Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed society’s rules, as befitting a lady of her station. But even when one possesses a sizeable dowry, plain looks and proper behavior don’t lead to marriage proposals. At twenty-eight years old, Callie is firmly on the shelf, relegated to Spinster Seating at balls while her younger sister takes the ton by storm and captures the heart of a handsome young duke. One day Callie decides she has had it with being a passive observer of life. She wants to live and to do so she makes up a list of nine things proper ladies are not supposed to do. The first item on her list, namely to experience a passionate kiss, can only be completed with participation of the man she’s been in love with for over a decade: Gabriel St. John, Marquess of Ralston and undeniable rake.
Gabriel is surprised when the very plain and proper Lady Calpurnia Hartwell shows up at his home in the middle of the night seeking a kiss. Her arrival is fortuitous, however. Gabriel has just learned he has a half-sister, Juliana, whose legitimacy is questionable at best and he needs someone with a sterling reputation to help launch Juliana into society. In exchange for the kiss, Callie will teach Juliana the ins and outs she needs to know to become a social success.
But Callie and Gabriel’s simple deal turns out to be not-so-simple after all. One kiss leads to each desiring more and when Gabriel learns of Callie’s list, he’s determined she won’t go haring off on her adventures alone. Will close quarters lead to love between a wicked rake and an oft-overlooked spinster?
There are few things more entertaining than watching a heroine who has always obeyed the rules take a chance and break some of them. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is a lively romance novel about a heroine who spends her life on the sidelines finally taking charge of her life, which leads to adventure and romance with a sinful marquess. Callie is a heroine many women can relate to. She’s intelligent and kind, but a bit overweight and not the glamorous beauty that would capture the interest of society. I loved watching Callie not only break the rules, but to see her truly come into herself as she does so. What’s more, I had to smile as Gabriel, devilishly handsome hero and notorious rake, tried to keep up with Callie on her escapades. What I liked so much about Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is Gabriel seeing and appreciating Callie for who she truly is; that alone could grab my heart.
Sarah MacLean is a fresh new voice in historical romance and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is sure to garner her many fans. I absolutely adored Callie and Gabriel’s story and I desperately hope Ms. MacLean writes books for the other two St. John siblings.(less)
When Angie McCaffrey’s boss goes missing, she’s concerned, naturally, but she’s also happy to take the lead on the advertising accounts she’s worked so hard on. Angie’s most unusual client is Macabre Factor, a business that carters to people living the “vampire lifestyle.” If the account wasn’t odd enough, her clients’ friend, Eric Taylor, would tip the scales. Eric is the stuff straight out of fantasies: handsome and alluring. He also happens to have some strangely sharp teeth…
Then Angie’s boss turns up dead and exsanguinated and Angie has to figure out if the man she’s swiftly falling for is as perfect as he seems or if he’s a murderer whose next victim may be Angie.
Clare Willis takes a bite out of vampire lore with Once Bitten. It’s a fast-paced, entertaining tale with a very likeable heroine. Angie is a well-developed character whose kindness and integrity make her easy to become attached to. While I enjoyed reading her story, I was sad to find the romance a bit lacking. Eric seemed like a fascinating hero, but Ms. Willis doesn’t give readers a chance to really know him. I saw no reason for he and Angie to fall in love with one another and their declarations of love seemed to come out of nowhere. Still, I found Ms. Willis’s writing style to be charming and her obvious affection for the city of San Francisco matches my own. Once Bitten is Ms. Willis’s debut book and I look forward to seeing what her imagination conjures up next.(less)
Over eighteen years ago, Helene Delornay and Philip Ross met on their way to new lives. When a carriage accident left them stranded at an inn, neither could resist the temptation the other presented. Long hours of passion connected Helene and Philip in ways they never expected. But Helene, who survived the worst horrors of the French Revolution only because she was traded to the guards at the Bastille, doesn’t believe herself a good enough match for the gentleman who so quickly captured her heart and thus she turns Philip’s marriage proposal down.
Now Helene is the owner of London’s most exclusive pleasure house and though her dreams of love died nearly two decades ago, Helene is proud of what she has accomplished. Madame Helene’s House of Pleasure offers its patrons every desire they could imagine; no limitations as long as their pleasures are between consenting adults. What Helene doesn’t expect is her greatest desire to walk through her establishment’s doors.
An unexpected turn of events has brought Philip Ross back into Helene’s life and into her business as well. The years have not quelled either’s passion for one another and soon the pair embarks on an erotic exploration of one another’s fantasies. But can Helene and Philip overcome past hurts and trust one another enough to take their second chance at love?
Brava, Kate Pearce! Simply Shameless is a book worthy of the proprietress of a pleasure house. Both the characters and the book itself are intelligent, open, understanding, and wonderfully seductive.
It’s impossible not to fall in love with Helene and Philip. Helene is a survivor through and through. She has been through some of the worst life has to offer and has come out the other side successful, strong, and deeply caring. From the very first book in the series I admired Helene, but after reading Simply Shameless my respect for her reached new heights. And nothing made me happier than discovering the hero Ms. Pearce created for such a fantastic heroine fit her to perfection. Upon first meeting Philip, it is clear he is a man full of joy and life and I was immediately charmed. It broke my heart to see that the intervening years of his separation from Helene sucked the happiness right out of him. I enjoyed watching him take control of his life and sexuality; it made his reunion with Helene all the sweeter (and spicier as well). It would be remiss of me to write about Simply Shameless without mentioning its blazingly sensual love scenes. Ms. Pearce has a knack for raising the heat of the room in the space of just a few sentences, nevermind an entire book.
Though the third book in Ms. Pearce’s exquisite House of Pleasure series, Simply Shameless can be read on its own. Readers who loved Simply Sexual and Simply Shameless will catch a brief glimpse or mention of the characters they adored from the previous House of Pleasure books. What’s more, Simply Shameless is sure to leave one aching for the next story, Simply Wicked; it sure did for me. All in all I must say that, as one of the finest works of a supremely talented writer, Simply Shameless is not to be missed!(less)
Valentin Sokorvsky is not your typical English lord. As a child he was captured and sold to a Turkish brothel where he was kept as a sex slave. To all outward acquaintances, the intervening years since his rescue have healed him, though he possesses a rather insatiable appetite for sex. When Valentin discovers that the man who rescued him is in need of financial help, he offers to solve John Harrison’s financial problems and marry one of his daughters. Though Charlotte, the youngest, would be the perfect, biddable wife, it’s Sara, the eldest, who Valentin can’t get off his mind.
Sara is beautiful, intelligent, and, to Valentin’s delight, incredibly passionate. Their marriage brings both to unexplored levels of passion, but Valentin soon discovers someone is out to destroy his newfound happiness. An unknown enemy is determined to ruin Valentin’s marriage, business, and social standing, while spreading rumors of what transpired during his enslavement. As Valentin works to uncover his foe’s identity, he must decide if he can trust Sara, trust his own feelings enough to reveal the secrets of his past, or if he should close the door on love and keep his marriage simply sexual.
Sensuality reaches exquisite new heights in this phenomenal story by Kate Pearce. Simply Sexual raises the bar for eroticism mixed with romance in the first book of the sure-to-be-fantastic House of Pleasure series.
Valentin is an intriguing hero. He’s stunningly gorgeous, seemingly carefree, and, though titled, is also successful businessman. His easy manner covers the scars of his past. Though Valentin can trick even himself into believing his time as a pleasure slave doesn’t have an impact on who he is now, it is clear he self-medicates with avoidance and sex. I loved watching Sara break through his barriers to prove to him that he can trust her and her love for him. As for Sara herself, she immediately won me over. She’s smart, giving, honest, and a perfect fit for her husband, both in bed and out. I enjoyed watching her find the freedom to be who she truly is over the course of the story. Both Sara and Valentin grow and change over the course of the story. I delighted in this aspect of the story every bit as much as I did their heated encounters, which are hot enough to make you sweat.
I cannot write about Simply Sexual without mentioning Peter Howard, Valentin’s best friend. Having been captured and kept as a sex slave alongside Valentin, the two have an unbreakable bond which manifests itself in a variety of ways and is key to the tale. Ms. Pearce continues to amaze me with her talent for creating fascinating, complex characters and situations. I finished Simply Sexual eager for a whole host of characters to get their own stories, and Peter definitely topped the list. Luckily for me, I was able to read his story, Simply Sinful, as soon as I finished Valentin and Sara’s romance.
