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Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian)

Cover Blurb:

No man, gentleman or otherwise, has ever looked at Lady Edwina Bollash the way the brash, handsome man standing before her is doing now. Edwina has accepted the challenge to transform incorrigible Mick Tremore into a gentleman in just six weeks. And although the linguist is sure she can rise to the task, she isn’t at all certain she won’t swoon under his frankly sensuous gaze before her job is done.

Mick has lived outside of London society long enough to know that appearances can be deceiving. Edwina might look all buttoned up-the perfect English lady-but there is unleashed passion existing just below her placid facade (not to mention a great pair of legs!). And as she prepares him to take his place in society, Mick prepares Edwina to take her place in his heart…and in his bed.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

WOW!  WHAT A FABULOUS BOOK! IT IS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY TOP PICKS FOR THIS YEAR!

I was totally captivated by this book…by the fresh working of the “Pygmalion” story, the lyrical writing and sparkling dialogue, the unforgettable characters and the wonderful romantic chemistry. In fact, everything blended so perfectly.

MICK TREMORE

Mick is such a unique and wonderful hero…handsome, charming, honest, hard-working and so sexy in an earthy way.  He is a very caring person , sending most of his money back to Cornwall to support his ten younger siblings. That care extends to his dogs and ferrets as well and it was touching to see his genuine concern for his old and frail ferret, Freddie.

I couldn’t help but be swept away by his positive attitude and carefree enjoyment of life – “Miss Bollas, life be rich. Why don’t you bite yourself off a piece?”  

EDWINA BOLLASH

It was refreshing to have a heroine who doesn’t conform to the standard mold. Winnie is a 6ft tall, bespectacled, gawky, 29 year old spinster, who sees herself as unattractive and has no romantic expectations. She is strong and capable but with vulnerabilities that make her such a sympathetic character.

The daughter of the Marquess of Sissingley, she once lived a life of wealth and position until her father died and a distant cousin inherited the marquisate. Left to fend for herself, she makes ends meet by tutoring private students in elocution and deportment. Her father had been a linguistics scholar of some stature and she too had developed an interest in people’s speech.

THE ROMANCE

The romance between Mick and Winnie was funny, sweet, poignant and passionate and I loved sharing every moment. If I was asked to pick a favourite scene, it would have to be where Winnie suggests that Mick shaves off his mustache. The mustache isn’t going without something in return…after all it is an outward symbol of his “lionhearted virility“. For a man with a fetish for long, long legs, there is only one bargaining chip…

“Hop up here, loov. Let’s see what’s under those skirts.”

What follows is one of the best sexually charged scenes I have ever read. Brilliantly done.

I enjoyed seeing how each of them grows and changes in the course of the story, Winnie most of all. Mick opens up a world of fun and passion to her and nothing exemplified the changes in her more than the scene in the Bull and Tun tavern where she lets go of her all inhibitions.

How grand! Oh, how grand it was simply to do what she felt like doing! How grand to be alive tonight!

I loved how Mick adored Winnie and saw only beauty in her irregular features..who wouldn’t love a man like that!

Pretty faces are a guinea a dozen. So predictable. I’m tired of pretty faces already. Your face, though, I’d never tire of.”

Like other reviewers, I was disappointed by the rather conventional ending but it did not detract from the sheer pleasure of reading this story.

MY VERDICT: A MUST READ FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES HISTORICAL ROMANCE!


REVIEW RATING:  STELLAR 5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING:  HOT

Read April 2015

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(Sons of Sin, #3)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Blurb:

A REPUTATION AT RISK

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

♥♥♥♥♥♥

THIS IS HISTORICAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST!

WHAT A DUKE DARES is the third book in the marvellous ‘Sons of Sin’ series and, once again, Anna Campbell delivers an emotive, romantic and passionate love story.

How I imagine Cam….

When Camden (Cam) Rothermere, heir to a dukedom, proposes to his childhood friend, Penelope Thorne, he can’t believe his ears when she turns him down. Even his declaration that he esteems and admires her and enjoys her company does nothing to persuade her to change her mind. She refuses to marry for anything but love. Cam has seen first-hand the devastating effect love had on his parents:

“As a result of love, my father descended into cruelty and obsession and my mother became a byword for promiscuity.”

and it has no place in his life now or ever.

