When I finished reading this book, my first thought was I should have read the other books in the series. Then I discovered the previous three books dWhen I finished reading this book, my first thought was I should have read the other books in the series. Then I discovered the previous three books don’t have much of anything to do with the horrible mystery in this story. So what is it that leaves me with a feeling of discontent?
Maybe it’s because there’s so many people involved in that horribleness in Madison; there’s a lot of point-of-view changes that had me reeling for a while. And then there’s the fact that there isn’t a total resolution in this book, it’s to be continued in Book 5, but that’s not a huge deal breaker for me. Mostly I think it’s because this story starts out a bit slow, which has never happened for me with a Shiloh Walker book. For a good part of the book we’re being introduced to not only the main characters, but others who have been affected by the insidious actions of a select membership of morally corrupt men, as well as those villains themselves. Things really don’t start moving until our heroine opens herself up to our hero, and then the pace hardly slows down at all.
Noah is a recovering alcoholic who’s lived in a fog for years when his world exploded when he was a teenager. Guilt has been his constant friend for many years, but the second he meets Trinity Ewing, color is once again part of his life. She and her son are exactly what he wants and needs, but how can he make them a part of his life being as messed up as he is?
Trinity is thinking along the same lines. She’s put her past behind her the best she can, keeping in sporadic touch with her ex because of their son. Meeting Noah makes something within her click into place, but does she really need another relationship this soon? And though he’s a former preacher, she just knows she’s going to hell for all the thoughts she’s having about the man.
So for the first at least half of the book, we’re getting to know Noah and Trinity as they get to know one another. Everything is revealed at a much slower pace than I’m used to from Ms. Walker, all interspersed with other characters in Madison who are also somehow involved in the goings-on. I like both Noah and Trinity a lot. They’ve been through so much and they’ve survived in their own way. Also quite likable is Trinity’s son, Micah, especially the way he and Noah bond. I enjoyed the interactions between these three, along with other interactions with townsfolk. Now with all this being said, this is not a bad book or even a mediocre book. Far from it. I’m just used to being totally sucked into anything with this author’s name on it, so this slower pace takes me surprise.
However, once we reach that point when Trinity decides to trust Noah, the book perks up. Finally getting to the meat of half of the story brings it home. Noah is still a bit on the timid side when it comes to sharing his past, his is much worse than Trinity’s, but when he finally does, the acceptance he gets from her is exactly what he needs. There’s also still the mystery to be solved, and that’s going on full force around them. When we get to the meat of that story, holy hell. It’s indescribable the little we do get, and the culprits who are revealed and still around will be taken care of in the next book. At least I hope so, because these are some evil SOBs.
All in all, a good story with great characters. It just needs the pick-me-up to happen earlier for me. Otherwise, I enjoyed it just because it’s Shiloh Walker.
I’ve had a number of disappointments lately with my favorite authors, and I still have no answer for that particular question. And I have to add LynsaI’ve had a number of disappointments lately with my favorite authors, and I still have no answer for that particular question. And I have to add Lynsay Sands to that list with this latest book in her Highland Historical series. It’s especially disappointing because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, An English Bride in Scotland.
The heroine-disguising-herself-as-a boy-and-rescued-by-the-hero is something we’ve all read much too often. At least the charade doesn’t go on as long as some I’ve read in the past. When Campbell Sinclair comes upon Joan, aka Jo for Cam’s benefit, she’s being beaten by highwaymen, thus giving another way that Cam won’t recognize her gender – her face is bruised and swollen. Even when he discovers her ruse, he lets her get away with it a bit longer. But once he knows her secret, his attraction grows. And I’m not sure why it would at that point.
We’re not given much of anything beyond the fact they talk on their journey, now that Cam is escorting Joan to the clan MacKay to deliver her late mother’s deathbed request. Cam makes his move and they enjoy a physical relationship during their two-week trip. Once at their destination, the story does take an unusual turn, which is what keeps the book from descending into further obscurity, despite the fact Joan knows nothing more can happen between them because of their different stations in life. Their feelings have grown immensely, but they don’t talk to one another any longer and misunderstanding abounds.
