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Posts Tagged ‘Sensuality-Sizzling’

Genre: Historical Romance Erotic (Victorian – Morocco 1893)

Cover Blurb:

In the heat of the desert night, passion rises like a flame…

Raised in a brothel, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, as a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she vows she will never be vulnerable to any one man…

Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. When Allegra ignites his desire, his need threatens to undermine his cover.

With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all costs. But Allegra has her own game to play…with a man who can’t afford to lose.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

This is the second book I have read by Monica Burns and, although I don’t think it is quite as good as MIRAGE, the suspense, steamy romance, interesting characters and evocative setting make this a very enjoyable read.

Allegra Synnford

The young Allegra suffers the same fate as her older sister when her mother sells her to a brothel owner. She is finally able to escape this existence when she becomes the mistress of Arthur, Earl of Bledsoe. The scandal surrounding his death serves to create the illusion of a courtesan unparalleled. Men are drawn to her but Arthur’s death has given her the independence to choose the men she takes to her bed. She always needs to be in control and never becomes emotionally involved.

She was always the one who seduced. The one in control. Men succumbed to her not the other way around.

Allegra is strong, resilient, courageous and, above all, a survivor and I like how she never apologises for making the best of a life that was not of her choosing. She is a good person at heart which is clearly shown in her love for her niece, Cordelia. She wants Cordelia to have someone who really cares about her and wants her to be happy, something that Allegra never had in her own life.

Sheikh Shaheen/Robert Camden, Viscount Newcastle

15 years ago Robert left England after his involvement with and betrayal by a courtesan led to the tragic death of his older brother, James. Disowned by his father and racked by guilt over his brother’s death, Robert seeks death in the Moroccan desert only to be saved by Sheikh Khalid Mahmood. As Sheikh Shaheen, Robert builds a new life for himself and the Amazigh people become like family to him. He has successfully negotiated treaties between the various warring Bedouin tribes and earned the respect of not only the Bedouins but also the Spanish and French governments that control the Moroccan Sultanate. These treaties and the life he had made for himself could easily be destroyed if his true identity became known.

Shaheen is definitely an alpha hero…strong, arrogant, stubborn and a man who likes to be in control. He has never talked about his past to anyone, even Khalid, but these tragic events will colour his initial assumptions about Allegra. He is immediately intrigued by her but believes Allegra to be shallow just like Frances, the courtesan who betrayed him, but he finds that Allegra is constantly shattering his preconceptions about her.

Once again, she’d shattered another preconceived notion of his – her simple scent surprised him. he’d expected a musky perfume, something exotic, not something so simple and natural, delicate gestures that were completely natural and without artifice?

He sees a woman with principles…a woman with spirit, who isn’t afraid to defy him or bravely stand up to the cruel Sheikh Nassar. He wants to discover the real woman beneath the façade of a seductive courtesan.

Allegra is attracted to Shaheen but will never relinquish control of her life. He both captivates and infuriates her and throws her off balance. One minute he can be caring but the next arrogant and commanding.

I love the battle of wills between these two strong-willed and stubborn people. Allegra refuses to allow any man to control her but Shaheen is a man who demands total submission. This conflict creates a volatile relationship which only serves to heighten the sexual tension simmering between them. The erotic banana scene, where Allegra wins her bet, is definitely not to be missed!

Shaheen makes a lot of mistakes when it comes to his relationship with Allegra but I could understand his reasoning for acting the way he does even though he is sometimes harsh and hurtful. I was pleased to see that Allegra doesn’t make it easy for him at the end and he has to do some serious grovelling.

There are some interesting secondary characters including Millie, Allegra’s friend and companion; Laila, Khalid’s feisty daughter; Hakim, Khalid’s son and heir, who develops a crush on Allegra creating tension between him and Shaheen; Shaheen’s distant cousin Charles, who presents some problems for our hero and the sadistic villain Nassar, Khalid’s brother.

I enjoyed the fast pace of the story with its mix of regional politics, intrigue and danger and Ms Burns doesn’t shy away from showing Nassar’s cruel and degrading treatment of Allegra. A truly nasty piece of work and I was glad to see him meet a sticky end.

Ms Burns has an innate ability to draw me into her stories with writing that is evocative, emotive and sensual. Her vivid imagery brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of the exotic Moroccan setting.

