First of all, if you are on the fence about whether or not to read this book because it is giving you that "chick-lit" vibe, you can climb down now si...moreFirst of all, if you are on the fence about whether or not to read this book because it is giving you that "chick-lit" vibe, you can climb down now sista and start reading ...this one is all about the romance.
My One and Only is Harper Evan's story, a 33-year-old divorce (and divorced) lawyer living year-round on Martha's Vineyard with her Toto-lookalike dog. She is attractive, successful...but OMG what a force to be reckoned with!. She is cynical, she is sarcastic and she has extreme OCD issues. Having as much to do with her personality as with her profession, she "gives advice" (think "forcing it down one's throat") to family, friends, strangers...wherever she (and only she) thinks it is needed.
Early on, Harper is telling Dennis, her hunky fireman BF of 2 years, that it's time to get married...reading him a list of changes he needs to make before they do the deed, and then whips out the engagement ring she bought for herself! I don't like doormat heroines, but would I enjoy an opposite to the extreme? Fortunately, we learn early on why Harper is so controlling, why she refuses to leave anything to fate, and why she is in the business of breaking up marriages, although to Harper's credit her clients come to her when their marriages are already in trouble, and she simply counsels them with her motto "accept in your heart what your head already knows". (Having been through a divorce, I might have spared myself the unnecessary grief and wasted time spent trying to make the marriage work if someone would have counseled me with that advice.)
Under Harper's many layers of self-imposed protective armor, we find there is a frightened and vulnerable girl beneath who has had her heart broken twice...by the two people she loved the most. Nick Lowery, Harper's ex-husband and the love of her life, is one of those two people. Now Harper is on her way to Montana to serve as maid-of-honor for her sister, Willa, who is marrying Chris Lowery, Nick's brother. Harper and Nick haven't seen each other for 12 years...
This is the first book I've read by Kristan Higgins and I was totally blown away by how talented she is. I admire authors in general simply because they have the ability to come up with an idea that they can stretch over several hundred pages. Then there is that select group of authors who are, to me, what movie stars are to my mother. I want to see them in person...be the first in line to buy their latest books...talk about them, talk with them...be eternally infatuated with each and every one of them because they provide my entertainment, and, therefore, are responsible for a big chunk of my happiness. In short, they are my auto-buys. With one book, Ms. Higgins is in. She is a fantastic storyteller and funnier than hell...which, IMO, is no small feat. I make an effort to avoid authors that try to be funny because it rarely works for me in a romance novel. But KH has that great talent of being subtly funny - kind of in the dry humor family - and I was LOL throughout the entire book! Not a big deal, you say? A common mechanism used by writers? Then let me rephrase that: KH (love the initials) has the unique ability to make you laugh out loud on one page and have you sobbing miserably on the next. No kidding! It happens so many times you are emotionally spent (but in a good way) by the end of the book.
My One and Only is also a great character study. Whether it be the wise-cracking priest, Father Bruce, Harper's Tammy Faye Baker-like stepmother BeverLee, or Nick's half-brother Jason (I wannabe Tom) Cruise, everyone who has a speaking part in this book is a lifelike, 3-dimensional character. Assessing these people through Harper's eyes is a delight, and for the first time I truly enjoyed a book written in first person. Harper is the "smart-ass extraordinaire" and so downright candid that it is a little shocking at first but wicked cool once you get used to it. In fact, I think I was suffering from a little 'heroine worship' there for awhile as she acted out in situations the majority of us would never have the nerve to attempt.
At that moment, Jodi Pickering, Dennis' high school girlfriend and a waitress here, shoved the prow of her bosom in Den's jaw. "Are you all set here, Denny?" she asked, ignoring me and giving my soon-to-be fiance a docile, cowlike gaze. "Hey, Jodi. What's up?" Dennis said, grinning past her 36-Ds to her face. "How's the little guy?" "Oh, he's great, Denny. It was so nice that you stopped by the game the other night. He just loves you! And you know, without a father in the picture, I think T.J. really needs ---" "Okay, we get it, Jodi-with-an-i," I said, smiling pleasantly up at her. "You have an adorable son and are still quite available. Dennis, however, is with me. If you would just take your boobs out of my boyfriend's face, I would deeply appreciate it."
Even Harper's dog, Coco, a tiny Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix, had a personality (albeit that of a drama queen).
Though I'd checked on Coco numerous times throughout the day and Dennis had taken her on a few walks, she was in full Chihuahua orphan mode, huge eyes, still body, not raising her head from her tragic little paws, looking at me as if I'd just locked her in Michael Vick's basement...
