A quick, sweet romance between a newly divorced 40 year old woman (thank you!!!) and a 30 year old ER doctor. And her newly adopted Basset Hound-Beagl...moreA quick, sweet romance between a newly divorced 40 year old woman (thank you!!!) and a 30 year old ER doctor. And her newly adopted Basset Hound-Beagle mix dog named Fred. I'll definitely read more by this author. Very sweet romance.(less)
Bet Me is a fun, sweet, romantic story about two people who come together over a bet and end up taking their chances on true love. Although, in the en...moreBet Me is a fun, sweet, romantic story about two people who come together over a bet and end up taking their chances on true love. Although, in the end, you can be assured their happily ever after is a sure thing.
Min Dobbs has just been dumped by her boyfriend David in a bar. She's crushed and angry. It's not like she was in love with the guy, but she was working on it. He seemed to have all the right credentials to be 'the one,' after all. Now she's left without a date for her sister's upcoming wedding, which wouldn't normally bother her, but she'll never hear the end of it from her over-controlling mother.
Calvin Morrissey is a charmer and a heart breaker who has a reputation for dating a girl until she falls for him and then promptly breaking it off. Cal is at the same bar as Min when she has just been dumped. He's out with his friends and business partners, trying to avoid his most recent ex.
Min's friends encourage her to get over David asap by approaching a good looking guy in the bar and introducing herself. She and her friends single out Cal. As Min crosses the bar, she overhears David making a bet with Cal that he couldn't get the girl in the boring gray suit to sleep with him within a month. She realizes David means her and is obviously furious, but decides to play along just to burn David and maybe have a date for her sister's wedding in a couple of weeks to boot!
Bet Me is so much fun to read. It's fast paced, charming, funny, sweet, romantic, loaded with great dialogue and full of little surprises. The cast of secondary characters and all of the connecting side stories are entertaining and add a lot of drama and warmth to Min and Cal's love story. There are misunderstandings galore over the bet--make that bets, that will keep you laughing and guessing until the very end exactly how it will all work out. (less)
I picked up this book from the library to read for an online book club discussion that one of my book blogging friends--Shannon at the "What Women Rea...moreI picked up this book from the library to read for an online book club discussion that one of my book blogging friends--Shannon at the "What Women Read" blog--is hosting this week. It is a contemporary romantic suspense story. The heroine, Jaine, and three of her friends have some fun and make a list of requirements for their "Mr. Perfect" and it gets out of hand when the list goes public and the nation has fun with it. But the fun turns to horror when someone starts murdering the four women. As the murder mystery unfurls, Jaine and her detective neighbor, Sam, start to fall for each other. The story was a nice blend of romance, friendship, and how a little fun between friends can get out of hand and impact other relationships. I liked it well enough, but never felt WOWed by the characters or story.(less)
There something so satisfying about a well written contemporary romance and obviously SEP knows how to write 'em--funny, sexy and also very emotional...moreThere something so satisfying about a well written contemporary romance and obviously SEP knows how to write 'em--funny, sexy and also very emotional . This story is about Rachel Stone, a widowed, single mom who is ostracized because of her marriage to the now deceased televangelist who stole millions from his followers. Now nearly destitute, Rachel is willing to take on any job just to have money to buy food for her young son and give him a safe place to sleep at night. Luckily, Rachel's car breaks down in front of a work-in-progress drive-in theater owned by Gabe Bonner, who allows her to work for him and get his theater up and running. Gabe has some serious problems of his own, struggling to get over his grief from losing his wife and son in an accident several years ago, but it turns out each is just what the other needs in order to find faith in love again and to dream a little dream that just might come true... (less)
Catch of the Day is a simple, sweet contemporary romance about a regular small town girl who finds true love when and where she least expected it. I didn't think I could get so easily swept away by such a straightforward romance, but this story had me at times amused and at other times teary eyed. I found myself easily relating to Maggie and rooting for her to find love from the very first page. I enjoyed following her mishaps and heartaches as much as I enjoyed her triumphs. The secondary characters and their side stories are all very well written and connect to Maggie's story in just the right ways to bring extra depth and life to the story.