Captivating, tender, and divinely sensual, Simply Sexual entertains from the very first page to the very last. Simply marvelous!(less)
Peter Howard has been feeling restless of late. A former sex slave with little knowledge of his life before his imprisonment in a Turkish brothel, Peter finds that, despite his business success and his sexual excesses, there is still something missing in his life. After discovering the pleasures to be had at Madame Helen’s House of Pleasure no longer appeal to him, Peter finds himself startled by a most indecent proposition.
Lord James Beecham was forced into marriage at a young age. Though his wife, Abigail, is his best friend, their sex life leaves something to be desired. While he loves Abby, James prefers men to women, sexually, and he knows Peter enjoys both sexes. James proposes that Peter become a sexual tutor to the Beechams, an offer Peter finds too tempting to resist when he meets Abby. As the threesome explores the delights sexual pleasure can offer, the hole inside Peter begins to fill. And the person filling the void is Abby. But is a future possible for an ex-slave turned businessman and an aristocrat’s wife?
I’ll be completely honest – when I sat down to write this review I had no idea how to talk about this book. Simply Sinful has to be one of the most complicated, intriguing love stories I’ve ever read. Kate Pearce does not shy away from the complexity of human emotions, and her skill at bringing said emotions to life is unsurpassed. Simply Sinful was such a rich, layered read that it has stayed with me long after I finished the book.
The moment I finished the first House of Pleasure book, Simply Sexual, I wanted to read Peter’s story. His imprisonment in the brothel has left him scarred in a way that time alone could never heal. If ever a hero needed to be loved, it would be Peter and I was so happy for him to find himself capable of loving and being loved. His heroine, Abby, is a treasure. She’s honest, intelligent, and refreshingly guileless; it’s easy to see while Peter falls for her.
Though the romance is primarily between Peter and Abby, it is by no means the whole of the love story. James is every bit as important to the tale as the other two. Part of what makes this story so different is that Peter and Abby both honestly love James, and he them. The passionate adventures the three of them embark on, whether in twos or threes, are too deliciously wicked not to be mentioned. Simply Sinful is and isn’t a threesome romance in a lot of ways, but to say what happens and how would be to spoil some of the fun of the book.
If I could ask for one thing, it would be for some more clarity as to the nature of Peter and his best friend Valentin’s (of Simply Sexual) relationship as of the end of the story. I finished the book with nagging questions in my mind that have yet to go away. Still, though perhaps I curse at the struggle it is to do Ms. Pearce’s work justice in discussing it, I greatly enjoyed Simply Sinful. It’s wonderfully different and uncompromising in its refusal to see the world in black and white. Shades of gray make Simply Sinful fascinating, captivating, and, yes, a simply sinful treat!(less)
After years of dealing with her controlling father, Lauren Redstone has reason to celebrate. Having sealed the deal on her first big break for her retro prop company, Lauren’s celebration in Las Vegas with a bit too much champagne sends her tumbling into the arms of one utterly delicious cowboy. For Lauren, a night of passion with a real cowboy has always been her most secret fantasy. But fate has more in store for the beautiful businesswoman than she planned on. An impulsive decision leads to a hasty marriage between the two lovers, and sends Lauren rabbitting the next morning.
Marriage may not have been in the plans for Grayson Turner, but for the gorgeous businessman-turned-rancher, it’s love at first sight. Now he just has to convince his commitment-shy wife to feel the same, and he’ll use every sensual weapon in his arsenal to do so. Will this sexy cowboy convince his wife to take a gamble on love?
If I had to pick only one word to describe Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? it would be “fresh.” Simply fresh. From the very beginning of the book, Kate Pearce took me on a fast-moving journey of two strangers, neither of whom had been looking for love, who are swept up in a whirlwind marriage. I found Ms. Pearce’s book to be both sexy and utterly charming. Lauren and Grayson are both endearing characters and I was highly entertained watching the two try and out-maneuver one another. I felt connected to them both, and understood where both sides were coming from as they tried to figure out if their marriage could last. Even as the hero and heroine steam up the page, I never lost sight of the growing emotional bond between the two. I found myself rapidly turning the page in the wee hours of the morning, desperate to see if Lauren and Grayson would be able to make their marriage last.
Like a cool breeze in the heat of summer, Ms. Pearce has a fresh voice and a knack for creating intriguing, likeable characters. Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? is guaranteed to quicken the pulse, charm the reader, and bring a smile to your face; it sure did for me.(less)
Jay Turner’s life was all about the rodeo, until one final accident permanently damages his knee and takes him out of professional competition. Six months later, the former cowboy has no job, no prospects, and no plans for his future. The last thing he wants to do is have another check up with his ice queen of a doctor. Dr. Helen Kinsale is just about as thrilled to see her most irritating patient once again. Neither likes the other. Neither thinks they have anything in common. Until a heated encounter leaves both parties breathless and wanting more. A delicious deal is struck: Helen will give up sexual control to Jay and he, in turn, will show her pleasure beyond her wildest dreams.
Yet things are never as simple as they seem. Helen’s brilliant career is at risk and her past threatens to ruin her professional advancement. Jay is still at loose ends and is struggling to adapt to life outside the rodeo circuit. Their affair may provide the perfect erotic escape for the moment, but with no promises to bind them, is fleeting pleasure all there is? Or as Jay and Helen learn more about each other and their emotions begin to deepen, will love be within their grasp?
Prepare to blast those fans and turn up the A/C, because Roping the Wind is scorching! Kate Pearce delivers an erotic tale that is not only sexy, but endearing. Jay and Helen are two wonderfully developed characters whom I fell in love with from the start. On the outside, the two seem to be complete opposites. I was delighted to watch them not only fall in love, but discover that, underneath the fronts they put on for the world, they are quite similar. I was fascinated to watch the life of a San Francisco cowboy blend with the life of a surgeon burdened by the politics of career advancement. I practically devoured this tale, so engrossed in Ms. Pearce’s book that I, unfortunately, snarled at someone who had the misfortune to interrupt my reading.
Roping the Wind is unquestionably blazing-hot and filled with erotic moments. That being said, I was impressed the love scenes never felt gratuitous or repetitive. Each one was incredibly sexy and subtly provided me with insight into the growth of Jay and Helen’s relationship. I admit, I was wary when Helen agreed to give up complete sexual control to Jay. Ms. Pearce quickly assuaged my fears. Jay never abuses the trust Helen puts in him and their relationship is always equal.
Roping the Wind is loosely connected to Ms. Pearce’s Where Have all the Cowboys Gone? I enjoyed the latter and was both delighted and intrigued to read about Jay’s half-brother Grayson before he gave up his corporate suits for his Stetson. Both books, however, can be read as stand-alones.
I Joyfully Recommend Roping the Wind. It’s incredibly sexy, entertaining, and at the same time surprisingly sweet. I have never particularly had a thing for cowboy heroes, but Ms. Pearce left me wanting a Jay of my own. I sincerely hope she writes about more Turner siblings; I’ll be racing to read to read those books if she does. For now, I’ll just turn up that A/C, pick up Roping the Wind, and fall in love with Jay and Helen all over again.(less)
Lady Marguerite Lockwood, daughter of the infamous owner of Madame Helene’s House of Pleasure, has been living in self-imposed isolation. Her brief marriage ended when her husband was killed in a duel against his best friend, and the whispers are that the duel was over her. Marguerite has no intentions of reentering society, until her brother introduces her to the dark and devastatingly handsome Anthony Sokorvsky. Anthony awakens desires in her she never expected to feel so strongly, but she soon finds that a simple affair may not, in fact, be so simple.
Anthony Sokorvsky knows all-too-well the darker side of pleasure. But when he wakes up one morning riddled with bruises, he’s very aware that he has gotten too deep into the realm of sexual punishment and pain and has done so for the wrong reasons. When Christian Delornay asks Anthony to squire his sister Marguerite around town, Anthony takes the opportunity to step back from his reckless nights. And when he meets Lady Marguerite Lockwood, Anthony finds that there’s something about her that calls to him. For the first time in his life, Anthony has met someone he wants to seduce. But when lust turns into something more, a dangerous figure from Anthony’s not-too-distant past threatens his newfound happiness. Can Anthony and Marguerite’s relationship survive the machinations of someone who threatens to expose their deepest secrets?