I realize I'm putting emphasis on the book's humor but overall the storyline is very serious and quite heart-wrenching. This is Harper and Nick's very precious but very sad love story...two people who had found that true, once-in-a-lifetime love together but were unable to hold on. Their siblings' wedding will bring them back together for the first time in 12 years. Will they at least be able to get the closure they both need so desperately?
My throat tightened, and the nearness of him, the only man who ever made me feel cherished...it just sucker-punched my heart. "Sleep tight," I whispered. "You, too." God, I'd missed him. Nick was quiet, his skin as warm as I was cold. We lay like that for a long time, not talking, not moving. The wind blew, Coco adjusted herself and gave a little doggy snore. Nick's breathing was slow and even, and this...the two of us lying together, was as comforting and wonderful as anything I'd ever felt. And horrible, because it brought such a pain to my heart. We'd had something special and rare, Nick and I. There had been more to our marriage than loneliness and tunnel vision and wretched communication skills. There'd been times like this, lying in the dark...together. When I was sure he was asleep, I touched his hand. Just a little, just a little brush of my fingertips against the back of his lovely, wonderful hand. "You asked why I couldn't forgive you," Nick said, very quietly, and I jumped a little. "It was because you were the love of my life, Harper. And you didn't want to be. That's hard to let go."
*sigh* Such a good book. many, many stars ********(less)
"I loved What Might Have Been. It's sweet, it's hot, it's emotionally poignant and satisfying...and did I mention hot? Kira Sinclair hit this one out...more "I loved What Might Have Been. It's sweet, it's hot, it's emotionally poignant and satisfying...and did I mention hot? Kira Sinclair hit this one out of the ballpark." - New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard
Ahh...this is HB at its best. I loved everything about this book...from the hot couple on the cover (who depicted the H/h perfectly) right through to an epilogue that is the perfect ending to an amazing love story.
Luke Collier has returned home to Collier Orchards for his grandfather's funeral. When he left 8 years ago for the bright lights of the big city, he was eager to get away from the orchard and the stifling setting of the small town he had grown up in...so eager that he dumped his girlfriend of 4 years, half-heartedly promised his grandparents he would write, and bid his twin brother Logan a fond adieu as well...effectively walking away from everything he loved without so much as a backward glance. Now he was back, and that stifling feeling immediately took hold of him again. He couldn't wait to sell the orchard and move Gran to a home in Atlanta close to his condo!
But then he saw Ainsley...and he was flooded with memories of their past. He had fallen in love with her the very moment he had first laid eyes on her in the orchard...her beauty illuminated by the moonlight. But that had been many years ago when she was just a teenager. She certainly wasn't a teenager any longer. She was a grown woman and even more beautiful than he had imagined..and he had imagined it more times than he cared to admit during those years he had been away. None of the women he had dated could hold a candle to Ainsley...not just in beauty but in strength of character...heart and soul. And - OMG the sex! It had been like nothing he had ever experienced again. More than amazing! But then the familiar, gut-wrenching feeling took hold of him and Luke berated himself for his foolish thoughts. He made a firm promise to himself he wouldn't linger at the orchard a moment longer than was necessary. He wasn't up for the torture...
... Ainsley had married his brother.
If you enjoy the "second time around" theme, put this book at the top of your wish-list. If hot, sweaty, peach-juice-sticky sex is your thing, these two turn it into a delicious, erotic work of art. The sexual chemistry they share is palpable (caution: drooling inevitable) and the sex -wowowowow - raw, needy and totally uninhibited.
*dear God, send me a Luke Collier and I promise to eat brussel sprouts every day for the rest of my life*
There are several heart-wrenching, bittersweet moments so a box of Kleenex is strongly advised (although a sturdy sleeve should do in a pinch). Whatever. Just read this book. Please. I guarantee the few hours you spend absorbing these 200 pages will be time very well-spent!
It isn't often that I will read a book without knowing anything about it beforehand. But I noticed my old Ami (and GR) buddy, LuvGirl, had given it a...moreIt isn't often that I will read a book without knowing anything about it beforehand. But I noticed my old Ami (and GR) buddy, LuvGirl, had given it a 5-star rating; and, knowing how fiercely protective she is of her stars, curiosity got the better of me and I ordered it.
The first 20 pages or so and I was thinking 'nope..not my thing'. The heroine, Lucy Hart, is an uptight, moralistic, 29-year-old prude. Not once in her entire life has she even thought about stepping outside of the box, and was mortified by those that did. My gosh, what would people think? A spinster being my least favorite type of heroine and then discovering the period was turn-of-the-century (huh? like driving a Model-T and dancing the Charleston?), The Last Dance was about to hit the lonely trail to the land of the "dnf". But then something caught my eye...or someone, I should say...the fast-talking, heart-stopping, sex-on-a-stick, tall, dark and handsome ne'er-do-well hero who over-indulges in alcohol, fist fights and sex, Robert "Blackie" LaDuke. Ladies, we are back on track!