When it’s discovered Joan is the niece of Laird and Lady MacKay, Cam now feels obligated to offer marriage to Jo, even though he’d not wanted that before. More misunderstanding. Once married they continue on to Cam’s home, along with Jo’s new family so they can teach her how to be a lady. They have to navigate all the young women Cam’s mother has invited to entice her son to marry again. That’s when bizarre things begin to happen, raising questions that lead them all to set a trap for the culprit. They nearly don’t make it in time, though. I find the resolution a bit hard to swallow. There’s too many little details the villain has to keep straight and do all at the same time to make it believable. Including the trail of bodies left along the way.
As much as I like Cam and Joan, their story is just too cookie cutter. There’s very little here that is original, and that leaves me a bit amazed, considering who the author is. Lynsay Sands has been a favorite for me for years now. And that’s the only reason the grade isn’t lower for this book. If it had been in any other author’s hands, that grade would be one whole level lower.
I’ve been trying to read outside my romance box lately and have, so far, had pretty good success. So I’m a bit surprised at my reaction to this book,I’ve been trying to read outside my romance box lately and have, so far, had pretty good success. So I’m a bit surprised at my reaction to this book, so much so that I did what I never, ever do before writing a review – I checked out a few others to see what those readers thought.
One of those reviews did help me a bit, allowing me to see past my initial feelings about the story. However, I don’t quite agree with those reviews on certain aspects, but I do understand the author’s “concept” a little more.
Four women are thrown together by virtue of their children going to the same school in New York. Lucy and her family have just moved to the city after losing everything in the international banking crash; Christy is married to an older, wealthy man; Julia works nearly round the clock to support her husband and family; and Robyn does the same but she’s had enough of it.
We get to see a bit of each of their lives, what they go through slugging along in life, the ups and the downs just like everyone else. Well, not quite. One story about the ugly dog is just a bit too silly for me. Okay, yes, I know silly, crazy things happen to folks all the time, but this one is a bit too much. Lucy, Julia, and Christy get along fairly well and try to bring Robyn into the fold, but that doesn’t work out like they think or hope it will. In fact, Robyn is so insulted during a horse-therapy course that she goes for sleeping with husbands as her revenge. She’s never caught and she finally sees the error of her ways to an extent, but then manipulates her way into a better marriage with more money, leaving her old life behind without a backward glance. Needless to say, she’s my least favorite character.
The other three work a bit harder to keep their lives intact, as well as their friendships, all varying stages of coping. Lucy is the peacekeeper – calm and thoughtful. She can diffuse most any situation with a word or action, distracting and changing topics to keep things on an even keel. Since Julia is the breadwinner in her household, she’s on the go more until she comes to a full stop when it all gets to be too much. She’s straightforward and tells it like it is, even if it causes some hurt feelings. Not sure she’s made the right choice, Christy enjoys the new Irish doorman a little too much, doesn’t get along with her whiny stepdaughter, and wants more than just her two twins.
After a few years’ friendship, as also happens in life, relationships begin to change and each woman has to make decisions that will ultimately carry them away from what they know. So when all three have their news shared, I was a bit surprised at the reactions that came about. I’m not sure I’d want to keep such friends. Which may not be a problem, because as I’ve learned, sometimes even when you work on trying to keep a long-distance friendship going and the work is all one-sided, the friendship dies a slow death. Thus, I find it interesting the author doesn’t give readers at least a bit of an epilogue on how these three fare after their lives have changed so much. Especially after everyone has gone through so much to get where they are, including the reader.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been through my own hellish turmoil in the last few years. Maybe it’s because of all that work and a couple of friendships died slowly because of that turmoil. This story just isn’t my cup of tea. Even though I’ve lost those friendships, I re-cultivated others that are quite satisfying now, which is my reason for questioning nothing further about their new lives. But I give props for Lucy’s upbeat attitude, Julia’s willingness to start over, and Christy’s ability to move forward. I also like the full circle of the book – very clever.
So even though the book doesn’t quite work for me, you’ll have a chance to discover whether or not it’s for you. Berkley has very kindly offered a copy of No One Could Have Guessed the Weather to one of our lucky commenters today. Tell us about your friendships to be in the running! (contest now closed)
What a great cast of characters Holly Robinson has created in this fun and touching novel. Three sisters from a fallen-apart family try to figure outWhat a great cast of characters Holly Robinson has created in this fun and touching novel. Three sisters from a fallen-apart family try to figure out their dynamics as they unravel their father’s dying words.
