Friday, April 11, 2014

My Heart's Desire

My Heart's Desire by Kate Pearce R

Caroline Lyndhurst was widowed in a boat accident that left much of her body covered in burn scars, and even though her time of mourning is up, she is very self conscious and continues to live in seclusion at her sisters house. When her sister throws a house party, Jasper Lord Mansell arrives and he has plans to bring Carolin out of her self imposed exile. He had been in love with Caroline for years and now that she is widowed and a suitable period of mourning has past, he is determined not to let his second chance slide by. Caroline cannot believe that anyone would be interested in her, but Jasper uses every possible opportunity to lure Caroline into private corners where he wastes no time in showing her that her scars do not stop him from wanting her. Caroline must learn to accept herself before she can allow someone else to truly love her and she is able to do that with Jasper's help.

This was a novella in the same anthology as "The Gift" and I admit that that story is quite the tough act to follow, but leave it to Pearce to manage splendidly. I loved that Caroline was insecure about her appearance and had something to genuinely be insecure about. I especially loved that Jasper didn't ignore her flaws, but embraced them and saw them as a part of her, and not something just to be overlooked. He was an amazing romance novel hero and I love the second chance story line that he'd been in love with her for years. The sex was incredibly hot, as expected, and Caroline and Jasper worked together incredibly well and made a perfect couple.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Gift

The Gift by Samantha Kane

Jeremy and his best friend, Rhys, were taken as prisoners of war at the Bey of Algiers, and were tortured while awaiting payment of their ransom. In prison, the two become even closer, but they connect over their mutual love of Jeremy's wife, Cordelia. Cordelia is in love with her husband, but she has always been in love with Jeremy as well, and when the two return she is overjoyed. The situation between the three of them begins awkwardly as Cordelia wants both men, and both men are interested in her. Jeremy and Rhys have agreed that they will both be Cordelia's lovers and both men love each other as much as they love Cordelia. Cordelia is embarrassed about her desires, and Rhys is terrified that Cordelia will reject him, but Jeremy knows his wife enjoys carnal activities enough that she will welcome Rhys into her bed. On their first night back Cordelia is worried that she will hurt her husband by making her desire for Rhys known, but luckily for her, Jeremy is definitely a take charge kind of guy, and he has no problem making his own desires known. Just as he had predicted, Cordelia wants to share her love with both of the important men in her life, and the three of them agree to engage in polyamorous relationship.

This was a very short novella that was quite obviously leading up to only one thing, but the way in which the story got to the inevitable threesome was very well done. There truly was a relationship between the three characters; between Cordelia and Jeremy, Cordelia and Rhys, and even Jeremy and Rhys. That made the eventual happily ever after more realistic and understandable and made it seem like they really could have their happily ever after. Rhys had demons that scared him, and Jeremy had his fair share as well, and Cordelia had enough guilt over her feelings for Rhys, that the three of them were all able to heal each other. The threesome was incredibly hot, and there was one scene with just Jeremy and Cordelia that was just as sexy. Jeremy was pretty dominant throughout both scenes, which I understood as he was watching his wife have sex with another man. I really liked finding this historical erotica, that went beyond just sex and managed to squeeze character development and true relationships into the story.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Unravelled

Unravelled by Courtney Milan

Miranda Darling grew up with a band of traveling actors, but when the troupe fell apart she took in a young boy as her ward, and now she is just trying to get by on the streets of Bristol. Unfortunately the best way to do that was to enlist the help of The Patron, and now Miranda finds herself unable to back out of doing favors for this mystery person. Her latest favor brings her to court, where Justice Smite Turner recognizes from another visit to his courtroom while she was pretending to be someone else. Smite follows her, and Miranda is terrified that he is on to her and asks the Patron to release her, however instead the Patron sends her right back into danger, and right back into Smite's arms. Smite knows Miranda is in quite a straight, she is undernourished, she can't control Robbie, and she is dangerously close to getting herself arrested and running out of money. Smite has earned the nickname "Lord Justice" because of his dedication to finding the truth behind all the charges brought before him, unlike his predecessors who assume everyone is guilty. However, he has dark memories and secrets about his childhood with a crazy mother and an an older brother who ran off to India and a younger brother he grew up having to protect.

Smite finds himself thinking about Miranda incessantly, but he knows he is not cut out for anything lasting of permanent. He offers her a position as his mistress and Miranda is just desperate enough to take it, especially after he offers Robbie a job as an apprentice on a ship. The money and the future is too much to turn down, and Miranda agrees, even knowing that this could end up hurting her immensely. Their first night together is everything Miranda dreams, until the end when Smite, in a desperate attempt to show that he does not need her, walks away and leaves her alone at the end and Miranda realizes that her heart is engaged. When the Patron hurts Robbie, Smite turns to his estranged family to try to help Miranda, but he feels that the best way to keep her safe is to send her away, even if it means he never sees her again. Miranda cannot bear to leave him, so she decides on her own method of dealing with the Patron. Smite and Miranda must fight off powerful enemies to ensure their happily ever after.