How I imagine Pen

Penelope (Pen) Thorne has loved her childhood friend, Camden Rothermere for as long as she can remember and, when he proposes, it should be the happiest day of her life…a girlish fantasy come true. The reality is very different because she knows that Cam can never give her the one thing she desires…his heart. If he truly loved her, she’d even be willing to curb her impulsive and headstrong ways to become the wife he needs…someone dignified and above reproach…someone to help him restore respectability to the scandal-ridden Rothermere name.

So they go their separate ways.

In the intervening nine years, Cam is now the powerful Duke of Sedgemoor, renowned for his cold demeanour, self-assurance and his iron control, devoting his life to restoring the family’s good name. Pen had fled England to travel the continent with her eccentric aunt and Cam was well aware of all her amorous intrigues over the years.

When he receives an urgent summons from his friend, Pen’s brother, Peter, Cam travels to Calais to find his friend with very little time to live and fearful for his sister’s safety. Cam is honour bound to fulfil the dying Peter’s request that Cam find her and bring her home to England.

Ms Campbell took me on an enthralling and emotional roller-coaster of a journey before Cam and Pen finally attain their hard-earned Happy Ever After. I enjoyed every moment…the antagonism and the simmering sexual tension; the temptation and the heady passion; the stark danger and the anguish; the scandal and the poignant emotions, the betrayal and the heartbreak; the tenderness and the enduring love.

I enjoyed the secondary romance between Pen’s brother, Harry and Sophie, the sister of Cam’s enemy, James Fairbrother, Marquess of Leath. Their sweet, tender romance forms a contrast to the hot, passionate one between Cam and Pen. It also precipitates events that cause Cam to finally admit his love for Pen.

The Marquess of Leath obviously loves his sister very much which was a point in his favour and, once he and Cam had settled their differences, I liked him even more. I look forward to reading his story in the next book in the series.

Jonas and Sidonie (Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed) and Richard and Genevieve (A Rake’s Midnight Kiss) all make an appearance and I love the banter between Cam, Richard and Jonas.

Call me a sentimental old fool but I love a good Epilogue and Ms Campbell made me go all misty-eyed when Cam gives Pen her special Christmas present.

Some Memorable Moments

“What in heaven’s name brought you to choose this hovel?”

One slender hand brushed her tumble of hair back from her face. To his dismay, he saw she was shaking.

“Try the weather.” Her tone was sharper than his sword. “I know you could barge through an avalanche without creasing your neckcloth, but we lesser mortals must seek shelter when snow blocks the roads.”

♥♥♥

For a second that extended into eternity, they regarded one another. He should leave. He had no right to absorb every glorious, forbidden detail and imprint it on his mind to remember forever.

♥♥♥

He’d burned to wrench his wife from her chair and muss her neat perfection. Then fling her across the polished table and do things likely to make the butler resign.

♥♥♥

“ Anyway, you know that even if you were off your head with opium or inclined to slobber into your dinner, chits would still line up for the duchess’s coronet.”

♥♥♥

THIS IS CLASSIC ANNA CAMPBELL – COMPELLING, EMOTIVE, ROMANTIC AND SENSUAL!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!

 

My sincere thanks to Anna Campbell for sending me a complimentary copy of this book  in return for an honest review.

The Sons of Sin series so far (click the covers for more details):

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1) by Anna Campbell A Rake's Midnight Kiss (Sons of Sin, #2) by Anna Campbell What a Duke Dares (Sons of Sin, #3) by Anna Campbell

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(Duke’s Club, #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Cover Blurb

What a Widow Wants:

Everything is going swimmingly for Kathryn Darrell. She’s got an annuity of a hundred thousand a year, her lecherous-heart breaking husband has had the good graces to pop off, and best of all, she has her freedom– Something she has every intention of reveling in to the fullest. And who better to revel with than Ryder Blake, the infamous Duke of Darkwell?

A Duke’s Desire:

Ryder Blake, Duke of Darkwell, known as the Duke of Debauchery, is certain he will never love again. His heart lies buried with his wife and he has vowed to never give more than his body to a woman. But when Kathryn shows up on his doorstep, quite literally, demanding he show her the ways of London, he finds that his heart longs to love once again.