MY VERDICT: If you enjoy an action-packed tale of passion, desire and love with an exotic setting, then this is for you


REVIEW RATING: 4/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read May 2016

**I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. **

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Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

Married young to a man hand-picked by her father, Elizabeth Petre is an ideal Victorian lady. She has borne two sons and endured sixteen years of selfless duty in a passionless marriage. Craving a man’s loving touch yet loyal to her wedding vows, Elizabeth is determined to seduce her coldly indifferent husband. She knows of only one man who can teach her the erotic secrets of love.

The bastard son of an English countess and an Arab sheik, Ramiel Devington was reared to embrace both Western culture and Eastern pleasure. Scorned by society and challenged by prim Elizabeth’s request, he undertakes her instruction in the art of sensual delight. But when the lessons become a temptation neither can resist, Elizabeth is forced to choose between obligation and a bold, forbidden passion.

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I discovered Robin Schone by reading some well written reviews almost by accident, and was intrigued. Erotica is not a genre that has ever interested me but having started this novel I became fascinated. This is not a smutty, kinky, shallow tale, but rather a deeply dark, sensual love story with some very serious ‘goings on’ – this tale is not for the faint hearted.

Elizabeth Petre is a wife and mother, her husband an influential high ranking and ambitious politician. Dutiful and supportive of her husband and his aspirations, she is nevertheless dissatisfied with her loveless, passionless marriage. Living in Victorian England with its double standards, narrow minded attitudes and lack of women’s rights, Elizabeth has little hope of improving her lot in life and then, through the ton’s grapevine, she hears rumours that her husband has taken a mistress. She is desperate to seduce him back to her bed in any way she can.

Lord Ramiel Safyre is the base born son of an Arab Sheikh and an English Countess. Renowned for his bedroom talents but scorned and slighted for his race and bastardy, Ramiel is a lonely man, longing for someone to accept and want him for himself rather than his sexual prowess. Elizabeth approaches Ramiel and surprises him by asking him to tutor her in the ways of pleasing her husband in bed. This is a novelty to Ramiel, having never encountered a woman who is unselfishly anxious to pleasure a man. Privately, he wonders what it would be like to be wanted by a woman in such a way.

Ramiel agrees to Elizabeth’s request and the tutoring begins using an erotic manual, written hundreds of years previously, and known as The Perfumed Garden of the Sheikh Nefzaoui. Elizabeth has specified that she will not be unfaithful to her husband and so the tutoring is done by words alone. How this is achieved is sensually erotic, sexy and utterly captivating. This is where I thought I would feel uncomfortable, but I didn’t. Ms. Schone uses this erotic dialogue to expertly to grow the relationship between the unbelievably naive Elizabeth and the sensual but deeply honourable Ramiel. The air is sizzling and it is not long before attraction begins to grow between them.

There is no physical interaction between these two compelling characters until well into the second half of the book. In the meantime, there is a darkly dangerous background story emerging, in which Elizabeth’s very life is endangered. There is a shocking culmination, which I did not see coming and which some readers may be repulsed although I wasn’t. I feel it thoroughly describes the Victorian era, with its ridiculously draped table legs but conversely, the hypocritical, darker sexual predilections of some members of society.

I was slightly uncomfortable with the very graphic descriptions of the actual sexual acts which is rather unreasonable on my part given that it is an erotic historical romance. I did love the slow unraveling of Elizabeth and her low self-esteem as she learns to become comfortable in her own skin, with the delicious Ramiel teaching her how to be a sexy, desirable woman at last.

My only real criticism with the writing is the inclusion of American words which certainly would not have been used in Victorian England…words such as ‘gotten’, ‘fall’ and ‘block’, but worst of all ‘fanny’ which means something completely different in England! It is a pity that Ms. Schone did not employ an English reader to correct this otherwise very well written novel

MY VERDICT: I was fascinated by this unusual and earthy story and it is a pity I had to be picky. Nevertheless, 4.5* rounded up to 5* for a sensual, darkly compelling tale.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

 

Read June 2014

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Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

A sheikh without a country. A woman without fear. A love hotter than the Sahara.
In his heart, Viscount Blakeney will always be Sheikh Altair Mazir, but a deathbed oath to his English grandfather forces him to divide his time between Britain and his beautiful Sahara. A victim of prejudice from both cultures, he has learned a bitter lesson. Trust no one.