Maggie is such an easy character to like. She's warm hearted, generous and really loves life. She just wants to share her good life with someone she loves. She tries to keep a positive outlook on life, which is very challenging considering the disaster called her dating life, not to mention the added challenge that her twin sister has the perfect life Maggie's always wanted-- a hardworking, doting husband, a beautiful baby and a charming home. I admired Maggie for her perseverance and for doing her best to be optimistic. She has the tendency to talk a lot, as in she rambles incessantly when she's nervous, a trait that proved both humorous and charming. I loved the way she could be so straightforward and confess truths about herself despite the fact that some of those truths were often a bit embarrassing. Maybe that's because she's had so much experience being embarrassed? No matter the reasons, Maggie was adorable.
Malone. What's not to love about the quiet, almost brooding town loner? He has a hidden sex appeal that surfaces only after you've noticed his enigmatic vibes and then you can't help yourself from wanting to know what he's all about. The fact that he's a man of so few words makes figuring him out even more difficult, but he's a man whose actions are both careful and purposeful. I really loved the fact that the author never compromised Malone's character throughout the novel. Several opportunities arose throughout the story where Malone could have said or done something to get what he wanted and set the record straight, and sometimes I wanted him to! --but that would have been completely out of character. It wasn't until I got to the end that I realized I wanted someone to fall for Maggie for the exact person she is, faults and all, so wouldn't I want the same for Malone? And isn't it more realistic that people fall in love with each other for the who they truly are and not what we think they should be? So as much as I wanted to better understand the quiet mystery of Malone and I kept waiting for him to open up, I love him just the way he is which is perfect for Maggie. And based on something he shares with Maggie on the last few pages, I know he'll be opening up for the woman he loves and that's good enough for me.
I can't really think of anything negative to say about this book. While Catch of the Day may not be the knock your socks off kind of love story--the beauty of it is in it's fun and heartwarming simplicity.(less)
Like Sugar Daddy, Blue Eyed Devil is another story of a young woman's journey to find herself and the true love she deserves. Blue Eyed Devil is the story of Haven Travis, the youngest and only daughter of business tycoon Churchill Travis, who was Liberty Jones' 'sugar daddy' so to speak in Sugar Daddy. The story opens at the wedding of Liberty Jones and Gage Travis from Sugar Daddy. Haven Travis is engaged to Nick Tanner and accidentally shares an intimate kiss in a dark wine cellar with Hardy Cates--Liberty Jones' long ago, long time childhood crush--thinking he is Nick. After much embarrassment, Haven composes herself and they part ways.
Haven marries Nick and their relationship quickly proves to be an unhealthy one. Nick emotionally abuses Haven, beginning with subtle insults and degradations, and building slowly as he isolates her from her family and friends, controls how she spends her time and money, intimidates her, and purposely destroys personal items in the house. Ultimately he controls Haven in such a way that she loses sight of her individuality and her right to be free and happy. As the frequency and severity of Nick's emotional abuse of Haven increases, eventually the physical and sexual abuse begins. In final bout of rage, Nick severely injures Haven and locks her out of their home. Finally, Haven is able to walk away and save herself.
Haven's road to healing begins as she puts in a call to her brother Gage Travis--husband of Liberty Jones, both of whom give Haven shelter, loving support and personal space for healing. And let me just point out that I loved Gage in Sugar Daddy, but I love loved him in Blue Eyed Devil. He was perfect and very heroic. Haven then divorces Nick, seeks professional help for her abusive past, starts working for her brother, Jack Travis and begins to put her life back together and become whole again.
Blue Eyed Devil is the heart wrenching story of how Haven Travis lost herself in a damaging and unhealthy way as a result of her abusive marriage to Nick Tanner. It is also the heart warming story of how Haven Travis put herself on the path of healing and self empowerment and how she found the genuine, healthy, unrequited love she deserves. Haven Travis finds such a love with none other than Hardy Cates, the self made Texan business tycoon who has been on his own path to find himself for some time as well. Their story intense and beautiful, filled with heart aches and emotional healing and some very tender and very sexy love scenes. Together Haven and Hardy provide what the other one needs in order to heal. Blue Eyed Devil is a story of personal triumph with a romantic happily ever after that will stay in my heart forever.(less)
A Harlequin Blaze romantic suspense story involving a Navy SEAL on leave, asked by his best friend to watch over his sister who is in over her head in...moreA Harlequin Blaze romantic suspense story involving a Navy SEAL on leave, asked by his best friend to watch over his sister who is in over her head in a lawsuit against some very powerful and dangerous people. It is a friends to lovers story that is exciting and almost bittersweetly romantic.(less)
Tempted is Megan Hart's most recently published novel with Spice publish...more[review originally posted on my blog the happily ever after.. in March 2008.]