Lucy is embarking on her first trip ever. As postmistress of the little town where she has lived her whole life, Lucy has been corresponding for 3 years with a kindly, unassuming gentleman postmaster from another town. Both of them shy and reclusive by nature, Lucy & Theodore are throwing caution to the wind and make plans to meet and become acquainted over a two-week vacation in Atlantic City. They will meet Sunday night at 8:30pm in the lobby of the Atlantic Grand Hotel - Lucy will be holding a gardenia in her left hand and Theodore will be wearing a gardenia in his lapel. Foolproof! After being made to wait several minutes past the appointed meeting time, Lucy is quite miffed when she finally spots Theodore (or who she believes to be Theodore) by the tell-tale gardenia he is wearing.
Lucy waited on pins and needles for Theodore to make the first move. But nothing happened. He looked right through her. Lucy was left with no choice. She screwed up her courage, waved until she finally caught his eye and called out, "Here I am. Over here." She thrust the ivory gardenia up in the air for him to see. His midnight dark eyes lighted and he grinned appealingly, nodded and came directly to her. "We agreed to meet at 8:30 sharp," she said accusingly, her nerves taut, voice almost shrill. "You are late!" "Am I?" Continuing to smile easily, he gently took her elbow and ushered her across the crowded lobby to the beachside double doors. "Then please say you'll accept my most humble apologies, Miss...Miss..." "No, no. Not miss. Don't you remember? You're to call me Lucy." "All right, Lucy. And you can call me Blackie." "Blackie?" She stopped abruptly, frowned at him. "Why on earth would I want to call you Blackie?" He shrugged broad shoulders. "Most people do." "Well not I." Lucy stated as if it were out of the question. "I would never consider calling you Blackie." "Then call me anything but late for dinner," he teased, and brashly winked at her. Lucy was surprised and totally taken aback. She would never have suspected Theodore of being the kind of gentleman who winked at ladies. She made a face. "I shall call you Theodore, of course." "Of course." He nodded agreeably. He suggested a walk and guided her down the steep hotel steps. At the bottom step he stumbled lightly, fell against her. His face was an inch from Lucy's for a split second and it was then she smelled the tell-tale scent of liquor on his breath. She was shocked and horrified. "I knew it!" she said, pushing on his broad chest. "You have been imbibing in alcoholic beverages! Have you not?" He grinned. "I've been drinking whiskey if that's what you mean." "This is unforgivable," she said, bristling. "You have no idea how disappointed I am" "Don't blame you. Shame on me," he said. "I most certainly should have waited for you. Let's go have a drink together." "Have a...well, I never!" Her fair face flushed with color. "Then it's time you did."
And so began the story of the best "opposites attract" relationship ever. Although their worlds were so totally different, they fit together perfectly. They brought out only the best in each other, which is certainly not the norm for a hero & heroine. Lucy was the best surprise as she evolved from a lonely girl who had never done anything more than simply exist - others lived while she observed, as she put it - into a woman happily in love, who thrilled to every new experience Blackie introduced her to. She also became aware of her own sexuality, and when Blackie wouldn't make love to her because she was a "good girl" (nothing like the sleazy women he usually was with), Lucy didn't agree with his decision nor did she accept it...so she seduced him!
Nan Ryan did an excellent job of bringing 1899 Atlantic City alive. The sights, the sounds, the people...they were always there in colorful detail...moving in and around Blackie and Lucy as they fell in love. They seemed so real! The secondary characters - 3 senior citizens who lived at the hotel - seemed real as well. Each had a colorful story of their own and were a joy to visit. There is so much depth to this story as well as to every character in the book that when I finished reading it, I just sat there and cried for a good 5 minutes. That is NOT something I normally do. (Though I might have been pacificed somewhat with an epilogue.)
Although I'm out of the personal recommending business for now, in general I would recommend The Last Dance to someone who might want to try a romance set in a different period...someone who won't be adverse to shedding a few tears along the way...someone who, like me, loves an "aww... that is so sweet" HEA.
If you are a fan of contemporary romance stories with a pseudo-sports theme (the Chicago Stars series by SEP, the Chinooks series by Rachel Gibson) th...moreIf you are a fan of contemporary romance stories with a pseudo-sports theme (the Chicago Stars series by SEP, the Chinooks series by Rachel Gibson) then Line of Scrimmage by Marie Force is a must-read for you. Like the comparable stories, the hero is a professional sports icon who will have your heart from page one. But unlike those similar books where the hero and heroine meet and then face the trials and tribulations of a new union, the protagonists in LofS have been married 10 years and are just 10 days away from being divorced.