Yet when he witnesses firsthand the British Museum’s rejection of Alexandra Talbot’s request for assistance in finding the lost city of Ramesses II, he finds himself not only compelled to help, but donning his desert robes to hide his identity.

Alexandra is all too familiar with men who equate her sex with a lack of intelligence. But the mysterious Altair isn’t like other men. He never questions her ability to find the lost city, only her resistance to the sinful pleasure of his touch.

Bound by a Pharaoh’s prophecy, desire flares between them under the desert stars. But murder and betrayal turn their quest into a deadly game, pushing their fragile trust to the breaking point. A trust that must be reforged if they are to survive.

This book has been previously published by Samhain Publishing.

Warning: Contains a half-blood prince of the desert whose tortured Bedouin heart beats beneath a proper English cravat. And an American archaeologist who’ll go a long way to fulfil her dreams.

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After a friend recommended this book to me, I had high expectations of it. Did it live up to those expectations? A resounding YES! I was totally immersed in the sensual and erotic world that Monica Burns created.

How I imagine Alex

Independent, headstrong, stubborn and forthright, Alex is determined to prove that she is equal of any man in the field of archaeology. Although her father and uncle had actively encouraged her and respected her achievements, she knows that, because she is a woman, she will always be regarded as inferior. Finding the location of the ancient city of Per-Ramesses is her chance to prove herself just as capable as any man.

I love how strong and determined Alex is and I understood why she had no desire to marry if it meant the loss of freedom to pursue her dreams.

How I imagine Altair

Viscount Blakeney/ Sheikh Altair Mazir is caught between two worlds – the aristocratic world of his father and the Bedouin world of his mother. After his grandfather pleads with him not to give up the Blakeney title and holdings, Altair agrees to spend half the year in England out of love for him. As a half-breed, he has become accustomed to the prejudice and scorn heaped on him by London society but the betrayal and public vilification by his fiancée has left him with a deep mistrust of women. He only truly feels happy in the Bedouin world where he is accepted by his desert family despite his English blood.

Altair is definitely a drool worthy hero especially when he first appears in desert clothing.

No longer the English lord, he was as lean and predatory as a leopard. A utility belt filled with rifle cartridges crossed his chest, while a pistol was tucked into a belt around his waist.
His entire appearance emanated a sense of danger and excitement. Beneath his eyes, Mazir tribal symbols stained his brown cheeks. His wavy brown hair, no longer restrained by a ribbon, tumbled down over his shoulders.

I love how Ms Burns describes Alex’s reaction.

If she were to open her mouth, she was certain more than a dozen butterflies would flee their captivity in her stomach.

Altair has never met anyone like Alex before and is totally fascinated by her. However, past experience has taught to him tread warily where women are concerned, and he’s afraid to be open and honest with her and Alex feels she can’t trust a man who constantly lies to her. This conflict creates a volatile relationship which only serves to heighten the sexual tension simmering between them. I like how the threats to Alex’s life bring out the protective instinct in Altair and we are introduced to Zada, the mongoose he gives her for protection against snakes. Zada is a born a scene stealer.

Ms Burns’ love scenes are explicit, passionate and scorching hot and the one in Alex’s tent was definitely the stuff of fantasises!

The top of her bent leg almost brushed his lips, and he leaned forward just a hair and kissed the inside of her leg. The sharp hiss of air she dragged into her lungs assured him she liked what he was doing.
“Tonight, emîra, I’m going to show you how my body craves you.”

I enjoyed the element of danger and intrigue that runs throughout the story. Although I didn’t find it hard to guess the identity of the villain, the depth of his hatred for Altair came as a surprise.

Ms Burns’ vivid imagery creates a real sense of mood and atmosphere. I could feel the heat of the desert sun, see Alex’s tent with its jewel-toned amber, emerald and ruby pillows and smell the woody fragrance of cedarwood and scent of sweet fennel that teases Alex’s senses whenever Altair is near.

I appreciated the extensive research Ms Burns must have undertaken. The Egyptology aspects and the Bedouin culture and traditions, that form an integral part of the story, are fascinating.

