Ava and take that seriously enough. Let me put it this way, if my sister has a high opinion of someone, I take it very seriously. I guess that's why I was not 100% satisfied with this book. When it is revealed how badly Ava was wronged, I wanted to feel more remorse and regret for what she went through from Vito.
This story is pretty heavy and dark for a Lynne Graham book, surprisingly so. It really shows a profound degree of familial dysfunction. I kind of liked that, but I think things were wrapped up a bit too smoothly with a bow to balance out the really dark nature of this storyline. While I see love between Vito and Ava, I didn't get enough of a love payoff in this book. It's still a four star read because it was captivating and kept my interest. I was deeply enthralled with Ava's story and I wanted the best for her. I think she's a happy woman as far as the book ended, but I wasn't 100% satisfied. So it's a weak four stars....more
I liked this book and I couldn't put it down. But I honestly have to say I was almost repelled by Spencer initially. I mean ugh! Even if you are stronI liked this book and I couldn't put it down. But I honestly have to say I was almost repelled by Spencer initially. I mean ugh! Even if you are strongly attracted to your best friend's fiancee', that doesn't mean you have a right to pursue that and wreck his engagement because you feel like you have a stronger bond with the woman than your friend. He didn't respect boundaries at all. Keep your octopus hands to yourself dude! I think his insistence on honesty came out of a sense of self-indulgence, arrogance and not true honor. If he was the better man he would have walked away. I wasn't sure I wanted him to be the hero of this book until well into the story. I thought Allison was much too good for him. He gave me this skeevy vibe that I couldn't get past. Towards the end of the book I felt better towards him, but I can't say I love him as a hero. He is merely okay to me. When I finished this book, I shrugged and thought, "If that's what she wants, okay." If I had a choice, I would have gone for a different hero with a lot more class than Spencer (and I'm not talking money and polish).
I really liked Allison. Despite her insecurities, she was twice the woman her sister was. Her sister had the same level of intelligence, but seemed kind of shallow, and I feel that her guilting her sister into pretending to be her with her fiance' was selfish and immature. Why would you do that to your sister? Put her in that situation, just so you could get a (view spoiler)[ surprise boob job (hide spoiler)] for your fiance' and not be sensitive to the distress you were causing her? I loved when Allison finally got fed up with both guys and came clean on the switch. That was the best part of the book. If I am going to be honest, I might as well lay it out here. My sister would never want me to go off to have a fling with a sleazy guy who was hitting on his best friend's fiancee'! I'd want him to stay far away from my sister, not helping her buy sexy clothes and unpacking her bras when she went off for her fling. Honestly, I don't find her sister's fiance' to be a deep man either. I hope they will be happy together in their shallowness. Your mileage may vary.
This book was pretty darn steamy. For a book written in 1985, I was like, wow. Very sensual. Sandra Brown knows how to write some sexy romance! I liked the voyage of discovery for Allison, and I liked that she realized that her life was a lot more open to possibilities than she could imagine. But I also liked that she did fall in love with Spencer instead of just being hot for him. That would have made the whole situation a lot more tawdry in my view than it had the potential to be. It was also a saving grace that Spencer clearly did fall in love Allison as well, instead of just being on the make. If not, I think I might have used this book as a hockey puck based on how he was acting at the beginning.
I think the fact that I enjoyed this book despite having very little respect for most of the characters is a sign of good writing by the author. If I just go with the flow, I can think of this as a fun, grown up version of The Parent Trap with a little bit of Love Potion No. 9 thrown in. A good oldie by this very popular and talented author....more
Domino is in a tough situation. She falls in love with her bodyguard, who believes she's a married woman, and she can't tellThe things we do for love!
Domino is in a tough situation. She falls in love with her bodyguard, who believes she's a married woman, and she can't tell him that she's merely pretending to be her sister, who is in hiding. She has to fight her intense feelings for this compelling, strong man who has claimed her heart, because she could put her pregnant sister in jeopardy if she reveals her secret. Yeah, that's intense.