Just when I think I’ve decided on an all-time favorite book of Kate Pearce’s, she delivers another gem. Simply Wicked is an erotic tour de force about love, acceptance, understanding, and passion. With Anthony and Marguerite, Ms. Pearce has created two wonderful protagonists, and the tenderness between them grabbed my heart while their love scenes burn with intensity – a double dose of bliss to readers like myself who like both heat and heart.
Anthony is a man who has grown accustomed to letting himself be sexually used and discarded by other men. He was abused in the past by another and though he thinks he has long since recovered, what was done to him left its mark. At the beginning of the story even Anthony is forced to see he is on a dangerous downslide. I cheered for Anthony when he made the decision to take a stand, to stop allowing others to dictate his sexuality, to explore what he truly desires, and to experience passion and joy rather than using pain and humiliation to bring about sexual release. It takes a strong woman to look Anthony’s past square in the face and not let it shake her; good thing Ms. Pearce is a master at creating strong heroines. Marguerite’s past contains tragedy of its own, and for a while she lets it get the better of her. She hides herself to avoid the cutting tongues of society, living a half-life of sorts. I was thrilled to see her come out of her shell, to finally start being the woman she truly is inside. When Simply Wicked begins, there is a broken innocence about both characters that only true love and acceptance will heal into something stronger and more powerful. Both Marguerite and Anthony learn to stand on their own, but they’re even better as a pair, which is why I was up late into the night reading Simply Wicked – once I started reading I could not stop.
Simply Wicked is the fourth book in Ms. Pearce’s phenomenal House of Pleasure series, but it can be read on its own. I will admit that some of the initial anticipation I had for reading Simply Wicked came from seeing what happened to Anthony in the first book in the series, Simply Sexual, and his subsequent decline over the following books (Simply Sinful and Simply Shameless) into a craving for pain during sex that he did not actually desire. However, this anticipation is only what led me to bite my nails waiting for Anthony and Marguerite’s story. The excitement I feel now is that of a reader well and truly satisfied by a great story, so new readers need not fear they’ll miss some of the joy of reading the book. I’m sure anyone new to the series will fall in love and rush back for the previous books, as they’re all sensual delights.
In Simply Wicked Ms. Pearce continues her tradition of creating unique heroes and heroines that will stay with you long after you finish reading. I fell in love with Anthony and Marguerite and their story was amazing. I cannot wait for the next two books in this series, Simply Insatiable and Simply Forbidden. Ms. Pearce will definitely have to work to make a believer out of me with Simply Insatiable, since the hero is the villain of Simply Wicked. I’m not too concerned, though, because if anyone can write a deeply complex and fascinating hero, it’s the clever, talented Ms. Pearce. It’s her marvelous brand of realistic complexity in her heroes and heroines which made me fall in love with Simply Wicked and will keep me avidly reading her books for many years to come. Joyfully Recommended!(less)
On the way to film a commercial as a favor to his brother, rodeo cowboy Dakota Scott finds himself stuck in a small New Mexico town when his car breaks down. After learning he’s going to be stuck for a while, Dakota heads to a convenience store where he meets the most intriguing, troublesome woman he’s ever met.
Former child star Robyn Cooper’s life has gone from bad to worse, leaving the starlet broke and stranded. She doesn’t know what to make of Dakota, nor his offer to help her. And the more time Robyn and Dakota spend together, the more the sexual tension between them heats up. But the closer Robyn and Dakota get to California, the more the ghosts of the past begin to influence their newfound relationship. With the odds stacked against them, is love in the cards for a spotlight-shy rodeo star and a washed up actress?
Get ready to go on a sizzling-hot ride with Riding the Line. Kate Pearce has delivered a captivating erotic romance with an unlikely couple who will grab your heart and not let go.
I must admit, at first I wasn’t certain I’d like Robyn. When Riding the Line begins I worried she was a bit too brazen and cantankerous for me to be able to connect with her. Ms. Pearce definitely proved that first impressions can be deceiving. As the story went on and I learned more about Robyn, her past, the desperation of her situation, and all that she’s had to deal with, my initial wariness towards her faded and I ended up adoring her. She’s been through a hell not entirely of her own making and come out a survivor, and for that I admire her. Watching her character develop over the course of Riding the Line was one of the great joys of the book. As for Dakota, to me he was the perfect hero, without ever coming across as poster board perfect. He’s wickedly sexy, intelligent, charming, and incredibly patient. I loved how he tried to look out for those he cared about, how he reached out over and over again to Robyn. He was her perfect match and I loved watching them two feel their way through their relationship. Put simply, it was beautiful to watch them fall in love.
Riding the Line is the loosely connected to Roping the Wind and Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?, two other books of Ms. Pearce’s featuring Dakota’s half brothers, Jay and Grayson. What I love about each of these books is that they are so different, both in plot and in the type of people the heroes and heroines are, and yet each book blends perfectly with the other two. All three books can be read as stand alones, but in reading this book I was delighted to see Jay, Grayson, and Lauren once again. There were a few parts of Riding the Line that made me somewhat curious to hear more about (my admittedly favorite characters of Ms. Pearce’s) Jay and Helen (who was mentioned but never appeared). I live in hope that Ms. Pearce will be writing stories for the brothers’ other half-siblings because I cannot bear to leave these wonderful characters behind.
Riding the Line is a wonderful journey of romance, self-discovery, and passion that is engaging from start to finish. It’s smolderingly sensual, so be sure to keep a fan handy while reading. A sure-fire winner, Riding the Line is not to be missed!(less)
Museum curator Peter Killian wakes up in the hospital to find that a blow to the head is the least of his problems. A priceless mural has been stolen from Constantine House, the museum Peter works at and Detective Michael Griffin seems convinced Peter is the one behind the robbery. The problem is, Peter can’t defend himself because his memory is gone. With the evidence mounting up against him and a handsome but obstinate detective who knows more than he’s letting on breathing down his neck, Peter must try to put together the pieces of his fragmented memory and figure out who is stealing from the museum before he winds up in jail or the real thief decides to silence him forever.
Mystery, danger, an apparently single-minded detective, an amnesiac witness, and a healthy dose of eroticism – who could mix all these elements so well into a divine cocktail of a story but Josh Lanyon? Don’t Look Back is the reason I fell head over heels for Mr. Lanyon’s work. It’s exciting, sensual, gripping, and highly entertaining; in other words, everything a story should be.
I hesitate to use this word, but I found Peter to be adorable (in a non-emasculating sense of the word). He was an intriguing combination of sexiness and starch. I loved watching him put together both who he is now and also who he was before he lost his memory. I watched him piece together what was happening, who he could trust, how he got into the situation he was in, and who was out to get him with great interest. As for Don’t Look Back’s other protagonist, Mike is and isn’t who he first appears to be. He’s gruff, to be sure, but there’s a wealth of caring beneath his hardened surface.
It would be a crime to reveal too much about Don’t Look Back because there is no way to discuss the characters or what happens in the story that would come close to matching the thrill of watching how things unfold. I loved Don’t Look Back and no sooner did I finish it than, like a siren’s call, the story lured me back to read it once more. Successive re-reads have not dimmed my enjoyment of this tale, for Mr. Lanyon has truly penned a remarkable story. Joyfully Recommended!(less)
Three years ago, antiquarian book hunter James Winter lost everything when a scandal his employer caused brought him down with it. Now James is stuck working at Barnes and Noble and only disreputable clients will hire him, clients like Mr. Stephanopoulos. Mr. S has a lead on a previously unpublished book by Charles Dickens and he wants James to get it before its owner, chemistry professor Sedgwick Crisparkle, puts the book up for auction. Mr. S doesn’t care how James convinces the good professor to sell him the book, so long as James doesn’t reveal that Stephanopoulos is the buyer. James needs the paycheck, but more than that, the prospect of holding a previously-unheard of Dickens story in his hands tempts him like nothing else…except, perhaps, the book’s owner. Sedgwick Crisparkle looks more like a bookish angel than a nutty professor, and the attraction between book hunter and book owner is too much for either to resist. But when Sedgwick discovers who James’s employer is, it’ll take a Christmas miracle like Dickens would write to keep these two men together.