My hankering for a leave-me-with-a-warm-fuzzy-feeling Epilogue was more than satisfied…

“Home is where the heart is, yâ maHabba, and my heart is wherever you are.”

My Verdict: If you enjoy a well-written, passionate and steamy love story, compelling characters, danger and suspense combined with fascinating history, then I can definitely recommend MIRAGE.

 

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALTY RATING: SIZZLING

Read September 2015

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(Fiery Tales, #4)

Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (17th century – set during the reign Louis XIV’s Reign)

Cover Blurb:

Inspired by the tale of Rapunzel, Lila DiPasqua offers a new steamy, emotionally charged historical romance in the acclaimed Fiery Tales Series . . . Rescuing this beauty from the ‘tower’ is only the beginning . . .

Maintaining her ruse as a commoner, and trusting no one has kept Angelica safe. But a chance encounter with a handsome stranger lands her right where danger lies. Now, this sinfully handsome man with arresting blue eyes and a polished manner thinks he’s saved her life, when in fact he’s placed her in great peril. She’s intent on keeping him and everyone else at arm’s length. Yet, the smoldering attraction between them is difficult to deny. And impossible to ignore . . .

As commander of a number of privateer ships, Simon Boulenger dresses and speaks like an aristocrat, and has obtained wealth. But he is still not a noble. Or an officer in the King’s Navy. His lifelong dream to elevate himself from his station of birth and attain a respectable place in society is dead. Worse, he’s ensnared in a deadly scheme, and must get out. But how is he to stay focused on his dangerous mission when the mysterious beauty has him utterly intrigued? He can’t afford the distraction any more than he can resist the carnal hunger she stirs. Simon soon discovers that she’s not only a passionate soul mate, but a woman born into privilege. A woman he can never have. But they’re in too deep. Their hearts are at risk . . . as well as their lives.

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As with all the Lila DiPasqua books I have read, UNDONE is filled with compelling characters, sizzling love scenes, suspense and a passionate romance.

Simon is the sort of tormented hero I love. He is full of self-condemnation having realised that, in blindly pursuing his own driving ambitions to rise above his lowly origins, he had closed his eyes to what was happening to his own people…. ‘the destruction and devastation’. His life is a mess and he feels tainted by his association with the corrupt Superintendent of Finances, Fouquet.

Everything he’d done for his country and king, everything he’d worked for was now tainted. In blood.

Simon is an honourable man, willing to sacrifice his dream in order to save his men and bring Fouquet to account for his actions. His compassion shows in his condemnation of slavery and the way he has provided a home and work for so many desperate people.

He’d brought many families to Marguerite, at first only the crewmen’s families, then later, anyone who was in dire straits. He gave them employ in the fields. He gave us an opportunity to survive rather than to die in France.”

He is also just and fair when judging complaints brought before him. I love how cleverly he resolves the charge brought against Angelica by Père Crotteau.

Anglica is gentle and compassionate but also strong and courageous. It is that inner strength that enabled her to escape her loathsome step-father’s clutches ten years ago and find sanctuary within the walls of a convent.

She still bears deep emotional scars and a belief that no man could ever want someone like her. She has never been able to share her dark, shameful secret with anyone, even her close friend, Gabrielle. I love how Angelica demonstrates not only her compassion but also her bravery when she confronts the schoolmaster she sees brutally beating a young boy.

Instinctively, she swung around and struck him with an open palm across his face. “Don’t touch me! I am not one of these helpless children you enjoy mistreating.”

The sexual tension between these two is definitely explosive. Angelica finds Simon exciting and his mere touch stirs her senses while Simon is drawn to Angelica’s beauty, decency and bravery but their journey to a happy ever after is strewn with obstacles, not least their own closely guarded secrets. It was rewarding to watch Simon gradually demolish the walls Angelica has built around herself with his compassion, acceptance and understanding, inspiring her to take risks and find happiness and how Angelica makes Simon see the noble man he truly is.

“…you have sought to gain nobility, but you are noble. You don’t want to be ordinary, but you never have been. You wish to be exalted, but in the eyes of so many, you are.”

Be warned! The love scenes are very graphic and the language explicit and, if I have one complaint, it’s that they seem rather repetitive in content.

