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FIERY TALES SERIES BOOK 1

Three classic fairytales—“Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist….

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d’Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss—and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress—and this time, he has no intention of letting her go…

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother’s house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger…

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants—and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King’s private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he’s every bit the man he once was—and more than man enough for her…

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Deliciously hot and spicy is how I’d describe Lila DiPasqua’s AWAKENED BY A KISS. It’s a collection of three steamy love stories each inspired, although rather loosely, by a popular children’s fairy tale.

Sleeping Beau

I love the cat and mouse game Adrien plays with Catherine to force her to admit that she’s his mysterious temptress. It certainly heightens the sexual tension between them! How satisfying to see Alex, who always prides himself on being in control, completely losing it when he’s with Catherine. He certainly earned a place in my heart when he tells Catherine how wonderful her painting is, much to her surprise and joy.

I love Catherine’s spirit and it’s so funny when Adrien sets down his conditions for their affair only to have Catherine counter with her own! How refreshingly honest she is in admitting that she wants the affair because she desires Adrien. Five years ago, Adrien opened up the world of sexual pleasure for her and now she wants to explore it to the full. Bravo, Catherine!

Catherine’s maid, Odette, provides some welcome comic relief. I love the scene where she finds Adrien in Catherine’s bed and covers her eyes in shock; then proceeds to peek at his naked chest through her fingers!

Little Red Writing

This is the longest of the stories and the most emotionally compelling.

Nicholas is all for combining business with pleasure. An affair with Anne is going to be a very pleasurable way of passing the time while searching for evidence to uncover Leduc’s identity. I loved watching him struggle with his growing feelings for Anne, and the guilt he feels about lying to her. Then to compound his problems further, he discovers that Anne is Leduc! He’s in a real dilemma and there seems no way out without losing Anne.

Hurt by past experiences, Anne has built a protective shell around herself which Nicholas finally breaks through to discover the passionate woman beneath. I so admired her bravery in championing women’s rights through her writing, risking imprisonment or worse, if discovered.

I liked Ms DiPasqua’s resolution to Nicholas’s dilemma and his reconciliation with his grandmother. The final resolution of Anne’s predicament did, however, seem a little too easy. Oh, Ms DiPasqua! I really, really wanted to be privy to Anne’s conversation with the King. I was dying to know what was said.

Bewitching in Boots

This is my favourite story of the three with its sharp repartee and sizzling sexual tension.

I have to confess that, despite his initial rudeness and brusque manner, I couldn’t help but like Tristan. He sees Elizabeth as spoiled and self-indulgent and dislikes being the object of the little game she’s obviously playing. I enjoyed watching him gradually change into a doting lover as he discovers the real Elizabeth.

I love Elizabeth. She’s charming, beautiful, intelligent, determined but also caring. Everyone believes her scheming at court is simply to retain her position as the King’s favourite daughter, but her real motive is really to protect her younger sister, Claire. She truly cares for Tristan and knows him to be a man of honour who deserves to be re-instated in his former position. She’s not above using a little deception to achieve this!

Overall Thoughts

The French court of Louis XIV, with all its political maneuvering and sexual intrigue, provides a refreshingly different setting. Those who like their love scenes steamy won’t be disappointed and Ms DiPasqua excels in combining the erotic and the romantic perfectly. Oh là là! If the heroes of these stories are typical of Frenchmen, then it’s no surprise that they have earned the reputation of being superb lovers!!

If you’re looking for a super sexy and entertaining read, I can definitely recommend AWAKENED BY A KISS.

RATING : A DELICIOUS ★★★★★

WARNING: This book contains sexually explicit love scenes which may not appeal to everyone.

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Some years ago, I remember browsing the shelves of Borders in Cardiff and coming across Again The Magic by an author called Lisa Kleypas. Being fairly new to the Historical Romance genre, I bought the book based solely on the summary on the back cover. Little did I know that I’d just started my love affair with the fabulous world of Lisa Kleypas!

So what makes Lisa Kleypas my No. 1 favourite author?