Expected publication date: July 7th 2014 by Bard Publications

♥♥♥♥♥

ONCE UPON A DUKE

Eva Devon gives us a wickedly delicious and sparkling cocktail, with just a hint of bitters.

 

Method

Add a large measure of Ryder Blake, the eleventh Duke of Darkwell…

a man with a reputation as the Duke of Debauchery and a tendency to act irrationally at times; a widower who has sworn never to let another woman into his heart.

Add an equal measure of Kathryn Darrell…

an independent-minded widow determined to experience true passion and pleasure for the first time.

Stir well then add

a dash of Jack Eversleigh, Duke of Hunt, Ryder’s incorrigible best friend…

always ready with a mocking quip and a saucy innuendo; has been known to sing My Wild Irish Rose while waving a peacock feather fan.

and

a dash of Imogen Cavendish , Kathryn’s rather scandalous best friend…

always ready with some juicy gossip and rather fond of handsome footmen and dark closets.

mix in

a soupçon of Grieves, Ryders’ rickety, bushy eye-browed butler

a large splash of scandalous goings on at risqué parties and heaven forbid…even at the Opera House!

copious amounts of witty dialogue and hilarious situations

a generous amount of smouldering love scenes

and finally add

a splash of angst

shake well


FOR A SIGH-WORTHY HAPPY ENDING

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SCORCHING HOT!

Read June 2014

 

A special thank you to Eva Devon for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I loved every page.

 

NOTE: EVA DEVON ALSO WRITES AS MÁIRE CLAREMONT

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(Fiery Tales #3)

Genre: Erotic Historical Romance (17th century)

Official Blurb

Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, Lila DiPasqua weaves a steamy historical romance that offers a glass slipper, a dangerous deception, and an impoverished beauty determined to find her handsome prince…and make him pay.

Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father’s prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming—the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier.

That was before the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace—a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father’s death, she’s inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine’s eccentric friends—the balance of her father’s acting troupe—she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake—and make away with a fortune.

Resisting Jules’s skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince…
★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

**5 Smouldering Stars**

Image

I loved A MIDNIGHT DANCE!  What a fiery, passionate cocktail from the doyenne of lush sensuality, Lila DiPasqua.

I like Sabine…intelligent, brave and fiercely loyal to her remaining family and her little group of theatrical friends.  I really felt her grief and pain for all she had lost…

Each day she went through the motions of living, unable to mourn her sister. Simply surviving, more dead than alive. She’d forgotten how to feel. She didn’t even want to.

I enjoyed seeing her outwit Jules who underestimated the resourcefulness and cunning of his ‘silver-eyed forest fairy” on more than one occasion.

Jules is desperate to restore his family honour, reclaim his life and take revenge on those responsible for stealing his birth right. You can sense the anger and bitterness he feels having to resort to privateering when he was once a respected officer in the King’s navy. I like how Ms DiPasqua develops Jules’s character from an arrogant noble who cares little for the lower classes and their suffering to a man who understands their grievances. He also has to come to terms with the hard truth about his father.

The chemistry between these two positively sizzles and I love Sabine’s attempts to convince Jules that she is experienced…

In as sultry a whisper as she could muster, she said, “I am well worth your time when I am . . . fully inspired.”

I like how Ms DiPasqua reveals how much alike Sabine and Jules are…both have lost a part of themselves because of the tragedy that had befallen their families and, through their mutual love, they help each other rediscover their true selves.

What can I say about the love scenes? HOLY SMOKE! HOT! HOT! HOT!  I felt sure my iPad was going to melt! But the scenes are not just about titillation, they also reveal so much of Sabine and Jules’s conflicting emotions and vulnerabilities:

A soft alarming emotion whispered through her. A voice told her this felt right. Panicked, she suddenly needed— wanted— the physical pain to distract and distance herself from the intimacy, from the tender feelings welling inside her.

The little fraud had awakened not only his body, with the stunning passion that burned between them— but also his spirit. She’d actually drawn out his former self, dissolving his anger and bitterness with her wit, her smiles.