I really like Robert d’Arles, the nobleman who saved Simon from the streets and has always treated him like a son. He is an honourable man, willing to offer Angelica the protection of his name. I couldn’t help but feel heart-broken for Simon and Angelica when circumstances conspire to keep them apart but neither of them is willing to betray Robert. His word to Simon really touched my heart.

“You were my only family…You have made me proud…Raising you into the man you are today has given me a sense of purpose and fulfilment in my life…Simon…there is no limit to what a man can achieve except the limits he places on himself…

Fouquet is a formidable enemy but his downfall rests with his sheer arrogance in underestimating the young King Louis.

Although I love the Regency era, the setting of 17th century France was refreshingly different. Ms DiPasqua brings to life all decadence and political intrigue of the Royal court and the inclusion of real-life figures like Fouquet and Louis XIV adds an extra level of authenticity to the story.

The Epilogue gathers everyone together on Marguerite island for a charming Happy Ever After.

My Verdict: If you enjoy a compelling story, fascinating characters and a lushly erotic romance, then I can definitely recommend UNDONE.

REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read June 2015

Fiery Tales series to date   (Click on the covers for more details):

Awakened by a Kiss  (Fiery Tales, #1) The Princess in His Bed  (Fiery Tales, #2) A Midnight Dance (Fiery Tales, #3) Undone (Fiery Tales, #4) The Duke's Match Girl - A Fiery Tale Novella (Fiery Tales, #4.5)

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(School of Gallantry, #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

The greatest divide between a man and a woman is not the one society sets before them but the one they set before themselves…

After Miss Leona Olivia Webster had allowed herself to fall in love with a dashing childhood friend who had left her scorned and pregnant, she is done chasing her happily-ever-after. Shunned by society, she dedicates herself to raising her young son and putting money in their pockets. She doesn’t expect to be drawn to her latest master, a brooding man of hulking presence who carves random messages into walls with his Persian blade as a means of starting a flirtation.

Malcolm Gregory Thayer, the earl of Brayton, may have dedicated himself to a life of religious virtue after leaving the monastery due to dark tendencies, but after meeting Leona, he begins to yearn for the life that had never been his. When he meets a retired French courtesan who invites him to embrace what he has long feared, he seizes the opportunity to become the man he always wanted to be. His new mission is clear. He intends to finally serve the one thing he never had: his heart.

Warning: This historical romance is cotton candy with a razor on top. Themes include male virginity, BDSM, religion and language you really shouldn’t use at home. If you are easily offended by graphic sex and dirty humor, this book is not for you.

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I love Delilah Marvelle’s books because she is not afraid to embrace darker themes that are rarely found in traditional historical romance and this book is no exception.

The Prologue is very explicit and often brutal but it is essential reading to understand why Malcolm has become the man he is.

Malcolm Gregory Thayer, Earl of Brayton

There is something so fascinating and compelling about Malcolm. He is big and gruff but also kind, generous and compassionate…a complete contradiction. There is also a side to him that he has always suppressed – his liking for pain. Only through iron control has he been able to master his darker desires and he has remained celibate fearing what might happen if he ever lets himself fully embrace who he really is. He longs to be “normal”.

He’d always yearned to be able to gently kiss a woman’s hand without thinking of nipping or biting it. He’d always yearned to be able to bend a woman backward without breaking her back.

Miss Leona Olivia Webster

Despite her reduced circumstances and society’s condemnation, Leona has remained strong and refuses to wallow in self-pity. I admire her for bringing up her son single-handed and her determination to provide a better life for both Jacob and herself. She is a fiercely protective mother with plenty of backbone. I love the scene where she takes on the unscrupulous creditor to retrieve her son’s favourite bear.

“Let go or I swear I’ll swing at more than your pea-sized bollocks, you-you…rumpot!”

There is nothing sweet and tender about their romance and Malcolm is no charming, tender hero but there is just something about him that is so appealing. He struggles with the need to make Leone understand his darker desires but fears revealing the truth could drive her away. I enjoyed seeing this vulnerable side to him.

I thought Ms Marvelle handled Leona’s reactions to Malcolm’s revelations in a realistic way. I could relate to her initial feelings of confusion and disbelief but also her subsequent willingness to understand and accept the man she loves.

She already loved him for being so good, so honorable, so gruff, so stupid, so determined and so everything that wasn’t perfect. He didn’t need to be perfect. He was perfect being imperfect.