Ryan Sanderson, quarterback for the Denver Mavericks, has just led his team to their 3rd Super Bowl victory. However, Ryan's happiness in winning the championship is bittersweet because his career has cost him his marriage to Susannah, the love of his life. Knowing that his divorce will be final in 10 days, Ryan is panicked that he is about to lose the only woman he has ever loved. Desperate to convince her their marriage is worth fighting for, a battered and bruised Ryan shows up on Susannah's doorstep. Unfortunately, he has picked a most inconvenient time to make an appearance as a celebration is going on inside...Susannah's engagement party.
The story begins...
First of all, you will absolutely LOVE Ryan and mourn the fact that all men have not been created in his image (or any man, for that matter). He is tall, ruggedly handsome in that modern-day cowboy style, and has a killer body like an athlete of his caliber should. (Overall, think Tom Brady* and you'll get a good image). Ryan is a sweetheart with a heart of gold and at first you'll wonder what the hell was Susannah thinking to file for divorce from this model of perfection, and soon after become engaged to a nerdy Wall Street guy that wears bow ties. But as you get to know Susannah you come to understand why she felt she could no longer be married to the football star. She had once devoted her life to loving Ryan but it no longer was enough. She felt like nothing more than a fixture on a shelf - taken down and dusted off whenever an occasion called for a wife. She was second to his career, his endorsements and to his public. Susannah knew that Ryan loved her and she would always love him, but the intimacy they had shared in the early years of their marriage was now nothing more than a fond memory. The love that had once been the wall that sheltered them from the rest of the world was buried beneath the avalanche of activity that monopolized a superstar's life. Then the rumor started to circulate that there was another woman...and Susannah had had enough. Ryan moved across town and Henry, Susannah's high school sweetheart, swooped in to pick up where they had left off ...before Ryan had ventured in and stolen Susannah's heart.
Ryan intends to keep that heart! He is going to convince her - or die trying - that they are meant to be together. Hating to hurt Henry but needing the closure with Ryan, Susannah agrees to spend the last 10 days of their marriage together. What follows is the sweetest story of two people rediscovering an incredible love they had almost let slip away. Like Gibson and Phillips, Marie Force presents a hero and heroine that are genuinely likable characters who, early on, become lodged in your heart. Ryan and Susie (as he calls her) both have engaging qualities yet very individual personalities, and they play off each other perfectly. The "fleshing out" of their characters is done primarily through dialog so you, the reader, can live their story instead of merely reading about it.
He turned in his seat so he could see her. "It's going to be crazy for a day or two, but I want you to remember it's not the most important thing I'm dealing with right now." Squeezing her hand, he added, "Patching things up with you is my top priority, and the only reason I'm letting this other stuff in is because my contract is set to expire right around the same time our marriage ticket comes due." "Ironic coincidence." "Yep. Ironic is the word. In five days, I'm either going to have everything or nothing." She glanced at him. "No pressure though, right?" His dimples were on full display when his face twisted into a lazy grin. "None at all." Sweeping his thumb over the palm of her hand, he asked, "How's my mug looking?" He stuck out his jaw in a dramatic pose. She rolled her eyes."Much better." "So I'm not going to look hideous in all the pictures that'll be plastered on the front pages of every newspaper in the country?" She snorted with laughter. "There's that legendary Sanderson ego on full display." "What ego? It's an honest question." He flipped down the visor and opened the mirror to study his reflection. "Looking good, my man." "Puleeze. Listen to yourself. 'Looking good, my man'." "I love giving you the opportunity to burst my bubble," he said with a chuckle. "You do it often enough." "I need to keep you sharp." "Keeping you humble was my greatest challenge as your wife." "IS your greatest challenge." "Was." "Is." "Was." "Is." "Shut up." "Shut me up." "I'm driving." "So?" He slid his hand up her thigh. When he reached his destination, she inhaled sharply and grabbed his hand. Not to be deterred, he kissed her neck, whispering in her ear. "Is." "Shut up." He laughed and sat back in his seat but kept a firm hold on her hand.
They are so cute together!
The book does have several humorous scenes, but (in keeping with the aforementioned authors) the gist of the story isn't funny at all...it is real, it is touching and at times you'll want to sob right along with Ryan or Susie. Overall, however, it is a most heartwarming story that you will hold onto long after the last page is read. Definitely a keeper!