The secondary characters add vibrancy and depth to the story. I love Sabine’s eccentric theatrical friends and the scene at the inn, where they put their theatrical skills to good use, was funny; her cousins, Gerard and Robert, whose concern for Sabine is so touching; Robert, Jules’s second-in-command, who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.

“M-May I be frank again, my lord?”
“Well, of course, Raymond,” he responded tightly. “There seems to be no stopping you tonight.”

The story is full of action, drama and intrigue with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and a truly diabolical villain.

Filled with fascinating characters, sizzling love scenes, plot twists and a passionate romance, A MIDNIGHT DANCE is Lila DiPasqua at her best.


REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read November 2013

Fiery Tales series to date (click cover for more information):

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) -expected 1 December 2013

 

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Genre: Historical Erotic Romance (early 20th century)

Official Blurb 

The Desert Was Never Hotter…

Pride and passion vie for supremacy in this steamy re-telling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic.

A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground…A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own…When pride and passion vie for supremacy, blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights…

“There will be inquiries.” I choked out. “I am not such a nonentity that nothing will be done when I am missed. You will pay for what you have done.”

“Pay?” His amused look sent a cold feeling of dread through me. “I have already paid… in gold that matches your hair, my gazelle. Besides,” he continued, “the French Government has no jurisdiction over me. There is no authority here above my own.”
My trepidation was growing by the minute. “Why have you done this? Why have you brought me here?”

“Why?” He repeated with a slow and heated appraisal that made me acutely, almost painfully, conscious of my sex. “Bon Dieu! Are you not woman enough to know?”

** NOTE** Due to differing copyright laws, this book is currently only available in the US, Canada, Australia, India and Japan.

★✩★✩★✩★✩★

I absolutely love THE SHEIK RETOLD! Victoria Vane adds her magical touch to this re-telling of E. M. Hull’s THE SHEIK.

I love how Ms Vane has reworked those elements of THE SHEIK that I disliked, whilst staying true to the original concept.

Ahmed is still the powerful, fierce, despotic leader who demands total obedience from everyone but Ms Vane has tempered his character with moments of tenderness, gentleness and vulnerability… as in this scene when his iron self-control slips a tad…

“You wear no undergarments?” he asked in a husky voice.
”This gown permits none,” I replied flippantly.
I felt as much a heard his sharp intake of breath and the press of his burgeoning erection against my bottom. Fumbling slightly, he slipped a long jade necklace over my head and stepped back from me.

Ms Vane has kept Diane true to her character…strong …resilient…fearless. Although she knows she must submit to Ahmed, Diane is determined not to be submissive…she will meet him on an equal footing.


Yes, I decided. I would take him as my lover – for as long as it suited me to do so.

Gone is the often tedious pacing of the original story. The SHEIK RETOLD is fast-paced with the perfect mix of tight narrative and sharp dialogue. The chemistry between Ahmed and Diana is tangible…the sexual tension sizzling…the love scenes smoldering. My favourite involves a bearskin!

Ms Vane has always had the innate ability to draw me into her stories with writing that is evocative, emotive and sensual. Her vivid images create a real sense of mood and atmosphere.


Like a stalking tiger, his mesmerizing gaze lingered on me with a hunger his languid manner could not disguise.

Victoria Vane proves once again why she is among my top favourite authors with this compelling and action-packed tale of passion, desire and love. Definitely a keeper!

REVIEW RATING: 5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: SIZZLING

Read August 2013

My sincere thanks to Victoria Vane for providing me with a copy of this book in return for a honest review.

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DANGEROUS ROGUES #1

Setting: London, England 1846

In the captivating first installment of the Dangerous Rogues series, a seductive earl encounters an old flame and passion burns brighter—and more dangerously—than ever before…

When Love Is At Stake

Leo Harrow, Earl of Barrington, is a regular subject of the scandal rags. Once an unrepentant pleasure seeker, he knows that young ladies are warned to look the other way when he enters a room. But when he comes face to face with a woman from his past—the one that got away—he will do anything to keep the rumors about him at bay. Or risk losing her forever…

All Bets Are Off

Genevieve Camden is no stranger to Leo’s seductive ways. Years ago she was fooled into believing that he cared about her…and now that he’s back on the ballroom floor, he appears to be making amends. But this time Genny knows better: A scoundrel never changes his stripes—not even one as charming and handsome as Leo. Unless maybe he’s been in love with her all along…?