Cage of Ice presents a scenario like this and it's done in such a way that I couldn't stop reading. Domino is a good person, and she's not selfish enough to go after her own needs, even if she loves Ace so badly it's hard to keep him at a distance. I felt for her and for Ace too. Although Ace acts like he despises Domino at first, it's because he feels that instant lightning strike for her. He loves her and he knows he can't have her, because: 1)she's married, 2)she's his package that he's been hired to protect, 3)his past taught him that rich girls will only bring him to ruin. But Domino (who he knows as Delphine) is not a woman he can ignore or avoid. I loved the fact that Ace was upfront about his feelings for Domino early in this book. He told Domino that he loved her, and that he'd make it work out for them to be together. I did feel conflicted because I hate cheating, and from his standpoint, it was cheating. But it was clear that wasn't a casual thing for him to get around either. I could feel how Domino was torn in two different directions, between her loyalty to her family and to her love and intense feelings for Ace. I hurt for her when she had to push him away and make him think she was a soulless, promiscuous tart who was just playing with his feelings so he'd back off. I was glad that Ace saw deeper and searched for more in this woman he had come to love.
Sally Wentworth does an excellent job of building the tension here. Domino is literally caged in, both physically and emotionally. Stuck in a chateau with her guards, due to bad weather, and the fact that she had to keep a low profile so that the possible kidnappers couldn't make a grab at her, and because they weren't supposed to be there. On top of that is the emotional storm that her bodyguard makes her feel.
Although these kind of storylines tie me into a knot because I want the couple to be able to be together and happy, I also relish the tension and the suspense of having to keep reading to see how things will be resolved. And Ms. Wentworth sustained that practically to the last few pages. My reward for persevering was an ending that was so sweet and precious.
Although Ace was the tough, sometimes cruel hero, I really liked him. I could understand why he came on so hard, and I loved that he was a man of action instead of a born into privilege hero. I liked Domino a lot too. She really put her life and her heart on the line for love of her sister, and that spoke to me. I think Domino and Ace really deserved their happy ending, and I'm glad they got it.
This book is darn close to perfect, so I give it 4.5 stars....more
This was a very sexy story about a forbidden love between a man and his sister-in-law. Fortunately (that sounds awful to say) the brother is out of thThis was a very sexy story about a forbidden love between a man and his sister-in-law. Fortunately (that sounds awful to say) the brother is out of the way when this story begins.
Quentin is one intense hero. He had better calm down or he's going to have blood pressure problems. I would classify him is a stalkerific hero, in fact. I really liked this about the story. I also liked that Briony reciprocates his love 100% (although she's a little more even-tempered than he is). This story is more from Quentin's viewpoint, which is fun with a romance, especially when the hero is so far gone like he is. You really get inside his head and see just how much he loves Briony and how most of what he does is about her. It makes his intensity a lot less scary.
The sex scenes are frequent and very descriptive. I could have done without the one scene with a little bit of butt play and discussion of certain acts I really don't like to read about in a romance (thankfully that did not occur in this book). But otherwise, they were pretty spicy in a good way. Quentin sure does like to do a certain kind of oral act on Briony. He does that a lot. The language is pretty raunchy. Not only in the sexual moments, but because we are dealing with law enforcement types and also lowdown criminals who aren't exactly the type to avoid use of profanity.
I liked some of the police procedural aspects as they try to find out who killed the lowlife husband (Quentin hated this guy, even though he was his brother. I can't say I blame him. He does something to his grave that is just wrong, but knowing what an intense guy Quentin is and how badly he wanted to throw his brother a beating for being such a lousy husband and especially when he found out that he sold his wife to pay off a drug debt, I gave Quentin a little slack on that).
I liked that although this was an interracial romance (Briony is Black and Quentin is White), it wasn't a major focus. It was about two people who loved each other deeply, but met each other later than they should have. His brother even gloated to Quentin that he married Briony because he knew that Briony was a woman that Quentin would have wanted for his own. That's cold! I have mad respect for the authors that they did not have Quentin and Briony cheating together while her husband was alive. That's a big turn-off for me.
All and all, this was an enjoyable read, definitely erotic, and I still enjoyed it although I wish it had no butt play or anything along those lines because that is not sexy or appealing to this romance reader at all. I have no desire to read about butt plugs in a love story. While I feel that would be unfair to take a star off just for that, I wasn't enjoying that aspect of this story, but I was glad it was very brief. I'm just saying for any writers or editors out there who want to know what an avid interracial romance fan thinks (hint, hint). Despite that, I would recommend this book to readers who like/tolerate their romance a little steamy. ...more