Like many fans of the "Maiden Lane" series, I've been curious about a story for Lady Phoebe Batten, a young woman who's been progressively losing herLike many fans of the "Maiden Lane" series, I've been curious about a story for Lady Phoebe Batten, a young woman who's been progressively losing her sight over the course of the previous books in the series, and one for Captain James Trevillion, who started out as sort of the Sheriff of Nottingham to the previous heroes and then became an ally. Their pairing is a fairly obvious choice for romance -- vulnerable heroine with protective hero. (Who also has his own vulnerability, because of a leg injury.)
In some ways this was better than I expected. In my memory, Phoebe was a fairly meek, dependent person. But perhaps getting older, or losing more of her vision, or being stuck with a full-time bodyguard, or a combination of the three, have made her start to rebel against her sheltered life:
"I know [my brother] cares for me. I know he worries for me. But in doing so, he's constrained me utterly. Even before this attack Maximus wouldn't let me go to parties or fairs or anywhere he deemed dangerous. I'm afraid after this that he'll pack me in cotton wool and set me at the back of the cupboard for safekeeping. I... I just don't know if I can live like this."
Later she tells her brother, "I deserve to run and trip and fall without having my every move plotted and planned... and tied down so that I never, ever risk living."
Unfortunately, Phoebe still comes across as helpless for much of the book. Perhaps this is realistic: she hasn't been allowed to learn any tools for taking care of herself. But she wanted more for herself and I'd have liked to see her really get it. ...more
3 stars because it has some good points (I liked the honesty of the heroine's pov) but when the hero is nasty all through the book, and the heroine do3 stars because it has some good points (I liked the honesty of the heroine's pov) but when the hero is nasty all through the book, and the heroine does the "tender finger" thing to silence the apology I've been waiting for for the whole damn book, I kind of want to bite it off. ...more
Short, hot contemporary read, bad dates, no-strings fling with a friend... to be honest, this had "not r(reviewed from an e-arc provided by NetGalley)
Short, hot contemporary read, bad dates, no-strings fling with a friend... to be honest, this had "not really my thing" written all over it. But I thought this author might make it work for me, and I was right.
It's not that the story doesn't fulfill what it promises in the blurb, but it doesn't feel the need to do it stereotypically. Milla, a travel blogger and youtube personality currently stationed in England, has a refreshing attitude towards her bad dates -- she cuts her losses and moves on. They might be funny, but they don't make her ridiculous.
And being with Milla is a genuine risk for Charlie: he's been badly burned by a (literal) East End Boy and West End girl marriage, and by social media. His trust in her as a friend and lover, nonetheless, is adorable. Of course there's a conflict, but part of what I most liked about this story is that the characters change, but not through any kind of coercion. It's always their decision.
If you like blokes with beards, this is the book for you. Many of the sexiest moments in the book involves Milla's fascination with Charlie's beard:
"The sharp edge of his scruff scratched deliciously at her lips as she brushed them back and forth across his mouth, tempting him to open them."
"His beard, she discovered, had reached the soft, curling stage. She stroked it with her palms as his mouth coaxed hers open, savoring the sensation of smooth, hot tongue contrasted with the denser, soft hair around his lips."
And then there's a shaving scene...
Charlie's art is also used for sexy metaphor. He "had learned patience handling sand heated until it became liquid, pliable. He'd learned how to seduce a woman by working with heat." But it's not just that, but an integral part of his personality. His commitment to his art, and what it says about him, gives substance to the story.
My only complaint is that the short format leads to a few initial short-cuts of telling rather than showing. I pretty much forgot about that as I read on. This isn't a heartbreaker like Breath on Embers, but confirms my opinion that Calhoun is one of the authors who really makes short form romance worth reading....more
I'm really happy to have found a new HP author that works for me. This takes a classic, intense plot and adds some original aspects that keep it freshI'm really happy to have found a new HP author that works for me. This takes a classic, intense plot and adds some original aspects that keep it fresh and interesting. And everything does not turn out to have been a huge misunderstanding; the drama was valid. Looking forward to the next in the series....more