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

Tiffany Clare is a new-to-me author and I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book. What a delicious treat it turned out to be!  The combination of endearing hero and heroine, sparkling dialogue, fascinating secondary characters and some sizzling hot love scenes made this an extremely enjoyable read.

Four years ago Leo met Genny, the woman who ‘meant more to him than he could ever fathom’ but being young and stupid, he walked away from her at his father’s bidding. Four years ago, Genny fell in love with Leo but he simply walked away leaving her hurt and angry.

Meeting again, Leo sees it as a second chance to prove himself worthy of her love. As far as Genny’s concerned it’s once bitten, twice shy.  She has no intention of succumbing to his seductive ways ever again!

I couldn’t help but like Leo and Genny. He’s the handsome, charming,  sexy, witty, protective rogue and she’s the apparently prim and proper chaperone who gradually reveals her true self; fun loving, tenacious, self-sufficient and strong-willed. They made the perfect couple. I enjoyed the delicious push-pull between them and their rapier-sharp repartee. Leo’s definitely hard to resist with his wickedly seductive words and actions.

The heat of his breath fanned over the shell of her ear. “Perhaps I wish to hear your memories of our wickedly delightful nights together. I have missed you more than you can imagine all these years.”

I was pleased that Genny didn’t capitulate too soon and Leo has to work hard to convince her of his sincerity. When the two finally get together, there are some sizzling hot love scenes, particularly the one in the maze! But my favourite scene takes place in Leo’s greenhouse. There’s not even a kiss but there is something so beautifully romantic about the whole scene. It’s somewhere very special to Leo:

“It’s my private place. I don’t want people who don’t appreciate this as much as I do tramping through here, breaking flowers, and wearing down paths.”

and the fact that he wants to share it with Genny creates a real moment of emotional connection between them.

When Leo reveals details of the wager with Tristan, it causes a rift with Genny but, luckily, Ms Clare doesn’t drag this out and it was quickly resolved without lots of angst and soul-searching.

There is a wonderful array of fascinating secondary characters, all just begging for their own stories; the infamous Jezebel, Dowager Countess of Fallon, the enigmatic Hayden, Duke of Alsborough, the affable Tristan, Marquess of Castleigh and the not-as-naive-as-she-appears Lady Charlotte.

I loved the snippets of gossip from The Mayfair Chronicle which precede each chapter. They reminded me so much of Lady Whistledown’s observations from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels.

This is a delightful, entertaining romance and I’m really looking forward to reading the other books to come in this series.

How I imagine Leo ~

How I imagine Genny ~

RATING: ★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read January 2013

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HIGHLAND PLEASURES #4

Setting: London, England 1884, Waterbury Grange, Berkshire, England 1884, Castle Kilmorgan, Scotland 1884

Who is Hart Mackenzie’s perfect match? Eleanor Ramsay doesn’t know–she jilted him all those years ago–and now all she wants from the devastating duke is a job. Or so she tells herself. Persuading him to hire her as an assistant to his secretary is tricky, but Eleanor has a trick or two of her own up her sleeve…

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

I so wanted to give this book 5 stars because there was so much I loved about it but there were a few issues that really bugged me and so I’m rating it 4.5 stars.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS BOOK

Hart and Eleanor

As with everything else, Hart had planned with precision how he intended to win Eleanor back and make her his wife. Poor Hart! Things don’t go completely to plan and it was wonderful to see that famous self-control crack when she unexpectedly walks back into his life. He’s so used to controlling everything and everybody around him but Eleanor is the one person who has never been intimidated by him even at his most imperious.

I love Eleanor. She’s irrepressible, smart and determined but she’s also warm, compassionate and kind. She has a way of putting everyone at their ease, whatever their station in life, and I like that about her. I smiled at how her constant chatter drives Hart crazy but arouses him at the same time.

”Goodness, I haven’t seen her in donkey’s years,” Eleanor said, sitting back as they rolled on. “Her daughters must be, oh, quite young ladies now. Have they made their come-outs yet?”
Her mouth was still kissable, closing in a little pucker while she awaited his answer.
“I haven’t the faintest bloody idea,” Hart said.