The Dickens with Love is a book lover’s dream, filled as it is with hope, love, and, of course, an unpublished Christmas novella by Charles Dickens. Josh Lanyon has an unparalleled ability to write a romance that is incredibly sweet without being cloying. Both James and Sedgwick are interesting, intelligent men that have that everyman scholar appeal plus a little something extra. I was drawn to them, without being able to put my finger on why, other than Mr. Lanyon’s talent for creating endearing, memorable characters. Like all of Mr. Lanyon’s stories, The Dickens with Love is engaging, tender, and irresistibly sexy. It also has an extra dash of forgiveness and the joy of new beginnings, making The Dickens with Love a holiday treat that can and should be enjoyed all year long. Like the Stardust martinis James and Sedgwick so enjoy, The Dickens with Love simply sparkles.(less)
Greyson Cole is going to kill his sister. All Grey wants to do is escape Raleigh and the pandemic of love and romance which has spread through it. With that thought in mind, Grey heads to his cabin to spend two weeks in solitude, only to be confronted by over six feet of dripping wet, nearly naked male. According to the stranger, Grey’s twin, Kelsie, lent him the use of Grey’s cabin while his own was being repaired. And said stranger, Sirus Wilder, is definitely Not. Grey’s. Type. Grey will keep repeating that to himself until he believes it. Grey doesn’t do relationships, and no amount of lusting for the gorgeous, intelligent Sirus is going to change that.
Sirus adores Kelsie; her twin is another matter entirely. Sirus is grateful Grey lets him stay in the cabin while the plumbing is fixed on his own, but Grey has to be the coldest, most withdrawn person he has ever met. Yet there’s something about Grey, flashes of vulnerability which draw him to the seemingly aloof stranger. Sirus has been burned by love in the past and doesn’t want to risk his heart again, especially by falling for a man who flat-out tells him he doesn’t have the ability to love.
When the desire for one another becomes too tempting to resist, Grey and Sirus agree to embark on a two week affair with no strings attached. Too bad for them love has other plans. Grey and Sirus are about to find out that sometimes destiny takes charge and gives you a chance at happiness you never could have imagined; you just have to be brave enough to take it.
Grey’s Awakening is like a thunderstorm – powerful, glorious, and seemingly alive with raw emotion. Cameron Dane has written an enthralling story that no words can do justice to (though I will try) with two heroes that will wrap themselves around your heart and not let go.
Sirus is a romantic at heart, which was utterly lovely to see from such a strong, powerful male. His willingness to put himself out there, even in the face of past hurts, makes him the perfect match for Grey. And no man needs an open, accepting heart to love him more than Grey. For all his controlled demeanor, Grey is a tumultuous blend of old wounds, fear, and hesitant hope. With his cool confidence at the forefront, even I, a reader who got to see the inner workings of Grey’s mind, found myself sucker-punched by the pain in Grey’s past. He broke my heart, but his healing, opening up, and falling in love put it back together again. Their love story was as touching as is it was spellbindingly erotic.
While Grey’s Awakening is the second book in the Cabin Fever series, it does stand on its own. Kelsie and John (Grey’s sister and best friend) of The Sweetest Tattoo do make a brief appearance in Grey’s Awakening and fans of the first story will remember Sirus having a cameo in that tale. Neither book should be missed, for Cameron Dane is a wonderfully talented writer whose stories are as unique and diverse as the characters in them. And since I cannot say more about Grey’s Awakening without overtly gushing, I will leave with saying that I Joyfully Recommend this incredible book!(less)
Is it possible for a house to possess a heart and soul? One strong enough to bring two men together? For two years, Colin Baxter has dreamed of a beautiful house and the man who lives in it. Colin knows the faceless stranger whose troubled soul calls out to him is his destiny, but he has no idea where to find him. Fate lends a hand when Colin travels to Fiji for his best friend’s wedding. On a tour of the islands Colin spots the house of his dreams…but neither the house nor its owner are what he expected.
His house in Fiji has given Marek Donovan the solitude he’s wished for ever since the death of the man he loved. Wracked with guilt over his past, the last thing Marek wants is a man showing up on his doorstep; especially if it’s Colin Baxter. Marek may believe Colin’s crazy story about dreaming of him and his home, but that doesn’t mean Marek is open to giving Colin what the man wants from him. Yet, something about Colin calls to him and Marek finds he can’t quite return to the half-life he was living. It’s up to Marek to decide if he can take a chance on Colin and risk his heart for the chance at a life and a love that could last forever.
Heart-wrenching despair mixes with happiness and hope in the stunning Dreaming in Color. Cameron Dane is a master at creating characters who grab your heart in such a way that you cannot stop reading until they find happiness. Marek is a man deeply tormented by his past. His life, such as it is, seems to have been frozen at the state of his loss and it takes Colin’s arrival, and his opening himself to Colin, to bring Marek fully back to life. I loved every minute of reading about his journey. Colin, in turn, is impossible not to love. He’s passionate, determined, and full of hope, all of which are beautiful traits in a hero. Colin and Marek’s path to happily ever after is tumultuous, but also intensely erotic and filled with unexpected moments of pure joy.
Quite simply, I loved Dreaming in Color. All of the characters come to life on the page, giving them a realistic feel and making the story all the more compelling. I admit, given the teasers in Dreaming in Color about how Colin’s best friend, Jordan, fell in love with her husband, I am desperately hoping Cameron Dane writes Jordan and Tag’s story. Still, until that wish is realized (if ever it is), I am more than happy to curl up with Marek and Colin’s romance again and again. Dreaming in Color is everything I have come to expect from one of Cameron Dane’s books. In short, it’s perfect.(less)
It’s been two years since Rhone Quinn realized he was in love with Adam Reyes. Their relationship has gone through many changes over the years. They met when Rhone caught Adam trying to pick his pocket and since that fateful first meeting when Rhone offered Adam a job instead of turning him over to the police, Adam has become his business partner, best friend, and, to both their surprises, the love of the previously heterosexual Rhone’s life.
Now Rhone and Adam are in Vermont to get married, but everything is going exactly opposite to what the men had planned. A feuding soon-to-be-wed couple and a troubled hotel employee first prick Adam’s curiosity, then start wrecking havoc with his and Rhone’s relationship. They also force Adam to face his long-held fear: that of losing Rhone to a woman one day. Adam and Rhone have overcome a multitude of obstacles to wind up where they are, but will the ones they face now trip them up before they can walk down the aisle?
The chaos that always seems to surround weddings is amplified by intrigue and unvoiced fears in the fantastic Saying I Do. Cameron Dane shows readers what the after in “happily ever after” entails when the heroes from Finding Home do their best to make it to the altar in one piece. Having fallen in love with Adam and Rhone in Finding Home, I highly recommend reading that story before Saying I Do to feel the full emotional impact of the story, even though the author provides the necessary details to follow along in this book.
Adam and Rhone are both heroes that are easy to adore. They’re intelligent, protective, and deeply in love with one another. What I loved about Saying I Do was seeing that Adam didn’t just take Rhone’s newfound bisexuality for granted. Until just two years before, both men believed Rhone to be strictly heterosexual. The fact that Adam had fears of losing Rhone felt realistic to me, and I loved watching the heroes address his concerns and work it out to make their relationship all the stronger.
The subplots of Saying I Do were every bit as fascinating as the main storyline. However, I don’t want to spoil the book by giving away the details, so I’ll leave it to readers to be captivated as I was. I will say that Cameron Dane ended Saying I Do with a huge tease for the next Quinn Security book and left me desperately hoping that the next couple’s story is coming soon. All in all, Saying I Do was a wonderful, sexy tale that will make you sigh, blush, and beg for more from this phenomenal author.(less)
Deputy Jace Maxwell has been in love with his best friend’s sister for years. Though he can’t lie to himself about his feelings for Sarah Tennison, Jace knows he can’t live without fulfilling his attraction to both women and men. So Jace is determined to watch over Sarah, protecting her from everyone, himself included. Imagine Jace’s surprise when shy cowboy Jasper Simmons slips past Jace’s radar and into Sarah’s bed. It tears Jace apart that another man has what Jace wants, but there’s something about this slightly awkward cowboy that draws Jace to him as well. And when a murder investigation throws Jasper even more fully into Jace’s path, Jace knows it’s only a matter of time before he breaks and gives into both his desire for Sarah and for her lover. Still, Jace has to decide if joining Sarah and Jasper in their bed is worth the inevitable heartbreak he’ll suffer when the two decide they want a more “conventional” relationship that doesn’t include a third person.