The secondary characters not only add richness but are also an integral part of the story, none more so than Madame de Maitenon who has been a favourite of mine throughout the series. Her life experiences have given her a special gift when it comes to understanding and counselling each of her “students”,  just as she does Malcolm…

… it is rather obvious this is merely about teaching yourself to be comfortable with your tendencies. You need to accept them and safely apply them. Nothing more. Once I assist you to fully embrace what you have long denied, I foresee nothing but rainbows in the sky.”

We learn more about Prince Nasser, Malcolm’s friend (I think he is certainly worthy of his own story) and Andrew Holbrook, whose house Malcolm shares, adds some light relief to the proceedings. Leona’s six year old son,Jacob, is simply adorable and his scenes with Malcolm are not only delightful but also serve to reveal a surprisingly different side to our hero. The School of Gallantry itself makes only a brief appearance in this book but the scene there is still quite a memorable one!

Throughout the series Madame de Maitenon has been instrumental in bringing others happiness so I’m thrilled that, at long last, she will finally be getting her own Happy Ever After in The Duke of Andelot due to be published next year.

I have loved all the books in this series whether uproariously funny, deeply touching, intensely emotional, unashamedly romantic, enthralling and emotionally charged or dark and complex. This is a series I can definitely recommend.

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read November 2014

School of Gallantry series (click on the cover for more details):

Mistress of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #1) by Delilah Marvelle Lord of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #2) by Delilah Marvelle Lady of Pleasure (School of Gallantry #3) by Delilah Marvelle Night of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #4) by Delilah Marvelle Master of Pleasure (School of Gallantry, #5) by Delilah MarvelleThe Duke of Andelot by Delilah Marvelle – due 2015

I received a copy of this book from the author via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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(The Devil DeVere, #5)

Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (Georgian)

Cover Blurb

Having once lived his life only for larks, laughter, and ladies of easy virtue, Captain Simon Singleton has returned from the war with the colonies a shambles of a man. Now free from six years of captivity, he’s still fettered by irrational fears that confine him to a life of seclusion.

Once the crowning jewel of the most lavish brothel in London, the exotic Salime finds her reputation and livelihood destroyed by a bitter rival. With a closely guarded secret stripped away, Salime fears no man will ever desire her again. Seeking aid from the man who once saved her life, Salime accepts a proposition to repay her debt to him by becoming a companion to his war-scarred friend.

Circumstance brings these two damaged souls together; but fate ignites a love story worthy of the Arabian Nights.

*May be read as a standalone*

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

**5 Mesmerising Stellar Stars**

Ever since Victoria Vane announced that she was writing Salime and Simon’s story, I have been anxiously waiting to read it. Does it live up to my expectations? YES! It’s romantic, sensual, emotional and erotic and I loved every page! Ms. Vane has the ability to infuse her books with such realism, and her characters have such depth and feeling.

I love Salime and she must be one of the most unique heroines I have ever come across…a Turkish courtesan and a former slave at the Topkapi Palace. It makes her such an intriguing character, in Simon’s words…

She was a perplexing paradox—fiercely proud and demure, meek yet bold, submissive yet self-assured.

With everything life has thrown at her, Salime has had to be strong to survive. She accepts her life because she knows that having all those things that other women have…love, a husband and a family are just an impossible dream. Ms Vane has worked her magic to create such a wonderfully sympathetic character. I desperately wanted Salime to find a man who could see the beautiful woman she truly is and love her without reservation.

What can I say about Simon! DeVere will always remain my favourite but Simon is close on his heels. After watching the antics of the devil-may-care young man in The Trouble with Sin, it’s a shock to see the tormented man he has become…a man who has given up on life.

But now, he was himself a shattered shambles of a man. Feeling neither alive nor dead, he was doomed to this horrific half-existence, destined to be a mere observer. Life as he remembered it—the one he had desperately hoped to resume—was over.

Even his best friends, DeVere and Ned, are shocked to see the thin, unkempt, short-tempered, bearded man before them. Simon may have given up on himself, but his friends aren’t about to give up on him. I love DeVere and Ned…everyone needs friends like that.

Their compassion and sheer doggedness had finally worn him down. Simon raised his hands in surrender. “All right. You win. I’ll go to Bloomsbury.”