L = lyrical, multi- textured and evocative writing

I = imaginative, emotionally satisfying and wonderfully romantic stories

S = sparkling, witty dialogue

A = amazing cast of secondary characters who enrich the stories


K
= kudos for the sizzling chemistry and sexual tension created

L = luscious, steamy, tender love scenes

E = emotive, sigh-worthy happy endings

Y = yummy, strong, flawed, passionate, sexy, smart, intriguing heroes

P = perfect touches of charm and humour

A = a deep emotional attachment to her unforgettable characters

S = spirited, likeable, unconventional, independent, witty, clever heroines

For information about Lisa’s books, visit her website.

http://www.lisakleypas.com/

Who tops your list of favourite authors?

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COMANCHE SERIES 3

Torn between the white and Comanche worlds of her parents, Indigo Wolf has grown up estranged from the townspeople of Wolf’s Landing, Orgeon. No one understands her elusive spirit-until Jake Rand comes to town to act as foreman of her family’s ranch. But Jake’s real motives are as secret as his true identity, and as personal as his growing attraction to Indigo.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book although it didn’t quite have the same emotional impact as the previous two books in the series, Comanche Moon and Comanche Heart. Once again, Catherine Anderson transported me back to 1885, to the mining town of Wolf’s Landing and into the world of Hunter and Loretta Wolf and their daughter, Indigo, the heroine of this book.

This book explores the growing relationship between Indigo and Jake with all its emotional turmoil and Catherine Anderson is so adept at drawing you into the lives of her characters and making you really care about them.

A terrible experience when Indigo was younger has left her with a deep distrust and fear of white men in general. Things she’s heard about how a white man treats an Indian wife do nothing to reassure her.

Given the circumstances, I can fully understand Indigo’s initial horror at having to marry Jake. After all, he’s a virtual stranger and a white man, two good reasons for distrusting him! Fearful for her safety, after further incidents at the mine, Jake forbids her to go to the mine or to go anywhere on her own. In Indigo’s eyes, Jake’s actions only serve to reinforce her opinions of him; she has become a virtual prisoner:

All the things she had always counted on had been snatched away, Lobo, the support of her parents, the home where she’d grown up, the mine, and her mountains. Even her name was different. Not Indigo Wolf anymore, but Indigo Rand. She felt like a cup that had been drained and left empty.

I think this shows a stubborn streak in Indigo and also a certain amount of immaturity because she’s not willing to see that her safety is Jake’s only concern.

Jake treats her with nothing but kindness, gentleness and patience and so I was frustrated with Indigo’s continuing antagonistic attitude towards him. It’s only when Indigo finally opens her heart to Jake that I realised just how deeply her past experiences had coloured her outlook on life and why she found it so difficult to trust Jake.

I liked Jake from the start because of his concern for those people affected by his father’s actions and his intention to go to Wolf’s Landing personally to investigate. He’s a man with a conscience.

His relationship with Indigo is complex. He is attracted to her from the beginning but won’t act on it because he feels guilty about lusting after his host’s daughter. Not to mention that he considers himself much too old for her. She is very different from the ladies in Portland and he is fascinated by her and when he offers to marry Indigo to protect her reputation, he’s not just being honourable:

If he were brutally honest, he had to admit that the thought of marrying her wasn’t totally repugnant. She appealed to him in a way he couldn’t define. He could almost taste how sweet her dusky-rose lips would be, how silken her skin. A man could suffer far worse fates.

Jake’s very patient with Indigo, always considering her feelings, even when it comes to consummating the marriage. I wasn’t surprised when he eventually loses patience with her and vents all his frustrations but this proves to be the catalyst for them to admit their love for each other. The consummation scene comes towards the end of the book but it is so beautiful and poignant that the paucity of love scenes didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book.

There are some funny moments in the book which had me giggling to myself particularly when Father O’Grady is talking to Jake about Indigo’s confession and when Indigo asks the local prostitute, Franny, for advice about her wedding night!

Although the action only forms a background to the love story, there is a nail-biting climax which will have you on the edge of your seat.

VERDICT: Catherine Anderson has again crafted a beautiful and tender love story

RATING : ★★★★★

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COMANCHE SERIES BOOK 2

Years ago, Amy Masters escaped the Texas plains for a quiet life as a teacher in Oregon. Then, out of the shadows comes Swift Antelope, the Comanche warrior to whom she once pledged her heart. But Amy’s brutal past has made it impossible for her to trust any man-even the bold warrior who has haunted her dreams, the only man she ever loved, the Comanche heart she can’t live without…

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This is a powerful and beautiful love story with a tremendous emotional impact. It’s a book that stayed with me long after I had finished reading it.