Miranda was a wonderful heroine to read about because she was caring, but not sacharine, she was independent but also not afraid to ask for help, she did what she needed to in order to survive on the streets, but she didn't become hard or sarcastic. In a way I would say she was a perfect heroine, precisely because she was imperfect. I liked how she faced her life, and how she wasn't pampered, but was still a woman with standards and hopes for the future; none of the high flung hopes with no chance of coming true, but realistic. Smite was a very tortured hero, and his past was certainly enough to send chills down my spine, but it feels like the world of historical romance has an unspoken contest between authors to see who can make the most horrific past for the hero to explain away why he's afraid of commitment. I admired his dedication to justice and it was certainly very ahead of his time, but the book did take some very advanced views of social issues that would be quite out of place in the Regency period (and might still be today to some people).

Smite wasn't mean to Miranda, but he did make it clear they couldn't have a relationship, and of course it was because he wasn't good enough for her or because his past prevents him from ever forming an attachment with anyone. I really enjoyed all of the time they spent together, even before their romantic relationship started, because they got along so well together, with none of the fighting or banter that so many authors use to show a connection between protagonists. They had common interests, they were both strong willed and independent and they certainly worked very well together in the bedroom. Their sexual relationship was very hot and was a really great addition to show why their relationship worked so well. The Patron played an important part in the story and there was quite a lot of how Miranda would escape from his clutches and, of course, a kidnapping plot at the end, but with the nice little twist of Miranda rescuing the man.

Rating: I enjoyed the book and the relationship and the plot about the Patron. I do, at times, wish that Milan's novels were more faced paced, but her writing was, as always, superb.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Anything He Wants

Anything He Wants: Atonement by Sara Fawkes

Lucy has found her happily ever after in billionaire CEO Jeremiah and there sex life is roaring, but Jeremiah is distracted by work problems and Lucy is worried. Even a very sexy trip to a BDSM club owned by Gabriel Steele isn't enough to make Jeremiah forget about his work. Between work and his mother picking on her, Lucy is worried that her happily ever after is getting torn assunder. When she can finally get Jeremiah's attention the sex between is as hot as ever and the two have no problems experimenting in the bedroom. Things are so frustrating that Lucy contemplates going to Borneo with her friend to help run their charity. When she finally confronts him, Lucy remains calm and collected and merely tells Jeremiah that she misses him, instead of giving in to her natural instinct to yell and shout. He finally reveals the big secret he has been keeping from her; he is quitting the job that he loathes and he encourages her to follow her dreams of helping people and tells her to open up her own charity right there in Manhattan. Their future is wide open in front of them and the cherry on top is a romantic proposal on the night of Lucy's birthday.

This was another very short novella and the opening scene in a BDSM club was rather off putting and confusing as it was obvious Jeremiah had not discussed what was happening with Lucy. Even though he didn't push her to do anything, it was unnerving that he would spring something like that on her, especially since their sex had apparently never progressed to anything like what they were seeing. I really enjoyed reading about how the two of them dealt with the difficulties in their relationship; perhaps that made it more of a real relationship for me as the entire relationship building process took place in a previous book. The two dealt with some very serious issues and they handled them really maturely and I wish the book had been more about that. The sex was pretty hot, not as scorching as I expected from this series, and the scenes in the club just were not my thing at all. There were also far too many name droppings from previous books and allusions to them which I never liked.

The Vampire Design

The Vampire Design by Vivi Anna

Emily Brooks is a naive young artist who has never been able to harness her talents. When her best friends decide to backpack through Europe she decides to go along in hopes of meeting her favorite reclusive painter, Xavier. Xavier paints women in the throws of pleasure and his paintings sell for millions of dollars and when Emily hears he is at a club she jumps at the chance. He invites her to a masquerade ball and lures her into his painting studio where she discovers his newest painting is missing a subject. He asks her to pose and while she is lying there on the sofa she is overtaken by lust and he captures the moment perfectly. While the two are making love she realizes that he is a vampire and in the heat of the moment she begs him to bite her. Afterward while he is falling asleep he asks her to stay, but when she awakens in the morning he is gone and she is heartbroken. But Xavier saves the day and comes back for her and she decides to stay in Germany and paint now that she has found her passion and make love with her beautiful vampire.

My synopsis above literally included every single thing that happened in this incredibly short novella. There was no character development, no real relationship, and I found Emily's reaction to discovering the man she's sleeping with is a vampire to be a little too ridiculous. She has no fear or anything, rather she is turned on, and while I realize that Twilight has taught us not to fear vampires, it was just too crazy that she had not a care at all about this creature that could kill her. And that she didn't at first think the fangs were false- like it was a natural jump from sharp teeth to vampire. The sex was incredibly hot obviously, but because the novella was so short there was not a lot of it. I did enjoy the happy ending at the end and how, while it wasn't permanent obviously (since he's immortal) it was a nice way for them to continue their relationship.