Ava and Elaine have been on their own since their father walked away from an unhappy marriage to their alcoholic mother. It’s been Ava who’s made sure Elaine has what she needs over the years, to the point of being spoiled. When their father passes away, it’s Ava who brings the entire family together to say goodbye. And thus begins this family’s journey to healing, which includes solving a mystery that may tear them further apart – or bring them closer together.
It’s their half sister, Gigi, who gets things going when she mentions to Ava their father had told Gigi of a brother none of them knew they had, which confirms for Ava her father wasn’t delusional when he whispered similar words just before his last breath. Though it brings the girls together in the beginning, Elaine has a hard time dealing with Gigi. It’s her mother, after all, who broke Elaine’s family up. Ava, however, sees a teenager who needs attention and guidance. She goes so far as to teach Gigi potting, giving her responsibility in Ava’s workshop while also instilling confidence.
So in between the new family dynamic they now have and searching for an unknown brother, each sister deals with her own demons day by day. Elaine has turned to alcohol and sex, going out nearly every night after work, trolling the bars for someone to spend a few hours with. It takes a couple of near misses with trouble for her to wake up. I really like her “savior” and hoped she’d see him in a different light after a while. Ava is working to stockpile her work in local businesses while keeping up with her twin sons and their band, of which Gigi is now a part as the lead singer. It’s fortunate for the youngster she’s found Ava and all that comes with the new relationship; she’d been headed in the wrong direction before that. Ava also finds a savior of sorts but hesitates in taking the relationship further, not knowing how those close to her would feel about it.
When their diligence pays off and Peter is located, a whole new set of emotions and dynamics is set into motion from three different directions. As much as I wanted to slap Elaine a few times for her attitude throughout the story, I have to say I really like her time with Peter. It puts her on an even better path in her life, and it’s nice to know she’ll finally be truly happy. All of the scenes, though, with their brother are heartfelt and quite emotional, and there’s hope in the family for the first time in a very long time.
I really enjoyed this book. Aside from the dysfunctional aspect of these two families, the mystery and bits of romance add a nice layer to everyday life we all try to get through with our siblings, mothers, aunts, you name it. All it takes is the time and the want to make the first move to try to better that life as we go along. We may fight and argue, but we’re still family, and in the end, that’s what counts the most. No matter what.
From the title to the cover to the blurb of this book, I had high hopes for it being a good emotional read. Once I started reading, however, I had theFrom the title to the cover to the blurb of this book, I had high hopes for it being a good emotional read. Once I started reading, however, I had the feeling maybe this was a debut book. Not so, I found out. Having not read any of Tory Cates’ previous books, I couldn’t put my finger on anything other than the fact the characters fall short of being sympathetic, no matter how likable they may be, and the story doesn’t live up to the blurb at all.
First, the book is told pretty much in the heroine’s point of view. We get the hero’s POV only in head hopping. At times the back and forth is like watching a tennis match. To me, if you’re going to head hop, you need to be really good at it so it’s seamless. Like Nora Roberts. But since there’s only one Nora Roberts, the constant change in POV stands out too much and pulls the reader from the story way too often.
While the beginning starts out well with Kristin being panned by a local critic in her first photographic art exhibit, you feel her need to get away and refresh to continue her passion. However, when it comes to Grayson’s reasons for not wanting to get romantically involved, I rolled my eyes at the reason for that. It’s definitely not “deep, dark and secret” as described in the summary. It may be a reason to stay away from women for a while, but it’s not like a lot of men don’t go through it, for heaven’s sake. And women too, for that matter.
Kristin and Gray meet when she decides to hightail it out of Albuquerque to his ski lodge high in the mountains to take on a cross-country ski instructor’s position. She has the experience, growing up skiing with her father, trying to be the son he never had. There’s a slight attraction, but nothing to lead you to believe they’d have their hands all over each other in no time. There’s no heat, no chemistry and I just couldn’t buy that they’d have any kind of sex so quickly. They also fly off the handle at each other just as fast as they nearly jump into bed. It’s because Gray is the one who pulls back when things flare between them. Kristin is hurt, so she lashes out, causing him to do the same. He later apologizes, and the circle begins again. This happens several times before they start communicating better.