What Jace doesn’t know is that he’s seriously underestimating Jasper and Sarah. The pair may be more innocent than Jace in some respects, but they both recognize that when it comes to love, sometimes the best, most enduring answer is becoming three.
If someone asked me why I can’t get enough of Cameron Dane’s work, I’d tell them they need look no further than Becoming Three. Cameron Dane’s stories are always filled with memorable characters, passion, sensuality, and a wealth of emotion seething just beneath the surface, to create gripping romances that are truly unforgettable. Becoming Three has all of these and more, with three protagonists who work hard to overcome the obstacles in their path for an everlasting love that’s worth every ounce of sweat (good and bad) that goes into it.
Jace is the dark, dominant, and brooding sort – a man whose past has burned him more than once and has made him undervalue himself when it comes to relationships. Jasper, in turn, is the quieter, less experienced one. I loved that he was somewhat awkward, but would step forward and defend those he loves in a heartbeat. Sarah, the third member of the threesome, is the one who makes it all work. She’s confident in her love both for Jace and Jasper, and she deals with each man’s uncertainties in her own gentle but firm way. She’s also incredibly likeable and a bright spirit through and through. A small part of me envied her these two delicious heroes, but I adored her so much that the larger part of me was cheering for her to get her happily ever after.
Action and intrigue that come from the hunt for a serial killer add an element of danger to Becoming Three, and that aspect of the story was every bit as fascinating as the romance. Many of the other characters from the Hawkins Ranch series play major supporting roles in Becoming Three. Readers new to the series need not fear they’ll be lost, however. As Becoming Three is the first book in the Hawkins Ranch series I’ve read, I can safely say it does stand on its own. Still, I fell in love with Sarah, Jace, and Jasper’s friends and family and have already started buying up the previous five books in the series (Demon Moon, Falling, ReneCade, Ride, and Knowing Caleb) and am on edge for more.
I have said it before, and I’ll happily say it again: Cameron Dane is an amazing author. I loved Becoming Three and can’t wait to read it again and again and again.(less)
In a family full of scandalous men, Ian Mackenzie stands out. Society thinks him mad, and rumors abound about the years he spent locked in an asylum. Widow Beth Ackerley has heard the gossip, but nevertheless she’s drawn to the handsome Scottish lord. His intelligence and honesty suit her far better than the machinations of other gentlemen. Not to mention the fact that attraction sparks between them in an instant. Ian might be unusual, but then, so is Beth. Will two people who’ve never quite fit in find their perfect match in one another?
No matter how many times I read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, each time I open the book, I am immediately drawn into one of the most incredible stories I’ve ever read. Jennifer Ashley rocketed to the top of my auto-buy list with this book. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie has unique characters and a passionate love story, all wrapped into one phenomenally entertaining tale.
Ian is one of my favorite characters of all time. He’s a deliciously sexy hero whose absolute loyalty to those he cares about won my heart immediately. Ian’s “madness” referenced in the title and in the book itself is not actual insanity, but rather Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism). He’s treated as mad by everyone around him, as the story takes place long before anyone heard of Asperger’s. I give Ms. Ashley high marks for not under-playing this aspect of Ian’s character, but I give her even more credit for not letting it overpower who he is either. There’s a delicate balance to be had and Ms. Ashley hits all the right notes.
I could go on about Ian, but I’d be doing The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie a disservice if I didn’t write about Beth. She’s a fantastic heroine: intelligent, hardworking, practical, passionate, and loving. I adored how taken she was with Ian and I loved how she stood up for him, even when it came to his well-meaning brothers. Ian and Beth fit one another perfectly. Separately, each shines, but together they are what makes The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie a must-read.
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is the first book in Ms. Ashley’s Highland Pleasures series and I cannot wait to read about the rest of the Highland Pleasures books. Ian’s brothers are all unusual in their own way and Ms. Ashley makes them come to life every bit as much as she does Beth and Ian. I finished The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie wanting to dive right into the next book, Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage. I Joyfully Recommend The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. Readers are sure to fall in love with Beth, Ian, and the entire Mackenzie family!(less)
Artist Jude St. Laurent is in need of a personal assistant after a car accident left him legally blind and frequently plagued with debilitating migraines. What’s worse, Jude now has gaping holes in his memory and his nightmares tell him he was once much more than a simple artist. Jude is thrilled when he hires Lily Vale, a woman whose free spirit and taste for hedonistic pleasure matches his own. Lily is everything he ever desired and the erotic games they play would make life perfect, if it weren’t for the past he can’t remember haunting him.
Lily Vale isn’t everything she seems. An agent for SHADO, a covert homeland security agency, Lily has been sent to find information and take out a former SHADO assassin who has turned traitor. But immediately upon meeting Jude, Lily knows something’s off. The Jude she comes to know is many things, but a monster isn’t one of them. It’s up to Lily to unravel the puzzle and find the true traitor before her sensual adventures with Jude come to a crashing, deadly end.
Hedonism is the name of the game in this first, aptly-titled SHADO Agency novel from Jo Davis. I Spy a Wicked Sin scintillates with one naughty erotic encounter after the next. The passion is underscored by the mystery of Jude’s past intersecting with Lily’s current assignment, adding an element of non-sexual thrill to the story. While the wicked games Lily, Jude, and others play ratchet up the heat level, what captured me about I Spy a Wicked Sin was the likeability of the characters. From Jude and Lily to Liam, Jude’s best friend and frequent lover, and others, the majority of the characters in the book were endearing, which more than anything is why I was so invested in the tale.
I Spy a Wicked Sin starts off Ms. Davis’s SHADO Agency series with a bang and I look forward to seeing what comes next. In particular, I find myself intrigued by Michael Ross, the grief-stricken widower and head of the SHADO Agency. This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Davis and I will definitely be looking forward to reading more SHADO Agency tales. In the meantime, I’ll be on the hunt to glom up Ms. Davis’s backlist.(less)
Some women think men are dogs. To Anica Revere, Jasper Danes is more of a tomcat. At least he is after she turns him into one. Anica just happens to be a witch, and though she generally tells the men she’s dating her magical heritage before they get too deeply involved, she makes an exception with Jasper. But in the midst of a bad fight, by-the-book Anica makes a very big mistake and uses an ancient curse that turns Jasper into a cat. Now, Anica’s been stripped of her powers for using her magic to transform another and Jasper will have to figure out a way to transform back into the biped he once was. What neither Jasper nor Anica expect is that the situation they find themselves in has unexpected benefits; the time they spend together fast becomes more powerful than any love potion. But is there a future in the cards for a sexy witch without magic and a man that can’t seem to stay human?
There might be a little bit of witch in Vicki Lewis Thompson, for Blonde with a Wand was a spellbinding read. I started Anica and Jasper’s story one evening and before I knew it, it was after four in the morning and I didn’t want to go to bed until I finished the book. I laughed, I melted, and at points, my heart broke. I adored Anica right from the start, and loved watching both she and Jasper grow as characters over the course of the story. Ms. Thompson has the uncanny ability to make you laugh on one page, then break your heart on the next. There were so many unexpectedly hilarious things that can happen when your twenty-first century male is in feline form, but kudos to Ms. Thompson for also weaving in the plight of homeless and abandoned animals. The blending of the silly and the serious, the bonds of romantic and sisterly love, and magical mayhem are all what makes Blonde with a Wand work. This is the first story by Ms. Thompson’s that I’ve read and I flat-out loved it. I’ll be reading much more of this entertaining author’s work in the future, starting with the next Babes on Brooms novel, Chick with a Charm. Still, I find that before I dive into the next book of Ms. Thompson’s, I can’t resist giving Blonde with a Wand another read; it’s that addictive, which is why I Joyfully Recommend this bewitching book!(less)
From the moment Brianna first laid eyes on Colton Northfield, Duke of Rolthven, she was in love. Now married for three months to the wealthy, handsome duke, Brianna has everything she could want – save for her husband’s love and attention. When she spies a copy of Lady Rothburg’s Advice, a scandalous banned book of advice from a courtesan, she knows she has found the key to getting her heart’s desire.