I loved seeing that Eleanor has a slightly wicked side; the way she peruses those nude photos of Hart in such detail!

These two are just a perfect match. Even after their break-up, Eleanor was the only one he ever confided in and trusted his darkest secrets to. I think she understands him even better than he understands himself. Eleanor can strip away the protective layers and find the laughing teasing man she fell hopelessly in love a decade ago. Despite the passage of time and the different paths their lives have taken, I feel their love for each other has remained a constant.

Yes, he’s still got that hard edge but I began to see Hart through very different eyes. In the intervening years, he has suffered terrible pain and grief but he has always hidden his emotions behind a cold-hearted mask. There’s such a heart-wrenching scene where Eleanor finds him touching his son’s gravestone and his words are so poignant that I felt tears welling in my eyes.

I enjoyed how the romance developed between Eleanor and Hart. Beneath their teasing, there was always an undercurrent of sexual tension between them and I loved that rather delicious scene in the laundry room.

Ian

The deep connection between Ian and Hart plays an important part in this story. Hart had always done everything he could to protect his younger brothers from their cruel and ruthless father.  But Ian has always been different and special in Hart’s eyes and the actions he is prepared to take to keep Ian safe speaks more than anything for his love for his brother. It is obvious how much Hart’s happiness means to Ian.

The Rest of the Mackenzie Family

I loved seeing all the happily married Mackenzie brothers, their wives and adorable children. The family scenes had such warmth and humour and this is one of my favourites.

Screaming erupted from on hig, shrill, desperate, Armagedon-has-come screaming. Mac grinned and jogged back upstairs.

“Papa’s coming, hellions,” he called. “If you’re good, you can have Auntie Eleanor for tea.”

WHAT BUGGED ME ABOUT THE BOOK

There was constant reference to Hart’s darker sexual side and his fear of telling Eleanor the full truth about his needs. Like many others, I was disappointed that Ms Ashley didn’t explore this aspect in any depth. The only concession was a lack-lustre scene involving light bondage. I remember reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s beautiful and erotic scene in Wicked Intentions between Temperance and Lazarus and wished for something similar in this book.

A further issue I had concerned the dramatic events towards the end of the book which lead to Hart’s realization of what‘s really important in his life. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but this seemed to layer one improbable situation upon another. It’s difficult to explain without resorting to spoilers.

Despite these issues, I still enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the next book about Elliot McBride (Ainsley’s brother).

VERDICT: LOVE THESE DELICIOUS MACKENZIE BROTHERS

RATING: ★★★★½

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read April 2012

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HIGHLAND PLEASURES #3

Setting: London, England 1882, Scotland 1882, Paris 1882,  Monaco 1882

He is a man of simple tastes – and complex pleasures…

Cameron Mackenzie is a man who loves only horses and women – in that order – or so his mistresses say.

Ainsley Douglas is a woman with a strong sense of justice and the desire to help others – even if that means sneaking around a rakish man’s bedchamber.

Which is exactly where Cam finds her – six years after he caught her the first time. Only then, she convinced Cam she was seeking a liaison, but couldn’t go through with it because of her husband. Now a widow, she’s on a mission to retrieve letters that could prove embarrassing to the queen. Cam has no interest in Ainsley’s subterfuge, but he vows to finish what they started those many years ago. One game, one kiss at a time, he plans to seduce her. And what starts out as a lusty diversion may break Cam’s own rules – and heal the scars of a dark and damaging past…

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

Who can resist a Scotsman in a kilt? Not me! So I’m thrilled that those deliciously sexy Mackenzie brothers are back! THE MANY SINS OF LORD CAMERON, the third book in Jennifer Ashley’s popular Highland Pleasures series, tells Cameron Mackenzie’s story.

Jennifer Ashley has a gift for creating intriguing and vibrant characters like Cameron and Ainsley who stay in your imagination long after you’ve closed the book.

If anyone is in need of the tender loving care from a special woman, it’s definitely Cameron Mackenzie. Reading how he suffered both mental and physical abuse at the hands of his deranged first wife, Elizabeth, in order to protect his baby son, was so heartrending. Even after her suicide, Elizabeth still haunts Cameron as there is speculation that he murdered her. When Ainsley says – “I do hope it is hot where you are Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, Very, very, hot.” – my sentiments exactly!