This is the 6th or 7th book I've read by Rachel Gibson and I'm wondering if I'll ever read one that I feel deserves less than 5 stars. Not that I'm co...moreThis is the 6th or 7th book I've read by Rachel Gibson and I'm wondering if I'll ever read one that I feel deserves less than 5 stars. Not that I'm complaining...not at all. It's just that each book I've read has been totally different from the others...each plot fresh, the characters unique (but always enjoyable) and the romantic aspect feels as if it was written specifically for that hero and heroine. That is pretty amazing for an author to achieve among her stand-alone books, but to pull it off in a 6-book series really showcases this author's writing talent. I can't think of a friend at Goodreads who wouldn't enjoy the Chinooks series...even if you don't give a fig about sports. Yes, the Seattle Chinooks is a fictional hockey team but, no, the stories do not dwell on the game. In fact, the team is nothing more than a well to draw characters from. And what a cast of characters! Each player is hot looking, hard-bodied and lovable as all hell. The million-dollar fantasy man that is as down-to-earth and normal as the guy next door...needing to love and be loved by one special person just like anyone else. Okay, so maybe we don't run into this type of guy everyday, but you just never know. It happened to Katie Hamilton. This is her story of how she found her Chinook, Rob Sutter, in the small town of Gospel, barely a dot on Idaho's map...
**spoiler alert** "Guilty(!) until proven innocent"
Viscount Lucien Bryland is getting married to Lady Clara Harkhams. The news isn't earth-shattering...more**spoiler alert** "Guilty(!) until proven innocent"
Viscount Lucien Bryland is getting married to Lady Clara Harkhams. The news isn't earth-shattering as everyone knows the two have been betrothed since birth. What they don't know, however, is that Lucien has been in love with Clara for as long as he can remember. He promised her his heart when they were teenagers, but when he returns from abroad many years later, he finds her in the arms of another man. What an idiot Lucien thought himself to be! After the scandalous deaths of his parents by murder/suicide, Lucien managed to hang onto his sanity in the years that followed because he believed Clara loved him. Bloody hell! She was no better than his mother! The mousy little thing. A peahen! That's what she was! And so the nickname was attached to Lady Clara as a private joke between Lucien, his friends, his mistress...and a good portion of the ton.
The story begins...
I LOVED this book! I adored it...the hero, the heroine, the secondary characters, the plot, the premise...everything! Although I'm not a fan of plain-Jane heroines, I got over it after meeting Clara. Of course she has the cliched "inner beauty" qualities, but unlike other plain heroines, Clara has a sh**load of self-confidence. In fact, she has the art of flirting so finely tuned, every man who makes her acquaintance is mesmerized by her. Unfortunately, so is Lucien. He refuses to be cuckolded like his father, however, so he has a plan...
"In for a penny, in for a pound - 10 thousand to be exact"
Lucien wants Clara but he wants revenge as well. So he'll marry her, get her pregnant and within 6 months he'll have her stashed away at his country home. Life as he knows it...the clubs, the gaming hells and the mistress...will continue. His plan is demeaning to himself, degrading to Clara, and quite selfish (pays the ultimate homage to "having his cake and eating it too"). Nevertheless, Lucien thinks it is a brilliant idea...so much so that he wagers several thousand pounds on it's success.
And into the betting books it goes...
"The best-laid plans of men for their peahens often go awry"
As all good romance novels go, the hero, despite himself, falls deeply in love with the heroine...and she with him. Because of Clara, Lucien's frequent dark moods, fits of rage and jealousy, and mistrust of all things female eventually give way to love, happiness and contentment. But wait! We've still got 100 pages left!
"Hell hath no fury like a mistress scorned"
This is what puts Dark Wager on the keeper's shelf...
So many historical romances feature a hero who has a mistress, but after meeting the heroine he gives the mistress the boot. The ex-lover is then relegated to the background and she may or may not be heard from again as the story progresses. Whatever. It's never a big deal..not the heart-stopping, nail-biting scene that I yearn for but never get. Until this book...and Lady Pamela Halling.
For the most part, Lucien played the cookie-cutter hero here. He intended to get married and continue keeping his mistress of three years; however, once he started sleeping with Clara, he had no desire to continue his relationship with Pamela and told her so. Ah! But the stunningly beautiful queen of all bitches didn't want to give Lucien up. She was in love with him (whatevah!) and wanted to take their relationship to the next level. How could he possibly choose that skinny little peahen over her? Lucien warned Pamela to leave Clara and him alone...or else! Ha! Did he think that was going to stop her?
Out comes her big bag of tricks...