Unexpectedly thrust into the ducal role at a young age, duty, formality, and order have become part and parcel of Colton’s character. So when his lovely young wife turns his world upside down, Colton is at a loss. He finds it hard to think of anything but Brianna, whom he has always found desirable but has now become an irresistible vixen that leads him to behave in the most improper manner. But though Colton finds himself entranced by his wife, he wonders how a woman like Brianna learned such tricks to her newfound sensual arsenal.
Will Brianna’s campaign to win her husband’s love meet with rousing success? Or will the tactics she learned in her lessons from a scarlet lady ultimately push Colton farther away?
Emma Wildes just keeps getting better and better! Lessons from a Scarlet Lady faces formidable competition, but has come out as my favorite book of Ms. Wildes’s yet. Passion, seduction, and most of all, love, are blended perfectly in this sensual, beautiful novel.
What captured me about Lessons from a Scarlet Lady was the innate likeability of every character. None of them were perfect, but from Brianna to Colton to their family and friends, each endeared themselves to me in their loyalty to those they loved and their determination not to accept the status quo, but to see their loved ones truly happy. Brianna in particular is a bright spirit. Her love for Colton shines through on the page and her confidence and willingness to risk scandal to make their marriage a better one won me over. As for Colton, he might be a bit stuffy at first, but it’s understandable given the duties he had to assume at a young age. Ms. Wildes made me melt when it came to seeing these two together. Their desire for one another burned up the pages of the book, but it’s the strength of their relationship that resonated with me.
Lessons from a Scarlet Lady actually features not just one romance, but two. Ms. Wildes drew me in immediately to the plight of Brianna’s best friend, Rebecca, and her love for Colton’s youngest brother, Robert. Their romance was just as vivid as Brianna and Colton’s, and though uniquely their own, wove in and out of Colton and Brianna’s story seamlessly. Neither Robert nor Rebecca are all that society perceives them to be. She is more than just a pretty heiress and he is more than a dazzling rogue. Their path to happily ever after has more than one obstacle to overcome and I was cheering them on all the way, eager to see them (with the help of the middle Northfield brother, Damien) find happiness as well.
I loved every single page of Lessons from a Scarlet Lady and the only disappointing thing was that it eventually had to come to an end. I desperately hope Ms. Wildes writes a story for Damien and, if she does, that the characters I so fell in love with in Lessons from a Scarlet Lady grace the page once more. I am thrilled to Joyfully Recommend Lessons from a Scarlet Lady. Ms. Wildes has a talent for penning exquisitely sensual historical romances and I cannot wait to see what she writes next!(less)
After Jackie Brighton wakes up in a dumpster, she finds out that being surrounded by trash with noodles in her hair is only the beginning of her problems. She’s had a hot and heavy one night stand with a gorgeous hunk whose name she can’t remember and has blood on her shirt and memories of some other stunner putting her in the less-than-desirable spot she woke up in. The upside of the weird events is that her chest size has dramatically increased and the rest of her figure has slimmed down. But she also has an abnormally insatiable sex drive. What could possibly be going on?
Mystery man number one happens to be Noah, a fallen angel, and he helps answer her questions. Jackie is now a succubus, an immortal temptress that attracts all men and leaves her with a hunger for sex that must be fulfilled. With the help of Noah and Remy, the only other succubus in town, Jackie begins to navigate the waters of her new life. Until a mistake sends Noah into the clutches of the vampire queen and Jackie is forced to find an ancient power-filled halo everyone wants, with only Remy and a vampire named Zane – who looks eerily like mystery man number two – to aid her on her hunt. With no one she can truly trust, a vampire and a fallen angel who both call to her, powers light and dark manipulating her, and an out-of-control libido, Jackie’s new immortal existence has just taken a dangerous edge.
There’s a new, sassy voice in paranormal fiction, and it’s Jill Myles. Gentlemen Prefer Succubi is a unique, intriguing read. Yet I must admit the book left me feeling a bit torn. I loved the plot. I give Ms. Myles full marks for making Gentlemen Prefer Succubi a page-turner and I appreciate the originality of the story. On the other hand, I couldn’t get attached to Jackie, who is the book’s focus and should have been the most developed character. While Jackie has attitude to spare, to me she lacked a defining personality. I found Noah and Zane far more captivating, and no, not because of their sex appeal. However, for reasons I won’t spoil, Noah doesn’t get much page time, and it seems that Ms. Myles is holding off on fully developing both his and Zane’s character until future books, which was a pity. I did adore the insatiable Remy, and was glad there was one character I could become emotionally attached to in the book.
There’s sex aplenty in Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, but a problem, for me, was that it is billed as a romance, and thus I started reading it expecting it to be one. It isn’t. For all the lust zapping around and even a dose of like that Jackie feels for Noah and Zane, readers who are looking to read a romance should give this book a pass. Gentlemen Prefer Succubi ends with a happy for now, but it felt forced. As a romance, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi misses the boat, but as a good paranormal read, it’s enjoyable. Now knowing what I’m getting into, I’m looking forward to reading the second Succubus Diaries book, Succubi Like It Hot, and seeing what happens next in Jackie’s world.(less)
Jackie Brighton is finally adapting to her life as a succubus. Sure, she has to feed the Itch every other day by having sex, but having not one, but two immortal boyfriends – fallen angel Noah and vampire Zane – definitely helps with that. Plus she’s gone from an overweight docent to a red-hot archaeologist. Yep, things are looking up…until her touch knocks the pizza delivery guy unconscious.
Someone’s cursed Jackie and she has no idea who or why. But Jackie’s Itch is now out of control, she’s accidentally turning humans comatose, and if she doesn’t break the curse soon she’ll die. With her best friend and fellow succubus Remy at her side, Jackie has to head to New Orleans and meet an ancient succubus who will hopefully have an answer. But without Noah or Zane, Jackie’s Itch becomes a very big problem. Compound that with a demonic possession or two, a mysterious supernatural following her, and the troublesome deals immortals good and bad tempt her with and Jackie’s new succubus status is starting to, well, suck.
The adventures of newly-turned succubus Jackie Brighton continue in the second installment to The Succubus Diaries, Succubi Like It Hot. Jill Myles pens a lively tale, but romance readers should be warned that this series is so far erotic paranormal fiction, not romance. After discovering that in the first book, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, I came prepared for this book and enjoyed it more than the first. Still, for all that Succubi Like It Hot made me grin, it’s missing something – depth. Despite the cheeky, eye-catching references made in the titles, Jackie is no Marilyn Monroe. Save for being a sassy, sexed-up succubus every man wants, there is no substance to her. With the series being told from the first person perspective this is a definite downside. Noah and Zane, Jackie’s two boyfriends she claims to be falling for, are definitely worth dreaming over. Unfortunately both men are stuck sharing her, which wouldn’t be a problem if they were happy about it, which they aren’t. Ms. Myles seems to be holding back information on both Noah and Zane, which is a pity. I want to become attached to them, but with so little page time outside of sex scenes, it was hard to do so. Mostly I felt pity for them being treated like handy sex toys and nothing more, Noah in particular. My favorite character continues to be the vivacious Remy, whose in-your-face sexuality combined with her caring heart make her a delight to read about.
Ms. Myles continues to write intriguing plots and Succubi Like It Hot is definitely a page-turner. While the book is not really a romance, it does end with what passes for a “happy for now.” I will definitely be reading the third book, as Ms. Myles has a fantastic world set up. Even with the major issues I had with the story, I liked Succubi Like It Hot. The Succubus Diaries have a lot of potential and I hope to see Ms. Myles capitalize on the possibilities she has created in the future.(less)
"A Holiday Gamble" by Jane Feather On his way home to take his place as the new Viscount Allerton, Ned Vasey finds himself robbed by a highwayman and then trapped in a snowstorm. Forced to take refuge at the nearby Selby Hall, Ned is quick to determine Lord Selby and his companions are a less than reputable lot. Then Lord Selby’s ward, the troubled Georgiana, catches Ned’s eye. Ned is drawn to the spirited beauty, whom he knows is more than the placid miss she pretends to be. Selby Hall is filled with secrets, and Ned finds himself determined to uncover them all. The question is, will he succeed?