Cameron’s physical scars may have healed but his emotional scars have not. He is living a grey existence and only feels alive when he’s with his horses. He certainly isn’t short of female company but never offers any long-term commitment. He has a deep mistrust of women, never wishing to marry again and who can blame him? But Ainsley sees the pain and loneliness he hides and is determined heal his tormented soul with her love, tenderness and compassion:

…her tenderness wrapped him and eased every hurt in his soul.

Ainsley has suffered her own heartbreak in the past and I understand why she is reluctant to give her heart to any man again. At first she does try to resist Cameron but stands no chance against such a skilled seducer:

He was a man who knew how to make women yearn to give him what he wanted. Ainsley, for all her seeming recklessness, had learned to be cautious – everything done for a reason, every risk calculated against its reward. But with Cameron, the old reckless Ainsley reared up, wanting him to undo her bodice down to her waist and take what he pleased.

Jennifer Ashley certainly knows how to seduce her reader, just as Cameron seduces Ainsley. The continuing game Cameron plays with Ainsley of how many buttons will you undo for me? and the erotic scene in the darkened opera box help to create an atmosphere of anticipation. She even achieves it with just a few words:

She jerked Cameron’s handkerchief from his pocket and started dabbing his lips. “You have lip colour on your face.”
Cameron gave her a hot smile. “I want to see it all over my body.”

My mind was working overtime trying to imagine how that scene would play out! Ultimately the love scenes are a wonderful combination of sensual imagery, dialogue and touches of humour.

I like Cameron’s son, Daniel, who seems to have a wise head on such young shoulders. He is astute enough to recognize that Ainsley is just what his father needs and he knows what he wants to do in life and goes after it. I love his reply when Cameron says he’s been a terrible father:

“All you got was a dad who beat his sons and was jealous of them too. I have a dad who tries to do the right thing, even if he mucks it up most of the time.”

Ian and Beth and Mac and Isabella from the two previous books all make welcome reappearances and the scene involving Hart Mackenzie and Lady Eleanor Ramsay provides an intriguing teaser for their book, The Duke’s Perfect Wife, the next in the series.

All you lassies out there who have not yet discovered the seductive world of the Mackenzie brothers, what are you waiting for? This series is a treat not to be missed!

Cameron Mackenzie – a huge man, sculptured in muscle

VERDICT: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

RATING: ★★★★★

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read August 2011

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 LONDON’S GREATEST LOVER’S #2

Setting: England, 1855

As the black sheep second son of an Earl, Stephen Lyons has gained a reputation in the art of seduction, but when his wicked ways result in scandal, he joins the army to redeem himself. On the battlefield, he proves courageous . . . until he is seriously wounded. Returning home to recover, he discovers he can’t remember the angelic beauty who arrives at his doorstep, his babe nestled in her arms.

Mercy Dawson will risk everything to protect the son of the dashing soldier she once knew and admired. When Stephen offers to do the honorable thing, she is determined that London’s most notorious gentleman will desire her and no other. But Mercy fears that what began as an innocent deception could destroy her dreams and their blossoming love if Stephen ever learns the scandalous truth . . .

They are masters of seduction, London’s greatest lovers. Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one . . . until love takes them by surprise

✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩

Lorraine Heath is one of my favourite authors because whenever I pick up one of her books, I am always assured of an outstanding historical romance. PLEASURES OF A NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN, the 2nd book in her London’s Greatest Lovers series, is a passionate and moving story of two deeply wounded people who find happiness through the healing power of love.

One of Ms Heath’s greatest strengths is her ability to create in depth characters that appeal directly to the emotions. The torment Stephen endures because he can’t remember the events of the past two years is captured so well and gives him a vulnerability which is very touching.

But his eyes – his beautiful blue eyes – had changed the most. They held such an incredible bleakness when he looked at her that she almost wept. His wounds went much deeper than his flesh; they had penetrated his soul.

The war has changed him. Gone is the irresponsible, womanizing rogue from Passions of a Wicked Earl to be replaced by a man prepared to take his responsibilities seriously and marry Mercy. It takes him a little longer to bond with his son, John but, when he does, it’s a poignant moment.