"The pen dipped in poison is mightier than the sword"
An accomplished artist, Pamela, under the guise Le Chat does caricature drawings that are published in an indie newspaper popular with the ton. Her drawings are well-defined and unmistakable as to intent...usually "ruining" the reputation of the unsuspecting person she has chosen to exploit. Hell-bent on destroying Lucien and Clara's marriage, the drawing she publishes for the ton and a special drawing she gives to Clara in private make for heart-wrenching scenes that you won't soon forget. I doubt there is another ex-mistress in Romancelandia more vicious than Pamela Halling.
"Nothing is certain but a HEA and sequel
Aside from being publicly humiliated, privately mortified, and having her self-confidence shot to hell, Clara seemed none the worse for wear in the end. Lucien groveled well, Clara forgave him for his wrongdoings and they lived happily ever after - or at least long enough to play secondary characters in the next book, Lady Wager.
I have never heard of Katharine Ashe and picked up this novel simply because it was endorsed by Lisa Kleypas as "a breathtaking romance". She wasn't e...moreI have never heard of Katharine Ashe and picked up this novel simply because it was endorsed by Lisa Kleypas as "a breathtaking romance". She wasn't exaggerating.
Taking place in Regency England, the book begins with the heroine, Valerie Monroe, returning to London after a 2-year stay with relatives in Boston. The ship she sails on is overtaken by pirates and the nasty, creepy leader gets his jollies by tying Valerie up in an intricate knot system and forcing a Jesuit priest to untie her. His reasons are two-fold: the priest will be unmanned by breaking his sacred vows and will also rid the girl of her virginity...a tedious task the pirate has no patience for. However, the priest stays in control and Valerie remains a virgin. Unhappy with the results, the pirate keeps the two sequestered together as the voyage continues...positive that the priest is like all other men and will not be able to resist the temptation of an extraordinarily beautiful woman. The pirate's scheme is thwarted; but what he doesn't realize is the spark that has ignited between his two captors...and how close they did come to closing the deal.
Fast forward 6 months to a country house party Valerie is attending with her brother and his wife. She is being courted by a handsome, titled suitor, but her heart is back on the ship with a man she knows is totally off-limits to her, but, nevertheless, the one she has fallen in love with. On day one of the house party, Valerie is introduced to the hostess' godson and is shocked as she comes face-to-face with the tall, elegantly dressed gentleman. Her priest!
The chemistry between Valerie and Viscount Steven Ashford is what fuels this story. Every time they secretly meet, the passion between the two is so hot and so overwhelming it had me breaking out in a sweat...or crossing my legs...or both!
There is suspense throughout the story and a house party is a favorite premise of mine, but everything else pales to the sparks that fly when Steven and Valerie come together. It might seem like a turn-off to know that the two don't actually complete the act until page 300, but take it from someone who likes sex on page 1, you are NOT left frustrated! Ms. Ashe seems to have a talent for building sexual tension to the point you are about to lose it if he doesn't get inside her soon!
There are a few weak areas in the story...the characters' backgrounds are underdeveloped and the suspenseful aspect has a few holes but overall I still thought the book rated 5 stars. Kudos to Katharine Ashe on a great debut novel...I'm looking forward to her next book coming out in 2011! (less)
I think if I could sum up this book with one word it would be...brilliant!...or beautiful!...or (absolutely freaking) amazing!
The road to happiness fo...moreI think if I could sum up this book with one word it would be...brilliant!...or beautiful!...or (absolutely freaking) amazing!
The road to happiness for Marc Hunter and Sophie Alton is probably the longest, most difficult and improbable road that a hero & heroine (truly deserving titles) have had to travel; but from the Prologue to the Epilogue, you will cheer this couple on for every hard-fought mile they gain.
I have only read a handful of novels termed "romantic suspense" but I have no doubt Unlawful Contact sets the bar for the genre. Five stars doesn't come close to doing this book justice, as Pamela Clare has truly outdone herself here.
So if you are looking for a brilliantly written, beautiful love story woven throughout 375 pages of amazing non-stop action (that will keep you up reading way past your bedtime), then Unlawful Contact is a must-read for you. (Oh...and be sure to have the trusty box of Kleenex on hand...no way, no how will you make it through dry-eyed.)
A sexy, light-erotica historical romance served up cougar style...right up KarenH's proverbial alley!
Lily Winthrop is a beautiful 38-year-old widow wh...moreA sexy, light-erotica historical romance served up cougar style...right up KarenH's proverbial alley!
Lily Winthrop is a beautiful 38-year-old widow who has spent the majority of her adult life married to a man whose sexual appetite was sated exclusively by very young men. Lily knows nothing of true passion and sexual pleasures until she catches the eye of Victor Rayborne at a country party she is attending as chaperone to her 2 nieces. Victor, Lord Graston, is the second of three brothers who, together, are being forced into finding wives in order to claim their inheritance. Handsome beyond belief with long black hair, piercing blue eyes, muscular bods and jumbo-sized whowhos, the "Rakehells from Rochester" have more than lived up to their nickname by cutting an impressive swath through the fairer sex of the ton. For Victor, however, life as a rake quickly becomes history never to be repeated when he meets Lily. He is captivated by the prim and proper widow, and is relentless in his pursuit to win her heart.