Jane Feather heats up the holidays with this entertaining novella. "A Holiday Gamble" is an enjoyable love story with a likeable hero and heroine who are sure to charm. While I liked Georgiana and Ned, their romance was a bit abrupt for my taste. Though I have no issue with characters falling in love quickly, I never truly saw why they fell in love with one another, other than Ms. Feather leaving me no room but to accept that it should be so.
A touch of menace from Georgiana’s disreputable guardian, a brutish “fiancé,” and a hunt for a missing will give depth to "A Holiday Gamble" that kept me more engaged in the story than the romance itself. Overall, I found "A Holiday Gamble" to be an appealing read and I will be on the lookout for more of Ms. Feather’s work in the future.
"When Sparks Fly" by Sabrina Jeffries After a carriage accident leaves her aunt injured and she and her family stranded, heiress Elinor Bancroft has no choice but to take refuge at the home of Baron Thorncliff aka the “Black Baron.” If the accident weren’t enough to put a damper on Christmas, their host just might finish the job. Martin, Baron Thorncliff, would rather have nothing to do with his unwanted guests, but he can’t ignore the children underfoot any more than he can overlook the intriguing Ellie. She’s nothing like the spoiled London miss he expected her to be and she’s determined not to let him dismiss her as such. For both Ellie and Martin, this Christmas is the perfect time to discover that love and passion are the best gifts of all.
My absolute favorite story of the book, "When Sparks Fly" is a heartwarming delight with a lovable heroine, a tender but gruff hero, and a place for one of the most famous authors of all time, Charles Dickens.
I love Sabrina Jeffries’s School for Heiresses series, of which "When Sparks Fly" is a part, and I’ve been impatiently waiting for a story for Elinor Bancroft since meeting her in Let Sleeping Rogues Lie. Happily, Ellie’s story is all that I wished it to be for her. Ellie can be shy at times, but she is intelligent, kind-hearted, and possesses a gentle, but firm demeanor. Despite Martin’s attempts to push everyone away from him, including Ellie, she stands firm, making her his perfect match. Martin, in turn, is sympathetic even in his gruffness. His brother’s death and the rumors which continue to be spread about it haunt him. His fear of anyone else being hurt or killed makes him push people away, and it takes Ellie’s bright spirit to make Martin reconnect with the world. They fit one another perfectly and it was pure joy watching the two of them fall in love. A sparkling romance with characters that are sure to win your heart, “When Sparks Fly” is the perfect Christmas treat to be enjoyed all year ‘round.
"Snowy Night with a Highlander" by Julia London After her brother, Jack, finds himself embroiled in a scandal, Lady Fiona Haines is charged with finding him and delivering an important message. Forced to travel to the Highlands right before Christmas, Fiona finds help from a surprising source. Duncan, a man scarred, physically and mentally, from a fire, is willing to take her. As their journey draws the two closer together, neither Fiona nor Duncan can resist the strong pull of desire. But what Fiona doesn’t know is that Duncan is Duncan Buchanan, Laird of Blackwood. A man Fiona claims to despise. What will happen to their burgeoning romance when Fiona discovers the truth?
"Snowy Night with a Highlander" is a lovely, Beauty and the Beast-type tale that is truly delightful. Duncan is a fallen hero, a once proud, rakish man who has been brought low in many ways because of the devastating accident he was involved in. He leads only half a life, and I eagerly read the tale, hoping to see him find love and happiness with Fiona. For her part, Fiona has a sparkling personality that I found endearing, but there were a few times her personality went towards the pushy side. I suppose given how she was raised and the situation she found herself in that this wasn’t too unreasonable, so though it bothered me a bit in spots, I was able to push it aside.
"Snowy Night with a Highlander" is part of Ms. London’s Scandal series, which began with The Book of Scandal. Though this story stood on it’s own, I am eager to look for the previous book, and am definitely looking forward to Jack’s story, Highland Scandal.
Snowy Night with a Stranger is an enchanting collection of stories that, though centered around Christmastime, are stories I would be captivated by all year long. Jane Feather, Sabrina Jeffries, and Julia London each tell stories of sensuous passion and tender romance that left me feeling warm, satisfied, and eager for more. Snowy Night with a Stranger is not to be missed!(less)
Once upon a time, four young women who were always the wallflowers of London society’s social events banded together to help one another find love, happiness, and the perfect (or wickedly imperfect) man for them. Now it’s Christmas, and the Wallflowers are once again reunited to celebrate the holidays and, perhaps, welcome a new member to their ranks.
Raphael Bowman has come from America to meet and likely marry the aristocratic Lady Natalie. Lady Natalie is everything Rafe’s parents want for him, and his father isn’t above making Rafe’s marriage to her a condition to Rafe securing an interest in his father’s company. Though not enthusiastic about the idea, Rafe is agreeable, but upon arriving in England finds that his brash American ways may not lend themselves to wooing the perfect English rose. To help Rafe, his sisters and their friends decide to invite Lady Natalie’s companion to visit so that Rafe can learn the way to his proposed intended’s heart. There’s just one problem…
Once Rafe meets Miss Hannah Appleton, he can’t seem to get her out of his mind. Her good, proper, English demeanor makes the wicked American want to be very, very bad. She thinks he’s a cad. He thinks she’s irresistible. And Rafe’s father would definitely think a match between them is unacceptable. But with a little help from friends, perhaps the impossible can become possible, just in time for Christmas.
There is truly no better way to spend an afternoon than curled up with a Lisa Kleypas novel. Her books are always charming, entertaining, and bright from beginning to end, and A Wallflower Christmas is no exception. I was swept away by Hannah and Rafe’s love story; it’s filled with delightful characters, sparkling banter, and, at the center of it all, a sensual, heartwarming romance.
Rafe is a truly irresistible hero. He’s sexy, clever, and irreverent – a rogue to the core that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. In Hannah, Rafe meets his match. She’s intelligent and sweet, but with a spine of steel. She’s the kind of heroine you can’t help but feel close to, as if from the very start she is a friend. In other words, she fits in perfectly with her fellow Wallflower heroines as an endearing character who is easy to identify with and adore. And like her four predecessors, Hannah doesn’t fall for a rake’s usual tricks, even if that rake is a man she finds utterly irresistible. Her no-nonsense attitude makes her the perfect foil for Rafe and his careless charm, making their love story a joy to watch unfold. From their first meeting, sparks practically fly off the page, making A Wallflower Christmas impossible to put down.
I confess, though this book is Rafe and Hannah’s story, before “meeting” them, what I had been looking forward to the most was getting to revisit the characters I loved so much from the original Wallflower quartet. Ms. Kleypas did not disappoint. Annabelle, Lillian, Evie, Daisy, and, to a lesser extent, their husbands all played a large role in A Wallflower Christmas. While Hannah and Rafe were undeniably the center of the story, it was pure joy to see my favorite Wallflowers together again. Their cheerful, boisterous, teasing, caring presence added another wonderful layer to this story. Ms. Kleypas also provides a peek into each of the four’s lives after their happily ever after, a wonderful gift for any Wallflower fan. And for those who have yet to read Ms. Kleypas’s phenomenal Wallflower series, A Wallflower Christmas does stand on its own. Yet after finishing this enchanting tale, I am sure every new fan will be rushing to read Secrets of a Summer Night, It Happened One Autumn, Devil in Winter, and Scandal in Spring.
A Wallflower Christmas is everything I’ve come to expect from one of Ms. Kleypas’s novels. It’s sensual, witty, imaginative, and fun, with characters that are so full of life they seem to come right off the page. I cannot speak highly enough of Ms. Kleypas’s talent for writing engaging, entertaining love stories, and A Wallflower Christmas is a perfect example of why her books always end up on my list of favorite novels. I absolutely loved this book and hope that Ms. Kleypas will one day write stories for the remaining two Bowman brothers, Ransom and Rhys, for I cannot get enough of this incredible series. For now I’ll content myself with curling up with A Wallflower Christmas and falling in love with Rafe and Hannah all over again.(less)
Of all the Hathaway siblings, Poppy is the one who most yearns for normalcy. But fate, or rather her sister’s pet ferret, changes Poppy’s plans and sets her directly in the path of mysterious hotelier Harry Rutledge. Harry’s everything Poppy doesn’t want: ruthless, manipulative, and seemingly incapable of love. But her reticence at forming an attraction to Harry is belied by her fascination with the man. And when an indiscreet moment lands Poppy at the center of scandal, she surprises her family by accepting Harry’s proposal of marriage.