One bright spot in the story is Gray’s daughter, Laurie. She’s a Down Syndrome child, and I really do like the interaction between father and daughter. Gray loves Laurie to pieces and it shows. I realize a lot of his hesitance in getting involved with Kristin has to do with Laurie and what she’s endured, young as she is, but along with his other fear, they just don’t work together that well to make it totally plausible. Another bright spot is Punkin’, Kristin’s Golden Retriever. And when Laurie and Punkin’ are in scenes together, happiness on a stick.
Though both Kristin and Gray are likable enough characters, they’re not sympathetic enough to really engage the reader for the long term. If Gray had been that tortured hero with some other darkness in his life, I think this book would have been so much better. As it stands, there’s too much too quick and not enough depth for the story to hold your attention as it should.
Postscript: I had no idea this was a reprint of a 1984 book. No wonder it didn't work for me. Shame on everyone involved who didn't get it on this book it was a reissue!
I absolutely love the way Christie Craig meshes humor with romantic suspense, along with all the denial and angst a man goes through when it’s beginniI absolutely love the way Christie Craig meshes humor with romantic suspense, along with all the denial and angst a man goes through when it’s beginning to dawn on him there’s a possibility he can be shackled by a woman. Of course, if he’ll listen to his heart instead of the panic that sets in, life wouldn’t get so complicated for a while. But then we wouldn’t have a fun and lovable story to read.
Austin and his partners are still moving forward to get their revenge on the man who put them in prison for murder, thus ending their law enforcement careers. They’re PIs now, which has worked out well for them, but getting Rafael DeLuna is their number one priority. When the opportunity comes up to get close to DeLuna’s half-sister, hoping to discover something new about the man, Austin jumps in with both feet. He moves next door to Leah Reece and begins a seduction that lures her into his web. Or so he thinks.
Having had enough of useless men in her life, from her father to her ex to her criminal half-brother, Leah is perfectly happy with her life as is – running her own veterinarian clinic, her younger brother to keep her on her toes, friends to socialize with, and her fur babies to keep her company. But when Rafael begins calling, Leah knows she has to keep to do something to keep safe everything she holds dear. Then the new guy next door seems to pop up where she least expects him, and after a while she’s glad he does. Austin makes her laugh and makes her feel like a woman with every look and touch.
I enjoyed the antics Austin goes through to keep his cover and investigate as much as possible without rousing Leah’s suspicions. His fear of cats is absolutely hilarious when he’s stuck in her apartment with four of her beloved kitties. I also like the fact we don’t have to wait forever before these two to hit the sheets, because they definitely have chemistry and I wanted to see it from every angle. The relationship between the three partners is typically male, but with Christie Craig’s sense of humor it’s pushed to the next level. Leah’s protectiveness comes out in full force when it seems Rafael is out to recruit their younger brother. She’s not about to let that happen.
There’s also a side romance with Leah’s friend and assistant at the clinic, Sara, and Roberto, the man Austin and his partners have hired to get close to Rafael to help take the jerk down. Their story is just as poignant and intense as Austin’s and Leah’s, and it never takes away from the main romance. I love it when I get a second romance in any book.
As usual, Ms. Craig pulls me in and keeps me reading, long after I should have put the book down for everyday life. I can never wait to see what she’s going to come up with next, though. I’m always surprised at the goings-on throughout her books and very happy to have spent time with her characters.
I doubt there’s a superlative, adjective, or any string of words that haven’t been used to describe Nora Roberts’ books over her very long career. ThoI doubt there’s a superlative, adjective, or any string of words that haven’t been used to describe Nora Roberts’ books over her very long career. Though I’ve been reading her work for quite a while now, there was a few years I didn’t, only because I discovered other authors I wanted to try. But when I had the opportunity to review The Next Always, the first book in her Inn Boonsboro trilogy, in 2011, I realized what I’d been missing for so darned long and I haven’t looked back, reading every release since that time. Doesn’t matter what she writes – romantic suspense to paranormal – Nora Roberts is one of the very few of the best in romance, as her latest book, The Collector, shows us once again.
First and foremost for me, it’s the characters in Ms. Roberts’ books that keep me reading until all hours. Of course, her level of writing makes that possible, as does the storylines she still has running around in her imagination after so many years. I remember her characters even years later, whereas a lot of other authors’ characters I can’t remember two days after finishing a book. Lila and Ashton are one more couple to add to her arsenal of heroes and heroines who will come to mind when the title of the book is mentioned.