What can I say? Victor was not only heart-stopping sexy but was a refreshingly upbeat, fun-loving hero (no tortured souls here) as well. Lily was a mature, morally upright woman who, although sexually naive at first, was eager to trade innocence for experience in Victor's arms (and bed, and tub, and...) She also learned by Victor's lead that living for one's self brings far more happiness and contentment than adhering to a strict moral code dictated by general opinion.
Of course, a true rake's road to monogamous bliss & an HEA would be rife with female roadblocks. Fortunately, Julia Templeton is well aware of this and the story is spiced up nicely by former lovers as well as future hopefuls. Being human, Victor does make a few mistakes but they are slight and Lily wisely reacts accordingly. There is a conniving ex-mistress that is ruthless in her pursuit of Victor; but, as in all good romances of this nature, she gets the permanent kick to the curb.
I'm giving this book 5**. Although it wasn't one of the best books I've ever read, it was exactly the type of book I was in the mood to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end!
*My only complaint is that I did not want to envision Victor looking like Nathan Kamp, but even that is a weak protest... Nathan looks damn fine in that cover shot. (less)
We all read book after book after book. Some make us laugh out loud, others have us shedding more than our fair share of tears while still others have...moreWe all read book after book after book. Some make us laugh out loud, others have us shedding more than our fair share of tears while still others have us gripping the book with white-knuckled intensity as the suspense builds page by page. But how often do you come across a book that engages all of these emotions and manages to seize your heart as well? Such was the case for me with Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley.
On the night of her coming-out ball, Isabella met and fell in love with Mac Mackenzie, a peer with few morals and no social acceptance. On a dare from his fellow debauched buddies, Mac crashed the ball and whirled Isabella onto the dance floor. But as fate would have it, it was Mac who was swept off his feet...he and Isabella were married by morning. Despite being disowned by her family, Isabella never regretted her hasty decision because her feelings of love for her husband only strengthened with time. Surprisingly (for a romance novel), Mac's feelings were mutual. But Mac was an established artist; and, in the generalization of the term, was a free spirit who would drop out of sight for weeks at a time to assuage his need to "create". Isabella understood and accepted Mac's "flights of fancy" until his drinking and debauchery spun terribly out of control. After 3 years of marriage, Isabella filed for a legal separation; and, for the next 3 years, the two maintained separate houses and lives.
One day, Isabella discovers that someone is forging Mac's paintings and she sets off for his house to warn him of the impostor. This is where the story begins...
Our first encounter with Mac finds him in his studio, shirtless - wearing only a kilt, boots and bandana around his head - and totally engrossed in the act of painting a nude model. If you haven't read the first book in this series, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, then you would probably be like me and have absolutely no idea what this guy is all about. Not exactly standard fare for a historical romance hero. But the story unfolds rather quickly - the past interwoven with the present so you aren't subjected to long flashbacks - and is relayed primarily from Mac's POV, so you come to know him soon and love him completely.
Quite simply, Mac and Isabella's story could be summed up by the old adage "you can't live with him and you can't live without him." However, Mac was determined to prove to Isabella that she could live with him...thus providing the premise for this story. It was such an unusual story line that no doubt it will never be copied...a hero and heroine who are madly in love AND married from the beginning of the book to the end WITHOUT a single sexual dalliance committed outside of their marriage - even during the 3 years of estrangement! Who would think such a tedious plot could make for such an emotional, "tug at your heart-strings" story? Fortunately for us, Jennifer Ashley did...and she pulled it off masterfully!
If you are reading this review, then chances are good you enjoy reading romance novels and most likely are somewhat of a romantic at heart. With that said, you will be denying yourself the greatest of pleasures and missing out on a beautiful love story between two extraordinary characters if you choose to forgo reading Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage. If I could rate it 10 stars I would.(less)
I've read many books where the hero has cheated in the past and the story begins several years later (present day), but this is the first book where t...moreI've read many books where the hero has cheated in the past and the story begins several years later (present day), but this is the first book where the affair is "fresh" so to speak. Daniel & Rachel have been married for 7 years and have 3 small children. While Rachel is home totally content with her role as loving wife and mother, Daniel, a corporate whiz kid, is rapidly rising to the top of the food chain. However, buying and selling businesses is a nerve-wracking, cut-throat profession. So, when his business is on the brink of being destroyed by a fraudulent takeover, the twins have the measles, the baby is colicky and Rachel is too tired for him, Daniel strays.