If there is one thing Harry Rutledge has learned from life, it’s never to rely on anyone but himself. Yet from the moment he meets Poppy Hathaway, he knows he must possess her. But Harry soon discovers that marriage is only the beginning of the battle. To win Poppy’s heart, Harry must first learn to open his own.
Lisa Kleypas’s special brand of magic is at work in this phenomenal third installment to her enchanting Hathaway series. Tempt Me at Twilight is everything you could want in a story; it’s captivating, tender, humorous, and beautifully penned by a master of romance.
Ms. Kleypas has a gift for creating memorable characters, and those that populate Tempt Me at Twilight are no exception. Harry is a man hardened by past experiences. He loves no one, trusts few, and manipulates everyone. Even at his most calculating, Harry is an irresistible hero. Something in him calls out for Poppy and even though he schemes to win her hand in marriage, it’s because he cannot let her go. Watching him struggle with wanting to make someone happy for the first time in his life kept me spellbound for a great part of the book. I could fill pages and never do justice to describing Harry’s character or what drew me so to him, so I’ll leave it with saying you have to read the book for the opportunity to be entranced by Harry. As for Poppy, she’s an absolutely amazing heroine. She’s intelligent, giving, kind, and never backs down. She’s not perfect, but she’s perfect for Harry. I loved watching these two work through the problems in their relationship to find happiness.
Though Tempt Me at Twilight is the third book in Ms. Kleypas’s Hathaway series, it can be read on its own (though there are some minor spoilers for the first two books). Yet, even though each book in this series can stand alone, the Hathaways, not to mention their spouses and pets, are all quite involved in each other’s lives. The closeness of the Hathaway family is one of the things that makes this series so delightful. Amelia, Cam, Win, Merripen, Leo, and Beatrix, as well as Catherine Marks and Jake Valentine, friends of Poppy and Harry’s respectively, are all vividly drawn and endearing characters in their own right. They add a liveliness to the story that kept me smiling all the way through and I cannot wait for Leo and Beatrix’s books.
Tempt Me at Twilight is a sensual, exciting tale of two people who are meant to be – they just don’t know it at first. I loved every page of this fantastic story and each successive re-read has just solidified my reasons for placing this book on my keeper shelf. I finished Tempt Me at Twilight feeling almost giddy and hungry for the next enticing story by the tremendously talented Ms. Kleypas.(less)
Lady Charis Weston is in a desperate situation. She is England’s wealthiest heiress and she must stay out of her stepbrothers’ grasp for three more weeks, when she comes into possession of her fortune. Though she’s able to escape her tormenters, Charis is battered, bruised, and nearly frozen with cold when an unlikely savior crosses her path.
Throughout England, Sir Gideon Trevithick has been hailed as the Hero of Rangapindhi. Yet Gideon does not wish to be anyone’s hero. His torture in Rangapindhi has left him with scars, and the external ones are the least of his problems. All Gideon wants to do is retreat to his childhood home and isolate himself from the world. His journey home takes an unexpected turn when he discovers a beautiful woman who is clearly in danger. Unable to leave her, Gideon is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charis safe, including marry her. But though he’s captivated by Charis, Gideon swears that after their wedding night, their marriage will be in name only. If only Charis would accept that...
Now Gideon’s facing a battle unlike any he’s been through before. But with Charis as the one facing off against him, losing has never been so tempting. For the cost of this war is his heart, and the prize a love and a passion that could heal the most debilitating of wounds and bring both conquered and conqueror joy that could last a lifetime.
Anna Campbell’s gorgeous prose shines in this touching tale of love, desire, and overcoming the odds. Captive of Sin is a sweeping journey with a hero and heroine that will capture your heart and not let go. Charis has become one of my favorite heroines of Ms. Campbell’s. She’s intelligent and kind, but what’s more, she possesses the will to survive, to outwit her scheming stepbrothers and the ugly plans they have in store for her. Her strength of character is constantly tested and Charis always comes out on top, which makes me admire her all the more. She needs every bit of that strength to break down the walls Gideon has erected around himself. He has endured torture beyond what most men could live through, but his imprisonment has left him with an incapacitating weakness that makes him believe, with everything in him, that he will spend the rest of his life alone. He broke my heart and I loved him for his courage and honor, though he would likely not acknowledge those characteristics in himself. It’s with the most noble of intentions he tries to push Charis away, but I loved even more that she does not accept that, that she does everything she can to help him. The passion between Charis and Gideon burns strong and hot, but what makes Captive of Sin stand out is how memorable its protagonists are for their bravery and their love for one another.
Ms. Campbell never fails to entertain, and Captive of Sin is no exception; it’s as captivating and deliciously sinful as its title suggests. Ms. Campbell is a force to be reckoned with, in all the best ways. Her writing is powerful and her characters vast, varied, and intriguing. I look forward to reading many more novels by the tremendously talented Ms. Campbell.(less)
In the year 2079, there are three different species of people on the planet. Humans, the shape-shifting Changelings, and the Psy, who operate on both the physical and psychic plane. The Psy are trained from childhood to feel nothing – they are conditioned to be emotionless to the point of being cold and almost inhumane in their view of the world.
Judd Lauren had been an Arrow, one of the Psy Council’s most elite soldiers, until the day he and his family dropped out of the PsyNet. Now Judd lives amongst the SnowDancers – a pack of changeling wolves. But though he has left the Psy population, Judd continues to live an icy, emotionless existence, binding himself up in the conditioning of his youth to prevent himself from harming others.
Brenna Shane Kincaid is a changeling wolf who has survived abduction and torture by a ruthless Psy serial killer. But she hasn’t fully recovered from her attack and is fearful that the torture she suffered has left something evil inside of her. And despite what logic might tell her, the ice-cold Judd is the man she knows, in her heart, will be the one to help her.
Caressed by Ice is the third installment in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and it is flat-out amazing!!! Singh has gifted readers with an absolutely flawless read. After meeting Judd and Brenna in the first book of the series, Slave to Sensation, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to connect with the seemingly emotionless Judd. Boy was I wrong! As Judd’s icy barriers melt he struggles to balance his growing attachment to Brenna with his fear of completely breaking his conditioning and potentially unleashing a part of himself that would endanger everyone he loves. And seeing Judd’s struggle both broke my heart and made me incredibly attached to him.
As for Brenna, I have been waiting since Slave to Sensation (the book where she was kidnapped) to see her get her happy ending. Brenna surpassed even my highest expectations of her character. She has survived being horribly tortured and has come through with a strength and a dignity that not only I respect, but that feels truly realistic; I adored her.
The love story between Judd and Brenna was a thing of beauty. Balancing Brenna’s need for touch with Judd’s painful reaction to such contact could have been awkward with a lesser author. Singh not only pulls it off, but she had me on the edge of my seat, worrying how things could possibly work out for them.
There is plenty of action and danger to be had, and I give Singh high marks for keeping me guessing as to who was behind various attacks. There’s also humor to be found, as well as unexpected moments of sweetness, and not just between the main couple. Characters from Slave to Sensation and Visions of Heat play strong supporting roles, and I greatly look forward to the unmated changelings I so love getting their books (especially the latent leopard Dorian).
Caressed by Ice can be read as a stand-alone but I do not recommend it. I would suggest at least reading Slave to Sensation first to fully understand the Psy-Changeling world. And once you read Slave to Sensation, I’m sure you will want to run out and read Visions of Heat as well. All three books are fantastic and the series is wonderfully addictive. I cannot wait for the prequel, “Beat of Temptation” in the An Enchanted Season anthology (Nate and Tamsyn’s story – coming out October 2, 2007), nor can I wait for Mine to Possess (Clay’s story, due out February 5, 2008). And, because he has been my favorite from the very beginning of the series, I am incredibly impatient in waiting for Dorian’s story.
Caressed by Ice will be in stores September 4, 2007. Slave to Sensation and Visions of Heat, books 1 and 2 of the series, are already available and well worth rushing as fast as you can to the nearest bookstore. Nalini Singh is truly one of the most talented storytellers of today. Readers of the para and non-para genre alike will fall in love with the world Singh has created and the characters in it. Run, don’t walk, to get all three of her Psy-Changeling books!!!!(less)