Tempted is Megan Hart's most recently published novel with Spice publishing. It is marketed as an erotic novel, and while it does have erotic elements, Tempted is more a novel of romantic realism. It is a realistic novel about strongly intertwined relationships brought about by real life actions, reactions, and consequences. It is the bittersweet emotional story, told from Anne's perspective, of what transpired over the course of one summer between Anne, her husband James, and his best friend Alex when the three became lovers.
Anne has everything a woman could want. Her husband James is handsome, loving and attentive and they live a happy and comfortable life together in their charming lake house. But things aren't exactly picture perfect. Anne is stressed out from dealing with her critical and impossible to please mother-in-law, and the ever present consequences of her father's alcoholism. In addition, each of Anne's three younger sisters are dealing with some serious problems of their own. Then a call comes from Alex, James' best friend from his youth, and everything in Anne's world changes.
James and Alex were inseparable childhood friends until they had a huge falling out the night before Alex left for Singapore on a business venture ten years ago. No one talks about the mysterious falling out, not even James, and it must have been intense if they dropped from each other's lives for ten years in a heartbeat. Now Alex has sold his company and is returning to the States to stay with James and Anne for the summer. Anne has never met Alex until he arrives at their home, and she is instantly overwhelmed by his sensuality and the mysteries of his past with her husband. She immediately senses a deep bond between James and the enigmatic Alex that is complicated, yet clearly depicts love and possibly even sexual attraction. Inevitably, Alex joins Anne and James in their bed and it isn't long before their relationships transcend fun and games and the boundaries of friendship, sex, and love are tested. Emotions develop in complex tangents between the three of them, and Anne and James' marriage is put on the line. The consequences of the threesome are engaging and a also a bit disturbing, forcing the characters to make decisions that may forever change their lives. Ms. Hart's characters are real and complex. They have flaws, they make mistakes, and are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. They address things about themselves that they may not have otherwise, had this affair not happened. And in the end, each have to make important decisions about the love they choose to embrace.
Tempted is not a typical erotic romance novel. While there are indeed erotic sex scenes, including several menages a trois scenes, it isn't the eroticism that gives this novel its power. The power behind this novel is the intense emotions and complicated relationships that drive the plot. Anne's personal struggle to understand her own emotions and desires, as well as those of James and Alex, and how it all affects her life, her loves, and her family is what makes this novel what it is: intense, honest, engaging, and thought provoking.
The ending of Tempted is not the kind of happily ever after ending I have come to expect and love from reading romance, but since this novel is not a lighthearted romance or erotic novel, the bittersweet ending is true to the complexity of real life. Initially, I had some issues with the circumstances surrounding the ending because it went against the resolution that already took root between the characters and didn't provide any closure. But after I thought about it for quite some time, I decided that the ending that Ms. Hart wrote is actually the only possible ending that would give Anne, James, and Alex the closure they each needed to move on with their lives, which is a good thing, even if it was disconcerting.
I had a really hard time coming up with a grade for Tempted. There are a few decisions that the characters make that I thought were inconsistent with the circumstances. I also felt that the story could have been even more interesting and compelling if James' character, and his relationship with Alex were more deeply developed. Then the fact that the ending threw me for a loop and I kept analyzing it gave me doubts about the book. However, I enjoyed reading Tempted because the relationships were so compelling and I couldn't help but examine and reexamine the characters and their actions for days after finishing the novel and that is what moved me the most. Perhaps that was Ms. Hart's intention after all - to write a powerful and thought provoking novel that left a profound impression on the reader. If so, her mission was accomplished with me. (less)
Shaken And Stirred is such a fun romance! I was drawn in to the setting, the cast of characters, and the story line from the very first few pages. Fir...moreShaken And Stirred is such a fun romance! I was drawn in to the setting, the cast of characters, and the story line from the very first few pages. Firstly, the setting of the story is perfect. New York City is lively, interesting, and dramatic in and of itself and the perfect compliment to a sexy romance between the owner of a bar and his best bartender and friend. The entire cast of characters, including secondary and trivial characters, are realistic and unique, just as you'd expect at a real life family owned bar.