Lila is a free-spirited, unencumbered house-sitter. She’s made a nice life for herself, even taking care of folks’ homes out of the country. But at home in New York is her spot, and she’s currently helping out a repeat customer, and getting time in for one of her favorite past-times – scoping out folks in the high rises around her, making up stories for what she spies through those windows. One day everything goes horribly wrong as Lila watches scenes behind one of those windows – a woman being struck then pushed and ultimately flying out through breaking glass to land on the ground fourteen stories below.
Regretting not keeping in closer contact with his brother, Ashton Archer now grieves for the loss of Oliver while vowing to find out what happened to him and his girlfriend before they both died. Discovering Lila is the only witness, he asks for her assistance to prove the opposite of what the police think went wrong. Ash knows his brother was self-centered and found trouble at every turn, which Ash always had to take care of, but Oliver was still good at heart and was loved by his entire family. Once he convinces Lila to agree with his doubts and to help him investigate, the need to paint his vision of her begins to crowd in, along with the same need to have her in his bed.
I love these two characters. They speak plain, they listen, the work together like they’ve known each other for years, and their lives explode in more than ways than one. While fishing for clues, following those few they find, they’re stalked by a killer who enjoys their job just for the sheer delight of it. Discovering Oliver’s last act was to up the ante with the wrong person over a very old and valuable Russian artifact leads them to far-flung places to fit the puzzle together, looking over their shoulder less the farther away from danger they seem to be. Which is a mistake. But wit and guts get them through and ever closer to the answers they seek.
Between the growing love, the persistent evil, the fun banter and lively rapport, and the ever-increasing suspense, Ash and Lila, along with their best friends, Luke and Julie – who have a romantic reunion of their own – this is vintage Nora Roberts keeping you turning the pages, not wanting to miss a thing, and happy you’ve made new friends as they survive a nightmare the average person can never imagine. It’s amazing that Ms. Roberts still, after all these years, gets better and better with each book, but she does. And as a reader, I’m so very glad she does.
These books coming from Tule Publishing Group are why I read romance. To me, they’re updated versions of those books I read back in the ’70s and ’80sThese books coming from Tule Publishing Group are why I read romance. To me, they’re updated versions of those books I read back in the ’70s and ’80s – an escape from everyday life into a world where love is the bottom line and you can forget everything for a few hours. These modernized stories have sassy heroines and sexy heroes who have a good time and stick together, just waiting for love to zero in on their hearts.
Ella Grace has been raised by her father, so she’s into every imaginable part of their ranching industry. She knows it inside and out, happily does the work needed to make it run smoothly – all to her father’s chagrin now that Ella is of marriageable age and picky as can be. She resists his attempts at matchmaking, insisting she’ll only marry for lust, lightning bolts, and love while making sure no one wants her just for her money. Her friends drag her into town to the local bar where the new bartender has sent female hearts hither and yon a-thumpin’. And Ella can see why, but she’s a bit distracted when she learns her father has taken their last discussion a bit too far and placed an ad in the paper for a lapdog of a husband for her. Fighting fire with fire, Ella posts her own ad right there in the bar for a lover’s lover. Guess who’s the first to apply for the position?
Running from family in Australia, Cameron Sawyer never lights in one place for long. His current bartending gig is only a few weeks and then he’ll move on to someplace new. But suddenly there’s a fly in his nomadic ointment. Just bantering with Ella Grace about her lustful plight has his juices flowing something fierce. They begin to spend time together, and what fun they have. Especially with plain-spoken Ella, who tries to keep her bossiness and rambling to a minimum, but she’s a breath of fresh air for both Sawyer and the reader. She says what she means and she means what she says. Sawyer eats her up.
But the issue between them is his family and his hesitance in telling her about them and the danger she could be in. He has so many chances to blurt out the truth, but he holds back – until the time is right, sort of. To his amazement, Ella doesn’t bat an eye but she does work up a good sweat telling Sawyer what she thinks about it all and insists she can take care of herself. In the meantime, they enjoy each other immensely, despite Ella’s father’s doubts. That’s what I love most about these two. They look whoever in the eye and say it up straight, never backing down. Even when they’re alone, the rapport runs off the page, whether they’re in bed together or working on the ranch or having dinner.