Rachel's "best friend" informs her of Daniel's affair in the first 2 pages of the book. The affair has just ended at this point so the story is based on 1) Rachel's struggle to understand why, bringing forth feelings of inadequacy, naivety, mistrust, fear, loneliness, and most of all heartbreak, 2)Daniel's battle with extreme remorse, self-loathing and the fear of losing what he loves most in life, and 3) the most important question of whether the marriage will be able to withstand the devastation and endure or has been irrevocably destroyed.
With my heart aching from the very first page, I was totally prepared not to read much past the first chapter. I mean seriously, I read romance for enjoyment and relaxation, not to be on the verge of tears with my blood pressure up, nerves frayed and my heart wrung out. But just like a car accident you come upon, knowing you shouldn't look but you always do, I flew past the first chapter and didn't stop until the end. I became so invested in this couple. Was Rachel an idiot for not picking up on the signs? No, because she loved her husband immensely and trusted him completely. Afterwards, was her confusion with sex realistic? Totally. Normally uninhibited, Rachel could only have sex with Daniel if the lights were out and she closed her eyes. Even then, she couldn't climax because the faceless ghost of the "other woman" always came to mind. (That seemed so real to me). Did I hate Daniel? Surprisingly no, the pain he was in from hurting Rachel was palpable. Of course there is no excuse for what he did,however, I truly believe he suffered as much from remorse as Rachel did from heartache.
Only in an extreme case would I possibly consider adultery as justifiable and this isn't one of them. But the author does an excellent job of laying feelings bare...we do not have to question any motives and therefore can understand how both Daniel and Rachel react and progress.*** I'll give you a hint of a spoiler: the truth of what really happened runs along the same lines as what happened in The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred. So if you have read TSGT, let that be your small measure of comfort if you read The Ultimate Betrayal.
I gave this book 4.75*** because it was such a touching, emotional read for me and every once in a while I guess I need the jolt of awareness. If you're on the fence about this type of story, besides being a remarkably in-depth study of a relationship, I can also say there is a satisfying, believable HEA; however, if you hate the idea of having a lump in your throat for a few hours and you really don't think you can handle a "cheating hero" premise, then you should probably steer clear of this one.
I wanted to read this book for no reason other than because I liked the title. Me shallow? Yeah, so what's new. At least I scored big time finding thi...moreI wanted to read this book for no reason other than because I liked the title. Me shallow? Yeah, so what's new. At least I scored big time finding this gem!
Matt & Reilly have been the best of friends since childhood; and Jessie, ten years their junior is much like the kid sister neither one of them have. The story begins 20 years after Matt & Reilly have graduated from high school. Matt, a famous photographer, is coming home to heal from a bullet wound inflicted when he was caught in the crossfire of an outburst he was capturing on film in the Middle East. He immediately hooks up with Reilly who is now married and with Jessie who is no longer the scrawny kid sister but a beautiful 29-yr-old woman. As the story progresses, Matt begins to develop some serious feelings for Jessie; however he can see she is still "in love" with Reilly. That might be, but Jessie knows the situation is as hopeless as it was when she was 16. However, she is feeling like life is passing her by...she has never been interested enough in one guy to consider marriage but she is dying to be a mother. So...why not? She asks Matt to father her child.
At first, Matt is stunned, insulted and more than a little disgusted. But after thinking things over, he agrees to Jessie's idea on one condition - they do it right and get married.
What follows is a very realistic journey of two people who go from being friends to becoming lovers and ultimately falling in love. The characters are so fleshed-out that you feel as though you know them personally...you laugh with them, cry with them and feel the need to comfort them when they are hurting. You want to know how they are doing past the epilogue...and not just Matt & Jessie but Reilly and his wife Dana as well (whose secondary story is also very touching). Of course there are times when you want to bitch-slap Jessie, or turn her upside down and shake her until her brains fall back into place. Come to think of it, you might feel the urge to do the same to Dana. Her hubby slept with someone else but instead of dealing with it she just gets sloshed. If Reilly tried pleading his pathetic "it was just one time" excuse to me, I would punch his lights out and then get sloshed. But I digress... this is definitely a story you will remember long after finishing the book!
One last honorable mention ~ Matt Latimer has to be one of the sexiest heroes in a contemporary romance. Jack Sheridan who? There's just something about a shirtless guy, tanned and muscular, in faded levis "riding low" (as the author continuously reminds us) on his hips. (Knowing that he's a god in bed doesn't hurt the image either!)
I recommend Loving Jessie to all the good citizens of Romancelandia! 5*****(less)