I really felt for Swift when he constantly tried to regain Amy’s trust with such determination and patience only to suffer her scorn and constant rejection. The scene where he is humiliated in front of a classroom of children is truly heart-rending. I couldn’t understand, at first, why he would put himself through all this. Later it is apparent that building a new life in Wolf’s Landing with Amy is his last chance to escape his past which he knows will ultimately mean his death at the hands of someone who is faster on the draw –

“Do you think I rode two thousand miles on a whim? I was running, dammit, running for my life!”

I love the way he tells Amy how much he loves her and wants her:

“That’s an L, as in love, and I love you more than I’ll ever be able to tell you with words. I want to tell you in other ways. In the way I kiss you. In the way I touch you. In the way I hold you. Won’t you let me say it my way, just once?”

So romantic!!

When he discovers the terrible secret Amy has been keeping buried for so many years, he is willing to leave rather than cause her any more pain, knowing the possible consequences for him. This is where I really fell in love with Swift’s character because he is willing to make such a great sacrifice for her.

I felt for Amy because of all she had suffered but I was so annoyed with the way she constantly spurned Swift. I wanted her to see beyond his outer appearance and recognise he was still the Swift she knew and loved and trust him enough to take a chance. Once I learned the shameful secret she’d been hiding from everyone, her reactions to Swift and what he represented made sense.

When Swift tells her he’s leaving, I could feel the turmoil Amy is going through – this is what she wants but, without him, her life will be empty. It’s such an emotional scene when Swift sees her running after him and she finally admits she loves him and wants him to stay. The love scene where Swift first makes love to Amy is so beautiful and sensual, a testament to Catherine Anderson’s wonderful writing.

There are some really very funny scenes in the book which help to relieve the tension. I particularly enjoyed the one where Amy is trying to evade Swift and climbs out of her kitchen window, only to get stuck half way. The dialogue between the two had me laughing out loud.

Catherine Anderson really impressed me with the emotional depth of her writing and I could fill a notebook with all the memorable quotes. I cannot recommend this book enough and it is definitely a keeper for me.

VERDICT:  A TRULY WONDERFUL BOOK – A MUST READ!

RATING: STELLAR ★★★★★

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AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957)
Starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr

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I remember first seeing this movie in the 1960s and thinking it was one on of the most romantic films I’d ever seen. I still get a lovely warm glow whenever I watch it all these years later. There’s just something timeless about it.

The basic story

Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant), a handsome play-boy and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), a beautiful night club singer meet on a transatlantic cruise from Europe to New York. Although engaged to other people, they gradually fall in love. On their last night together, they agree to go their separate ways and, in six months’ time, if they still feel the same way about each other, they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building.  Nickie arrives and waits in vain for Terry, unaware that a terrible tragedy has prevented her from keeping their rendezvous. Unable to forget her, Nickie is determined to find out why she never came. He manages to obtain her address and makes a surprise visit on Christmas Eve. Will he finally learn the truth?

For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, I won’t want to spoil the ending. Just be sure to have a large box of tissues handy!

The wonderful combination of charming, charismatic Cary Grant, stunningly beautiful Deborah Kerr, delicious on-screen chemistry, glamorous setting, beautiful costumes, delightful comedy, heart-warming moments, tug-at-your-heart strings moments and perfect background music, make this movie an unforgettable gem for any hopeless romantic such as me.

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Terry accompanies Nickie on a short visit to see his grandmother, when the ship docks near her home in the South of France. This is one of my favourite scenes in the film because Terry sees a very different side to Nickie, far different from his play-boy image , and its here that they really fall in love.

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Terry McKay: The Empire State Building is the closest thing to heaven in this city

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A Wild Night’s Bride, the first book in The Devil DeVere series, will be available as a FREE dowload from her publisher BREATHLESS PRESS beginning this Friday 10/26/12 for two weeks ending Friday 11/9/12.

Here is the link: http://www.breathlesspress.com/index….

The price change to FREE should occur very early this Friday.

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When I wake up in the morning and nothing hurts, I know I must be dead.

– George Burns

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