This is my first book by Kelly Hunter, and I’d love to read more, especially if it’s part of any of the Montana series from Tule. They’ve hit a perfect combination and are doing something right. I can’t wait for more.
If you’ve not read HelenKay Dimon yet, you really need to. Whether the book you pick up is a Harlequin Intrigue, a self-published story, or any of herIf you’ve not read HelenKay Dimon yet, you really need to. Whether the book you pick up is a Harlequin Intrigue, a self-published story, or any of her Berkley releases, you’re in for one heck of a great time. She’s become a favorite of mine over the last year or so, and I know every book will keep me glued to the pages as I become involved with her charming characters as they make their way through a life that is fun-filled, full of heartache, love and romance, thus giving me a few hours of escape just when I need it most.
The way this book begins is absolutely terrific. Becca is back at Jarrett’s house, needing his protection to stay alive. She left his home eight months before after she’d spent time in his life and in his bed, then betrayed him, turning him in to her superiors after discovering the drugs they were looking for. But now most of her team is dead and the attack on her so far has been unsuccessful. The only place she’ll be safe is with Jarrett. Or at least she hopes so. The man could decide in the blink of an eye to do away with her too, but she has to try garnering his help to find out what the hell is going on.
A man who uses information in every aspect in life to get what he wants, Jarrett now very rarely leaves his home, conducting all business there after his ordeal in the wake of Becca’s betrayal. So when she intentionally shows up on his doorstep again, he’s out for his pound of flesh – or rather her flesh. In every way he can have it. It took unique and quick maneuvering by his best friend and attorney to get Jarrett out of the fix Becca left him in, but he’s free and left with enough information to keep him that way for the time being. At least until he can figure out the game Becca is playing now.
It doesn’t take long for the reader to see these two still have feelings for one another, though it takes them both a bit longer to acknowledge it. But it’s one molten-hot time until that happens. Jarrett and Becca sizzle and burn with every look and every touch, let alone when they make love. Slowly over the course of the story, both sides of the story come together to give the reader exactly what happened and who manipulated whom and how. Very nicely done, and I love the way Jarrett gives it to the politicians and the CIA, FBI and any other acronym that he can.
The secondary characters are all wonderfully written as well, even the agent from hell who won’t leave Jarrett alone. I really enjoyed the relationship between Elijah, a teammate of Becca’s, and Wade, who is Jarrett’s right-hand man. Most male/male storylines don’t work for me, but once and again, depending on the author, I find one that does work, and in this case it works in spades. There’s emotion aplenty to be had between these two men just as it is between Jarrett and Becca, and that makes all the difference in the world for me. I’m hoping there’s more books in the series, especially when it comes to Jarrett’s best friend and Wade’s sister, but there’s no information to that effect on the author’s web site.
Intensity is the only word to describe nearly every aspect of this book. It will keep you turning the pages well past the time you should have put it down, like 2:00 a.m. or when you’re already late for work. Just as Becca is at Jarrett’s mercy early in the story, you’re at Ms. Dimon’s mercy until the very last word is read. And I guarantee you’ll love every minute of it.
When Cassie’s secret is revealed at the most inopportune time, her world crashes and burns one more time. Will is caught off guard and reacts in a wayWhen Cassie’s secret is revealed at the most inopportune time, her world crashes and burns one more time. Will is caught off guard and reacts in a way you’d expect when hit with such information. Determined to not let their breakup affect their business partnership, Cassie throws herself into managing their new restaurant, which has become the newest hit in the city. Slowly she reacquaints herself with the gentleman she left behind when it looked as though her life was finally headed in the right direction before everything went to hell.
S.E.C.R.E.T.’s latest recruit is Solange, a local news anchor who is divorced, living for her son and her job. As with Dauphine’s story, I’m happy to say the fantasies are still new and imaginative, and Solange welcomes the reawakening she experiences with each one. What I haven’t told you so far is that the women receive a charm to attach to a bracelet they receive from the S.E.C.R.E.T. committee when they agree to become part of the association. There are ten charms in all for the ten steps necessary to achieve the desired goal. They take pride in gaining each charm, especially when they realize what the fantasies do for them, as well as take pride in wearing their bracelets as they fill it with the charms. A very nice touch to remind them of their time with S.E.C.R.E.T.