I love Ms Vane’s evocative writing which appeals to all the senses. I could see the sumptuous room with its silk hangings and low-burning brass lanterns and Salime in her voluminous Turkish trousers; smell the jasmine and exotic spices; taste the dark Turkish coffee; hear Salime’s soothing voice.

Salime and Simon definitely heat up the pages! I love the slow burning attraction between them and the scene where Salime dances for Simon just oozes sensuality…no wonder he is totally mesmerised. Ms Vane’s love scenes are vivid, passionate and scorching hot.

I love how the Turkish exotic arts and culture are woven into the story and form an integral part of the developing relationship between Salime and Simon …the stories and poems, the hookah and the hammam.

There seem insurmountable obstacles facing Salime and Simon but I think Ms Vane resolves everything in a way that is believable and gives these two wounded souls the Happy Ever After they truly deserve. The scene at the end with the wedding gifts is totally sigh-worthy.

Favourite Romantic Quote

“There are no words to express what I feel,” she gushed. “It is a gift beyond all gifts.” 
He pulled her tightly into his arms. “No, my dearest…that would be you.”

If you haven’t read this series yet, then you have a treat in store. Each book is an amazing read and Ms Vane has promised more books which is fabulous news!


REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read January 2014

The Devil DeVere series so far (click on the covers for more details):

A Wild Night's Bride (The Devil DeVere #1) The Virgin Huntress (The Devil DeVere #2) The Devil You Know (The Devil DeVere #3) The Devil's Match (The Devil DeVere #4) Jewel of the East (The Devil DeVere #5)

Devilish Vignettes:

Devil in the Making (Devilish Vignettes, #1) The Trouble With Sin (Devilish Vignettes #2)


My sincere thanks to Victoria Vane for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. As always, it was a pleasure reading it.

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THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

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(Fiery Tales # 4.5)

Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (17th century France)

Official Blurb

From bestselling author Lila DiPasqua comes a scorching new historical romance novella in the acclaimed Fiery Tales series! An emotional, erotically charged retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl.

As childhood friends, Leopold d’Ermart and Suzanne Matchet were inseparable. One unforgettable Christmas Eve, their relationship changed from the best of friends…to lovers. But the heir of the Duke of Mont-Marly isn’t supposed to fall in love with the daughter of his family’s physician. Or vice versa.

Is this a second chance at first love? 

Years later, Suzanne is dreading her first Christmas without her father. The heartbreak Leo caused when he left seven years ago is a distant memory. And she prefers to keep it that way. The last thing Suzanne expects is for tall, dark, and sinfully seductive Leo d’Ermart to show up at her door and announce he wants her back in his life. And in his bed. Worse, the now celebrated libertine is even more devastating to a woman’s senses than ever before…

Or are they playing with fire? 

The only woman Leo, Duke of Mont-Marly, has ever yearned for is the adorably unconventional, intelligent beauty who got away. He discovers Suzanne creating and selling matchsticks, elixirs for the ill…and is still so damned alluring. Leo is determined to show her the depth of his desire, win back Suzanne’s heart. And give her a Christmas beyond her wildest imagination…

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EXCERPT

Apparently, the mighty Leo d’Ermart simply woke up one morning and decided to reappear in her life, bold as could be— and sent his personal secretary to deliver his offer, no less. How very thoughtful. The man’s gall was outrageous. How very thoughtful. The man’s gall was outrageous. Tamping down her ire, she gave Gaspard another pat. He purred contently. “I’m not worried about coin. There’s no need to be.” Suzanne cast Lucille a reassuring smile over her shoulder. Since her father’s death, she’d managed just fine.

“But… But… I just don’t understand it,” Lucille continued, unrelenting. “He has plenty of wealth. You make concoctions for so many others. Why not make the perfumes he’s requesting? He is willing to pay a vast sum. An offer from a duc does not come around every day!”

Because his offer is nothing but a ruse.

She was no fool. The generous funds Leo was offering her to create perfumes for his two sisters— meant to be gifts— had a condition: she was to come to Montbrison to create them.

The offer was bogus. A mere pretense to get her to his château.

She wanted nothing more to do with him.