She transferred the child to Stephen’s waiting arms. Not once did John release his firm grip on Stephen’s finger. His throat knotted, Stephen forced out the words. “Hello, John. You and I are going to have quite a time of it, aren’t we?”
The boy blinked up at him, a question in eyes of blue, a shade that mirrored Stephen’s. “Who the devil are you?”
“I’m your father.”

Mercy is gentle, courageous and loving and just perfect for Stephen. Her own experiences of war allow her to understand him in a way his family can’t. Her tenderness and compassion are exactly what he needs to heal his troubled soul. She’s not perfect and doesn’t always make the right decisions. I did not agree with her keeping the truth from Stephen but I understood that she was driven by her love for Stephen and John and her fear that she might lose everything she held dear.

Their journey to happiness is passionate, poignant and, at times, heart-rending as they struggle to overcome the obstacles that lie in their path. But the final affirmation of their love is well worth waiting for.

Before she could protest, he took her in his arms and kissed her deeply while the world looked on. With his reputation, no one even raised an eyebrow. But Mercy knew the kiss symbolized much more. It was a celebration of their life their love.

Ms Heath brought to vivid life the harsh realities of war and I was pleased that she chose not to take the easy option as regards Stephen’s amnesia.

I love the secondary characters; Stephen’s younger brother, the Duke of Ainsley who exudes power and authority and demonstrates a maturity well beyond his years; Stephen’s mother, the Duchess of Ainsley who loves her sons and wants their happiness and her young lover, Leo who obviously loves her to distraction. I was also pleased to see the rift between Stephen and his older brother, the Earl of Westcliffe healed.

I’m looking forward to reading Ainsley’s story in the final book in the series, Waking Up With the Duke

VERDICT: A GREAT READ!

RATING:★★★★½

SENSUALITY RATING: HOT

Read March 2012

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Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1)

SONS OF SIN #1

Setting: Devon, England, 1826

Will a week of seduction…

Desperate to save her sister’s life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic—even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both.

…Spark a lifetime of passionate surrender?

Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★

When Anna Campbell weaves the classic Beauty and the Beast theme into one of her intense, emotional, sensual stories, you know you’re in for a real treat!

When the wind caught her, she staggered. She fought to keep her footing on the slippery cobbles as she looked up, up, up at the towering black edifice before her.

Right from the very first pages, I was completely drawn into the story. The vivid images of the raging storm and forbidding Castle Craven created a wonderful sense of menace. I certainly shared Sidonie’s feelings of trepidation.

Now, even after their short acquaintance, she saw past the scarring to the man beneath.

If anyone is in need of tender loving care, it’s definitely the scarred, reclusive, tormented Jonas. Beneath all that arrogance and cynicism beats a vulnerable heart longing for acceptance and comfort. Discovering how he came to be scarred and the shame and rejection he felt at being declared a bastard was so heartrending.

Sidonie Forsythe was a jewel such as he’d never encountered.

I adore Sidonie. She’s intelligent, courageous and compassionate and spirited enough to stand up to Jonas. However misguided, I can understand her need to protect the sister who was like a mother to her when she was young.  She’s willing to look beyond Jonas’s outward appearance and see the honourable, tender, generous man he truly is.

The connection was perfect soul and body.

Ms Campbell certainly knows how to build and maintain the sizzling sexual tension between Jonas and Sidonie. I can only think of one word to describe the love scenes – WHEW!!!  Here’s a teaser:

She was panting when he caught her up against him. More kissing.  More fevered caresses. She crawled up his body and kissed him. Physical urgency overwhelmed caution. He opened his mouth, ravishing her with lips and tongue and teeth.

Of course, the path of true love doesn’t run smooth and there’s danger, betrayal and heartbreak before Jonas and Sidonie finally get their HEA and a charming Epilogue.

The book also serves as an introduction to Richard and Camden, Jonas’s Etonian friends and future heroes in this series. They’re both intriguing and I can’t wait to read their stories.

VERDICT: CLASSIC ANNA CAMPBELL – COMPELLING, EMOTIVE AND SENSUAL!

RATING:  ★★★★½

SENSULITY RATING: HOT 

Read November 2012

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