As for Cassie and Will, yes, the man finally comes to his senses, realizes what he’s so effortlessly thrown away. I really like his resolution to end the distance between him and Cassie, showing her how wrong he was in the best way possible. My only nitpick is I feel this is left a bit too late. We don’t get much of Will and Cassie together throughout the story arc, so I would have liked them together a bit more before the end. But we have come to know them quite well through the pages of each book, so that’s only a small nitpick.
We get to know a number of the women of S.E.C.R.E.T, and my favorite is Matilda, the woman in charge. She’s upfront, knows herself and what she wants though she has restraint when it comes to those wants, and she’s a shrewd businesswoman. Cool under pressure when things go wrong and a friend you’d want at your back throughout life. I also like that in this book, Ms. Adeline trips up a fantasy, making it quite realistic when the characters have to improvise. Though even if that hadn’t happened, S.E.C.R.E.T. does their homework and prep work to make sure all fantasies go off without a hitch.
Just when Cassie and Will think they have the rest of their lives, they’re hit with news that will keep them apart. Broken hearted, Cassie decides toJust when Cassie and Will think they have the rest of their lives, they’re hit with news that will keep them apart. Broken hearted, Cassie decides to work with S.E.C.R.E.T. while sticking with her waitressing job, even though she’ll see Will on a regular basis. Recruiting women to experience their ultimate fantasies will be Cassie’s responsibility, and her first choice is Dauphine.
Though the betrayal she suffered is years behind her, Dauphine still lives with the after effects. It’s her vintage clothing boutique that keeps her sane, while it also keeps her in the past, dressing in those vintage clothes she sells and hoards for some day. Trusting no one, her days have become repetitive and boring, so when Cassie issues an amazing invitation, Dauphine talks herself into the fantasy of a lifetime.
This is where I thought the arc of the story could become redundant, but Ms. Adeline has a very fertile imagination and Dauphine never lacks for some awesome fantasies of her own. The underlying theme of helping these ladies become the confident and powerful women they’re meant to be is still front and center. Fantasy by fantasy Dauphine, just as Cassie did, is slowly awakened out of her stagnant life, along with her sexuality, to experience her deepest desires. Not one of Dauphine’s fantasies even comes to close to what Cassie’s were, each one unique unto itself.
In the meantime, Cassie tries to get on with her life, settling into a relationship with a man she clicked with from one of her fantasies. But because her heart still belongs to Will, it’s difficult for Cassie to become committed in any way other than just sex. Then life once again throws them a huge wallop and Cassie has another decision to make, one of which is finally not all that difficult. Being with Will is her ultimate fantasy, and now that they’re together life couldn’t be better. They’re able to enjoy one another for only a short time, however, when everything blows up once more.
Cassie is divorced, working as a waitress in New Orleans all these years since her marriage ended. Bottom line – she’s in a rut in every aspect of herCassie is divorced, working as a waitress in New Orleans all these years since her marriage ended. Bottom line – she’s in a rut in every aspect of her life. She watches two of her regulars as they meet each week at their same table, lost in each other, making Cassie wish she had a little something of what they seem to have. Then one day when she finds a lost diary, her life changes from dull and boring to unbelievable and incredible.
The invitation she receives from S.E.C.R.E.T. just can’t be real. Can it? Figuring she’s got nothing to lose in checking it out, Cassie is drawn into a world where her every sexual fantasy is now being played out with strangers who pop into her life just when she needs a boost. Never having thought she could at first flirt and then actually take on the persona necessary to be part of her own fantasies, Cassie begins to flourish with confidence, trust, and sex appeal. Now she wishes she’d hooked up with her friend and boss, Will, when he asked. He’s now involved with someone, so Cassie decides to stay with S.E.C.R.E.T to help other women in need just as she once was.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fantasies Ms. Adeline has come up with for Cassie. The fact that there’s a different man for the fantasies, each recruited by S.E.C.R.E.T, makes it more interesting, seeing how the men use their training in reality. It’s sexy and sensual as well as enlightening and freeing. You can see Cassie blossom to become the woman who’s been trapped inside for so long. Then just when you think things are going to work out for Cassie – boom! A huge twist knocks her for a loop and the aftermath picks up in the next book.