Although the book is relatively short at 214 pages, Ms. O'Reilly does a wonderful job at developing the individual personalities of her characters, including their flaws and weaknesses. Gabe is protective of Tessa, yet respects her need to survive on her own. Well, he tries his best, anyway. There's only so patient and understanding a guy can be when the woman he loves wants her independence more than anything else. Tessa is confident and determined.... but not. She's still young, a bit naive, a bit skittish, and I think deep down inside loves the idea of having a man take care of her, which completely contradicts her resolve to be completely self reliant. Shaken And Stirred is almost a coming of age story for Tessa as she tries to figure out what's truly important for her present and future success and happiness.
The story line of Shaken And Stirred is at times fun and then at times very serious. The dialogue and pace of the story is excellent, and of course the intimacy shared between Gabe and Tessa is very steamy. I thought the relationship between Gabe and Tessa was realistic, as was the way they fell in love. I understood Tessa's need to have her independence, but at the same time I wanted her to just fall into the security of Gabe. There was a brief part at which I was skeptical of how quickly Gabe's resolve to not wait for Tessa wavered. One moment he was adamant about not waiting around for her, and then the next moment he was ready to wait forever for her. But young love is confusing, and it's easy to say one thing and then do another, so I got over it. The story was just so sweet and sexy, I couldn't help but love it. It's a friends to lovers romance that had me rooting for a happily ever after for Gabe and Tessa from the very beginning. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy, which are both in my TBR pile, so stay tuned!(less)
Sex, Straight Up is yet another great installment in this fun, sexy, and romantic trilogy. Another relatively short novel, yet impressively packed wit...moreSex, Straight Up is yet another great installment in this fun, sexy, and romantic trilogy. Another relatively short novel, yet impressively packed with an interesting story line and fantastic character and relationship development that is realistic, emotional, and truly compelling.
The nature of this love story made for a fairly complicated emotional journey for Daniel O'Sullivan. He still loves his deceased wife, and knows he always will love her, but he also acknowledges that time has been telling him he's ready to move on. Throughout the pages of the story, Daniel's struggle to figure out how exactly to do just that is emotional and also beautiful. Once he and Catherine begin their affair the second time around, he's honest with Catherine and really does try to do the right thing. One can't help but empathize with him and admire him for his efforts.
At the same time that Daniel struggles with trying to let go of his past and start to move on, Catherine struggles with maintaining realistic expectations of her relationship with Daniel. She knows she's falling in love with Daniel, but knows it wouldn't be wise to just give her heart up to him. She wants to, though, because when she's with him, everything feels easy and right. And yet, when it does start to show that he loves her, too, she doesn't just cave into that without thinking. She's smart and knows Daniel isn't just going to get over his wife after a few nights or weeks of great sex and conversation. So she's cautious. And what's great about that is that while she's protecting herself from heartache, she's also helping Daniel figure out exactly what he needs, too. He is the one who has to figure himself out and when he does figure it out, he's the one who has to make it happen between them.
Sex, Straight Up is a really beautiful romance that is both passionate and tender. Both characters do a lot of soul searching as they try to figure out what they want from the other person and what is a realistic and fair expectation. Their actions are realistic and purposeful, even when it's just about the sex. When love comes into play, this couple share some very tender and romantic moments that had such depth of emotion and truth. You couldn't help but believe their love was true and meant to be.(less)
This is the last story in the this fun and sexy trilogy. It is Sean O'Sullivan's story. Sean is a lawyer and a ladies man. When someone in town hall m...moreThis is the last story in the this fun and sexy trilogy. It is Sean O'Sullivan's story. Sean is a lawyer and a ladies man. When someone in town hall messes with the family owned bar, Prime, Sean takes matters in his own hands, determined to get things straightened out. He approaches the take charge, intelligent Deputy Mayor of NYC Cleo Hollings for answers and immediately the sexual tension builds between these two. How are these two hot heads going to fall in love? (less)