Knowing the unscrupulous rake as well as she did, his true motives were without a doubt of a disreputable nature. She refused to be duped by his little ploy. She’d experienced his stinging trickery before.

It had taken a long time for her heart to mend and harden against Leo d’Ermart. It had been years before she’d finally managed to wrestle him out of her daily thoughts. And heart. She resented it that yesterday he’d intruded into her mental peace once more— thanks to Gilles’s visit.

The best thing a woman could do was to stay far away from the notorious roué.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Lila DiPasqua is a multi-published, national bestselling author of historical romance with heat. Her novels are published by Penguin/Berkley, as well as having self-published works. She is best known for her critically acclaimed Fiery Tales series. Her books have been featured on Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. She lives with her husband and three children in Canada and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after.

If you’d like to learn more about Lila and her books, please visit her Website:
http://www.liladipasqua.com/index.htm

And follow her on:

Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/LilaDiPasquaAuthor

Twitter : @LilaDiPasqua

GIVEAWAY

Lila will be giving away 5 copies of either UNDONE or THE DUKE’S MATCH GIRL in ebook (readers’s choice) and one of these lucky readers will also receive this beautiful Christmas key ornament.

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The Giveaway is open worldwide and will run until midday (GMT) on Saturday 14th December.

To enter simply leave a comment.

MY REVIEW

(THE DUKE’S MATCH GIRL is part of Lila DiPasqua’s Fiery Tales series but can easily be read as a standalone.)

**5 Delightfully Wicked Stars**

I LOVED this novella! It was romantic, steamy and funny and kept me totally entertained from the first page to the last.

Here are the things I loved about this novella:

The story combines two of my favourite tropes…friends to lovers and second chances. I adored Leo… his willingness to admit how much he had hurt Suzanne and his sheer determination to prove how much he truly loves her. Suzanne is still feeling the pain caused by the death of her beloved father and wants nothing to do with the man who broke her heart. I love that she refuses to trust him even though she still feel the strong attraction. In fact, she leads him a merry dance. I love the letter she sends him when he asks her to spend Christmas with him at the Château Montbrison.

Your Grace,
Your man has informed me of your offer. He was quite uncomfortable about relaying my response. It is for his ease that I put it to you here in writing. As to your offer— and I say this with the utmost sincerity— you may take it, and insert it into your exalted posterior.
Sincerely,
Suzanne

Oh boy! Leo wasn’t going to give up at the first hurdle and I was in awe of his ingenuity, especially when he uses a little bribery to enlist the whole town in his schemes. Everyone in the town bombards Suzanne with reasons why she should go with Leo. I loved this exchange between the innkeeper and Suzanne…

“Well, perhaps you should consider that he is a wealthy man.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“With much power and influence.”
“I’m aware of that, too.”
“What about his enormous manhood?”
That stopped her dead in her tracks. She turned. “Pardon?”

Then there is the episode involving Gaspard…

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and the delightful picture of Suzanne’s two employees, Rosalie and Lucille, surreptitiously eavesdropping on her conversation with Leo.

Suzanne is my sort of unconventional heroine.  She has a brilliant mind and a great passion for science and I adore Leo for being proud of her abilities and loving her adorable little quirks and oddities.

Of course, this is Lila DiPasqua…so expect wickedly delicious, sizzlingly sexy, toe-curling love scenes with some dirty talk from Leo…definitely not for prudish ears!  There is a pretty hot scene in the carriage on the way to Château Montbrison and Leo does luscious things with ice cream!

I’m a sucker for a sigh-worthy ending and this has a real heart-melting one. I won’t spoil it for you other than to say that Suzanne’s matches play a significant part and Leo…his words are totally swoon-worthy!  There is even an added bonus of a charming Epilogue.

THE DUKE’S MATCH GIRL is a fun and steamy novella and so curl up with a glass of wine and your favourite chocolates and enjoy!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read December 2013

Fiery Tales series to date (click on the book cover for more details):

Awakened by a Kiss  (Fiery Tales, #1) The Princess in His Bed  (Fiery Tales, #2) A Midnight Dance (Fiery Tales, #3) Undone (Fiery Tales, #4) The Duke's Match Girl - A Fiery Tale Novella (Fiery Tales, #4.5)

My sincere thanks to Lila for sending me a copy of this novella in return for an honest review. It was a pleasure!

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